Your Time to Cook

A First Cookbook for Newlyweds, Couples & Lovers

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Your Time to Cook
Square One Publishers


8.3 X 10.3 in
416 pg

COOKING / Reference

$29.95 Hardback
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Your Time to Cook

By  Robert L Blakeslee


For some people, cooking a meal is as easy and effortless as a walk in the park. But for others, even frying an egg may seem like a hike up Mount Everest. Designed for everyone who feels clueless in the kitchen, Your Time to Cook is a true “first” cookbook, packed with important kitchen essentials and cooking fundamentals—as well as a collection of basic, easy-to-prepare recipes.

Kicking off the book is an introduction to kitchen gadgets and gizmos, essential guidelines for stocking the pantry, and a review of common cooking terms and food-preparation techniques. Hundreds of magnificent full-color photos help make the information clear and accessible—whether it is a description of how to chop an onion, scramble an egg, cook the perfect steak, or brew the best cup of coffee. Over 250 foolproof recipes include everything from breakfast favorites and party appetizers to hearty soups, salads, veggie side dishes, pastas, and seafood, as well as chicken, beef, pork, and lamb dishes. There is also a dessert chapter that’s packed with your favorite sweet treats. To further ensure successful results, photos accompany each recipe’s step-by-step directions, while practical tips and “tricks” make sure that each meal is not only picture perfect, but also perfectly delicious.

Whether you are a newlywed struggling in your first kitchen, a single out on your own, or just someone who’d like to gain more confidence in the kitchen, Your Time to Cook is your key to cooking success.


"As essential for new cooks as a good knife...Dishes are detailed with the care of a doting mother, instructing with clear text and more than 1,000 step-by-step photos while avoiding condescension...This volume should sustain newlyweds and other cooking partners well past their first year together." Publishers Weekly

Author Biography

Robert L Blakeslee earned his bachelor’s degree in fine arts at the California College of the Arts (CCA) in Northern California. He has been a college professor at the International Fine Arts College in Miami, Florida, and is an internationally published award-winning graphic designer, art director, and creative director. The author is also a gourmet cook and a cookbook illustrator and photographer.

Table of contents


Introduction, 00

Getting Started

 1. Welcome to Your Kitchen, 00

 2. Stocking the Pantry, 00

 3. Terms and Techniques, 00

 4. That’s Entertainment, 00

Recipes for Love

 5. I Love Breakfast, 00

 6. Bottoms Up!, 00

 7. Appeteasers, 00

 8. You’re My Hero, 000

 9. Salad Days, 000

10. In Hot Soup, 000

11. Simple Sides, 000

12. Pasta . . . That’s Amore!, 000

13. A Little Fishy, 000

14. Chicken Tonight, 000

15. What’s Your Beef?, 000

16. Pigs ’n Lambs, 000

17. Holiday Feast, 00

18. Just Desserts, 000

Metric Conversion Charts, 000

Index, 000

Introduction or preface

Before You Cook, Read This

Before You Cook,

Read This

To help ensure that your cooking experience is an enjoyable one, especially if you’re a novice in the kitchen, keep the following recommendations in mind:

Keep it clean

After preparing and enjoying a delicious meal, the last thing you’ll want to face is a huge kitchen cleanup. But it doesn’t have to be that way. While preparing a recipe, try to “clean as you go.” Put away utensils and ingredients after using them—put dirty dishes in the sink or dishwasher, dry goods back in the pantry, and fresh items back in the fridge.

      During any breaks in the preparation—while the soup is simmering or the cake is baking try to clean up as much of the kitchen as you can, especially before serving. No matter how delicious the food is, a big mess in the kitchen can take the fun out of cooking. So try not to let it get out of hand.

      It’s also important to clean dirty dishes and utensils as soon as possible. The longer the food remains, the harder it becomes to remove. If, however, the pot, pan, or casserole dish has a difficult-to-clean baked-on mess (from long oven-roasting, for instance), presoaking it in hot soapy water is recommended before you attempt to clean it.

Pay attention

Many people who say they cannot cook simply don’t pay attention to what they’re doing. Unless you are simmering a pot of soup or stew, cooking on a stovetop requires constant attention. Food that is cooked on the grill must be checked every few minutes. And baked goods should be checked a few minutes before the recipe’s recommended cooking time, and then every minute or so until ready.

Give it a taste test

When you prepare a recipe, especially for the first time, let your taste buds test the dish before you serve it. Even if you have followed a recipe exactly as written and the dish looks and smells good, you might find—depending on your personal likes and dislikes—that it needs something more. You may, for example, find the food to be bland for your taste, so a pinch of salt or some other seasoning or herb may be needed. But no matter what you add, be sure to do so a little at a time. You can always put in more, but once you have added too much, the dish can be doomed.

Use the suggested testing

methods for doneness

Cooking times for most foods will vary depending on a few factors, including the type of oven and/or stovetop that are used, and even the altitude in which you live. For this reason, cooking times are approximate, not exact. Along with estimated cooking times, this book also includes recommended tests for doneness. For instance, you’ll know that a cake is ready when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For roasts and large fowl, a meat thermometer, which reads internal temperature, will indicate doneness. And pasta is ready when it is soft yet firm to the bite. Many other methods for testing doneness are presented for all of the different foods found in this book.

Follow baking directions


Here is an important culinary fact—cooking is different from baking. With cooking, you can usually alter a recipe (throw an extra clove of garlic in the soup, add more salt to the casserole) and still have it come out great. Baking, however, is more like chemistry. In order to ensure successful results, you have to measure the ingredients and follow the preparation methods exactly as written.

Take care in your


I typically design my recipes to produce dishes that not only taste delicious, but also look delicious. Always take time to organize and present your food. Don’t just fling it in a bowl (like the “slop on the gruel” technique you’ve seen in prison movies) or thoughtlessly dump it onto a platter. And consider adding a garnish or other finishing touch to give your delicious food even greater visual appeal. Keep in mind that when food looks good, it is always more appetizing.

Have fun!

Cooking should be enjoyable. Once you understand cooking basics, feel free to use any of the recipes in this book as starting points—springboards to which you can add your own creative touches. And most important, remember to have fun. Revel in your successes and learn from (and laugh at) your mistakes.