You can do it: How to Cook for Beginners An Easy Cookbook for Learning the Basics by Gwyn Novak

The author of this book states that it is truly for beginning cooks so don’t be afraid to engage with it, even if you do not think that you are a kitchen whiz.  The writer begins by letting you know what you need to have in your kitchen.  She then moves on to skills including boiling, pan cooking and baking.  The last part of the book includes a number of recipes that are described as easy.

The author explained concepts very clearly as for example the differences between sell by date, use by date and expiration date.  There is also a section on “cooking lingo” which includes definitions that are quite helpful.  Readers will also learn what it means to whisk, fold, and stir and also how to rough chop, dice and more.

The recipes themselves are presented very clearly.  For example the recipe for Pasta Bolognese first describes what the dish is.  Next the tools that are needed are listed, followed by the ingredients and the recipe.  The recipe itself is easy to follow as are the other recipes in the book.

This cookbook has many beautiful photographs and also pictures that show techniques.  These very much enhance the text.

I rate this cookbook highly.  It would make a perfect gift for anyone who is starting to live on their own or who needs to boost their kitchen confidence.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this title in exchange for an honest review.

From the publisher: 

#HowtoCookforBeginners #NetGalley

Cookbooks for Beginners,Cookbooks for Beginners,Cookbooks for Beginners,Cookbooks for Beginners

SAMPLE RECIPE: CACIO E PEPE

Rolling Boil: A very vigorous boil in which large bubbles continuously make their way to the surface and are not slowed by stirring the pot. Follow the directions for how to boil water (page 43).

1. Fill a large stockpot two-thirds full with water. Add the salt and stir to dissolve. Place the pot over high heat, cover it, and bring the water to a boil.

2. Add the linguine to the boiling water, stirring immediately so it doesn’t stick to the pot and itself. Cook the pasta for 9 to 11 minutes (depending on the pasta you use), uncovered, until al dente (see page 13).

3. While the pasta cooks, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with the olive oil in a large sauté pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the pepper to the pan and cook until it is fragrant, about 1 minute.

4. Using a ladle, pour 1 cup of the pasta cooking water into the pan. Use a whisk to incorporate.

5. Once the pasta is cooked, using tongs, transfer the pasta from the pot of hot water to the sauté pan. Toss well to coat the pasta with the sauce.

6. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, continuing to toss the pasta thoroughly.

7. Add the cheeses, and toss the pasta continuously until they begin to melt. Remove the pan from the heat when you see that about half the cheese has melted.

8. If the sauce is too thick, add more pasta water to loosen the mixture.

9. Taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking. Remember, you can always add more, but it’s hard to take it away if you add too much. Garnish the finished dish with extra cheese, if you like.

TOOLS AND INGREDIENTS:

  • Box grater, ladle, large sauté pan or skillet, large stockpot with lid, tongs, whisk
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 pound linguine or spaghetti
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper, large grind, plus more as needed
  • 11/2 cups freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 11/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

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