Technique

The Pastry School Diaries: Starting with the Basics

Editorial Assistant, Lauren Katz, has enrolled in the part time Baking & Pastry Arts program at New York City’s Institute of Culinary Education. Follow her each week as she shares her sweet experience!
 
The last few classes have focused on different ways to work with eggs and sugar. It’s amazing how far knowing and mastering a few simple recipes can get you in the kitchen. Take meringue, for example, you start by simply whipping egg whites and sugar. Once baked, the mixture turns into an airy cookie.

Meringues piped by myself and my class members, flavored and colored similarly to our marshmallows.

 
Adding just a bit of almond flour transforms the same mixture into French macarons. OR, you can gently fold in melted chocolate, butter and egg yolks and create a flourless chocolate souffle!

 

I’m going to have to recreate these flawless souffles as part of our final exam

 

Another must-know recipe is custard. To make a basic custard, you boil milk and sugar, gradually add it to a mixture of eggs and vanilla, strain it and cool. Easy as– well, easier than– pie! With this custard base, you can bake it to make creme brulee or flan, or you can add chunks of baguette and raisins to make bread pudding. Other desserts that start with a similar base are creme anglaise and ice cream.

 

Flan is made by cooking sugar down to a caramel, letting it harden in a tin cup, pouring custard base on top and then baking it in a water bath.

 

Coffee creme brulee flavored with my new favorite ingredient, Trablit 

 

Be sure to check back next Friday for more delicious fun!

6 Reasons to Keep That Leftover Pickle Juice

Next time you polish off a jar of pickles (dills, radish, bread-and-butters or any kind you fancy), don’t toss the juice! Put it to good use in a variety of tasty dishes.

 

Stir it into coleslaw, potato salad or pasta salad for extra zing.

Add it to water when boiling potatoes to infuse them with a bit of extra flavor.

Stir it into Bloody Marys, martinis or micheladas.

Whisk it with olive oil, minced herbs and lemon zest for a tangy dressing.

Use it as a marinade for chicken before grilling. Let sit overnight to help tenderize the meat.

Or boil it until the brine is reduced by half to concentrate flavor, then whisk with butter to make a bright sauce for drizzling on cooked fish or vegetables.

More Ideas

How to Make Refrigerator Pickles

How to Make Your Own Preserves

Jam, Jelly & Preserve Recipes

What’s in Season: Butternut Squash

Despite the millennium-long lifespan of squash, butternut is relatively new to the game–it wasn’t introduced until 1936! Now it’s one of America’s most popular squashes, and for good reason! Butternut squash is hearty, sweet and oh-so versatile. We love it in soup, salad and even dessert. But you already knew all that. Here’s what you may not know about this delicious gourd.

 

 

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Cooking School Lesson 10: Do You Know Your Herbs?

Want to transform humdrum dinners into mealtime magic? It’s easy! Hit the kitchen armed with these genius tips and simple recipes from our Every Day experts, and your friends and family will wonder if you went to cooking school on your lunch break!

 

Lesson 10: Herb is the Word!

Fresh herbs put the dazzle in dinner. Learn a few new uses for your favorites. (And never mistake the cilantro for parsley again!)

 

 

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How to Go to Cooking School with The Kitchn

Our Love Your Kitchen Challenge has officially come to a close, and we’re so amazed with everyone’s organized, stocked and newly decorated kitchens! Whether you simply tackled reorganizing your junk drawer, or competed all 25 tasks, every task counts and you should feel proud of your hard work! But the best part: You don’t have to be done! Now that you’ve make your kitchen more functional and easy to cook in, it’s time to improve your cooking skills. And The Kitchn is here to show you how.

 

 

Have you ever wanted to go to cooking school, but never found the time? Starting today, The Kitchn wants you to come to their Cooking School: 20 days, 20 lessons to help you become a better cook. Every day, they’ll tackle an essential cooking topic and explain what you should know. Each lesson has three different homework options, so you can choose the one that teaches you what you need.

 

Join in on the fun with us! We’ll be following and promoting the 20-day school on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. And be sure to share your Cooking School accomplishments on Instagram using the hashtag #kitchnschool.

 

Click here to sign up. Cooking school is now in session!

Related Links

All Love Your Kitchen Challenge Coverage

Cooking Lessons from our Every Day Experts

Our Best-Ever Cooking Tips

Cooking School Lesson 9: Mix Up Your Herbs and Spices

Want to transform humdrum dinners into mealtime magic? It’s easy! Hit the kitchen armed with these genius tips and simple recipes from our Every Day experts, and your friends and family will wonder if you went to cooking school on your lunch break!

 

Lesson 9: Spice Things Up!

Dried herbs and spices are great on their own, but they’re even better together. There’s a whole world of mind-blowing flavor sitting in your spice cabinet, just waiting for you to play matchmaker. Start mixing and mingling with these eight make-any-meal-better blends.

 

 

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Cooking School Lesson 8: Whip up the Perfect Salad Dressing

Want to transform humdrum dinners into mealtime magic? It’s easy! Hit the kitchen armed with these genius tips and simple recipes from our Every Day experts, and your friends and family will wonder if you went to cooking school on your lunch break!

 

Lesson 8: Dress for Salad Success

For stunning salads, reach for a mixing bowl instead of a bottle. Homemade vinaigrette is easy and the flavor combos are endless. Just remember “One part acid to three parts oil,” and you’ll be a greens goddess.

 

 

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Cooking School Lesson 6: Whip Up a Killer Pan Sauce

Want to transform humdrum dinners into mealtime magic? It’s easy! Hit the kitchen armed with these genius tips and simple recipes from our Every Day experts, and your friends and family will wonder if you went to cooking school on your lunch break!

 

Lesson 6: Whip Up a Killer Pan Sauce

The trick to decking out ho-hum pork chops, chicken breasts or steaks? Deglaze! Translation: Give the meat a good sear and then turn the stuff that’s left in the bottom of the skillet into a two-minute pan sauce that’s amazing drizzled over everything on your plate.

 

 

 

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Cooking School Lesson 5: Two Ways to Cook Your Veggies

Want to transform humdrum dinners into mealtime magic? It’s easy! Hit the kitchen armed with these genius tips and simple recipes from our Every Day experts, and your friends and family will wonder if you went to cooking school on your lunch break!

 

Lesson 5: Be a Veggie Whisperer

 
There’s no one right way to cook a vegetable. Use high heat and fast cooking for fresh, bright-tasting sides, or go low and slow for a richer, earthier flavor. Your dinners will be forever free of boring broccoli… or beans… or greens!

 

 
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Cooking School Lesson 4: Fix Flavor FAST!

Want to transform humdrum dinners into mealtime magic? It’s easy! Hit the kitchen armed with these genius tips and simple recipes from our Every Day experts, and your friends and family will wonder if you went to cooking school on your lunch break!

Lesson 4: Fix Flavor Fast

It’s happened to all of us: That pot of soup, piece of fish or bowl of pasta is just plain boring. Don’t worry! These four simple ingredients can turn a one-note dish into a plate-licking hit in a matter of minutes.

 

 

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