Friday, February 24, 2012

Common Cooking Mistakes

1. You don’t taste as you go.

Result: The flavors or textures of an otherwise excellent dish are out of balance

or unappealing.

2. You don’t read the entire recipe before you start cooking.

Result: Flavors are dull, entire steps or ingredients get left out.

3. You make unwise substitutions in baking.

Result: You wreck the underlying chemistry of the dish.

4. You boil when you should simmer.

Result: A hurried-up dish that’s cloudy, tough, or dry.

5. You overheat chocolate.

Result: Instead of having a smooth, creamy, luxurious consistency, your chocolate

is grainy, separated, or scorched.

6. You over-soften butter.

Result: Cookies spread too much or cakes are too dense.

7. You overheat low-fat milk products.

Result: The milk curdles or "breaks," yielding grainy mac and cheese, ice cream,

or pudding.

8. You don’t know your oven’s quirks and idiosyncrasies.

Result: Food cooks too fast, too slow, or unevenly.

9. You’re too casual about measuring ingredients.

Result: Dry, tough cakes, rubbery brownies, and a host of other textural mishaps.

10. You overcrowd the pan.

Result: Soggy food that doesn’t brown.

11. You mishandle egg whites.

Result: The whites won’t whip up. Or, overbeaten or roughly handled, they produce

flat cake layers or soufflés with no lift.

12. You turn the food too often.

Result: You interfere with the sear, food sticks, or you lose the breading.

13. You don’t get the pan hot enough before you add the food.

Result: Food that sticks, scallops with no sear, pale meats.

14. You slice meat with―instead of against―the grain.

Result: Chewy meat that could have been tender.

15. You underbake cakes and breads.

Result: Cakes, brownies, and breads turn out pallid and gummy.

16. You don’t use a meat thermometer.

Result: Your roast chicken, leg of lamb, or beef tenderloin turns out over- or


17. Meat gets no chance to rest after cooking.

Result: Delicious juices vacate the meat and run all over the cutting board,

leaving steak or roast dry.

18. You try to rush the cooking of caramelized onions.

Result: You end up with sautéed onions, which are nice but a far cry from the

melt-in-your-mouth caramelized ideal.

19. You overwork lower-fat dough.

Result: Cookies, scones, piecrusts, and biscuits turn out tough.

20. You neglect the nuts you’re toasting.

Result: Burned nuts, with a sharp, bitter flavor.

21. You don’t shock vegetables when they’ve reached the desired texture.

Result: Mush.

22. You put all the salt in the marinade or breading.

Result: Fish, poultry, or meat that’s underseasoned.

23. You pop meat straight from the fridge into the oven or onto the grill.

Result: Food cooks unevenly: The outside is overdone, the inside rare or raw.

24. You don’t know when to abandon ship and start over.

Result: You serve a disappointing meal. And you know it’s disappointing!

25. You use inferior ingredients.

Result: Sigh.

This is an important point because it’s the linchpin of great cooking: Good food

begins and ends with the ingredients.
26. Your poached eggs aren't pretty

Result: The typical botched poached egg is tentacled, scary, tough, overcooked.

27. Your gravy is lumpy

Result: Lumpy gravy. Next time, whisk wisely. Meanwhile, here's a fix.

28. Your mashed potatoes are gluey

Result: Gluey mashed potatoes. Next time, watch the cooking time and drain well.

29. You Burn the Brown Butter

Result: Dark and bitter butter. Next time, pay attention to the visual cues.

30. Your bacon is burnt and crinkly

Result: Burnt and crinkly bacon. Next time, bake your bacon.

31. Your Green Veggies Turn Brown

Result: Drab veggies. Next time, baby them and they will stay vibrant.

32. Your Salad Goes Limp

Result: Soggy salad. Next time, consider three important factors.

33. You Incinerate Chicken on the Grill

Result: Charred skin and rare meat in the thickest part of the breast.

34. Your Hard-Cooked Eggs Are Icky

Result: A rubbery, chalky, green-gray hot mess! Next time, heat slowly and cool


35. Your Turkey Burgers Are Parched Pucks

Result: A dried out burger that sticks to the grill. Next time, add a little

heart-healthy fat to help the meat stay moist and juicy.

36. Your Rice Gets Gummy

Result: Sticky, gummy goo. Next time, use more water.

