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Come by Kitchen Conservatory and pick up FREE garlic scapes. We clip off the scapes (flower stem) so that the garlic bulb will grow bigger. Cooks like to chop up the scapes to add to stir-fries and pestos for a mild garlic flavor.scapes

Scapes are a sign that fresh garlic will soon be ready to harvest, probably in mid-June. Our juicy home-grown hard-neck garlic will change your mind about using garlic as a vegetable, not just as a flavoring.

Sign up for a cooking class on using fresh garlic on Thursday, July 30 at 6 pm: “Dracula, Beware!

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Here is today’s view of our garlic crop; one month before harvest!

Our Summer Cooking Class Schedule has just been published and we are so excited to showcase several fabulous culinary instructors who are new to our kitchens:

  • Jesse Gilroy, chef of Cucina Pazzo, will make stuffed pastas on May 27.
  • Nathaniel Reid, an accomplished French pastry chef, will demonstrate jams and jellies on June 16, flaky tarts on July 21, and then French tea cakes and cookies on August 18.
  • Robin Wheeler, owner of Subterranean Homemade Food, preserves food in a variety of ways (dried, salt-cured, confit, and vinegar) on June 25, plus she will make jams and pickles on August 15.
  • Dan Drake — Dr. Dan The Pancake Man — will show off his creative pancake art on June 30.
  • Dustin Parres, bar manager at Gamlin Whiskey House, teams up with chef Gilberto Espinoza for a steak-and-whiskey class on June 30 and then pairs with sushi chef Vu Huong for sushi-and-sake class on July 14.
  • Christina Lane, a food blogger who just published a new cookbook Dessert for Two, bakes small batches of desserts on July 9.
  • John Messbarger, chef of Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co, brings in lots of fresh lobsters on August 3.
  • Amy Hubbard focuses on paleo and gluten-free Italian foods on August 8.
  • Britt Simpson, who joins up with chef Anthony Devoti of Five Bistro, will bake her best French macarons on August 11.
  • Larysa Enk, a Russian translator, makes her native cuisine (including pirogi) on August 16.

A few other chefs are returning to our kitchens after a hiatus; please welcome back these favorites:

  • Jeff Davis has a ritzy lunch of crab-stuffed salmon and mac-and-cheese on June 27
  • Jason Tilford, chef-owner of Milagro Modern Mexican, will demystify traditional Mexican moles on July 7.
  • Ivy Magruder, chef of Panorama at the Art Museum, meets up with a basket of fresh fish and seafood from Bob’s Seafood on July 8.
  • Senada Grbic, chef of Grbic Restaurant, makes her TV Food Network winning dishes on July 12.
  • Toni DiGregorio of DiGregorio’s Market on The Hill brings imported Italian specialties for home-cooking on July 22.
  • Karen Mitcham-Stoekley, author of A Culinary Legacy: From Escoffier to Today, has a Southern French Provencal menu perfect for hot summer days on July 29.
  • Chris Bolyard, owner of Bolyard’s Meat & Provisions, teams up with farmer Bobbi Sandwisch for fresh, local foods on August 24.

Register now for cooking classes!

These great cooking classes still have space available:

Learn brand-new cooking techniques in “Modernist Cuisine” on Thursday, April 30 with chef Frank McGinty.

Watch two creative chefs, Ed Heath of Cleveland-Heath and Cassy Vires of Juniper, cook together in “Culinary Comrades” on Monday, May 4.

Indulge in yummy French croissants and pain au chocolat on Wednesday, May 6 with Margi Kahn.

Local, local, local farm-fresh food on Wednesday, May 13 with chef Chris Lee and Greg Pusczek of Freshski’s Farm.

Chef Kirk Warner’s fabulous fish is on display on Monday, May 18 in “Open for the Sea-son” (soft-shell crab tartines).

Open up the grill with chef Jack MacMurray on Wednesday, May 20 in “Let the Flames Begin” (grilled strip steaks with lobster).

Authentic Thai cuisine with Naam Pruitt on Friday, May 22 at 6 pm.

Register Here.

