Category: Ask a Chef

21 Sep

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So You Wanna Be a Chef by Bourdain

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“I am frequently asked by aspiring chefs, dreamers young and old, attracted by the lure of slowly melting shallots and caramelizing pork belly, or delusions of Food Network stardom, if they should go to culinary school. I usually give a long, thoughtful, and qualified answer.

But the short answer is “no.”…says Anthony Bourdain.

To read more, here is the link to the entire article from Michael Ruhlman.

28 May

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Cooking Vegetables in Water – Rouxbe Cooking School Lesson

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May 28, 2009: Cooking Vegetables in Water

Properly-cooked vegetables are hard to come by. They are either too crunchy or terribly over-cooked. When cooking vegetables, the main objectives are to preserve flavor and color, while achieving the desired texture.

In this lesson, you will learn the basics of vegetable cookery in water. By understanding the differences between boiling, simmering, blanching and parboiling, you won?t ever have those childhood fears of eating poorly-cooked vegetables again.

Happy Cooking!

The Rouxbe Cooking School Team.

30 Mar

7 Comments

The Magic and Wonder of Braised Meats

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There is something so wonderful and comforting about braised food, in particular braised meats. Recently we went out for dinner to a local French restaurant. Almost all of us at the table had some sort of braised meat dish. It was like some sort of “festival de boeuf”, as everyone had some sort of beef dish, certainly not a table fit for any die-hard vegetarians (sorry)!

The funny thing about braised meats is that everyone seems to think that they cook by some sort of magic, or that perhaps the chef is somehow some sort of magician. The thing is though, braised dishes are some of the easiest dishes to make…and really there is little magic involved. It is just about knowing a few simple things, like – what is the right cut of meat to use, what temperature do you cook it at, how much liquid do you use, what kind of liquid do you use? Once you learn these few things, you can braise with your eyes closed…well, at least without a recipe.

Awhile back I made this Braised Short Rib Ragu that was quite yummy.  It really only took me about 30 minutes to whip together and then it cooked for a few hours while I did something else (I actually went to a Yoga class while it was cooking and, of course, I thought about it the whole time). This is another reason why I loved braised dishes – they literally cook themselves while you go about your day. Sure you have to get them ready and then finish them off, but the pay off is so worth the little effort. It sure beats take-out any day.

What’s your favorite braised dish? Feel free to share. We would love to hear from you.

Cheers – dawn

p.s. to learn more about braising check out our Braising Lesson in the Rouxbe Cooking School.

07 Mar

4 Comments

Bananas: The Ultimate Fast Food

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This post is brought to you by Divina P. Divina is one of our many dedicated Rouxbe users, aside from other posts and what not, she has also contributed many delicious recipes to the test kitchen. She has now started her own blog called Sense and Serendipity.

Banana Buddha

(image from The Thinking Blog – 20 Fascinating Facts About Bananas)

Bananas are the least expensive and most popular fruit on the market. They are one of the fruits that are better ripened off the tree. They are available all-year round in tropical countries where they offer more diversity.

Bananas are packed with nourishing nutrients, particularly the mineral potassium and understandably one of the most popular energy-booster because ripe bananas are easy to digest and most of the starch has been converted into sugar. The sugar combined with fiber makes bananas so good for a substantial released of energy.

The fructo-oligosaccharides in bananas help feed good bacteria in the gut. They are beneficial to the digestive tract, soothing and helping to restore normal function after constipation or diarrhea. In fact, in Southeast Asia, people eat a certain type of banana that treats either constipation or diarrhea. The pectin fiber helps soothe heartburn, ulcers and inflammation of the digestive tract. They also contain vitamin B6 and tryptophan, which the body converts to serotonin ? a hormone that helps lift moods and promote sleep.

Yummy Fried Banana Dessert

(image from QlinArt – Fried Banana Dessert with Sweetened Coconut)

Store bananas at room temperature and once they are ripe, they can be refrigerated for up to two weeks. Their skins will turn black but the flesh will still remain firm. Bananas ripen quickly because they release a high concentration of ethylene gas in the process of ripening. Be careful though, some bananas are treated with ethylene gas.

You can do a lot more with bananas than eat them. You can definitely cook with them for desserts and in savory dishes. You can even use the banana peel for mosquito bites by simply rubbing the affected are with the inside of a banana skin. This will reduce swelling and irritation. And, did you know that in Eastern Africa, you can buy banana beer (the beer is brewed from bananas)?

Thanks for the great article Divina…good luck with your new blog!

Ciao for now

dawn

p.s. What’s your favorite banana recipe or dish? I have to say I am a sucker for deepfried bananas…like the ones above…maybe even with some ice cream and chocolate sauce. Yum!

04 Mar

10 Comments

Article: Femme Vitale – Dawn Thomas: The Voice of Reason

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Charmian Christie, food and travel writer, interviews Dawn Thomas (Co-Founder of Rouxbe) for Cahoots online magazine.

In a world of celebrity chefs, cooking competitions, and extreme food, Dawn Thomas takes an old school approach to teaching the culinary basics.

With no cleavage shots, designer kitchens, or catch phrases, all attention is focused on the task at hand. Her agile ………

Click to read the full interview/article.