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Lessons in Cuban Cooking
Lourdes Castro taught herself how to cook. Now, she gives cooking classes in New York and Florida and has written a cookbook to help the rest of us. Here, she shares 10 iconic recipes that honor her Cuban heritage.
Many great cooks grow up around great cooks and learn by osmosis through years of hanging out in the family kitchen. Lourdes Castro didn’t, and it’s one of the reasons she’s such a terrific cooking teacher. She doesn’t assume students have kitchen smarts, because she didn’t when she started out. Instead, she gives them the info they need in a totally accessible way𠅋oth in her classes in New York and Florida and in her recipes, which appear on the following pages.
Castro, who grew up in 1970s Miami, learned to love food by eating at Cuban restaurants with her Cuban-born parents. When she began pursuing a master’s degree in nutrition at Columbia University, she finally began to cook as a way of learning about food science. At home in her Manhattan apartment, she started making dinners (𠇎xperimenting,” she jokes) for friends. Her approach was scientific: “I𠆝 go to the market and analyze ingredients. When I saw a plantain, say, I𠆝 think about carbohydrates and sugars, and it helped me understand the best way to cook it.” Today, Castro teaches food science at New York University and is the culinary director of Miami’s Biltmore Hotel. Her first cookbook, Simply Mexican, was published this spring.
Still, Cuban food is what she knows best. At a recent class, Castro taught some students how to make several iconic Cuban dishes, explaining that the cuisine combines Spanish, African and Caribbean influences using starchy ingredients like yucca, lots of garlic and seafood𠅊nd, she points out, “no leafy greens.” Castro always teaches while she cooks. “She can’t help herself,” says her friend Judiaann Woo.
Castro began with a lesson on how to make the sweet fried plantain slices called maduros, rolling the unpeeled plantains on the counter to soften them. She demonstrated how to prepare rice the Cuban way: sautéing garlic in olive oil before adding the rice and water, so the grains become rich and fragrant. And she made a classic enchilado𠅊 delicious tomato-based seafood stew that gets extra tang and sweetness from ketchup, pimientos and vinegar.
Castro had one final lesson for her students, many of whom are serious coffee drinkers: how to prepare café cubano. For a foamy crema to top each cup, she whisked espresso and sugar together as if she𠆝 been doing it her entire life. And that was her big lesson of the day: If she can cook, anyone can.
“Echoing my sisters sentiments, merci for a fantastic week that we’ll never forget. Your warmth, hospitality and attention to every detail was not lost on us - merci!” - Shelley
Several times a year, we open the doors of The Cook's Atelier to guests from around the world who are interested in learning more extensively about the food and wine culture of Burgundy. Our Seasonal Burgundy Masterclass program is a special opportunity for an in-depth and personalized experience at The Cook's Atelier. The week gives you a chance to spend one-on-one time with us where we'll come together to cook in our kitchen and immerse ourselves in the rich culture of Burgundy.
We’ll begin the program on Monday where we'll meet and greet guests at our Atelier for our first workshop followed by a convivial welcome luncheon that includes a Champagne apéritif and a seasonal menu highlighting the bounty from our own kitchen garden as well as a few of our favorite artisan food and wine producers. Each course will be paired with the great wines of Burgundy.
During the week, we'll meet each morning for homemade French pastries and coffee at our Atelier before the day begins. We'll gather around our Atelier kitchen for hands-on cooking workshops and learn the importance of growing some of the food we cook, sourcing locally, and cooking seasonally. Each workshop will highlight classic French cooking techniques, both savory and sweet, and methods every home cook should know. We'll touch on key cooking methods and kitchen rituals, talk through the importance of proper knife skills and the essentials of having a well-stocked pantry, and cover basics such as blanching, braising, frying, grilling, poaching, roasting, sautéing and searing. We'll continue with French butchery techniques, prepare essential stocks and French sauces, preserving, master the art of pastry doughs, desserts, soufflés, and explore the craft of making a classic brioche. We'll review the importance of creating a proper French larder and setting up a kitchen with classic cook's tools and provisions. Midweek, we'll also visit Beaune's oldest wine cave and enjoy a leisurely lunch at our neighborhood Michelin three-star restaurant, considered to be one of France's finest! Each day at our Atelier, once the masterclass is complete, we'll all head upstairs to our light-filled dining room where Champagne flutes are filled and toast one another in anticipation of the long French lunch ahead. The zinc-topped table is set in beautiful French fashion with vintage linens and cutlery, fresh flowers, and plenty of candlelight. We’ll enjoy the seasonal menus created from the fruits of our labor, presented in beautifully plated courses. Each course is presented and paired with some of France's most extraordinary wines, demystifying terroir and the art of winemaking.
