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Ask Chef Jeff

Chef Jeffrey Igel is the chair of the Culinary Arts & Hospitality Department at Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton. Here, “Chef Jeff” answers your cooking & cuisine queries and shares his recipes.

Brown Butter Basics

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Q. What is brown butter and how can it be used? — Ginger, Appleton A. Brown butter is unsalted butter that has been melted over low heat until it separates into its two primary components of butter fat (also known as clarified butter) and milk solids. The butter fat floats and the milk solids rest READ MORE

Braising Tips

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Q. What cuts of meat benefit the most from braising? Any general braising tips? — Colby, Little Chute A. Braising is a combination cooking method that utilizes both dry and moist cooking methods on tough pieces of meat. Tough cuts come from the part of animals that move a lot like shoulders and legs. The READ MORE

Homemade Marinara

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Q. I’d like to make my own classic marinara sauce using my garden tomatoes to enjoy year round. Do you have a favorite recipe and jarring or storing tips? – Graham, Little Chute A. I’ve made my own marinara sauce for so many years I can recite it by heart. The proportion of ingredients is READ MORE

Kabobs!

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Q. What are some helpful suggestions for preparing delicious kabobs? I want to grill them, but am unsure how to get all the ingredients cooked to the appropriate doneness? — Caesar, Kaukauna A. Kabobs are an excellent item for the grill because they are fun to make and can provide a very colorful presentation. Here READ MORE

Creative Preserves

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Q. I like to take advantage of the local pick-your-own orchards, especially strawberries in June. I’m not a jam or jelly person and I don’t can. How can I preserve the berries for use later in the year? – Karen, Darboy A. There are a couple of things you can do besides jams and jellies READ MORE

How to Grill a Pizza

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Q. I want to try grilling a homemade pizza. What do I need to know? — Curt, Black Creek A. Pizza of any kind is a favorite for most people and when a pizza is grilled, it gets extra special. An easy way to grill pizza is to convert your grill to an oven. This READ MORE

Homemade Fries How-To

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Q. What’s the secret to homemade fries? Whenever I make mine (which I bake in the oven) they are never as crispy as I would like. Help! – Alex, Menasha A. Homemade fries are delicious, but achieving fries like the ones served in restaurants and other food service outlets are challenging to duplicate. A really READ MORE

Does glass shape affect taste?

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Q. Does the shape of a wine or beer glass really affect the way a beverage tastes? – Brad, Appleton A. Now this question required me to do an extensive amount of research…just kidding! To answer the question, yes, I believe that the shape of the glass has a definite impact on the level of READ MORE

Reducing Food Waste

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Q. I’m trying to reduce food waste in my kitchen. Do you have any recommendations on how to do so? – Kim, Appleton A. My wife and I just had this discussion recently. While it might sound obvious, the key to reducing food waste is to monitor over-purchasing and over-producing on the front end and READ MORE

To the Point

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Q. What is the best way to sharpen my knives? — Louis, Kaukauna A. At one time, the best way to sharpen knives was to use a whetstone. A whetstone typically has three distinct stones of differing grit or coarseness, and by going from the coarsest to the finest with the appropriate amount of pressure at READ MORE