Tips from Culinary School

Found this article online by “my recipes” and thought the information was quite valuable.  I am always looking for ways to make things taste better in simple ways.

Good Stock Changes the Game:

This is probably something you’ve heard before, homemade stock is always going to be superior to the stuff you can buy in boxes, cans, or cubes at the grocery store. We use stock in almost everything. In classic French cuisine, so of course, There are all kinds of distinct schools that go about culinary training differently, but in French cooking, the sauces are everything. And the sauces are all built with great stock. Restaurants, of course, have the advantage of having many, many carcasses and scraps of mirepoix to put into huge vats of stock. It’s hard to get stock like that at home, without the industrial quantities that restaurants work with. But even just making quick stock in your Instant Pot will make your sauces and soups taste much, much better.

Watch the Bits at the Bottom of the Pan

When you’re searing meat or chicken on a pan, you’re, of course, watching the piece of meat so that it browns nicely and doesn’t burn. But it’s equally important to watch the browned bits at the bottom of the pan as they’re a good indicator of whether your pan is running too hot. Plus, those browned bits,  are incredibly dense in flavor. When you have them, you should always try to use them by degreasing and then deglazing the pan after you’re done cooking your meat. That just means pouring out any excess fat and then pouring wine, stock, or another liquid to help scrape up all the delicious bits. That’s an easy way to make a pan sauce, a great addition to your meal.

The Pan Cooks the Food, the Flame Doesn’t

You want to pay attention to how hot the surface of the pan is and how high your burner is turned up. Pans hold heat to varying degrees, and it’s important to keep that in mind when figuring out which one to use for what application. For very delicate things like fish, you often want to turn off the flame when the dish gets to a certain point of cooking, and the heat from the pan will continue to cook it. Pay more attention not just to how big the flame was under the pan, but how hot the pan was getting.

Weighing versus Measuring Cups

In applications where absolute precision isn’t necessary, eyeball amounts, and when precision was necessary, use kitchen scales. Bakers swear by using scales, and digital kitchen scales are a pretty cheap addition to the kitchen, and much better measuring by weight is than relying on measuring spoons and cups. Different flours and sugars weigh different amounts.

Reduce for Flavor, Thicken Later

When you’re making soup or stew, one of the steps is always to reduce a component. You reduce wine to syrup or cream to double cream, and on and on. Part of the point of reducing the liquid is to thicken it. But thickening really shouldn’t be a top priority when you’re reducing down a liquid. You can always use a roux or a quick beurre manie to thicken a liquid later. The point of reducing is to build flavor. You reduce it to the point where you like the flavor, season it, and then thicken it.

Rest Your Meat, Then Reheat

Resting meat is important. When you don’t let it rest after you cook it, whether its steak or roast chicken, the juices spill out over your cutting board and the meat gets dry. But It’s better to let the piece of meat rest even to the point of getting colder than you’d like, and then just put it in a very hot oven for a minute or two to reheat. That lets the juices reincorporate into the meat, then reheats it without cooking it further.

Reheating and Cooling Things Properly Is Crucial

Lots of things in restaurants are made beforehand and reheated because making things a la minute for hundreds of people is a good way to become very overwhelmed. You can bring up most things to the temperature they were when you were cooking them without cooking them further. That means that you cooked, say, a piece of chicken until its internal temperature is 165 degrees. As long as you cool that chicken properly, you can reheat it up to that internal temperature again without it getting overcooked. You don’t want to do that too many times, because the meat will dry out, but you won’t ever overcook your meat by reheating it if you keep that in mind. Similarly, with cooling things down, the danger zone for bacteria is when meat is in between piping hot and refrigerator cold. To get things cold quickly, it’s way more effective to put them in a bowl over a bowl of ice water than throwing them right into the fridge.

