Alright i will start to cook

crazycat

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Dec 5, 2005
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Well i decided that i will start cooking, here is a list of what i can do.

1- Eggs, i can do eggs very well. Boiled eggs, scrambled eggs anf fried eggs.
2- Toast, with butter or jelly and honey.

Thats about it, i can cook even if my life depends on it. I would like to start cooking, i would like to be able to make a nice meal for my friends. Where is a good place to start?

I come here to mac rumors as i am sure many of you know how to cook and/or know of places where i can learn.

Remmber i know NOTHING at all about cooking.
 

floriflee

macrumors 68030
Dec 21, 2004
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Where are you located? Perhaps, an intro to cooking or a food prep class would be beneficial.

Otherwise, do you have friends/family that cook who would be willing to teach you?
 

DavidLeblond

macrumors 68020
Jan 6, 2004
2,197
286
Raleigh, NC
Grilled chicken/beef/pork/anything.

Its not so bad. Just get some tastey stuff, put it over the meat... let it sit for awhile, and then toss it on the grill till its almost burnt but not quite.

You won't win any cooking competitions with it, but the whole idea is to make something that tastes good, right?
 

crazycat

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Dec 5, 2005
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floriflee said:
Where are you located? Perhaps, an intro to cooking or a food prep class would be beneficial.
I live in Dubai, i would rather not go to class as I like to spend my time on somethign else.

floriflee said:
Otherwise, do you have friends/family that cook who would be willing to teach you?
I was thinking of cook books, videos and so on. I will be getting some lessons from a friend but i would like to make a few things on my own as i do not want to bother anyone very much with my quest.
 
L

Lau

Guest
Blue Velvet said:
Get Delia Smith's How to Cook.

Three books in total but start with the first. You can't go wrong with Delia. Seriously. :D
I second this — they're great books. I have a feeling you may be able to get all three in one volume now, but I could be wrong.

Also, I think eggs are one of the harder things to cook (if we're talking everyday meals here, not soufflés and meringue nests :D), so I'm sure you'll pick it up in no time.
 

crazycat

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Original poster
Dec 5, 2005
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Blue Velvet said:
Get Delia Smith's How to Cook.

Three books in total but start with the first. You can't go wrong with Delia. Seriously. :D

Amazon UK's listing
I just ordred the book, i know (hope) i will like them.


Blue Velvet said:
Or if you're too lazy to pick up a book, you could try Ctrl Alt Chicken - the cooking show hosted by people who can't cook.

http://www.revision3.com/ctrlaltchicken [/URL]
Why did i not think of that? I am downloading all the eppisode to study them and hope i can cook something nice :)

In a few days when i feel i can cook i will post a few pics of my work in order to see if you guys like it.
 

nbs2

macrumors 68030
Mar 31, 2004
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A geographical oddity
Forget the cookbooks - those are better when you have a foundation. I'd suggest if you want fundamentals, consider The Professional Chef (from the Culinary Institute of America) or some other textbook. But, even without that, you can do fine.

I'd suggest by going out to eat a couple of times, to places that serve food similar to what you want to make. Get a feel for what goes well with what - different foods match up well together. Since we are working on the basics, experimentation should be kept to a minimum.

I'd suggest having the "basic" spices for what you like to cook. If you are European in your tastes, look at the Basils and Oreganos. If you are more Asian, look at Currys and Bay Leaves. So on and so forth. The one thing that you shouldn't forget is garlic. Everybody likes garlic. You will find that you can often mimic popular flavors with a blend of those with a traditional base (often meat or meaty vegetables). As mentioned above, grilling is safe. Also consider baking, more often than not, 350 degrees (F) will yield tasty and easy results - just check the time.

Finally, don't be afraid to screw something up. If you do, you do. Just try and adjust for the next time. For example, I have a roast pork dish I love to make that is just amazing. I tried subbing vegetables for the meat (a vegitarian alternative), and didn't tone down the spice enough and came away with way too much ehat and not enough flavor - but you live, you learn.

In the end, as long as you are having fun, most dishes will come out passably good. Love your food - that's the key.

EDIT: I forgot to mention one thing - presentation can make food taste better (eating really is a five sense operation), but don't worry too much for right now...
 

pianoman

macrumors 68000
May 31, 2006
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start with foods you know you like. what do you order when you go out? make that first to get a feel for cooking.

look up recipes online and experiment with different ingredients. there's no right way to cook something, even if it tastes wrong.
 

mactastic

macrumors 68040
Apr 24, 2003
3,681
661
Colly-fornia
Try either a subscription to Cook's Illustrated, or purchase their "1000 Best Recipes" cookbook. I've been a subscriber for about 3 years now, and it's helped my cooking abilities immesurably. In addition I have gotten rave reviews from practically everyone whom I've cooked for with their recipes.

