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Cooking Vegetables Takes More Creativity—And That's a Good Thing

Cooking Vegetables Takes More Creativity—And That's a Good Thing

Neanderthals could cook a steak over fire. Preparing carrots and their ilk creatively takes a little more evolutionary thought.

Sometimes opening up the refrigerator crisper drawer is like staring at a blank page. Dinner won’t write itself tonight. Those torpedo-shaped spring onions, that bunch of carrots, and the first-of-the-season asparagus you bought earlier in the week? It’s time to shape them into paragraphs.

Let’s be honest: Even seasoned weeknight dinner pros like you and me get stuck in ruts. We make excuses. We procrastinate. Sometimes we close the crisper drawer and just order in the pizza.

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

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Not tonight. Tonight, we’re cooking. Slice those carrots into thick pieces, rolling them each time you cut at an angle to make oblong shapes, and toss them with olive oil, cumin, and coriander. Roast them in a 425°F oven, leaving the skins on to add chewy character. Carrots love creamy dairy fat, so slice some of the onion tops, stir them into Greek yogurt, and smear the sauce all over the bottom of a serving plate. Pile on the carrots, and grate some lemon or orange zest over top. Add chopped toasted nuts if you have them.

Take advantage of spring produce with a veggie-loaded frittata.

Now we’re getting somewhere. Slice the spring onions into knuckle-length pieces and sauté them, making sure to swirl the butter so it coats the sides of the skillet and makes it more nonstick. Crack a few eggs into a bowl, and whip them into a froth. Pour that into the skillet shimmering with butter and onions. When the eggs begin to seize, add a few chunks of feta or grated Parmesan, and finish the frittata in the oven.

In the meantime, grill those fat spears of asparagus until charred and barely tender. Serve them at the table on a warm plate pooling with good olive oil and sea salt for swiping and rolling the spears, plus some warm, crusty bread. There, that’s better—a vegetable dinner. And we should all be eating more vegetables.

Neanderthals could cook a steak over fire. Cooking carrots and their ilk creatively takes a little more evolutionary thought. Thankfully, the warmer the weather gets, the less work it takes. Come late spring and summer, dinner writes itself.

How to Cook the Best Ginataang Sitaw Recipes (String Bean with Coconut Milk)

Not everyone likes to eat vegetables, not that they are picky, but at times it’s the natural taste of vegetables that puts them off. That’s why it’s an essential job for home cooks to make vegetable dishes appealing: not only visually, but importantly the flavor.

We know the benefits of regularly eating vegetables: how it helps the body be apical and for every system to function correctly. But let’s admit it as well, not every vegetable tastes good without adding a ton of ingredients to them. However, our featured recipe begs to differ.

Most adults and kids alike will prefer to have this veggie over any other kind. So let’s pause with the chit chat and go straight ahead in teaching how to cook the Sitaw in Coconut Milk that your family is sure to fall in love with.


To cook multiple meals in your Instant Pot, you will require using the trivet, which came with your pot and possibly another pot that is safe to cook in.

The trivet which came in along with the Instant Pot does tend to be short, so you could purchase a taller trivet if you feel that suits your cooking needs.

There are several options you can do. If you already own a 7-quart pyrex glass bowl, then some dishes that you make you can use this to cook with.

If you already own another 7-inch pot, such as a springform, or round cake pan, you can use these when cooking multiple items.

You will have to separate the multiple containers with a wire rack or trivet so that they can stack on top of each other.

Alternatively, for more convenience, you can purchase a stackable pot insert, which is at least two stainless steel pots. Which allows you to simultaneously cook separate dishes.

How to stop “following” recipes and start “using” them

Anyone can follow a recipe, but there’s more to cooking than just obeying instructions. Relying too much on recipes can stifle your creativity and turn cooking into more of a chore than a craft. Yet you shouldn’t abandon recipes altogether, they have a lot more to offer than just teaching you how to cook one specific meal.

Getting the most out of recipes starts with changing how you look at them. Rather than seeing recipes as instructions, you can instead see them as a description of what a chef was doing when a meal was created. When a recipe tells you to add a few sprigs of thyme to a stew, it’s not saying “You must add thyme, or face utter ruin!” Instead, it’s saying “The chef put thyme in the stew, and it turned quite good”. Maybe thyme is crucial to this dish. Maybe the chef was just in the mood for thyme that day. Or maybe her herb garden was growing out of control that season and she was looking for any excuse to use it. You don’t know, all you know is that when thyme was added to the stew that day, the stew turned out good.

