Over the past year or so of teaching myself how to cook, i've always had the most fun inviting some friends over and cooking something new. I always have a backup frozen pizza in case I screw up! I've recently added some structure to how I learn the fundamentals of cooking and think some other people might be interested.
Basically, I practice 1 cooking technique every week and host a dinner party each month to share what i've learned with my friends. It keeps me accountable and who doesn't have fun at dinner parties with friends? So here is my framework:
Monthly theme: Braising
- Week 1: Appetizer (eg. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...)
- Week 2: Veggie main dish (eg. http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/br...)
- Week 3: Meat main dish (eg. http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/re...)
- Week 4: Something fun for the party (eg. cocktails - http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/ma... or dessert http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al... etc.)
I tweak the format for brunch, style of cooking (international cuisine), sauces, or whatever I feel like. I've also been playing around with the idea of setting up a weekly email of what i'm practicing to help others learn how to cook and give people an excuse to throw more parties! If that's something you'd be interested in, let me know. Otherwise, if you have ideas on how I can improve my process, let me know!