7 steps to prepare a recipe without making a mess – By Flora Murai

Let’s Eat Out (1967) by Gil Elvgren

Illustration: Gil Elvgren

My name is Flora, I’m 27 years old and I’m from São Paulo – Brazil. I knew Outland at Home through Gabi. I’ve known her for about 4 years when our husbands used to work together here in Brazil. I also met Lili when I went to California in 2012. We laughed, went shopping and had lots of fun together.

What I love most is: cooking. Since I was 5 years old I used to watch my mom Sonia cooking. It was so inspiring and I remember the smell of her delicious food going from the kitchen to the whole house. Maria Estela, my grandma, used to spend some days at home when I was a kid and it was amazing because she is an extraordinary cook. She taught me many of the tips that I know today. I can say that both my mother and my grandma inspired me to cook. Another really important person in my family was Mr. Murai, my father-in-law, who taught me many of his accurate and amazing techniques from traditional japanese food. He passed away in 2011 and left a lot of excellent memories with me.

In 2012 I decided to specialize in Pastry; it was an eight-month course in which gave me a very good foundation in efficiency, organization and accuracy without losing the magic and passion in the final results. I also had a wonderful cupcake class in New York and it was interesting to learn the difference between Brazilian frosting (usually made with sugar) and american frosting that is commonly made with butter.

flora_perfil

Me and an amazing carrot cake 🙂

Here in Brazil we have a lot of influences in our cuisine; from countries in Europe (Portugal and Italy) to some countries in Africa (where our “feijoada” came from). It’s very usual to see a pizzeria next to a Japanese restaurant around here. And São Paulo is one of the best places in Brazil to see this difference and eat excellent food.

My cooking style reflects this Brazilian variety .

I’m very glad to have recently been invited to collaborate with the girls in the Blog and share what I know with all you guys. I’m willing to learn a lot from you too!

When I first began cooking I realized that sometimes I used to forget doing some very important steps in order to gain time and not being lost in the kitchen. Sometimes I forgot to weigh one of the ingredients I was about to use, so I had to stop everything I was doing and go back to the ingredients I had already stored in the cabinet, for example. The step that I screwed most was greasing the cake pan. I forgot to do it all the time.

I realized I had to create some steps in order to organize myself and spend less time and money, but most of all, avoid being frustrated in the kitchen. The only thing that came to my mind were these 7 Steps. These steps were just what I needed to organize myself in a quick, simple and super efficient way.

Here are 7 steps which help me not being lost and frustrated in the kitchen:

1)  Choose your recipe: I like to choose my recipes according to what I intend to have: lunch, dinner, dessert, etc. Another thing that makes me choose a recipe is the season; if it’s winter I prefer comfy and hot food, but if it’s summer I prefer something light and fresh, like a fruit salad or an ice cream, for example. The place the meal will be really matters to me: a park (picnic), friend’s house, etc. For these places I’d rather prepare finger food or any other recipe which requires few or no utensils at all.

2)  Study the recipe: After choosing my recipe I read it carefully and check which ingredients I already have at home not to buy unnecessary food (wasting food by buying ingredients you already have is not nice and very expensive). I am careful with products that are in my cabinet – expired date product is dangerous and could kill someone. I also prefer to buy natural, fresh and healthy ingredients – low fat, low sugar or sodium are always welcome.

3) Go shopping: If I don’t have any of the ingredients that I need I make a list to go shopping. You could take your cute DIY Tote Bag that Nathalie taught you how to make and feel nicer. Buying an extra flower to put in your shopping bag wouldn’t be a bad idea. :

4)  Preheat the oven: If it requires me the use of an oven, I preheat it before starting making the recipe. It prevents extra unnecessary time cooking and spending energy/gas/money. And don’t forget to grease your cake pan like me, please. I’d do it now.

5)  Organize ingredients and utensils: I’m not a chef, but I confess that I love reading about cooking and I learned these French words: Mise en place (pronounced miz on plas), which means “everything in place”. This is like a miracle to help you in the kitchen. According to Wikipedia:

        “Mise en place is used in professional kitchens to refer to organizing and          arranging the ingredients (e.g., cuts of meat, relishes, sauces, par-cooked items, spices, freshly chopped vegetables, and other components) that a cook will require for the menu items that he or she expects to prepare during his/her shift. The practice is also effective in home kitchens.”

(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mise_en_place March 16th, 2013 – 00:00)

If you noticed “other components” would be trays, bowls, spoons, cups, scale, pots, pans or everything you might need to prepare your recipe. The last sentence is really true and works really well.

        How you’ll measure the ingredients depends a lot. I weigh them in an ultra thin digital kitchen scale – 5 kg (love kitchen gadgets). In my opinion, it’s better than measuring by volume (cups and spoons) because it’s much more precise; it’s a little more expensive tough. Actually it’s up to you; you can use spoons, cups, scale or whatever you want to. But if you really enjoy cooking and cook everyday, investing in a scale would be a good idea.

flora_utensilios

Some of my utensils

6)  Follow the recipe directions: Now I’m ready to follow the recipe directions safe and sound. I also wear some protection like oven gloves, apron, etc. Security in the kitchen is a priority to me. Yeap, have already had accidents in the kitchen. 😛

7)  Do the dishes: I confess that I really hate this last step, but it’s really important to keep your kitchen always clean and tidy for the next cooking adventure.

Anyways, I hope these steps can help you enjoy cooking in a nice and organized way. I’d like to know if you’ve ever forgotten to do something which drove you crazy (like me), if you have other tips to make our lives easier in the kitchen and if you’ve ever had an accident in the kitchen. Tell us, guys!

Flora

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One thought on “7 steps to prepare a recipe without making a mess – By Flora Murai

  1. Pingback: Brazilian Candy Shop | Outland at Home

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