When it comes to cooking, there’s always something to learn. That’s one of the most fun parts of cooking. You’ll never reach the end of your culinary journey. In our two previous Cooking for Beginners articles, Techniques and Tips and Meal Prep and Safety Tips, we’ve learned about getting mise en place and searing steaks. But there’s more to cooking than that! Today, we’ll be learning about a breakfast classic, an easy way to make veggies even tastier, and how to add even more flavor to your steaks!
The Basics of an Omelet
There are many ways to complicate this diner delight. A classic French omelet is pure white, but its American cousin is a little simpler to achieve. In this case, an omelet acts as a blank canvas to which you can add any ingredient, protein, or seasoning. One of the nice things about omelets is that if you mess up, don’t worry! You can always turn it into scrambled eggs.
When it comes to actually making the omelet, get the kitchen mise en place. Prep the ingredients before the egg — cooking any bacon or sautéing onions before setting it aside. Bring ingredients that were refrigerated or cooled to room temperature before adding them to the omelet. This keeps the omelet from having a warm exterior and a cold inside.
One of the nice things about omelets is that if you mess up, they can always turn into scrambled eggs!
Next, break open the eggs and beat them in a small dish. Be careful to remove any bits of shells that fall into the bowl. Nothing ruins a delicious omelet quicker than an unwelcome crunch mid-bite. Using butter or cooking spray, lubricate a nonstick skillet. You want just enough melted butter/spray to lightly cover the entire base of the skillet. Heat the skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, pour in the eggs and tilt the pan so that the egg spreads evenly across the base.
As the edges become firm, use a heat-resistant spatula to gently push the edges toward the center. Tilt the skillet so the excess uncooked egg replaces the edge that you moved toward the center. As you begin to run out of excess egg, add your cheese and fillings and fold the omelet in half. Allow one side to cook for about a minute before flipping again. This is a rough, simple omelet, but it should do the trick. Experiment with the other ingredients and flavors. If you want to cook a picture-perfect omelet like a pro, try Alton Brown’s Perfect Omelet recipe.
Roasted vegetables are delicious. Whether you’re using them to punch up a dish, like roasted tomatoes or garlic, or as a snack, such as roasted cabbage, roasting veggies can add a lot of flavor. While not as healthy as eating a raw carrot, roasting vegetables deeply develops flavors, and you can use the same technique for virtually any veggie.
While not as healthy as eating a raw carrot, roasting vegetables deeply develops flavors.
Broccoli, potatoes, chickpeas — pretty much any roasted vegetable is a variation of the same recipe. For this example, we’ll nab the Roasted Chicken Chickpeas recipe from Superfood Snack Hacks: Beans. You can also use the similar Kale Chips recipe from Superfood Snack Hacks: Kale.
When you roast vegetables, it’s important that you have enough fat to keep the vegetables from getting too dry. Generally, you want enough olive oil to thoroughly coat each vegetable. One good rule of thumb is to use a tablespoon of oil per pound of vegetables.
Roasted Tomatoes Recipe
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 tbsp of salt
- ½ tbsp of pepper
- Preheat oven to 425°F
- Slice the cherry tomatoes in half
- Spread the tomatoes on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil
- Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper
- When the oven is up to temperature, place the baking sheet in the oven
- Leave in the oven for 30 minutes, checking them every 10 minutes.
These roasted tomatoes are perfect to add to a pasta dish, a chicken dinner, or on a delicious salad.
Making a Pan Sauce
So, you’ve seared an incredible steak, roasted some vegetables on the side, and you’re looking for something to add a little flavor. Don’t clean that pan yet! You’re destroying a lot of potential for flavor. A pan sauce is a simple way to take a dirty pan and make it useful.
A pan sauce is a simple way to take a dirty pan and make it useful.
Any good pan sauce starts with a seared meat. Once you’ve seared the steak, there will be pan drippings from the fat and cooked seasoning left over. These drippings are often called the fond, or the foundation of our pan sauce. Some of the fond will be baked onto the pan, so you’ll need to deglaze the pan using a little wine or stock. Next, scrape the pan with a wooden spoon, until the bottom is clean.
You’ll let the liquid cook in the pan until it’s reduced about halfway. Next, add some butter or stock to the pan, and mix it in thoroughly. If you added stock, allow it to reduce halfway again before adding butter. Butter brings a richness to your pan sauce that can’t be beat. At this point, the stock is technically done, but it may be a little watery for some. If you’d prefer a thicker, creamier sauce, add a thickening agent. If you’ve accidentally made your sauce too thick, just mix in some more stock until it’s at the consistency you’re aiming for.
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The trick to becoming a great home cook is to try new things and have fun doing it.
The trick to becoming a great home cook is to try new things and have fun doing it. With this series of articles, we hope that you can start your culinary journey, one that will last a long, long time. For this dinner, and many more to come, bon appetit!