Secret to a good vegetable stir fry: the freshest ingredients

stir-fry

Why are some vegetable stir fries better than others? There are several factors.1) A better combination of vegetables; 2) Proper stir frying; 3) A good balance in flavors; 4) The freshest ingredients; or 5) All of the above.Numbers 1 and 3 are a matter of personal preference. Number 2 is a skill that can be learned (see stir frying basics). Numbers 4 and 5 are … [Read more...]

“When it coats the back of a spoon”

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When making sauces and gravies, one of the standards for measuring the thickness of the liquid is whether it "coats the back of a spoon." The same standard is used when making the custard base for ice cream.What exactly does it mean? When does the liquid coat the back of the spoon? Surely, any liquid will coat a spoon if the spoon is dipped in it. … [Read more...]

Mirepoix, sofrito and deglazing: deciphering European cooking

mirepoix3

It has often been said that as diverse as cuisines are, they share some really basic things. Grilled marinated meat is found everywhere. So is bread.And then there's the stew. Every cuisine has a version of stew which may or may not include meat or seafood. Admittedly, a Spanish stew will not necessarily taste the same as a Scandinavian stew. Every stew differs in the … [Read more...]

How to cook al dente pasta like a pro

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There's pasta and there's great pasta. And cooking great pasta takes more than dropping the noodles in boiling water. It starts with the right utensil, a little knowledge about how to tell when water is boiling and a few little tricks that you may think unimportant but which really spell the difference between so-so pasta and pasta that's worthy of a gourmet.A large … [Read more...]

How to prevent fish from sticking to the pan during frying

fried-fish

The easiest way to fry a whole fish is by using a non-stick pan. But not everyone has a non-stick pan large enough to fry a whole fish in. And then there's that issue of dependence -- should we allow ourselves to be helpless and unable to fry fish without the it's-stuck-in-the-pan issue unless we have a non-stick frying pan? Of course not! Here are a few tips to make sure … [Read more...]

How to clean, trim and prepare pig’s tongue

pork-tongue

Beef tongue is more well-known but because of the high price that it commands, beef tongue dishes are often considered "for special occasions" only.But did you know that pork tongue is also delicious but costs much less? It's true. But because they are much smaller, there's more preparation involved. The basic steps are the same -- remove the slimy film that often … [Read more...]

Cheese dip that can double as salad dressing or pasta sauce

cheese-dip

If food could multitask, this cheese dip would be the best example. Prepare the dip as a dip but use it in many other ways. It's good as a salad dressing. Just pour over vegetables, toss and serve your salad. Stir the dip into hot macaroni and you have an instant mac and cheese dish.Seriously, this is such a versatile cheese dip. I originally made it as a dip for … [Read more...]

Two ways to make egg drop soup

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Probably the simplest soup is the clear broth -- what the French call consommé -- which I am not a fan of. I am, however, a big fan of clear broth with strands of egg floating in it. Yes, the egg drop soup. The most basic is just clear broth and egg. To that, a wide array of ingredients can be added to create more complex soups. The Chinese bird's nest soup, for instance, … [Read more...]