Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Basic Tips On Basic Food

I was asked for some basic tips on how to cook basic items and tips on how to pick the right produce in the store so I thought I'd share the information on my blog for whatever it's worth.  Just my thoughts.

Corn – boil water then put your corn on the cob that you’ve cleaned (shucked) in the boiling water – turn burner off and cover for 20 mins then they are ready to serve.  If you do sweet corn shuck the corn then cut it off the cob and put it in a wok pan – lets say you have five ears of corn then use 3/4 a cup to a cup of water and 2 tablespoons of butter.  Cook for about 25 mins. Covering and stirring often 5 min intervals – keep an eye on it.  

Green beans – put in a double “steamer” boiler after you cut/snip the ends off and after your water boils – turn burner off and cover will cook in about five minuets.  Add salt and butter or salt and olive oil and serve.  You can roast in the oven or do a coarse grain mustard on the stove top – just did this the other night - or do a seasame sauce - lots of options

Mashed potatoes – Boil water in a large pot with washed potatoes in it cut in quarters or as is if fingerling cook about 20 – 30 mins check them when your fork goes in easy and they look soft they are done – drain and mash or use your hand held mixer.  Put milk (about a 1/4 a cup) in and sour cream and butter to taste a couple big spoonfuls of sour cream and 2 tablespoons to half a stick of butter.  Add salt and pepper to taste and blue cheese/gorgonzola if you want or cheddar and bacon bits and chives – have fun with it – I leave peeling on just make sure to wash really well.

Baked potatoes –  wash, coat with butter or oil, salt if you like, can wrap in foil and cook for an hour 350.

Beans (any) - usually only do green beans.  The internet is a great resource though.

Gravy – haven’t made gravy – lots of sauces and roux variations though (see below) – Sauces book is a great reference

Tricks you know about buying produce - what to look for:

Oranges – I like them to be orange, firm, and heavy which means they are juicy

Apples – I like golden delicious and I like them to be firm and look golden and fresh in color

Avocados – soft to the touch is ripe - where it indents a little but goes back when you push ready to use right away.   You don’t want too soft or they may be brown like the ones on sale usually not so good.

Tomatoes – firm and vibrant color will be good for the week – for use right away get a little soft but too soft/mushy will be mealy

Pecans- my grandmother says look for the lighter colored ones as it's a sign they are fresh

Potatoes – usually these are fine – check the packages though b/c they could have stuff growing on them and be smelly and old.  Yukon gold or fingerling so yum!  My Nonnie says russet best for fries and I say red/new best for rosemary cut up in the oven with olive oil. 

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