Kitchen Tips & Tricks

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“These cakes are a great way to turn leftover grits into a delicious new meal,” Cooper says. “They are great as an appetizer and have limitless options to add ingredients to make them a savory or sweet treat. Below is the basic recipe instruction, but get creative to your liking. Add shrimp into the grits for a Shrimp and Grit Cake, sausage for a ‘Pig in a Blanket’ grit cake, or country ham and garnish with goat cheese crumbles and blueberry jam for a ‘Ham, Cheese, and Jam’ grit cake.”

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 4.55.15 PMTerraMae Kitchen Skill: preparing TerraMae’s Crisp Soft Grit Cakes

executive chef, Shelley Cooper


• 2 cups yellow grits (not instant)

• 3 cups milk

• 3 cups heavy cream

• 2 Tbsp. kosher salt

• 1 Tbsp. white pepper

• 1 tsp. sugar

• Parchment paper

• Vegetable oil cooking spray

• 4 eggs, slightly beaten

• 2 cups unbleached, seasoned all-purpose flour

• 2 cups seasoned bread crumbs

• 2 cups vegetable oil Cook grits as directed on package, using milk and cream, not water.


Season grits with salt, sugar, white pepper, and taste to make sure you have enough. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; coat paper with cooking spray. Pour grits onto sheet pan; smooth into an even layer. Grits should be about 1-inch thick. Cover and refrigerate until very firm, at least 2 1/2 hours or overnight. Use a 2-inch biscuit or round cookie cutter to cut out 16 cakes. Bread cakes by placing in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs. In a heavy-bottom pan, heat oil to 350 degrees. Cook the cakes until golden brown on all sides, but be careful not to overcook. Work in batches if necessary. Just prior to serving, transfer grits cakes to a baking sheet; bake at 300 degrees until

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Canyon Grill Kitchen skill

general manager, Jason Greer

crafting a pan sauce 4 steps to an awesome pan sauce:

1. Sear your protein. Build your pan sauce off a protein—chicken, pork, beef, and rabbit are all options. After you’ve seared your meat, remove it from the pan while you deglaze.

2. Choose a deglazing liquid. Stocks and wine are the most common choices for deglazing liquids. For a clean and refreshing taste, Greer suggests trying unexpected liquids like sherry, apple cider, or balsamic vinegar.

3. Break up the “fond.” As soon as the deglazing liquid hits the pan, it’s going to rapidly re-boil and lift everything off the bottom. Use a spatula or whisk to break up the crusty brown bits called “fond.” The fond (literally “base” in French) will provide a ton of flavor for your pan sauce.

4. Reduce and add flavor. Let your sauce cook and reduce. Test the consistency by dipping a spoon in the sauce. If you run your finger down the spoon and the line stays there, your sauce should be set to go. Add in a sprig of thyme or a splash of cream for even more depth and flavor.


Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 11.06.16 AMBluewater Grille sous chef Jason Shaw

Step 1: Select Chef Shaw suggests choosing a block cut of tuna—one that’s even all the way around and about an inch thick. The fish should have a deep ruby red color.

Step 2: Season “At Bluewater Grille, we use a seasoning that consists primarily of garlic, onion, and black pepper. I would also recommend rolling the tuna in a medley of fresh herbs such as cilantro, basil, or oregano leaves with just a touch of salt. Remember though, the tuna should be the star of the show, and shouldn’t play second fiddle to spices or herbs.”

Step 3: Cook Heat a non-stick sauté pan to medium and place a thin coating of oil in the pan. When you see the oil making wisps, it’s ready. For a perfect sear, the tuna needs to touch the pan for just a few seconds on each side.

Step 4: Pair Open a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc or Prosecco—both will bring out the natural oils and flavors of the fish. Bluewater Grille sous chef Jason Shaw Cooking fish and seafood differs from normal meat grilling. Bluewater Grille sous chef Jason Shaw shar es his advice for choosing, preparing, cooking, and serving tuna.

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 5.04.24 PMEasy Bistro // chef Erik Niel

Kitchen Skill: tending a kitchen herb garden

Need to add a little freshness to a boring meal? Easy Bistro’s Erik Niel has the answer: maintain a year-round herb garden in your home. “I think herbs are one of the best things to grow at your house and have the greatest effect on the food you’re going to make,” Niel says. Niel suggests working fresh herbs into a variety of meals, including meats, pastas, sauces, vegetables, and more. “Herbs are very low maintenance and allow you to have fresh ingredients all year,” he says. Forget those dried, most likely years-expired herbs in your pantry—this easy solution will bring life to your meals and pack a punch of flavor, too.



