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

Thursday, 30 January 2020 13:26

You’re Baking Me Crazy

Hello my Foodie Friends!

The winter months often times bring us “snow days” from work and school. Snow day; you know what that means? It’s time to bake some sweet goodies with your friends or family.  There are standard baking essentials that are needed to make your favorite baked treats. 

Cooking and baking are really enjoyable if you can find recipes that are inspiring and delicious. Flipping through a cookbook, you’ll find that most cooking and baking recipes use precise measurements. Portioning ingredients in a dish balances flavors to create the best-tasting recipes. Dry measuring cups, liquid measuring cups, and measuring spoons are three of the fundamental kitchen tools that will help you measure your ingredients. The best measuring cups and spoons make it easy to portion your ingredients and wash up after you’re done cooking or baking. Dry measuring cups are important kitchen tools to have in your drawers. The best measuring cup sets consist of five different measuring cups, ranging from 1/3 cup to 1 cup for measuring dry goods. You’ll find that dry measuring cups are made from many different materials, including plastic and stainless steel. Both of these types of materials can be placed in the dishwasher, which makes it easier to clean up after you’re done cooking or baking. These materials are used in measuring cups because they will not react with food and then can even be placed in the refrigerator or freezer if you need to cool ingredients. If you are baking, make sure that you clean out your measuring cups after each use to ensure that you don’t contaminate any of your ingredients. A well-stocked kitchen has both dry and liquid measuring cups. There is a slight difference in volume between dry and wet ingredients, so it’s important that you have both styles of measuring cups. The best liquid measuring cup sets have three different sizes, ranging from 1 cup to 4 cups of liquid. A lot of liquid measuring cups have spouts on the end, which makes them easy to pour into your recipe. Most liquid measuring cups have handles so you can transport them across the kitchen. This is especially helpful if you are incorporating warm liquid into your recipe. The majority of liquid measuring cups are made from plastic or glass, so they can go right in the dishwasher alongside your dry measuring cups.

Aside from measuring cups, measuring spoons are also a must-have in your kitchen. A standard set of measuring spoons is great if you are baking in the kitchen because you can use the right portion of baking soda and baking powder to get the perfect texture for your best sweet treats. Measuring spoons can measure both liquid and dry ingredients so they're super handy to have in the kitchen.

Stop in to Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store located at 33 Railroad Place and stock up on baking supplies.  Don’t forget to keep your eye on your little helpers when measuring the Cinnamon-Sugar as three tablespoons could become six! Remember my Foodie Friends that “Life Happens in the Kitchen.” Stay warm and have fun baking. 

 Take Care,
John & PaulaREARDON DonutMuffins


 

Published in Food
Thursday, 23 January 2020 13:22

Back to the Old Grind

Hello my Foodie Friends!

In kitchens throughout the world, there is one piece of technology that has been the same since the Stone Age: the mortar and pestle. The mortar and pestle is one of the most primitive kitchen tools. You place ingredients in a bowl usually made of stone or ceramic and them pound them with a tiny club. 

Why should every good cook—and everyone who loves herbs—own and use at least one mortar and pestle? Several reasons include: from history; the ceremony of using ancient tools and the joy of knowing the rhythm of how they work. For celebration: food feeds both body and soul, and the act of preparing it should be a pleasure, not a chore. And finally, for quality: there is a depth of flavor to spices and fresh herbs prepared this way that you just can’t get from a food processor. Mortars and pestles have been used for crushing and blending seeds, roots, herbs, and other foods. This dates back to prehistory, although information on their origins is hard to find. It’s only logical that early man and woman picked up the nearest rock and used it to crack open the nuts they gathered. Eventually they found similar tools to grind seed or grain into a powder, so that they could mix it with water to form a gruel and grind herbs and roots to flavor it.

Here’s a list of cooking tasks you can accomplish with a mortar and pestle:

• Grind your own peppercorns and spices including cinnamon sticks, coriander, and cloves.
• Remove cardamom seeds from their pods and then crush to use in Indian cooking.
• Grind sea salt to the fine texture of popcorn salt and season your movie night treat.
• Crush whole dry chilies into flakes.
• Crush capers to use in homemade tartar sauce recipes.
• Smash fresh peeled ginger to use in Asian recipes.
• Crush some flax seeds to release their benefits and add to yogurt for a nutritious breakfast or snack.
• Crush lavender to use in baking or potpourri.
• Crush herbs and seeds to make medicinal teas.
• Make fresh, homemade nut butters.
• Turn fresh garlic cloves into a paste and spread on Italian bread with olive oil for some intense garlic bread.
• Crush some fresh basil, garlic and pine nuts together in the larger sized units. Then mix in some olive oil to make super fresh and flavorful pesto.

