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These techniques are critical for any cook. Learn all about them here.
Cooking Class: Fundamental Techniques - Recipes
Each week, students in our culinary courses put the basics of cooking into action while preparing delicious recipes. We cover fundamental skills such as kitchen hygiene, knife skills and etiquette. Additionally, we cover the science behind why and how certain ingredients work together. Students learn to measure and weigh ingredients, to use kitchen tools, and to implement kitchen techniques such as sift, blend, cream, whisk, chop and dice. At the beginning of the session, each student is given a cookbook with all the recipes from the upcoming session.
SKILLS (3 HOURS)CURRENTLY NOT AVAILABLE
In our adapted‘skills’ class the dish Chef will focus on one particular fundamental cooking technique or specific cooking method. Our classes will now be run with a maximum capacity of 12 students with a minimum 2 person registration to ensure that social distancing guidelines are followed throughout the class.f
Cooking stations will be assigned to each registered pair for the duration of the class, adhering to social distancing guidelines. Cooking stations will have all of the necessary ingredients and tools required for the class.
We have designed our classes so that all food can be taken home and enjoyed at a later time. Recipes will be provided to help demonstrate the skill and you will have the opportunity to try your hand at the technique with the Chefs’ guidance. Tastings and/or take home prepared food will be provided.
Wine + beer available for purchase
24 Essential Cooking & Baking Skills Your Teen Should Know
Whether a kid’s college bound, planning a gap year or diving straight into the workforce after they graduate, they all have one very important thing in common: Everybody’s gotta eat. Another thing they have in common? They’re not going to spontaneously know how to feed themselves sans Mom and Dad, drive-thru and DoorDash the moment they cross the threshold to their new place. That’s why it’s important to teach them to cook before they leave the nest.
Though I’m quite the cook now, when I went off to college, I could cook exactly one dish “from scratch.” It consisted of canned tuna, cream of mushroom soup, canned peas, milk and onions. Then, I became a vegetarian in the middle of Nowheresville, Texas, where people thought “vegetarian food” was fish, salad and side dishes (never mind that most of our side dishes have bacon). It was then that I had to learn to fend for myself. I quickly learned that not only was cooking a means to a (vegetarian) end, it was a really damn good option to avoid the freshmen 15 and, most important, one a poor college student could actually afford.
Guys, your kids have to learn to cook for themselves. They might complain now, but they’ll thank you later.
Whether you started your kids young or just began teaching your teen to get their gourmand on, make sure your bambino knows these fundamental cooking and baking skills before they graduate.
1. Grocery shopping
Goodness knows teens are more than capable of shopping (and spending), but when it comes to grocery shopping, they need to know how to budget and save, plan a (healthy!) menu and get home without too much (or too little) food.
2. Basic knife skills
It can be scary to let your kids handle knives, even (or maybe especially) if they’re teens, but learning to do so under supervision sure beats learning the hard way when your roomie isn’t home. They should learn basic cutting techniques and what each knife’s purpose is.
3. Safety & first aid
The USDA actually has training materials for all age groups. And don’t forget about knife and general kitchen safety and first aid for cuts and burns.
4. Using kitchen appliances
They don’t need to know how to use all of them, but think about what they will use. Instant Pots and slow cookers are a lifesaver for anyone who’s busy, including college students and kiddos in the workforce. And if your child is dorm-bound, don’t forget to teach them all the things you can cook if all you have is a microwave.
5. Measuring & weighing
Teach them how to properly measure out ingredients &mdash the sprinkle and scrape method for baking, the difference between liquid and dry measuring cups and how to weigh ingredients when it’s called for.
6. Reading & following directions
Your teen’s teachers will thank you for this one. It essentially involves reading the recipe carefully (twice!) and getting any questions you have answered before beginning.
7. Cutting & doubling recipes
Knowing how to cut a recipe when you’re cooking for only one or two is a handy skill to have once they strike out on their own, and doubling recipes will help them make big-batch meals that can be frozen for later.
8. Cooking mise en place
Mise en place is French for “set up.” Cooking mise en place essentially means you have everything set up and prepped before you start cooking. It’s best practice for every cook, but especially for teens who are still learning.
