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!

Cutting Boards

Cutting Boards

In keeping with the same principle as buying good knives, buy good quality cutting boards too.  The rule of thumb is the thicker, the better.  Thin ones tend to warp after a while.  Of course, I’m talking about wooden boards here. I almost never see good quality cutting boards in home kitchens that I visit.  Most are too small and too thin.  Spend a few bucks and get good boards, at least one.   And, buy those little rubber feet that [Read More]

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

Store Knives in a Safe Place

If you take a peek in nine kitchens out of ten, anywhere in North America, you’ll likely see a set of knives, probably sitting safely in a wooden block that has slits in it designed to store the knives.   A typical set like this would retail for about $39.99. Sorry if I sound like an arrogant prick here, but if you have a set of knives similar to what is described above, sell them at your next yard sale.  If [Read More]

Warm Up Those Plates!

Warm Up Those Plates!

Have you ever wondered why your food is usually cold before you are finished eating it?   Well, if you’re like most home cooks, it’s because you put the hot food on cold plates, then served it.  Anyone who is serious about their cooking craft, warms the plates up first, then lays out the food. Any restaurant chef or cook worth a pinch of salt knows the value in heating the plates.  Sometimes, the plated food must sit for a minute [Read More]

Get Plenty of Firewood Ready!

Get Plenty of Firewood Ready!

If you’re new to outdoor cooking, you might be in for a surprise the first time you cook up a simple shore lunch.  One of those surprises might be just how much firewood you’ll need. If you’re right in the middle of the cooking part, meaning potatoes on the go, beans warming up in their can, fish in the pan, and then you realize you need more dry firewood, you might be in trouble, especially if what you started with [Read More]

The Bechamel Sauce

The Bechamel Sauce

Generally speaking, in the culinary world, there are five main “Mother Sauces,” also known as “Leading Sauces.”  From these five, literally hundreds and hundreds of other sauces are made.  They all start with one of those first five.  For example, one of the Mother Sauces is the simple Brown Sauce, sometimes called the Espagnole Sauce.  It’s the first step in making a demi-glaze, which is really just a much reduced, super-concentrated Brown Sauce.  Once it is made, many others, like the Bordelaise Sauce [Read More]

Keep Those Old Mason Jars

Keep Those Old Mason Jars

Of course, you wouldn’t just start throwing Mason jars away.  They can be re-sterilized and use again and again.  The ones I really like have the one-piece lids.  Not true Mason jars, but they’re great for storing your spices, dry herbs and your baking ingredients. I had a hard time finding Mason jars with one-piece lids in any store, so I did some scouting around with some of my friends who don’t cook “quite as much”’ as I do.  Some [Read More]

Buy Herbs & Spices in Bulk

Buy Herbs & Spices in Bulk

I must have close to one hundred mason jars full of herbs, spices and a huge assortment of grains and baking needs.  I shudder to think what all this stuff would cost had I bought each product in one of those little (McCormick, for example) jars.  Check the prices of some of this stuff… $4.95 for a small jar of dried oregano?  Holy shit!!  The same amount of dry oregano can be purchased at your local “bulk bin” store for [Read More]

Remove the Silver Skin

Remove the Silver Skin

Probably the tastiest and most tender meat from a deer (or moose) are the loins.  A lot of people, especially hunters, call them “back straps” while some people, especially butchers, call them “saddles.”  There are two – one down each side of the spine and they’re easy to remove yourself when your deer is hanging.  Pictured are the back straps from a small white tailed deer that I shot last fall. Since these back straps are such a treat (and there are only two [Read More]

Bake (or boil) ’em First!

Bake (or boil) ’em First!

The classic “trucker” breakfast always comes with home-fries.  Crispy-fried potatoes along with bacon and eggs is a requirement in my opinion.  And, to make them lighter tasting and to decrease the cooking time, used potatoes that have already been cooked.  This way, all you’ll need to do is simply crisp them up and build some flavours. The best (and easiest) way is to bake them in advance.  When I used run a restaurant back in 1999, we did a pretty big breakfast [Read More]

Fresh Cracked Pepper

Fresh Cracked Pepper

We often see TV chefs using a pepper mill on their shows.  I guess it looks cool… maybe it’s considered the “proper” way to do it.  It’s actually a good idea because the pepper is freshly cracked.  But, I like real coarse pepper and I “crack” it myself.  Using a simple mortar and pestle, I bash up the raw peppercorns that I buy at my local bulk bin store. Along with my salt, I keep a small supply (enough for [Read More]