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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...
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.
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.
The process of prepping raw ingredients to go into one of those pots and pans requires its own set of tools:
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).
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:
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:
You also need:
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.
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.
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
Rookie Playbook: The Kitchen Basics
Game Day Grub
Liquid Vim and Vigor