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Recipe Rock Star #7: Perfect Your Presentation

The Recipe Rock Star is a cooking tutorial series meant to make you a better home cook. It's essentially kitchen hacking.

So far, we've covered one focused minute, mise en place, the importance of quality, the proper tools for the task and details that make a big impact and organizing under pressure. These aren't necessarily ordered, so feel free to read, review, skim or skip. Now then...

sushi appetizer with shiso flowers
A gorgeous little appetizer from Soto in the West Village, NYC. Note the color contrast, the vertical rise, and the shiso flowers: A beautiful, delicious garnish.

Recipe Rock Star #7: Perfect Your Presentation

What's a major differences between your delicious home-cooked delights and those you find in a restaurant? Setting aside tab, tax and tip, tablecloth, menu, crumb-scraper, cook, dishwasher and waitstaff for a moment... it's presentation. Restaurants endeavor to feed your eyes as well as your mouth.

Professional cooks have a bag of tricks that make food look real purty. You can snatch up one or two and make a big difference in the number of oohs and ahhs you rack up at any given dinner party or special occasion.

In Edition 5, I mentioned the Last-Minute Herb Attack... a staple of any mid-level kitchen environment.
Ever notice how restaurant chefs often toss a pinch of fresh-chopped parsley, cilantro, basil, chervil, rosemary, chives or mint on top of your dinner entrée? It's not just garnish (although fresh herbs do generally make any dish look a little more swanky.) The vibrant, verdant flavors of the last-minute herb sprinkle (or citrus squeeze) have a big flavor impact... particularly in heavy dishes that benefit from the contrast.

Let's expand on that a little. Japanese food, just for example, is often presented with a great deal of attention paid to eye-appeal. Consider: Dark seaweed wrapped around white rice. Interesting, varied shapes. Striking color contrasts. Geometric plates. Dramatic, edible garnishes.


Metal rings in action as the veggies await the fanned slices of meat, a drizzle of sauce and an herb attack at the chef's station.

Restaurants will often use metal rings when plating starches or vegetables. Meats are sliced and fanned across. Plastic squeeze bottles are sometimes used to distribute the sauce just so... here in a pool, there in a drizzle.

And then, of course, there are garnishes: Edible flowers. Micro-greens. A chiffonade of herbs. One lovely shiso leaf. A perfectly placed pile of roe. A sprinkle of fleur de sel. A tiny flake of sparkling gold leaf.

In culinary school, plate presentation was so key, we were asked to make drawings to plan out all the meals we were to cook. Food elements were to be arranged in odd numbers and triangles. Attention had to be paid to height, color balance and distribution on the plate, with focus at the center.

The next time you're planning a special meal (perhaps in say... a month from now around Valentine's Day?), consider thinking past the grocery list and the clean fold of the napkins. A little attention paid to how a plate looks makes a big difference in how it's received.

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1.15.2008

Recipe Rock Star #6: Hack your way out of the weeds

Plate Lineup
Plates pile up along the meat line at Tabla. More food photos: MissGinsu @ Flickr.

The Recipe Rock Star is a cooking tutorial series meant to make you a better home cook. It's essentially kitchen hacking.

So far, we've covered one focused minute, mise en place, the importance of quality, the proper tools for the task and small stuff that makes a big impact. These aren't necessarily ordered, so feel free to read, review, skim or skip. Now then...

#6. Hacking your way out of the weeds.

Anyone who's read Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential can probably recall the phrase "in the weeds" (which has a few more profane variations which I'll leave to Bourdain to explicate).

Being "weeded" (as we often say) is a situation that occurs in any deadline-driven vocation. You work in graphic design? You work in editing? You work as a tailor? Any overwhelming pileup of projects or work orders on your desk (or work bench, or stove, or in-box) is clear evidence of being in the weeds.

In a kitchen, a cook who's in the weeds is a danger to everyone on the team. Hungry customers are unhappy, making the waitstaff unhappy, making your expediter unhappy. The other cooks begin to fall behind. The plated food turns cold, or melts, or burns, waiting for one crucial element of the dish. There's often screaming. Or panic. You're much more likely to burn yourself. It's really unpleasant. Nobody wants to be in the weeds.

