Cheftionary

My photo

Studying different culinary terms, learning and practicing recipes all the time. I am very passionate about food and family. I cook at work and at home.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Eggs

The cooking of eggs includes a variety of preparation techniques: boiled, fried, scrambled, omelets, soufflés, poached, baked and used as a batter and in cakes and pastries. Eggs also come in several different varieties: hen, chicken, duck, quail, goose, turkey and ostrich. There are several different other types of eggs eaten around the world, in fact just about all eggs are eaten including wild, farm raised and reptile eggs.
Hen eggs are most commonly found in the West and come in a range of colors from white to light brown, dark brown or speckled dark tan. Hen eggs are great for baking and young children dishes.
Quail eggs are only about ¹/₃ the size of an hen egg and are the smallest of the commercial eggs found in stores and on farms today. Quail eggs have a delicate, light flavor with a creamy texture and dark speckled, pale shells. Often used as an attractive garnish, quail eggs can also be boiled an served on a half shell.
Duck eggs

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Different Types of Stock

A stock is a very flavorsome liquid made by simmering animal carcass and/or vegetables in water and aromatics until their flavor is extracted. Usually used as a base for soups, sauces, braising liquids and several other culinary preparations.
There are several different types of stock, here are a few of them I use.
*Simple stock- combine flavoring ingredients with water and simmer for a specific amount of time (cooking times may very according to the type of stock your making). Chicken stock, vegetable stock and fish stock are examples of simple stocks. They are normally used to prepare soups, grains and vegetables. Skim often.
*White stock- a neutral flavored stock made by blanching the bones in water before marrying them with water, vegetables and herbs. The most common whites stocks are made from beef or veal. White stocks are great for adding body to certain dishes without changing the flavor much.
*Seafood stock- made from shrimp and lobster shells, some fish heads or bones. The remainder of the ingredients may include different types of vegetables, herbs and cold water.
*Brown stock- cook on stove top or roast bones and vegetables until deep in color before adding cold water and aromatics. For more flavor and color you may add tomato paste to the bones before roasting and/or you may add a oignon brûlé (burnt onion) for additional flavor and color.
*Fumet- a white stock typically made of lean, white flat fish bones, such as flounder or sole. Cooked gently with vegetable aromatics typically a white mirepoix (onions, celery, parsnips, leeks and mushrooms). For added flavor you may also add a small amount of white wine after the vegetables have been cooked. Cover the pot in order to capture as much flavor as possible, creating a liquid that is not normally as clear as other stocks.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Stock Preparation

Gathering and making sure you have the right equipment and ingredients (mise en place) is very important when making a good stock. The size and shape of the pot used to cook the stock plays a major role in assuring that your stock is rich in flavor, full-bodied and have a great color. The stockpot used should hold all of the ingredients and the liquids and still have at least 3 inches of space left over at the top of the pot. Stockpots are always taller than they are wide because the shape helps to create a good stock. The smaller suface area helps to better extract the flavors from the ingredients and it encourages convection by bringing all of the impurities to the top of the stock to be skimmed away more easily.
The best selection of the ingredients determines if you are going to have rich flavorful, full-bodied stock or not. There is nothing like having a delicious stock to flavor soups, stews and sauces.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Liaison

A thickening agent for soups and sauces including a mixture of egg yolks and cream, beurre manie and slurries. If tempered correctly, it should give the dish more body and a smooth tight texture.
Basic ratio: 3 parts cream and 1 part egg yolk.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Roasted Red Peppers

4 Red Bell Peppers
⅔ C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5 Whole Garlic Cloves
5 Sprigs fresh Thyme
1 Tbsp Salt
1 Tbsp fresh Cracked Black Pepper
Preheat oven to 375°F. In a medium-sized, deep baking pan with a lip, add all ingredients, making sure to completely coat the bell peppers in oil. Place in oven and roast for 30 to 45 minutes, ¼ turning every 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and immediately cover pan tightly with foi aluminum foil. Set aside until peppers are cool enough to handle.
Once peppers are cooled, remove from pan and place peppers in a bowl. Remove stems, seeds and outer skin from the peppers and discard. Place peppers in a tightly sealed container along with any oil in the bottom of the bowl. Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
** to make a pepper medley, use a variety of peppers, red, yellow, green, orange * *

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Cheese and Spinach Enchilada

2 oz Butter
2 Garlic Cloves (chopped)
4 C Spinach (chiffonade)
2 oz White Wine
1 tsp Salt
½ tsp Black Pepper
6 Soft Flour Tortillas Shells
20 oz Enchilada Sauce (previous recipe)
10 oz Mozzarella Cheese (shredded)
10 oz Cheddar Cheese (shredded)
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium-sized sauté pan, over medium-high heat, melt butter and add garlic. Sauté for 30 to 45 second then add spinach and sauté. Deglaze with white wine and add salt and pepper. Sauté for about 10 to 15 seconds, just enough to coat the spinach with the wine and garlic mixture. Strain immediately and set aside. Warm tortilla shells in the oven for about 1 minute. Remove shells and mix both cheeses together in a separate bowl. Spread about 1 oz of the mixed cheeses on each tortilla shell. Cover cheese with about 1½ oz of enchilada sauce. Spread spinach over sauce and roll the tortilla shells. Arrange enchiladas in a large baking dish and pour remaining sauce evenly over enchiladas. Top with cheese.
Bake enchiladas in preheated oven for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until cheese has melted nicely over the enchiladas.
Remove from oven and serve.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Enchilada Sauce

