Chef's Notes Plus

Creating Flavored Honey and Syrup

You might be surprised at how many different flavors and qualities of honey there are. And maple syrup, real maple syrup, has a light body and an intense flavor. But, like anything else, there are ways to “gild the lily” for something special. To make a flavored honey or syrup, […]

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Spring is For Foodies

Welcome, spring! After a cold winter, nothing is more welcome than the first signs of the season: bright green shoots poking through the soil, buzzing bumblebees, and—my favorite, naturally—new produce! Having grown up in The Garden State and after many years in New York’s Hudson Valley, I consider myself a […]

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Using a Mortar and Pestle

The workhorse of the kitchen, the mortar and pestle is truly an indispensable tool. In many places, like southeast Asia, it’s particularly important because it’s used to make essential dipping sauces and bases. While a food processor may be used for small amounts of chili pastes, for example, it’s easier […]

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Colcannon for St. Patrick’s Day

We love Corned Beef and Cabbage, but as St. Patrick’s Day approaches, we have something else on our mind. Potatoes Colcannon is a classic and traditional Irish dish made from mashed potatoes and greens–usually cabbage or kale. Sometimes studded with bacon, this dish is open to interpretation by design. Typically […]

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Identifying Cuts of Meat

Knowing how to cook is more than knowing techniques, it’s also important to know all about the best ingredients for the dish you hope to prepare. Different cooking methods call for different cuts of meat, and the first step to making the right choice is simply understanding the physiology of […]

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All About Pâte à Choux

Pâte à choux is a simple and versatile French pastry batter made from milk (or water), butter, flour, and eggs. It is typically piped and baked to a crisp, hollow shell that is perfect for filling with sweet or savory ingredients. Even if you’ve never made pâte à choux, you’ve […]

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Best Water for Bread Making

Bread dough is made from very few ingredients, and each one counts. This includes the most basic, likely least-considered ingredient: water. The rule of thumb here is that if you enjoy drinking it, you can use it for baking bread. However, there are three important ways water quality can affect […]

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Vineyard Vocabulary: Oak in Wine

Most wines are aged in barrels, but those barrels are not always the classic oak ones you might imagine when you think of a vineyard. When it comes to influencing the flavors and aromas of a finished wine, though, oak is a popular choice. The primary effect of an oak […]

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Raclette is for Lovers

Cheese may not be a popular first date food, but as far as we’re concerned, nothing unites two people better than an interactive shared meal of absolute perfection. And that can really only be raclette. Half dinner, half get-together, this traditional cheese dish rivals fondue for popularity in its home […]

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Italian Rice Varieties

All varieties of rice can be divided into short-, medium- and long-grain varieties. All Italian rice  are strains of a thick, short-grained rice called japonica (Oryza sativa japonica). They may not, to most palates, taste different, but they do behave differently when cooked. There are four grades of rice: Comune […]

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Ingredient Spotlight: Fish Sauce

One of the main reasons why Vietnamese or Thai food tastes quite different from say, Chinese or Japanese food, is because it relies heavily upon fish sauce. Called nam pla in Thai, nuoc mam in Vietnamese, tuk trey in Cambodian, and patis in Filipino, fish sauce is the quintessential seasoning […]

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Lucky Noodles to Welcome the Year of the Tiger

February 1 marks the beginning of Lunar New Year, and as we celebrate the new year of the Tiger, we can’t help but hope for a little extra luck in the coming year. Though the traditions of Lunar New Year are as diverse as the communities who celebrate—like China, Korea, […]