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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.

Panko vs. Bread Crumbs

Q. What is the difference between Panko and regular bread crumbs? Is one better than the other and can they be used interchangeably?  –Hannah, Appleton A. Panko crumbs are bread crumbs that are larger and coarser than standard bread crumbs which tend to be finer. Panko crumbs are prepared using only the inside white part READ MORE

Potluck Stars

Q. I have lots of outdoor picnics and potlucks planned this summer. What’s your go-to potluck dish that keeps well outdoors?  –Thomas, Neenah A. If at all possible, I try to bring items that can be prepared on-site and eaten immediately or maintained at the appropriate temperature, hot or cold, for the duration of the READ MORE

Back to Basics

Q. My son is graduating from high school this year and will be living in his first apartment this fall. What dishes should every young person learn to make before living on their own? I’m looking for easy, yet nutritious ideas to share with him.  –Martha, Appleton A. Here are the top five things that READ MORE

Chile Pepper 101

Q. What are the differences in heat levels of various chili peppers like jalapeño, habanero, poblano and serrano? Which are the hottest and least hot? — John, Kaukauna A. Chile peppers are all rated by the pungency (heat intensity) of their capsaicin with a measurement called Scoville heat units and are then ranked on the READ MORE

Useful Scraps

Q. I like to waste as little as possible in the kitchen. Do you have ideas on what can be done with scraps like carrot and beet tops, potato peelings, ham bones, etc.? Same goes for fruits and veggies past their prime? — Aaron, Menasha A. Reducing waste in the kitchen starts with proper meal and READ MORE

Re-freezing?

Q. What are the rules for freezing previously frozen foods? –Betty, Menasha A. Freezing is a form of temporary storage, and it is recommended to keep products frozen for a maximum of six months. Yes, I am aware that people keep products frozen in their freezers for much longer than that, but that doesn’t mean it’s READ MORE

Sweetner Swaps

Q. I’d like to reduce my sugar intake, so I’m curious if there are any sweetener swaps you would recommend? I hear a lot about agave and even applesauce as a substitute for sugar. –Abigail, Little Chute A. There are many products that can be used in cooking that can reduce or eliminate the need for READ MORE

Chef Confessions: Culinary Disasters

Q. What has been your biggest culinary disaster? –Calvin, Kaukauna A. While minor mishaps in the kitchen are pretty common for all cooks, even professionals, I haven’t had too many actual culinary disasters. The most recent one I can remember actually happened just last December when I smoked two crown roasts of pork we specially READ MORE

The Perfect Biscuits

Q. Do you have any tips for getting homemade biscuits to be light and flaky? Mine always seem to come out dense. — Levi, Neenah A. Turning out beautiful baked goods can only be achieved if the recipe has the correct ratios. For example, a cookie recipe with an incorrect ratio of fat to flour READ MORE

Panko vs Regular Breadcrumbs

Q. What is the difference between Panko and regular breadcrumbs? Is one better than the other and can they be used interchangeably? – Hannah, Appleton A. Panko crumbs are breadcrumbs that are larger and coarser than standard breadcrumbs which tend to be finer. Panko crumbs are prepared using only the inside white part of the READ MORE