Ready to plant your herb garden? Go to the Missouri Botanical Garden on Thursday, April 23 from 10 am to 11 am for a talk on “Harvesting Herbs for Dinner” by Anne Cori. The free presentation in the Shoenberg Theater will include a question-and-answer session on growing and using culinary herbs. Fresh herb plants will be available for purchase. Reservations required at 314-577-5118.

Practice your knife skills in an upcoming cooking class:
“Knife Lessons: Chop, Chop” on April 13 at 6 pm
“Prep School” on June 2 at 6 pm
St. Louis Magazine interviewed Anne Cori for tips on using kitchen knives:
  • Secure your cutting board. We have gripper mats to put underneath, or you can use a wet towel. You want a stable cutting board.
  • Personally, I like a 10-inch chef’s knife. A large knife is a more stable knife. You use a rocking motion, so your fingers are not in danger, and you’re not chopping again and again, releasing the juices and crying over the onions.
  • People hold a chef’s knife the wrong way. They point their index finger on top or hold the knife back at the handle. But the balance of the knife is at the bolster, between the handle and the blade. Let your thumb and forefinger come forward onto the top of the blade and feel the difference.
  • If you use a slicing knife, hold the handle, because the blade is narrower, and do not using a rocking motion.
  • With round vegetables, first cut a flat surface. To chop an onion, slice off the stem (top) of the onion, but leave the root (the hairy end), because it holds the onion together. Now cut straight through the root, halving the onion, then peel it. The vertical cut gives you an edge to grab, so it’s easier to peel. Make several horizontal cuts, going to the root but not through the root so the onion is still held together. Then, with the tip of the knife, make vertical cuts. Now rock the knife, so it never lifts up from the cutting board. With the tip of the knife down on the board, I press down to cut, then slide the knife forward, still resting on the board, to secure the bottom cut. Then I lift the knife and pull back to make the next cut. Down, forward, up, back.
  • To cut bell or hot peppers, don’t cut them in half—then you have to scoop out the insides. Keep the stem on, slice down the sides, then throw away the middle by the stem. It’s much easier to cut the peppers into strips skin-side-down, then dice them with that rocking motion.
  • To cut turnips, rutabaga, or pineapple, it’s all the same technique. Cut off both ends to get flat surfaces, then cut off the skin all the way around.
  • Butternut squash has seeds, so I cut off both ends to get flat surfaces, then cut off the neck. I slice off the skin of the neck, then slice the skin off the bulbous part, cut it in half, and scoop out the seeds.
  • Watch your hands. When you’re slicing something horizontally—an onion, a turnip, even a bagel—palm the top to hold it stable. When you’re holding a vegetable and slicing vertically, curl your fingers, so the tips are in no danger.
  • Sharpen your knives. A sharp knife is a safe knife. Knives should be honed at least once a week. Honing just maintains an edge. If you’ve lost your edge, you can hone forever and not get it back. You need to get it sharpened. Kitchen Conservatory charges $3 a knife, 24-hour turnaround.
  • To hone, hold the sharpening steel [that long thick icepick thing that came with your knives] straight up, and slant your knife at a 20-degree angle against the sharpening steel. To find 20 degrees, start at a 90-degree angle, cut it in half, cut it in half again. Now, go back and forth slowly, alternating sides, maintaining that angle.

So many cookbooks are published each year and how do you find the right cookbook for your style of cooking? Or should you just use the free recipes that you find online? Is a food picture worth a thousand words? Learn the pluses and minuses of cookbooks from Anne Cori.

Wednesday, March 25 at 7-8 pm in the auditorium at the Schlafly Branch of the St. Louis Public Library, 225 N. Euclid.

Our Spring Cooking Class Calendar has some exciting, new cooking classes:

“Rustic Italian” (quail with roasted garlic-grape sauce on mascarpone-ricotta polenta) on April 1

“The Big Tang Theory” (tagliatelle with lemon-herb sauce) on April 10

“Sweet and Lowe” (sweet crab bisque with corn cream and cheddar croutons) on April 19

“Mediterranean Mystique” (garlic-lemon grilled shrimp with pistachio-feta sauce) on April 24

“South of the Border Grill Seekers” (smoked tomato gazpacho) on May 3

“Celebration of Mom” (pan-seared halibut with white wine and capers) on May 9

“Green Looks Good on You” (fried artichoke hearts with lemon aioli) on May 15

“A Bird in the Pan is Worth Four on the Plate” (roasted chicken with clementines and ouzo on bulgur pilaf) on May 15

“Open for Sea-son” (crispy softshell crab tartine with shaved radish on avocado salad and brioche) on May 18

“What’s in Your Pasta?” (arugula-onion confit tortellini in sun-dried tomato cream sauce on May 27

“The Duck Stops Here” (roasted duck in Thai red curry sauce on rice) on May 30

Register Now as our cooking classes sell out fast!

