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Holy smokes! Cooking for idiots?

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  • Holy smokes! Cooking for idiots?

    I was wondering if you guys have any resources for the complete novice cook. I'm coming across great recipes here and elsewhere, but they usually don't break it down into as much detail as I need. Until now, the most cooking I've really done is maybe... grilled cheese, or pressing start on the microwave.

    I tried to make something simple tonight... I took some coconut oil, put my stove on medium heat (it's a gas stove), and used an aluminum pan I have. I put in the boneless/skinless chicken breasts I bought, and my entire apartment was filled with smoke in seconds, and I got some oil spit burns to boot! Is this something unique to coconut oil?

    ...I'm supposed to be making some scrambled eggs tomorrow morning... better start reading up!
    5'1"
    Started Primal: 246.0 lbs on 8/8/11
    Current: 225.2 lbs
    (Down: 20.8 lbs!)

  • #2
    Hi tutti! It sounds like the oil was too hot. I would try it at a lower temperature I really enjoy cooking, but since I had been a vegetarian for so long, I'm a total meat cooking novice!

    Scrambled eggs are much easier Use a low heat, good scrambled eggs take time! This is a great scrambled egg recipe, if you do dairy (I don't add the cheese, but I do add the sour cream): The Lady's Perfect Scrambled Eggs Recipe : Paula Deen : Food Network. It doesn't say how long to cook the eggs, but it normally takes me up to 10 minutes.
    Jennifer, 28 years old
    Vegetarian for 13 years, primal since July 2011
    Weight lost on primal: 34.2 lbs

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    • #3
      One thing that might help is to look up videos on youtube about foods you'd like to create. This way, you can see each step and hear warnings about common mistakes. One video I follow for making the best, creamiest scrambled eggs I've ever had is this one: ‪Perfect Scrambled Eggs Breakfast‬‏ - YouTube

      My husband also recently downloaded Jamie Oliver's app (free) and it has pictures for nearly every step of each recipe, so that might help out. I know Julia Child was known for explaining things well, so perhaps you could buy one of her cookbooks?

      Good luck!

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      • #4
        Cooking is a lot of trial and error....and mostly error. Just stick with it. Find recipes that sound good, and try them. You will learn from experience what works. That's how I did it, and now I am able to do stove top cooking, as well as oven, wok, charcoal grill, and crock pot. Not everything has turned out well, but I've improved a lot. You can too, as long as you realize that it takes some experience to get it right, and that it's ok if something doesn't turn out perfect.
        Live your life and love your life. It's the only one you get.

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        • #5
          This site has nice video explanations of many cooking topics:
          http://rouxbe.com/free-cooking-school-classes
          Last edited by PatrickF; 08-09-2011, 12:06 PM.

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          • #6
            Make sure oil goes into a COLD pan and THEN heat it up. Or it will explode in your face.
            I'm a paleo foodie, come check out my recipes: http://strangekitty.ca/

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            • #7
              And don't put a smoking hot pan of oil under a faucet. Ever! If you have an oil fire, put a big saucepan lid or another fry pan over the top of it, then turn the stove off.
              Newcomers: If you haven't read the book, at least read this thread ... and all the links!
              http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread17722.html

              F/49/5'4"
              Jan. 1, 2011: 186.6 lbs PBSW Mar. 1, 2011: 175.8 lbs
              CW: 146.8 lbs
              GW 140 lbs
              A proud member of PETA: People Eating Tasty Animals

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              • #8
                Thanks for all of the tips and suggestions. I started watching videos on youtube (great idea). So many recipes say "what" to do, but not "how" to do it, probably because these are things normal people just know!

                I thought it would be better to wait until the pan was hot and then add the oil... boy was I wrong!!!
                5'1"
                Started Primal: 246.0 lbs on 8/8/11
                Current: 225.2 lbs
                (Down: 20.8 lbs!)

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                • #9
                  Another idea, tutti: one of my best starting points was a basic cookbook, Betty Crocker's Cooking Basics. It has a lot of how to stuff.

                  Good luck with your cooking endeavors.
                  Live your life and love your life. It's the only one you get.

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                  • #10
                    Another thing, you said "aluminum pan" which brings to mind an extremely cheap, thin frying pan (there's one in particular I remember my parents taking on camping trips when I was a child, it was more like a tin can with a handle than a pan).

                    I have never cooked with gas as it isn't particularly prevalent in western Canada, but I have a hunch that if you do so it is particularly important to use heavy steel or cast iron cookware, otherwise you are going to just incinerate everything you try and cook. Heavy, thick-bottomed cookware is useful because it slows the rate at which the pan (and the food in it) heats.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Mike in Virginia View Post
                      Another idea, tutti: one of my best starting points was a basic cookbook, Betty Crocker's Cooking Basics. It has a lot of how to stuff.

                      Good luck with your cooking endeavors.
                      I second this. When I first went off to college many many moons ago and had to cook for myself for the first time that book as a lifesaver. All the little things that experienced cooks know - roasting times, measurement conversions, simple recipes with pictures etc - were to be found within. I still have my old, beat up copy somewhere. I bought a new copy for my wife, who can't cook but sadly she gets little use out of it since I don't let her in the kitchen

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                      • #12
                        Incidentally, google will do measurement conversions.

                        350g in oz
                        400 furlongs/fortnight in km/(lunar cycle)

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jhc View Post
                          Incidentally, google will do measurement conversions.

                          350g in oz
                          400 furlongs/fortnight in km/(lunar cycle)
                          True, but when I am in the kitchen elbow deep in god knows what I don't tend to run to the computer

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                          • #14
                            Learn some knife skills. I confess, I have a crush on Jamie Oliver, but this video is a good place to start: ‪Jamie on knife skills, 30-Minute Meals‬‏ - YouTube

                            You'll rarely want to cook anything with high heat, stick with medium or low. A cast iron skillet is worth the investment, I almost never put ours away, it's always just on the stove, waiting to be used. You can get a 9-10 inch one for maybe $20. It goes from the stove to the oven, and it heats really evenly. I use mine for everything-eggs, frittatas, steaks, stir-fry. That and a good knife (and sharpening steel) are the two essentials I couldn't live without.

                            Soup is an easy thing to make, and pretty fool-proof:
                            Put some fat in a pot and heat it up (medium heat), add chopped onion and garlic and cook, stirring regularly until the onion starts to get translucent. If you want to add chunks of meat or chicken or crumble up some sausage or ground beef, you can add that next and give it a stir. Add any hard vegetables you like-carrots, turnips, sweet potatoes, that kind of thing. I like to use canned tomatoes in my soup, so I'll use a big can of whole tomatoes, and just rip them up with my fingers and add them to the soup pot, along with all the juice in the can. I also usually have fresh herbs around, so I'll throw in sprigs of rosemary, thyme, oregano. Dried work well too.

                            Once all that is simmering together nicely, pour in a carton or two of broth of your choice. Bring it back to a simmer, and add any softer vegetables you want, such as zucchini. At the end you can toss in some big handfuls of baby spinach and just let it wilt into the soup. Taste it and add salt it needs it. I also sometimes like a little spice so I'll sprinkle in some red pepper flakes.

                            And that's it! A big pot of soup is handy to have around. It usually tastes even better after sitting in the fridge, and it's easy to make a big pot that will last for a few days.

                            What other things would you like to learn to cook? I love cooking and teaching others to cook, so I'd be glad to help!
                            My Primal Journal with lots of food pr0n

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