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Ashamed- Needs ideas.

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Im 20 and Im not familiar with cooking. Ive just relied on family and others to cook, if not then we just go out to eat. my boyfriend is a good cook, and ive attemped to cook for him once. I cooked him a type pf marinated chicken on the grill. , it turned out pretty well. I still want to continue cooking. But i need more recipe ideas. Simple ones for now!!! Im still new! any ideas? Thanks so much!!
post #2 of 18
If he's the love of your life and a fabulous cook, ask him to show you how, and the two of you can cook together. That's infinitely better then asking us for recipes and using them on him. Not that we won't help you, but I'm sure he would love the idea!
My latest musical venture!
Also "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
My latest musical venture!
Also "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
post #3 of 18
My wife and I cook together. As I've become more knowledgeable about cooking over the years, my wife has steadily been increasingly amazed at how good the food I cook is. She loves to help me cook. I enjoy having her there to help.

After 38 years together, I think cooking as an enjoyable "couple activity" has been a part of the reason for our lasting relationship.

And frankly, I've always enjoyed teaching her stuff. And she seems to enjoy being taught.

So I agree with the previous poster. Cook together. Learn from your other half.

post #4 of 18
i agree with the above.

you can make the cooking/dinner/lesson very romantic and ohh yeah im getting visuals in my head......

but if you both need some recipes i will check out

All recipes – complete resource for recipes and cooking tips
Recipezaar: Where the World's Recipes Are
post #5 of 18
I agree with the others about cooking together. While doing so, you will learn what foods and flavors he likes so it is more likely that you will cook something he likes on the occasions you need to cook on your own while he is headed home from work or whatever.

Also there are a ton of books available in bookstores and online. Try to find books or information that teaches about cooking techniques and procedures rather than just providing a whole bunch of recipes.
post #6 of 18
Yes. Learning to cook with your lover will be fun -- and the best way to learn. What you're asking from us is to teach you how to cook from scratch -- quite a tall order for an internet bulletin board. I do understand though, the desire to learn on your own.

I'll be more than happy to help with you specific dishes that you can manage on your own and will help move you along your learning continuum -- along as preparing things that don't require you to ask for help or supervision every two minutes. It would help me help you if you could be more specific with what you wanted to cook.

In the meantime, here's a recipe from a book I'm writing for beginning cooks that's satisfying, romantic and good-restaurant level. In exchange, I want your honest criticism.



Also Starring
Basic California Marinade, and California Beef Dry Rub

For any tender beef steak, cut into (“steaked”) whatever passes in your household as serving size.

Remove your steaks from the fridge, and marinate them on the kitchen counter in the following Basic California Marinade (enough for four servings of steak):

1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs red wine
1 Tbs worcestershire sauce

Marinate for anywhere between 10 minutes and 2 hours. It may not seem like much, but this is enough marinade for four medium-small steaks or two large ones. There should be very little liquid in the pan, just enough to coat the bottom. In a short time, the marinade will mix with the steak's juices and thicken to a heavy syrup. This is a good thing, you want the syrup to serve as a “slather” (a barbecue term for a condiment which, like mortar, holds rub to meat), more than to force flavor into the meat. Beef steak has the right flavor already.

About 5 minutes before cooking, drain the marinade from the pan. With the steaks in the same pan, still moist with marinade, season them on both sides with California Dry Rub for Beef :

1/4 cup Morton's Kosher salt,
1-1/2 tbs fresh, coarsely cracked black pepper,
2 tsp California chili powder
2 tsp granulated garlic,
1 tsp granulated onion,
pinch dried sage, and
pinch dried thyme.

This is more than you’ll need for your steaks, but I wanted to keep the amounts large enough to mix conveniently. Don’t worry, it keeps well for about a month, you’ll use whatever’s left long before it goes stale. Practicalities having been dealt with we can address the burning question of, “What makes it so California and all?” The answer lies in a later sub-section of the book, California Barbecue. Skip over, if you’re of a mind.

