The cold has finally broken and it’s beautiful May weather! Welcome to this month’s Chop Talk! Just a quick note that we are taking Pre-Orders this month for the new Michael Symon Knife Line, which should be available late June~early July and we’ll keep you informed with all the latest updates.
In our Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips we’re talking “Mother Sauces.” Cooking can be a fun filled experience in the kitchen which allows the home cook to be creative and speak from their heart. We’ll teach you all the secrets on how to make Béchamel, Velouté, Espagnole, Tomato and Hollandaise. Our Chef’s Spotlight is Chef Ming Tsai. Ming is a James Beard and Emmy award winning chef, author, TV/new media host and producer, product developer, food allergy advocate and East-West lifestyle expert. Our video recipe this month from Chef Tsai is his Perfect Eggs Benedict with Guilt Free Hollandaise in keeping with our theme. Our Gourmet Store Spotlight brings you the Big Green Egg and ties into our Product Specials & Highlights which is our 2 pc knife set, specifically designed for Big Green Egg. Enjoy!
Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips: Mother Sauces
Cooking can be a fun filled experience in the kitchen which allows the home cook to be creative and speak from their heart. There is not a day that goes by that we don’t feel that passion and love for ingredients. In the 19th century, Marie-Antoine Carême anointed Béchamel, Velouté, Espagnole, and tomato sauce as the building blocks for all other sauces in his work L’Art de la Cuisine Française au Dix-Neuvième Siecle. Later on, Hollandaise got added to the family. He is credited with developing a variety of sauces that all stemmed from a series of 4 focused sauces. These became known as the “Mother Sauces”, and were used as a base sauce to create hundreds of derivatives. In the 20th century, Auguste Escoffier updated these sauces and added a 5th mother sauce.
Today, they are recognized as the following 5 sauces:
Bechamel – a milk based sauce that is thickened with a roux (clarified butter and flour). This sauce is named after its creator Louis XIV’s steward, Louis de Béchamel. Considered the king of all sauces, and often called a cream sauce because of its consistency, this sauce is most often used in all types of dishes. Examples may include crème, mornay & soubise.
Velouté – a sauce made with white stock and roux. It is most often made with chicken or fish stock, and can sometimes be enriched with egg yolks or cream. Examples would include sauce allemande, white bordelaise, and supreme.
Espagnole or Brown Sauce – a brown stock based sauce often made with a rich meat stock (veal, beef, or lamb) a mirepoix of vegetables (carrots, celery and onion), a brown roux (the roux must be cooked until it changes color) fresh herbs, and tomato paste. Examples would include sauce bordelaise, chasseur, Madeira, Chateaubriand, and a refined Demi glace.
Tomato Sauce – a tomato based sauce normally made with onion, tomato & fresh herbs. Examples would include marinara, and spaghetti sauce.
Hollandaise/Emulsions – sauces that are emulsified, meaning a fat and a liquid made into one coalescent mixture. This can be as basic as a vinaigrette, or more in depth such as a hollandaise or mayonnaise.
Sauce can be defined as a flavorful liquid or semi solid liquid that is served on or alongside of food. In French Cuisine, sauces can date back all the way to the middle ages. Back then, when refrigeration was not available, the shelf life on food was much shorter. Sauces were used to mask the foods’ poor quality, and give the plate a more pleasing taste. Over the years, sauces became more popular for their flavor, and chefs began using creativity to wow the palate with their skills.
Today, all 5 mother sauces or “grand sauces,” are still used as a foundation to assist chefs and cooks in the kitchen. Pay close attention to the quality of ingredients going into the sauce, as it is very important to the success of the final sauce’s taste. Like anything you do in life, if you put less than quality ingredients in, you get a less than quality result and that fact couldn’t be more true than with this very important element of the plate. Selection of good quality wines and vegetables can be new for some people, so consult with your local store manager to get answers to any of your questions.
How To Make Roux
Roux can be an intimidating process, so lets take a closer look at the components and how they are prepared. Roux is simply a cooked mixture of equal parts wheat flour (use all purpose) and a fat, traditionally clarified butter. First melt the fat in a pot or pan, then slowly add the flour being sure to whisk it until the flour is completely incorporated. It is also important to cook the roux until there is no longer a raw flour taste, and can continue cooking until the desired color has been achieved. The color can range from white to dark brown depending on how long it is left on the heat. The end result is a flavoring, coloring, thickening agent that can enhance the flavor and consistency of sauces, soups and stocks.
Here are some tips for a more successful sauce. When using a roux to thicken, be sure to constantly stir during cooking to prevent lumps. If lumps remain, attempt to use a whisk to break them up. If that doesn’t work, run the sauce through a strainer and then adjust seasoning. When cooking an egg thickened sauce, be sure to stir the sauce over a double boiler over medium heat (not boiling) to lightly and slowly cook the egg. Be careful not to let the sauce boil, as the eggs will curdle and destroy the consistency of the sauce. Also make sure the water in the double boiler doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl, this will prevent the transfer of heat from happening too fast and potential scrambling the sauce.
