Displaying items by tag: Compliments to the Chef, Paula and John Reardon

Thursday, 10 January 2019 12:49

A Promise...Scaling Down

Hello my Foodie Friendsand welcome 2019!

One of the definitions of the word Resolution is: a promise to yourself that you will make a serious effort to do something that you should do:

He made a resolution to lose weight. (He resolved to lose weight)

Her New Year’s resolution (Her promise to do something differently in the New Year) is to exercise regularly.

Making New Year’s resolutions and resolving to change and improve yourself and your life is an almost unavoidable part of the transition to a new year. Though it’s a pretty well documented fact that most New Year’s resolutions fail, we keep making them—and we’re not alone. The custom of making New Year’s resolutions is most common in the West, but it happens all over the world.  Losing weight, eating healthier, getting fit, improving our health, or getting back in shape are among the most popular resolutions made every New Years.  Unfortunately, this is a resolution that we tend to remake year after year. It can be daunting when your list of New Year’s Resolutions is as long as your holiday shopping list. In addition to the post-holiday slump, not being able to keep your resolutions by February, March or even late January may increase your anxiety. When your holiday decorations are packed up and stored away, the frustration of an unused gym membership or other reminders of failed resolutions can make the later winter months feel hopeless.

However, it is important to remember that the New Year isn’t meant to serve as a catalyst for sweeping character changes. It is a time for people to reflect on their past year’s behavior and promise to make positive lifestyle changes.  By making your resolutions realistic, there is a greater chance that you will keep them throughout the year, incorporating healthy behavior into your everyday life.  Making healthier food choices can help with improving the quality of your diet.  However, regulating the size of food portions is a simple process that can help with weight loss.  Weighing out food before it is eaten is a convenient method of controlling portion sizes and is something you can easily do at home with basic kitchen equipment. A digital kitchen scale help with measuring. 

A pointer to assist with weighing: Weigh out the desired portion size. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a standard portion for most meats and fish is 3 ounces. Look for portion size information on packages and use on-line resources such as MyPyramid.gov to learn about the recommended portion size of other foods. Weigh the food before it has been washed or cooked. Place the plate of food on the scale. The calibrated scale will measure the weight of the food only. Remove or add more of the foods until you reach the required portion. You can remove the plate as many times as you like provided that you do not press the tally button for a second time. For Food Safety reasons, you need to wash the plate thoroughly with hot water and detergent between weighing different foods.

Keeping our Promise to scale down as a part of those New Year’s resolutions can require using the right tools to make it work.  Stop by Compliments to the Chef, your neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store, located at 33 Railroad Place in Saratoga Springs to select a digital scale to assist with weighing ounces, pounds, fluid ounces, grams, and milliliters. Also, stay in touch so we can compare notes and keep encouraging each other to keep our promise to ourselves. 

We wish you all a happy, healthy, and fun in the kitchen 2019! Remember my Foodie Friends; “Life Happens in the Kitchen.” 

 Take Care,

John & Paula


Published in Food
Thursday, 03 January 2019 19:00

Lucky New Year’s Food

Hello my Foodie Friends!

It’s that time again for us here at Compliments to the Chef to thank all the wonderful acquaintances that have helped us throughout the year.  As Clarence said to George Bailey, “No man is a failure who has friends.” We have foodie friends which is even better!  So many great people have come through our door with questions and some with suggestions. We believe that we have a great extended family who shares in our joy of cooking and creating our own masterpiece meals. As we welcome in the New Year and begin 2019, memories of some New Year traditions come to mind.  Upon meeting my wife Paula, I had the opportunity to be exposed to some of the southern traditions her mother made based on her father’s background growing up in Virginia.  The serving of black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day has been considered a lucky New Year’s food that dates back almost 1500 years.  The tradition arrived in America during the 1930’s in Georgia and spread after the Civil War.  In the Southern states, the tradition of eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day is considered good luck to bring prosperity to the New Year.  The traditional meal includes collards, turnips, or mustard greens, and ham.  The swelling of the black-eyed peas symbolizes prosperity; the greens symbolize money; the ham represents positive motion.  Here is a great recipe that includes all of the ingredients we hope brings good luck to you for 2019.