Later in the week, we’ll spend a day at our beloved ‘Woodland House’ (our home away from home in the Burgundy countryside) where we’ll learn the art of cooking with fire in the hearth, bread baking, and explore the craft of creating your own kitchen potager with the focus on organic gardening using permaculture and companion planting as the foundation. The ‘Woodland House’, an extension of our Atelier and the home of our very own kitchen garden which produces the food for our culinary programs, features a modest stone cottage which was once a walnut mill dating back to the 1800s. We fell in love with the original bread oven and open hearth in the kitchen, not to mention the garden, small orchard, and the possibility for a proper cook’s potager. A beautiful example of simplicity in nature, the entire property is a haven for wildlife in the area as well as a little ecosystem in its own right. The property benefits from a wide variety of trees, shrubs and prairie flowers as well as wild edibles like wild garlic, wild asparagus, tiny woodland strawberries and violets to name a few. As cooks always passionate about farm-to-table cooking and eating, we’ve always had some sort of garden in the works, be it simple raised beds or herbs planted in a window box. After a decade of working closely with our local artisan food producers, we wanted to expand our knowledge, get our own hands dirty, and grow some of the food we cook. We are delighted to be able to share this extension of The Cook’s Atelier with you and bring you, as the cook, closer to the garden. We will provide insight on how to embrace nature by growing some of the food we cook, preserving and pickling the harvest, and enjoy a beautiful lunch in the garden. Be it a window box, a small rooftop city garden, a few backyard beds, or a plot of land in the country, we can all benefit from growing some of the food we cook as it not only nourishes the body, but nourishes the soul.
On Saturday, we’ll explore the weekly brocante as well as the local market in Beaune and meet some of our favorite artisan food producers - gardeners, butchers, bakers, cheese makers, and fishmongers - before heading to our farewell luncheon at our neighborhood Michelin three-star restaurant, considered to be one of France’s finest!
An experience at The Cook’s Atelier is truly one-of-a-kind as it is so much more than just a cooking school. Guests are immersed in the day-to-day beauty and attention to detail that surrounds. They experience the warmth and hospitality in our kitchen and quickly become fast friends and part of our extended family. Amidst the chopping, dicing and the clanking of copper pots, practical aspects of French cooking will be covered along with the greater importance of sourcing from local artisans as well as embracing the aspect of growing some of the food we cook. And when the program is complete, guests take home much more than just the recipes. They’ll each return home inspired to cook and to share the table with the people who matter most.
Culinary Foundations Certificate
Description: Introduction to culinary principles: Ingredient identification and uses, knife skills, cooking techniques, instruction and practice in safety and sanitation, navigating a commercial kitchen and equipment, professionalism, and making delicious food.
Introduction to Cooking Techniques
Course Number: CULIN 234
Class: 2 hours lecture, 6 hours laboratory (GR)
Offered in Summer Session ONLY
Description: Food preparation of and terminology Preparation of salads, sandwiches, breakfast cooking and knife cuts, sanitation and safety professional responsibilities.
Hospitality Careers and Skills Development
Course Number: CULIN 214
Class: 1 hour lecture
Corequisite: Culin 212, 215, 217, 218
Description: Preparation for work and career success in the Culinary Arts: Preparing resumes and cover letters, completing job applications, interviewing techniques, social media profile development, investigating job search resources, and completion of professional portfolio.
