My BigMouth Blog | A Blog by Jason Glover

New to Cooking for the Family? 4 Tips for the Beginning Cook

Cooking for the family can be a daunting task, especially when you open up a cookbook and it says things like julienne and sauté. However, every beginning cook needs to know a few basics. Don’t worry though. All the fancy cuts are just intended to make the food look nice or cook evenly. Luckily, our families are not that picky and are happy with our attempts.

#1 Sauté

When a recipe asks you to sauté something, it wants you to put some butter in a pan on medium heat, melt the butter, then add the chopped ingredients (normally onions, peppers or garlic), and cook them until they become soft. This adds a wonderful smell to the house. You need to keep an eye on them, because they can go from cooked to burnt pretty fast.

#2 Different Types of Chopping

Recipes will also tell you to chop vegetables in a variety of ways. Don’t worry about getting it perfectly, but here is the general idea:

  • Chop – This usually means chunk it up in smaller pieces.
  • Coarsely Chop – Bigger chunks
  • Finely Chop – Small pieces
  • Mince – Very tiny pieces
  • Slice – Cut length-wise like tomatoes for hamburgers
  • Julienne – Cut like shoe string fries

#3 Simmer

A simmer is like a boil, except it is at a lower temperature. You can practice this with water by bringing water to boil on high and then turning it down to medium low. When the bubbles go from a rapid boil to blow bubbles, you have achieved a simmer. As a beginning dad that cooks, a simmer will be your best friend.

#4 Fold

Folding is not just for clothes! In fact, desserts require lots of folding. All it means is to lightly turn the ingredients onto each other. It is slightly different than stirring and is often done with whipped cream. When a recipe tells you to fold ingredients, it wants you to be careful not to break anything as the recipe and ingredients are delicate.

For more tips and tricks on cooking for the family, visit www.DadsThatCook.com/.