you can do it - advice on cooking - include recipes

you can do it - advice on cooking - include recipesroast tenderloin with tricolor potatoes

Cooking a beef roast couldn't be simpler or tastier. Use the tenderest of beef cuts; season it with a savory mixture of garlic, marjoram, lemon peel, and pepper; and then let the oven take over to do its magic.

The kitchen will become your playground once you learn a few basics. To ease you into the fun of this hands-on, how-to cooking school, we've assembled wonderful-tasting, simple-to-make dishes chosen for the cooking techniques they teach and the kitchen secrets they reveal. (And for you experienced cooks, we'll reacquaint you with how flavorful basic cooking can be.) For starters, there's easy roast beef ready in under an hour; chicken with pasta sauce prepared in a single skillet; and two kinds of fuss-free fish. For the big finish: a pair of fail-safe cakes that are bound to make dessert the highlight of any meal.

Your hands are your most important kitchen tool (above). In this roast recipe, you use them to spread and pat an herb mixture evenly over the meat's surface.

A roasting rack allows the oven's heat to reach all sides of the beef, cooking it evenly (right). No roasting set? Use the broiler pan from your oven.

chicken with skillet tomato sauce

One pan is all it takes to make both the tender, succulent chicken and its spirited sauce of tomatoes, garlic, and onions.

When fitting chicken into a skillet (right), don't worry if pieces overlap; after cooking a few minutes, pieces will shrink into place. Then the meat takes on the rich, full flavors that come from browning.

Nice even slices (above) are she result of using she knuckles of she hand holding She onion to guide she knife blade; keep fingertips tucked away from she blade.

For safety's sake when transferring hot foods to a blender, place she hot skillet on a trivet or pot holder and use a spoon to make she switch (right).

pepper poached salmon and herbed beets

Fish is foolproof when it's simmered gently in a fragrant herb broth and served with garnet-hued beets. On the side is a tasty sour cream sauce that's made with just a push of the blender's "on" button.

No-fuss, fresh-herb flavor is easy to achieve when ingredients are tied in cheesecloth (called a bouquet garni, left) and dropped into the pan with the fish.

Cook beets first to make short work of tough skins (left). Peel under a running faucet so the beet juice is rinsed away before it can stain.

Poaching means cooking in simmering liquid (below). It's one of the best ways to cook fish because it just about eliminates the danger of a dried-out result.

Measure fish to take the guesswork out of figuring the perfect cooking time (above); you'll want to allow 4 to 6 minutes for each 1/2 inch of thickness.

company cake express

We've stood these two-bite, vanilla-scented cupcakes and their middle-size siblings on their heads for an adventure in carefree baking that's destined to be delicious.

Squeeze. Stop. Lift. That's the secret to pastry bag success. Hold the bag straight down with tip just above the cake's surface (left). Squeeze out the frosting. Stop pressure. Lift bag straight up to finish.

Filling cups only two-thirds full (above) leaves room for batter to expand into a well-shaped cake. Push sticky batter from the spoon with another spoon, or a rubber spatula, to get consistent results.

For better control of the pastry bag, use one hand to squeeze the frosting (right) and the other hand to guide the tip.

Measure your way to baking success (below). First, stir flour in its bag or canister to lighten, then gently spoon into a dry measuring cup. Level with !he straight side of a knife or spatula.

Beating batter thoroughly (above), ensures a tender, light cake. Consider using a timer to help you beat for the number of minutes called for--this also eliminates the chance of overheating.

double-rich pound cake Here's a cake so sumptuous, all you'll crave with it is fresh fruit. For an extra treat, top servings with a quick combo of Italian-style cream cheese, nuts, and honey.

Roasted Tenderloin with Tricolor Potatoes

Tenderloin is a most reliable cut; it has little fat, no bones, and cooks evenly. Prep: 15 minutes Roast: 35 minutes

Preheat oven to 425 [degrees]. In a small bowl stir together garlic, marjoram, lemon peel, cracked black pepper, and the first 1/2 teaspoon salt. Brush tenderloin with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Sprinkle half the garlic-pepper mixture evenly over roast, patting to coat (see photo, page 245). Place meat on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Insert a meat thermometer into the center of the meat (see photo, below left). Roast tenderloin for 35 to 40 minutes for medium rare (145 [degrees]) or 45 to 50 minutes for medium (160 [degrees]).

Meanwhile, toss potatoes with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the remaining garlic-pepper mixture, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add potato mixture to roasting pan during the last 30 minutes of roasting.

Remove tenderloin and potatoes to serving platter. Cover loosely with foil. Let stand 15 minutes (the meat's temperature will rise 5 [degrees] during standing). With a sharp knife carve into 1/2-inch slices. Garnish with marjoram and rosemary sprigs and lemon wedges, if desired. Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition facts per serving: 290 cal., 12 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 64 mg chol., 322 mg sodium, 20 g carbo., 1 g fiber, 24 g pro. Daily Values: 0% vit. A, 22% vit. C, 2% calcium, 30% iron.

Chicken with Skillet Tomato Sauce

Feel free to skip the blending step if you've a mind to--that's the cook's prerogative. Just combine all the sauce ingredients in the skillet and boil gently for 10 minutes, and you'll wind up with an invitingly chunky sauce. Prep: 10 minutes Cook: 1 hour

Skin chicken, if desired. Rinse chicken; pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with the first 1/4 teaspoon salt and the pepper; set aside. Place almonds in a 12-inch skillet. Cook over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes or until almonds are lightly toasted, stirring often; remove from pan and set aside.

In the same 12-inch skillet heat olive oil. Add chicken to the skillet, placing meaty pieces toward the center. Cool uncovered, over medium heat for 15 minutes or until lightly browned, turning to brown evenly. Reduce heat. Cool covered, for 30 to 35 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain and keep warm. Remove chicken from skillet; drain off all but 2 tablespoons drippings. Cover chicken and keep warm while preparing sauce.

For sauce, cook onion and garlic in the reserved drippings until tender; transfer to a blender container or food processor bowl (see photo, page 247). Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and red pepper. Cover and blend or process until nearly smooth. Return mixture to skillet. Stir in olives. Bring to boiling; reduce heat Boil gently, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until desired consistency.

Divide pasta among 4 bowls or plates. Top with a piece of chicken. Spoon sauce over chicken and pasta. Sprinkle with toasted almonds. Garnish with marjoram sprigs, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition facts per serving: 599 cal., 27 g total fat (5 g sat. fat), 104 mg chol., 426 mg sodium, 49 g carbo., 6 g fiber, 43 g pro. Daily Values: 19% vit. A, 68% vit. C, 6% calcium, 31% iron.

Pepper Poached Salmon and Herbed Beets

Find 100 percent cotton cheesecloth and 100 percent cotton string in the household goods section of your supermarket. Other types can slip or melt if used in cooking. Prep: 30 minutes Cook: 30 minutes