Comfort Food Shortcuts by David Venable [epub | 114,83 Mb] ISBN: 1984818295

  • Full Title: Comfort Food Shortcuts: An "In the Kitchen with David" Cookbook from QVC’s Resident Foodie
  • Autor: David Venable
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • Publication Date: December 4, 2018
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1984818295
  • ISBN-13: 978-1984818294
  • Download File Format | Size: epub | 114,83 Mb
Download Link



The beloved host of QVC’s In the Kitchen with David is back with a brand-new cookbook featuring 110 comfort food recipes that save on time—without skimping on flavor.

Time is the one thing everybody wants—and the one thing nobody has enough of. Time to spend with your family, time to share meals together. Now, thanks to David Venable’s supermarket shortcuts and an array of innovative kitchen appliances, you can save precious time and still prepare incredible meals.

For more than two decades, Venable has helped others make and eat good food. Here he continues his passion for tasty, easy comfort meals with 110 fail-proof recipes that utilize time-saving tips, ingredients, and appliances that home cooks can use every day. Forget making it all by scratch—Venable shows you how you can put great food on the table in record time. In this book, you’ll find fast and simple cooking methods for everything from soups and salads to appetizers and entrées to sides, noodles, desserts, and special occasion beverages. You’ll discover:

• Tex-Mex Skillet Nachos
• Potsticker Soup
• Asian Shredded Salad
• Meatball Lasagne
• Creamy French Onion Chicken Casserole
• Tex-Mex Country Ribs Under Pressure
• Beef Empanadas
• Roasted Potatoes with Bacon and Ranch Dressing
• Slow Cooker Chocolate Pudding Cake
• Summer Sangria

Loaded with mouthwatering full-color photographs for every recipe, Comfort Food Shortcuts is a cookbook you’ll have plenty of time to return to again and again.


Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David Venable, bestselling cookbook author and accomplished home cook, is QVC’s Resident Foodie, program-hosting on the network since 1993 with more than ten thousand hours of live television under his belt. He debuts two new recipes each week on his hit show In the Kitchen with David. Since the launch of the first series companion cookbook, followed by Back Around the Table, Venable has appeared on Today, The Chew, and The Rachael Ray Show, among others. His recipes have appeared in People, HuffPost, and many other publications. Venable has received praise from the food world for his easy, comforting cooking style, and he regularly connects with his foodies on QVC online as well as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Prior to joining QVC, Venable earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, then worked as a television news anchor/reporter in West Virginia and Pennsylvania.



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1 The Search for a Wild Weed

2 Flushing, Queens, 1970s


3 Into the Urban Wild

Field Garlic & Hummus

4 Mushroom of Immortality

Reishi Tea


5 A Communion with the Earth

Wood Sorrel Micro-Greens

6 Gifts of Spring

7 A Wild Foods Brunch

Wild Greens Pie

8 Foraging Eyes

Motherwort, Drying Techniques


9 The Mother Borough

Mulberry-Balsamic Jam

10 A Wild Lawn

Scrambled Eggs “Lambsquarterine”

11 A Recipe for Forgiveness

Blackberry-Buckwheat Pancakes

12 A Mysterious Fungus

How to Make a Mushroom Spore Print


13 The Yellow Morel

Instructions for Drying/Storing Wild Morels

14 The Perfect Meal

Wild Morel Linguini

15 The Queen

Wild Honey & Parmesan Cracker Drizzles

16 When Food Was Food


17 A Wild Tart

Urban Forager Wild Oyster Mushrooom, Fig, & Goat Cheese Tart with Caramelized Onions


About Ava Chin



For Rose Mai, Laura J., and Mei Rose

Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.

—Henry David Thoreau, Journals, August 23, 1853

And what is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson, Fortune of the Republic

The hunter or fisherman may often come home empty-handed, but the forager, though he may fail to find the particular plant he is seeking, can always load his knapsack with wholesome and palatable food.

—Euell Gibbons, Stalking the Wild Asparagus



The Search for a Wild Weed

Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus)

I am walking along a secluded, wooded path in a park in Brooklyn—my favorite place to forage for wild edibles in the city. My backpack is filled with plastic bags, a worn field edition of Euell Gibbons’s Stalking the Wild Asparagus, and a box cutter that doubles as a knife. The wood mulch and dirt are damp beneath my sneakers as I make the slow climb up toward my destination. Down below, cyclists and joggers are making their way along the road that loops through the park, and I can hear the resounding clomp of a horse along the bridle path. In the height of early autumn, everything below is obscured by a rich tangle of leaves just starting to turn reddish gold in the morning light. A dog barks in the meadow.