1# Ground Beef
1 Red Bell Pepper (medium dice)
1 Yellow Bell Pepper (medium dice)
1 medium Yellow Onion (medium dice)
1 Jalapeño Pepper (small dice)
4 Garlic Cloves (chopped)
3 oz White Wine
1 C Water
1 gl Tomato Sauce (previous recipe)
⅔ C Cumin Powder
⅔ C Chili Powder
¼ C Paprika
⅛ C Garlic Powder
⅛ C Onion Powder
2 Tbsp Salt
1 Tbsp Black Pepper
¼ C Fresh Basil (chopped)
¼ C Green Onions (chopped)
Brown ground beef in a medium-sized stockpot, over medium-high heat. Once beef has browned, add bell peppers, jalapeño and garlic. Sauté about 4 to 5 minutes, when onions has started to become translucent, reglaze with white wine and add water. Add tomato sauce and reduce heat to a simmer. Add cumin, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Continue to simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes. Add basil and green onions and simmer for another 3 to 5 minutes, stirring to incorporate ingredients.
Sauce is ready for use or refrigerated for up to 4 days.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Clarified Butter

Made by heating whole butter to render the milk fat from the butter to separate the milk solids and water from the butter fat. Be sure to use unsalted butter.
Heat 1# of unsalted butter over low heat until butter fat becomes very clear. Skim the top and strain through cheesecloth until pure.
1# Butter = 12 to 13 oz Clarified Butter

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Crab Cakes

½# Jumbo Lump Crabmeat (shells removed)
2 Whole Crabs (cooked and cleaned)
1 oz Red Onions (small dice)
4 Green Onions (finely chopped, discard stems)
¼ C Green Bell Peppers (small dice)
¼ C Yellow Bell Peppers (small dice)
¼ C Red Bell Peppers (small dice)
½ C Mayonnaise
1 Egg
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
½ C Bread Crumbs
4 Eggs
½ gl Buttermilk
1 C A-P Flour
1½ C Panko Bread Crumbs
Preheat deep fryer oil to 350°F. In a large mixing bowl combine crabmeat, red onions, green onions, all 3 bell peppers, mayonnaise, 1 egg, salt, pepper and bread crumbs, mix well. Portion mixture into 2 oz hockey puck shapes. In another mixing bowl combine the rest of the eggs and buttermilk. Lightly season A-P Flour with salt and pepper and dust crab cakes with flour mixture. Completely submerge crab cakes in buttermilk and then roll them in the Panko bread crumbs. Carefully place crab cakes in the deep fryer basket, fry for 2 to 3 minutes until they become a beautiful golden brown color. Cover a baking pan with paper towels and place crab cakes on the paper towels to soak up the fryer oil.
Let crab cakes rest for about 5 to 7 minutes or until they are cool enough to eat, before serving. Serve with a side of remoulade sauce (my choice) or any sauce you would like for dipping.
** Great appetizer for personal home parties and weddings or any type of party in between. **

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Aïoli

A garlic mayonnaise often based on olive oils and egg yolks.

Basic Aïoli Recipe

2 Garlic Cloves
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 Egg
1 cup Olive Oil
2 tsp Lemon Juice
¹/₂ tsp Salt
TT Ground White Pepper

In a food processor, combine garlic cloves, Dijon mustard and egg, process until mixed for about 10 seconds. With food  processor still running, slowly add olive and lemon juice until smooth and creamy. Add salt and pepper, season to taste. Let sit for about 30 minutes and refrigerate immediately.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Mayonnaise

A simple emulsion made off egg yolks, olive oil, salt and pepper, lemon juice and often mustard. Often used on hamburgers and sandwiches in America, mayonnaise is the most stable of a basic salad dressing. A good mayonnaise is very creamy and is rather pale to ivory in color.

 Basic Mayonnaise Recipe

3 Egg Yolks
1 fl oz White Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp Water
2 tsp Mustard
24 fl oz Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Salt
¹/₂ tsp Sugar
¹/₄ tsp Ground White Pepper
1 fl oz Lemon Juice

Whisk egg yolks, vinegar, water, and mustard in a bowl, until slightly foamy. Slowly add oil, constantly whisking, until oil is incorporated and mayonnaise is smooth and creamy. Add salt, sugar, pepper and lemon juice, adjust seasonings to taste. Refrigerate immediately.


Friday, March 11, 2016

Acid and Alkalis

Acid is substance having a sour or sharp flavor and alkali is a substance having a slightly soapy flavor. A substance's degree of acidity is measured on the pH scale, acids have a pH of 0 - 7 and alkalis is a substance having a pH of 7 - 14. Most foods are somewhat acidic. Foods generally referred to as acids include citrus juices, vinegar and wines. A few alkalis are olives and baking soda.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Hot Dog Chili

2# Ground Beef
1 large Yellow Onion (medium dice)
1 large Red Pepper (medium dice)
6 Roma Tomatoes (seeded and diced)
5 cloves Garlic (chopped)
2 Tbsp Tomato Paste (previous recipe)
½ C Water
18 oz Tomato Sauce (previous recipe)
1 C Ketchup
1 Tbsp Dark Chili Powder
2 tsp Ground Cumin
1 tsp Salt
1 Black Pepper
1 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
In a large, wide pot brown ground beef over medium heat. Once beef has browned, add onions, red peppers, tomatoes and garlic, cook for about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, water and tomato sauce, stir to incorporate. Cook for 2-3 more minutes then stir in ketchup, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, sugar and onion powder, blend well. Reduce heat to a simmer and add Worcestershire sauce. Simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve hot over hot dogs, with cheese, onions, mustard and relish.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Tomato Paste

