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Guide to Cooking and Eating Healthy in Hotel Rooms

There is no doubt about it. Traveling is expensive. Travel, food, and accommodation account for the bulk of costs. Using your skill as a competent cook you can drastically reduce the costs of road trip meals.

The average cost of a family vacation for food can easily be upwards of $60 for an adult and $45 for children per day! And if you are in a particularly touristy area the food could be unhealthy and lacking quality.

When staying in a hotel room, you will more than likely have access to a few appliances that can help give you a kick start, saving you from having to bring them. Of course, hotel safety rules vary from one hotel to another and it is extremely important to ensure that you maintain those policies. However, if you choose to ignore them, be safe and do not put you, your family, or other guests in harm’s way.

This means not attempting to cook under the influence of drugs or alcohol, under the effects of jet lag or exhaustion. Utilize the in-house facilities as they were intended under these circumstances!

Table of Contents Eating Healthy in a Hotel Room

The temptation to treat yourself when on vacation can be tough to say no. Pizza, dining out, and fast-food restaurants are built in opportunistic locations to take advantage of the weary traveler. For a family of four, it can add up quickly. There is nothing wrong with indulging in take-out while on vacation, but too much of a good thing can be bad.

A big focus in this guide is to help you eat healthier than the usual choices. With proper planning and understanding of the work involved, it is incredibly simple to eat healthily and cheaply while on the road in a hotel room.

Equipment Recommendations

Cooking in a hotel room has its own unique challenges and requirements. There is a high likelihood that some of the equipment you currently own may be ineffective for hotel cooking. I have taken the painstakingly tedious task of finding the proper equipment that best suits your needs. Because of how large and trusted Amazon is, we use their affiliate links. When you click through from one of our links, you will be directed to Amazon and if you make a purchase, The Culinary Cook will earn a commission at no cost to you!

I would like to thank you for your support if you decide to use our links and I hope you find our guide useful.

Which Hotels Allow Hot Plates?

We called around several hotel chains to find out what their policy on hot plates would be. Almost all said there is no problem with bringing a hot plate into the room and they have no specific policy regarding the use of hot plates. Some varied based on individual hotel policy.

Hotel Chain Hot Plates Allowed?
Best Western Yes
Wyndham Yes
Marriot Yes
Choice Hotels Call Ahead
Starwood Hotels Yes
Motel 6 Call Ahead
Super 8 Call Ahead
Days Inn Yes
Many hotels either have no policy or do not mind.Planning Your Trip

One of my favorite activities to do with my family is planning out our road trip meals ahead of time and where we want to stop to enjoy them. We live in a particularly beautiful part of the country and we love the outdoors. More than that, we love to save money while not compromising on quality or time.

Cooking on the road is a labor of love and must be something to be excited about. It brings the family and friends closer, shares responsibility, and gives you a feeling of fulfillment and achievement.

There are a few assumptions we are going to make when it comes to planning and cost-saving estimates.

  • Two Travel Days (One leaving, and one returning)
  • Five Hotel Days
  • Three Meals a Day
  • Four People to Feed (2 adults, 2 kids)
  • Seven Days Total

In our example, there are 15 Hotel Meals and 6 Travel Day Meals for a total of 21 meals to plan for. Further breaking that down, we have:

7 Breakfast, Lunches and Dinners (7 x 3 = 21)

Savings can add up quicklyThe Different Levels of Hotel Meal Planning

Balancing your vacation or trip with a good mix of time and effort is an important factor to consider. Jumping in expecting to nail down full 7-day, 3-meal plan can put undue stress and work on you and your family if you are not prepared.

The first thing we will cover is some of the logistics surrounding hotel cooking. There are some minor and major limitations that a hotel room cook will have to overcome and prepare for.

When things go awry, the first instinct is to abandon the plan and go back to the easiest path. This is especially true on vacation trips when you have a duty to enjoy yourself and relieve stress.

Expect there to be some hiccups and understand that absolutely your first priority should be to enjoy yourself and spend time with those you love. This is a labor of love. A love for cooking, a love for reallocating saved funds into better vacation activities, and a love for spending time together. As you get better at hotel room cooking, you will start developing strategies that can help you increase the number of meals you commit to this plan.

The Breakfast Club – $630 Potential Savings

Best plan to start with if you are new to hotel room cooking or if you are looking for something that is hotel-friendly and still cost-effective. This plan revolves around eliminating the costs of breakfasts, which can be upwards of $30-$90 per four-person household.

Quick, simple, delicious, and easy meals are the key to enjoyment and savings.

I recommend starting with this hotel room meal plan to help ease you into the idea with simple meals, prep and clean up. This is one that the whole family can get behind and is enjoyable for all.

Easy, Simple Meals

These are your simple meals where there is not much prep at all. Cold cereal and fresh fruit can be an amazing cost-saver that can run from $1-2 per serving.

Equipment Needed

Most hotel rooms will provide the mini-fridge and microwave, but to be sure its best to call ahead to ensure these amenities are included.

PRO TIP: Even without any appliances, you can still prepare cold cereal. If your room is equipped with a kettle, you can make hard-boiled eggs by placing your eggs into the hot water and leaving for 10 minutes. Then, dump water and re-add hot water from the kettle and wait for another 10 minutes.

Intermediate Meals
Related Posts

Intermediate meals are those that require a bit more experience in the kitchen and preparation. These are low-heat meals intended to be safe, silent and inconspicuous. For these meals, you will need to bring with you a proper hot plate, preferably an induction hot plate to be as efficient as possible

Simple doesn’t have to be boring.

Scrambled Eggs are a simple dish, and can be created on low heat. Adding ingredients such as cheese, chives, mushrooms, ham, etc., can bring this dish to life. Just be careful not to produce smoke as this can set off the smoke alarm.

Breakfast Burritos made from scrambled eggs, vegetables, and more can be a deliciously simple dish to make that is fun for the family. Stick to cooking eggs only for this dish as bacon and/or sausages can create smoke. If bacon is required, cook in the microwave for 3 minutes.

Pancakes can be made if you prepare the batter ahead of time (perhaps before you leave) or if you pick up the instant mix/just add water or milk variety. Very simple and easy to make with low heat.

Omelets are another good choice and can be as easily prepared as scrambled eggs. Keep the dish relatively simple and this can be a deliciously healthy breakfast with fresh fruit on the side.

French Toast can be a bit trickier, as you will need a bit more prep but nothing too difficult. Another great low heat food option that can be healthy.

Equipment Needed The Lunch Program – $560 Potential Savings

Lunches can be a time-sensitive meal, especially when on vacation or on extended trips. Quick, simple, and convenient lunches are the way to go if you want to make this a successful alternative.

Cold sandwiches are portable, simple, and delicious.

Instead of being in the hotel room, you will likely be out and about so preparing beforehand is the goal when looking to save on lunch meals. You do not want to be preparing large, cumbersome meals or have to return to the hotel room during the day if you can avoid it.

Meals that can hold up at room temperature without spoiling is a good choice, else be sure to pick up a backpack cold pack to help keep the temperature at food-safe levels.

Easy, Simple Meals to Go
  • Simple Closed-Face Sandwiches
  • Salads
  • Crudites
  • Ready-Eat Food (Nut mixes, cured meats, cheeses, bread, dips)

These lunches are about quickness and efficiency. They are inexpensive, easy to make, and can satisfy hunger on the go. These meals can also be a collection of snacks to help ward off hunger over the day. This can help avoid the post-meal lethargy or carb-coma that can arise with full, heavy lunches at restaurants.

Intermediate Meals to Go

The more intricate these meals, the more thought, and effort go into their execution. Like mentioned before, lunch meals on trips or vacations need to be portable and ready to eat. This makes it a bit more difficult to prepare more intermediate recipes without spending a good amount of time.

Feeling adventurous? Find a public park with a BBQ and enjoy the sunny days.

That being said, there are some meals that you can prepare before you leave the hotel room that can be much more filling than the simple easy meals.

  • Precooked Meals & Leftovers
  • Bound or Farinaceous Salads
  • Burgers Made on Public Grills
    • Search ahead of time to see where these are located
    • Easy to purchase stuff on the go
  • Soups

Precooked Meals & Leftovers can be made ahead of time from breakfast or the previous night’s dinner. Planning ahead the night before has its privileges and can provide for you and your family a nutritious, inexpensive, and filling meal.

Bound or Farinaceous Salads are a good option as well. The biggest difficulty in this choice is the tendency to spoil so picking up a good ice pack to help mitigate spoilage is a must.

Burgers on public grills is a great way to have a hot meal. Although not as fast and quick as most lunches on vacation tend to be, it does offer a great opportunity to visit a park or beach while at the same time enjoying a nice, hot meal.

TIP: You can also take this opportunity to cook up additional meals you couldn’t in the hotel room.

Soups would have to be enjoyed cold unless you have access to a microwave. If so, they can be a filling and healthy meal to have on the go. A proper BPA-free plastic container or glass would hold well and a few minutes in the microwave can make it toasty warm.

Equipment Needed The Dinner Plan – $840 Potential Savings

When it comes to dinner, there is a high expectation. But dinners can be fun, healthy, and enjoyable. As always, we want to be sure we’re not altering the environment. This means ensuring there is no smoke emitted during cooking, overheating, or extremely fragrant cooking.

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Chefs Answer the Age-Old Question: Should I Go To Culinary School?

We asked several chefs and kitchen managers about culinary school to get their opinions on the age-old question. If you have been thinking about going to culinary school, take into consideration the feedback we received from industry professionals.

I started in a fast food restaurant in 1984 at 16 years old. When I got to college I continued to work in restaurants as it was a good job whose hours worked around my class schedule. I was able to work my way up the restaurant food chain. By the time I was 20, I was a line cook in a 40 seat fine dining restaurant in California. I was working with a good chef who was willing to teach me what he knew and let me have the room to experiment and explore. This chef would later move on to be a Culinary Instructor at CCA in San Fran.