Depend on your Senses, Not the Directions

The throughline between very famous chefs of haute cuisine and my grandmother is that they don’t rely on recipes by the letter, they rely on their senses. Pay more attention to how the meat looks and smells and feels to tell when its done (and yeah, a thermometer too!) than what a recipe estimates. After all, recipes are great guidelines, but everyone’s kitchen equipment and conditions are totally different. You cook things until they’re done, and determine that doneness by visual and other cues.

Size Matters

This sort of cheeky mantra but it’s true so choose the right pot, pan, or bowl for the job and it makes all the difference. Too big of a pan means your meat won’t cook properly. Too small of a bowl, and whisking will be a huge chore. It matters not just because of convenience, but because your results will be different if you don’t pay attention.

Hot Plates for Hot Food

The quickest way you can give your at-home meals a restaurant touch is remembering to heat your plates before putting food on them that are meant to be eaten hot. All it takes is sticking them in the oven for a couple minutes before plating your meal. It means the food won’t cool down as fast, and you can enjoy it longer. Try it!

You Can Use Almost Every Scrap

Whether it’s egg whites or garlic skins, restaurant kitchens are geniuses at repurposing what would be food waste in most home kitchens. For them, it’s an economic concern as much as an environmental one, but it’s a practice that’s useful to adapt at home. You can use many of the things that you might otherwise scrap to make your food even better.

Tips from Culinary School

A trick to Opening a Bottle of Champagne

NTK: The Easiest Way to Open a Bottle of Champagne Video

Don’t be that person at the New Year’s party popping a bottle of bubbly somebody’s face. We’re all for free-flowing Champagne, but we’d also like to see out of both eyes come to the New Year. Here’s the right way to open that bottle and avoid a party foul:

① Remove the foil wrapper. Some slide off with a twist, and others require a little knife work.

② Untwist the wire cage and remove it from the bottle.

③ Twist the bottle, not the cork. The pressure in the bottle will start pushing the cork out.

Put your other hand or a towel over the cork to stop it from shooting out with a bang.

④ Keep your hand in place to prevent the cork from flying.

Watch the video for a full demonstration. It’s so easy you’ll start volunteering your bottle-opening services at every party. Plus, it’s a good way to make sure you get the first pour. Cheers!

A trick to Opening a Bottle of Champagne

Is Cadmium Paint Toxic?

My artist friends are often talking about this, so when I found this article on Artists on Art, I thought I should post it.

Is cadmium paint toxic? Cadmium-based colors have been around for many years but tend to be among the most often in question. Artist and instructor Dan Schultz has researched this; here, he shares what he found regarding the toxicity of cadmium in artist paints.

Is cadmium paint toxic? ArtistsOnArt.com

Is Cadmium Paint Toxic?

By Dan Schultz

Cadmium is found naturally in the earth’s crust but is a relatively rare metal. (Which may explain the high price tag on cadmium paint colors!) Cadmium often couples with other elements in a variety of compounds. Some of these are are extremely toxic and dissolve easily in water, making them dangerous to humans. It is also dangerous if inhaled in its dust or powder form. Some of the earliest cases of cadmium poisoning were reported in Belgium in 1858. Workers had inhaled cadmium dust as a result of polishing silver with cadmium carbonate. This kind of exposure can cause severe respiratory distress, emphysema, and even death.

Oil painting tips for artists - ArtistsOnArt.com

Pigment manufacturing became big business in the nineteenth century, not only for artists but also for industrial and printing applications. When the powerful, intense cadmium colors were developed, ranging from yellows to oranges to reds, artists eagerly added them to their palettes.*

Since then, artists have become increasingly aware of the importance of studio safety. Paint manufacturers recommended that you don’t eat, drink or smoke while painting in order to avoid ingesting potentially harmful substances from paints, solvents, etc. But what about skin exposure? Given what we now know, should we wear gloves and masks while we paint with cadmium colors?