St. Louis Homes and Lifestyles has an interview with Anne Cori, president of Kitchen Conservatory, in their January issue on which cookware to use on which stove.

SLHL: If I am looking for new pots and pans, what are my options? (nonstick, cast iron, copper, etc.)

Anne: Since some electric cooktops require certain kinds of cookware, find out what pots you can safely use on your stove. Gas cooktops can use any cookware: aluminum; copper; stainless; cast iron; enameled cast iron; carbon steel, and nonstick.

SLHL: What are the advantages and disadvantages to each option?

Anne: The best cookware is made from an aluminum core clad in stainless. Aluminum conducts heat beautifully, and the stainless interior does not react to food and is super-easy to clean. Copper cooks great, but it is heavy and expensive. Cast iron is not expensive and it is easy to maintain, but it is very heavy. Every kitchen should have one good non-stick skillet for sticky foods. At Kitchen Conservatory, we use All-Clad stainless, Le Creuset enamel cast iron, Lodge cast iron and Swiss Diamond nonstick.

SLHL: Should I buy them as a set or individually?

Anne: Companies put together sets that sound great – 10-piece set! – but sets usually include pots that are never used. Buy pans in the size that you will use on a regular basis, and avoid wasting money on sets.

SLHL: What pieces would you recommend for the average weeknight family cook?

Anne: A 12-inch and 8-inch stainless or nonstick fry pan, a 4-quart and 2-quart stainless saucepan, and an 8-quart stainless or enamel cast-iron stock pot.

SLHL: What would the culinary connoisseur appreciate most?

Anne: Pans for special occasions: Asian carbon steel wok; Moroccan ceramic tagine; Spanish carbon steel paella; French enamel cast-iron Dutch oven; large aluminum roasting pan, and carbon steel crepe pan.

SLHL: Do you need to use a different type of cookware for gas cooktop, electric and induction?

Anne: Most definitely. Any pot can be used on a gas cooktop, but electric cooktops only heat where the pan is in direct contact with the surface. I recommend pots with flat spun-disk bottoms because they are less likely to warp. Cast iron cannot be used on glass tops. Induction cooktops require pans that are magnetic, such as cast iron or stainless. Aluminum pans will not heat on an induction stove.

SLHL: What is one item people don’t typically buy, but you find necessary to have?

Anne: I love my pressure cooker and use it several times each week. Dinner is ready in one-quarter the time.

SLHL: Can you give some cleaning tips to make your pots and pans last longer?

Anne: All quality pots can be cleaned, no matter how badly abused. Use a stainless scrubbie with a paste of stainless cleanser for cleaning stainless and aluminum pots. Enamel and copper cleansers are available. Cast iron and carbon steel pans are designed to be seasoned. Clean off any rust or particles, but don’t soap those pans – just re-oil and they are ready to use!

The right kitchen tool can make all the difference in the pleasure of cooking. Learn how to use these incredibly useful tools in these upcoming cooking classes:

Stovetop Smoker on January 14 in “What the Cluck”

Fondue Pot on January 18 in “The Tastemakers”

Sushi Mat on January 20 in “Wake Up, Little Sushi”

Pressure Cooker on January 28 in “So It Steams”

Cast Iron Cookware on February 2 in “For Frying Out Loud”

Carbon Steel Wok on February 4 in “Use Your Noodles”

Vita-Mix Blender on February 5 in “Haute Vegetarian Tasting Menu”

Register Now for a memorable cooking class!

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Orders must be received by noon Central Time on Wednesday, December 17 to arrive by December 24 by standard ground delivery.

Second-Day Air orders must be received by noon Central Time on Monday, December 22.

Next-Day Air orders must be received by noon Central Time on Tuesday, December 23.

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