Displaying items by tag: John Reardon

Tuesday, 23 November 2021 12:47

“I See,” Said the Turkey

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. I also do it to pay homage to my mother-in-law for allowing me to tell this precious story each year. 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. Therefore, watching the Cowboys is not our favorite thing to do. 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 the two brothers-in-law do not speak to each other. They were holding their feelings down to make my mother-in-law happy. As the game was being watched, 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 particular game 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-law were silent. I wanted to yell in happiness 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. Half of the house celebrated, while my mother-in-law and I remained solemn. As the game ended, my mother-in-law continued working with my wife to complete the 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. Immediately, each of the brothers-in-law was 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. 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. 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. Have a beautiful Thanksgiving Day. Remember, my Foodie Friends that “Life Happens in the Kitchen.”

 Take Care, John & PaulaREARDON Stuffing

Published in Food
Thursday, 18 November 2021 14:18

“Keep Calm & Keep on Chopping”

Hello my Foodie Friends! 

The holidays are inching closer by the moment, and that means it’s time to prepare for all those deliciously festive dinners you’ll be making. Perhaps you’ve been pinning your most anticipated holiday recipes for months in advance, or you’re scrambling to find an easy holiday dinner recipe. Either way, you’re going to need the cooking equipment to execute these dishes.

Every home cook needs a solid work surface in their kitchen to peel and chop produce, prep proteins and rest food before it’s time to slice and serve, which means you’ll need a quality cutting board. Not only do cutting boards protect your knives and countertop, but they make cleanup a breeze. No kitchen is complete without a quality cutting board. It is an essential tool that is heavily used by families on a daily basis. Much like a great chef’s knife or a dependable skillet, a great cutting board can seriously up your home cooking game. Whether you’re cutting veggies, chopping herbs, or slicing steak, the best cutting boards provide a large area on which you can work, as well as protection for the knives you’re using. If you obsess over your knives, as most chefs do, you should also care about your cutting boards. Often an afterthought in the kitchen, cutting boards prevent blades from being dulled on hard surfaces like counters or plates. They also play a key role in food sanitation. As such, a well-stocked kitchen should have several different cutting boards for the multitude of things you’ll need to cut. And while you can get a cutting board in a number of different shapes, sizes and materials, the best cutting boards allow you to cut everything from vegetables and bread to raw meat, fish and chicken safely and properly. In terms of material, wood is a good option for a cutting board. Naturally anti-microbial and often attractive enough to be used as a serving piece, wooden cutting boards are sturdy and can last a long time if cared for properly (wooden cutting boards are not dishwasher safe and so need to be hand washed thoroughly to sanitize and treated regularly to prevent warping or cracking).

If you take cooking seriously, then you need a cutting board that is sturdy, safe for food preparation, and reliable. We offer a variety of wood cutting boards to improve any kitchen. Not only are wood cutting boards functional, they are aesthetically pleasing as well. Wood can add natural warmth and beauty to any kitchen.

If you are looking to create a traditional appearance in your kitchen, a wood cutting board or two can help you achieve that goal. Wood is relatively easy to clean and maintain. Because of this, wood cutting boards do not easily contaminate or harbor harmful bacteria. Ultimately, don’t think of wood cutting boards as tools to be stored until used. Display them along with the rest of your kitchen’s best accessories!

We carry several types of cutting boards in various sizes to meet your culinary needs. 

If you’re looking for a cutting board to stay put on your counter, the Catskill Craftsmen cutting board is the board for you.. Its large surface area is good for a large piece of meat, or prepping multiple foods at once. Catskill Craftsmen boards are beautiful wood cutting boards made in the USA. They are made of harvested, sustainable quality domestic hardwoods. 

Epicurean makes a wide assortment of cutting boards in various shapes and sizes including large ones with juice grooves. These cutting boards are reversible, thin and light enough to toss in the sink or dishwasher for easy cleanup. It can also be flipped for an even larger cutting surface. Each board is made in the USA with quality composite,  natural material, is lightweight, durable, nonporous, knife friendly, easy to maintain and temperature resistant to 350 Degree F/175 Degree C.

If you prefer a plastic cutting board, the OXO Good Grips plastic utility cutting boards have been our favorite for years. We love how they grip to the counter and can be used for a variety of foods, from raw meat to fresh veggies. They’re easy to move around, which makes cleanup easy, especially since they can be tossed into the dishwasher. The cutting board is double-sided with a non-porous surface that can resist odors and won’t dull knife blades and they are dishwasher safe. 