The mortar and pestle is available in a wide variety of sizes and can be found made of ceramic, glass, porcelain, wood, metal, granite, marble or bamboo. The advantage of a using a mortar and pestle rather than an electric grinder or food processor include easier (as in no) assembly required, less noise and easy cleanup — no small parts or sharp blades to wash.

One of the most classic uses of the mortar and pestle is for pesto.  Combining the flavors of basil, pine nut, Parmesan, garlic, and olive oil can make a wonderful pesto to add to pasta, spread on a sandwich, or eat by the spoonful.  When it comes to making pesto, you can’t go wrong with a pestle and mortar. You could make it in a food processor, but you just won’t get the same flavors as when you’re pounding and crushing all that lovely basil by hand. 

Cooking can be fun! No matter how long you have been cooking, there is always something new to learn. The mortar and pestle may take a little elbow grease, but it is the tool that will not fail you.  Go back to the old grind for a while, stepping away from modern technology and use the mortar and pestle for your incredible culinary creations. Stop at Compliments to the Chef; your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store located at 33 Railroad Place to get your “cool” Tools for Cooks. Remember; “Life Happens in the Kitchen.”

 Take Care,
John & PaulaREARDON Pesto

 

Published in Food
Thursday, 16 January 2020 13:55

Cutting Edge

Hello my Foodie Friends!

As most of my Foodie Friends know, I am a heavy steel knife type of guy.  I was intrigued however, when a representative from the Kyocera Company stopped in to my store in 2004. I asked him why I would want a “plastic looking knife” over a carbon steel knife? He smiled and said “show me how sharp your steel one is.” I reached for one of my best knives and sliced a paper clean with no trouble with a smooth slice sound. I responded, “Now beat that!” Well, it was close to that song where: “fire blew from his fingertips as he rosined up his bow” as he took his knife and sliced the same type of paper. I then exclaimed “no sound, you missed!” Then I watched the paper float away as if a warm summer wind just decided to take it for a ride in my store. I was hooked. 

A sharp knife is a cook’s best friend.  This is evident with the use of a ceramic knife that offers tremendous ease and saves time as we cut up soft fruits, vegetables and boneless meats.  Ceramics are a fun and interesting breed of knife that are deceivingly sharp.  Professionals and home cooks use ceramic knives due to their sharpness, strength, density, and precision making it a great tool to add to your culinary collection.  Kyocera ceramic knives are the perfect compliment to your cutlery at home. As soon as you pick up a Kyocera ceramic knife, you will be intrigued with the benefits of using ceramics. The knife is light in weight yet balances perfectly in your palm. It is excellent for slicing fruits, vegetables, and boneless meats. The blade is ground to razor sharp perfection and holds their edge 10 times longer than other professional cutlery. Ceramic knives will not brown foods or transfer a metallic taste or smell.  Ceramic is impervious to acids, oils, and salts. The blades will never rust. 

Ceramic knives are intended to complement, not replace your cutlery. Use steel for carving, prying, and boning product.  Ceramic knives come in a variety of sizes making them perfect for all types of culinary tasks. Because of the manufacturing process, the blades of a ceramic knife are flat and free from waves. As a result of this technological advantage, the edges need to be ground with a diamond wheel or diamond sharpener.  Traditional knife sharpeners cannot sharpen a ceramic knife. Kyocera has a lifetime program for sharpening their ceramic knives.  You can also purchase one of their sharpeners made specifically for their ceramic knives. 

Caring for your ceramic knife is important to ensure proper care and the prolonged life of the knife:
Please exercise the necessary caution when working, as the blades are very sharp

Ceramic knives are intended for the cutting of food. They are unsuitable for hitting and levering.
Ceramic blades are not shock resistant! Do not allow the knife to fall onto a hard floor or similar surfaces!
To ensure that the blade remains sharp over a long period, we recommend the use of a cutting surface made from wood or plastic.
Never try to cut hard objects such as frozen food, bones, metal, etc!
Never hold the knife in an open fire (high conductance of heat)!
Never clean with a wire brush!
Hand wash with a mild detergent after use.
Store the ceramic knife in a protective sheath.
Cleaning in a dishwasher is not recommended, unless it can be ensured that the knife cannotcome into contact with other objects.
Store out of the reach of children!

