Now i'll get straight into it my extent of cooking is meat (bit of fish but im not a massive fan), sweet potatoes, steamed/stir fried veg, salad (that counts right?). Now chuck in these with varied meat/veg and so on and i've got pretty solid paleo meals however i'd love to be able to cook more adventurous things - keeping it simple at first, small steps are fine by me :) .
I used to just chuck pizzas in the oven, use jarred sauces, pasta/bread was a big part of my life and so on. But after going cold turkey and realising how much i flurrish (sp) without it i'm very keen to learn how to cook these real foods.
I own Loren Cordain's 'The Paleo Diet Cookbook' but i'm not going to lie... half the things in this book i've not even heard of - i mean i'm only just getting my head round the fact you add different herbs to meats and then all of a sudden they have a different taste, i mean who'd of known?
Basically i'm looking for some beginners tips, and anything that won't mean i have to spend hours in the kitchen to prepare.
First, get some good tools!
Slow Cooker / Crock Pot
Cuisinart Food processor
Good pots and pans (a couple of cast iron, too)
Excellent knives and a sharpener (essential if you want to feel like a chef)
And check out these blogs:
Learning to cook is about recognizing the rules and relationships between foods. Sweet, Sour, Bitter, Bland all have their place. And, like sex, texture, tempo (timing), and temperature are a dance that makes it exciting.
Personally, I make a lot of cough, cough judgements about how men treat the act of cooking, and I know I'm not the only one.
Make a commitment to try something new for three meals a week. It is a good start and you'll soon have a broader repertoire to chose from. Use fresh ginger, herbs, and go to ethnic markets for your spices. Talk to your butcher, get advice from everyone you can. Keep score of all the herbs you've tried, the cuts of meat, and the people with whom you've cooked.
Make cooking a sport, rather than a chore.
Edit: Wow, I'm shocked at the down votes. I guess some don't think cooking is a sensual act?
Edit #2 Here's a great link for newbies: The Gnoll Credo
Beef tallow and animal lard from grass-fed pigs and cows can make anyone's food taste like it was whipped up by a gourmet chef. Our great grandparents used to cook exclusively with saturated fats and they remain the most versatile/easy fats to use in cooking. Price is no object ($3.99/lb for tallow and less for lard). You could probably cook for half the price compared to olive oil or coconut oil.
Scramble eggs in the bacony lard or the tallow. Fry your sweet potatoes in tallow. These two go great together.
Preferred method of cooking for most of your dishes would be stir fry. Invest in a wok. You can cook foods fast and constantly add variety by changing veggie combos, herb and spice combos as well as fruit-based sauces using blends of lemon, lime and orange juice. With stir frying you preserve amino acid structure and vitamin content in your foods.
Instead of using Omega 6 fat peanut oil, stir fry with beef tallow or lard. Saturated fat actually can burn at a higher temp than peanut oil without charring or starting a fire. You really can't stir fry with olive oil because it burns too fast, can overheat and start a fire in your kitchen.
The foundation of stir fry is meat + plant food. Vary the meat base and alternate the fruit/vegetable ensemble.
Stir fry pork w/ mixed veggies herbs and spices. You can even weave in blueberries, raspberries, strawberries or blackberries!!!
Stir fry chicken w/ mixed veggies herbs and spices etc.
Stir fry beef w/ mixed veggies etc.
Stir fry shrimp, scallops or clams w/ mixed veggies etc.
For breakfast I like pecans dipped in local honey or (a hacker recently recommended and it sounds delicious) is pecans and dates.