5# Roma Tomatoes
4 oz Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 small Yellow Onion (fine dice)
3 Cloves Garlic (chopped)
⅓ C fresh Basil (finely chopped)
¼ C fresh Oregano (finely chopped)
1 tsp ground Cumin
1 tsp Dark Chili Powder
½ tsp Smoked Paprika
½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Black Pepper
Preheat oven to 300°F. Remove the core and seeds from the tomatoes and roughly chop. Place 2 oz olive oil and all the rest of the ingredients in a food processor and purée for about 30 to 45 seconds, until there are no more large chunks. Strain purée through a fine sieve strainer, pushing down on the purée to remove as much liquid as possible.
Use the other 2 oz of olive oil to coat the bottom and sides of a 13 × 18 inch baking pan with a timed edge. Spread purée evenly on baking pan and bake for 2½ to 3 hours until most of the liquid has evaporated, turning every 25 to 30 minutes with a spatula, until dark in color. Reduce heat to 250° F and cook for about another 20 minutes until thick and resembling a brick color.
Cool and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks or freeze for up to 6 months in plastic wrap.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

8 Primal Cuts of Beef

Chuck- shoulder cut, very tough. Cuts from this area are normally stewed, braised or pot roasted.
     Chuck Pot Roast
     Short Ribs
     Chuck Eye Roast
     Blade Roast
Brisket- lower chest cut, fairly tough. Cuts from this area are normally stewed, braised or pot roasted.
     Corned Beef
     Ground Beef
     Stew Meat
     Pastrami
Rib- upper back cut, very tender and rich flavored. Cuts from this area are normally roasted, sautéed, pan-fried or grilled.
     Rib Roast
     Back Ribs
     Rib-eye Steak
     Prime Rib
Short Plate and Flank Steak- belly cut, very tough. Cuts from this areas are usually used for stew meat or fajitas.
     Stew Meat
     Skirt Steak
     Ground Beef
     Flank Steak
Short Loin- middle back cut, very tender. Cuts from this area are normally sautéed, pan-fried, broiled or grilled.
     Top Loin Steak
     T-Bone Steak
     Porterhouse Steak
     Tenderloin Steak (filet mignon)
Sirloin- lower back cut, very tender and flavorful. Cuts from this area are normally sautéed, pan-fried, broiled or grilled.
     Tenderloin
     Tenderloin Steak (filet mignon)
     Sirloin Steak
     Tri-tip Roast
Round- hind cut, very tough and lean. Cuts from this area are normally braised or stewed.
     Eye Round Roast
     Boneless Rump Roast
     Tip Steak

Monday, March 7, 2016

Precision Cuts

Fine Brunoise                             ¹/16 × ¹/16 × ¹/16 inch
Brunoise                                      ⅛ × ⅛ × ⅛ inch
Small Dice                                   ¼ × ¼ × ¼ inch
Medium Dice                               ½ × ½ × ½ inch
Large Dice                                   ¾ × ¾ × ¾ inch
Fine Julienne                              ¹/16 × ¹/16 × 1½ to 2 inches
Julienne                                       ⅛ × ⅛ × 1½ to 2 inches
Batonnet                                      ¼ × ¼ × 2 to 2½ inches

Sunday, March 6, 2016

U.S. Measurement System

oz = ounce
fl oz = fluid ounce
Tbsp = tablespoon
tsp = teaspoon
C = cup
pt = pint
qt = quart
gl = gallon
# or lb = pound

1 C = 16 Tbsp
¾ C = 12 Tbsp
⅔ C = 10 Tbsp
½ C = 8 Tbsp
⅓ C = 5 Tbsp
¼ C = 4 Tbsp
⅛ C = 2 Tbsp
1 Tbsp = 3 tsp
½ Tbsp = 1½ tsp

1 gl = 4 qts = 128 fl oz
1 qt = 2 pts = 32 fl oz
1 pt = 2 C = 16 fl oz
1 C = 16 Tbsp = 8 fl oz
1 Tbsp = 3 tsp = ½ fl oz
1 oz = ½ fl oz

1# = 16 oz
¾# = 12 oz
½# = 8 oz
¼# = 4 oz

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Spice Blend

½ C Salt
½ C Smoked Paprika
¼ C Cayenne Pepper
¼ C Onion Powder
3 Tbsp Garlic Powder
3 Tbsp fresh Ground Black Pepper
2 Tbsp White Pepper
1 Tbsp dried Basil
1 Tbsp Dark Chili Powder
2 tsp Dry Mustard
1 tsp Ground Bay Leaves
1 tsp Filé Powder
½ tsp Ground Cloves
1 tsp Ground Thyme
½ tsp dried Rosemary
½ tsp Ground Ginger
½ tsp Cumin Powder
¼ tsp Ground Allspice
Combine all ingredients, mix well and store in a tightly sealed glass jar to hold freshness. Stay fresh for up to 4 months.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Barbecue