By the time I got my degree in Mathematics, I was more interested in being a chef then using my degree in any meaningful way. In 1992 I decided that being a chef was sexier than being a Math teacher so I applied and was accepted to CIA in Hyde Park. On my way to enrolling, I did a campus visit and I spoke to Career Services. They claimed their average graduate entered the job market as a Sous Chef making about $30k/yr. At that time I was a Sous making $30k/yr. I found it difficult to justify adding another $50k in student loan debt to my student loan debt from a degree I was not using. In the end I did not go to culinary school. But I did use my liberal arts education to help me become a better person and my on the job training further my career. This has served me well leading, ultimately, to me opening my own restaurant 6 years ago. -cheftlp1221

Important Things to Consider Before Attending
  • Have a good understanding of your final destination; do you want to own your own restaurant? Do you want to travel and have a skill that can always get you a job? Saying I like to cook is not enough.
  • There is no rush to attend. Get some experience first. The great thing about life is culinary school will always be waiting and can be attended at any point in your life. I attended mine when I was 26 with 8 years experience already in the industry.
  • The culinary schools will expose you to a large variety of things in a much shorter period than you will in a restaurant.
  • The prestige schools can get you into jobs around in the whole food industry, not just restaurants. Large corporations hire from CIA and Johnson Wales
  • Try to avoid taking on a lot of debt
  • Know that cooking is a lifestyle choice as much as it is a career choice

Important Things to Consider When Choosing Your School
  • Cooking is a trade and cooks are the tradesmen. If you want to become an electrician you attend a trade school, train, and get your license. You don’t go to university and study electrical engineering. Same thing with culinary schools.
  • This industry is merit-based and culinary school will help get you a foot in the door, but if you do not have the skills or passion you will be exposed.
  • Be ready to work. You get what you put in regardless if you went to a prestigious culinary school or community college.
  • Watch out for schools that are for-profit and high pressure such as Le Cordon Blue.
  • Always reach out to speak to some alumni and do your due diligence.
Be sure to check out our content about online cooking resources available. There are some great resources out there that can be a cheaper, albeit less intense, alternative.

Online Culinary Training

If you do not have a desire to serve people, a hunger to learn, the drive to be perfect, and the ability to think on your feet, then I do not recommend entering this industry. The great equalizer of this industry is that you can pay for your knowledge or you can figure out how to get paid while acquiring your knowledge.

I did not attend culinary school, and I own and operate a restaurant. I am very involved, In the course of a week I cook on the line, prep, help the dishwasher, write the schedule, and lots of other stuff. We serve breakfast and lunch, all made from scratch, lots of local ingredients.

We are lucky to have a loyal following and good reputation. This industry is unique in that it is completely about the individual, and very very little about where you come from. What’s important is that you are an efficient, hard worker who can execute under pressure.

When hiring I don’t look for the most qualified person, I look for the individual who is hungry and interested in working as part of a team. I want the guy who is going to have my attitude. If the grease trap is backing up, I want the guy who’s running towards it to fix it so service is not interrupted.

I want the guy who throws away the cooked item he just dropped on the floor, even through it would be easier to sell it. I want the guy who stays a bit late because he thinks he can fix something rather than calling in the appliance guy. I’m not going to automatically hire you because you have a culinary school degree.

Your knowledge does not mean shit if you’re going to be working slow, putting the kitchen behind, costing the servers money, and hurting our reputation. While I don’t regret not going, I lack a lot of the broader knowledge that culinary school would have helped me with. If I were an employee who wanted to move to a new place, the learning curve would be steeper than if I’d gone.

If you feel that culinary school is the right move for you, then for the love of god go work in a restaurant first. If you have no experience, knock on some doors before 11 or between 2-4:30 and ask if you can start washing dishes. This job is dismissed as simple, but it is going to give you an idea of what’s required to excel in a kitchen. Put in some time there, you are choosing to make this your profession and this is a chance to learn. Even better if you can find a mentor.

If you still think culinary school is the best route, then plan what you want to do. Do you want to own a place? Be a chef of a restaurant? Catering? Take classes that will help you achieve this goal. Accounting, marketing, and management will all serve you very well, and for some reason the culinary school people I have met never do any of this, and find themselves only partially prepared. -ether_bandit

It Comes Down to Attitude and Hard Work

Most of the chefs we asked to respond were more than eager to give their responses. It is no secret that most culinary students are seen as naive, entitled and wanting an easy way up the ladder. Most chefs are not looking for a degree. Most chefs are looking for hard workers, team players, and those that can perform under pressure.

Many of our chefs highly recommend picking up the textbook from the CIA as a good starting point for those still on the fence. As the owner of several culinary textbooks, they are a good investment that can help you decide if you are ready to make that decision

Pick It Up On Amazon Here

I think culinary school can be great, IF you go in with the proper expectations. Don’t go in assuming you will get one size fits all education. Every single kitchen is different. The culture will be unique and the way things are done will also be so.

However, if you want something specific like knife skills, mother sauces, and so forth, it can be worth it. Do your research and choose a school that has a chef you’d kill to work under and go there.

Avoid the big name schools. They charge you directly out the asshole. If you’re ever thinking of going to Cordon Bleu, say, realize that their tuition is like fifty grand. Not worth it. Look in to community college programs. Some of them are quite good and will definitely give you some foundations.

That said, there is nothing that will replace a restaurant in some ways. For example, after you’ve diced a hundred onions you will suddenly realize a bunch of little ways to do it better. It’s volume that you need in order to improve. The other day I was cutting apples, a thing I haven’t had cause to do much of, and little light bulbs were going off because it suddenly made sense how to get the most out of them. I could only get that by doing the same thing over and over.

However, it may be the case that you don’t have many restaurants in your town that will give you the proper experience, so you might consider culinary school for the networking.

So in short, it depends on whether a restaurant or school will be your best bet.

Experience is King

Learning the foundations and skills can be useful for technical skill, but those tricks of the trade come after hundreds of hours of working at the same task over and over. The same can be said for many things that culinary school cannot prepare you for.

Ok so i’ve never been to culinary school. I worked in the industry since I was 17. Started cooking at a truck stop. Eventually started cooking at some chain franchise. From there I moved around to a few others to a smaller one with a focus on higher end chain food. My chef there got a job at a very exclusive golf course and recruited me to come with him.

I got an opportunity from there to my current job that I’ve held for 2 years at a 240 seat fine dining restaurant in a major league sports arena. Im in the extreme minority there in that i’ve never attended culinary school.

However because of this job, I have the opportunity to take an apprenticeship course at culinary school. It’s half the time of the regular program which is appropriate because I already know how to cook. People will teach you lots on the job. They can’t teach you everything. I’ve been doing this for 8 years and I look forward to going to school to learn the more advanced techniques. I don’t need to go to school to get the job. Im going so I can do it better.

…But So is Knowledge

At the lower rungs of the industry, culinary school can be overkill for what you will be doing on a regular basis. Running the fryer or cooking as a line cook demands certain skills that can be trained on the job. But once you start climbing the ladder, you will start realizing that those highly technical skills need to be refined or in some cases, developed. That is where a good culinary school comes in.

The Bottom Line

I went to culinary school after 8 years of cooking experience in various restaurants. I needed to learn the foundations and the why’s behind what I was doing. I needed to know the method behind the madness.

Culinary school can be a productive step for most people, and depending on your goals it might even be a productive first step. Just know what you are getting into what you’re getting out of it.

The post Chefs Answer About Culinary School: Is It Worth It? appeared first on The Culinary Cook.

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The Different Types of Pasta Plus a Bonus Semolina Pasta Recipe There are many varieties of pasta to choose from

The different types of pasta have always been popular for their versatility and ease of cooking. But how much do you really know about it? Do you know how to properly cook all the types of pasta? Are you familiar with the term “al dente”? Maybe you’d like to learn how to make your own fresh pasta. We’re going to cover the basics about the different types of pasta to help you in your culinary journey and teach you how to make fresh pasta from with a pure semolina pasta recipe.

Pasta Dough from Scratch is Amazing Always dust your fresh pasta to ensure it does not stick

Pasta is a dough and is similar in production to items in the bake shop. Making the different types of fresh pasta is relatively easy, and the main ingredients in most pasta recipes are semolina flour, egg, and water. Semolina flour is a hard flour with impressive protein content. It is a staple in traditional homemade pasta recipes and is what gives it its signature yellow coloring. You’ll see it available readily in grocery stores and other food markets.

Related Posts

We have an extensive list of valuable posts related to pasta making on our site. Be sure to check them out.

Resources and Tools

One of my best memories as a cook was making fresh pasta with my five-year-old daughter. Making fresh pasta can be simple and fun, but as with most things, you will need a bit of practice to improve your skill. Making pasta is all about finesse more than it is about procedures.

Unless you are sticking to just making plain old hand-cut linguini or sheets of lasagna, you will need a pasta machine to get yourself going. There are two types of pasta machines; a hand crank type, and powered type. The powered pasta machine is typically attached to a stand mixer and is quite costly but it is the quickest and most productive.

Best Hand Crank Pasta Machine

As a professional chef, I have used a multitude of pasta machines. I have had some that I detested, and some that I adored. In almost every instance, the machines I liked best were those that were built of high quality. If you need a pasta machine, be sure to check out my recommendation on Amazon by clicking here.

Best Powered Pasta Machine

For any serious production or time-saving needs, nothing will beat out the speed and efficiency of a powered pasta machine. I personally use the attachment for my KitchenAid Stand Mixer, which you can check out by clicking here.

If you are interested in picking up a good quality stand mixer as well, be sure to check out our review by clicking here or jump right to the page on Amazon here.

Homemade Pasta – Also Known as … Macaroni?

Macaroni is actually the proper term for all types of pasta produced with wheat flour and water. It is only in North America do we call elbow pasta “macaroni”. It’s one of those erroneous things that are deeply ingrained in North American culture. In your journey to become a better cook, these are the type of things you will notice and you will be better for it! Knowing what you’re talking about is important. For the purposes of this article, we’ll refer to macaroni as a type of pasta.

Tube type pasta

There is a myth that noodles were first invented in China and discovered by Marco Polo during the 13th century. The story goes he introduced the noodles to Italy and the rest is history. The truth is, Middle Eastern and Italian cooks were preparing fresh pasta long before Marco Polo came along.

Dry vs. Fresh Homemade Pasta

The type of pasta you find in the grocery store is a dried pasta that is extruded at manufacturing plants and left to dry into a hard dehydrated dough. As with any dried product, you tend to lose a bit of flavor and texture during the process and the appeal of fresh homemade pasta is that you retain all of those qualities.

