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20

I'm in the same situation as you are, I'm a college student on a budget. What you need to do is convince yourself that it's better to cook your own food. I accomplish this by tracking how much I spend on food at the grocery store each week, and comparing it to buying fast food. I've been doing this since Summer of 2010 and trust me, cooking yourself is a lot ...


19

In the US, "extra virgin" isn't a legally protected term - some of the stuff sold as EVOO here would never, ever pass as it elsewhere. From Wikipedia: Extra-virgin olive oil comes from virgin oil production only, contains no more than 0.8% acidity, and is judged to have a superior taste. Extra Virgin olive oil accounts for less than 10% of oil in many ...


19

As a rule of thumb for a whole fish, and not a fillet - the gills should be bright red the skin/scales should be bright and shiny like metal this fish shouldn't really smell of anything except 'watery' the flesh should rebound quickly when pressed the eyes should be bright and clear really fresh fish is also quite slimey to touch if it's straight out of ...


16

There are actually quite a few differences between the different types of flour. The number of different types you store will really depend on your particular requirements. All purpose (or plain) flour is a blend of different types of wheat and has a relatively low protein content. Bread flour is typically made from a single, high protein wheat. It also ...


16

Depending on where you live, there is a pretty simple approach you can try. In the next few days, head out to places that specialize in particular kinds of foods and in making them appeal to you. A farmer's market, a butcher's, a cheese shop, a bakery, etc. Chat with the staff and buy whatever speaks to you in the store. When you come home, make whatever ...


13

I like Kryptic's suggestions, and would add: learn to make some very simple dishes that take say 5 ingredients, make good use of inexpensive grains and beans, and learn how to make simple stir-fries and other dishes that can easily be made for just 1 person. Example menus: White rice cooked with salsa, reheat a can of black or pinto beans, shredded cheese, ...


12

There are typicality four types of olive oil available, with Extra Virgin being at the top of the quality tree: Extra virgin olive oil is mechanically pressed (you may see the term cold pressed) rather than being produced by chemical means. I has an acidity level of less than 0.8%. It is also tasted for flavour before being certified. Fine or Virgin Olive ...


12

There is a difference beyond just the price. All-Purpose flours are not the same: Southerners tend to make more quick breads, pies, cakes, etc. where tenderness is the primary quality factor. Southern brands of all-purpose flour such as White Lily, Martha White, Red Band, Adluh and others are typically milled from wheat that naturally has a lower ...


11

It should be firm, not mushy, but not rock hard either. The most important thing, however, is smell. An unripe pineapple won't smell like anything. An overripe pineapple will smell vinegary. A ripe pineapple will smell sweet.


11

you can test if a pineapple is ripe by trying to pluck out one of the leaves near the centre. If it comes out fairly easily then the pineapple is good to go. if its hard to get out its not ripe yet.


11

Look for a strong motor and thick blades. If the blades are thin, they're likely to warp over time. The motor needs to be able to spin those blades through the liquid. Look for a thick glass container. The plastic ones are unlikely to deal with the heat of things like soups and sauces being dumped in. Check the gasket between the glass container and the ...


11

One of the things that we forget in the U.S. is that foods are seasonal -- if we didn't have food flown in from the southern hemisphere, we wouldn't have berries and most other fruits available year round. Learning to cook based on what's available isn't something that's typically taught, but I'd recommend the following: Learn different techniques, and ...


10

Chef Darin Sehnert, of chefdarin.com and the teaching chef at a cooking school in Savannah, GA, has a great in-depth article on the various types of flour: http://www.chefdarin.com/2009/08/flour-power/ He answers questions such as "Why and when to use cake flour" and "Why and when to use all-purpose flour." It's a long read but does a great job of ...


10

For baking cakes and breads it is important to control the humidity in the oven. In early stages of baking one typically needs the humidity to remain in the baking chamber, which is hard to do with a gas oven. Two of the bakeries near my house use electric ovens with brick lined baking chambers; the other uses gas. Expansion Gas and electric ovens can be ...


10

When you're talking about briquettes, much of the "ash" you're talking about is actually clay and binders to hold the briquette together. That also tends to mean a cooler burning form of charcoal. Overall, charcoal is made by taking wood (or a few other materials, but usually hardwood) and heating it to burning temperatures without enough oxygen for it to ...


