Monday, January 2, 2012

Professional Finesse in Cooking is a trove for people who want to see experts cook. One can find episodes from Jose Andres's "Made In Spain" and "Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home". No gleaming teeth, no cleavage- just masterful technique.Watch Jacques Pepin do the simplest thing. Watch him cut open an avocado and cut it up for a tomato and red onion salad. He does not butcher the avocado, digging out the pit and the pulp with a spoon as I do. He pulls the pit out by impaling it on a small cleaver, then he cuts the pulp back to front, side to side into rectangles.

I watched Julia and Jacques last night. Jacques was cooking a pot roast braised in wine and beef stock. I had a chuck roast bought as a Kroger Manager's Special for $6.00. I followed Pepin's instructions, and here is my New Year's Day dinner.

The carrots were cooked in the wine braise in the last 40 minutes of the roast. Then I took them out of the wine with a spider, put them in a bowl and buttered them. The potato souffle was also a Pepin production. Two eggs beaten into three cups of mashed potatoes, then spooned into a buttered souffle dish and sprinkled with a little cheese (I used Pecorino). I baked it at 400 degrees for thirty minutes.

I sifted a few teaspoons of flour into the left-over braise to thicken it into a gravy. And when I sat down to dine, I could not have eaten better at a restaurant.

Jacques Pepin showed me how to brown the roast, how to season it, how to present it. And he did it for free, unless you count a few 15 second car commercials.

The Internet can be a wonderful thing.

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