[quote]Loose Tool wrote:
The best general resource for ccooking that I’ve found is “Cooks Illustrated”. I started reading it when it first was published as a magazine (1994), and then I subscribed to they web site.
Reading their articles you will learn more about the theory and practice of cooking than you will ever learn watching Rachel Ray.
I love that site…
Here’s another interesting one in the same vein:
Explains a lot of the WHY behind cooking and how things work.
Once you understand the basics of how things work and certain things that work well as combinations, you can literally just go to the store and see what LOOKS good and combine it together to make something delicious and nutritious.
I know I write a lot of recipes here on this site and MWA site but, typically my recipes are just a list of ingredients. I just try to write directions and amounts for people that don’t really know how to cook.
Once you have mastered a METHOD like searing or saute or roast or braise you can just apply that method to any food you know works well. For example moist heat cooking like braising or stewing works well for tough cuts of meat with lots of connective tissue to break down for gelatin and tough or fibrous vegetables.
Dry heat cooking methods like Grilling, Broiling, saute work well for naturally tender meats and softer vegetables.
Combination cooking methods are used for more tender cuts also.
Poaching is great for tender filets if you want a nice subtle flavor imparted.
OK another great way to learn to cook is to get an all inclusive cook book like I highly recommend ‘The Professional Chef’ from the Culinary Institute of America. It includes several chapters on each cooking method, all different cuts of meat, fish, foul, vegetables etc. Then in the back there are tons of just classic recipes that utilize the different methods taught. You’d think I went to school there or something!