Friday, June 4, 2010

Geezer Granger's Kitchen Hints

The Geezer has many years of cooking and eating experience and I've been asked to share some of these. From time to time I'll post a recipe, an idea or a tip. Where to start? Let's go back to the very beginning, as if you were just starting to set up for cooking.

Basic things essential to a successful kitchen:

Butter, not margarine
Olive oil
Apple cider vinegar
Sweeteners; honey, maple syrup, molasses, brown or raw sugar
Spices; thyme, marjoram, rosemary, sage, oregano, basil will do for a start

And the reasons why:

Margarine, the last time I looked, is made with processed oil(s) and chemicals. Butter is a more natural food containing milk, cream, and salt. Now, if you are watching your fat and salt intake read the label to see how much is there. But, we're using this to flavor and enhance the food, not to eat it by the spoonful.

Get a good quality extra virgin oil from a single source, that is, one country not a blend from all over the Mediterranean. There are volumes written about different olive oils, look it up!

The apple cider vinegar is preferred over the white distilled vinegar, it has more flavor and contains trace amounts of minerals.

Notice white sugar is not listed. The other sweeteners are natural or less refined, have trace amounts of minerals, and are much more flavorful. Buy the honey and maple syrup(we're talking the real thing here) locally.

I've listed a few of the basic spices to get you started. As you try new recipes and become adventurous in your cooking, the number of spices in your cupboard will grow exponentially. Buy them in small quantities, the fresher the better.

Read the labels on salt in the store. You might be surprised to find other ingredients. Try sea
salt. Don't worry about the lack of iodine, you don't need that much. You can look that up also!
Pepper? 'cause I've always used it.

Onions and garlic are natural foods. They are good and good for you. Flavor enhancers par excellence!

Let's make a salad dressing. This is not an exact recipe, just the outline, fill in the blanks!

Some olive oil
Half as much vinegar
Sweetener(add a little at a time and taste it)
Two spices (over time, you'll get sense of what goes well together)

Next time I'll share some salad dressing formulas.

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