Definitely there are good suggestions above, especially a slow-cooker as you can do some amazing braising in those, but I would also like to chime in. First - your attitude is awesome - you're ready to dig in and cook! Baby steps is exactly it when you're learning, less chance of getting frustrated and fed up. Cooking is such a fun activity and hopefully will never be a chore. Good questions to ask yourself: What kind of food do I like to eat when I go out? If I'm flipping through a magazine or a cookbook what pages do I seem to dog ear or spend time on? What catches my eye when I'm at the grocery? All of these can be recreated at your home. In regards to your kitchen, if this helps at all, I have a complete setup but have cut back on about 75% of what I use. The majority of the time I use: an always sharp chef 9" knife and paring knife, mandoline, 12" fry pan, 9" fry pan, 1 roasting pan, 1 roasting rack, 1 pot that works for hardboiling, poaching, steaming, 1 pot for braising. The ice cream maker doesn't count :)
With summer in full force it's an easier time to prepare dishes as many things can be eaten raw or very simply. You also don't need 1000 ingredients to make something tasty - summertime deliciousness at it's finest! Spinach, sliced fresh strawberries, mint, lemon zest, a good squeeze of lemon juice with whatever your choice of oil is and you just made a wicked salad. Add chicken? Even better. Change to mixed berries? Something different and just as good. Mixed colour steamed baby potatoes and sweet potatoes tossed with Paleo mayo, and finely chopped herbs, a little lemon juice, crunchy veg. Yum. Don't use potato but cubed chicken and you have chicken salad. Burgers built and wrapped with a big fat lettuce or kale leaf - add a fried egg and prepare to swoon. Frittatas - change the veg and meat out and they'll never get boring. Note: I really like to cook :)
For publications, anything by Cooks Illustrated. You'll get great recipes, lessons, plenty of "how do I do it" pictures, and product and ingredient/food reviews of what their test kitchens have chosen as favorites. They also have a show on PBS that is a good watch and a website. Hands down an amazing source of inspiration and help for beginners and advanced cooks.
And finally, what my gramma always said, less is more when seasoning - you can always add but taking away is much more difficult so taste as you go. Good luck and you'll do great!
This may sound like trolling but may I suggest not learning to cook?
When I started eating like this, I could just about cook some meat and boil some vegetables. My meals were painfully simple and dull. I lost a load of weight and felt great.
Then I learned to cook fabulous combinations of food, learnt to make things taste gorgeous to the point that I'm having a little trouble keeping portions in line.
I remember reading a famous low carb cook book writer say she gains ten pounds every time she writes a cook book from trying the recipes, even though all the food was low carb.
I'm trying to move back to a simpler regime and then keep the real indulgence for a lovely meal out cooked by someone else. I still enjoy food but it's just not as much of a hassle, and it frees up time. I'm not totally successful with the strategy but only because I know how to make things taste better!
I agree with the above. Investing in quality tools is a must. My food processor is one of my absolute favorite big ticket items. Also, give yourself permission to make mistakes and just have fun. If you burn something or flub an ingredient just laugh and fix it next time. It's a learning process, and, like anything, it gets better with practice. Don't be afraid to try out new recipes. Many things that we usually buy prepared are not as hard to make as you'd think. And there's nothing wrong with keeping it simple either. If you enjoy those foods then make those your staples while you occasionally play around with something new. You don't have to go out and buy all sorts of new equipment or spices immediately. Just pick it up as the need arises. Above all, make it a relaxed and fun experience and eat things you enjoy.
Good knife and stones and learn to keep it SHARP. Sharpening with wheatstones is paleo:). Try some japanese knife with well sharpened edge.And you will see what you previously considered sharp, was dull. And good large endgrain cutting board. I bought Aritsugu A type knife and use it everyday, its actually the best kithchen purchase i have made
I have found that buying cookbooks is a waste of money since most recipes are online. (plus it makes me feel green saving trees). Check out theses paleo recipe sites Everyday Paleo, Primal Palate, and my site is the Cave Womans Kitchen. Let me know if you have any questions about specific ingredients. I've been gluten-free for almost 4yrs, and paleo for for almost a year. I have always loved cooking, but the past couple of years has been adjusting my cooking into healthier paleo meals. Good luck and have fun in the kitchen!
I agree with the above suggestions about using online recipe resources AND investing in quality tools. There are any number of delicious spice mixes available to enhance your meals. If you live in a town with a Penzey's spice shop, go there immediately and experiment with their various ethnic blends. Once you get a feel for it, you'll have a source for high quality spices. They make all the difference between a so-so meal and one that will give you pleasure (and therefore nourish you more deeply)
My husband and I started out using our (outdoor) grill for lunch and dinner. Breakfast was eggs and bacon on the stovetop. Lunch was - throw some chicken and asparagus on the grill. When done cooking, drizzle a little EVOO and there you go! Dinner was- throw some hamburger patties or steak on the grill, throw some peppers on there too. Throw some broccoli in aluminum foil and grill that up too. Easy. I swear we did that the first 2 months before we got a little bored and started exploring recipes to make IN the kitchen. :)
Paleo and Family issues 6 Answers