Stock-Mise-en-place

  Want to make Thanksgiving day easier on yourself and ensure you have the best gravy ever? Start now. (Or this weekend.) This, too, planning ahead, is part of mise en place, one of the most important cooking “techniques” to recognize. Mise en place literally translates as put in place. To a cook, mise en place refers to his or her station set-up—having all that you need, at your station and in place, to accomplish the work ahead. Mise en place is shorthand for being prepared, at your station and in your mind. (I write about this more completely in Ruhlman’s Twenty.) It’s the cook’s first order of business, at a restaurant, at home. Making a roast chicken dinner with green beens and baked potato? Get everything out on the counter before you pick that Read On »

Share

The new version of our Ratio app is now available, with a thrilling new feature. You can create your own custom ratios. For instance, while the 5-to-3 flour-to-water ratio, or 60% water, is the standard baker’s percentage for bread, many prefer a wetter dough, as high as 86% for the no-knead doughs. Now you can create and save your own ratios. You can devise your own specific recipes and save them to your recipe library. And of course the app still functions as an all-purpose recipe calculator for 32 fundamental preparations. Simply type in the amount of one ingredient and the app automatically tabulates the amounts of all the ingredients. Scale recipes up or down as needed. Want pancakes but have only one egg? Type that in to tabulate the correct amount of flour and Read On »

Share

  How this workaholic longs for the holidays to be over! Especially when the big days fall midweek, effectively knocking out two full weeks. I tried not working—reading, watching movies—but that just resulted in flatness. I need to work, writing or cooking, apparently the way a shark needs to swim. This week is time to think ahead toward what I hope to accomplish in 2014. I’ve already achieved one goal, small though it was. A few friends and I bought and broke down a pig in December (will post about this soon) and it was exceptionally fatty, leaving us with far more rendered lard than I need to cook with. How to use all this fat? Make soap. To my amazement, it was a breeze and finished in 30 minutes. Though there’s relatively little on Read On »

Share

Back again with another technique and recipe—here the classic béchamel sauce, one of the great, yet rarely used, sauces for the home kitchen. We don’t always have veal stock around for classical demi or Espagnole, or often any stock for a velouté. But milk we do have: flavor it with some shallot, a little nutmeg, salt and pepper, thicken it with cooked flour and you have a dynamite all-purpose sauce, for chicken, fish, or my favorite sandwich on earth, the croque madame. So, so good. This is a great weekend lunch or anytime dinner. (FYI, I love the montage that opens these videos but if you’ve seen it, the technique begins at 1:11.) I asked to use this particular Le Creuset vessel because of its clever utility. In restaurant kitchens, sauté pans regularly double as Read On »

Share

I’ve written about fried chicken a lot because, well, it’s pretty high up on the list of best possible things to eat, period. Given that it’s one of the best possible things to eat, it’s imperative that we make fried chicken as often as possible. We can’t know when we shall leave this mortal coil; therefore: the more fried chicken you eat, the better your life will have been. It’s in your hands. Here, I not only give the recipe, but I demonstrate how I personally prefer to cook this infinitely variable preparation. The technique is pan-frying, which I use for chicken and pork chops. Unlike deep-frying, the items are not completely submerged. Ideally the oil level will come halfway up what you’re cooking (I have slightly more oil than I need in the video). Read On »

Share