Imitation is the heart of learning any craft. Recipes are the written equivalent of standing at grandma’s knee while she prepares her Sunday gravy, watching as she adds a pinch of this and a splash of that. You don’t know why she’s doing any of it, but you see the steps she’s taking. Reading a recipe is the same, it’s like watching a chef go about the motions of creating a meal, even if you don’t understand why they’re doing any of it.

It’s often advised to learn techniques instead of recipes, but what is a technique other than something chefs commonly do in a lot of recipes? Chefs were following techniques long before they were ever put into books and named. As you learn recipes, pay attention to what many of them have in common. No doubt you’ll notice a lot of similarity in how they handle ingredients, even if those ingredients are completely different.

For example, let’s say one recipe asks you to mince onion, carrots, and celery, melt butter in a pan over medium low heat, and cook the vegetables with a pinch of salt until fragrant and tender. Another recipe asks you to mince scallions, garlic, and ginger, then heat oil in a pan over medium low heat and cook the vegetables the same. After that, each recipe goes in a totally different direction. You should pick up that each recipe is asking you to do something very similar: mincing aromatic vegetables, heating fat in a shallow pan, and cooking over gentle heat. If you start looking for this pattern, you’ll see it appear extremely often. Congratulations, you just learned a technique!

Pay attention to the words the recipe uses, especially in the name of the recipe itself. A recipe for “Braised Pork” is obviously going to involve braising pork. Therefor the steps in that recipe are just one example of how to braise something. It’s also common for recipes to use culinary terms and then follow it up by describing exactly what to do step by step. For example, a recipe might say “deglaze the pan with ¼ cup white wine, scraping the brown bits off the bottom until they dissolve”. Another recipe might describe the steps of deglazing without calling it by name, still another may ask you to deglaze the pan and assume you know what that means.

Once you notice a pattern in many different recipes, you can start to ask yourself three questions: When is it appropriate to use this technique? What ingredients are involved? What does this technique do to improve the recipe? Once you have found the answers, you can start incorporating these techniques into brand new recipes.

But all the technique in the world isn’t going to help you if you don’t know what ingredients to use in the first place. Beginners in particularly sometimes seem paralyzed with fear that they might choose incompatible ingredients and ruin the dish. While this is unlikely to happen (there are few truly bad combinations of ingredients, and you’d be unlikely to think of them anyway), there is no question that the right pairing of ingredients can take a recipe to another level. Experienced chefs can rely on their intuition, simply smelling a spice is enough to let them know how to use it, but what’s a beginner to do?

Again, recipes can come to the rescue. Any time you see a chef use two ingredients together, that is a sign those ingredients get along. It’s not a guarantee that they complement each other, perhaps they just don’t get in each other’s way, but it is a decent sign that using both won’t completely ruin things. When you see those ingredients in more and more recipes, however, the evidence becomes stronger that these two ingredients combine to become more than the sum of their parts. The stronger the bond between two ingredients, the better the chances that a random recipe that uses one will also call for another. Look up a recipe involving tomatoes, for example, and you’ll very likely see basil along with it.

Aside from pairings however, you should also look for those ingredients that seem to appear in a wide variety of recipes. This tells you that they’re compatible with a wide variety of flavors. Onions and garlic seem to show up in nearly every cuisine, because they get along well with so many other ingredients. And of course, salt is more or less universal in its ability to enhance flavors, therefor you will see it in nearly every recipe.

By the same token, recipes can also guide you to proper ratios. If one recipe calls for ¼ tsp of paprika for a pound of chicken, you can take that as evidence that such a ratio works. It may not be the ideal ratio, but you can at least be assured that if you put ¼ tsp of paprika in your recipe with a pound of chicken, that the stability of the universe will not be compromised.

