Today I went to check the mail and was delighted to find that after only a few days, my new paring knife set had arrived! I promised to post back with my opinion of these bad boys after using them, so here you go.
I made Shepherd’s Pie again and used the little curved paring knife to skin my potatoes. I love these little knives! Although the knives are definitely not the craftsmanship of a Wustof, they cut right through the potato like a hot knife through butter! The handle is made of some kind of plastic and is very rough, which makes the grip on it very secure. The knives themselves are a polished stainless steel. I also used the straight edge knife to cut the ends off of my carrot and onion with no problem at all!
Overall, I’m very pleased with my $5 purchase and will recommend these knives to anyone on a budget. Click on over to Amazon.com and pick up a set of Forschner Knives by Victorinox if you don’t already have a quality set of cooking knives and you can’t afford to drop big bucks!
Today my fiance told me that she will never be a great chef since she can’t keep track of so many things at once. In essence, cooking scares her. As a matter of fact, she just had a nightmare last night that she was cooking, lost control of all the things happening and not only ruined dinner, but set the house on fire!
Like so many things in life, cooking requires not only skill but bravery and daring. One must not rely on strict measurements and instructions, but be willing to make the dish theirs. We see this very often in F Word recipes. There is no exact measurement. Pork IN! Salt, pepper, herbs! Pork off! Plate done!
So, does Gordon give his instructions out of laziness or out of understanding? I would say that all of his instructions are perfectly clear! Do not make Gordon’s Beef Wellington, make your own. Any great artist is more than happy to give you advice on how to be great. Only a hack will actually give you a paint by numbers canvas. Painting by numbers limits you to the extent of each numbers outline.
Each and every dish we make starts with a blank canvas. Should you limit yourself to the recipes you read here? Can you break free of recipes you find elsewhere? Dare to estimate the measurements to your taste. Do not use measuring spoons or cups (unless you’re baking cookies). Break free of all the fear you hold in your heart and have a glass of wine while doing so! I hope you find this advice not only improves your cooking and kitchen experiences, but your life as well.
Until the next post…
Knives are invaluable in the kitchen and cooking with cheap, or dull knives is unpleasant at best. In my article “My New Knives” I evaluated several brands of cutlery and explained why I purchased the Katana Series knives by Calphalon, yet I apparently left out a serious contender. Those of you on a limited budget should be very excited about the information contained in this article!
Recently I had the opportunity to speak with a local restaurant owner about kitchen cutlery and he could not lavish enough praise on Forschner Knives by Victorinox. Victorinox is the same company that makes the oh so popular, Swiss Army Knife.
I must admit that I’ve approached these knives with the utmost trepidation since they are stamped and not forged, and they’re fairly inexpensive! I’m of the old school mentality which believes all good knives must be forged. Trepidation or not, my curiosity has been growing as a result of this restaurateur’s enthusiasm and I finally decided to look into these Swiss made knives.
Review after review regarding Forschner Knives has shown them as consistent contenders against knives costing much, much more than these affordable pieces of cutlery. Consumer reports, known for their extremely reliable and unbiased opinions rates these knives very well, as does Amazon.com!
Oh, I can’t forgot to mention that Forschner Knives bear the poncy NSF logo as well! For those of you who aren’t in the know, NSF stands for National Sanitation Foundation. Check out the quote straight from Victorinox’s website regarding NSF:
The NSF mark is a certification of quality assurance and hygienic design. The National Sanitation Foundation mark is proudly carried on all our blades with a fibrox or nylon handle and assures you of quality and assurance to use in a commercial environment. Look for this mark. Realize that most manufacturers do not carry this seal! -SA
I’m going to give these bad boys a try by purchasing the little inexpensive three knife starter kit from Amazon.com pictured below. They normally cost about $18, so I’ll be stealing them at $5.20. If you don’t already have a good set of knives, you’d be well advised to click the link and buy a set for yourself.
*edit: Amazon has sold out of these knife sets since I posted this article. The picture below shows what I purchased. You can still get a similar set at Amazon.com by clicking this link: Forschner Knives
I’ll post back and let you know how these knives work out for me after they arrive.
Gordon Ramsay cooked this recipe for some construction workers on the F Word recently. He goes really fast, and it’s hard to make sure I’ve got all of the ingredients right, but I think I’ve got it. Give it a try and let me know how it turns out.
*edit: I made this stew a few nights ago and it was unbelievable! Get down to the farmers market and pick up the ingredients, you won’t regret it.
The secret to making this dish fast and tasty is to cook everything in the same pan.
Add the onions, garlic, and thyme to a large heavy pan and cook until the onions are translucent; set aside on a plate. Quarter the mushrooms and sautee till soft; set aside on the same plate as the onions.
Rub your meat with salt and pepper then add to simmering hot oil. Brush the meat with yellow mustard. Brown meat on all sides, then set aside on your handy plate from earlier.
Pour some red wine vinegar into the pan and then add tomato puree. Mix in beef stock and creme fraiche. Stir well and bring to a simmer, then put the meat back into the pan. Pour all of your other cooked ingredients back into the pan and heat thoroughly while stirring. Add Cilantro and stir for 60 seconds.
