Knife Skills – The Basics [video lesson]

I've interviewed dozens of home cooks and hands down (pun intended), the most valuable thing a home cook can do is to get a decent chef's knife and learn how to use it. Below, you'll find a quick video lesson. After that, you'll find basics on buying and caring for a chef's knife. A good knife is a worthwhile investment. If you buy a quality one and take care of it, you will have it for a lifetime and will easily pay … [Read more...]

Recipe: Blueberry Jam Like My Grandpa Charles’

"Who are you?" Mike asked me last week.  "What are you talking about?" I replied. He waved his hand over the counter and dozens of jars of canned jams, jellies and preserves. "Have you become your grandmother? You're  canning like a maniac." "No, I am not becoming my grandmother," I sniffed indignantly. "You read the book. This is all about my grandfather."  Until this summer, as an adult, I made jam exactly twice, … [Read more...]

Reader Q&A: What the heck is a SUPER FOOD?

  I keep hearing about "superfoods." What the heck are they and should I care? - Danielle, a reader from Milwaukee   Superfood. You may have seen this mysterious moniker planted on grocery store packaging, promising to prevent cancer, heart disease or any number of ailments. But what exactly is a superfood, and is this buzzword bona fide or food marketing malarkey? Here’s what we know. A superfood is a … [Read more...]

How to Roast a Chicken

You don’t need a fancy roasting pan, just any kind of oven-proof pan, skillet or sauté pan with sides one inch or higher in which the chicken fits comfortably will work. A rack is nice, but you can just roughly chop up carrots, onion and potatoes to spread them across the bottom and balance the chicken on top to allow the juices to drain. Include some kind of fat such as oil or butter, plus salt and pepper, and baste it … [Read more...]

How to Cut Up a Whole Chicken

  After reviewing dozens of videos on this subject, we decided to include this one from Gourmet to demonstrate what's arguably one of the most valuable lessons a home cook can master. Why is it so important? Here’s an excerpt from The Kitchen Counter Cooking School:              “If there’s one skill that I think people need to learn is how to cut up a whole chicken,” said Rick Rodgers, the author of 35 … [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 Make No-Knead Artisan Bread [Video Lesson]

Making your own bread sounds like a laborious undertaking. But with this savvy recipe from Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François, the authors of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, you'll find that it takes only minutes and four simple ingredients: flour, water, salt and yeast.  Here's the recipe they're demonstrating in the video; I've added herbs to this variation for some extra flavor.  This makes four 1-pound loaves and … [Read more...]