Think Like a Chef

You never stop learning
BROWN BUTTER is BRILLIANT

BROWN BUTTER is BRILLIANT

Brown butter is one of those magical secret ingredients that enhances the flavor of just about anything - sweet or savory. Brown Butter has a rich nutty taste and the aroma is out of this world. Even better, it's super easy to make...
BUILDING A BIG, BEAUTIFUL BOWL OF CHILI

BUILDING A BIG, BEAUTIFUL BOWL OF CHILI

Although the origins of chili are muddy, the two basic elements of the dish, beef and hot chile peppers, have long been prevalent in the plains of the American Southwest. The historical record has Texas cowboys cooking chili over campfires in the early 1800s, and even today the Lone Star State remains the spiritual home of chili culture.

Chili is simple to make, holds and reheats well and feeds a crowd with maximal flavor and minimal effort. Regional differences make it distinct; Californians have embellished the basic method with beans and Cincinnatians add cinnamon and allspice and serve it over spaghetti.

But no matter how you like it, the basic recipe, made with ground beef, some sort of chile, tomatoes, onions and garlic, stays true to the Tex-Mex tradition. Two varieties of dried peppers, the smoky, wrinkled ancho and the crimson, rich guajillo, are my best suggestions to generate a dish with plenty of personality but medium heat. Toasted in a skillet, softened in hot water, and then pureed, the chiles turn into a mahogany paste that releases an intoxicating aroma and a deliciously earthy depth-of-flavor.
For chili heads, fresh jalapenos will make your chili sing with peppery top notes. Southwest-style lovers, go with ground cumin and dried oregano. And for those of you like me with a sweet palate, a shard of chocolate either bittersweet or Mexican, enlivens a bowl of comforting goodness like nothing else.
CANDIED GINGER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

CANDIED GINGER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

For a delicious gift idea this holiday season, assemble these sweet mixes in 1-Quart Mason Jars by layering the ingredients into the jars in the order listed (a great project to do with the kids!). Press each layer firmly into place before adding the next ingredient, then attach the recipe to the jar (along with a new wooden spoon!) and share the Gift of Food~
CARING FOR CAST IRON

CARING FOR CAST IRON

The best cast iron skillets are a thing of tradition, passed down to generations; with memories of grandma’s fried chicken or pineapple upside-down cakes that seasoned the pan you inherited to perfection.
CEVICHE; A Love Story

CEVICHE; A Love Story

It’s like a kiss from the sea. The pearly sweetness of “cooked” fish, fresh and bright with acid and aromatics, contrasting with the crunch of a tortilla chip or a crisp cracker or crostini.
This Mexican style ceviche combines lime juice and orange juice with a little heat and tanginess from a pickled jalapeno.
CEVICHE; A Love Story

CEVICHE; A Love Story

This Mexican style ceviche combines lime juice and orange juice with a little heat and tanginess from a pickled jalapeno.
COCONUT MACAROONS

COCONUT MACAROONS

My Mom and Business Partner Lana and I love Macaroons…both kinds! When you think of macaroons, do you recall those sweet lumps of shredded coconut with a golden crust? Or do you think of those vibrantly colored airy meringue sandwiches that the French refer to as macarons? Though these cookies share similar names, they look and taste different; they do, however, share a similar past.
COOL COLD SOUPS

COOL COLD SOUPS

Cold soups are wonderful. They have the richness of a hearty bowl of goodness and the lovely chill to cool you down, all at the same time.

As Mark Bittman wrote, in his New York Time article from June 2012: “All of them are about taking the vegetables and fruits of summer — asparagus, watermelon, avocado and melon, to name a few — and turning them into soups that are weather-appropriate.”

You can find inspiration in your refrigerator or your garden and it’s the often the simplicity that creates incredible flavor. Leftover grilled asparagus blended with chicken stock and a boiled potato, seasoned generously with good salt and cracked pepper…or garden-fresh vegetables grilled to perfection, chopped and strewn into a rich tomato base, for a twist on gazpacho…or how about ripe melon pureed with fresh mint and a squeeze of lime juice finished with a scoop of sorbet; cold soup as dessert.

As the Minimalist states, “smooth and creamy cold soups are best made ahead of time, so that they have a chance to chill down. In fact, you can prepare them even a couple of days in advance”, for better flavor.

I like his reference in the article to salt, since I agree that cold food needs more salt to enliven the flavors than hot dishes do. Be sure to adjust the seasoning of chilled soups just before serving and consider these recipes for your summertime barbeques. They are the perfect make-ahead starter, side dish or sweet ending.

COWBOY WAGON-WHEEL STEAK

COWBOY WAGON-WHEEL STEAK

Some cuts of meat are so tough I couldn’t tenderize them even by running them over with the wagon. But the tougher cuts are always a little cheaper, and that’s how this recipe came to be. I sear the steaks first to hold in their flavors. Then I let the oven do the hard work of tenderizing the rascals. Cooking the steaks slowly in a rich sauce of beef broth, cream of mushroom soup, and onion helps tenderize and flavor the meat even more. Now you have a dish that didn’t break the bank to make. "A Taste of Cowboy by Kent Rollins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt"
DINNER IN A SKILLET

DINNER IN A SKILLET

When you need to get a delicious dinner on the table in no time flat, there's nothing better than a skillet recipe. It’s an easy way to use up ingredients you have on hand and it guarantees quick cleanup. One-dish meals, like stir-fries, quickly seared meats and frittatas are simply prepared in a 10-inch sauté pan with a sturdy base and preferably an aluminum core sandwiched between stainless steel, for even heat conduction. An ovenproof handle is essential for those dishes that need a bit more cooking time and a cast iron skillet reigns supreme for most one-pan dishes.

The formula is simple: Add fat to the pan; brown the protein; remove the protein; add a starch, aromatics or vegetables and some sort of liquid; slowly simmer, then add the protein back to the pan and cook until the dish is done. (The only exception here is a Frittata!)

Having a few quick dinner recipes in your back pocket is always a good thing. But even better are the recipes that don't require measuring or multiple bowls, allowing you to cut down on prep time and dishes. This is why we love a good skillet recipe.

When it comes to skillet meals, there’s something for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike, breakfast-for-dinner lovers (like us) and fancy food aficionados too (think scallops). Few skillet meals take longer than half an hour, and most require even less time. While the meat provides the protein in the dish, grains give it staying power, so choose small pastas such as orzo, macaroni or thin fettuccine that cook quickly in the broth. And aim for uniform sizes of vegetables to ensure that every piece of food cooks evenly.

Here’s some inspiration for dishes that go from stovetop to table (or a quick flash in the oven, when need be):

<<  1 [23 4 5 6  >>  
  • CIA Napa Valley
  • Court of Sommilier Masters
  • Talk Radio 790 KABC
  • Modern Luxury