We have beautiful round cast iron Dutch ovens from Le Creuset, Staub, and Lodge that can help you with this wonderful dish. Stop by Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store at 33 Railroad Place to pick up your cool tools for cooks to help with your culinary preparations. 

“Although the nights could be dark
The days are almost always bright
I want that your life
onstantly be full of the glowing light
Of a Gifted “New Year”
So here is wishing you and your nearest and dearest
A Very Happy New Year 2019.”

Remember my Food Friends: “Life Happens in the Kitchen!” Make magical memories. 


 Take Care,
John & Paula


Published in Food
Thursday, 20 December 2018 13:41

Christmas Around the World

Hello my Foodie Friends!

This time of year brings many family reunions, friendship gatherings, and special events that include great food and fun times. The holiday season is celebrated in myriad ways around the world.  Every family has their own traditions that are rooted in cultural customs that go back for many generations. However, there is one similarity with these traditions that spans across the globe – food.  Different cultures celebrate their holidays in different ways, but cooking and enjoying special foods and drinks is a tradition that transcends throughout the world and all religions. 

Paella is one of our family’s favorite dishes and is the iconic rice dish of Spain. Cooked with care, but not requiring the fussy attention of a risotto, it’s the perfect way to cap off a happy Christmas celebration. The dish has the further advantage of customization and built-in appropriateness for a couple of different special diets -- it naturally has no gluten and no dairy. Vegetarians may forgo the typical use of Spanish sausage and chicken, using a vegetable stock to cook the rice. Those that love seafood can find plenty to love going all seafood with a seafood stock to complement the required rice, saffron, tomatoes and olive oil.

Paella is a perfect party dish because it’s a one-pot meal, and because it feeds a crowd. Paella is a rice dish from Spain that has become very popular and is known around the world. It originated in the fields of a region called Valencia in eastern Spain. Paella is meant to show off the rice itself and to highlight a few special ingredients. These can be vegetables, fish, shellfish or meat including sausage in seafood paella and you may also find chicken in it. Do not forget the saffron -- it is the essential spice of the dish.

Whatever paella you make, it should use short- or medium-grain rice, which should be cooked uncovered in a flavorful stock. Spanish Bomba rice is the best to use. It’s fun to make paella over a grill or on the stove.  However, it is important that you have the right pan for this dish; the Paella Pan!  The Paella pan should be shallow and have sloping sides, which helps the rice cook evenly and develops more intense flavor. As the pans get larger, they grow in diameter rather than depth, which allows for more delicious socarrat. And like all authentic paella pans, they do not have matching lids (since paella is traditionally cooked in an open pan). We sell the traditional carbon steel pans and some stainless steel pans.  Either will work well for you. A good pan has dimples on the bottom to serve several functions.  They trap small amounts of liquid and thus promote even cooking, they make the pan rigid, and they prevent warping. Now what the heck is socarrat?   When you make paella, socarrat is the caramelized bottom layer of rice that sometimes forms on the pan. Many people consider the socarrat the prized part of the paella.  Also, there is speculation that socarrat has aphrodisiac powers, and that it is what fuels the passion of those renowned Spanish lovers. I myself am Irish, French and Italian so the passion is taken care of by the French and Italian parts. But I might like a little Antonio Banderas side of me to crop up from time to time!  How about: tu es muy bonita Paula? If you are not sure what dish to serve for your holiday meal; consider Paella. At Compliments to the Chef; Your neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery Store, located at 33 Railroad Place, we sell various sizes of Paella pans and other cooking tools to help you with your creation. 

During the holiday season, the frantic pace of work and school, life slows temporarily and we settle into the celebrations of the season. We toast the successes we’ve had in the preceding months, reflect on the life we’ve lived and rejoice with our loved ones. Create your holiday traditions. It’s beginning to taste a lot like Christmas! Stop by for the holiday supplies you need to eat, drink and be merry with family and friends. Remember my Foodie Friends: “Life Happens in the Kitchen.”


