Get Started Cooking – Cooking Basics Pasta & Eggs

Are you making mistakes cooking your egg recipes? Does your over easy look like a map of the moon collided with the sun? Without a lot of difficult recipes, we are going to cover some really basic cooking knowledge for those who may feel challenged or are just starting out. Knowing the basics on how to and how long to cook just basic everyday foods will keep you well fed even if you don’t want to learn anything more. If you do want to grow your knowledge in cooking, it is a great basic set of skills that will stay with you forever.

Pasta – Pasta is super simple and takes little time.

Boil your water in a large enough pot for the pasta you are making. It is recommended you use at least 4 quarts of water for every pound of pasta. Add a tablespoon of salt to the water to flavor it. Add pasta to the water and stir it right away to keep it from sticking. Stir at least once more after a minute to keep it from sticking. Cooking time for pasta depends on the type of pasta and the thickness of the pasta. Boxed angel hair pasta may take as little as 3-5 minutes whereas boxed rigatoni or shell shaped pasta may take up to 15 minutes to cook. Take one piece out and test the pasta to test it to know when your pasta is cooked to your liking. When it is cooked to your liking, use a strainer and strain the pasta over the sink. Take care of your hands and face to keep away from the steam which can burn. Add desired topping to pasta. *Freshly made pasta cooking times will be much shorter. Angel hair fresh pasta will take as little as one minute where as thicker fresh pasta may take only 3 minutes. Test your pasta so it doesn’t over cook. Over cooked pasta is mushy and for me, a waste of good food.  Here are some great links to pasta dishes>>

Lee Ann’s Simple Pasta Red Sauce Recipe- A simple red sauce can be made fresh in little time. (for four) Open the can of tomatoes. In a large fry pan heat oil on medium high heat. Once heated sprinkle over the oil the chopped garlic. Shake the pan a bit with care you don’t burn yourself. After ½ minute move pan from heat and carefully put the whole can of tomatoes into the pan stirring. Put pan back on medium-high burner and add oregano, salt and pepper. Stir constantly. Turn heat down to simmer and cover pan for 15 minutes stirring once. Prepare pasta. When you are ready to put sauce on pasta, uncover saucepan, stir in the fresh basil, apply to pasta to taste. Can be served alone or with grated romano or parmesan cheese. Eat.

  • 1 – 28 oz. can Diced or Crushed Italian Tomatoes (San Marzano is my choice)
  • 20 – Fresh Basil leaves, washed, dried and medium chopped
  • 1 – teaspoon of fresh or dried oregano
  • 4 – Garlic Cloves peeled and chopped
  • ½ teaspoon – Course Salt and Fresh Ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of Olive Oil

Want a quick meat sauce? Use the recipe above and add browned cooked beef, turkey or chicken to the sauce.

 

Eggs

There are many ways to cook eggs. Scrambled, Fried, Poached, Boiled, Omelettes, and more. Here are some egg basics. Egg doneness is subjective by taste. If you are cooking for others, ask how they like their eggs

Fried Eggs – Cooking fried eggs tends to be a challenge for beginners trying not to break a yolk. Start by breaking the egg into a bowl. This is done in case your egg is bad, or you get shells in the egg when breaking. Select a flat pan, I prefer a small frying pan with a coated non-stick surface. Heat the pan to medium heat. Apply a tablespoon of butter (this isn’t the diet course). Swirl the butter around the pan to coat the pan. When melted and bubbles start add your egg gently from the bowl. Leave it alone but watch it.  Depending how you desire your fried egg comes next.

Sunny side up? From here you just leave it to cook on medium to med high. When the see-through outer egg turns white, your egg is ready to serve. Take a spatula and slip it gently under the egg and serve your egg.

Over easy? On medium to medium high, watch the egg and when the edges of the egg starts bubbling and the clear part of the egg is turned white but not entirely, take a flexible spatula and gently slip it under the egg and flip it over with care. Give it 30 seconds and the egg is ready to eat.

Over medium and over hard eggs stay in the pan longer depending on your taste. If you like the yolk a little firm on the outside with liquid center, you will like over medium. Over hard cooks in the pan until the yolk is hard in the center.

