I don’t tell people this, but I’m the laziest chef, ever.
Really. I don’t like to take extra steps in the kitchen. I want dinner ready in less than 30 minutes. I want that dinner to be homemade, delicious, and healthy. I don’t like to skimp on flavor or use pre-made things. But I don’t want to spend all night cooking, either.
I accomplish this by the use of a few tricks I learned in cooking school. For example, last night’s dinner was seared tilapia with sauteed cabbage and roasted cauliflower. I used butter, olive oil, salt, and a pinch of chili flakes. So, my grocery list for 4 was extra simple:
- 4 filets of tilapia
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 head cabbage
Crazy simple, but super delicious. That’s because I know what to do to extract the most flavor out of ingredients.
That process is called caramelization. All protein and vegetables contain natural sugars. The key is to extract those sugars by applying heat to coax the best darned flavor out of these ingredients.
If you’re trying to learn how to cook, the best thing you can do is to start by learning techniques.
I know that sounds fancy, but it’s not.
The whole foundation of simple cooking lies in knowing how to cook things using a few simple techniques.
With salt, pepper, oil, and water, some pots and pans, and a stove, you can make food taste marvelous. Understanding this is literally the key to feeding yourself well.
Before you go try making complicated recipes that have a million steps, ingredients and sauces that complicate your life and make cooking a chore, learn to sear, roast, blanch, simmer, and poach. When you begin to deepen your understanding of these techniques, you’ll immediately become a better cook.
You’ll be able to take a chicken breast, and make it taste amazing with nothing else but a little salt, pepper and olive oil.
You’ll be able to take a piece of broccoli, and make it taste the way nature intended with just a little butter and salt.
You’ll be able to spend less time planning dinner, and have more time doing other things.
I see people struggle to figure out what to eat for dinner all the time, and make their lives extra complicated by thinking they have to prepare ‘recipes’ to make a good meal. That’s fine if you LOVE to cook, and you have lots of time to spend doing it. But it’s not great if you need to put together a quick healthy meal. In any case, I will explain each technique in detail in future blog posts. Stay tuned!!
If you think this was helpful, unhelpful, or have any questions, I’d LOVE to hear your comments in the comment box below.