Ceramics are a cutting edge technology that can help make your culinary prep easier and fun.  Stop by Compliments to the Chef, Your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store located at 33 Railroad Place, shop for cool tools for cooks. Looking for something different to give? Ceramic knives can be a very unique and useful gift to give to that foodie that has “everything.”  Remember: “Life Happens in the Kitchen.”

 Take Care,
John & PaulaREARDON SpicyChickenThighs

 

Published in Food
Thursday, 09 January 2020 11:53

Grinding It Out!

Hello my Foodie Friends!

My Mom loved coffee and even way back then she was grinding her beans to how she liked them.  She had a small wooden hand grinder and she would grind them to the correct consistency for her taste.  You are probably wondering which one of the Reardon clan had the job of grinder when Mom thought we were ready. Well, it was the middle child Danny.  He got the job because he could fix anything!  The grinder wasn’t working and Mom called in Dan to fix it.  Even though he was a little boy, Dan could figure out what was wrong with anything that had moving parts and then make it work right.  There was talk, however, that the reason some things were broken was that Dan took them apart to see how they worked but Mom never knew so he was the “Hero.” 

Why Grind Beans at Home?
Grinding fresh whole coffee beans just before brewing will protect the aroma of your coffee and ensures the rich full-bodied taste stands out. Ground coffee interacts with the air around it and within hours loses a great deal of flavor. The longer the ground coffee is exposed to air, the more aroma will be lost from your brewed cup of coffee or espresso. Only grind what you need now. Don’t grind for the whole week! Once the beans are out of airtight packaging, keep them in a dry, dark container with a tight closing lid.

There are three different coffee grinding methods; conical burr grinders, disk burr grinders and blade grinders.

Conical Burr Grinders preserve the most flavor and can grind very fine with the highest consistency. The intricate design of the conical steel burrs allows for a high gear reduction to slow down the grinding speed below 500 rpm. The slower the speed the less heat is imparted to the ground coffee thus preserving the maximum amount of aroma. Due to the wide range of grind settings, conical burr grinders are ideal for all types of coffee equipment such as espresso machines, drip coffee makers, percolators, French press and can even grind extra fine for the preparation of Turkish coffee. 

Burr Grinders rotate at a considerable faster speed of 10,000 to 20,000 rpm and create a bit more warmth in the coffee than conical burr grinders. They are the most economical way of getting a consistent grind in a wide range of applications. They are ideal for drip coffee makers, percolators, French press and well suited for most pump espresso machines. However, they do not grind as fine as conical burr grinders and are not as quiet.

Blade Grinders are suitable for drip coffee makers and percolators. They also perform well for grinding spices and herbs. The blade rotates at very high speeds of 20,000 to 30,000 rpm thus heating up the ground coffee more than burr grinders and also creating a bit of coffee dust. That coffee dust can clog up the fine mesh of the metal baskets used in pump espresso machines. The advantage of blade grinders is they are inexpensive and easy to clean with little maintenance. 

If you love coffee then try grinding your own beans. Stop by Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery Store, located at 33 Railroad Place to check out various options for grinding your coffee beans. Remember my Foodie Friends, “Life Happens in the Kitchen.”

 Take Care,
John & PaulaREARDON SourCreamCoffeeCake

 

Published in Food
Thursday, 02 January 2020 13:49

Healthy Eatings

Hello my Foodie Friends!

As we progress into the month of January, the challenge becomes holding onto and maintaining those New Years Resolutions. For Paula and me it is about making better and healthier food choices. There is more than one way to eat healthfully and everyone has their own eating style. Making healthier choices can reflect your preferences, culture, traditions, and budget. Healthy eating is not about strict dietary limitations, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. 

Rather, it’s about feeling great, having more energy, improving your health, and boosting your mood. Create an eating style that can improve your health now and in the future by making small changes over time. Consider changes that reflect your personal preferences, culture and traditions. Think of each change as a “win” as you build positive habits and find solutions that reflect your healthy eating style. 