 Take Care & Happy Holidays,
John & Paula


Published in Food
Thursday, 13 December 2018 13:56

A Gift Worth Giving

Hello my Foodie Friends!

The stress of the holiday season is often compounded by the task of finding that special gift for that someone who has everything. 

I recall one of my family members mentioned that she and her husband keep their knives very dull so as to minimize the potential of injury. I noted that this has become a problem that requires a solution, but they’ve arrived at the wrong one. Even the finest knives will dull with regular use, but periodic sharpening will restore the blade’s keen edge. A dull knife requires greater force, tears at food, tires the hand and increases the odds of cutting yourself. Dull knives cause infinitely worse and more frequent injuries than sharp ones for a few reasons. Dull knives require more pressure to use, which can make them prone to slipping. And if they do, they hit with that much more force, and result in a more ragged, much harder to heal injury than one a sharp knife would make. Yes, it’s possible to sharpen and hone your knives at home, and it’s something everyone should do to preserve the integrity of your blades (and, again, stay safe) but here in the thick of the holidays, forestalling kitchen bloodshed should be one of your priorities. If you have your knives sharpened by a professional once or twice a year, you can maintain them without too much hassle. So, let me set your knife edge to factory sharp so you can concentrate on other holiday matters. It’s OK to be kind to yourself sometimes. You can tell when your knife is dull, but a good rule of thumb is to try to slice through a tomato or a piece of paper. If the blade goes through anything but easily, it’s time to sharpen or have them sharpened by John.

Once you get your knives professionally sharpened, it is important to keep them sharp. I will go into brands when you stop in and share a cup of Joe with me on some cold winter’s day.  The best advice I can give is that a good knife is the one that best fits your hand and is  sharp!  You could own the most expensive knife in the world but if it’s dull it’s not as good as a sharp $10 knife. 

Even a good knife will lose some of its sharpness with time. However, sharpening a knife is easy if you have the right tool and know how to use it.  Great tools help yield great results. A steel or a hand sharpener can help make your knives last a lifetime. Here are some options on how to keep your knife sharp once they are sharpened by a Pro (me): 

With a Honing steel:
Generally three different materials are being used for Honing steels. 
•Chromium-plated honing steel: Sharpening steels with a chromium-plated, grooved surface deliver a good re-sharpening result and are relatively immune to damages (my favorite).
•Ceramics: Sharpening steels with a ceramics blade sharpen gently and carefully. However, the ceramics blade is sensitive to shock. A fall can easily damage it.
•Diamond: Honing steels with a diamond coating of the blade deliver a particularly fine re-sharpening result. The average life span is shorter, though, because the coating tends to wear off with time.

How to sharpen knives correctly:
•Place the knife blade against the tip of the sharpening steel at an angle of approximately 20 degrees and 15 degrees for Asian style knives.
•Pull the knife down and across the steel, describing a slight arc. 
•Repeat this action on the back of the steel to sharpen the other side of the blade. 
•Repeat steps 2 and 3 five to ten times, alternating the left and right side of the blade.

It is very important to maintain the angle of 20 or 15 degrees and to run the full length of the cutting edge along the steel from the hilt to the tip of the knife. The speed of the movement is not important.  Use finesse not brute force! 

With a Two Stage Hand Sharpener:
•Place your sharpener on a flat surface. Hold the sharpener with one hand and the knife handle with the other. Insert knife blade fully into the slot.
•Apply moderate downward pressure (remember finesse) on the blade while pulling the knife toward you through the appropriate notch.
•Repeat this action, always pulling from heel to tip (never back and forth) through the carbide or the ceramic notch.

The first stage carbide (coarse) sharpens dull edges.  The second stage ceramic (fine) provides a polished, razor sharp edge.  A reasonably sharp knife may only require light honing. 