A cooking technique used to cook foods at a low temperature for a long period of time, to deliver a wonderful smokey flavor and a gorgeous charred color. Barbecue and grilling (mentioned in the next post) are not the same, barbecue requires smoke for proper flavor and coloring. Meat, fish, seafood, poultry and vegetables are common for barbecue. Fish and seafood such as shrimp, does not need a lot of time on the grill to become tender, as they are already pretty tender.
Hard woods such as, hickory, maple, pecan wood has a very specific flavor and are common for smoking. Softwoods such as pine, spruce an evergreen wood should never be used, they produce a very resinous and bitter flavor.
Smoking meats requires indirect heat whereas the fire and meat are in separate chambers, cooked between 225°F and 250°F, to produce a smokey flavor. Barbecued meats are more charred flavor where direct heat is used, placing the meats over an open flame and maintaining a temperature between 300°F and 350°F.
The seasoning of the meat varies depending on the region it is cooked in and the cook that prepares the barbecue. The most common types of seasoning for barbecue are dry rubs (containing no moisture), wet rubs (containing just enough moisture to make a paste) and marinades (containing oil, acid and seasonings). Styles of barbecue in the United States are Carolina style (where a whole hog or pork shoulder is cooked enough to pull the meat apart and served on bread), Memphis style (ribs, that's all I need to say), Texas style (beef is introduced, preferably brisket) and Kansas City style (where a thick, tomatoey style barbecue sauce is used. There are other places where barbecue is prepared differently, such as Hawaii and Jamaica, those are just the most common.
Whether you call it barbecue, barbeque, BBQ or bar be que, it is still one of the most enjoyed methods of cooking around the world. Having a barbecue is best ways to get together family and friends, meet new people, and/or even develop marriages.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Sautéing

A cooking technique used to cook foods quickly, over high heat in a small amount of fat. Sauter is a French term meaning "jump or bounce" which is where tossing the food in a sauté pan comes from. In order to achieve an awesome dish, the cook must have the best of ingredients, a tender cut of meat, fish or poultry, a delicious sauce base and the proper seasonings for the dish. Be sure to trim meats well and pound them out, if they are needing to be pounded and prepared seasoned flour for dusting the protein.
Steps for sautéing:
  1. Heat the pan over medium-high heat, then add the oil (allow the pan to get very hot to ensure you get a great caramelized color)
  2. Season and flour, if using meat.
  3. Carefully add food to the pan (sear the presentation side first to give it a proper amount of time to develop an even golden brown color)
  4. Carefully turn item so that the fat doesn't splash.
  5. Check temperature (remember the food will need a few minutes for the carryover temperature to finish cooking the food).
  6. When food is done, carefully remove from pan (place on a paper towel to soak up access fat from cooking).
  7. Deglaze pan with wine, stock or broth and make the sauce

Don't confuse sautéing with pan frying, the amount of oil used plays an important role in how the food turns out.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Roasting

A dry heat cooking technique used when cooking foods in a closed space, such as an oven, so that the heated air circulates around the food. When roasting usually large cuts of meat, whole poultry or whole dressed fish. Use a heavy roasting pan with a flat bottom and low sides with a roasting rack so air can circulate freely around the food, cooking it evenly. Choose a tender piece of meat because the roasting method does not add any moisture to the food. Be sure to tie or truss foods in a compact shape when roasting to ensure even cooking and texture.
Steps for roasting:
  1. Pre-heat oven to desired temperature for roasting your specific food.
  2. If you are cooking a roast, sear it first to lock in the juices before roasting.
  3. Roast foods uncovered (leaving it uncovered will help the food to develop a good texture).
  4. Use a thermometer to check if the food is ready (if so remove from the oven, if not continue roasting until done.
  5. Carefully remove from oven and let the food rest for about 10 to 15 minutes (resting allows carryover cooking and even distribution of the juices).
  6. Carve.
  7. Deglaze pan with stock, wine or broth to prepare the sauce.

Be careful not to get roasting confused with baking. Baking is a technique used when referring to baked goods such as bread, cakes and pies. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Deep Frying

A cooking technique used by completely submerging foods in hot fat or oil. By doing this you are giving the food a crispy exterior and a moist, flavorful interior. Insulate the foods from direct contact with the oil with a standard breading (coats foods with flour, egg wash and then breadcrumbs), a simple flouring or a tempura batter such as soda or beer. The coating creates a barrier between the fat and the food. The fried food should have a crisp, delicate texture and most of the time (depending on what you are frying) a beautiful golden brown crust around the food.
Before deep frying you should trim the food and cut into uniform pieces for even frying and season food before applying the breading, flour or batter. Be careful while using this technique as hot oil may pop when certain foods are place in the oil. Note, this is a quick cooking method for certain foods, so different foods frying times may vary.

Steps for deep frying:
  1. Bring oil to desired temperature (usually between 325°F and 375°F, depending on what foods are being fried).
  2. Apply breading or coating to food.
  3. Carefully place food into oil and cook until food is done.
  4. Carefully remove food from fryer (place on a paper towel to absorb the access oil)
  5. Check the temperature and quality of the food
  6. Serve immediately (be very careful when eating foods right out of the oil, may be extremely hot)

Monday, February 29, 2016

Braising and Stewing

A combination cooking method where the main item is cooked using a dry-heat method known as searing, then cooked using a moist-heat method known as simmering. Braising and stewing meats are generally tougher cuts of meats such as whole birds, beef short ribs and pork butt. These foods can withstand higher amounts of heat for longer periods of time without falling into shreds. When braising and stewing make sure the liquid covers about ⅔ of the protein. Before cooking make sure the meat is properly trimmed, tied or trussed, to maintain shape, and is properly seasoned and/or stuffed. Use a very flavorful liquid such as a stock or brown sauce for maximum flavor. Make sure to use the proper aromatics such as a mirepoix or a bouquet garni.
Steps for braising and stewing:
  1. Preheat pan and oil
  2. Sear meats on all sides (to lock in flavor and add flavor to the cooking liquid)
  3. Remove seared meat from pan and add aromatics.
  4. Add a small amount of the cooking liquid (stock or brown sauce) to deglaze the pan.
  5. Add the appropriate amount of liquid to the pan (covering about ²/₃ of the protein)
  6. Cover with lid and finish braising.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Poaching

