Archive for the ‘How To’ Category

Preserving The Harvest

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

I used to find the wild blackberries in my yard to be a nuisance.  The overgrowth was overwhelming.  Coming back inside with scratched and bloody arms was usually the end result of pulling out the invasive, indigenous vines.  This year, however, I decided to let them hang around a little longer and harvest the berries.  I managed to pick six quarts of luscious, ripe, juicy berries and made them into jam.  I managed close to 14 eight ounce jars of handmade blackberry jam.  I look forward to spreading it on Sunday morning biscuits and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches this Fall.

Chef Jay’s Shortbread Cookies

Sunday, December 5th, 2010


12 tablespoons butter at room temperature
1/4 cup superfine sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Generously grease a baking sheet.

In a small bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Sift in the flour and, with a wooden spoon, blend well.  Form the dough into a small ball.

Roll the dough to an 1/8 inch thickness on a board that has been lightly dusted with superfine sugar.

With a biscuit cutter, cut into rounds.

Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Mise en Place

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

The term mise en place translates into everything in its place.  With the Holiday season nearly here, this term applies to cooking preparation more than ever.  Planning your menus is a great way to save time, lower your grocery bill by buying like items in bulk, and get ahead of the increased traffic that enters your home.  Once you have your meals planned, you can begin to prepare some elements of your meals, or, in the instance of a lasagna, prepare the main courses.  Making salad dressings ahead of time as well as cookies, which I mentioned in my “C” is for Cookie post last year, will allow you to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your family.

Acidic Food & Wine Suggestions

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Artichokes or Asparagus: A crispy New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

Crudités: A young, dry Pinot Grigio, Chenin Blanc or Pinot Blanc

Lemon Tart: Canadian Ice Wine

Chicken Curry with Lime: Gewürztraminer or Riesling

Sorbets: Moscato d’Asti

Finding a balance of sweetness is the key to balancing the acidic flavors in your food.

Let There Be Light!!

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

If you use charcoal in your grill (I use natural wood charcoal) and you start your coals in a chimney, consider using an alcohol fuel canister to light the coals.  Using newspaper can be inconsistent and may need to be done a few times to light the coals.  The fuel canister has a constant flame to ignite the coals and will start the chimney in a shorter time.  Happy grilling!

Immaculate Chef

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

Here is a past episode of The Immaculate Chef that I was in courtesy of Dubious TV.  Click here to view the episode!!

Wine of the Week

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

This week’s wine of the week comes from The Northern Rhone Valley.

Ferraton Pere & Fils 2005 Hermitage (Syrah)

Visual: inky purple with a paler rim, deep core, clear

Nose: jammy fruit, blackberries, white pepper

Palate: medium alcohol, medium-plus acid, blackberries, tobacco, bitter chocolate, cinnamon

Pairing: Venison, Spare Ribs, Lamb, Swordfish, Edam or Gouda

Nice Pair!(ing)

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Summer is here and it is definitely time to BBQ.  Most of the time when searing those succulent, viscid vittles, I am enjoying a beer.  However there are times when the perfect wine pairing will ratchet up the meal to an elegant level that transforms the patio into your own personal sidewalk cafe.  Here is a pairing to assist you with such an aesthetic.

Rosemary Grilled Chicken Breast served with a fresh peach relish paired with a Viogner (vee-oh-NYAY).

This medium bodied, acidic white wine from the Northern Rhône, is fruity and fragrant, with notes of peach, apricot, melon and apple.  The peach notes will be emphasized because of the relish, and the crisp, refreshing apple notes will compliment the grilled flavors quite nicely.

Summer Traffic? Keep It Cool.

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

With the teasing of warm weather that has been around us lately, keeping groceries cool is so important while transporting them home during rush hour.  I like to pack a cooler with me to keep foods that need to be refrigerated (particularly meats, fish and poultry) in a cool and safe environment.  It doesn’t take long for dangerous bacteria to form on raw food.  Anything above 40 degrees F and below 140 degrees F is prime breeding grounds for those hazardous, microscopic, creepy-crawlies.  Grocers tend to have ice on hand for purchase, or if to are going to the butcher or fish market, they are more than willing to supply you with a small amount of ice for the trip home.  Don’t let the heat from being stuck in traffic ruin your groceries.

It’s Not Easy Being Green

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Lately, when I am browsing the produce stands, I am finding pale green beans.  If you are experiencing this same phenomenon, here’s a tip to bring out the vibrant, vivacious and vivid green color.

Bring 1 quart of water to a boil and and a pinch of salt and about 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda to the water.  The baking soda will sweeten the water pulling out the natural sugars and pigment in the green beans.  Trim the stem and blanch in the water for about 3-4 minutes.  Shock them in an ice water bath until completely cool and save for the next day in a sealed container, if you aren’t eating them right away.

You will see an enormous change from doing the pale green beans in your steamer basket.

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