In closing, it’s also important to note that some recipes are better at teaching you than others. If a recipe is too simple, such as “Throw chicken in a pot with this and that storebought sauce”, there will simply not be much technique to learn or flavor pairings to pick up. If it’s too complicated, you will have a hard time picking out patterns amidst all of the detail. As a beginner, what you want are recipes like Aglio e Olio. People rave about how great this tastes despite how simple it is, but when you know the techniques behind this recipe, you actually have much of the foundation for building all sorts of sauces, soups, and stews. And a funny thing will happen as you learn, recipes will start to become simpler and simpler. You’ll look at a 20 step recipe and think “Oh, that’s just a braise” or “Oh, they’re just browning chicken thighs”. Before long you’ll have learned enough techniques and flavor pairings that recipes will turn from a crutch to a gentle guide.

Use ALL Ingredients

Diet culture demonizes certain ingredients, limiting your “palettes” and creative freedom in the kitchen. One of the steps to recovering a positive relationship to food is deciding to use all ingredients (there will be times when you might limit or restrict certain ingredients for moral and/or religious reasons, which is completely fine).

Think about a highly-rendered painting. One that looks so real it could be a photograph. It has light areas and dark areas, and the artist likely used a wide array of pigments to achieve lifelike qualities. I think we could all agree that if that artist were limited to a much narrower range of “approved” pigments, the painting would not turn out the same. Not only that but after time I bet that artist would start feeling uninspired by such a narrow palette.

Cooking is the same! When you open up your ingredient “palette” to include all flavors, textures, and colors of foods, it can be surprising where you find inspiration.

Potato Gnocchi Recipe

Friend of The Food Geek, Joe, asks via Twitter:

I’m not sure if there’s a firm dividing line between a cook and a chef, per se. In general, there are two things that make a chef: creativity and career.

A chef is someone who is, or at one point was, paid to make food. If you’ve never cooked food as a career, it’s going to be difficult to convince people who really care about the difference to call you a chef. I’m sure there are a couple of paths that you could go without pay and still be called a chef, but those paths are probably only unpaid because you are independently wealthy or otherwise not in need of money and have eschewed all types of paycheck.

Still, that’s not quite enough. If all you do you flip burgers at your national chain fast food restaurant, chances are that you aren’t going to be called “Chef” if you were speaking at a food convention or similar. At that point, you’re more of a line cook. A chef has to be responsible for the soul of the food. A chef should have a deep understanding of how to cook many types of food, what flavors go together, how to handle kitchen equipment (knife skills come in handy here), and so on. A chef should not require the directions part of a recipe, and usually shouldn’t require the amounts in a recipe, either.

Deviation from one or the other of those two traits will get you bumped from “chef” to “cook”. No matter how much money you make from cooking, if all you’re doing is setting a timer and raising a basket of fries into and out of the oil when things go “beep”, you aren’t a chef. And no matter how well I understand the intricacies of gluten creation or heat transfer, and no matter how many meals I make at home, because I don’t make food for other people for pay, I am not a chef.

The distinction of Chef vs. Cook probably got its real start back in the Middle Ages, when guilds of chefs were formed in France, each with different focuses. Eventually, these roles evolved into a proper way to set up a commercial kitchen in France, and many professional kitchens employ at least some of these roles today. You have the Executive Chef, who does menu planning, purchasing, quality control, and a lot of the business work. Saucier makes the sauces, Pastry Chef makes the breads and desserts, and so on. Here is a good description of various chef’s roles are they are in use today, but all of these derived from the various guilds from France in the Middle Ages.

Now, all this being said, there are definitely those who like to think that chefs are better people than cooks. Most of those people are chefs. It’s not even true that chefs are necessarily better at cooking than cooks. Very often it is, but it would not be hard to find any number of chefs who are not as good at cooking, in general, as any number of amateurs, and if you limited the food to only the specialties of the individuals doing the cooking, there are going to be many more cooks who cook better than chefs.

Being a chef will generally mean that you have a lot more flexibility in what you can make well. It will also probably mean that you can stand for 8 to 16 hours at a time without more than a couple of short breaks. And, most importantly, it means that what you do make, you can make over and over again and have it taste pretty much the same as when you made it 2000 dishes ago. Consistency is vital for a chef, but not necessarily for a cook.

