An essential part of cooking on the fly, or being able to throw a meal together, is a well stocked pantry. Having essential ingredients on hand can make the difference between preparing a fresh, tasty, homemade meal, or ordering a pizza. If you have what you need to put a quick meal together, you’re more likely to prepare something, and less likely to order that disgusting pizza (OK, I admit they’re good during football season, with a beer). Below are some essentials which should always be found in your pantry or kitchen cupboards.
Pure olive oil for cooking and extra virgin olive oil for toppings and dressings. You should also keep sesame oil around for dressings and delicious Asian sauces.
Always have the essential standby vinegars on hand. These include white and red wine vinegar, aged balsamic, malt, and cider. It’s also a good idea to have some inexpensive sherry.
Sauces and Flavorings:
Ketchup, Tabasco, worcestershire sauce, and yellow, Dijon, and whole grain mustard.
Canned coconut milk, light and dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, sweet chili sauce, fish sauce and rice wine.
All Pupose, as well as some self rising flour. Sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, baking soda, and corn starch.
I always keep artichoke hearts in the fridge, as well as some sun-dried tomatoes and pickles.
Pasta, Grains, and Noodles:
Keep a wide selection of pasta on hand such as spaghetti, fettuccine, penne, and fusilli. Rice is easy to store and should always be accessible in your kitchen. Couscous, bulgur wheat, and rice noodles are also easy to throw together to complete a meal.
Although the above list is not conclusive, it’s a solid start to a well stocked pantry. Consider the above info a shopping list if you don’t already have the items on hand. It will be quite expensive to properly stock your pantry the first time, but once it’s done, you’ll never have to spend quite so much again. Most of these ingredients last for months and when you run out of something, it’s only a few bucks to replace that one item.
You can now look forward to a brighter cooking future!
These Pork Chops are tasty and go well with bread. Easy to cook and ready in under 30 minutes if you know your way around the kitchen.
This recipe comes from Gordon Ramsay’s Fast Food and can also be seen on youtube. I’ve added the youtube video to the end of the article for your convenience. Thanks to TheTimesOnline for posting the video!
Heat your oven to 400 F. Place the pork chops in a large, lightly oiled baking dish and scatter the thyme sprigs, rosemary leaves, garlic cloves, and salt over the top. Drizzle with a little olive oil and bake for 20 minutes or until pork chops are cooked through. Make the sauce while your waiting.
Heat the olive oil in a wide pan and add the onion, red bell pepper, chile, and mushrooms. Stir over high heat for 3-4 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften. Tip in the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and add the sugar and a splash of water. Simmer for 10-12 minutes until the onions are tender and the tomato sauce has thickened. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Take the pork chops out of the oven and let rest in a warm place for 5 minutes. Pour any pan juices into the sauce and reheat. Ladle a generous amount of sauce over the chops to serve.
Done and done! Under 30 minutes? Only if you’re fast.
Gordon Ramsay's Bacon, Pea & Goat Cheese Frittata
This recipe can be found in Gordon Ramsay’s Fast Food. Please buy the book if you enjoy this recipe as Gordon needs the cash! *chuckles*
Preheat your oven broiler to it’s highest setting. Get a large skillet and melt the butter and cook the bacon until golden brown and crisp. Toss in the peas and cook for another minute or two, then add the basil.
Beat the eggs and pour them into the skillet. Gently shake the skillet over medium heat. As the frittata begins to set at the bottom, top with the goat cheese. Season generously with pepper and a little salt.
Sprinkle grated parmesan over the frittata and place the pan under the hot broiler for a minute or two until the eggs are set on top. Slide onto a warm large plate.
Lightly dress a handful of arugula leaves by tossing them with the vinaigrette, then pile on top of the frittata. Cut into wedges and serve. Yummy!
Today I went to check the mail and was delighted to find that after only a few days, my new paring knife set had arrived! I promised to post back with my opinion of these bad boys after using them, so here you go.
I made Shepherd’s Pie again and used the little curved paring knife to skin my potatoes. I love these little knives! Although the knives are definitely not the craftsmanship of a Wustof, they cut right through the potato like a hot knife through butter! The handle is made of some kind of plastic and is very rough, which makes the grip on it very secure. The knives themselves are a polished stainless steel. I also used the straight edge knife to cut the ends off of my carrot and onion with no problem at all!
Overall, I’m very pleased with my $5 purchase and will recommend these knives to anyone on a budget. Click on over to Amazon.com and pick up a set of Forschner Knives by Victorinox if you don’t already have a quality set of cooking knives and you can’t afford to drop big bucks!
