Anonymous asked: I am amazed at all the awesome meals you make. I don't have any natural talent for cooking. Can you recommend some meals that even a terrible cook could make?
Well, first of all, let me assure you that I mess food up on occasion and that I used to make terrible things much more often. You have to experiment to learn. It also helped me tremendously to read certain cookbooks as though they were literature - Moosewood New Classics in particular has pages and pages just about what makes different kinds of oatmeal distinct from each other, pros and cons of all of them - mashed potato techniques and typical mistakes and just all that kind of thing. Tons of my early go-to recipes came out of that cookbook (oatmeal banana pancakes and moosewood muffins are two we still sometimes do).
I don’t really believe in terrible cooks, it’s just whether or not a person is willing to get down in the kitchen. If you’re way too intimidated by multiple steps or of making a huge mess or what have you, you’re going to be at a disadvantage.
Anyway. I don’t know what you like! I don’t know if you’re scared of spicy or a vegetarian or allergic to something or on a diet. How many people are you cooking for?
I’m gonna assume you’re referencing my huge picture dump full of food, that I just made - let me tell you, none of that was hard. Red beans and rice? You cut up a bunch of kielbasa sausage, put it in a pan, brown it, dump in cans of kidney beans and water, cook it for a long time, and serve it with bags of 10 minute brown rice. Optional chopped onion garnish and/or cornbread. Roast chicken? Get the bag of stuff out of the middle of the chicken, stick it in a baking dish legs-up, put some butter up under the skin and inside the cavity, rub seasoned salt all over it, and bake it at 425 til it’s browning and then 375 til the meat’s pulling away from the legs. The sweet potatoes were just baked (Which takes forever), peeled, and then mashed up in a baking dish with honey, butter, and brown sugar, and topped with a bunch of chopped pecans - put it back in the oven til it looks done (there is no science here I assure you). Yum!
Stuff like the shrimp and veggies - I’m not using a recipe. I just have come to know what (we think) tastes good and I throw in what I have. The list of ingredients in the entry was the recipe. It takes under 30 minutes from start to finish even in that quantity. The only thing to really “know” is the order to put things in the wok, i.e. from slowest to fastest cooking time, which for that I think would have went broccoli, squash, mushrooms, tomatoes and greens, shrimp. Cheese at the very end.
I would recommend watching some cooking shows to get some ideas, and browsing things like the “food” and “recipe” tags here on tumblr! Most likely you are not doing food for 7 plus guests, so if you do screw something up at least you won’t be out as much money as I typically am :p