Vagabond Cookbook

The best you ate on vacation? Make it at home tonight.

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Bum rush the show with Flavor bouncin’

Need a showstopping dish for a hot date this summer? Clueless where to begin? No worries — Cook Somethin’ has you covered. Now, there’s a sunny summer dish that’ll drive your she-bear wild. Here we’ve got some coffee-crusted scallops, carrot-orange puree, pickled fennel, and some coffee-roasted carrots. Bonan apetiton! “Dude, your Esperanto is outstanding. But coffee and scallops? Sounds grody to the max!” You’d think that, wouldn’t you? But, it’s not. This dish works. It works really, really well. And there’s a reason behind it. Welcome to the magic world of flavour bouncing. Did somebody say Flava? It’s a simple idea, really. Pick an ingredient. Pick another one that goes with it. Then a third flavour that matches them both. Then a fourth, and so on. (Don’t trust me, though. Watch one of the world’s greatest chefs explain the concept here.) Flavour bouncing is the foundation of everything* that tastes good. Pizza margherita? […]

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’70s soul, oven temperatures, and the sweet folly of youth

“Y’know what? Fuck ovens. They’re slow as shit and you can’t control them at all. What possible reason is there to use an oven — unless you’re Sylvia Plath?” — Devon Wells, circa 2012 Ovens didn’t work out so well for Old Syl, either. Ah, the sweet folly of youth. True, I used to hate ovens. I lived by the speed of the stovetop. Maybe cooking in China trained me to avoid them. Maybe I just watchedApt Pupil too many times. Either way, if you caught me the summer of Pitch Perfect, I’d trash talk the hot box like it slapped my sister. (Kitchen appliances get me worked up, what can I say?) To be fair, I wasn’t wrong. Ovens are slow. They need preheating. They use Fahrenheit temperatures no one understands (200℉? 500℉? Hot is hot, amirite?) Most importantly, you can’t fix flubs on the fly. With an oven, […]

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Kitchen-style crane kicks like Mr. Miyagi

Beatrix Kiddo knows it. Mr. Miyagi knows it. Hell, even Tricky Dick knows it. Chopsticks are the king of all kitchen tools. Or sensei, as it were. Don’t believe me? What other device can you use to eat noodles, stir drinks, turn food, skewer meat, test oil temperature, beat eggs, pit cherries, steam fish, and make into a hilarious walrus costume? A fork? A spoon? A spatula? Please. KitchenAids and copper bowls are lovely, but nothing matches the versatility of a couple of 筷子. (Plus, you can steal them from that awful Chinese takeout by your house and not spend a dime.) They’re simply the best. Better than all the rest. Tina knows it too. “Hey, jerkoff, not all of us lived in Asia! How am I supposed to use chopsticks?” Pop quiz, Hotshot: Are you smarter than this kid? He’s a baby and he has no trouble packing it […]

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Adorable raccoons and the joys of pickling

It always starts out right. You buy a ribeye from your butcher. You follow the Yummly recipe to a T. You stuff a potato in the oven and pour another mojito. Like the Evil Plotting Raccoon, you think everything is OK. AND IT IS! You’re just cooking dinner, not negotiating a hostage handover. Still, it’s a downer when your hard work in the kitchen tastes blah. What can you do? There are only a few things you can do to make your shitty food taste better. Add salt. Add acid (that means lemon juice or vinegar, not the Jimi Hendrix kind). Or, add a condiment full of salt and acid that turns the whole thing up to 11.* That’s right, I’m talking pickles. At the risk of sounding like a hipster stereotype, pickles are rad. They keep food fresh. They last damn near forever. And, they make otherwise whatever food […]