Today my fiance told me that she will never be a great chef since she can’t keep track of so many things at once. In essence, cooking scares her. As a matter of fact, she just had a nightmare last night that she was cooking, lost control of all the things happening and not only ruined dinner, but set the house on fire!
Like so many things in life, cooking requires not only skill but bravery and daring. One must not rely on strict measurements and instructions, but be willing to make the dish theirs. We see this very often in F Word recipes. There is no exact measurement. Pork IN! Salt, pepper, herbs! Pork off! Plate done!
So, does Gordon give his instructions out of laziness or out of understanding? I would say that all of his instructions are perfectly clear! Do not make Gordon’s Beef Wellington, make your own. Any great artist is more than happy to give you advice on how to be great. Only a hack will actually give you a paint by numbers canvas. Painting by numbers limits you to the extent of each numbers outline.
Each and every dish we make starts with a blank canvas. Should you limit yourself to the recipes you read here? Can you break free of recipes you find elsewhere? Dare to estimate the measurements to your taste. Do not use measuring spoons or cups (unless you’re baking cookies). Break free of all the fear you hold in your heart and have a glass of wine while doing so! I hope you find this advice not only improves your cooking and kitchen experiences, but your life as well.
Until the next post…
Knives are invaluable in the kitchen and cooking with cheap, or dull knives is unpleasant at best. In my article “My New Knives” I evaluated several brands of cutlery and explained why I purchased the Katana Series knives by Calphalon, yet I apparently left out a serious contender. Those of you on a limited budget should be very excited about the information contained in this article!
Recently I had the opportunity to speak with a local restaurant owner about kitchen cutlery and he could not lavish enough praise on Forschner Knives by Victorinox. Victorinox is the same company that makes the oh so popular, Swiss Army Knife.
I must admit that I’ve approached these knives with the utmost trepidation since they are stamped and not forged, and they’re fairly inexpensive! I’m of the old school mentality which believes all good knives must be forged. Trepidation or not, my curiosity has been growing as a result of this restaurateur’s enthusiasm and I finally decided to look into these Swiss made knives.
Review after review regarding Forschner Knives has shown them as consistent contenders against knives costing much, much more than these affordable pieces of cutlery. Consumer reports, known for their extremely reliable and unbiased opinions rates these knives very well, as does Amazon.com!
Oh, I can’t forgot to mention that Forschner Knives bear the poncy NSF logo as well! For those of you who aren’t in the know, NSF stands for National Sanitation Foundation. Check out the quote straight from Victorinox’s website regarding NSF:
The NSF mark is a certification of quality assurance and hygienic design. The National Sanitation Foundation mark is proudly carried on all our blades with a fibrox or nylon handle and assures you of quality and assurance to use in a commercial environment. Look for this mark. Realize that most manufacturers do not carry this seal! -SA
I’m going to give these bad boys a try by purchasing the little inexpensive three knife starter kit from Amazon.com pictured below. They normally cost about $18, so I’ll be stealing them at $5.20. If you don’t already have a good set of knives, you’d be well advised to click the link and buy a set for yourself.
*edit: Amazon has sold out of these knife sets since I posted this article. The picture below shows what I purchased. You can still get a similar set at Amazon.com by clicking this link: Forschner Knives
I’ll post back and let you know how these knives work out for me after they arrive.
Gordon Ramsay cooked this recipe for some construction workers on the F Word recently. He goes really fast, and it’s hard to make sure I’ve got all of the ingredients right, but I think I’ve got it. Give it a try and let me know how it turns out.
*edit: I made this stew a few nights ago and it was unbelievable! Get down to the farmers market and pick up the ingredients, you won’t regret it.
The secret to making this dish fast and tasty is to cook everything in the same pan.
Add the onions, garlic, and thyme to a large heavy pan and cook until the onions are translucent; set aside on a plate. Quarter the mushrooms and sautee till soft; set aside on the same plate as the onions.
Rub your meat with salt and pepper then add to simmering hot oil. Brush the meat with yellow mustard. Brown meat on all sides, then set aside on your handy plate from earlier.
Pour some red wine vinegar into the pan and then add tomato puree. Mix in beef stock and creme fraiche. Stir well and bring to a simmer, then put the meat back into the pan. Pour all of your other cooked ingredients back into the pan and heat thoroughly while stirring. Add Cilantro and stir for 60 seconds.
Your done! If you’ve hauled ass, then it’s only been about 25 minutes and it’s time to eat!! Serve with some rustic bread and don’t forget to let me know how it turns out! I’ll be making this for dinner in a couple of nights (tomorrow is more shepherd’s pie)!
