This eggs Benedict post has new recipes for Hollandaise sauce and sourdough English muffins but I have to begin with the angry comment on my Tomato Sauce post. A reader was clearly miffed that I would suggest that anyone who works make their own tomato sauce. Well, I do suggest this, but I hasten to add that it’s not homemade or nothing. I’ve bought jarred tomato sauce when I knew I wouldn’t have time to make it myself. It’s more expensive, doesn’t taste as good and isn’t as much fun, but there are only so many hours in the day, and someday there’s just no time. My second response to Angry Reader is that he should do this: Make Eggs Benedict From Scratch! Yea, verily! And so should you, because the whole impact from flavor Read On »

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Dried beans and salt. Dried beans and soaking.  Ask some chefs and they’ll tell you add salt in the beginning and the beans will never get soft.  Some chefs have suggested that salt slows the rehydration of beans.  Others say, the slower the rehydration, the better the finished bean (fewer broken ones), so it’s important to soak them overnight.  Others say it doesn’t really matter, or it depends.  One thing that is demonstrably true is that you don’t have to soak your beans overnight; if you want beans for dinner, put them in water and cook them till they’re tender or at least edible, no soaking, no blanching, just put them in a pot and cook them. Wanting to get to the bottom of this, though, and having little scientific knowledge of bean cookery myself, Read On »

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I’d long been taught that the germ of garlic released enzymes that changed the flavor of garlic. In Skills class at the CIA in 1996, my chef instructor said in the finest starred restaurants you’d find that the cooks removed the germ before mincing, but that for our purposes it was unnecessary. That same chef, 5 years later, now asked his class to always remove the germ because it did affect the flavor.  Harold McGee discusses garlic and its science in his book. I too noticed differences, not that the garlic was bitter, as some claim, only that if the garlic sat for a while before using it developed to me an off flavor. This blogger did a test finding that the flavor was different but not worse, in fact that the garlic with the Read On »

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I’ve been slammed this week, and now have to travel, if I can get out in this blizzard. But last week I put a whole pork belly on the cure. I’d given it a sweet cure, brown sugar, maple syrup and black pepper, because I wanted to smoke it rather than make pancetta. It was done yesterday but I had no time to smoke it.  Our lives get busy, we don’t have time to finish something, sometimes we’re too tired or the kids have a snow day. What’s so great about charcuterie, as with this bacon, is its preserved.  There’s no hurry. I’ll smoke it next week, and until then, it’s going to sit out, somewhere out of the way. The salt cure has taken care of the bacteria. Its drying will prevent new spoilage Read On »

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A couple years ago, nosing around in McGee’s On Food and Cooking, I came across his suggestion that one could make neater poached eggs by getting rid of the liquidy, flyaway whites before poaching.  And it works! (There’s really no point in adding acid to the water.) Regrettably, I left my good perforated spoon at a Macy’s demo and was left a generic slotted spoon with a shallow bowl and the egg always wanted to jump out. So when my friend Mac suggested we make some kitchen tools, a great perforated spoon was high on the list.  And here it is, The Badass Perforated (aka Egg) Spoon, now available at OpenSky, a new, still evolving e-commerce site (follow me there for weekly special deals they put together).  It not only easily holds any egg, but Read On »

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