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Garnish – The Most Misunderstood Word in Cooking

When you think of garnish, you probably picture a sprig of parsley or mint, a sad radish rose, a carrot curl, or doodle of sauce, or some barely edible flower that has decorated plates for a hundred years – and still does in some quarters. If so, I'm guessing you don't spend a lot of …

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Three Ways to Boost Your Confidence in the Kitchen

I’ve been cooking pretty seriously for 25 years now, and in the process I’ve had the opportunity to watch lots of other people in the kitchen. I’ve learned something from everyone I’ve ever cooked with, and also noticed certain patterns. The folks that are confident enough to relax and have fun in the kitchen have …

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Spicy Mama Lil’s Spaghetti alla Carbonara – Recipe

Vegetarian Spaghetti Carbonara with Mama Lil's Spicy Peppers

Spaghetti alla carbonara is one of those great Italian dishes that comes with multiple-choice apocryphal explanations for the name. Possibly it is in the style favored by a group of charcoal makers, or coal miners, or maybe it was named after the charcoal burner it was cooked on. In any case, the traditional version is …

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How to Plan a Vegetarian Meal by Answering Three Easy Questions

As a vegetarian, one of the things I hear all the time is “I’d like to eat less meat, but I just don’t know how to plan a vegetarian meal.” Without the familiar routine of building a plate with meat at the center, many perfectly competent cooks find themselves at a loss for how to make …

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Things That Go Crunch In The Night – Making Your Food Pop, Part 4

– Chef Michel Richard, Happy in the Kitchen

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Salt
Acid
Fat
Crunch
A Telling Failure

I couldn’t agree more with Chef Richard. Properly crispy latkes, the well-browned cheese atop lasagna, a simple but crispy corn quesadilla, or good homemade breadcrumbs on a rich gratin are great favorites of mine.

And in contrast to those dry, shattering crunchy bits, there …

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When It All Goes Wrong – Making Your Food Pop Part 5

So I came home with some kumquats, and, in the mood to just play with a fun ingredient, set about creating an .  I never meant it to be part of this series, but that’s how it worked out.

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Salt
Acid
Fat
Crunch
A Telling Failure

If you aren’t familiar with them, an amuse is just what it sounds …

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Spare The Fat, Spoil The Flavor – Making Your Food Pop, Part 3

I’m not the first person to observe that Americans have a crazy, conflicted relationship to fat. We love it, and eat far more of it than probably just about any other country in the world. God knows we have the obesity epidemic to show for it. At the same time, we fear it mightily, speaking …

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