Cooking How-to's Live Simply

5 Simple Tips for Cooking Something New

A good friend of mine shared with me that she is interested in adding new foods to her cooking routine this year.  Mushrooms have not been kind to her in the past, but she is ready to give them another chance.  As we were swapping kitchen war stories, she asked me for advice on how to best cook mushrooms.  She knew that I was a fan and that I cooked with them often.  She also knows that I am a wiz around the stove.  How did I get so good at cooking?  Today I am sharing my secrets.  Here are 5 tips to give you the courage to cook something new.


Buy fresh ingredients. Buy fresh ingredients instead of canned or frozen options.  Fresh vegetables, for example, often taste better than foods that have been preserved.  In addition to better flavor, fresh veggies will be crispier and hold their texture longer during cooking.

Season as you would similar foods.  If you are a fan of sauteed veggies that have been seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic, then try the same recipe.  Go slow and add seasonings a little at a time.  It is easier to add more salt than it is to eat something that has been over salted.

Cook slowly.  One of the reasons why I didn’t enjoy some foods as a child was because they were over cooked.  Some meats were dry.  Some vegetables were too mushy.  It is common to not know how long to cook something you are making for the first time.  Don’t rush the process and go slow.  Touch the veggies or meat with your fork every minute or so, cut into the food for a view of the inside, and don’t be afraid to taste as you go.

Get inspiration from experts.  Whether it is details from the menu at your favorite restaurant or tips from a food blogger, get inspiration from others that have been in your shoes.  They have cooked this very item.  Are they sauteing or pan roasting?  Are they cooking with olive oil or butter?  Use these little details to help point you in the right direction.

Evaluate yourself in the end.  Should you have cooked your new dish a little longer?  Could it have been seasoned a little more?  Maybe a little less?  These postmortem reviews are how great cooks determine what changes they need to make in the future.  Learn from your mistakes and celebrate your successes.

If it doesn’t work out….

If you find in your postmortem review that you simply did not like your new dish, don’t feel down.  You aren’t going to love everything no matter how well it has been seasoned, sauteed, baked, or grilled.  For example, I cannot stand Brussels sprouts. My husband thinks that I make the most amazing Brussels sprouts.  I chop them in half and saute them with bacon grease and onion.  I then broil them to get a light char on the top.  I have tried to tweak the recipe because they look so lovely.  However, no matter what I do, I cannot stomach eating more than two or three bites.

It happens to the best of us. In the end, at least you tried.