By now your kitchen is clean, well-stocked and ready to be used. Today begins the second half of the Kitchen Cure when you'll start using your kitchen to cook. For the next three weeks you'll hone your skills and use your improved space to learn to cook with what you have, with what's available to you. The goal is to cook more by feel and less with recipes. This week you'll make sure you have the basics like roasting, salad dressings, and knife skills down, and you'll take on learning one new skill.First our usual note on participation: Do your best, and pace yourself, but march forward. The Kitchen Cure never gets too hard. Many assignments can be on-going through the Cure. Document your progress with photos and discussion on the forum, this way you'll stay in touch with the community and the group will help keep you going. Losing steam? Ask for help!
Week Four Assignments
1. Polish Up Cooking Basics: Begin with these two skills - how to set up your cooking projects, and how to use your knife. These are the two things my first two weeks of culinary school covered. If you don't know these two things already, learn them this week. Mise en Place doesn't take as much practice as honing knife skills, although if you're not used to doing it, it might actually take the week of practice before you change your ways:
• Roast a Chicken or for vegetarians, roast a vegetable using the technique in our Roasted Sweet Potato Sticks recipe. • Braise Meat OR Vegetables • Make Fresh Pasta • Make Soup From Almost Anything • Make a Basic Vinaigrette • Build Flavor with These 8 Techniques
2. Learn a New Skill: Choose one from above that you do not already know, or tell us a technique you want to learn that is not already on The Kitchn, and we'll try to post it this week. Leave a comment starting with "NEW TECHNIQUE REQUEST!"
3. Buy or Cut Fresh Flowers: I'm going to start encouraging you to keep fresh flowers in your kitchen. Every week. Also, if you have a windowbox, it should be tended each week: watering and using your kitchen herbs once they're big enough. Here's some info on how to plant a windowbox.
4. Stay in touch! We have an exciting community of over 800 people currently signed up for the Kitchen Cure. Smart people. Fun people! And you can meet them all if you get active on our Cure Discussion Page. Also, don't forget to check in every day with the Kitchen Cure Page where all the Cure-related posts live in one neat little package. While assignments are posted once a week on Mondays, related posts are going up every day and there is a lot of conversation to be had in those posts comment threads as well.
Reminders about photographs:
• If you'd like your progress to be showcased, please take "before" and "after shots" and submit them directly to The Kitchn. Make sure to explain what's going on in each image.
• We also have a 2009 Kitchen Cure Flickr Group. If you post your photos to this group, please include captions so we understand what's going on in each image.