9. Popcorn & healthier snacks
If they know how to pop popcorn that’s not in a bag and season it with healthier flavors, they’ll be able to make healthier choices on that front. But they should also know how to make trail mix, granola &mdash even Chex mix &mdash for healthier-than-chips snacking options.
10. Making a salad
I know salads sound like a no-brainer, but knowing how to make a really great salad means they might actually do it. Some teens might also enjoy making homemade croutons.
11. Making soup
Soups are generally pretty simple and can make a healthy and filling meal. Try starting with a broth-based soup, a cream-based soup and a cheesy soup. If they can’t get enough ramen or pho, they can even learn this healthy hybrid.
12. Cooking casseroles & one-pot meals
Casseroles and one-pot meals are essentially dump or layer recipes, which couldn’t be easier. They really only need to learn three or four basic recipes to master any other recipe they could find. Try a classic casserole revamped to avoid high-sodium canned soups, a lasagna and a dump casserole or chili.
13. Cooking meats
Unless they’re vegan or vegetarian, they’ll likely want to cook up a carnivorous delight here and there. They should know how to cook up a pound of ground beef and how to make hamburgers, meatloaf and other budget eats. They should also know how to roast, grill (indoor or outdoor), braise and pan-fry so they aren’t limited to ground meat dishes and casseroles. And don’t forget about breakfast meats like sausage and bacon.
14. Cooking vegetables (& fruits!)
All vegetables are pretty much roasted the same basic way, making for a quick, easy and flavorful side with very little labor. But they should also know how to blanch, sauté and boil. They should know the difference between onions being translucent and browned and when a potato or other veggie is “fork tender.”
15. Other sides
They’re not likely to be satisfied with just roasted or steamed veggies every meal. They’ll also want the occasional mac and cheese or mashed potatoes or other home-cooked faves.
16. Cooking eggs
Rubbery, uninspiring eggs aren’t exactly going to motivate anyone to stay out of the McDonald’s drive-thru before class or work. They should know how to boil, poach, fry (sunny-side up, over easy) and scramble &mdash any preparation they’re likely to crave. They should also know how to make an omelet.
17. Cooking pasta & grains
If your teen is interested in making pasta from scratch, go for it! But we mean teaching them how to cook dry pasta, rice and other grains they like, such as quinoa.
18. Dressings & sauces
Dressings and sauces can be purchased, but not only will they be tastier and healthier (less packed with sodium, sugar and preservatives) homemade, they teach fundamental cooking skills like making an emulsion, making a roux and deglazing a pan.
For dressings, they should know how to make a vinaigrette, a creamy dressing and a Caesar dressing.
Sauce-wise, they should know how to make pan gravies for meats (and cream gravies if that’s how your teen rolls, of course) and Hollandaise sauce (to teach double-boiler skills). And don’t forget about pasta sauces. The five best pasta sauces to start with are the classics: a simple tomato sauce, a meat sauce, a pesto sauce, a garlic and olive oil sauce and a cream sauce &mdash with those basics, they can confidently make any other sauce they find a recipe for. For those of us in certain regions, a basic authentic enchilada sauce may also be a must, as it requires different skills than the other sauces (namely, roasting dried chilies).
19. Basic baking
If your teen has a sweet tooth, they should know how to make a handful of simple treats. What specific recipes they learn may be based on their preferences, but good places to start are cookies, brownies and simple frosted cakes. Pies and breads are more advanced, but teens who are likely to crave Mom’s pecan pie or Granny’s famous hot rolls when neither Mom nor Granny is around should learn those skills too.
No, we’re not encouraging you to teach your kids to play bartender at your next party. We mean the basics, like tea, fresh-squeezed juices, coffee and punch.
When cooking a meal, it’s vital that you know when to start various components so they all finish around the same time.
22. Storage & freezing
Proper storage of leftovers and knowing how to freeze large-batch meals like soups, chilies and lasagna is essential for anyone striking out on their own, especially if they don’t have roommates to cook for.
