Tag Archives: pancakes

Professional Cooking Tips!

Professional Cooking Tips! (ripped from the Interweb)


“To be a good cook you have to have a love of the good,
a love of hard work, and a love of creating.”
– Julia Child

And so, here are some great professional cooking tips and tricks
that we have collected from the interweb. We love to cook!
NOTE: We learned at an early age. We had a cooking class in junior high.
We chose apartment-style living at UCSC (with a kitchen so we
could cook for ourself) instead of dormitory living and “dining-hall” food.
We are not a professional chef, but some of our cooking is pro quality.


Please check out our many recipes and other cooking related Blog Posts!
Use the links below or in the sidebar, or use the SEARCHBOX at the Top of Page.

And away we go….

ALWAYS WASH YOUR HANDS! (and wash them frequently while cooking)
Learn about kitchen safety/sanitation and safe food storage and preparation.

Drink Coffee. Drink Water. (stay awake and alert, and always stay well hydrated)

Prevent the cutting board from slipping – place a wet paper towel underneath it.

Sharpen your knives before, clean your knives after.
Use a vegetable peeler for ultra-thin cuts and shaving.
Learn how to hold the knife properly!
Learn the proper knife technique for the type of food you are cutting!
(and there are great YouTube vids on “how to” cut up everything)

Heat your pans before cooking (so they are already HOT).
Preheat your oven for 20 minutes at temperature before cooking and baking.
Constant heat and proper temperature are necessary for professional cooking.

Baker’s Tip: Put a bowl of water inside the oven when baking.
The steam will help make a nice crispy bread crust.


Use eggs and butter at room temperature when making dough.
Take the eggs and butter out of the fridge the night before.

Caramelized sugar for baking.
Slightly frying the sugar will add a note of caramel to baked goods.
Heat sugar for one hour for a hint of caramel flavor,
or heat for up to five hours to create a deep and unique aroma and taste.


Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
Add healthy fats, cut sodium, bump up your fiber,
and aim for a variety of colors on your plate.
(but never sacrifice good food for a bad “diet”)

Cook your aromatics first. 
Cook onions with salt. Add salt to reduce the smell. It will also cook them faster.
Add onions while the food is cooking.
Onions need time to develop their sweet flavor profile,
so they are one of the first ingredients to add to the pan.
NOTE: Garlic burns easily and the taste will turn bitter, so don’t add it early.


Know when to add the herbs. 
Add dried herbs while cooking to enable the flavor to infuse the dish.
Fresh herbs should be added after the food is done cooking.
Fresh herbs will turn bitter if overcooked.

Use both salt and acid when seasoning.
Add the salt to your dish while you cook,
not before (and taste frequently) to avoid over-salting.
Use sugar as a seasoning.
It counteracts sour taste and will add a pleasant and rich flavor.

“The more you know, the more you can create.
There’s no end to imagination in the kitchen.” – Julia Child


Add a dash of high-quality extra virgin olive oil to enhance your dish.
But don’t use olive oil in everything. Use pure vegetable oil for cooking.
Olive oil burns easily! It is not good for high-temp cooking and frying.

Brine your Meat! Brining makes for juicy meat.
Create a juicy texture and infuse rich flavor, and minimize
the chance of the meat drying out or being overcooked.

Marinate meat or fish in a plastic bag.
This ensures the meat or fish is coated evenly.
(also makes for an easy cleanup)

Sou Chan 1952

“Life, like a cookie jar, would soon be empty
if you continued to accept the good things it offers
and put in no good things in return.”
– Sou Chan (from The House of Chan) 1952

Cook steaks that are at room temperature and they will cook more evenly.
And not all cuts of meat take the same time to cook!
For quick cooking, choose tenderloins and steaks.
For longer and slower cooking, use a roast, brisket, or shoulder cut.

Cook steak without oil by placing it on its side when cooking.
Cooking meat on the side renders the fat and will add more flavor.
It will also create a nice crust for the edges.