Fresh pasta dough recipes are easy to make, but it’s a bit more difficult to extrude into shapes and you’ll need a pasta machine in order to properly create your desired shapes. While it is very possible to use a knife or roller to cut your own shapes, it usually takes much longer and in the professional culinary industry speed is of the essence.

There is nothing to say you cannot enjoy the process and take your time either – in fact, we encourage it. Experimenting is the only way you gain speed.

“Macaroni is actually the proper term for all types of pasta produced with wheat flour and water.”

Spaghetti pasta Types of Fresh Pasta

We’ll jump right in and describe with visual aid the different names and shapes of pasta. The importance of knowing these shapes is to avoid any confusion when looking or communicating pasta types to colleagues or customers.

Italian-Style Pasta

There are 3 categories of Italian pasta

  • Ribbons
  • Tubes
  • Shapes
Ribbon Type of Pasta

They are defined by their width and length. There are many variations and in-betweens for pasta. You will constantly see different names for different types, but these types define the pasta.

  • Lasagna
  • Fettuccine
  • Linguine
  • Spaghetti
  • Tagliatelli
  • Pappardelle
  • Capellini
Tube Type of Pasta Various Types of Pasta

Tubes are the cylindrical tubes made by extrusion. They are generally short, but can be long (Canneloni, for example). They include

  • Manicotti
  • Rigatoni
  • Ziti
  • Penne
  • Spira

Some of these you might not be familiar with but have probably seen many times before. Ziti, for example, is what’s used in Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Spira is the name given for any spiral pasta, including fusili.

Shapes Type of Pasta

Shapes cover the rest of the pasta-sphere. These come in many different sizes and shapes, and there are new forms coming out on a regular basis. You’ll see these as

  • Penne
  • Conchiglie (Shells)
  • Farfalle (Bow-tie)
  • Rotelle (Cart-wheel)
  • Orzo (Rice-shaped)

It is important to remember that pasta comes in hundreds of variations in shapes and size. It would be impossible to list them all here, as many of them are hybrids of the different types of pasta.

Asian Noodles

Asian types of noodles do not have the wealth of variety that Italian pasta has. They aren’t usually flavored or colored by use of vegetables or herbs either. Virtually all Asian noodles are ribbons with varying degrees of thickness. The differences between them come down to the type of flour used to produce the noodle.

Wheat Noodles – Also known as egg-noodles, they are the most popular and widely available of the Asian noodle. They are available fresh or dried and can be deep fried after boiling to create crisp golden noodles (Chow mein) use mainly as a garnish.

The Japanese have their own types of noodles made from wheat as well. The thin variety is known as Udon, while the thicker variety is called Somen.

Rice Noodles – These are the dried, thin noodles made from rice flour. Ideally, you’ll want to soak these in hot water before cooking and rinse in cold water after cooking to remove any starches and prevent sticking.

Soba Noodles

Buckwheat NoodlesBuckwheat noodles are used in Northern Japan and in the Tokyo region. These are called Soba noodles. They are available fresh or dried and do not need to be soaked before cooking. They are often used in soups or broth but can be substituted for Italian-style pasta.

Fresh Semolina Pasta Recipe

It is much harder to recreate many of the shapes that you see in dried pasta in fresh pasta. The manufacturers of dry-pasta have very expensive extruding machines that allow them to do the shapes you see in stores. While dry-pasta might have the edge when it comes to shapes, fresh homemade pasta has a much bigger advantage.

Making fresh pasta dough the traditional way

Fresh pasta is much more flavorful and the texture of fresh pasta is much more refined. There is no real al-dente for fresh pasta, but rather the goal is to ensure even gentle cooking. Another advantage that fresh pasta has is its ability to form stuffed fresh pasta, such as ravioli and tortellini. Creating homemade pasta dough is simple and we have supplied a basic recipe for you to build off of.

Semolina Pasta dough
Easy, simple traditional pasta dough made from semolina flour. This recipe is great for learning how to make pasta with its simple ingredients and a recipe unchanged for generations.
Servings1 Kg
Prep Time10 Minutes
Cook Time5 Minutes
Ingredients
Instructions
Making the Dough
  1. Place eggs, oil, and salt into a large mixer bowl. Use the paddle attachment to combine.
  2. Add one-third of the semolina flour at a time until the mixture begins to form a soft dough. If all semolina flour has been used and dough remains sticky, add more flour until the pasta dough is dry.
  3. Remove the fresh pasta dough from the mixer and wrap it entirely in plastic wrap. Set aside at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This will help relax the gluten so it is easier to work with.
Shaping the Pasta
  1. Once the dough has rested, roll into flat sheets by hand or with a pasta machine. Keep rolled out dough covered so it does not dry out.
  2. When the pasta dough sheets are finished, you can cut them into desired widths or pass them through a pasta machine.
Variations
  1. Garlic Herb: Roast 1 head of garlic, peel and puree the cloves. Add to the eggs. Then add 50g (2oz) of finely chopped fresh herbs just before the mixing is complete.
  2. Spinach: Add 250g (8oz) of cooked pureed and well-drained spinach to the eggs. Increase the amount of flour if needed.
  3. Tomato: Add 100g (3oz) of sweated tomato paste to the eggs and omit the salt. If needed, increase the amount of salt. Use 5 whole eggs, and 3 egg yolksSpiced: Add 12mL (2-1/2 tsp) of the dry spice of choice
Stuffed Pasta
  1. Once your fresh pasta has reached the rolled out stage, you are at the stage where producing stuffed fresh pasta can be done.
  2. While the pasta dough sheets are rolled out, you'll want to create your mixture in a separate bowl. It is ideal that you use pre-cooked ingredients to ensure you do not overcook the pasta just to cook the filling.
  3. Once your filling and you have sheets that are rolled, place the filling equal distances from each other to fill the entire sheet using a distance of 1-2".
  4. After the filling has been placed, use an egg wash and brush the areas where there is no filling. This will seal the dough.
  5. Place the last sheet of pasta dough over the top of the bottom sheet and filling, and using your fingers, press down as close as you can to the filling to make a pocket. Try to remove as much air as you can, because too much air will cause bursting during cooking.
  6. Once the filling is neatly pocketed, you can cut using a mold or with your chef's knife. The resulting fresh pasta will be filled and ready for service.
Recipe Notes

You may use different combinations of semolina and other flours if so desired. A good alternative is 50% semolina and 50% white bread flour.

Ravioli Varieties Storing Fresh Pasta Dough

Once your fresh pasta dough is finished, the first thing you will probably notice is that it likes to stick to each other and it can soon become a general chaotic cluster of dough. To prevent this, you’ll want to employ a few key preventative measures. The first measure is that you want to have the fresh pasta spread out as much as possible as the weight will contribute to the unwanted combining. If you have long, ribbon pasta, it is okay to have 2 or 3 layers on top of each other as long as you employ the second preventative measure.

The second measure is applying generous amounts of flour between layers to act as a barrier. This will help keep the fresh pasta separated. Be careful though: Long term storage in this manner results in the flour absorbing moisture.

Lastly, the best method is to cook fresh pasta once it’s ready. Once cooked and cooled properly it can be stored safely for up to 3 days.

Cooking Fresh Pasta

Cooking fresh pasta differs from cooking dry pasta in that if the dough is freshly made, it will be delicate and require a tenth of the time to cook. Start with a stock pot with lots of water. The more water the better, as the circulatory motion produced by simmering/boiling water helps prevent sticking.

Semolina dough ready for shaping

If you use too little water, you will see a starchy concoction that is neither desired nor is it efficient at all. Salt the water generously, as salt is absorbed into the fresh pasta while it cooks more than afterward.

  • Bring the water to a boil. The fresh pasta should be durable enough to withstand boiling temperatures. If using frozen pasta, the fresh pasta will sink to the bottom and rise to the top once finished. If you are finding your fresh pasta is breaking up and/or dissolving in the water, either increase or change the amount of flour or knead the dough further to develop more gluten. Always keep stirring the pasta to ensure it does not stick.

NOTE: There is the myth of using oil in the water. There is absolutely no reason to use oil in the water. It does nothing and is a waste of perfectly good oil. The oil will just remain on the top, never interacting with the fresh pasta. If you have foaming or overboiling problems and use oil to solve it, try reducing the heat. It works much better and best of all, it’s cheaper.

  • The fresh pasta is done when the starch has been cooked out. This is hard to tell without..
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How to Cook Steak From Rare to Well-Done Effortlessly

During my time as a chef, I spent a lot of time behind the grill cooking steaks and chicken breasts by the dozens. Cooking hundreds of steaks per week has trained me to know exactly how to cook the perfect steak no matter the thickness, or cut to any temperature (As steak done-ness is often referred to). This guide is going to tell you how to master the grill and impress your guests! This guide will teach you how to grill any steak, any thickness to any temperature.

Seasoning steak before the grill Related Posts

The Culinary Cook has fantastic resources for the chef and home cook. Be sure to check out the related posts for more information.

Don’t bother with complicated graphs and charts that plot the thickness relative to the heat and times you by the second. Not only are they focusing on the wrong aspects, but they set you up to believe that cooking anything, not just a steak, can be broken down into oversimplified reductions. The fact of the matter is the time it takes to grill the perfect steak depends entirely on your ability to gauge the signs the steak gives to you as it cooks.

Instead of having a rigid methodology towards steak cooking, you have to be dynamic and understand the different phases that beef goes through as it cooks. This will help you when facing a thicker or thinner cut, or perhaps cooking on a new grill that you are unfamiliar with.

Tools and Resources

There are a few great ways to cook a steak. Being prepared with the proper tools and resources means that you will help achieve the highest potential your steak has to offer. I have cooked steak in almost every way imaginable. I am sure there are some methods out there I have not seen, and I hope to one day try those as well.

Top Grill for Cooking Steak

When looking for a grill, it is very important that you try not to be drawn in by the pretty finish and big, shiny knobs. They are likely a tell-tale sign that its hiding some suspect qualities. A high-quality iron grilling surface is a must for me. I simply cannot use stainless steel grills as they have a hard time marking anything (Remember, presentation is king). A good BTU and heat distribution is vital as well. I recommend Weber, and you can check out which BBQ grill I recommend on Amazon by clicking here.