I'll tell you why I like them so much. First, the magazine is published by, and uses the same standards as, Consumer Reports. Blind testing, no advertising, full purchase price on any reviewed items etc. Second, the recipes are tested for the best flavor with the least cooking. When they can cut corners with little flavor loss, they do; but never at the expense of flavor. The ingredients are either kept to easy-to-find items, or substitutes are indicated. Third, they review cooking gear to help stretch your cooking dollar.

The reciepe book doesn't have the equipment reviews, but the recipes are good. And by good, I mean they spell out everything. Pan sizes, both times and descriptions for each step of the reciepe, it's all there. The writing style is concise and clear. And the receipes are top-notch.

Now, beyond the books, you'll need some equipment. A good chef's knife is where I started when I had nothing. A 3 qt sauce pan, a 12" cast iron skillet and a 12" stainless steel-clad skillet, would be other important items. Get a pair or two of tongs, and some pyrex baking dishes. I'd also suggest a decent collection of ramekins and other small bowls to assist with prep work. Good equipment really helps get good results.

Cooking can be a lot of fun. It's the cleaning that sucks!
 

beatsme

macrumors 65816
Oct 6, 2005
1,204
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crazycat said:
Remmber i know NOTHING at all about cooking.
As a former cook (at a nice place, too), my 2¢:

IMHO what you want to do is start with simpler things that you take for granted but are not quite so easy to make. I would start out with rice...try this:

1) melt about 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of butter in a small pot

2) dice up about 1/3 of a yellow onion; a fine dice...try to get them as small as you can without killing yourself. Sauteé the onions in the butter. Just try to get the onions clear and soft...not crunchy.

3) dump in 1 and 1/2 cups of warm water. Add 1/2 tablespoon of salt, and maybe 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper.

4) dump in 1 cup of white rice. Not the Uncle Ben's kind or anything like that...the kind of rice you get in a plain plastic bag, where they assume you know how to cook it.

bring the whole thing to a boil, and give it a stir every now and then. After it starts to boil, turn down the heat so it simmers, and cover the pot. Let it cook for, oh...7 to 11 minutes; the box or the bag should tell you how long.

just play around with this. The ingredients are cheap, so you can experiment without breaking the bank. Do you think it should be more buttery? Use more butter. Is it too "oniony?" Use less onion. Think it needs more salt or more pepper? Add more. Think if you cook it for 7 minutes that it's undercooked? Cook it longer. Think it's too dry? Use more water. Come up with something that you think tastes good.

This will give you the basics for cooking: how to make your base (in this case, the base is the onions and butter), how much seasoning to use, how high a temperature, how long it should cook, etc. Once you get this down, other things should become much easier.

and a word about white pepper: it has a smoother taste, but a little of it goes a long way. Be careful with it, and add it in small increments.
 

savar

macrumors 68000
Jun 6, 2003
1,952
0
District of Columbia
crazycat said:
Well i decided that i will start cooking, here is a list of what i can do.

1- Eggs, i can do eggs very well. Boiled eggs, scrambled eggs anf fried eggs.
2- Toast, with butter or jelly and honey.
Here's an easy recipe that I like because it's tasty and fast:

Preparation
========
Buy lots of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. (I got 8 lbs and Sam's club for $8.88 last weekend.) Trim off any excess fat, then cut them in half so that you get two equally size pieces that are half the thickness of the piece you started with. Take all of this chicken, put it into a tupperware, and pour italian dressing over it. Mix everything around with your hands until the chicken breasts are all evenly coated with italian dressing. There should be a little dressing left over, just leave it in there. Put on the top, give it one last good shake, then stick it in the fridge.

Buy some pre-mixed seasoning. I like cajun seasonings or any of the "meat magic" seasonings.

Cooking
======
Put the stove on medium (I have a gas stove, maybe a little above medium on an electric) and put some vegetable oil in the pan. I don't know how much, probably 1/2 - 3/4 tablespoon or so for each piece of chicken you will be cooking. Let the oil heat up, swish the pan around to get the oil to spread out, then throw the chicken into the pan. Make sure all the chicken lies flat so that it cooks quickly and evenly. Sprinkle your seasoning on top. (Most seasonings have a lot of salt so use them sparingly.) I don't know exactly how long I cook it, but its somewhere in the 3-5 minute range. Swish the pan around again at some point so the chicken doesn't stick and you spread the oil out evenly again. You will see the sides of the chicken turning white. Flip the chicken over and continue to cook for another 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle some seasoning on this side also and swish the pan again. Remove chicken from stove, put it on a cutting board and cut into the middle to make sure its cooked enough -- raw chicken is very bad.

