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Friday, March 26, 2010

Top 10 Easy Cooking Tips

                               Spring, Awright!              photo wbj
Lately, several people (yo! Gordon, was listening) have told me they would cook more and eat healthier, if they had a guide.  Once you wrap your head around 'no need for a big production' and understand the basics, cooking a good meal is simple.  In New York City, people expect and accept near empty fridges. 

Eating in means calling out.  With subtle lifestyle adjustments, you can chow fresh food and feel full and satisfied.  Plus, you will save a chunk of change.  That's money for drinks later.  Go out; it's Spring.

Here's the Cooking Lounge Top 10 for Easy Cooking.
Top 10 Easy Cooking Tips
  1. Olive Oil
  2. Butter
  3. Sea Salt and Black Peppercorns (buy a grinder)
  4. Brown Rice, whole grains or other good carbohydrates (fiber, fiber, fiber)
  5. Pasta
  6. Garlic
  7. Onions
  8. Quality Herbs and Spices (buy a pre-filled spice rack)
  9. Fresh produce (salad greens, tomato, zucchini, green beans, kale, spinach, whatever you eat or is convenient or is in SEASON).  Seasonal produce tends to be fresher, more local.
  10. Fresh chicken, beef, pork, seafood (or a meat substitute if a vege... protein is the point)
With the above items on hand a 30-minute meal is within reach.  
Let's be real.  This is doable.  You can pick-up a meat or a veg on the way home from work, or stock up on items over the weekend.  Plus, there are companies like Fresh Direct that will deliver in a lot of metropolitan areas.  If you travel a bit or have an unpredictable schedule, buy high quality frozen vegetables and stick the meat or seafood in the freezer (in serving portions - so it's grab, thaw, cook). 

The bottom-line is have it in the house; so, you can cook a quick, easy, healthy, meal.
Suggest you cook a batch of brown rice in advance when you have a little downtime because brown rice can take 45 minutes or so. Or get the quick cook version (not my usual choice).  With the cooked brown rice on hand, all you need to do is microwave or reheat with a little water and a touch of oil or butter in pan.  Quinoa is a great side dish that is making its way onto more US plates.  Pasta is a no brainer and fast.  Add whole-wheat pasta to your choices for a change.  

Now, all you have to do is saute, broil or bake your meat or seafood.  Make a salad.  Wilt some spinach with slivers of garlic and squeeze lemon over it.  Saute green beans and toss with strips of red peppers. Broil some zucchini brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with herbs.  

Snap.  Done.  Minimal mess. Minimal fuss.  Minimal cost.  Give this a try!

Garden of Eden is one of my favorite food places in the New York City area.  They import a wide range of specialty foods; so if you look around, you will find bargains.  Check out the Garden of Eden with shelves and aisles ladened with goodness.  

Oh and as I have noted before, I am not a health or food expert; so, it is best to check with you doctor prior to making significant lifestyle changes.

Spare beauty and a dark resonance haunts The xx's music.  The single "Crystalised" topped the UK charts in 2009.  I listened to several tracks on the debut release "xx" plus some Rough Trade bonus tracks.  "Heart Skipped a Beat" is my favorite at the moment.  Thought of the soulful, engrossing pull of Portishead on "Dummy" while listening to The xx.   "VCR" is the  latest single, released in January 2010.  Here's the video.

Cooking Lounge

1 comment:

abeaumont said... left over for drinks later....that's all anyone ever wants!

It is actually that easy...just a few things in the kitchen and you can sustain yourself with tasty things without much hassle.

My boyfriend and I buy most of our meats at Costco - they have a surprisingly large selection of different cuts of beef, lamb, and pork, as well as all sorts of chicken. We split up large packages of ground beef and stew meat into quart sized zip-locs, and then they're pre-portioned for when I make spagetti sauce or chili, or when Josh makes his delicious stew. And chicken breasts are sold as 8 packages of 2 breasts each. Convenient!
Just pull something out of the freezer before work, and by the time you get home everything is ready to cook.
We get our vegetables at the local bodega. They always have great stuff, cheap.

There are so many recipes on Food Network or Martha that are catered to people with not a lot of time to cook. And besides, if you know a few cooking basics (mostly stovetop stuff) you can cook so many things!
Good luck!