This isn’t a cooking blog, which means these are some of the best recipes I use for various dishes that are relatively easy and delicious. It’s not exhaustive.
We don’t eat meat, so these recipes are all vegan/vegetarian. If you can go vegan, you should. It’s better for the environment, animals, and your health. The goal is to eat as healthily as you can and help the planet as much as you can. That being said, it’s really hard to just quit cold turkey (like the pun?), but it’s worth trying your best and knowing you are trying.
If you want more recipes, I recommend these websites which are usually pretty good:
https://cooking.nytimes.com/ (This usually costs money and I’m not endorsing the NYT in general. I’ve been pretty disappointed in a lot of their journalism.)
How to cut: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-Fg7l7G1zw; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ydc_SaQ_eRQ
How to sharpen knives (you want them sharp): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wk3scs5FqCY
The best salad dressings
Peanut butter, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sriracha, vinegar
Maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, spices (garlic powder, basil, oregano, etc.)
These are the only two types of salads I eat. Sorry.
No-knead bread: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/11376-no-knead-bread
Basic bread: https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/basic-homemade-bread/
Sourdough bread: https://www.theclevercarrot.com/2014/01/sourdough-bread-a-beginners-guide/
Don’t rinse your pasta or if you do, save the water to mix with the sauce and noodles, so it binds to the pasta. Always undercook it a little so there’s a little white in the middle of the noodle. This is al dente. If you can, mix the sauce in the pan on the stove.
The best marinara sauce: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1015987-classic-marinara-sauce
The best pesto sauce: https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/fresh_basil_pesto/ and adapt it to your taste. I like it with more garlic and frozen parmesan.
The best alfredo sauce: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/22831/alfredo-sauce/ but cut the butter, and add red pepper flakes. This is also delicious if you roast red pepper and crush it into the sauce or with a pinch of nutmeg.
The best lasagna: become my friend, meet my mom, and beg her to make it. I know of no other way. More seriously, you need ricotta or cream cheese or to make an alfredo sauce and alternate it with noodles, marinara, and sauteed vegetables. It’s hard to go wrong.
Paneer makhani: https://www.indianhealthyrecipes.com/paneer-makhani-paneer-makhanwala-recipe/
More coming soon. This I don’t really use recipes for (I’m Indian), so it’s hard.
Sautee vegetables. Fry tofu by soaking up the water with towels and then coating it in cornstarch. Then, it’s all about the sauces.
For all sauces, cut some garlic, ginger, and dried red chillies and sautee them first, before you add the sauce in. You can also add lemon/orange zest, green onions, peanuts, etc. at this stage.
After you cook the sauce, add some cornstarch + water and mix and boil it. This makes it thicken and get glossy, like in restaurants.
Then add the vegetables/tofu. Here are some sauces I like, but you should just play around.
The key to Chinese food is the garlic/ginger/chili base, oil (peanut oil, sesame oil), sugar (brown or white or maple syrup), soy sauce, umami flavor (dark soy sauce, hoisin sauce, vegetarian oyster sauce, shitake mushrooms), and vinegar (rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, white wine, Chinese wine).
General Tsao’s: Use orange zest and onions. 1/4 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons vegetable broth, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon rice wine, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 1 teaspoon peanut butter.
Kung Pao: Use peanuts and green onions. 2 tablespoons rice wine, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 3 tablespoons sugar, as much chili sauce as you can handle, 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce if you have it or 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce/vegetarian oyster sauce.
Ma Po Tofu: Use green onions and a lot of chillies. Sichuan pepper corns, bean paste (below), vegetable broth.
Black bean: https://www.daringgourmet.com/how-to-make-homemade-black-bean-sauce-or-black-bean-paste/
Chili: Garlic, chili flakes, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, a little sugar. This is delicious and extremely underrated, especially with beans and broccoli.
Sweet and Sour: 1 cup pineapple juice (or pineapple mango juice or even water), 3/4 cup brown sugar (or white sugar), 1/3 cup rice vinegar, white vinegar, or apple cider vinegar, a little ketchup, 3 tablespoons soy sauce.
Random other stuff, until I expand this article:
Nacho cheese sauce: Make a roux with 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons flour, mix about 1 1/2 cups milk in, and then mix in a ton cheddar cheese (at least a cup, 2 works). The key is to keep everything on low heat so the cheese and milk don’t break or curdle. Proportions aren’t important. I recommend adding salt and paprika.
Enchiladas: make sure you use white cheese and actually make it on a stove. Do not bake enchiladas. Just heat it on a stove with sauce and serve it hot.
Kashk-e-bademjan: Peel five long purple eggplant and saute them. Then put in one onion cut in big pieces, four cloves of garlic, a cup of water, salt, pepper, turmeric, saffron, and a little cinnamon. Let it simmer until everything is cooked and then mash it. Then add kashak/yogurt/sour cream and dried mint.
Gulab Jamun: https://www.indianhealthyrecipes.com/gulab-jamun-recipe-using-milk-powder/
Apple Pie: I actually have a lot of thoughts on this one. For the filling, this is good: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/12682/apple-pie-by-grandma-ople/, but homemade caramel sauce is better: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/220997/chef-johns-caramel-apple-pie/. Regardless of what the recipe says, use enough cinnamon, a little nutmeg (or pecans/walnuts), and a dash of lemon. Pie crust should not be bought. It should be made: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/24094/butter-flaky-pie-crust/. This is okay, but I’ve never found a great recipe. I just make it differently each time and feel the dough.
Chocolate mousse: This is so easy and fancy. Melt chocolate of your choice. Whip whipping cream and put sugar in it. Mix the chocolate slowly into the whipping cream and put it in the fridge. I usually add vanilla or rose water or something like that. Just make it thicker and add nuts/peanut butter/sprinkles for truffles. That makes the easiest holiday gift.
Kheer: Rice, lots of milk, sugar, rose water, almonds, cardamom. It’s insanely easy.