At Compliments to the Chef, we have many cooking vessels and tools that can assist with your quest to eat healthier. One very popular item we have is the vegetable spiralizer. The spiralizer is a unique kitchen gadget that can turn all your favorite vegetables into delicious zoodle recipes you can add to any meal. Probably everyone’s favorite reason for spiralizing is that spiralized vegetables are mostly light in calories, carbs, fat and sugar. By spiralizing, you’re naturally eating more vegetables – without even noticing (especially when they’re covered in a delicious tomato basil sauce!) This small shift in the way you eat helps lead to weight loss, because you’re consuming more vegetables and less processed foods while still remaining satisfied. Vegetables are high in water (such as zucchinis) and help detox your body, ridding it of unwanted toxins and leaving you refreshed and hydrated. Vegetables have an abundance of dietary fiber, which helps keep you fuller longer and help with your everyday digestion. Certain vegetables even help spike the metabolism, such as zucchinis. Most importantly, after eating a bowl of vegetable noodles, you’re left feeling light and energized – ready to have a productive and healthy day, which means you’ll be more motivated to exercise and eat well.

What are the Best Veggies for Spiraling? You can transform all sorts of vegetables into noodles, but the best candidates are those that are firm (not floppy) and long or that can be cut long (if you want long spaghetti that you can easily spiral). One of the best aspects of veggie noodles is their spectacular names. Here are some of the best vegetables for spiraling:

• Zoodles (zucchini noodles)
• Coodles (carrot noodles)
• Swoodles (sweet potato noodles)
• Squoodles (squash noodles)
• Boodles (broccoli stem noodles)
• Poodles (parsnip noodles)
• Toodles (turnip noodles)

We carry several types of spiralizers. However, one of our favorites is the OXO Good Grips Easy Twist Spiralizer. This is a great tool to spiralize foods such as zucchini, squash, carrots, potatoes and more. There are three cutting options: thick and thin julienne and ribbon, and includes easy adjustable rotating blade settings with no loose blades. The Easy Twist Spiralizer has silicone capped feet for stable slicing - no suction base required. It is faster and safer than a knife, with a fun and unique end result. 

Stop by Compliments to the Chef located at 33 Railroad Place, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store to pick up cool tools to help you with healthy eatings. Make healthy eating a family kitchen event. Remember my Foodie Friends; “Life Happens in the Kitchen.”

 Take Care,
John & Paula

REARDON ZoodleSoup

 

Published in Food
Friday, 20 December 2019 11:12

Lucky New Year’s Food

Hello my Foodie Friends!

It’s that time again for us here at Compliments to the Chef to thank all the wonderful acquaintances that have helped us throughout the year.As Clarence said to George Bailey, “No man is a failure who has friends.” We have foodie friends which is even better!So many great people have come through our door with questions and some with suggestions. We believe that we have a great extended family who shares in our joy of cooking and creating our own masterpiece meals. As we welcome in the New Year and begin 2020, memories of some New Year traditions come to mind.Upon meeting my wife Paula, I had the opportunity to be exposed to some of the southern traditions her mother made based on her father’s background growing up in Virginia.The serving of black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day has been considered a lucky New Year’s food that dates back almost 1500 years.The tradition arrived in America during the 1930’s in Georgia and spread after the Civil War.In the Southern states, the tradition of eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day is considered good luck to bring prosperity to the New Year.The traditional meal includes collards, turnips, or mustard greens, and ham.The swelling of the black-eyed peas symbolizes prosperity; the greens symbolize money; the ham represents positive motion.Below is a great recipe that includes all of the ingredients we hope brings good luck to you for 2020. We have beautiful round cast iron Dutch ovens from Le Creuset, Staub, and Lodge that can help you with this wonderful dish. Stop by Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store at 33 Railroad Place to pick up your cool tools for cooks to help with your culinary preparations. 

Remember my Food Friends: “Life Happens in the Kitchen!” Make magical memories. 

“Although the nights could be dark
The days are almost always bright
I want that your life
C
onstantly be full of the glowing light
Of a Gifted “New Year”
So here is wishing you and your nearest and dearest
A Very Happy New Year 2020.”
 

 Take Care,
John & Paula

BlackEyedPeas

 

Published in Food
Thursday, 19 December 2019 13:04

The Christmas Eve Feast

Hello my Foodie Friends!

