Basic Recipes & Cooking Methods

Over the past year and half, I’ve posted over 100 original recipes on PGEW. Because I tend to revisit certain things on a regular basis I have tried to streamline things in the method portion of the recipe by linking back to older recipes. Alas, this has actually been more confusing thank helpful for some folks, so I’ve decided to create a special page devoted to some of these basic recipes and cooking methods. Of course, individual recipe posts will still have a complete method section, but you’ll now have an easier way of finding some of the things that make up the backbone of some of my more complicated recipes. This is just the beginning for this section of PGEW, but I wanted to start you off with a couple of very basic recipes for two of my favorite things to eat/post about – crepes and omelettes – as well as a breakdown on how to go about cooking some of the Bare Bones staples that have bailed me out of many a boring meal.


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Crepes & Omelettes...

Basic Crepe Recipe (Yields 6-8 crepes):
1/2 c all purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 c nonfat milk
1 T butter, melted
1 T sugar
1/2 T butter for cooking


Combine the crepe ingredients into a bowl and mix together well with a wire whisk. The consistency of the batter will be runny at first and it should be - we are making crepes, not pancakes! However, it will thicken slowly (if it becomes too thick while you are cooking the crepes, add a splash or two of extra milk to thin it out).


In a medium skillet, heat the 1/2 T butter and coat the entire pan with it. Using either a measuring cup or ladle with a spout, slowly pour some of the batter into the skillet until it covers the entire bottom. If you pour too fast, you'll end up with a ton of splattered batter (hey, that rhymed) and very uneven-looking crepes. Cook over medium low heat until the edges become slightly dry, about 45 seconds. With a spatula, check to make sure the crepe is starting to turn a golden brown on the bottom. If so, it's ready to flip onto the other side. Cook for about another 30 seconds or until the bottom side is golden brown. Transfer onto a plate and cover, so that the crepes stay moist and warm. Repeat the process until all the batter has been used.


Basic Omelette Recipe:
3 large eggs
1/2 t butter
Couple drops of water


Beat eggs well until they are light and fluffy-looking in the bowl. A tip I learned from a TV cooking show is to add a couple drops of water for extra fluffy eggs, and because this actually works better than milk, I highly suggest this. Melt the butter in a pan over medium high heat until hot and add eggs. Swirl your pan around until the egg coats the entire bottom and some of the sides. When the eggs bubble, take your spatula and pierce the steam bubble, tilting your pan to fill the hole with the remaining eggs. Continue this process until the eggs stop bubbling and reduce heat to medium. Sprinkle a tiny pinch each of salt and pepper, and add the fillings according to the specific recipe you’re following. At this point you will want to start using your spatula to help loosen the omelette from the pan, making sure it doesn't break in the process. Flip one side of the omelette on top of the other with your spatula and cook for about 20 seconds. Flip the entire thing onto the other side and do the same until you’ve reached a perfect golden color on the outside of the omelette.

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Cooking Bare Bones Staples…


Those of you who have been reading PGEW for some time know that I literally do live off my Bare Bones staples. These include a variety of legumes (both dried & canned, depending on where I’ve shopped) and a ton of different grains. A lot of times my recipes will call for “cooked quinoa” or “cooked farro”, and I have received some feedback from some readers that they’re not quite sure how to go about cooking these properly. Here’s a simple set of instructions on how to do this with some of my most frequently used grains, broken down by type.


How to cook Quinoa:
Quinoa may be daunting at first, but it's actually rather simple to prepare.  The cooking ratios are fairly similar to those for rice.  First, be sure to rinse your quinoa thoroughly in a fine mesh sieve in order to remove the bitter flavor that is commonly associated with unrinsed quinoa. Next, boil two cups of water for one cup of quinoa. Cover and let it simmer for about 15 minutes or until the germ separates from the seed (the cooked germ will look like a tiny curl). Remove it from heat and let the quinoa stand for about 3 minutes to become fully fluffy.


How to cook Brown Rice/Farro (Spelt)/Kamut:
These grains & rices are a lot tougher than regular white rice, so they'll require both a bit more water and a bit more cooking time when preparing them. In the case of brown rice, you could probably get away with using just 2 ½ cups of water per cup of rice, but for the most part, use 3 cups of water for every cup of farro (also known as spelt), kamut, or other wheat berry. Bring to a boil (you can add a couple pinches of salt if you like), then cover and reduce heat to medium low. Let it simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until tender & chewy.

How to cook Couscous:
Quite possibly the easiest grain to cook! Using a 1:1 ratio of water & couscous, first bring the water to a rolling boil (if you like, you can add a small amount of butter & salt while water comes to a boil). Add the couscous, cover, and remove from heat. Let stand for 5-7 minutes, fluff with a fork and it's ready to go!

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