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Announcing The Stella Culinary Super Feed

Stella Culinary Super Feed

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Based on multiple requests, I'm happy to announce the Stella Culinary Super Feed. This feed will allow you to subscribe to free automatic updates either through iTunes or traditional RSS (using the "aggregator" of your choice). This means that every video and audio podcast released will be available through this one, simple to subscribe to, "Super Feed."

If you're already familiar with how to subscribe to podcasts via iTunes or RSS, simply click on the corresponding links above and you'll be set. If you're unsure how this free subscription process works, then read on.

How to Subscribe Via iTunes

How to Subscribe to a Podcast Feed Using iTunes

  • To subscribe to the Stella Culinary Super Feed using iTunes, simply click the iTunes link at the top of this post. A new window in your browser will open, revealing the feed in iTunes format.

  • Click the "View in iTunes" button found on the left hand side of the new browser window. A dialog box will pop up, asking if you want to launch iTunes (if it's not already open). Click "OK".

  • When iTunes launches, you will be taken directly to the Stella Culinary Super Feed Page.

  • Click on the "Subscribe Free" button found right underneath the Super Feed logo. When the dialog box pops up and asks if you're sure, click the "Subscribe" button.

  • You're all set. Now you can stream all of our videos and podcasts to your Apple TV or load them on your iPhone, iPad or iPod so you can study on the go.

  • Please take a second to leave Stella Culinary a review on the Super Feed iTunes Page.

Subscribing With Traditional RSS

RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication" and is a convenient way to stay up to date on your favorite blogs and podcasts. Before RSS, you would have to go to each individual content producer and see if they had posted anything new. With RSS, you can "Subscribe" to your favorite content producers' digital feed using a "News Reader." This way, all you have to do it check your news reader to see if any new content has been published.

My personal favorite RSS Aggregator is Google Reader. It's easy to use, and since I already have a Google Account, it's extremely convenient.

How to Subscribe Using Traditional RSS

  • To subscribe to the Stella Culinary Super Feed through traditional RSS, click on the "RSS" icon located at the top of this page.

  • A new browser window will open and in the top right hand corner of the window, you'll have multiple options on what feed aggregator you want to use. Since I have a Google Account, I'll click on the "+ Google" button.

  • The next window will ask if you want to add this feed to your Google Home Page or your Google Reader. Since I use Google Reader to keep track of all my favorite websites, that's the option I'll choose.

  • If using a different RSS Reader that isn't listed, simply copy the RSS feed (http://feeds.feedburner.com/StellaCulinarySuperFeed) and paste it into the URL field under "Add New Feed."

The Completed Dish Video Index

"The Completed Dish" is an advanced cooking series that puts into action all the techniques and concepts discussed in The Stella Culinary School Podcast and as demonstrated in other video series such as Knife Skills, Kitchen Prep, Sauces and Soups, etc. It is highly recommended that you understand the basic techniques used in each video before attempting to recreate one of these dishes. A list of supporting techniques can be found in the show notes of each episode by going to StellaCulinary.com/tcd[episode-number].

 
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Video & Show Notes Description
 
TCD 1| Pan Roasted Halibut

This video will teach you how to make one of Stella's top selling entrees of 2011; pan roasted halibut, baby tomato panzanella, lemon caper beurre blanc.

TCD 2| Ahi Sashimi

Learn how to make Stella's top selling appetizer for the 2011 summer menu; a+1 ahi sashimi, pickled cucumber, wakame salad, cantaloupe "caviar" and dehydrated sesame oil.

TCD 3| Butter Lettuce Salad

In this video, learn how to make one of Chef Jacob's all time favorite salads, the butter lettuce. Although this salad was served during the Summer of 2011 at Stella, you will find it on our menu almost year 'round with different ingredients swapped out as the seasons change.

TCD 4| Chicken Roulade

Learn how to take the chicken roulade that was demonstrated in Kitchen Prep Episode 11, and turn it into the same completed dish we're currently serving at Stella.

TCD 5| Fresh Pasta Pappardelle with Pancetta and Fava Beans

I'm really proud to present this video because it's a long time in the making; not necessarily the completed dish itself, but all the fundamental cooking techniques required to actually execute this dish properly...

