SMOKED PAPRIKA

SMOKED PAPRIKA is the key ingredient added to animal-free recipes tasting of blood. Other additives that enhance the smoked paprika thus the blood taste are garlic powder, dry mustard, turmeric and sea salt. ~ Sharon Lee Davies-Tight

The X-MAS TREE effect in plate presentation

When a chef is critiquing a plate of food one of the things they look for is color – all the major food colors. You get so accustomed to that x-mas tree of colors on your plate, that if one is missing you go into x-mas tree withdrawal. Oh my God, I lost the  cooking…

FENNEL SEED – the perfect plant meat spice

It’s not the same as star anise. It’s close, or should I say star anise is close to fennel seed – a cousin, seems like the same DNA, but is it really? I mean, do I really want to be putting licorice into my savory sauces? That’s what star anise is, basically, the taste of…

WASH BEFORE YOU ZEST

If you don’t wash your oranges and lemons before zesting them, and by wash I mean a thorough rub under running water, then you’re feeding your customers poisons through pesticides. Nobody wants neurotoxins served up on their savory and sweet dishes.  

PRE-SLICED MUSHROOMS

PRE-SLICED MUSHROOMS. It’s always best to buy whole mushrooms and to slice your own. It’s not difficult, nor does it take much time. This way you control the thickness, and if you want to cube or quarter them, you have that option. More often than not, groceries slice them too thin, then keep them too…

TASTING

TASTING. Taste and/or smell each ingredient before you add it to a dish, then taste and smell the dish to which you’ve added it, so that you become familiar with the way in which the flavor, texture, color and aroma achievements progress. Cooking is not only an art, but a science as well. Knowing how one…

SIMMERING

SIMMERING generally means to cook just at or below the boiling point. When it makes a significant difference, you will be instructed as to the precise level required for any given recipe. For instance, we can simmer at a slow boil, just barely at the boiling point or just below the boiling point. If we need…

SEEDING CANNED TOMATOES

SEEDING CANNED TOMATOES. Hold each tomato (one at a time) under cold, slowly running water. Slit lengthwise with your thumb nail. Open tomato; pull pulp up and out, rinsing pulp and seeds into sink. Drain tomato meat that remains, and either chunk, dice or chop for your recipe. This is a very simple procedure that makes…

SEEDING AN AVOCADO

SEEDING AN AVOCADO. Using a long, sharp knife, cut lengthwise (from tip to tip) all around the avocado, through the skin and far enough into the meat to touch the seed. Insert blade of knife into the cut you’ve made, then twist the knife to separate the two halves. Take the knife and smack the sharp…

SCALLIONS

SCALLIONS. Just because you have scallion in the refrigerator doesn’t mean you should garnish every dish with it. However, if you really like scallion with everything, then try varying the cut: some tiny, thin rings, some sliced the long way into 2 inch long matchstick width or smaller. Try frying up thick round disks of the…

SALT

SALT. There’s a difference between Morton’s (or similar) table salt and sea salt. To achieve the same salt taste, it takes a little more sea salt. You be the judge, since there are also differences among sea salts. Re: Kosher salt–the rock kind. All the chefs on the food network use it. I’ve tried it, and don’t…

QUALITY

QUALITY. The quality of the dish you prepare is only as good as the quality of the ingredients that go into it. But, the finest ingredients can be ruined by careless cooking practices. So, shop for quality and cook conscientiously.

PLATE PRESENTATION

PLATE PRESENTATION. How does your plate look after you’ve arranged your food on it? Garnishing illuminates a dish, but be sure that you want what’s on your plate illuminated. Food piled or thrown on like slop gives an undesirable appearance; and appearances do count. No matter what you’re serving, arrange it on the plate in a…

PEACHES AND NECTARINES, HOW TO CUT INTO SEGMENTS

PEACHES AND NECTARINES, HOW TO CUT INTO SEGMENTS. Do this by holding the peach/nectarine in the palm of your hand, then using a small sharp knife, running the knife from end to end against the pit, making a crescent size slice that measures about 1/4 inch, or any size you want, at the widest part of…

PASTA

PASTA. Cooking pasta need not require oil added to the water. It’s more important that you use lots of water, and the pasta is stirred continuously from the time of insertion until past the initial melting stage (when the starch softens and individual pastas tend to stick together). Beyond this and in the presence of a…

PARTIALLY WILTED

PARTIALLY WILTED. This term is used to describe the cooking of a vegetable or fruit till it just begins to soften, that is, when the firm, crisp cellular structure breaks down and becomes pliable. This is not cooking to very soft, only till partially tender.

PARTIALLY COVERED

PARTIALLY COVERED. This term refers to placing a lid slightly ajar on a pot, saucepan or skillet. The lid should be ajar by approximately 3/4-1 inch, allowing for either: the escape of excess steam or vapors, or the trapping of a portion of the steam or vapors.