Private Notes


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While I agree with some of the content in the comments. I firmly believe the occupation of Chef, is best described as a craft. I feel that a Chef teaches a craft and a Cook learns a craft. It is a very basic way of looking at this particular comparison. I will have to say, a true chef will continue to learn and evolve throughout his or her career, so, within every Chef, there is still a cook. In respect to who a Chef answers to, it would be to himself and to the customer. He or she is already bound by their trade to operate with certain fiduciary responsibilities(not fiscal). Another important milestone for a Chef is the ability to cook for others and not him or her self. I've been around for a pretty good while and have struggled with the need for validation, professional jealousy, and some pretty harsh passive aggressive behavior. Good news. if you can stay aware of who you are, you will grow out of it. Healthy competition is OK. Some say a Chef "Works like a dog, but eats like a King". I've always liked that saying. Another point I'd like to express would be the need for basic recipes and ratio's for certain things. I'd be the first to agree that you will build up a pretty impressive library of things in your head, but, the bad news is, when you complete the library, you become older and cannot recall them all. Pastry, in particular, is rampant with things that might not make sense, with tiny details that sometimes make or break certain preparations. My first and funniest was, I believe, Italian buttercream. It kept breaking when butter was added. After three batches in the trash, I called a friend. She laughed and explained I needed to continue whipping and it would come together. it did, and then I knew. If you can remember one thing as a Chef or a Cook, continue to learn, innovate, improve, and teach. It all reinforces your trade and allows you to explain things in a sensible way that others can understand. That was more than one thing. sorry. I wish the best for all who might ply this particular trade. Your Health, your Family, your Work. Without the first you can have none of the others.

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Is there future in cooking? Is worth droping out?

I am an Indian(23) living in Italy, my mom passed away 4 years ago so I started cooking for me and my father. In the quarantine I started cooking even more and discovered that I like it. I can cook for hours and don't be pissed off. It's been a year that my father and others stated joking and saying I should become a Chef and open restaurant. I discovered that I like cooking and become happy when I make something good and they like it. I am vegetarian, so I should not like meat and fish, but when I see recipes on Insta,youtube or MasterChef I find them amazingly beautiful. I don't feel the same "passion" in engineering or anything else. The only time when I am not thinking about my mom is when I am cooking.

So resently I have been thinking about dropping out and start doing some cooking course here in Italy while doing a job to finance my courses and save some money to start a restaurant. I talked about it with my father and he is giving me his support,also my sister is with me. But my grandmother and my favourite uncle are mad at me. They say that I should keep studying ( though I don't like it anymore ), there's no respect for cooks and only by getting a degree/master I'll become something. I am confused.

Is worth breaking with half family(all maybe) for cooking? I am too late to learn how to cook(23 years old dude) professionally?

I have 2 half original restaurant idea and dream of creating a menu of continental recipes with a touch of Indian spices.

Sorry for my bad English and venting here.

Professional cooking and home cooking are two very different worlds. I personally love cooking at home and thought that cooking professionally would be great as well. I tried it out, and it's not for me. Home cooking is (mostly) very relaxed and there is a lot of creativity and freedom involved. Cooking in a restaurant is more about doing the same steps quickly, precisely and over and over again. There is almost no creativity required in day to day service, you just do the same few tasks 200 times a day. It's very stressful and the pay is awfull for what you are going through. But some people enjoy that job.

I would recommend trying it out first before committing full time to it. Work for a few different restaurants part time and see if you like it.

Very much this. And also, if you're unlucky you can very easily find yourself in a kitchen where you're either forced to cut corners, or watch as other people cut corners. It can be. very unpleasant. And, sometimes, potentially illegal.

That said, it's never to late to learn, cooking skills are widely applicable, and if you're good at what you do and can get the right job, you can earn some serious money. But the problems of turning your hobby into a job still apply.

Hello! I see your other career idea is an engineer! I work full time as an engineer, and spend a large chunk of my free time cooking, thinking about cooking, and developing recipes. The engineering role is a “9 to 5” job and leaves me lots of time to enjoy my hobbies, as well as the money to fund them.

While I don’t want to discourage you, I do want to point out what others have said about the huge difference between cooking at home and cooking in a restaurant (not to mention running your own restaurant which is a lot of planning and logistics work more than it is fun cooking work. If you take a job in a restaurant (which you should absolutely do before ever attempting to run one) try to pay attention to those details.

