Best frieds forever: Panko-fried chive risotto cakes
Perhaps you classify yourself as a cook. Maybe even a good cook. Or maybe you're someone whose kitchen talents are limited to knowing the precise amount of time it takes to nuke a hot dog in the microwave so it's hot but not so hot that it splits open like a lightning-struck log.
Whatever your culinary classification, I think we can all agree on one thing: Anything breaded and fried is good.
Continue reading "Best frieds forever: Panko-fried chive risotto cakes"
Learn to deglaze and fear the fond no more
I sometimes develop "crud in the pan."
Maybe I'm pan-frying some chicken or scallops or toasting up some arborio rice and tomatoes (en route to a splendid risotto), but inevitably, the crud appears. Like some stove-top phantom, it finds its way into the pan. It adheres like golden-brown quick-dry cement, sometimes in spots, sometimes covering the whole pan.
With my keen Columbo skills, I instinctively deduce that my dish is on a fast-track train ride to Charred Town. I turn down the heat, or I take the food out of the pan to get it away from that stuff. Later, I'll puzzle over my tragically under-cooked piece of chicken or scallop or risotto and resolve to write a harsh letter to the recipe-writer, who clearly got it wrong.
Except the recipe-writer didn't get it wrong. I did.
That "crud" is called fond. And it is good.
"Fond is French for 'base' and commonly refers to the browned bits and caramelized drippings of meat and vegetables that are stuck to the bottom of a pan after saut´e;ing or roasting." - www.yumsugar.com
During the risotto demo I attended at LeRoux Kitchen a few months back, instructor Chef Burnham introduced us to fond. It's flavorful stuff, he said. And rather than sprinting from the kitchen at the sight of it, you want to use it. Exploit it. Take advantage.
Fond is removed from the pan by a process called deglazing (which is weird, since I thought I was more fond of glazing things...donuts, ham, carrots).
White wine, water, broth or another liquid is poured onto the hot pan, allowing for the fond to be scraped off easily with a spoon, spatula or other fine utensil. With the risotto, we used white wine (pour some, sip some, right?) and stirred the fond in with the rice.
At the Citrus Explosion demo at Stonewall Kitchen, instructor Heather Milliman used the fond left over from searing scallops, along with a pour of wine, to make a sauce.
Milliman is "fond of fond," she said. Because she's not too proud to go there. And I have a new appreciation for what once was crud.
Sorry I misjudged you, fond.
Saving a burnt sauce, tenderizing octopus and other wise advice from a deck of cards
I'm not usually very receptive to advice. Someone starts a sentence with, "You know what you should do..." and I reflexively stop listening.
Hence why I'm such a bad flosser with poorly managed investments and a car that rarely gets treated to preventative maintenance.
But when it comes to cooking, I'll take advice from just about anywhere. Those expert tips and educated recommendations can mean the difference between prematurely flipped pancakes and pancakes that are flipped at just the right moment - when the batter starts bubbling. And I will not stand for a pancake with batter in the middle. It's shameful!
Currently, I'm taking advice from a deck of cards. The Worst-Case Scenario Card Game: Cooking was gifted to me from a friend a few weeks ago. I appreciated the gag (go ahead, mock my culinary crusade. No parsnip latkes for you!). But it turns out, they're actually educational.
Each card lists a "culinary catastrophe" and possible solutions - including the correct one.
Some solutions I knew.
And some will come in handy later, like when I try making polenta or when I have a dinner party and decide to serve my guests crappy caviar.
Some scenarios I've already encountered in my kitchen - like the threat of poisoning another person (who, most likely, is someone I like and don't want to poison. Otherwise I wouldn't waste effort cooking dinner. I'd just straight up poison them).
And then there's liver tips. I won't need this one. Ever. It's liver. Gross.
And finally, the advice I haven't had the pleasure of putting into practice, but certainly will in the not-too-distant future.
AboutShannon Bryan is a content producer for MaineToday Digital. She's also ostraconophobic - and a safe driver.
Shannon can be contacted at email@example.com