Wandering around the web I found Michael Ruhlman’s website, and was immediately fascinated by his approach to teach people cooking. Bear in mind I am not someone who watches cooking shows (or has a TV for that matter… though I got a nifty projector this weekend!) so it was a complete new experience for me. As a matter of fact, I was so excited I got his book Twenty, where he explains what he considers the most basic techniques in a kitchen everybody should know. Today I will talk about the first one: THINK.
I plan my meals. Being a grad school usually means I don’t have time during the week, so I cook all my food Sunday morning, put it in nice plastic containers (yes, I know I should move to glass and I will! Just not today… or next week). It also means I choose them earlier, usually Friday or Saturday, when I have some little free time, or when I make some free time by neglecting responsibilities (like studying for my midterms). That doesn’t necessarily mean that I think them through: just that I make a nice grocery list centered around the recipes that caught my eye that week and that at least I know I will use all of them. But, this week, I decided to read even once more the recipe, so I knew what I was going to do, and boy the difference was great.
Since I had some Acorn Squash from a couple weeks back, I decided to use them based on this but with my own meat mixture, which I modified from my mom’s Picadillo (chopped meat) recipe. I cut them open, cleaned the insides and put them face down in water into the oven.
Since I already knew this was going to take approximately an hour, I used the downtime to cook the meat. I fried onions in coconut oil, and when translucent I added the meat until cooked.
While that was cooking, I fried some collards in coconut oil. I also chopped some carrots and sweet potatoes, and boiled them to soften them.
When the tubers where soft, but not mushy, I drained them and added them to the meat, and condimented with cloves, cumin and just a dash of chili pepper, to counter the sweetness of the sweet potatoes. I let them steam for a bit.