Displaying items by tag: Compliments to the Chef, Paula and John Reardon

Thursday, 28 October 2021 14:44

Halloween Memories

Hello my Foodie Friends! 

It’s that time of year for me to share my annual Halloween memories. Halloween is only a few shorts days away and for the little chefs out there, the excitement is building. In looking back on my childhood on a certain Halloween night, the four Reardon children, John 8, Danny 7, Billy 6 and Patty 5 would be almost too excited to eat our dinner before we went trick or treating. My mother knew she had to prepare something we would all like and it was always her homemade pastina chicken broth soup that we could not resist. We would get our little bodies fueled up and were ready to take on the neighborhood. 

Also in my childhood, it was a big thing to have homemade costumes and our moms worked overtime to have the cutest kids. Store-bought costumes were a sign of no imagination. On Halloween evening, the four of us would set off with orders to stay together or else. I was told that since I was the oldest it was my job to keep a count on my brothers and sisters or I would lose my candy. My sister Patty was always the first to run out of gas followed by my brother Billy. So, we would have to get them back home and Dan and I would start out again. My brother Dan could outlast us all, but my problem was that he always had to stop and admire someone’s car or truck. The Dads of these houses were always impressed that a seven-year-old knew more about his car than they did. We did manage to fill our pillow cases with lots of candy and then with tired feet head home. The next two weeks were spent dipping into our stash of candy. 

As I think of those childhood Halloween nights, I can still taste and smell the soup my mother made. Chicken broth is a staple in most Italian households. You can rest assured that there will be a few quarts in the freezer at all times. You need a really good homemade broth to make pastina, vegetable soups, risottos, sauces, and chicken dishes. 

Fill up your trick or treaters with something that will keep them warm during the chilly Halloween evening this year. 

Stop by Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store located at 33 Railroad Place to assist with your heartwarming treats. We carry the supplies you will need to make your chilly night soups. Remember my Foodie Friends that “Life Happens in the Kitchen!” 

Take Care,
John & Paula

 

Published in Food
Thursday, 21 October 2021 14:04

“Stop Loafing Around!”

Hello my Foodie Friends! 

How many of us foodies have cookware, baking products, or cooking gadgets that have been handed down over the generations? As our children have grown and moved out of the house, we have also moved much of our cookware and cooking gadgets with them. Some of the items have been handed down from prior generations. Recently, my wife found a loaf pan that was her grandmothers. It brought back memories of various items that both her grandmother and mother made in that pan.  The loaf pan is a cool kitchen tool and often overlooked for its plain design. It is definitely an indispensable item in the kitchen.  Every kitchen should have a loaf pan to bake a variety of sweet or savory recipes – from meatloaf and lasagne to ice-cream and baked delicacies. A loaf pan is in the shape of a narrow rectangle, a convenient form which enables uniform slicing. 

A loaf pan is great to use when you’re looking to bake a smaller portion of a recipe or are cooking for one or two. This versatile pan is excellent for baking bread loaves, loaf cakes, and zucchini bread. You don’t have to make your own bread, or even bake, to love the loaf pan. Despite their specialized name, these rectangular pans are extremely adaptable to cooking, freezing, desserts, and more. And with all the creative ways you can use them, loaf pans are anything but idle in the kitchen. 

There a many uses for loaf pans. These pans are the ideal shape for the ultimate comfort food, meatloaf. Marinate meats. Keep more of each steak, chicken breast, tofu slice, or veggie skewer in contact with the marinade you made by placing the foods in a loaf pan, then pouring the marinade on top. Cover with plastic wrap, and slip the loaf pan into your fridge for the allotted time. If you have a bit of meat or a few sides of the skewers sticking out, use tongs to rotate them in the marinade for full coverage.

Rectangular pans are perfect for lasagna or baked ziti, especially if you’re only serving a few people. If you cut recipes in half, a square baking dish may be too big. Use a loaf pan instead. Savory pies like shepherd’s pie or chicken pot pie don’t have to be round just because that’s convention. You can bake them in a loaf pan and still have a hearty one-dish meal.

At Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutler store located at 33 Railroad Place, we carry several different size loaf pans. Make some memories with the heirlooms that you have collected over the years. Remember my Foodie Friends: “Life Happens in the Kitchen.” 

Take Care,
John & Paula

REARDON FrozenPBandChocTerrine 

Published in Food
Thursday, 14 October 2021 12:48

Scents of Autumn

Hello my Foodie Friends! 

I love the scents of autumn. Everyone has a favorite season. It’s the one that makes them feel energized or serene. For me I have a favorite smelling season. While spring is my favorite part of the year visually, autumn is my favorite smelling season. My nose hits overdrive when October rolls around, and it has nothing to do with allergies. There’s a reason we love the smell of autumn. Think of all of the spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin spice. This is also why we covet fall-themed desserts. Cinnamon is the earthy spice that we all love in the fall and winter. I take it to the next level and add cinnamon sticks to the slow cooker with sliced oranges and a good amount of water. They simmer all day, and my home smells like a warm hug. Pies and autumn go hand in hand. Taking someone a pie represents love and comfort and pies are a wonderful way of bringing people together. Pies seem to generate a nostalgic longing for days gone by and simpler times. During the end-of-the-year holiday time, pie is a seasonal reminder of nature’s bounty and even though there is a pie to celebrate almost every month of the year, the fall is when they shine the brightest. Who doesn’t love the smell of a pie baking in the oven!!

Having the right tools to bake a pie is important. Virtually all pie-making equipment will prove useful for other baking chores as well, so each piece will be sure to earn its keep. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to level up, these are the pie-making essentials. It is difficult to make a great pie without a great pie plate. Pie plates come in a variety of styles, and the differences aren’t just aesthetic—a pie plate’s material, thickness, and color all affect the final product.

A pastry brush is the easiest way to apply a thin, even egg wash over pies with a double crust, like a classic apple pie. Choose between the natural (or thin nylon) bristles or the thicker silicone style.

If you’ve always felt anxious about rolling out pie dough, it’s worth playing the field to find a rolling pin that makes you feel confident in the kitchen. While choosing the best rolling pin is a highly personal process, I love the simplicity of a French pin, which is lighter and more maneuverable. After you’ve rolled out pie dough, a sturdy bench scraper will make quick work of any mess. It will scrape up all the flour and stubborn dough scraps left behind, helping you clean up in a few easy swipes. Plus, it’s handy for dividing blocks of dough without scratching the counters.

Hopefully, trying out fall pie recipes is at the top of your list of things to do this season. Making pies is a classic way to enjoy the season’s best flavors while pleasing your sweet tooth. Not much can beat the tastiness of a homemade pie! 

Stop by Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store located at 33 Railroad Place. Pick up the cool tools for cooks to help you with your Autumnal delights.  Remember my Foodie Friends, “Life Happens in the Kitchen.”

Take Care,
John & Paula

 

Published in Food
Thursday, 07 October 2021 13:58

Unbearably Cute!

Hello my Foodie Friends! 

Autumn baking is here. Brown sugar is one of my favorite ingredients to bake and cook with. Brown sugar is widely available and comes in both light and dark varieties that are made by re-incorporating molasses back into refined white sugar. They boast complexity of flavor and a lovely, soft texture like moist sand. 

Many recipes for cookies, cakes, muffins, and other baked goodies call for either light or brown sugar. While nearly identical, dark brown sugar contains a higher content of molasses than light brown sugar, which accounts for the former’s slightly darker color, wetter texture, and richer flavor. If you want to achieve deeper, richer flavor like dark caramel, opt for dark brown sugar. For more subtle sweetness and less of an overpowering molasses flavor, go with light brown sugar. The deep flavor of molasses in brown sugar lends itself well to complementing cakes as much as dinner-fare such as meatloaf or fish. The soft texture of this type of sugar melts into glazes, rendering them smooth, luxurious, and ideal for drizzling, spreading, or slathering — whatever method you determine is appropriate. 

