View Full Version : Lesson One: How to Boil Water(yes, we're going here first)

08-13-2015, 07:11 PM
Welcome to lesson one, forerunner conflict!

We will be learning things about boiling water today. Many things can be done in a pot of boiling water. It's necessary from mashed potatoes all the way to the best soup you've ever made!

First off, you'll need a few things:

A pot
Your stovetop of choice

The size of the pot depends on what you will want to make. Pasta and potatoes generally need a one to two gallon size vessel, whereas something like boiled eggs or a cup of rice work better in a one to two quart pot.

Fun facts: there are four quarts in a gallon, and there are four cups in a quart. But we will get into measurements in a future lesson, there are indeed many!

For this, let's use a smaller one to two quart pot.

Now that we've worked up a sweat getting a pot out of the pile of pots and pans in the cabinet, were going to fill it with water. Fill it about three quarters of the way. Once that's done, throw it on the burner, and crank crank the heat up all the way. No sense in only using a medium heat when we're trying to boil water. Besides, a watched pot doesn't boil right? So while we have that going, let's go fetch some of our finest hot chocolate out of the pantry. I haven't had hot chocolate in forever, come to think of it. Sometimes I make it from scratch. Oh, our water is boiling! Let's go grab us a couple of mugs and we can have us some hot chocolate. Pour carefully! And make sure the handle isn't hot. I've got oven mitts in the draw right there in case you need one.

There you go! And you thought only tea kettles could boil water for tea and things.

Alright let's say we want to make something with a little more sustenance. How about some white rice? Long grain white rice is usually inexpensive and super easy to make. Let's reuse the pot we were just using. Less dishes to wash, right? Now if you've ever looked on the back of the bag of rice, the instructions say for every one part rice, you need two parts water. So let's make one cup of rice. Grab your measuring cup and fill it with two cups of water, and pour it in our pot. Be careful, the handle and pot itself could still be hot from our last project. Once you got the water in the pot, throw it back on the heat to boil.

What were going to want to do is add some salt. Salt does two things. First and most importantly, it helps draw the flavor out of food. Secondly, it raises the boiling temperature of the water. This is handy because once we add anything to a boiling pot of water, it's going to lower the temperature. The higher temperature of the water will help us keep our cooking temps at a decent level. So, let's add a nice pinch of salt. If you have a teaspoon measure handy, add a teaspoon of salt.

Another thing we will add, which is optional, is butter. The butter will help keep the rice from being so sticky, and also it just tastes good cause it's butter. I mean who doesn't love butter? Alright so our salt is in, we added a little butter, we wait for it to come back to a boil. While that's working, let's measure our rice. One cup, remember?

Ok so our water is boiling, we have our rice, let's add it to the water. Grab a fork and stir it a bit, and then let it come back to a boil. According to the directions on the bag, once it's returned to a boil, we lower the heat and cover it. Lower the heat to about a simmer. This can be different for everyone, for some stoves it's all the way low, for some that's too low a heat. For electric stovetops, you might want to move it to a different burner all together. Those burners hold heat after its been turned all the way up like nobody's business(at least mine does).

So our rice is covered and simmering, and it will take 15 minutes. This is where the kitchen timer becomes your best friend. After all, 15 minutes is enough time to go play a few games of halo with your squad to warm up for Sunday battles. You wouldn't want to go play and while your standing next to that grenade that went off and say to yourself, "hey, I can even smell that grenade!". That would be the smell of your rice burning and probably a sign your gunna need a new pot as well. So set a timer! You and your halo buddies with be better off in the long run.

So, 15 minutes already, huh? Let's check our rice!

Looking pretty good! If there's still any water left after a quick stir, just put it back on the flame for a few more minutes. Now ill add a little salt and pepper myself, but it should be ok from the sAlt we added in the water. Vwallah! You made rice. Now if you wanted to spice it up more, sometimes I add some red or white beans for a little protein, or corn cause when I eat corn and rice I end up mixing the two any way.

So! We have the basics of boiling water. And we can make rice! Some rices are different, and some other foods like grits, or quinoa(keen-wah) cook the same way rice does. Just follow the the cooking instructions, and remember what we learned about boiling water.

Hey, we boil potatoes too, don't we? Now a bag of potatoes doesnt usually come with directions for mashed potatoes on the back, but those are just as simple. The only two differences are thAt we will start our potatoes out in cold water, and that when they are done, we will strain them like pasta. Want to make some mashed potatoes too? Okay, let's go!

Let's start by grabbing that bag of potatoes. My mom would usually mAke half the bag for our fAmily of four. if they are red potatoes you can leave the skin on, but you should Usually peel russet or Idaho potatoes. Once you got them peeled, we need to cut them into roughly equal sized pieces. Always use a cutting board and a sharp knife. Dull knives require more effort, and more force means nastier cuts if you were to make a mistake. Dull knives are still sharp enough to cut you! Don't be careless. And keep your fingers clear of the blade!

