Ina Garten

Ina Garten

Ina is just so cuddly and earthy, yet at the same time with a nose for timeless style, that I thought it would be a good idea to post some of her favourite things, as inspiration.

Favorite cookbooks?

“Some of the other books I use most are Nantucket Open House Cookbook by Sarah Leah Chase, The Loaves and Fishes Cookbook by Anna Pump, Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells, and Cucina Simpatica by George Germon and Johanne Killeen.”

Favorite glassware?

“Barney’s in New York City carried my stemware for years, but unfortunately, they’ve now discontinued it. But, thanks to one of our readers, we’ve found another source. The name of the glassware is Cristallerie La Rochere, the Amite pattern and the website to order it from is lafermedelamer.com. My glasses are the white and the red wine stemware. They also carry the large water glass and champagne glasses to match.”

Favorite pots and pans?

“I love All Clad pots. I would recommend you start with small and medium saucepans and 8-inch and 12-inch saut� pans. I don’t even bother with non-stick because if you soak the pans after you use them, they will clean beautifully. I know they’re expensive pots, but you can collect them one at a time. They’ll last a lifetime and you’ll enjoy using them. For Dutch ovens, I prefer Le Creuset. These are all available at Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table, and Crate & Barrel stores nationally. “

Favorite ice cream maker?

“I use a Krups ice cream maker which I bought at Williams-Sonoma many years ago.”

Favorite places to stay in East Hampton?

“My favorite places are the Baker House 631-324-4081 and the Pink House 631-324-3400 in East Hampton, which are both lovely bed and breakfast inns, and the Bridgehampton Inn 631-537-3660 in Bridgehampton. There are no big hotels but these are lovely places to stay.”

Favorite restaurants in East Hampton?
“Three of the restaurants I like most in East Hampton are Nick & Toni’s, The pub at 1770 house, and the Palm Restaurant.”

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Chef Jody AdamsChef Jody Adams personifies the ease of being a great chef through the use of available resources found in your kitchen today. Being a good cook is a given with practice, but with more practice and a touch of imagination at that, good chefs are sure to arise. This has been one of the beliefs that have catapulted Chef Jody towards mastering the art of cooking.

Cooking in the eyes of Chef Jody would simply be like following instincts rather than the usual traditional cooking practices that people see on television or from reading the available cookbooks in stores today. It all boils down to following a cooking style which would carve out your name in the genre of food that a person would want to cook up.

This is the secret that Jody Adams shares as her ultimate success in cooking. With a wide array of recipes that includes starter meals, seasonal prepared meals and Italian tradition meals such as pasta until deserts, Chef Jody has a long list of recipes all based on her instincts and what she can do around the kitchen. People can do this as well if they know how to go around the kitchen of their homes as well.

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I agree with Gale that homemade ice cream is indeed an inexpensive, but oh-so-worth-it luxury, and since I got my first ice cream maker nearly 5 years ago, I must say that nothing quite compares to the real thing.

Now that I have a dinky new Italian machine, I’ve been trying to find recipes to please the most fervent fan of ice cream in my household – my four-year-old daughter who insists that I only make vanilla. I have tried in vain to make other things, but this is mostly greeted with grumbling and a mommy promise to make vanilla tomorrow.

But with this recipe below, I have high hopes that it may finally de-vanilla-ize my little one. Oh, and take Gale’s useful vanilla pod advice below – once you use those heady black beans, you wont ever buy those awful bottles again.

Cookie Dough:
8 ounces (2 sticks) cool unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Ice Cream Base:
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
9 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar

Make the Cookie Dough: Cream the butter in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or use a hand-held beater) until soft and fluffy. Add both sugars and mix. Add the vanilla and 1 egg and mix. Add the remaining egg and mix. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix. Add the chips and mix just until just combined.

Using your hands, roll the dough into a long thin rope; then cut into small bits. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Make the Ice Cream Base: In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the half-and-half, cream, and vanilla, whisking occasionally, to make sure the mixture doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom of the pan. When the cream mixture reaches a fast simmer (do not let it boil), turn off the heat and let the flavors infuse for 10 minutes. Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. In a thin stream, whisk half of the cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Then pour the egg-cream mixture back into the saucepan containing the rest of the cream mixture.

Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. At 160 degrees F., the mixture will give off a puff of steam. When the mixture reaches 180 degrees F, it will be thickened and creamy, like eggnog. (If you don’t have a thermometer, test it by dipping a wooden spoon into the mixture. Run your finger down the back of the spoon. If the stripe remains clear, the mixture is ready; if the edges blur, the mixture is not quite thick enough.) When it is ready, quickly remove it from the heat.

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As a chef, the choice of chef coats you make will play a major role in the presentation of your work, and to some extent its safety. Making the right choice in this department isn’t just about looking good, it also means you’ll provide yourself with all the comfort and utility you’ll need to work your miracles in the kitchen. Chef coats come in various shapes and sizes, but the basic idea is the same.

Chef coats, also known as chef jackets, are usually made of a thick material that provides good insulation (most commonly cotton) and are traditionally dyed white, which not only serves a practical purpose (makes stains easier to spot), but also maintains a clean, hygienic look if your chef jacket is always maintained in good condition. They’re usually double-breasted as well, and can be turned inside out to conceal a stain temporarily if the chef needs to make a presentation.

Chefs also need good chef aprons to perform their jobs well – like coats, chef aprons provide a combination of good looks and utility, though with the apron the accent is more on the utility part – a good chef apron would be easy to take off, and would usually feature pockets for holding utensils.

If you’re a woman, you should know that women’s chef jackets are slightly different than their male counterparts – a woman’s chef jacket is usually shaped slightly differently to accommodate for the different physique, and tend to come in slightly different color schemes as well.

Most people associate the profession of a chef with one traditional part of their uniforms – the chef’s hat. However, not many realize the importance of other aspects of a chef’s clothing. Chef coats have developed quite a lot in recent times, both in terms of looks as well as utility, and they’re currently an indispensable part of any respected chef’s equipment. Chef coats not only help identify the chef among their co-workers, but they also provide a variety of useful functions that help ease the job.

Does every person who works in a kitchen really need a good assortment of chef jackets in their wardrobe though? It all boils down to several factors. First, what type of cooking do you do precisely? If it involves a lot of boiling and generally working with hot materials, well-made chef jackets can provide you with the extra protection you’ll need to feel comfortable. Additionally, if you want to make a good presentation, wearing something respectable will always be of benefit.

It’s not just about the coat though – chef aprons are just as important as the coats worn by chefs, as they provide additional protection and utility, while also being a traditional part of a chef’s attire. Chef aprons are more commonly worn by non-professional chefs as they’re easily available and very convenient.

Women need to take care of themselves just as well in the kitchen – good women’s chef jackets are widely available just as men’s, and offer the same utility and comfort that help ease the job’s stress.

Jeff SmithWith a dozen best-selling cookbooks tucked under his belt, Jeff Smith, is best known for hosting the popular American cooking show that began in Washington. The show was aired in PBS from 1988 to 1997.

Smith was a United Methodist who graduated at the University of Puget Sound in 1962 and Drew University in 1965. His first run at food ventures was the Chaplain’s Pantry where he held cooking classes to the public and stored deli and kitchen supplies as well.

Being in the celebrity status that he is in the world of cooking, Smith has had his share of controversies as well. Legal issues concerning sexual harassment in the 70s were just some of the trials that Smith had to go through.

Known to be the food genius that he is, Smith has authored several books under his wing including The Frugal Gourmet (1984), The Frugal Gourmet Cooks with Wine (1986), The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American (1987) and The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines: China, Greece, and Rome (1989).

Chef Ann has an incredible and impressive list of achievements and credentials in the course of her culinary career. Among these accomplishments include that of Chef of the Year awards and winning national American Culinary Federation awards.

Chef Ann Cooper

Chef Ann Cooper works as an industry services consultant for the Culinary Institute of America, a corporate chef and as a consultant to various restaurant and hotels located around New England. Ann was among the first 50 women to be certified as an executive chef by the educational arm of the American Culinary Federation.

