How Beginners can Cook to Impress
Cooking is a real talent and the top chefs make millions from TV shows, recipe books, and endorsements on ready meals and kitchen utensils. While these cooks have been professionally trained and gone through years of hard work there is nothing to stop anyone from picking up a few simple skills and learning how to make some impressive looking dishes.
The key to impressing people with your cooking is to do the simple things right, choose the right ingredients, and above all make sure the meal is edible. Below are a few pointers to help you impress your friends.
Learning The Ropes
If you are a complete novice then start right there, at the beginning. Learn how to properly cook eggs for instance. It may surprise you that many people have issues with this simple thing so begin there. Move up to plain omelets and then when you have this down start adding fillings and be more adventurous.
Although you might be planning ahead to when you can impress your partner on a date night or have some friends around for the future signature dish you need to get the basics down first. All hobbies have a learning curve but the fun with cooking is you get to eat what you make and share with others.
Once you have some simple dishes sorted such as omelets and pasta you will never have to go hungry or rely on takeaways again, right?
Use The Right Tools For The Job
Don’t rush out and buy a ton of kitchen gadgets that will never be used. You just need the basics and depending on the size of your kitchen you might only have to buy one or two things that could transform your cooking.
You could consider a steamer for making healthy fish and vegetable dishes or a blender for soups and of course, smoothies. There is one other appliance though that is ideal for a beginner cook; an Instant Pot. If you haven’t heard of this then maybe you have heard of a pressure cooker which is the main feature of an Instant Pot. However, there is a lot more to it than that.
How Could a Beginner Use an Instant Pot?
Firstly, you need to understand what can be achieved with an Instant Pot. It has a list of features that include being able to saute, sous-vide, make yogurt and cook rice. It also has a slow cooker mode along with the normal pressure cooking way of making meals. The fast cooking action means that the Instant Pot is energy efficient and lets even the most newbie cooks prepare meals in very little time.
For the beginner, it is ideal because as basic as this sounds you can literally throw your ingredients plus some liquid in and let it do its thing. It works very well for one-pot cooking so things like soups, stews, and chilis cook well. It also tenderizes tough cuts of meat so you produce slow-cooked dishes where the meat falls off the bone and make your guests that you have been cooking for hours.
How Can The Instant Pot Cook Impressive Food?
Obviously what comes out of the pot will depend on what you put in. You can find some impressive recipes online for dishes such as Mongolian beef from Corrie Cooks and there are many more ideas you can consider that will wow your guests.
Lobster always looks impressive and steaming lobster tails in the Instant Pot is a doddle. Serve as a lobster salad or with garlic butter to dip into for a starter. Or look for authentic-looking recipes that work well in the Instant Pot such as Thai red curry or Indian butter chicken for an indulgent meal. For dessert, you could prepare a cheesecake in the pot before you cook the starter and main.
Because the Instant Pot cooks so quickly with some preparation of the ingredients and having the dessert made earlier you can have a three-course meal for your guests in no time at all.
Consider Your Guests
When you are looking at writing your menu think about who is coming to dinner. If it is a date night then the Thai curry might work well or pasta with shrimp and broccoli. A shrimp etouffee from New Orleans might impress someone with your knowledge of regional foods. If however, your buddies are coming over to watch the game then you might be pleased to know that the Instant Pot is very capable of cooking sticky ribs, buffalo wings, Cuban sliders, and stuffed potato skins.
Buy Quality Ingredients
One last thing that will help impress your guests is if you tell them you bought your ingredients locally and buying grass-fed meat from a farmer who cares will show you also care about what you put in front of your guests. Mostly though, just make sure the food tastes good so practice your meal before the big event. Pretty soon you will be able to say you have a signature dish.
If you are cooking vegetarian food then consider pushing the boat out and only buy organic produce. Many people swear that organic vegetables taste better and of course there are the health benefits of not consuming chemicals.
While choosing ingredients there is one other consideration. You may be very happy with your new hobby and your appliance and start looking at things like wagyu steak and other expensive cuts. Because the pot cooks so quickly and uses pressure and steam you will find no benefit from using cuts like this. In fact, the Instant Pot recipes often benefit from using cheaper cuts because they can tenderize them and they often contain far more flavor than fillet steak for instance.
Remember everyone has to learn somewhere and when trying to cook food from other cultures it is easy to make mistakes but you will have a lot of fun practicing. Your only real problem is with all the testing of recipes and eating the results you might have to find more time to go to the gym.