Five Recipes Every Woman Should Know
As many of my friends and loyal readers know, I could barely boil water a few years ago.
My idea of participating in a pot luck was signing up to bring the wine. Every special event was marked with a very special store-bought cake. And on more than one occasion, I had to call my mom to find out how to scramble an egg. Yes, seriously.
But a few years ago, something clicked and I found a new passion for cooking and baking that I never knew existed. We moved into a new house with my first proper kitchen, so that definitely helped. I started watching Food Network for relaxation and it helped to chip away at my culinary insecurities. And I discovered Ina Garten, which pretty much sealed the deal.
These days, we eat home-cooked meals four to five nights per week, on average, and couple that with homemade baked goodies and pancake breakfasts and yes, lots of scrambled eggs (here’s a good recipe for those so you don’t have to call your mom).
And while I still totally relate to women who want to sign up to bring the wine, balk at the sight of baking powder and have their local takeout on speed dial, there are a few key recipes in life that I feel you should have in your arsenal for rainy days and really special events and Sunday mornings when the Bisquick box has run dry.
Here they are:
A roasted chicken. Roasting a chicken terrified me for years but it’s one of the easiest things I have mastered in the kitchen and can feed you (and your family) for days. I buy an organic chicken that is already cut up to save myself the nasty parts of the job and have been using Martha Stewart’s recipe and sitting it on a bed of cut up potatoes and onions (raw, don’t do a thing but cut them up and add salt and pepper). Heaven in a roasting pan.
Bake a cake. I know. It sounds like a lot of work and there are so many lovely, talented people out there who can make them for you (if you’re in or around San Diego, Debbie makes many of mine). But once in a while when it’s a special birthday for your kids or your husband or your mom or dad, it is really nice to pull out something homemade. Put a disclaimer on it: it’s probably not going to be pretty. But if you follow this super easy dump cake recipe, I promise it will taste good.
One great appetizer. I love hosting people for cocktails and canapés, especially during the holidays. It’s light work, easy prep, and everyone can eat, drink and be merry without having to sit around a big old dinner table for hours on end. Crostinis are god’s gift to the culinary novice. You buy a baguette, slice it up, bake the pieces with a little drizzled olive oil and salt and pepper and top them up. This is a great list of 50 different ways to dress them up to suit any palate. And then you can go back to doing what you do best – mingling.
Homemade pancakes. I am embarrassed by how many boxes of instant pancake mix we have gone through through the years when it is SO easy to make your own. Cooking the mix gets a little more complicated, but with some practice (or a skilled husband, as is the case at my place) it is well worth it to serve up something hot and homemade on a sunny Sunday morning. I also LOVE this variation with lemon curd and ricotta.
A great salad or side. If you can find someone to throw a steak or a piece of fish on a grill, you can make a great salad or side and add some grilled bread rubbed with garlic and olive oil and call it a meal. I am still loving my favorite summer salad and always appreciate a nice panzanella. For sides, nothing could be easier than sautéed broccolini with garlic or this corn bacon hash or some simple roasted potatoes. Don’t forget the wine, am sure you don’t need tips on buying that 😉
*image above – salted caramel chocolate fudge cake! – via here*