I pause under the shade of a giant oak tree, scanning a fallen log where creamy white oyster mushrooms appear in the summer. We’ve had serious rains coupled with mild temperatures, and the air practically smells of fungi. But today, the log is bare—resembling a long, black plank under a thicket of enchanter’s nightshade, with its hundreds of irksome burrs, and native pokeweed, which, while edible when young, has grown poisonous in full maturity.

This place is sacred, and not just to foragers like me. I’ve found the remnants of spiritual offerings in this ramble: Mardi Gras beads, a jewelry box in the shape of a grand piano, a baby cauldron tipped on its side, and even a plate of plantains, along with condom wrappers, baseballs, and empty 40-ounce bottles. More than once, I’ve stumbled upon the encampment of a homeless person—the plastic garbage bags, blankets, and Chinese food containers—but I’ve never seen anyone here except the occasional jogger, and once, a summer camp group of eight-year-olds doing a lesson on wilderness survival.

I’ve done this walk innumerable times, traversed over the wooded rise, across the road, and up to an even higher peak, and each time I discover something new. A chipmunk scrambling across my path before disappearing into a hollow log. An assortment of edible wild fruit—mulberries, blackberries, black raspberries—that explode with bright flavor in my mouth. A cluster of cool-to-the-touch jelly mushrooms sprouting on a decaying tree.

I forage for myself nearly every week, even in wintertime when the landscape is icy and to an untrained eye it appears that nothing is growing, but today’s walk is special: I’m gathering ingredients for a pie that I’m going to enter in my first food competition. I’m on the hunt for savory lambsquarters, that free-range weed that gardeners hate but food lovers consider a culinary and nutritional treasure. Related to spinach, beets, and quinoa, Michael Pollan called lambsquarters “one of the most nutritious weeds in the world” (In Defense of Food). The first time I ate it raw, it fell flat on my palate—I really couldn’t distinguish the edible weed from any other leafy green—but once I’d sautéed some in extra virgin olive oil with a
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e to match these details.

While we wound up with two different restaurants, each with their own style, their spirits are the same—because the two most important things they sell aren’t on the menu. Lawyers advertise leases and lawsuits, but they really sell peace of mind. A nail salon really sells foot rubs. A bar sells booze, but you’re there for the conversation, a game on TV, a jukebox packed with music you remember. Our menus offer food and drink. But what we really sell is kindness and salt.

Let’s start with salt. Our food is pretty straightforward; bistro cuisine is, after all, based in the traditions of home cooking. We’re not cutting-edge; you won’t have to google the ingredients on your plate. Instead, you’ll find uncomplicated food, made carefully with classic technique. The best fried chicken (here) is made by marinating a good bird overnight in buttermilk, flouring it an hour in advance to let the crust form, and frying it twice. There may be a new and improved method, something involving meat glue or sous vide, but that’s not our style.

Whenever a customer asks us how we get simple food—a roast chicken, a piece of fish, a green bean—to taste so much better than it does at home, the answer is usually salt.

Paying attention to seasoning means cooking carefully, with an eye to bringing out the best in good ingredients. There’s the right salt for each dish and the right amount, and you can’t just sprinkle it on at the end (see here). Salting early and liberally doesn’t make things salty; it makes things taste as they should. Our blanching water tastes like the ocean, which means that our pasta tastes like pasta and our green beans taste green. We roast vegetables atop a blanket of salt (see here) that seasons them from the outside in. No plate—even at dessert—leaves the kitchen without a final sprinkle.

Salt we buy; kindness answers a help-wanted ad and comes in for an interview. With a little time and tasting, we can teach someone about wine and food; with practice, anyone can learn how to make a killer Negroni or grill a steak. But we can’t turn someone into the type of person who will run to the bodega for Sweet’N Low during a busy service because it’s what your dad likes in his coffee.

Our staff is a diverse bunch, but there’s one fine quality that they all share: they love to take care of people, at our restaurants and at home. If you showed up at their front door, they’d have you on the couch in a minute flat with a drink in your hand, their slippers on your feet, and their cat on your lap. They can’t help it, fake it, or turn it off: it’s who they are.

