Preparing to pop the question to the woman of your dreams can be nerve rattling. Â The pressure of whether she will say yes or no is enough to make you have a nervous breakdown. Â Â Being nervous wonâ€™t achieve anything, however. If you feel confident enough to ask for her hand in marriage, then you should feel confident that she will likely say yes. [Read more…]
There are a few different ways to expand your cooking horizons. You can try new recipes. You can attempt new genres of food preparation. You can use new dishware, or just try adjusting some of the ratios of ingredients that you typically use.
Or, for a more extreme change in cooking behavior, consider spicing up your kitchen activities by changing your cooking methods themselves. Consider trying the sous vide method, adding some more gadgets to your repertoire, combining multiple cooking methods together, and reading cooking magazines and blogs to see how other people are expanding their abilities. And in the end, the more you experiment and fail, the bigger a knowledge base of cooking that you’ll have to work with in the future.
Try Sous Vide
One interesting way to cook that you may not have ever thought of or even heard described before is the sous vide method. At its core, you’re heating food in a sealed container inside of hot water. This will usually take the form of vacuuming sealing something like a steak inside a cook-safe plastic bag, and then dipping the bag in a hot water vat with a controlled temperature. The results can be nothing short of amazing if done correctly, and it will produce a unique flavor and texture that everyone will love.
At the center of many new cooking methods is the kitchen gadget. It may chop, slice, blend, heat, freeze, or dry out food in a new and unique way, and that’s what makes it worthy of being in your kitchen. There are new kitchen gadgets coming out all the time, and once they’ve been in the public eye for a minute, you’ll start to see reviews of how they work, and decide if there’s a new technique you’re willing to incorporate.
Have you tried baking something, and then frying it to finish it off? Have you tried mixing pan frying, stir frying, and microwaving all together? One of the more interesting ways to spice up your cooking methods is simply to combine several different ways together. You can get some truly interesting results by mixing pan searing meat with baking it at different points in the cooking process, for example.
Reading Cooking Magazines and Blogs
If you’ve never read a cooking magazine or blog, then you don’t know what you’re missing when it comes to continuing education about cooking. Certain types of recipes and diets go into and out of vogue, but you can always rely on cooks to progress when it comes to their actual methods of cooking – go ahead and borrow from them!
Experiment, Fail, and Experiment Again
If all else fails, at least failure teaches you what not to do again, and that goes especially for cooking methods. After you burn something to a crisp or boil it into oblivion, take some mental notes about why it didn’t work. And then, put on your chef’s thinking cap and give something a bit different ago. The people you eventually will impress with your cooking will be glad of your early efforts!
Meat has long been blamed for a lot of diseases besetting mankind. There is ongoing debate of whether humans should be avoiding it all-together or merely minimizing consumption of it. There are scientific findings that go both ways. One of the most interesting point made with regards to the topic is that eating meat per se Â is not the main culprit but the actual amount consumed by a person and the manner of preparation of the meat dish.
If youâ€™re going to be in Ireland between September 21st and 25th, you should head over to Galway, where they will have their 59th annual Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival. If youâ€™re going to be hanging around the south part of the UK between October 10th and 13th, you better check out the Falmouth Oyster Festival.
Both internationally recognized festivals are all about oysters. There will be wine, local ale, games, celebrity chefs, and, of course, oysters. Lots and lots of it. If you canâ€™t make it to either festival, donâ€™t feel bad. You can have your own little festival at home! Just take a gander at the following 5 oyster recipes that will bring you smack dab in the middle of either festival!
Yes, you guessed it right. It is the famous cocktail in a cake. You get the same citrus and tequila taste with each bite.
1 18.25 oz. pack orange cake mix
1 3.4 oz. pack instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup tequila
2 tablespoons triple sec liqueur
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon tequila
2 tablespoons triple sec liqueur
2 tablespoons lime juice
Confectionersâ€™ sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven at 350F and grease a 10 inch Bundt pan and then flour it.
Combine the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water, oil, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons triple sec and 1/4 cup tequila in a large mixing bowl. Beat the mixture continuously for two minutes.
