Cooking, baking and other kitchen undertaking are not only
for chefs, foodies and Inday or Manang (your reliable household help). So rejoice,
you empowered women and homemakers; you may not wear a toque (but be sure to
have an apron handy), but you can do that fancy pasta served in your favorite
restaurant or bake a mean cake or pastry (similar to what you often buy from
your preferred bakeshop).
You may cry and ask, "How come my sinigang still tastes like nilaga? Why
is it that my omelet is spilling all over?" Then you have kids who are
always comparing your friend chicken with that of a fast-food chain. And you
can't get your teeners to eat veggies because you dont serve them crisp-tender
but always well done.
Well, dont fret moms and homemakers out there. Dont think that
only women with Julia Child's genes, Jamie Oliver's flair or Martin Yan's ingenuity
can make great cooks. You dont even need the stars and stripes of a culinary
genius--yes, what you need are patience, the desire to cook and easy-to-follow,
practical and credible tips. You've got them here from no less than some of
the country's to chefs and culinary artists.
They want you, first of all, to see cooking as a fun activity not a chore, neither
a march to the guillotine. Then get your ingredients ready as well as your utensils;
dont be afraid to make use of convenience ingredients such as mixes or
make substitution--remember, you dont have to follow recipes to the letter.
As you cook more and gain more confidence, put in your ideas and you'll get
the flair. Your may even develop your own recipes from there.
Well, here are culinary gems you may keep and pass them on, perhaps to the next
CORA P. AENLLE:
In this day and age of convenience foods, do not forget
to put together delicious meals using ingredients found in your own kitchen
or pantry; stock up as well on convenience items to make cooking a breeze.
Exploring ethnic cuisines is a great motivator to spend
more time creating delicious meals for you and your family.
If you want to try new recipes, start small; take the
simplest recipe that catches your fancy; follow basic directions the first
time, then re-test once or twice.
Dont be afraid to tweak a recipe to make it appeal
to your taste. Dont frustrate yourself by staying loyal to a recipe
that doesn't speak of you. It may take including one ingredient or removing
Serve pasta as often as possible. Pasta does not make
you fat. It is an excellent source of carbohydrates, the body's preferred
source of fuel.
You dont have to load that pasta with oil-rich
sauces. Stick to marinara, low-fat cheeses and lean meat toppings; use ready-to-pour
sauces often to save time.
An ideal pasta dinner plate should include veggies such
as green salad with low-fat dressing. Top pasta with sauce, with or without
lean meat. A cup of skim milk maybe added for calcium and protein.
Foil-line pans for baking brownie bars. Once bars have
cooled, you can lift and foil right out and cut the bars cleanly. The pans
will need only a quick rinse and dry for the next batch.
The sharp ends of clean cans make for great biscuit,
scone and cookie cutters.
Clean as you go; segregate, recycle and reuse--give Mother
Earth a break!