Ingredients: The Core of a Dish
How to Brown Onions
Whether you're cooking them slowly or quickly, a little knowledge about onion types and browning reactions is all you need for delicious, perfect onions every time.
A New Way to Cook Mushrooms
Soaking mushrooms and then piling them into a pan and cooking with a little water is not only the easiest way to cook them, but also results in deeply flavored, beautifully browned mushrooms with no oily taste.
Recipe: Ancho Chile Sauce
Ancho chiles give this versatile sauce deep flavor. It's a delicious braising sauce for chicken, a base for red chili and a perfect enchilada sauce.
Recipe: Slow-Browned Onions
These savory, slow-cooked onions have a silky texture and rich, complex flavor. They're great in French onion soup, in quiche or on sandwiches.
Recipe: Lime Cordial
This sweet lime cordial is similar to Rose's Lime Juice but better. It's great in gimlets or mixed with club soda for a refreshing soft drink.
Recipe: Sweet and Spicy Walnuts
These crunchy, sweet and spicy nuts make a great snack but are also a delicious addition to salads and even desserts.
Recipe: Quick-Browned Onions
Unlike slow-browned onions, these savory sauteed onions retain their shape and more onion flavor. They're delicious on sandwiches or as a topping for steaks or chops.
Recipe: Ginger-Scallion Sauce
This intriguing and flavorful ginger-scallion sauce, based on a recipe by Momofuku's David Chang, complements noodles, rice, eggs or grilled meats.
5 Great Ingredients for Two: Meat and Poultry
With ingenuity and planning, an experienced cook can use most cuts of meat and poultry and come up with a great dinner for two, but some cuts are better choices for couples than others. Here are five of my favorites cuts, plus great recipes that will get you started with them.
Ingredient: Creole Seasoning
It's easy enough to find Creole seasoning in the spice aisle at the supermarket, but the commercial stuff is mostly salt. So I make my own.
Garlic has supposedly been known as "the stinking rose" from ancient Greek and Roman days. The "stinking"bit is obvious but why it's called a "rose," though, is a mystery. Nevertheless, many cuisines would be far poorer without this odiferous allium.
Ingredient: Steak Seasoning
Steak seasoning is a great way to boost the flavor of an inexpensive steak. You can buy mixtures at the store, but making your own enables you to customize it.
This pickling spice mixture is based on the recipe published in Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing, by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn. A truly great book.
Ingredient: Gremolata - A Burst of Flavor
Gremolata is a combination of lemon zest, garlic, parsley, and olive oil. Traditionally an addition to Osso Buccoit is also great as a garnish on grilled or roasted lamb, pork chops, beef, and even roasted potatoes. Serves 2.
Ingredients: Capers - Beautiful Buds
Capers are the preserved flower buds of a shrub or bush that originated in the Mediterranean area. They are are either salted or brined and used as a key igredient in many Italian and Sicillian dishes.
A vinaigrette is basically just oil, acid, and flavorings. If you get the proportions right you can make custom vinagrettes for any meal.
Ingredient: Strawberry Conserves
These strawberry conserves would be equally good on either pancakes, French toast, or biscuits. They require a bit of advance planning but almost no effort whatsoever. Makes 1 pint.
Ingredient: Juniper Berries
Juniper berries have a wonderfully piney taste - most like rosemary if you looking for a comparison - but more resinous and with citrus overtones.
Ingredient: Dry Vermouth
Vermouth is a fortified wine (meaning additional alcohol is added to it) flavored with herbs and spices.
In this country we tend to think of eggs as the ultimate, or at least penultimate, breakfast food. We eat them scrambled, fried, poached, and soft-boiled. But eggs have a place way beyond the breakfast table.
Ingredient: Herb Mixtures
Although these mixtures can be found, pre-mixed, in the spice section in most supermarkets it's nice to be able to make your own in case you happen to run out or in case you want to make them using fresh herbs or because you want to tweak the herb balance.