Tip: One of the big differences between home and professional cooks is that home cooks tend to under-season. Don't be intimidated. Judge how much rub you'll use by the concentration of salt.
Meanwhile, back at the food: Finely mince a tbs or two of shallots and parsley, and prep your mise en place with:

1-1/2 tbs of minced shallots or red onion
2 tbs minced parsley, curly or Italian flat leaf
1 oz cognac,
2 oz additional cognac, or Madeira or sherry if desired,
1/4 cup heavy cream,
1-1/2 cold, salted butter, cut into 3 pieces,
1/2 tsp dijon mustard if desired, and
green or pink pepper corns if desired.

Heat a heavy but responsive (not cast iron) pan that can take some abuse to near searing temp and add a couple of drops of EVO, swirl the pan so the oil coats the bottom. The hot oil will run very freely (one of the signs the pan is ready). Assuming the pan is ready, the oil will start to smoke very quickly. You want to get the steaks in the pan at exactly that moment. If the oil doesn’t run, the pan isn’t hot enough. Put it back on the fire and get the steaks in the pan at the smoke point. This close timing means you must PAY ATTENTION. No phones, no walk-aways.

Still in the paying attention mode we come, very quickly, to the point where the steaks are seared and must be turned.

IMPORTANT TIP: Don't touch those bad girls. Don't lift them. Leave them alone for at least 2 minutes. Shake the pan gently to see if they'll release on their own. If not, leave them alone for another minute and give the pan another, more vigorous shaking. If the still won't move, knock them on their side with your spatula or tongs to get them sliding. Once sliding, you can turn them.

When the steaks are turned, let them cook for no more than a minute before putting them, pan and all, in a 400 degree oven. Assuming a 6 oz, 1-1/2" fillet remove them from the oven after 7 minutes for a point. Remove the steaks from the pan to rest on a warm plate.

Note: Remember during the rest of the preparation, the pan handle will be HOT HOT HOT.

There either will or won’t be excess fat in the pan. Up to a 1/2 tbs or so is a good thing. More is greasy. If more, drain the excess. In any case, the pan should be over a medium-hot flame. Now that we’ve got the pan on the flame, using a pot holder, take the pan off the stove, and hold it away from your body, and add the first ounce of cognac. Immediately flame if off. When the flames have died, return the pan to the burner and unstick the crystallized meat juices stuck to the bottom of the pan (the fond) with your tongs, spatula or preferably a soup spoon (not a wooden spoon) into what’s left of the fat and cognac, and add the mustard, and the green peppercorns. Swirl everything around by shaking the pan, stirring furiously with your spoon. Make sure everything is fully incorporated – especially the fond.

Note: When you unstuck the fond by adding liquid and scraping or stirring, you deglazed the pan; the product is called a deglaze.

Add the additional cognac or wine if you're using it and let the volume by about one half, stirring constantly.

Add the cream and as soon as it comes to a boil reduce the heat to medium and stir until the sauce has reached a nappe consistency.

TIP: When cooking teachers refer to nappe (nap-PAY) they talk about “coating the back of a spoon.” That’s a little ambiguous. Let’s make it more specific. Put a metal, soup spoon into the sauce and hold it up. If the sauce runs off leaving the spoon bare, it needs more reduction. If a thick glob stays with the spoon, the sauce is too thick and should be thinned. If the back stays coated, use your index finger to draw a diagonal stripe across the back of the spoon. If the sauce doesn’t run back into the stripe immediately, it’s nappe. This, by the way, is one of the reasons you don’t use a wooden spoon. The other being that a wooden spoon won’t do as good a job of getting the fond off the bottom of the pan.

Still using your trusty soup spoon, whisk in 1-1/2 tbs of butter, broken into 3 pieces, one small piece at a time, incorporating each piece before adding another. Turn off the heat before adding the last piece, then incorporate it with residual heat. Mix in half the parsley. Taste for seasoning, and adjust if necessary.

