Can you help me come up with a recipe for a dinner I am hosting?
Yes! I love menu planning, and would love to create a dish or entire meal for you, based around your needs. We will work together to come up with ideas that fit your theme, guests, and time constraints. I will give you access to the recipes you need, and be available for any questions you might have during the process. I love planning meals
WHERE DO YOU SHOP?
I purchase locally wherever I can. I love perusing the local farmer's markets for ingredients grown organically, sustainably, and locally. I tend to shop and cook seasonally (and have my own fruit, vegetable, and herb gardens at home), so that food is at its freshest. I buy meats from a local butcher, or ranch; and fish from local fish markets. Food always tastes better when you know where it comes from.
why do you brown red meat on all sides before roasting or braising?
You know how I hate to dirty pots, and do extra unnecessary steps? Well, this is one of those steps that is important for two specific reasons. 1) Browning seals in juices. It's what keeps your meat moist, and adds in extra flavor. It's also why we always let meat rest before carving; browning seals in the juices, and resting allows those juices to be reabsorbed. If you carve before resting, all the juices you worked so hard to preserve leak out, and waste the time you spent browning in the first place. And that? Makes for an unnecessary step. 2) Browning meat, in the same pan that you are braising, roasting, or creating a sauce, adds an additional layer of flavor to your dish. Those little brown bits left over when you remove the meat from your pan? They are chock full of flavor, and give a depth to dishes that isn't possible without it.
If my oven doesn't have a high or low broil option, only temperature, what temp would I use for low or high broil?
Typically a high broil is 550 degrees and a low broil is 500 degrees. Keep in mind that when you are cooking over 400 degrees, that parchment paper will catch on fire, so you should only be cooking with oven safe equipment and tin foil.
How do I know if I need to cover something?
I will tell you to "cover" something, if it is necessary. For the most part, you don't want to cover things you are cooking. Covering creates steam, and steamed things taste differently than other methods of cooking. Obviously, if a recipe (or vegetable) calls for being steamed, it will be covered during the cooking process.
I don't see a cook time? or You said to cook something for an "approximate" amount of time. how do I know when it is done?
Food is done, when it is done. All cooking times are approximate. The key is to use time as guideline, watch your food, and taste, taste, taste. The same can be said for salt and pepper. Season your food and taste, taste, taste. You'll know when you've added enough. Trust me.