Featured
Prepare and serve food in an organized and efficient manner ?>

Prepare and serve food in an organized and efficient manner

00preparing_food (1)

Mise En Place (meez ahn plahs) means “to put in place” or “everything in its place.” The concept of mise en place is: A cook should have at hand everything he or she needs to prepare and serve food in an organized and efficient manner. A proper mise en place requires the cook to consider work patterns, tools and equipment, and ingredient lists. 

Coordination of multiple tasks is important. An organize cook will think about the most efficient way to complete tasks before beginning the work.

Selecting Tools and Equipment

-All tools, equipment and work surfaces must be clean.

-Knives should be honed and sharpened.

– Ovens and cooking surfaces should be preheated.

– Measuring devices should be checked for accuracy.

– Mixing bowls, saucepans, and storage containers should be the correct size for the task at hand.

– Foods should be gathered and stored at the proper temperatures.

– Serving plates, cookware, utensils, and handtools should be nearby.

– Expiration dates should be checked.

– Sanitizing solution, gloves, trash receptacles, and hand towels should be nearby.

Preparing Ingredients

Some ingredients that are used frequently are often prepared in large quantities.

Clarifying Butter

Whole butter can be used for cooking, but sometimes a more consistent product will be acheived by using butter that has had the water and milk solids removed by a process called clarification.

Procedure For Clarifying Butter:

  1. Warm the butter in a saucepan over low heat without boiling. As the butter melts, the milk solids rise to the top as a foam and the water sinks to the bottom.
  2. Skim the milk solids from the top when the butter is completely melted.
  3. When all the milk solids have been removed, ladle the butterfat into a clean saucepan. Leave the water in the bottom of the pan.
  4. The clarified butter is now ready.

Ghee – A form of clarified butter in which the milk solids remain with the fat and are allowed to brown.

Toasting Nuts and Spices

Nuts are often toasted lightly before being used. Whole spices are sometimes toasted before being ground for a sauce or used as a garnish. Toasting brings out its flavor and makes it crispier. Whether toasting nuts or spices, they should be watched carefully to avoid burning.

Making Bread Crumbs

Fresh bread crumbs are made from fresh bread that is slightly dried out. If the bread is too fresh, the crumbs will be gummy. If the bread is too stale, the crumbs will be stale as well. Dry bread crumbs are made from bread that has been lightly toasted.

To make bread crumbs, the bread is torn into pieces and ground in a food processor. After processing, the crumbs should be passed through a sieve and stored in a tightly closed storage container. Dried herbs and spices can be mixed into the crumbs for flavor.

Flavoring Foods

Foods are often flavored with spices or herbs, rubs or marinades before they are cooked. This may require the cook to prepare various mixtures ahead of time.

Bouquet Garni and Sachet

A bouquet garni and sachet are used to introduce favorings, seasonings, and aromatics into sauces, soups, stews, and stocks.

A bouquet garni is herbs and vegetables tied into a bundle. A standard bouquet garni consists of celery, leeks, carrots, thyme, and parsley.

A sachet is a cheesecloth filled with seasonings and tied together. A standard sachet consists of bay leaves, peppercorns, thyme, cloves, parsley stems, and garlic.

An oignon pique is less commonly used to extract flavors. To prepare an oignon pique, peel the onion and trim off the root end. Attach one or two dred bay leaves to the onion using whold cloves as pins. Simmer in milk or stock to extract flavors.

Marinades

Marinating is the soaking of meat or poultry in a seasoned liquid to tenderize and flavor it. Marinades can be a simple blend of seasonings, herbs, and oil. Marinades can be a complicated blend of fruit, red wine, and other ingredients. Mild marinades should be used on meats such veal. Strong marinades should be used on game and beef. White wine marinades are usually used for white meats and poultry, and red wine marinades are used for red meats.

When marinating, be sure to cover the item completely and keep it refrigerated. Stir or turn frequently so the marinade can penetrate evenly.