37. Your Caramel Meets a Burnt, Bitter End

Result: Burnt, bitter caramel. Next time, a little water—and patience—goes a long


38. The Turkey Hack Job

Result: Your turkey platter resembles a crime scene.

39. Your Cookies Gain Unwanted Holiday Width

Result: Sad gingerbread men.

40. Your Flapjacks Flame Out

Result: Blotchy, burned pancakes

41. Your Oven Fries Fizzle

Result: Pale, soggy spuds or dried up and burnt fries.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Week 9

Larding & Barding

Larding:  a technique for cooking meats where long strips of fat are woven through the meat using a needle called a larding needle. Strips of pork fatback are commonly used for larding. Lardons is a small strip or cube of pork fat (usually subcutaneous fat) used in a wide variety of cuisines to flavor savory foods and salads. In French cuisine, lardons are also used for larding, by threading them with a needle into meats that are to be braised or roasted. Lardons are not normally smoked, and they are made from pork that has been cured with salt. A traditional use for lardons is in a technique called "larding," in which long strips of chilled pork fat are threaded (with the use of a needle) into meats that are to be braised or roasted, such as beef filets or veal (especially lean cuts), poultry, and lean fish such as salmon. These lardons are to be cut in strips about 1/8" thick and 1/8" wide, and it is essential that the fat be chilled before cutting and threading. The technique is explained at length in the classic book of French cuisine La bonne cuisine de Madame E. Saint-Ange, which details two techniques: surface larding, or "studding," in which the lardons are threaded onto the surface, and interior larding, in which the lardons are left in a channel (made with a larger-sized needle than is used for studding) inside the meat. Madame St. Ange recommends larding for braised calf's sweetbreads (as does the French Laundry cookbook) and for a specific style of cooking hare. American food writer James Peterson specifically recommends using fatback for larding; salt pork, he says, "has a funny taste and won't work." Julia Child recommends using lard or pork bellies (pancetta); she too thinks that neither salt pork nor bacon work, and suggests blanching these first, to get rid of the overwhelming cured or smoked flavors. The origin of larding is from the Middle Ages, when edible meat was sourced from hunting game, and it was often too lean and tough because of the animal's natural physical activity, with larding providing today's equivalent of marbling.
A lard needle is used to thread slivers of bacon, ham or lard through small cuts in meat or poultry. The added fat acts to moisten, tenderize & enhance the flavor of the meat as it cooks. The pictures below are beef country style ribs with slivers of bacon fat threaded through them.

Barding: is a technique for cooking meats where the meat is wrapped in a layer of fat before cooking it. Pork fatback is commonly used for barding, although bacon is sometimes used for barding as well.  Bacon, or bacon fat, is often used for barding roast fowl and game birds, especially those that have little fat themselves. Barding consists of laying strips of bacon or other fats over a roast; a variation is the traditional method of preparing filet mignon of beef, which is wrapped in strips of bacon before cooking. The bacon itself may afterwards be discarded or served to eat, like cracklings. This is a method of introducing fat to a very lean joint of meat to keep it moist and succulent during cooking. It also adds flavor to the meat. A layer of fat or fatty meat such as streaky bacon is wrapped around the meat to be cooked and the outer covering of fat bastes the meat during cooking, preventing it from drying out. Prepared roasting joints of rolled, meat available from Waitrose such as Stuffed belly roast of pork are sold ready barded.

