How to Use Cook Books and a Pulled Chicken Recipe
I’ve always looked as books as mines of knowledge rather than instructional guides. People always ask me how i learned how to cook and i always reply “through books”. I know in their minds they have this picture of me learning one recipe at the time and slaving away at my stove. To be honest, even if you had the time, you would probably end up going crazy executing all the recipes in a cook book. When i first realised that i was in love with cooking, i looked at it from a flavour point of view. That’s really just a prettier way of saying i set out to eat anything i could get my hands on. What that taught me is the interaction between ingredients and how they complement each other. Once you do this, you will be able to know about ingredients and their purpose, understand flavour profiles and build a database of taste memories in your mind; one that you can call on at any given moment.
Next, instead of learning how to cook through actually cooking, i just read about it. I know it doesn’t really make sense, but if you look at cooking school curriculums they are usually 50% theory and 50% practice based. So i just applied the same program for myself. I guess you can say i was home schooled. By reading books about knife skills, stock making, sauce making, kitchen techniques, i gave myself the tools to be better at the craft. Then by reading actual cook books by different chefs, i was able to assimilate different interpretations of food. Now when i look at ingredients, i can more or less put them together in my head, recall food memories, have a sense of what they will taste like and make the smart choices.
I highly suggest you go through the same process, it’s all in good fun.
Here are some of my favourite books:
- The French Laundry
- Esquire Eat Like a Man
- Joe Beef
- Craft Cocktails at Home
- The 4 Hour Chef
- The Professional Chef
- Modernist Cuisine
- Joy of Mixology
- Primal Cuts
- Fish without a doubt
and then i have a bunch of authentic Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Thai, etc.. books all by native authors.
Pulled Chicken on Mixed Roast Veggies
This recipe comes from nowhere, it’s not fancy at all, it’s honest, healthy, easy cooking. Has all the right textures, is filling and will leave you with a smile on your face. It is the type of dish you would eat while working on your computer. (because i’m doing it right now)
Pull out all the meat you can, white or dark, discarding the skin if you want to be real healthy.
Toss in a little olive oil, salt, pepper and some Brown Sauce (the only thing the British have contributed to food) or your own light gravy or even just a mix of lemon juice, herbs and spices (think pulled pork variations).
In a roasting pan, toss in some chopped carrots, baby tomatoes, whole garlic, sweet potatoes, red kidney beans, chickpeas with some olive oil and roast at about 180 until everything is cooked through and beautifully sticky.
Before serving, toss the vegetables with some salt and pepper, top with the chicken, a little grated parmesan and some fresh parsley.