I’m talking about cooking of course. I know that getting a meal on the table every night isn’t always easy or fun. I get it.

You’re busy and by the time you get home from work or after a day chasing or driving kids around…you’re more than tired. You’re exhausted.

So I’ve decided that starting with next week’s email, I’ll be focusing the whole month of March on dishes that meet 3 criterial.

1. Fast and Simple

2. Delicious and Nutritious

3. Provide leftovers

Think I’m up to the challenge? We’ll just have to see, won’t we. But I will tell you this…I don’t really care what you eat. That’s a personal decision.

What I care about is if you want to cook (because really that’s the only way we can be sure of what goes into our bodies) that you come to me for help.

So help me with this challenge by leaving a comment about the kinds of dishes you’d like me to offer. Tell me what frustrates you about feeding yourself and your family. What can I most help you with?

But for now, I have a little quiz…and cooking tips because I want to help you with something that stumps most cooks.

When you look at the following group of ingredients…do you know which ones should go into the sauté pan first (assuming the oil is already in the pan)? And in what order?


If you answered the onion, you’d be correct. That’s because, with this set of ingredients it is the soffritto. What’s a soffritto you ask? It’s the aromatics with which you start a dish. In this case it’s the onion and it has to cook slowly until it’s soft and caramelized before you add the remaining ingredients

What’s added next is always the ingredient that takes the longest to cook. In this case, it’s the potato. How big or small you dice it will effect how long you have to cook it before adding the next ingredient, which will be the pepper.

When would you add the garlic you ask? And what’s that strange looking ingredient next to it? It’s ginger root.  Both of these ingredients are aromatics too but I wouldn’t add these at the same time as the onions because if I did, by the time the potatoes and peppers were cooked, the garlic and ginger would burn.

So in this case, I add them when the potatoes and peppers are almost cooked but before adding the kale and tomatoes. This is because the kale and tomatoes need very little time to cook and when added would cool down the temperature of the pan and prevent the garlic and ginger from burning in the hot oil.

And did you know that whenever something is looking like it’s cooking too fast you can simply add a splash of water or broth to slow it down? You can also take it off the heat for a moment or lower the heat.

Cooking really is about how it looks, smells and tastes and making adjustments along the way. That’s why a recipe is simply a guide and the way to really learn is to cook something more than once.

Oh…and why the egg? Because you can now sauté all of these ingredients and then top them with an egg and you’ll have a quick, complete meal!

Hope this helps and leave a comment or question below. Tell me what is most difficult for you when cooking and how I can help.

  1. Lana Shlafer February 27, 2014 at 1:18 am - Reply

    Love this post and how beautifully you explain the order of what to add next. My mom taught me this and it makes a huge difference when I follow that order (trust me, I’ve rebelled before and threw it all in together and then tasted the difference!).

    • chefsilvia February 27, 2014 at 3:38 pm - Reply

      Lana so glad you know first hand how this works and that it makes all the difference. Thank you for your comment.

  2. Sarah February 27, 2014 at 2:59 pm - Reply

    Great tips Silvia! Many thanks!!

  3. Nathalie February 27, 2014 at 6:06 pm - Reply

    Ah, this is awesome, Silvia! I just love the way how you make cooking easy (and your videos and PDFs – WOW – I show them to everyone and even those who never cook start to feel the itch!). As to your question: the three points you want to focus on are actually EXACTLY what I need. Plus it should be something which is colorful and enticing also for kids (because my little ones can pe a little picky). I look forward to your ideas which I’m sure will be amazing as usual! :-)

    • chefsilvia February 27, 2014 at 6:36 pm - Reply

      Nathalie. Thank you so much for your feedback and for your lovely comment about my course. So glad I’m on target about the 3 criteria for recipes. As a busy mom I know it must be tough. Kid friendly…okay I’m on it.

  4. Sue Bee February 27, 2014 at 11:15 pm - Reply

    Sylvia, thx for all the tips & encouragement. I’m trying to get back to cooking & not eating out so much. My cooking skills have gotten rusty; so appreciate your mentoring. Looking forward to learning more from you.

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