Culinary Math Fundamentals
Course Number CULIN 215
Class: 1 hour lecture
Corequisite: Culin 212, 214, 217, 218
Description: Culinary math fundamentals: Theory and application of mathematics used in the hospitality industry.
Recipe, Formula, and Food Costs
Course Number: CULIN 217
Class: 1 hour lecture
Corequisite: Culin 212, 214, 215, 218
Description: Development and standardization of food production: Techniques in relation to planning and quality.
Ingredients and Equipment
Course Number: CULIN 218
Class: 1 hour lecture
Corequisite: Culin 212, 214, 215, 217
Description: Introduction to the latest ingredients and equipment used in today’s professional kitchens: Explore vital ingredients of the modern kitchen fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, grains, dairy and more includes storage, handling, and processing.
Soups, Stocks and Sauces
Course Number: CULIN 223
Class: 1 hour lecture
Prerequisite: Culin 212, 214, 215, 217, 218
Corequisite: Culin 224, 225, 226, 227
Description: Introduction to stocks, soups, and sauces: From bone broth to bearnaise, the art and science of preparing delicious food.
Dynamics of Heat Cooking
Course Number: CULIN 224
Class: 1 hour lecture
Prerequisite: Culin 212, 214, 215, 217, 218
Corequisite: Culin 223, 225, 226, 227
Description: How to make your food sizzle: From simmering to sautéing, learn the techniques of transferring fire to your food braising, sautéing, grilling, baking, roasting, simmering, steaming, poaching, and broiling.
Introduction to Garde Manger and Food Presentation
Course Number: CULIN 225
Class: 1 hour lecture
Prerequisite: Culin 212, 214, 215, 217, 218
Corequisite: Culin 223, 224, 226, 227
Description: Introduction to quantity cold-food production, display, food art, and plate presentation: Salads, sandwiches, cheeses, deli meats, non-meat proteins, and restaurant dessert presentations.
Quantity Food Production Lab
Course Number: CULIN 227
Class: 9 hours laboratory
Prerequisite: Culin 212, 214, 215, 217, 218
Corequisite: Culin 223, 224, 225, 226
Description: High volume food production in fast-paced restaurant setting: applying techniques of heat transfer to food: braising, sautéing, grilling, baking, roasting, simmering, steaming, poaching, and broiling use of commercial food production equipment and tools use of standardized recipes, food display, application of speed and accuracy in food production.
Culinary Career Success Strategies
Course Number: CULIN 229
Class: 2 hours lecture
Description: Preparation for work and career success in the Culinary Arts: Writing resumes with cover letters, interviewing techniques, filling out job applications, phone etiquette, investigating job search resources, and management responsibilities.
Seasonings, Stuffing, Breading, pp.362-367
Knife Cuts Practice, pp. 618-634
NAMP Guide Handout &ndash Poultry
&ldquoOn Cooking&rdquo PowerPoint &ndash Poultry
Roast Chicken Method pp. 432-434
Pan Sautéing Chicken-Method
Buttermilk Fried Chicken w/ Country Gravy
Grilled or Broiled Chicken Breast w/ Fennel pp. 455 (1/5 th recipe)
&ldquoOn Cooking&rdquo PowerPoint Cont. &ndash Poultry
Carving Poultry pp. 435-436
Sautéed Chicken w/ Fines Herbs, pp. 500. (1/5 th recipe)
Poached Chicken w/ Tarragon Sauce,
Trimming Tenderloin pp. 377-378
Roast Chicken w./ Pan Gravy pp. 482. (1/5 th recipe)
Chicken Fricassee pp.612 (1/5 th recipe)
NAMP Guide Handout-Beef/Veal
&ldquoOn Cooking&rdquo PowerPoint &ndash Beef
Fabricating Boneless Meats
Beef Stew pp.589 (1/5 th rec.)
