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Old 02-24-2008, 09:38 PM   #1
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Cooking Newbie. Where do I start?

I'm tired of spending money every single day eating out; I live in New York City. I want to learn to cook my own meals to save money and also feel more like the independent man that I am. How do I start?


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Old 02-24-2008, 09:45 PM   #2
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Hi, recald. Welcome to DC.

Of course, you start with those of us at DC.

Let us begin with the kinds of foods you like and what cookware and tools you have available. Also, we need to know how much time you have to devote to cooking and buying your goodies.

You will not have to worry about answers. This site is filled with great members who will be more than glad to answer.

"As a girl I had zero interest in the stove." - Julia Child
This is real inspiration. Look what Julia became!
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Old 02-24-2008, 10:16 PM   #3
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If my 11 year old son can do this, I'm sure you can too. You don't need anything top of the line at this point, but make sure what you do buy is quality that will last. As far as cooking itself goes, there are must haves in the kitchen - spices, knives, pots, pans, etc. Go to your local grocery store (in NYC, King Kullen, Pathmark, or Stop& Shop are decent) and walk around. Many have recipe cards all over the store that are free (in the produce meat and fish sections). Browse through them, see if something sounds good and get the ingredients and try it (just make sure you have the right tools). Keep in mind that if you are only cooking for yourself, you may want to invest in a food saver appliance (vacuum sealer) and put the 2nd piece of meat/fish/chicken, etc. away in the freezer. My dh (darling hubby) is going to be doing some basic recipes on video and posting them on you tube. If you want the link, pm me your email address and when they are ready, I'll send you the links.
No beans unless they are green or jelly...
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Old 02-24-2008, 10:20 PM   #4
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AHEM! My MANAGER/AGENT over there... Gets a little...shall we say...excitable? I'm also going to have a series that focuses on basic techniques. From how to cut an onion, to creating and working with your own recipes to make them better, and every thing in between... PM one of us for the link.
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Old 02-24-2008, 10:28 PM   #5
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Hello Katie. Thanks for your post. In answer to your question, I have the following:

Calphalon One 3 1/2 qt. sauce (anodized)
Calphalon One 2 qt 9" skillet (anodized)
Analon branded 8" skillet (anodized)
12" skillet (non-stick)
Paul Revere 10" skillet (stainless steel)
Paul Revere 12 qt. stock pot (steel, decades old hand-me-down)
Corningware 9" x 13" french white baking pan

Forschner (Victorinox) Fiborx 8" chef's knife
Forschner (Victorinox) Fiborx 3" paring knife

Foods I enjoy:
egg sandwich, consisting of 2 eggs, mozzarella & bacon on untoasted roll
honey turkey on a hero with lettuce & tomatoes
lasagna (I like all things pasta)
grilled chicken sandwich, consisting of chicken cutlet, swiss & bacon on toasted roll.
French Toast

Time available to cook: Several hours per day, because I'm currently on an extended vacation from my job.

(1) Stop eating out! I'd like to learn to cook & properly store foods that I enjoy eating while at the same time lowering my expenses from eating out.

(2) Cook foods that are healthier, and more specifically, lower in cholesterol. I know that cooking healthy should be my first priority but I'm already so overwhelmed with trying just to learn to cook the simplest dishes that I thought taking baby steps and just cooking simple meals would be a great start. If you disagree then I'll gladly accept your opinion.

(3) I recently saw the film No Reservations (featuring Katherine Zeta Jones) and was inspired by all the elaborate dishes that the patrons were ordering and eating in the fictitious 22 Bleeker restaurant. I'd like to expand my palette by finding great restaurants and experiencing meals beyond what I saw during my college days of burgers and french fries. And of course I'd like to some day make such meals, but I'm simply trying to get comfortable with learning the basics.

Thank you so much for any future suggestions that you might have.

Friendly Regards,

Rob (rcald2000)
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Old 02-24-2008, 10:59 PM   #6
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Okay, now we have something to work with.

You might want to look into purchasing a couple of saucepans (with lids). Seems as though you are lacking in that department. Otherwise, you have workable equipment.

It's good that you like pasta dishes because there are countless dishes that can be based on pasta.

You can take you love of an egg sandwich and turn it into an omelet, with the addition of cheese and chopped veggies to turn it into a main course dish. Add a dish of mixed fresh fruit and you will have a satisfying meal.

You mention a grilled chicken sandwich. Change that into some grilled chicken strips into a tortilla with some salsa, cheese, green chilies, chopped green onions all wrapped together to create a Tex/Mex wrap. A filling meal.

If you have the advantage of being near a market that has a salad bar, it's easy to pick and choose portions to create a huge dinner salad. Then go to the deli section of the market, purchase some sliced ham/turkey/chicken and add to your salad. Top with your favorite bottled or homemade dressing and croutons. What a meal!

You can also take advantage of the same salad bar to buy small portions of veggies to make a great quick soup.

If you don't have the time or skills (yet) buy some canned stock, add some herbs, depending on the type of soup you wish to make, then go to the salad bar and pick up carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. to make your soup.

To make a "meatable" soup, purchase a deli-roasted chicken and cut it up to add the meat to create a chicken soup. Add some packaged noodles near the end of cooking. You'll have a nice chicken-noodle soup. Let your imagination be your guide.

Imagination and what you like will be your best guides.
"As a girl I had zero interest in the stove." - Julia Child
This is real inspiration. Look what Julia became!
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:12 PM   #7
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welcome to DC. There are lots of recipe websites, you can do a search for easy ones relating to your tastes, such as pasta, eggs anything else you prefer such as QUICK & EASY PASTA AND OTHER RECIPES

cooking for 2 recipes | cooking for one recipes |

hope this helps..
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:14 PM   #8
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Hello and welcome to CD!
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:35 PM   #9
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ooooooooh, stick around here - you'll get countless answers to every question you have (and even some you don't even ask!)

I have found that one of the best ways to begin a healthier approach to cooking is to visit the local farmers markets. There is nothing more appetizing than to see all the colors, shapes and sizes of fresh produce. Once you've purchased, if you're not sure what exactly to do with your treasures, ask us!

Best of luck with your wonderful new goals, and welcome to the DC family :)
Come visit my foodie blog: www.SockmonkeysKitchen.com
This week's topic: Pinterest and Potatoes
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Old 02-25-2008, 12:06 AM   #10
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I started cooking when I was 14 yrs and my first was cheddar cheese sauce with my mother at my side, Now I am a retired Ex. Chef. Start small and branch out slowly. Get a copy of New Joy of Cooking. Most of there recipes are not to difficult and pretty basic
now get in the kitvhen and make something good to eat.

Cook with passion or don't cook at all
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