Along with the fun and excitement of the holidays, come the major stresses, especially around food! There is something magical about the act of preparing meals and eating together. It is an act of giving and sharing. This holiday season, stop by Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store, located at 33 Railroad Place to get the essentials you will need to make your feasts. Remember my Foodie Friends; “Life Happens in the Kitchen.”

 Take Care, John & Paula

REARDON MapleRibRoast

Published in Food
Thursday, 11 November 2021 14:38

Be Thankful for Every Moment

Hello my Foodie Friends! 

The holiday season has become a traditional time for us to serve our glorious turkey and the side dishes that go with it. The holiday period is a time to start the preparations of items needed to create your fabulous feasts. At Compliments to the Chef, we have some gadgets which can make your holiday prep and serve a little easier. Good tools are essential to good cooking just like good tools are helpful to a carpenter building a house. One tool I think a lot of foodies don’t have or know how to use is the thermometer.  It is one of my must haves in a kitchen.  Undercooked turkey is a recipe for Salmonellosis!  Your turkey should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees for 15 seconds.  You should check the temperature in at least two places and in the thickest part of the turkey. Do not discount how much this tool means to not just you but your whole family. 

Our first recommendation is a simple Bi-Metallic stemmed thermometer.  There are others, such as digital but this is the simplest, easiest and most cost effective choice. It’s easy to calibrate and if you stop in to our new place I’ll personally teach you how. 

The second recommendation for a must have is a Flavor injector and there are many types.   Adding some flavor can really set your Turkey apart from Mom’s recipe. 

Our third recommendation is an open roaster. Roast meat, poultry, and vegetables to perfection with a large roaster. Open roasters can hold up to a 20-lb. turkey. The heavy-duty stainless-steel roasting pan features tall, straight sides, which help prevent splatters and spills, while its upright handles ensure a secure hold when transporting the pan to and from the oven, even when wearing thick oven mitts. The open roaster comes with a V-shaped nonstick roasting rack that elevates large cuts of meat to promote even cooking.

Another cool tool for your feast is a gravy/fat separator. There are various sizes and styles of gravy separators. Among the types is a 1 ¾ cup gravy separator that is made of FDA-approved, BPA-free polycarbonate and plastic. This gravy separator strains out fat, seasonings, and lumps for flavorful gravy, broth, soup stock, au jus, and sauce with lower fat and calories. The BPA-free polycarbonate and plastic structure resists breakage and is heat-safe to 248-degrees Fahrenheit. It has a large handle that allows for a safe grip The pierced lid strains out lumps and larger food bits with a low-set spout that pours flavorful liquids without the fat; drip-free spout for easy, mess-free pouring.  The fat separator also has a wide-mouth opening and markings in milliliters and cups (from ½-cup) makes straining and measuring easy; microwave safe for easy reheats. The fat separator is easy to use and is great for everyday or holiday meals and is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.

Also, have your knives sharpened so you do not end up hacking away at your roast. Remember, we have knife sharpening services at Compliments to the Chef. 

These are just a small list of what can help you this season. Getting ready for the holidays doesn’t have to be a struggle! Let us help you prepare for this holiday season. 

Stop by and fulfill your holiday culinary needs at Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store located of 33 Railroad Place, Saratoga Springs. Remember my Foodie Friends; “Life Happens in the Kitchen!” Also, remember to compliment the chef. 

 Take Care, John & Paula

Published in Food
Thursday, 04 November 2021 13:56

A Slice of Life

Hello my Foodie Friends! 

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 the vegetables. 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 advanced ceramic knives are the perfect compliment to your cutlery at home. As soon as you pick up a Kyocera advanced 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. Can they break? Sure, but don’t we hand down ceramic plates over generations? Steel knives can break also so be careful with your cutlery.

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 buckling. 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. You can 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!
• Clean with a mild detergent after use.
• Store the ceramic knife in the supplied protective cover.
• Cleaning in a dishwasher is not recommended, unless it can be ensured that the knife cannot come into
   contact with other objects.
• Store out of the reach of children!

Looking for a different type of gift to give for the holiday season? Consider a ceramic knife for your special foodie. Advanced 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, for an assortment of Kyocera Advanced Ceramic knives. Remember my Foodie Friends: “Life Happens in the Kitchen.” 

 Take Care, John & Paula


REARDON BreakfastCasserole

Published in Food
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
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