All posts filed under: Techniques

One From Column A – Char Siu

Brian (my partner in crime for a great many years) and I lived for Saturdays. Saturday was the day the BBQ Place (I know, a strange name for a Chinese restaurant) at Asian Square on Buford Hwy pumped out non stop Char Siu – and we stuffed ourselves in plate upon plate of  mahogany lacquered, perfectly seasoned medallions. Char Siu – or Chinese BBQ Pork used to be a staple at every Chinese restaurant. You could order it fresh off the rotary thingy, sliced and served with a heap of rice; find it diced and scattered like little jewels throughout the pork fried rice; used in twice cooked pork, and minced – mixed with hoisin sauce and stuffed in bbq buns. Times were it was a staple at every Mr. Won’s, House of Eng, Mama Wu, Ho Ho, Cantonese Palace (insert your favorite Chinese Restaurant here). But those are sad days gone by. Like a great many things in equally diverse cultures, time – money – labor have taken their toll, and unless your particular Chinese haunt does their own slowly turning, crisperizing Peking Duck, …

Waste Not ~ Want Not

After working up the marmalade from last week, I had a ton (well, okay…it was a couple of cups) of expressed orange pulp left over. It’s a curse, but I’ve never been one to throw scraps away. My mom always trained us to use as much of a vegetable as possible, then save the scraps for stock. It wasn’t a terribly new thing to do, as chef’s have been saving cast-offs for stocks and seasonings for eons. So I would dutifully keep a Tupperware or baggie in the freezer and add the potato peelings, carrot shavings, onion skins (wilted radish and limp cucumber) to the bag for use in some future stock. At my first real hotel job, I worked with a chef that kept a large 30 gallon trash can in the freezer. I’d do my inventories… and look at the can.  “Don’t worry about what’s in the can” the chef would say. “But… what is it?” “It’s the Magic Meat Barrel” he would say casually… and leave it at that. The hotel had …

Minneola Marmalade

I can’t really say that I’m a creature of habit. I live my life in episode. Each week, my life lurches and kicks… and whatever regimented series of events I have planned go out the window. Take the orange kick I’ve gotten myself into. If I had any discipline towards a routine, I would be dutifully having an orange with my morning coffee… like I had intended to do when I started buying them. But routine..especially with food… is boring. I had a good friend that every morning, without fail, ate a frozen waffle with syrup, a Red Hot (those scary red, spicy hot dogs) and a cup of coffee. Although I still admire his ability to regiment something as basic as breakfast, I could never do that. I need change, I need variety. So… I’m back to that bowl of oranges sitting in the kitchen. I still buy them every week, but I’ve decided I like seeing the full bowl of fruit more than I actually like eating them. Now I’m left with finding …

And in this Corner… Rubbed Pork Rib Eye

Round 2 of the Marx Foods Ridiculously Delicious Challenge As excited as I was to make it past the preliminary “easy” round of the Marx Foods challenge, I have to say getting ready for Round 2 was proving a little “hinky”. The instructions were to – Pick 2 of the provided pantry ingredients and create an original dish.. First, the list of provided ingredients: Tepin Chilies Szechwan Peppers Coconut Sugar Grains of Paradise Dill Pollen Dried Sour Cherries Juniper Berries Iranian Saffron … Wow.. 3 hot, 1 sour, 1 sweet, and 3 aromatics. The Juniper Berries immediately caught my eye. I had been wanting to use them in a rub, but I had never gotten around to picking some up. Looking over the list, I settled on pairing them with the Grains of Paradise, a mildly hot, deep flavored pepper very similar to a spicy black peppercorn. I settled on a juniper based rub on a pork rib eye loin. I also wanted to extend the flavor to the potato cakes, so I’ve added juniper …

Spatchcocking Your Bird

– or –  How to Make a Limp Chicken You!   In the back of the class… I hear you giggling… You’re the same one that snickered when we made Spotted Dick… and Sticky Buns… Sheesh… Not every thing that sounds dirty… is. Spatchcocking is a dressing procedure that enables you to remove most of the structural bones in the body cavity of chicken or other fowl in order to maximize the heat-to-surface ratios. It’s particularly useful when grilling whole birds. Although, can be just as helpful when you want to reduce the overall cooking time and simplify carving of the breasts (heh..he he heh..breasts.) What you will need… 1 – 3 to 4 Pound Hen (or fryer) 1 Boning Knife 1 Good Pair of Kitchen Shears Cutting Board 4 Skewers Compound Butter (See Recipe Below) and – Plenty of Lemony Chicken Gravy (See Recipe Way Below)   1. Empty the carcass of the offal, neck, and extraneous fat, place back up on a cutting board 2. Feel along the back, and beginning with the …

