Welcome to the Basics page. This is a place for both short, simple, um, basic recipes that I use over and over as well as an explanation of some methods that come up often in my recipes. If you notice something missing, leave a comment and I'll try to get it on here.

Tablespoons and Teaspoons:
I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel by using big T for tablespoons and little t for teaspoon. I just have a problem with typing tbs and tps - I was constantly reversing them and screwing up recipes. Forgive me. I hope it's not too annoying.

Homemade Sour Cream:
  • If you have time to plan ahead, or if you use sour cream as often as we do, this recipe will completely replace store-bought sour cream. It is so much easier than I ever realized and the flavor really is noticeably better. Combine 1 cup heavy cream and 2 T buttermilk in a glass container and cover with plastic wrap. Let this sit on your kitchen counter for 36 - 48 hours. Give it a stir and refrigerate. That's it.
Soup Tricks:

It's obvious if you browse around on this blog that I love soup. Once I figured out a few tricks, I realized that it's one of the easiest dinners to pull together - especially since I also love buttered toast and that's often all a soup needs to turn it from a lunch to a dinner. Here are the tricks I know:
1. Brown almost everything - from the onions to the meat to the spices and tomato paste, I try to get everything (except vegetables, see #3) just a little brown.
2. Never add all the stock the recipe calls for all at once, even if it's my own recipe. One of the hardest things to fix is thin soup. You can boil it down forever, but then sometimes things get mushy and dinner isn't ready until 10:00.
3. Don't overcook your tender veggies or pasta/rice/grain. When I worked at The Still Life and the soup was transfer from the kitchen in smaller pots, I was the queen of "add _______ per pot." Maybe it was spinach or basil or peas or rice or pasta, but I tried to never let the soft things sit around in the simmering soup.
4. Salt. Add more.
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