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By Chef Todd

The 5 Benefits Of Simple Cooking

Simple cooking is the best cooking.

There, I said it for the 1000th time! No matter where I travel, no matter with whom I speak,
the people that know good food say the same thing.

“Simple things are good things”

In a fish market on Hawaii, the local fish monger advised me to cook my tuna very simply.
“Only scare the fish with a fry pan, it will be Ono”, he said. Ono is “delicious” in Hawaiian.

The multi-generational spice store owner in Paris told me his secret for cooking with herbs and spices.
"Simpler is better"

The grass-fed beef rancher in Nebraska I spoke with said his steaks get only salt and pepper on the grill.

The restaurant owner in Spain that I dined with didn't have complicated recipes, he bragged that it was the simple things done well that really impress his customers.

Yet, food TV shows will have you believe that elaborate meals are the only way to be considered a truly good cook.

Why would cookbooks and food TV want to make you feel as if your cooking were inadequate?

So you’ll buy more cookbooks and watch more food TV!

When you discover just a few basic cooking methods, then you can break this cycle. Imagine the benefits you would enjoy if you stopped searching for recipes and avoided the influence of celebrity chefs who make you feel unworthy of a kitchen.

What if you were empowered with this concept of simple cooking? What if you could just choose items already in your pantry and improvise a delicious, nutritious, quick and easy meal every night of the week?

You would then begin to improve your lifestyle with simple cooking. You needn’t be on TV, nor need to write a cookbook to know what type of food YOU like. No celebrity chef or recipe author can tell you what you should be eating or how you should be cooking it. Only you can decide that.

Cook simply and you’ll enjoy the following benefits:

1) Freedom – You’ll gain freedom from written recipes and vague instructions that make it impossible to cook consistently. You’ll have the freedom to eat what you want, how you want it.

2) Confidence – Once you gain your freedom from others telling you how to cook, you’ll have the confidence to create your own recipes, using the ingredients you desire.

3) Health – With confidence comes a desire to cook new ingredients, more wholesome, fresh, farmer’s market ingredients. Once you discover simple cooking, you’ll want to try it out on items you were afraid to purchase before because you couldn’t find a recipe for the item.

4) Family - You’ll reunite your family over the dinner table. When they actually look forward to your cooking, when you enjoy preparing healthy meals with confidence, you’ll spend more time together. Also, cooking is a social skill. You’ll find yourself entertaining more, making friends and meeting new people.

5) Money - When cooking in your home moves from the living room as entertainment and back into the kitchen as art, you’ll save money. You’ll order less take-out food. You’ll purchase less convenience items and make better decisions at the grocery store. You’ll stop buying cookbooks. Simple cooking will save you money.

Something else I’ve said 1000 times is that cooking is an art. There is no other art form that comes with a strict set of instructions to follow. Your cooking should come from your heart, using basic cooking methods with the ingredients you and your family desire.

Otherwise, you’re giving the responsibility of something as important as your health and nutrition to a guy on TV.

Discover how to use the freshest ingredients
in my upcoming FREE Webinar,
"Buy Fresh. Cook Simple. Eat Well"

Click HERE to reserve your spot for the FREE event.

By Chef Todd

Fresh Cooking Starts With Finding Out Where Your Food Comes From

Are you looking for fresh cooking ideas for your family? You may need to start paying more attention to where your food comes from. Fresh cooking starts with fresh ingredients and the fresher your ingredients, the more "gourmet" your cooking is going to taste. Where my food comes from is of great concern to me because I want to make the best dishes that I can. And, I know that the best ingredients yield the best dishes. Actually, I know that if I buy fresh, my cooking will be easier.

You don’t need to be a chef to know good ingredients, you don’t even have to know how to cook to care where your food comes from. If you can tell the difference between the fresh taste and texture of a raw carrot from your local farmer and the one that was flown from half way around the world, you know the impact of fresh, local foods on your palate.

The nutrients and flavors are better in fresher ingredients, it’s obvious whether you cook or not. However, if you can skillfully apply basic cooking methods to the seasonal ingredients, then you really have the most nutritious and best tasting meals you can be proud of and your cooking will be more healthy.

I want to spend this summer examining where our food comes from, who is growing our food, and how they’re growing it. You might begin to care about where your food comes from for any of the many reasons that exist: The cost of bad food, better quality foods, ecology and local farming, the flavor of ingredients, the better nutrition, or world-wide labor practices, the use of pesticides, organically grown food, non-irradiated, low carbon footprint...WHATEVER the reason, you should start asking where your food comes from and how it impacts not only your health and nutrition, but the entire world’s.

The first step in my investigation is to find a local CSA or Community Supported Agriculture association. I visited Eastern Carolina Organics and had a conversation with their director to ask some basic questions about how I can get started in finding the freshest, most wholesome ingredients in my area.

Eastern Carolina Organics is an organization dedicated to making local, family farmed and organic foods more available to the general population. They support local farmers with education and distribution channels for their products. Here was the first answer I was looking for. They’re able to direct me to alternatives over my local mega-grocery store that imports food from all over the world.

Remember, fresh cooking and healthy ideas start with healthy ingredients and you don't have to be cooking gourmet dishes to care or tell the difference. Ask your grocer or local CSA and they will answer questions about how to identify local ingredients over international ingredients, as well as the many benefits to buying local produce. In other words ask yourself, “Why should I care where my food comes from?” You’ll find there are many reasons, all of great benefit to you and your community.

By Chef Todd

Discover “Ras el Hanout” – Parisian Spice Store Owner’s Cooking Spice Blend

My Paris guide to the best ingredients is Pascal Mierve, Owner of L’ Epicerie Finein Paris. He’s a multi-generational grocer and spice dealer. It’s been in his family for generations, and so is fresh cooking.

Cooking spices and gourmet products is Pascal’s passion. He describes his perfect recipe for cooking fish. It’s a fresh cooking approach that includes just a few simple ingredients. Onion, salt, pepper, and wine is all Pascal recommends for cooking fish.

I’m finally getting answers to my fresh cooking questions, and it seems that the answer is very simple. While I might have found my answers in a Paris guide book, my journey has been much more fun on my own.

Pascal is explaining to me that cooking spices does not need to be complicated, nor does it need to be in a combination of 100 different flavors. Fresh cooking is more about using excellent ingredients to compliment the natural flavor of the food.

My Paris guide told me that cooking spices can be used in unique and unbelievable ways. Pascal introduces me to a new peppercorn that he’s just acquired from Madagascar. I was thinking about how wonderful is would be on a steak or in my scrambled eggs, but Pascal has a different idea.

His next statement had me wondering whether Pascal was pulling my leg. He said that he would use the crushed peppercorns to toss them with fresh strawberries. Peppercorns and strawberries? I won’t believe my Paris guide until I taste it. But once I do, I’m sure that Pascal will be right because the correct use of a select few cooking spices is the key to unlocking flavors in fresh cooking techniques.

Related Posts:
The Secrets of a Parisian Spice Store Owner: Good Food is Simple Food.
Why Eating Healthy Food is Easy with Paris Cuisine

Benefit from the secrets Chef Todd learns in Paris with your own cooking DVD highlighting the search for the freshest food.