White sauce is known as béchamel in France or besciamella in Italy and is an important basic sauce that is used in many dishes like lasagna. White sauce is made using only three ingredients: milk, butter, and flour. Most recipes … Continue reading How To Make White Sauce The Easy Way (Béchamel / Besciamella)
Fish fillets, such as European sea bass (also known by the Italian name branzino or the French name loup de mer) or sea bream (also known by the Italian orata or the French daurade) are great when cooked on the … Continue reading How To Cook Fish Fillets On The Skin
Beurre noisette, literally hazelnut butter, is often used in French cooking and baking, and it is therefore good to know how to make it. The hazelnut doesn’t only refer to the color, but also to the nutty smell and taste … Continue reading How To Make Beurre Noisette (Brown Butter)
Guacamole is a dipping sauce that you are probably all familiar with. You get the best guacamole by making it at home from fresh ingredients rather than buying it in a store.As guacamole is an avocado-based sauce, it is the … Continue reading Homemade Guacamole
Before we had refrigerators, airplanes, and greenhouses, fresh vegetables were hard to come by in winter. And so our ancestors developed many ways to preserve vegetables for the winter. Even though it is not a necessity anymore, we keep preserving … Continue reading Homemade Sauerkraut
We cook meat to make it nicer to eat because it is more tender and flavorful than raw meat, and to make it safe to eat by killing harmful bacteria that may be on the meat. In order to be … Continue reading Understanding What Happens To Meat When You Cook It, Part 1: Juiciness
Béarnaise is one of the classic sauces from French cuisine and it is great with steak. The traditional way of preparing it au bain marie requires quite a bit of skill, as the sauces curdles easily. It also requires you to make … Continue reading Easy Foolproof Béarnaise Sauce
My favorite kind of chiles are chipotles because of their smokiness. Chipotles in adobo sauce, a sauce made from tomatoes and ancho chiles, are a great condiment. I love them for instance with chicken, mushrooms and cream. Chipotles in adobo … Continue reading Homemade Chipotles in Adobo Sauce
The first time I made Red Snapper Veracruz, I used the last of the pickled jalapeños that Richard had sent over. The Veracruz was so outstandingly good that I wanted to make it again, and so I had to make … Continue reading Jalapeños en Escabeche (Pickled Jalapeños)
For Christmas I got a meat grinding attachment for my stand mixer, and so I can finally make my own salsiccia. Italian pork sausage (salsiccia) is an important ingredient for many Italian primi piatti, like risotto al barolo con salsiccia, malloreddus alla … Continue reading Homemade Italian Pork Sausage (Salsiccia Fatta in Casa)
Homemade ravioli are my signature dish. These delicate pasta pillows stuffed with goodness are a great way to impress your guests, and would be perfect for a Christmas dinner. You can make them in advance and when it is time … Continue reading Top 10 Secrets to Make the Best Homemade Ravioli From Scratch
When I first got a stovetop smoker, it came with a very simple user’s manual that said to season fish with salt and pepper and smoke it with 2 tablespoons of smoking dust for 15-20 minutes. This user’s manual was … Continue reading Hot Smoked Salmon, Dry or Wet Cure?
In a change of pace from a very involved preparation and a very sophisticated meal, in this post I’m going to show you how I cut bell peppers quickly and with zero waste. A lot of food is wasted. The statistics … Continue reading How to Cut a Bell Pepper
Guanciale is cured pork jowl. It is the traditional ingredient for Spaghetti alla Carbonara, Amatriciana and Gricia, but difficult to find outside of Italy. Pancetta (cured pork belly instead of jowl) can be used as a substitute, but of course it … Continue reading Homemade Guanciale
I’ve already posted about homemade ketchup in my most about making my first hamburgers from scratch. I wasn’t completely happy with the ketchup back then, and I’ve been experimenting a bit to find a recipe I liked better based on a … Continue reading Homemade Ketchup
I’ve sung the praises of cooking from scratch before. Sure, you can buy something similar in a jar in the store. But you get to tune this homemade salsa to exactly how you like it, how about that! You can … Continue reading Chunky Salsa for Fajitas
Tougher cuts of meat can be cooked sous-vide for a long time (1 to 3 days) to render them tender and keep them juicy at the same time. I’ve been cooking sous-vide for over three years, and I’ve usually salted … Continue reading Sous-vide Salting Experiment
Kaeng Kua is ‘basic’ Thai red curry paste that I will use in the next few days to make a thai red curry with chicken and thai fish cakes. Like so many other foodstuffs, thai red curry paste is better … Continue reading Thai Red Curry Paste (Kaeng Kua)
How’s that for a title to catch your attention? Thomas Keller is a world famous chef and owns multiple restaurants. He published a beautiful book on sous-vide cooking called “Under Pressure”. In this book he writes that lobster tail should … Continue reading Thomas Keller Got It Wrong
It won’t come as a surprise that after visiting casa Remcooks, I have been inspired to do some Mexican/Tex-Mex/Southwestern cooking. Baby Lady got me a big bag of corn masa flour, needed to make corn tortillas and she also taught … Continue reading Homemade Corn Tortillas and Hard Taco Shells
The success of many recipes depends on using a good stock. Most store-bought stock has too much salt in the best case, and in the worst case even lacks flavor. Not to mention bouillon cubes… Homemade stock is easy to … Continue reading Homemade Pork Stock
After the success of my first homemade puff pastry, I thought croissants and pains au chocolat would be just as easy. There is one major difference though: croissants and pains au chocolat (basically croissants with a different shape and stuffed … Continue reading Homemade Croissants and Pains au Chocolat
Aioli (Catalan) or Alioli (Spanish) is the Spanish version of mayonnaise with garlic instead of mustard. It is served with various tapas. Traditionally it is made with pestle and mortar and a whisk, but a blender does a pretty good … Continue reading Homemade Aioli
Pancetta is Italian cured pork belly. I had looked into making it myself before, but the recipes I found required a curing chamber. A curing chamber is a cabinet with controlled temperature and humidity. Even for me it seems over the top to own one. But then I realised that pancetta was originally invented to preserve pork belly when refrigerators had not yet been invented (let alone curing chambers), so I figured that a cellar should do the trick as well. We don’t have a cellar, but in winter our garage comes pretty close with a temperature around 16ºC/60ºF. So I compared many recipes I found online on Italian blogs, on American blogs, and in the end based my first homemade pancetta upon a Dutch blog called missFromage (I bet Shanna likes that name!).