Top Cast Iron Frying Pan

Another fantastic method which is popular in Europe is to use a cast iron frying pan. The cast iron retains the heat incredibly well and provides a cooking surface that is unmatched by other materials for cooking steak. Spooning butter on a salt and pepper encrusted steak with rosemary sprigs is one of my favorite dishes to cook. For our recommended cast iron pan from Amazon, be sure to check it out by clicking here.

Thickness of your steak will change the temperature and time needed for a perfect even cook

How long to cook a steak depends on three major factors: Time, Sight, Touch. A steak’s temperature cannot be determined without utilizing all three factors together to paint the proper picture.

Visual Steak Temperature Guide Steak Temperature Guide The Grill Hot Spot

First things first. Know your hot spot and know it well. You want to cook steaks at the highest temperature you can get on the grill and that is knowing where the hottest spot on the grill lies. Every grill has one, and you can easily identify it by the discoloration it has over other spots on the grill, as the area is whiter than the rest. Knowing how long to grill a steak rests on these basics foundations. Conversely, know your “cool” side, where you have no fear of burning if left alone. If you’ve got a serious hot spot/cold spot formed, check out this site for the top reviewed grills.

Steak Grading

Click here for more information on the grades of steak.

Timing is Everything When Cooking a Steak

Grill temperatures vary from grill to grill and that affects the time it takes to cook a steak. If you’ve mastered your own grill because you set it at a certain temperature and put it on a certain spot and leave it for a certain time, your method will fall to pieces the minute you attempt to cook a steak on a different grill. Don’t be rigid! In order to perfectly time it takes to grill a steak, you start with the Time factor. Because time is a constant, it is best used in conjunction with the other 2 factors

It’s a pretty simple concept. The longer an item sits over (or under, if broiling) a heat source, the more the item will be cooked. Know this and you’re halfway there.

No Two Steaks Are Alike

Throw the thicker steak on first and give it a head start. Doesn’t matter how long, maybe a minute or two. The thicker the steak the longer it will take to cook.

Fun Fact: Professional cooks avoid utilizing the oven for very thick (Baseball cut steak) steaks because they tend to forget them! Thus, instead of using an oven, thicker steaks are cooked on the cooler side of the grill.

The good example of the pooling blood that indicates a Medium Well temperature Using Your Eyesight to Cook a Better Steak

When you first place the steak onto the grill, be sure to watch as the sides of the steak change color as they cook. This is a good indicator for choosing when to turn the steak 45°. When you are cooking a steak, turn it 45° before flipping it.

Once the steak has flipped over, notice when pools of blood start to form on the surface of the steak. Small drops indicate a steak that is medium rare. Do not keep turning the steak over.

How to Achieve Perfect Grill Marks on a Steak

Proper grill marks are defined by the high temperature of the grilling surface. Cast iron produces the best marks, while stainless steel produces less prominent marks due to its heat transfer ability.

  1. Place steak on the grill and leave for up to 4 minutes (Depending on the thickness and the temperature of the steak this can be more or less)
  2. Lift the steak with your tongs. Note the angle at which the tongs are pointed. Rotate tongs and steak by 45° and place steak back on the grill (Preferably on a hotter area as the previous area would be cooler)
  3. After around 3-4 minutes, test the surface of the steak. If the steak is still firm, it is likely due to the muscle fibers tensing up. Flip the steak over facing the same direction
  4. Depending on your desired done-ness, your steak could either need another 45° movement. If not, it can be taken off the stove and rested for 5 minutes minimum.

Any more and you lose your grill marks and you lose your orientation on which side is more cooked. Do not listen to those websites that tell you otherwise – they are not real cooks!

A steak with pools of blood forming on the top is a steak that is medium

This is the classic method to familiarize yourself with the different firmness of temperatures. Touch

The touch can be deceiving at first, due to the fact that the protein fibers within the steak tighten up when it is first put to flame. This means that the steak feels firm for the first part of cooking. This can be deceiving as you may feel the steak is becoming overcooked when it is actually quite rare.

It is very important to account for the resting period of a steak as it will continue to cook a bit after it is removed from the grill. This is called Carry-Over Cooking.

Using tongs, squeeze the steak on the sides. You will notice that a rare steak is soft and squishy and does not bounce back very quickly. A medium rare steak is one that has just a little resistance when squeezed and goes back slowly to the original position.

A Medium steak is firm and when squeezed goes right back to original position quickly.

A Medium Well steak is firm and tough to squeeze with little liquid coming out from the inside.

A well-done steak is very firm with little liquid. It is important to cook well-done steaks slower to retain as much moisture as possible.

Resting Your Steak

It is very important to account for the resting period of a steak as it will continue to cook a bit after it is removed from the grill. This is called carry-over cooking. The amount of juices that leak onto the plate is also a good indicator of the temperature of a steak. A steak swimming in a lot of red juices tends to be rare-medium rare while a steak with little clear/brown liquid tends to be on the more medium side.

Resting your steak, however, is a vital step in the process. Always allow the steak to rest for a good five minutes before serving. This allows the proteins to relax, making a more tender steak and also helps greatly with proper plate presentation.

Combining the Three Factors

These three factors might not seem like a silver bullet for determining how long to cook a steak, because there is an element of finesse. Experience plays a factor for sure in knowing what signs to look for, approximate time frame for a steak, and the familiarity of what the steak feels like as it goes through all its phases. Grilling is a skill that is developed over time.

Use all your senses to come to rational conclusions without having to cut into the steak. If you’ve had the steak on for a good 8-10 minutes, the steak feels firm and there isn’t much moisture coming off it anymore, it would be safe to say the steak is medium-well to well done.

What about if you just threw it on 3 minutes ago but it still feels tight and there hasn’t been any liquid seeping through the top? Probably a blue rare steak.

What about a nice squishy steak with a fair amount of juice coming from each squeeze after about 5 minutes or so? Likely medium rare.

The post A Effortless Guide on How Long to Cook a Steak appeared first on The Culinary Cook.

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The 3 Types of Soup That Cover Everything Pureed butternut squash soup

Every soup recipe in the world can be boiled down to 3 fundamental types of soup. The goal of every aspiring chef is to understand what these types of soup are so you can be free to experiment with your own creations.

When it comes to making soups, there shouldn’t be any confusion or technical abilities required outside basic cooking knowledge and cooking methods. All types of soup are pretty simple to make, although they do require a good understanding of some fundamental cooking methods, such as making a roux or a stock for the base. We have some comprehensive guides on both of these topics if you need some help here.

Useful Related Posts Homemade tomato soup

Soups are a great use for left-overs, and some freeze well for a healthy, preservative-free instant meal. When I was a professional cook, I took a lot of pride in creating the soup of the day and challenging my ability to come up with delicious but cost-effective recipes.

We’re going to jump right into categorizing and knowing the different types of soups and how to apply each method. Involved in this article are various recipes that will help you understand some good base recipes. Be sure to practice as often as possible.

Tools and Resources a Soup Afficiando Needs

Soup can be one of the most simple, wholesome, and delicious dishes you can create. It is a food that speaks from the heart. You would be surprised at how big a difference the proper tools can make.

Soup Resources

If you are in need of more information on the different types of soups out there and want to delve deeper, be sure to check out Soup: The Book of Soups and Stews. This is a chef-written book that will guide you through some classics and modern soups. Check it out on Amazon by clicking here.

Tools for Soup

Kinda like tools for tots, or pies for people. Well not really. The point is, you need to be sure you have the right tools in your kitchen if you are going to give yourself a fighting chance. You don’t need to spend a lot to get a proper setup but you do need to spend.

For a proper stock (sauce) pot for cooking, you want one that has a multi-clad base made from stainless steel. The material is important because many recipes call for high-heat sauteing and deglazing. The multi-clad will ensure even heating and won’t burn your ingredients when sweating and sauteing. If you are looking for a soup and stock saucepan that is surprisingly inexpensive and good quality, check out our recommendation on Amazon by clicking here.

If you are new to our site, you may not be in the loop of The Culinary Cook’s solid bamboo cutting board. That’s ok! Do yourself a favor and check it out. Aside from our affiliate links, this is another way we earn revenue to support the site. You gotta see it to believe it. Full grid pattern laser etched into the bamboo with temperatures, conversions and more. Check it out by clicking here.

Ramen noodle soup The 3 Types of Soup Classifications

There are 7 types of soups that all soups fall into, regardless of what flavorings or ingredients you add. The benefit of knowing this information is that it helps you formulate recipes on the fly based on the ingredients you have. This is a huge benefit of soups as their versatility ensures that whatever leftovers you have on hand can easily be made into varying types of soup.

Soups as a primary dish are often served with premium ingredients and high-quality long-cooking broths such as Vietnamese Pho, French consommes, and traditional North American vegetable soups.

Clear Soups
  • Broth soup
  • Consommes
Thick Soups
  • Cream Soups
  • Veloute-based soups
Puree Soups
  • Bisques
  • Chowders
  • Cold Soups

There are countless variations for soups, and the limit is your imagination.

Clear Soups

When you think of clear soups you think of light soups or mild-flavored soups. Most clear soups include broths and bouillons made from meats, poultry, game, fish or vegetables. There are also consommes, which are stock or broths that are clarified to remove impurities. We are going to explore a bit more about the different types of soups that everyone needs to know if they are serious about cooking.

Broths Unclarified broth

The methods involved in making stocks, as discussed here, are virtually identical when making a broth or bouillon. Just like with stocks, broths are prepared by simmering flavoring ingredients in a liquid over a long period of time. The differences between a broth and stock are that a broth uses meat instead of just bones.

The second difference is a finished broth can be served as finished dishes while stocks are used as a base for further cooking. Stocks are light flavorings that provide a deep undertone of a flavor profile while broths are designed to be fully flavored and fully seasoned.

Transforming a broth into a broth-based vegetable soup, for example, is quite simple. Although a broth may be served with a vegetable or meat garnish, a broth-based vegetable soup is a soup in which the vegetables and meats are cooked directly in the broth, adding flavor, body, and texture to the finished product.

Any number of vegetables can be used to make a vegetable soup; it could be a single vegetable as in onion soup or a dozen different vegetables for a hearty minestrone. Making a vegetable soup allows the cook to use their imagination and whatever produce may be on hand.

