Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

What are the basic recipes that you use


tafkap4d
 Share

Recommended Posts

The topic on chicken stock woke my brain up. What are the staples of cooking in your kitchen? What are the handful of items that you think every cook should know and should know well?

I remember Natalie Dupree years ago said on her show that she had a young wife come in and all she wanted to learn how to do was saute onions and garlic. Natalie said she didn't understand it but she taught her and asked her why. The young wife/bride said that when her husband came home after a long day at work and smelled onions and garlic - he would automatically think that she had been in the kitchen all day. This made me think as well...what are the main stays of a kitchen? What should everyone know how to prepare/make?

I just thought this would be interesting.

Whoever said that man cannot live by bread alone...simply did not know me.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In this weather, I think everyone should learn how to braise-even vegetarians. Yesterday's NYT Magazine has 2 great vegetable braises. But the slow cooking-1/2 coverd in liquid of something like pot roast or short ribs-is to me a recipe for winter happiness.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I make sure I never run out of the ingredients to make these "staples" of my kitchen:

Marinara sauce (which can be easily adapted to a meat sauce, of course)

Bread (sandwich, french, italian, biscuits, pizza dough, rolls, cornbread, and "fruited" breads like banana, zucchini, pumpkin, etc are the mainstays)

Pasta (takes a bit of effort, since we live so far away from a store decent enough to carry semolina flour)

Stock (always keep oxtails & other beef soup & stock bones, whole chickens, saved seafood stock-making goodies like bones, shells, etc.)

Sauces (which means butter, cream, and herbs in addition to other stuff that would already be on hand for other staples)

In addition, I try never to run out of: specialty goodies from the Asian market, onion & garlic as you mentioned, dried chiles & peppers, a good supply of beans, grains, rice, etc., storage-friendly veggies (I garden & have a root cellar, so this is easy for me,) and a few favorite 'extras' we all like... such as pine nuts, dried cranberries & raisins, LOTS of different cheeses & hard sausages, specialty jams & vinegars & relishes & such, and probably a lot more I'm not remembering at the moment.

It's a great question, and I'm looking forward to hearing other responses... I always like "snooping" in friends' kitchens to see what they, in turn, consider "staples." :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^^^ I like peeking other peoples' cabinets too.

I've been refining basic recipes/techniques that fit my taste and the way I cook for a while now.

The first thing that comes to mind is knowing how to make a quality omelette or frittata. These are like the kitchen equivalent of a really great pair of jeans. Dress them up for a nice brunch, make them simply for a quick weeknight dinner, or stuff them with leftovers that might go bad otherwise. Indispensible.

Basic recipes for pancakes and muffins from ingredients already on hand really simplifies life when time or money is tight.

I'm suprised more people don't know how to make a good vinagraitte. My basic single serving recipes of 3:1(:1) oil:vinegar(:jam) is one of the most useful things I've ever figured out.

I also rely on a basic soup formula. Sautee base aromatics (carrots/onions/celery, or things like leeks) in butter or oil with kosher salt until soft, add garlic until fragrant, add stock or water, simmer, add whatever else (noodles, rice, meat, potatoes, tomatoes, seasonings). Stock is a no brainer too, although I use a pressure cooker for convenience.

Bread is another good one. I have a formula for a 1lb bread machine loaf committed to memory and I just vary it based on what I'm in the mood for, keeping the basic proportions the same. I eat a lot more homemade bread because of this.

eGullet convinced me to stop soaking my beans, so the Russ Parsons method is a staple for me now.

And, while it's not exactly a recipe, knowing how to properly package and freeze things is something I couldn't do without.

Michael Ruhlman said somewhere that he'd like to write a sort of anti-cookbook about ratios. I would buy it in a heartbeat. Something like that could probably relegate every other cookbook I own to the browse-for-inspiration category.

"Nothing you could cook will ever be as good as the $2.99 all-you-can-eat pizza buffet." - my EX (wonder why he's an ex?)

My eGfoodblog: My corner of the Midwest

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^^^ I like peeking other peoples' cabinets too. 

