Friday, October 19, 2012

Scratch cooking

I am reminded that there are some people that have never cooked from scratch. It's not a hard thing to do. Learn a few basics and you have it made. If you watch the cooking shows on TV a little, you can gleam a lot of techniques. There are only a few things to remember.

1) when baking,don't over mix the ingredients. You want them to be homogenous, but you don't want to develop the gluten. This works for biscuits, quick breads, pancakes etc.

2) learn to make a roux. It is the base for a lot of things. Basically you start with a fat, add flour and make a paste, and then gradually add a liquid to make a thickened sauce. This is the basics for gravy, sauces, and Mac and cheese.

3) learn to tell when meat is done. Poultry will have juices that run clear. The leg will pull away from the breast easily. Check the temperature. Invest in a thermometer. They are really cheap at costco business. With beef, take it's temperature. Ground meet should no longer be pink.

4)When you dice or cut something, slice a little off so that you have a flat surface on the cutting board.

I am in no way a gourmet cook. I cook basic foods, usually fast. I just don't have the time. I cook things I can cook fast.

A quick way to cook a pot roast or country- style ribs is to put then in a crockpot, pour a bottle of beer over them, add enough water or broth to almost cover meat.Then add a onion that is peeled and cut in quarters. Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours. I take some juice from the pot after the meat is almost done and cook potatoes and carrots in the microwave with it. The meat is done when it falls apart and is tender.

A quick way to roast a chicken is to wash it with cold water. Clean out the insides, salt the inside cavity and stuff it with anything you have around-- a lemon, apple, onion, orange. Just cut it in half. pour some olive oil over the skin and massage it in- don't forget the back side. You can saltand pepper or use rosemary on the top. Put it on a roasting rack in a roaster . Bake at 375 until it is done, about 15-20 minutes a pound. Don't forget to wash everything thoroughly when you are cooking raw meat. Wash your hands frequently. Don't cross contaminate with raw vegetables. If you don't have a roasting rack, rough cut root vegetables and place chicken on top in a baking pan.

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