23. How to clean the kitchen
If they don’t learn how to clean, their kitchen will eventually get so gross they’re afraid to cook in it (and you’ll definitely be afraid to come within 100 feet of their apartment without a hazmat suit). Essential cleaning skills include cleaning as you go, disinfecting areas and dishes that came into contact with raw meat, what can and can’t go in the dishwasher and how to clean (without destroying) any appliances they’ll have with them when they move out.
24. Failure is a learning experience
By far the most important thing you can teach your teen &mdash about cooking or life in general, really &mdash is that failure is a learning experience. A lot of people get discouraged about cooking because they fail once and think they suck at it. And that’s because they probably do&hellip for now. And that’s OK. They should know that instead of fearing failure to the point of letting it stop them, they should research what they did wrong and try again. It’s all part of the learning process, and in the case of cooking, the fun part is that even your failures are (usually) pretty darn tasty.
by The French Culinary Institute
Here is The French Culinary Institute's famous "Total Immersion" program, gloriously produced as a single volume on classic cooking techniques. This book includes all the essential information, methods, and recipes for becoming an expert home cook&mdashor a beginning professional chef. Based on the successful curriculum created by Jacques Pépin, Alain Sailhac, André Soltner, Jacques Torres, and Andrea Immer Robinson, The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Cuisine teaches the 250 basic building blocks of Western cooking, plus 200 classic recipes
In 1984, Dorothy Cann Hamilton founded The French Culinary Institute with a singular vision: She wanted to create a culinary school that combined classic French techniques with American inventiveness in a fast-paced curriculum. Since then, the FCI has gone on to become one of the most prestigious culinary schools in the world, boasting a list of alumni that includes the likes of Matthew Kenney and Bobby Flay and a faculty of such luminaries as Jacques Pépin, Andrea Immer Robinson, and Jacques Torres. But perhaps the greatest achievement of the FCI is its "Total Immersion" curriculum, in which the classes prepare a student to cook in any type of kitchen for any kind of cuisine.
Now, for the first time ever, all the best that the FCI has to offer can be found in a single sumptuous volume. The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Cuisine presents the six- and nine-month courses taught at the FCI that cover all 250 basic techniques of French cooking. Along with more than 650 full-color photographs, the book features more than 200 classic recipes as well as new recipes developed by some of the school's most famous graduates. Complete with insider tips and invaluable advice from the FCI, this will be an indispensable addition to the library of serious home cooks everywhere.
About the Author
For more than 20 years, The French Culinary Institute in Manhattan has been teaching the fundamentals of Western cuisine through its "Total Immersion" curriculum. With a world-class faculty, a celebrated student-run restaurant, and business as well as cooking and wine courses, the FCI is among the leading schools of its kind anywhere. The school is under the direction of deans Jacques Pépin, Alain Sailhac, André Soltner, Jacques Torres, and Andrea Immer Robinson
- Classes offering in-depth learning on a topic, ingredient or technique.
- 25-student attendee cap.
- 90 to 120 minutes long.
- Ask instructors your questions directly and get personalized real-time feedback.
- Hone your skills with in-class experiments, cooking challenges and practice time.
- Livestream workshops are not included in Insider membership all tickets are purchased per class.
All classes are hosted on the Zoom platform. Keep learning afterwards by watching a recording of class that we send you, along with a packet of class recipes, equipment recommendations and bonus content. Plus, all attendees of our livestream classes receive a 15% off coupon to the Milk Street Store after class.
Sign up for classes individually through our calendar links below, or join milk street insider for your first 12 weeks for $1 and gain access to every live stream class (excluding workshops), plus much more.
- Perfect fundamental Milk Street cooking techniques in our pre-recorded online cooking courses.
- These deep-dives into cooking theory, ingredients, and dishes will change the way you cook.
- Start, progress through, and finish classes on your own schedule.
- Ask questions real Milk Street teachers will answer.
- Enjoy life-time access once you enroll.
Learn the skills you need to cook quickly, confidently and easily without a recipe. Part 2.
Learn the skills you need to cook quickly, confidently and easily without a recipe.
From quick cooking weeknight suppers to celebratory steak dinners, all you need to know to make steak just the way you want it.