A cooking technique in which items are gently cooked in a liquid, between the temperatures of 160°F and 185°F. When poaching make sure the food is completely submerged, in the heated liquid. This technique produces foods that are extremely moist with distinct flavors, delicate colors and no crust. For fish or shellfish use a flavorful liquid such as fish stock, fumet, wine or court bouillon and aromatic herbs and spices.
Steps for poaching:
  1. Heat liquid to a full boil, than reduce heat slightly (between 160°F and 185°F)
  2. Carefully add food to the liquid and return to correct temperature (adding the food to the liquid will reduce the temperature of the poaching liquid)
  3. Maintain the temperature of the liquid, skimming the top as necessary (careful not to boil the liquid as the food may begin to break up)
  4. Cook food until properly done, then carefully remove food from the liquid (to stop the cooking process remove food from the liquid and place on a cooling rack, careful not make food fall apart)
  5. Evaluate food and serve

Careful not to confuse with Shallow-Poaching, where the food is not completely submerged. The food is covered halfway by liquid and the top is cooked by steam. Shallow-poaching is normally done with a cartouche (a parchment paper lid), to trap in the steam and cook evenly.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Pan Frying

A cooking technique used to sear and seal the outer surface of food to lock in the natural juices. Pan fried foods has a beautiful crust on the outer layer of the food with moist and flavorful juices on the inside. Almost always, pan fried foods are coated out dusted with flour, batter or breadcrumbs. Only use enough oil to cover food about ½ to ⅔ and fry over medium to medium-high heat. Foods that are pan-fried are usually sized and shape to cook foods quickly. The use of naturally tendered meats such as pounded cutlets of pork or veal, breast or thigh cuts from chicken and fish.
Steps for pan-frying:
  1. Heat the pan and the oil (always use fresh oil with a high smoke point such as olive oil or animal fat).
  2. Season and batter the protein (coat with seasoned flour, egg wash and then breadcrumbs).
  3. Test the oil (try placing a corner of the breaded protein in the oil, when oil reaches 350° F it will bubble around the food and begin to brown)
  4. Carefully place protein in hot oil (cook until it browns and forms a beautiful crust)
  5. Carefully turn food (cook until food has reached a desired temperature and is equally browned and crusted on both sides)
  6. Remove food from pan (place on a paper towel to absorb the access oil)
  7. Serve immediately

Friday, February 26, 2016

Deglaze

The process of adding a highly aromatic liquid (for increased flavor) or water to a pan to remove and dissolve the food particles (also known as fond) left over from cooking bones and vegetables for stock or sautéing a piece of meat in a pan. After adding the liquid, use a wooden spoon to loosen the rest of the food particles and reduce the heat to simmer the sauce. This process is used to create a sauce for a dish or add flavor to a stock.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Crawfish Étouffée

4 oz Butter
1 large Yellow Onions (medium dice)
2 stalks Celery (medium dice)
1 medium Bell Pepper (medium dice)
4 cloves Garlic (minced)
1# Crawfish Tail Meat
2½ tsp Spice Blend (previous recipe)
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
½ tsp White Pepper
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp Hot Sauce
2 oz A-P Flour
1½ C Seafood Stock (previous recipe)
⅔ C Green Onions (chopped)
¼ C fresh Parsley (roughly chopped)
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
4 oz Butter
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter and add onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic. Sauté until onions become translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add crawfish tails and season with spice blend, salt, both peppers, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Blend well and cook for about 3 minutes, then add flour, stirring constantly to prevent flour from sticking to the skillet.
Cook, stirring constantly for about 4 minutes, then slowly add stock a little at a time, stirring to incorporate.
Let dish cook for about 20 minutes, over medium-low heat, stirring often to prevent sticking. Add green onions, parsley, lemon juice and butter, stir well for another 3 minutes. Remove from heat and adjust seasoning with spice blend. Serve hot, with cooked white rice.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Pepper

Pepper is one of the most popular spices in the world and it is used as a flavoring in both cooking and as a condiment. Peppercorns come in a couple of different varieties and flavors; black, white, green and pink peppercorns.
Black peppercorns have the most pungent and rich flavor of all. They are green peppercorn that have been dried from weeks until they turn black and wrinkled.
White peppercorns have a less earthy, pungent and rich than the black peppercorns. They are black peppercorns with the husks removed and is used to flavor light colored sauces without changing the color.
Green peppercorns are fresher than the others with a lighter more delicate flavor. They ate normally pickled in a brine or vinegar and jarred or canned and sometimes freeze-dried.
Pink peppercorns are often available in a brine or dried (my choice), they have a mild, sweet aromatic flavor.
A mix of all four of these Peppercorns creates a fresh peppery flavor for any dish, mainly delicate fish dishes.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Salt

Salt is very simple ingredient that is widely used throughout the world as both a cooking ingredient and as a condiment. It is used as a flavoring, seasoning and a preservative for cooking. Odorless but is very strong flavored salt is used in both sweet and savory dishes. It is an ingredient that is used in every cuisine and is a high commodity in today's  food industry.
There are many different varieties of salt:
Iodized Salt
Standard table salt with iodine or starch added to prevent clumping.
Kosher Salt
An additive - free salt with a wonderful flavor and texture. Kosher salt has larger crystals with a jagged shape.
Pickling Salt
A fine-grained, additive - free used to prepare pickles and sauerkraut.
Rock Salt
A grey is colored salt with very large crystals that is very rarely used in cooking. Mainly used to make ice melt faster in older model ice cream makers.
Sea Salt
A fresh flavored salt available fine- or course - grained that is mainly used by chefs for its pure flavor.
Table Salt
A highly refined, fine-grained salt that contains additives to make it flow freely when poured.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Paprika