Make burgers juicy by placing ice cubes in the middle of the patties.
Right before grilling, press a small piece of ice into the center of patty.
This prevents it from drying out while cooking.


Read our previous Blog Post “Where’s The Beef?”

Heat the saute pan to a high temperature before searing meat or fish.
Pre-heat your pan and Don’t crowd the food when searing.
High heat is needed for perfectly seared meat and fish.
Do not to crowd the pan because it will lose the high cooking heat.
Place fish in pan with the skin side down first.
The high temp will quickly sear the skin and prevent it from sticking.


Use mayonnaise on fish to get a nice tasty crust.
Paint a small amount of mayo onto the fish with a pastry brush
and then season with salt before grilling. This will make a nice golden crust.

Make scrambled eggs creamy by adding mayonnaise.
Just add a teaspoon of mayo, it won’t change the flavor of the eggs.


Use sour cream to make great pancakes.
Add 2 tablespoons of sour cream to the pancake mix.
It will make the pancakes tasty and fluffy.

Peel hard boiled eggs fast and easy!
Just add a little baking soda before you boil them.
You can also use vinegar.
Both ingredients get inside the eggshell, and will make them peel faster.

Use a large frying pan instead of a big pot when cooking pasta.
The wider area of the pan will heat the water faster.
Pick the right size pan for the amount of pasta being cooked.
Add a little olive oil and salt the pasta to taste after the water is boiling.
The salt will season the pasta.
The oil prevents the pasta from sticking and adds flavor.
Cook pasta in the sauce to finish.
The sauce will coat the noodles and they will absorb the flavor.
If the sauce is too thick, just add a little pasta water to create the thickness desired.

chef 1

“Chef” with Jon Favreau, John Leguizamo, and Bobby Carnavale

Dry boil potatoes before mashing.
After boiling, remove potatoes from water and place in a clean heated pan.
Make sure they don’t cook anymore. Once dry, mash them.

Make Roasted Garlic in the microwave.
Place a whole bulb of garlic in a small bowl with a little oil and water.
Wrap the bowl in plastic wrap before microwaving. Cook until the garlic is soft.

To cook a perfect egg, you will only need three things: 
a thick-wall frying pan, a 1/2 tablespoon of butter, and an egg.
Cook for 4-5 minutes over a low heat. Don’t forget to add a pinch of salt.
Remember, eggs will continue to cook after being removed from the pan!

TIP: Use an egg slicer to cut and slice fruits.


Fruit! Fruit! Fruit!

Read our previous Blog Post “Fruit! Fruit! Fruit!”

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“Eat, drink, and be merry!
For tomorrow we diet.”
– framed on the wall of my Aunt’s Sonny’s kitchen
May her memory be a blessing!

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“Fat gives things flavor.” – Julia Child

“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.”


“Learn how to cook! Try new recipes!
Learn from your mistakes! Be fearless! And above all have fun.”

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure.
In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”
– Julia Child


“Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park.
Enjoy the ride.”
– Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain RIP (June 25, 1956 – June 8, 2018)
May his memory be a blessing!



Joy Flavor Summer Brunch at Madera Kitchen in Hollywood

Joy Flavor Summer Brunch

I got invited to a “Tasting Party” at Madera Kitchen in Hollywood!

Thursday, noon, Hollywood, Cahuenga & Franklin, street parking!

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen on Cahuenga Blvd in Hollywood


They offered hosted valet, which is always great, but I found a spot on Franklin and walked half a block to the restaurant. The party was called for noon, so I arrived at noon.

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – pretty flower centerpieces on the tables

They weren’t quite ready at noon, and I discovered it was also a tasting party for Joy Flavor, a flavored vaping oil company. The patio was set for a lot of people and they were setting up the vape table, with hand held vape pens filled with Joy Flavor oils.

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – setting up the umbrella on the patio

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Patio dining with a few other “on time” guests.

