How to Make an Omelet (video lesson)

One of my chefs at Le Cordon Bleu once said, "If you can make an omelet, you'll never be hungry." So true. An omelet is inexpensive, versatile and amazingly quick to prepare. While it's typically thought of as a breakfast dish, British food writer Elizabeth David wrote about an omelet with a glass of wine making a splendid lunch or dinner, too.  I love this video with Jamie because he's as passionate about omelets as I … [Read more...]

How to do a Comparative Tasting and Why You Should

Salt to taste. If you've ever read a recipe, you've probably seen that line. Though common, it's also a common source of confusion for home cooks. "Whose taste?" some ask. The answer, your taste, often leads to more questioning: "What is my taste?" or "What if my taster's no good?" Salt to taste just means salt your food until tastes right to you. That means there are no right or wrong answers. Maybe I like a little more … [Read more...]

A “Cheat Sheet” to Flavor Profiles

What makes something taste Italian or Cajun or Moroccan? Whether crafting vinaigrette, seasoning chicken, or developing a soup, understanding the flavors of ingredients that help to define various cuisines can be deeply useful. Every cuisine has its regional variations; Basque cuisine is vastly different from the classic dishes from Provence, but they’re both French. So consider this a shorthand reference to a few … [Read more...]

How to Outfit a Kitchen on a Budget or 14 Things Every Kitchen Needs

People have been quite successful making a lot of food in the past centuries with little more than a pot, spoon, bowl, knife and cutting surface. I’ve put together a very general guide that I’ve used for events aimed at college students, and you’ll find the list below. A Good Chef’s Knife Don’t waste money on a cheap knife block set. The quality is not good, and you’ll get a bunch of knives you’ll never use. Start with a … [Read more...]

How to Cut an Onion [video lesson]

My book club read The Sharper Your Knife and we all loved it. So I got a copy of The Kitchen Counter Cooking School and I was so inspired, I went ahead and got the chef's knife from block set we received as a wedding gift 11 years ago sharpened for the first time! I've read through your description on how to cut an onion, but I think I'm doing something wrong. Do you have any photos of this process online … [Read more...]

Spices & Herbs: A Quick Lesson

As this terrific video by Consumer Reports shows, you don't need to spend a lot of money on fancy spices. However, the key element is when spices get old. Ground herbs and spices are more exposed to air, and thus they lose their potency more quickly. Spices vs. Herbs First, its important to know the difference between a spice and an herb. A spice is any dried part of a plant, other than the leaves, that's used for … [Read more...]

Recipes & Fundamentals: Using a Whole Chicken

On Wednesday I bought a chicken on sale for 99 cents a pound, and cut it up, shaving off the breasts to reserve the back for stock. It left two hearty chicken breasts nearly 14 ounces each, or about eight servings in all. I cut up the back, roasted it to a dark brown, then added it with half an onion, all the skins from the onions I’ve used in the past week, a garlic clove, a carrot and a celery stalk in an eight-quart … [Read more...]