Not sure what to give this holiday season? Find that unique, unexpected gift for the person who already has everything and give the gift of professionally sharpened knives. It is a gift worth giving.  At Compliments to the Chef, your neighborhood kitchen and cutlery store located at 33 Railroad Place, we professionally sharpen knives. Stop in and ask me any questions you may have. A great knife is in the hand of the beholder and a sharp knife is up to you. Remember my Foodie Friends: “Life Happens in the Kitchen.” 

 Take Care & Happy Holidays,
John & Paula

Published in Food
Wednesday, 05 December 2018 19:00

Cutting Edge

Hello my Foodie Friends!

As most of my Foodie Friends know, I am a heavy steel knife type of guy.  I was intrigued, however, when a representative from the Kyocera Company stopped in to my store in 2004.  I asked him why I would want a “plastic looking knife” over a carbon steel knife? He smiled and said “show me how sharp your steel one is”.  I reached for one of my best knives and sliced a paper clean with no trouble with a smooth slice sound.  I responded, “Now beat that!” Well, it was close to that song where: “fire blew from his fingertips as he rosined up his bow” as he took his knife and sliced the same type of paper.  I then exclaimed “no sound, you missed!” Then I watched the paper float away as if a warm summer wind just decided to take it for a ride in my store. I was hooked. A sharp knife is a cook’s best friend.  This is evident with the use of a ceramic knife that offers tremendous ease and saves time as we cut up soft fruits, vegetables and boneless meats.  Ceramics are a fun and interesting breed of knife that are deceivingly sharp.  Professionals and home cooks use ceramic knives due to their sharpness, strength, density, and precision making it a great tool to add to your culinary collection. Kyocera ceramic knives are the perfect compliment to your cutlery at home. As soon as you pick up a Kyocera ceramic knife, you will be intrigued with the benefits of using ceramics. The knife is light in weight yet balances perfectly in your palm. It is excellent for slicing fruits, vegetables, and boneless meats. The blade is ground to razor sharp perfection and holds their edge 10 times longer than other professional cutlery. Ceramic knives will not brown foods or transfer a metallic taste or smell.  Ceramic is impervious to acids, oils, and salts. The blades will never rust. 

Ceramic knives are intended to complement, not replace your cutlery. Use steel for carving, prying, and boning product.  Ceramic knives come in a variety of sizes making them perfect for all types of culinary tasks. Because of the manufacturing process, the blades of a ceramic knife are flat and free from waves. As a result of this technological advantage, the edges need to be ground with a diamond wheel or diamond sharpener.  Traditional knife sharpeners cannot sharpen a ceramic knife. Kyocera has a life time program for sharpening their ceramic knives.  You can also purchase one of their sharpeners made specifically for their ceramic knives. 

Caring for your ceramic knife is important to ensure proper care and the prolonged life of the knife:
- Exercise necessary caution when working, as the blades are very sharp.
- Ceramic knives are intended for the cutting of food. They are unsuitable for hitting and levering.
- Ceramic blades are not shock resistant! Do not allow the knife to fall onto a hard floor or similar surfaces!
- To ensure that the blade remains sharp over a long period, we recommend the use of a cutting surface made from wood or plastic.
- Never try to cut hard objects such as frozen food, bones, metal, etc!
- Never hold the knife in an open fire (high conductance of heat)!
- Never clean with a wire brush!
- Hand wash with a mild detergent.
- Storein a protective sheath.
- Cleaning in a dishwasher is not recommended, unless it can be ensured that the knife cannot come into contact with other objects.
- Store out of the reach of children!

Ceramics are a cutting edge technology that can help make your culinary prep easier and fun.  Stop by Compliments to the Chef - your neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store located at 33 Railroad Place, shop for your traditional holiday season culinary needs. Looking for something different to give? Ceramic knives can be a very unique and useful gift to give this holiday season. Remember: “Life Happens in the Kitchen.” 

 Take Care,
John & Paula

Spicy chicken with rhubard cuc salsa

Published in Food
Thursday, 29 November 2018 12:59

“An Eiffel of Beauty and Performance”

"Bonjour mes amis gourmands!”

