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Diet & Nutrition Message Board

Diet & Nutrition Board Index

Basics of cooking:
1. Don't have heat on too high or you'll have burnt outside and uncooked insides. Best way is to bring to a boil and then turn down and check it often.
2. Taste often and adjust
3. Store leftovers so that you can reuse them for the next meal. ie When you cook rice make too much and store it in the fridge and make friied rice with it.
4. Experiment, experiment, experiment!!

Here are some basic ways to cook stuff.

Veggies: Use a TINY bit of water (1-2 tbsp) in pan, add veggies, bring to boil, add lid and turn down heat. Average cooking time for veggies: broccoli-5 minutes, asparagus-1-2minutes, cauliflower-10 minutes, cabbage-10 minutes, string beans-8 minutes, spinach-1minute (don't add water, just rinse and add wet spinach to pan) To see if veggies are done, stick a really sharp knife in them, the knife should go in but not too easily. After a couple of tried you'll know exactly how a cooked veggie feels like. Also remember that food continues cooking after you turn the heat on because its still hot itself so to SECOND it feels al dente (italian for 'to the teeth' meaning it has bite to it) either serve it or rinse in cold water to stop it from cooking further.

Sticky Rice: Put equal parts of water and rice (short grain) in a pan (1 cup is good for one person), bring to boil and then turn heat down and put on lid. Takes about 20-25 minutes. Keep an eye on it and stir it now and then. If it starts sticking add a tiny bit of water (1 tablespoon) and stir.
'Separate' grain Rice: Put 1 cup (long grain) rice in pan with couple tablespoon of oil, saute for about a minute stirring to coat rice. Add 1 cup water and boil until you can stand a spoon up in the rice (ie meaning the water has evaporated). turn head way down, add lid and cook for about 20 minutes. Check every 5 minutes and stir. If it starts sticking to bottom of pan add a couple tablespoons of water
Coconut Rice: Put 1 cup long grain rice, 1/2 cup coconut milk and 1/2 cup broth to pan. Bring to boil, then turn down heat and add lid. should be done in about 20 minutes. As with all rice, check every 5 mins and add a little water if it starts to stick.
Fried Rice: chop onion, garlic (don't grate, it'll burn) courgette, carrot and peppers and saute in oil for about 8 minutes. If you cook it on really low heat and really slow the onions will sweat and get really nice and soft, tasty and almost sweet. At this point you can either add an egg and scramble it before adding rice or just add some cooked rice (leftover rice from previous day) Once its heated through, sprinkle on a little soy sauce (will add color as well as flavor) and salt/pepper to taste. Serve with some protein such as fish, seitan or chicken.

Green Split Pea:Saute chopped carrot, onion and garlic in oil til soft and translucent. Add about 1 parts of dried green split peas to 5 parts of broth. Bring to boil, turn heat down and simmer for about 1-1 1/2 hours. This is about the cheapest meal you could eat!! A bag of dried green split peas cost about 70 cents!! Carrots are about 30-40 cents per bag and onions about 50 cents per bag. Stock cubes (to make broth) will cost about a dollar for about 6 of them!!
Veggie Tomato: Saute chopped onion, carrot, garlic and courgette in oil til soft (also add tsp each of dried basil, parsley and oregano). Add about 4 cups of broth, a 1/4 cup (or more) of small pasta shells OR rice, and a can of chopped tomatoes. Bring to boil and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours. Taste will become more pronounced as you cook it. If its too tangy add a little soy sauce, if its a little too savory add a splash of vinegar.
Spring Vegetable: In pan add 4 cups broth and add big chunks of celery, ccarrot, & cabbage, a handful of pasta (spirals, penne anything you want), Bbring to boil. Cook for about 15 minutes. At end add some peas, bean sprouts or snow peas if you like and cook for a minute or two longer. Couldn't be simpler!!
If you eat meat you could also throw in some chunks or strips of chicken - I THINK you don't need to precook but can just add to the boiling water but please check with a meat eater how long to cook chicken as I'm a veggie and don't know long it needs to cook (wouldn't want you to get salmonella!!!)

Its okay to burn stuff or mess stuff up - its pretty much all trial and error. Start asking friends or relatives if they cook and if so, ask "whats your specialty?" - EVERYONE has one!! Ask them to either show you how to cook it or ask for the instructions. People are usually really happy to share their culinary successes with others. Good luck.

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