Grilled Tenderloin w/ Madeira Sauce pp.463 (1/4 th rec.)
&ldquoOn Cooking&rdquo PowerPoint &ndash Veal
&ldquoPro Chef&rdquo Fabricating Meat - Ch. 16 PowerPoint
Meat and Veal Basics, pp.70-84
Veal Scallopine Marsala pp. 503-504 (1/5 th rec)
Osso Buco Milanese w/ Gremolata pp. 601 (1/5 th rec)
&ldquoPro Chef&rdquo Meat Poultry ID &ndash Ch. 6
&ldquoPro Chef&rdquo, Mise en Place, Ch.15 PwrPnts
Sautéing & Pan Frying pp. 488-496
Beef Teriyaki pp. 445 (1/5 th rec)
Grilled Fajitas w/ Peppers & Onion
&ldquoOn Cooking&rdquo PowerPoint &ndash Pork
Mise En Place for Meats pp.362-367
Grilled Smoked Iowa Pork Chops w/ Caramelized Apples pp.448-449 (1/5 th rec)
Pork Medallions w/ Warm Cabbage Salad pp.506-507 (1/5 th rec)
Meat Preparation and Cooking
Online Instruction Syllabus Addendum
Review Tuna Fabrication Discussion Board Video
Review Fish & Shellfish PowerPoint
Pork quiz will include questions from the Pork Fabrication Video
Review Sautéing & Pan Fry Techniques, Chapter 18
Review Shellfish Fabrication, Pg. 413-422
Review Shallow and Deep Poaching, Pg. 540-547
Define Shallow and Deep Poaching Key Terms
Shallow Poaching & Deep Poaching and Simmering
aromatics beurre blanc cartouche shivering
cuisson paupiette sauce vin blanc submerge
shallow poach deep poach instant-read thermometer simmer
Review Cooking En Papillote pg. 536-539
Review all Seafood Notes and handouts
Ch. 19 Activity & Assignment Due
Tuna Fabrication Discussion Board &ndash 2 Posts
Chapter 19 Activities and Assignments
This chapter discusses the French technique, en papillote, of wrapping food in parchment paper and baking it in an oven. As mentioned on page 536, the technique of wrapping food in paper, leaves, or husks and cooking them over or in a fire has been used throughout the world. Using sources from the library and Internet, research the history of the technique, how and why the technique might have originated, how it varies in different cultures, and why it is still used in contemporary kitchens.
Review Lamb Fabrication Video - BlkBrd
Review Lamb Notes and Terms Handout &ndash Blckbrd
Review Lamb Powerpoint &ndash BlkBrd
Ch.15 Activity & Assign. Due
Chapter 15 Activities and Assignments
Using the recipes in this chapter as a start, explore spice and herb blends used throughout the world. How does the use of spices and herbs vary regionally within the United States? Globally? How is it that different cultures with different diets might use the same groups of spices and herbs with different outcomes? Is it true, as some have observed, that cultures throughout the tropics (around the equator) tend to use spices that produce more heat and fiery intensity than those in the colder regions? Why might this be true?
Review Game Powerpoint - BlkBrd
Review Game Notes and Terms - BlkBrd
Lamb Fabrication Discussion Board Due &ndash 2 Posts Req.
Define Ch.15 Key Terms & Concept
General Guidelines for Determining Doneness in Meats, Poultry, and Fish
Ch. 15 Key Terms and Concepts
à la minute aroma carryover cooking resting
tests for doneness degree of doneness doneness
final resting temperature internal temperature resistance
Review Rabbit Fabrication &ndash Pg. 400-401
Review Variety Meats (Offal) &ndash Pg. 390-391
Review Lamb Boning and Frenching &ndash Pg. 384-387
Lamb & Game Quiz &ndash Due 05/10
Ch. 18 Activity & Assign. Due
Chapter 18 Activities and Assignments
Vegetable oils, olive oil, shortenings, lard, duck fat, goose fat, and rendered animal fats are all used for frying or sautéing regional and ethnic dishes. The choice of fat makes a difference in the flavor of the finished dish. Research the history and use of various fats and oils, their nutritional values, and their smoking points. What is their importance to the finished dish? Why are some no longer popular?