Vegetables: Recipes and Techniques from the Ferrandi School of Culinary Arts
Infusing mealtimes with delicious vegetarian and flexitarian options has never been more important. Drawing on the expertise of the world-renowned professional culinary school FERRANDI Paris, this book offers a complete course on vegetables, with fifty step-by-step techniques for preparing, chopping, and cooking vegetables for optimal flavor, and more than seventy recipes.
Following advice on how to equip your kitchen, the essential techniques cover everything from grating, seeding, and pureeing to poaching, blanching, and roasting more than eighty different vegetables varieties. The recipes--from smoothies, soups, and soufflés to curries, risottos, and tarts--lead aspiring chefs through every step, from basic tips to Michelin-level creations.
Written by the school's experienced teaching team of master chefs and adapted for the home cook, this fully illustrated book explains, step by step in text and images, the fundamental techniques and recipes that form the building blocks of the illustrious French cooking tradition. Easy-to-follow recipes are graded for level of difficulty, allowing readers to develop their skills over time.
Whether you are an amateur home chef or an experienced professional, this extensive reference provides everything you need to master the world-class culinary school's recipes that bring plant-based abundance to your table.
About The Author
FERRANDI Paris opened in 1920 to train culinary professionals. Internationally renowned for excellence, the school offers courses of all levels to students from France and abroad, including masterclasses taught by celebrated Michelin-starred chefs. Their popular books include Fre nch Pâtisserie (2017) and Chocolate (2019).
Cooking Tips From Bobby Flay
At a recent cooking demonstration at Bobby Flay's namesake steakhouse , located at The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, N.J., Chef Flay not only cooked up delicious shrimp and grits, he also shared some great cooking tips that you'll want to keep handy this holiday season.
Grits are basically the American version of polenta, but instead of costing a few bucks, Italian restaurants can charge $32 a plate. Make grits or polenta for the holidays: Take ¼ of the polenta you are going to make and toast it dry in a pan. This will give your polenta a nice nutty flavor and it will separate your polenta from everyone else's. Try this trick with Bobby's Shrimp and Grits from Bar Americain, for polenta are sure to impress.
You should always have two oils on hand in your house: a light oil to cook with and then a really good extra-virgin olive oil to drizzle, but not to cook with. Olive oil is too thick for cooking so serve it at the end of your dish. Extra-virgin olive oil works great in Bobby's Feta Cheese and Green Onion Dip.
Be sure to check your oils. Taste or smell them to see if they have gone bad — you’ll be able to tell. This is especially true of nut oils.
If you're looking for a way to brighten up your meals, make a vinaigrette with oil and vinegar instead of a sauce for your food. It takes a lot less time and is a lot easier to make.
Salt and pepper are the basis of good flavors in cooking — they are the fundamental ingredients that make food taste good. You must season your food with salt and pepper on both sides. The thing Bobby asks the most in his kitchens is, “Did you season that with salt and pepper on both sides?” If you're making Bobby's Standing Rib Roast for the holidays, be sure to use plenty of salt and pepper.
Once you grind a fresh spice it starts to loose flavor at that moment. Get rid of your spices when you change the battery in your smoke detector. Be sure to check them before you make Roasted Pork Tenderloin Filled With Stuffing.
Don’t pound your chicken breast into submission. You’re pounding it to make it even so it cooks equally. Keep your pounding in check when you make Bobby's Chicken Parmigiana.
17 Basic Cooking Skills Everyone Should Know
As I added more and more things to my repertoire than just basic cooking skills, I began to evolve from a crappy cook to an okay one. Then I honed my skills some more and learned a whole lot more about healthy food, and I really became a decent cook.
I always loved to bake, but cooking was not my thing until a few years ago when I started using the food network as background noise for the kid’s nap. There’s not a lot of swearing, and the volume is pretty consistent, so it’s a way to keep them from waking if the phone rings or someone beats on the door.
(Bless their hearts if they ring the doorbell or knock loudly during nap here, there’s even a sign, they’ve been warned!)
Anyhoo, back to the basic cooking skills. Sometimes I listen to what they are doing on the shows and every once in a while, I have time to sit down for a few minutes of a show during nap to relax.