Transfer the batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Bake it in the oven for 45-50 minutes. Insert a toothpick at the center and once it comes out clean, the cake is ready. Remove from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes. Carefully loosen the sides of the Bundt cake with a bread knife and wire place it on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, prepare the glaze by combining the confectionersâ€™ sugar, 2 tablespoons triple sec, tablespoons lime juice and a tablespoon of tequila in a small bowl. Mix until it becomes smooth. Pour it over the cake immediately while it is warm. Let the glaze set and then dust it with confectionersâ€™ sugar. Transfer the Margarita cake to a platter or cake stand. Slice and serve.
Image from SanFranAnnie
This delightful pulled pork recipe is broiled in one of my favorite sodas, root beer. Coke would make a good replacement if you are not a fan of this drink. Cooking time may vary depending on the meat and the slow cooker used.
2 lbs. whole pork tenderloin
1 12oz. can or bottle root beer
1 18oz. bottle barbecue sauce
8 hamburger buns, split and lightly toasted
Ground pepper to taste
Put the pork tenderloin in the slow cooker. Slice it if it does not fit. Pour the root beer over the meat. Cover and cook it on low for six to seven hours or until the pork falls apart easily. By this time the root beer should have caramelized. Do not let it dry up, so add more if needed. Let the cooked pork cool completely and then shred it. If there is still some liquid, drain it well. Place the shredded pork in a bowl and then add the barbecue sauce. Stir. Â Season it with ground pepper. Â Â Reheat the pork after shredding if desired. Divide the meat among the hamburger buns and serve immediately with coleslaw or fries.
Image from Danielle Scott
Bacon and tomato dip is the ultimate cheesy dip which is perfect for parties or lazy days in front of the television. It is similar to rotel, but with bacon. The garlic and onions are meant to neutralize the cheesy flavor, but if you are a big fan of cheese you can do without it.
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sour cream
4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped white onions
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tomato, seeded and diced
6 slices bacon
Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Fry the bacon strips for two to three minutes or until crisp. Transfer it to a plate lined with paper towels to drain the excess oil. After, crumble it into small pieces. Set aside.
Combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, garlic, onions and tomato in a bowl. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours. Add the bacon before serving so that it remains crunchy. Serve with bruschetta or chips.
Image from ilovememphis
Fish with lemongrass chili rice is a flavorful dish especially if you are fond of rice. Control the spiciness according to your preference and remove the chili if desired. Fried garlic and onions make great additions to this recipe.
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 stalk lemon grass, pale section only, outer layer discarded, finely chopped
1 small fresh red chilli, halved lengthways, finely sliced
1 1/2 cups jasmine rice
2 cups vegetable or fish stock
1/2 cup water
4 150g white fish fillets
6 green onions, cut into 5cm-long strips
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh mint
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch steamed broccolini, for serving
Lime wedges for serving
Heat two and a half tablespoons of oil in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the chili and lemongrass and cook them for a minute or until fragrant. Season the fish with salt and pepper.
Place the rice into the saucepan and stir until the grains are coated in oil. Pour in the stock and the water. Set the heat to high and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook it for ten to fifteen minutes or until the rice has absorbed the liquid and it is tender. Add more water if needed. Once it is cooked stir in the mint and green onions. Split it among individual plates.
Melt the butter in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Wait for the butter to sizzle and then reduce the heat to low. Fry the fish for two to three minutes per side or until it flakes easily when poked with a fork. Â Put the fish over the cooked rice and serve it with the steamed broccolini and lime wedges.
Image from diekatrin
Steak with sautÃ©ed spinach is a simple recipe which you can prepare in minutes. It is best to use good quality meat for better taste. The spinach makes a great side. The garlicky taste and slight bitterness infuse more taste into the dish.
4 (about 125g each) beef scotch fillet steaks
6 garlic cloves, crushed
2 bunches English spinach, ends trimmed, washed
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven at 210C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Season the steaks with salt and pepper.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Cook the steak in batches for two to three minutes per side or until they are cooked to your preferred doneness. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil. Set aside.
Heat another tablespoon of oil in the same pan. Stir-fry the garlic for two to three minutes or until golden brown. Add the spinach and cook it for another two to three minutes or until the spinach wilts. Season it with salt and pepper.
