How to Approach Cookbooks

I’ve had quite few friends of mine say that they wished they cooked more but that they don’t know how and don’t have time to learn. Or that they want to try new things but don’t they don’t have time to shop for ingredients everytime they find a recipe they want to try. I do understand these concerns, but make no mistake, these are excuses! I have a few tricks for you if you find yourself overwhelmed. First, think of cookbooks as ideas. Most cookbooks have a theme, a basic idea about cooking the author is trying to explore. So why should you not be able to explore yourself? A cookbook can be a good jumping off point. You can use the basic principles found in a cookbook and use them to prepare ingredients you already have. For example, I found a cookbook the other day at the library called Eat Tea, all about incorporated teas into sweet and savory dishes. And I thought, ” I have tea at home! Cool!” I did a prelimanary flip through looking for a couple of things. First, what type of teas were appeared in the most recipes? These are probably the most versitile. Also I looked at ratios, about how much teas is being used in comparison to the other ingredients.

Later that night after checking out what was in my fridge (which was shockingly and embarrassingly little) I decided to make a stirfry. I had some red bell pepper that were on their way out and and an onion. I put some rice on to cook. I brewed myself a cup of black tea and drank all but about 2 tablespoons. Then I sliced a bell pepper and a good chunk of a large yellow onion. I put them in skillet with some oil over medium high heat. For a sauce I added the tea I reserved to some oyster sauce mixed with a bit of garlic siracha, honey, and salt and pepper. Looking back, some ginger would have been a nice addition too, but you can’t change to past.  I also added a bit of dried camomile that my friend Noah gave me for my birthday. After the veggies where done I added my sauce and gave it all a good stir. By this time my rice was almost done. I was really hungry so those last couple of minutes where intense. Sorry the picture of this dish is so poor. The lighting in my kitchen mostly ambiant so photographing at night can be a challenge. Trust me, it was beautiful and delicious. So next time you have a fun cookbook, or are flipping through a magazine or newspaper and you see something you want to try, don’t fret if you don’t have a jerusalem artichoke or fontina cheese or boysenberries, or whatever the uncommon ingredients may be. Take the basic idea presented and use what you have.

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One Response to “How to Approach Cookbooks”

  1. This is actually LaylaC… I’m loving this cooking philosophy! Thanks for sharing these suggestions- I will try to remember it when real life turns out different than my mental plan:)

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