For the home cook, being weeded isn't generally a dinnertime situation. It's a dinner party situation. "In the weeds" is guests knocking at the door (early, of course) just as you're hit with the realization that you forgot to turn on the oven two hours ago. Thus, your roast is raw. Meanwhile, your sauce is burning, your mousse is melting, your child (or roommate) has burst into tears, the cat is batting appetizers across the floor, there's a line of ants marching in across the windowsill, and there's terrifying sparks flying out of the microwave.

I know how it is. I've been in the weeds. I'll probably be there again. But for the moment, I can offer five pieces of tested advice that actually apply to any vocation in which a person might find suddenly himself in the weeds.

How to Hack Your Way out of the Weeds:

1. Stay calm.
Control your breathing. This might be the most difficult, most counterintuitive act in a high-pressure situation, but it's the most crucial. A well-oxygenated mind is a clear mind. A clear mind is a creative, productive mind. And with the extra boost of adrenaline you'll get from feeling stressed, you might find that you become shockingly productive. Super-powered, even. But first, you have to be calm. As soon as you begin to feel pressure, make your breathing the first thing you check.

2. Prioritize.
Even if it seems like everything needs to happen at the same time, you need to make some decisions. If you really can't choose between tasks, just start somewhere. Do something. Priorities should immediately become more clear as you dive into action, and simply doing *something* will help you begin to dig your way out.

3. Ask for help.
Once you're calm and you know your priorities, you can (and should) ask for help. You'll even have the presence of mind to tell that sainted helper what, precisely, they can help you with. That's key.

4. Repel distractions.
When you're in the weeds and there's someone or something within your radius that isn't helping you, there's a good chance he/she/it is simply distracting you. In the kitchen, the distractor could be a clueless intern, a jittery waiter or some ill-placed pan of onions you're supposed to dice by the end of your shift. See if there's a way you can quickly, gently dispatch the distraction until you're out of the weeds. It's better to have the extra mental and physical space.

5. Clean up and get organized.
As soon as you possibly can (and forever thereafter), work on getting your ducks (whatever variety of ducks those may be) in a row. Make sure your work surface is clean. Make sure your tools are sharp. Make sure your backup is in top condition. Look for ways to make your work more efficient. These are the things that help you get ahead and stay ahead. Though it might not always be possible for the clean and organized worker to avoid getting weeded, as Chef Floyd Cardoz always used to say, "The messy cook is always in the weeds."


Next time, we'll behold the power of presentation.

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6.26.2007

Recipe Rock Star #5: It's the little things

resting pork loins
A pair of pork loins, resting. From missginsu @ flickr

The Recipe Rock Star is a cooking tutorial series meant to make you a better home cook. It's kitchen hacking. So far, we've covered one focused minute, mise en place, the importance of quality and the proper tools for the task. These aren't necessarily ordered, so feel free to read, review, skim or skip. Now then...

Recipe Rock Star Lesson #5:

It's the little things


My father likes to say, "Don't sweat the small stuff." He means, of course, that life's details weren't worth a lot of stress.

We live for a short period of time, after which we're dead for a very long time. Within this perspective, an ugly chink in the paint on one's new car really means nothing at all. Water off the proverbial duck's proverbial back.

Now I'm going to contradict myself a bit, because one of the lessons I picked up from cooking school and restaurant gigs is that good cusine really does require that some fussing over the small stuff. In cooking, the details make the difference.

The key is knowing which details matter and how much they matter.

Take stock, for example. Long ago, good home cooks put down a pot of water to simmer at the back of the stove before they began their other kitchen tasks.

As they cut vegetables, the trimmings went into the stockpot. As they picked herbs, the stems went in the stockpot. As they butchered meat, the bones joined the veggie trimmings and herb stems. When it came time to moisten a sauce, a stew or a braise, well... no problem. The stock was waiting there at the back of the stove.

Who makes stock anymore? Restaurants do, but for home cooks, stock is a neglected detail. Home cooks have day jobs, and the broth that comes in cans and aseptic containers is more convenient.

And yet, a quality home-brewed stock adds flavor characteristics that canned broth can't match. If you're making a soup, stew or a simple sauce, good stock is one of the details that makes the difference between not bad and daaamn!

Better still, making stock is a small effort. Just put a pot of water on the stove. If you're already in the kitchen cooking something else, you're bound to have things to simmer in that pot. Carrot peels? Wilty celery? Onion ends? Parsley stems? The bones from that rotisserie chicken you picked up at the deli yesterday? Into the pot!

