Cooking Tips

Cooking Tips With Chef Juliet

06/17/16 Chef Juliet Tip:  Season your roast in advance. For best results, salt your prime rib on all surfaces with kosher salt at least 45 minutes before you start cooking it, and preferably the day before, leaving it in the fridge uncovered overnight. Initially, the salt will draw out some moisture and end up dissolving in it. Over time, this salty liquid will dissolve some meat proteins (mainly myosin), loosening its structure, and allowing the salty juices to be re-absorbed into the meat. Your meat ends up better seasoned with less salty run-off.

06/10/16 Chef Juliet Tip: Key to a Perfect Cookie: Love crispy-on –the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside cookies? Start by chilling the dough at least one hour (up to overnight) before baking. Then when the cookies come out of the oven, drop the pan down on the counter to help them fully set. Yes, literally hold the cookie sheet about a foot above the counter and drop it down onto the counter. This helps the cookies flatten to the perfect thickness and settle faster!

06/03/16 Chef Juliet Tip: Tuna steaks are a great meat to marinade before grilling. Pick your favorite marinade or try the one below but this time use a plastic ziploc bag to marinade your steak. A plastic bag allows you to use far less marinade than just putting it in a dish. By expelling all the air from the bag your steak will marinade on both sides with up to 1/2 the marinade you would use by simply putting it in a dish.

Tuna Marinade:

  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • four 6oz tuna steaks

5/26/16 Chef Juliet Tip: For an easy weeknight meal, save and freeze leftover sauces from previous meals in ice cube trays. The cubes can be reheated in a saute pan, when you need a quick sauce.

5/20/16 Chef Juliet Tip: When you deep-fry, hold each piece of food with long tongs as you add it to the oil. Hold it just below the oil’s surface for five seconds before releasing it.  This will seal the exterior and stop it from sticking to the pot or the other food.

5/13/16 Chef Juliet Tip: Next time you BBQ, try cooking your baked beans inside your smoker. The cure and smoke will give your beans an additional layer of flavoring.

5/5/16 Chef Juliet Tip: Have you ever had your grilled burgers puff up in the middle and look like a big ball instead of a flat patty?  Next time you make your patties put an indentation in the middle with your thumbs to make them almost like a saucer.  This way when your burgers push to the middle you will have a flatter patty.

4/29/16 Chef Juliet Tip: When cooking lobster at home, you may just throw them in a pot of boiling water. This is no way to treat this expensive delicacy! Boiling your lobster will leave the meat waterlogged and tasteless. Your lobster will be much better if you simply put 2 inches of water in the bottom of your pot and steam them. Make sure to flavor your water with a good amount of salt.

4/22/16 Chef Juliet Tip: Smoke Ribs for 3 hours un-foiled at 225 degrees. Wrap ribs in foil with a little apple juice and cook for another 1.5 hours. Remove foil add BBQ sauce and put back in smoker for 45 minutes. While not exactly 3 hours – 2 hours and 1 hour it is still a method we swear by!

4/13/16 Chef Juliet Tip: Avoid when baking cookies be sure your dough is thoroughly chilled before baking.  This allows the leavening ingredients to activate before the butter melts and flattens the dough out.

4/8/16 Chef Juliet Tip: Avoid mushy broccoli that just falls apart in your pasta. While making your pasta and sauce, steam your broccoli in a separate pot until it is al dente. Quickly cool the broccoli in an ice water bath. When your pasta is near serving, throw the broccoli in to reheat it and serve.

4/1/16 Chef Juliet Lobster Trivia:

  • Lobsters were once considered the poor man’s chicken. In Colonial times, it was fed to pigs and goats and only eaten by paupers
  • It is believed that lobsters can live as long as 100 years.
  • Lobsters can grow up to four feet long and weigh as much as 40 pounds.
  • It is illegal to boil lobsters in some places, such as the village of Reggio Emilia in Italy.
  • Lobsters are the original pea brains. Their brains are no bigger than the tip of a ball-point pen!

 3/25/16 Chef Juliet Tip: To get rid fruit stains on your fingers, rub them with a fresh, peeled potato or white vinegar.

