Do you make French fries at home? They're a rare treat around here, but when that crispy yet tender texture is just right, they truly are one of the best foods imaginable. I learned something, though, about great fries at that potato seminar I attended a couple weeks ago. The real key to great fries is in the potato itself, and in something that happens to it before you even buy it...
This second installment in our 5 Essentials for the Home Cook series is a real treat. We have the advice of not one but two accomplished professional cooks who are also longtime Bay Area cooking teachers, Jodi Liano and Catherine Pantsios. Jodi and Catherine are in the middle of launching a very exciting project, The San Francisco Cooking School, a new professional cooking school that also has an extensive home cooking program, so they have a real understanding of what a home cook needs to know. They took a break from their busy schedule to share a few of their top tips for home cooks.
I mentioned earlier that I was at a potato workshop last week, watching some great chefs play around with potatoes. Here's one simple, effective idea from San Francisco chef Gary Danko, one that turns plain boiled potatoes into something special.
Welcome to our new series Expert Essentials for the Home Cook where we will interview chefs and other food professionals about their top five things a home cook should have, know, do, or understand to be a great cook. We begin our series with Preeti Mistry, a Top Chef contestant in 2009 and a former Google chef. Read on for Preeti's top five tips for a home cook looking to build flavor.
Remember back when Good Eats was a new TV show? We sat wide-eyed staring at the television; it was like science class in high school (if we had been paying attention). One moment that still rings clear every time I boil water happened in the pasta episode, way back in the very beginning. Did you know Alton is strictly against adding oil to his pasta water? Want to know why?
What do you do when you find yourself with two or more helpers in the kitchen? Do you get distracted? Do you panic about assigning them the task of whipping the eggs to soft peaks? Take a cue from food television chefs and try the sous chef technique to take control of the situation.
One painful fact of life is that no cheese melts into a smooth, creamy nacho sauce as well as processed cheese. But wait! The people at Modernist Cuisine have discovered a simple trick for emulsifying your favorite Gruyère or aged cheddar into a smooth sauce to rival Velveeta's.
I've seen people go to great lengths to chop up a bell pepper. There's the technique where you saw around the stem (sometimes while poking your hand a few times) and then awkwardly scoop out the innards with your fingers. Or the chopping in half method which leaves some delicate interior cutting to remove the white parts. Now watch the LA Times test kitchen break down a bell pepper in no time — without any scooping, sawing or dainty carving!