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Paprika is a fine red powdered spice made from grinding a very mild variety of sweet red pepper pods. Paprika can be anywhere from a mild spice to pungent, it can fairly sweet with a slight hint of bitterness, but not very hot. Makes a very nice garnish and it intensifies the beauty of lightly colored cream sauces. This spice also is used in a large variety of dishes, including vegetables, mustards, salad dressings and ketchup.
In the Spanish culture the peppers are first smoked, then dried calling it Smoked Paprika  (one of my favorite spices). Paprika is very 
popular with the Hungarian cuisine but is used widely all over the world.
Store paprika in a cool, dark place, in an air tight container. If it begins to turn brown and loses its smell and flavor, then it's time to replace it.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Different Types of Kitchen Equipment

Just like knives there are lots (and I mean lots) of different types of kitchen equipment. From cutting boards and peelers to melon ballers/parisienne scoops, measuring cups and spoons to measuring bowls and scales. I could go on and on and on, you get the picture. It is no doubt that Chef's need a lot of equipment in order to put food on the table for customers every day and night. When it's crunch time during service, the tools you need is a hot rag or very thick towel (for grabbing hot pots, pans, etc.) and a pair of tongs. 

Equipment Used in the Kitchen
Peelers
The peeler is a very indispensable kitchen tool with a slotted blade, designed for removing a thin layer from various fruits and vegetables. There are two main types of peelers, the Y-shaped peeler and the straight peeler. There is also the mechanical peeler, but it is not often used in the household nor the restaurant industry.


Whisks/Whips
A whisk or whip is Beat, blend or whip certain foods to incorporate air for fluffier foams and blend or emulsify sauces without adding too much air.

Scales
Equipment used for receiving exact weights on food items. There are a few diferent types of scales; Digital (electric), Balance Beams, and the Spring balance/portion scales.

Mixing Bowl's and Pans
Usually stainless steel, made up of a nonreactive materials. Mixing bowls and pans are highly required in the kitchen. They are used for storing and prep work. 

Pots and Pans 
Large, medium, small, tall, short, etc. Stock pot, sauté pans, sauce pot, steamers, roasting pans, sheet pans, etc. This is another one I could on and on about. Different pans are used to cook and create different things. You wouldn't want to use a sauté pan to braise ribs.

Large Equipment
Then you have slicers, blenders, mixers, food processors, grinders. These tools are much needed also, some of them you can get by without using, but it will make you smile to have them.
There are kettles, fryers, microwave ovens, stove and ovens. Now these tools, you will be using. All of them, repeatedly!

A chef should be able to choose the right tool, in order to produce high quality foods. With that being said, a chef should also know how to properly clean and maintain their tools. You should know your tools and how the quality of your tools can either make or break your dish.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Blue-veined Cheeses

Bleu/Blue-a white with blue-green veins,    cylinder shaped cheese made from whole cow's milk or goat's milk. It has a tangy, piquant flavor with a semi-soft and sometimes crumbly texture.
Gorgonzola- a medium yellow cheese with blue marbling made from whole cow's milk and/or goat's milk. It has a tangy, piquant flavor with a semi-soft and dry texture.
Maytag Blue- a medium yellow cheese with blue marbling, cylinder shaped cheese made from whole cow's milk. It has a strong, salty flavor with a hard crumbly texture.
Stilton- a cylinder shaped, medium yellow cheese with blue marbling made from whole cow's milk. It has a mild, piquant flavor with a hard crumbly texture.
Roquefort- a cylinder shaped, white cheese with blue-green marbling made from raw sheep's milk. It has a sharp, pungent flavor with a semi-soft, crumbly texture.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Grating Cheeses

Romano/Pecorino- a cylinder shaped cheese made from whole sheep's milk, goat's milk or cow's milk. It has a very sharp flavor with a very hard, dry and crumbly texture.
Parmesan/Parmigiano Reggiano- a light yellow cylinder shaped cheese made from part-skim cow's milk. It has a sharp, nutty flavor and a very hard, dry and crumbly texture.
Asiago- a light yellow, cylinder or flat block shaped cheese made from whole or part-skim cow's milk. It has a mild to sharp flavor and a semi-soft to hard texture, depending on the age.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Hard and Cheddar-type Cheeses

Cheddar- a wheel shaped, light or medium colored cheese made from whole cow's milk. It has a mild to sharp flavor, depending on the age and a hard texture.
Gouda- a wheel shaped cheese with a wax coating made from whole cow's milk. It has a mild, creamy but slightly nutty flavor with a hard but smooth texture.
Provolone- a cylinder shaped cheese with a light yellow to golden brown color, made from whole cow's milk. It has a mild to sharp flavor, depending on the age with a hard, elastic texture.
Manchego- a light yellow cylinder shaped cheese made from whole sheep's milk. It has a full and mellow flavor with a semi-soft to firm texture, depending on the age.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Semi-soft Cheese

Monterey Jack- a light yellow cheese, usually in a wheel or block shape, made from whole cow's milk. It has a mild or pungent flavor with jalapeño pepper and semi-soft to very hard texture, depending on the age.
Muenster- a light yellow cheese with a orange rind, in a wheel or block shape, made from whole cow's milk. It has a mild to pungent flavor, depending on the age, with a semi-soft, smooth but waxy texture.
Fontina- a medium yellow colored cheese in a wheel shape, made from whole cow's milk or sheep's milk. It has a nutty flavor with a strong aroma and a hard texture.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Soft and Rind-ripened Cheeses