Plate the steaks with the best presentation side up, rotate them so their best looking part is closest to the plate's edge. Sauce with a soup spoon, covering 1/2 - 2/3 of the surface of the filet, leaving the best looking part naked. Use enough sauce so it drips generously onto the steak forming a small puddle in the center of the plate. Add just enough parsley for a fresh appearance.
Et voila!

You should know:

The recipe is simple, frenetic and contains a number of techniques. Understanding them will improve your ability to perform them and give you the freedom to create your own dishes.

Searing includes encouraging meat proteins to undergo a process similar to caramelization, called the Maillard reaction. When done right, most of the browned, crystallized proteins stay with the surface of the meat and some, along with a touch of seasoning from the meat, will stay with the pan. If you remove the meat from the surface of the pan too soon, you'll alter the reaction and the meat will never brown properly. If you wait too long, the taste will move from sweet to bitter. Fortunately, a clean, smooth, seasoned or lightly oiled pan, will hold the meat until it's ready to turn, then release it at exactly the right moment.

When the meat goes into the oven, the surface temperature actually goes down slightly and the juices will begin to run -- slightly. When these juices hit the hot pan they, along with the glaze from the sear process form the fond, which in turn, structures the reduction sauce.

This type of sauce is called a “pan reduction,” that is, it is constructed and thickened in the wide, shallow, cooking pan. The right consistency for pan reductions is almost always nappe. The recipe I've given you is a simple, classic, yet typical reduction. The constants for the sauce, are the deglaze and incorporation of fond, and the final nappe consistency. Don't mess with them.

Of course there are an infinite number of pan reductions, not to mention a few more recipes in this book. But the range of pan reduction sauces is much greater than the scope of this, or almost any, book. Feel free to substitute anything for anything else as per your whim. But remember the meat is the star, and the sauce only there as a highlight. Simplicity is the key.
post #7 of 18

Don't Be Ashamed...

...unless you don't do anything about improving your skills.

Others have given great suggestions! I recommend learning a few basics that you can use to make delicious, simple dishes. Here are tow possibilities:

1. Learn to saute chicken breast cutlets (boneless, skinless breasts sliced into thinner portions). From there you can use the chicken to make simple versions of chicken marsala, chicken piccata or chicken parmesan.

2. Learn to make white sauce (bechamel sauce). Thin white sauce can be used to make delicious homemade macaroni and cheese. Medium white sauce tops Greek dishes like pastitzo and moussaka. The only differnce between "thin" and "thick" is the amount of flour you use relative to the amount of liquid. Get the basics of making a roux (the butter/flour blend you start this sauce with) and you can substitute chicken broth for the milk in the original recipe, and use it to sauce a simply grilled or sauteed chicken dish.

I recommend buying a copy of the Betty Crocker Cookbook. It has all the basics in it, and it's written in a friendly style. Good luck!
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post #8 of 18
When I married my wife, all she knew how to cook was chili. I like to cook and I appreciated her washing the dishes since that's not something I consider fun. She wasn't ashamed and I don't think you should be either :)

The first thing I taught her how to make was spaghetti with meat sauce. That's easy as a main dish. Next I taught her a pretty easy way to make pizza. You can use frozen "French" bread dough for the crust (thaw it and roll it out while still cold). Just a couple of suggestions of things to start with.
post #9 of 18
Here's a thought that could provide some entertainment and inspiration for what to fix for dinner. I assume that somewhere there is enough wall space for a map of the world, maybe one of those about 2 feet by 3 feet or so. In a 'pin the tail on the donkey' fashion, ( no peeking! ) one of you select some spot on the map. For dinner the next night fix something from that location. Middle of Africa? Maybe a couscous, onion and spinach dish. India - research a few easy curries. South American coast - some sort of ceviche salad. Wisconsin - brats and kraut. France - well, er, uh, take your pick of countless options. For a special weekend treat, dress appropriately for the dish and, uh, well, er, nevermind, that's up to you and the love of your life.

