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596 article submissions by the ChefTalk.com community.

Vodka Cheers Comrade

Cheers Comrade What comes to mind when you think of Russia?  Communism? The Cold War? The Iron Curtain?  As a chef and epicure, my first association is vodka!  (And caviar of course).  The Brits would agree.   In the 16th century, the British ambassador to Russia deemed it their national drink.  The word vodka comes from the Russian "zbiznennaia voda" which translates as "water of life", a rather hospitable phrase that has been oxymoronically linked with bellicose, totalitarian regimes and evil dictators.  Ivan the Terrible, the unspeakably ruthless and murderous... read more

When Things Go Wrong A Guide To Fixing Kitchen Disasters

  • by PeteModerator

Written By Chef Peter Martin Let's face facts; we have all had our fair share of kitchen disasters, even us “professionals”, though we might not admit it.  From food being too salty, to scorched soups, to broken hollandaise, disasters do, and will, happen.  The good news is that many of these so-called “disasters” can be fixed relatively easily, with only a few that are beyond salvaging.  Below is a list of some of the most common kitchen disasters and how to fix them.   Too Salty From thinking the recipe said tablespoons instead of teaspoons, to being distracted and... read more

Artichoke Varieties

  Artichoke Varieties A Year-round Variety Description: Globe-shaped in winterand spring Conical in summer and fall Green color, some purple at base in summer Thorns prominent in summer and fall. Less developed in winter and spring. Compact appearance Winter harvests may show frost damage on outer bracts, a cosmetic defect only. Frost tends to enhance "nutty" flavor of artichoke. Size: 18, 24, 30, 36, 48, 60 count, large loose (cocktail) and small loose (baby)... read more

Pepper Profile Chipotles

Generally speaking, chipotle in English refers to any smoked chile pepper. The Spanish word chipotle is a contraction of chilpotle in the Náhuatl language of the Aztecs, where chil referred to the hot pepper and potle was derived from poctli, meaning smoked. The word was apparently reversed from Náhuatl, where it originally was spelled pochilli. Other early spellings in Mexico are tzilpoctil, tzonchilli, and texochilli. The most commonly smoked chiles are jalapeños, named for the city of Jalapa in the state of Veracruz. They are also known in Mexico as cuaresmeños, or... read more

Enjoying Homemade Ice Cream Without The Risk Of Salmonella Infection

 Every year homemade ice cream causes several outbreaks of Salmonella infection with up to several hundred victims at church picnics, family reunions, and other large gatherings. From 1996 to 2000 (the latest year for which surveillance was completed), 17 outbreaks resulting in more than 500 illnesses in the United States were traced to Salmonella bacteria in homemade ice cream, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The ingredient responsible for the outbreaks is raw or undercooked eggs. A person infected with Salmonella Enteritidis (SE),... read more

Grape Season Cooking With Grapes

 History / GeographyGrapes are the oldest fruit known to man. The Spanish are credited with the introduction of grapes to America over 300 years ago. Grapes are grown in the temperate zones around the world including Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America. California is the United States' major grape producer. ScienceGrapes are really berries. VarietiesThere are over 8000 varieties of grapes all of which are smooth-skinned and juicy. Some of these have seeds, others are seedless. Some have a "slip-skin", a skin which can easily be... read more

Employee Background Checks A Needle In My Mashed Potatoes

Not that there aren't restrictions to foreign objects in food dishes, but considering the new twists and turns American standards have been assuming since "911", it's easy to understand how vulnerable we can be with our food supplies, drinking water and, not to mention, the kitchens of our favorite restaurants. There are many procedures and regulatory conditions our cafeterias, kitchens, delis, food stands and fast food operations are required to go thru in order to ensure proper health management and basic food preparation. One health inspection company, HACCP, an... read more

Custards Last Stand Cooking Custards

You're making pastry cream for a banana cream pie for dessert tomorrow.  Chilling it overnight should render it appetizingly cold by tomorrow.  Dinner concludes and it's time for the pièce de résistance.  To a herald of "oohs" and "ahs" you present your luscious banana cream pie.  But when you cut into it, you discover a runny mess.  Beneath the decadently deceptive whipped cream topping is a puddle of ooze.  What went wrong?  Most likely you never brought your pastry cream to a full boil.  Pastry cream is a custard, (an egg and milk mixture), thickened with flour or... read more

Of Barley And Hops Tasting And Discovering Beer

  • by PeteModerator

Written By Chef Peter Martin Having grown up in the restaurant business and being surrounded by great food, I am hard pressed to think of many food related revelations or epiphanies that I have had.  Sure there have been some great moments such as my first taste of Foie Gras, my first bite of a Maine lobster, or the first truffle I ever tasted, but these events were not life altering.  No, these events haven't had nearly the same impact on me as my first experience with great beer.  I wasn't 2 months into my culinary education at New England Culinary Institute, when,... read more

Peas In A Pod Cooking With Peas

Gregor Johann Mendel (1822-1884) was an Austrian monk famous for his seminal work in genetics.  He uncovered a series of laws that govern how genes are transmitted.  Mendel made these discoveries with the assistance of the common garden pea.  He repeatedly crossed varieties of pea plants in an effort to observe how specific genetic traits, e.g., height, color, seed shape, etc., were imparted to ensuing generations.   Out of these observations arose the laws that became the basis of modern hereditary theory.  Peas are legumes, i.e., plants with seed pods.  Originating... read more

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