Your done! If you’ve hauled ass, then it’s only been about 25 minutes and it’s time to eat!! Serve with some rustic bread and don’t forget to let me know how it turns out! I’ll be making this for dinner in a couple of nights (tomorrow is more shepherd’s pie)!
Gordon Ramsay made this soup in a competition against the owner/head chef of Clubway 41. Clubway 41 had a broccoli soup which consisted of 20 different ingredients, whereas Gordon Ramsay’s broccoli soup consisted of just 5! This soup really only contains 3 ingredients, should you choose to not count water and garnish as ingredients; “most importantly, this soup actually tastes of broccoli”!
Chef Ramsay has since expanded on this recipe to include goat cheese and walnuts. I’ve tasted the simpler version of this soup from Kitchen Nightmares and I can’t wait to try it with the two extra ingredients, it looks fabulous and my mouth is watering from writing this article!
There is a video at the end of the article if you would prefer to watch Gordon Ramsay prepare his Broccoli Soup.
if you want to make the fancy version in the video, you’ll also need two more ingredients:
Bring water to a boil in a large stock pot. Add a large pinch of salt (1 – 1 1/2 Tbsp.). Add broccoli and boil rapidly.
You will want to slice your goat cheese at this point if you’re making the fancy version. Dip the knife into the boiling hot water before each slice for even smooth cuts. Cut two slices of goat cheese per bowl being served. After cutting, use the hot smooth side of your knife to smooth one side of the cheese slices for appearance.
Your broccoli is finished cooking when you can pierce it with little or no effort. Remove the stock pan from the stove burner. DO NOT POUR THE WATER OUT! Use a slotted spoon to add broccoli to a blender but be careful because it’s boiling hot! Pour enough of the water left over from cooking the broccoli to fill the blender half way. Add a pinch (or more) of salt. Use several pulses on your blender to break the broccoli up and then puree for several seconds.
If you are making the fancy version, add five walnuts to the bottom of a shallow bowl and then place pieces of goat cheese on top of them.
Pour soup into shallow bowl. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and serve at once! Delicious!
Please leave comments and let me know how this turns out for you.
Gordon Ramsay cooked this delicious looking salad on the F Word a couple of weeks ago and I intend to find out how it tastes! I love crayfish/crawdads/crawfish/crawdaddies or what ever they’re called in your region. It’s still a little cold around here to catch the little bugers, but it should be warm enough in a couple of weeks, which gives me just enough time to build my traps. I’ll post an article with pictures of my traps when I get them finished. Now on to the salad…
This part is a cinch. Bring some water to a rolling broil and dump the crayfish into it. Cook the crayfish for 2-3 minutes max! They will turn a bright pinkish orange when they’re cooked. Remove the pan from the stove and strain the water off of the crayfish.
Remove the tails from the crayfish by twisting and pulling. You will be able to remove the meat from the tails more easily if you don’t let them cool. Pinch the base of the tail and squeeze the meat out of the opening.
You can eat the claws later.
Slice off the tops and bottoms of the oranges and grapefruit using a sharp, serrated knife. Cut away the remaining peel and pith, then cut along the membrane of the fruit to release the segments, holding the fruit over a sieve set on a bowl to catch the juice. Squeeze out the excess juice from the core of each fruit before discarding.
Whisk together 6 tablespoons of the citrus juice with the chopped shallot, mustard, orange zest, olive oil and seasoning to taste.
Peel, stone and slice the avocado into neat slivers. Place into a bowl and gently toss with the citrus segments and crayfish tails – it is easier if you do this with your hands. Divide the mixture among four serving plates, then top with a neat pile of salad leaves in the center. Spoon over the citrus dressing and serve immediately.
Catching trout can be a fun and rewarding experience and eating them is even better! Whether you catch your trout from a fresh mountain river (like I did), or the local fish monger, you’re certain to have a delicious meal when you get home. I’ve been fishing three out of the last five days and came home with three trout. I plan to prepare this meal after my trout is finished smoking (I’ll post back on how it turns out).
You can make your own Smoked Trout, or you can buy it at the store. I will be smoking my own.
This recipe comes from Gordan Ramsay’s Fast Food
Add the plum tomatoes to a large pan of boiling salted water and blanch for 2 minutes. Lift out with a slotted spoon to a bowl of iced water to cool for a few minutes, then remove and peel off the skins. Halve the tomatoes and squeeze out the seeds.
Put the tomatoes into a food processor along with the semi-dried tomates, garlic, shallots, olive oil, and lemon juice. Whiz to a smooth sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce into a pan and warm through over medium-high heat while you cook the pasta.
Cook the pasta in a boiling salted water (the pan you used for the tomatoes) for 2 minutes until al dente. Drain well, then toss with the tomato dressing and flaked trout. Divide among warm plates and grate over some parmesan to serve.
If you have trout in the freezer left over from this summer, now is the time to smoke them for a future feast – don’t let them go bad.
All you need is a Little Chief or similar electric smoker and a little know-how, and you can turn fish and meats into tantalizing gourmet fare.
