Dear Highlander:Make-Me-Like-Gordon

Dear Highlander,

    I decided to get rid of my meal plan this semester, so I’m really glad that my place has a kitchen. I want to eat healthier, so my plan is to cook more of my own food so that I can control what I eat. Problem is, I really don’t know how to cook at all. Got any tips for a beginner? Just want to try avoiding setting my kitchen on fire.

Sincerely,

Make-Me-Like-Gordon

 

Dear Make-Me-Like-Gordon,

   First of all, I commend your choice of chef to emulate, Gordon Ramsay which is great. If you want to start cooking, you need to get yourself the right tools for the job. Get yourself a chef’s knife (for large items) and a paring knife (for small items). Since you’ll need to cut, you’ll obviously need a cutting board. Make sure to wash this after every use, especially if you are cutting up meat or seafood. A vegetable peeler and tongs will also be helpful. Get yourself a sizable mixing bowl, a measuring cup (for liquid ingredients), a measuring set for dry ingredients, and measuring spoons. A colander will be very useful considering you’ll probably be making lots of pasta as a beginner. Make sure to get a spatula, a saucepan, and a frying pan; ideally the saucepan and frying pan should be non-stick, as this will make clean-up much easier for you. However, just in case, it is probably a good idea to get some non-stick cooking spray anyway. This may sound like a lot for initial purchases, but you’ll get a lot of use out of them.

  I’ll make some suggestions for simple things to cook for you to start out with; if you feel like you need to see demonstrations don’t worry, YouTube tutorials exist for all of these. Scrambled eggs are very simple; you just need to add eggs, butter, and milk to a bowl and beat it (you don’t need a fancy egg beater, whisking it with a fork works just as well). It’s up to you how much salt and pepper you want to add and whether you want to add onions and peppers. Once you put the mixture into your frying pan, cook it on low heat. As you see the egg starting to form curds around the edge of the pan, push these curds towards the center of the pan so the liquid parts can get cooked. Keep doing this and flipping the eggs until there is nothing runny left.

   Chili isn’t too bad to cook either. Add some oil to your saucepan and then some chopped onions and ground beef. Stir the mixture until the ground beef is browned and add canned tomatoes, black beans, a little bit of cumin and cayenne pepper, salt, and chili powder. Mix everything well. Add water to the pot and let it boil while mixing occasionally. You need to let the mixture boil until you can visibly see the chili getting thicker.

   The last recipe I will share with you is a tomato bisque recipe. Add olive oil and onions to your saucepan with some salt and stir for 5-ish minutes. Then add garlic and stir a bit more. Avoid browning the garlic. Add vegetable stock to the sauce and add a can of crushed tomatoes. Bring the pan to a simmer and wait for it to bubble. Add a little bit of cayenne, paprika, and salt. Add in some long-grain rice. Let it simmer for about 30 minutes so that everything becomes nice and soft. Let the mixture cool and then blend it. Once the texture is consistent and smooth, you can add it back to the saucepan and add some cream and mix.

   These are just some recipes to get you started, but honestly you can find easy tutorials for many different recipes on YouTube that will guide you through the cooking process. Don’t be afraid to experiment! Good luck!

                                                                            Sincerely,

                                                                  A Fellow Highlander

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