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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Twin Dragons's Avatar

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    Default Cooking for Dummies/Idiots?

    My knowledge base of recipes is pretty effing slim. I can cook spaghetti and thats it. I'd like to learn to cook new things.

    Advice?
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    Default Re: Cooking for Dummies/Idiots?

    Buy a crockpot. I got mine for $13 at Walmart.

    Step 1:
    Add solid item to crockpot*.

    Step 2:
    Add liquid to crockpot**.

    Step 3:
    Turn crockpot to "low" setting.

    Step 4:
    Leave for 6-8 hours. If leaving is not possible, ignore crockpot for as long as possible. (this step is really hard).

    Step 5:
    Turn off crockpot, serve contents with a spoon.


    * Generally a meat or meat product, but can also be veggies. Fruit generally doesn't work so well.

    ** Generally water, marinade, wine, or other flavored liquid. Fatty meats generally don't require any.


    Congratulations. You can now cook like a bachelor. Men will want to be you. Women will want to be with you. Animals might even like you.

    Personal favorite combinations:
    3-4 boneless chicken breasts (frozen or otherwise) + 1 jar chunky salsa (serve with rice or noodles)

    3-4 boneless chicken breasts + 3 cans of beans (drained) + 1 jar salsa verde (serve with sour cream and tortilla chips)

    2-3 lb pork loin + 1/2 cup water. Drain, add BBQ sause, and mash with a fork (serve on kaiser roll buns)

    2-3 lb beef roast + 1/2 jar lemon pepper marinade (serve over rice)
    Last edited by Keld Denar; 2011-09-12 at 04:24 PM.
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    A beholder’s favorite foods include small live mammals, exotic mushrooms and other fungi, gnomes, beef, pork, colorful leafy vegetables, leaves, flower petals, insects, and birds.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Halfling in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Cooking for Dummies/Idiots?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keld Denar View Post
    Step 4:
    Leave for 6-8 hours. If leaving is not possible, ignore crockpot for as long as possible. (this step is really hard).
    Especially with a cat in the house that will stop at nothing to sample new flavors.
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    Default Re: Cooking for Dummies/Idiots?

    I've recently been provided with a link to the incredibly useful Playground's Cookbook. Check it out, it's pretty amazing.
    Add me on Steam!

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    Halfling in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Cooking for Dummies/Idiots?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dvil View Post
    I've recently been provided with a link to the incredibly useful Playground's Cookbook. Check it out, it's pretty amazing.
    Wow, thanks for that!
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    Default Re: Cooking for Dummies/Idiots?

    Curries are your friend. Recipe: throw things in pot, add spices, cook, done.
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    Default Re: Cooking for Dummies/Idiots?

    Crockpot/One Pot Meals and Casseroles are your friend for beginning.

    Mostly because you just add the ingredients, apply heat, and then come back before it burns and it'll be edible.

    And for stews, it gives you practice with chopping/cutting things up, but it's not the end of the world if you mess up cutting things.

    Also, Jambalaya and red beans and rice kick butt and are relatively simple.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keld Denar View Post
    Congratulations. You can now cook like a bachelor. Men will want to be you. Women will want to be with you. Animals might even like you.
    <_< >_>

    *sigs*
    Last edited by Coidzor; 2011-09-12 at 05:09 PM.
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    Default Re: Cooking for Dummies/Idiots?

    Huzzah! I now own 2/3 of the quotes in Coidzor's signature. One more, and I'll obtain the Triple Coid (like the Triple Crown, but includes no money, fame, or recognition of any sort).
    Quote Originally Posted by Fax Celestis View Post
    AILHAY THULUCAY! AILHAY THULUCAY! AILHAY THULUCAY!
    _________________________________
    A beholder’s favorite foods include small live mammals, exotic mushrooms and other fungi, gnomes, beef, pork, colorful leafy vegetables, leaves, flower petals, insects, and birds.

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    Default Re: Cooking for Dummies/Idiots?

    A good place to start is to go and find a beginners cookbook, and learn how to do some basic cooking techniques (like knife skills). If the book has some techniques in it great; if not there is always the internet.
    Other than that, you’ll need some basic hardware. Here’s a list.

