5. BE CREATIVE
Panna cotta and mojitos are perfect examples of recipes that have a standard base that can be modified to create many new, different flavor combinations, says Ugalde.
"Once you have the base, you can flavor it with just about anything you want. Your favorite ingredients -- you name it. Just do it."
BONUS TIP: Although Ugalde didn't use meat in this recipe, one of her favorite tips for beginner cooks: pat-dry meats and fish before cooking them.
"Before you sear or cook any type of meat, you always want to make sure it's completely dry. Water, or moisture of any kind, will not allow for a good, clean sear or caramelization to occur."
Holli Ugalde's Panna Cotta Base and Kumquat Mojito Recipe
1/2 lb. whole, ripe kumquats
1 cup of mint leaves
10-oz. can frozen orange juice concentrate
1 3/4 cup white rum
1 quart of club soda
Lime for garnish
1. In a large pitcher combine halved kumquats and mint leaves.
2. Using a large wooden spoon, vigorously muddle.
3. Pour in juice concentrate, rum and club soda and squeeze lime wedges.
4. Fill pitcher with ice and serve.
PANNA COTTA BASE
Yields app. 2 1/2 cups
Large sauce pot
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
1 cup of reduced fat milk
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
2 1/2-oz. of Mascarpone cheese
1. Bring all ingredients to a simmer in a sauce pot over medium to low heat.
2. Whisk while heating until smooth.
3. Flavor as desired.