Our most relished Christmas treasures come with the decorations, the scents of pine, the sounds of music and jingles, and for many, what happens in the kitchen. As I reflect on the Christmas traditions of mine and Paula’s Italian families, the Christmas Eve Feast cannot be overlooked. Coming together to celebrate the holidays becomes a time of giving.  It is a time to be with your family and show your gratitude and appreciation of what you have.  Cultures all over the world celebrate holiday seasons.

In meeting my wife four decades ago, our first Christmas Eve together was spent at her parents’ home celebrating the Feast of Seven Fishes with all of the fish dishes presented that evening. Paula’s family was more traditional than mine, probably because my Dad was Irish so we had a little of each. I watched with a calm expression as my wife ate and relished the marinated fresh anchovies as part of the antipasto.  Jumbo shrimp, baked clams, and fried calamari were also part of the first course, which, I ate too much of. Next an array of dishes began to come out of the kitchen.  These included: the seafood salad, which is a combination of crab, shrimp, calamari, and lobster with celery, olive, and parsley in citronette, the Baccala salad with salted cod tossed with sweet cherry peppers, capers, and olives in a lemon dressing, and then the octopus salad, also known as Inslata di Polipi.  This is where I stopped and stared at the cut up octopus tentacles sitting in front of me and I loudly proclaimed that, well, “I love Fried Baccala” and politely said I must have some.

The holidays are about getting together and having a good time. Meanwhile back at my house my Mom was cooking an Irish feast for my Dad of Roast turkey and stuffing, clove-studded baked ham, crispy goose fat potatoes, steamed Brussels sprouts, buttery sweet carrots, crispy parsnips, cranberry sauce, bread sauce and gravy. It is about enjoying yourself and the people you are with. Cooking for the people you love is a gift in itself. Enjoy your holiday season. Stop by Compliments to the Chef; your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store located at 33 Railroad Place to help you with your holiday gifts and culinary needs. We hope that 2020 brings many blessings, laughter, health, and happiness to you and your families. Remember my Foodie Friends; “Life Happens in the Kitchen!” Happy Holidays to all of our Foodie Friends! 

 Take Care,
John & Paula 

 REARDON Baccala

 

Published in Food
Thursday, 12 December 2019 14:41

Christmas Around the World

Hello my Foodie Friends!

This time of year brings many family reunions, friendship gatherings, and special events that include great food and fun times. The holiday season is celebrated in myriad ways around the world.  Every family has their own traditions that are rooted in cultural customs that go back for many generations. However, there is one similarity with these traditions that spans across the globe – food.  Different cultures celebrate their holidays in different ways, but cooking and enjoying special foods and drinks is a tradition that transcends throughout the world and all religions. 

Paella is one of our family’s favorite dishes and is the iconic rice dish of Spain. Cooked with care, but not requiring the fussy attention of a risotto, it’s the perfect way to cap off a happy holiday celebration. The dish has the further advantage of customization and built-in appropriateness for a couple of different special diets -- it naturally has no gluten and no dairy. Vegetarians may forgo the typical use of Spanish sausage and chicken, using a vegetable stock to cook the rice. Those that love seafood can find plenty to love going all seafood with a seafood stock to complement the required rice, saffron, tomatoes and olive oil.

Paella is a perfect party dish because it’s a one-pot meal, and because it feeds a crowd. Paella is a rice dish from Spain that has become very popular and is known around the world. It originated in the fields of a region called Valencia in eastern Spain. Paella is meant to show off the rice itself and to highlight a few special ingredients. These can be vegetables, fish, shellfish or meat including sausage in seafood paella and you may also find chicken in it. Do not forget the saffron -- it is the essential spice of the dish.

Whatever paella you make, it should use short- or medium-grain rice, which should be cooked uncovered in a flavorful stock. Spanish Bomba rice is the best to use. It’s fun to make paella over a grill or on the stove.  However, it is important that you have the right pan for this dish; the Paella Pan!  The Paella pan should be shallow and have sloping sides, which helps the rice cook evenly and develops more intense flavor. As the pans get larger, they grow in diameter rather than depth, which allows for more delicious socarrat. And like all authentic paella pans, they do not have matching lids (since paella is traditionally cooked in an open pan). We sell the traditional carbon steel pans and some stainless steel pans.  Either will work well for you. A good pan has dimples on the bottom to serve several functions.  They trap small amounts of liquid and thus promote even cooking, they make the pan rigid, and they prevent warping. Now what the heck is socarrat?   When you make paella, socarrat is the caramelized bottom layer of rice that sometimes forms on the pan. Many people consider the socarrat the prized part of the paella.  Also, there is speculation that socarrat has aphrodisiac powers, and that it is what fuels the passion of those renowned Spanish lovers. I myself am Irish, French and Italian so the passion is taken care of by the French and Italian parts. But I might like a little Antonio Banderas side of me to crop up from time to time!  How about: tu es muy bonita Paula? If you are not sure what dish to serve for your holiday meal; consider Paella. At Compliments to the Chef; Your neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery Store, located at 33 Railroad Place, we sell Paella pans and other cooking tools to help you with your holiday creations. We are hosting a special event on Saturday, December 14 and December 21. The Bees are Back!! We will have a tasting of honey and other honey products from Jen Dunn from Maypiary Farms from 1 to 3 p.m