I learned a ton about the nuances of cooking and I’m really a pretty good cook now. I love serving my kids healthy, homemade food. Creating new flavors makes cooking fun and I enjoy cooking now. Click here to see why healthy food is so important.
Here are a few basic cooking skills to get you started on your cooking journey. If you want tips on how to get your kids to eat healthy food, click here to check this out.
Cooking skills for beginners-How to cut without cutting yourself
Knife skills are one of the basic cooking skills for beginners. If you don’t have basic knife safety, your cooking journey will be more difficult. Don’t give up. You can learn to cut safely on your own.
- Always protect your food holding hand. It’s fairly unlikely that you will cut the hand you hold the knife with, but something has to support the food as you cut it. Make sure to fold your fingertips in so if your knife slips, you don’t cut the end of your fingers, you cut your knuckle instead. It’s a lot harder to cook with a cut fingertip than if you cut the back side of your hand. As you are holding your onion, carrot or whatever, roll your fingertips under your knuckles just a bit so you protect your fingertips.
- Never cut toward your hand. Think about holding a bagel and slicing it in half. One of the most common emergency room visits is for bagel cutting accidents. It’s difficult to slice a bagel without holding it in your hand, but always, always, place it on the cutting board to slice it. Never in your hand. The same goes for other things. Don’t cut toward your hand, cut away from it.
- Don’t rush when cutting. Take your time and avoid costly mistakes.
Learn basic cooking skills-How to chop an onion
Cutting up an onion can be time-consuming and is one of the most important basics of cooking for beginners because most savory recipes start with chopped onion. It takes some time to learn how to chop an onion evenly so it cooks consistently. It also takes practice, but it’s one of the first things to learn basic cooking skills that everyone should know.
- Place your onion on the cutting board on its side and slice off the root end where the little fuzzies come out.
- Turn the onion around and slice off the top end.
- Place the onion firmly on one of the now flat ends and cut it in half.
- Now the peel is easily accessible. Peel it off of both halves.
- Next, put the cut edge that was the center of the onion flat on the cutting board and slice the onion into thin slices. You may have to hold the slices in place while you pull the knife out so they will stay together.
- Now take your sliced half and turn it half a turn and slice the other way. The layers of the onion are already separate the other way, so your onion slices will now give you a nice chopped onion.
- Repeat with the second half.
After some practice, you will have this technique mastered and you’ll be able to do it in no time. Don’t give up if it’s hard at first. It was for me too.
What is basic cooking-sweating an onion
A great basic cooking skill for beginners is to know how to sweat an onion or cook it until it’s translucent. Once you have chopped your onion, as shown above, heat your pan to medium heat and add some fat.
You can use butter, coconut oil, olive oil or whatever you like. Add your onion and stir and cook the onion. If you don’t stir it, it will brown. Brown onions can taste bitter and they don’t soften.
If you have the heat too high, you will see it starting to brown. I add a tablespoon or two of water to help it cook slower and let that cook out. You can also add salt and that will help it break down in the pan faster. It will look translucent or kind of clear.
You can taste a piece of the onion and there shouldn’t be any crunch left. Onions that have been sweated will kind of melt into your recipe so you won’t get that crunch that puts a lot of people off.
How to learn basic cooking skills-slicing a tomato
Slicing a tomato can be a daunting task for a beginner cook. It seems like they just smash into a pile of mush. The secret to slicing it perfectly and not losing the shape is to use a serrated knife.
The skins on tomatoes can be tough and you have to slice through them without putting too much pressure on the flesh inside. A serrated knife can do just that for you. Use a sawing motion, not just pressure. The serrations will cut right through that skin.
Cooking skills-browning ground beef
Browning ground beef is one of the basic cooking skills everyone should know. Ground beef is inexpensive and very versatile. You can even brown 10 pounds of it at a time, making the same mess as browning 1 pound and only taking a little bit more time, and then freeze it in 10 portions for later use. This tip will save you tons of time.
Heat your skillet or pan to medium heat and toss your meat into the pan. Cook and stir so the meat won’t clump up until there is no pink remaining.
