Beginning the low-salt journey

A week ago my cardiologist put me on a low salt and restricted liquids diet. Yesterday was my first trip to the grocery store since this life-changing event, and I have to say I’m both depressed and frustrated by the limited options available to me and the millions of Americans like me who need to…

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Gravy – the real Mother (and Father) sauce

Classically trained chefs, please stop reading this column now. OK, you’ve been warned. In classic French cooking there are five mother sauces, as first set forth by Marie-Antoine Carême and later revised by Auguste Escoffier: Béchamel, Velouté, Espagnol, Tomato and Hollandaise. These are called mother sauces because they’re the starting point for hundreds of sauces….

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Uncle George and the (Pepper) Dragon

A Christmas tradition in my wife’s family is to serve oyster stew on Christmas Eve, with the men doing the cooking. For years, this task fell to my wife’s Uncle George. One year he was humming along, the oysters had been butter poached, the milk was nearly hot enough, and he reached for the ground…

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Published:December 7, 2016 View Post

Cooking

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The Butter Did it–The Art of Reading Cookbooks

Most people have a few authors or genres that they prefer to read, often reading the same book many times. I’m fond of the novels of Tom Clancy and Jean Auel’s Earth’s Children series, for example, as well as the Emma Lathen mysteries series and the works of Ayn Rand. But I’m also fond of…

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My Week At Chocolate Boot Camp – Day 4

It’s day 4, the last day of Chocolate Boot Camp. (Most Chocolate Academy courses are three days long, but this is a four-day course, because there’s so much material to cover. Click here to read the report on Day 1 and Days 2 and 3.) Today we need to finish everything, and there’s a lot…

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My Week At Chocolate Boot Camp – Days 2 and 3

Day 2 of Chocolate Boot Camp started out pretty much where day 1 left off, tempering dark chocolate.  (Here’s Part 1 of this series.) On the table in the morning, using the seed method in the afternoon.  I figured out what I did wrong with my seed method batch on Monday, I misread the scale,…

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My Week at Chocolate Boot Camp – Day 1

Chocolate is something I’ve dabbled with over the years, covering home made candy (especially sponge candy) with milk chocolate, for example, but I really didn’t know anything about working with chocolate, much less making items that would look professionally made. Well, to correct that, I recently attended the course called ‘Chocolate 1.0 – Discovering Chocolate’…

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Cooking an Eye of Round Roast

If you do a search on how to cook eye of round, one of the most commonly suggested methods is to preheat the oven to 500, salt and pepper the roast, drop the temp to 475 and cook it for 7 minutes/pound, then turn the heat off and let it coast for 2 1/2 hours…

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Published:August 24, 2016 View Post

Cooking

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The Cutting Edge or How Sharp is your Knife?

Take your best knife out and look at it closely.  How sharp is it? Probably not as sharp as you think it is. Here’s one of my favorite knives, a 7 1/2 inch Chinese cleaver: Looks pretty sharp, eh? Let’s look at it a bit closer, at about 3X power: Still look pretty sharp? Let’s…

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Published:July 16, 2016 View Post

Cooking

5 Responses

Delicious Liasons – the Science and Art of Thickening

Liason. The very word conjures up images of entanglements, and well it should, since it comes from the French verb lier, to bind. In cooking, a liason is something added to a liquid, like a sauce or a soup, to bind or thicken it. There are two basic kinds of liasons–starches, like flour, and proteins,…

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Vinagrettes – Traditional and not-so-traditional

The textbook definition of a vinagrette is a suspension of an oil and vinegar, an acid, possibly with other seasonings in it. Sometimes, depending on what you add, it becomes an emulsion rather than a suspension. (A suspension usually separates, requiring it to be stirred or shaken again, an emulsion doesn’t, because there’s an emulsifier…

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Published:June 13, 2016 View Post

Cooking

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No Garlic, Please!

“Hello, my name is Jeff, I’ll be your server today.” “Hi, Jeff.  My wife has an allergy to garlic, can you tell me what’s safe for her to eat?” “Gee, I’ll have to check with the kitchen, what are you interested in?” “Can you check on today’s soup, on the fish, on the chicken and…

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