I hope the holiday season is off to a magical start for everyone.  We want to thank our community for the wonderful support on Small Business Saturday.  We are so thankful for our foodie followers that even think of coming to Compliments to the Chef to fulfill their culinary needs and to purchase holiday treasures for friends and family. French is such a beautiful language to listen to. Along with the language is the food and cookware that comes from France. We have a line of cookware from a company called De Buyer. Thanks to more than 180 years of experience working with various metals such as steel, stainless steel, copper and aluminum, De Buyer is recognized as a leading brand in the creation of products, expertise and excellence in cooking utensils. De Buyer’s cookware and tools are greatly appreciated by culinary Professionals throughout the world. The company has received awards of distinction by the EPV (Living Heritage Company) and the French government. The De Buyer B Element French Collection version is made with a cast stainless steel riveted handle inspired by the Eiffel Tower. It is a beautiful and ergonomic handle. The pan is an elegant, modern pan, perfect for buffets, outdoor dining or for the table. The thick heavy iron pan is coated in an Organic Bees Wax finish that allows for a natural anti-oxidation protection and facilitates seasoning with improved natural non-stick properties. The pan has enhanced non-stick qualities when used for the first time. The De Buyer B Element cookware is excellent for the caramelization of food. Users tip: preheat using a little fat. Care: Season when first used. Deglaze, rinse with warm water, dry and lightly oil. Store the pan in a dry place. Do not use detergents or put in the dishwasher. The De Buyer B Element cookware can be used on all cook tops including induction.  The French Collection is a gorgeous way of getting this cookware into your home. There is also the Mineral B Element with the Riveted handle curved in French-style for easy handling and is ergonomic. As everyone already knows, I am over 16 percent French and that is just enough to get me in trouble with their food and cookware.  I love using these pans since they are so easy to use and clean up. Their price is a lot less than you think and if you’re worried, start with a small one. 

At Compliments to the Chef located at 33 Railroad Place, we carry this fabulous line of cookware.  If you are looking for that new, different, wonderful pan for that “special culinary someone” this holiday season, stop by Compliments to the Chef -  your neighborhood kitchen and cutlery store - and take a look at the various assortment of “cool tools” we have for cooks. Julia Childs gave some interesting advice from her book, My Life in France: “This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!” Have fun cooking with your family and friends this season. Stop by our store this season and find those culinary must haves. Remember; “Life Happens in the Kitchen.”

 Take Care,
John & Paula

Save the dates for these upcoming demos at Compliments to the Chef: 

• Simple Holiday Appetizers 
   Thursday, December 6 

   5:30 – 6:30 p.m. 
   “The Soup Sisters” - Susan Garth (former chef/owner of Dish Bistro) and
    Nancy Holzman (former chef/owner of Good Morning Cafe). Hosted by Soups4You. 

• Learning the Essentials of Knife Cuts and Stock-Making
   Saturday, December 15

   1 – 3 p.m. 
   Demonstrated by Chef Rocco Verrigni.
   Master basic knife cuts to be used in stock-making and soups. 

Published in Food
Tuesday, 20 November 2018 13:46

"Here’s to Looking at You, Kid...”

Hello my Foodie Friends!