Rubs and Pastes

Additional flavors can be added by rubbing meats with fresh or dried herbs and spices. The flavoring blend, called a rub, can be used dried, or it can mixed with a little oil, lemon juice, fresh garlic or ginger, or prepared mustard. This makes a paste or a wet rub. Rubs add flavor and a crispy crust.

Steeping

Steeping is the process of soaking dry ingredients in a liquid to soften the food or to infuse its flavor into the liquid. Coffee beans, spices, and nuts are usually steeped in hot milk to extract their flavors. The milk is then used to flavor other foods.

Steeping is also used for rehydrating dried fruits and vegetables such as mushrooms and raisins. Usually the liquid with be discarded and the fruits and vegetables will be used in a recipe. Additional flavors such as spirits, wine, stock or other liquids can be added .

Preparing To Cook

Breading and Battering Foods

A breaded item is any food coating with a dry meal during cooking. These may include bread crumbs, cracker meal, cornmeal, or other. Breaded foods usually cooked by deep-frying or pan-frying.

A three step process is used for the standard breading procedure:

  1. Pat the food dry and dredge it in flour.
  2. Dip the floured food in an egg wash. The egg wash should contain whole eggs and should contain 1 tablespoon of milk or water per egg.
  3. Coat the food with bread crumbs, cracker crumbs, or other dry meal. Do not stack items on top of each other.

Battering

Batters consist of liquids such as milk, beer, or water combined with flour or cornstarch. These items are usually deep-fryed or pan-fryed.

Procedure for battering foods:

  1. Prepare the batter.
  2. Pat the food dry and dredge in flour.
  3. Dip the item in the batter and place it in the hot fat.

Blanching and Parboiling

Blanching – Very briefly and partially cooking a food in boiling water or hot fat; used to assist in preparation as part of a combination cooking method or to remove undesirable flavors.

Parboiling – Partially cooking food in boiling or simmering liquid; similar to blanching but the cooking time is longer.

Parcooking – Partially cooking a food by andy cooking method.

Shocking – Also called refreshing; the technique of quickly chilling blanched or parcooked foods in ice water; prevents further cooking and sets colors.

Making an Ice Bath

Because of the risk of food-borne illness, it is important to cool hot foods quickly before refrigerating them. An ice bath is an easy way to do this. An ice bath is also important for shocking or refreshing blanched or parcooked vegetables and for stopping the cooking of delicate mixtures such as custards.

An ice bath is simply a container of ice cubes and cold water. The item will cool faster if it is in a metal container, rather than one made of glass or plastic.

Healthy Burgers? Make Lentil Patties! ?>

Healthy Burgers? Make Lentil Patties!

Tinned food often gets a bad name for being too processed or salty, but there are exceptions. Lentils are a store cupboard staple with a whole range of uses. I like them in my salads to add protein, fibre and bulk, but they can also be used in many different healthy meals, such as soups, salads and Indian dahl.

There are a lot of reasons to love lentils. Lentils are:

  1. Easy on your wallet – at around $1 per tin
  2. High in protein – lentils have the third highest level of protein, by weight, of any legume or nut
  3. Naturally low in fat; and low in salt – as long as you rinse them well
  4. Easy to digest and provide a load of other nutrients to aid in your weight loss 
  5. A cinch to store. They last for an extended period in the pantry meaning they can always be to hand.
  6. Easy to cook, and of course they are super tasty.

These lentil patties are a great option for a vegetarian dinner – use them to make lentil burgers (pop on a bun with tomato, cheese, lettuce and some fresh avocado) or serve the patties on their own with a tasty dipping sauce (such as tzatziki) and a green salad.

If you’re worried about the lack of meat, don’t be. The frying of the patties gives them an almost hamburger-like look and feel, with approximately the same levels of nutrients.

Patties can also be enjoyed as a healthy lunch or snack the next day and make a great addition to school lunchboxes.

HEALTHY LENTIL BURGER PATTIES

lentil burger
Ingredients

  • 2 x 400g cans of lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup plain flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Olive oil spray, for the pan

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
  2. Wet your hands and bring the patties together using around two tablespoons of mixture for each. Make 8 patties and place into a frying pan sprayed with olive oil. Cook on medium heat for five minutes on each side until golden brown.