TCD 6| Composed Cauliflower Soup In a previous video, we went over how to make a basic cauliflower soup base. In this video, we finish the dish with a composed soup plate up.
TCD 7| How to Garnish Food In this video we discuss how to garnish food and some concepts to take into consideration when planing a completed dish. This video was inspired by a question posted by a YouTube viewer regarding our "Composed Cauliflower Soup" video.
TCD 8| Steak Tartare In this video I'll demonstrate how to make a simple steak tartare using the head and tail trimmings of a fabricated beef tenderloin.
TCD 9| Sous Vide Rack of Lamb This video will take you through the process that we use to sous vide a rack of lamb at Stella. The nice thing about this process is we cook the lamb rack a second time in a reduced pan sauce which infuses both the lamb and the sauce with an amazing flavor.
TCD 10| Sous Vide Chicken Breast Sous vide crispy skin chicken breast with sauted spring vegetables and chicken jus.
TCD 11| Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad The summer heirloom tomato caprese is demonstrated.

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How To Pan Roast A Rack Of Lamb | Video Technique



Although there are numerous ways to cook a rack of lamb, one of my favorite methods is pan roasting. Pan roasting is the process in which you first sear your meat in a pan and then finish the "roasting process" in a hot oven. This is the most common method among professionals to cook most proteins, including poultry and fish.

Start by seasoning your rack of lamb liberally on both sides with kosher salt. Heat an appropriate sized, heavy bottom sauté pan over a high flame and add a high temp cooking oil once the pan heats up. Here we're using our standard 50/50 mix of canola oil and clarified butter

Once the oil is hot, lay the rack of lamb gently in the pan with the bones facing away from you. This way, if any oil splashes out of the pan, the oil will move away from you, not back onto your hand. 

Allow the lamb rack to brown on its back side for about 2-5 minutes depending on how powerful your burner is. Once it becomes a nice golden brown, flip the rack so that the bones rest away from you, leaning on the back edge of the pan, so the "top" of the loin has a chance to caramelize and brown. When you flip the lamb, it's possible that the pan will flame briefly. If it continues to flame, remove the pan from the burner and blow the flame out before continuing. A prolonged flame in your pan can give an "acrid" flavor to the product you're cooking, not to mention it's slightly dangerous, especially if you don't have a professional hood.

Allow the lamb to continue to sear for another 60 seconds and then place the pan, without changing the lamb's position, into a 450-500°F (230-260°C) oven. Roast in the oven for about 5-8 minutes or until mid-rare.

To check for proper doneness, squeeze the sides of the lamb between your middle finger and thumb. If the lamb still feels "squishy" and doesn't bounce back when squeezed then it's still fairly rare. If the lamb is firm and not "bouncy" when you squeeze it, then it's over cooked. If the lamb gives and bounces back immediately when squeezed then it's a perfect mid rare.

You can also take the lamb's internal temperature and remove it from the pan when you get a reading of 130ºF/55ºC, but what's the fun in that? You won't always have an instant probe thermometer when cooking, but you will always have your fingers (unless you have really bad knife skills and lop them off during prep, then I can't help you).

Once the desired finish temperature is reached, remove the lamb from the pan and allow it to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

After the lamb has been allowed to rest, slice in half, cross the bones, and serve.

Further Information


For more posts just like this, check out our ongoing Cooking Techniques Video Series. You can also view our complete How To Cook Video Index.

Cooking Techniques Video Index

Having a deep understanding of cooking techniques is the backbone of being a great chef. This video series is here to teach you both basic and advanced cooking techniques, especially ones commonly used in professional kitchens.

Each time you learn a new technique, it will open up new doors to creative dishes and allow you to create your own unique recipes and style. As this is an ongoing video series, please feel free to send your future video requests to jacob@stellaculinary.com or leave your request in the comment section below.





Watch Video Description
Cooking Techniques Video Index
CT 1| Pan Roasting Duck Breast This video will teach you how to pan roast duck breast, a technique that we discussed in-depth in SCS 6| Sautéing, Searing & Pan Roasting.
CT 2| How To Sauté Learn the basic sauté motion with some of the finer points covered.
CT 3| Pan Roasting A Rack Of Lamb The basic technique for pan roasting a rack of lamb is demonstrated in this video.
CT 4| Pan Roasting Fish In this video, an Alaskan halibut filet is used to demonstrate the proper technique for pan roasting a piece of fish.
   

How To Pan Roast Fish | Video



Pan roasting at the simplest level is starting a food product in a hot pan on the stove-top and then finishing in the oven. In this video, we pan roast a piece of halibut to give it a great crust and a succulent texture. The number one key to this technique is to never peak at your crust side and trust your judgment.

Although halibut is used in this video, any thick fillet of fish can be pan roasted in the exact same fashion including salmon, sea bass and larger pieces of cod.