Warehouse Row

Chef de cuisine Eric Pippert

Kitchen skill: preparing a pork shoulder

Alleia Pork Shoulder Ingredients:

7-9 lb. bone-in pork shoulder

Kosher salt Chili flakes (approximately one tablespoon)

1 cup peeled garlic

7 sprigs rosemary


Alleia Pork Shoulder 7-9 lb. bone-in pork shoulder Kosher salt Chili flakes (approximately one tablespoon) 1 cup peeled garlic 7 sprigs rosemary Place one 7- to 9-pound bonein pork shoulder in a large metal baking pan that’s at least four inches deep. Generously rub all sides with kosher salt and set aside at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes, fat side up.

Sear meat by placing pan in a 750-degree wood-burning oven until nicely browned on all sides. Remove from heat and set aside to cool until you can handle. Preheat conventional oven to 250 degrees. Roll out two large pieces of aluminum foil and place pork in the middle, fat side up. Lightly dust with chili flakes, and then place one cup of peeled garlic and seven sprigs of rosemary on top. Wrap tightly with aluminum foil and then wrap once more. Place pork back in pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Cook at 250 degrees for 15 hours.

Remove from oven and remove aluminum foil from pan, open the wrapped shoulder, and allow it to cool for one to two hours. Reserve the cooking liquid (jus). Once cooled, the bone should remove easily and the shoulder should be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and placed in refrigerator to cool completely (this process will make pork easier to cut into individual portions later).

Prior to serving, cut shoulder into 6- to 7-ounce portions and set aside; make sauce (see recipe). Over medium-high heat, sear individual portions on all sides in a sauté pan, coated with oil. Add sauce to coat pork; plate and serve immediately.

Pork Shoulder Sauce

2 cups reserved cooking liquid from pork shoulder

2 cups balsamic vinegar

1 cup dark brown sugar

In a medium sauce pot over high heat, add two cups reserved
cooking liquid (jus) from pork pan to two cups
balsamic vinegar and reduce by half. Reduce heat and add one cup dark brown
sugar, stirring until dissolved. Remove from heat to thicken slightly.



Kitchen skill: perfect pan searing

“I’m often asked, ‘What secret ingredient can I use to make my food stand out?’ My answer is simple: heat. Pan searing is one of my favorite methods. After you’ve chosen your pan and seasoned your product properly, we need to choose an oil (preferably not the fruit-infused extra virgin olive oil in your cabinet). For hightemperature searing, it’s best to choose something more refined with a higher smoke point. Canola, safflower, peanut, and soy are all good options. Start heating your pan on medium to high heat. Tips3When it’s warm, add your oil—just enough to coat the bottom of the pan.

As the temperature rises, the oil will begin to shimmer. Just before we see smoke, somewhere between limp
veggies and soggy meat and grabbing the fire extinguisher, is the sweet spot you’re looking for. When you add your ingredients, you should hear a satisfying sizzle. If you’re working with proteins, leave them be. The last thing you want to do is disturb the incredible process that’s happening. I’m referring to caramelization, which is just fancy cook talk (kind of like “mustard-scented”) for forming a beautiful crust of unmatched flavor and texture depth. This is what will REALLY make your food stand out.”

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Café  Roma

chef Shannon Ritzhaupt

Kitchen skill: making homemade gnocchi

Gnocchi (pronounced “NYO-kee”) is a type of dumpling made from potatoes and flour. In Italian, the word “gnocchi” means “dumplings.” Here, Café Roma chef and owner, Shannon Ritzhaupt, shares his recipe for gnocchi and provides helpful hints for creating this Italian treat.

Potato Gnocchi

• 2 lbs. russet baking potatoes

• 2 cups flour • 1 whole egg • 2 egg yolks

• 1/4 cup parmesan cheese

• pinch of salt and pepper

• pinch of fresh grated nutmeg

Bake potatoes in the oven for about an hour at 400 degrees until they are fork tender. When they are cool enough to handle, peel potatoes. Put potatoes through a ricer and place on your counter or in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the potatoes and add eggs, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cheese. Mix eggs in the well with a fork, sprinkle half the flour over the mix, and gently combine with potatoes. Gently try to fold potatoes over and over with your hands. Continue to add the rest of the flour while folding the dough over and over. The less you knead the dough, the better it will be in order to have a soft pillowy gnocchi. If you work the dough too much, the gnocchi will be more firm. If the dough is too wet, add a little more flour.

As soon as the dough holds together, roll it into a 1/2-inch diameter rope. Use plenty of flour on your work surface and cut the gnocchi into 1-inch pieces. You can cook the gnocchi at this point if you like, or you can use a gnocchi paddle with ridges to give it the traditional grooves. The tines of a fork will work as well if you don’t have a paddle. Boil gnocchi in water until they begin to float, then let them cook another one to two minutes. Strain from the water – then they are ready for your favorite sauce.

