13 Essential Cooking Basics

During the last decade, Edible Austin published over one thousand recipes throughout 52 issues. Folks, that's a lot of food! For those readers that are still learning to cook, we've sorted through those recipes for the best of our Cooking Basics. From simple scrambled eggs to the more challenging kimchi, here are 13 recipes to help you begin the unforgettable journey of learning to cook at home.

 

1. Making Bread

bread 2
Photography by Andy Sams

Who better to learn bread making from than David Norman, head of production at Austin beer garden Easy Tiger. In the recipe at the end of the article, David tells how to make both starter dough and how to turn that into a final, delicious product. Be sure to grab your scale, because in order to yield the perfect loaf, these measurements come in volume.

 

2. How to Make Coffee

coffee
 

Although coffee is hardly a new beverage to any modern adult, many drink it without understanding how to have a cup reach its full flavor potential. In this piece from The Tipsy Texan's David Alan, learn the multiple methods for brewing and grinding coffee, as well as where the beans often come from. Now, who wants a cup?

 

3. Handiwork: Mozzarella

mozzarella
Photography by Lisa Fain

Did you know that it only takes five ingredients to make a fabulous ball of mozzarella at home? Granted, getting them may take a trip to your local cheese shop, but it's so worth it for the final, cheese-y product. Learn how to make fresh mozzarella at home in this simple recipe by Lisa Fain. All we have to add is, more cheese please!

 

4. How to Make Custard

custard
 

All custard comes from the same three ingredients: dairy, egg and sugar. However, the many variations of this dessert, from crème brûlée to frozen custard, allow for vast differences in flavor and texture. Learn what allows for these differences in our story on the delicious dessert, and find recipes for flan and stirred custard.

 

5. Curry

curry1
Photography by Anita Jaisinghani

In this piece by Chef Anita Jaisinghan, find out the how the history of curry ties in with the British occupation of India, as well as how the dish ended up with its universal name. Not only is this story educational, but it also includes four fabulous recipes from Jaisinghani, who was born and raised in India. Needless to say, she knows her curry, and there's a lot that cooks of all skill levels can learn from her.

 

6. Scrambled Eggs

scrambled
 

You make think that you know how to cook eggs, but have you ever made a perfectly scrambled egg? Terry Thompson-Anderson does, because she learned how from the inimitable Julia Child. Read the story behind her encounter with Chef Child, and pick up some tips on how to make divine scrambled eggs in the piece above.

 

7. Breaking Down a Chicken

chicken
Photography by Jenna Northcutt

Here are the eight steps to impeccably prepare a chicken for cooking, as told by Chef Zack Northcutt. Grab a good knife and a plastic cutting board, and get ready to learn how to break down a chicken. This story also comes with a recipe for roasted and braised chicken with root vegetables, a great go-to that even the newest home cook should be able to tackle.

 

8. Beans

beans1
Photography by Jenna Northcutt

Learn the secrets of perfectly cooked beans, and never buy them canned again! All it takes is a little bit of preparation ahead of time, and trust us when we say it's worth it. From baked to refried, this story has the bean basics covered. Scroll to the bottom of the article to find a recipe for unforgettable Sopa de Frijol Negro a la Oaxaqueña, a black bean soup.

 

9. DIY Kimchi

kimchi
Photography by Jo Ann Santangelo

The production and enjoyment of kimchi dates back to the prehistoric era, so needless to say, there are many varieties of the dish. In this article, Kate Payne teaches us how to make basic kimchi with a cabbage-base, as well as a Japanese style kimchi that is centered around bok choy. Not only do these dishes taste delicious, but they come with health benefits too. Time to try out fermentation!

 

10. Infusing with Extracts

extracts
 

One of the best ways to experience a variety of flavors in your foods is through infusion. Not only does infusion give fantastic taste to oil, alcohol and vinegar, but it's also an easy method of food preservation. If you've ever had an overflowing herb garden that couldn't all be used at once, try extracting the flavors into liquids next time.

 

11. Making Pie Crust

pie crust
 

Time for dessert! Pie crust can seem daunting to baking beginners, but with a little patience and the right tips from experienced cooks, they too can make a perfect pie. Say no to store-bought pastries and try out making crust at home. All you need is butter, flour, salt, sugar and water, as well as the invaluable tips in the story above.

 

12. DIY Condiments

condiments1
Photography by Jenna Northcutt

Though condiments are easily bought at the store, they're not easily personalized once packaged. Ever wanted to make your own spicy mayo, or a honey mustard sauce? Chef Zack Northcutt is here again to give us the basics on DIY condiments, and once you get the hang of them, these recipes can be easily adapted to your own personal taste.

 

13. How to Make Stock

stock
Photography by Carole Topalian

This cornerstone of the kitchen continues to evade even the most experienced home cooks, but no longer! All you need to make restaurant-worthy stock is a large pot, water, bones, vegetables, herbs and spices. Simple enough, right? Chef Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due breaks down the process, and explains how to make the best stock possible.

Compiled by Darby Kendall