I have a bone to pick with all of you otherwise self-sufficient, independent young people out there who still don’t know how to cook.
Let me admit right off the bat that my culinary apptitude is higher than an ‘average’ 20-something and I can, therefore, be somewhat of a food snob at times. However, right now I’m not hating on those who can’t tell a chipotle from a pasilla or tell me the difference between a julienne cut and a chiffonade. I understand that not everyone has a borderline obsessive relationship with the Food Network or schedules the rest of their life around Top Chef episodes (I do).
But, I do have to call out all those people who think “cooking” is boiling pasta and pouring on canned sauce. There is a time and a place for this, to be sure, but I hereby command you to expand your culinary horizons. You can’t reasonably expect to enjoy life in college or afterward unless you can feed yourself food… REAL Food. Not just easy mac and Ramen. You will SAVE MONEY cooking your own damn food instead of paying someone else to make it for you. Ingredients aren’t that expensive, even if you are a straight broke college student like moi.
When I approach any of my friends at home with this proposal, they are always like “but where do I start” or “I can’t cook”
You can do it! You just need to step up and give it a shot. Apply heat to food and watch the magic happen. Everyone who tastes or sees my food is always asking me where I learned how to cook so well. Well I haven’t been to culinary school obviously (yet?!) so I basically am self-taught. I observed, played around, and just kept at it…..
Practice makes perfect. Get in the damn kitchen and at least TRY to make some food. For God’s sake put down the damn canned tuna, and go buy yourself a freaking chicken breast.
If you fail miserably in your first attempt, which you might, you’ll need a little bit of of kitchen trickeration to make this Frankenstein of a dish palatable for you and your guests. Not to worry, I have the solution: a sauce.
As we say jokingly around the hungryJ kitchen, the sauce is the boss. And as silly and easy to think of as that was, it really is a life changin’ piece of advice. The French are famous for their sauces (bernaise, hollandaise, aioli, buerre monte) which grew out of a necessity in a time before wide-spread refrigeration to make rotten or turning meat still taste good.
If it rescued the entire French culinary tradition, imagine what the right sauce can do for you! You can impress the hell out of anyone by throwing a little something tasty on top of a otherwise lack-luster piece of meat.
It also adds some great color to the plate and a lot of cool-sounding words to the menu when you read or speak about it. You can even get all pretend fancy and throw in some spanish for extra pazazz. It is true of the bedroom as well as the kitchen that Spanish is the language of love. You tell your date you made her some fresh SALSA VERDE for that chicken instead of some green sauce? Instant bonus points; that dish is sounding better and tasting better by the second.
I went ahead and made a little batch of the aforementioned ‘salsa verde’ for you guys to test out. But its not just salsa verde, because it is more than green sauce. It is salsa verde picante, because it is also spicy. Made with two chiles I bought from a mexican at the farmers market. The man doesn’t speak a lick of english but he knows his chiles. They are F*^&ing spicy!
Without further delay, my first gift to you in pursuit of culinary independance. May it set you free from the chains of culinary inadequacy and start you down the road to a hungrier, happier version of yourself.
HungryJ salsa verde picante:
Combine the following ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree ’till smooth–
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 red onion, rough chopped
- 2 hot Mexican chiles (green)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- sprinkle/pinch of thyme
- 1tsp coriander
- 1 large bunch cilantro
- splash of red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- drizzle of honey for balnced sweetness
- zest and juice of a lime
There you have it! Great on some grass-fed organic beef with steamed kale and heirloom tomato….
or that lowly chicken breast you are going to attempt to cook.
Stay hungry my friends,