Let’s talk about the concept of the Minimal Viable Cook (MVC). You might be familiar with the concept of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP from business circles) and the concept makes a lot of sense when applied to any number of topics. In this context, minimum viable cook refers to what you need to create something delicious. That includes the minimum skills you’ll need, the minimum ingredients you’ll need, and the minimum tools you’ll need to find success in the kitchen. This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot, as I teach more and more people to cook. My students …
There are a million different ways to make salad dressing. You’ve seen row after row of dressings at the grocery store: Ranch, Italian, Russian, caesar, bleu cheese, thousand island… there are literally thousands to choose from. (And FYI, the term “French dressing” is just a fancy name for vinaigrette.) I’ll eventually show you how to make all of these crazy salad dressings, but first we’re going to start with the easiest: How to make a vinaigrette.
Vinaigrette is literally 4 or 5 ingredients, added to a jar and shaken. That’s it. Now do you see why I’m starting here? 😇Also, vinaigrettes have a disproportionately high flavor to effort ratio, meaning they add a whole lot of awesome and require almost no work. In my book that gets an A+++++ WOUDL BUY AGAIN.
Molasses butter is a super simple, but CRAZY delicious addition to your flavor library. You can whip it up in literally 3 minutes and slather it on anything that you want to give a hint of gingersnap flavor. Goes great with scones, buttermilk biscuits, or even just spread onto toast. LOVE IT. I’ve also included directions on how to make gingersnap butter, which tastes just like gingersnaps without all of the sugar. Seriously, my entire biscuit life changed once I developed this recipe. If you want to knock your biscuits out of the park, spend the $2 and 3 minutes necessary to create this awesome addition to your cooking repertoire.
Just a few weeks ago we talked about how to get more whole grains into your diet without taking up a ton of time. This week we’re going to talk about everyone’s favorite musical fruit: BEANS! Beans are not only a great source of fiber, they’re are a healthy way to add more protein to your diet without adding a ton of fat or carbs. When it comes to beans, you have two options: canned or dried. While there’s nothing wrong with canned beans – they are certainly healthier than a lot of the things you get out of a can – there are few things tastier than fresh beans made over a few hours on the stove.
Last week I gushed about the magic of your local restaurant supply store and how it’s Mecca for bulletproof cookware at cheap prices. I got a lot of emails in response, asking me for more details, so I thought I’d share a little more about all the goodness you can find at your local restaurant supply store. I even went down to my local restaurant supplier and took a ton of photos, so you can see exactly why I’m so excited about shopping there. Here is a handy list of some of the common things you need for your kitchen that you’ll find for cheaper at your local restaurant supply store. If you need help finding one near you, click here for a Google search that will show any in your area.
There’s a pro secret to shopping for cookware that both awesome AND cheap. Stuff that’s built to last, without costing a fortune. It’s shockingly simple! I’ve gotten some incredible deals by shopping around at my local restaurant supply stores, such as my favorite spatula, which has lasted me five years and cost me $4. There’s also my awesome mixing bowls, which literally cost $12 for three. A few weeks ago I found a nice marble slab for ruling out pastry ($30) and a clearance sale on chef-quality Mercer knives. ($40 for a $80 knife!)
Despite how easy they are to use, herbs are something I get a ton of questions about. Like, A LOT. When I polled my readers last year about what they want help with in the kitchen, 15% said learning how to use fresh herbs was at the top of their list. Since this is such a hot topic, I decided to put together a guide to the basics of using fresh herbs. Now, this isn’t a list of flavor pairings — though I am working on that. The below guide is my top 10 cardinal rules when it comes to using fresh herbs.
Cooking oil smoke points are more important to how your food turns out than a lot of people realize. Question: What’s the fastest way to ruin your dinner and even contribute to cancer? Answer: Burning your oil when you cook. True story. When you overheat cooking oil, it tastes awful and makes everything it touches taste like burning oil, too. And burnt oil causes free radical damage, which has been linked to organ breakdown, premature aging, and even cancer. Not to mention the fact that burning cooking oil can stink up your house and ruin your cookware. No bueno! Thankfully it’s easy …
Why write a whole post on how to make pasta? Isn’t this a simple thing to do? Not necessarily. I get at lets one email a week from people asking my why their dry, boxed pasta is either crunchy or gummy. It appears that this simple food is not so simple for some folks. Since I wrote a whole damn book on cooking with pasta (and cheese) I thought it might be useful to spell out how to make pasta so that it’s perfect every time, so even if you’re cooking with the cheap stuff you’ll have the best possible eating experience. I still argue that the best pasta is that which you make yourself, and I’ve covered that in another post. For now, here are a few tips to get the most out of dried pasta.
Pronounced KAE-zeh-SHPET-zleh, this dish is a great example of simple German comfort food at its finest. While American renditions of this German dish may add any number of odd spices, such as nutmeg or mustard powder, a basic Kasespatzle consists only of soft, dumpling-like noodles mixed with melty, stretchy cheese and topped with a touch of caramelized onion. When made from scratch, Kasespatzle beckons to a simpler time when food didn’t have to be complicated to be delicious. It just had to be fresh.