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Patio

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Joy Flavor vaping oil tasting table

It was warm and humid on the patio (because the enclosure has no breeze or air flow and the sunroof is transparent), so I went inside and sat at the bar where it was cooler. They gave me 2 drink tickets, which I redeemed for Toast vodka & pineapple juice cocktails made by Tiffany, the beautiful and friendly bartender. I asked her if she wanted to make small talk and she said yes. We talked about where she was from, Arizona, her music, Urban Pop, China, her cute dogs, her tattoos and the two featured drinks they were offering at the brunch while I was waiting for the food.

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Tiffany tending the Bar inside

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

Brunch at Madera Kitchen – Toast vodka and pineapple juice cocktail

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – the Bar inside

They were offering these featured drinks. Tiffany gave me a taste of the Blue Coup, which was too sweet for me, and then we discussed the pros and cons of lavender in a cocktail. (Tastes like the way my Grandma used to smell…I am not a fan of lavender in my drink)

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – featured drinks for the event

They have an interesting drink menu and a selection of wines by the glass and beer on tap in addition to their full bar. I originally wanted a Bloody Mary to drink, but there wasn’t any mix on Thursday although they have them for brunch on the weekend. I was also disappointed that they don’t have Stolichnaya vodka.


Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Drinks, Wines and Beer menu

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Try the wine.

The interior is an open “L” shaped space with simple decor. the bar runs the length of the long wall and the dining/seating area is furnished with booth seating and movable tables and chairs.

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen

Because this is Los Angeles, when you call an event for noon, most people show up at 1:30 or later. So there was a long time waiting before the food was served and it wasn’t very crowded for the first hour and a half. They served the dishes “family style”, and I shared the food plates with one other person.

On the Menu:

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

Blueberry pancakes with orange curd, berries and whipped cream fraiche:

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

Crepes a la Carbonara with applewood smoked bacon, crepe linguini, cream, topped with egg yolk and pecorino:

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

Endive Salad with arugula, candied pistachios, blood orange, buttermilk and blue cheese

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

Cinnamon Donuts on a bed of marscapone and mixed berry sauce:

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

The food was good. I enjoyed the pancakes, pasta and donuts very much. I’m not a big fan of arugula or blue cheese, so the salad not so much. But it was a nice salad if you like the ingredients and my new dining friend said that it was good.

When I received the invite, I thought it was a promotional event for the restaurant. Surprise! Turns out it was also a promotional event for JOY FLAVOR! Flavored vaping oils in many different fun flavors!

Now the disclaimer: I don’t vape. I’m fine with you vaping if you want to. I’m fine with you vaping flavored oils with or without tobacco. I hate cigarettes! I hate cigarette smoke! Vaping is “reasonable” alternative to cigarettes, if you think so.

So, Joy Flavor set up a vaping oil tasting table, with vaporizers filled with the different flavors that had removable plastic “nipples” for each taster. However, it appeared to be a communal sharing event with the vape pens being handled and sampled by a lot of people. I decided not to partake in the vaping, but I did take pictures.

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Joy Flavor assortment of flavored gaping oils

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Joy flavor tasting table with vaping pens, “nipples” and promo swag

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Joy Flavor vaping oil tasting table

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Joy Flavor vaping oil tasting table

And they were nice and gave everyone a gift bag! There were three little bottles of Joy Flavor flavored vaping oil, 2 promo swag key rings and a promo t-shirt in the promo bag.

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Joy Flavor gift bag

It was a nice lunch. A couple free drinks. I met some nice people and was introduced to Madera Kitchen, Joy Flavor and the PR Company that produced the event. I had a good time and it was a pleasant way to spend a Thursday afternoon.

NOTE: I want to go back and try their regular dinner menu.











The Women from the Hollywood Carnavale at the Hollywood Expo

Women of Hollywood Carnavale Hollywood Expo 2013 (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

And it’s National Pancake Day!

Breakfast! (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Breakfast! It’s National Pancake Day! (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)


Food, Wine and Theatre in Ashland, Oregon with JoshWillTravel: http://www.facebook.com/theatreinashland

Grizzly Peak Winery - Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Grizzly Peak Winery – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)