Welcome to the new Cooking category on this blog. What?? Yet another cooking blog? Why use this one when you can search the Internet and come up with a bunch of others? Well maybe you should do just that if you the cook for a family of four or more. But if you are cooking for just one or two and are frustrated that most recipes serve more, then you might consider looking here. I cook for myself. I have searched for the best recipes, read all the reviews and scaled them down for one or two people. In other words, I have already done the legwork for you.
There are a few other things that you should know about the recipes I post.
- Everything I post I have actually cooked. If I make a meal that I don't like or is only 'okay', you will not see it. Many have fallen into that category.
- While most of the recipes are not original, I have considered all the reviews and incorporated any suggestions that are significant improvements.
- The ingredients of all recipes can be found at most supermarkets. There is no need to visit a specialty shop.
- Only common kitchen tools are used. You will not need a pasta machine, a bread maker or anything special.
- The preparation time for any recipe will be under an hour, usually about 30 to 45 minutes. The only exception is a recipe that might call for overnight marinating.
As a single person, the oven included in my home has become a storage spot. All of my cooking is done on the stovetop and in an inexpensive countertop oven purchased at WalMart. The primary uses of my microwave are to pop corn and to warm leftovers. On my countertop there is also a coffee maker and after that there is little room for anything else.
Every cook will need some tools. Larger supermarkets often have a kitchen gadgets section. There you will find measuring spoons and cups, vegetable peelers and a myriad of other tools that will undoubtedly come in handy. A good alternative are local thrift shops. There you will find many of the same things at bargain prices. My 'number one' tool is a chef's knife. You can watch some YouTube videos to learn how to use it safely and how to keep it sharp. Learn how to use this tool and donate all those chopping gadgets to the thrift store.
I have quality cookware. I learned a long time ago that cheap pots and pans result in burned food and will wear out quickly. The cost of quality cookware is a good investment. It will last a lifetime and you'll make better meals.
Regarding herbs and spices, any good cook will advise using fresh whenever possible. When cooking for one using a dried herb is usually more practical. The rule of thumb is that a dried herb has a volume about a third of the fresh. For example, a teaspoon of dried parsley might be used in place of a tablespoon of fresh parsley. Dried herbs have a shelf life of about two years. If in doubt, taste it! Freshly ground pepper definitely tastes better than packaged ground. Salt, baking soda and cream of tartar are inorganic compounds that will keep indefinitely unless contaminated.
Heads of garlic keep for a long time and, as with herbs, fresh tastes better. I always have two or three heads in my kitchen. When a recipe calls for chopped, minced or sliced garlic, the chef's knife provides the desired ingredient in just a few seconds.
Finally, a note about dashes and pinches. Some spices, like ground cloves and cayenne pepper, and some liquid condiments, like hot sauce and Worcestshire sauce, are quite strong and can overpower a recipe if too much is used. Use them with caution. Taste the recipe in progress before adding then taste it afterwards. If you can taste the difference, you've added enough.
Now let's start cooking!