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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.

Chickpea Change-up

Q. “Hummus aside, what can I do with chickpeas? My kids love them, but I want to change up the way I serve them.” —John, Kimberly A. Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a staple of Middle Eastern cuisine and offer a host of health benefits. They are a member of the legume family READ MORE

Worth Going Out For

Q. What is something you would seldom cook at home and why not? —Mitchell, Little Chute A. There are a number of foods that I very seldom cook at home. At the top of this list is fried foods. I have several reasons for this, including the fact that I do not own a deep READ MORE

For the Love of Charcoal

Q. I’m trading in my gas grill for charcoal because I love the taste. Any tips for making the most of flame grilling to set myself up for success? —River, Fox Crossing A. I haven’t used my gas grill at home for at least two years for the same reason! Charcoal not only imparts a READ MORE

Beer Can Chicken

I want to attempt Beer Can Chicken on the grill, something I’ve never done. Do you have tips on how to do it and any rubs you would recommend? —Terilisha, Appleton Beer Can Chicken (previously called “Beer in the Rear” Chicken) has been around for many years and is relatively easy to prepare. To begin, READ MORE

Spicing up Taco Tuesdays

“Tuesday is taco night at my house, which I love, but I get bored with the same ground beef variations. How can I mix things up?” —Trevor, Little Chute Let’s consider several alternatives to ground beef for “Taco Tuesday” including other ground meats, whole muscle cuts, fish and other seafoods, and meatless variations. As an READ MORE

Key Lime Pie Cocktail

“As someone who is sober-curious, yet still indulges in a drink now and then, do you have any recipes for a low-alcohol cocktail that still feels special?” —Sammie, Appleton Here is a relatively low-alcohol recipe I’d like to share. This Key Lime Pie Cocktail garnered First Place in a libation contest in Kingsford, Michigan several READ MORE

All About Mushrooms

“Mushrooms always seem like a missed opportunity in my cooking. They are a great canvas for flavor and offer a hearty, meat-like quality, yet I never showcase them much. Which kinds are your favorite to work with and how do you make them the star of a dish?” —Chloe, Kaukauna You are absolutely correct—mushrooms are READ MORE

Is stainless steel superior?

“I see a lot of chefs prefer stainless steel cookware. Is it really superior? How so and how do you keep it from getting those black stains on the cook surface?” —Anthony from Kaukauna The most important aspect of any cookware is the ability to transfer heat from the heat source through the cooking vessel READ MORE

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

“I am trying to achieve a thick, chewy chocolate chip cookie. Whenever I bake them, they flatten out and end up crunchier than I would like. What am I doing wrong?” —Angela from Sherwood Solving cookie challenges is fun because it forces us to consider the function of each ingredient to determine what might be READ MORE

Avoid burning with electric stoves

“Do you have any tips for cooking on an electric stove? Things seem to burn so easily, and I end up with overcooked food.” —Chrystia from Neenah In any type of stovetop cooking (other than induction) the cooking process is achieved by the conduction of heat from the heat source, through the pan and to READ MORE