Chef Anne has also published a book titled “A Woman’s Place in the Kitchen” that narrates the vision of women and their role around the kitchen. It contains both traditional and innovative approaches that women have had in the field of cooking. She also authored another book, “The Sustainable Kitchen” that will surely make the grade and be a hot commodity among aspiring chefs of today.

annabel karmel.jpg

There is nothing as important as feeding our children. Yet food for kids isn’t exactly something that you see on TV everyday. In fact there are only a few people writing about it.

Enter Annabel Karmel. She is a household name in the UK. She is an inspirig person. She is not just a cook, she is also a mother which is why each of her recipes have been carefully tested against the best possible guage: her own kids.

Annabel Karmel studied at the Cordon Bleu school. It was the loss of her first child, Natasha, that she began to write. She believes that the one element that any parent can control that will help determine their health is what they eat. She began to create recipes that her son would enjoy eating yet still meet his dietary needs. The result: her first published book in 1991 titled The Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner.

By no means though is she a homely, matronly looking mom. She may have 3 kids but she has kept physically active. She is a fun person who enjoys skiing, tennis and roller blading. She is also a musician and singer. In fact she has performed with Liberace, Denis Waterman, Queen Elizabeth and Boy George. The instrument she has performed on is the harp, though she also plays violin. She has also had a recording career.

To date she has several books under her belt. Her recipes are all kid friendly and are fun to make. If you have a fussy eater, try some of her recipes.

She has also been seen on TV as the Foodie Godmother on the Richard and Judy Show, BBC1′s Saturday Kitchen and BBC2′s Working Lunch.

anthony_worrell_thompson_gallery_01-gt_full_width_landscapeYou would think so! After all, these celebrity chefs are excellent in their field and anything that they would endorse should be up to par with their standards, right? Apparently not!

Which?, a consumer magazine, recently conducted a test on various kitchen tools and gadgets that celebrity chefs endorse. And what did they find out? Many of these gadgets do not measure up to the reputation of their celebrity chef endorsers!

The Herald ran a story on this and named some of the high profile chefs and their kitchen appliances and tools. While many of them did not really exceed the performance of non-celebrity chef gadgets, not all of them were “fails.” In fact, there was only one that was marked as a “Don’t Buy” – Rosemary Conley’s EnerGi HG6 Health Grill. This scored a mere 34 out of 100. The reason for this pitiful mark? The grill heated slowly, produced “awful vegetables and pallid chicken” and was difficult to set up and clean.

Other celebrity chefs whose products were scrutinized include:

-Worrall Thompson, said to be the most licensed celebrity chef in Europe, with sales of £60m in 2008 from products ranging from barbeque cleaners to cookers. Note: the judges said that his products were more of a hit and miss thing.

- James Martin, host of BBC1′s Saturday Kitchen, were awarded the highest ratings. His hand-mixer and mini-chopper (68% and 67%) triumphed over those of his rivals, but neither rated in the Best Buy category.

So should you buy celebrity chef-endorsed products? Up to you!

marc250209200You don’t know who Marc Veyrat is? He is a French celebrity chef – and yeah, the French know all about good food! – who is known for his forays into the countryside to gather wild herbs to incorporate into his excellent dishes. Late last month, news reports spread like wildfire that the celebrity chef is “quitting the kitchen.”

His restaurant, La Maison de Marc Veyrat (more popularly known as L’Auberge de l’Eridan) is closing down, much to the dismay of many. Unlike other chefs, who are closing down their shops because of the credit crunch, Veyrat cites health reasons for this closure. He is quoted as saying “I am stopping work in Annecy because physically, I have to, following a serious ski accident three years ago.”

The restaurant is located near Annecy and has earned 3 stars in the Michelin Guide. It was opened by Veyrat in 1992 and is best known for its traditional dishes infused with lots of wild herbs. Veyrat also introduced the concept of “molecular gastronomy.” This concept is basically the use of chemistry in coming up with unique recipes. That is, chemistry inspired the chef to put his own twist to various kinds of dishes, making them one of a kind.

Sad to say, that era seems to be coming to an end. Veyrat says that perhaps, the restaurant will make a comeback in the future but if it does, it will certainly be transformed. Still, the good news is that he says he might come back if he becomes fit again.