The clock is ticking, 10 guests are on their way and you need to have a main course, sides and desserts on the table in under an hour. Hello kitchen nightmare. To help you in this time of need, the king of keeping his cool, Iron Chef Jose Garces offers tips on making unique meals with what you have on hand when there’s little time to spare:
- Anticipate, Anticipate, Anticipate: “If you have a solid plan, it will make all the difference in the world,” Garces reminds us. That means readying certain recipes ahead of time, and knowing when to start each element of the meal so everything will be done at once.
- Let Freshness Speak for Itself: “Buy really fresh ingredients and don’t manipulate the food,” Garces says. We love his suggestion of cooking fresh fish with nothing more than lemon juice and garlic—it’s simple and will keep your prep time minimal.
- Broaden Your Horizons: Learn how to cook locally by thinking globally. “Make local ingredients applicable to the dish by using what’s available,” Garces suggests, “but try not to change the traditional recipe too much.”
- Cooking Under Pressure (Literally!): “Something I learned on Iron Chef was bringing back the old pressure cooker to achieve a nice doneness in a short amount of time,” Garces says. Pressure cookers are great for preparing all types stews, vegetables and meats.
—By Emily Arno