Brie- a disk of light yellow cheese made from pasteurized whole or skim cow's milk or goat's milk, sometimes made with cream. It has a buttery yet pungent flavor with an edible rind and a soft and smooth texture.
Camembert- a disk of light yellow cheese made from raw or pasteurized whole cow's milk or goat's milk. It has a slightly tangy flavor and a softy and creamy texture with a edible rind.
Limburger- a block of light yellow cheese with a brown exterior, made from whole or low-fat cow's milk. It has a very strong flavor and aroma, with a soft, smooth but waxy texture.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Fresh Cheeses

Chèvre- a white, logged shaped cheese made from goat's milk. It has a slightly tangy flavor and a soft, creamy texture.
Cottage- white curds of cheese made from whole or skim cow's milk. It has a mild flavor and a soft, moist texture.
Cream- a white, block shaped cheese made from whole cow's milk and cream. It has a mild and slightly tangy flavor and a soft, creamy texture.
Feta- a white, block shaped cheese made from sheep's milk, cow's milk or goat's milk. It has a salty, tangy flavor with a soft and crumbly texture.
Mascarpone- a soft, pale yellow cheese made from whole cow's milk and cream. It has a slightly tangy and buttery flavor and a soft, smooth texture.
Mozzarella- a white, oval  shaped sphere made from whole or skim cow's milk or buffalo's milk. It has a mild, sometimes smokey flavor and a slightly elastic, tender texture, depending and the age of the cheese.
Ricotta- white, soft curds of cheese made from whole, skim or low-fat cow's milk. It has a mild flavor with a grainy, soft, moist to slightly dry texture.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Different Types of Cheese

Cheese comes in lots of different, colors, shapes and textures. The most common cheeses are made from the milk of cows, goats and sheep. The color, flavor and texture are determined by the type of milk used to make it or the way the cheese is made. Mold and bacteria are used to flavor, shape and age several different cheeses. Different types of cheese may be grouped into several categories, such as:
Fresh Cheeses
Soft and Rind-ripened Cheeses
Semi-soft Cheese
Hard and Cheddar-type Cheeses
Grating Cheeses
Blue-veined Cheeses

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Mint

There are many different varieties of mint, each with its own distinctive flavor and aroma. Spearmint is the most popular mint, with its pointed, serrated leaves it is most commonly used to make mint jelly to accompany lamb. Spearmint historically was used for its digestive and mouth freshening qualities. In several different parts of the globe it is used to make preferred teas.
Peppermint being the second most popular form of mint with longer, darker leaves and a stronger flavor is a cross between spearmint and water mint. Peppermint oil is a very popular ingredient in toothpastes, chewing gums, sweets and aftershave. It is also considered to be an effective decongestant and antiseptic agent. Apple mint is also a popular form of mint, just not as popular as spearmint and peppermint, with softer green leaves and a more subtle fruitier flavor. Lemon and pineapple mint also have a soft, fruity flavor and is good for making summertime beverages.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Cilantro/Coriander

Cilantro is the leaf of the coriander plant and one of the oldest known herb, it looks similar to flat leaf/Italian parsley. Cilantro is used widely throughout the world but mainly in Mexican and Thai dishes. With a distinctive fresh pungent smell, cilantro is a required herb  in curries, Dhal (an Indian dish made from a variety of legumes), chutneys, and kebabs. It has been also known to treat indigestion.
The spice coriander seed or ground coriander comes from the seed of the plant. Coriander is a relative of the carrot family, with a sweet, musky flavor. Coriander is a great spice for gingerbread, cookies, cakes, biscuits, stuffing, pork dishes, and cheese dishes.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Tarragon

Tarragon also called "little Dragon" has a distinctive strong flavor similar to licorice. French tarragon has a very sweet vanilla flavor compared to the coarser flavored Russian tarragon. This herb goes well in the traditional béarnaise sauce, mayonnaise and flavored vinaigrettes. It is also excellent in cream and egg-based sauces served with salmon or trout, chicken dishes and great chopped in salads.
It is easily deserved to be on or our most popular herbs today. Tarragon was also thought to be an aid against flatulence.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Sage

Native to the Mediterranean and North Africa, Sage has a very potent aroma and a musky flavor. It is commonly used these days in culinary for flavoring sausages and fatty meat stuffing such as pork and goose. One of my favorite dishes sage is used in, is veal saltimbocca where it is used to flavor the oils in which the veal is cooked.
During the medieval times sage was used for treatment of colds, fever, epilepsy and constipation. It was also used by country folk to make sage wine and tea, cheese flavoring and in sage tobacco.  People also used it as a mouthwash, a hair tonic and for teeth whitening.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Oregano

A wild variety of marjoram, with a very robust flavor. This herb is a native to Europe and also has a slightly musty flavor with a warm welcoming aroma. Used by the ancient Greeks as a antidote to poison, a disinfectant, to make perfumes and as a preservative. Today this herb is highly favored in the kitchen and primarily used in Mediterranean dishes, such as pizza, eggplant and tomato dishes.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Dill

An ingredient native to southern Europe and western Asia is a hardy annual with fine feathery green frond and tiny clusters of yellow flowers. It grows wild in Spain, Portugal, and Italy and thrives in warmer temperatures. Dill was once used as a medicine to treat flatulence and hiccups. Now it is mainly used in Scandinavian cooking and goes well in potato salads and highly used in the process of making dill pickles. It can be used in creamy sauces, a wide variety of egg dishes and oily fish dishes. An example of a excellent dish is gravadlax, a dish made by marinating fresh salmon with salt, sugar, pepper and finest chopped dill leaves.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Thyme


