Archive for June, 2007

Useful Pantry Whachamacallits

Okay, the countdown to Food Bytes’ pilot episode has begun. We’re finalizing our script, finishing our boards, working out the kinks and checking our inventory. Then it hit me.

“Wouldn’t it be nice to make sure our viewers could have SOME ingredients at hand BEFORE the show starts? That way, no one need rush to their closest baking/cooking supply store in case they want to make something they see on the show.”

With that in mind, here are some extra things that we like to keep in our pantry (these are not written in any particular order):

  • Vanilla Sugar [To make vanilla sugar, simply place vanilla bean husks (the more the merrier) into a sealed tub of sugar. After a week or so, the vanilla flavor should permeate with the sugar, hence creating vanilla sugar. Or you could just buzz everything together.]
  • Gelatin [Either powdered or in sheets.]
  • Dulce De Leche [The fastest way we do this is by simply pouring a 12 oz. can of condensed milk into a cake pan, put in in a bain marie, cover it with aluminum foil, then bake it for 1.5 hours in a 425 degree oven.]
  • Cumin [If you’re able to buy them whole and grind them yourself, it’d be nice. But the pre-packaged stuff does quite well too.]
  • Bittersweet Chocolate [While I normally buy them in big chunks, buying them in chips could actually save you alot of time and alot of manual labor. If you don’t use alot of it, consider buying chips instead of blocks. But please, don’t be like other home bakers who HOARD tons of branded chocolate chips at home. Buy only what you need, and give other cooks a chance.]
  • Shortening [I use this on the counter and on my hands when I knead bread. Yes, you could use flour, but it tends to throw off the recipe.]
  • Homemade Tomato Sauce [SPOILER: We’ll be doing a show on this… hehehehe…]
  • Vanilla Beans [Are they worth it? Yes. As long as you only buy one or two, you need not worry… odds are, you’ll use them up before they get the chance to spoil.]
  • Instant Yeast [Kept in the freezer, this will last a year or two after the written expiry date. Just buy a small pack.]
  • Heavy Cream [Yes, I realize they’re not stored in the pantry… but they’re essential in MY kitchen anyway.]
  • Homemade Vanilla Extract [Just take some vanilla bean husks and put them with some rhum or bourbon. Steep for two weeks, ‘BAM’, homemade vanilla extract. I use this for my cheesecake. Yes, we will do a show on that as well.]

Of course this is by no means a complete list. But rest assured that 99% of the ingredients we will use on the show will NOT be hard to find… or at the very least, we’ll tell you where you can buy them. We hope you are as excited as we are as the countdown for Food Bytes continues.

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Food Bytes

Chefs, are one of the MOST arrogant creatures ever to walk God’s green earth.  It’s true.  Any chef worth his/her salt NEEDS to be cocky to some degree… if he/she doesn’t believe in his/her food, then who will?  Talk with any chef and I’m sure they’ll say that their dish “x” is better than Chef Juan’s or Chef Juana’s.  Heck, even I think my cheesecake is better than most!  Hehehe…  Chefs will expound for hours on end about the merits of their dish and why it’s superior compared to what others make.  In the end, the normal cook would walk away, firmly convinced that he/she has found the light, henceforth mimicking said chef’s style/methods.

Food Bytes (like the title?) seeks to change all that.  What I’m aiming for is to make you a better cook… not give you a better recipe.  What I’m aiming for is to arm you with some good (albeit not set-in-stone) techniques that’ll ultimately make you enjoy the cooking experience.  What I’m aiming for is to take away some of the mystery of cooking to hopefully give you courage to try out new dishes and new flavors.  My wish is that I can impart on you the “how’s” and “why’s” of food.  In the end, I hope that what we do will inspire you to simply cook more.

The pilot episode of Food Bytes is set to air in the second week of August, for FREE as previously stated.  I’m still not sure what day.  I’ll be using either http://www.veoh.com or http://www.dailymotion.com as our medium.

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