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    Kitchen knife
    Spatulas (wood, plastic or metal, only use wood and plastic for nonstick skillets)
    Serving/cooking spoons (again, wood plastic or metal.)
    Wire whisk
    Measuring cups (wet and dry, trust me there’s a difference)
    Measuring spoons
    Cutting board (I like wood but there are other options)
    Plastic containers for holding ingredients/leftovers
    Pots with lids (different sizes, usually comes in sets)
    Frying Pans/skillets, preferably with lids (your choice, cast iron, nonstick or plain steel)
    Baking dishes (usually glass or metal)
    Cookie sheets and other larger cooking surfaces like broiler pans etc
    Fire extinguisher (no jokes, every kitchen should have one)

    You probably won’t need everything all at once, so just buy things as you need them.

    Aside from this, just start cooking, follow the recipes in your new book, if you have any problems, the internet can provide. Ask people for recipes, look on line buy cook books etc.
    Last edited by TheThan; 2011-09-12 at 06:39 PM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Cooking for Dummies/Idiots?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheThan View Post
    Fire extinguisher (no jokes, every kitchen should have one)
    And make sure you know how to use it!

    I know it sounds ridiculous, but if you do have a fire, thanks to adrenaline, taking the two seconds to read three directions is almost impossible. I speak from experience.

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    Default Re: Cooking for Dummies/Idiots?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keld Denar View Post
    2-3 lb pork loin + 1 bottle IBC root beer. Drain, add BBQ sause, and mash with a fork (serve on kaiser roll buns)
    Recipe corrected for deliciousness.

    Seriously though, holy damn, BBQ pulled pork made with root beer is among the most delicious things on the face of the earth.

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    Default Re: Cooking for Dummies/Idiots?

    www.allrecipes.com covers basically everything you need to know, at least to get started. I recommend making lots of quiche, of all varieties.
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Cooking for Dummies/Idiots?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheThan View Post
    A good place to start is to go and find a beginners cookbook, and learn how to do some basic cooking techniques (like knife skills). If the book has some techniques in it great; if not there is always the internet.
    In fact, get two cookbooks. The first one I recommend, perhaps not surprisingly, is Cooking for Dummies. If you're not familiar with the Dummies line of books, it isn't assuming you're stupid, it just takes the time to explain the difference between stewing and braising and doesn't assume that you know what demi-glace or chicken stock is. It's got some okay recipes in it too, but it's mostly there to showcase a little bit of all the basic skills in a friendly conversational tone.

    The second cookbook is one of the great omnibus cookbooks, like Joy of Cooking, Better Homes and Gardens, Fannie Farmer, or something thick of that sort. That's the cookbook that's going to contain thousands of recipes that give you the ability to make just about anything you can imagine, but then you also have Dummies to fall back on if the vocabulary makes some bad assumptions.

    And yes to the internet as well. YouTube is pretty amazing for showing how to do anything that needs to be shown. (Well, almost. I've failed at finding a video that shows me how to get the flaming wishbone out of a chicken before I roast it.) Aside from that, be patient with yourself, buy yourself gadgets if you imagine yourself using it enough to pay for itself, and have fun with it.

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    Default Re: Cooking for Dummies/Idiots?

    Indeed, where else but Youtube could a dog teach you how to make a Bento Box?
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    Halfling in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Cooking for Dummies/Idiots?

    Thanks for all the sound advice. I'm putting some cookbooks on my Christmas list.
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    Default Re: Cooking for Dummies/Idiots?

    Go and watch the episodes I've put up of my cooking show, Home, At The Range.

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    Default Re: Cooking for Dummies/Idiots?

    Not really anything to add, except I have in my bookcase a book called "Cooking For Blokes". The title really says it all.

    Some very nice recipes in there actually. I'd hazard to say that its beef stew is even superior to my mum's.
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    Default Re: Cooking for Dummies/Idiots?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dvil View Post
    I've recently been provided with a link to the incredibly useful Playground's Cookbook. Check it out, it's pretty amazing.
    And maybe someday I'll even get around to finishing the index! Or someone else could do some for me, and I could copy it in...

