Cooking & Food (as a skill / hobby / experience)

when recommending food it seems to me the most important thing to determine is what nutrients the person is lacking or craving at a given moment. for example, is the person in the mood for something salty, something sweet, something fatty, some combination of those? is the person craving protein or vegetables?


2013.11.13 - Bought a White Oaks pasture-raised chicken, 3 gold potatoes, 3 red potatoes, a thing of garlic. I don't think the garlic and potatoes added enough to the flavor of the chicken to justify the extra effort necessary to include them. If anything, I think they distract from the chicken's natural flavor. They might be a better addition if you're using a less-expensive chicken that doesn't have skin that tastes as good. Also, I put a good amount of water at the bottom of the pan to avoid drying out the chicken, and it worked. I think I had the chicken in there for about an hour; it has a smaller breast than the typical chickens you see in the store, so it seems to cook faster. Also, I cut the potatoes into four pieces each and had their cut sides facing upwards (so the skin was down), which turned out to be a bad idea, because the potatoes dried out and didn't cook as quickly. There was a few that were rolled on their side and those were the best: they soaked up the water, stayed tender, and cooked all the way through. I think I also noticed that the red potatoes weren't as well-cooked as the gold potatoes, even though they were basically the same size. The last thing I noticed is that 1) a little bit of garlic goes a long way, and 2) garlic has a fairly pleasant aftertaste as long as it isn't too strong. It might be a good ingredient to pair with some other ingredient that doesn't have an aftertaste, like pasta.


My advice

  1. Gather:
    1. a big metal bowl to hold the cut-up and cooked broccoli
      1. This is what you're going to eat out of.
    2. a big sharp cutting knife
    3. a cutting board
    4. a pot to boil water in
    5. a cover for the pot
    6. a bag of salt
    7. a small strainer
    8. a giant spoon or metal spatula something similar
      1. This is to scoop broccoli into the small strainer.
      2. A spatula is preferable because water will run off it, which means water won't have to exit through the strainer, which can take some time if you've already got a lot of broccoli heaped into it.
  2. Put water in a pot to boil.
    1. I'd estimate around a gallon, maybe a little less.
    2. Have the heat on full-blast.
  3. Pour three "sweeps" of salt into the pot.
    1. In other words, shake the bag left and right as you move it forward and back across the top of the pot of water.
    2. There's no easy way to explain how much to put, you'll have to iterate.
    3. You're going to be putting more salt into the water than you would put salt onto the finished broccoli, but it'll be worth it because the salt will be more-evenly distributed in the broccoli.
  4. While the water's heating up, cut up the broccoli and put it into the big metal bowl.
    1. First cut off the really thick stalk (if there is one), and then cut off the florets, aiming right below where the middle-sized stalks (maybe 1/2" in diameter) end and the really small talks (less than a centimeter in diameter) start to really pop up.
      1. The goal is to get rid of the somewhat thicker stalks which aren't going to taste good or have a good texture.
      2. If you have someone else cook the broccoli, I've found that they'll tend to leave the stalks in in, either entirely (i.e. including the thickest one), or partially (the middle-sized ones). None of it tastes good and it'll make you not want to eat broccoli anymore.
  5. As you finish cutting up the broccoli, the water should be boiling.
  6. Pick up the big metal bowl filled with broccoli and use the big metal spoon/spatula to scoop the broccoli into the boiling water.
  7. Use the spoon to press down on the broccoli so that all of it gets soaked / submerged in boiling water.
  8. Cover the pot.
  9. Wait ~5 minutes.
  10. Take off the pot lid and see if it's done.
    1. If the color starts to fade, that's a sign that you're over-cooking it.
    2. I've found that if the broccoli is good and you cook it properly, the broccoli can go from a dull green when it's uncooked to a vivid bright green as it's being cooked, so that it'll look like the steam-in-bag broccoli.
    3. The best way to check if it's done is to take out a piece with the spoon, put it in the strainer to get rid of the boiling water, let it cool for a few seconds, and then eat it. You want it to retain a little firmness, so it isn't mushy (overcooked) and it also isn't crunchy (undercooked).