There are some unexpected ways to use brown sugar for purposes other than baking. 

Brown sugar is one of the go-to ingredients for pickling all varieties of foods. Pickled veggies or eggs get their nuanced flavors from a combination of spices, herbs, salt, and vinegars. However, it is the luscious brown sugar that serves as the counterbalance to the otherwise sharp, acidic brine. By mingling with the salt and acid, brown sugar lends balance to your favorite pickled treats

There’s a good reason so many people are enamored with the combination of sweet and savory flavors. They are glorious together. They have a magical way of mingling with the tastes. As such, brown sugar is the perfect texture and flavor when you’re looking for deep, thoughtful ways to season your main dishes of meat, poultry, or seafood. Whether you’re marinating a slab of steak to ultimate tenderness, slathering chicken for the grill, or glazing a fillet of fish, brown sugar proves to be indispensable. 

As many Asian-inspired stir-fries boast addictively sweet and savory flavors, brown sugar is the ideal ingredient for the sauce component. Mixed with soy sauce, vinegar, and aromatics like garlic and ginger, rich brown sugar manages to add just enough sweetness and depth to balance out the salty notes. Whether you’re cooking up a heap of vegetables or thinly sliced meats, you’ll want to consider using versatile brown sugar to elevate an average stir-fry. 

When vegetables cook, they naturally become sweeter and more caramelized. Brown sugar enhances this inherent sweetness, creating deep flavors you won’t be able to resist. As a moist sweetener, brown sugar gives veggies beautiful sheen and outstanding flavor. Whether you’re making traditional holiday favorite side dishes or whipping up whatever’s-in-the-fridge ones for busy weeknights, you’ll love what brown sugar can do for a heap of humble produce. Since most vinaigrette dressings simply contain oil and vinegar, they’re inherently easy to make at home. Add brown sugar to the mix and you’re instantly able to create dressings with complexity. Brown sugar is a fast way to make salad dressing taste amazing. 

Storing brown sugar can be a challenge. How often do you go for your brown sugar and find brown concrete instead! It is the moisture in the molasses that keeps this ‘glue’ soft. But when brown sugar is exposed to air, the moisture evaporates and the molasses syrup hardens and sticks together a bit like hard candy. This forms a rock-hard lump that can be almost impossible to completely break up. Store your brown sugar in an air tight container. Invest in a Brown Sugar Bear. Put a Brown Sugar Bear in your container with the brown sugar. The terra cotta, food-safe fired-clay keeps brown sugar moist for at least three months. Soak it in water for 20 minutes and stick that cute little bear in not just brown sugar, but also baked goods, cakes, cookies, marshmallows, and dried fruit to soften and maintain moistness. You can also use the bear without soaking it first to absorb moisture and keep spices, salt, crackers, pretzels and chips crispy and dry.

The tool helps sugar stay fresh for up to six months. 

Stop by Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store located at 33 Railroad Place, to pick up your handy little sugar bear and tools to help you with your culinary delights. They are unbearably cute!! Remember my Foodie Friends, “Life Happens in the Kitchen!”

Take Care,
John & Paula

REARDON FreshEggPasta 

Published in Food
Thursday, 30 September 2021 13:23

Let’s Make Pasta!

Hello my Foodie Friends! 