Upcoming Cooking Classes
- Knife Skills
- Great British Baking
- Macaron Madness!
- Cooking with Herbs & Spices
- Paella & Sangria
- Cooking 101 Series
- The Greek Island Of Santorini
- Basic Cake Decorating
- Cooking with Cast Iron
- Fabulous Fish
- Indian Street Food
- Knife Skills
- Romantic Rome
- Handmade Pasta
- Eat Your Veggies
- Best Overall:Chef of the House
- Best Budget:The Kitchen Chick
- Best for Date Night:urbanCHEF
- Best for Fundamentals:Well Done Cooking Classes
- Best for Sushi:Cozymeal
- Best for Desserts:Sur La Table
- Best for Mexican:Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen
Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), in-person classes may be limited or unavailable. It’s best to call ahead to ensure the availability of classes. For concerns about safety, please consult your primary care physician.
Best Overall : Chef of the House
Chef of the House is a must-visit for anyone who’s interested in the culinary arts. Staffed by a team of well-trained chefs, Chef of the House offers cooking classes for kids, teens, couples, and adults, as well as competitions that mimic Food Network shows like "Chopped." You can choose from classes that are divided by skill level, as well. There's truly something for everyone at Chef of the House.
Adults will enjoy the regular Charcuterie and Champagne workshops, where you can spend an evening sipping wine with friends and learning how to assemble the perfect charcuterie board. More experienced cooks will enjoy one of the intermediate to advanced classes, such as the tamale workshop, sushi class, or Taste of Thailand. And kids can attend the 10-week after school cooking class to learn their way around a kitchen.
Expect one-time classes to cost around $130 per person, while the kids’ 10-week class is approximately $275 for the entire semester. Keep an eye out for seasonal classes, too, such as Valentine’s Day cookie decorating classes. And if a little friendly competition gets your blood pumping, you’ll enjoy one of the "Nailed-It" competitions, based on the Netflix series.
Best Budget : The Kitchen Chick
Cooking classes can be expensive, with costs that can range from $60 to $180 per person for a two-hour class. Courses at The Kitchen Chick, however, are a little easier to do on a budget.
The average price is slightly lower than other options, but the variety and value The Kitchen Chick offers are unbeatable. Menus are high-quality and varied, such as the Boozy Creole Feast class offering mardi-ritas, hush puppies, shrimp and grits, and bread pudding.
While some cooking schools have a price that’s set in stone, The Kitchen Chick is a little more flexible, offering multiple classes each week at different price points. No matter what size budget you have, you’ll be able to find something that’s doable at The Kitchen Chick. One standout is the studio's two-and-a-half-hour cookie-decorating classes where you learn how to make and use royal frosting on seasonal cookies. You'll also be able to take a dozen cookies home.
Class sizes are small, so you can interact with the instructors. Chefs are highly educated and offer hands-on advice. The Kitchen Chick is a great place to get the most bang for your buck.
Best for Date Night : urbanCHEF
If you and your significant other enjoy working side by side in the kitchen, then UrbanCHEF is a great place to hone your skills and enjoy an evening together.
Founded in 2005, urbanCHEF is located on Greenway Plaza and has two kitchens, plus a dining room and patio area. UrbanCHEF offers date nights conducted by its staff of highly trained chefs every month or two, with more options around holidays such as Valentine’s Day. Most date night classes are held on Friday nights for three hours, with a price tag that starts at approximately $180 per couple.
At urbanCHEF, each class has a certain theme. In the popular Surf & Turf class, you’ll learn to make shrimp campechana, while Classic French Cooking will provide you with enough knowledge to make soupe au pistou, potatoes gratin, crème brûlée, and more. A lamb and risotto-themed class will teach you how to make herb-marinated lamb chops with chimichurri sauce as the centerpiece. If you’re looking for a culinary themed date night in Houston, urbanCHEF is the place to spice it up.
