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CHEF'S HELPER

RE: Preparation Times For Recipes

It takes a lot longer to develop a recipe than it does to replicate a recipe. For that reason the prep times are not given. To estimate the time for each procedure after the fact would not be accurate enough for my tastes. The number of ingredients aren’t necessarily an indicator of preparation time.  

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CHEF'S HELPER HERBS & SPICES

TASTE THE BLOOD

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 AFC BLOOD RED ITALIAN SAUSAGE BURGER©

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CHEF'S HELPER

A Fruit Is A What?

Who does this? Who calls a fetus a fruit? And why? Guilty people confusing the apple with the animal, so they can eat both. If a fetus is a fruit in the womb, then a baby grown to an adult is a fruit outside the womb. A fruit doesn’t change being a fruit when it […]

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CHEF'S HELPER

Simmering With Lids

When putting a lid on any sauce that’s going to simmer for a while, occasionally take a peek beneath the lid to make sure it isn’t boiling rapidly. Sauces tend to do that when you’re not looking. If the burner is on the lowest setting and it’s still boiling rapidly, which happens sometimes, especially with […]

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ANIMAL-FREE MILK PRODUCTS CHEF'S HELPER

Softening Up Non-Dairy Ice-Cream

My freezer temperature has only one setting that has no bearing on anything else. If the refrigerator is plugged in, no matter the setting for the refrigerator part, the freezer acts the same way – like a blast of cold arctic air. We never have to worry about waiting for ice. It’s not just that […]

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BANANAS CHEF'S HELPER

Discoloration Prevention

This is an easy one. Tired of seeing your apple cubes and banana slices turn brown right before your eyes, before you’ve hardly finished cutting them? Here’s a solution that works. Combine the juice of 1-2 oranges (fresh) in bowl with a strong sprinkling of turmeric. Stir to dissolve. Then as you cut the fruit, […]

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CHEF'S HELPER HERBS & SPICES

Specialty Salts

Now that I’ve experienced them I’m always going to have them in my pantry, that is, as long as I can afford these high priced salts. The two I’m talking about here are pink Himalayan salt and Celtic salt. I don’t really have a favorite, but I definitely use more of the pink, probably because […]

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CHEF'S HELPER

Salmonella and Milk In The Wine

Did you know that many wine companies use egg whites and/or potassium caseinate (an animal milk protein) to purify their wines? They discovered years ago that unwanted particles in the wine would stick to these substances when added to the wine, making the removal of them easier, leaving a pure and clarified product. You probably […]

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CHEF'S HELPER HERBS & SPICES

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

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CHEF'S HELPER

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 […]

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CHEF'S HELPER HERBS & SPICES NUTS & SEEDS

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 […]

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CHEF'S HELPER ORANGE, LEMON, LIME

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.  

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CHEF'S HELPER WORKING WITH GARLIC

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 confusing, but that’s what manufacturers […]

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CHEF'S HELPER MUSHROOMS

MINOR’S MUSHROOM BASE

I buy Minor’s Mushroom Base at Gordon’s Food Store. It can also be purchased online at amazon.com and elsewhere. It’s a great product that enhances the mushroom flavor of whatever dish you use it in. It’s salty, because it’s highly concentrated, so you don’t need much. It’s also gluten-free.  

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ANIMAL-FREE MILK PRODUCTS CHEF'S HELPER SANDWICHES

GRILLING VEG CHEESE SANDWICHES

Before grilling veg cheeses in a sandwich, always bring cheese to room temperature before assembling and grilling. The cheese will melt quicker. http://chefdavies-tight.com/2016/01/04/potato-bread-quesadilla/  

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CHEF'S HELPER HERBS & SPICES TURMERIC

USING FRESH TURMERIC

FRESH TURMERIC Lots of people are using fresh turmeric these days. Just as with fresh ginger vs powdered ginger, the benefits of fresh turmeric vs powdered are essentially the same. But if you worry that the powdered isn’t organic and/or you just want the taste of fresh, then buy fresh. The first time I had […]

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CHEF'S HELPER RICE

NEW RICE POLICY

Since reading about high arsenic levels in rice, particularly brown rice, I now rinse all bagged rice till water runs clear before cooking it. Place dried rice in wire mesh strainer. Run faucet water over rice, while holding the strainer over a saucepan, emptying pan as needed, till the water runs clear into the pan. […]

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CHEF'S HELPER

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 […]

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CHEF'S HELPER

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 […]

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CHEF'S HELPER

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 […]

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CHEF'S HELPER HERBS & SPICES

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 […]

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CHEF'S HELPER

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.  

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CHEF'S HELPER

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 […]

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CHEF'S HELPER PASTA

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 […]

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CHEF'S HELPER

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.  

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CHEF'S HELPER

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.  

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CHEF'S HELPER

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 […]

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CHEF'S HELPER ONIONS

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 […]

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CHEF'S HELPER EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

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 […]

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ANIMAL-FREE MILK PRODUCTS CHEF'S HELPER

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 […]

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CHEF'S HELPER

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 […]

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CHEF'S HELPER LIQUID SMOKE

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, even some desserts. 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).

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CHEF'S HELPER

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.  

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CHEF'S HELPER

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.  

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CHEF'S HELPER GINGER

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.  

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CHEF'S HELPER

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 […]

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CHEF'S HELPER

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 […]

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CHEF'S HELPER CUCUMBER

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 […]

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CHEF'S HELPER WORKING WITH GARLIC

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 […]

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CHEF'S HELPER

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.