Divide the sautÃ©ed spinach into individual plates and top them with the steak. You may reheat the steak and serve it with fries if desired. Serve immediately.
Image from Â ljv
Oven roasted ratatouille is a pleasing dish which brings out the taste of the vegetables. Enjoy their succulent sweetness combined with a touch of aromatic rosemary.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large eggplant, cut into 4cm pieces
2 zucchinis, trimmed and coarsely chopped
2 red onions, cut into wedges
1 red capsicum, seeded and cut into 4cm pieces
1 yellow capsicum, seeded and cut into 4cm pieces
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
6 medium sized Roma tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup chopped fresh continental parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat the oven at 200C. Pour the oil into a large baking dish and heat it in the oven for five minutes. Remove from the oven and add the eggplant, zucchini, onion, capsicums, garlic and rosemary. Toss until the vegetables are coated in oil. Place the tomatoes on top. Bake it in the oven or thirty to forty-five minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Remove it from the oven once again and season it with salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir in the parsley before serving.
Image from avlxyz
Prawn and shiitake fried rice is a delectable rice dish infused with Asian flavors. The shiitake adds â€œumamiâ€ to it, an indescribable taste that pleases the palette. Remove the chili if you are serving it to kids or guests. Replace it with fried garlic or serve it on the side
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
2 tablespoons peanut oil
12 green prawns, deveined and peeled (tails intact)
1 onion, cut into wedges
5 garlic cloves, sliced
2 teaspoon finely grated ginger
150g shiitake mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 long red chili, seeded and finely chopped
4 spring onions, finely shredded
150g snow peas, trimmed, sliced
1/4 cup light soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
Cook the rice according to packet instructions or until soft and fluffy. Spread it on a baking tray and let it cool for two to three hours.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a wok over high heat. Stir-fry the prawns for two minutes or until they turn pink. Remove and set aside.
Place the remaining oil into the wok and heat it. Stir-fry the garlic, onions and ginger for a minute or two or until it becomes aromatic. Add the mushrooms and cook for another two to three minutes or until soft. Â Place the snow peas in the pan and fry it along with the mushrooms for a minute until they turn bright green and crisp.
Put the rice into the pan and heat it for a minute or two. Stir in the soy sauce and oyster sauce. Mix until well combined. Add the shrimp. Gently mix. Divide the fried rice among individual bowls. Top them with chili and spring onions before serving. Serve warm.
Image from tsuihin – TimoStudios
Grilled paprika beef is a delicious dish with a burst of flavor. The paprika adds a hint of spice which you will surely like. Use chili powder if you enjoy hot and spicy food. It can be eaten alongside side dishes, rice or pita bread.
When marinating, I suggest using a re-sealable bag so that the meat is fully coated in marinade and it is easy to turn.
750g rump steak, trimmed and cut into 3cm cubes
1/2 cup sour cream
5 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon tomato sauce
12 bamboo skewers, soaked
Combine the garlic, oil, mixed herbs, paprika, tomato sauce, salt and pepper in a large a bowl. Marinate the meat in this mixture and toss well to coat. Cover and refrigerate it for at least twenty minutes or up to overnight. Turn at least once.
Heat a stove-top grill or non-stick frying pan over medium heat. While doing so, remove the meat from the marinade and thread it onto the soaked skewers. Grill the skewers in batches for four to five minutes or until cooked to your liking. Remove from heat.
Combine the mustard and sour cream in a small bowl. Serve with the grilled beef paprika.
Image from Dinner Series
Green chili chicken stir-fry is an aromatic dish which is best served with rice. Make sure not to overcook the chicken because it may dry up. It is best I it is soft and a bit juicy.
1 stem lemon grass, lower section only, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 long fresh green chili, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar
Olive oil spray
500g chicken breast fillets, cut into 1cm pieces
1 white onion, finely chopped
200g green round beans, trimmed and cut into 4cm lengths
3 cups shredded wombok (Chinese cabbage)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups steamed jasmine rice, for serving
Fresh Thai basil leaves, for serving
Combine the lemon grass, chili and garlic in a mortar and pestle. Pound it until it forms a paste. Transfer it to a small bowl. Add the fish sauce and sugar. Mix well.
