100 Ingredients to Keep in the Kitchen

Wow, 100 sounds like a huge number, doesn’t it?  I’ve got a pretty compact New York kitchen, and yet when I did a quick inventory that’s what I found.  These are the ingredients I always keep around.  Even as I bring in new items to star on the plate, these guys are the ensemble cast that fills in as needed to create the finished dish.

The types of staples that you have handy will obviously vary based on personal taste and diet, and also by the food cultures you’ve been exposed to and love.  But for providing a broad and versatile palette to work from, these are my go-to essentials.
In the pantry [Read more…]

Well Equipped

If you’ve seen one of those extreme cooking shows, you know that a good chef can often pull something great together under even the most challenging conditions. Having the right tools in the kitchen really makes your life easier though. You generally don’t need any expensive single-purpose gadgets, but do invest in some quality core items that will serve you well in the kitchen for years to come.

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What’s Building Flavor?

Building Flavor is what cooks do when they transform ordinary ingredients into something extraordinary.

When I first started learning about cooking almost ten years ago, I was excited by the almost infinite collection of recipes available in cookbooks and all over the internet.  I would confront them dutifully with measuring spoons in one hand and stopwatch in the other, following the instructions precisely.  And generally those dishes turned out pretty well.

One day, I went off script.  I gathered up some veggies I had in the fridge and decided to make soup.  Couldn’t be too hard, right?  I filled up a pot with water, chopped, cooked, and… disaster.  I ended up with a flavorless salad floating in salty water.  What went wrong?

That’s when I discovered there was much more to cooking than I’d thought.  The recipes generally told me what to do, but they didn’t tell me why I was doing it.  They didn’t tell me about the building blocks of flavor and how to put them together.  That knowledge is what makes a good cook, and it’s what I’ve been aspiring to ever since.

Building Flavor is about knowing your ingredients and their properties, practicing the techniques that can tranform them, and stocking your kitchen with the right equipment to make your life easier.   Come join me and build your own culinary skills as together we learn how to cook beyond the recipe!