New Mexico Sopapillas

I love these guys – puffy, airy little pastries designed to do one thing: be a delivery mechanism for awesome flavors.  They are a staple of New Mexican cuisine, and as far as I can tell, almost exclusive to it as well. Sopapilla literally means “little soup pillow” and that’s what they are best at…

Mise-En-Place: 5 Tips That Will Instantly Improve Your Cooking

Mise-En-Place.  It sounds like a fancy, perhaps erudite phrase designed to intimidate aspiring chefs and home cooks alike; however, it is nothing of the sort.  Mise-En-Place is French for “putting in place” is an organizational technique used by professional chefs to make sure their cooking process goes smoothly.  It basically means getting everything ready to…

Cook Like a Peasant: 5 Ways to Eat Like a King During Lean Times

The kitchen table has always been a place where we nourish not only our bodies, but our souls. Let’s be real people:  Times are tough right now and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get a whole lot easier any time soon.  But that doesn’t mean we’re stuck eating McDonald’s and Spaghetti-O’s.  It has…

Panko Crusted Chicken Cutlets

Although this recipe is already contained in a number of other recipe posts on this blog, I thought it was worth sharing by itself because making these crispy, golden cutlets opens up a world of creativity in terms of what you do with your pan sauce.  Once fried golden brown, you pop them in the…

10 Common Kitchen Mistakes

Number 8 was a total game changer for me.  While there are certainly many other ways to screw up in the kitchen (and I’m always finding new ones!) these are some of the most common blunders I come across when talking to people about how they cook.  I’ve been guilty of all of these at…

What is Fond?

Truth be told, I’m quite fond of fond.  But what it is? Properly pronounced, the word is fahn, which is French for “base.”  (Ask my wife and she will tell you that I butcher French pronunciations, but that’s neither here nor there.)  But that fond – that base – is that beautiful brown stuff you…

How to Flambé

Flambéing, or igniting alcohol in a hot pan, is both a primal and thrilling experience as well a spectacular thing to behold.  While it isn’t really a necessary step in most recipes, it does add a depth of flavor which can’t otherwise be achieved.  Most recipes that call for a flambé will taste just fine if the…

On the Importance of a Good Thermometer

Critical to any cook’s arsenal of tools is a good, reliable, accurate instant read thermometer.  In fact, I would argue that short of a knife, this is the most important tool in the kitchen.  Here’s why: A couple of months ago I received one of the greatest honors of my culinary career:  My dear friend…

How to Chop an Onion

The easiest way to chop an onion, hands down. When I started cooking, one of the things I hated most (aside from dicing raw chicken) was dicing up an onion.  For years I would slice it into rings and chop those rings up one by one and it took forever.  Once I learned this handy…

Hack Your Gas Grill: Use it as a Smoker

If you’ve got a gas grill, you can still turn out some truly amazing, authentic BBQ.  Here’s how. I know there are those people out there who are going to hate this post.  Trust me, I understand.  But ultimately, I’m about results – And if the technique yields sound results, then it’s a sound technique. …