Simmer everythig with a couple of bay leaves, some thyme (if you have it) and maybe some peppercorns. When you're done working in the kitchen, strain out all the spent aromatics and bones through a strainer or colander, cool down the stock and transfer it to small containers. Keep 'em in the freezer. Some people freeze stock in ice cube trays and later transfer the cubes to freezer bags for easy portioning. When you need stock, it'll be waiting for you.

There's a lot of details that make a big difference in the final dish. Most take very little time. I'll quickly list six more of my favorites:
  • Warming first, resting later. Don't take a piece of meat, fish or poultry out of the refrigerator and slap it down in a hot pan. Proteins cook more evenly when they're a few degrees closer to room temperature, so take it out to warm a few minutes before you cook it. (I'm not suggesting you take that steak out after lunch when you're planning to eat it for dinner. Just let it warm for twenty minutes while you prepare the salad or chop the vegetables.) And while you're at it, plan for a little resting time after the protein is cooked. Heat drives juices to the center of meat and chicken. A five- to ten-minute rest on the cutting board allows the muscle fibers to redistribute the liquid, ensuring a juicy steak or cutlet and preventing a soggy cutting board.

  • Minding the texture. Does the recipe call for cheese or citrus zest? The texture makes a big difference in the final dish. For example, if you use a microplane to zest a lemon, you'll end up with small, airy shreds, which are going to release oils and hit the tongue in a different way from the plump shreds you might get from a box grater. Similarly, a powdered Parmesan cheese tastes different from one that's lightly shredded or sliced.

  • A quality sear. When cooking meat, it's generally a good idea to start with high heat in the pan and reduce the temperature once the protein has a good sear. As it turns out, that sear produces a chemical reaction that really makes a big difference in the meat's flavor in a process called the Maillard reaction. That sear is important whether you're braising, grilling, broiling or pan-frying. Keep that in mind next time you use your slow cooker. The sear is a great investment in flavor.

  • Browning that roux. Thickening a sauce, stew, gravy or soup with a flour and butter mixture? The few minutes spent patiently stirring and toasting the roux can mean the difference between a bland or even slightly bitter dish and something that's rich, complex and toasty.

  • The last-minute herb attack. Ever notice how restaurant chefs often toss a pinch of fresh-chopped parsley, cilantro, basil, chervil, rosemary, chives or mint on top of your dinner entrée? It's not just garnish (although fresh herbs do generally make any dish look a little more swanky.) The vibrant, verdant flavors of the last-minute herb sprinkle (or citrus squeeze) have a big flavor impact... particularly in heavy dishes that benefit from the contrast.

  • Freshly whipped cream on desserts. Cool Whip is more convenient. Spray cans are more fun. But there's nothing quite as flavorful, decadent or impressive as topping your dessert with cream you've freshly whipped yourself. Bonus: Whisking is great bicep exercise.

  • There's more. A lot more. Just keep this in mind: Sometimes cutting corners means you save time, and sometimes it just means you deprive yourself of flavor. Know what the shortcut really costs.
    Next time in the Recipe Rock Star, I'll discuss why being "in the weeds" is unpleasant and what can be done about it.

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    2.15.2007

    Recipe Rock Star #4: Tools make the chef

    Lightning-fast ginger chopping
    Dave's skilled paws chop ginger at lightning-speed

    The Recipe Rock Star is a cooking tutorial series. We've covered one focused minute, mise and the importance of quality. Feel free to read them in whatever order you wish. Moving on...

    Recipe Rock Star Lesson #4:

    Tools make the chef


    In a professional kitchen setting, those who clock into work with dull knives have doomed themselves to an 8- to 13-hour shift of culinary hell. Delicate herbs will be crushed, not sliced, beneath a shoddy blade. Vegetables are hacked into misshapen chunks that cook at different rates, making some pulpy while others are crunchy. Because dull knives tear meat rather than carving it, the resulting slices are clumsy, thick and ugly. A cook using a dull knife has to use force to cut things, increasing the risk of chopping up fingers. (Unfortunately, I know this from experience.)

    This is why chefs baby their tools. They sharpen their knives, massage oil on them and take them everywhere. Why? Any chef worth her salt knows she's more like Batman than Superman. That is to say, chefs might appear to have superhuman superpowers, but (like Batman) it's all about ace skill augmented with impressive hardware. Take away the utility belt and the Batmobile, and you've left Batman in a bad, bad place.