Recipe serves: 4. Calories per serve: 151

If you loved this recipe click here for more.

This Has Got To Be The Best Espresso Machine ?>

This Has Got To Be The Best Espresso Machine

making espresso

I have had this machine for a few days now and I have to say, I am quite impressed. I am a novice at making espresso based drinks and after a few tries, I am able to make drinks from this machine, that look, smell and taste great. Have received several compliments from family members and friends.

The build quality of this espresso machine is impressive. No cheap plastics and the user manual/quick start guide is well written and easy to follow. I love that is also comes with a hot water dispenser, so making Americanos is quick and easy.

I highly recommend this machine to anyone searching for a new or replacement machine in this price range.

Few concerns about people dissing this machine.
1. Grinder integrated will heat up the beans.
The grinder is further away from boiler than the previous 860XL.
The hopper is designed to feed the beans nicely even with just 7-10g of beans in it, you can put beans whenever you pulling shots, no left over beans no heated beans.
2. $400 gets you a better grinder.
In terms of what? $400 is still a mediocre grinder just like this one, you are not getting better grind quality, is more about durability they say.
If you really need the difference in the future, the $400 grinder will not satisfy you. When this grinder is dead get an $800 one, don’t even bother to spend more for no improvement now.
3. Can’t upgrade independently.
$400 grinder is not an upgrade and when you need an $800 grinder, you out grown this machine.

Tips:
Don’t use the double wall basket; you don’t need it for this machine. Is for low end machine to increase pressure or make the shots more forgivable on mistakes.

Take out the black plastic insert in the portafilter, is for less heat lost on pulls and it won’t matter if you preheat your portafilter before pull.
Simply just pull an empty shot before your first pull will suffice, which you should always do for heating up the machine anyway.

Slightly keep tapping the handle of the portafilter when grinding to more evenly collapse coffee before tamp.

Start with middle finest setting on grind, most likely the finest setting will be too fine. Play with your beans to find the optimum setting, keeping the needle up but not over is tricky at first. Prepare more beans to play with it!

Use freshly roasted beans is a must.

Read: Top 3 Espresso Machines for Coffee Lovers

The Sydney Harbour Bridge…should you climb it? ?>

The Sydney Harbour Bridge…should you climb it?

Harbour Bridge
Photo from Melissa’s Food & Travel log

The Sydney Harbour Bridgeclimb costs $198-308 AUD ($184-287 USD) for adults and $228-318 AUD ($212-296) during the peak period of December 25-January 8. All climbers receive one group photo. Additional photos of you are available for purchase. You may not take your own cameras or devices on the climb.

Climbs are available at dawn, day, twilight, and night. Climbs take place in all kinds of weather except for electrical storms or very strong winds. Climbs are available in Mandarin as well. Children over 10 may climb, provided they meet the height of 1.2 meters. Pregnant women may climb when up to 24 weeks pregnant as long as they have a doctor’s note giving permission. Inhalers and other medications may be taken on the climb.

Be sure to wear sneakers or other comfortable shoes with good grip. The whole process takes a few hours, so be sure to eat something beforehand. They have a cafe downstairs. There is a breathalyzer test beforehand and you will not be allowed to climb if you register a BAC level above 0.05. (More information)

My new dilemma: Which Shun knife set to get? ?>

My new dilemma: Which Shun knife set to get?

I’m planning to buy a set of Shun knives, after being dazzled by an array of Shun knives at a cutlery show last week. I have my eyes set on two 3-piece boxed Shun knife sets, but cannot decide which one to get. Here are some reviews of the Shun knives.

Shun TDMS0300 Premier

Shun TDMS0300 Premier
These kitchen knives are amazing. Stropped them up to shaving status and I can glide through anything I’m preparing in the kitchen with crazy accuracy and nothing but the weight of the knife blade to push through even thick food products. Be wary though, this isn’t the kind of knife that you use to pry open jars or hack through some thick bones or something, they’re thin, and as such provide precision accuracy when cutting. They’re not intended as a kitchen utility tool for every day use and you’ll likely break or bend the tips if you attempt to use them for much other than cutting. I never put them through the dish washer, and never cut something not backed up by a cutting board. To do so would dull them fairly fast and greatly reduce their usefulness.