Basic cooking skills-cooking pasta
The number one rule to cooking great pasta is to heat the water to boiling before adding the noodles. Add a generous amount of salt to the water. The water should taste like the ocean. If you skip this step, your pasta will not have as good of flavor.
Once your salted water is to a rolling boil, add your pasta and set the timer for the amount of time indicated on the package. When the timer goes off, take out a noodle or two and taste them. Pasta should still be firm, not soggy, but should not be crunchy or stick in your teeth.
Basic cooking skills-making stock
Cooking stock is a basic cooking skill that can give you healthy broth for hardly any money. Cooking stock also helps you save waste on the food you buy. Click here to see more ways to cut down on food waste.
You can use your vegetable scraps, and meat bones after you’ve removed the meat to make delicious, healthful stock. Stock can then be used in soups, stews, casseroles, sauces, and other dishes to enhance flavor and add valuable nutrients.
All you have to do is dump your veggies and/or bones into a crockpot, stock pan or instant pot and you’ll have delicious stock in no time. Click here to see more about how to make it.
Basic cooking skills-making a roux
A roux is a basic cooking skill that is the base for gravies, sauces and some soups. You just need a bit of fat, such as the oil left from browning meat or some butter or olive oil. You add the same amount of flour as you have fat. Cook and stir until the flour is cooked down and slightly starts to brown. This will give your roux the best flavor.
Once your roux flour is browned, add liquid to make your gravy or sauce.
For gravy, you need 1 cup of liquid for every 2 T. of flour or fat. If you started out with 4 T. of fat and added 4 T. flour, then add 2 cups of liquid. White gravy is made with milk, brown gravy is made from stock or the juice left from cooking meat. (not the fat, just the meat drippings with the fat skimmed off). Cook your sauce until it thickens up and is bubbly.
The longer you cook a roux or gravy, the better it will taste. Just remember to stir constantly so you won’t get lumps. If you want to see how to make homemade brown turkey gravy like grandma’s, click the highlighted text.
For béchamel sauce, such as you would use for a casserole or mac and cheese, you just make your roux, add milk and cheese if desired, then add it to your recipe. You can make mac and cheese by adding cheese and mixing the sauce with pasta.
It’s also the base for alfredo sauce by mixing the roux mixture with parmesan cheese. You can make pot pies, by mixing the roux with stock and adding cooked chicken and veggies. Then top with crust or biscuits. Béchamel sauce is super versatile.
You can use a roux to thicken soups or stews. You just begin your roux and when it’s browned, add more liquid than the 2 T. to 1 cup ratio and you will have a soup but with a thicker consistency. Boil and stir for a while to incorporate it. You can use this method for chowders, cream soups (using milk or cream for your liquid), gumbos and whatever else you like.
The secret to gravies and sauces is to mix the flour with the hot fat. That’s what keeps it from clumping. Roux is so versatile. It’s a great beginning cooking technique to learn.
Basics of cooking-how to make perfect hard-boiled eggs
Making the perfect hard-boiled egg is simple but so easy to miss the mark. Overcooked eggs have green and chalky yolks. Undercooked eggs are runny and slimy.
For perfect boiled eggs, every time (even with farm fresh eggs), place eggs in a large pan in enough water to cover them. Add a few tablespoons of salt for easy peeling. Set the stove burner on high and set your timer for 25 minutes. By the time the eggs come to a boil, they will boil for the perfect amount of time to turn out perfect every time.
Immediately dump out the hot water when your timer goes off. Pour cold water over the eggs. Dump several cups of ice over the eggs and leave until cooled completely. They will be perfectly hard-boiled and easy to peel.
Basic cooking skills-how to make scrambled eggs
Making perfect scrambled eggs is super simple. It’s a great cooking skill to have. It’s inexpensive and fast when you need a meal in a pinch. Scrambled eggs make great breakfast, lunches or dinners.
First, crack two eggs per person you are serving. For my kids, I usually make a dozen. There are 8 of us and they are always totally gone. I can make 16 eggs and the same thing happens. Two dozen, still gone. My kids eat like lumberjacks.
