There are definitely basics. There are things that you should just KNOW. Usually, these are things you are taught as a child. Some people aren’t. I wasn’t I just kind of learned them on the way. Truthfully, there are things that some people would call basics, that I am still just learning. But, we’ll go over what I feel are things I wish I knew when I was just starting to get into cooking.
The Main Basic skill…
Patience. OK, I know, You’re thinking “that’s not a skill.” Oh! But it is. I say that you have to really learn this and implement it in your life because it is a FACT. You ARE going to mess up. Something is going to come out burnt, overcooked, tasteless, or under cooked. You have to have patience, as your number one basic cooking skill. You cannot give up. Your BEST dishes will come as a result of your worst. Be patient with yourself.
The next most basic skill of cooking
RICE! The funny thing about rice is that it is said to be the easiest, most simple dish to make. Then you realize so many people do it differently. There is a main concept with rice. It will always be one part rice, two parts water. OK! Why does everyone say it like that right. I’ll break it down.
You do one cup of rice in 2 cups of water. Now, when you make the rice here’s what I think is the best way. You should put your 2 cups of water in your pot with salt. Bring this to a boil and stir in your 1 cup of rice. The water will slow down so you will, bring it to a boil again. Once it starts to boil, cover the rice, put your heat to low and let simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Once your rice is done, you will want to fluff it with a fork. Here is where I like to add butter. Now, Me? I love to actually taste butter in my rice so I do add a lot of butter. Sometimes in the beginning and at the end of my rice cooking but definitely at the end. Usually about a 3rd of a stick.
Woo Hoo!, you have now cooked rice. YUM!
Browning ground beef/steak
Ground beef is and should be easy, peasy. Mainly, you want your ground beef to be thawed all the way. My rule of thumb with this is just taking it out the night before. In the morning, before work or school, you can put it in the fridge until you get home. But at least your not scrambling to get your meat thawed out. Or, for that matter, doing what I do and having to purchase more ground beef when I already have some.
While you’re cooking the meat season it while it is cooking. You do not want to wait until the meat is cooked to add your seasoning. Then it will just taste salty. You want to season it while it is cooking because the seasonings will seal into the meat as it cooks. AND it smells so much better in the house.
Now, depending on what you are making like a dip, spaghetti, or tacos, your meat will need to be a little different each time. For a meaty dip, you want your ground beef to be chunky. So, while you are cooking it you don’t have to do a lot of separating. But because of this, you want to cook it a little longer so the heat goes through the chunks.
For tacos and spaghetti, I would separate the meat to be separated more than the dip style. It will make the tacos easier to handle. Your spaghetti meat can be chunkier than the tacos just not as chunky as the dip style meat.
Now here is one I just learned recently. For the longest time I would just season my steak and cook it. Either in a frying pan, the oven, or my Nuwave oven (which I love). But the other day I wanted to try something new. Something I had only seen on T.V. I wanted to cook my steak in the oven using herb butter.
I seared my steak first. And “Oh Mylanta!” it was the best decision I had ever made. So here’s how that works. I still seasoned my steak first. Then, You can get or make your own herb butter. I let it melt in a frying pan, on a pretty high setting. Then fry the steak. Not all the way through, just to brown the outside. When all steaks have been seared, I put them into a baking pan, cover with foil, and put them in the oven at 375 degrees and let it cook for about 30 minutes.
Now, the timing, of course, will be up to you. I am trying to start doing medium well steak but that’s about as rare as I can go. If you like for your steak to be more rare, you can cook it in less time. That part will be totally up to you.
Chopping and cooking that “tear jerking” onion
So, those dreaded onions can be a nightmare. Cutting onions without tears is a task. So tasty, yet so mean to our eyes. The key to onions is, when you are getting ready to chop it, make sure to keep the root on. So I used to cut off the top AND cut off the root. Then, I would be standing there unable to see through my tears to finish the job. You must not do this. Please, trust me! Keep that root on.
You can then cut it in half, and begin to chop it that way. Or not. You can cut the whole onion. You can keep it whole and chop it that way.
Once it is all chopped up the way you want it you can now cook the onion. if the recipe includes onion then what you should be doing is cooking the onion first. You will fry it just to translucency. In case that is not clear. What that means is when you cut the onion it is white, right? When it is translucent, you can kind of see through it. It’s as if it has lightened a bit. That’s what you want. You can then add your meat or whatever your next ingredient is.
You are now at level 2 of cooking
You did it! These are just some basic cook skills yes. But these are basics that no matter what lifestyle you live, you can benefit from something in this. If you are a mother, you will at some point make rice, chop an onion, and surely ground beef. A Bachelor, well you’ll surely at some point chop and onion or cook a steak. College student? hmm. Maybe cooking noodles should be added to this list. I’m kidding. I am sure you will benefit from this list, as well.
People do things differently. So I am sure you will hear about other ways. You will learn what is best for you. That will always be the way to go.
Just do me a favor and remember to be patient with yourself. No matter where you start! It’s a journey, learning to cook. But so wonderful to learn.
Cook with me and learn with me! Until the next meal!!