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Old 01-25-2005, 11:09 AM   #31
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Right on PA Baker! That is a lesson I had to learn the hard way quite a few times as well :oops:

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Old 01-29-2005, 11:02 PM   #32
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What great stuff!! Since you particularly mention batchelors, and I'm an expert (i've spent most of my life as a woman around the military with many batchelors, geographic or real!), the one thing I feel men consistently do 'wrong' when they cook is they fall in love with one spice or combination of spices, then put them in .... everything. My husband did this, many other men we've known over the years have. If their spice shelf has 3 spices, they'll put all three in every dish. If they fall in love with Cajun spice blend, they'll sprinkle it on everything. It makes it so that after spending the time and effort to make a beautiful meal, everything tastes the same. The only seasoning that can go in everything is salt and pepper. After that, experiment with one or two at a time so you can learn what each taste like.

Best investment in the seasoning department, to me, is a good pepper mill (for my money, a Peugot). I haven't bought ground pepper in years!

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Old 01-30-2005, 01:32 AM   #33
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Like Emeril would say "Use your knob, there is low, medium and high".
"Experience is the name everyone gives to his mistakes."

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Old 01-30-2005, 06:50 AM   #34
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I think the hardest thing about cooking for me was to learn to read a recipe.

When I started cooking, and all I am is a home cook, the ingredients were on a list that made no particular sense.

Now, sometimes, I can understand the recipe, and know why the ingredients are there and what role they play in the dish.

If a dish calls for onions, celery, and carrots, well heck, I now know that is a mirepoix and I believe I can handle that.

If one must start with butter or oil, and then add flour, by golly, I know that is a roux. And I think I can handle that.

I try to read a recipe and understand what place each ingredient has in that dish.

I cannot do it all the time, particularly with foreign dishes; I just do not have enough experience with many cuisines.

But it is, at least for me, a lot easier to follow a recipe that I interpret as 'make a roux and toss in the mirepoix' than to just put together a list of ingredients.

I am not sure this is of any help to a person trying her/his first recipe.

But I guess my advice is to try to understand the recipe, in doing so you will grow as a cook.

And cooking is a whole lot of fun.

Edited for grammar, I hate when I have to do that.
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Old 01-30-2005, 12:55 PM   #35
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One of my tips would have to be: Always use homemade stocks. Canned broth is not an acceptable substitute. Make a big pot of stock some weekend when you have the time and some leftover meat and veggies, pour it into the ice cube tray, freeze it, and keep a pile of the stock cubes in the freezer. Voila - tasty homemade stock whenever you need it, without the sodium and additives.
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Old 01-30-2005, 02:08 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by auntdot
Have all of the ingredients for the recipe on the counter and ready to go before you start constructing the dish (mis en place).

Make sure your sink is empty before you start prepping/cooking. Empty the dishwasher, then wash off the dishes and utensils as you go and put them in the dishwasher. If you can clean off a bowl, pot, pan, utensil and use it again in another step, do so.

Keep a plastic bag nearby (the type you carry your groceries home in) and toss out the peelings, shells, bones, fat, anything that will wind up in the garbage as you go. All this will help enormously when the meal is over and you need to clean up.
You are so right about this! I do all of this when I cook, sure saves alot of clean up at the end, and having the ingredients ready saves time.

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