Wednesday, September 18, 2013


I have been teaching my friend Cara to cook. She’s never cooked before, thinking its really hard, and time consuming. It doesn’t have to be that way.  She said all she ever cooks is Hamburger Helper.
Good  God.

So for two weeks now she and another friend have come over, and I’ve shown her how to cook quick and easy and clean.
The first week we cut up a chicken breast and sauté in a little olive oil and added some zucchini and yellow squash and served it on top of some sliced tomatoes with fresh basil and some angel hair pasta. She did all the cutting and cooking.
Total elapsed time was 25 minutes.
About the same amount of time as it takes to cook the Hamburger Helper.
We used 1 pot for the pasta, and 1 skillet for the chicken and squashes.
You don’t always have to have sauce for pasta you know. Just a little chopped parsley and olive oil is nice. Just make sure you season it. I call it cooking clean, not just because you don’t make so much of a mess, but the flavor is just light, and fresh, and , well, CLEAN.

This week, we went a little deeper. We had Pork Loin with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli, yellow squash and carrots.
First, I had her chop fresh parsley and rosemary.
Then she sliced the pork loin into medallions and we marinated it with the herbs, olive oil, and some garlic.
She cut the potatoes for mashed potato, and got them on the boil, the water slightly salted.
She cut the carrots, broccoli, and yellow squash…some good knife work with no blood, that’s good.
Then she heated up the skillet and started sauté on the pork medallions.
As they were browning, I explained to her  there was another way to do this.
 That this was the “ala minute’” way to do it, when she had no time, like just getting off work.
But with even less effort, she could roast the pork loin.
She could just season the loin, and rub it with the herbs she had chopped, then brown the whole loin on all sides in the skillet, throw some cut up potatoes and baby carrots in there with it, cover it and put it in a 250 degree oven for two hours.

“Lets say its Sunday afternoon, and you and your husband want to eat after the game. Just come in the kitchen at halftime, brown the loin, throw the veges in, cover and put it into a 275 degree oven. Go back to the TV in time for the 3rd quarter, and about the time the game is over, dinner is ready!”
She nodded her head. “Is it good like that?”
“Hoh-Hoh-Hoh! Is it good? Mais oui, madame! But yes!”

Then I told her to step aside from the stove, and I opened the oven and I pulled out the other half of the pork loin she had sliced up that I had put in the oven to roast two hours before!
You should have seen the look on her face!
She says “You mean you have me doing all this, and you already have dinner ready?”
I said “That’s how we learn, baby, thats how we learn!”

Of course, the roast makes a nice jus, and I pulled to cover off, and had her taste the juices in the bottom of the pan. Her eyes lit up.
“Oh, that’s good!” she said.

“Hoh-Hoh-Hoh!” I laughed in my best French Chef laugh. “You must learn to laugh “Hoh-Hoh-Hoh””.
“Hoh-Hoh-Hoh” she laughed back, and I had her get down on one knee, and I christened her with a wooden kitchen spoon, tapping her right, then left shoulder, and a third tap on her bowed head.
“I make you Sous-Chef, Hoh-Hoh-Hoh!” I said.

I had also made an Apple-Fennel slaw to garnish the pork with. Total cooking time for Cara was just about an hour, but we had leftovers enough for them to take home, and I ate the leftovers the next two nights as well. The pork loin cost about 9 bucks @ 1.99 a pound. That's less than a dollar a serving.

I got a message from Cara last night:
"I made chicken with cilantro and lime and zucchini and squash. I almost cut my finger, the knife chopped my finger nail instead. Cooking can be a bit dangerous"

Keep those fingers tucked in Cara, just like I showed you.
And follow your dream.


AnitaNH said...

You sound like a wonderful teacher! I learned a lot from just reading your post. I am such a lazy slob in the kitchen. I would eat nothing but toasted bread and pesto, and red seedless grapes, with a few raisin bran muffins thrown in for comic relief if I though I could get away with it.

bulletholes said...

Bread and pesto! Throw in some goat cheese and a tomato and you got dimmer!

red dirt girl said...

where were you when i developed such a loathing for all things cooking related in my formative years??? open up a traveling cooking school and come and skool me :-)

love this!