I love Pasta. There, I said it. It is a weakness I have. Homemade pasta is a bigger weakness. Once you experience homemade pasta, it is close to impossible to go back to the store brand pastas. Making homemade pasta can require extra time – but it is worth it. If you haven’t ventured past the convenience of dried pasta, it’s time to make some changes in your life. We have nothing against dried pasta — there is definitely a time and a place for it, and in fact, sometimes there’s nothing better for a quick and satisfying weeknight dinner. If you’ve ever tried homemade pasta, however, you understand what pasta is really all about. Homemade pasta is a little chewy and very tender; it really does just melt in your mouth. It may sound difficult, but making your own pasta is actually much easier than you might think. Fresh pasta comes together quite quickly. Mixing and kneading the dough takes about 10 minutes, then you let it rest for 30 minutes. You can use this resting time to pull together the ingredients for the pasta sauce. After resting, rolling out and cutting the dough takes maybe another 10 to 20 minutes, depending on how fast you go and how many helpers you have.

Speaking of helpers, it helps to have a few. You can definitely do it by yourself, but it’s really nice to have an extra set of hands, especially if you’re hand-cranking the dough through a counter-top pasta roller. Whether working by yourself or with someone else, I find that you fall into a rhythm of rolling the sheets of pasta, cutting the noodles, and sprinkling everything with flour.

Once you’ve made your pasta, you can cook it right away, dry it, or freeze it for later. When you do cook it, remember that homemade pasta cooks much more quickly than the dried pasta you buy in stores. Give it about four minutes in salted boiling water, taste it, and keep checking in one-minute increments until the pasta is al dente. Add Spinach or carrots to create more colorful pastas. What’s fun about these pastas is that the dough is really colorful and contains very concentrated vegetable juices, but they don’t have an overt vegetable taste. They are delicious, and I am pretty sure they could still pass a picky eater’s taste test. Unless the picky eater hates colors. 

Note: The name of the game at this point is to keep everything well-floured to prevent the pasta from sticking to itself or the roller as you work. If the dough starts to feel sticky as you roll it, sprinkle it with flour. Also sprinkle flour on any pasta you’re not working (rolled, cut or otherwise) with and keep it covered with a dishtowel.

Stop by Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store, to pick up a Pasta machine and other pasta accessories. Plan an evening with Italian wine and appetizers and then roll up your sleeves to make pasta from scratch. Work your magic in the kitchen. Enjoy dinner al fresco (Caesar salad, bread, pasta, chicken Marsala, tiramisu for dessert and, of course, finished with home-made limoncello) and share an evening with great company and interesting conversation – all the ingredients for a truly memorable meal. Remember my Foodie Friends; “Life Happens in the Kitchen!” “Mangia.”

Take Care,
John & Paula

REARDON FreshEggPasta 

Published in Food
Thursday, 23 September 2021 13:32

“I Peel Good!”

Hello my Foodie Friends! 

Back in early August, Paula and I had the opportunity to visit a beautiful part of our country to attend our treasured friend son’s and our son’s best friend’s wedding being held in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. If you have never seen the Grand Tetons’ or Yellowstone Park, you need to put it as a “must” on your list. Part of Teton Village is a quaint historical inn called the Alpenhof Lodge. It is one of the original hotels in the village. It provides a warm, cozy, welcoming environment with a restaurant that offers tasty Alps-inspired food. Each morning we were offered a menu selection that included offerings from the Alps region that really highlighted some of the most unique and exciting European cooking with Swiss, German, Austrian influences.

One of my favorite breakfast foods was Rösti with ham and eggs. Rösti is a Swiss shredded potato casserole that’s perfect for brunch. It comes out of the oven, brown and crisp on the edges, melting cheese in the middle, soft-cooked eggs on top. Swiss Rösti recipe is more like a pancake than a casserole. It’s made by pressing shredded potatoes into a cast iron skillet to form a cake, and cooking it in hot butter until it’s brown on the outside and soft inside. Back in the early 1800’s this was a common farmer’s breakfast – cooked over the fire in a wood stove. Nowadays in Switzerland Rösti is served for breakfast, lunch or dinner and sometimes as a hearty side dish with meat.

To make this dish and many others that require peeling, we carry one of our favorite and best-selling kitchen tools; the Kuhn Rikon Swiss peeler. The Kuhn Rikon vegetable peeler can be one of the mandatory items that chef’s require you to come to work with and as part of the every-day kitchen. 

