Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

Stone Soup

For our 10th wedding anniversary my wife had the great idea to take a page out of our kids’ favorite book: Stone Soup
Stone Soup
If you don’t know the story: 3 monks come to a village that is very suspicious of them and by pretending to teach them how to make soup from a stone, they get them to bring ingredients to share and the whole village enjoys a great feast. In Russia a similar tale is told (Каша из топора), where a hungry soldier gets food by saying he can make porridge from an axe.

We asked all party guests to bring an ingredient for the soup (only request was no raw meat). It turned out great! I started it off with a pound of mirepoix (2 parts diced onions, 1 part diced carrots & 1 part diced celery) and 3 quarts (liters) of low sodium vegetable broth – only slightly cheating over the stone and water in the story. Our guests brought: Garlic, Portabello Mushrooms, Onions, Carrots, Peas, Zucchini, Rutabaga, fresh Thyme, Oregano, & Rosemary. For the first half of the party, the soup was still vegetarian, all of a sudden there was also chicken sausage and shredded chicken and some crispy bacon on the side, which I have to say went really well with it :)

We had a little cutting station next to the pot to chop stuff and all I did before serving was adding some salt and pepper and tasting it to make sure everything had cooked through all right. It tasted quite delicious and the sense of community was a great addition to celebrating 10 years of marriage!

Mastering the Pan

For Christmas my wife picked a cooking class for me: Mastering the Pan at the West Seattle PCC.

It was a fun class and I learned a bunch of new things that I will just list here randomly:

Pan buying guide: get a stainless steel, heavy and with a riveted handle, not a stamped on bottom, almost never non-stick

“Grieving stages of oil” (how to tell if your pan has the right temperature by the Canola oil)

  1. Low heat: Oil changes viscosity
  2. Medium Low heat: light smell oil canola
  3. Medium heat: light shimmer
  4. Medium high heat: legs in the middle
  5. High heat: smoke in middle of the pan – This is where you sauté!

Or with Butter:

  1. Low melts
  2. Med low foam
  3. Medium just turns color 300F – This where you fry your egg

Dust meat with flour or breadcrumbs for easy sautéing (will get away the moisture – good for beginners).

Always brine chicken (all poultry really) and pork. Made a huge difference. We tried some brined chicken that had been way overcooked to 185F and it still was tender and juicy!

Crab or Quinoa cakes falling apart? Put in freezer for 15 min after drying and they will firm up.

That’s all I remembered for now. I will publish any of the recipes after I tried them myself ;)

PCC Cooking Class