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Recipes and Techniques

Guacamole

Ah…sweet delicious Guacamole.  Nice and creamy.  Tangy and a bit sweet.  And pretty damn versatile as well.  I’ve got to admit that I don’t make guacamole as often as I should, but when I do, I always love it.  It in addition to use as a straight dip, you use it as a spread on sandwiches, and on too many Mexican and Southwest dishes to count.  You can also add in ingredients to change it up and

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How to Chop Cilantro

Cilantro is an herb that people seem to love or hate.  I’ve actually heard that some folks are simply predisposed to find the taste and smell repulsive.  Fortunately, I don’t count myself amount them.

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How to Pan Roast Steaks

I love a grilled steak.  Getting the beautiful smoky char on the outside of the meat adds a great flavor and texture, but the grill is not your only steak option.  Too many of my friends don’t think about cooking a steak “indoors”, but really there’s no reason they shouldn’t.  In fact, pan roasting a steak gives you the opportunity to add some additional flavors that are harder to do on the gri

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Mushroom Risotto

Too many of my friends are intimidated by cooking risotto, but in reality it’s not too complex.  You do have to pay attention to the cooking times, and it’s not a “set and forget” dish, but technically there’s not too much to master.  And once you have the basics – you can make thousands of different risottos.

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How to Make a Brown Butter Sauce

A brown butter sauce is one of those simple recipes that really needs to be in your repertoire.  It’s really very simple, because there’s one key ingredient – butter.  It’s really very versatile, because while there’s only one key ingredient, that will go well with hundreds of others.

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Pork Chop Brine

In this recipe I make a flavored brine for pork chops or pork tenderloin, which is based on my basic brine recipe.  Pork can become overcooked pretty quickly and the brining process gives you a bit more insurance by getting some additional moisture in the meat.  My flavored brine for pork chops, uses a few of pork’s “natural” pairings to also boost up the flavor. 

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How to Make a Flavored Brine

I’ve already posted a technique on how to make a basic brine, but just like all techniques and recipes I post, I don’t want you to stop at “the basic”.  A brine can be your blank canvas, and you can paint a different picture whenever you’d like.  Different foods pair better together than others, and you can use those natural food combinations to make your brined foods even better.

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How to Make a Basic Brine

Brining is a process similar to marinating in that both expose food to a flavored liquid, but they actually work in significantly different ways.  Marinating is usually a relatively short process (3 – 5 hours) that primarily uses acid to break down meat fibers, resulting in greater tenderness.

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Making a Bechamel Sauce

Another of the French “mother” sauces, Bachemel is a pretty simple combination of roux and milk (or cream).  The combination forms a thick white sauce that can be taken a number of different ways.  Adding some cheese, I use it for my mac-‘n-cheese, I’ll also put it (sometimes) as a layer in my lasagna recipes, and there are a hundred other uses.

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