When I visited the M. Graham & Co. factory in 2015, I asked specifically about the toxicity of cadmium colors. They told me that by law, paint manufacturers are allowed to make cadmium colors only a few specified days each year because of the dangers associated with cadmium dust. Proper respiratory equipment is required during production to avoid inhalation of the powdered cadmium pigment.

However, during the paint-making process the pigment is fused with sulfides and coated in the particular medium’s binder (oil, acrylic, gouache or watercolor). This process renders the cadmium insoluble in water, and therefore the human body. We can’t absorb it. So no gloves are necessary. And cadmium paints don’t give off any dust or fumes, so no worries about inhalation either.** I’ve just recently spoken again with a paint manufacturer who said that the paint-making process makes cadmium colors safe in oil, acrylic, gouache and watercolor.

With that said, you DO need to use extra caution if you’re sanding dry cadmium paint or spray-applying. If that’s you, make sure you wear a NIOSH dust respirator to eliminate the chance of inhaling cadmium particles. (Or any other harmful particles / dust.) The same advice applies if you work at all with dry cadmium or other pigments. (For example, if you like to make your own paint.)

Also, please avoid pouring your dirty brush-cleaning water or solvent down the drain or onto the ground. This can introduce heavy metals like cadmium into the watershed, possibly creating problems downstream. It’s recommended that you soak up your dirty water / dirty solvent with paper towels then throw them away in your studio trash.

Is Cadmium Paint Toxic?

How to Survive a Kitchen Remodel

How to Survive a Kitchen Remodel

12 MYTHS ABOUT COFFEE

 images-1.jpg

images-2.jpg

 

12 MYTHS ABOUT COFFEE

Two Buck Chuck ~ The Real Stor

HOW TRADER JOE’S WINE BECAME CHEAPER THAN BOTTLED WATER

no.jpg

“CHARLES SHAW WINE USED TO BE GREAT — AND NOBODY DRANK IT. NOW, IT’S TERRIBLE AND IT’S SELLING LIKE GANGBUSTERS.”

“I TRIED TO PUT IT ALL BEHIND ME BUT I NEVER STOPPED THINKING ABOUT WINE.”

Two Buck Chuck

Charles not in charge

Two Buck Chuck
Two Buck Chuck ~ The Real Stor

5 Things Every Slow Cooker User Should Know

James Beard Award-nominated food writer Sarah DiGregorio knows her way around a slow cooker. And now, she’s written the book (literally) on how to use one—Adventures in Slow Cooking: 120 Slow-Cooker Recipes for People Who Love Food.

The recipes are spot-on; everything from ramen to eggplant parm and even a Cardamom-Molasses Apple Upside-Down Cake. It’s clear that DiGregorio has spent a lot of time with her slow cooker—she wrote our Guide to the Best Slow Cookers, after all and she has endless knowledge for slow-cooking newbies and veterans alike.

Her guide to “Getting the Most Out of Your Slow Cooker” is packed with advice on small ways you can step up your slow-cooking game. Here are some of the best tips.

To make sure your flavors pop…

“It’s helpful (and logical) to start with ingredients that can stand up to long cooking—flavors that can take a little mellowing and actually be improved by it. That can be as simple as a big dose of ginger and garlic or a spoonful of fennel seeds and red pepper flakes or a handful of pickled peppers. But keep in mind that as a general rule you can use a larger quantity of big-flavor ingredients than you normally would because their intensity will mellow.”

Italian Wedding Soup with Sausage Meatballs and Kale

For optimal taste and texture…

“I really wish you could just throw raw diced onion in the slow cooker, but you generally can’t. If you do, the onions will retain a weirdly crunchy texture while also giving off a ton of liquid that will swamp the dish. That’s why I nearly always sauté onion, garlic, and other aromatics before adding them to the cooker.”

When you’re using frozen foods…

“Always defrost and drain frozen foods before putting them in the slow cooker. This is for two reasons: First, frozen foods contain water, and defrosting and draining first prevents that water from diluting the dish. Second, and most important, frozen foods will prevent the temperature of the food from rising quickly enough as it cooks, and that’s a food safety issue.”