Back to making scrambled eggs. Pour about a tablespoon of milk per two eggs into your bowl. You can use cream instead for richer eggs. Add as much salt and pepper as you like and some dried herbs.
I love to add dill to my eggs. Herbs are nutritious and tasty. Thyme is good in eggs as well as fennel. Now grab a fork or a whisk and beat your eggs like mad until they are well incorporated. You don’t want to see yellow and clear parts, it should all be a consistent color and texture.
Once your eggs are beaten well, you can add other things such as cooked bacon, sausage or ham, or you can add diced up greens or broccoli. Everything tastes good in eggs. Plain eggs are just fine too. If you want to add onions or peppers, sweat them in the pan before you add the eggs, they take a little longer to get soft.
Cook your eggs on medium-low, stirring occasionally. If you keep stirring the eggs constantly, they will be rubbery and dry. Just scrape the bottom of the pan occasionally so the eggs on the bottom don’t brown. Browned eggs don’t taste good.
Once you see the eggs are almost dry, turn the heat off and let them finish cooking off the heat. If you overcook them, again, they will be dry and rubbery. Once the eggs are cooked, you can add a sprinkle of cheese if you like for even more yumminess.
Basics of cooking-cooking a fried egg
The secret to cooking a really good fried egg is to cook them slowly. Fried eggs run into trouble when they are rushed. My grandma always made what we call “lacey” eggs. They were her eggs, and I loved them, but a well-cooked fried egg is a piece of art.
Warm your pan on medium heat. Once the pan is hot to the touch, add a tablespoon of butter, oil or even better, bacon grease. Whatever fat you have is just fine. Let it melt for a second or two and then crack your egg into it.
Salt and pepper the egg and add herbs if you like. When you see the white part turn opaque on the bottom. Slide a spatula under it and flip it over. Cook for a few seconds more and take it out. This is an over-easy egg.
If you want your eggs sunny side up, just leave them on the first side and baste them with a bit of the fat from the pan while they are cooking. You can do this by scooping it over the egg with your spatula taking special care not to hit the egg with your spatula. Make sure the whites are opaque and not clear. If the whites are clear at all, the egg is not cooked.
If you want your eggs to have a solid yolk, once you turn the egg, cook it on the second side for a couple of minutes and it will set the yolk.
Basic cooking skills-making a grilled cheese sandwich
Grilled cheese is a super easy sandwich to make well. Slice up some cheese. I don’t use American cheese because it’s processed. We use mild cheddar for our grilled cheese sandwiches. Grab two slices of bread and place a generous amount of cheddar inside. Heat a skillet on medium heat until it’s hot. Add a pat of butter and let it melt in the pan. Add your sandwich and let it cook until the bread is brown.
Once the bread has browned on the first side, give it a little smoosh with your spatula and then turn it over and brown it on the second side. Take it out of the skillet and enjoy. There is not much better than a well-cooked grilled cheese.
Basic cooking skills-making a flavorful quesadilla
A cheese quesadilla is a super basic dish and is made similarly to grilled cheese. Heat your pan, add butter, add a tortilla with slices of cheddar topped with another tortilla. Brown on both sides. You can add slices of ham, cooked chicken, or whatever else you’d like to make it special.
Basic cooking skills-roasting a chicken
Cooking up a whole chicken is a super great cooking skill to have. The most important thing is to make sure it’s done but not overdone. To prepare the chicken for roasting, rinse it and pat it dry.
Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. That’s all it needs. If you’d like to sprinkle herbs on it, that would be great too. You can also put an onion or a lemon in the cavity, or some garlic cloves. Or you can mince garlic and rub on the skin. You can use other spices on the skin. Whatever you like on your chicken will be fine. Click here to see a great bbq rub that would work well.
Once your chicken is well seasoned, you can choose if you’d like to roast it in the crockpot, instant pot, or oven. For oven roasting, place your chicken in a pan. Preheat your oven to 350. Cover the chicken with the lid to the pan or with foil or parchment paper. Roast until the temperature in the center of the thigh is 165.
