Last week I posted on Twitter that leaving chicken stock (recipe below) out on the stovetop all week was fine and I got all kinds of mystified tweets about how could this possibly be safe. It is, and it’s a great way to have stock on hand all week for a quick sauce, a poaching liquid, an instant soup, add it to a stir-fry and thicken with cornstarch.  You don’t need to go through all the straining and storing and labeling of stock and cleaning a big heavy stock pot. I do like to strain it out of one pot into another to get the bones out of it, but even that’s not strictly necessary to have easy chicken stock available most days of the week. [Update 8/24/2011: I should have clarified, provided that you Read On »

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Biscotti is the perfect accompaniment mid-morning when I’m into my fifth or sixth cup of coffee.  I drink coffee all morning long and I’m able to do so because I don’t use one of those horrible drip machines, but rather what I think of as my personal 1956 Lincoln Continental of a coffee machine. The problem has always been that I’ve never really liked biscotti.  Maybe because I’ve only ever had the stuff that comes in a gift basket from Gallucci’s (a store I adore).  Or the one time I tried to make it myself.  It was rock hard and tasteless, so I figured I’d done a perfect job. But a while back, someone asked for a biscotti recipe, perhaps even a ratio.  My able colleague Emilia Juocys was intrigued and so recently set to Read On »

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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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