About this series
This year, you're really going to learn to cook. How many New Year's have you promised yourself that? But this time, what with the state of the economy and all, that resolution seems an even better idea.
We're not talking about just memorizing a couple of recipes you can pull together for dinner parties. And we're not talking about those meditative weekends spent constructing a fantasy out of some chef's book.
Those things are fun, but they aren't much help when it's 7 o'clock on a weeknight and you want dinner -- something tasty, something with style, something that doesn't come from the freezer or from a can.
At times like this, you really need to know how to cook, and that means looking at a dish not just as a set of ingredients and techniques, but as a structure that can be varied depending on what you have on hand and what you feel like eating.
And so, for the month of January, The Times Food section is offering an in-depth look at one main-course dish every week. We'll take it apart and explain how it works. Then we'll walk you through some of the many ways it can be adapted.
If that sounds complicated, relax. These are all dishes that are intended to be put together quickly with ingredients that you either already have on hand or can stock up on from any neighborhood supermarket.
Even better, each recipe will be accompanied by a video at our food blog, latimes.com/dailydish. And if you have any questions -- or any go-to recipes of your own that you'd like to share -- let us know at the blog.
-- The Food staff