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Intimidated to cook certain foods?

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Old 03-10-2005, 07:37 AM   #1
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Default Intimidated to cook certain foods?

I find that there are certain foods I am very intimidated by as far as cooking goes and wondered if anyone else feels the same. I'm probably just weird, but here goes... I'd LIKE to be able to cook these things, so I'm trying to gather my courage with some of the recipes on the site.

First is seafood. Literally - anything aside from tuna in a can is a bit scary to me. I'm sorta picky about fish but if its cooked right I love it. However, everytime I've tried to cook fresh fish its been a disaster. It's also a very EXPENSIVE disaster when it happens. I'm also intimidated by vegetables I'm less familiar with. Artichokes, asparagus, brussel sprouts. Tofu. I've been sorta scared to try tofu for a long time. Probably because my first experience with the stuff was watching my college roommate eat a bowl of cubed tofu with ranch dressing and it just looked pretty gross. Thai food or thai recipes.. my dad took us to a thai restaurant once and my sister and I tried several dishes and pretty much hated everything. hehe. Cooking roasts and cuts of beef/pork/lamb that I'm unfamiliar with. My mother cooked with chicken almost always so I'm not familiar with watching these things cooked and it never seems to come out the way I'd like. Grilling anything. I dunno why it just isnt something I've ever quite got down.. besides, usually the guys prefer to do it anyways and I dont get much practice.

things that used to intimidate me, but I conquered - cooking a whole bird like chicken or turkey. I did that 3 times this last year and all times it came out great! pancakes. Yes I know, how could that be scary? I dunno.. I was just afraid they'd be awful and I wouldnt be able to turn them right, etc etc. I've got it down to an art now.
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Old 03-10-2005, 05:34 PM   #2
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I used to be intimidated by cooking anything more than a packet of preseasoned noodles or making tacos out of ground turkey with the seasoning packet.

I lost a lot of weight just by eating a lot of fresh produce and low fat convenience foods.

Two years ago I decided to learn how to cook. My palate has changed a lot over the years and I wanted to learn how to make healthy, delicious food that was more complicated than the baked chicken breasts/noodles in a packet/frozen vegetable meals I grew up on. I started picking one new recipe a week to try and slowly built up a pantry full of staples and a kitchen with decent equipment.

Things that I've conquered that I never would have made before:
- Cooking a whole bird (so much easier than I realized)
- Cooking fresh fish (I use an outdoor grill or grill pan on the stove for most fish and slow roast salmon in the over)
- Handling and cooking raw meat (I used to be so grossed out by raw meat)
- Pan sauces
- All sorts of Mexican goodness (fresh salsas, mole, pumpkin seed sauce, tortilla soup)
- Cooking squash

My next undertaking is to try making my own chicken stock. I've been saving the bones from roasted chicken in the freezer and am waiting for a weekend when I have the time to spend in the kitchen.

I would also really like to take a knife skills cooking class someday. I own a few good knives and picked up safe technique from watching cooking shows but I would like to get faster.

And a note for teckeygirl - I've only done tofu in stirfrys, but I drain it on paper towels first, then cut it into cubes and brown the cubes on all sides in the pan before adding the vegetables. Also, asparagus is great grilled (on an outdoor grill or a grill pan)
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Old 03-11-2005, 12:12 PM   #3
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Suggestion for katia - if you get seriously into making stock & soups (and once you make your own veggie soup, you won't want to go back to commercial junk), it would be worth buying a pressure cooker, if you don't already have one. It cuts the time right down. Also, best way to de-fat chicken stock - sit it in the fridge overnight and just peel the fat off in the morning.
When I have people coming over and I'm trying something new, I also prepare something that I KNOW will work, just in case. It takes the pressure off a little, knowing there will be something for people to eat!
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Old 03-11-2005, 11:17 PM   #4
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I love to cook.

Quote:
Originally Posted by teckeygirl
First is seafood. Literally - anything aside from tuna in a can is a bit scary to me. I'm sorta picky about fish but if its cooked right I love it. However, everytime I've tried to cook fresh fish its been a disaster. It's also a very EXPENSIVE disaster when it happens.
Baking it with a fresh lemon or lime squeezed over it & sprinkled with Mrs Dash, it's delicious. Be not afraid! If you make it in your George Foreman grill, clean it IMMEDIATELY afterward. *holds nose*

Quote:
I'm also intimidated by vegetables I'm less familiar with. Artichokes, asparagus, brussel sprouts.
Artichokes, you can throw in the food processor or blender and mix in with spaghetti sauce for a tasty new treat. Or mix w/fat free Italian dressing.

Asparagus tips, steamed, w/a little bit of real butter & salt free seasoning.

Brussel sprouts, you are on your own. But they would be good steamed w/some parmesan cheese.

Quote:
Tofu. I've been sorta scared to try tofu for a long time. Probably because my first experience with the stuff was watching my college roommate eat a bowl of cubed tofu with ranch dressing and it just looked pretty gross.
It can be. You need to double up paper towels, then fold them in half, put one under the tofu, one over it & then a cutting board on top of it, and a can of soup or something over that. *whew* Leave for about half an hour, then you can cube it up & add it to whatever. It takes on the flavor of whatever you put it in. Very good.
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Thai food or thai recipes.. my dad took us to a thai restaurant once and my sister and I tried several dishes and pretty much hated everything. hehe.
I leave this to the restaurants.

Quote:
Cooking roasts and cuts of beef/pork/lamb that I'm unfamiliar with. My mother cooked with chicken almost always so I'm not familiar with watching these things cooked and it never seems to come out the way I'd like.
Roasts are easy-peasy in the slow cooker. Carrots underneath, roast on top, potatoes all around, seasoning on top. Cook on medium-low for 8 hours or so. Tender, juicy meat.

Quote:
Grilling anything. I dunno why it just isnt something I've ever quite got down.. besides, usually the guys prefer to do it anyways and I dont get much practice.
I like to leave this to the guys & put my feet up.

I have faith in you!!! Good luck!
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Old 03-12-2005, 09:38 AM   #5
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I think I might like to try tofu, but I'm scared about the texture. Could someone give examples of foods with similar textures, so I know what to expect? Thanks!

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