I loooove risitto although I don't cook it often because it requires my continuous presence. My favorite is to add a little saffron. It gives it such a rich taste and a pretty color:)
How often do you cook no meat dinners or vegetarian twists on old classics? My husband is a meat and potatoes kind of guy, and I'd love to move away from meat at every dinner.
TGC: Whitney, I have a 2X2X2X1 rule when it comes to family dinners. 2 poultry a week, 2 non-meat, 2 fish and 1 diner's (or cooks) choice. It is easy to remove meat from so many favorites, pot pie, shepherd's pie, pizza. If you are not strictly vegetarian, eggs are always a great way to make a meal. Omelets and soufflees come to mind. I'm not a big fan of soy products or "fake" meat or poultry, I'd much rather just go with a meatless meal. Vegetable fritata's, falafel, grilled cheese with tomato or vegetable soup. Meatless spagetti sauce, tacos with beans instead of ground meat, just use your imagination!
My question: Have you taken cooking classes or attended a cooking school?
TGC: Yes Nancy, I have done both (and continue to take classes). I earned a certificate in Principles of Cooking - which taught me the classic techniques of cooking (think sauteeing, whisking, frying, roasting, searing, etc) and I earned a second certificate in Intensive Principles of Cooking, Applied - which concentrated on using classic techniques and applying them to contemporary cooking. One of the most important and beneficial classes I have ever taken was a knife handling and butchering class. I have also taken classes in Bread making, Soup and Stock preparation, Pastry, Canning / Preserving and Cheese Making. I have attended classes in Locavorism and am travelling to Italy in 2010 to the Amalfi Coast for a week of cooking lessons. (my dream come true). I am always looking for new and interesting classes. In February I have a cooking class with the former executive chef of Bouley of NYC, Chef Cesar Ramirez.. I believe a good cook never stops learning new and innovative ways to prepare food!
I have a question!
Do you buy your cooking utensils brand new, or is secondhand fine with you (i.e. thrift store shops)?
I need all the advice I can get. I can't even afford decent pots and pans. Also! No room to put them anywhere!
TGC: Phoebe, Of course! Reuse, recycle. Look for good quality, clean products. Don't buy interior scratched pans (outside scratches are okay) - inside scratches and your food will stick everytime. Antique (older than 50 years) knives are an especially wonderful find as they are generally carbon steel. Very easy to sharpen and they hold an edge. Don't let a little rust bother you - this can be sharpened away. Look for a solid handle, where the steel goes all the way through the handle and has at least 3 rivets.
Your All-Clad comment is excellent! I don't have them, but as an engineering/metals guy all my career- they would be my choice(if 1200 bucks fell on my head right now!) My Wusthof knives are my go to weapon of choice! I can stir with a knife- can you cut with a spoon? HeeHeeHee...
TGC: Buffalodick, I can cut butter and soft cheeses with a wooden spoon :-)
You are absolutely right about high quality knives. Dull knives are more dangerous than sharp.
Is there anything that you would not cook?
TGC: Unknown Mami, Cat, Dog, sweetbreads (aka brains). I think that's about it.
Love all these questions and answers! thanks. I enjoy your blog. It's so informative, and I really enjoy your recipes! You are very generous to share so many with us! I would LOVE to get your Yorkshire pudding recipe!
Oh, and enter me please!
TGC: Cousin B, Here's your Yorkshire Pudding Recipe:
You will need to be roasting beef for this recipe.
Remove the roast from the oven 25 minutes before you are ready to serve. Yorkshire Pudding MUST be cooked in the beef fat and drippings or you are just making popovers. (if you're not making roast beef, use butter where ever the fat is used)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
4 tablespoons roast beef pan drippings
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
Divide drippings between 6 big muffin cups and swirl to coat. Place in oven until sizzling hot (about 5 minutes) Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, milk, flour and salt together. Quickly, divide the batter between the hot muffin tins (fill about 2/3 full). Bake 25 to 30 minutes until puffed and golden. DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR TO THE OVEN WHILE THEY ARE BAKING. Serve piping hot!
I love to cook but have a terrible problem being able to duplicate a dish I've made in the past. I either can't remember how I did it or can't find the recipe. Do you have this problem?
TGC: Debbie, I keep a notebook on hand that I jot down ingredients and quantities as I add them - that's when I'm testing a recipe of my own. I can then edit it after we eat it, such as, "too spicy, add less XXX" or increase cooking time by... that type of thing. I also keep a three ring binder with marked dividers (cookies, cakes, salads, meats, sides, etc...) that I file my favorite recipes in. I tear the pages right out of cook books, magazines, etc.. I also write in cook books. I'm an organized mess!
Here are a couple questions that came directly to my email:
Question: What are three things you always have in your refrigerator?
TGC: Eggs, Heavy Cream and Butter. You can make heaven on earth if you have these three ingredients.
Question: What do you do with the chicken or vegetable broth you have left over when a recipe calls for only a 1/2 cup or so.
TGC: Freeze the leftover broth in an ice cube tray. Then once it is frozen, pop out and store in a plastic bag in the freezer. 2 cubes equals 1/4 cup.
Question: What do you do with leftover wine?
TGC: I have no idea. That has never happened to me. :-)
If you are in the Mid-Atlantic or Northeast part of the USA this weekend, hunker down from this storm, stay off the roads, make something fabulous to eat and share, stay warm and be safe!
The Good Cook