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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Better than Buillon

A few years back a friend of mine introduced me to this wonderful food product.  It truly lives up to its name... it IS better than bouillon. The base is super concentrated which makes this product go a long way and worth every penny. 
Better Than Bouillon comes in a large assortment of flavor bases as well as a variety of options such as organic, kosher, and reduced sodium. You can find the basic flavors like chicken, beef and vegetable in most grocery stores. If you are unable to find the more unique flavors like clam, lobster or mushroom, go to the link that I have provided above and order a jar today! 
I really urge you to purchase this product. I would even suggest having a variety of flavors on hand. This product is so versatile, you won't regret following my advise on this one! 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Roux: What is it?

Yes, my first post is about roux.  Reason being, not many amateur
cooks know about this wonderful mixture.  So, I would like to
enlighten those lacking this knowledge.  Once you learn of its
purpose, the uses are nearly endless.  Without a doubt, I will post
multiple recipes using this concoction.

Roux, pronounced: roo, is a mixture of flour and fat…generally BUTTER!

This mixture is used as a thickening agent, much like cornstarch.  So
what can you use it to thicken?  Gravy, soups, sauces, stews…etc.  My
favorite use is a sauce called b├ęchamel or white sauce.  You’re
probably also wondering what that is.  Well, let me introduce you to
this wonderful “mother sauce”.  It all starts with roux and ends with
milk, and that’s it.  It’s a thick white sauce which can be used in
lasagna or as a base in itself for sauces such as Mornay (cheese
sauce).  Which brings me to give you a little teaser on my next
post… what greater purpose for a Mornay sauce than mac’n’cheese?!

Ok, back to roux. How to make it: In a pot/pan combine equal parts
flour and fat. I.e.1 tbsp flour and 1 tbsp butter or oil. Melt your
butter in the pan first, before adding in the flour. Now the cook time
all depends on what you intend to use your roux for.  For a white
sauce, you will only want to cook your roux for about 1-2 minutes.
This is just enough time to cook the flour and remove any raw taste.
For a brown gravy or dark stew, you can cook it until it becomes the
color of peanut butter before adding in your liquid ingredients.  For
either purpose, make sure you are almost constantly stirring the
mixture to keep it from burning.

When creating a sauce from roux, remember to use room temperature
liquid and whisk it in slowly at first, then once the sauce begins to
loosen, you can just dump in your remaining liquid.  The reason I
mention this is when you first start adding the liquid, you will
notice its still paste like.  As you continue to slowly add the
liquid, while whisking, it will begin to loosen and become more of a
thick sauce.  In order for your sauce to reach its full consistency,
you need to bring it up to a boil.

Well, I think that about covers what I wanted to tell you about roux.
If I missed anything or you have questions about this, please post a
comment below.