Ingredient: Grade B Maple Syrup
I discovered grade B maple syrup when I lived in New Hampshire and bought some at a road-side stand. That night I had pancakes for supper and tried it out. Wow! As my brother described when I introduced him to it, "It's like eating the tree!"
Ingredient: Chile Powder - Packed with Flavor
Making your own chile powder enables you to control the heat and flavor of your chile powder. This recipe gets a nice smoky flavor from chipotle chiles.
Ingredient: Spanish Paprika - Not Just a Garnish
Spanish paprika tastes like smoke. In fact, it's an addictive smoke - a culinary nicotine. If you follow food trends you already know how popular it's become, but if you haven't tried it, you must.
Ingredient: Mayonnaise - Variations on a Recipe
We tend to think of mayonnaise as a sandwich spread, and in doing so we miss some of its best applications. Instead, think of mayonnaise as a recipe for a cold hollandaise sauce and all sorts of options open up. For instance, it's great on asparagus, fish, chicken, artichokes, broccoli, and on and on.
Ingredient: Moorish Spice Mixture
This recipe for a Moorish spice mixture is intended for for pork, but I've found it's also great on chicken and lamb. Best of all, it keeps well so it's always handy.
Ingredient: Muffaletta Olive Salad - Intense, Outstanding
The recipe for the New Orleans Olive Salad mixture is the key to a great muffaletta sandwich.
Ingredient: Pork Dry Rub - A Pig's Best Friend
This pork dry rub recipe isn't particularly hot and, unlike many rubs, it doesn't contain any sugar because I also use it for grilled pork and the sugar will burn. Try this on smoked pork butt, pork ribs (smoked or grilled), and grilled chops.
Ingredient: Basic Fruit Crisp Dessert Struesel
This basic recipe for the topping on a fruit crisp dessert can be adapted for use with almost any fruit. Make extra topping and store it in the freezer for last minute desserts.
The odds are you hate anchovies. I don't have a formal survey, but anecdotally I suspect about 80 percent of Americans do. I did. But used with a delicate hand they can make old recipes leap to new life.
Ingredient: Olive Oil
The last time I had a checkup the doctor complimented me on my cholesterol levels. She said they were exactly where they should be. I put it down to my fat intake - specifically I go through about 12 ounces of olive oil a month.
Ingedient: Peach Salsa - Summer in a Bowl
I've had an urge for peach salsa lately. Sweet and hot are natural compatriots on a plate and peaches and chiles even more so because peppers also bring a mild bitter element to the mix.
Beer is mankind's oldest alcoholic beverage and for much of the history it was more popular than water. There was a practical reason for this, water was often contaminated, but to make beer you need to boil water, purifying it, and then the alcohol helps reduce further contamination. So beer was a relatively safe drink.
Ingredient: Greek Seasoning
This is my version of Greek seasoning. Although it has the usual high-oregano content, it contains no salt and I like adding some ground bay leaves to the mixture.
Sorrel is a leafy, sour herb. The sourness is unexpected because it's a result of oxalic acid which ordinary produces the bitter flavor found in collards and turnip greens. The sourness is unlike any other I know and the flavor certainly isn't like lemon, vinegar, or even lemon grass. Sorrel has fresh grassy notes.
It's easy, when cooking, to focus on the main item, to concentrate on the chicken in the paprikas or the leeks in the vichysoisse. But the ingredients we add in preparing these dishes are as important as the focus.
Mushroom Duxelles: Intense and Refined
This recipe for mushroom duxelles produces an intensely flavored sautéed mushroom and shallot mixture. I was introduced to the concoction when I first made Beef Wellington, a classic use of this semi-paste. Makes 1 cup.
Homemade Spice Blends
Visit the average supermarket spice aisle and in addition to pure forms like dried thyme and ground chipotles, you'll find dozens upon dozens of herb mixtures and spice blends. There's Fines Herbes, Italian herbs, Cajun seasoning, BBQ rub, Herbes de Provence, and chili powder among others. These are fine but often I want fresh Ialian herbs or...