Tells you a lot about folks, doesn't it? :)

The first thing that comes to mind is knowing how to make a quality omelette or frittata... *snip*  Basic recipes for pancakes and muffins from ingredients already on hand really simplifies life when time or money is tight.

Amen to that! I feed a large number of people every Saturday night, and because we live so far out in the boondocks, a good percentage of those stay overnight and have brunch the next day. So they don't get bored, but we don't go broke, I have to come up with a never-ending supply of variations on these themes... omelettes are good for smaller crowds, as is eggs benedit; frittatas and breakfast casseroles, breakfast pizzas, and huge pans of creamy scrambled eggs are good for days when we're really "full." (And personally, I think making *good* scrambled eggs is an art form!) Pancakes, muffins, biscuits (often with sausage gravy, southern style!) are also things I can make in my sleep -- and quite often nearly do!

I'm suprised more people don't know how to make a good vinagraitte.  My basic single serving recipes of 3:1(:1) oil:vinegar(:jam) is one of the most useful things I've ever figured out. 

Ahh... another one I didn't think of. I started making homemade ranch because I have several friends who can't have MSG, and that got me making other dressings, too... they're far better than store-bought!

I also rely on a basic soup formula.  Sautee base aromatics (carrots/onions/celery, or things like leeks) in butter or oil with kosher salt until soft, add garlic until fragrant, add stock or water, simmer, add whatever else (noodles, rice, meat, potatoes, tomatoes, seasonings).  Stock is a no brainer too, although I use a pressure cooker for convenience.

Soups, stews, and chowders are life savers when it comes to feeding a crowd... and even when I'm not, I like to experiment with more "special" versions for my own family. I've never thought about making stock in a pressure cooker, though... does it mostly just cut down on the time? Do you find the flavors are still as rich that way? I might just have to try that...

eGullet convinced me to stop soaking my beans, so the Russ Parsons method is a staple for me now. 

I tried that last night! I made black beans, using some ham stock I made with the remains of a spiral-cut Smithfield. I *loved* the texture! They didn't get mushy, but were delightfully tender. I doubt I'll be going back to my old method of making those...

I love this place. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd say pizza from scratch is my most recent "staple." I say staple because it is, hands down, my husband's favorite food. The dough is easy- four cups of some type of flour, one package of dry yeast, olive oil, some salt, water and sometimes herbs or cheese. The pizza sauce is either a simple marinara or a roasted red pepper sauce if the peppers on are sale. The toppings depend on the mood of the day. Pizza is an absolute *must* for keeping the gustatory peace in my household.

Actually, now that I'm thinking about it most of my basics have primarily been determined by what I learned from my mother (white bean soup, split pea soup, meatloaf, a Thanksgiving meal, fried chicken, potato salad, sugar cookies, etc) and what my husbands favorite foods are (um, pizza!, spaghetti, chili, Denver omelettes, fried potatoes, sweet and sour chicken, biscuits and sausage gravy, various pies and cakes, etc). Pretty basic stuff. But not always as easy to pull off as they might seem. Well, at least for me. :rolleyes:

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Soups, stews, and chowders are life savers when it comes to feeding a crowd... and even when I'm not, I like to experiment with more "special" versions for my own family.  I've never thought about making stock in a pressure cooker, though... does it mostly just cut down on the time?  Do you find the flavors are still as rich that way?  I might just have to try that...

Pressure cooker stock tastes a little flat. Like if you took canned broth and eliminated the saltiness. A pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon or vinegar perks it up. I don't notice a difference in recipes where the stock isn't a main flavor. I mainly like the convenience. I can roast a chicken for dinner, then chuck the carcass into my trusty pressure cooker with my aromatics of choice (usually carrot, celery, onion, garlic cloves, parsley stems, and peppercorns), and have 8 - 10 cups of stock cooling in the fridge before bed. I'm not in the habit of saving bones and scraps for a big batch, so this works for me, and keeps me from buying canned broth.

"Nothing you could cook will ever be as good as the $2.99 all-you-can-eat pizza buffet." - my EX (wonder why he's an ex?)

My eGfoodblog: My corner of the Midwest

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...