Man's Whirled: Every Guy's Guide to Cooking with a Blenderby Chris Peterson
If you have more takeout menus than forks, you need help. With A Man's Whirled and a blender you don't need to become a master chef to cook a delicious meal. As easy as pushing a button, A Man's Whirled is a foolproof formula for making great meals to impress dates, entertain friends, and make Mom worry just a little less. Whether you're just sliding/i>/i>
If you have more takeout menus than forks, you need help. With A Man's Whirled and a blender you don't need to become a master chef to cook a delicious meal. As easy as pushing a button, A Man's Whirled is a foolproof formula for making great meals to impress dates, entertain friends, and make Mom worry just a little less. Whether you're just sliding out of college or slipping into the single life, your success in the kitchen is guaranteed with these simple and delicious recipes and no-mess cleanup.
From weeknight meals to game-day festivities, from comfort food to a romantic dinner for two, all the recipes in this book can be prepared easily with the help of a blender. Casual get-togethers call for a Super Bowl of Salsa and Gridiron Guacamole. The Red Velvet Roasted Pepper Soup and Goat Cheese Timbales are perfect for an intimate dinner. Memorable Meatloaf and Garlic Mashed Potatoes are guaranteed to please, especially followed by mouthwatering desserts like Decadence Cake and Strawberry Fields Chiffon Pie. Plus there are recipes for tantalizing cocktails, breakfast treats, smoothies, and more.
A Man's Whirled provides inside tips and advice for shopping, prepping, serving, and generally making the most of any meal. When it comes to whipping up delicious meals fast, it doesn't get any easier than this. Gentlemen, start your blenders.
- Simon & Schuster
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- 8.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.40(d)
Read an Excerpt
Chapter One: Rookie Playbook: The Kitchen Basics
It all comes back to those days in Boy Scouts and that memorable motto: "Be prepared." You wouldn't try to restore a vintage Harley with a screwdriver and a saw and you can't expect to start cooking real meals when all you've got is a can opener and a pot you picked up at a yard sale. Truth is, even with the world's best blender, you're going to need a few other essentials to make memorable chow. But don't panic the right equipment and supplies don't need to break the bank and they'll make any cooking you do easier and more enjoyable.
Start by compiling a small collection of essential bakeware and cookware. The simple man's kitchen is equipped with cast iron or nonstick aluminum cookware. Cast iron has great heating characteristics but cleanup can be a pain. Choose enameled cast iron if you opt for iron pots and pans, but for our purposes, high-quality aluminum nonstick cooking gear is best. Here's a list of the fundamental pieces, but you might find more complete sets on sale. Pick other individual pieces to suit your cooking style.
- 10-inch omelet pan
- 11- or 12-inch skillet with lid
- 10- or 12-inch grill pan. Like a skillet with raised ribs to grill meat, fish, and fowl.
- 2H quart pot with lid
- Small saucepot with lid. Buy one that is just big enough for melting butter and other small tasks.
- Baking sheet. Buy a large rectangular version 1 inch deep. It can be used for baking dishes like crème brûlée, and can double as a cookie sheet.
- 9 by 5-inch loaf pan
- Muffin pan
- 9-inch-square by 2-inch-deep cake pan
- 9-inch-round by 2-inch-deep cake pan
- Large rectangular 2-inch-deep baking pan
- 8- or 9-inch springform pan. This is a round cake pan with a detachable ring that forms the sides. After baking, just unlatch the ring and pull it away, leaving the sides of your cakes intact!
The process of prepping raw ingredients to go into one of those pots and pans requires its own set of tools:
- Large stainless steel mixing bowl. Simple Rule Number 27: Small amounts can be mixed in a large mixing bowl, but the reverse is not true.
- Set of measuring spoons (1 tablespoon, 1 teaspoon, H teaspoon, G teaspoon).
- Set of measuring cups for dry ingredients in G-, N-, H-, and 1-cup increments.
- 2- or 4-cup-capacity measuring cup for liquids. Buy Pyrex.
- Can opener. Splurge. A well-made can opener with smooth action and a comfortable grip makes life soooo much easier.
- Hand grater. Buy one with a medium-fine cutting surface and a comfortable handle. You'll use this for an amazing array of tasks from zesting oranges to shaving chocolate.
- Colander. For draining pasta, washed salad greens, and more. Go for a sturdy stainless steel type with a deep basin and comfortable handles.
- Handheld strainer. Buy a medium size with a fine-mesh basket and a handle that feels good in your grip.
- Pepper mill. Fresh-ground pepper is an indispensable ingredient and the only type of black pepper you should use in recipes or to flavor salads and other prepared dishes.
A Cut Above
You don't have to watch West Side Story to know how important a good knife is. Buy a name-brand starter set, but handle them before buying to make sure they are good quality (poor knives don't hold an edge and make cutting food a risky and frustrating adventure). You can tell a well-made knife by the grip and the weight. The handle should be comfortable in your hand and the knife should be well balanced as you hold it. The blade should be relatively heavy. This basic set will cover all the cutting you'll need to do in the kitchen (measurements may vary slightly, depending on the set you buy).
- 8- or 10-inch chef's knife
- 6-inch utility knife
- Serrated bread knife
- 4-inch paring knife
- 5-inch boning knife
- Steel. Any quality knife set comes with a sharpening steel. It looks like a long, round file with a handle. When a knife begins to dull, carefully run it down the steel (or up) with the knife held at about a 20-degree angle to the steel. Repeat four or five times on each side of the blade. If the steel doesn't sufficiently sharpen the knife, you may need the edge renewed by a professional sharpener. In this case, take your entire knife set to a knife shop or a local hardware store that offers sharpening services.