During the holiday season, the frantic pace of work and school life slows temporarily and we settle into the celebrations of the season. We toast the successes we’ve had in the preceding months, reflect on the life we’ve lived and rejoice with our loved ones. Create your holiday traditions. It’s beginning to taste a lot like Christmas! Stop by for the holiday supplies you need to eat, drink and be merry with family and friends. Remember my Foodie Friends: “Life Happens in the Kitchen.” Happy Holidays.

 Take Care,
John & Paula 

 REARDON Paella

 

Published in Food
Thursday, 05 December 2019 13:22

A Gift Worth Giving

Hello my Foodie Friends!

The stress of the holiday season is often compounded by the task of finding that special gift for that someone who has everything. I recall one of my family members mentioned that she and her husband keep their knives very dull so as to minimize the potential of injury. I noted that this has become a problem that requires a solution, but they’ve arrived at the wrong one. Even the finest knives will dull with regular use, but periodic sharpening will restore the blade’s keen edge. A dull knife requires greater force, tears at food, tires the hand and increases the odds of cutting yourself. Dull knives cause infinitely worse and more frequent injuries than sharp ones for a few reasons. Dull knives require more pressure to use, which can make them prone to slipping. And if they do, they hit with that much more force, and result in a more ragged, much harder to heal injury than one a sharp knife would make. Yes, it’s possible to sharpen and Hone your knives at home, and it’s something everyone should do to preserve the integrity of your blades (and, again, stay safe) but here in the thick of the holidays, forestalling kitchen bloodshed should be one of your priorities. If you have your knives sharpened by a professional once or twice a year, you can maintain them without too much hassle. So, let me set your knife edge to factory sharp so you can concentrate on other holiday matters. It’s OK to be kind to yourself sometimes. You can tell when your knife is dull, but a good rule of thumb is to try to slice through a tomato or a piece of paper. If the blade goes through anything but easily, it’s time to sharpen or have them sharpened by John.

Once you get your knives professionally sharpened, it is important to keep them sharp. I will go into brands when you stop in and share a cup of Joe with me on some cold winter’s day.  The best advice I can give is that a good knife is the one that best fits your hand and is a sharp!  You could own the most expensive knife in the world but if it’s dull it’s not as good as a sharp $10 knife. 

Even a good knife will lose some of its sharpness with time. However, sharpening a knife is easy if you have the right tool and know how to use it.  Great tools help yield great results. The use of steel or a hand sharpener can help make your knives last a lifetime. 

Not sure what to give this holiday season? Find that unique, unexpected gift for the person who already has everything and give the gift of professionally sharpened knives. It is a gift worth giving.  We have a great assortment of knives to get your Foodie started with using their skills. At Compliments to the Chef, your neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store located at 33 Railroad Place, we professionally sharpen knives. Stop in and ask me any questions you may have. A great knife is in the hand of the beholder and a sharp knife is up to you. Remember my Foodie Friends: “Life Happens in the Kitchen.” Happy Holidays!

Here are some options on how to keep your knife sharp once they are sharpened by a Pro (Me): 

Honing Steel Types
Generally three different materials are being used for Honing steels: 

Chromium-plated Honing steel: Sharpening steels with a chromium-plated, grooved surface deliver a good re-sharpening result and are relatively immune to damages (my favorite).

Ceramics: Sharpening steels with a ceramics blade sharpen gently and carefully. However, the ceramics blade is sensitive to shock. A fall can easily damage it.

Diamond: Honing steels with a diamond coating of the blade deliver a particularly fine re-sharpening result. The average life span is shorter, though, because the coating tends to wear off with time.

