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Cooking Fresh -- and Quick!

One of the greatest benefits of 20-minute cuisine is that there's no time to ruin natural flavors. We have every incentive to take advantage of the characteristics inherent in using fresh ingredients:

  • Flavor
  • Texture
  • Ease of preparation
  • Speed of preparation
  • Health

Think for a moment about fresh-picked tomatoes or carrots, fresh peas right from the garden or the farm stand, crisp garden lettuce with dark soil still clinging to its roots. Packaging and shipping methods are improving, but for the foreseeable future just about any vegetable or fruit, locally produced, will taste infinitely better than the distant cousin with jet lag from a flight originating halfway across the country (or the globe).

Regarding seafood, who wouldn't agree that the freshest fish tastes the best and is certainly the most appealing? The same applies to many other meats. (Some forms of beef, though, do indeed taste better after aging.) Fresh ingredients have delicious flavors that would be lost to long cooking, so the best way to treat them is to serve them raw, or cook them through a gentle method such as blanching (partially boiling), steaming, or sautéing. Each of these methods, used in moderation, results in fresh produce that is easy to eat, yet preserves that fresh snap and garden flavor.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to 20-Minute Meals © 2003 by CWL Publishing Enterprises, Inc., John Woods, President. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's website or call 1-800-253-6476.


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