3/16/16 Chef Juliet Tip: Many corned beef recipes suggest cooking your cabbage and potatoes in the same pot as your corned beef. Instead of cooking them all together remove your meat from the cooking liquid and place it in a 180-200 degree oven. Next add your cabbage to the cooking liquid, when the cabbage is nearly cooked add the potatoes and cook until done. Cooking your Irish dinner using these steps will ensure proper degree of cooking for your meat and vegetables while still providing flavor for the cabbage and potatoes.

3/11/16 Chef Juliet Tip: Always sear your seafood very dry by using a paper towel to really pat it dry.  Moisture on fish or shellfish will keep it from getting a beautiful browned crust.

3/4/16 Chef Juliet Tip: Layer your flavors! Try not to add all of the ingredients at once. It does make a difference. Most raw foods have a significant amount of water apart from the flavor components. By treating each component separately, we are better able to manipulate the individual characteristic of the ingredients. For instance, in making a simple potato leek soup, we could add all of the ingredients together and cook. Or we could add the leeks, and then sweat them, which brings out the natural flavors and sugars of the leek. After we have done that, we add the potatoes, stock, etc. This simple technique may require a little more time but it will be worth it in the end!

2/26/16 Chef Juliet Tip: When roasting chicken or other meats, instead of placing the meat on a roasting rack, cut thick slices of onion, put them in an oiled pan and then place the meat on top on the onions. The onion will absorb the juices. After roasting, let the meat rest while you make a sauce with the onions by adding a little stock to the pan and cooking it for about 3 minutes on high heat.

2/19/16 Chef Juliet Tip: Don’t use the same cutting board and knives for raw fish and meats as you do for your vegetables. I recommend using only plastic cutting boards for fish and meat because you can throw them in the dishwasher and know that they are sanitized. It is hard to be certain you killed all bad germs on a wood board.

2/12/16 Chef Juliet Tip: Store spices in a cool, dark place, not above your stove. Humidity, light and heat will cause herbs and spices to lose their flavor.

2/5/16 Chef Juliet Tip: Here’s a tip to know if your oil is hot enough for frying: stick a wooden skewer or spoon in the oil. If bubbles form around the wood, then you are good to go.

1/29/16  Chef Juliet Tip: To prevent pots from boiling over put a wooden spoon over the top of the pot. If it starts to boil up too high, the spoon will pop the bubbles and keep it from boiling over as quickly.

1/22/16 Chef Juliet Tip: When you’re browning meat, you should blot the surface dry with a paper towel so the meat doesn’t release moisture when it hits the hot oil. Too much moisture makes the meat steam instead of sear, and you will lose that rich brown crust.

1/15/16 Chef Juliet Tip: Compound butter is an easy way to add flavor to any meal. If you make multiple flavors at once, you can roll them into logs in parchment paper put them in your freezer and slice off pieces as needed. This is a great way to serve a restaurant quality dinner on the fly!

1/8/16 Chef Juliet Tip: To lighten the texture of your beef in your Bolognese or stuffed pasta, pulse it a few times in your food processor before adding it to your sauce.

12/31/15 Chef Juliet Tip: For the best results, rack of lamb should be served at a medium rare temperature. Many recipes will tell you to roast lamb at very high heat, 450 degrees, to achieve a nice crust on the outside while cooking to a desired mid-rare on the interior. With lamb racks being small and delicate and oven temperatures fluctuating, we prefer a different method. Try slow roasting your lamb in a 250-300 degree oven until your rack has reached an internal temperature of 120 degrees. You will not have the crusty exterior, so remove your lamb from the oven and caramelize the exterior on the stove top in an extremely hot cast iron skillet.

12/17/15 Chef Juliet Tip: Cheese is an important ingredient in risotto but don’t add it until your rice is almost fully cooked. Parmesan and mascarpone will break under constant heat. The separation of oil from solid in your dairy products will result in an unpleasant dish.

12/11/15 Chef Juliet Tip: Traditional Alfredo sauce is a simple combination of butter cheese and heavy cream. For a lighter version, substitute some of your heavy cream with the water in which you boil the pasta. The starches in the pasta water will help emulsify and thicken your sauce.

