Paul and I are omnivores, but we lean toward eating meat most nights. He doesn’t like fish (except for shrimp) and we haven’t done much in the way of vegetarian cooking other than pasta marinara and the rare foray into dal.
But we are aware of both the health and environmental impacts of meat eating, and we’re trying to change our carnivorous ways.
So last week I bought us some nice firm tofu. It sat there in the fridge for several days, making me feel guilty. But I didn’t cook it because…..I wasn’t sure of how to make it taste delicious. So I decided to go to another cook, one with better eating habits than mine.
I asked my daughter what to do!
I like tofu crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, but I wasn’t sure of how to get that. So I checked with Kate, who is a wonderful cook. The trick is to drain the tofu really well and then to toss the cut pieces into corn starch before frying them. Now, I knew the cornstarch trick, having used it on shrimp, chicken and beef in the past. I just didn’t know you could use it with tofu.
My point here is to tell you that no matter how long you’ve been cooking, or how good you think you are at it, there’s always more to learn. And you don’t have to find a detailed recipe to do that learning!
One of my favorite things to do is to read cook books. I know, weird, right? But it’s better than reading any more political stuff right now, and there are only so many romance novels a persoan can take.
So I read cookbooks. I especially love to read old recipes. I have a collection of cookbooks from my mom, my late mother-in-law and from various books stores. I love to read them because they show me how much has changed in terms of our understanding of nutrition, and how much has come back around again. And it shows me how easy we have it. (One cookbook starts its roast chicken recipe by telling you how to kill and pluck the hen.)
And I love to talk to other cooks to get tips that I can use in my own meals. Sometimes it’s a cooking trick, like the cornstarch. Other times it’s learning about a new spice, or a combination of flavors.
To become a confident cook, you need to learn new ideas and then make the meal your own. Experiment. Have fun.
Remember: if it turns out horribly, you can always eat a bowl of cereal.
To learn about my fabulous Crispy Sesame Tofu, go to the recipe page and get the basics!