Category: Culinary Classics

Culinary Classic: Shepherd’s Pie

Tracing its 18th century origins to the British Isles, Shepherd’s Pie is a humble dish, born of frugality.

Early on it was called Cottage Pie, consisting of stewed ground meat (usually left over roast), potatoes, carrots, and peas combined in a rich gravy, topped with a thick layer of mashed potatoes, then put in a hot oven to warm the contents and brown the potato topping. (more…)

Culinary Classics: Mother Sauces

A Mother Sauce is a basic recipe that can be used on its own or as a starting point for far-flung variations.

The fundamental components of any sauce are liquid, thickener, and flavoring agents. Each of the Mother Sauces is distinguished by the combination of the basic ingredients. In turn, when the basic ingredients are substituted or enhanced, the result is called a small sauce.

Filet mignon    (more…)

Culinary Classic: Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are just fine when simply and classically prepared for the purists among us. However, you can take them off the chart by combining them with some tempting add-ins and just a tad more effort.

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Culinary Classic: Chinese Barbecued Pork

Though variations of this dish abound throughout Eastern Asia, particularly the many regions of China from Szechuan to Singapore, barbecued pork’s lacquered-mahogany sheen makes it one of the most readily recognizable dishes in the pantheon of Asian cuisine.

BBQ ribs (more…)

Culinary Classic: Schnitzel

Schnitzel also goes by other regional names—dishes you might not otherwise associate with name schnitzel, but would recognize by the similarity of preparation techniques.

Escalope, scallopine, scallop, cutlet—these are among the myriad names used for the same cuts of meat and poultry that make schnitzel. (more…)

Culinary Classic: BLT

In honor of National Sandwich Month, this Culinary Classic article features a classic sandwich.

Though there is no direct trail to an inventor of the BLT, it appears to have developed in the early 1900s in the United Kingdom and United States as part of the rise in popularity of what were known as club sandwiches. Such sandwiches were built on the foundational ingredients of lettuce, tomato, and then other ingredients—turkey, bacon, or ham, for instance.

What you put into your BLT can be as important as the order in which you put it together. Furthermore, a real and traditional BLT doesn’t take off on flavor tangents. It’s all pretty well defined in our collective consciousness: bread, bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, salt, and black pepper.

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Culinary Classic: Texas-Style Smoked Brisket

For such a humble piece of meat, brisket sure gets a lot of attention.

From Passover mainstay to the center of attention at a family Sunday dinner to a great reason to have a backyard get-together on a cloudless summer afternoon, brisket’s big beefy flavor and typical ample size makes it large enough for a single piece to feed a hungry crowd. Its very nature brings people together to a communal setting, be it sit-down with the good china or an open-house buffet with paper and plastic (more…)

Culinary Classic: Paella

If you love food, you have to watch this YouTube video. It’s about the making of the best paella in the world—or so the title claims. By the end, no doubt, you will believe every word is true. And if this doesn’t leave you weak in the knees and salivating or make you want to catch the next Iberia airliner to Spain, you surely have ice water in your veins.

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Culinary Classic: Fondue

Fondue has become one of those words that refers to a specific dish and is also loosely used as catch-all for a method of communal cooking.

fondue (more…)

Culinary Classic: Chili

Cooking meat in liquid is about as old as any cooking method we know. And mixing meat with chiles and other ingredients was common among the Inca, Aztec, and Mayan civilizations.

However, the chili best known today had its roots in Texas on long cattle drives in the mid-1800s. In the late 1880s, “chili queens” popularized the dish in and around San Antonio, serving up bowls of chili warmed by mesquite fires from colorful carts. In 1893, chili had its breakout moment at the Columbian Exhibition in Chicago where the San Antonio Chili Stand sold bowls of “Texas red” to people from all over the country and the world. (more…)

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