Archives for Ask the Chef

chicken (400x400)

Brining Chicken

by Elizabeth Skipper May 26th, 2015| Ask the Chef
I’ve read that brining chicken keeps it moist when grilling. Some of the recipes seem to have a lot of salt, and I don’t want to have chicken that is too salty. Is there a specific ratio of water to salt and sugar that I can follow?

With very little
strawberry (400x400)

Dips for Strawberries

by Elizabeth Skipper May 19th, 2015| Ask the Chef
With strawberries coming into season soon, I wanted to find a way to serve them as a finger food at get-togethers. I know it could serve them plain, but I would like to offer a dip. Any suggestions for something not too sweet?

Strawberries – good, ripe ones – are
asparagus (2) (400x400)

How to Peel Asparagus

by Elizabeth Skipper May 12th, 2015| Ask the Chef
I read your article on cooking asparagus and wondered about peeling thick asparagus. My questions are this- how can I tell at what thickness I should peel the asparagus? If it needs to be peeled, how high up the stem do I peel?

Asparagus comes in thicknesses from pencil-thin to
asparagus (400x400)

Thick or Thin Asparagus?

by Elizabeth Skipper May 5th, 2015| Ask the Chef
My husband and I have varying opinions on this- is thick or thin asparagus better?  I find the thick to be woody and the thin to be delicate. Is there a culinary reason to choose one over the other, or do we just have different food opinions?

This is another
chocolate pretzels (400x400)

Chocolate for Coating Pretzels

by Elizabeth Skipper April 28th, 2015| Ask the Chef
I want to make chocolate covered pretzels, as they are tasty and seem quite simple. My question is this - what type of chocolate do I use- chocolate chips, those chocolate candy disks you find at craft stores, or something else?

While I work with chocolate occasionally for cakes or

Storing Bacon Grease

by Elizabeth Skipper April 21st, 2015| Ask the Chef
My grandmother used to store her leftover bacon fat in a coffee cup in the refrigerator. My husband wants to start doing that, so he can fry eggs in the fat. Is it safe? Any suggestions on how to store it?

Didn’t everyone’s mom or grandma do this? Mine sure
bacon (400x400)

Thick-cut vs. Regular Bacon

by Elizabeth Skipper April 14th, 2015| Ask the Chef
I’ve seen thick cut bacon at the butcher’s counter. I’m not sure how I’d use it in my cooking instead of the regular bacon that I buy. My concern is that the thickness of it would affect the final product.  Any suggestions?

How do you use regular bacon in your
garlic bulb (400x400)

Garlic Roaster Needed?

by Elizabeth Skipper April 7th, 2015| Ask the Chef
I want to make roasted garlic to serve with crostini. Do you think I should buy a garlic roaster, or does aluminum foil work just as well?

I enjoy checking out the “still good” shed at my town’s recycling center, and that’s how I often find tools and gadgets like

Fresh Garlic Substitutes

by Elizabeth Skipper March 31st, 2015| Ask the Chef
I don’t use garlic all that often in my cooking and was wondering about my different options. If I don’t have fresh garlic on hand, would either jarred, minced garlic or powdered garlic be an acceptable replacement? Is one of those better than the other?

Fresh is my choice for
french dish

Mirepoix vs. The Trinity

by Elizabeth Skipper March 24th, 2015| Ask the Chef
From various cooking shows and recipes I have learned the difference between a mirepoix and a trinity. Do you find them to be fairly interchangeable, or when following a recipe, do I need to stick with the noted ingredients? The reason this comes to mind is that recently I
celery (400x400)

Reviving Wilted Celery

by Elizabeth Skipper March 17th, 2015| Ask the Chef
I hate throwing out unused food. Sometimes I buy a package of celery, use a couple stalks for a recipe, and then no one remembers it until it has lost its firmness. Can I refresh it, like lettuce, by placing it in water? Is it ok to eat celery
soba noodle dish (400x400)

Substituting for Soba Noodles

by Elizabeth Skipper March 10th, 2015| Ask the Chef
I have a recipe that calls for soba noodles to be served with salmon for an Asian dish.  If I can’t find soba noodles, could I use a different sort of noodle or pasta, or would that affect the final product?

How much of a purist are you? Soba noodles
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