    It's not just the knives. Inexperienced cooks usually don't want to invest much money in a new endeavor, so they tend to purchase inexpensive pans made with thin, flimsy metals. That's about the worst thing a newbie can do, since this type of pan is extremely difficult to use. Because heat is distributed unevenly, these pans tend to warp or develop hot spots.

    What does this mean for your dinner? In a cheap pan, you're almost guaranteed to burn your meats, scorch your sauces and find your fish fillets, omelets and cutlets sticking anxiously to the surface of the pan, rather than sliding easily onto your spatula. I've found that a plate of shredded omelet alongside a pan of charred remains doesn't really boost a new cook's sense of accomplishment. Don't worry, though. It's probably not you. It's the equipment.

    Though I could go on forever about various pieces of equipment I love, here, in brief, is what I consider to be the very basics for your utility belt (along with some nice accessory items listed thereafter).

    Essential Kitchen Equipment

    1. A set of sharp, good-quality knives (and a safe place to store 'em):

    • chef's knife (about 8")
    • long serrated knife
    • short paring knife
    • honing steel (to keep those knives in shape)

    I have a set of Wüsthof-Trident knives I picked up on the cheap, but there's a lot of good brands. Just find something that feels good in your hands. Some people also like a mid-length utility knife, but I never use 'em.

    2. Two non-slip cutting boards.

    I prefer wood. You'll need one for meats and one for fruit/veg. Label the boards with a permanent marker. On the fruit/veg board, use one side of the board for veg and the other side for fruit. Nobody likes their apples to taste like onions. Or raw chicken. Bleah!

    3. A very basic set of high-quality pans:

    • small saucepot with a lid
    • large, heavy-bottomed stockpot with a lid
    • small sauté pan
    • large sauté pan
    • large roasting pan

    If you have extra interest and money, it's really nice to have a large cast-iron pan, a wok and a dutch oven.

    4. Bakers will need a few extra pans:

    • muffin tin
    • sheet trays (It's good to have two.)
    • 13"x9" cake pan
    • 9" round cake pan (It's nice to have two of these for doing stacked birthday cakes.)
    • What they now call a "fluted tube pan." I call it a bundt pan.
    • 9" pie pan
    • 9" tart pan
    • loaf pan
    • a cooling rack (or two)

    There's a host of other pans for specialty items. These few will assist you with the basic pies, cookies, tarts, muffins, cupcakes, brownies, cakes and quickbreads. Folks who really dig baking will need to get springform pans and pans that accomodate additional shapes.

    5. Other necessary tools:

    • timer (Unless there's already one on your stove)
    • meat thermometer and oven thermometer (You'd be shocked to know how many ovens run too hot or too cool...)
    • vegetable peeler (the OXO one rocks)
    • mixing bowls (I'd advise a small, medium and large one. The metal Martha Stewart ones at K-Mart are good and cheap.)
    • heat-proof rubber spatula
    • metal spatula (I believe these are also called pancake turners.)
    • whisk
    • set of teaspoons
    • set of dry measuring cups
    • liquid measuring cup
    • ladle
    • long-handled meat fork
    • ricer or potato masher
    • slotted spoon
    • wooden mixing spoon
    • colander
    • strainer
    • citrus reamer
    • carving fork
    • heavy-duty kitchen shears
    • butcher's string
    • grater
    • pepper mill*
    • metal steamer basket of some kind
    • can opener/bottle opener/wine opener
    • blender/food processor (immersion blenders are nice, but heavy-duty stand up ones work well, too)
    • rolling pin (or a clean wine bottle)
    • fire extinguisher

    If you're a baker, add in a candy thermometer, pastry brush, sifter, pastry bag and a pastry scraper (also called a "bench scraper").

    These days, I might be tempted to list a stand mixer, a Silpat tray liner, a kitchen scale, a microplane and a spice grinder (aka coffee grinder) or mortar and pestle as essential equipment as well, but since I got along without 'em for many years, maybe they're not essential... just awfully nice.

    With all this stuff, you'll have a properly equipped utility belt, or at least a nicely stocked kitchen. In the next edition, we'll work on the other part of the Batman equation... skills.

