Cooking with Vitale

Previously I have mentioned that I have developed some new hobbies. One of them is cooking. I’ve always loved cooking, but was way too lazy to actually do it until I got married. So instead I developed an extensive cookbook collection, saved thousands of recipes online and just ate out. However, since I got married, it’s been necessary to actually cook something, since there was another person in the house, and he just wasn’t going to make a meal out of biscuits and Ice Tea. Plus, there was a horde of people coming over for all kind of meals, especially for teatime and dinner, and they actually expected to eat something, too. And it turns out it adds a certain glamour to say that you actually cooked it yourself. So I decided to enter my fully-equipped kitchen (its newest addition is a crepe maker, don’t ask me why) and actually cook.

However, since my cooking and baking history was limited to some occasional lessons and web browsing, I found myself lacking in the techniques department. This was nothing that an online search couldn’t fix. Some clicking led to my greatest YouTube invention yet: Laura in the Kitchen.

Laura in the Kitchen is a YouTube cooking show starring Laura Vitale. She’s an Italian living in the USA, and she cooks and bakes. I’ve always loved baking, but thanks to Laura, I really get a kick out of cooking as well. She doesn’t usually use ingredients that are impossible to get here, since she believes in keeping everything simple. She has a no-nonsense approach to anything she makes, and it’s really relaxing to watch her cook. It’s really simple to understand, and she explains everything so well. I’m sure people with a lot less experience would get a kick out of it. She has basic recipes, also, like pesto sauce, pizza dough, granola etc. You just can’t go wrong with Laura.

Here’s a bunch of my favorites:

Pasta with Broccoli – Not as simple as boiling pasta and pouring canned sauce over it, but much, much better tasting.

Pesto Baked Chicken – Great chicken dish! I cook it frequently for guests, and it’s simple enough for a weekday meal. It becomes extra special with homemade pesto.

Chicken Francaise – Another great chicken dish. I never cook it for guests, since it requires slaving over the stove, but it’s so simple and delicious that you might just want to.

Roasted Chicken and Potatoes – I just realized that I always cook her chicken dishes. Anyway. This is another great one, and it’s good enough for guests, if you don’t mind them wrestling with chicken legs. I don’t mind at all.

Baked Mashed Potatoes – That much cheese in anything would taste divine. Since parmesan is quite pricey here, I make it with a bunch of other cheeses, and it turns out great every time.

Cooking and baking her stuff also lead me to other places and other recipes, since her recipes provide a great starting point. I realized that I just love Italian Cuisine. The wonderful parmesan is now a staple in my fridge. I also began to save breadcrumbs in the freezer for future use, since she uses them a whole lot.

A few things I would watch out for: Laura tends to over-salt everything. If you love your food salty, then that’s fine, but it tends to be a bit too much for my platter. Also, I wouldn’t expect anything on the healthier side. Laura’s dishes have plenty of heavy cream, butter and salt. You’ll be amazed at how thin she stays. She has another channel, called Laura’s Topics, and she addressed this very issue. She says that she works out 6 times a week and eats in moderation. Now, I’m all for moderation, but working out 6 times a week? I’d rather not eat. My point is, just be careful.

Laura also bakes a whole lot, and has lots of nice cupcake recipes and such, but I really prefer her cooking, mainly because I have enough literature on baking. But I would watch a couple of her baking videos, since she gives some great tips like putting cinnamon in chocolate dishes so it will feel more chocolatey. They are worth trying. One tip though: Put a lot less chocolate chips then she tells you to. Believe me.

Now go check it out. I’m sure that even if you are not interested in cooking at all, you’ll feel like heating up that skillet. Laura’s YouTube Channel and Laura’s Website.

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