College Kitchen Questions

My “baby” will be moving into her first apartment this semester. She asked me for a few basics-

COOKING DRY BEANS
Soak beans for 8 hours, drain, rinse, drain again, add four times as much water as beans and a little salt, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook till tender. The time will depend on the type and size of the bean. After an hour, use a fork to fish out a bean and test. When the beans are tender drain off the cooking water and rinse. I normally soak the beans 24 hours before using so that I can let them cook while getting ready in the morning so they are ready when I come home to prepare dinner. Beans can also be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

BASIC BROTH/SOUP
The three magic vegetables for starting a soup are onion, carrot and celery. When I make soup I generally saute the vegetables in a bit of extra virgin olive oil and then add the spices, other ingredients (vegetables, legumes, rice) and water bring to a boil and simmer until whatever is added is done. Taste to decide how much salt and pepper to use.

BOILING EGGS
Place egg(s) in a pot, cover with water, sprinkle with salt, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, set the timer, reduce heat to simmering and continue cooking. For soft boiled 3-5 minutes depending on the size; for hard boiled 9-11 minutes depending on the size. Drain, rinse with cold water till cool enough to peel.

POTATOES
*Boiling Scrub potatoes, place in a pot, cover with water, add a bit of salt, cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Test with a fork for tenderness. I have noticed that the heat needs to be reduced throughout the cooking time so keep an eye on it.
*Baking Preheat oven to 375. Scrub potatoes, place whole on a baking sheet, poke each one twice with a fork and bake until the skin is crispy and the potatoes soft, about one hour.
*Roasting Preheat oven to 400. Scrub potatoes, cut into desired size and shape, place in a bowl, toss with extra virgin olive oil to coat, pour in a single layer on a baking sheet, sprinkle with sea salt (you can also sprinkle with fresh ground black pepper, paprika and other spices you like- experiment) place in oven and bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Test with a fork.
*Fries I make fries like the roasting recipe. Cut the fries to the shape you want and some extra salt when they come out of the oven. Not only is this much healthier than frying potatoes in oil but the clean up and splatter pains are eliminated.
*Home Fries Preheat a skillet with a lid to medium low heat. Scrub potatoes and cut into one inch cubes. Add a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil to the pan (or you can do 50/50 oil and butter) add the potatoes, sprinkle with salt and fresh ground black pepper, cover and let cook until the potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. There are a lot of variations (onions, peppers, spices) so that is the basic recipe.

COOKING RICE
Soak rice for at least 1 hour. I usually let it soak while at work. Drain, rinse and drain again. When cooking soaked rice it requires less water. Normally, it is one part rice to two parts water with a bit of salt and/or oil. When soaking I have found that using one part rice to one and a half to three quarters water with a bit of salt and/or oil is good. Put it all in a pot, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cook with lid on until tender, about 20 minutes. I turn the heat to low for the last five minutes. To check if the rice is done carefully tip the pot. If water appears at the edge of the rice continue cooking until all of the water is absorbed.

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