12/4/15 Chef Juliet Tip: Tips for perfect baked beans

  • Soak for soft skins. Soaking dried beans overnight yields consistently tender cooked beans. There are quick methods but overnight soaking works best.
  • Be gentle. To keep the beans’ skins intact so they hold their shape throughout the baking process, resist the temptation to stir too often. And during the final cooking stage, don’t try to rush things by boiling or simmering too vigorously.
  • Taste five beans when checking for doneness. Beans cook at different rates, even in the same pot, so it’s best to try a few at a time. Test frequently, as cooking times vary.
  • Be patient. Baked beans act like sponges, so let the finished beans sit overnight to absorb as much flavor as possible.

11/25/15 Chef Juliet Tip: If you go to New England for a crab roll, don’t expect fancy bread. Believe it or not, traditional crab rolls are served on a buttered, toasted hot dog bun. Try fresh baked daily bread, as we do, to improve this New England classic!

11/20/15Chef Juliet Tip: You should always slightly over season your ravioli filling. Once you stuff the filling in the pasta, your ravioli will taste under seasoned if you don’t.

11/13/15 Chef Juliet Tip: The best binder for making salmon burgers is in the salmon!  If you would like to try making salmon burgers don’t overload them with breadcrumbs and eggs and end up with a dense meatloaf type burger.  Instead take half of your salmon and pulse it in a food processor.  Add this mixture to your remaining diced salmon.  The pureed salmon mix will actually act as a natural binder and make your burgers lighter in texture.

11/5/15 Chef Juliet Tip: Perfect Scallops – Scallops should be cooked at a high heat.  Start by heating your oil on medium high heat.  Once your pan is hot reduce the heat to medium before adding your scallops. Set the scallops in the skillet on their top (or bottom, not sides). Don’t crowd the pan. If you add too many scallops to the pan, the scallops will steam, not sear. Scallops cook fast so work in batches. Sear no more than four at a time in a ten-inch skillet. Once you place them in the smoking hot skillet, don’t move them. This is where you get that beautiful caramelized texture on the outside of your scallop.  For a scallop two inches tall set a timer for two minutes and then flip the scallop and cook for another two minutes.  For smaller scallops I suggest cooking one as a test to determine cook time rather than ruining your whole batch!

 10/30/15 Chef Juliet Tip: When you hear the term cordon bleu you may assume your chicken is stuffed with bleu cheese but not so fast. The French term cordon bleu is translated as “blue ribbon”. According to Larousse Gastronomique cordon bleu was originally a wide blue ribbon worn by members of the highest order of knighthood, L’Ordre des chevaliers du Saint-Esprit, instituted by Henri III of France in 1578. By extension, the term has since been applied to food prepared to a very high standard and to outstanding cooks. The analogy arose from the similarity between the sash worn by the knights and the ribbons (generally blue) of a cook’s apron.

10/23/15 Chef Juliet Tip: Four methods for preparing your own crab legs:

  1. SteamedFill a large pot about 1/3 full with water. Bring it to a boil. Put the crab legs in a colander over the boiling water. Put a lid on the pot to steam them to heat them up. This will take about 10 minutes.
  2. BoiledBring a large pot of water to boil. Knock the heat down so that the water holds a simmer. Drop in your crab legs. Simmer for 5-7 minutes. Remove from the water, drain, and serve.
  3. GrilledBrush your legs with oil (to keep them from sticking). Grill for 5 minutes on each side on a 325 degree grill.
  4. BakedBaking is a great way to make King Crab legs for a crowd. The legs can be pretty big, so if you have more than a few of them, they can be hard to fit in even the largest stock pot.   Place your crab legs on a large sheet pan and put just enough water to cover the pan.(make sure your water is hot)  Squeeze a little lemon over the crab legs and wrap the pan with foil and put in a 350 degree oven for ten minutes.

10/16/15 Chef Juliet Tip: While dried pasta can be cooked at a rolling boil, a gentle boil with lots of water will keep delicate ravioli from bumping up against each other and losing their delicious filling. Then, rather than draining filled pasta into a colander, they should be gently lifted with a slotted spoon and transferred directly to a warm bowl. If the contents of the pot are dumped into a colander, all that water can break open or crush delicate filled pasta.

