How To

  1. How To Make a Really Good Loaf of Whole Wheat Bread

    It's common knowledge that bread made with whole wheat flour is much healthier than if made with refined flour, and it's a misconception that whole wheat bread be heavy and sodden. But expecting a homemade loaf of whole wheat bread to resemble a soft and squishy supermarket loaf is unrealistic; they are two entirely different breads. Plastic-wrapped supermarket breads have paragraph-long ingredient lists—dough  conditioners, additives, and a litany of unrecognizable words—but a loaf you make...
  2. How To Deep Fry A Turkey

    Safety First When Deep Frying A Turkey A few words on safety: 1.)  The cooking equipment must be set up in a clear level area away from buildings and things that can catch fire.  Nothing puts a damper on the holiday season liking burning your place to the ground.  And it has far reaching effects in ruining the holiday for others: an insurance adjuster is now going to be called away from their family, a few firefighters are going to have to miss their holiday meal thanks to the inferno that...
  3. Tomato Concasse - How to Peel and Seed a Tomato

    Tomato Concasse - How to Peel and Seed a Tomato The first in a series examining the foods of the New World and its vast influence on cuisines around the globe. by Peter Martin "In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue..." and the culinary world was forever changed.  It's hard to imagine Italian cuisine without tomatoes, Indian and Thai food without the kick of chile peppers, or the numerous cuisines that rely heavily on the potato, but before Columbus's voyage the rest of the world, except...
  4. How to Chop an Onion

    Chefs can spend many hours of the week in the kitchen chopping onions. While it is a common kitchen chore, many people are intimidated by the task. Luckily, anyone can easily learn to properly chop an onion, and without a tear in sight. To begin, gather an unpeeled onion, a cutting board and a chef’s knife that is at least twice as long as the onion. Make sure your working space is well-ventilated. It is the build-up of sulfuric compounds that causes tears. Place the onion on the clean...
  5. Stuffing: The Thanksgiving Side Dish

    Everyone has their favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner; some look forward to the turkey, others can’t wait to dig into the pumpkin pie and other various desserts, while others yet look forward to Grandma’s Sweet Potato casserole, or Aunt Sue’s famous pickles and relishes.  While I love it all, I most look forward to the dressing, aka, stuffing.  It’s my favorite part of the meal, even more so than my Mom’s buttery, rich mashed potatoes, for which I have a great fondness.  There’s something...
  6. How to Make Gnocchi

    How to Make GnocchiJames Berman CCI Gnocchi (naw’kee, if you are from the city; nyo’kee if you are from Italy; yawn’kee if you are Italo-American) are dumplings most commonly of potato construct, served much like pasta and dubious, at best, to make without practice. The technique to create fool-proof gnocchi is not terribly thorny; rather these little puffs are just a trying bunch. Once the formula is refined, the light shines through and gnocchi success can be had.             I have made...
  7. How To Make Bagels

    Holy, Wholly bagel by: Chef Jim Berman My earliest memory comes from sharing bagels with my grandmother. It always seemed liked a Sunday morning when we would sit at her foil-speckled topped diner table with a tub of margarine and a brown bag on its side with the warm bagels spilling out. And the bag was always the stiff, cardboard-like paper bag. The piping hot bagels were never packed in plastic, as the just-baked bagels would surely melt flimsy packaging. The bagels came from the back...
  8. Mini Multilingual Fish Guide For Menu Reading

    Written By: Margaux Cintrano - Margcata. At the junction between The Mediterranean and The Atlantic, The Iberian Peninsula enjoys its exquisite variety of fish, shellfish and seafood products. Additionally, The Western Atlantic, The Eastern Atlantic and Southern Atlantic have a diversity of species and uncountable names in English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian, Catalan and French. Here is a Mini Guide to assist in Menu Reading. 1) Herring ( This variety is absent in Iberian waters....
  9. How To Sharpen A Chefs Knife

    Keeping your chef’s knife sharpened is essential to not only making your job in the kitchen easier, but making it safer as well. Using a dull knife, especially on something such as a tomato, forces you to apply more pressure than you would with a sharpened blade, which means knife slippage is more likely to occur. Since a sharp knife is a chef's best friend, it is important to know how to sharpen your knives.   Sharpening your knife with a whetstone The best way of sharpening a knife is...
  10. How To Prepare Fresh Herbs For Cooking

    Dishes prepared with fresh herbs will have more flavor than dishes made with dried herbs. Whether you’ve grown your own herbs or purchased them at a farmer’s market, you might be unsure how to prepare fresh herbs for cooking. Luckily, using fresh herbs in your cooking is not difficult. While there are several methods of preparation that will work, each herb does have its own preference. Basil Best known for flavoring Italian tomato sauces, pizzas and grilled vegetables, basil is best used...
  11. How To Make Green Tea Frozen Custard

    How to Make Green Tea Frozen Custard The second in a series on ice creams, custards and sorbets Jim Berman CCI Frozen custard is not ice cream. While the terms are often used interchangeably, they are not the same dish. Custard has to have eggs by definition and I am not the one writing the book. The book also says that ice cream, however, is egg-less. The end result is that custard produces a different mouth feel and a richer dessert. There is a bit more time invested in custard, but is...
  12. Making Creme Brulee

    I've never understood analogies that compare vanilla to something plain and simple.  Vanilla is exotic, spicy, floral, and comforting and in no way simple, plain or boring.  Sure, it gets used in just about every baked dessert, but just because it's use is widespread doesn't make plain or simple.  Vanilla is the second most expensive spice in the world, after saffron. This is because growing, harvesting and getting vanilla to market is a time-consuming, labor intensive undertaking.  First...
  13. Pesto v3.0

    Pesto v3.0 Jim Berman CCI Back in February, 2010, I came out with a couple of pieces on Pesto, that beloved amalgam of green, summer goodness. Since then, through many iterations, revisions and interpretations, I have changed my ways. Below is the original recipe, with a few changes in latitude and longitude. And there are some pictures thrown in, as well. My reflections are duly noted will make for more fodder when I circle back after even more recapitulations. No verbose history, origins...
  14. Jim Berman

    The cantankerous cook behind many of ChefTalk's educational pieces and book reviews got his start at the ripe, old age of 15 at a small fishing club on the Georgian Bay in Ontario, Canada. After several failed, ill-fated attempts at following through to study economics in New York and Pittsburgh, Jim reluctantly gave in, dropped out and dove headfirst into the murky waters of cooking. He worked in Santa Fe and migrated back east to settle, for now, along the shore of the Delaware River....
  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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