Liquid Smoke Demystified

Smoke as a flavor profile element has already made its comeback; chefs who appreciate the nuances that smoke brings to a dish use it in all sorts of inventive ways. It touches a primeval cooking memory when foods were slow roasted and the smoky intensity from the cooking fire permeated into the dishes. Nowadays, there are little hand-smokers that you can use per-plate. But what if you don’t want your kitchen to look like a dive bar, and you don’t have a backyard smoker [yet]? Well, for those of us who want the flavor without the fuss, there’s liquid smoke.

There’s a little bit of confusion about what liquid smoke really is. Now that I see it more or less regularly on the shelves here in Israel, I think it’s time to clear things up, and show you a cool trick on how to use it.

And no, it is not a cheat.

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And The Award Goes To…

For my Level 2 cooking class, we’ve started a points-based competition. The kids asked me if they could get medals at the end of the year. It sounded reasonable enough, so I started to do some research on eBay to see what was out there.

What I ended up with exceeded every expectation. If you are ever in the market for awards, start with these folks.

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Garlic Knots

Sometimes I like cooking because I can replicate foods that I remember from my childhood. And that comes in handy when living in our blessed land. Take, for instance, your average pizza shop in Israel. You can’t even get a side of fries, because they simply don’t think of a pizza shop as anything other than a store that sells pizza. In my first paying job in food, I worked in a pizza shop. It was called The Promised Land, in Plainview, NY. There were salads, lasagna, eggplant Parmesan, fish, calzones, and garlic knots.

Those garlic knots were good. Oh yes.

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Basic Cooking Technique: Saute

It is correctly written sauté. For the purposes of simplicity, I have written it without the accent mark in the article.

One of the most fundamental skills a professional chef learns is how to saute. Without it, they’re pretty much useless in the kitchen. In just a few minutes with a knife and a saute pan, a handful of raw ingredients is transformed into a complete meal. A skilled line cook can have six or more pans all going at one time, each with a different dish, started at different times and finishing at different times. And the trick of it is not in the pan, or the ingredients. Or even the chef.

It’s all about the timing.

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