10

According to Wikipedia: Scallions (also known as green onions, spring onions, salad onions, green shallots, onion sticks, or syboes), are the edible plants of various Allium species, all of which are "onion-like", having hollow green leaves and lacking a fully developed root bulb. In the grocery stores I've been to most (east cost of US), if they ...


10

Sushi does not require fish, sushi is the style of rice preparation (rice, salt, a little rice vinegar, occasionally some kombu). So long as you have the correct preparation of rice, you technically have some form of sushi (you could just throw it in a bowl with some additions on top and have a type of sushi called chirashizushi). Second, there is no such ...


9

Electric ovens produce a very dry heat, which for some cooking processes may be preferable. Gas as it burns gives off a certain amount of water vapour and doesn't dry out the ingredients as much and it may take slightly longer to get a golden brown finish. There various schools of thought about this. One thing I have noticed is that many professional ...


9

Fundamentally, I see this as a problem with procrastination, not planning or personal finance. It's really not that hard to thumb through a recipe book and find a few recipes with common ingredients, or simply choose recipes where you know you can use all or almost all of the fresh ingredients at once. None of that is going to help you if you are waiting ...


9

This might not be an option for you, but if it is then it could be brilliant for you: Join a local farmer's co-op... We have one close to us: http://www.localharvest.org/black-hog-farm-M41490 The genius of Black Hog is that they drop the freshest ingredients of the season on your door and then you get to just be creative with them!


8

Have you asked the meat departments of the stores you shop in? They may not carry it simply due to lack of demand but could order it for you. Calve's liver is often sold frozen in small quart size containers due to the fact it's not a high demand item. Check your freezer section as well as the fresh meat section. Also look in the yellow pages of your ...


8

Zwieback toast is a twice-baked sweetened toast fed to teething children. It is also known as teething toast, and can be found in the baby aisle of most grocery stores.


8

Regarding the last question: Do egg producers and/or chefs use dirty tricks to effect a yellow yolk? Dye? Food additives? Yes, they do! In fact scientists have experimented with food additives in order to control the color of the yolk. Interestingly enough the preferred color of the egg yolk differ between countries and even between regions within ...


8

Most seafood counters will sell you small vacuum sealed portions of frozen fish. The fish is often frozen on the ship where it is caught and so will be fresher than even if you bought it at the dock. The freezing will also kill any parasites and is the only prerequisite for the label "sushi grade". See this question: What exactly is "Sushi Grade" ...


7

The difference is the amount of protein contained in the flour which can range from 5% to 15%. Bread flour usually has a minimum of 12% because bread needs it to rise properly. Cake flour has lower amount of protein, and all-purpose is in the middle. See also here. The link at the bottom opens a table of the different protein ratios for the different ...


7

The reason dual-fuel range/oven combination units are so popular is because (generally) a gas flame for the range is preferred, while the dry, even heat of an electric oven is preferred. Also, though I cannot quote a particular source, the heat of an electric oven is supposed to be more consistent than gas, presumably because of the more easily controlled ...


7

You don't need a stand mixer, but it's a shortcut for those of us who don't like kneading the dough. You could also use a bread machine (most have an option to mix and kneed, but not bake), or a food processor (use a dough blade), or just knead by hand. If you look, you can find some no-knead, or at least less-knead pizza dough recipes, and there's some ...


7

I usually only "plan" for big parties, and even that planning is driven mostly by knowing what will be in season when I go shopping. For the average weeknight meal, I don't make shopping lists except to the extent that I know I'm missing something I want to have that evening. If you're an urban dweller, and a passable cook, you don't need to plan so much as ...


7

The color of the yolk is based on the chicken's diet. I eat vegetarian fed eggs from the grocery store and they have deep yellow yolks. If I go back to buying standard white eggs its a bit disconcerting because they have very pale yolks. In the fall is when the eggs are the orangest for pasture raised eggs, again something about what is available to feed. ...


7

There are a few consideratons that I can think of: How durable the device is. Generally, this is going to mean that you want something metal & heavy, but I'd really look at reviews of any model that you plan to buy online, particularly from something like Amazon which lets you see those 1 star ratings, and you can see why people rated them so poorly. ...



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