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Posts Categorized: Cooking Techniques

Cooking the Perfect Smothered Pork Chops

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Smothered pork chops, a homey dish of chops braised in deeply flavored onion gravy, are folksy, not fancy; denim, not worsted wool.  The cooking process is straightforward:  You brown the chops, remove them from the pan, brown the onions, return the chops to the pan, cover them with the onions and gravy – hence the…
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How to Make a Creamy Macaroni Salad

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Macaroni salad is an American deli staple.  For many people, it’s hard to imagine a picnic or summer barbecue without this salad of tender elbow noodles and creamy dressing.  Although relatively easy to make, it is also easy to make it badly.  Few dishes are less appetizing than a bowl of underseasoned, overcooked noodles accompanied…
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Pan-Fried Catfish Cooking Technique

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It was not too long ago that catfish, common in the Low Country – the coastal areas of South Carolina and Georgia, where it flourished in local waters – was considered junk fish.  Times have changed, and today catfish is highly sought after and expensive. Although I found pan-frying catfish to be very similar to…
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Hearty Beef Stew Technique

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Beef stew should be rich an satisfying.  My goal in developing a recipe for it was to keep the cooking process simple without compromising the stew’s deep, complex flavor.  I focused on these issues:  What cuts of beef respond best to stewing? How much and what kind of liquid should I use?  When and with…
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Pulled Pork Technique

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Pulled pork, also called pulled pig or sometimes just plain barbecue, is slow-cooked pork roast that is shredded, seasoned, and then served on a hamburger bun (or sliced white bread) with just enough of your favorite barbecue sauce, a couple of dill pickle chips, and a topping of coleslaw. My goal when making pulled pork…
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Pan-Seared Salmon Technique

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Because salmon is so rich and flavorful, I wanted a method for preparing it that would exploit the fish’s high oil content and natural moistness while also indulging my taste for fish that comes out of the pan with a crisp, even, deeply golden crust.  So I zeroed in on exploring the techniques of pan-searing over a…
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Risotto Techniques

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Risotto is a simple rice dish elevated to ambrosia by the presence of a simple starchy sauce.  Encouraged by judicious additions of wine and stock, the starch in the rice is transformed into a velvety, creamy sauce that clings to the toothsome grains. Obviously, the rice is the key to a textually flawless risotto.  I…
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Technique for Making a Puttanesca Sauce

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Puttanesca is a pasta sauce with attitude.  Most home cooks buy this lusty sauce by the jar or know it as restaurant fare – a slow-cooked tomato sauce with garlic, red pepper flakes, anchovies, capers, and black olives tossed with spaghetti.  But those of us familiar with puttanesca are often disappointed.  Chock -full of high-impact…
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Finding The Essence of a Devil’s Food Cake

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The craze for fancy cake names dates back to the latter part of the 19th century.  But only one of these cakes has truly survived from that period to ours – the devil’s food cake.  Its success is a testament both to its utter simplicity and its appealing moistness. The obvious question is, “Just what…
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Cooking Under Extreme Pressure!

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One of our age-old pieces of kitchen equipment is making headlines these days.  It is the pressure cooker.  Long used as the power source for those huge turbines in ocean-crossing ships, this same kind of power has been confined in a modern saucepan for today’s busy cook. Today we are thinking more than ever about…
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