    If we're making cookbook suggestions, I recommend The Cook's Companion by Stephanie Alexander. It's pretty Australia-oriented (e.g. it discusses the availability of certain ingredients, but only/mostly in Australia), but very handy. It features:
    - Explanations of pretty much all types of equipment, from baking trays and graters to fish kettles and larding needles.
    - Definitions, descriptions and directions to basic ingredients and techniques, such as baking blind, butter, pastries and how to store meat.
    - Chapters divided into ingredients, e.g. "apples", "cabbages, brussels sprouts and kale", "fish" and so on.
    - "X Goes With..." lists, e.g. "lemons and limes go with... avocados, broccoli, chicken, chick peas, chillies, chocos, coconuts etc etc etc".
    - Descriptions of varieties and seasons for each ingredient.
    - Selection and storage information on each ingredient.
    - Basic preparation and cooking of each ingredient, e.g. for lemons and limes "to juice", "to zest", "to segment".
    - Heaps of really good recipes, e.g. lemon cordial, lemon curd.
    - Side-bars of quick recipes, what to do with left-overs and similar, e.g. lemon cleaner, gin fizz.

    It even has TWO (2!) ribbons to hold your place! :D

    lots of instructions for really basic things -

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    Default Re: Cooking for Dummies/Idiots?

    [IMG]- "X Goes With..." lists, e.g. "lemons and limes go with... avocados, broccoli, chicken, chick peas, chillies, chocos, coconuts etc etc etc".[/IMG]

    And yet, most of the joy I have with cooking is taking two things everyone tells me will never go together and then spending an afternoon trying to make them work.

    Probably not for total beginners, though. (I must admit, however, that I'm not that far above the Spaghetti Bolognese stage.)
    Last edited by Eldan; 2011-09-13 at 06:04 AM.
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    Default Re: Cooking for Dummies/Idiots?

    As Tirian spake: the Joy of Cooking is an amazing resource because it provides the primary lessons all the way to advanced study and recipes. It explains techniques, gives a blurb on every ingredient and advice on food combinations and meal planning, and is neatly divided by food or ingredient type -- bread, meat, fish, vegetables, beans, &c.

    I find a verse here and a verse there and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming tragedies – and my life has been full of external tragedies – and if they have left no visible, no indelible scar on me, I owe it all to the teaching of Joy of Cooking.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Cooking for Dummies/Idiots?

    Find a friend that's willing to teach. Cooking is simple but many people lack confidence. Having someone to guide you through your first efforts will speed up your learning.

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    I know it sounds ridiculous, but if you do have a fire, thanks to adrenaline, taking the two seconds to read three directions is almost impossible. I speak from experience.
    Which is why you want a cover for every pot and pan and keep them handy. Quickly covering the fire when it starts often puts it out.
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    Default Re: Cooking for Dummies/Idiots?

    I think recipes are a little overrated (even though I do own cookbooks and want more). A recipe is a starting off point, but not necessarily supposed to be followed to the letter. Substitutions of what you like in recipes are just fine, and happen often. Personally, for me cooking is all about experimentation, and finding out what works and what doesn't. Just get something and have fun making it, if it fails horribly (as invariably it will, as has happened to me many times), you now know what to do and not to do.
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    Default Re: Cooking for Dummies/Idiots?

    I'd also like to point out that cooking with fresh ingredients will make for a much healthier diet than eating all that prepackaged foodstuff you find in the grocery store now a days. Not to mention it'll taste better.

    It's kinda obvious but it needs to be said; good food tastes good.
    Last edited by TheThan; 2011-09-13 at 06:53 PM.

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    Default Re: Cooking for Dummies/Idiots?