When making a cold emulsion such as a vinaigrette or mayonnaise, be sure to add the fat slowly. This will allow the emulsion to take place and the liquid to accept the fat while whisking. If the fat is added too fast, the sauce will “break,” leaving a pool of oily mess with a destroyed look and flavor.
We hope this helps you explore the exciting preparations of sauce making. Try adding different herbs and spices or cook with a different wine of your choice. Remember, sauces are to enhance a dish, so always be sure that the main protein, vegetable and/or starch is great quality and purchased from a reputable supplier. It is our hope that with this series that you will start attempting a little more complexity in the kitchen and that in some small way, we’re helping bring out your inner ‘Gourmet Chef.’
Chef’s Spotlight: Chef Ming Tsai
Ming’s love of cooking was forged in his early years. Ming was raised in Dayton, Ohio, where he spent hours cooking alongside his mother and father at Mandarin Kitchen, the family-owned restaurant. His experience also taught him about restaurant operations and the art of making customers happy.
Ming headed east to attend school at Phillips Academy Andover. From there, Ming continued to Yale University, earning his degree in Mechanical Engineering. During this time, Ming spent his summers attending Le Cordon Bleu cooking school and apprenticing at area restaurants in Paris. After graduating from Yale, Ming moved to Paris and trained under renowned Pastry Chef Pierre Herme and then on to Osaka with Sushi Master Kobayashi. Upon his return to the United States, Ming enrolled in graduate school at Cornell University, earning a Master’s degree in Hotel Administration and Hospitality Marketing.
In 1998, Ming opened Blue Ginger in Wellesley, MA and immediately impressed diners from Boston and beyond with the restaurant’s innovative East-West cuisine. In its first year, Blue Ginger received 3 stars from the Boston Globe, was named “Best New Restaurant” byBoston Magazine, and was nominated by the James Beard Foundation as “Best New Restaurant 1998″. That same year, Esquire Magazinehonored Ming as “Chef of the Year.” The James Beard Foundation crowned Ming “2002 Best Chef Northeast” and, since 2002, the Zagat Restaurant Guide has rated Blue Ginger within the “Top 5 ofMost Popular Boston Restaurants.” In 2007, Blue Ginger received the Ivy Award from Restaurants & Institutions for its achievement of the highest standards in food, hospitality and service. In 2009, Ming and Blue Ginger won IFMA’s Silver Plate Award in the Independent Restaurant category recognizing overall excellence in the country. Most recently in November 2012, Boston Magazineranked Blue Ginger as one of The 50 Best Restaurants.
In early 2013, Ming opened his second restaurant Blue Dragon – an Asian gastro pub located in the Four Point Channel area of Boston. The tapas-style menu features Ming’s East-West approach but now takes a twist on traditional pub favorites. Blue Dragon was named one of Esquire Magazine’s “Best New Restaurants 2013” and one of Zagat’s “24 new restaurants you need to know about around the US“.
Ming serves as the President, National Advisory Board, of the Family Reach organization, a non-profit who’s mission is to provide financial relief and support to families fighting cancer.
Ming is a national spokesperson for the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), and is proud to have developed the Food Allergy Reference Book. First used at Blue Ginger, the Reference Book is a pioneering system that creates safeguards to help food-allergic people dine safely. For four years, Ming worked with Massachusetts Legislature to help write Bill S. 2701, which was signed into law in 2009. This groundbreaking legislation, the first of its kind in the US, requires local restaurants to comply with simple food allergy awareness guidelines.
In 2012, Ming was invited by Secretary of State, The Honorable Hillary Clinton, to represent the U.S. with the Diplomatic Culinary Partnership Initiative/American Chef Corps. The Chef Corps is a network of chefs from around the country that participate in a number of official government programs that use food as a foundation for public diplomacy efforts at home and abroad.
Ming is the host and executive producer of the public television cooking show, SIMPLY MING. In 2009, SIMPLY MING received two Emmy nominations for ‘Outstanding Culinary Program’ and ‘Outstanding Lifestyle/Culinary Host,’ and received two Bronze Telly Awards in the categories of ‘Lighting’ and ‘Art Direction.’ His SIMPLY MING video podcasts, the first of their kind, feature tutorials on everything from filleting fish to food allergy basics (available on ming.com). Ming began cooking for television audiences on the Food Network, where he was the 1998 Emmy Award-Winning host of East Meets West with Ming Tsai. Ming’s Quest, his popular cooking adventure series, also aired on Food Network. In the summer of 2008, Ming traveled to the Beijing Olympics with NBC’s Today show to provide viewers with insight into food customs and traditions that define his Chinese heritage.
In addition to television, Ming is the author of five cookbooks: Blue Ginger: East Meets West Cooking with Ming Tsai, Simply Ming, Ming’s Master Recipes, and Simply Ming One-Pot Meals and Simply Ming In Your Kitchen.
Perfect Eggs Benedict with Guilt Free Hollandaise Sauce from Chef Ming Tsai
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