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505 article submissions by the ChefTalk.com community.

Soup Preparation

Welcome back to ChefTalk's on-line classroom where we have been studying the basics of cooking! Our last 2 class sessions focused on stock-making which is one of the most important culinary building blocks. Now that we know how to make both white and brown stock, what do you do with it once you have made it? The answer is that there are a lot of uses for stock. One major use of stock in the professional kitchen is for soup making. Stocks form the base of a multitude of soups. Soup is immensely popular. It is warm and nourishing. It is perhaps the ultimate comfort food... read more

History Of Soup

While our early ancestors may have employed hot water to heat foods in natural containers, the cooking technique of boiling was not commonly-used until the invention of waterproof and heatproof containers about five thousand years ago. Boiling was advantageous as a cooking technique. Water turns to steam at a constant temperature that does not exceed F. 212 at sea level. Compared to heating with hot air over a fire, boiling water is more dense and comes more fully in contact with the entire surface of submersed foods. Hot water easily and quickly imparts its energy to... read more

Buying Soft Shell Crabs

Soft-shell crabs are one of America's favorite seafood delicacies. While all crabs shed their shells to grow, only a few species of crab can actually be eaten in this form. The Blue Crab is the only commercially available soft-shell product. The scientific name, callinectes sapidusis, is derived from Latin and Greek. Calli = beautiful; Nectes = swimmer; sapidus = savory. The translation is not only accurate but surprisingly poetic - the beautiful, savory swimmer. Blue crabs grow rather rapidly, 12 - 18 months, from the juvenile stage to adulthood. A full-grown Blue Crab... read more

Sherry Wines

Wine is very much a product of the moment. Similar to music, it can be enjoyed even more when you are with good company. Conversely, a great wine can seem mediocre when you're not in a pleasant mood, or if things aren't just right. The seasons also contribute to the experience, and there is nothing better than having certain wines at different times of the year. This leads me to the sometimes forgotten sherry. With the weather getting warmer, there is nothing better than enjoying certain beverages outside, ones that are refreshing and easy to drink. Sherry is the perfect... read more

Buying Shrimp

Brown, White, Pink, Tiger, Shell-on, Prawns, peeled and deveined (P&D), IQF and block are all terms to describe shrimp. These, terms and brands, are used and misused in search of good quality shrimp. But before you get into the shrimp descriptors you have to start at the origin to fully comprehend quality. Our focus is on Gulf Shrimp; this can be applied to some South American product such Ecuadorian shrimp. There are two types of boats that catch shrimp, freezer boats and ice boats. Freezer boats are large "freighter" operations that catch the shrimp but also process... read more

Fishing For Schooner Halibut

In late July, Plitt Alaska will be offering Schooner Halibut. As the name implies this special halibut will be from a schooner built during the early 1900's. 100 years of a proud fishing tradition will go into this halibut. This halibut could be special simply based on the tradition of the Schooner fleet, but Schooner Halibut has much more to offer. The quality yielded from these 100 year old Schooners can create a "Copper River" excitement. Mark Lundsten is captain and owner of The F/V Masonic. The F/V Masonic will provide Plitt with the Schooner Halibut in late July.... read more

Maple Syrup Beyond Pancakes

At this time of year, cooks should be scurrying about in search of recipes using maple syrup as a seasoning. True, this elixir of the sugar maple tree is available on market shelves year around, and true, one can always get a pancake syrup blend of maple and corn syrups but there is something about the real essence and the excitement that comes with tasting a seasonal first. The tapping of the sugar maple in the northern and central United States (from Maine to Minnesota) and in southeastern Canada represents the first farm crop harvested in the new year. With it comes... read more

Making Fresh Sausage

Stuff ThisThere is something almost irresistible about sausage. Maybe it's the aroma it creates as it sizzles and sputters in a hot skillet. Or possibly the way its distinctive flavors permeate the most meager soup or stew, turning an otherwise simple meal into something sublime. It's like haute cuisine for the masses. The mere thought of it is enough to make one salivate. But, unfortunately, sausage is often a misunderstood food. It seems to have a bad rap, and is sometimes viewed as unhealthy and thought to contain certain "mystery" ingredients.  While it is most... read more


Purple-flowered saffron crocus, Crocus sativus, a bulbous perennial of the iris family (Iridaceae) treasured for its golden-coloured, pungent stigmas, which are dried and used to flavour and colour foods and as a dye. Saffron is named among the sweet-smelling herbs in Song of Solomon 4:14. It has a strong, exotic aroma and a bitter taste. It is used to colour and flavour many Mediterranean and Oriental dishes, particularly rice and fish, and English, Scandinavian, and Balkan breads. It is an important ingredient in bouillabaisse. A golden-coloured, water-soluble fabric... read more

The History Of Salad

Almost exactly three hundred years ago Londoners could buy the first English-language book on how to make a salad. Called Acetaria: A Discourse of Sallets (acetaria being an old word for salad greens), it instructed that only the freshest leaves straight from the garden should be used. They should be 'sprinkled', not soaked, in fresh water, drained in a colander, and then they should be swung"all together gently in clean, coarse napkin." They should be dressed with oil of a pallid olive green . . .such as native Lucca olives afford," with vinegar of the best quality... read more

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