Spice control for real cooking

Real food spices in a market

Real food spices in a marketYou can’t make real food without spices. Period! Real food ingredients come in a naked state. That’s what makes them perfect. A blank canvas to paint your next meal, reflect your mood and custom-tease your senses. But you need a good method to store and use spices to unlock the full potential of spices in your cooking.

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Real food basics: Poached Eggs

Real food basics: Poached Eggs
Real food poached eggs on toast photo
Poached eggs on toast. As real as food gets.

Poached eggs are universally loved. Some would even call a perfect poached egg on toast comfort food. Poaching an egg free-floating in water is not hard, unless you hate your eggs wandering all over the pan, and don’t mind water on your toast. There are dedicated appliances for poaching eggs. I wish I had a dollar for each egg poacher bought around the world, and used only once. There are special little rubber tubs designed to poach eggs. Yet one more thing to clutter up your “what-the-heck-do-you-do-with-this drawer.” None are required for water-free, beautifully formed, poached eggs.

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Building your personal cooking file

Recently I wrote about my dislike of following recipes. That doesn’t mean I am always running on my memory. That is one of my more unreliable talents, so I have learned to document what I am unlikely to remember.

Real food recipe folder image
A simple folder holds recipes from friends and outside sources, as well as successful recipes gathered from the Web.

First, when I do use a successful recipe, I save it. Recipes arrive in my kitchen scrawled on a scrap of paper, if from a friend or other source of inspiration, or printed on a page from the Web. I keep a folder in my cupboard to harbor these treasures (only if they work for me, of course). I have tried almost every recipe system available, and nothing has kept my important information in place better than a simple folder. I spend a little extra time finding what I need, because there is no order to my file, but the important thing is that it is easy to put the paper away, no matter what form it takes. When I am cleaning my kitchen, I am moving fast and on autopilot — no time for creative thinking. Any form of information storage that required intricate folding or cutting to fit, would never work.

Real food kitchen notebook
A notebook safely stores all the tips and observations from my own kitchen.

The second tool I could not do without is my notebook.

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