Category: Cooking Tips

17 Jan

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Peas on Earth?

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Dried beans, peas and lentils, otherwise known as legumes or pulses, are the seeds of mature, fresh beans that have been dried. One of the oldest cultivated crops; dried beans are an excellent source of protein, dietary fiber and complex carbohydrates.

Legumes are an affordable and healthy staple in many cuisines around the world. What’s more, dried legumes are a fraction of the cost of canned versions.  And, while they may not grant world peace, these nutritious and flavorful ingredients can give you peace of mind when it comes to keeping a healthy diet.

In the short video “Methods for Soaking Dried Beans,” part of a larger series on selecting, preparing and cooking legumes, you will learn techniques for soaking dried beans before cooking. (Public access expires January 23, 2013.)

Have a delicious day!
The Rouxbe Online Cooking School Team

 

09 Jan

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Vibrant Winter Vegetables

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Does your New Year’s resolution include increasing the amount of vegetables in your diet and colors on your plate?

Many winter vegetables have beautiful red or white pigments that, when cooked, are the most visually appealing when their color is preserved.  Examples of these types of vegetables include beets, red cabbage, parsnips and cauliflower.

In the short video “Preserving Pigments in Red and White Vegetables,” part of a larger series on preserving pigments in vegetables, you will learn techniques for preserving the color of many of your favorite winter vegetables. (Public access expires January 16, 2013.)

Have a colorful day!
The Rouxbe Online Cooking School Team

27 Nov

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The Science of Dressing Salads: Emulsions

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Salads can be light and refreshing or hearty and filling.  Emulsions, such as balsamic vinaigrette or mayonnaise-based dressings, may be considered the most important part of a salad by some as they have the power to unite the flavors of the other ingredients.

An emulsion is the mixing of two unmixable liquids – one water-based and one oil-based – by physical agitation. Unless there is the presence of a protein, which stabilizes the suspension of the molecules, the mixture is temporary and will split in two. Vinaigrettes are unstable emulsions (e.g., oil and vinegar) and dressings are stable emulsions due to the presence of a protein (e.g., from the eggs in mayonnaise).

In the short video “Unstable vs. Stable Emulsions” (one in a series on salad dressings & vinaigrettes) you will learn the science behind creating healthy, flavorful salads. (Public access expires December 3, 2012.)

Have a fresh day!

The Rouxbe Online Cooking School Team

02 Nov

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Shaping Pizza Dough

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(We advise first reviewing “Making Pizza Dough.” Public access expires Nov 5)

When shaping pizza dough, there are many techniques to achieve the basic goal of “stretching it out” to form a thinner crust.  However, we recommend these few tips as ways to achieve a thin crust that bakes up crispy yet chewy.

Lightly flour the counter and the top of dough. Then, using the tips of your fingers, press out the dough until it is flat. Grab the underneath with one hand, placing the other hand over top of the dough.  Now, turn the dough as you pull with your first hand and stretch the dough in the opposite direction with the second hand. Continue to rotate the piece of dough as you work it.

Some other methods can involve holding the dough above the countertop, but this one may be easier for people just getting used to the feel of stretching dough.

Remember, the more you practice the better you will become. And besides, making pizza is fun because even oddly-shaped pizza can still be delicious. Post photos of your practice pizzas from this weekend – we love to see them!

Have a fantastic weekend!

The Rouxbe Online Cooking School Team

19 Oct

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Bouquet Garni: Playing the Field

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The bouquet garni is a selection of herbs and spices that provides an additional layer of delicious flavor to dishes such as soups and stews.

Generally, added at the beginning or in the middle of the cooking process, the bouquet garni infuses your cooking liquid with selected herbs and spices. This is very similar to the way you might brew tea.

Vary the components of your bouquet garni to tailor the flavor profile of your dish to fit your taste or a specific type of cuisine. For example, a classic French bouquet garni has parsley, bay leaf and peppercorn. Try rosemary, fennel leaf, parsley and fennel seed for a Mediterranean flavor. For an Asian inspired dish, try cinnamon, star anise, coriander seed, cilantro and kaffir lime leaves.

Have a great day!

The Rouxbe Online Cooking School Team

Filed Under: Cooking Tips