The Kuhn Rikon peeler has a little hole at the end, and you just loop your index finger into it, gripping the peeler with your thumb and middle finger; all you have to do to peel a vegetable is just pull. The flexibility of this peeler is fantastic — it curves around whatever vegetable you are peeling. You can peel using the entire blade — other peelers don’t allow you to do that. It is super light. It is easy to clean because it has no nooks, and easy to store because it has the hole, so you can hang it on a hook. And this design provides the most comfortable way to peel, and you don’t have to worry about nicking the end of your fingers.  Sometimes with kitchen tools you want complex, awesome technology, but sometimes you just want the simplest thing ever, and this is it—simplicity at its best. It’s the most efficient peeler that’s out there. Many of the Chef’s in the area will buy 10 at a time.  The ergonomic design works in right or left hand.

Stop by Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store for your culinary needs. Trying out international food recipes and doing them in an easy and quick way is a fun way to learn about the different cultures of the world. The wedding in Wyoming was absolutely beautiful with a week filled with lifelong memories. Congratulations to Brad and Julia for a lifetime of magnificent adventures and happiness. Remember my Foodie Friends: “Life Happens in the Kitchen.”

Take Care,
John & Paula

REARDON StrawberryCreamSwissRoll 

Published in Food
Thursday, 16 September 2021 11:58

Milling is Thrilling

Hello my Foodie Friends! 

Early September begins the harvesting of summer plants. To harvest is considered a time to pick and gather what you sow. This season begins the time where farmers till their fields and ready the land for the next planting. Harvest time includes picking of foods such as cranberries, tomatoes, peppers, basil and Italian herbs, summer squash, corn, peaches, and apricots. Pureeing and canning many of these products has become a seasonal project for our foodies. Harvest making includes making apple/peach/pear butters, making tomato sauce and putting pureed pumpkin in the freezer. 

From turning cooked apples into wholesome applesauce, freshly stewed tomatoes into a classic marinara, or steamed potatoes into a mash, the food mill proves its standing by being masterful with ingredients that are notoriously fussy to prep. Think of a food mill as being the low-tech version of a food processor—there’s no plug or motor, just a hand-crank that moves with a little help from you and your biceps. What can a food mill do that a processor can’t? Just ask any homesteader or canning enthusiast what their favorite time-saving tools are, and you can bet the food mill is right up there at the top of the list. This is because a foodmill can simultaneously purée and strain foods so efficiently that it renders the once tedious task of peeling fruit and vegetables obsolete.

A standard food mill consists of three parts: a bowl, a perforated plate that sits at the bottom, and the aforementioned hand-crank that is responsible for moving the metal blade that pushes the food through the plate. The result of this old-timey churning is a smooth purée without a seed, peel, pit, or stem in sight. The Food Mill is a tool that allows for fine and coarse milling. The changeable bottoms give you the ability to seed your harvest by the bushel. The food mill is a cross between a food processor and a sieve. You turn the handle and an angled blade presses the contents of the mill through a perforated disk, keeping any remnants like seeds or skin safely out of your puree. Unlike a food processor or a blender, a food mill does not incorporate air into the puree altering its texture. The result is a denser puree that is ideal for foods like applesauce or tomato sauce. Many of today’s food mills are designed to fit snugly over a vessel that catches the puree allowing you to mill in place with one hand while simultaneously cranking with the other.

Stop by Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store this harvest season to pick up the essentials you need for your culinary delights. Have a thrilling time milling your harvest. Happy milling!! Remember my Foodie Friends, “Life Happens in the Kitchen!” 

Take Care,
John & Paula

REARDON StrawberryCreamSwissRoll 

Published in Food
Thursday, 09 September 2021 15:45

“I Tasted Life” - Emily Dickinson

Hello my Foodie Friends! 

