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  • 1. Plan your meal.
    Choose a main course. Consider your audience, their likes and your hopes for the evening. Once you’ve selected a main course, the rest of your meal falls into place.

    Then, select salads, sides, desserts and wines that complement your entrée.

    Finally, decide which dishes you’ll prepare and when, and which can be store-bought, like an exquisite dessert!

    2. Read the recipes.
    Do this long before you start cooking. Read all of each recipe and note:
    • Which cooking methods—sautéing, baking, broiling—will you use?
    • What equipment and ingredients are needed?
    • How much time will prep and cooking take?

    3. Make a rough cooking plan.
    Walk through the recipe steps, and figure out how much time and preparation each requires. Take that information and calculate how long it will take to prepare the dish and set it against when you want to present it to your guests. Then do the same for any other dishes you plan to serve, and make a rough step-by-step plan that ensures that your courses are ready when required.

    4. Make a shopping list.
    Compare the ingredients you need with what you have on hand in your pantry, refrigerator and kitchen. Make a shopping list of missing staples and ingredients necessary for your evening’s recipes.

    Shopping tips:
    • Avoid waste and save money: Plan portions, then shop.
    • Always read labels (for expiry dates) and ingredients.
    • If you don’t understand the name, don’t buy it!
    • Avoid “low-fat” foods: Please read the labels. Most of them substitute fats and oils with chemicals. You’ll be surprised at how much chemicals low-fat foods contain.
    • Avoid margarine: Butter tastes better, and requires smaller quantities when cooking.
    • Save time: Shop during off-peak hours. You’re more likely to get what you want if you’re not jostled and distracted by crowds.
    Don’t overbuy. Make a list and stick to it! Stay focused, shop quickly, don’t linger.
    • Make friends at the market. Get to know your fish seller and butcher and get their advice!



    Click here for more culinary tips from Mr. Pitaya Phanphensophon.

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