Steve Tip 7 – The Joy of Garlic

Posted on: May 27th, 2010 by Frog Commissary

The Joy of Garlic It’s a painful thought: What would cooking be without garlic? Like the oceans without water. The sky without the sun and moon. Garlic is absolutely essential to good eating. In its raw state, it is almost sharp and pungent. Mixed and muddled with salt, it loses its edge. Lightly sautéed, it […]

Steve Tip 12 – From Seltzer to Pellegrino

Posted on: May 27th, 2010 by Frog Commissary

From Seltzer to Pellegrino Not all sparkling waters are equal . There are two distinguishing characteristics to l’eau avec gas: effervescence and flavor. Effervescence refers to the relative aggressiveness of the bubbles. Flavor is generally a reference to the water’s mineral content, which adds a subtle undertone; most sparkling waters are neutral in flavor. Seltzer […]

Steve Tip 11 – Vegetarian Bill of Rights

Posted on: May 27th, 2010 by Frog Commissary

Vegetarian Bill of Rights Vegetarians have the obligation to make their dietary preferences known to their hosts in advance. In return, vegetarians have a right to expect: 1. Soups made with vegetarian stocks. 2. Enough vegetables served with the entree to make a vegetarian entree. 3. Not just vegetables, but also grains, legumes and/or pastas. […]

Steve Tip 10 – What is Exotic

Posted on: May 27th, 2010 by Frog Commissary

What is Exotic? Clearly, exotic is a relative term. What’s exotic to you is familiar to someone else . Think of the exotic as a friend you don’t yet know or a place you haven’t yet visited. To me, the exotic is a critical and fun aspect of cooking — using unfamiliar ingredients to provide […]

Steve Tip 9 – Some Like it Hotter

Posted on: May 27th, 2010 by Frog Commissary

Some Like it Hotter In general, the source of most culinary heat is the chile pepper. Chiles come in many different shapes, sizes and degrees of heat . The bulk of a chile’s heat is in the interior seeds and membrane. At the top of the Scoville scale, which measures the hotness of peppers, are […]

Steve Tip 8 – Patience as a Skill

Posted on: May 27th, 2010 by Frog Commissary

Patience as a Skill Some things can be rushed. You can chop faster or slower. But if an onion needs to be finely chopped, you need to keep on chopping until you get there . If meat should be marinated for three hours, two hours is not enough. Roasting turkey at 450° to finish more […]

Steve Tip 6 – Decorating Hors d’oeuvres Platters

Posted on: May 27th, 2010 by Frog Commissary

Decorating Hors d’oeuvres Platters In the beginning say, about 30 years ago, our big styling strategy in the catering kitchen was to use flower blossoms on our hors d’oeuvres trays. I never loved this approach; the flowers had nothing to do with the food and staff tended to get carried away with over-flowered trays. To […]

Steve Tip 5 – Paying for the Differential of Quality

Posted on: May 27th, 2010 by Frog Commissary

Paying for the Differential of Quality Here’s one way to think about paying for quality. If you planned on spending $10 for a serviceable olive oil and instead spent $18 for a really good bottle, the cost of the really good bottle was only the differential, or $8. A standard hothouse tomato may be $1, […]

Steve Tip 4 – Talk Less at Dinner

Posted on: May 27th, 2010 by Frog Commissary

Talk Less at Dinner Food can have so many amazing dimensions. There are the aromas, of course . Tastes that come forward and tastes in the background. Flavor accents. Contrasts. Crunchy. Soft. Colors. Hot, cold, and in-between. Highs notes of spice and acid. Rich low notes. Herbal edges. Complementary ingredients. It’s all there, but it’s […]

Steve Tip 3 – A Vocabulary of Taste

Posted on: May 27th, 2010 by Frog Commissary

A Vocabulary of Taste The richer your vocabulary of flavors, the richer your ability to taste ingredients . The physiology of taste gives us the five basic flavors: sweet, sour, salty, hot, spicy. But associative words enable us to understand taste through other vocabularies. There’s the music of taste: bass and treble notes, staccato, quick, […]