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More Tips From The Pro's
gourmet articlescooking tips from the pro's
December 2002
If you are a serious home cook, cooking student or new chef you're gonna dig this new feature. Each month we will post our readers' cooking tips...

Infusing Herbs

If you wish to infuse the flavors of fresh chervil, tarragon or any other 'soft herb' into a sauce or broth, add them about Thirty seconds before serving. Thirty seconds is a long enough period for the color to brighten and the flavor infuse. If you leave it in there much longer the green color will begin to turn grey.

De-seeding Pomegranates

The absolute best way to clean the seeds out of a pomegranate. First, cut the fruit in half across it's circumference. Second, hold one half upside down in your hand over a medium size bowl. Then, with the backside of a serving spoon, whack the the side of the pomegranate and turn it. Whack it, Turn it and repeat. All the seeds will fall out into the bowl. Repeat with the other half of the fruit. Some of the pith will fall into the bowl with the seeds, but it will minimal. It will be easy to pick it out. In no time you will have a bowl of ready to eat pomegranate seeds that can be used as a garnish in entrees and salads. I like it plain as a snack or in my breakfast cereal in place of sliced bananas or berries. Eren G - Chicago

Get Fruity

Fresh, fruit-based salsas marry well with pork and beef and offer an opportunity to introduce new ethnic flavors to your guests." "Fresh pineapple and mangos create a healthy and delicious combination with many meat dishes and can cool the hot flavors of Jalapeno while enhancing the flavor. Peter Serantoni

What to cook a chef for dinner?

As a chef the scariest thing to hear when eating at a non-chef's home is, "I have never cooked this before, but I thought I should do something interesting as you were coming to dinner." If you want to cook for a chef and make them happy cook what you cook best... If that means lamb stew or pasta and meat balls then that is the way to go - just make sure you have plenty of beer and wine to go with your creation!

Keep Your Veggies Green
Add plenty of salt to the boiling water that you use to cook your vegetables with. The salt locks in the natural color. Additionally if you are planning on cooling them down to reheat later, plunge them into iced water - but do not leave them in the cooling water for too long. Once they have cooled, remove them as leaving them in the cold water tarnishes their natural color too...

Cooking Wine

Do not compromise! Good sauce requires good wine. Cook with the same wine you intend to drink or a similar wine from the same region. (Christophe Le Chatton)

Panic Free - Home Entertaining.
Do you love to entertain at home but seem to get in frenzy during the final stages of finishing your dishes? Think about cooking foods that you can prepare earlier in the day and simply heat and serve when your guests arrive. Dishes like stews, roasts and braised items work well. Or consider simplifying your menu by adding in a salad in place of vegetables, Grilled Sirloin, fingerling potatoes and seasonal greens tossed in tasty balsamic vinaigrette...

When Cooking with Dried Chilies
Boil them for 10 minutes, then let them sit for 20-30 minutes, through water away, put them on food processor, add little fresh water, puree them to make a paste. Pass through a sieve. You'll have a delicious paste that you can use right away, put in the refrigerator or freeze. (Joaquin Gonzalez)

When Cooking With Fresh Chilies
It has been said time and time again... When handling fresh chilies wear a pair of latex gloves. If you do not have access to a pair make sure you wash your hands a couple of times once you are done and scrub under your finger nails with a nail brush. If you think it hurts to get chili juice in your eye - just wait until you go to the potty! I did it once - and once was enough! (Anonymous)

No Time For an Elaborate Dessert?
If you don't have time to make an elaborate dessert at the end of a gourmet meal you might want to serve cheese. It is often wonderful with a sweet accompaniment like figs and port wine reduction or caramel and date puree.
Chef Sarah Stegner, The Dining Room - Chicago

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