All About Your Food - The Chef's Cooking School

All About Your Food

Don’t cry over your burnt peppers

Learn All About Your Food

As we learn to cook and challenge ourselves with new  and exciting foods we need to learn all about the foods we are preparing. In this section we will start to dig into Beef, Cheese, Eggs, Pork, Poultry, Produce, Seafood, Veal.The foods that we eat are available in such a huge variety, however many have unique needs for handling, caring and preparation. 

Burning your Food and liking it

Did you know the leaves of Rhubarb are poisonous, however you can eat the stalks. Apple seeds contain arsenic, but eat an apple a day and you know what they say. Burning, I mean actually burning a red bell pepper yields a sweet flesh we refer to as roasted peppers.  A fresh onion makes your eyes water when you cut into it.  These are just a few fun facts that scratch the surface of learning all about your food.  

All About Your Food 1
red bell pepper

Breaking down produce into groups for further identification (they are not conclusive)

  • Onion and Bulb family includes Chives, Scallions, Leeks, Garlic, Shallots and many a variety of onions including Spanish, Bermuda, Vidalia, White.  Each one has a similar yet unique flavor profile.  The bulbs are processed with a knife in a similar way after they are peeled, then sliced to your need.   
  • Cabbage Family includes the obvious varieties of cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli. 
  • Leaf Vegetables refer most closely to items we may use in salads, or steamed as a vegetable.  Belgium endive, Romaine, endive, escarole, leaf lettuce, spinach and more
  • Root Vegetables are just how they are classified, the main vegetable grows underground, carrots, potatoes, turnips and radishes fall into this category.  These tend to be dense body vegetables that take longer to cook, usually in broth or water.  They hold a lot of nutrients.
  • Squash grow from vines some of them are cucumbers, winter squash, carnival, acorn, yellow summer squash, and zucchini squash
  • Spices and Herbs opens up to this category into virtually anything you use to season or flavor your recipes:   There are fresh and dried herbs, to name a few,  Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Savory, Cilantro, Oregano, Saffron and the list goes on.  These previous listed ones are predominantly leafs, or saffron threads.  There are ones that differ though, ones that you may grind, seeds like peppercorns, mustard seeds, fennel seeds, coriander, nutmeg and allspice to name a few.  These can be purchased ground, however for a fresh full flavor you can grind them in a spice grinder, or Mort and pestle.  Often times you can use a designated coffee grinder.
  • Fruits are the production of a plant that allows the plant to reproduce through the seeds in the fruit being dispensed by being consumed and dispersed.  Apples, Plums, Nectarines, Oranges, Mangoes, kiwis.  The flavor profiles contend with sweet and citrus while handling different peels and seeds and cores.
  • Fruit Vegetables are unique because they don’t typically have the sweetness that fruits do however they are like them in that the seeds are inside the item.  Some fruit vegetables are Tomatoes, Avocados, Eggplant, Peppers, Tomatillas.  The flavors are unique in themselves but savory in nature. In handling the items peels and skins, seeds and cores may need to be contended with.   

How about a Cheese Omelette, well this covers eggs and a bit of cheese anyway

Eggs are used in so many things from omelet’s and other breakfast feasts to cookies and cakes, meatloaf, and sauces to, soufflés, cream broule and ice-creams, even hors d ‘oeuvres.

Cheese types are determined by the milk they are made with, the time in an aging process, the shape and size of the curd as well as the salting which controls the bacteria Growth

goats milk cheddar

Proteins are the treasure sought by meat eaters to have as part a meal

This category isn’t for vegans and vegetarian but for those who want to sit to meals with meat proteins as part of their diet.  These protein lists are broad and the preparations of food that can made into recipes with them is even broader.  Discover all about your food proteins as you read on.

The meats that are most commonly consumed are Beef, Pork, Veal, and Lamb. However Venison Goat and wild animals are all ,unique in themselves, with individual flavor profiles.  Each animal is made of muscles which have a purpose for the animal.  Pushing, pulling, protecting are all functions that they have.  The amount of use the muscles get combined with the size of an animal determine cooking methods for those meats.

Poultry is probably the most widely consumed protein with chicken being the leader in the poultry category.

Seafood is as broad a category as the ocean is deep and wide.  It is important to know that seafood's can be nutritious if not laden with high fat cooking procedures such as frying or the addition of loads of rich sauces and cheeses.

red snapper