Ok. Potatoes cut- check. Large enough pot-check. fingers.... check. Let's fill that bad boy up so our potatoes are covered in at least an inch of water. Don't forget the salt! A pinch or two will do good. We will season the potatoes when we're almost done.

K, potatoes are going, when then come up to see boil reduce the heat so little bit so they aren't at a hard boil. Now the amount of time these will take depends on the size you cut your potatoes. Usually about 15 minutes. While those are going, lets pull a strainer out and put in in our sink so when the potatoes are done, we can dump them quick. Good!

Let's check our potatoes. they should be "fork tender". That means if you stick a fork in one of the potatoes, you shouldn't feel any resistance in the potato. If your potatoes are done, then we will CAREFULLY carry our pot over to the sink and CAREFULLY pour our potatoes into the strainer. Don't forget Oven mitts if you need them. And Whatch the steam! The steam will burn you good if you let it. You dont want to drop your full pot of potatoes and risk burning yourself even worse!

So we've strained our potatoes. Before we add them back to the pot, were going to grab some milk and butter. Assuming you used the half bag like I mentioned before, grab about a stick of butter and throw it in the pot. Put the pot back on low heat. Let it melt, and add about a half cup of milk to start. Once that's melted and warm, shut the heat off. We can add our potatoes back into the pot. Now the best tool for this is one of those electric hand mixers. If you dont have one of those then a hand masher will work, or even one of those kitchen aid stAnd mixers. Let's assume you've got one of those hand mixers. Mash the potatoes by hand a little bit, then start out on the first speed. Slowly work your way faster, and mix the potatoes up. Now at this point you can add more milk for thinner mashed potAtoes, or leave them thick and pasty. But wait, were not done! We need to add salt and pepper. Remember, salt draws out the flavors of food. So grab a pinch or two of salt, and as much black pepper as you care to add and mix that in with the mixer. Taste your potatoes, do you think they need more seasoning? Add what you think you need. If not, well done! We made mashed potatoes! Another food learned.

We covered a lot today! But there is so much more that can be done even from the few things we did. Once we build up confidence and skill, we can turn that rice into rice croquettes (same with the potatoes!), or make potato salad instead of mashed potatoes. Or beets instead of potatoes to make a delicious beet salad! Endless possibilities. Maybe we can cover all of that in a future lesson. For now i think we've covered a good deal today. Hopefully you can put this newfound knowledge to good use!

For most of you, I'm sure this was an easy day. For the rest of you, if you have any questions or comments, leave em here! Also, I started out this easy because I don't know the general skill level of the audience ill have, so if the majority want to take it up to intermediate levels, we can do that. Just pm me!

Legendary Nova
08-13-2015, 08:21 PM
For all you non-Americans out there:

1 Cup = 237mL
1 Quart = 946mL
1 Gallon = 3.7L

Good starting lesson! I still have all ten fingers at the end of it so I think I'm doing well! =P

08-13-2015, 08:33 PM
settle down rachel ray.

08-13-2015, 08:55 PM
Instructions not clear, set cat on fire.

Solus Exsequor
08-13-2015, 09:04 PM
Instructions not clear, got dick stuck in blender.

08-13-2015, 10:42 PM
Instructions not clear, got dick stuck in blender.


I now know how to make mashed potatoes. I can now mash up GLaDOS the potato.

08-14-2015, 12:17 AM
Instructions unclear, Started operation firestorm. oh god no why, what have i done?

08-14-2015, 12:27 AM
Instructions unclear, Started operation firestorm. oh god no why, what have i done?

This is why we don't let you cook in the kitchen. You always start a fire!

08-14-2015, 02:04 AM
That was a great read, spotty. i'm looking forward to more of these in the future :)

08-14-2015, 03:04 PM
http://safeandsustainablebuildin gs.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/tips-how-to-stay-safe-during-a-house-fire.jpg

uh... I think I did it wrong...

08-14-2015, 03:16 PM
Great. How the hell am I supposed to get my neighbor out of my dog's stomach?

08-14-2015, 04:37 PM

Did I do the potatoes right?

08-14-2015, 05:46 PM
That one cuts a little deep nervy, i saw my neighbors house burn down. Its scary shit.

08-16-2015, 11:00 PM
That one cuts a little deep nervy, i saw my neighbors house burn down. Its scary shit.

08-17-2015, 12:21 AM
That one cuts a little deep nervy, i saw my neighbors house burn down. Its scary shit.

Was a joke with no intention to offend sorry :/

08-20-2015, 09:10 PM
Nah no offense taken, im just saying, it takes me back to a dark place.