Gordon Ramsay made this soup in a competition against the owner/head chef of Clubway 41. Clubway 41 had a broccoli soup which consisted of 20 different ingredients, whereas Gordon Ramsay’s broccoli soup consisted of just 5! This soup really only contains 3 ingredients, should you choose to not count water and garnish as ingredients; “most importantly, this soup actually tastes of broccoli”!
Chef Ramsay has since expanded on this recipe to include goat cheese and walnuts. I’ve tasted the simpler version of this soup from Kitchen Nightmares and I can’t wait to try it with the two extra ingredients, it looks fabulous and my mouth is watering from writing this article!
There is a video at the end of the article if you would prefer to watch Gordon Ramsay prepare his Broccoli Soup.
if you want to make the fancy version in the video, you’ll also need two more ingredients:
Bring water to a boil in a large stock pot. Add a large pinch of salt (1 – 1 1/2 Tbsp.). Add broccoli and boil rapidly.
You will want to slice your goat cheese at this point if you’re making the fancy version. Dip the knife into the boiling hot water before each slice for even smooth cuts. Cut two slices of goat cheese per bowl being served. After cutting, use the hot smooth side of your knife to smooth one side of the cheese slices for appearance.
Your broccoli is finished cooking when you can pierce it with little or no effort. Remove the stock pan from the stove burner. DO NOT POUR THE WATER OUT! Use a slotted spoon to add broccoli to a blender but be careful because it’s boiling hot! Pour enough of the water left over from cooking the broccoli to fill the blender half way. Add a pinch (or more) of salt. Use several pulses on your blender to break the broccoli up and then puree for several seconds.
If you are making the fancy version, add five walnuts to the bottom of a shallow bowl and then place pieces of goat cheese on top of them.
Pour soup into shallow bowl. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and serve at once! Delicious!
Please leave comments and let me know how this turns out for you.
Gordon Ramsay cooked this delicious looking salad on the F Word a couple of weeks ago and I intend to find out how it tastes! I love crayfish/crawdads/crawfish/crawdaddies or what ever they’re called in your region. It’s still a little cold around here to catch the little bugers, but it should be warm enough in a couple of weeks, which gives me just enough time to build my traps. I’ll post an article with pictures of my traps when I get them finished. Now on to the salad…
This part is a cinch. Bring some water to a rolling broil and dump the crayfish into it. Cook the crayfish for 2-3 minutes max! They will turn a bright pinkish orange when they’re cooked. Remove the pan from the stove and strain the water off of the crayfish.
Remove the tails from the crayfish by twisting and pulling. You will be able to remove the meat from the tails more easily if you don’t let them cool. Pinch the base of the tail and squeeze the meat out of the opening.
You can eat the claws later.
Slice off the tops and bottoms of the oranges and grapefruit using a sharp, serrated knife. Cut away the remaining peel and pith, then cut along the membrane of the fruit to release the segments, holding the fruit over a sieve set on a bowl to catch the juice. Squeeze out the excess juice from the core of each fruit before discarding.
Whisk together 6 tablespoons of the citrus juice with the chopped shallot, mustard, orange zest, olive oil and seasoning to taste.
Peel, stone and slice the avocado into neat slivers. Place into a bowl and gently toss with the citrus segments and crayfish tails – it is easier if you do this with your hands. Divide the mixture among four serving plates, then top with a neat pile of salad leaves in the center. Spoon over the citrus dressing and serve immediately.
Catching trout can be a fun and rewarding experience and eating them is even better! Whether you catch your trout from a fresh mountain river (like I did), or the local fish monger, you’re certain to have a delicious meal when you get home. I’ve been fishing three out of the last five days and came home with three trout. I plan to prepare this meal after my trout is finished smoking (I’ll post back on how it turns out).
You can make your own Smoked Trout, or you can buy it at the store. I will be smoking my own.
This recipe comes from Gordan Ramsay’s Fast Food
Add the plum tomatoes to a large pan of boiling salted water and blanch for 2 minutes. Lift out with a slotted spoon to a bowl of iced water to cool for a few minutes, then remove and peel off the skins. Halve the tomatoes and squeeze out the seeds.
Put the tomatoes into a food processor along with the semi-dried tomates, garlic, shallots, olive oil, and lemon juice. Whiz to a smooth sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce into a pan and warm through over medium-high heat while you cook the pasta.
Cook the pasta in a boiling salted water (the pan you used for the tomatoes) for 2 minutes until al dente. Drain well, then toss with the tomato dressing and flaked trout. Divide among warm plates and grate over some parmesan to serve.