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Sunny Side Up, Coming Right Up

by Elizabeth Skipper May 14th, 2014| Ask the Chef
fried-eggs-337530_640I love ordering my eggs sunny side up at restaurants.  However, I don’t know how to cook that at home.  Is it something simple that I could do?  If so, can you explain?

Certainly you can. Why ever not? It is simple; however, there are a few things to keep in mind for successfully preparing sunny-side-up eggs.

First off, be sure your eggs are fresh. As eggs age, the dense layer of white which surrounds the yolk thins out and the yolk is no longer as centered as it is in a fresh egg. By three weeks, the yolk flattens out
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Where Does All the Spinach Go?

by Elizabeth Skipper April 30th, 2014| Ask the Chef
file6561309937714I always am surprised when I cook with fresh spinach, instead of frozen.  I have a hard time estimating how much I need.  It seems to reduce by an incredible amount.  Is there a ratio for fresh spinach to cooked spinach (and how much you’ll need per person)? 

Other than lots? As in, lots and lots? With a water content of 80% to 90%, spinach cooks down by an incredible amount. It depends some on whether you're cooking baby spinach or more mature spinach as to how much it reduces, but I generally figure on a pound of spinach serving
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Keeping Pork Tenderloin Moist

by Elizabeth Skipper March 5th, 2014| Ask the Chef
tenderloin usaHow I can I make a pork tenderloin moister? I took mine out of the oven at 145, per USDA guidelines, and it was dry. Help!

I can think of a few reasons why your pork tenderloin was dry, even though you feel you cooked it right. The first one you actually mention, though you may not realize it. By waiting until the thermometer reading was 145°F before removing the pork from the oven, you ensured it would cook to a higher temperature than that.

There's a phenomenon known as "carry-over" cooking. Solid foods like roasts retain heat and their temperature
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Kitchen Scales for Better Baking

by Elizabeth Skipper January 22nd, 2014| Ask the Chef
sugarscaleI’ve read a decent amount of articles that encourage the use of a kitchen scale when baking.  Is it a necessary purchase, or can I just be sure to measure carefully with my current set of cups?

How much baking have you been doing, how successfully, and how much baking do you anticipate doing in future? If you're happy with your results up to now, maybe you want to keep on doing what you're doing. If you'd like to improve both the ease of and the results of your baking, though, read on.

Kitchen scales have been around for centuries; digital
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Thanksgiving Dinner Part III: The Turkey

by Elizabeth Skipper November 20th, 2013| Ask the Chef
turkeyOK, in the last two weeks we've covered planning and the side dishes. This third part of answering the question about hosting Thanksgiving for the first time single-handed will cover the focus of the meal, the turkey itself.

If you've bought a frozen turkey, exercise care thawing it. Otherwise, bacterial growth can be a problem. Again, you need to think ahead. (Are you tired of hearing me say that yet?) Because it takes about 24 hours for each five pounds of frozen turkey to thaw in the refrigerator, check your bird's weight. If it's a 15-pound bird, you'll need to
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Tomatoes: You Can

by Elizabeth Skipper September 18th, 2013| Ask the Chef
canned tomatoesI've seen boxes of "canning tomatoes" available at my local farm stand.  Is there anything they can be used for, besides canning?  

In my experience, there are two kinds of "canning tomatoes." One refers to varieties of tomatoes which are particularly suitable for canning, meaning they have a high flesh to juice ratio, higher acidity, less pulp, and fewer seeds. Plum tomatoes are considered particularly good for canning because of their meatiness, and some varieties of regular tomatoes also can well. Sometimes it's suggested that a mix of different varieties will give a deeper, more interesting flavor.

If you've ever
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Chef Weibull of Velvet Room

by Julia Loschiavo August 15th, 2013| Chef Interviews
KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERALocated in San Francisco's Clift Hotel, the Velvet Room provides guests with locally grown ingredients in an elegant atmosphere. Chef Thomas Weibull places high value on seasonal produce, especially those of local farmers who grow fruits and vegetables organically and sustainably. By considering seasonal product to this extent, the ever-evolving Velvet Room utilizes foods at the peak of freshness and tastiness. This farm-to-table approach contributes to a menu full of delicious options, the exact dining experience that Chef Weibull aims to create.

I was able to speak with Chef Weibull to find out just how he makes locally grown ingredients
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Chef Jarrett and AMP 150

by Julia Loschiavo August 1st, 2013| Chef Interviews
jeff1Cleveland, Ohio definitely has plenty of options, but the farm-to-table menu of AMP 150 delivers high-quality food with every option. You can feel good about eating the local and seasonal fare, especially because flavor is absolutely not sacrificed. Executive chef Jeff Jarrett focuses on quality ingredients to produce the best-tasting food, placing emphasis on locality and seasonality. The casual, modern atmosphere provides the perfect setting for your meal.

I was able to speak with Chef Jarrett about the specific ingredients he loves.

JL: What types of foods do you grow in your garden?

CJ: We are currently growing lettuce, beets,
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Grilling Fish: What You Really Need

by Elizabeth Skipper July 24th, 2013| Ask the Chef
fish grill basketI would like to cook fish on the grill during this hot weather. However, I don't own a special fish grill basket. Is it possible to cook fish without one?

Special baskets just for fish were created to avoid one of the biggest hurdles to successfully cooking fish on a grill, sticking. Any food sticking to a grill is frustrating, but fish is so delicate that once it sticks, it's virtually impossible to move or remove without its disintegrating. And fish isn't cheap, which adds insult to injury.

However, fish baskets aren't a perfect solution. Unless they're carefully designed, they're more trouble
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Chef Lisa Sellars and Her Island Paradise Garden

by Julia Loschiavo July 11th, 2013| Chef Interviews
chef lisaLocated on the beautiful British Virgin Islands, the Peter Island Resort & Spa offers two restaurants on its tranquil and welcoming property. Between the upscale Tradewinds restaurant and the relaxed Deadman's Beach Bar & Grill, Chef Lisa Sellars uses garden-grown produce to create delicious menu items. You'll be in paradise with the fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs, not to mention the gorgeous landscape and casually elegant atmosphere.

I was able to speak with Chef Lisa Sellars to find out more about how she creates the ultimate dining experience.

JL: What types of foods do you
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Chef Erin Wade on Farming and Vinaigrette

by Julia Loschiavo July 4th, 2013| Chef Interviews
sittinghandonchinLocated in Santa Fe, NM, Vinaigrette is a salad bistro that relies heavily on fresh-grown produce for its creative, healthy, and delicious menu. Whether it be from Chef Erin Wade's farm or other local sources, every salad and menu item is sure to contain the freshest fruits and vegetables available. Enjoy this produce at the peak of goodness, in a bright and welcoming environment, in either a salad, sandwich, or soup. Vinaigrette is proof that salads are not at all boring; have a look at their menu and you're likely to have a hard time choosing which to order.

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Spatulas — Not All Created Equal

by Elizabeth Skipper July 3rd, 2013| Techniques, Tools, and Tips
spatulaKnowing what I wanted to write about this week, I asked my daughter while she was here what her favorite spatula was. "The blue one I had when I lived in my last place," she answered without hesitation. Ah, so she clearly had a preference. I asked what made it her favorite. She said the fact that it had a short offset handle and the blade was long (rather than the other way around), it wasn't too thick, and it had a thin edge.

I brought out my favorite spatula and asked, "You mean like this one?"

"Yes, exactly," she replied,
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