I’ve also considered the idea of running a restaurant but for me the fun part would be coming up with the menu and recipes which is a very small percentage of the actual work. There are other jobs in the food industry to consider as well, such as being a personal chef which is much more similar to home cooking. There are also people who make enough income off their recipe blogs to do that full time, which to me is a much more appealing option (though that’s difficult to achieve).

Do not quit school to get into cooking. It is never too late to start cooking professionally. I have worked for a Michelin starred chef that didn't start cooking until he was 29.

Cooking in a restaurant will take your passion and your time. Stay an engineer, it's a great field with many, many opportunities. You could design the ovens you put in you own restaurants later in life. Learn to cook as much as possible and grow that passion. Stay at home and cook for your friends, family, and colleagues. Earn your degree, don't leave a great thing for restaurants.

I’d also suggest to get a job in a restaurant while you continue your degree so you can get insight into whether you like the work, industry, hours, etc. You’ll gain knowledge and experience in cooking and how a restaurant runs while also getting paid at the same time. You don’t need cooking courses to be a chef or own a restaurant, but you do need to know how a restaurant operates.

I'm an Italian Chef living in NYC, I want to say that it's not too late to start cooking, but you have to consider that you have to put a lot of effort to master all the skills you need, and before earning a decent salary to live with, it's gonna take a while.

The best advice I can give you is to pick up the right school first ( i have actually get my culinary degree studying in Rome for 5 years ). After that, you can apply to work in the most rewarded vegetarian restaurants in the country to learn from the best.

Don't make a mistake as many people do to go to school and open a restaurant right away. They are a lot of thighs to consider when you open a restaurant and the best way to avoid losing your money is to learn from the best.

If you have any questions about culinary schools in Italy or any other concerns I'm glad to help you out.

It's hard I am a chef I love it. Even if you own your own restaurant you are unlikely to ever make as much money as being a engineer. But if you love it and money isn't everything it can be extremely rewarding. A while ago I had a guy come into my work and say he was considering getting into it and asked if he could come work in the kitchen for a week to try it out. We did that and he decided it was for him and he is studying and working part time in another restaurant.

I'm not saying places near you would go for that but no harm in asking changing your career is always a huge decision and getting to try it out first is always advised.

I am not sure what the Indian cooking scene is like in Italy right now but in the UK there is a big boom in both fine dinning Indian restaurants and "fusion" ones combining Indian flavours with classic British and French ingredients and techniques. If you do get into it going somewhere like that would teach you a lot and may e help you one day achieve that goal.

Edit: been a chef for over 10 years didn't get into it till I was about your age.

That being said, I think the biggest point is like, you should try it.

It’s not the same as eventually being an executive chef but I think I went through a similar journey on realising I love cooking and thinking maybe I should do it as a career.

I worked as a line cook for a summer and realised I didn’t like that. Cooking at home and cooking in a restaurant are so different and for some people, it’s a love of both. For me, I realised I’m only actually interested in cooking at home for me and loved ones. Didn’t mean I Didn’t love cooking still but it’s different.

And I think it’s the kind of thing that’s hard to really know where you stand until you try it.

If you don't mind telling about average profit a year because I plan to own a business and want to know if ill be confertable living while having a business.

I know its werid and isn't constant with all business but im 17 y/o and this was my main carrer choice

So statistically, something like 85% of all new restaurants fail within the first four years of business. I think it's fantastic that you have a passion for cooking, but please keep in mind that owning and running your restaurant is so much more than just making beautiful dishes. You'll also need to have a keen business sense to run the restaurant as efficiently as possible, be able to market the restaurant to attract and retain customers, be able to manage staff and employees as well as keep very careful track of inventory and sales. Running your own restaurant will mean 12-16 hours of hard work and prep, especially in the first few years. The hours are brutal, and you won't get many, if any, vacation at all. You'll have to be open during all major holidays and festivals because that's when people go out to eat. Expect to begin work at least 5 to 6 hours before you open, and to stay at least 1-2 hours after close. Every single day.

Additionally, you'll need to be able to source ingredients from a variety of wholesalers and markets, and be able to create a strong menu with dishes that you can replicate exactly time and time and time again. In a restaurant setting, consistency is key, and your repeat customers will only keep coming back if they can expect the same quality on every visit.

In other words: do not open your own restaurant unless you have everything planned out to the smallest possible detail. Make a detailed business plan to cover the first several years of operation.