Salt isn’t listed on our menus, and you won’t find kindness called for in our recipes, but we think they’re the ingredients that make a good meal great. We hope that you’ll season your meals liberally with both—and that you’ll have as much fun feeding your family, friends, and neighbors as we do.




OUR PANTRY, like yours, can be broken into two categories. There are the items that get used all the time, and there’s the culinary flotsam that takes up precious space in our crammed kitchens. This chapter is concerned with the first category. These recipes are the building blocks that form the foundation of our everyday cooking—the ingredients we put on and in everything.




























Makes about 2 cups

Aioli is the magical secret ingredient in a number of recipes in this book, lending its tangy richness to everything from baked goods and coleslaw to the best grilled cheese you’ll ever eat (here). It’s also an essential condiment for burgers and french fries.


1 tablespoon DIJON MUSTARD



1 clove GARLIC, smashed

¼ teaspoon FINE SEA SALT

1¾ cups CANOLA OIL


Combine the egg yolks, mustard, vinegars, garlic, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the garlic is fully puréed and all ingredients are completely combined. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the oils and continue to process for another 15 seconds, or until the aioli is completely emulsified. Store in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to a week.


Makes about 2 cups

Anchos are dried poblano chiles with a mild, smo
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ke the cookies up to one month in advance and store them un-iced in an airtight container in the freezer.

Most cookies have a two week shelf life, so don’t be afraid to start your baking well in advance.

I’ve provided three recipes for creating three delicious types of cookies, which are sure to be adored by all! Match the flavouring with the theme of your decoration, for example the Fruit Cocktails (p68) would be great in spiced orange and use gingerbread for the Home Sweet Home cookies (p48) for a rustic, comforting taste.


275g (10oz) plain flour, sifted

5ml (1 tsp) baking powder

100g (3½ oz) caster sugar

75g (3oz) butter, diced

1 small egg, beaten

30ml (2 tbsp) golden syrup

2.5ml (½ tsp) vanilla extract

vanilla cookies

1 Preheat the oven to 170ºC/325ºF/Gas Mark 3.

2 Place the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Make a hollow in the centre and pour in the beaten egg, golden syrup and vanilla extract. Mix together well, until you have a ball of dough.

3 Place the dough in a plastic bag and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

4 Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to 5mm (¹⁄5in) thick and stamp out the cookies, using your chosen cutters. If you are using a template, cut around the template with a knife for each cookie.

If you are short of time you can buy plain cookies from the supermarket, ready to be decorated

5 Lightly knead and re-roll the trimmings together again to use up all the dough. Place the cookies on greased baking sheets.

6 Bake for 12–15 minutes until lightly coloured and firm but not crisp. Leave on the tray for two minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

spiced orange cookies

1 Preheat the oven to 170ºC/325ºF/Gas Mark 3.

2 Place the butter, sugar, honey, orange zest and orange juice in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved and the butter melted.

3 Sieve the flour and dry ingredients in a bowl and add the melted ingredients. Mix well until the dough becomes firm.

4 Place the dough in a plastic bag and chill in the fridge for 40 minutes.

5 Continue as for the vanilla cookies. Bake for 10–15 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies.


75g (3oz) butter

75g (3oz) soft brown sugar

30ml (2 tbsp) honey

zest from one orange

10ml (2 tsp) orange juice

225g (8oz) plain flour, sifted

5ml (1 tsp) bicarbonate of soda

5ml (1 tsp) cinnamon

why not try adding the zest and juice of a lemon for zingy lemon-flavoured cookies?


1 Preheat the oven to 170ºC/ 325ºF/ Gas Mark 3.

2 Place the butter, treacle and sugar into a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved and the butter melted. Cool slightly.

3 Sieve the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Pour the melted mixture into the dry ingredients and stir.

4 Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in the milk and add to the mixture. Combine to make a dough, adding more milk if necessary.

5 Place the dough in a plastic bag and chill in the fridge for 40 minutes.

6 Continue as for vanilla cookies then bake for 10–15 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies.

For gingerbread men, try adding currants for eyes before baking


125g (4oz) butter

60ml (4 tbsp) black treacle

225g (8oz) soft brown sugar

450g (1 lb) plain flour

15ml (1 tbsp) ground ginger

7.5ml (1½ tsp) cinnamon

5ml (1 tsp) bicarbonate of soda

15ml (1 tbsp) milk

covering cookies

There are a number of edible materials that you can use to cover your cookies, from the classic royal icing to the more contemporary sugarpaste.

sugarpaste (rolled fondant)

This is a sweet, thick, opaque paste that is soft, pliable, easily coloured and extremely versatile. It is simple and inexpensive to make, just follow the recipe below to create 1kg (2¼lb). I used sugarpaste to decorate a range of cookies featured in this book as it is easy to shape and emboss to create stunning effects, such as the Dressed Up cookies on p70.