With life, we are always seeking new experiences, and with food, new tastes. Who doesn’t taste their food when they’re cooking? Tasting what you make is such a fundamental principle in preparing good food. There is something magical about the act of preparing meals and eating together. It is an act of giving and sharing. Our relationship with cooking can become more adventurous with trying out new culinary skills and recipes we have wanted to try. In preparing that special culinary creation, there may be some cool culinary tools you need to help.

One tool that has become a “must have” in the kitchen drawer is the bench scraper. A bench scraper, which is also called a pastry scraper or dough scraper, is also used in working with pastry, bread, and other doughs. But even if you don’t bake regularly, it can still be a worthy investment for general cooking prep. It’s also space-efficient and easy to stow away in a prep drawer and is a crazy-easy-to-clean, dishwasher-safe tool that can last you for decades. A bench scraper is one of those inexpensive utensils that lasts a lifetime and has a million uses. 

When chopping vegetables, a bench scraper makes short work of transferring the veggies from the cutting board to the skillet or soup pot without losing half the veggies onto the floor during the transfer. Think of that flat piece of metal as a wide extension of your hand. Imagine the joy you would feel by only making ONE journey from your cutting board to your soup pot instead of your usual six trips as you balance those diced veggies on your knife or in your hand. You can also use your trusty scraper to smash whole cloves of garlic or to smash boiled potatoes before frying them.

Stop by Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store located at 33 Railroad Place, to find those cool tools that can help you as you plan out your menus and get chopping. Relish the memories of cooking and eating together as a family! Try out some new tastes and flavors this season. Follow your taste buds and try new things. Remember my Foodie Friends, “Life Happens in the Kitchen,” 

Take Care,
John & Paula

REARDON StrawberryCreamSwissRoll 

Published in Food
Thursday, 02 September 2021 14:40

“How do you like them Apples?”

Hello my Foodie Friends! 

The summer went by so quickly! September is a beautiful month. Not only does it mark cooler days and evenings, it is also a harvest month. Seeing the ripening apples on the trees reminds me that it’s Back-to-School time. Who doesn’t like a crisp sweet apple in the Fall? So many delicious apples are grown in this region. Many of you may already know this, but the apple is New York’s state fruit. Another fun fact is New York is the second-largest apple producing state in the United States, averaging 25 million bushels of production annually with varieties that include; McIntosh, Empire, Red Delicious, Cortland, Golden Delicious, Rome, Crispin, Gala, Fuji, and many others. 

Did you recently go apple picking and now don’t know what to do with all those apples? Sure it’s great to eat an apple as a snack on its own (or maybe dunked in salted caramel sauce), but you are probably in need of some apple recipes so they do not go to waste. I swear, apples sometimes multiply in the bags after picking them... that, or I just don’t realize how many apples I’ll truly end up with when I pick a bushel. Making desserts and dishes with apples is endless. There are so many ways to prepare apples like; Apple sauce, apple butter, apple pie, poached apples, caramel apples, apple cake, apple muffins, apple cider donuts (yum), apple chutney, or even apples in a Sangria. 

When we get our bushel of apples home, well, first we eat some of them raw – delicious! Then we get creative and make lots of tasty creations with our apple picks. And of course, we use the best tools.

There are cool culinary tools available to help you with your apple creations, At Compliments to the Chef, Your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store, we have apple peeling machines, apple slicers, mandolins, and even cookie cutters. Cookie cutters are a fun way to dress up a dessert, or get kids involved and eating new foods. Cutting apples into stars, hearts, or even letters is tedious but a fun surprise to include in their school lunch for special occasions. A mandolin lets you cut apples into different widths or with crimped edges. It’s great for making the base of an apple sandwich and can also dress up any snack plate. If you want to secure the apple, but get rid of the core, use an apple corer. This distinctive tool easily removes the core and makes disposal quick and effortless. The unique leveler splits in half for easy release after you twist or push the corer through the apple. 

So, how do you like them apples? Have a wonderful time with your family and friends. Enjoy the harvest moon while listening to Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” (one of our favorite songs). Remember my Foodie Friends, “Life Happens in the Kitchen” under the harvest moon.

