Questions and Answers in 2010

A lot of people e-mail me with their questions about cooking about produce, or food in general. Often they’re questions other readers have as well, and while I always answer them personally, I want to answer them in a public way. I’m hoping that doing so will solicit responses (and questions) from Ray Ban outlet you, because I’m very interested in learning what you feel you need to know when it comes to cooking and being comfortable in the kitchen, at ease with vegetables, or presenting a vegetable-based meal.

Here’s a question for the first week of 2010 from a 21-year old college student, who wrote the following:

“Though I’m not a vegetarian, I consider vegetables and other non-meat foods the most interesting and I trying to get as close as I can to cooking all my meals. I want to move away from snacking and actually making simple meals from your cookbook consistently.  Should I develop 3,5,10 recipes I like and just stick with those?” 

Actually, this student asked several good questions in his e-mail, but this is one I know that others struggle with, too. Here is my answer:

Often people try so many different types of dishes when they’re starting out that they get confused and have a hard time developing enough focus to become competent at one or two things. I think your idea of choosing a few recipes to work on is an excellent one. It will give you a base to move from, and confidence, too.

First, figure out what you like to eat. Do you love stir-fries or prefer gratins? Are you a soup eater? (They’re inexpensive to make and leftovers improve in flavor.)  Then choose some dishes that seem interesting to you, but not too many, as you suggest. Cook them until you feel so at ease that you don’t need to keep referring back to the recipe.  About the time you Occhiali Ray Ban outlet start to get bored with a dish, you’ll be fluent enough with the process to start thinking about how you might change the recipe or move onto other soups, gratins, or stir-fries or whatever it is you’ve decided on.

 I’m pretty sure that one day you’ll want to try something entirely different from the 3, 5, or 10 recipes that you’ve mastered. When you do, don’t be surprised if you find you have some new techniques under your belt. Repetition is very useful when it comes to learning to cook.

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  2. Nicolette

    Thanks for the Q&A! I recently made the white chocolate and pistachio bark and had great success. Easy, just like you said, plus gorgeous color. Thanks again!

  3. Nate Downey

    Great advice! Tomorrow night, from your book “Local Flavor’s,” I’m planning Fried Eggs with Sizzling Vinegar (using homegrown chicken eggs) and Salt Potatoes with Butter and Herbs (w/ farmers’ mkt potatoes and our own garden herbs). These are two nice-and-easy recipes that any novice can handle and any food connoisseur will enjoy! My friend, Marc, is stewing up some local elk he harvested last Fall–not sure where the recipe comes from, but I’ve had it before and it’s fab!

  4. Deborah

    Hey Nate: I’m impressed that you’re still managing to cook our local foods on February 18th! I just picked some turnips from my garden
    (almost the last), some salad greens and spinach. A gave the a chard leaf to our finches and they consumed it in about a minute. They like it much better than organic romaine from the store. How about that?


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