60ml (4 tbsp) cold water

20ml (4 tsp/1 sachet) powdered gelatine

125ml (4floz) liquid glucose

15ml (1 tbsp) glycerine

1kg (2¼lb) icing (confectioners’) sieved sugar, plus extra for dusting

1 Place the water in a small bowl, sprinkle over the gelatine and soak until spongy. Stand the bowl over a pan of hot (not boiling) water and stir until the gelatine is dissolved. Add the glucose and glycerine, stirring until well blended and runny.

2 Put the icing sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and slowly pour in the liquid ingredients, stirring constantly. Mix well.

Ready-made sugarpaste is widely available and comes in a spectrum of colours

3 Turn out on to a surface
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Basic Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken noodle soup is considered by many to be the best remedy for a cold or the flu. I’ve given a lot of thought to this matter, and I’ve decided that in order for the soup to be at all restorative, it must be homemade. It’s the love that goes into making this soup for someone who is sick that holds the healing power. Try this version – it is so much better than anything from a can.


8 – 10

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

2 carrots, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

2 ribs celery, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

½ teaspoon dried thyme

1 bay leaf

2 quarts good quality or homemade chicken or vegetable stock

3 cups shredded cooked chicken

1½ cups wide egg noodles

salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

1. Heat a stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the olive oil and lightly sauté the onion, carrot and celery until tender – about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme and bay leaf and cook for another minute. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes.

2. Add the cooked chicken and noodles to the pot and cook until noodles are al dente – about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the bay leaf from the soup, season with salt and pepper, add parsley and serve immediately.

Recipe Explained!

•A good chunky soup must have a flavorful broth, tasty vegetables and tender, flavorful components, like chicken, beef, pork, or noodles and other grains.

•It is critical that you use a good stock. If you don’t make your own stock, buy the very best stock that you can, or buy twice as much stock as you need and reduce it to a half of its original volume to concentrate the flavor.

•In this recipe, as with all the recipes for chunky soups, the vegetables are cooked in oil first. This helps establish their flavor. Then they are simmered in the broth just until tender.

•Some recipes for chicken noodle soup cook the chicken in the broth. This is great to enhance the flavor of the broth, but it takes flavor away from the chicken. Use leftover chicken if you have it on hand or cook it especially for the soup. Grilled chicken will add a smoky, grilled flavor to the soup, which is very nice. Sautéed chicken is tasty as well.

•This recipe cooks the noodles in the soup to save a step. Cooking the noodles (or any starchy ingredient) in the soup, rather than adding cooked noodles to the soup, will make the soup a little cloudy, but will give the noodles more flavor. The noodles will, of course, continue to absorb liquid as they sit in the soup. Keep in mind that if you save leftovers of this soup and re-heat it another day, you may need to thin the soup with more stock or water. Each time you reheat the soup, the noodles will get softer and softer, but the soup will still be delicious.

Basic Chicken Noodle Soup

Beef and Barley Soup

This soup is very thick and stew-like. It makes a good meal on a winter’s night with just a side salad or a slice of crusty bread.


8 – 10

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound beef stew meat

1 onion, chopped (½-inch pieces; about 1 cup)

2 carrots, chopped (½-inch pieces; about 1 cup)

2 stalks celery, chopped (½-inch pieces; about 1 cup)

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bay leaf

2 to 3 quarts beef stock

½ cup pearl barley (regular or quick-cooking)

salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

1. Heat a stockpot or Dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and, in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan, brown the stew meat on all sides, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go. Remove the browned meat from the pot and set aside.

2. In the same pot, sauté the onion, carrot and celery until tender and starting to brown – about 10 to 12 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme and bay leaf and cook for another minute.

3. Return the beef to the pot and add two quarts of the beef stock. Bring to a simmer and simmer gently for 60 minutes, or until the beef is tender.

4. Add the barley to the pot and continue to simmer for 45 minutes. Thin the soup to your desired consistency with more beef stock and heat through. Season the soup with salt and pepper and add the parsley. Remember to remove the bay leaf from the soup before serving.