Over very hard with yolk broken is desired by some. If that is the case, once you put the egg in the pan, the yolk should be pierced so it can spread out then flip mid-way through cooking,

Scrambled Eggs – Easy and fast recipe for eggs. Scrambled eggs are the simplest eggs to make and very quick to add some protein to your day. There are three ways I cook scramble eggs for myself and my friends. Soft scrambled, medium or well done. You start off heating a non-stick pan with a tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat until butter is bubbly but not brown. Crack the desired amount of eggs into a bowl.  Mix the eggs by whisking or mixing with a fork until blended evenly. Put eggs into heated pan and stir continuously with non-scratch spoon while cooking. Eggs are cooked as soon as they are no longer runny. Soft scrambled come out first just when no longer runny but moist. Medium scrambled are another 30 seconds and hard scrambled stay in the pan until dry.

Boiled Eggs -Boiled eggs have different levels of doneness to taste. Soft boiled and hard boiled are the two most popular. Coddled eggs are used in some recipes but not for immediate consumption. Start by boiling a medium sized pot of water.

Soft Boiled eggs? Now that the water is boiling lower it to a rapid simmer. On a spoon gently place the eggs into the hot water and start timing immediately. Timing is everything with soft boiled eggs. For a runny yolk, five minutes should do it for two eggs. For a more firmly set egg, seven minutes.

Hard Boiled eggs? Place your eggs in a pot and cover the eggs with water with 1-2 inches above the eggs. Bring the water to a boil over medium high heat. Once the water boils, remove the pot from the heat and cover for 8-10 minutes. Drain eggs then put them in a bowl with ice and cold water. When eggs are cooled down they are ready to eat, color, devil or chop up for salad.

Quick Deviled Egg Recipe: Cut eggs in half. Pop yolks out of eggs gently into a bowl as not to break the white half. Finely chop up the yolks. Dust with a light coat of salt and pepper. Chop up scallions or chives if you like. Sprinkle over the eggs. Then add two tablespoons of mayo into the mixture and fold together until blended. Add more mayo to taste. Spoon the mixture into the white egg boat. Eat.

  • 6 – Hard Boiled Eggs brought to room temperature and peeled
  • Mayonnaise
  • Salt and Pepper

Poached Eggs? Poached eggs are not as hard to cook as people think. In a medium pot fill with at least 2” of water and bring to a medium boil. Crack your egg into a bowl and slowly tip your bowl at the waters edge sliding the egg into the water. Cook for 2 minutes and shut off stove burner. Let sit for 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, lift out the egg and set the spoon onto a paper towel or kitchen towel to drain excess water. Keep the egg in the spoon. Once drained serve plain or over toast, grits, home fries or however you want to serve the eggs.

Omelettes – Omelettes are good for any meal. They can be simple or very complex using your imagination. Leftovers make great omelettes. Vegetables like broccoli, onions, tomatoes, scallions, spinach all make for great ingredients. Leftover steak is a favorite if you want to add meat. Ham is a wonderful added feature to use. Cheese is used in every omelette I make. You can use any soft cheese like cream cheese, semi-soft cheese like gouda, American, feta, mozzarella, cheddar, swiss. Once you pick the combination of ingredients get them chopped, sliced, diced… however you want to prepare, ready to put into the omelette. Let’s start the cooking. Simply break 2-3 eggs into a bowl and blend. Using a non-stick pan, on med high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter so it coats the entire bottom and about ¼ inch up the sides of the pan. This part will go fast so you will need all ingredients right there and ready. Pour egg solution into pan and swirl the pan around so the egg covers the bottom of the pan. When the egg starts to become opaque on the bottom you can layer ingredients starting with semi-soft cheese then the rest of what you want in your omlette onto the egg creating a new layer on top of the cooking egg. Lower heat to medium and cover. Monitor cooking every three or four minutes until egg is cooked completely. Turn off burner. Get a non-stick wide spatula and pull half of the egg over the other side creating a food envelope. Serve plain or add popular toppings and sauces like sour cream and hot sauce, bernaise or hollandaise.  Eat.

Here are some great links to related topics>>