How to sharpen knives correctly:

• Place the knife blade against the tip of the sharpening steel at an angle of approximately 20 degrees and 15 degrees for Asian style knives.

• Pull the knife down and across the steel, describing a slight arc. 

• Repeat action on back of the steel to sharpen the other side of the blade. 

• Repeat steps 2 and 3 five to ten times, alternating the left and right side of the blade.

It is important to maintain the angle of 20 or 15 degrees and to run the full length of the cutting edge along the steel from the hilt to the tip of the knife. The speed of the movement is not important. Use finesse not brute force! 

With a two Stage Hand Sharpener:

• Place your sharpener on a flat surface. Hold the sharpener with one hand and the knife handle with the other. Insert knife blade fully into the slot.

• Apply moderate downward pressure (remember finesse) on the bladewhile pulling the knife toward you through the appropriate notch.

• Repeat this action, always pulling from heel to tip (never back and forth) through the carbide or the ceramic notch.

The first stage carbide (coarse) sharpens dull edges.  The second stage ceramic (fine) provides a polished, razor sharp edge.A reasonably sharp knife may only require light honing. 

 Take Care,
John & Paula 

 REARDON ChristmasPrimeRib

 

Published in Food

Hello my Foodie Friends!

It is amazing to think that the holiday season is here. Planning for family gatherings and meals can be a stressful time during this time of year. We strive for the Norman Rockwell experience of perfect times, perfect food and respectful conversation. Reality is for many people, family gatherings during the holidays are rarely stress-free.  I tell my Thanksgiving story every year because it is one that we reflect on and smile. Last month my Father-in-law passed away. While we sat as a family reminiscing and sharing stories, the classic story of a past Thanksgiving was told. It brought the needed tears of laughter to us. Thanksgiving would not be complete without my real-life story of Grandma and the Turkey.  It was a long time ago when our children; Johnny age 3 and Aubrey 5 months old at the time, would make the annual trek to Grandma and Grandpa’s house to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner and watch football. To begin; let me explain I am a Giants fan and so is my mother-in-law so watching the Cowboys is not our favorite thing. However, her son is and so is my sister-in-law’s husband.  Yep, two Cowboy fans in the same house and they do not like each other!  I love football so I watched but the room was silent because they don’t speak to each other.  They were holding their feelings down to make my mother-in-law happy.  My mother-in-law was busy making a huge feast for all to enjoy.  She was very nervous because she wanted everyone to get along.  We always ate after the game and this one was a tight one. Most Cowboy fans may want to stop reading now.  With just seconds left in the game, the Miami Dolphins lined up to make a game winning field goal and it was blocked by the Cowboys. The brothers-in-laws were silent. I wanted to yell but held back because of the tension.  All of a sudden one of the Cowboys (Leon Lett) chased the block field goal and touched it.  Oh nooo! Well the Dolphins got another chance and won.  Not good around Grandmas house. My mother-in-law was now really nervous that her day could be ruined.  Her kitchen was filled with many dishes all cooking at once.  There was a shout from the kitchen and Grandma announced that she had lost her glasses and could not see without them.  The brothers-in-law were pressed into service to find the glasses. These were not just any glasses; they were big and black and hard to lose but there were no glasses to be found.  We looked everywhere and Grandma was close to tears when she asked me to check on and baste the turkey.  This was a big turkey at 28 lbs. and it smelled great. 
I grabbed my son Johnny and the baster which he took charge of and opened the oven to show him the turkey.  He said “look Daddy, the turkey can see better.” Yep he found the glasses neatly melted in perfect harmony with the bird so it looked like he had eyes!  I started laughing and everyone joined in. Needless to say we had ham and lasagna but no turkey.  It didn’t matter because the rest of the day was perfect. 

Through the fun and sometimes stressful events that can happen during the holidays – especially when we want it to be perfect; it can turn out to be a wonderful family gathering. Remember, my foodie friends that “Life Happens in the Kitchen”. Among our greatest and most treasured memories are the ones that are based in the kitchen or around a meal. As you get ready this season for your festivities and feasts, stop into Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store located at 33 Railroad Place. Pick up roasters, basters, thermometers, and more for your meals. You can have that Norman Rockwell family gathering. Enjoy your family and friends. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

 Take Care,
John & Paula 

 

HoneySweetPotatoe

 

Published in Food
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