T O M C O U G H L A N
Make the most of passive cooking to do your active cooking. If some takes a long time to roast or braise, get it cooking while you get everything else ready. This way everything is done at the same time.
If it grows together it goes together! If ingredients come from the same place, at the same time of year, they almost always will taste good together.
Shake your garlic to peel it. The easiest way to peel garlic is take a whole bulb and press the top down just enough to break it apart. Place the whole thing in a container, or two bowls held together, and shake it really hard, like your shaking a cocktail. This should remove about 80% of the garlic skin from the cloves on the first shot.
Toast bread with other herbs and spices. One of my favorite dishes we came up with this year was “ginger bread” in our Market-to-Table class. We melted butter with grated ginger and herbs (similar to how you would make garlic bread) and toasted it in the oven. It was great and I plan to make “ginger bread” again!
Baking powder for crisp. It increases the pH which helps foods to caramelize better and get crispier.
Grandma hands for soft food. Does your grandma make the softest pasta or cookies? Its not because she got hands like a plumber. So be delicate when you mix and knead for a softer final product.
Vodka and seltzer for a flaky pie dough. Alcohol has a lower boiling point then water so will evaporate faster adding to a flaky dough. Seltzer water already has air in it so also will help for a flakier dough.
Pie dough should look like crumbled parmesan cheese. I don’t know who decided that pie dough should look like peas after you add the butter and water but I have never gotten one to do so and my pie doughs never came out right. Until an instructor here said it should look like crumbled parmesan, some big, some small, that I finally made a good pie crust!
Vegan Shepards Pie. We made a vegan shepherds pie for our vegan class which is a huge hit and a favorite of mine. We used coconut milk and oil to make the mashed potatoes and a mix of root vegetables, beans, onion, garlic, tomato paste, and spices to make the filling.
Roast that Jack-O-Lantern! Who said carving pumpkins can’t be delicious? Rather than letting it root on your porch, after carving a beautiful jack-o-lantern season it with salt and coriander and rub the inside with butter and roast it in the oven. Save those seeds to toast off as a snack as well!
Take something major away to increase your creativity! Do you always use garlic in a dish? Immediately grab black pepper and lemons for a dish without even thinking? Then take them out of your pantry. Use other spices, try some vinegar, replace garlic with ginger or turmeric and you’ll immediately add some new tricks up your sleeve.