RD's Rugged Cooking Tips

Don’t you just love learning cool little cooking tips? I sure do… And, I’ve learned a lot from people just like you. Most of this stuff is pretty basic but I’m speaking mainly to the everyday home cook or, even to those just getting started in the world of home cooking. You’ll learn how to make a roux, you’ll learn all about cast iron cookware and you’ll learn how and where to store your kitchen knives, just to name a few.

If you have any tips you’d like to share, email them to me and we’ll get ‘em up on the site. We’ll include your name as the “Culinary Tipster.”

Thanks in advance!

Caramelized Onions

Caramelized Onions

“Hard to beat caramelized onions on a moose steak!” I love onions… I love ‘em cooked, I love ‘em raw, I love ‘em pickled, but most of all I love those damn things caramelized. I know a few people (weird people) who say they don’t like onions. I’ll bet my favourite frying pan that if these weird people tried caramelized onions, they’d change their tune. And, fast! Onions become very sweet and mild when they caramelize. They get very soft [Read More]

Get the Oil HOT!

Get the Oil HOT!

“It’s always better to have the oil a little too hot than not hot enough!” By far, the most common mistake I see fishing guides make when cooking a shore lunch, is they put the fish in the oil before it’s hot enough. This is how fish ends up a greasy, soggy mess. There are more “secret” fish breading mixtures than you could shake a frying pan at, but I really don’t think what you bread your fish with makes [Read More]

Brown the Meat First

Brown the Meat First

“Browning or “caramelizing” the meat first will make better flavour in the end.  And, cast iron Dutch ovens work well for this.” The next time you make a stew, whether it’s a moose, deer, elk or beef stew, brown the meat first. Sure, you can toss everything into the pot at the same time and cook it slowly. It’ll still be a great stew. But, if you brown the meat (caramelize actually,) you’ll get even better flavour in the end. [Read More]

Large Eggs… a Recipe Standard

Large Eggs... a Recipe Standard

“A coop egg vs the store-bought large egg” If you are baking something; a cake, a pie, some bread… or whatever, and the recipe calls for eggs, it is always understood that they mean large eggs. Not small, medium or extra large. This is an industry standard. Many people that buy their eggs often buy extra large eggs. And, people who get their eggs from a chicken coop end up with a basket of random sized eggs on every trip [Read More]

Don’t Slip on That Spud

Don’t Slip on That Spud

I’ve done it and you probably have too. I’ve cut myself while cutting potatoes. A potato doesn’t have any flat sides and they tend to roll around a bit on the cutting board. This is when you just might slip with your chef knife and – ouch! To avoid this common problem, cut a very small and very thin slice off whatever part seems to be the flattest. This way your spud will have a flat surface and when you [Read More]

Start With A Roux

Start With A Roux

When I was kid I used to watch my Grandmother making gravy for the Thanksgiving dinner.  I don’t quite remember how she did it, but it was pretty cool seeing her in action. She took her gravy making duties quite seriously.  Mashed potatoes were always so much better with “Nanny’s” gravy on ‘em! Using starch is a very simple way to thicken a gravy or a sauce. A centuries-old (and very simple) method for starting a pot of gravy is [Read More]

Go By Feel

Go By Feel

One of the best ways to learn how to cook is by not using recipes.  Of course, when you’re trying something new, you’ll want to at least refer to the recipe.  I mean, you have to know what’s in it right?  But, once you know basically how the dish goes, what’s in it, stop measuring every little thing that goes into the dish.  If you’re making gravy, just make the damn gravy.  Stop worrying about all the technical stuff.  You [Read More]

Cast Iron Cookware

Cast Iron Cookware

I just love cooking with the old time, cast iron pans.  And, the Dutch ovens are excellent for making stew, soup or for roasting or braising.  They’re tough, rugged, (my favourite word), and once seasoned, cast iron makes an excellent, non-stick cooking surface.  I fry eggs on mine all the time… over easy. One huge advantage of cooking with cast iron fry pans is when you are roasting something like a roast of moose, pork tenderloin or a chicken.  You [Read More]

Mise en Place

Mise en Place

If you go to culinary school one of the first things you’ll learn is something called, “Mise’ en Place.”  This French term, when translated roughly means “everything in place.”  Or, more to the point, “preparation.”  Most of today’s culinary terms and chef lingo are in French because the foundation for modern cooking practices originated in France many years ago.This is by far one of the most important elements to being a successful home cook, never mind a restaurant chef. Being [Read More]

Basic Knife Skills

Buy Good Knives (Or, at least one good one!)

One of the most common mistakes people make when using their chef knife, concerns simply the way they hold it.  If you hold it with the handle in your hand but your index finger is on top of the spine (back of the blade) you’re doing it wrong.   I was “that guy” for many years. The correct way to hold a chef knife is to hold it comfortably in your hand of course, but your thumb and index finger should be [Read More]