The Feed Co. – Table & Tavern

chef Charlie Loomis

Chef Charlie Loomis from The FEED Co. Table & Tavern has a few tips for making an average burger something much more memorable. “The trick to a good burger is to cook it quick, season it well, don’t overcook it, and rest it,” Loomis says. When deciding on the right meat to use to create your burger patty, Loomis suggests ground chuck, because of its flavor and perfect fat ratio.

The pan you use to cook a burger in will make a huge difference, too, according to Loomis. His tool of choice is a Lodge cast iron skillet, which holds a consistent heat and helps give the meat a great sear. “I like to turn my heat up to medium high for about three minutes before searing the burger,” Loomis says. “You’ll cook it for about four minutes on each side and let it rest for about four minutes before plating.”

212 Market // chef Susan Moses

Kitchen Skill: stocking a perfect pantry

Busy work hours and seemingly endless extracurriculars can lead to fast-food meals and frozen dinners. 212 Market’s chef Susan Moses provides insight on which foods to keep stocked in your kitchen at all times so whipping up quick, tasty meals will be a treat and not a task.

“I always have rice, eggs, olive oil, and really good white and dark balsamic vinegar,” Moses says. “I also like to keep one or two root vegetables like onions and potatoes in the pantry.” Her other staples include curry paste (she recommends Patak’s), Sriracha sauce, and garlic. Moses also suggests a trio of kitchen knives—a sharp

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St. John’s Restaurant & Meeting Place

Chef Rebecca Barron

Kitchen Skill: plating food

Presentation is everything when it comes to making a meal that really wows. Rebecca Barron, head chef at St. John’s, is a plating pro—follow her recipe for beet vinaigrette and start adding panache to every meal you serve.

Beet Vinaigrette

1 cup roasted beets

1 cup canola oil

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1/4 cup of orange juice

Pinch of salt

Blend all ingredients except canola oil until smooth, then emulsify with about one cup of canola. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and transfer to a squeeze bottle. Decorate the edges of plated food



Community Pie

Owner Mike Monen

Kitchen skill: making from-scratch pizza

“Making great pizza is a craft,” says Mike Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 11.13.35 AMMonen, owner of Community Pie. “If you’ve never made pizza before or never worked with dough, it can be intimidating. But once you figure out a couple of key techniques, it can be super rewarding.” Follow Monen’s guidelines to create an authentic Italian pie, right at home. owner Mike Monen

1. Make your own dough. “If you want to make pizza at home, I encourage everyone to learn to make their own dough,” Monen says. “All you need is flour, water, salt, and a package of active dry yeast.” Search the web for different dough recipes and watch video tutorials for dough-handling techniques. Monen also suggests setting your oven to the highest temperature possible—around 500 to 550 degrees. “Great pizza dough cooks best at a super-high temperature,” he says.

2. Buy a pizza stone. A preheated pizza stone will make the difference between mediocre and amazing pizza, according to Monen. “Without a pizza stone, you’re really missing out,” he says. “High temperatures are not only important for the crust of the pizza, but without a preheated pizza stone, you’ll never get the structure you’re looking for on the bottom.”

3. Craft a homemade sauce. Forget the pre-made, saucein- a-jar route—it’s a cinch to whip up a simple sauce to take your pizza to the next level. “Use a great canned tomato like San Marzano, and hand-crush the tomatoes with garlic, red chili flakes, lots of fresh basil, sea salt, and some great quality extra virgin olive oil,” Monen says.

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executive chef and partner
Shannon Johnson

Kitchen Skill: proper toasting technique

It may seem like a simple skill, but Hennen’s executive chef Shannon Johnson is set to explain the science behind toasting the right way. “I think you develop more flavor when you toast baked goods like bagels and breads at a lower heat than normal for a longer period of time,” he says. “It’s called a ‘maillard’ reaction—the proteins in the bread get toasted, and it really adds a nice depth of flavor.” Johnson suggests using a thick skillet or cast iron griddle and allowing the bread of your choice to get full contact with the cooking surface.


Executive chef Greg Epperson

Kitchen skill: seasoning food to perfection

According to Eleven’s executive chef, Greg Epperson, there’s one thing that separates good chefs fr om great ones—the way they season, not flavor, their food. “There’s a difference between seasoning something and flavoring it,” Epperson says. “You flavor something with herbs and spices. To season food, the French use salt, pepper, butter, and any member of the lily family, which includes onions, garlic, shallots, and leeks.” His suggestion for improving your culinary skills? Adhere to the French method of cooking (“You can cook anything this way and it will taste good.”) and always build your meals with garlic as the base. “Throwing raw garlic into a dish at the end won’t make it taste good,” he says. “When you allow it to cook and break down before moving on to the next ingredient, you change the entire flavor of the meal.”

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