My Food Style

Go Nuts - How to Add Flavor and Texture in A Jiffy

Eating a handful of mixed nuts, or spreading peanut butter on bread is the fast way to satisfy your craving for something nutty. Add honey and a dust of salt and the flavors intensify, becoming even more enjoyable. Whether you like your peanut butter crunchy or smooth there are several other ways to take pleasure in nuts without twisting a cap or using a butter knife. Nuts serve a far greater purpose than to sweeten up a stick of celery, or dehydrate the patrons at the local bar.

When we discuss dishes in the restaurant, we pay special attention to the texture of each dish. Salmon Almondine requires such textures, and memories of Kung Pao chicken would not be the same without fried peanuts.

Besides texture, nuts also have healthy fats that tone down other wise sweet dishes. In addition, when nuts are toasted, they include a smoky deep flavor that can salvage a subtle sauce.

Try storing nuts in full view on the counter top.  Nuts have a tendency to float to the back of a cabinet and we lose sight of their versatility.

Rosemary Infused Oil - Beautiful Counter Pieces Never Tasted so Good

My wife is proud of the colorful paintings in our front room. She tells me they will match beautifully with the accent chairs she is looking for. I think decorating the kitchen is much easier than looking everywhere for furniture, and that is why she has left that duty in my hands.

Besides the bulky wooden cutting board, and my translucent framed portrait of spoons and forks, I have recently added bottles of oil and herbs. The Chiquita Banana woman ruined fruit baskets and next to wine, there is very little that will catch the eye of food lovers more than my modern oil art.

The real beauty of these bottles is not on their labels or found in their size, but inside where the true splendor of flavor and color react to light and appetite of the observer. Making infused oil is as simple as counting to three, or four for some people. Follow my recipe and soon BRAVO will be contacting you to host their newest reality show, Culinary Design.

Infused Olive Oil

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup of any dried rosemary

Directions

Combine the oil and rosemary in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let the oil cool to room temperature.

Transfer the oil to a 4-ounce bottle or cruet. Leave at room temperature.

Note: If you use fresh herbs, you must store the infused olive oil in the refrigerator for no longer than one month.

Par-Cooking: The Secret’s behind Restaurant Success

Have you ever wondered how risotto is ordered and served in a restaurant faster than you can eat it? How does a professional kitchen plate a side of au gratin or roasted vegetables in twenty minutes? The process is referred to as par-cooking and the results are as delicious as they are timely.  Par-cooking is to partially cook items now to be finished latter.

There are two main reasons why I encourage you to par cook.

First, it allows foods to be prepared ahead of time, and swiftly heated before serving. Par-cooking partially cooks the food, guaranteeing the reheating process does not overcook your dish.

The second reason is to add different textures and techniques to your dishes. If you are creating a dish that has blanched broccoli, sautéed mushrooms, and boiled potatoes, you could par cook each item today, to be finished all at once tonight.

If you do choose to take advantage of par-cooking, there is one important detail to remember. Cooking food and allowing it to cool properly is important to avoid bacteria that may cause flares. Immediately store any par cooked item in the refrigerator, uncovered, until it has cooled completely. Then cover and keep chilled until you are ready to complete your meal.

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