Further Information



For more posts just like this, check out our ongoing Cooking Techniques Video Series. You can also view our complete How To Cook Video Index.

How To Butcher And Portion Sides Of Halibut | Video Technique




This video is the start of Halibut week here on Stella Culinary. First, the video above will teach you how to take a large side of halibut and break it down into individual portions. Then on Wednesday, I'll be releasing a video on how to properly pan roast a piece of fish just like we do at Stella. The fish that I demonstrate this technique with will be a halibut fillet.

Finally on Friday, the much anticipated launch of our recipe video series "The Completed Dish," is kicked off with our top selling entrée, and the number one recipe requested by our guests; "pan roasted halibut, marinated tomato-panzanella salad and lemon caper beurre blanc."

Alaskan Halibut season usually starts sometime in early spring and will end mid fall. Right now is prime halibut season which has led us to use it not only as a signature entrée but also as one our favorite new apps; "halibut ceviche chalupa with fresh lime and cilantro." Photos to follow.

For more information on halibut, check out this great little article by Fish Ex.

More Information:
This post is part of our ongoing Culinary Knife Skills Video Series, which teaches you a wide array of knife skills used in professional kitchens. For more information, you can also view our How To Cook Video Index.

How To Blanch Leafy Greens | Video Technique


What is Blanching?

Blanching can mean a few different things depending on who’s using the word and what application you’re talking about. In the most basic use of the term, blanching refers to very briefly par cooking an item for later use, usually using boiling water or hot fat as a cooking medium.

Why Would You Need to Blanch Something?
 

  • To preserve the quality of the food and make it easier to store usually by freezing. Blanching the food helps to preserve it by destroying bacteria that causes food to spoil and enzymes that discolor food, as seen when raw potatoes turn brown shortly after being sliced.

  • It helps to save time in the kitchen, especially restaurant kitchens. Restaurant customers don’t care how long it takes something to cook, all they know is that they’re hungry NOW! Large batches of food such as vegetables will be par cooked and then later finished to order.

  • Blanching helps remove undesirable flavors. Some vegetables and meats with strong flavors, (such as veal tripe and brussel sprouts), are sometimes blanched to make their flavor a little more mild.

  • Sometimes you have to blanch something in order to prep it for further use. For example, you need to blanch tomatoes to loosen their skins before you can make tomato concassé and you need to blanch veal sweet breads to loosen the membrane before peeling.

Basic Blanching Technique

Knowing how to blanch vegetables properly is a must have technique in any cooks arsenal. Here is the basic method that you should use.

Blanching Green Vegetables
 

  • Bring salted water to a rolling boil in a large pot.

  • Place green vegetable in boiling water until tender. Whether or not you prefer your blanched vegetables cooked all the way through, or al dente (meaning firm to the bite), is a personal preference. First, learn how to successfully blanch your vegetables all the way through, and then if you prefer them al dente, just back off on the blanching time a little bit.

  • Once the vegetable becomes tender and the green color is solidified, shock in ice water. This causes the vegetable to cool rapidly, keeping it from overcooking which could turn it mushy and affect your beautiful green color.

Blanching Root Vegetables

The technique for blanching root vegetables with complex starches such as carrots and potatoes is a little different from blanching green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and green beans. Because root vegetables are more dense, placing them directly into boiling water can cause them to cook unevenly.
To properly blanch root vegetables, start them in a pot with cold salted water and bring to a simmer. Cook them until desired tenderness is reached and then stop the cooking by shocking them in an ice bath.



Deep Water Blanching

In his book “The French Laundry Cookbook,” Chef Thomas Keller talks about the important of “deep water blanching. ” The term deep water blanching refers to blanching your vegetables in a large enough pot so that when you add your vegetable, that water maintains a rolling boil or comes back to a boil very quickly. This is based on the basic fact that the longer you cook your vegetables, the more chance you have of your color fading before they reach the proper texture.

The Importance of Adding Salt

Salt is a very important component to blanching vegetables but there is a lot of folklore surrounding the actual reason why salt is added.

A lot of people have the common misconception that adding salt to your blanching water will raise the temperature of the water, allowing you to cook your vegetables faster. Although this is technically true, it isn’t exactly accurate. Let me explain.

Two of my favorite books that I have come across in my studies are “What Einstein Told His Cook” and “What Einstein Told His Cook 2” by Robert L. Wolke. According to Wolke, adding one tablespoon of salt (or 20 grams to be exact), to 5 quarts of water, will cause the water’s boiling point to rise by only seven hundredths of one degree Fahrenheit.