At this price point, these are something you take care of. Hand wash, and be aware of what and where you’re cutting. They’ll hold up excellently for years to come provided you show them proper use and maintenance. I’d highly recommend these knives as a set for anyone. The three knives offered here cover my full range of needs when it comes to preparing food. Others may find you need more, but this is a perfect place to start.”

While another said, “My wife loves these for their sharpness, handling and looks. The blades are really ultra thin. Its more obvious than I imagined when they were ordered. If you do not take well care of your knives they can easily end up with a broken tip as someone here said. So they are probably not for everyone. I took one star of due to relative utility: they are vulnerable in the wrong hands – and frankly, you can find other high end kitchen knives that cut as well. But they look super and makes their owner happy every day – and that’s also worth something!”

Shun DMS300 Classic

Shun DMS300 Classic

The best knives I’ve ever owned, bar none. They come with a razor edge and are easy to re-hone with just a few strokes on the Kershaw-Shun steel (well worth purchasing to accompany this set). The damascus pattern and perfectly crafted profile slice through darn near anything (food-like anyway) with ease. I also got a 9″ scalloped slicing knife and sharpening steel to round out the set. The weight and balance are perfect. They are designed for right-handed chefs with a d-shaped handle so if you are a leftie they may not be as comfortable or easy to use.”

Both are just as beautiful and will be a precious addition to my kitchen, but I simply cannot afford both!

Mexican Quinoa in a Pan ?>

Mexican Quinoa in a Pan

mexican dish

Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 35 min

Ingredients
1 cup quinoa
2 cups unsalted chicken broth/stock
1 cup corn, rinsed and drained
1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
1 avocado diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp oregano
1 tbsp avocado oil (coconut or olive oil is ok)

Method
1. Cook quinoa in chicken stock
2. Place all other ingredients in large skillet
3. Once quinoa is cooked, mix in with other ingredients and warm through
4. Serve warm

Notes: Add jalapeños or red pepper flakes, or serve with hot sauce for spice. Serve with cream cheese if too spicy

Consider buying the best espresso machine under 200 ?>

Consider buying the best espresso machine under 200

 Enjoying coffee at home with family is a great quality time. However, if you are lazy to brew the coffee, it can destroy your quality time. Nowadays, you do not need to worry because there is espresso machine. It is a coffee machine that can automatically brew coffee fast and has a great taste. So, if you are interested in it, you can consider buying espresso machine. Not all espresso machines are priced high. You can also buy this espresso maker less than $200. Therefore, this article will discuss about the best home espresso machine under 200.

drinking-coffee

The Benefits of Home Espresso Machine

Why should you buy an espresso machine? There are many benefits of having it. One of them is that it improves your mood. You need to start your day with something excited and drinking espresso is one of the greatest ideas. So, with an espresso machine, you will feel excited because you can brew coffee fast with delicious taste. This mood improvement can affect your productivity along the day. So, you do not need to hesitate to buy an espresso machine.

Who can use this espresso machine? I can say that everyone can use it because it is very simple and easy to use. Almost there is no skill required to use it. You can brew coffee easily. You just need to push the on button to brew the coffee. Even more, some espresso machines have auto on/off buttons. Therefore, it is very appropriate for your home equipment’s. So, anyone at home can brew coffee easily with great quality of taste. Bu having it, you can enjoy your day excitingly.

You can also upscale the ambiance of your home with an espresso machine. Espresso machines are designed with various models, sizes, colors, shapes, etc. So, before you buy it, you have to make sure that it looks stylish for your home and it can upscale your home situation. Your guests will feel impressed with your espresso machine and they can enjoy espresso as they want. That is why espresso machine is needed at home.