Making your own pancetta is quite easy and not a lot of work, it just requires a bit of patience. The result was great! My first homemade pancetta has a more elegant and detailed flavor than store-bought pancetta available around here. As an added bonus it is cheaper as well. Thanks missFromage for making it look as easy as it actually is! I will definitely make this again. Continue reading “Homemade Pancetta”
Puff pastry has a reputation of being difficult and a lot of work to make from scratch. I had never attempted it before, but now that I have I thought it wasn’t so hard at all. The main point is temperature control, which is easier right now because it is winter and thus not warm in the house. Puff pastry puffs up because it has a lot of layers of flour and butter. In this recipe, there will be 256 layers! Temperature control is so important because the butter should be soft enough to be able to handle the dough, but not melted to keep the layers intact. This means that a cool room temperature of 18ºC/65ºF is ideal in your kitchen when you make this.
There are several reasons for making your own puff pastry rather than running to the store:
- Your own puff pastry will only contain flour, butter, water, and salt. Nothing else.
- You will have bragging rights.
- It will probably taste better (depending on the quality of the store-bought pastry).
- It is cheaper than store-bought.
Running to the store is faster (depending on where the store is), as making your own puff pastry does take about 4 hours. However, most of that time is inactive time with the dough resting in the fridge. Continue reading “Home made Puff Pastry From Scratch”
Yesterday I wrote about my ‘discovery’ of fresh pomegranate juice, and complained about the messy procedure to get those arils (seeds) out. Paul and Fae reacted that there is an easier way, which is to whack the pomegranate with a wooden spoon to let the arils fall out. Since I had another pomegranate waiting to be turned into more delicious juice, I decided to try this for myself. And although I still got some small splashes of juice (probably due to my clumsiness), it worked a lot better and quicker. Thanks Paul and Fae! It is always great to learn a new technique. Continue reading “How to get the Seeds (Arils) out of a Pomegranate”
I’ve never really liked pomegranate juice because I always thought it was too astringent. Boy was I wrong! I had just never tasted fresh pomegranate juice before. Just like with orange juice, there is a huge difference between the real thing (i.e. freshly squeezed) and store-bought stuff. A post on REMCooks.com inspired me to try making my own pomegranate juice, and I absolutely loved it. Thanks, Richard! Fresh pomegranate juice is as different from store-bought pomegranate juice as freshly squeezed orange juice is different from orange juice from concentrate. Fresh pomegranate juice is sweeter, less astringent, and has a wonderful flavor. It also is very healthy. Continue reading “Fresh Pomegranate Juice”
The flavor of soups, sauces, and especially risottos depends heavily on the quality of the stock used. Bouillon cubes are terrible because they are usually more than 99% salt. Store-bought stocks usually also have a very high salt content, which renders them useless for sauces and risotto. And it is so easy to make your own stock, it only takes a bit of patience.
From the comments of my readers and recipes on many other blogs, I’m starting to get the impression that many cooks out there believe there are only about four types of stock: vegetable stock, chicken stock, beef stock, and fish stock. However, stock can be made from virtually anything and each ingredient gives off a characteristic flavor. So you can also prepare lamb stock, shrimp stock, pork stock, rabbit stock, hare stock, pheasant stock, etc. If you make a lamb dish with a sauce or a lamb stew, you will get more lamb flavor if you use lamb stock rather than beef stock.
So even though making duck stock is not different from making chicken stock (except that you use duck rather than chicken), I’m posting about it anyway to emphasize that duck stock exists, easy to make at home, and preferable to chicken stock in most cases for duck dishes. Continue reading “Duck Stock”
Ancho chile rub was not the only homemade goodness that Richard sent over, his wonderful package also included pickled chipotles. Chipotles are smoked jalapeño peppers and they are not only spicy but also wonderfully smoky. I had never tasted them prior to Richard’s surprise, and liked them instantly. I especially liked them in pork burgers. Just like the ancho chile rub, I ran out of the original batch pretty quickly, and so I had to make my own. I followed Richard’s recipe for them, and they turned out just like the batch that he had sent. Continue reading “Pickled Chipotles à la Richard”
Because I cook sous-vide so often, a vacuum sealer is a necessity in my kitchen. The simple ‘clamp’ or ‘edge’ vacuum sealer (also known as ‘Foodsaver type’ vacuum sealer) that I have been using for three years is starting to fall apart and so it was time for a new one. That was a good
excuse reason to purchase a chamber vacuum sealer. Continue reading “Crispy Cucumber from my new Chamber Vacuum Sealer”