Basically eating is not an odious chore, relax, experiment and play with your food.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 


Thank you everyone for your ideas! I really do appreciate them all! Ive learned so much already! :) I love the thought of "if you cook with him, youll learn his tastes and what he likes" that inspired me to cook with him too.
Thanks for the recipes and cook book ideas also. I appreciate everything. You all rock.
post #11 of 18

cooking class?

Your signature line says that you can't boil water. What about taking a cooking class? A friend of mine recently took a cooking class for 2 - 3 hours at Sur la Table and come home with a few great recipes, new techniques, all after having a great time. Other places offer them, too, as do many local professional chefs. A fun date would be to do this together with your partner.

My other suggestion would be a really awesome basics cookbook that talks more about technique than recipes. Two of my favorites are "Cooking A to Z" by California Culinary Academy and "Complete Techniques" by Jacques Pepin. Both highlight the technique and then feature recipes using that technique. Both great primers for different reasons.

Always start off with amazing, fresh ingredients and you can't go wrong. The better the ingredients are, the better the final results. And, you can keep it simple if you have amazing ingredients. Go to the market, butcher, fish monger, etc. and ask what they have in that is fabulous.

Good luck!

PS. Don't ever be ashamed. Not one of us is good at everything. I'm sure you have other skills which you bring to the table that your partner does not have! Make cooking and food exploration a game. There have been quite a few times when I tried something new and it just didn't work. Once I made chicken tortilla soup completely from scratch, and it was so bad that we tossed it and ordered pizza. Must have been the recipe. ha ha! So, now my motto is: if dinner sucks, let's call for pizza! Trying new recipes / food combinations is 90% of the fun of cooking -- don't forget to have fun!
post #12 of 18
Don't leave out some of the good old standby Sunday Dinner recipes. Roast beef with roasted potatoes and carrots. Fried chicken and mashed potatoes with cream gravy. Ham is always good and just about anything makes a good side dish.

Roast Beef:

Preheat oven to 275
Season a nice chuck roast with salt and pepper. Sear in a hot dutch oven with a little oil. Add a can of beef broth or red wine or plain old water. Cover and stick in the oven. Let cook 3 hours then add peeled halved potatoes, and peeled carrots and cook another 2-3 hours until the beef gets tender and the potatoes are done. Remove everything from the pan and transfer to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm. Skim the fat from the pan juices then bring to a boil and thicken with corn starch or a flour roux.
post #13 of 18
Well, You not need to be ashamed to yourself here, lynsey555. We all born to learn everything starting from the basic...

All you need is just some times, patients and attending some of the cooking classes. I'm sure you will be a good cooker in the near future.

You just need to have confident on yourself :)
post #14 of 18
No reason to be ashamed, it's never too late to cultivate a passion for cooking. Cooking is not one of those talents that you have to get into reallly really young like playing the violin, where if you haven't started by age 5 then forget it. I didn't start cooking until I was 25. Got into it slowly and it gradually became a passion of mine.

There are really great cooking shows out there, especially on PBS like Jacque Pepin, Ming Tsai, Sarah Moulton, and America's Test Kitchen. Then there's the food network with a lot of great shows, along with the Fine Living Network with Wolfgang Puck and Mario Batali. You learn little bits and pieces of info here and there and it helped me build my technique. I have a difficult time learning things from cook books, and tv helped a lot.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."


"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

post #15 of 18
I hope ghettoracing kid has recovered sufficiently!!:roll:
What is patriotism but the love of the food one ate as a child? ~Lin Yutang
What is patriotism but the love of the food one ate as a child? ~Lin Yutang
post #16 of 18
yeah im ok.....

I played out the scenerio in my head and umm took care of ummm dessert.

ohh yeah
post #17 of 18
hi, i am also like you. sometimes i get frustrated knowing that my boyfriend is a better cook than me...
post #18 of 18
I think its common in the world today where men are learning to cook and no longer dependent on their mothers or the ladies to cook for them.

I think this is also why people are getting married later on in life is becuase both sides and very independent and not like in the 1950 or whenever where the men would work and the women would cook and clean.

to take a line from "dont tell mo mteh babysitter is dead"

times they are a changing
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