Ask ten French chefs to make a Béarnaise sauce and each of the sauces will taste the same. Ask ten Italian chefs to make a Bolognese sauce and none of the sauces will taste the same. No reflection on the expertise of either group of chefs, but there is something about sauces that pique the … More »
If you serve pasta-based dishes that feature chicken or fish, a velouté may be a sauce worth exploring. Veloutés are cheap to make, tasty and perfect matches for pasta. Start with a basic chicken stock — canned, concentrated or fresh — and simmer with a coarse-chopped mirepoix (equal portions of celery, carrots and onion, one … More »
For added authenticity, consider trying tomatoes on your own (provided you have the manpower). It’s easier than you might think. Here’s a quick recipe: Oven-Dried Tomatoes 2 pounds Roma tomatoes 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional as needed 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves 5 garlic cloves, crushed 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon … More »
Choose fresh jalapeños with a glossy shine and deep colors. Avoid wrinkled or soft ones. Store them in a paper bag for one or two weeks in the walk-in. Once sliced, use within three days. Wear gloves when handling to avoid irritating the eyes from the oils found in the jalapeño’s skin.
This month, The Cheese Whiz is addressing two important cheeses –– ricotta and ricotta salata. Though similar in name, these two cheeses are like night and day. Let me explain. In this country, ricotta is made from whole or partially skimmed cow’s milk. Italian ricotta is made from sheep’s-milk whey. Similarly, ricotta salata (ree-COH-tah sah-LAH-tah) … More »
Appetizers are sizzling. I have never seen appetizers getting so much attention. Some restaurants are referring to them as “small plates,” but what we are dealing with here are, in fact, appetizers using a pseudonym. Let’s take a look at what’s going on in Chicago when it comes to hot (as in popular) appetizers. For … More »
The Organic Trade Association provides background and information about organic food on its web site, www.ota.com. The OTA defines organic as food that is produced in soil that is free of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers. The food itself must be raised without the use of antibiotics, synthetic hormones, genetic engineering, sewer sludge or … More »
Scamorza is the Rodney Dangerfield of cheeses –– it gets no respect. But it should –– this is a cheese that restaurant owners should take a hard look at. Just the idea of offering, say, a specialty pizza using scamorza will get the attention of any customer simply because the name is not one that … More »
Worried about potential allergic reactions? Want a nut-free pesto? Start with coarsely ground cheese as opposed to finely ground cheese to help better approximate the texture of a traditional pesto. Next, add fennel or finely diced carrots, zucchini or celery. This will provide a different flavor, one that will distinguish your pesto from the competition.
Manchego and feta are two of the more interesting and important cheeses in the Mediterranean flavor. Manchego is Spain’s most famous cheese, and is made in the plain of La Mancha. Only the milk of La Manchega sheep can be used to make manchego. Feta is a Greek cheese. All real manchego is imported; all … More »