It is important to ensure that when making a vegetable soup that all the ingredients are added at the appropriate time. Many vegetables have different cooking times and if added at the improper time, could result in undercooked or overcooked vegetables. Perfection is achieved when all ingredients finish cooking at the exact same time!

Creating a broth-based vegetable soup recipe is easy! Just follow these steps:

Basic Broth-Based Vegetable Soup Recipe
  1. Sweat long cooking vegetables in butter or fat
  2. add the stock or broth and bring to a simmer
  3. Add seasonings such as bay leaves, dried thyme, crushed peppercorns, parsley stems, and garlic in a sachet, allowing enough time for the seasonings to fully flavor the soup.
  4. Add additional ingredients according to their cooking time.
  5. Simmer the soup to blend all the flavors.
Consommes Clarified Consomme

A consomme is probably one of the more complicated types of soup to be able to create. A good consomme always starts with a good stock. What a consomme does it clarify it by simmering it gently with ingredients that attract the clouding particles within a stock.

In order to make a proper consomme, you have to be able to produce what’s called a raft. These ingredients include mirepoix, tomatoes, browned onion, egg whites, and ground meat.

These ingredients are simmered with the stock and the egg whites form a raft. Breaking this raft by boiling or poking will cause the entire process to fail. The idea is to be gentle enough so the particles that have been picked up by the consomme raft aren’t agitated back into the stock.

Clarifying a Consomme

The clarification process is an intermediately-skilled process. Typically, a stock has impurities within the broth. Normally, this is of no consequence as stocks are there for flavor and those impurities are what gives it some of that flavor. However, for this type of soup, consomme, having a glass-like clarity is the most desirable trait of the dish. As such, for any consomme to be accurately called a consomme, it must be clarified.

Clearmeat for Consommes

To make a consomme, you clarify a stock or broth. The stock or broth to be clarified must be cold and grease-free. To clarify, the cold degreased stock or broth is combined with a mixture known as a clearmeat or clarification. A clearmeat is a mixture of egg whites; ground meat, poultry or fish; mirepoix, herbs and spices; and an acidic product, usually tomatoes, lemon juice or wine.

The stock or broth and clearmeat are then slowly brought to a simmer. As the albumen (protein) in the egg whites and meat begins to coagulate, it traps impurities suspended in the liquid.

As coagulation continues, the albumen combines with the other clearmeat ingredients and rises to the liquid’s surface, forming a raft. As the mixture simmers, the raft ingredients release their flavors, further enriching the consomme.

After simmering, the consomme is carefully strained through several layers of cheesecloth to remove any trace of impurities. It is then completely degreased, either by cooling and refrigerating, then removing the solidified fat.

A good consomme always starts with a good stock or broth.

Consomme Recipes: Beef Consomme Recipe:
  • Brunoise – A brunoise of leeks, carrots, turnip, celery, peas, and chervil
  • Celestine consomme – Julienne of savory crepe, traditionally thickened with tapioca for clarity.
  • Julienne consomme – Julienne of leeks, carrots, turnips, celery, cabbage, sorrel, and chervil.
Chicken Consomme Recipe:
  • Caroline – Royale, rice, and chervil
  • Mimosa – Sieved white and yolk of a hard-boiled egg
Fish Consomme Recipe:
  • George Sand – Whitefish and crayfish quenelles, morels, carp soft roe on croutons made from French baguette.
Game Consomme Recipe:
  • Saint-Hubert – White wine, game, and lentil royale, julienne of game.
Thick Soups Cream of mushroom soup

There are generally two different types of thick soups: Cream veloute-based soups and puree soups. Cream veloute-based soups are thickened with a roux, while puree soups rely on a puree of the main ingredient for thickening. But in certain ways, the two soups are very similar. Some puree soups are finished with cream, and rice or potatoes may be used to help thicken the soup.

Typically thick types of soups are those that have been thickened by a thickening agent or by reduction. Some thick types of soup are cream based which give it a unique body.

Thickening all types of soup can be done by a roux, starch from potatoes or rice, reducing cream, or by producing a mother sauce such as a veloute and using it as a base.

The method in which to properly thicken types of soup differs from the thickening agent used. Using a roux will create a smooth, even texture and the roux is cooked along with the longer-simmering vegetables until the desired color has been reached and then the stock is slowly added, whisking constantly to avoid lumps until all liquid has been used. As the soup warms, it will thicken. More information on thickening agents here.

Classic Veloute Soups
  • Veloute Agnes SorelChicken veloute with mushrooms, julienne of mushrooms, white of chicken, ox tongue and liaison.
  • Bagration-Maigre – Fish veloute flavored with mushrooms, julienne of sole, quenelles of white fish and crayfish, crayfish and liaison.

Creating a thick soup recipe is easy! Just follow these steps:

Thick Soup Recipe
  1. Create your roux with equal parts flour and fat; cook in a saucepan
  2. Add your vegetable or primary ingredient along with the roux
  3. Cook roux until you reach the desired color
  4. Slowly add stock to incorporate the roux
  5. Heat to thicken; season and serve!
Cream Soups

Traditionally, cream soups were made with a thin bechamel. Veloute-based soups were finished with a liaison. Modern practice is to use a veloute base for cream soup and finish the soup with cream. The final strained product should have a smooth consistency similar to heavy cream and may have a puree of the flavoring vegetables incorporated or recognizable pieces of the predominant vegetable flavor cooked separately and added as a garnish. Use caution when preparing cream soups from leafy greens as they will discolor badly if overcooked.

There are two approaches for preparing cream soup. The first is to sweat the aromatics and identifying vegetables and then add a hot veloute and simmer to extract the flavors before straining. The second and more popular approach is to add flour to the sweated vegetables to make a white roux, then add hot stock and simmer to cook out the starch. The soup is strained and finished as desired. The cream or bechamel added to finish the soup must be heated before adding to maintain the temperature of the soup. If the soup is to be chilled, don’t add the cream yet as it shortens the shelf life of the soup.

Creating a cream-based soup is easy! Just follow these steps:

Cream-based Soup Recipe
  1. Sweat mirepoix with firm chopped vegetables of choice in butter or oil without browning.
  2. If using stock, add flour and cookout to a white roux stage before adding the hot stock. Or add the veloute and bring to a boil.
  3. Simmer to cook out the roux and flavoring vegetables, approx. 30 to 40 min. Skim as needed. If making a soup with leafy greens, add them in the last 10 minutes
  4. Strain the soup into a clean pot and puree the mirepoix (Blender, vertical chopper mixer, food processor or food mill) and flavoring vegetables, if returning to the soup.
  5. Bring the soup back to a simmer and add either the puree and/or blanched pieces of garnishing vegetables.
  6. Finish the soup with the hot cream or bechamel!
Classic Cream Soups
  • Creme Dubarry – Cauliflower
  • Creme de Celeri – Celery
  • Creme de Tomates – Tomato
  • Creme Solferino – Tomato & Potato
  • Creme Portugaise – Tomato & Rice
  • Creme Palestine – Artichoke
  • Creme Soubise – White onion
  • Creme de Poireaux – Leek
Pureed Soups

Pureed types of soup are often very hearty and full of flavor. They are healthy and include an impressive amount of vitamins and nutrition. The best explanation of puree types of soup is to cook starchy vegetables or legumes (Or both!) in a stock or broth, and then pureeing the ingredients.

It is always recommended when pureeing the ingredients to use a portion of the liquid and add it slowly to get the desired thickness. Pureed soups generally do not use additional starches, such as a whitewash or roux, to thicken further.

The idea is to use the appropriate amount of natural starches in the main ingredients to give you the thickening power. Once the soup is pureed, it can be seasoned to taste and served.

A Delicious Cream Soup

Soup making is a fundamental skill that is expounded upon as you get more experience in other areas of the kitchen.

Soups allow you to apply a lot of the basic cooking knowledge that you will leverage down the line for things such as sauces, thickening, sweating, browning, and the incorporation of roux.

Be passionate about all the different types of soup and become fluent in each type and it will reward you with delicious easy-to-make dishes and wisdom for later!

Bisques

Traditionally, bisques were made from shellfish or game, and thickened with cooked rice and the pulverized shells or bones. Modern bisques are usually prepared using a combination of cream and puree soup methods without pulverizing the shells, but simmering for extended time periods. Roux is often the preferred thickener as it produces a smoother-textured end product without the graininess imparted by rice. The term bisque is sometimes used to describe pureed vegetable soups (Squash, for..

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One question that I see come up a lot is “what the best temperature to cook chicken?” The answer to this question is… not as simple as a single temperature. There are many factors to take into consideration when you are wanting to cook a chicken properly without it becoming dry or risking undercooking.

I will try to keep it as simple as possible, but this is something that you will likely find yourself asking over and over. Be sure to check out this link on the CDC for information on foodborne illness stemming from chicken.

Quick Navigation How to Tell When Chicken is Cooked

There are a few ways you can check a chicken to tell whether or not it is done. This can be achieved without cutting into the chicken and potentially drying it out or ruining the presentation. Professional chefs and cooks have to determine this by using their senses to come to a reasonable judgment.

The proper temperature to cook the chicken to is 74°C/165°F

  • Time
  • Touch
  • Sight
  • Experience
A flipped roasted chicken in our recommended Calphalon roasting pan. How to Tell a Chicken is Done with Time

Smaller and thinner pieces of chicken will cook quicker than thicker pieces of chicken. Chicken pieces with bone-in will take longer to cook as the bone will act as sort of a cold spot in the chicken. Because of this, you will want to cook bone-in chicken longer and with lower temperature as this will ensure proper cooking throughout.

Using Touch to Determine When Chicken is Done

You can use touch to determine when chicken is done. If you are cooking a chicken breast, for example, a cooked chicken breast will be firm and bounce back quickly when pressed. An undercooked breast will be tender and soft.

For a whole chicken, the joints will move freely. An undercooked whole chicken will be elastic and rigid when joints are moved.

Using Sight to Tell When Chicken is Done

When learning to use your sight to determine when your chicken is done, be sure to look for the evidence. This can be a visual clue, or maybe a lack of something.