Heat a work or a large frying pan over high heat. Spray it with oil. Stir-fry half of the chicken for two to three minutes or until golden brown. Transfer it to a plate and repeat this with the remaining chicken. Reheat the wok in between batches as needed.
Spray the wok once again with oil. Stir-fry the onion for two to three minutes or until it becomes brown and aromatic. Add the lemon grass paste mixture and cook it for another minute or until it becomes fragrant. Place the beans and wombok in the wok and stir-fry them for two minutes until they are bright green and crisp. Stir in the lime juice and add the chicken to this mixture. Stir-fry for another minute until heated. Season it with salt and ground pepper.
Distribute the cooked rice to separate plates and top them with the stir-fried chicken mixture. Garnish with basil before serving.
Image from Â°Florian
Ham corn and capsicum pasta is a yummy dish which can be served like a salad or as a warm main dish. You can use leftover ham or other meats for it too. Chili flakes can give it a touch of spice if preferred.
3 slices ham off the bone
400g spiral pasta
50g baby rocket leaves
1 red capsicum, sliced
300g can corn kernels, drained
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Cook the pasta in a pot of salted boiling water according to packet instructions or until it is al dente. Drain and set aside.
Combine the Italian seasoning, olive oil and red wine vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk until well combined. Season it with salt and pepper.
Place the pasta in a large bowl. Add the corn, capsicum, rocket, Parmesan and red wine vinegar and olive oil mixture. Gently toss to combine all the ingredients. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper if desired. Serve warm, at room temperature or cold.
Image from Â [F]oxymoron
Tomato mozzarella and pesto tartins are delectable appetizers which you can serve for cocktails or dinners. These fancy bites are easy to make. You can prepare them ahead of time and load them in the oven just before serving.
Makes 24 pieces
6 small, ripe Roma tomatoes
1 1/2 sheets frozen ready-rolled puff pastry, partially thawed
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/3 cup pesto
1/4 lb. fresh mozzarella
Preheat oven at 220C and lightly grease a 12-hole muffin pan. Cut twenty-four 4cm rounds of baking paper and use them to line the pan bases.
Next, trim the ends of the tomatoes. Cut them in 0.5cm thick slices. Put a slice of tomato in each hole.
With a 5cm round cookie or biscuit cutter, cut 24 rounds from the thawed pastry sheets. Brush one side of a pastry sheet round with egg white and then place them egg side down over the tomato slice in the pan. Repeat this for the remaining ingredients.
Place the pan in the oven and bake it for ten to twelve minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
Loosen each tartin using a flat knife and put them tomato side up on a plate. Remove the baking paper and top them with a slice of mozzarella. Spoon some pesto on top and season them with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Image from daveyll
Roasted mackerel and chickpea salad is a delectable dish you can prepare in less than thirty minutes. The spices add loads of flavor to the fish and the salad compliments it too. Use another kind of fish if desired.
1/2 cup olive oil
Juice from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
2 tablespoons chopped fresh continental parsley
1 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
5 garlic cloves, crushed
4 Spanish mackerel fillets, skinned
350g pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into 2cm pieces
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 300g can chickpeas, rinsed, drained
50g baby spinach leaves, trimmed
Preheat the oven at 220C and line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
Combine 1/4 cup of oil, lemon juice, coriander, cumin, parsley, paprika and half of the garlic in a shallow baking dish. Mix well. Place the mackerel in the baking dish to marinate it. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. Turn at least once.
Place the pumpkin in a medium sized bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of oil. Toss to coat the pumpkin. Season it with salt and pepper. Transfer the seasoned pumpkin to a non-stick baking dish. Roast it in the oven for six to eight minutes or until soft and .the edges are browned. Once it is cooked, place it in a large bowl. Add the chickpeas, spinach, the remaining garlic and the oil. Toss gently to combine. Season it with salt and pepper. Split the salad into individual plates.
Drain the mackerel and then place them in the lined tray. Bake it in the oven for six to eight minutes or until the fish flakes easily. Pierce the fish with a fork to test doneness. Put the cooked mackerel over the chickpea salad and serve immediately.