    Found out today that gnocchi is actually pretty simple to make. Just take mashed potatoes (which you get by boiling potatoes, then mashing with a fork or other masher) with flour till you get a dough that feels like play doh. Let it sit for like 15 minutes, the roll it out into a snake the size of your middle finger to thumb. Cut diagonally into 1 in strips, and if you want, there are various ways to add texture. the easiest is putting the impression of a fork in them (mash a fork into them). toss them into boiling water till they float, put them in a bowl, cover with the sauce of your choice, usually a bolognese or other red sauce (aka, spaghetti sauce, if your in the US). it's also really filling, meaning you don't have to make much at a time.
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    Default Re: Cooking for Dummies/Idiots?

    Quote Originally Posted by ForzaFiori View Post
    Found out today that gnocchi is actually pretty simple to make. Just take mashed potatoes (which you get by boiling potatoes, then mashing with a fork or other masher) with flour till you get a dough that feels like play doh. Let it sit for like 15 minutes, the roll it out into a snake the size of your middle finger to thumb. Cut diagonally into 1 in strips, and if you want, there are various ways to add texture. the easiest is putting the impression of a fork in them (mash a fork into them). toss them into boiling water till they float, put them in a bowl, cover with the sauce of your choice, usually a bolognese or other red sauce (aka, spaghetti sauce, if your in the US). it's also really filling, meaning you don't have to make much at a time.
    Huh. And here I'd always thought it was mashed potatoes in some kind of dough. Cool!
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    Default Re: Cooking for Dummies/Idiots?

    Quote Originally Posted by purple gelatinous cube o' Doom View Post
    I think recipes are a little overrated (even though I do own cookbooks and want more). A recipe is a starting off point, but not necessarily supposed to be followed to the letter. Substitutions of what you like in recipes are just fine, and happen often. Personally, for me cooking is all about experimentation, and finding out what works and what doesn't. Just get something and have fun making it, if it fails horribly (as invariably it will, as has happened to me many times), you now know what to do and not to do.
    Yeah, but its often nice to have them for the stuff you can't do easily. I simply can't make good pie crust without a recipe for instance, so one of them always gets involved somewhere. The rest of the quiche will probably never see so much as a measuring cup.
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    Default Re: Cooking for Dummies/Idiots?

    It's also really helpful to have one on hand even just so you know what you're going to deviate from. Also handy for working out relative quantities of things.

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    Default Re: Cooking for Dummies/Idiots?

    You can always try to make a schnitzel yknow.

    What you need to have:

    Chicken breast meat. some shops also sell schnizel pre-cutted pieces.
    Eggs from whatever that has eggs and is legal.
    Breadcrumbs of the highest quality. maybe even panko crumbs. but thats your choice.
    a pan of usual or unusual size.
    Oil of any kind. Sunflower oil is said to be the perfect choice, but canola is the healthiest.

    Breack and scramble the eggs,add milk if neccesery, and put in shallow bowl.
    put the bread in anouter shallow bowl. add diced green veggies if you want.
    Dip the chicken in the bread, then the eggs and bread again, then put it in the pan, with the oil about 1 inch high or less.

    use a fork to flip it when the lower parts are bronze of color, or gold but thats personal perference.
    when bothe side are gold/bronze,put the cooked schnizel on a plate with paper on it and fold the paper to cover the schnizel. if you make a meal for many, put the folden schnizels in an iron container that all the schnizels fit into.
    bring the container to the table, and anyone who wants one can take.
    sauces of any kind are good with the schnizel.

    this meal is a casual one, and the chicken can be replaced with basicly anything, from mushrooms to calamary.
    can also be eaten inside a bugget or bun with anything that you like in it.
    master the schnizel frying and dipping technique to gain praises and possibly even worships from the diners.

    May your fork dip and flip true!

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    Default Re: Cooking for Dummies/Idiots?

    Note that classically, the breaded Viennese Schnitzel is supposed to be veal, which is of course quite expensive. Pork is used more often, but is seen as a bit cheap. Chicken is the third alternative. I've seen turkey, too, but that's a bit weird. (And in common parlance around here, a "Schnitzel" is really just any thin piece of meat).
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    Default Re: Cooking for Dummies/Idiots?

    Anyone have easy 'step-by-step' cookie recipes?
    Last edited by Twin Dragons; 2011-09-14 at 08:09 AM.
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