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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.

Poaching an Egg

Q. “Poaching an egg is still a mystery to me. Please help with easy steps.” —Andy, Appleton A. To properly poach an egg, start by preparing your poaching liquid. In a medium kettle, fill it about two inches deep with water and add a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to it. The acid will READ MORE

Pre-Shredded Cheese: Sacrilege?

Q. Is buying pre-shredded cheese culinary sacrilege? If so, is there any way to make grating cheese less of an arduous task? —Lance, Kaukauna A. In today’s world of convenience, I’m not sure I would include utilizing pre-shredded cheese in the same conversation as other topics I would consider to be “culinary sacrilege.” That said, READ MORE

Oil Obsessed

Q. “I see so many different kinds of oils on the market like grapeseed, walnut and sesame oils. Do you like one kind of oil over the others, and when is the best time to use each?” —Joey, Grand Chute A. Oils can basically be categorized into two types: oils that are used for cooking READ MORE

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