Food & DrinkJanuary 17, 2013 at 5:19 am

5 Basic Foods You Should Master

We’re not all going to be the next Top Chef, but there are a few culinary staples we should all know how to make. For the culinarily impaired, fret not! Street is here to show you, step by­ step.

Fresh Press Coffee:
Do yourself a favor and buy a French Press. Small ones cost under $20 and they’ll last forever. All you need is hot water, ground coffee (grab it at Metro, Avril 50 or Trader Joe’s) and 4 minutes. Mornings will never be the same.

Makes 2 cups in a 32 oz. French press
-6 tablespoons of ground coffee
-30 oz of water.

Fill up a kettle with water and put it to boil.

Add 6 tablespoons of ground coffee to the Press and fill with boiling water.

Steep for 4 minutes and press down to strain.

Pan-Seared Salmon:
Don’t let the fancy reputation scare you: salmon is not that pricey, it’s easy to cook and more flavorful than chicken (sorry, chicken). It’s also packed with those omega acids that supposedly work wonders on our brain cells.

Makes 2 salmon fillets
-2 salmon fillets
-salt
-pepper
-1 teaspoon of neutral oil, like canola.

Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat for one minute. Add the oil.

Salt and pepper the flesh of the salmon

Place the salmon in the skillet skin-side-down for 4 minutes.

Flip and cook until desired done-ness, between 3 and 6 more minutes. It’ll be done when browned and flaky.

Roasted Broccoli:
You can still call broccoli baby trees, but you will definitely not refuse to eat it when it’s roasted and tender. Putting florets in the oven makes flavors pop and avoids the hospital mush texture.

5 pounds of broccoli (2 large florets)
Olive Oil
Salt + Pepper
4 garlic cloves
Parmesan cheese

Put the broccoli on a cookie sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Now add 4 garlic cloves that are peeled and sliced and toss them in too.

Roast at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes

When you take it out of the oven, zest a lemon (use a peeler/grater to take the lemony part of the peel), squeeze lemon juice over broccoli, add olive oil and ⅓ parmesan cheese.

Enjoy vegetables. – Adam Roberts

Rice:
Good for much more than throwing into newlyweds’ eyes outside of churches, rice is a jack-of-all-trades side dish. All you need is a water, a pot and a little patience.

Makes 3 cups of cooked rice
-1 cup of rice
-2 cups of water
-1 teaspoon of salt

Put the water, rice, and salt in a pot and bring to a boil over high heat.

Stir once and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot with a lid.

Let simmer for 45 minutes.

Brownies:
Promise you are done with questionably wrapped brownies baked god-knows-when. A brownie should be a treat. Make a big batch and freeze the rest for later: dole them out to become the most beloved person in your social circle.

Makes 25 brownies

10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

Mix butter, sugar, and salt and melt over a double boiler. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot. It looks fairly gritty at this point, but don’t fret — it smooths out once the eggs and flour are added. (You can also do this in the microwave).

Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon.

Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using (you can also add chocolate chips). Spread evenly in the lined pan.

Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack. Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares. – Deb Perelman

 
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