10/9/15 Chef Juliet Tip: Love winter squash, but hate the headache of chopping their super-hard flesh into pieces for roasting? (Not to mention the potential loss of precious fingers…).  Here it is: roast the squash whole. Just for the first twenty minutes or so until the flesh begins to soften. Then you take it out of the oven and slice it into halves, quarters, chunks, whatever you need. Another forty minutes in the oven will complete the roasting.  Enjoy!

10/2/15 Chef Juliet Tip: The Perfect Rack – When selecting ribs, there are three different cuts from which to choose: baby backs, spare ribs, and St. Louis spare ribs. Memphis tends to prefer the leaner and more tender baby back ribs but in most parts of the country the meatier and more flavorful spare ribs are the cut of choice. Spare ribs with the breastbone area trimmed off to create a more uniform rack are known as a St. Louis cut.

9/24/15 Chef Juliet Tip: To properly cook risotto you should constantly add stock to your rice otherwise you re just boiling rice rather than creating a rich, creamy risotto. Adding chilly stock to a hot pan will cool everything down and upset the cooking process. Keep the stock at a simmer in a small pan as you add it so everything stays hot and cooks evenly.

9/18/15 Chef Juliet Tip: Stop! don’t boil that crab! Crab has so much internal liquid that boiling them will add water that just isn’t needed. Steaming or cooking them on a hot surface like a grill is the way to go.

9/10/15 Chef Juliet Tip: Looking for a rare to mid rare steak? Ribeye probably isn’t the best choice. Ribeye steaks are best served near medium. (We suggest cooking ribeye to at least 135 degrees internal temperature.) Ribeyes have a high fat content and need the additional cooking time to render the fat. At rate and mid rate temperatures the fat will still be rubbery and unpleasant.

9/3/15 Chef Juliet Tip:  Potato Salad – Vinaigrette vs Creamy dressing: If you plan on serving a vinaigrette based potato salad, dress the potatoes while still warm.  This will allow the vinaigrette to penetrate your potatoes and increase the flavor. If you are using a mayonnaise or creamy dressing you should first allow your potatoes to chill.  Warm potatoes will melt mayonnaise, sour cream and yogurt and can cause the fats and solids to separate leaving you with an oily salad.

8/28/15 Chef Juliet Tip: Skip the aluminum foil when baking potatoes for twice baked potatoes. Not only will the crispy skin add a nice texture to your dish, it will also prevent your skin from breaking apart when you scoop out the pulp to make your potato mix.

8/13/15 Chef Juliet Tip: Smoke Ribs for 3 hours un-foiled at 225 degrees. Wrap ribs in foil with a little apple juice and cook for another 1.5 hours. Remove foil add BBQ sauce and put back in smoker for 45 minutes. While not exactly 3 hours – 2 hours and 1 hour it is still a method we swear by!

8/6/15 Chef Juliet Tip: For rich, creamy dressings made healthier, substitute half the mayonnaise with Greek-style yogurt.

7/31/15 Chef Juliet Tip: Have you ever had your burger ball up in the middle when cooking it only to smash it flat and watch all of the juices run out?  Meat contracts as it cooks and burgers cook more around their perimeter than they do in their center. Just like a corset being cinched around the waist of a Victorian lady, whatever’s in the middle gets pushed up.  In order to cook a nice flat burger without pressing out all of the juices simply put a dimple in the middle part of your burger making the inner part a little thinner than the outer perimeter, it will be shaped almost like a bowl.  As the burger cooks the same process will cause the middle of your burger to flatten out rather than ball up.  No more flare ups from squeezing the juice into your BBQ and your burgers will come out more flavorful and juicy.  Enjoy!

07/17/15 Chef Juliet Tip: Ideal grilling fruits are firm and barely ripe. Watermelon, pineapple, apples, peaches and pears can all take the heat. Soak them in liquor, drizzle them with honey or create your own marinade before grilling for an added burst of flavor.