When checking your chicken breast, see if there is still blood coagulating on the surface of the chicken. If it is still white, it means it hasn’t cooked thoroughly yet. If the chicken breast surface isn’t obscured by sauces or marinate, check to see if it is still too white. If on the grill or oven, we want a nice caramelized/browned surface.

For a whole chicken, check to see if the juices run clear when probed. If they are cloudy, it is not done. If they run clear, there is a good chance it is ready to go.

When dealing with drumsticks and chicken thighs, check to see if the surface has blood leaking out, check what color the juices are, and inspect the surface.

Using Your Experience

Nothing can top your experience when you are cooking. Learn to lean on it a bit and trust your gut. While it is easy to cut into the chicken to check, it is important to hone your senses to coordinate together.

Combine the information you receive from all four points: sight, touch, time and experience. If you use all four, it will become easy to rely on your instincts.

Related Posts Best Temperature to Cook a Whole Chicken in the Oven

The most common question comes from roasting chicken. Since there is not the luxury of being able to cut it open to check, we need to use other factors to determine. Now to be absolutely sure your chicken is done, you must have an instant-read probe thermometer. If not, you can never be sure without overcooking.

The proper placement to accurately read the temperature in a whole chicken. Source

A good quality instant-read probe thermometer is not expensive to buy. There are a thousand to choose from on Amazon, and I have used a lot in my day. If you want my recommendation on the best and most accurate thermometer to use, check it out on Amazon by clicking here.

Conventional Oven

Crispy: Cook your chicken at 350°F for 2 1/2 hours. This is about the upper limit for roasting chicken. Anything above this and the fat will start to smoke which will lead to setting off your smoke detector. Be sure to flip the entire chicken on its back for 30 minutes to ensure even cooking.

Juicy: For a juicy whole chicken, cook at 315°F for around 3 hours, checking periodically. Lean on your non-invasive methods such as sight and time to help. Only use a temperature probe when you are close to your time.

Succulent: The best method to cook chicken that falls off the bone is at 285°F for about 6 hours. The slower you cook the chicken, the better the moisture retains. Be sure to baste often and perhaps lard the chicken with bacon strips to help with moisture and flavor.

It is important to have the proper tools, and a good quality roasting pan is a necessity. The qualities to look for are a well-known brand name, easy to clean material, and durable enough to hold up to both oven and stovetop heats. We recommend this Calphalon pan on Amazon. You can check it out by clicking here.

For convection ovens, reduce all temperatures by 25°F

Best Temperature to Cook Chicken Drumsticks and Thighs in the Oven

Chicken pieces such as drumsticks and thighs can be cooked at similar temperatures as a whole chicken with the biggest difference being time. The smaller pieces are more sensitive to differences in heat and can produce a bit more extreme results.

Again, the best thing to have at your disposal is a proper probe thermometer. Check the link above for our recommendation.

Crispy: Cook at 350°F for 45 minutes. This will give a nice crispy exterior to the chicken.

Juicy: For a moist drumstick or chicken thigh, cook at 325° for 1 hour. Check for juices.

Succulent: With how small the pieces are, it is not usually recommended to cook small batches using so much energy. My recommendation for this is to braise your chicken to get that succulent flavor and texture you are looking for. To do this, use a smaller dish and fill about 1/3 with chicken stock and spices of your choosing. Roast at 350°F flipping every 30 minutes for 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours.

Best Temperature to Cook Chicken Breast in the Oven

By cooking chicken breast in the oven, you can retain a lot of the moisture that is lost in other methods such as stove top or grill. This can be advantageous when you want to bring out the flavor of a marinade or stuffing.

Whole Chicken Breast

Cook at 350°F for 45 minutes, flipping once. Check for firmness as the size of a chicken breast can vary dramatically. The benefit of cooking whole chicken breast is to retain its moisture and flavor. It is more difficult to cook as many people are a bit apprehensive about foodborne illnesses that come from undercooked chicken.

Butterflied Chicken Breast

Cook at 400°F for 20 minutes. The best way is to cook off a large amount to similar to bacon. Butterflied chicken is one of the easiest ways to cook chicken breast. It is used frequently in restaurants due to its easy production value and set-it-and-forget-it nature.

Stuffed Chicken Breast

If you’ve stuffed your chicken breast with items such as cheese and vegetables, cook at 325°F for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours. You will want to use an instant-read probe to be sure as foodborne illness is common with stuffed poultry.

The post The Best Temperature to Cook Chicken appeared first on The Culinary Cook.

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ROUXBE’S ONLINE COOKING SCHOOL – A REVIEW QUICK LINKS

So you have been searching around for an online culinary school. Maybe you are looking for a lower cost alternative to traditional culinary school, or you are in a remote area where attending a class is not an option. The good news is, there are some great resources out there to help you get started.

Our goal at The Culinary Cook is to help inspire and facilitate both young and old in their quest to develop their culinary skills. Many of our articles are directly from the culinary arts’ syllabus. There are so much to go over that it would take years to fully flesh out what is offered in an academic setting.

Rouxbe is an online cooking school that promises world-class instruction from well-respected industry professionals. Their courses are student-focused, with all their material sourced from ex-chefs and academic professionals.

What this means is their content is professionally developed with rich media that has a high production value. But is it worth dropping $500? $1,200?

Yes, and you can trial it risk-free

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO GET OUT IT?

Rouxbe is considered to be the closest thing to a culinary arts program. I have seen some terrible culinary arts programs out there but I have also seen world-class programs that would be tough to rival.

It is not going to be easy to determine whether or not Rouxbe is worthwhile to you or not and it depends on what you want to get out of the program.

Are you looking to start from square one? Are you working full time and need a way to fast track your career? Are you transitioning from basic line cooking to high-end restaurants?

Determine what your goals are. A Rouxbe membership can be worth its weight in gold or it can be useless for those who aren’t committed. The content Rouxbe provides is top notch, and the support and training you receive are world-class. What you do with it is up to you.

WHO WOULD BENEFIT FROM A ROUXBE COURSE?

Let’s go over a few scenarios to determine whether or not any of the programs Rouxbe offers is right for you.

I am a Beginner Cook with Little to No Professional Experience

If you have a burning passion for cooking and a desire to build on your skills, you may be wondering if a Rouxbe course will help fast track you into a better cook. New cooks or “home-trained” cooks benefit the largest with culinary courses. They have a few bad habits and those that exist are easy to iron out.

The fact is, you being here is reason enough that you are wanting to improve your skill. The hard way to do this is through trial and error. Quite frankly that is difficult and can take a long time to achieve. Sometimes years! Smart people value their time and some people just don’t have the time to pick at the block one chip at a time. Rouxbe takes a jackhammer to it. Culinary arts is all about using the right tool and Rouxbe is the tool to show you how, quickly.

If you are looking to change careers, move into the culinary arts field, and have very limited experience then it is highly recommended that you start on the FOUNDATIONS. This will help you build some strong foundations for cooking professionally.

I Currently Work as a Line Cook or Prep Cook

The biggest obstacle I have seen cooks face in their career is skill plateauing. This is where a cook will stop learning new things and become stagnant. This can be because the environment is limiting, the mentoring is absent, or maybe the cook is overconfident. Maybe they haven’t had a pay raise in a while. Or perhaps they have seen their colleagues surpass them and move on to bigger and better things.

It is hard to come to terms with this reality. It can feel like FOMO to see yourself left behind. However, the first step is to acknowledge that you are here. Then you can commit to a true change. A good cook is constantly learning and the moment he fancies himself a big shot is the moment he stops learning and begins stagnating.

If you are here now it means you are recognizing that you may be plateauing and are seeking out ways to escape the lower rungs of the industry. First of all, congratulations. Never stop learning and watch out for those around you who will try to bring you down for improving yourself. Secondly, Rouxbe is industry-vetted. This means that the things you learn will directly support your next career move.

As more and more culinary arts programs close down, the more an online course will be necessary. As someone who is working in the industry, being able to take a course on your own time at your own pace is priceless. Business students have the eMBA. Cooking professionals have Rouxbe.

Yes, I Want Out

I Want to Start a Restaurant or Business

I have opened several restaurants from conception to launch. Food costing, hiring, vendor orders, net terms, you name it. I have seen many restauranteurs fail because they lacked the training needed to be successful.

Food costs and profit margins are very thin and a business owner needs to understand where his money is going and how best to streamline revenue.

Maybe you’re in your cubicle at work dreaming about making that big change and leaving your 9-5. The mobile food truck business is booming. More and more cities are embracing the cultural benefit they provide. If you are one of these entrepreneurs dreaming of one day owning your own food truck.

Or perhaps you dream of being a restauranteur. Schmoozing with customers who respect you and your business. Enjoying ‘work’ so much it is barely work.

Unless you have worked in the food industry for an extended period of time, you don’t have the skills needed to be successful. Opening a restaurant can cost upwards of $50,000 – $100,000. The benefit of a Rouxbe course is invaluable. Not only can you take it at any time, but it can be accessed for life.

The most successful restaurant owners I have worked for are those who started in the industry, worked their way up, and know the business. If this is not you, a Rouxbe course and subscription is a must.

Yes, I Want an Advantage

I Am Seeking to Improve My Skills, But I Don’t Have Career Ambitions

Becoming a better cook is a respectable ambition. Some of the more advanced recipes and techniques require a larger skill set. This may be one of the reasons you are considering taking cooking courses.

One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give to you before you dive head-on is to do your best to take it all on with a fresh set of eyes. You may think you know how to use your knife, but chances are you have developed some bad habits. Relearning can be difficult and frustrating. Like a right-handed person learning to write with his left, there may be areas within the content where it will feel alien. This is an important feeling to anticipate and prepare for.

If you are able to approach this with a new set of eyes and are willing to learn and relearn things that you may have been doing for years, then Rouxbe Online Cooking School will be a huge boon for you.

If you believe that you can skip most of the beginning content or jump to the sections you want to learn, you may end up missing key skills later on in the course. This can be frustrating if you have to go back and learn the basics.

Financially this is an investment in your own skills. I have met many cooks and chefs in my journey who did not believe they would be working as a professional cook. They ended up doing so from following their passion.

Yes, I Want Skills

MEMBERSHIP OR FULL COURSES?

Rouxbe offers two types of access to their courses. Membership and full course purchase. Choosing which one is best for you is determined by your goals. The majority of users will prefer the membership option as it is both the least expensive and most versatile.

