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Ask the Chef Archive

Nancy asks, “How do I peel pearl onions easily? The thin papery skins are almost impossible to remove without taking a layer of the onion with them. Is there a trick to doing this? Thank you!” Yes, there is an easier way. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the onions for a […]

Felicia writes, “How do you make sauce Newburg?” This delicious cream sauce for shellfish is flavored with sherry. I like to add fresh artichoke hearts and mushrooms and serve the sauce over rice, pasta, or potatoes. Lobster-Crab Newburg 3 lobsters 1 onion, chopped 1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced 4 tablespoons butter 4 tablespoons flour 1/2 teaspoon paprika […]

Where to find the best burger? At home, if you make it yourself. A delicious burger is made from freshly-ground meat, lightly packed, cooked on a high heat for a short period of time, and served on a homemade bun with homemade sauce. Yes, you can make this delicious treat. Once you taste your own […]

“I was pleased to sample the bouillabaisse last night when I was at a cake decorating class– I would love the recipe if at all possible. It was simply delicious!!!!” Chef-instructor Katy Colson taught an international soup class that included Vietnamese bouillabaisse. Traditionally, bouillabaisse is a French fish soup flavored with saffron, tomato, parsley, and garnished with a spicy mayonaisse […]

Christine writes, “I’m looking for the recipe for the Amazing Peanut Butter Pie that Marla used in her peanut butter class. I have lost mine.” On a snow day, this dessert can be made with pantry items. Pastry chef Marla Scissors (who passed away from ALS in 2008) demonstrated many wonderful dessert recipes in her […]

What temperature do you like your meat? Rare, medium-rare, medium, or well-done? And just what do those words mean? One person’s rare can be another person’s medium. In cooking classes, I have seen students react on both sides of the spectrum even in the same class; the meat considered both overcooked and undercooked. Nothing else in the […]

Dear Chef, Should lace tuile cookies be really crispy and can they be frozen? Thanks!!! Tracy, St. Louis The thin, crisp crunch is the whole point of lace cookies. The name “tuile” means tile, and frequently the flat cookies are shaped (while hot) around a rolling pin so that they have a slight curve (like […]

I need to take a sweet potato dish to a Thanksgiving party, but I don’t want to take my mother’s super-sweet syrupy sweet potatoes. Do you have a suggestion? Yes! Sweet potatoes are already sweet, so why do we add more sugar? How about this creamy gratin: Sweet Potato-Corn Gratin 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled […]

Food scientist Harold McGee confessed yesterday in the New York Times that he does not brine his turkey. Neither do I. His complaint with brining is that the turkey drippings are too salty and tasteless for making a delicious pan sauce — and the gravy is the crucial component. I do not brine turkey because I find it an […]

Chef Bruce Piatek II is the executive chef of Eleven Eleven Mississippi. His wife, Anne Piatek, is also a chef. She works as a personal chef to families creating nutritious and healthy meals. Together, Bruce and Anne teach really wonderful cooking classes at Kitchen Conservatory because their different styles compliment each other so well. At their last […]