I don't plan to open a restaurant in Italy immediately, thats my final goal after years of testing and creating a perfect menù and original recipes with the touch of Indian spiaces.

I come up with a little plan. India.

In India starting a business is way more easy,faster, and cheaper then Italy. I come up with 2 ideas. The firsts one is the cheapest off all. Indian beverage, most juice/drinks shop have almost the same beverages(apple,oranges,pomegranate,pineapples,papayas and mango juices) or are OTP with some drinks. But the thing is that there are many drinks that can be made from spices and other fruit/vegetables. People do that at home but no one sell them in any shop. They are not that expensive. The required mony for this kind of shop is not huge and can be a little test of real businesses.

The second idea is to open a Pizzeria (pizza restaurant). I have tested pizzas in India and most off them are shit. The only good one was Domino's but in front of what I eat in Italy that is just edible. In India there are not many restaurant that make doughs in place. I have seen many just buying froze pizza bases and put on a kind of sauce (not even sure if it's tomatoes only 30/40% tomatoes ) and processed cheese or something that they say is mozzarella but don't look like it at all to someone that have been liveing in Italy.

I can learn how to make pizza where I live (there is a pizza here that's super delicious and different from the classic one) or even go to Naples where pizza originated. I
can import the flour, maybe buy it there (Casillo, an Italian flour makere, sell it in India) or grow Italian flour in our farm(my uncles have grown many types of vegetables and even indian flour,atta), my cousin also make machines for makeing the flours(industrial levels and small ones) I can get one at factory price . I can try to grow Italian tomatoes in our terrain or find a suitable types. The biggest problem would be the cheese. Iɽ like to have something similar to the real thing, if the test of mozarella is very very related to the milk I can make it in restaurant (it's easier then you may think, it almost like Indian fresh cheese that i make at home, need more steps, some rennet and a thermometer to get the right temperatures).Staff is very cheap in India so it's not a big problem, the best pizza in India cost 1000-2000 rs(22 € or 27 $‎ ), domino's cost like 99-500rs less then 8 $/‎€, while the best pizza in Italy/the worls for someone, Pepe a Grani, cost like 6 € for Margherita. In india both good and shit pizza is a rip off for what you actually. I have seen the cost of makeing pizza in India and is not high at all. The most costly thing is the restaurant rent.

I can make some pizza that look like pizza, probably not as good as the one that are made in Italy, but better then any thing I have eaten in India.

I also have land for agriculture in India and relatives with lands that use it only to get some free vegetables I can pay them the rent for growing thing and even get some help from uncles/cousin with experience that own a lot to my father (he helped them from going bankrupt).

Starting a business in India is easier and can get help from someone that had experience (my uncles, one also have a catering service and talk with chef every day)

That would only by for starting my first restaurant, after learning cuisine in Italy and getting some experience here working in some restaurants. There is work here, they
just don't pay that much so not many people stay working. But I don't care about money. I don't have to pay a rent (we own the house) just a loan that my father never struggled paying and make more money then we spend monthly.I don't spend much money(no party, drinking,Iphone every year,brand new cloths/shoes, sigarettes or hooby). Any more money I make are saveing for my dream to become reality. Every two months I get a call from companys (Adecco, Human Resources providerand temporary staffing firm ) that want me to work. I graduated from what High school with automation course (similar to electrician course) most of my classmates went to working immediately only10% off the University. I can do a job near my home and night couses then real restaurant experience after I have learnt something.

After the pizzeria start giveing me money I can finally learn Indian cuisine and open an Indian restaurant with also some Italian dishes(pasta also is shit in India,last time I talked about how it's made my friends become racist) and when I have saved enough money come back to Italy for a new kind of restaurant that make some Indian and Italian things.

I have plans, makeing them come true need a LOT OF WORK and time.

I'll need at least 5 years to get master in engineering and then get a work in another country because in Italy the pay is low or get promotions(very fast) to get payment worth master degree. If I work now I can get maybe 100-500 less then what I get in 5 year, save money for my restaurant, 2-3 years are enough if get a little loan in India, and open pizzeria in 3 year that I own.

10 Plant-Based Kitchen Hacks for even the most Cooking-Challenged Vegans.

Here are my top 10 tips for improving your creativity and confidence in the plant-based kitchen.