Image from jetalone
Chicken ginger broth is a tasty Asian inspired soup recipe which makes use of pasta. You may replace it with egg noodles if desired.
3 160g fresh lasagna sheets
2 410g cans chicken consommÃ©
2 360g single chicken breast fillets, sliced
100g fresh ginger, peeled, thinly sliced
1 125g tray baby corn
1 tablespoon finely shredded fresh ginger
Freshly ground black pepper
2 green shallots, trimmed, diagonally thinly sliced for serving
2 tablespoons fried garlic
Cut the lasagna sheets into uneven pieces using a sharp knife.
Place the water and the chicken consommÃ© in a large saucepan and put it over high heat. Bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Add the chicken and sliced ginger. Let it simmer for 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to plate and set aside to let it cool, around five minutes. Once it is cool enough, shred it.
Strain the broth using a sieve into another saucepan. Discard the ginger. Place the broth over high heat and bring it to a boil. Add the chicken, lasagna sheets and baby corn. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for another three minutes or until the corn is tender. Stir in the shredded ginger and season it with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into individual bowls and top them with fried garlic and green shallots before serving.
Image from quantumbutterfly
Herb rice is a delicious twist to plain rice. It is best served with grilled meat or fried dishes. If you like spicy food, you may add chopped chili or even chili flakes. Garlic powder can also make it Â more aromatic.
500g basmati and wild rice blend
2 tablespoons roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 tablespoons roughly chopped coriander leaves
2 tablespoons snipped chives
Salt and ground pepper to taste
Cook the rice in a large pot of salted boiling water or according to package instructions. After it boils, keep the heat to low to avoid overcooking or burning. The rice must be soft and fluffy. If it is and there is still excess water, you may drain it. Cover and keep warm.
Before serving, place the rice in a large bowl. Add the parsley, coriander and chives. Toss until well combined. Adjust the taste by adding salt and pepper. Serve with chili if desired.
Image from Â YoAmes
Chicken and orange salad is a textured salad recipe which makes use of fruits and nuts. It has a citrusy taste and a bit of sharp flavor from the onions. If red onions are too strong, you may use white onions instead.
400g cooked chicken, thinly sliced
310g can corn kernels, drained
200g mixed salad leaves
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup low-fat natural or unflavored yoghurt
2 teaspoons mango chutney
2 teaspoons mild curry paste
1/3 almonds, coarsely chopped
Slice off the base of each orange. With a sharp knife, remove the skin and the white membranes. Hold the orange over a bowl while peeling in order to catch any juice. Cut the orange along the membranes in order to get the segments easily. Reserve the juice.
Place the chicken, corn, salad, onions and orange segments in a large salad bowl.
In a small bowl, combine the chutney, yogurt, curry paste and orange juice. Mix well. Pour the dressing over the salad. Gently toss to combine. Sprinkle the pistachios over it and serve immediately.
Refrigerate it if you decide to prepare it ahead of time. Add the almonds just before serving.
Image from Â stu_spivack
Creamy scrambled eggs are sumptuous breakfast treats that you can prepare anytime. The succulent tomatoes add a touch of sweetness for a more delectable taste. Add some bacon or even mushroomsÂ if desired.
750g cherry tomatoes
Olive oil cooking spray
8 free-range eggs
2/3 cup cream
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons finely chopped chives
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Bread for serving
Preheat the oven at 200C and then line a baking tray with baking paper.
Place the cherry tomatoes on the tray and spray them lightly with olive oil. Season it with salt and pepper. Roast it for ten to fifteen minutes or until they are tender. Set aside to cool.
Place the eggs in a medium sized bowl. Whisk well. Add the cream and continue to whisk until the ingredients combine. Season it with salt and pepper.
Melt half of the butter in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Cook half of the egg mixture in the frying pan for thirty seconds or up to one minute. Gently stir the parts that set towards the center until the eggs take a curd like form. Remove the eggs from the pan and transfer them to a plate. Repeat this process with the remaining ingredients.
Plate the eggs and roasted tomatoes on individual plates. Dust them with Parmesan cheese and garnish with chives. Add more salt and pepper if desired. Serve with bread.
Image from Â avlxyz