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20 Easy To Make Dishes That Look Really Hard

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Posted October 1, 2014 by Michael Peckerar

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Cooking is not that hard. It might look hard, but it’s not.

While not many of us are on the level of Eric Ripert or Morimoto, we can still pull off some killer dishes in our own home. Try these 20 dishes that are on your level, but will make you look like a kitchen ninja.

Put down the jar. You don’t have to eat that garbage — there’s a better way. Fry up some chopped garlic in olive oil, add a can of crushed tomatoes, half the tomato can of Cabernet or Chianti, a can of tomato paste, a sweet onion peeled and quartered, salt, pepper, basil, bay leaf and a pound of ground beef. Simmer it for three hours, stir it a lot.

It’s literally that easy.

Roast your own beef and you’ll feel like Thor. Fill your roasting pan with a mirepoix (chopped carrots, onions, and celery — learn this), cover the rib or rump roast in olive oil and a salt/pepper/parsley rub, pour a can of cheap beer in the pan, cover with foil and put it in the oven at 325 deg for about an hour and 15 min.

Step your game up and shove garlic cloves randomly into the roast.

So easy it’s stupid, and ten times better than the jar.

Put a tomato, four jalapenos, and a peeled white onion into a small saucepan and cover with water. Add cumin and simmer until the veggies are soft and get wrinkles, then drain. Puree the tomato in the food processor, then add one jalapeno, then a piece of onion, then another jalapeno, until it’s gone. Add chopped cilantro and juice of one lime, mix and refrigerate for 20 min.

It’s from the UK. How hard can it be?

Make a beer batter with 8 tbs of flour, 1 tbs salt, capful of oil, and slowly mix while adding lager beer. Beat with a hand mixer until it’s the consistency of house paint. Chill it for 30 min, dredge a filet of cod or tilapia in the batter and submerge it in hot oil. Take it out when it’s golden brown — allowing yourself 1-2 screw ups to get the timing right. Fry some cut potatoes in the same oil.

Gravy is far easier than it should be. You’ll be convinced there’s a catch. Make a roux by stirring flour into melted butter in a large pan. When it’s thick like a paste, slowly pour in the drippings from the roast beef you made a few slides ago (turkey works too). Stir it until it’s gravy.

If you’ve got the guts, add Sriracha.

Insanely easy and your kids will think you’re the actual Col. Sanders. Mix some salt and oregano into a bowl of flour. Take chicken breast tenderloin strips (or cut the breast up yourself — whatever) and cover them in the flour. Submerge them halfway in hot oil, turn when needed, take them out when golden and drain on a paper towel.

As with any fried dish, allow yourself a couple of practice fingers until you get the feel for it.

California’s contribution to barbecue culture will take you no time at all — and blow everyone’s mind.

Find a cut of tri-tip sirloin, coat thinly in olive oil, sprinkle salt, pepper and dried parsley all over it. Then all you do is grill it over a very low light, covered, until it’s rare — but never more than medium rare. Yes, it’s seriously that simple.

The trick to steamed rice is the prep. Make it right and you’ll never have to waste money on a steamer.

Rinse your bowl of dry rice under continuous cold water, churning it up until the water is clear. This washes the starch and additives off, which is good. Then soak the rice in cold water for 10 min. Cook the rice in boiling-then-simmering water as normal, but use less water than usual — since the rice is soaked.

It’s a staple of late summer, grilled corn in the cob. And it’s ridiculously easy. Clean and de-silk your ears of corn, leaving the inner layers of husk on. Soak the corn in cold water for about an hour. Place on the grill over a medium light about 15 min before everything else. Turn them with tongs often.

And since you’re making corn…

Why are you going to work so hard on grilling corn and then phone it in on the butter? C’mon.

Chop up some fresh garlic and chives, and add them to a saucepan of a stick and a half of butter that you’ve melted. Let that simmer for about 15-20 min, and set it in the fridge overnight. Then obviously put it on the corn you just grilled, thus blowing your guest’s minds.

This is a deceptively easy side dish that ends up getting passed from roommate to roommate and buddy to buddy.

Wash and trim the asparagus, then coat it in olive oil. Grind sea salt and garlic powder onto them, followed by fresh lemon juice. All you do from there is grill them on a medium to low light. Turn them a lot, and maybe use a basket if this is your first rodeo.

Salmon is awesome and you can bang this out out in less than 45 minutes. It will also make you look like you have a white hat and weird accent.

Melt a little butter in the pan, and coat the salmon with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Skin on, skin off — doesn’t matter. Place a thin slice of lemon on the salmon and pan grill it. When you flip it, take the lemon off and replace it when it flips again. Serve over that rice we just made.

Look right here… They aren’t. That. Hard. They’re meatballs, not sorcery.

Mix equal parts of ground beef, pork, and veal. Add salt, pepper, oregano, basil, and parsley. Then add italian bread crumbs, grated parmesan cheese, and one egg. Mix, make them into balls, simmer them in sauce until done. Preferably the scratch sauce you learned a few minutes ago.

Never make these things out of the freezer and toaster oven. Ever. You deserve real hashbrowns.

Wash and grate some potatoes, and then run a white onion over the cheese grater and grate that up. Mix it all together and melt a bunch of butter in the pan. Take a handful of the mix and blot the moisture out between two paper towels. Place them in the sizzling butter, flip with a spatula as needed.

Simple, great for summer, and so easy it’s almost a crime.

Pan or grill your shrimp — whichever you like. Then saute chopped garlic in butter, adding more butter until you have 1/2c of garlic butter. Boil pasta, pour the butter over it, add shrimp, lemon juice, and parmesan cheese. Toss and serve.

You know it’s easy when it sits on a can of beer.

Take your roaster chicken, season it with whatever rub you deem the most necessary, then sit it up on a can of beer — open of course. Grill the chickens upright under the cover until done. The flavor in the chicken might ruin all other grilled chickens for you.

Instant party, just add this. And it’s mind-bogglingly easier than it looks.

Pick up a load of crabs (dungeness or blue), crab legs, and shrimp. Toss everything but the shrimp in a tall stew pot, then add earlets of corn, onions, cut red potatoes, cut lemons and a bag of crab boil seasoning (yes, the supermarket has this). Bring it to a boil, cover and cook, adding shrimp at the end. Drain the water and dump it all onto a covered table.

Microwave popcorn is for people who have given up. Making awesome popcorn is easier than it looks.

Instead of cooking oil, pop it in olive or coconut oil. Instead of melting butter in the microwave, use a saucepan to melt it, and skim off the white butterfat that collects on top. Then pour it slowly into a cup using a butter knife to strain out any remaining butterfat. Pour that on the popcorn and lightly salt it.

Why people are so afraid of stir-fry is a mystery — but add an old college staple and you can bang out perfect stir fry noodles.

In addition to your regular meat and veggies that you stir fry, add some boiled ramen noodles. Saute the noodles in a little oil and soy sauce. Once they get a little cooked, add them to the rest of the stir fry and continue as normal.

Never be afraid of overnight marinades. Awesome carne asada can be made with little to no skill at all.

Use flap meat or skirt steak, and soak it overnight in a mixture of lager beer, lime juice, cilantro, and smashed garlic cloves. Turn it often, and when ready, grill to medium rare.