Archive for the 'Chefs tip' Category

CHEF’S TIP: Forgetting ingredients?

Annie Copps

Annie Copps from Yankee magazine is one of the funniest cooks out there and knows all too well how easy it is to get distracted when you’re having a good time at the stove. Don’t want to forget an ingredient? Annie recommends doing what we call in the biz mise-en-place. That’s a French way of saying pre-measure your ingredients before you start the recipe, dummy- but it sounds so much nicer in French. Now, if only I could be so enthusiastic about washing-up!

CHEF’S TIP: Sinking nuts?

Joyce White

Joyce White, author of Brown Sugar and Soul Food knows a thing or two about hosting the perfect tea party- and lets just say a cake with sunken nuts on the bottom just ain’t playin’ a part in it, no siree. Joyce’s trick is to coat your chopped nuts in a dusting of flour before you add them to the cake batter- she claims it’s just an old myth, but I certainly think it’s worth a shot. Nobody wants sunken nuts, after all.

CHEF’S TIP: Feeling hot hot hot!

jimmy bannos

Jimmy Bannos cooks cajun style out of his Chicago restaurant Heaven on Seven. There are two ingredients in particular that stand out in Jimmy’s cooking- butter and hot peppers, and more is more by his books. Except when it comes to too much heat, because there certainly can never be enough butter. Jimmy’s trick for keeping more of the hot pepper flavour with less of the consequential heat- cut away the white mebrane as well as the seeds. What most people don’t know is that more of the heat comes from the membrane than the seeds, says Mr Bannos. Oh and don’t forget to wash your hands with lots of soap before touching skin or going to the bathroom. Ouch!

CHEF’S TIP: Maximising your bbq flavour

Adam Perry Lang

Adam Perry Lang is the owner and head chef of Daisy Mays in NYC- and boy does he know BBQ. Adam knows that cooking BBQ is not about one element on the plate but about every element tasting good and he also has a very good tip for maximising the flavour of you BBQ.  When cooking your steak/ burger/chop (you name it) start it off on the grill to get some nice char marks and then finish cooking it slowly on the same pan that you’re cooking up some nice caramelising onions, peppers or chiles. The flavours will infuse straight into the inner core of your meat and you won’t taste it finer this side of the Mason Dixon Line. Though it may not still be BBQ season- this tip can easily be relocated to the home kitchen using a grill pan- If only all chef’s were so considerate.

Daisy Mays BBQ
623 11th Ave. (corner of 46th St.) in NYC.

Chef’s Tip: When to put the pepper on the steak

Katie Brown

You want to make the perfect steak for your loved one. So you turn the pan up high, drizzle in a little olive oil, season your steak well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper pop it into the pan and let it sit untouched, just like you were told, waiting for it to begin caramelising. And then your pan begins to smoke, you start to gently cough, then you start to cough a lot and before long the smoke alarm starts blaring and your rushing around swearing, hoisting open windows, swinging the kitchen door too and thro and swatting the air with a tee-towel.

Had food and lifestyle expert Katie Brown been in your kitchen you would not now be whimpering apologies for destroying a fine peice of meat, again. Katie’s trick- pepper burns, people, so season your steak only with salt before placing it in a hot pan and once you’ve turned it over sprinkle with your carefully crushed peppercorns. Wahlah- steak au poivre sans fumée. Oh, now you tell me, I hear you cry.

CHEF’S TIP: Baking powder- who knew?

Rick Tramonto

Rick Tramonto is a multi-award winning chef based in Chicago- but that doesn’t stop him from being one of the kindest most gentle-natured chefs I’ve had the privilege to meet. Who says all head chef’s have to be mean? With all those awards in the bank I was pretty sure he’d come up with a winning tip for my readers and he did not disappoint.

So, you’re entertaining guests for brunch and you really want to pull something out of the oven with the wow factor and it’s not going to be that loaf of bread that hasn’t risen an inch all morning. Add a pinch of baking powder to your beaten eggs when making a  frittata and you will be rewarded with an impressive puffy rise- not quite as dramatic as a soufflé but it does make eggs in a pan look a wee bit grand.

Osteria di Tramonto
The Westin Chicago North Shore hotel
601 N. Milwaukee Avenue
Wheeling, IL, 60090

CHEF’S TIP: Handling an avocado

I’ve never been vague about who my favourites are and here you are with one of them! Rarely do I get all gooey and gushy around a guest but Domestic Goddess Nigella Lawson has me over whipping cream and curdling eggs every time. She’s elegant, articulate, witty and happens to also be a big fan of making being in the kitchen something enjoyable rather than a chore. It is a great honour to have her provide this weeks chef’s culinary goddess tip.

Avocados can be pesky little buggers when it comes to getting them neatly chopped or sliced without them slipping out of your hands. Nigella has just the trick for perfectly scooped balls of avocado and it won’t require any unnecessary kitchen gadget purchases. Use a rounded teaspoon measure to scoop out balls without having to peel away the skin- which also happens to mean that you won’t be left with green fingernails either. Domestic Goddess indeed.

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