ORDER IN WHICH EACH DISH IS SERVED

ORDER IN WHICH EACH DISH IS SERVED. In some meals the order in which each dish is served is critical to the enjoyment of each dish. In other meals the order makes no difference whatsoever.  In this collection, I have noted when it does make a difference. For instance, some salads work best within the framework…

ONIONS

ONIONS. When onions are called for in a recipe, if it doesn’t specify the type, then use any type you like. However, when it does specify, then those recommended have been found to work the best in that recipe. Sweet vs hot: When sweet onions are called for in a recipe, it refers to large Spanish yellow…

OLIVE OILS

OLIVE OILS range in flavor from very mild to clearly distinct, with mild dishes generally requiring a mild oil, and spicy dishes a more flavorful one. But experiment with different varieties and combinations to discover your own preferences. In Italy, olive oils are graded according to their pressing and acidity level. The first pressing, if done…

NON-DAIRY LIQUID CREAMER

NON-DAIRY LIQUID CREAMER. I use non-dairy liquid creamer freely in my kitchen. It is a superb product, tasting much like real cream. Depending upon where you live in the country, brand names will vary. Locate in the dairy section of the market. Much to my dismay, this product is no longer available in Cleveland, Ohio. There…

ALTERING RECIPES

ALTERING RECIPES. There are two common temptations to alter a recipe. First: If we have a little bit extra of an ingredient we’ll add it to the dish rather than discard or store it. Please don’t add a little extra of anything no matter what the reason. Freeze it, store it, dump it. Do anything but…

LIQUID SMOKE

LIQUID SMOKE. Liquid smoke is one of an animal-free chef’s greatest friends. Use to add a rich smoky dimension to dips, spreads, salad dressings, soups, sauces, main dishes. Always keep on hand. Buy in small bottle in grocery store, or as I do now, a larger bottle from GFS (Gordon’s Food Store).

LIQUID FLOUR

LIQUID FLOUR. You may notice that when using a thickener for a sauce or soup, I do not use a roux (the cooking of margarine with flour till thick and golden brown). Instead, I use a liquid flour, obtained by combining a measured amount of water or broth and flour in a jar with a tight-fitting…

LEGUMES

LEGUMES. You might think that dried split peas or lentils are all the same because they look the same, and consequently will all cook up the same. Not true. Split peas are as different as any other vegetable is to its own kind. Not all tomatoes are the same, so why should we expect all legumes…

HEATED PLATES

HEATED PLATES enhance the quality of cooked meals. Heat oven to 275 degrees and place oven-proof plates in oven till ready to use–a minimum of 10 minutes. Use pot holders to remove, and alert guests to hot plates.

GUESTS

GUESTS. Since eating is one of the most important functions in life (eating is what keeps us alive), we approach it with a desire to make each experience–whether for 1 or 21–the happiest and most healthful experience ever. Therefore everyone is treated as a guest–including family.

GRATING HORSERADISH

GRATING HORSERADISH. Always peel horseradish before grating it, whether you use it in a dish or to garnish one. Grate on small holes of the grater as you need it. If grated ahead it will dry out. When peeling, peel only the section you will be grating. The remainder of the horseradish will stay fresher longer…

CRYSTALLIZED GINGER

CRYSTALLIZED GINGER. Sugar-coated dried ginger slices, also called candied ginger, are called for in some recipes. Purchase anywhere they sell dried fruits in containers usually packaged by the supermarket chains. It also makes a great snack food – good way to get the benefits of ginger in a tasty treat.

SQUEEZING GINGER FOR GINGER JUICE

SQUEEZING GINGER FOR GINGER JUICE. When you don’t want to insert the texture of fresh ginger into a recipe, but still want the fresh ginger taste, this is an easy way to juice the ginger! Wash extra large piece of ginger. Break into 2 or 3 pieces, breaking pieces off at the joints. Place in tightly sealed…

COOKING SURFACE

COOKING SURFACE: When doubling or tripling a recipe, expect all the ingredients to take longer to cook. In large recipes the amount of ingredient surface exposed to direct heat is less than with smaller recipes where a greater percentage of  ingredient surface is exposed to the heat, thereby cooking the ingredients faster. Any time you have…

GAS vs ELECTRIC STOVE

GAS vs ELECTRIC STOVE. Some of the recipes in this collection were developed on a gas stove, others on an electric stove. Low, medium or high can be precisely controlled on a gas stove, whereas on an electric stove it cannot, since it takes time for the element to either cool down or heat up. This…

GARNISHING

GARNISHING is like lighting the candles on a cake. Such a simple gesture illuminates so brightly. You need not take special instruction to garnish effectively. Simple, colorful shapes make beautiful garnishes and can be made from nearly all fruits and vegetables: strips of pimento, green pepper, carrot, tomato or scallion placed over a dish; thinly sliced…

STOVE-TOP ROASTED GARLIC

STOVE-TOP ROASTED GARLIC It’s really quite easy to make and takes only a few minutes, rather than the usual lengthy time it takes when oven-roasting garlic. Peel all the cloves in one bulb or more of garlic. If you can purchase them already peeled in the market, all the better. Place in a dry cast…

GARLIC

GARLIC. Fresh garlic is most often the garlic of choice in these recipes. However, when convenience or cost is a factor, or when a smooth texture is desired we use powdered. You’ll note that sometimes fresh and powdered garlic are called for in one recipe. This is done for greater garlic flavor. We put the powdered…

FRESH SQUEEZED ORANGE JUICE

FRESH SQUEEZED ORANGE JUICE. When called for in a recipe, please do not substitute frozen concentrate, bottled, or juice from a carton. Use only that which you squeeze from the orange yourself. Frozen orange juice and other premixed orange juices contain added vitamins that can be tasted in a recipe–especially when sauteing with it.