It takes about an hour, but times will differ depending on the size of your chicken. A meat thermometer is a must for cooking pork or poultry. I would suggest investing in one if you don’t have one. Click here to see how to roast your chicken in the crockpot and how to roast it in the instant pot.
There are a ton of recipes you can make with a whole chicken!
Any post on this blog may contain affiliate links that pay me a very small commission for items you purchase using the links but costs you nothing extra.
Cutting up a whole chicken is a great way to save money on meat. Click here to see how.
Basic cooking skills-baking-how to cream butter and sugar
Creaming butter and sugar together is a common method for baking. To cream them, the butter needs to be room temperature. If your butter is cold, it will not cream. Add the room temperature butter and sugar to your mixing bowl and beat vigorously until they incorporate together and become smooth and a lighter color. Then continue to the next step of the recipe.
Basic cooking skills-baking-separating an egg
Another basic baking technique is separating an egg. It can be daunting, but the easiest way to separate the yolk from the white is to crack the egg into your hand over a bowl and catch the yolk with your fingers while allowing the white to run through and into the bowl.
You can also skim the yolk from the whites with half of your egg shell and let the white fall into the bowl. Be gentle with the yolk, they are easy to break. If your recipe calls for beaten egg whites, they will be difficult if not impossible to whip up if there is a touch of yolk in them.
Basic cooking skills-baking-leveling off flour
Leveling off flour is a way you measure dry ingredients. You fill your measuring cup with flour loosely without packing it down. Then you take the back of a butter knife and scrape the flour flat so it measures exactly one cup. This exact measuring will help your recipes turn out consistently. Baking is science and it needs to be precise to be successful. Don’t guestimate.
I hope these tips will help you learn basic cooking skills that will improve the quality of your life by allowing you to make healthy, homemade food. These 17 basic cooking skills will give you the knowledge you need to make a huge variety of things you might have thought you couldn’t.
Refer back to it as often as you need until you master them all and then work on learning some more new basic cooking skills in the kitchen. When I began to learn to cook, I used the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, or the red checkered cookbook which I still use most often today. It has all of the basic recipes you need to start a successful cooking life. Happy cooking!
Want some basic cooking skills to teach your kids? Check out the highlighted link.
“In a Cook’s Kitchen” Free Virtual Cooking Class Series For Home Cooks Released
The Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC) has released “In a Cook’s Kitchen” a video cookery series designed to inspire and empower home cooks.
The 15-part video cookery series is created by Craig Sewell, SMADC’s Southern Maryland Meats Marketing Manager, who for 16 years ran one of the first locally sourcing restaurants to open in Annapolis, where he hosted numerous popular back-to-basics cooking classes through which home cooks learn foundation recipes that build and strengthen essential cooking and preparation skills along the way.
The inspiration for th ‘In a Cook’s Kitchen Series’ originated from the observation that since the advent of COVID and shelter in place lock-downs cooking at home is becoming increasingly important, (evidenced by everyday pantry stocks flying off grocery store shelves), and people may need some basic cooking skills to expand their mealtime repertoires. As a result, we at SMADC decided to bring some of these skills into people’s homes presented in a readily accessible (free to view) video package.
The In a Cook’s Kitchen Series is expertly filmed by Remsberg Photography, Inc., in a no-frills ‘real’ home kitchen – no special cooking equipment or culinary knowledge required. Explains Craig Sewell, “We’re not just demonstrating a one-off recipe we’re bringing you everything you need to know to create delicious meals in your home kitchen.” Each class builds upon the previous class starting with two introductory episodes that set the stage for the rest of series featuring knife skills, how to source a chicken and other farm-fresh ingredients, followed by 13 more episodes that demonstrate recipes and skills for perfect salad dressings, whipping and flipping techniques, foundation sauces and stocks plus other fundamental culinary building blocks that pave the way for endless variations and fearless experimentation.
Throughout the series Sewell shares insights about the local farms that provide his locally sourced ingredients and stays true to his principles about food, “To buy the best, freshest ingredients from places as close to you as possible with growing and raising practices that are respectful to the environment (and animals) as possible, and then, to the best of my ability stay out of their way and let them speak for themselves.”