Teach Kitchen skills
I have gained a bit of experience over the years and some say it is about time I shared what I think people would like to know. I began my education in 1973 at B.C.I T. and became a chef by end of 1976. I then took another two years to complete a butcher’s ticket and have pretty much done this and head chef over the last 40 years with a few detours along the way. But alas I have always fell back into food in one way or another.
So it is with this I shall endeavor to pass on what I have learned with the hope of passing on some knowledge and hints to make anyone a competent cook in the kitchen be it big or small. I will begin by saying a few things about what is needed to begin with.
1) a sink with clean running water. 2) a cutting board. 3) a sharp knife, a 10 inch french is best.4) a wire whisk with good action. 5) a paring knife also sharp. 6) A heavy bottom skillet about 10 inch is good enough. 7) An assortment of thick bottomed sauce pans range in size from 4″ to 12″ with 4″ to 5″ high sides . 8) a strainer. 9) and a poaching pot also used for pasta which will hold at least one gallon of water. with 3″ left at the top with tight fitting lid. A good pepper mill, and a soup ladle
This will give you enough to begin any project you want, other than a good stove to cook over. Heat source is best with gas, electric heat is second to it and of course wood heat is great once you have mastered every other aspect. So now we have your kitchen and are looking for something to do with it other than heating things up in the microwave or opening a box of store bought pizza. One of the first things to know is how to make a stock and over the next bit I will give you what you need to make a winner of a stock to be the base of all your soups and sauces.
1) you will need to visit your butcher for a good supply of bones. Marrow bones make the richest stock. Only use fresh bone or ones that have been frozen fresh. Now to make a plain beef stock you will need to fill your pot to the half way mark with bones. Now we will prepare or veg for the stock.
2)When ever I make one I always use one large onion and three cloves of garlic. two carrots and any other veg trim you might have saved for this stock Only use mild tasting veg such as green pepper ends with no seeds. Fresh parsley stems can be added as well with no leaves.
3) Cut all you veg to 1″ cubes, just wash them before and do not peal anything. Keep your onions and garlic separate from the other veg. and gind a good palm of pepper, 1 table spoon of thyme,rosemary and mace ( If you can not find mace then a pinch of nutmeg will do.)
4 Place your skillet over med high heat and add enough veg oil to coat the bottom of the pan by giving it around 1/4″ in depth. add your onions first when the oil begins to have heat ripples in it. once these are translucent add the garlic without browing these and keep the onion mix moving in the pan. add the rest of your veg and keep stiring unitl all the veg are crisp cooked. Add this to the bones and cover the whole thing with clean cold water add your palm of pepper to it. Place this pot on a burner set on med heat and watch it to ensure it will not boil, You must bring it to the boiling point and then turn it down to a simmer.
5) Now you have your stock on you must pay attention to it because as it simmers it will begin to give off impurities that need to be skimmed off and discard. Do not stir this mixture at all once it is in the pot. With a soup ladle begin to remove the grey foam from the top keeping an eye on the temp to ensure it will not boil. Once you have removed all of the grey foam from the stock you can leave it on the back of the stove uncovered for 8hrs. Yes 8 hours checking the heat from time to time to ensure it does not boil. I did not tell you this part at first because the time it take s to make a good stock might scare a few off.
6) At the end of 8 hours your kitchen will have a wonderful aroma and now it it time to strain your stock . Place your strainer in the sink with a vessel under it to catch the strained liquid. Pour slowly into the strainer trying now to allow any of the hot stuff inside the pot out to splash and burn you. Remove all of the stock from the pot this way discarding the bones and cooked veg as you get lower in the pot. Once this is done. Add your salt to taste and store it.
7) Let you stock cool by placing a saucer under one side of the container cover it with some plastic rap of what ever you have and let it sit until it is a room temp. Place in small containers for storage under freezer of cooler if using it right away. This stock is good for Three days under refrigeration and can be held the freezer for up to three months. This stock is the base for any beef soup and can be used as a base in any beef related sauce.
8) To make a stock that can be used to make a great base for roast beef gravy or to enhance other sauces beef related,brown your bones and veg in a 350 degree oven to give them a nice brown colour and rich flavour before placing them in the pot to simmer.
I like to take my stock after it is made and place the liquid into ice cube trays, Place them in the freezer, once they are set I place tme into ziplock bags and use them when ever I need to beef something up. Other stocks do not take nearly as long,chicken will only take 1 1/2 hours as well as fish, veal and lamb. Herbs can be added to suit the stock such as sage to chiken, basel, mint to lamb. Once you start to play with the flavour of herbs you will find your own likes and dislikes. Stick with what advise I give you here until you think you can fly on your own you can always go back to tried and true if you don’t like the results
Next time we will work on thickening and roux’s ( Flour and oil) and some items thickened with heavy cream.