Learn How to Saute For Countless Quick Dinners

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When you know how to sauté, then you have power over your food choices. It’s quick, easy, and you can sauté almost anything!

Most cookbooks concentrate on the list of ingredients and forget to tell you HOW to cook. When you can repeat one cooking method, then the ingredients don’t matter.

Certainly there are other very important skills to have in the kitchen, such as using your knives for cutting vegetables, and how to make sauces, but HOW you transfer heat to food makes the biggest difference of all.

Saute’ is a conductive cooking process. This means that the heat is directly transferred to the food via the sauté pan. As opposed to cooking with hot air in an oven, which is convective cooking, conductive is quicker and easier to control.

It’s easy to learn how to sauté, because the steps are always the same regardless of what you’re cooking. Mastering this one method will have you creating dinner without recipes in no time.

The basic sauté procedure is this:
1) Pan Hot First – Always start with a hot sauté pan. The best way to judge the relative heat in the pan is to sprinkle a little water from the tips of your fingers. If the water immediately boils and evaporates, you know the pan is at least 212F/100C.
2) Add Fat – A small amount of fat is used for sauté. It’s not pan frying and it’s not deep frying. Only enough butter or oil is used to barely cover the bottom of the pan. The role of fat in sauté is less about flavor and more about transferring heat.
3) Fat Hot – You must heat this fat to a point JUST BEFORE it’s about to smoke. Once the oil reaches its smoke temperature, it will impart burnt flavors to your food. However, if you start cooking right before it smokes, you’re capturing the most heat. Most fats will change from being perfectly smooth in appearance to moving about the pan and looking streaky.
4) Protein Product – Whether you’re cooking chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, fish, or tofu, it’s all the same. Add your protein product to the hot fat in the pan to promote caramelization of sugars, the nice brown color.
5) Cook 75/25 - Cook the protein product ¾ of the way on the first side so that you can witness the changes that tell you when to turn it over. As proteins coagulate, they stiffen and shrink. A chicken breast will begin to turn white on the sides. When the white reaches 75% of the way up the side of the protein product, finish it on the other side and remove to a warm plate.
6) Aromatics – Now is the time to sauté onions, celery, carrots, peppers, garlic, or any other vegetable you’d like to incorporate in the dish. These items will also pick up the flavor of the "fond", the brown bits of rendered fat and sugars left in the pan by the protein product.
7) Deglaze - Adding a cold liquid to the pan drops the temperature quickly and dramatically, releasing the fond from the bottom of the pan. This is not only the beginning of a flavorful sauce, but also changes the cooking process from dry to moist. The liquid can then be reduced through evaporation or thickened with roux or cornstarch slurry.
8) Return Protein Product - Since we’ve changed from dry to moist cooking, there is less chance of burning the protein product so it can be returned to the pan to steam with the other items. You’ll know when it’s fully cooked when it reaches the desired internal temperature on your thermometer.

If you know how to sauté, you can create a French dish on Monday, a Mexican dish on Tuesday, an Asian dish on Wednesday, and all with the single, simple cooking method. Basic sauté opens up a world of endless dinner ideas because the ingredients are within your control.

See Chef Todd in a LIVE cooking demonstration, "How To Saute".

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I am thrilled to be an E-zine Expert Author and have a number of articles published on a variety of cooking topics (and write new ones all the time!) Page down to see the entire list and click the ones that are helpful to you.

Before I became Chef Todd Mohr, I was Todd Mohr - a guy who liked to cook. A lot of people, including me, even thought I was a pretty good cook. For starters, I had my five meals, well, recipes, I suppose, that I could make well. Being a creative person, I also used some of the techniques from my tried and true \"recipes\" to experiment a bit with new dishes. Some were good and some not so good, and I usually never knew what the difference was.

Through a series of events, I decided to change careers in 1996 and pursue my passion for cooking, so I enrolled in Baltimore International Culinary College. 18 months later, I emerged: Chef Todd Mohr.

The greatest thing I learned in culinary school was the \"how\" and the \"why\" that had been missing from my cooking all those years. My recipes only gave me the \"what\" - which left so much out! The greatest thing I gained in the years after culinary school, was the practical experience from working in kitchens and experimenting at home. Being observant, I learned even more \"hows\" and \"whys\" in addition to \"whats\" along my culinary journey. This experience and experimentation, more than anything else, is what turned Todd Mohr into Chef Todd Mohr.

My experience includes kitchen experience - all the way up to Executive Chef, as well as college teaching experience, starting and operating a successful catering company and then finally, the culmination of all of my passion: opening The Cooking School in Cary NC in 2007.

From The Cooking School, came \"Cooking Coarse\", my daily video blog that quickly gained a loyal You Tube following due to the uniqueness of the instruction offered. It was through feedback received from \"Cooking Coarse\" viewers that I decided to launch WebCookingClasses.com and provide this information to the world.

When I started getting emails that my videos had changed people\'s lives, I knew I was on to something and that was when WebCookingClasses.com was born.

This is my passion - I am excited to share it with you!

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