Sunday, December 25, 2011

Cook 03

More cooking stuff

2.A basic meal: there is a pound of pasta, a can of marinara sauce, some broccoli, and ground beef. This was my college go to.

a.Boil the water.

b.In the meantime toss the beef into a pan on med-hi stirring occasionally (just whenever you think of it).

c.Chop up the broccoli. When the beef is starting to brown pretty evenly toss in the broccoli. There should be some liquid from all this; that is fat and water—you can save it or pour most of it out, up to you.

d.The water should be boiling. Toss in as much pasta as you want in the water, a pound of pasta serves three or four people (unless they are really hungry).

e.Back at the frying pan now is a good time to cut the heat down to med or med-low. Pour in as much sauce as you think you will need for the pasta. Stir everything in. When steam is visibly rising from the sauce or it starts to boil, reduce the heat to low.

f.The pasta should be about done now; the best way to find out is by pulling one out and eating it. Pasta should—but doesn’t have to be—al dente; just a little firm yet still easy to eat. When it’s ready pour out the excess water.

g.Serve and eat.

3.Spices and garnish. Eating using spices and little additions to food always adds an interesting flair to a dish. I strongly encourage everyone to go buy at least an ounce each of the following for their spice rack: cumin, basil, ground red pepper, turmeric, ground garlic, cinnamon, and anything else.

a.Cumin makes things taste like Mexican food, and with the addition of turmeric and garlic powder, makes things taste like Indian food.

b.Basil is the default for Italian food; this can be augmented with oregano, parsley, and rosemary.

c.Crushed red pepper adds a nice kick to anything. Measure it in tiny pinches to find the right hotness. Warning: ground red pepper and ground cayenne pepper may look similar but the cayenne is much hotter.

d.Turmeric is a mild flavor that lends a brilliant color to food; it is a principal ingredient in most curries. It can add a layer of depth to generally mild and 'bland' foods without overpowering it (in flavor at least).

e.Ground garlic is perfect for garlic lovers. It has anti-bacterial properties and if you don't mind garlic breath or the possible intensity it can lend to a dish then it is a great addition. Depending on its function; ground garlic can add a salty, savory, or even spicy flavor to a dish. I like it because it is an easy and sneaky way of making a dish seem way more complex than it is.

f.Cinnamon comes in many varieties. There is the mild form we are used to and there are spicier varieties as well. Either way cinnamon adds a nice bit of spiciness that augments anything from chocolate to meats to vegetables.

g.Anything else is good too. The important thing to remember with spices (and with most foods) is that they smell like they taste. Most of a human's ability to taste is predicated on the sense of smell which is why food all tastes like gray when you are sick. Add a little at a time until you reach the desired flavor. And you probably will put too much in at one point or another; so it goes.