I have always loved cooking. It is something that calms my mind, especially after a long day. My dad was always in the kitchen, whipping up a storm and I was his sous chef. He is the type of person who can look at the fridge and/or pantry and make something from there. Me? Not so much. I am an adamant recipe follower.
The first time I made my own recipe is definitely memorable. I had a small TV in my bedroom when I was about 10 years old. It had maybe 3 channels (there was an antenna and a knob to change the volume/channel) – I was lucky it was in color. One day, I saw a salmon recipe and I knew I had to make it. My mom had taken my sister out with her on her work trip so it was just me and dad. If you click on that recipe, you’ll see that there is a super duper important note… Once you put the potato chips on top, you have to pay attention. This phrase is seared into my mind: “It’ll need more than 5 minutes Lauren. Those ovens on TV are way more powerful than home ovens.” Okay, makes sense. My salmon caught fire. Luckily, we could just scrape off the top and re-make it. Now, anytime I cook around my dad, he reminds me that the ovens on TV are more powerful than mine.
My love for books and recipes means that I have quite a few cookbooks. I really do use most of them regularly (some more than others). I recently decided that each week, I’ll use one cookbook and pull recipes for that all week. So I’m going to start sharing them here! Copyright and Blogger Law does give me some restrictions but I’m highly recommending each and every book that I share on here, so if the recipe isn’t available online already, I won’t be sharing step by step here. Either way, I hope you all enjoy!
Here’s a quick list of things I’ve learned over the 33 years:
- Even if you think your pasta water is salty, it probably isn’t salty enough. Add more salt. Taste the ocean.
- Mise en place. If you learn anything at all, this is the most important! Prepare your shit. If you need to dice half an onion, do it before you start cooking. Get that half a cup of heavy cream measured out. Does it create more dishes? Yes. Does it make your life easier and help you to enjoy cooking? A thousand times yes.
- Similar with the above: Clean your kitchen before you start cooking. I cannot cook in a kitchen full of dirty dishes or things everywhere.
- TASTE YOUR FOOD. Do it as you go. That way you’re not done and lamenting over how under salted it is or remembering that you forgot the paprika (then again, if you’re participating in #3, you shouldn’t forget).
- Figure out your menu for the week as much as you possibly can. Jacob plays Ultimate or Disc Golf during the week and sometimes won’t be able to make dinner. In those cases, I try to make a BIG meal the night before so that I can eat that again for the next night.
- You can freeze soup/stew/chili. I make the entire recipe (which is normally 6-8 servings) and freeze what we don’t eat. It’s perfect for days or weeks when we’re too busy to cook.
- You can freeze a LOT of things. When I have a ton of lemons (courtesy of several people I know owning lemon trees), I’ll juice them, strain them, and put them in an ice cube tray. Once frozen, I throw them in a bag. Each ice cube is about one tablespoon. I also grate and freeze the zest. I frequently freeze leftover coffee in the same way (I use them for Greek Frappes or regular Iced Coffee – this way, the coffee doesn’t get watered down).
- If you don’t like something in a recipe, substitute it! I normally substitute sour cream with Greek yogurt (I love the tang and we always have that in the fridge). When making something vegan and I don’t have vegan butter, I’ll use apple sauce. There’s a ton of things you can do to tweak something so that you like it!
I hope that with my cooking posts, I’ll inspire you to cook more!