I mean, all you have to do is follow the directions.
Have all the right ingredients.
Have all the right equipment.
Have a clue what you're doing.
And all that means is following the directions, I think.
I'd love to be able to cook well, to cook food like you could get at a restaurant. I do need to clarify that first statement, since I have no doubt in my ability to cook food that people like, which, ultimately, means I can cook well. But at the moment, my collection of recipes is small and nothing particularly fancy. I've got a mac and cheese, a couple pasta dishes, banana bread and some breakfasty-things. I still swear up and down that I make the best cinnamon toast ever, though I haven't really had any other variations. (Easy too - remind me sometime and I'll make it for you. Now I'm hungry.)
Oh, and cheesecake, I guess. I do make a killer cheesecake. I guess that counts as fancy... and I've never had a better cheesecake at a restaurant than the cheesecake made by me and my dad. Believe me, I've tried. (Surprisingly, Scripps dining hall cheesecake came close once, as did a cheesecake bought at Vons for my birthday by my awesome roommate... who may or may not have known I have a birthday cheesecake tradition.)
That said, I'm still itching to expand, especially to dinners and breads. My panini habit means that I could probably shave off a quarter of my food budget by baking my own bread (or not eating paninis, but that's boring). I'm doing okay with that one... my sights are set fairly low - making a good sandwich bread actually isn't difficult, if you find the right recipe - but I'm looking forward to experimenting more over the next couple of months. Maybe try... spinach, bacon and cheese bread. Thanks Reddit for that one.
Dinners are trickier though. I'd love to have a couple meals that I can make which make going out to eat less worth it - I mean, not having to cook or clean is nice, but when I go out to eat in college, I appreciate it more for the amazing food (Aruffo's Italian is far better than even Pitzer's dining hall has to offer, but it costs far more too...). I'd love to be able to master an alfredo sauce, something college has somehow taught me to love. Okay, I realize I'm a bit Italian, but honestly, many of the pasta dishes I've had at various restaurants in the past leave me drooling just to remember them. If I could make food that good at home...
My main food goal for the summer is to recreate a certain soup, however. I went to Aruffo's twice last year, and both times, the soup of the day was a salmon and crab bisque. Now, I've never been a soup person, but I love salmon and I like crab in small quantities. So I got the soup, and the soup was amazing. Unfortunately, there seem to be no recipes on the internet for salmon and crab bisque, so the question of the day is - do I make a crab bisque and a salmon bisque and then try to combine them... or do I just find a few recipes for salmon or crab bisque and mash them all together?
Updates on that when it happens. Whatever happens, it should be delicious...