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A COLUMN BY MIKE MARIN

Secret ingredients to good fall cooking

Saturday, October 12, 2013 - 12:01 am

Now that people living in the northern states and Canada are getting ready to cover up their barbecues for the season, it seems like a good time to revisit my culinary column. (Using the word “culinary” gives me an air of sophistication, don’t you think?)

Contrary to popular belief, men can cook indoors as well as over a raging fire. Here are my “secrets.”

Start by sauteing some chopped vegetables in a frying pan or skillet. Use whatever you like — onions, celery, mushrooms, carrots — it’s completely customizable to your own taste. While that’s cooking, throw in some flavoring: garlic, pepper, soy sauce, basil, tarragon, lemon, lime or orange juice. Whatever you’re in the mood for.

Next put in some chicken, beef, pork, turkey — anything you want. (Please, no tofu. We’re cooking a meal here, not making play dough.) For a creamier sauce, you can dredge the meat in flour before cooking.

After browning the meat and veggies to the point where they start sticking to the pan, you’re ready for the key ingredient: a cup of cheap wine — red if you want more robust flavor, or white if you want something lighter.

Scrape all the crud from the bottom of the pan (I think real chefs call it “deglazing.”), swish everything around in the wine and let it simmer for 30 minutes to an hour. The longer it simmers, the better it gets. If it looks as if it is drying out, add some broth. If the sauce is too thin, stir in some more flour.

If you want to cheat, pour in a can of cream of something soup. It doesn’t really matter what kind. Use your imagination — or whatever you find in the pantry.

That’s it. Serve over rice or noodles, and you are good to go. Wives and girlfriends definitely will be impressed, ... preferably not at the same time.

Mike Marin is a cranky curmudgeon who, when he’s not yelling at kids to get off his lawn, likes to complain about the sad state of popular culture, especially as seen through a TV screen. His email address is marinating@tribune.com. This column is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion of The News-Sentinel.