Vinaigrette Basics [video lesson]

Do you have so many bottles of vinaigrette in your fridge that when you open the door it sounds like wind chimes? Vinaigrette is one of the first things that any home cook should master for a couple of reasons. One, it's expensive to buy and tends to be loaded with ingredients. I did a survey of eight popular brands of "Italian-style" vinaigrette. They averaged 17 ingredients. The basic recipe below has six. Most people … [Read more...]

Soup 101: The Basics of Simple Soup

Simple soups are an inexpensive, low-fat meal solution. They can be a kid-friendly source of vegetables plus a great way to use leftovers. Soup has become a trendy diet alternative to juicing. To make a good soup, you just need adequate time and salt; try to avoid skimping on either. Consider vegetables and flavors that taste good together. Potential vegetables for soup include asparagus, broccoli, peas, beans, potatoes, … [Read more...]

“Minestrone” Soup like My Mother’s

In my first book, The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry, this recipe was known as "Potage 'Minestrone' a la Ma Mere," since all the recipes had French names. This is neither French, nor strictly speaking, even minestrone. Instead, it served as a catch-all flexible soup recipe into which my mother could leverage the various leftovers from our dinner table. With five kids on a Michigan farm, my mother couldn't afford to … [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

Recipe: Rosemary-Thyme-Lemon Oil

Adapted from a story by editor Jennifer Armentrout from Fine Cooking, this infused oil can be added to roasted vegetables before cooking or to steamed vegetables afterward. It provides a lovely complement to roasted beets, butternut squash, carrots, cauliflower, fennel, mushrooms, parsnips, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Yields enough for about one to two pounds of roasted vegetables.  Zest of 1 large lemon, removed in … [Read more...]

Recipe: How to Make Vegetable Stock

Despite the name of this recipe, there’s actually not such a thing as vegetable stock. By definition, stock is made from simmering bones in water. No bones? Then it’s broth. So, let us commence with vegetable broth. In my own kitchen, I collect and save the trimmings from the likes of carrots, celery, onions, the green tops from leeks and spring onions, stems from herbs and the skins from onions and garlic. If I am … [Read more...]

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...]