Experiment with the temperature and cooking time, but this is a real nice way to make tasty food real fast, and because you cook it quickly in oil, the chicken stays very juicy. I also recommend a rice-cooker for the cooking-phobes out there. You can buy seasoned yellow rice at the store, just throw it in the rice cooker and the rice cooker makes perfect rice every time. (When I make it on the stove I invariably burn the rice by forgetting about it.) Heat up a can of black beans and like steve jobs would say, boom! you have cajun chicken with yellow rice and black beans. Spoon a little salsa and sour cream onto the beans. Total time: about 15 minutes.

I like cooking like this because its very fast..I hate spending a lot of time to cook if I am the only one eating. Anybody else have similar preparations?
 

beatsme

macrumors 65816
Oct 6, 2005
1,204
1
savar said:
Anybody else have similar preparations?
I like your Italian Dressing idea...I usu. just make my own marinade, but yours sounds easier and a lot less generic.

you know, that Zatarain's (sp?) Red Beans and Rice would go really well with this, I bet.
 

beatsme

macrumors 65816
Oct 6, 2005
1,204
1
boiling eggs

crazycat said:
1- Eggs, i can do eggs very well. Boiled eggs, scrambled eggs and fried.
a tip (dunno if you knew this already):
when you boil eggs, add about 1/2 cup of vinegar to your water. I dunno how it works, but when they're done cooking the egg shells just slide right off...
 

Black&Tan

macrumors 6502a
Mar 4, 2004
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beatsme said:
I like your Italian Dressing idea...I usu. just make my own marinade, but yours sounds easier and a lot less generic.
Mix the Italian Dressing (I prefer Wish-Bone brand) with Worcestershire sauce and some A-1 steak sauce and you now have a marinade for beef. Let the steaks soak for a day or so, then grill.

Delicious.
 

floriflee

macrumors 68030
Dec 21, 2004
2,707
1
When you get more comfortable with all the cooking you can try looking into Alton Brown's "Good Eats" stuff. It'll teach you what different types of variations of ingredients will do to your food. It's good if you like to know the science behind the food so you can do more experimenting.
 

ChrisBrightwell

macrumors 68020
Apr 5, 2004
2,294
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Huntsville, AL
savar said:
Preparation
========
Buy lots of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. (I got 8 lbs and Sam's club for $8.88 last weekend.) Trim off any excess fat, then cut them in half so that you get two equally size pieces that are half the thickness of the piece you started with. Take all of this chicken, put it into a tupperware, and pour italian dressing over it. Mix everything around with your hands until the chicken breasts are all evenly coated with italian dressing. There should be a little dressing left over, just leave it in there. Put on the top, give it one last good shake, then stick it in the fridge.
We've started doing this for our grilled chicken. It's fantastic.

beatsme said:
you know, that Zatarain's (sp?) Red Beans and Rice would go really well with this, I bet.
You're absolutely correct. :)
 

floriflee

macrumors 68030
Dec 21, 2004
2,707
1
savar said:
Anybody else have similar preparations?
I've done something similar with the Italian dressing. I've also just used a whole jar of salsa when I want something a bit more spicy/hot.
 

mactastic

macrumors 68040
Apr 24, 2003
3,681
661
Colly-fornia
I'm a big fan of brining chicken. It's particularly helpful in chicken breasts because it helps prevent them drying out.

And speaking of drying out, a suggestion to the OP: Buy a good probe thermometer. This will be invaluable to you as you learn to cook meat. At first you will rely on the thermometer to gauge when your meat is done, but as you gain experience you will be able to tell how "done" meat is by feel.

Nothing worse than overcooking a nice piece of meat...
 

crazycat

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Dec 5, 2005
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Thanks all for the great recommendations i got from you all, i would like ti give a BIG thanks to all of MR users because without you i would not have started this.

Like i said before i know nothing about cooking, so i bought Delia's How To Cook Book One:
http://www.amazon.com/Delias-How-Cook-Book-One/dp/0563384301/sr=8-1/qid=1157574840/ref=sr_1_1/104-2773345-9303130?ie=UTF8&s=books

Its a great book, i did not start readin it, i am planning on starting tomorrow. Tomorrow eaving i am starting to make Souffled Macaroni Cheese, its on page 229. Its simple, easy and looks good. My friend and I are starting tomorrow, wish us good luck, wish us well we will be posting pics of what we make tomorrow.
 

crazycat

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Original poster
Dec 5, 2005
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