However, there is an extremely valid reason for adding salt to your blanching water. Again, citing Wolke, in his book “What Einstein Told His Cook 2,” he talks about the molecular make up of chlorophyll molecules, the chemical that keeps vegetables green. Not to get too technical or geeky on you, but this is an important concept to understand.

A chlorophyll molecule consists of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen atoms with a magnesium atom in the middle. Basically what happens, is when you go to blanch your vegetables, if they are slightly acidic, which most commonly are, an acid’s hydrogen atom will replace the magnesium atom, turning your vegetable to a drab, green-gray color.

Now where the debate gets interesting is that some chefs will try and cancel out the acidity by adding baking soda (which is sodium bicarbonate) to the blanching water, making it more alkaline. The problem with this however is that the sodium bicarbonate breaks down the complex carbohydrates contained in the vegetable, making the vegetable mushy, not to mention giving off a soapy taste.

Now that we got that geek speak out of the way, here’s the punch line. Adding salt to your blanching water basically accomplishes the same thing by making it harder for the hydrogen atoms to break through the cell membrane and replace the magnesium atom. So long story short, adding salt to your blanching water improves flavor and helps keep greens from going gray.

Further Information On Blanching
 

  • Listen to SCS 4| Blanching for more in-depth information on the science and methods behind this cooking technique. 

  • Watch KP 2| Blanched Garlic for a video demonstration on how to properly blanch garlic.



For more posts just like this, check out our ongoing Kitchen Prep Video Series. You can also view our complete How To Cook Video Index.

How To Blanch Garlic | Video Technique


Blanched garlic is a great way to remove the harsh, bitter bite of raw garlic while still keeping the floral, garlic aroma and flavor. In Thomas Keller's The French Laundry Cookbook, his technique calls for the use of milk instead of water. I've found that for most purposes, water can achieve fairly comparable results and it's more cost effective.

How To Blanch Garlic
 

  • Put desired amount of garlic in a pot and cover with cold water.
  • Bring water to a boil.
  • Once water boils, strain garlic and add it back to the pot.
  • Cover with cold water, and repeat previous steps for a total of three times.
  • Blanching your garlic in this manner will get rid of the bitter taste and allow you to use as much garlic as desired without having to actually roast it. This technique also works great for any white garlic sauce, such as a garlic béchamel.
OK, Now What?

Now that you've made blanched garlic, you can use it for any number of recipes where a strong garlic flavor is desirable minus its assertive bite. Here are some recipes to give you a little inspiration:

For more posts just like this, check out our ongoing Kitchen Prep Video Series. You can also view our complete How To Cook Video Index.

What Is Clarified Butter | Definition Plus Video On How To Make

How To Clarify Butter


Clarified butter, (aka drawn butter), is whole, unsalted butter that is melted down and allowed to separate so that the milk solids can be removed. This clarification process raises the smoke point and makes it great for cooking.

The easiest way to clarify butter is over a water bath or double boiler. This allows you to gently heat the butter to the boiling point (212°F/100°C at sea level). What happens next is the water bubbles up out of the butter and evaporates, and the whey proteins form a "foam" on top.

Eventually this foam will dehydrate and collapse, leaving you a thin skin of whey protein on top and dry casein particles on the bottom. To finish the process, simply skim off the “skin” and pour off the clarified butter, being careful not to pour off any of the casein that's settled to the bottom.

At Stella, our standard cooking fat is a 50/50 mix of clarified butter and canola oil. Canola has a high smoke point and neutral flavor. The addition of clarified butter gives our proteins, especially fish, a beautiful, golden-brown glaze that can't be easily reproduced by other cooking fats. Since clarified butter is pure fat, it is shelf stable at room temperature for a couple of weeks to a month as long as it's stored in an airtight container. If stored in the refrigerator, clarified butter will last for months.

What is Ghee

Ghee is a clarified butter made using almost the identical technique as above, but is cooked in a pot instead of a double boiler. Because the milk solids come into direct contact with heat, they start to brown, giving the finished Ghee a dark brown color and a nutty aroma.

Ghee is often used in Indian and Middle Eastern Cuisine, especially in the preparation of rice. It has an extremely high smoke point (480°F/248°C), which makes it perfect for high temperature frying, sautés and stir-frys. 

 

How To Make Chicken Stock



This video will take you through the process of making a roasted chicken stock as discussed in SCS 3| Stocks Part 2.

Further Information

This post is part of our ongoing Sauces & Soups Video Series. For more information, you can also view our How To Cook Video Index.
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