If you want to get the best home espresso machine under 200, you can choose one of the following recommended options (More: Top espresso machine for coffee lovers). The first option that you can choose is DeLonghi EC702 15-Bar-Pump espresso Maker. This espresso maker is made in the United States of America. It is designed with patented filter holder that has dual functions. It is also featured with SempreCrema and easy serving espresso filters. Besides, it is completed with patented cappuccino frothing system. For the capacity, it has 44 ounces of water tank that is removable. In addition, it also offers anti-drip for the great design. Lastly, the on/off stitch button has indicator light that makes it more attractive.

Besides that, you can also consider buying Mr. Coffee Café barista Espresso Maker. Even though it belongs to luxury coffee maker, it is priced less than $ 200. This espresso maker has fifteen bar pumps. With 1 touch control panel, it allows you to decide whether you will use one or two shots of espresso, latte, or cappuccino. It also offers auto milk frothing so that you can make your own favorite milk. It is also easy to use, maintain, and clean. The milk reservoir is very useful such as to store leftover milk. Overall, it is very satisfying. So, it belongs to the best home espresso machine less than $ 200.

(Source: http://www.darwinismafterdarwin.com)

While there are actually four main types of espresso machines, for home use you really only need to be concerned with two:

  1. Steam-Driven Espresso Machine
    This device is very attractive to many consumers because of the low price ($30-$70). But, it’s important that you know that instead of making real espresso, it actually just produces very strong coffee.A steam-driven machine works by forcing stteam pressure through the coffee grounds to make the beverage. Because the temperature of steam and pressure is inconsistent, it’s impossible to generate thick crema.If you’re serious about brewing a cup of espresso, we suggest that you not buy this type of machine.
  2. Pump-Driven Espresso Machine
    For making real espresso, this is the type of device you want.This espresso machine makes a true cappuccino by pumping water from the boiler and forcing it through the coffee puck. When you walk into a coffee house that serves espresso, this is the type of machine you’ll see.There are several variations in a pump-driven espresso maker:

    • Semi-Automatic: This is the most popular pump-driven espresso machines among enthusiasts. Home brewers love this device because the quality of each cup is controlled by the you. You also control the amount of pump. It does not come with a coffee bean grinder, so you’ll have to grind and tamp them into the portafilter yourself.
    • Automatic: This type of machine is great for people who want a easy solution for a cup of self-brewed espresso without having to get their hands dirty. The pump controls itself with the push of a button and coffee is supplied in a pod or capsule form. The only drawback to this device is that you are limited to the flavor selections by the manufacturer. – Full article af http://davidandmax.com

More tips: Choosing the best type of espresso machine

Diamond Sharpeners – forever a girl’s best friend ?>

Diamond Sharpeners – forever a girl’s best friend

Diamonds are forever AND a girls best friend apparently.

I don’t know if either of these things is true, but they should certainly be a Chef’s best friend and like all best friends, even though you want to spend lots time with them, your one true love (your Knives) will be worn down quite quickly by their constant presence.

Now moving swiftly on from memories of a classic Bond theme tune (Thank you Shirley) and a song immortalised by Marilyn Monroe, let’s get back to Diamond Steels.

diamond sharpener

‘How do they work?’

Diamonds are tougher than steel and this is why it can sharpen your knife. They will remove the bent over, blunt edge of your knife leaving a straight, sharp one in it’s place.

‘How often should I use a Diamond Steel?’

A good question, if you read my article on Honing Steels, then the answer is when the Honing Steel is no longer effective.

If you don’t use a Honing Steel then the answer is when you have lost the edge on your knife, but I would seriously recommend getting a Honing Steel if you want to prolong the life of your knife.

‘Can you use a diamond steel on a Japanese Knife?’

Most manufacturers of Japanese Knives say stick to Whetstones and I would be inclined to agree with them.

A brief note on Ceramic Steels

They are not as hard as Diamond Steels (so will take longer to sharpen your knife) and won’t sharpen a Ceramic knife.

They are also VERY brittle, and will break if dropped or hit on a hard surface, so be careful with them and don’t leave the lying around the kitchen or they will definitely find their way to the floor!

Ceramic Steels are very good for Japanese knives as well as Western knives.