If you prefer a thinner soup, cook the barley separately in 1½ cups of water for 30 to 45 minutes, and then add it to the soup. This will also make the soup less cloudy and less like a stew. (If you are using quick-cooking barley, it will cook in about 10 to 12 minutes.)

Pork and White Bean Soup

This is another soup that can be a whole meal unto itself. I like to finish it with cilantro, but if you don’t like cilantro, parsley is a good substi
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You’ll need two heavy-duty baking trays. Heat the first tray (the bottom) in an oven preheated to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4, upside down as it’s the bottom of the tray that will be used to put the sandwiches on. All the sandwiches need to be ready and prepped on the side as, once the preheated tray comes out, they need to be placed on it quickly. Depending on the size of your tray, you could get a number of toasties out at the same time this way. Place the sandwiches on the bottom tray, stick another tray on top, the right way up, so that the toasties are weighed down, and bake in the oven for 10–15 minutes, depending on your fillings. You should have evenly cooked sandwiches, all ready at the same time to feed your awaiting guests.


Simple and easy. Place your desired toastie in the toaster bag and follow the bag instructions. We recommend using for classic cheese toasties.


This is our take on the perfect grilled cheese. Feel free to mix it up with your favourite cheeses as mentioned in the cheese low-down but make sure they have great flavour, melt and stretch. We love to eat this with pickles on the side but it’s equally delicious dipped in tomato soup or eaten under a duvet on a cold winter’s day.

Serves 1

2 slices of sourdough bread, buttered on one side

150g (5¼oz) mixed grated cheese (see our blend)

Generous 2 tbsp béchamel

Place the bread slices buttered side down. Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly onto one slice of the bread and spread an even layer of béchamel on the other slice. Close the sandwich and cook using your preferred method.


We both LOVE pasta and one of our favourites has to be spinach and ricotta cannelloni. This is our grilled cheese version and it works so well. It’s a comforting classic with a lemony, peppery cheesy hit, perfect for a spring al fresco lunch or dinner.

Serves 1

2 rashers (slices) of smoked (lean) streaky bacon (optional)

2 slices of sourdough bread, buttered on one side

100g (3½oz) mixed grated cheese (see our blend)

1 tbsp pine nuts, toasted

For the ricotta filling

200g (7oz) baby leaf spinach

250g (1 cup) ricotta

1 small garlic clove, grated

Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

Salt and freshly ground pepper

75g (1 cup) freshly grated Parmesan

If you are including the bacon, grill or fry it until nice and crispy. Set aside.

For the ricotta filling, place the spinach in a bowl, pour over boiling water to cover and leave for 5 minutes to wilt before draining. Squeeze out the excess water and finely chop. Put the ricotta in a clean, dry bowl and add the garlic, lemon zest and juice. Season well (go heavy on the pepper) and mix in the chopped spinach and grated Parmesan.

Place the bread slices buttered side down and sprinkle the grated cheese over one slice. Spread the ricotta filling onto the other slice, add the crispy bacon, if using, and top with the toasted pine nuts. Close the sandwich and cook using your preferred method.


A firm favourite of ours with the cream cheese adding an indulgent element to this toastie. It came about from our love of jalapeño poppers (cheese-stuffed, fried chillies), which are cheesy and creamy with a touch of heat. We’ve added apricots to give a hint of sweetness. This relish recipe will make enough to fill a large jar, but will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. It also works really well on a hot dog or as an accompaniment at a barbecue.

Serves 1

2 rashers (slices) of smoked streaky (lean) bacon (optional)

2 slices of sourdough bread, buttered on one side

100g (3½oz) mixed grated cheese (see our blend)

2 tbsp cream cheese

For the relish

1 red (bell) pepper

1 green (bell) pepper

1 yellow (bell) pepper

100g (3½oz) dried soft apricots

85g (3oz) green jalapeño chillies, plus 3 tbsp brine from the jar

Juice of 1 lime

Pinch of salt

To make the relish, halve, deseed and finely dice all the (bell) peppers; set aside in a mixing bowl. Put the apricots in a food processor and add the chillies with the brine. Blitz to a paste and add to the mixing bowl. Add the lime juice and stir to combine. Add the salt and leave to rest for at least 1 hour.

For the toastie, if you are including the bacon, grill or fry it until nice and crispy.