A delicious aromatic Mediterranean herb that grows wild and best on Rocky ground. It has small greyish-green leaves with purple flowers. It's aromatic leaves have antiseptic properties cultivated and used by the ancient Egyptians in oil form for embalming, perfume baths and the purification of rooms as well as its culinary usefulness. There are a number of varieties of thyme (around 28) including Lemon thyme, English thyme and silver thyme.
Thyme is one the most commonly used kitchen herbs particularly used in soups, stews and stocks, adding a earthy, sweet pungent flavor. Thyme is mainly used in the French cuisine as the key ingredient of bouquets garni and herbes de providence. It pairs very well with Mediterranean vegetables like tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini and eggplant. It is widely used in marinades for beed, pork, lamb, game and baked fish.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Chiffonade

A knife cutting technique used for shredding herbs and leafy vegetables, such as spinach or basil, into fine thin strips.
In order to chiffonade basil, you would neatly stack the leaves on a pile. Then roll the leaves tightly, lengthwise. Use your knife to thinly slice the leaves to form a beautiful chiffonade of basil. Carefully separate the shreds by lightly fluffing the pile.
Makes a beautiful garnish.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Basil

An aromatic herb, of the mint family and native to the Indian and Iranian cuisine. Used mostly for cooking but also may be used for medicinal purposes.
It is most commonly used as the main ingredient in Pesto:
Pesto

4 C Basil (tightly packed)
5 Garlic Cloves
⅓ C Pine Nuts
⅔ C Parmesan Cheese
¼ tsp Salt
⅛ tsp Black Pepper
⅔ C Olive Oil
Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until it forms a smooth paste. Adjust salt to taste.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Parsley

Parsley, also known as garden parsley, with more than 30 different varieties, the 2 most common are curly parsley and flat-leaf parsley. Mostly used as a garnish( I prefer not to use parsley as a garnish) for culinary dishes. Parsley also has value as a medicinal herb, treating medical problems such as urinary tract infections (UTI) and diabetes.
Not only does basil make a great, so does parsley.
Parsley Pesto
2 Cups fresh Parsley leaves (roughly chopped and tightly compressed)
3 Roasted Garlic Cloves
3 Green Olives (pitted)
½ Cup Walnuts (shells removed)
½ Cup Parmesan Cheese (grated)
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper
Place all ingredients, except for olive oil in the food processor. Purée, pouring olive oil in slowly until a smooth paste has formed. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Scallions

Also known as green onions, spring onions, yard onions, etc., there several different names for it. They are edible plants, similar to an onion in flavor, with hollow green leaves resembling giant chives. Scallions have a milder flavor than most onions and can be eaten raw or cooked. Most people enjoy raw scallions fresh in salads or on baked potatoes (I prefer the baked potato). Many recipes gives you the option to substitute the scallions for the chives. Scallions can be a great garnish to add a little green color to a lot of dishes (so you don't have to always rely on chopped parsley for a color on the plate).

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Rosemary

A woody perennial herb with dark green, needle-like leaves and spires of small, white, pink, purple or blue flowers. It has a very pungent fragrance and may be used for cosmetics and decorative purposes, as well as culinary uses.
Rosemary adds a great flavor to lamb, pork, chicken and salmon as well as several soups and sauces. A native of the Mediterranean region, rosemary grows wild on dry shrub and is cultivated all year round.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Cooking Tools for a Chef

The tools of a Chef and/or cook are very important. The tools you use will make or break the job you are given to do, which is feed people. Chefs and cooks use different types of tools, but I can just about guarantee one thing they all have in common, a hotpad (a thick towel for grabbing hot pots and pans), a knife of some sort and a pair of tongs. Those are the basic tools needed to create a great meal.
The knives that you use in the kitchen is very important, kind of like your best friend. I believe that if you take very good care of your knife, he/she (whichever you should call your knife) will take good care of you. She won't hurt you or let you look bad unless you hurt or make her look bad, like a relationship. But you have to make sure you use the right knife for the right job. There are hundreds of different types of knives, but some of the most common are chef's knife, paring knife, utility knife, bread knife and fillet knife. Each knife has it's own uses. Case and point, you wouldn't use a paring knife to cut bread, would you? I would hope not.

Types of Knives Used in the Kitchen

Chef's Knife 
Also known as the cook's knife or a French knife, this all-purpose knife is used for a number of reasons. This is possibly the most important knife you can own, as a chef or cook. Normally has an 8 to 12 inch blade, used for a variety of chopping, slicing, and mincing. Some blades come as small as 6 inches long. 8 inch is the most common used chef's knife.

Paring Knife
This short multi-purpose kitchen knife, is necessity thatevery kitchen should have. Perfect for paring and trimming small fruits and vegetables. With a blade length of 2 to 4 inches, this knife comes in a few different varieties such as, the
tourné knife, bird's beak, trimming knife, and fluting knife.

Utility Knife
This knife is like smaller, lighter version of a chef's knife and a larger, heavier version of a paring knife. With this knife being 4 to 8 inches long, it is normally excluded from a lot of kitchen usage. It's basically too short to do a chef's knife job and too long to do a paring knife job. Not always needed, but a very good tool to have.

Bread Knife
Now, this knife has a serrated edge, designed to slice through soft breads without crushing it. Not much to say about this knife except, be careful while using. With a 6 to 10 inch serrated blade it is also great for cutting certain fruits and vegetables. This is also a must have knife in your kitchen.

Fillet Knife
Also known as the fish knife (one of my favourites), this knife is great for filleting fish. With it's flexible 6 to 11 inch blade, this knife is great for moving along the backbone or underneath the skin of a fish.

This is just a few very important knives that can do just about any cutting job in your kitchen. As you continue to cook and work more in the kitchen, you will accumulate more interesting and different knives. There are several different varieties and sizes of knives out there, my favorite is the Santoku knife.