Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Links: Basic Techniques

First road bike of the season. Sunny and 70 degrees.
Happy Friday! I managed to mostly succeed at my first attempt at making paella the other night. It needs a little bit of adaptation, but I used my dutch oven and was quite pleased with the results.  I realized when it was finished, that I needed to substitute something in for the chorizo flavor that was lost by my leaving it out.  Other than that, my cooking this week has been rather basic: pasta, roasted chicken, lentil cakes.  On Tuesday we* were invited next door to our landlord's kitchen for wild game night.  Remember: my meat eating is limited to fish, chicken and turkey. However, the hubby wanted to go, and I obliged. They ended up serving some very delicious grilled Colorado trout, along with elk and bighorn sheep.

*I happened to be the only female at this party.

As I was cooking some of my staples this week, I found that I was recalling the many techniques I have learned from google and cookbooks.  Basic techniques in the kitchen are often overlooked by home cooks.  These tricks used to be passed down through families, but with many Americans turning to fast food and restaurants, the tricks of the trade are being lost.  These are some of my favorite and most used methods.  I often modify techniques designed for meat in vegetarian cooking to boost the flavor.

How to break down a chicken (in 6 minutes).
fact: whole chickens are cheaper.
How (and why) to deglaze a pan.
fact: that browned goodness stuck to the pan is not lost.
How to dice an onion.
fact: you will begin to love chopping.
How to pan sear meat or fish.
fact: you too can get a restaurant worthy crust.
How to roast vegetables.
fact: roasted veggies are an easy side for any night.

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