The holiday season is a great time to reminisce and bring up the stories that are told time and time again. Many family traditions have to do with holidays and holiday food and the stories that soon become part of our traditions. These traditions can strengthen family bonds, contribute to your children’s identity and well-being, and create lasting memories. Each Thanksgiving we sit around the kitchen table, smile and retell a story about our time together before Paula and I had children. That is when our one baby was our dog Bogie. He was named after Humphrey Bogart and he loved to roam between our house and our neighbors next door. This was before invisible fences and we didn’t have the money for a regular fence. Bogie was a German Shepherd/Black Lab mix puppy when we rescued him. His color was pure black, and he grew very fast to 100 pounds of muscle. He was the happiest dog in the world and loved by both our family and our friends next door, Ron and Deedy, whose children were now grown. Bogie could make anyone feel like they were his favorite person in the world. He would go over to visit Ron and Deedy who were passionate foodies, every day. He always came back carrying leftovers which were usually a big steak or ham bone. They loved him as much as we did. Bogie would, however, test your love from time to time by taking food that wasn’t offered to him. There was the Halloween party that stopped dead in its tracks as all of our guests watched in amazement as Bogie took an entire pizza down the hallway and quickly devoured it. He never stole food from Ron and Deedy until his thievery reached legendary status on Thanksgiving 1989. There was a knock on our door and it was Ron. He had his head down and in a sad voice he said; “John, Bogie stole two of the mincemeat pies I had baked for Thanksgiving”. I responded to Ron with a mixture of denial and embarrassment; “Are you sure, how do you know”?  Ron said he put his pie on the roof of his 1989 Mercury Marquis, with 3 miles on it, in the garage to cool. When he opened the garage door to go out, he forgot to close it. When he came back, there were no pies. However, there were paw prints on the hood of his beloved Marquis. Those prints then headed in the direction of our house. Ron and I then found the empty, perfectly cleaned, pie tins. I apologized and offered to pay for the pies, but Ron laughed and told me not to worry. He said he would have to think of a new place to cool his pies and remember to close the door next time. Although it has been many years since this happened, Ron can still tell this story like it happened yesterday. We still love to go over to their house and have a cup of coffee and talk about Bogie. Where did we find the dog after his caper? He was curled up by Paula’s legs in the kitchen sleeping it off. I think this was “the start of a beautiful friendship.” 

At Compliments to the Chef we carry everything you need to make your favorite pie this season; including cooling racks (versus the Mercury Marquis!), pie chains, pie plates, and all of your baking cool tools. Keep your pies safe! Remember my Foodie Friends: “Life Happens in the Kitchen.” Enjoy the holiday season baking and making forever interesting memories. Stop by Compliments to the Chef - Your neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store located at 33 Railroad Place, shop for your traditional holiday season culinary needs.

 Take Care,
John & Paula


Published in Food
Thursday, 15 November 2018 12:51

"I See" Said the Turkey

Hello all of my Foodie Friends!

It is amazing to think that the holiday season is here. Planning for family gatherings and meals can be a stressful time during this time of year. We strive for the Norman Rockwell experience of perfect times, perfect food and respectful conversation. Reality is for many people, family gatherings during the holidays are rarely stress-free.  I tell my Thanksgiving story every year because it is one that we reflect on and smile. Thanksgiving would not be complete without my real-life story of Grandma and the Turkey.  It was a long time ago when our children; Johnny, age 3 and Aubrey, 5 months old at the time, would make the annual trek to Grandma and Grandpa’s house to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner and watch football. To begin; let me explain I am a Giants fan and so is my mother-in-law so watching the Cowboys is not our favorite thing. However, her son is and so is my sister-in-laws husband.  Yep, two Cowboy fans in the same house and they do not like each other!  I love football so I watched but the room was silent because they don’t speak to each other.  They were holding their feelings down to make my mother-in-law happy.  My mother-in-law was busy making a huge feast for all to enjoy.  She was very nervous because she wanted everyone to get along.  We always ate after the game and this one was a tight one. Most Cowboy fans may want to stop reading now.  With just seconds left in the game, the Miami Dolphins lined up to make a game winning field goal and it was blocked by the Cowboys. The brothers-in-law were silent. I wanted to yell but held back because of the tension.  All of a sudden one of the Cowboys (Leon Lett) chased the block field goal and touched it.  Oh nooo! Well the Dolphins got another chance and won.  Not good around Grandmas house. My mother-in-law was now really nervous that her day could be ruined.  Her kitchen was filled with many dishes all cooking at once.  There was a shout from the kitchen and Grandma announced that she had lost her glasses and could not see without them.  The brothers-in-law were pressed into service to find the glasses. These were not just any glasses; they were big and black and hard to lose but there were no glasses to be found.  We looked everywhere and Grandma was close to tears when she asked me to check on and baste the turkey.  This was a big turkey at 28lbs and it smelled great.  I grabbed my son Johnny and the baster which he took charge of and opened the oven to show him the turkey.  He said look daddy the turkey can see better. Yep he found the glasses neatly melted in perfect harmony with the bird so it looked like he had eyes!  I started laughing and everyone joined in. Needless to say we had ham and lasagna but no turkey.  It didn’t matter because the rest of the day was perfect. Through the fun and sometimes stressful events that can happen during the holidays – especially when we want it to be perfect; it can turn out to be a wonderful family gathering. Remember, my friends that “Life happens in the Kitchen”. Among our greatest and most treasured memories are the ones that are based in the kitchen or around a meal. As you get ready this season for your festivities and feasts, stop into Compliments to the Chef located at 33 Railroad Place. Pick up roasters, basters, thermometers, and more for your meals. You can have that Norman Rockwell family gathering. Enjoy your family.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.

