What Is Pretty Simple Cooking?

Our approach to home cooking is pretty simple. Pretty simple cooking:

Balances beautiful, creative recipes with accessible concepts

Uses methods that are approachable, though not always quick

Produces bold, inspired flavors without too many hard-to-find or expensive ingredients

Features wholesome, seasonal, and quality ingredients

Emphasizes creativity and playfulness over list making

Is a lifestyle approach to everyday cooking

Here’s our not-so-hidden agenda: to inspire your cooking.
This book is not here to convert you into any particular diet or way of life. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or just starting out, our hope is that you’ll find love in the cooking process and that it brings infinite value to your life

Four Important Things

I asked for your best kitchen tips. There are a few things we
now take for granted that were new to us as beginner cooks: Use kosher salt.
We use kosher salt in our everyday cooking. Avoid substituting table salt for kosher salt. Why? Since the salt granules are flatter, kosher salt is a gentler way to salt food. Whereas table salt can quickly make food taste too salty, kosher salt more easily coaxes out a recipe’s natural flavor. Sea salt is a good alternative, but we typically use it as a finishing salt since it can vary widely in size and taste. If you haven’t already, buy a big container of kosher salt and keep it in a salt cellar next to your stove.

Taste your food.

We learned this from Julia Child. On nearly every one of her cooking shows, she makes the recipe, tastes it, and invariably says itneeds “a bit more salt.” Before we serve food to anyone, including ourselves, we taste and customize the salt to our liking.

A good knife is worth 1,000 bad ones.

Your number one tool is a large, very sharp kitchen knife. We can’t emphasize this enough. Thoughtfully choose a knife that works for your hand, and get it sharpened regularly by a professional. When we started cooking, we chose to invest in one good kitchen knife for each of us: while it was an investment at the time, it’s lasted us ten years and likely will last ten more.

Recipes are ideas.

A recipe is like a chart for a jazz musician: it’s an idea, codified to pass it down from one person to the next. All recipes in this book are ideas. As you become a confident cook, feel free to mix and match, substitute one vegetable for another, inspired by the ingredients you have on hand. Take a breakfast recipe and serve it for dinner (and vice versa!). It takes a bit of time to understand what can be modified and what can’t, so we’ve added notes where applicable. Above all, take care to preserve the integrity of the flavor when making changes—like keeping fresh garlic, real lemon juice, and fresh herbs instead of opting for shortcuts.