Place the bread slices buttered side down and sprinkle the grated cheese over one slice. Spread the cream cheese onto the other slice, followed by an even layer of the relish on top. Add the crispy bacon, if using, before closing the sandwich and cooking using your preferred method.


This is your typical Caprese sandwich. We use walnuts instead of pine nuts in our pesto to get a more rounded flavour and nutty texture. It is perfect on a sunny day serv
t cooking methods for small, naturally tender foods. “Sauté” comes from the French verb “sauter,” meaning “to jump.” Food is added to a hot round-sided sauté pan on the stovetop and, as the name implies, flipped or tossed until done. Stir-frying is essentially the same as sautéing, but it’s done in a wok over an extremely powerful wok burner.

Doneness of the food is determined by color and tenderness.

A CI skillet is an excellent choice for sautéing and stir-frying because the heat capacity ensures the temperature will stay high when food is added. If the weight of the skillet prevents you from picking it up and tossing the food, simply stir and flip using a spoon or spatula.


Searing is a dry, direct-, high-heat, minimal-fat cooking method for small, naturally tender foods. It can also be used as a first flavorbuilding step for large foods or foods high in connective tissue that will subsequently be simmered, as for braising, or roasted, as for pan-roasting. Food that has been patted dry is added to a very hot skillet or sauté pan on the stovetop and cooked on each side until done, or if it is to be finished by braising, roasting, or pan-roasting, until golden brown all over. The food should be started presentation-side down for the most attractive results. Foods such as steaks, chops, and fish fillets may be flipped once or they may be flipped constantly. Foods of varying and irregular shapes, such as cubes of stew meat and large roasts, may be flipped a number of times until they are seared on all sides. The cooking fat may be used to baste the food as it cooks. Doneness is determined by color and tenderness. If the food is to be carved, it must be rested first so that it can retain its juices.

A CI skillet is an excellent choice for searing because the heat capacity ensures the temperature will stay high when food is added.

What’s the Difference Between a Skillet, Fry Pan, and Sauté Pan?

▪ A skillet or fry pan has straight sides to facilitate pan-frying.

▪ A sauté pan has rounded sides to facilitate sautéing and flipping or tossing food.

▪ A skillet holds a larger volume of food than a sauté pan of equivalent diameter.

Having said that, these terms are often used the opposite way, with skillets being referred to as sauté pans and sauté pans being referred to as skillets. Ultimately, the name doesn’t matter as long as you understand the use.

Presentation Side

For the most attractive presentation when searing, blackening, broiling, pan-roasting, and pan-frying, start food cooking on its service side first. The “service side” is the side that will be presented up on the plate. The side that gets exposed to the heat or goes into the clean, hot skillet first will be the prettiest, with the darkest and most even browning.


Blackening, often associated with Cajun cuisine, is a very quick, dry, direct-, extremely high heat, minimal-fat cooking method for small, naturally tender foods. It is most frequently used for fish, especially redfish, but it is also great for other types of fish as well as steaks and chops. Food is coated with melted butter, then coated with Cajun Spice or a similar blend, added to an extremely hot, smoking cast iron skillet on the stovetop, and cooked on each side until done. The food should be started presentation-side down for the most attractive results. The food is flipped only once, and a bit of additional butter is drizzled over the food as it cooks. Doneness of the food is determined by color, which is charred or blackened on the surface, and tenderness. Much smoke is generated with this cooking method.

Only a CI skillet will do for blackening. No other material can withstand the extremely high heat, and of course, the heat capacity ensures the temperature will stay extremely high when food is added.


Baking and roasting are two terms for the same dry, indirect-heat cooking method. It can be used both for small, naturally tender foods and for large foods that are high in connective tissue, depending on the cooking temperature. In general, oven temperatures below 300°F (150°C, or gas mark 2) are considered low, temperatures from 300 to 400°F (150 to 200°, or gas marks 2 to 6) are considered medium, and temperatures above 400°F (200°C, or gas mark 6) are considered hot. Lower temperatures are likely to be used for larger, tougher foods, while higher temperatures are likely to be used for smaller, more tender foods. Food on a roasting rack or on a bed of vegetables in an oven-safe cooking vessel is placed into the middle of a preheated oven and left there until done. The food may be trussed to ensure even cooking, and pan juices and rendered fat may be used to baste the food as it cooks. Doneness of the food is determined by color, tenderness, and internal temperature. If the food is to be carved, it must be rested first so that it can r


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