Wokking Made Easy

BeefBroccoliCarrot Stir FryBefore you slice the veggies and heat up the wok, there are a few things to understand about the Art of Wokkery.

While you can stir-fry in a large tall sided skillet, a wok is a good investment for creating kitchen magic. The veggies spread out and have greater contact with the heating surface in a wok. This helps you to stir up crispy veggies instead of letting them sit in a soggy mess.

You don’t need an expensive wok. I suggest getting one in your local Asian food store. I have seen them on sale there for $10. You might as well pick up an interesting veggie or two while you are there. Read More


How to Boil an Egg

Eggs

It’s easy to make a beautiful hard boiled egg that is perfect for breakfast, a snack, to slice onto a salad, or to create deviled eggs. It all begins with a bit of mindfulness when shopping.

As with all food products, buy the best eggs you can afford. This might mean the daily special in the grocers, or it may mean a trip to the local farmer for a batch of eggs fresh laid this morning by free range chickens. Read More


Veloute Sauce

VelouteLight to medium tan in color, Velouté is the second sauce in the series of five colorful Mother Sauces.

Like so many recipes, this sauce begins with a roux. Before making the sauce, assemble everything you need. Never leave a roux unattended.

The following recipe makes about 2 cups – the perfect amount for many recipes, including Anything Leftover Casserole. It is easily doubled or tripled.

Velouté Ingredients:

3 T butter
3 T all-purpose flour
2 cups veal, chicken, or fish stock
1/8 t ground white pepper Read More


Crispy Garlic Croutons

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced in half
2-3 cups stale ciabatta roll or other dense stale bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Spoon Mage™ Ingredient Note:

Do not use fresh or regular soft sliced bread for croutons. Choose old dense breads.

To transform the cubes into garlic breadcrumbs, allow the croutons to cool completely, place them in a mostly sealed zip-lock bag, and whack a few times with the flat side of a wooden kitchen mallet. Read More


Mushrooms in Your Kitchen

mushrooms wokBuying Mushrooms

When selecting mushrooms individually, choose firm mushrooms that do not have soft spots, are not wet, and are not bruised. Avoid buying unwrapped mushrooms if the grocer positions them openly on low shelves in just the right place for little children germs to be deposited. Is there a clean metal grabber to use instead of your hands when you pick up the mushroom? If not, that means hands have been all over those mushrooms. If that does not make you squeamish, then enjoy. If this bothers you Read More



How to Make Cajun Roux

Roux caramel WMMindfully meditative to create, roux is a slow cooked mixture of equal parts fat and flour used as a thickening agent. Why is this Creole instead of Cajun?

Cajun roux is made with vegetable oil.

Creole roux is made with butter, clarified or not.

The longer roux cooks, the more it deepens in color, developing an wonderful nutty flavor.

Roux does not always need to be dark. It may be blonde, caramel, peanut butter, or deep walnut. It’s all good for cooking. You decide when the roux is done. It all depends upon the recipe it will enhance, your palate, and the time you have for cooking.

My favorite all-purpose roux is a beautiful caramel (like the one to the left). It can be made in about 12-15 minutes. Dark walnut roux requires patience as it it can take up to 45 minutes of steady stirring as it finishes to nutty perfection.

Creole Roux

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour Read More


How to Make Hummus

VeeVeesPinenutHummusDo you have a favorite brand of hummus or do you enjoy it at one particular restaurant because they make it so perfectly? You don’t have to go out –  make it yourself.

Once you have mastered hummus basics, check out the ideas below the recipe to take your hummus beyond the ordinary. Enjoy it often – it’s good for you. I love to dip carrots, radishes, and cucumbers in my hummus. Or try it on sandwiches as a replacement for mayo.

ps – It’s not cheating to use canned garbanzo beans. It’s just easy.

Basic Hummus

Ingredients:

1 (15 oz can) garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 T tahini
2 T fresh lemon juice
Sea salt and pepper to taste
3 T olive oil  (you may use less or more to taste)
Optional Ingredients: see below for a few delicious suggestions Read More


Color and the 5 Basic Sauces

Let  the Spoon Mage™ Help You Learn to create Mother Sauces!

Bechamel Sauce new Mother Sauce 101 copyColor and the Five Basic Sauces

Five sauces rule the kitchen – Béchamel, Velouté, Espagnole, Hollandaise, and Tomato. Fantastically named Mother Sauces, they form the swirling base or hefty ladle of deliciousness on top of your favorite meals.

Once you know what to look for, you’ll see Mother Sauces everywhere – in many recipes, on menus, and on cookery shows. It doesn’t take secret saucery incantations or an analysis of ancient texts to learn to identify them. The easiest way to find the big five is by mindfully considering their colors – white, light brown, deep brown, yellow, and red.

Pause a moment, breathe, and let your imagination stir up a little colorful saucy goodness.  Read More


Creating a Chiffonade

Let the Spoon Mage™ show you how to create a Chiffonade!

sage chiffonade 3 WM Creating a Chiffonade

Alright everyone, let’s do the Chiffonade! No, it’s not the latest dance craze.

A chiffonade (pronounced shif-oh-nod) is an easy way to quickly slice herbs, leafy plants, and even tortillas into pretty slender ribbons.

It’s not just a decorative technique for turning herbs like sage and basil into a beautiful garnish.

It’s also a great way to prep large tough leaves like kale as it encourages them to cook up evenly and tender. Read More