If you are a professional or aspiring professional, you will want to choose the full courses. There are several benefits of choosing the full courses over the membership that justify the pricing. They all boil down to this: one is for professionals, the other is for amateurs.

“Did he just call us amateurs?!” you’re thinking. Amateur is not a derogatory term. Rather, I use it in the context of someone who is not looking to capitalize on their skill. More so someone who keeps it in the realm of interest or hobby.

So which one is best for you?

Membership

At $9.99/month (or $99 annually), the membership offers jam-packed value for anyone looking to develop their culinary skill. You have access to the full suite of video lessons and recipes and are given a Certification of Completion. This certificate is issued by Rouxbe itself and is not certified by any certified culinary professional.

This membership is perfect for anyone wanting to start from the beginning or is a bit hesitant to dive in due to the cost of the regular courses. With their free 14-day trial, the membership offers a no-risk option for those who are serious about culinary training but want to dip their toe in first.

Free 14-Day Trial

Full Courses

If you are looking for more professional accreditation that you can put on your resume, then the full courses are what you are looking for. Recognized by the American Culinary Federation, the program not only provides you with everything the membership does but access to chef-instructors who will guide you through the program. Not only that, but you have lifetime access to the course.

Upon completion, you receive a professional-level certification that must be earned through proving your skills to your chef-instructor.

THE BOTTOM LINE

It all comes down to this. You are here because you are seeking to improve your skill set. It could be because of professional need or personal need. Either way, we haven’t found anything comparable in terms of scope and depth offered by Rouxbe. Whichever direction you choose, you will make the right one. Knowledge is power!

Make Change Today

The post Rouxbe Review: Is It Worth the Price? appeared first on The Culinary Cook.

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The Best Ceramic Frying Pan You Can Buy in 2019

In the world of non-stick, Teflon reigns king. Teflon frying pans have had their fair share of problems, though, leading consumers in trying to find a new alternative that is healthier and more economical. We will be going through several ceramic frying pan options for you to choose from. We will be judging the various ceramic pans for quality, brand, and longevity. As always, we do our best to sort through the products and present you the reader with a short list of the best products.

Traditional commercial nonstick pan.

Ceramic is gaining popularity in the home kitchen as of late due to its even heat distribution and superior non-stick abilities. We at the Culinary Cook originate from professional backgrounds, and we feel it is important to emphasize that ceramic is not widely used at the professional level for a number of reasons.

1. Non-stick is counter-intuitive in the formation of the ever-important caramelization of food that a proper saute pan imparts.

2. Non-stick is achievable to the skilled cook in stainless steel cookware with the proper amount of fat and heat. Although this does not apply to egg cookery.

3. Ceramic is slightly more expensive than Teflon for non-stick applications and because most professional restaurants are businesses first, the benefits that ceramic provides do not outweigh the costs. Most kitchens will employ traditional non-stick for this reason.

That being said, we acknowledge the importance of ceramic frying pans in the home kitchen and due to its popularity, we feel it is a  great addition to any home chef’s kitchen.

Ceramic is superior for your nonstick applications like egg cookery The Benefits of Ceramic

Ceramic frying pans provide many benefits that are important to the conscious consumer.

No scraping or flaking.

While most home chefs will have migrated from stainless steel utensils to the more cookware-friendly plastic or silicone, ceramic frying pans and cookware are not at risk for the flaking or scratching or scraping like the soft Teflon non-sticks are.

No Flavor Contamination

Teflon non-stick have a tendency to pick up and impart flavors over extended periods of use. You might have noticed this when you smell your pan as it heats or that your food seems to taste better when cast iron or stainless is used instead. Ceramic frying pans do not have this problem.

Longer Life

Teflon and other non-stick use softer materials that break down after extended usage. Especially those at the cheaper price points from places like Wal-Mart (T-Fal is terrible for this). A ceramic frying pan is not at risk of having the surface deteriorate.

The Cons of Ceramic It Doesn’t Replace Stainless Steel

Ceramic is probably as close as it’s going to get when reproducing the benefits of stainless while maintaining the non-stick performance. But it still doesn’t replace stainless steel cookware.

Ceramic is Brittle

One of the main reasons glass and ceramic are not widely used in the professional restaurant industry, besides cost, is the fact that when they are ridden hard, glass and ceramic tend to crack and break. While ceramic pans are not as at risk as ceramic knives would be, they are still a risk and are therefore not used.

Top 5 Recommended Ceramic Frying Pans

There are a few factors we take into consideration when it comes to our process of a recommendation of ceramic products. Because they aren’t used in the professional kitchen, we have to choose a selection process that holds up to the rigorous trials of the professional kitchen as well as being cost-effective and of course super high quality. Therefore, we’ve ranked our products base on three factors.

Quality, Price, Performance

Final Thoughts

Like with any tool, ceramic has its place in a kitchen. It is a superior choice if you have to go non-stick to eliminate the need to use Teflon or other non-stick coatings. If I had to make the choice, I’d choose ceramic ten times out of ten because it is healthier, smarter, and last longer than traditional non-stick. From a purely culinary perspective, avoiding any flavor contamination from non-stick is a huge bonus. We hope that this has helped you make an informed purchasing decision on what type of ceramic frying pan to get for yourself or as a gift. As always, please be sure to check out The Culinary Cook for more how-tos, product recommendations, and culinary discussion!

The post The Best Ceramic Frying Pan 2019 appeared first on The Culinary Cook.

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Japanese kitchen knives are world-renowned for their incredible detail in every aspect. From the alloy of the steel to the shape of the blade. If you are here, you are wanting to find out exactly what the best Japanese kitchen knives are available on the market.
 
You don’t have to travel to Toyko, Kyoto or Osaka to find a high-quality Japanese kitchen knife. Some of the top Japanese knife brands are available worldwide. Many even ship direct from Japan.
Mount Fuji, Japan
When choosing your Japanese kitchen knife, use our guide to help you determine which style is best suited for your requirements. During my time as a chef, I have met several cooks who swear by Japanese steel. The reason being is the unique design, attention to detail, quality of the blade material, and the specialization. Too many cooks I see use their chef knife for a wide variety of tasks either out of simplicity or laziness.
Mastering each blade is not a requirement, as much of what you learn when using a proper knife is transferrable. Some knives require rethinking how you thought a knife should be used. This is a good thing. We want to be challenged and put out of our confort zone. That is where everything happens.
QUICK NAVIGATION The Different Types of Japanese Kitchen Knives
Traditional European chef knives are famed for their hardiness and incredibly durable material. Japanese knives tend to be lighter and more agile, which requires time to become acquainted with if trained on European style knives.
 
Japanese knives provide specialization. This means that each oneis made with a specific role and created for a very specific purpose. If you are looking for information on which Japanese knife to buy first, or if you are looking for what the entire knife set consists of, read on.
GYUTO/GYUTOU (CHEF KNIFE)[ps2id id=’gyuto’ target=”/] The Japanese Chef Knife (Gyuto) Click image to see Top Rated Gyuto Knife on Amazon
The Japanese chef knife can be referred to as the workhorse of the Japanese kitchen knives. It varies from the European style in the length of the knife and the shape of the blade. It is like a French Sabatier without the steepness of the blade curve.
 
Like most chef knives, this is an all-purpose knife. While it can perform many of the more intricate demands on the modern commercial or home kitchen, it is ill-suited for many of the advanced

techniques in Japanese cooking.

Best Gyuto Knife on Amazon – Check Price

The blade edge provides much more contact with the cutting board allowing for less motion. This means you get more precision when chopping different types of cuts. Because Japanese blades tend to be thinner, they compensate for this with much better chemistry to improve strength. Typically you will find most Japanese kitchen knives made with a steel that is derived from carbon steel.
 
With double beveled edge blades found in many European styles, the size range from 8 – 12 inches. Gyuto Japanese kitchen knife has a similar length but can have either the typical European/Western style handle or a traditional “wa” form. This is straight with an octagonal or round shape and usually made from hardwood.
Avoid using the gyuto when cutting through bone or any other hard material as it is not designed for such tasks. It excels at chopping, prepping, and slicing.
THE SANTOKU (PREP KNIFE)[ps2id id=’santoku’ target=”/]

Click image to see the Top Rated Santoku Knife on Amazon
The santoku knife is a popular style that has appeared more often in North America over the past 10 years. It will be identifiable by its iconic blade divots. This makes it an excellent prep knife for slicing and chopping.
 
While similar to a chef knife, the santoku is thinner, smaller and lighter allowing for greater agility. The blade edge has a very small angle, making it unsuitable for rock chopping. This design is for up-and-down chopping motion. Those well acquainted with the santoku can chop incredible fast. This is one of its biggest draws. It is not suitable for meat or fish slicing.
The size of the santoku measures from 5 – 7 inches. The large width of the blade compared to its length allows scooping of food easily. We recommend keeping a santoku in your knife roll for the purposes of heavy prep work or long chopping sessions. The reason being the lightweight feel gives you a lot of stamina.
 
When selecting your santoku, be sure to look for ones made from lightweight high carbon stainless steel.
THE SUJIHIKI (SLICING KNIFE)[ps2id id=’sujihiki’ target=”/] The sujihiki chef knife Click image to see the Top Rated Sujihiki Knife on Amazon
Many Japanese chefs and cooks will own a sujihiki knife. This long, narrow blade with a slim blade height makes it good for sashimi slicing and filleting/prepping fish and other protein. It measures from 9.5 to 12 inches and is sharp. Many Japanese sujihiki knives are honed incredibly sharp. The material is a high-quality carbon steel made for lightweight construction. They can rust if kept in moist conditions.
 
The Western styles are very similar and used in slicing meats for presentation. The long blade gives a large cutting surface to allow for flawless slices of the largest roasts. The sujihiki is similar to the traditional sushi or sashimi knife the yanagi.
 
Suji is a bit lighter and has flexibility in the blade to allow easier filleting of fish and deboning. This is ideal for trimming and slicing.
 
The sujihiki is double beveled, which is the biggest difference between it and the yanagi which is a single bevel knife. Some knives sell with a divot or hammered style above the cutting edge to help reduce food sticking to this Japanese kitchen knife when slicing. However, this does not indicate quality and is for aesthetics.
THE NAKIRI KNIFE (MULTI-PURPOSE)[ps2id id=’nakiri’ target=”/] Nakiri knife Click here to see the Top Rated Nakiri Knife on Amazon
This knife is a traditional knife designed for prep work. It is used as a vegetable knife and works well with continual chopping motions.
 
