How the French make a vinaigrette

My mother has made this a version of this French vinaigrette for years and years. She got me hooked on it early and its flavor and simplicity keep me coming back. All the ingredients could easily be on hand in the average house; They have a long shelf life and are not expensive. In fact, [...]

Pan Seared Steak

Ever since William introduced me to Good Eats, I’ve been hooked.  I’ve seen almost every episode, and credit the show with some of the most useful culinary instruction I’ve received.  Whenever I make a new dish, I usually start with the Good Eats version first to help learn all the necessary techniques and to learn [...]

Caramelized Onions

Caramelizing onions are perhaps the best thing you can do to onions. Hell, in this preparation, they are probably the best vegetable ever. They may be even more impressive than most other foods. I’ve been known to fondly refer to them as the bacon on the vegetable world. They are that good.
The possibilities to use [...]

Easy Chicken Stock

A few days ago I mentioned that I made a chicken soup. I highly reccomend making your own stock for this. It’s neither hard nor particularly difficult to make your own stock. And because I was a bit under the weather when I made this particular version, I took extra pains to make sure it [...]

What is a Brine?

Essentially a brine is just salty water in which food is soaked. This helps augment the flavor and the texture of the meat. Most white meats (chicken, turkey and pork) can benefit from a soak in a brine. Other flavors (spices, sugar) can be added to a brine, but to be a brine it must [...]

Pan Sauce 101

One of my favorite things to do for a meal is to cook some sort of meat in my 12-inch stainless steel pan and then use that to make a pan sauce. Pan sauces are able to take the remnants of the meat you’ve cooked and incorporate those delicious flavors into your sauce. Plus there’s also the [...]

Choosing Shellfish (Shrimp, Scallops, etc.)

(This post is part of a guest article by Erica. See the Scallops in Orange Butter (Escalopes au beurre a l’orange) post for details about her and a recipe that applies these techniques. -William)
I must say Alton Brown’s Good Eats episode Crustacean Nation does a fine job explaining what all those funny numbers are when [...]

Splitting a Vanilla Bean

In case you have never seen a vanilla bean in your life, you may be wondering how you split one correctly.  It’s pretty basic once you know what you’re doing.  You want to take a paring knife and insert the tip in the center of the bean.  Pull the bean, not the blade, along the [...]

Tempering

Do you like the sound of scrambled eggs in your ice cream?  I don’t think that sounds very good either.  Tempering is one of the essential cooking techniques for working with a custard.  It’s useful for everything from Crème Brûlée to Ice cream.
Anytime you are working with adding hot liquid to eggs, you need add [...]