Best for Fundamentals : Well Done Cooking Classes
Well Done Cooking Classes
As seen on the popular Food Network TV show "Guy’s Grocery Games," Well Done Cooking Classes offers courses just about every day of the week. If you’re new to the kitchen, start with the fundamentals and techniques classes. Typically held on Wednesdays and Saturdays in the Heights, these public classes teach you the art of using a knife or making staples like sauces.
Fundamentals and technique classes range from $59 to $69 per person. Techniques classes each focus on a certain type of meat or vegetable, educating attendees about the most common ways to cook that item. You’ll learn about steaming, frying, sautéing, broiling, and more. Fundamentals classes will teach you how to make bread and pizza, sauces, or how to safely chop vegetables using a knife.
These classes are also part of Well Done’s Culinary Certification program, a year-long program where you can take 20 courses and earn a Certificate of Completion in the Culinary Arts. This certificate can be used to find a job in the culinary field or as something to impress your friends.
Best for Sushi : Cozymeal
Great for beginner chefs who love Asian food, Cozymeal's Sushi 101 class teaches you the art of sushi making in a one-night event. Sushi 101 is taught by Chef Jared, an experienced chef who has worked around the world.
During this class, he’ll teach you how to make blistered peppers, cook sushi rice, and do everything else necessary to produce California rolls. A tuna tower, salmon nigiri, and sashimi are on the menu, too. The course costs around $119 per person, lasts for two-and-a-half hours, and includes a four-course meal. Sushi 101 also encourages you to bring your own wine or beer.
Classes are held every evening during the week, making Sushi 101 the perfect way to unwind after a day at work. The maximum amount of guests for each class is 10, so you’ll be able to enjoy an intimate setting and plenty of individualized help from the teacher. Sushi 101 receives a long list of five-star reviews from past guests. The only criticism: They ate too much.
Best for Desserts : Sur La Table
Sur La Table is a nationwide franchise with a well-known program of cooking classes. And at the Houston River Oaks location in the River Oaks Shopping Center, you can find a long list of sweet classes to satisfy your cravings. Common dessert classes held at Sur La Table include Artisan Chocolate, Three Desserts Every Chef Should Know, and several French-inspired courses that teach you how to make croissants and crêpes.
Make three decadent desserts in the Artisan Chocolate class or sample classic French desserts such as madeleines and profiteroles in the French Bakery overview course. Whatever you choose, Sur La Table’s dessert classes are perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth.
Most Sur La Table classes are either two- or two-and-a-half hours long, with some going up to three depending on the nature of the dish. Classes vary in cost, ranging from $59 to $79. Each class accepts no more than 16 students, and while teens ages 14 and up are welcome, a parent will need to attend class with any child under the age of 17.
Best for Mexican : Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen
Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen
Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen is a Tex-Mex restaurant in Eldridge and Woodway run by Sylvia Casares, a chef and restaurateur who’s well known in the food industry. Sylvia’s Eldridge location offers cooking classes on Saturday afternoons throughout the month, with each class taught by Sylvia herself.
During her classes, Sylvia teaches you to make mouthwatering Mexican dishes, and the list of course themes offered is long and varied. One option is meatless enchiladas, where three different enchiladas with spinach, squash, and cheese are on the menu.
Breakfast lovers will appreciate the South Texas Mexican Breakfast Favorites that is described as a "hands-on tortilla boot camp" filled with tortillas, beans, chilaquiles, and more. And, Tamales 101 is a must for anyone who wants to learn to make pork and chicken tamales from scratch.
Cooking classes at Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen are delicious, hands-on, and a whole lot of fun. Register early if you want to take a class, as they tend to fill up quickly. Each class includes a meal, a dessert, and a beverage, and costs approximately $65 per person.
What Is a Cooking Class?
A cooking class is an in-person event where you can learn various cooking techniques or regional cooking styles from a professional chef. You may choose a class specific to a region, such as French or Italian cooking, or choose one based on a particular technique you’d like to learn, such as desserts, baking, or making items such as pizza or pasta.
