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... Continue Reading →
Pink lentils, although smaller and thinner than the garden variety light brown lentil, absorb more water quicker, fluffing up more like rice than legumes. The first time I saw these in the market, many years ago, I was awed. Wow. Pink legumes. Of course I had to have some, only to be disappointed to see... Continue Reading →
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... Continue Reading →
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
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... Continue Reading →
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... Continue Reading →
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.
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/
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... Continue Reading →
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... Continue Reading →
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... Continue Reading →
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... Continue Reading →
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... Continue Reading →
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... Continue Reading →
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... Continue Reading →
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. 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... Continue Reading →
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... Continue Reading →
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... Continue Reading →
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. 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. 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... Continue Reading →
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... Continue Reading →
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... Continue Reading →
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... Continue Reading →
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... Continue Reading →
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. 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... Continue Reading →
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... Continue Reading →
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. 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. 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... Continue Reading →
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. 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... Continue Reading →
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... Continue Reading →