    * Cooks grind a lot of pepper, so we have arguments about the best one... I dig my Vic Firth, while fellow cook Molly loves the Unicorn Magnum. As long as it puts out a satisfying grind and volume, you're fine.

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    11.16.2006

    Recipe Rock Star Lesson 3: Quality is delicious.

    best garlic ever
    Arguably...

    The Recipe Rock Star tutorials continue. We've covered mise and one focused minute. Now let's have a look at those ingredients....

    Lesson 3: Quality is delicious

    There's a reason packages of Doritos have an ingredient statement the size of Oklahoma. There's a reason top chefs increasingly choose to cook seasonal produce. And there's a reason why you should seek out the best possible ingredients you can find.

    The reason is simple: fresh, seasonal ingredients taste better. Furthermore, delicious components make the meals you serve more flavorful.

    At risk of offending anyone who's ever studied virtue ethics, let's compare a delicious appetizer to Plato's concept of the ultimate happiness: eudaimonia. To achieve ultimate recipe happiness we combine virtue (aretē) and knowledge (epistemē).

    Let's examine bruschetta, for instance. It's thin slices of high-quality bread that's grilled or toasted, rubbed with the cut side of a halved clove of garlic, drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil and topped with some freshly diced garden tomatoes. Maybe you toss some chopped basil on there. Maybe a sprinkle of salt and a fresh grind of pepper. Maybe you gild the lily with a pinch of grated Parmesan. Regardless, it's tangy, crunchy, juicy, luscious wonder. In season, bruschetta is simple, delicious and perfect.

    Now imagine the same preparation, but substitute slices of lightly toasted Wonder bread, drizzle it with vegetable oil, top with a shake of garlic powder, a supermarket tomato like the ones you get in January, a sprinkle of dried basil and a pinch of Kraft Parmesan Style Grated Topping shaken out of the little green can. Revolting. And yet, what's the difference, really?

    The difference is quality. This is why bruschetta should not be attempted in the winter. You achieve something close to an appropriate look for the dish, but it tastes nowhere near as wonderful as it should.

    The downside? Fresh, seasonal ingredients are more expensive and tend to go bad rapidly. They don't ship well. They don't stay "Good Thru 2009." Because the packaged foods business requires low cost and long shelf life, those products don't generally use the highest quality ingredients, so they tend to lack flavor balance and subtlety. Manufacturers end up compensating for the natural flavor dimensions with long lists of salts, sugars and nitrites.

    But you're not a manufacturer and you don't need to produce food that will survive twenty years past the apocalypse. You're making good food for yourself and those around you. And you achieve that recipe awesomeness by hunting down the best ingredients and preparing them with your excellent cooking skills. Voila! Edible eudaimonia.

    In Lesson 4, we'll pick up some tips from the pros.

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    10.19.2006

    Recipe Rock Star #2: Mise will change your life.

    Mise en place at Tabla
    Entremet mise en place at Tabla

    This is lesson #2. Missed lesson #1? It's back here.

    Recipe Rock Star Lesson #2:
    Mise will change your cooking. And maybe your life.


    In my experience, professional cooks populating the high-end kitchens of America love to butcher the French language. It's how we poke the 800 lb gorilla.

    You see, back in the day, it was the great French chefs — Escoffier in particular — who codified, modernized and organized the professional kitchen. Yes, Escoffier elevated the trade from random gangs of drunken knife-wielding degenerates roaming the kitchen to orderly lines of drunken knife-wielding degenerates working quietly at fixed stations with swanky French titles. Titles such as "Garde Manger," "Sous-chef," "Saucier" and "Grilliardin" which deteriorate into bastardizations like GM, Sous and Grill.

    With a little imagination, the interested amateur can probably parse the original Frenchy intent of the titles. It may not be so easy to determine why cooks are so worried about their mise (meez), a word that sounds more like baby talk or nonsense than what it really is: the most important thing at a cook's station.

    Mise is pidgin kitchen-French for "Mise en Place" (MEEZ ahn plahs), a phrase that literally means "setting in place," and philosophically means that everything is in its place and you, the cook, are locked, loaded and ready to rock.

    The knives are sharp. The cast-iron pans are seasoned. The oven is preheated. The recipe is firmly implanted in the mind. Tongs are twitching. Ingredients are diced, sliced, blanched, caramelized, grated, marinated and whatever else they need to be in order to make the food happen. Everything is easily accessible in tidy, convenient containers. You are organized — physically and mentally — and there is no way in which you could be more ready for what you're about to do.

