Articles from ckoetke

  1. How To Make Brown Stock

    In our last class session, we considered the importance of stock, discussed the fundamentals of stock making, and studied white stock in particular. In today's class, we will still be discussing stock, but will shift our focus slightly, concentrating on brown stock.

    Like white stock, brown stock has an extremely important role in cooking. It is indispensable and always on hand in all fine professional kitchens. Visualize the pungent brown sauce that accompanied a sautéed or grilled piece of...
  2. How To Clean and Cook Fresh Artichokes

    There are a number of ingredients that I often wonder how anyone ever thought could be edible, or even tasty. Olives are one of these as when the olive comes off the tree, it is unbelievably bitter. Artichokes are another. Who would have looked at this oversized thistle and thought "Maybe this thorny flower bud, if handled and cooked correctly, could be a succulent treat?" or "Maybe if I cook it and scrape the leaves between my teeth, I could be treated to a sweet vegetal pulp?"

    The...
  3. Duck Varieties

    There are three major duckling breeds available in the United States: White Pekin, Muscovy, and Moulard. Knowing the differences between the various breeds can help chefs and restaurateurs select the best kind of duckling for their menu or personal needs.
    *Information courtesy of The Duckling Council (www.duckling.com)

    White Pekin:
    The industry leader, comprising roughly 95% of national duckling consumption
    Mild flavor
    Data reviewed and approved by the USDA shows that a 3.5 ounce skinless...
  4. Artichokes Al Judeo

    When Chef Michael Altenberg, chef owner of Campagnola in Evanston, IL, told the Chef Forum about a dish that he frequently makes called artichokes al judeo, we at ChefTalk.com were intrigued. This Italian dish, which according to Chef Altenberg, originates in the Jewish ghettos of Rome, is unique in that the artichokes are literally smashed with the side of a sturdy knife or the bottom of a heavy pan. The dish uses baby artichokes. Before crushing the artichokes, they must first be trimmed...
  5. How To Clean Scallops In The Shell With Photos

    When I was training in some of the great restaurants in France, I was amazed that all the scallops we purchased were in the shell, much like you would buy an oyster or mussel. They were beautiful specimens--tight and extremely sweet. It was all a romantic picture until I had to open and clean several cases of them as fast as I possibly could (the only working speed in these kitchens). Don't be misled--it's a tough job that ultimately yields a proportionally small amount of scallops.

    But...
  6. How To Cook Duck With Illustrations

    Serving medium rare to medium slices of duck breast has been the rage in restaurants from coast to coast for years. But how many times is this same duck served with a thick layer of tough fat crowning each slice? I imagine the response might be "very often" . Maybe you thought that duck (or rather the skin) was naturally chewy and best trimmed from each slice prior to consumption.

    About 10 years ago, I met Burt Culver, CEO of Culver Duck Farms. Burt has always had a mission to teach chefs...
  7. Chef Knives How To Really Use Them

    Part I Basics with the chef knife

    I teach a lot of cooking classes. Without fail, at some point early on in the class, the following scenario transpires:

    I pick up my chef knife and mindlessly chop something. Maybe I just roughly chop up some vegetables or possibly reduce an onion to a finely minced mass. I have been doing it for years. . The knife feels comfortably familiar in my hand. My chef knife and I are and have been good friends for a long time. My left hand works in rhythm with...
  8. How To Use A Chef Knife Part III With Photos

    Part II Basics with the chef knife

    Most chefs would probably agree that the chef knife is their most important weapon in the arsenal of kitchen tools. It is the professional chef's constant companion, a reliable side-kick. Aside from basic workhorse cutting, the chef knife is an extremely versatile knife capable of performing a wide range of different jobs.

    The chef knife can cut very delicate items as well as break small bones by using different ends of the blade. It can also dice, mince,...
  9. How To Make White Stock

    Stock. It is essential to serious cooking. Walk into any restaurant that aspires to prepare fine cuisine and you will undoubtedly see a large pot of stock gently bubbling somewhere in the kitchen. In French cuisine, stock is so important that it is called "fond," which translates into "foundation." Chefs frequently compare cooking (and culinary training) to building a house. As any architect knows, a strong foundation, while never really seen, is of greatest importance. If the foundation is...
  10. Cooking Turkey Dinner

    Stay Cool Cooking Your Turkey Dinner

    What makes a normally calm home chef completely lose it?
    Answer: Holiday Entertaining.

    Frankly, it's a feat of culinary dexterity to have every part of a large meal, like those served on Thanksgiving or Christmas, arrive at table in unison and piping hot. It's perhaps even more demanding to serve such a meal while donning one of those "it was no effort at all" smiles. Who's kidding who? How many times have you seen talented cooks cloister themselves...
  11. Soup Preparation

    Welcome back to ChefTalk's on-line classroom where we have been studying the basics of cooking! Our last 2 class sessions focused on stock-making which is one of the most important culinary building blocks. Now that we know how to make both white and brown stock, what do you do with it once you have made it? The answer is that there are a lot of uses for stock. One major use of stock in the professional kitchen is for soup making. Stocks form the base of a multitude of soups.
    Soup is...
  12. Interview With Scallop Diver Tim Hunt

    Diver scallops have been all the rage on menus across the country. To better understand what diver scallops are and how they are actually harvested, ChefTalk.com tracked down veteran scallop diver Tim Hunt from Deer Isle, Maine. Tim has been collecting scallops from the icy Atlantic for the last 20 years.
    ChefTalk: So tell us, what exactly is a "diver scallop".

    Tim Hunt: A diver scallop is exactly what the name means--scallops that are collected from the ocean by divers hand-picking each...
  13. Interview With Michael Ginor Author Of Foie Gras A Passion

    ChefTalk: First off, I greatly enjoyed reading your book. For the person who knows nothing about foie gras, how would you explain it in a nutshell?
    Michael A. Ginor: To begin with, the interesting thing about foie gras is its illustrious history. There is no other food product that has such a history. Unlike things like truffles, caviar, or lobster, foie gras has been popular as far back as 5000 years ago and has always been a gourmet product. Only a hundred years ago, lobster would wash...
  14. The King Of Cheeses Roquefort

    Perhaps the oldest known cheese in the world, scholars speculate that Roquefort was known even to the ancient Romans. This cheese, made in the desolate southern French town of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon, was the first cheese in France to be legally protected from fraudulent look-alikes. While Roquefort is certainly not to everyone's liking (which means there is more of it for those of us who adore it), it is undisputedly one of the world's most famous and unique cheeses. Roquefort packs a punch....
  15. How To Saute

    Welcome back to class. During the next several class sessions, we will be exploring the different methods of cooking food. These methods are classified as dry, moist, or a combination of dry and moist. Dry methods include sautéing, roasting, grilling, deep frying, and are defined by the lack of a water based cooking medium. Moist cooking methods, poaching and steaming, rely on water to do the cooking. Combination cooking, principally braising, employs both dry and moist cooking methods. In...
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