How Long Are Cooking Classes?
Most cooking classes have a prep period, followed by the actual cooking process led by a chef. After, you’ll sit down and enjoy the meal as a class. Many classes allow you to bring a drink of your choice to enjoy with the meal. Classes last 2 to 4 hours, depending on the topic.
Are There Virtual Options for Cooking Classes?
While the options in this article are focused on in-person classes, some of the companies, such as urbanCHEF and Well Done Cooking Classes, offer online classes as well. Chef of the House's website states that online cooking classes are coming soon.
Leeks, Corn, & Red Peppers
Whenever clients tell our nutritionists that their family doesn’t like to eat vegetables, they frequently pull out this recipe. It’s so colorful that not even the pickiest eaters can resist it.
If you’re not familiar with cooking leeks, we promise it’s not hard. Leeks look like giant green onions and have a very subtle onion flavor, nowhere near as strong as a real onion. To prepare them, follow these simple instructions.
- Cut off the dark green “leaves.” You can use these for making broth/stock, but they are too tough to eat. The lighter green portion is still edible.
- Cut off the root end and slice the entire stalk lengthwise.
- Slice the leeks crosswise into thin strips, separating the layers.
- Rinse the leeks in a colander to remove any grit.
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 leeks (sliced)
1 c. red bell pepper (chopped)
2 c. snap pea pods
1 c. fresh or frozen corn
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
- Heat skillet over medium heat, when the skillet is hot add the olive oil. Swirl to coat the skillet.
- Sauté the leeks, bell pepper, and pea pods until soft, 5-7 minutes.
- Add the corn and continue cooking until it is warmed through.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Learning the Art of Sautéing
After a recent cooking class it became apparent that many cooks need to learn how to properly sauté. Not only is it one of the most important techniques to master in the kitchen, but learning how to sauté allows you to then prepare hundreds of different meals. Most sautéing done by novices lacks color or caramelization because they have cooked the ingredient on too low of a heat. Another prevalent problem is crowding the pan. Many times cooks will put too much food in a pan and instead steam the food creating a soggy product.
Sauté in French means “to jump” and essentially is a method of cooking or a way to describe a dish like sautéed chicken breasts. The reason they call it “to jump” is because the technique is based on two principles: One, you are cooking at a very high heat. Two, you are cooking in a very short amount of time not allowing the ingredient to sit in the pan too long. Sautéing can include cooking chicken, fish, vegetables, or meat. That’s the beauty of learning a basic technique because you can apply it to so many different recipes. You are no longer limited and instead can create new recipes with any ingredients you have on hand. Read below for specific suggestions to understand the technique of sautéing.
First, you must have the proper equipment (a pan in this case). The pan should be dense with a slightly heavy bottom that can distribute the heat effectively and uniformly. It also must be large so you can cook a large amount of food without overcrowding the pan. Some people have asked whether it should be non-stick or not. My answer is that if you are making a pan sauce (remember my article about pan sauces?), I would suggest a regular metal pan. If you are sautéing vegetables like spinach or zucchini, use non-stick.
Second, using the proper type and amount of fat is pivotal. You can use butter instead of oil but unfortunately butter has a low melting point thus smoking and burning at higher heat. Olive oil is good as it is able to withstand the high heat you use when sautéing. However, most olive oils don’t have the same depth of flavor as butter. The solution (which is what I do) is to use a combination of the two. This way you get some of the flavor from the butter and the higher smoking point from the oil. The amount of fat added should just coat the bottom of the pan. Don’t get caught up in what recipes say. Just add enough butter or oil accordingly to the size of your pan. If using butter, you will know it is hot enough and time to cook when the butter stops foaming or turns a pale brown. If you are using oil, the proper time to cook is when it changes from perfectly smooth to glistening.
