Skip to Main Content

Men: Get Back in the Kitchen

Residents June 11, 2012
Guys, you have run out of ideas. In my run through the dating scene, I have been on all the dates that you can possibly come up with. Catching a new movie, bowling, trying a fancy steak house, getting coffee, riding the Ferris wheel, going dancing—they all tend to blend together into a soup of first kisses, expensive dinners, and nights waiting by the phone. So how can we break this mundane cycle? Make your next outing memorable by treating your significant other to a homemade meal. It doesn’t need to be elaborate—just heartfelt. Cooking a meal for someone says a lot of things: from “I’ve taken the time to perfect a useful skill” to “I want to share with you something I’ve made myself.” Melt your date’s heart with epicurean expertise using these top five cooking basics. From Maria Skold, pro Minneapolis cook, we bring you these tips to spice up any evening with style and savoir-faire for a home cooked meal. Make an omelet: We’ve all been there. You throw the eggs and toppings into a pan and no matter how hard you try, you get scrambled eggs with bits of lunchmeat and cheese. Keep three things in mind: don’t overstuff, keep the heat at medium, and fold the eggs like a burrito—not a taco. It’s breakfast made simple, but food that’s good enough for any time of day. Boil Pasta: Grandma was wrong about pasta. Never, ever, rinse pasta after draining. Boiling pasta releases sticky starches, enabling the sauce to cling to each noodle. Remember to add a dash of salt to your water. Says Skold, “Adding salt makes the dish go from being ‘eh, it’s okay,’ to ‘this is delicious.” It’s the only chance you’ll get to infuse flavor throughout the entire noodle. Sauté Vegetables: Frozen vegetables are cheap and handy, but beware! Unattended microwaving leads to mushy peas and anemic broccoli. Instead, lightly sauté your fresh veggies in a pan with oil to release their leguminous goodness. Deglazed pan sauce: To make any meal complete, add butter and flour to the hot pan used to make the meal. Once the mixture has turned golden brown, pour some wine over the mixture to release all the yummy bits that stuck to the pan while cooking. Don’t forget to tell your date that you’re “deglazing the pan,” the culinary lingo is sure to impress. Stir until smooth and prepare to be complimented. Cook Steak: Is there anything more manly in this world than eating steak? Whether you prefer T-Bone or filet mignon, steak is best cooked simply. No need to gob on the A1—all you need is a little salt and pepper. Skold suggests using a stainless steel skillet (ditch the Teflon). Let the pan get screaming hot on the stovetop, then drizzle the surface with a little cooking oil before applying the meat. A steak will lift free of the pan when one side is seared, so just flip once. For any doneness above medium rare, finish the meat in a hot oven. It’s no secret that food and pleasure are inextricably linked, so you’re sure to please with these new tricks. But like any skill, cooking takes practice. As Skold recommends, “The first couple things you make won’t be too great. Just pick a few dishes to make your signature thing. Eventually, you’ll be golden.” By Cristeta Boarini