Chef's Blog, Chef's Notes Plus

Conquer Pie Dough

For many home bakers, creating a flavorful, tender pie or tart crust is a fearful and challenging process filled with questions. How is it that some home bakers consistently produce flaky, crispy, and tender crusts or shells while others consistently find this task so daunting? As pie and tart dough […]

Chef's Blog, Chef's Notes Plus

Big Game-Day Foodie Face-Off

You don’t have to be a football fan to enjoy The Big Game, especially when there’s a great spread. Chips and dip, fried foods, and pigs in a blanket are all favorites, but we love the tradition of serving regional foods from the competing teams. This year, we’re looking to (in […]

Chef's Blog, Chef's Notes Plus

Scaling Baking Recipes Up and Down

Doubling or tripling recipes or cutting them in half successfully requires more than simple multiplication. Recipes for baked goods rely upon a number of “sensitive” ingredients, such as leaveners, flavorings, seasonings, and thickeners. These ingredients don’t scale up or down directly in proportion with other ingredients. If you are planning […]

Chef's Blog, Chef's Notes Plus

Common Baking Problems and What They Mean

Even the best-tested recipe can have flaws. After all, we don’t all like our cookies, cakes, or pies exactly the same. Someone’s perfect chocolate chip cookie might be too crisp for you, or too chewy for someone else. The beauty of at-home baking is that you are in charge of […]

Chef's Blog, Chef's Notes Plus

5 Easy Fixes for Soggy Mushrooms

A beautifully golden brown mushroom that’s slightly crisp on the exterior, but tender and flavorful on the interior, is not a difficult outcome to achieve. And yet, it is one of the biggest challenges for CIA students and home-cooks alike. After observing the struggles to cook mushrooms with results that […]

Chef's Blog, Chef's Notes Plus

Recipes Between the Lines: Hot Water Bath

If you’ve ever encounter a recipe that told you to, “Bake in a hot water bath” with no further instruction, keep reading. Some ingredients are just more sensitive than others, and as you discover more about food, you learn how to handle even the most delicate of ingredients (talking about […]

Chef's Blog, Chef's Notes Plus

A No-Rules Guide for Rich Chicken Stock

Whether you’re facing cold and flu season or are simply craving a rich and hearty soup, preparing a high-quality chicken stock (or, bone broth as it’s sometimes called) is an essential kitchen tool. There are plenty of guidelines and ratios to help you make the perfect stock, and while these […]

Chef's Blog, Chef's Notes Plus

Holiday Gifting…for the Dogs!

There are two types of people in this world: people who give presents to dogs and people who do not. If you fall in the “do not gift presents to dogs” column, the following content may not appeal to you. If you do give presents to dogs, welcome to our […]

Chef's Blog, Chef's Notes Plus

Making Homemade Fudge

Fudge is without question the quintessential homemade candy; it has been made in home kitchens for over 100 years. Mention fudge, and most of us immediately think of chocolate, but chocolate is not the defining ingredient in fudge; it can be made using a wide variety of flavoring ingredients. The […]

Chef's Blog, Chef's Notes Plus

How To Plump Dried Fruits

Plumping dried fruits by soaking them in a liquid will make them tender and juicy, eliminating any possibility of the undesirable leathery texture they can sometimes have in finished baked goods. Plumping dried fruits also serves to keep the amount of liquid in the formula balanced, as dried fruits can […]

Chef's Blog, Chef's Notes Plus

Affordable Wines for your Holiday Table

Paying less doesn’t mean having to do without anymore. When planning a dinner party, we spend ample time designing the menu, only then to find ourselves having to make a critical decision – go over budget buying six bottles of wine just to impress everyone or settling for an unknown […]