    This, friends, is the concept of "mise en place." I watched far too many episodes of The A-Team as a child, so the vision of mise in my mind always returned to siege preparations that crack commando unit made three-quarters of the way into every episode. For you, inspiration may be different. Rachel Ray's organized set-up on 30 Minute Meals or mental reel of Rocky Balboa training to the tune of "Eye of the Tiger," perhaps.

    The most important thing in attaining "mise" is thinking about how to make your own kitchen station as ready as possible before you begin a recipe. Are the tongs at hand? The colander? Invest in a set of small bowls or custard cups so you can place everything within easy reach.

    If you have to dig for herbs at the bottom of the fridge and chop them in a hurry while the dish simmers away on the stove, you're far more likely to wreck the meal or chop off your fingers.

    Once you're ace at "mise," you'll find it makes your whole life easier. Mise your bathroom. Mise your workout. Mise your desk. Mise your DIY projects. A little upfront mise makes you better at anything you do.

    Thanks, Escoffier. Thanks for the mise.

    In the next Recipe Rock Star lesson, we'll see why it's important to conjure visions of Plato while grocery shopping. Meanwhile, happy cooking!

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    10.12.2006

    The Recipe Rock Star (aka... you)


    Potato Recipe in Progress from the missginsu photostream at Flickr

    I know how it works. It happens to me all the time.

    You're paging through a book or magazine, or clicking around on the web, and there it is: an irresistible recipe, singing out from the page with a sonorous siren's strain. You skim the headnote. It makes your mouth water.

    You clip it, print it, or scribble it. You stalk the ingredients and the equipment. You bar the door to the kitchen and warn away foolish intruders. You take up your tools and you look to the page for guidance. You chop. You toss. You fling, and you flip. And then, you fail.

    Smashed to the rocks. Devoured by monsters. Your hard-earned money, precious time and good intentions splattered into a mess on the stove.

    It's too watery. It's too dry. It's salty. It's greasy. It's boring. It's weird.

    What went wrong? (Hard to say.) Can it be fixed? (Maybe.) Was it me or the recipe? (That depends.)

    I've been working a lot with designing, writing and editing recipes lately, and I've been hearing a lot from people about what's gone well... and what's been disastrous.

    I want you to be a virtuoso at the stove. I want your friends to be impressed with your savvy. I want you to be able to look at a recipe and say, "Pfeh! This won't work at all!" and know, deep down in your being, that you can make that thing so much better.

    Most of all, I want you to be confident in your abilities and proud of what you make. You will not just competently, consistently produce delicious food... if I have my way, you will rock in the kitchen.

    With these thoughts in mind, I'm launching a new feature: The Recipe Rock Star.

    You'll be that guy who can play his way through a song after hearing it just once. But with food.

    So! Let's begin.

    Recipe Rock Star Lesson #1: Use the power of one focused minute.
    This step will seem simple and stupid, but it might save you much in the way of suffering. (I know this from sad, sorry experience.)

    Diligently gathering the your ingredients and lightly skimming the recipe isn't enough. You must take one minute of the time you've dedicated to doing this project and read every line of the recipe. Don't skim it. Read it.

    I'm embarrassed to think of the number of times I've been stopped cold by a little note buried in step #6 that says "chill and marinate overnight" or "cure for 8 to 10 days" or "serve over cooked rice." (Rice!? What rice? Where did it tell me to make rice?)

    I'll probably emphasize this again, because it's important. In the same way that not all advice is good advice, not every recipe is well-written. Many recipes published by seemingly reliable companies, cooks and writers are confusing, incomplete or overly vague. Just as often, recipes will be perfectly accurate, but you'll get snagged along the way by a missing piece of equipment (A fluted tube pan? What's that?*) or a serving suggestion tacked on at the end (the afore-mentioned cooked rice thing, for example).

    Yes, you're excited to get going on the project. Just take one minute to stop, focus, read the instructions very carefully, and use your critical thinking faculties to check for anything suspicious.

    The single, focused minute is a powerful investment.

    In Lesson #2, we'll have a look at what cooks call "mise" (MEEZ). 'til then, happy cooking!

    * These often go by the traditional brand name: "Bundt Pan"

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    10.05.2006