Get in the habit of cleaning your knives immediately after use. Food left on the blade for extended periods can rust or dull the blade. Store knives on a magnetic hanging strip or in a knife block. Stored loose in a drawer, blades will take a beating and dull much quicker than normal.
Serves You Right
Some handy kitchen essentials do double duty as cookware and serving dishes. These must-haves include:
- Ramekins. Buy a set of 4 porcelain ramekins and you'll be amazed how much you use them. The standard measure is 4 ounces, which makes the ramekin ideal for all kinds of single-serving dishes and for holding condiments or dips during snacktime. Ramekins are also a great way to collect and organize ingredients prior to making a recipe.
- Casserole dish. Buy a porcelain dish that is both oven and dishwasher safe. It should be at least 10 inches in diameter, with the straightest sides you can find (that way it can double as a soufflé dish).
In addition to flatware you do have 4 matching spoons, knives, and forks, right? an elementary set of cooking utensils is a vital addition to your culinary toolbox. A good set of large utensils includes:
- Solid "basting" spoon
- Slotted spoon
- Solid spatula
- Pasta fork
- Two-tined fork
- Tongs. Buy these in stainless steel or go with nylon if you have nonstick pots and pans.
You also need:
- Wooden spoon
- Rubber spatula
Once you've equipped your kitchen, it's time to set up your pantry. Or it's time to scratch your head and say, "What's a pantry?" Just so we're clear: a pantry is the place you use to store a basic supply of commonly used ingredients, and canned and packaged convenience foods. It can be as simple as a couple of cupboards, a closet fitted with shelves, or even a stand-alone shelving unit in the corner of the kitchen. The important part is that you have one, and you stock it with cooking basics so that you don't have to run out to the store every time you launch into a recipe.
The Spice Is Right
A modest selection of the most-often-used spices is a crucial part of any well-stocked pantry. As a general rule of thumb, buy the smallest quantity of spice you can find, because just like bubble gum, dried spices lose their flavor over time. Store spices in a cool, dark, and dry location.
In case you were wondering when to use dried spices and when to use fresh, you'll notice we've done a pretty tricky thing with the recipes in this book. Where you need to use dried spices, we put the word "dried." Where you need to use fresh, we've put "fresh." Where the fresh version is not generally used, we've just called the spice by name if in doubt, the spice is dried. Here's the short list of common spices you probably want to keep on hand. Buy additional spices as the need arises.
- Cayenne (also sold as "ground red pepper")
- Lemon pepper (a great substitute for table salt)
- Peppercorns (for filling your mill)
- Pure vanilla extract
You also need a supply of "staples," those bit-part players in the drama that is any recipe you make. Even though most of these have a significant shelf life, they all eventually go bad. So buy quantities that are reasonable given the amount of cooking you are likely to do.
- All-purpose flour. Keep it in an airtight container in a cool place. If you only bake once in a while, store it in the refrigerator.
- Baking powder. The stuff in a small can.
- Baking soda. That's the box you keep in the refrigerator to keep it from stinking. But don't use that box for cooking; keep a fresh one in your pantry and never confuse it with baking powder.
- Beans. Keep canned pinto, kidney, and black beans on hand for recipes, salads, and as side dishes.
- Broth beef and chicken. Canned versions are ready to go into soups and sauces.
- Chocolate. Always buy high-quality, name-brand chocolate because the only thing in life that is more disappointing than finding out she loves another is tasting a special treat made with a decidedly unspecial chocolate. The three main types you'll use for sweet treats are powdered cocoa, semisweet chips, and unsweetened bars or blocks.
- Condiments. Keep backups of all your favorites, including mustard (Dijon and yellow), ketchup, and mayonnaise.
- Cooking oil. Buy pure canola oil, one of the healthiest.
- Olive oil. Cold-pressed extra-virgin. There is no substitute.
- Pastas. Keep them sealed in their boxes or bags until use.
- Rice. Keep 1 box of Minute Rice and 1 package of Spanish-style yellow rice on hand.
- Sugar. Always keep four types on hand: granulated, confectioners', light brown, and dark brown. Keep any sugar in a tightly sealed airtight package transfer them to a large zipped sandwich bag if need be and out of direct light or extremes of temperature. Brown and granulated sugars can be frozen.
- Tomato products. A can each of paste, sauce, crushed, and diced should cover all your cooking needs.
- Vegetables. Canned corn, green beans, and peas are quick and easy side dishes to any meal.
- Vinegar. Keep both red wine and white vinegars on hand.
- Add to this list any other canned goods, such as canned tuna, that you use regularly.
One last word on pantry maintenance: If you were the coach of the Knicks, would you play four quarters with the same five guys? Of course not. In the kitchen, as in basketball, rotation is key. Get in the habit of always placing newly purchased groceries behind the older stuff. This will cut down on spoilage and help to ensure that you're using the best ingredients for the recipes you make.
With your tools and supplies in order, you're ready to go. So pick a recipe, push a button, and make your tastebuds do the happy dance.
Copyright © 2005 by Chris Peterson
Meet the Author
Chris Peterson is a writer and single father who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. When not writing, he indulges his passion for the Yankees, cooking, eating, gardening, the Blues, and pinball, though not necessarily in that order.
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