Monday, April 18, 2011


No, I'm not talking about affection! I'm talking about those bits of food left over in the pan, and why they are so important.

One of the important steps in cooking food is caramelization. Basically, this consists of cooking the sugars in the food, and it is this which gives you the crusty brown stuff that is so flavourful--one of the primary reasons for grilling, among other things. Caramelization accounts for the searing on steak, the browning of meats and vegetables, and much more. The more caramelization you have on the surface of your food, the more flavourful it will be, and that accounts for the popularity of "blackened" food.

Buy at
Steaks Cooking on Grill
Dennis Lane
The trick is not to let all that delicious caramelization go to waste. If you have "bits" left over in the pan after cooking, that is a huge source of flavour. This is where "deglazing the pan" comes in. Use any liquid whatsoever--whatever will go with your meal--and pour a few teaspoons into the hot pan. Stir well and scrape up all those crusty bits into the liquid. Then reduce the liquid, and you will have yourself a tasty sauce or gravy to add to your dish. Your family or guests will love it!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What Can You Do with a Roux? Part III

Buy at
Biscuits and Gravy Breakfast
John Burcham
A roux, as I described some few weeks ago, is basically a mixture of flour and fat (either oil or butter). One of the Southern staples I grew up with was "cream" gravy, a mixture of pan drippings, flour, and milk. This gravy is the basis for most Southern families' gravies, and it's easy to make; simply measure (either formally or informally, by eye) your amount of pan drippings after cooking meat. It doesn't matter what kind of meat--people use this after cooking sausage, pork chops, chicken-fried steak, fried chicken, or just about anything (except bacon). Add flour into the pan with the hot pan drippings, and mix until completely smooth. Now add the same amount of milk that you added of flour, and whisk (or in the traditional style, beat with a fork) until completely smooth. You will also reduce it a little in the process, and you'll be left with a delicious addition to your meal!