Style-wise, it is a smaller version of the cleaver and has a thin blade. The profile of the blade, which is straight-edged from tip to tang. This makes it a good overall choice for anyone who works needs a substantial knife with a good blade for food scooping. The length of the blade is between 5 and 7 inches.
 
This blade features a double beveled edge and as is a common feature of Japanese knives it is incredibly sharp. There is little to no rocking motion and makes for up and down chopping motion. Using the knife to do most of the cutting is an important skill to learn in all kitchen knives. In Japan, home cooks prefer the nakiri.
BUNKA KNIFE[ps2id id=’bunka’ target=”/] Bunka damascus steel Click image for the Top Rated Bunka Knife on Amazon
Another interesting Japanese kitchen knife is the bunka. This Japanese kitchen knife can handle a wide variety of tasks in the home and on the job. Use it for precision chopping of small ingredients such as garlic, shallots, herbs, and more. It can be used to make very fine paysanne vegetable cuts.
 
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Basic Cooking Methods and Techniques

One of the first steps in learning how to cook is learning the proper cooking methods and techniques including the various ways to cook. There are many to learn, and they each cooking method has their advantages and disadvantages. You’ll begin to notice a trend when it comes to applying cooking methods to various food items. There are some methods that are basic, and some that are advanced cooking techniques.

Generally, you’ll notice moist-heat cooking methods used to help keep foods moist and to prevent drying out. Moist-heat cooking methods are also used to cook food items that would be too tough to enjoy if prepared using a dry-heat cooking method. These items typically need longer cooking time and to ensure they don’t dry out, a moist heat cooking method would be applied. When you are learning how to cook a roast, this will come in handy.

Practicing these types of cooking methods and cooking techniques are the only way to become naturally adept with them. You are probably already aware of many of these cooking methods and unknowingly use them on a regular basis. What the goal is to make sure that you are applying the proper cooking technique to the proper food item. While the cooking process is usually seen as an empty canvas in which to experiment with, you must first master the theory and practical skills that gives the canvas its inspirational ability. One of those things happens to an important foundational skill and one that you can’t afford to be without.

The Various Primary Cooking Methods Contrary to belief, deep-frying is a dry-heat cooking method

These cooking methods or styles of cooking can be applied to any type of food, but it’s been saved for this section due to the importance of remembering the methods in relation to meat cooking.  There are three types of primary cooking methods to remember:

  • Dry-heat Cooking Method
  • Moist-heat Cooking Method
  • Combination Cooking Method

Foods can be cooked in air, fat, water or steam. That’s it. When we say that, we’re talking about the mediums required to transfer heat to your foods. Convection, conduction, and radiation. Alter your style of cooking to better suit the meat or vegetable you are cooking. Cooking preparation is king when it comes to mise en place.

Dry Heat Cooking Method

Dry-heat cooking methods are those that utilize air or fat. These are:

  • Broiling
  • Roasting
  • Grilling
  • Baking
  • Sauteing
  • Pan-frying
  • Deep-fat frying

Foods cooked using this method have a rich flavor due to the caramelization and browning of the foods. Check out some dry-heat cooking appliances here (Amazon)

Moist Heat Cooking Method

Moist-heat uses water or steam for its cooking procedure. They include:

  • Poaching
  • Boiling
  • Steaming
  • Simmering

We use moist-heat cooking methods to emphasize the natural flavor in foods and reduce the major losses of water-soluble vitamins and increase the digestibility of protein. Here are some moist-heat cooking appliances (Amazon)

Braising, 50% submerged and 50% exposed, is a combination cooking method Combination Cooking Method

Combination cooking is a method that incorporates both dry- and moist-heat cooking. These are:

  • Braising
  • Stewing

Each one of these cooking methods can be applied to a large variety of foods including meats, vegetables, fish, pastries, cakes, cookies, etc. to finish different styles of cooking. Check out some combination cooking appliances here (Amazon)

Applying the Cooking Methods

When you are staring at a cut of meat at a grocery store and you are wondering how you’re going to cook so it tastes beautiful, what’s going through your head? Is it a blank stare? What about those cheap cuts of meat you are always tempted into buying and are subsequently disappointed by? As a chef, it was always my goal and desire to be able to turn cheap cuts of meat into delicious quality food.

We must know how to apply the cooking methods if we are to put that knowledge to any use. You don’t know the feeling of control and power you have when you can close your eyes, pick up a piece of meat and know exactly how to cook it. You don’t have to buy a filet mignon to get a tender flavorful steak. All it takes is understanding how to apply the cooking methods.

A Diagram of a Convection Oven

You probably know a bit about cooking. You heard something one time about the grain or the marbling or something. Well, you’re close! Fully understanding the cuts and cooking methods requires an understanding of where those cuts come from off the animal. While this knowledge is invaluable, we’ll save it for later.

How to Use Dry Heat Cooking Methods Sauteing

Sautéing involves very high heat and very little oil is used. The ingredients are added once the oil starts to smoke slightly. Less oil is needed because the high heat prevents moisture from escaping and as well as being safer from oil splattering and potentially causing a fire. Sauteing can be nerve-wracking due to the intense heat and sound of the product being cooked. Be sure to wear the appropriate clothing to avoid burns.

Check out our post on the best cookware sets for some good options.

Pan Frying

Pan frying involves cooking an ingredient in a frying pan at medium-high heat. Pan-frying involves a bit more oil than usual as it helps prevent moisture releasing from the ingredient.

Sauteing Roasting/Baking

Roasting/Baking uses the air, or convection, to transfer heat to an ingredient. Your oven provides this cooking method and is used because of its highly-accurate temperatures and ability to cook evenly for longer controlled periods. Large items are usually cooked, or items requiring even cooking.

The browning it provides is a desired effect of roasting and enhances the flavors of most foods. NOTE: Using a convection oven is a bit different than a conventional oven.

A convection oven uses a fan to move the hot air around, promoting more even cooking and causing the product to be cooked faster. Because of the nature of a convection oven, there is a specific rule to follow.

All standard recipes here assume you are using a conventional oven and the temperatures used to reflect that. If you are using a convection oven (And if you’re lucky enough to have one, use it!), reduce the temperature by 25F.

TIP: Baking is exactly the same as roasting. The key difference is baking is only referred to as such in the bakery world.

Grilling

Grilling is the favorite past-time of many men around the world and they all love to cook a nice ribeye or t-bone. This dry-heat method is desired for the flavor that is imparted from the rapid convection cooking.

It is ideal for smaller cuts of meats and grilling requires an advanced and experienced cook to ensure proper cooking and the ability to not burn the product while producing perfect rarity on a consistent basis.

Professional cooks and chefs use a cast iron grilling surface to do their grilling which provides that deep, noticeable grill-marking. It is much harder to do this with the coated stainless steel grill surface that comes with most barbeques today.

If you are in the market for a good grill, look for one with a quality cast-iron grilling surface as that will indicate whether or not you’re buying quality or if you’re just buying brand and gimmicks.

Broiling

Broiling is similar and almost reverse to Grilling in that is uses radiant heat from an overhead source. Broiled foods are placed on a preheated metal grate and the heat above cooks the food while the grill below marks it.

Deep Frying

Deep-fat frying or Deep Frying is another popular method of cooking. It means to cook in a large amount of hot fat. As odd as it sounds, deep frying is not considered a moist-heat method but rather a dry heat method. What separates deep frying from boiling is the temperature.

Boiling water can never go above 100C (212F), while deep frying temperatures can be as high as 200C (400F). These high temperatures allow the product to be cooked faster and be browned.

How to Use Combination Cooking Methods

There are technically 2 types of combination cooking, but we will include a third – sous vide.

Braising

A popular combination cooking method is called Braising. The proper method of braising is achieved by first dry-heat cooking a product, such as a lamb shank, either by pan-frying or sauteing to ensure proper caramelization. Once the lamb shank is seared and slightly caramelized, you then add a liquid such as stock until it comes up to about 1/3 of the lamb shank. Then, either in the oven or on the stove top, you simmer or Braise, the lamb shank turning it often until it becomes soft and tender.  Braising is especially useful for tougher pieces of meat.

Stewing

If you were to cover the meat entirely, you would then be Stewing the meat. This produces a soup-like consistency and, obviously, is the preferred method for creating stews.

Sous Vide Sous Vide Chicken

Sous vide is a method of vacuum sealing food into plastic and then simmering the package in water to heat throughout. Sous vide is a relatively new method, developed in the 70s. The method removes the product from the external environment where it cooked in a way that retains its natural flavor.

Sous vide is fast becoming very popular in the food industry, as this method of cooking creates a beautifully even cooking method at an exact temperature. While not for the beginner cook, it takes patience, investment, and know-how.

How to Use Moist-Heat Cooking Methods

There are 4 types of moist heat method using water or water-based liquids and they all have to do with temperature.

Poaching

Poaching is the lowest temperature method, defined at between 71C – 82C (160F – 180F). This produces an environment that is calm enough for delicate foods, such as eggs. The water should show slight movement and no bubbles.

Simmering Commercial steam oven. Steam is a moist cooking method.

Simmering is a common temperature range because it is the most balanced. It is defined at 85C – 96C (185F – 205F) and you will notice a simmering liquid by having small bubbles breaking through the surface of the liquid. It is great for promoting flavor release in stews, meats, and soups.

Boiling

Boiling is the highest temperate for submersion. Defined at 100C (212F) at sea level, it is noticeable by rapid movement with many large bubbles. Boiling is rarely recommended for most cooking, and the only thing that is taught which should be boiled is pasta.

Steaming

Steaming allows you to reach a higher temperature with liquids by steaming them. It is defined by the steam released once the water reaches past 100C (212F). Food is in contact only with the steam produces from the boiling liquid. Steaming is a common method due to its fast cooking times, high heat and moist-heat cooking nature.

Steam is also the cooking method that reduces the result of major losses of water-soluble vitamins.

The post Basic Cooking Methods and Techniques You Need to Master appeared first on The Culinary Cook.

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