Really quick 1-2 cooking rules of thumb

Really basic cooking / meal and drink prep yardsticks you by, like with a single spaghetti serving (pour moi) being no bigger than a quarter in diameter.
Hoping to see rules of thumb a bit more original than just “taking one sugar and one cream for coffee”.
Toast - not burnt, but good golly really dark brown.

Soft boiling an egg (basic enough?). Don’t put the egg in cold water and then boil the water - add the egg to already boiling water (salted, obviously).

The reason is that the latter is easier to time. For the former, the egg starts cooking some time before the water starts to boil; plus it’s hard to say precisely when boiling starts. Add the egg to already boiling water, and five minutes should do it (depending on how, precisely, you like your egg).


Roasting meat? At 350F it’s 20 minutes per pound + 20 minutes for medium. 5 minutes per pound less for rare or 5 minutes more per pound for well-done. We don’ need no steenkin’ thermometers.

Burnt toast edges? Scrape’em off. Heard that stuff’s carcinogenic.

ETA - Sorry, I only deal in toast.

In the first lecture my sister attended at one of the countries leading catering colleges, the head of school gave the following advise:
Brown is beautiful.
Black is buggered.

Garlic: There is never too much

And more butter while you’re at it.

Potato: scrub, stab deeply with a fork a few times, place on paper towel and nuke on high for 3 minutes.

Turn potato over. If large, nuke for 3 more minutes. If med to small, nuke for 2 more minutes.

Slice open and top with whatever you want - if you heat a can of ready-to-eat lentil soup and pour it on top, you have a quick meal that’s not half bad.

What have I been doing wrong all my life? I’ve never been able to get microwave baked potatoes to come out very well – they always end up kind of tough and leathery on the outside.

So what I’ve been doing is cut the potato (one large or two medium) into smallish cubes, dump into a bowl with some butter, and nuke for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to get the pieces well coated with the butter. That seems to work well.

Without observing your kitchen I can’t say. My best theory is that you have a super-powerful microwave. Try using the 80% setting, perhaps?

But your alternative seems perfectly reasonable.

Put a large roast and a small roast in the oven. When the small roast burns the large roast is done.

Great! Enjoying the succinctness of the posts!

Salting early almost always produces better results than salting late.

As I have posted here before: if it’s crunchy, cook it 'til it’s squishy; if it’s squishy, cook it 'til it’s crunchy.


A better poached egg:

Put ~1/2" of water in a ramekin or other small bowl. Microwave water for 30-60 secs until almost boiling. The short time is right for warm water & a high powered microwave. Use more time for colder water or low-powered microwave. Remember how long that took for next time; it’ll be the same every time in any given oven.

Crack 1 or 2 eggs into water. Pierce yolks(s) with toothpick. Microwave for 55-70 seconds for 1 egg or 70-90 seconds for 2 eggs at 50% power. The short time is right for a high power microwave, the long time is right for a typical microwave. If eggs under- or over-done to your taste, adjust time by at most 10 seconds and try again tomorrow. Once you get it right, remember how long that took for next time; it’ll be the same every time in any given oven.

Use a slotted serving-size spoon to get under the egg(s) then tip the bowl and dump out as much water as possible. You’ll lose a smidgen of egg drizzle too, but that’s OK.

Season egg as desired and eat directly from ramekin.

One dish, 1 spoon, 4 minutes flat from walking into the kitchen to chowing down a hot meal.

That isn’t enough cumin. Or garlic.

Fish: 10 minutes per inch of thickness, no matter what cooking method.

(Notes: assuming the correct temperature for the method, and not doing something like super-rare tuna steaks…)

Same here.

Besides, one of my favorite parts of a baked potato is the slightly crunchy skin.

But there are plenty of times where nuking one is in order (for a recipe or something).

To the OP:

Never cook bacon naked.

Also, a dull blade is more dangerous than a sharp one. Keep your knives well sharpened.

One more:

Different oils are different. Do not think your one bottle of olive oil suffices for all cooking needs. It doesn’t. Always have some vegetable oil on hand at the very least. Not to mention there are some big differences in olive oils too. Some are better for cooking and some are better for using as is (e.g. for a salad dressing). You can use both for cooking but the one you can use as is for stuff like salad dressing tends to be a lot more expensive.