Artichokes

The artichoke (Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus) may have thorns and an armor-like appearance, but it is a vegetable with a tender heart. This member of the thistle group of the sunflower family is a perennial plant native to the Mediterranean region and one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world, recorded as early as the

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Figs

The fig is the tasty, sensuous fruit of one of the world’s oldest trees, genus Ficus carica or common fig, a member of the mulberry (Moraceae) family. This deciduous tree grows 10-30 ft. tall. Its broad palmate leaves, with 5-7 lobes, feel rough on the surface and softly hairy on the underside. The branches do not bear

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Demystifying the Chef’s Knife: A Buyer’s Guide

The chef’s knife is one of the great workhorses of the kitchen.  It has been estimated that 90% of your slicing, dicing, and cutting needs can be accomplished with one of these culinary wonders, but  buying your first knife, like buying your first car, can be a daunting matter.  There is much to consider; not

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Lemons

If there is a Johnny Appleseed of lemons, it’s largely believed to be Christopher Columbus, who brought them to the new world. The first plantings were probably in Florida, but an Italian hybrid initially planted near L.A. is believed to be the origin of lemon production in California and Arizona, which now accounts for 95%

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Anatomy of an Egg

Be it baked, boiled, coddled, or fried, a well prepared egg is the hallmark of a good cook. With this post we begin an ongoing series called Eggs 101, in which we will address each of these basic cooking techniques in-depth. By the time we reach the end, you will have mastered each approach. But

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Freezer Jam

Rarely will you find a “quick and easy” approach to cooking that produces better results than a slower, more complex method, but that’s just the case with freezer jam. The conventional method of jam making requires cooking fresh fruits with sugar and some pectin.  The mixture is then placed into sterilized glass jars which are, in turn, placed into boiling

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The Case for Mise en Place

Mise en place (pronounced “MEEZ-on plahs”). Three little words that can make all the difference between success or failure in the kitchen. Roughly translated, it means “to put in place”. The most basic of all cooking basics

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Pesto Basics

Although it’s most famously paired with pasta, pesto goes with just about everything; meat, fish, vegetables, rice…you name it.  So every home cook should have it in his or her repertoire. It’s an easy sauce to make with just a few keys to success.  The real beauty is that you can easily put your own signature

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