 Take Care,
John & Paula

Cranberry Apple Stuffing

Friday, Nov. 29: Wusthof Block Party and demo hosted by a representative from Wusthof. We will have drawings and special offers from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 6: Three Simple and Delicious Holiday Appetizers Demo with Raffle from “Soups4You.” from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 15: Knife Skills with Chef Rocco Verrigni from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Published in Food
Friday, 09 November 2018 11:18

A Cookie Cutter Approach

Hello all of my Foodie Friends!

Friends. Wow, it is November already!! The holiday season is just around the corner and cookie baking time is here. Where did cookie cutters originate? The first cookie cutter was made in 1475. The first American cookie cutters were made by tinsmiths in East Berlin, Connecticut around 1720. England had banned production of tin in the colonies, which meant any tin had to be imported from England and limited the amount of tin work that could be done. Cookie cutters were made from the scraps of tin left over. After the Revolution, tin and tin cookie cutters were made in America.  By the 1800’s cookie cutters were made with welds. Cookie cutters became popular in Germany in the late 1800’s. They were highly decorative and were mainly designed to create cookies to hang on Christmas trees. Once Christmas became an American holiday, cut out cookies were used to decorate Christmas trees. In the late 1800’s, many cookie cutters were imported from Germany.  Shaped cookies became important and found their way in cookbooks with an emphasis on the shape. Cookie cutters not only changed the shape cookies were made in, it also changed their consistency and taste.  Tin was replaced for a while by aluminum in the 1920’s. Wooden handles were added in the 1930’s.  Cookie cutters continued to grow in popularity as more designs were being made. During the 1970’s and into the 1980’s more people became domestic and worked on their own crafts at home, including decorated cookies. Today you can find cookie cutters in just about any shape or size. Copper is now a popular material for cookie cutters, but plastic, tin, and aluminum are still the most commonly found.

Here are some fun cookie trivia facts:
• Americans consume over 2 billion cookies a year … about 300 cookies for each person.
• The average American eats 35,000 cookies in a lifetime.
• 95.2 percent of U.S. households consume cookies.
• Half the cookies baked in American homes each year are chocolate chip.
• Baking burns 168 – 348 calories an hour
  (according to the Livestrong Foundation and My Fitness Pal.)
• Santa Claus eats an estimated 336,150,386 cookies on Christmas.

At Compliments to the Chef located at 33 Railroad Place, we have an abundance of holiday cookie cutters and baking accessories in stock to assist with your cookie and holiday baking needs. Eating fresh, homemade baked foods warm from the oven is something everyone in the family loves.  Making them together as a family is also something your family will enjoy.  Gather the crew together for a delicious day of baking, decorating and, of course, eating. (Someone has to taste test them all, right?) Make it a day to remember with ideas for dressing up sugar cookies and creative ways to display your edible masterpieces.  Remember my Foodie Friends: “Life Happens in the Kitchen.”