1. Template recipe concept
Break out of the recipe trap and use several recipe formulas instead—one for a salad, a soup, a smoothie, a bowl. The template recipe style of recipe development will greatly expand your creativity in the kitchen.

To view recipes as a template, you look at a recipe in the most general form possible and break it down into its component parts. By changing just one of the component parts, you create an entirely new recipe.

2. Monk bowls
The monk bowl consists of combining a grain, a green, and a protein in one meal. It is another perfect example of a template recipe and is an intuitive way to look at meal creation that allows for so much variety and flavor combinations.

Revolutionary in its simplicity, the monk bowl is an easy, delicious way to introduce healthful eating.

>> Grain component. Rotate through different types of rice, millet, quinoa, brown rice pasta, and so on.
>> Green component. Change it up to serve your favorite vegetable or vegetables—raw, steamed, roasted, grilled, sautéed.

>> Protein component. Legumes, tofu, or tempeh. The tofu or tempeh can be roasted, sautéed, or grilled, and made with various marinades. Legumes can be boiled, refried, or made into patties. Dried spices can be added to your legumes to create even more variety.

Most monk bowls can be prepared from beginning to end within 20 to 30 minutes. One of our main go-to meals is a monk bowl with quinoa, steamed vegetables, and roasted tempeh or tofu, served with a side salad.

We love adding a simple topping of hemp or flax oil, wheat-free tamari, and nutritional yeast. You can get more creative by serving yours with any number of different sauces or dressings, such as peanut, barbecue, sweet-and-sour, or others.

3. Global spice blends
One of the top tips for bringing the world of flavors to your table is to create global spice blends. Store-bought or homemade versions of Italian, Mexican, Indian, Ethiopian, Moroccan, Cajun, and more are all at your fingertips.

4. Vegan umami
Umami is a flavor you’ll want to incorporate into your meals for a satisfying, deep, flavorful taste. Think savoriness. Umami exists in any plant-based foods that contain the amino acid L-glutamate.

T here are several ingredients to achieve umami: tamari, nutritional yeast, miso paste, mushrooms, nori, and sea vegetables. Add any of these to boost the flavor in your dishes!

5. Master core techniques: cashew cream
One of the most versatile techniques, especially in raw cuisine, is to create a cashew cream by blending water and cashews. Once created, this cream can be adapted for sweet and savory flavor profiles.

Adding maple syrup will create a dessert cream, and adding lemon and nutritional yeast can create sour cream and cheese flavors.

6. Transitional food/analogue products
As vegan and plant-based lifestyles are becoming more accessible, we are seeing mainstream markets carrying analogue products—products that aim to replicate the flavor and texture of animal products. Although these products are typically highly processed and contain higher levels of sodium, they are incredible in helping people transition to a plant-based diet. There are plant-based versions of chicken, pork, beef, and even salmon. Some of my favorites include Beyond Meat, Field Roast, and Tofurky.

7. Prepare in advance
Preparing your meals in advance is key. It is easy to lose sight of your health goals when you are in a rush and not prepared. On your least busy day, start planning and organizing your meals for the week. Put together salads and overnight oats in mason jars, use frozen vegetables and fruits to create daily smoothies, and cook your rice or quinoa in bulk for easy use during the week. Search online for meal prep recipes for inspiration.

8. Build your pantry items and kitchen gear
Every kitchen needs to have pantry staples, as well as the proper kitchen gear. Having both of these parts in your kitchen will make your journey to cooking and health a lot easier.

Having a well-stocked pantry will allow you to create a vast array of vegan dishes with the least amount of effort and prevent you from not being able to cook at home.

Consider this list of pantry staples: fresh fruits and vegetables, non-dairy milks, nutritional yeast, fresh herbs (basil, thyme, parsley), nuts and seeds, beans, quinoa and rice, pasta, oils and vinegars, seasonings (salt, pepper, cayenne, chili powder, paprika), protein (tofu, tempeh, seitan, Beyond Meat), dried fruit, sriracha, tahini, and miso paste.

As for the kitchen, here is a list of key tools you’ll want: chef’s knife, cutting board (preferably bamboo), blender, food processor, pots, pans, measuring cups and spoons, spatulas, baking sheets, casserole dishes, citrus juicer, juicer, and mixing bowls.

