Thursday, December 9, 2010

An Interesting Discovery...

I have a confession to make, my dear readers, and it's a painful one. I don't know everything. No, seriously! I know that reading this blog has made you believe that I am an undeniable, never-ending font of knowledge, second only to the Lord God Himself!! But, alas, I am not. I am the first to admit, that there are whole realms of knowledge that I am not privy to. The current bane to my font of eternal wisdom and know-it-allness (yes, I know that's not a word! Just go with it...) is cooking.

Yes, the arcane and mystical art of food preparation is still very much a mystery for me. I can make cold cereal, scrambled eggs, mac & cheese, and a wide variety of sandwiches... but that's it. To be completely honest, most of my meals have been take out. Unfortunately, I don't have the money to continue that particular style of cooking, and so by necessity, I'm forced to cook for myself. And since I can't live on just the stuff I know how to make, I am also forced to learn how to make actual meals.

Which brings us to the topic at hand. I've learned recently (the last year or so) that you have to pre-season food in order for it to have any flavor. Yet, even with the most vigorous seasoning I could accomplish, I still couldn't get a truly flavorful meal. All my seasoning stayed at the outermost layer of whatever I was preparing. But, I recently got an idea: what if I put seasoning in with the food while it was cooking AS WELL as when I prepare it for cooking?? Last night, I tested my theory. I took my chicken and seasoned it as normal with my old faithful, Goya Adobo, a seasoning mix that is used in practically all latin cooking consisting of garlic powder, onion powder, salt, black pepper, dry orégano brujo, and occasionally dried citrus zest.

I got a pot and put some corn oil in, and then crumbled up a cube of chicken bouillon in the oil. I heated up the oil and put my chicken in. It took about 15-20 min, but I came out with some very tasty chicken. Of course, I also burned the oil/bouillon mix that I was cooking the chicken in, but at least the theory held!!!

Now, I know that the experienced cooks reading this all are shaking your heads at me and grumbling any number of names at me. In my defense, I don't watch cooking shows, I wasn't trained in cooking, nor have I taken any cooking classes outside of high school Home Ec. This is all new to me, so cut me a break! For my next trick: how to get rice to not come out as a sticky mush better suited for sushi!

I think I might be aiming a little high....


  1. I've been cooking all our meals since Lisa and I first moved in together. We only ever order out once, maybe twice a month. All other meals are cooked by me and me only.

    And, yes, no one taught me either. I learned the hard way, by much trial and error. The difference between me and you is that I don't cook Latin food. Although, funny, I *do* use Adobo to season chicken with. It's the best!

    With chicken, the secret is to marinate it beforehand in the refrigerator. That gets the flavor seeping into the deeper layers. If you want, you can buy pretty good already made marinades at the supermarket. Lowry's have some good ones. Or you can even use certain vinegar-based salad dressings. The burning oil thing is a practiced art. You can't use too much of it, just enough to coat a non-stick pan. And don't cook with such a hot flame.

    Rice took me a while to get right, but now I've perfected it. I don't flavor my rice, though. And I only make brown rice now.

    Anyway, enough of this. I'm not a cook, I only make simple foods. With trial and error, you'll figure it out. The mistake most bachelors make is to overcook everything. You need to learn the art of the "subtle" flame. :)

    Good luck!

  2. Try to get a copy of "How to Cook Everything" It's not only a recipe book, but it actually goes over how to actually prepare the recipes it contains.

  3. I agree. The Bittman book is AMAZING. For example., I just learned that you have to heat the pan before you add butter, or else the butter burns... Never would have figured that out...

  4. oh, and by the way, be CAREFUL with Adobo! I had a cookout some years ago, and used it on the chicken... Someone at the party was allergic to MSG (who knew Adobo had that nasty preservative in it!) and broke out is massive hives and had to leave (almost went to ER)... So, careful if you cook for anyone and use Adobo!

  5. Wow... thanks for all the advice! It's interesting that my first cooking post got so much attention.

    I should post about cooking more often! Oh, and good tip with the Adobo. I'm not sure, but I think they may have taken MSG out of the newer bottles. I'll check on that.