Glaśee Oranges – Steph’s Bite by Bite Online Bake Sale

 Tending the ball and chain Our story so far…… You all remember back at the beginning of the year we began the Glaśee Orange project. We left our tale with the oranges in the beginning of the last 2 week steep and soak. Today we began the drying process. Six of the oranges will air dry and drain for the next 24 hours. When that process is complete, and the syrup has ceased running, they will be placed into the dehydrator for another 12 hours (or so) until the skin is no longer tacky. What will become of the oranges? As some of you may know, Stephanie from Steph’s Bite by Bite has organized an Online Bake Sale to raise money to benefit the efforts of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in their fight against Leukemia, Lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, and Myeloma. The Bake Sale will be on January 31st. The auction will open at 7:00 AM EST and will close on January 31st at 9:00 PM EST. Click on the above link to see all …

I love you like a Ball and Chain

This story actually begins 12 years ago when I made my first Il Timpano. Two and a half agonizing days to produce the large, tub shaped pasta, cheese, meat and sauce filled drum. Layers of savory sauces, precision sliced meats and hand-made pastas, lovingly prepared, painstakingly cooked and sleep deprived assembly to produce that culinary masterpiece. Was it worth it…really? No, probably not. It was good, my dinner guests loved it, but did the effort and time involved weigh against the end product? I probably could have just done one of the ingredient components of the dish and they would have been equally as happy…. and, I would have had two good night’s sleep to boot. But easy isn’t really the point. I always seem to find myself elbow deep in some cooking project. It’s important to me to fully commit myself to a food project and to do it as it was originally done… at least once. Only then can you fully appreciate the effort involved in creating complex flavors, and the traditions created …

Kitchen Essentials – Smoked Salt

I used to work for a contractor in Atlanta that believed everything worth doing was a win – win – win situation. You do business right – you win. You price yourself competitively – you win. You do something clever – you win some more. If there wasn’t that extra win in it for him… well, that project just didn’t get the go. This is one of those wins. You might have guessed by now – I’m cheap. I really dislike paying money for something I can make myself for a fraction of the cost. Case in point… Smoked Salt. Smoked salt adds a unique layer to any meat preparation; it tweaks scrambled eggs to make them amazing; it makes brownies something special; it makes shellfish sing. A lot of the recipes I write utilize smoked salt – so, I go through a lot of it. Now I could pay $20.00 for a 4-ounce bottle of lower-end salt and have enough to last me for a month… or so… ..or I can buy a 2-pound …

Boiling Mad

Eggs Used – 6 Its the dread of any boiled egg. Absent-mindedly leaving your eggs on the boil too long only to end up  with gray/green sulfur packets when you cut them open. That green ring – or green death as I call, it is actually just ferrous sulfide. It is formed as a chemical reaction from the hydrogen sulfide in the whites coming into extended heated contact with the iron in the yolks. Its perfectly harmless.. just unpleasent to look at…and that greenish tint – well, it hits the gag reflex every time. I have a technique for making perfect boiled eggs. You will need: 1 Medium Sauce Pan Water 6 Eggs A Timer 1. Place the eggs in the pan; fill the pan 3/4 full with cold water 2. Place the pot on the cook-top on high and bring to a boil 3. Once the water boils, turn off the heat and set the timer for 12 minutes – exactly 4. When the time is up, drain off the water and run cold …

Perfectly Poached

  Poaching Eggs Okay, here it is… the 5 (count ’em, Five ) easy steps to perfect (I mean, the right out of the gate, every time kind of perfect) poached eggs. Forget everything you learned about the huge elbow deep pot of water… the clockwise swirling of the water…the dropping the egg exactly in the center of the vortex – it’s useless. 99.9999% of the time, your yolk will become disembodied from the white… the whites develop into long snotty, cobwebs that would be better suited as a Halloween prank than as a breakfast item. So, to be the poached egg envy of your friends, you will need a couple of things on the ready: 1 Medium Sauce Pan / with lid 1 Teaspoon Salt 1 Tablespoon Vinegar Water Slotted Spoon 1 Saucer for Each Egg 1. Fill the saucepan with about 2 1/2 to 3″ water, place on the cooktop on high 2. Add the Salt and vinegar and Bring to a boil 3. Crack the eggs into the saucers 4. When the …