9. Zen out
To simplify the preparation and cleanup of the dishes you are preparing, try to minimize the equipment. See whether you can cook your veggies in the same pot as the pasta, use the same bowl for different recipes, and so on. Also, before beginning any preparation, create a clean work area and gather all your necessary ingredients and kitchen gear.

10. Food is medicine
Each time you eat something, ask yourself whether that food will serve as fuel to “turn back the clock” and optimize your health and nutrition. To help get plant-based foods in the rotation, take what you are eating and think “plus one.” What one thing can I add to my plate to add a bit more nutrition to what I am eating? Maybe it’s adding a few fresh berries to your cereal, sprinkling some sunflower seeds or chia seeds on your vegan yogurt, or adding a handful of fresh arugula the next time you break out a frozen vegan pizza.

These plant-based tips can help create a positive space in the kitchen by cutting cooking time in half and giving us delicious, healthy meals.

Health And Nutrition – Pasta, a Great Food Choice

Pasta is one of the most versatile ingredients found in the kitchen. It can be used for many different dishes and is also cheap and easy to prepare. Pasta may not be as tasty as other forms of food, but it does more than making the dish taste better: it can provide a host of health benefits. Knowing the different kinds of nutrients found in various kinds of pasta can help you make the best choice for preparing your next meal.

Pasta can be healthy provided it is coupled with healthy proteins, vegetables, and fresh fruits. Be sure to get a portion of healthy pasta and limit the sauce and cheese to an occasional piece. Whether you purchase whole wheat pasta or use a pasta allergen-free variety, be sure to watch your calorie intake. Pasta meals that include meat, poultry, or fish should be eaten in moderation to stay within a healthy diet. If you are looking for a delicious and flavorful pasta meal, however, your best bet is to use a tomato-based sauce. This adds a bit of character to your meal and can boost the nutritional value of your pasta.

Fruits and vegetables are a great combination for pasta because they naturally provide a high level of fiber. A recent study found that consuming at least 16 ounces of green leafy vegetables was linked to lowered risks of heart disease. Pasta that contains a reasonable amount of vegetables is also good for your diet because it can act as a weight loss aid. Studies have shown that certain kinds of pasta can enhance the effect of a low-calorie diet by reducing appetite and helping you feel full.

Pasta is one of the most popular foods from the Mediterranean, which originates in Italy. According to the Physicians Association of America, Pasta dishes are among the most common causes of obesity in the United States. Since eating too much pasta is a bad idea for your health, but it can also be financially harmful, people need to learn how to properly select the pasta they eat. When shopping for pasta online, look for pasta that is gourmet and uses organic ingredients.

One of the most common varieties of pasta on the market is regular spaghetti. It is advised that this variety is eaten at the recommended daily intake level. Regular spaghetti contains three to five grams of carbohydrates and about twenty to thirty grams of protein. For those on a diet or trying to keep their weight in check, an increased serving of pasta per day can be helpful. One serving of enriched pasta has about ten grams of carbohydrates, about one-eighth of a serving of whole-wheat pasta.

Another type of pasta is the whole grain version, which has about the same carbohydrates as regular spaghetti. It also has about two grams of protein per serving, about one-eighth of a serving of whole-wheat pasta. When it comes to eating these products as a part of a balanced diet, remember that the servings are not supposed to equal the whole game each. The goal is to have them as part of a varied diet to not become bored with them and wind up getting little to no nutrition from them. While enriched pasta may provide some benefit, it is more important for people to get enough other proteins, such as from meats, nuts, eggs, or soy.

Enriched spaghetti contains more fiber, which provides a counteractive hormone to help lower bad cholesterol levels and increase good cholesterol levels. Whole grain pasta is also beneficial because it helps you get the entire range of nutrients from your eating food. If you are trying to lose weight, having a well-rounded diet is always recommended, including various vegetables and fruits. Even though whole-grain pasta may not be high in calories like many other pasta dishes, it does contain healthy carbs that will give you energy and curb your appetite, which is why many dieters choose this type of pasta for their meals.

There is no real reason why you cannot incorporate pasta into your healthy diet. If you are not a fan of pasta, do not limit yourself to using it only at dinner and avoiding eating it at night or as a snack. Having a wide variety of carbs from which you can choose makes a meal like pasta all the more interesting while still maintaining its nutritional value.