Articles

  1. How To Make Bagels Part II With Photos

    Holy, Wholly Bagels, v2.0 by: Chef Jim Berman It is really difficult to write about food, a dining experience or other kitchen foray, let alone revisit that writing. Putting into words the experience is a labor of love; articulate a feeling about something so endearingly personal is much akin to going to the gynecologist with your daughter; everything is out there, in the open, waiting to be examined and, with bated breath, holding out for some intensely personal reaction, in a voyeuristic...
  2. How To Make Fresh Ricotta

    by: Chef Jim Berman The best thing about making your own ricotta is the cost. It is less expensive, ounce for ounce, than the commercial stuff. Even with the ups and down of the milk market, you really can not beat the economics of making your own. Perhaps, though, even better is the flavor of the finished product. You are in complete control of that signature ricotta 'twang.' From mellow and luscious to grapey and tangy, the impact is your own design. The texture varies from the plastic...
  3. How To Make Marinara Sauce And Tomato Concasse

    by: Chef Jim Berman Mar- latin, sea, pool. "Marinara (noun): sauce for pasta; contains tomatoes, garlic and herbs ([URL]http://define.com/marinara[/URL])." So, where does the sea fit into the picture? In discovering the land of tomato sauce invention, marinara takes us to Naples, on the west coast of Italy. Coast. Sea. Tomatoes do not grow in the sea. Rather, the fishermen whom were fed pasta with marinara made their living on the sea. Marinaro, sailor. Or so goes the tale. Makes sense, though. Sure,...
  4. Italian Rice Dishes By Diane Seed

    Some of the best culinary literature does not always stem from the prodigious chef or food authority. Quite the contrary, in that the most learned of food merely live their passion for creating and recreating great food, time and time again. Frankly speaking, as this curmudgeon often does, it does not take celebrity status or any recognition, for that matter, to be an exceptional inventor of damn good food. Nor does it does it take an once of notoriety to write about said food. With our...
  5. How To Make Pesto

    by: Chef Jim Berman Great endings do not always mean great beginnings. Pesto emerges from a weedy start and develops into a formidable proponent of enormous flavor. Pesto can be an amalgam of various green, leafy herbs with oil, some grated hard cheese and garlic. It can also be fancied with sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes and the like or made rustic with spinach and walnuts in the Tuscan style. But, if it is the fundamental concoction that keeps the attention of this cook. Pesto is merely...
  6. How To Make Bread

    by: Chef Jim Berman Far better is to knead than be in need as it is a much better condition to be resting dough rather than resting ones feet. And certainly tugging, pulling and otherwise manhandling yeasty dough is preferred to tugging and pulling a rusty lawnmower through a not-so-well manhandled back yard. Bread baking is the great Jacuzzi that lives with us all; give up the chic spa with reckless abandon as rejuvenation and meaningful solace comes from starting a loaf of bread,...
  7. How To Make Pesto Part Ii

    by: Chef Jim Berman At our last meeting, we began a discussion on the allure of Pesto. The basil, garlic, oil, cheese and nuts were all lined up awaiting orders to assemble. With some careful scouring, good basil can be had. Fresh garlic is a staple, as are quality oil and premium Parmigiano. We can do much with these components alone, but we can make sweet music when congregated. Here's the best with measures I can do- 1 Cup, minimally packed fresh basil leaves torn from their stem and...
  8. Souffle 101

    by: Chef Jim Berman The rise of contemporary television chef-dom has done little for the classics. Prime time recipes must fit neatly into their allotted time slots, sans commercial interruptions, but allowing for the back-up bands and viewer questions. What could be a forum for intense discussion and demonstration has evolved into a few minutes of splash, bam and shaaaaazam; it is entertainment with some instruction as garnish. Not to say all is lost, as there are some fiercely talented...
  9. Oatmeal

    by: Chef Jim Berman My younger daughter is, and always has been, quite taken by the color yellow. Yellow teddy bears. Yellow butterfly stickers. Yellow paper for which to make her favorite friend's birthday card. She insists on the yellow set of badly marred, well-worn plastic fork and knife set for every meal. "Is the dishwasher clean?" you can hear before any meal, "I need my stuff."  Yellow is her signature color, if a five year-old is needing of a signature color. And besides, it's...
  10. How To Make Spring Rolls

    by: Chef Jim Berman Springtime is sensational for reinvention. All around us there are new vegetables poking up there first little leaves of the season. The gift wrapping is an early morning shower, shrouding the plantings in a damp haze. There are wonderful fruits hitting the market from closer rather than further away. Different specimens of ingredients are afoot. With invention comes innovation. And improvisation. So, with so many delicious components for our meals, it is meaningful to...
  11. Cucumbers

    by: Chef Jim Berman The most vibrant aroma of summer comes not from the barbecue, but from the garden. Few can quibble that the verdant smell of tomato leaves rubbed against your canvas gloves or wafting scents from just torn oregano leaves does not define summer. Or plucking the swelling cantaloupes from their viney entantanglement in the patch just by the shed isn't a rewarding culmination of all the sun's hard work. Summer and, more particularly, the harvest is the decisive time to bask...
  12. How To Make Corn Beef Hash

    by: Chef Jim Berman  "They are a hash smoking culture" Robin Williams quipped, "and anybody who is a friend of the hooka [hash smoking pipe], knows Pop Tarts are exactly what you want". Robin Williams was explaining the reasoning why hunger relief included Pop Tarts in the air-drops for the Afghans. And, I thought, naively, why not just drop hash? How hard could it be for our Army cooks to whip up some hash? They are a talented bunch, preparing thousands of meals a day, surely they could...
  13. Brussels Sprouts

    by: Chef Jim Berman I distinctly recall the first time I saw a Praying Mantis. I was certain that something was terribly wrong in the world. Images of giant bugs, like I would see in imported ‘70s sci-fi films were dancing around in my 6-year old brain. Giant tarantulas, the size of a Volkswagen would join allegiance with building-size scorpions and take over the world. Well, I was sure that this Praying Mantis was a super-sized grasshopper preparing for world domination, right here in my...
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