It’s the new year and you’re inevitably thinking about what you want to do with the 365 glorious days ahead of you. Maybe it’s to eat more mindfully, make your entire apartment eco-friendly, climb Kilimanjaro; all excellent ideas. We have one more: conquer the cooking basics. You know, the shortcuts you take because you’ve never had the time to learn how to make them yourselves. This is a new year and you’ve got 12 months. Here 5 cooking basics to conquer.
Sofrito is the base of … everything. A dollop starts of the habichuelas, gets the arroz con pollo going, it’s even the base of tomato sauces with sabor. And though we usually buy a jar from our grocery store (thanks Goya!), sofrito is easy to mix. It’s a handful of easy to find ingredients blitzed in a food processor. Jar it (or freeze it in ice cube trays) and it’s ready for you every time. Bonus: you get to customize it to fit your exact tastes.
This might be a dangerous basic to conquer: you’ll want to make it every day and put it on everything. Dulce de leche goes wonderful drizzled on morning yogurt or fruit, on hearty bread for that afternoon snack, on literally every dessert everywhere. You’ve probably heard intimidating tales of boiling cans – that’s not the case here. So scoot into the kitchen – dulce de leche could be yours tonight!
Homemade stock is an amazing fridge staple – a few drops makes any quick meal taste like it’s been cooking for hours. Now that you’ve probably mastered chicken stock, take on seafood stock. Use it to make paellas, pasta dishes, and more.
Adobo goes on everything. We know, we’ve tried. And though you can easily find adobo in every grocery store, you can’t always know exactly what’s in the shaker. So to make sure you’re getting all the goodness you want, make your own! Just mix up two tablespoons salt with 1 tablespoon paprika, then 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of onion powder, dried oregano, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, and ground black pepper. Then sprinkle away.
Treat yourself, you’ve earned it! Learn how to make a classic café de olla, aromatic, spicy, indulgent, strong, and you’ll never go back to the drip machine again. Also, you’ll impress your in-laws.