This is how to do it:
Little Chief: The Little Chief, an electric smoker with three trays, measures 2 feet high, 12 inches wide and 11 inches deep. At cabelas.com, a Little Chief costs $75. A Big Chief costs $95.
Preparing trout: If the trout are fresh caught, gut them and remove gills, entrails and blood line along the backbone. If frozen, thaw the fish slowly in a refrigerator. When thawed, cut off the trout’s head (and if quite large, the tail as well). Then, with a cutting board, hold the fish on its back so its open cavity is facing you. With a sharp knife, starting at the neck, make a clean cut through the ribs and along the backbone to the skin, and continue the cut all the way down to the tail. Then open the fish so it lies flat, skin down. This is called “butterflying” a trout.
Seasoning: Sprinkle Lawry’s Seasoned Salt or my personal favorite, Lawry’s Black Pepper Seasoned Salt, heavily across the open skin of the butterflied trout. Some people soak the fish in a salt brine, and I’ve tried many concoctions (brown sugar, sea salt, honey, ground pepper, etc.), but I think trout and salmon are far better smoked with no brine to avoid the salty taste and enhance the smoky flavor.
Preparing smoker: Remove the three trays from the smoker and spray them with Pam. Place hickory chips in a metal pan at the bottom of the smoker, which sits over the heating element. Plug the cord into a grounded outlet.
Getting started: Place each tray into the smoker and then place the door over the front of the smoker, sealing the smoker.
The process: After 60 to 90 minutes, open the smoker and switch the top tray with the bottom tray. The bottom tray cooks hotter so this evens out the cooking process.
The result: After about 3 to 4 hours, the length of a football game, the trout will be done. So even if the quarterback is a dud, you still have something to look forward to. Eat immediately or freeze for a fall or winter feast.
Not to long ago I posted an article on eating snails from the garden, this is the second half of that article where you get delicious instructions on cooking them!
This recipe is based off of Gordon Ramsay’s Escargot salad recipe from the F Word. As lunatic as this seems, I’m excited about it and experimenting myself.
I’ve added a video at the end of this article of the whole snail catching, snail cooking process. You can find the cooking instructions about half way into the video.
Cooking this dish is a snap. Boil enough water to cover your snails and dump them in to give them a bath. Let the snails boil for a couple of minutes and then take them off the range and strain them. Use Escargot tongs or any other small kitchen device (tweezers anyone?) to remove the snails from their shells.
Dice the Pancetta and fry until nice and crispy. Add fresh sage and snails and toss a bit then add some fresh parsley and olive oil, then toss a little more. Success! You have finished cooking your fresh, organic, free range snails!
Add snail mixture to a bed of fresh, lightly dressed salad and enjoy.
I can’t wait to try this recipe! I’ll let you know how it turns out when my snails are ready.
Gordon Ramsay showed the world how to make a great Shepherd’s Pie on his hit show F Word
This dish is so delicious that you can mess it up and it will still leave you feeling as if you’re in heaven! As always, use fresh herbs and vegetables. When using the freshest ingredients, it’s hard to make a meal that doesn’t taste good.
I prepared this dish for my family tonight and totally bungled it, yet everyone still left happy! I was attempting to cook on a deadline, while allowing my eight year old son to help, and hold conversations with my fiance. I was also attempting to use an ingredients list from another food site which was lacking many of the main ingredients. Tonight has made it even more clear to me that the web needs this site, as so many others get the ingredients and recipe wrong! So on to the meat and potatoes (literally).
This is a recipe that I firmly believe should be left to the taste of the cook. Please use your own judgement on the amount of each ingredient unless specified.
Watch the video of Ramsay at the end of the post to see it done by the best.
This part is easy as pie (no pun intended), just boil some water, throw some salt and your potatoes in, and set a timer for 15 minutes – start on your filling. Upon the timer going off, take your potatoes out and strain the water off. Put potatoes back into the pan, or into a medium mixing bowl. Mash the potatoes with their ingredients from above and keep warm (your filling should be about done by this point)
Pour Olive Oil into a hot, rather large pan, then add meat. Stir meat as if your life depends on it for a few minutes so it’s nice and brown, and broken into very small pieces. Add your Rosemary, Thyme, and Garlic, then stir some more. Quickly add your Carrot, and Onion, stir a little longer. The idea at this point is to get everything to a minced consistency.
Add Worcestershire Sauce, stir, add Tomato Puree, stir, add Red Wine and sweat down for a minute or two. Add chicken stock and cook for 3 more minutes. I made mine without the stock because I didn’t notice it the first time I watched the show. You can add it, or leave it out.
Scoop your meat mixture into a deep casserole or other oven safe dish and then spoon the mash over the top. Spread the mash over the top of the mix with the bottom of the spoon and then sprinkle a generous portion of Parmesan cheese over the top. Poke the top with a fork several times to give it a peaked look and stick it in the oven at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes to brown the potatoes and set the pie. Serve it up and watch people melt! Oh I love Shepherd Pie!
You can watch the video below to get a better idea of how it’s done.