Take Care,
John & Paula

REARDON StrawberryCreamSwissRoll 

Published in Food
Thursday, 26 August 2021 14:07

“We don’t need a recipe, we are Italian”

Hello my Foodie Friends! 

Today is my mother-in-law’s 89th birthday. We have been blessed to have her in our lives for so many years. This coming week would have also have been my mother’s birthday. Both my mother and mother-in-law come from the Depression era with their Italian heritage being Sicilian and Neapolitan.  For both mothers, the meal and the preparation of the meal was the most important part of the day. Italians hold food and cooking and ingredients and mealtime in high regard. They value a good meal and even more when it is in good company. Over the years, the quest to learn the family recipes has resulted in a form of translation into recipes. Even to this day when my wife attempts to teach our daughter the family recipe for her sauce (gravy), it becomes difficult since it was really the taste that was handed down over the generations. The most common response when learning the family recipes from her mother and grandmother was “this is how you make…” There was nothing written down. Italian dishes are tweaked and improvised all the time. But it’s about learning the cuisine like you learn the grammar of a language - there are forms and structures you need to master. There are underlying frameworks of how ingredients are thought of and how they come together and also cooking techniques, styles of presentation and the order and structure of a meal which all combined form the Italian cuisine language. If you don’t know any of this, then of course you run the risk of making things that any Italian will find a little off. This doesn’t necessarily mean these creations are bad - it just means that they won’t seem Italian anymore, even if they’re not unpleasant or even are very good. People from within a certain food culture (or who know it like a native) can just “tell” when something tastes like it was made by someone who understands the palette of that cuisine.

Throughout the generations, having the right pots and tools are as important as putting together the meal.  There are important essential tools you need for making the foods from our various cultures. What difference could a pan make to the final result? Well, a risotto made in a paella pan would never have the soft gluey quality of a good risotto. A saute’ pan or a good sauce pan is important. The saute’, because of its depth and curved sides, is better for braising meat or vegetables than a frying pan. The straight sides on a sauté pan do a better job of locking in moisture, making it ideal for braising chicken thighs or sausages until they are juicy and tender. 

Pasta should be cooked in a cylindrical pot so the water returns to the boil more quickly once you have added the pasta, preventing the shapes from sticking together. Important essential tools to have include; having a Dutch oven the thick cast-iron walls also retain heat for a long time, making it the perfect serving vessel for bringing your food right to the table. Your soup or pasta will stay warm while people help themselves from the big pot. The “spider” is a small strainer basket that makes it easy to pluck pasta and gnocchi out of the pasta pot and dump it right into your simmering pan of sauce. Just the right amount of pasta water carries over, plus you don’t have to schlep a big pot of boiling water to the sink to drain. These are just a “few” of the cool tools you can use to help you with your work. 

Stop by Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store, to get the tools you need to make your special meal. We have the pots and pans, and many other accouterments’ you need to make that meal. Every family has a favorite recipe. Ask family members to teach you the traditional recipes that have endured over the generations. Even with lost traditions, there is always something new to learn with food. Remember my Foodie Friends: “Life Happens in the Kitchen.”

Take Care,
John & Paula

REARDON StrawberryCreamSwissRoll 

Published in Food
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  • COURT  Billy R. Hendrie, 30, of Plattsburg, was sentenced Jan. 12 to 3 years of incarceration and 1-1/2 years of post-release supervision, after pleading to felony attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance, in Wilton.    Sonja N. Ambrosino, 41, of Amsterdam, was sentenced Jan. 12 to 2 months incarceration and 5 years of probation, after pleading to felony grand larceny, in Halfmoon.  Dylan K. Vella, 28, of Corinth, was sentenced Jan. 11 to 20 years-to-life, in connection with the murder of Paul Hollenbeck, according to a statement released by the Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office. Vella was charged with…

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