Cooking Tips from Jody Adams
Last night I did no blog posting or recipe making. I was invited by my dear friend Jen to attend a Yelp event at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge. Can we talk about being high class in Boston? I couldn’t say no!
The evening was magical. Walking into Charles Square, the Beantown Swing Orchestra playing, their singer crooning Frank Sinatra through the 40s style microphone. There was food provided by Henrietta’s Table (grass-fed beef sliders) and the Rialto (white gazpacho – made with grapes, almonds, and corn) and various appetizers ranging from lobster puffs to watermelon and feta kebabs. Stoli provided the mojitos. And everyone mingled in their dressy attire, chatting and enjoying the warm breeze of an August evening. I felt bad for all of the dinner guests sitting at the patios of the surrounding restaurants. I would have wanted to join in the fun too.
An unexpected surprise occurred as the band took their mid-evening break and all spotlights turned to a small table set up on a stage. Jody Adams, executive chef of the Rialto and Top Chef Masters Contestant (!) appeared behind the table with a bin full of food to do a cooking demonstration. My heart skipped a beat. If there is anything I love more than cooking it is watching a master chef do the cooking for me and seeing how they do it.
While Chef Adams seared bluefish and whipped up a cucumber and yogurt sauce, she talked about some tips and tricks she had picked up in the kitchen. I felt it a crime not to share them with you all, budding chefs in the making.
~All you need is an 8 inch chefs knife, a pairing knife, and a good cutting board
~Always chop with your fingers on the top of the knife facing up, that way if your hand slips you won’t chop off your fingers
~When searing fish (skin side down), don’t move it around in the pan. Just let it sit and you can see how far it has cooked up the side. That way, the skin gets crispy!
~A plane grater is a great way to mince garlic
~When cooking fresh greens, cook only until they are just starting to wilt
~If you are serving meat or fish 10 – 15 minutes after it has been cooked, undercook it a little, as it will continue to cook on the plate. Then you will serve it to perfection.
I soaked up every word of wisdom she gave, even the ones that probably seemed like general every day knowledge to her. But there was one question that I needed answering. And I couldn’t get up the courage to ask in the crowd. So after her demo, Z pushed me over to the table where she was standing. I was so nervous!
“How do you season your food correctly?”
*Insert Z rolling his eyes at me*
Chef Adams didn’t think this was as stupid a question as I did, and told me that, instead of seasoning at the end of a meal, one should season throughout the cooking process, at the beginning and then continually as you cooking. And, she said, taste. Keep tasting as you go and carry the flavor with you.
Maybe my bland British food will become a triumph of flavor! If I’m taking any words of wisdom, it would be those. Oh, and the thing about your fingers while chopping. I can’t really afford to lose a finger.