Useful Tips


How to chop an onion

Watch this short video to see an easy, efficient way to peel and chop an onion.

How to chop a bell pepper

Watch this short video to see the easiest way to seed, trim and chop a pepper

Choosing / Selecting

How to select meat

Always look for meat that has a uniform color, with no signs of shriveling at the edges. Any fat on the meat should be white rather than grey. Poultry skin should be smooth with firm whitish flesh. Always ask or check the packaging to see when the meat was packed and what the expiration date is so you can choose the freshest.

How to select fish

Always ask or check the packaging to see when the fish was packed and what the expiration date is so you can choose the freshest. The color of the fish should be bright and fresh looking, with no smell at all.

How to select fruit

When selecting fruit, the general rule is to make sure each piece is firm and doesn't have any dark spots or dents that will start to rot as soon as you get home. Sometimes you have to manhandle the fruit, turning over a package of berries or bananas to see if they're as fresh on the bottom as on the top. And it's always best to buy what's in season and likely to be grown within a few hundred miles rather than on the other side of the world.

How to select vegetables

Make sure your vegetables are clean and firm or crisp to the touch when shopping. Bruised, soft or wilting vegetables are already past their prime. This is especially true of more delicate leafy vegetables and broccoli.


Cooking pasta

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add a generous pinch of salt, gently immerse the pasta and give it a quick stir early on so it doesn’t stick together. Follow the cooking time suggested on the package, but you can always pull out a piece to taste for doneness. Dry pasta takes a lot longer than fresh. Either way, drain the pasta but always save a little of the hot pasta water to add to the finished dish. This will help make a creamier, silkier sauce when everything is blended together in the pan for the last few minutes over a low heat.

How to seed a cucumber

Wash and trim the ends of the cucumber, then slice it in half lengthwise. Run a spoon inside each half so you scrape out and discard the seeds. Now you can put the cucumber back together and make slices cross wise to the degree of thickness you want.

Cooking garlic

Cooking garlic is trickier than an onion because it burns quickly. Burnt garlic will actually sour the taste of your sauce. Minced garlic needs only a minute or two to soften and release its flavor, so it's best to add your minced garlic when the onion is almost done. Or sauté it for just a minute or two in olive oil before you add other ingredients or liquids to create your sauce.

Turkey Day

What if I don’t want to cook a whole turkey?

The best alternative is roasting a boneless turkey breast, counting on 20 minutes per pound at 350 degrees. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Melt a half stick unsalted butter, add one glass white wine, salt, pepper, and a pinch of crushed herbs like sage or rosemary. Baste the breast with the wine butter mixture and roast for 20 minutes. Turn the oven down to 350 and continue basting every 20 minutes until done. Remove turkey breast from the oven, cover with tin foil for 20 minutes. Slice and away you go!

What's the best way to carve a turkey?

Remember the old movies where father stands up at the end of the long dinner table and starts carving the turkey while everyone watches? Well, this isn’t the time to wing it. Building a proper fire and carving a turkey are skills we have to learn, even if we’re using an electric carver. Take a look at this video because it shows the best way to carve up a turkey breast for the holiday platter: Visit Site

What should I bring to someone else's dinner?

Bringing a nice bottle of wine to the party is always a safe choice. A special cranberry or chutney sauce, or a good round of cheese like stilton is also a good holiday gift. So is a festive tin of cookies or box of chocolates. You could also bring a bunch of fresh flowers or a ChowGuys apron. If you really want to pitch in, why not bring a dish of Chow Guys’ Hashed Brussels Sprouts?

What should I ask other people to bring if I'm making dinner?

You could ask them to bring the whole dinner so you can watch the football games uninterrupted. Just kidding. Ask them what they’d like to bring – a holiday pie, a side dish or salad – so they take a little of the load off your back. If you give them the choice you’ll also probably get a better result! But keep the turkey in your hands because it’s the main event on Thanksgiving.

How do I time the cooking so everything’s ready at once?

Start with a simple game plan. Decide what time you want to sit down for your feast and work backward. The turkey and stuffing have a get into the oven 4 or 5 hours before liftoff so that’s where you start. Once the turkey is roasting, set the table and get all your platters and dishes out so you can take stock of what goes where. Then, about 75 minutes before sit down, you can prep all the side dishes and get them cooking. This will give you time to get your snacks, cranberry sauce and wine ready to serve. While the turkey is getting happy under the aluminum foil, you can prep the gravy and finish off all the sides. Of course it pays to have a sous-chef or mate to lend a helping hand.

What's a good wine to serve with turkey?

Thanksgiving is American as apple pie, so I like serving an American wine. Because turkey is a hearty flavorful bird, it goes best with a wine that can salute and stand up to it. A red pinot noir from Oregon or California is a great choice. Pinot isn’t too heavy but it has depth and flavor. If you prefer a white wine, you could try a Gewürztraminer from California. It’s got a spicy finish that goes beautifully with turkey. Just remember that drinking good wine is a pleasure so there’s no way you can go wrong.

What can I do with leftovers?

Every Thanksgiving I say: “why don’t we have turkey more often?” So, I just repeat Thanksgiving dinner – dish for dish if possible – the next night or the night after. Turkey and stuffing are even better a couple of days later. What’s better than a fresh turkey sandwich, with a little cranberry sauce and stuffing washed down with a cold beer? If you want to get fancy, there’s turkey tetrazzini, which my mother used to make and I still love. Here’s a good version, but skip the potato chips at the end: Visit Site