Welcome to Cooking Lessons For Boys.
This is the first lesson in a series aimed at boys (and girls) who have absolutely no idea how to use their kitchen, but would like to be able to cook something delicious if only someone would show them how.
We're starting off with the absolute basics today, like how to use your oven and what certain "kitchen terms" actually mean. In the following lessons I'll be guiding you step-by-step through some delicious recipes that use actual food that isn't from a packet or a tin (I know!). Throughout the series, if you have any questions about anything food related, just drop a comment in the comments section and I'll be happy to answer them.
So, let's get started with Kitchen Terms For Boys:
A cup of something is 250ml. A cup is not a coffee mug that you have next to your bed right now. Its one of those little tea cups that your gran likes to serve tea in. Unless you live with a girl, you are unlikely to have one of these in your kitchen. When a recipe calls for "a cup of" or 250ml of something, you're safe with using 3/4 of a coffee mug as measurement.
Pots and Pans
Boys get these two confused all the time!
Pots are deep and are used to boil things like water and soups and sauces.
Pans are shallow and are used for frying things like eggs and bacon and steak.
Herbs and Spices
I understand how boys could get totally confused by these two terms. Basically, herbs are plants and spices are powders. Herbs are mostly green and are mostly used fresh although you can also use them dried. I will mostly be using fresh herbs in my recipes as they are much healthier for you and also taste much better. But don't worry, I'll always explain them to you in the recipes and if you can't find fresh, its OK to use dried.
"Put the oven on"
If your mom/girlfriend/neighbour says to you "please put the oven on for me" it means that you should put the oven on at 180 degrees Celsius. 180 is the temperature that pretty much everything is cooked at. Baked potatoes, roast chicken, mac & cheese..it all cooks at 180 degrees.
"Oil" and "Olive Oil"
"Oil" refers mostly to sunflower oil which is made from sunflower seeds, is pretty cheap and is used for frying things like eggs and chips and for baking with. Sunflower oil has little to no taste, and reaches high temperatures without burning which is why we use it for deep frying.
"Olive oil" is made from olives and has distinctive flavour that it adds to food. It's used in much smaller amounts than sunflower oil. You use it on salads and for dipping bread in and for oiling up your chicken, fish, meat etc. If you ever deep fry your chips in a bottle of you girlfriend's olive oil, you can expect to be banned from the bed for a night.
"Sweat" "Sautee" "Blanch"
These are quite complicated to explain actually, but I'll do my best to keep it short and simple.
"Sweat" means to cook something at a very low temperature with the lid on, so that all the moisture stays inside and creates like a food sauna. This way, the food cooks through and becomes really tender and moist. Usually refers to chopped onions.
"Sautee" basically just means to shallow fry. Which means that you're using only a little bit of oil and quite a high heat. Because the temperature is high, you keep stirring the food so it doesn't burn.
"Blanch" means to very quickly cook something in very hot water. You bring the water to the boil, quickly dip the food in for a couple of seconds, remove from the heat and dip into ice cold water. This is usually done with vegetables. It cooks the food but ensures that the colour remains and doesn't go yucky brown and keeps them nice and crisp.
"Brown" means to fry your meat/chicken in a hot pan on all sides until it is brown. You would usually do this before making a stew, a soup or a casserole. The pan should be on a medium heat and you should use a little oil. Cook the meat on one side until you think it is about to burn, then start on the other side. This adds flavour and keeps all the juices inside the meat.
Those are a few basics that I could come up with right now. If you're confused by any "kitchen terms" that you hear thrown around willy nilly, drop a comment below and I'll explain it to you.