Adventures in Slow Cooking

If your slow cooker is getting too hot…

“On most cookers, the hottest spot is a thin strip all around the bottom of the side of the insert and, in particular, the side that is opposite (farthest from) the control panel. It might also be the two narrow curved sides on an oval slow cooker. Luckily, there’s an easy fix. When you’re cooking anything that might be at risk of burning against the side (like a frittata or a cake that’s baked directly in the insert), just put a folded strip of foil around the sides of the insert…You can do it only on one side or both, depending on your slow cooker’s temperament. The foil will act as insulation and prevent over-browning.

To expand your horizons…

“You can use your slow cooker as a water bath for making custards or as a steam oven for cakes you just need bakeware that fits in the insert. Anything that’s oven-safe is fair game. Ramekins, either four or eight ounces, are extremely useful for custards and puddings, as are eight-ounce canning jars, and a baking dish or loaf pan is great for steamed cakes and cheesecakes. And the presentation is pretty, too.”

                  Excerpted from Adventures in Slow Cooking by Sarah DiGregorio. 

Adventures in Slow Cooking

 

5 Things Every Slow Cooker User Should Know

CONQUER KITCHEN CLUTTER

Here is another interesting article from Kohler, on how to declutter your kitchen.  I love a simple and clean countertop, so hide a lot in the pantry and in an appliance garage.  Here are a few more ideas.

7a05e19b60b620933da8f48bdc4dfb00cb25acea.jpg

Looking for the secret to easier cleanup, clearing away clutter and getting your kitchen organized once and for all? Zero in on hard-working products that speed up your workflow and keep everything in its place to make kitchen time more enjoyable.

Cut Down On Counter Clutter

46227265d340f38ce89ecf2c401c4352cb0560f5.jpg

Shown: The Riverby under-mount kitchen sink with utility rack, soaking cup, colander and cutting board.

Adding simple storage to your space is a great way to keep your cleaning tools organized and within reach. Pare down the number of sponges, scrubbers, and brushes crowding your countertops and drawers by swapping them for tools with multiple uses. Our kitchen accessories feature a variety of simple, purposefully designed products, from dishwasher-safe caddies to a one-of-a-kind squeegee/brush combination. You could be enjoying a clutter-free kitchen in no time.

Accessorize your Kitchen Sink

e5f214306a8430dcd25aad98e306ca3e75a5c0d6.jpgThe Prolific under-mount kitchen sink with bamboo cutting board, colander and washbin.

Many of our kitchen sinks have added accessories like prep bowls, utensil trays, colanders and cutting boards to make cooking and cleaning faster and easier. Using integrated tools within your sink space transforms your standard sink into a fully usable workstation. So you’re not only containing your messes to one easy-to-clean area, but you’re also keeping bulky accessories from cluttering your countertops.

Go Hands-Free with Your Faucet

ded822c54100055a3d8df054d10384719b56c1b4.jpgShown: The Beckon Touchless kitchen faucet.

Upgrading to a faucet that accommodates the way you work around the kitchen can save time and effort. And when it comes to function and cleanliness, motion activated faucets just make sense. Touchless technology turns on with the wave of a hand, making messy tasks easier and keeping the kitchen more sanitary — especially during cold and flu season.

The Final Ingredient
Achieving a cleaner, more organized kitchen that you love is doable without a remodel. You just need the right recipe and the active ingredients to make it work.

CONQUER KITCHEN CLUTTER

What is your state’s dessert?

Here is how to explore desserts, one state at a time by “The Daily Dish”

Minnesota: Seven-Layer Bars

ALABAMA: CREAM CHEESE POUND CAKE

“I’m a northern girl, who tries so hard to cook southern delights — this cake does not disappoint. It was a HIT!”

Idaho: Spudnuts

Louisiana: Brennan's Bananas Foster

 

What is your state’s dessert?