Third, make sure you preheat your pan long enough until you almost start seeing smoke rise off the pan. If it is smoking a lot do not add food as it will undoubtedly burn. Take the pan off the heat and allow it to cool. If you add vegetables to a cold pan, it creates a limp and unflavored product. Instead of properly searing chicken and creating color on high heat, a cold chicken breast in a cold pan slowly releases its moisture and simmers in its own fat, making it inedible.
Fourth, be sure to have equally sized ingredients. They do not have to be perfectly symmetrical but having your ingredients in similar sizes ensures even cooking. Whether it’s your zucchini cut into small ¾ inch cubes, carrots sliced into ½ inch circles or fish filets in 5 ounce portions, following this suggestion will make sautéing easier for you. The downside to not following this suggestion is having different vegetable or protein pieces overcooked and undercooked making both inedible.
As you can see, there are many variables you will face when attempting to sauté so don’t blindly follow recipe directions. Without knowing the size or type of pan you are using, the heat output on your stove top, the thickness of the vegetable/protein you are cooking or your level of cooking expertise, things change drastically. I always tell my cooking students that recipe times should be used only as guidelines. Following the suggestions above will help you with the rest.
Welcome to Paul’s Cookbook!
At Fourk and Citizen Vine I often I get asked for recipes and techniques on how certain dishes are prepared. I LOVE teaching people new things especially how to make a delicious dish for someone they care about. In that spirit, I want to welcome you to Paul’s Cookbook Cooking Classes. These will be held twice a month in an intimate setting… at my own home! The classes will be limited to just 12 guests and will kick off with a welcome appetizer and glass of bubbles. I will provide some light instruction on how the appetizer is made and then we will start cooking by making a second and third course together. Many of these recipes will be ones that I’ve created for Fourk and Citizen Vine. Wine will be provided during the duration of the class.
Participants of Paul’s Cookbook will receive all the recipes they learn, both a physical copy and electronic copies that will be emailed to you. You will also receive a monthly newsletter with new recipes, restaurant reviews, tips and tricks and whatever else in on my mind! As a former participant you can also feel free to email me any cooking questions you have, and I’ll do my best to respond asap!
Classes are $85 per person. Classes will run on avg 3 hours and feature lots of yummy wine and dedicated instruction finished with a casual sit-down dinner where we eat all the delicious dishes you prepared!
MARTHA STEWART ’S COOKING SCHOOL : Sautéing
Above: Sole à la meunière: Martha demonstrates how to dredge fish in flour and the importance of cooking over high heat to achieve a perfect, golden-brown finish.
Martha Stewart, Emmy® Award-winning TV host, author and founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, conducts a culinary master class for American home cooks each week.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
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In each 30-minute episode, Martha demonstrates classic cooking techniques and basics. Using her signature step-by-step, how-to teaching process, she illustrates the building blocks of recipes everyone should know (from roasting to poaching to braising and blanching).
Every episode will feature Martha’s tips and tricks, inspiring and educating home cooks everywhere.
"Sautéing" - Sautéing is one of the quickest and most versatile cooking methods. It works well for almost any small cut of meat or fish.
Martha demonstrates how to dredge meat or fish in flour and the importance of cooking over high heat to achieve a perfect, golden-brown finish.
She uses these techniques to cook wiener schnitzel, chicken piccata and sole à la meunière — and shows how to make flavorful pan sauces to serve as accompaniments.
Just For Fun: The Martha Stewart Show Blooper Reel
The funniest moments from past seasons, featuring Martha cooking and crafting with guests Robin Williams, Martin Short, Lorraine Bracco, Mario Batali, and more! Brought to you by Martha Stewart: http://www.marthastewart.com
Series Preview: Martha Stewart's Cooking School
Martha Stewart, Emmy® Award-winning TV host, author and founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, conducts a culinary master class for American home cooks each week. The teaching series, inspired by her best-selling book "Martha Stewart’s Cooking School: Lessons and Recipes for the Home Cook," debuts in October 2012 on PBS stations.
Martha Stewart Talks About Her PBS Show
San Diego news when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.