Grand Opera House

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.

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

Hosting a Clam Bake

Q. I want to host a New England-style clam bake/boil, but clams, mussels, oysters and the like mystify me. How should I go about preparing and serving them? —Herb, Kimberly A. Clam bakes, cioppino and bouillabaisse are all delicious versions of seafood stews that are lightly simmered in flavorful broth. Regional variations include other ingredients READ MORE

Creative Burger Toppings

Q. What are your favorite creative burger toppings? I’m looking for something more unique than just cheese and ketchup to impress my guests at grill-outs. — Berry, Menasha A. I like this question because most of us grew up putting ketchup on everything! I’m a big fan of relishes prepared with raw ingredients. In addition READ MORE

Ceviche

Q. What is ceviche and how is it made? Is it always made with seafood and if so, what seafood works best? — Clementine, Neenah A. Ceviche (also spelled seviche, cebiche and escabeche) is a dish prepared by “cooking” seafood in an acid marinade. To the best of my knowledge, it is only made from READ MORE

Homemade Salad Dressing

Q. I would like to start making my own salad dressings to avoid unnecessary sugars and chemicals. Do you have any easy homemade recipes and techniques? — Pepper, Neenah Salad dressings are versatile, fun and easy to make. Basic vinaigrette is prepared with three parts oil to one part vinegar seasoned with salt and pepper. READ MORE