The kitchen will become your playground once you learn a few basics. To ease you into the fun of this hands-on, how-to cooking school, we've assembled wonderful-tasting, simple-to-make dishes chosen for the cooking techniques they teach and the kitchen secrets they reveal. (And for you experienced cooks, we'll reacquaint you with how flavorful basic cooking can be.) For starters, there's easy roast beef ready in under an hour; chicken with pasta sauce prepared in a single skillet; and two kinds of fuss-free fish. For the big finish: a pair of fail-safe cakes that are bound to make dessert the highlight of any meal.
- Allow yourself plenty of time when you're trying out a new dish; you might add 15 or 20 minutes to the preparation time given.
- Read the recipe and make sure you understand each step that you're going to do.
- Assemble your ingredients and get them ready to cook. For instance, if a recipe calls for chopped onions, chop them before you start cooking. Measure out all the spices and herbs you'll need. Get out all the pans, spoons, spatulas, mixers, and other equipment the recipe requires.
- Trust the recipe. Our recipes are tested and restested with the same kind of appliances, pots, pans, and utensils you have at home, until we're sure you'll have delicious results.
- Wash utensils or put them in the dishwasher when you are finished using them. This will leave less cleanup at the end.
Cooking a beef roast couldn't be simpler or tastier. Use the tenderest of beef cuts; season it with a savory mixture of garlic, marjoram, lemon peel, and pepper; and then let the oven take over to do its magic.
One pan is all it takes to make both the tender, succulent chicken and its spirited sauce of tomatoes, garlic, and onions.
For safety's sake when transferring hot foods to a blender, place the hot skillet on a trivet or pot holder and use a spoon to make the switch.
Fish is foolproof when it's simmered gently in a fragrant herb broth and served with garnet-hued beets. On the side is a tasty sour cream that's made with just a push of the blender's "on" button.
We've stood these two-bite, vanilla-scented cupcakes and their middle-size siblings on their heads for an adventure in carefree baking that's destined to be delicious.
Why sift powdered sugar?
Unlike flour, which needs only stirring before measuring, powdered sugar must be sifted through either a sieve or a sifter because it can pack down or lump during shipping. If you use the sugar when it's packed down, you will wind up with too much of the sugar in your frosting. Plus, lumpy sugar makes lumpy icing. How to sift: Spoon powdered sugar into a sifter or a sieve. Holding it over a bowl, operate the handle of the sifter or push the sugar through a sieve with a wooden spoon, stirring, if necessary, to break up any lumps. Then gently spoon it into a dry measuring cup or a measuring spoon. Level off the excess with the straight edge of a metal spatula or knife.
Here's a cake so sumptuous, all you'll crave with it is fresh fruit. For an extra treat, top servings with a quick combo of Italian-style cream cheese, nuts, and honey.