FRESH BREAD CRUMBS

FRESH BREAD CRUMBS. Many of you have blenders and/or food processors and will make your fresh bread crumbs in that. For those of you who don’t have either, here’s another efficient way to make them: Shred partially frozen French or Italian bread over very large holes of a vegetable grater, using firm pressure and long strokes. The bread…

FENNEL SEED

FENNEL SEED. Although occasionally in some locations, you’ll be able to locate ground fennel seed, in most instances you’ll have to grind it yourself. Do this with a mortar and pestle. Or, place seeds in a plastic bag and pound with a hammer till pulverized. Remove from bag and roll with a rolling-pin, repeatedly, using hard…

CUTTING FRUIT

CUTTING FRUIT. Cut fruit on any hard surface you like, except a wooden cutting board that has been previously used to cut garlic and/or onion. Regardless of how well you’ve cleaned it, the fruit will pick up the odor of the garlic and/or onion instantaneously, and you will very definitely taste it on the fruit. So,…

CLEANING VEGETABLE GRATER

CLEANING VEGETABLE GRATER. To remove particles which have stuck in the holes of your grater, hold the grater under running water while you brush it with a toothbrush. Even when particles have dried on overnight, the toothbrush removes them with ease. Keep a clean toothbrush in your utility drawer.

CHOPPING, DICING, CHUNKING

CHOPPING, DICING, CHUNKING. Unless otherwise specified, chopping finely should measure approximately 1/16-1/8 inch non-uniform pieces. Chopping should measure: 1/4 inch non-uniform pieces. Dicing should measure: 1/4-1/2 inch uniform squares. And, chunking should measure: 3/4-1 inch uniform squares. No matter which you do, however, don’t be afraid to be neat. It shows you care about your creations….

CABBAGE, SHREDDING

CABBAGE, SHREDDING. You don’t need a special shredder or food processor to shred cabbage. Remove outer leaves, cut cabbage in half or quarters, depending on how big it is, then remove core. Place cabbage segment on it’s side, then using large, sturdy, sharp knife, either cut or shave slices as thick or thin as you…

ROOM TEMPERATURE- what it means

BRINGING/WARMING TO ROOM TEMPERATURE. When reference is made to bringing a food to room temperature we are speaking of taking a cooled item and setting it on the counter till it reaches room temperature. When reference is made to warming to room temperature we mean removing a cooked item from the stove and warming it (which…

BREADS

BREADS. Read ingredient labels before purchasing all types of bread. Many breads contain animal products, usually in the form of non-fat milk solids, whey (sodium caseinate)butter, milk fat, eggs, or other animal fat. Hot dog and hamburger buns are the most difficult to find without one or more of these ingredients. However, they do exist, so…

BRAND NAMES

BRAND NAMES. In a some of the recipes you’ll notice that I tell you what brand of a certain product I used. This is not done to promote one brand over another for personal gain. It is done to alert you to the quality and type of product, so that you can either use the same…

ALFALFA SPROUTS

ALFALFA SPROUTS. The best way to keep alfalfa sprouts crisp and fresh is to purchase them in plastic boxes with air holes in them. Use as needed, then replace the lid tightly after every use and refrigerate. Do not wash.

ACHIEVEMENTS IN COOKING

ACHIEVEMENTS IN COOKING.  Throughout these recipes you will hear me speak of flavor, texture, color and aroma achievements. They are simply defined as follows: Flavor achievement refers to the ultimate flavor achieved in any given dish. Texture achievement refers to the ultimate texture (feeling on the tongue, mouth, or to the tooth) achieved in any given dish. Color…

WHAT VEGGIE MEANS HERE!

When I use the word “veggie” in my recipes or writing I’m referring to animal-free/plant-based. Veggie means vegetable. I am not referring to vegetarian, which usually means containing eggs and/or dairy. ~ Chef Davies-Tight

GARLIC: POWDER vs GRANULATED

  GARLIC: POWDER vs GRANULATED Garlic powder textures like cornstarch. Granulated garlic textures like salt, but doesn’t melt or dissolve. The finer the granulation, the better. Shop around. Most markets now carry only the granulated, yet label it as garlic powder. Ninety-nine percent of the time I use granulated labeled as powder. I know it’s…