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Author: Chris Minnick

Chris Minnick is a prolific published author, blogger, trainer, web developer and co-founder of WatzThis? (www.watzthis.com).

He has authored and co-authored books and articles on a wide range of Internet-related topics. His published books include: Adventures in Coding, JavaScript For Kids For Dummies, Coding with JavaScript For Dummies, Beginning HTML5 and CSS3 For Dummies, Webkit For Dummies, CIW eCommerce Certification Bible, and XHTML.

In addition to his role with WatzThis?, Chris is a winemaker, novelist, swimmer, cook, and musician.

Things I’ve Learned About Cooking Recently

I love food and beverage-making challenges. Making things that sound “hard” gives me no end of pleasure. This year, I’ve stepped it up a notch and taken on a number of the big ones, but I’ve also learned quite a bit about cooking some very simple things. Here’s my partial list of things I’ve learned how to make, maybe a short description of how I feel about it, and the thing I consider to be “the key” to success with that thing.

Cassoulette – very tasty, but made me become vegetarian – it’s not easy to find all those meats in the US. Try Asian markets, or find a more Americanized version.

Beer – homemade can be so much better – cleanliness is key.

Cheese – still very new to this – your thermometer is your friend.

Wine – if I could stop doing everything else, I’d just make wine – Best advice I’ve ever gotten came to me 2nd hand from a very famous winemaker: “Get good grapes and don’t fuck em up.”

Pizza dough – easy as pie! – With 3 to 5 ingredients, you kick ass and you’ll be so happy.

Tortillas – I can eat these all day. – With 2 ingredients, you kick ass! A tortilla press is inexpensive and helpful, but I’ve made some of my best tortillas using an empty wine bottle as a rolling pin.

Tamales – if you’re gonna do tamales, do a LOT of them. I make em vegetarian, and I make everything from scratch. Takes me 8-10 hours, but I end up with 70 or so of them. I hear they freeze great, but they never make it to that point here.

Guacamole – I thought I knew how to make guacamole until my Mexican friend taught me her family recipe. Sorry, I can’t say any more.

Crepes – Amazingly versatile and tasty. Just a few ingredients, but the cooking takes practice. Don’t give up! I always have to throw away the first one to get the amount of oil right in the pan.

Souffle – memorize the recipe you’re doing. At certain points, it’s critical that you work fast.

Pretzels – the dough is irritatingly dry. There must be a better way to do them. I have a lot of trouble making long and thin enough ropes of dough. Tasty, though!

Limoncello – I make the best limoncello you’ve never had (well, maybe a couple of you have). Filter the water, filter the alcohol. Wash those lemons. Be patient, it’s worth it!

I’m looking for new challenges. What else is there that a lot of people don’t bother to learn to cook, or that’s considered difficult?