Chocolate Flourless Cake & Pistachio Apple Financier

Flourless chocolate cake:  a type of cake made from an aerated chocolate custard. It is prepared with a whole egg foam in a manner similar to a Génoise cake, using low heat from the melted chocolate to stabilize the protein matrix (which contains only the starch naturally present in the chocolate) and then baked in a bain-marie. While traditionally considered a restaurant-style dessert, flourless chocolate cake is also popular for gluten-free diets. A similar cake with little or no flour in which the egg matrix is allowed to collapse is known as "fallen" or "molten" chocolate cake and was popularized by, among others, Jean-Georges Vongerichten's restaurants.
Financier: a small French cake, often mistaken for a pastry. The financier is a light, moist teacake, similar to sponge cake, and usually contains almond flour, crushed or ground almonds, or almond flavoring. The basis of the cake itself is beurre noisette (brown butter), egg whites, powdered sugar and flour. Financiers are often baked in shaped molds. The name "financier" is said to derive from the traditional rectangular mold, which resembles a bar of gold. Another theory says that the cake became popular in the financial district of Paris surrounding La Bourse du Commerce (the former name of the Paris stock exchange). They are often served topped with whipped cream, berries, or other fruit, and served accompanied by ice cream or other frozen confections. Financier pans are traditionally rectangular; however, other shapes are not uncommon.
Granita: a semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, water and various flavorings. Originally from Sicily, although available all over Italy (but granita in Sicily is somewhat different from the rest of Italy), it is related to sorbet and Italian ice. However, in most of Sicily, it has a coarser, more crystalline texture. Food writer Jeffrey Steingarten says that "the desired texture seems to vary from city to city" on the island; on the west coast and in Palermo, it is at its chunkiest, and in the east it is nearly as smooth as sorbet.[1] This is largely the result of different freezing techniques: the smoother types are produced in a gelato machine, while the coarser varieties are frozen with only occasional agitation, then scraped or shaved to produce separated crystals.

Semifreddo: (Italian: "half cold") is a class of semi-frozen desserts, typically ice-cream cakes, semi-frozen custards, and certain fruit tarts. It has the texture of frozen mousse because it is usually produced by uniting two equal parts of ice cream and whipped cream. Such a dessert's Spanish counterpart is called semifrío. In Italian cuisine, the Semifreddo is commonly made with gelato as a primary ingredient.




¾ oz.                     Powdered gelatin
4 oz.                     H2O, cold
12 oz.                   Sugar
7 oz.                     Corn syrup
3 oz.                     Honey
3 oz.                     H2O
¼ oz.                     Vanilla extract
1 pinch                 Salt
1 pinch                 Cinnamon


1.      Place the gelatin into the bowl and bloom in cold water.
2.      Combine sugar, corn syrup, honey and 3 oz. of water in sauce pan and cook to 252°F
3.      Remove from heat then in a mixer whip until it reaches 215°F
4.      At this point add the bloomed gelatin to corn syrup mixture
5.      After mixture has cooled add vanilla, salt and cinnamon
6.      Spread out on a silicone pad until ready to use

Chocolate Flourless Cake


6 ½ oz.                 Dark chocolate
2 ½ oz.                 H2O
3 oz.                     Sugar
4 ½ oz.                 Butter, melted
3                            Eggs
1 ½ oz.                 Sugar


1.      In a mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk the cream into medium peaks.
2.      Add 1 cup of the sugar to the cream and continue to whisk until stiff peaks form.
3.      Turn the cream out into a large bowl.
4.      Fold in praline paste or peanut butter and chocolate chips if desired
5.      Freeze overnight.


 Chocolate Flourless Cake Plate Design

Almond Apple Financier

Pistachio Apple Financier


2 ½ oz.                 Browned butter (beurre noisette)
½ cup                    Sugar
½ cup                    Cake flour
3 oz.                     Pistachio or almond flour
1 tsp.                    Vanilla extract
¼ cup                    Sugar
4 oz.                     Egg whites, soft peaks
¼ tsp.                    Salt
½                           Apple, peeled, cored & grated
                              *Flavor, orange or lemon zest

1.      Preheat the oven to 350°F
2.      Brown butter in sauce pan
3.      In a large bowl whisk together the flour, almond flour (meal), confectioners’ sugar and salt.
4.      Combine sugar, egg whites, beurre noisette and salt and whip to soft peaks
5.      Fold in egg white mixture until homogenous
6.      Fold in apples and flavoring of choice
7.      Fill butter ramekin or molds
8.      Bake for 20-30 minutes



4                            Oranges, juiced
2 cup                    Simple syrup, 1:1
1 pinch                 Salt


1.      Bring 1 cup water with 1/2 cup granulated sugar to a boil.
2.      Allow sugar and water to cool to room temperature. Pour orange juice or other fruit juice into the cooled syrup.
3.      Pour mixture into baking pan and place in freezer.
4.      Every twenty minutes take the pan out and scrape the frozen mixture with a fork until all the frozen pieces are broken into small shavings and mixed well with the remaining liquid.
5.      Continue to freeze. Scrape every twenty minutes until no more liquid is in the granita.

Institute of Art Live 2 Eat-Eat 2 Live