 Take Care,
John & Paula

Sugar Cookie recipe

Thursday, Nov. 15 - Soup 4 You Demo and Raffle, 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. “The Soup Sisters” - Susan Garth and Nancy Holzman will be demonstrating the Mastery and Magic of Mirepoix. Learn how to use this essential component as the base for a delicious array of simple and tasty soups.
Friday, Nov. 29 - Wusthof Block Party and Demo, 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. with drawings and special offers.
Thursday, Dec. 6 - Three Simple and Delicious Holiday Appetizers Demo, 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. with Raffle from “Soups4You.” 
Saturday, Dec. 15 - Knife Skills with Chef Rocco Verrigni, 1 - 3 p.m.

Published in Food
Thursday, 01 November 2018 13:11

Kitchen Tool Time!

Hello all of my Foodie Friends!

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. It is time to start the preparations of items needed to create your fabulous feast. At Compliments to the Chef, we have some gadgets which can make your Thanksgiving prep and serve a little easier. Good tools are essential to good cooking just like good tools are helpful to a carpenter building a house. One tool I think a lot of foodies don’t have or know how to use is the thermometer.  It is one of my must haves in a kitchen.  Undercooked Turkey is a recipe for Salmonellosis!  Your turkey should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees for 15 seconds.  You should check the temperature in at least two places and in the thickest part of the turkey. Do not discount how much this tool means to not just you but your whole family. Pre-school age school children’s immune systems are not yet developed and elderly people’s immune systems are failing. 

Our first recommendation is a simple Bi-Metallic stemmed thermometer.  There are others, such as digital but this is the simplest, easiest and most cost effective choice. It’s easy to calibrate and if you stop in to our new place I’ll personally teach you how. 

The second recommendation for a must have is a Flavor Injector and there are many types. Adding some flavor can really set your turkey apart from Mom’s recipe. 

Our third recommendation is an Open Roaster. The one we recommend is the All-Clad 13”x16” Roaster with Rack. It is one of the jewels of our store.  Roast meat, poultry, and vegetables to perfection with this versatile large roaster. Holding up to a 20-lb. turkey, the heavy-duty stainless-steel roasting pan features tall, straight sides, which help prevent splatters and spills, while its upright handles ensure a secure hold when transporting the pan to and from the oven, even when wearing thick oven mitts. The roaster comes with a V-shaped nonstick roasting rack that elevates large cuts of meat to promote even cooking. Compatibility with all stovetops (except induction).

Another cool tool is a Gravy/Fat separator. There are various sizes and styles of gravy separators. Among the types is a 1 ¾ cup gravy separator that is made of FDA-approved, BPA-free polycarbonate and plastic. This gravy separator strains out fat, seasonings, and lumps for flavorful gravy, broth, soup stock, au jus, and sauce with lower fat and calories

The BPA-free polycarbonate and plastic structure resists breakage and is heat-safe to 248-degrees Fahrenheit. It has a large handle that allows for a safe grip The pierced lid strains out lumps and larger food bits with a low-set spout that pours flavorful liquids without the fat; drip-free spout for easy, mess-free pouring.  The fat separator also has a wide-mouth opening and markings in milliliters and cups (from ½-cup) makes straining and measuring easy; microwave safe for easy reheats. The fat separator is easy to use and is great for everyday or holiday meals and is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning

At the Reardon household everyone has a job to do including doing the dishes. Even the family dog,  Stevie Nicks, who is great for cleaning anything dropped on the floor.  Well there is one person who seems to get out of working every year and her name is Gretta Garbo.  She is a cat who oversees the whole operation from her plush tower of rugs. My son John has taken over the job of head carver and my daughter Aubrey is our great pastry chef. Paula and I look forward to this day every year now that our children are older. Cherish your moments together. Remember my Foodie Friends: “Life Happens in the Kitchen!”  Stop by and fulfill your holiday culinary needs at Compliments to the Chef’s new location of 33 Railroad Place, Saratoga Springs. 

 Take Care,
John & Paula

Published in Food
Page 10 of 12


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