While racks for camper shells are always useful for a field trip, good things can happen at home too. If you feel like you’d like something nice to eat but the restaurant is too far away or too pricey, you can always try and cook elegant-yet-simple dishes like risotto, paella, or even home-made lobster.
It’s okay to be fancy
While cooking is an art no matter what dish you are aiming to get, there are certain foods that have been deemed as ‘’fancy’’ and people typically expect to meet them in elegant, Micheline-type restaurants.
However, in this day and age, people often get lured into the quickness of buying online and that is often true for getting a quick bite to eat. While you do have these two options at your disposal, why bother with them when you can make just-as-tasty and probably healthier versions of these dishes in the comfort of your own house?
If you’ve been led to believe that standouts like risotto, lobster, or even the Spanish paella can only be thoroughly enjoyed at fancy restaurants, prepare to stand corrected. They can be easily cooked at home with the added advantage that being in control of the ingredients allows you to better keep track of your calorie intake.
The only real difference that stands between a restaurant-quality meal and a home-cooked dish is an approachable recipe that allows people who are not world-class chefs to follow it to a tee and get the best results. With the right words on paper, any recipe that first seems difficult will actually reveal itself to be quite doable.
In the following, we want to take you on a tour of some famous dishes that, with a few twists and turns, can be cooked in your own kitchen and put any and all restaurants to shame.
Risotto is indeed a staple of the culinary world and the many ways in which it can be imagined and served continue to leave room for constant innovation. For this reason, cooking it is like watching over a baby, in the sense that both of them need your constant and undivided attention as well as a lot of love.
With so difficult a product, cooking it at home may sometimes seem like a daunting task and one that not many people will dare to approach. Nail it, however, and you will become the celebrity amateur chef among your friends with the perfect recipe for that luxurious dinner that you guys have been saving for a special occasion.
While traditional risotto recipes use Arborio rice, some whole-grain versions prefer to use the ancient grain farro. A perfect result will be creamy and a little runny but, at the same time, not too much on the thick side of things.
The trick here is to cook the grains until they become a perfectly-chewable al-dente and then serve it right away, as the rice will thicken as it cools and lose some of that taste and flavor that makes it so delicious.
If you have been dreaming about being introduced to the airy Spanish cuisine, paella is the perfect way to do this. Aptly-named so due to the vessel in which it is traditionally cooked, this dish can be a perfect meal for a romantic dinner or a perfect food choice for larger group gatherings.
While this classic Spanish food is both festive and fun to eat, the list of required ingredients is not too shabby and this may scare some amateur cooks away from it. To make it, you should purchase some meat along with sausages and seafood, some types of vegetables as well as special seasonings and more.
However, the Internet has quite a few recipes where, with a few tweaks here and there, you can cook paella in the comfort of your own home in under an hour of actual working time.
One of the best tips here is to cook each ingredient in the pan and keep in mind that while saffron threads may seem a bit pricey at first, their very long shelf life practically pays for itself in the long run.
This list would not be complete without the help of some good-for-everything Greek food. In the land of Zeus, the tasty pie (pronounced span-ah-koh-pee-tah) is the heart of the party anywhere you go and look.
Traditionally, the Greeks like to make this with crispy phyllo dough, only after it is filled to the brim with spinach and feta. The paper-thin phyllo dough is great for doing some light baking as it lends extreme crispness to desserts and other dishes.
Therefore, it is as easy to damage as it is delicate and you will need to work quickly and efficiently to manage the long, paper-thin sheets that are known to dry out easily.
This splurge-worthy meal can make just about anybody feel special when eating it and has been for a long time, considered a delicacy and treated and eaten like one. While certain restaurants have gone a long way toward making lobster more accessible to all kinds of people, you’ve still got the option of cooking it at home.
However, this complicated process can evoke fear even in the most confident amateur masters of the kitchen, so it pays off to be prepared. If you can make use of a few quality kitchen tools and a little muscle, breaking down this small guy will not be as tough as it sounds.
Pro tip here: if you want, you can just take the lazy-but-not-crazy way out and simply buy the sweet, succulent tail meat from the store and be done with it. This dish can be great for an elegant meal at home, designed to impress pretty much anybody.
What do you get by crossing a richly-flavored rib-eye steak with the tender and succulent beef tenderloin? That’s simple enough to answer though, as this tasty cut of beef comes from the diaphragm of the animal, along the plate or lower belly.
Since this muscle does very little work in the cow’s lifetime, the meat will be very tender and simply dripping with beefy flavors. Do not be intimidated by the fact that this is a less-used piece of meat as cooking it as actually simpler than your regular ribeye or tenderloin.
Since it is already packing a ton of flavors, all you need are a few good seasonings and some nice sear and you’re good to go. Truth be told, however, we still like to use some marinade on this one.
The Scotch egg is an example of how different an approach every meal can take depending on the people enjoying it. While this is a culinary delight and a gastropub favorite here in the United States, it is better known as a much-used picnic food across the pond.
This is seen as a basic, yet elegant dish that boasts a hard-boiled egg surrounded by a delicious sausage that is breaded and then deep-fried to achieve a taste of crispy perfection.
While a Scotch egg looks like a meticulous dish that you wouldn’t think of trying at home, the trick is all about how you cook the eggs. Because they will be exposed to heat two separate times, during the boiling and deep-frying, you have to be very careful not to overcook them. By undercooking the hard-boiled eggs just a little, you ensure you’re going to have perfect yolks.
A great home-chef will never fear the sauce, even if it’s definitely harder to cook when not in a professional kitchen. While specials like Béarnaise, Bordelaise, or Beurre Blanc do require some technique and experience, there are other, easier sauces that can be successfully cooked by pretty much anybody.
The Romesco sauce, for instance, is quite common in restaurants all across the world, even though it traditionally hails from Spain’s Catalonia region. Made from a nice combination of almonds and roasted red peppers, this sauce is great for foods like steak, fish, and even shrimp or grilled vegetables.
The Galette is such a divine dish and, at the same time, so easy to make that you really should have no excuse for not cooking it. Don’t be intimidated by its elegant, French name as it’s easier to make than a regular pie since you’ll barely require a recipe to do it.
To create this French freeform tart delight you simply need to roll out your dough, place whatever filing you desire into the middle (We and the French prefer apple slices), fold the sides in and then take it straight into the oven for about 45 minutes of pure expectations.
To make things even better, you don’t even need a pie pan for this and you’ll certainly become the celebrity-chef among your friends after you present this dish to them, especially with a tad of vanilla bean-yogurt sauce sprinkled over the top.