With Thanksgiving approaching, basting a turkey is the perfect basting example. Start the basting process with the liquid in the pan (the natural juices) which will develop after the turkey has cooked for approximately an hour or once it starts to brown. With either a brush or a baster, completely cover the turkey with the natural juices and continue to baste every 30 minutes.
The same method applies for pork roast and ham. For ham, baste every 30 minutes with a honey glaze or glaze of your choice. Begin the process about an hour after placing the ham in the oven.
The “secret” to basting is to baste the entire surface—no cheating!
Blanching applies predominantly to vegetables. Why blanch?
Blanching maintains the beautiful bright color of vegetables; blanched vegetables are easier to digest; and blanching is great for reheating food items such as cooked pasta. Add a bit of salt to the water in a pot, bring to a boil, and place the vegetables in the pot for 2 minutes. Remove immediately and “shock” them (stopping the cooking process) by placing the vegetables in ice water and then removing after a couple of minutes. If refrigerating, be sure to remove all moisture. Enjoy the vibrant colored, healthy vegetables!
If reheating cooked pasta, (not sauced) a blanching process is appropriate. Bring the water to a boil in the pot, drop the cooked pasta into the pot, cook for 1 minute, and strain. The pasta will not be overcooked or limp and you’ll be able to enjoy a delicious bowl of pasta!
One of our most requested entrees is our braised short ribs. We season our meat in the same pan in which we braise the short ribs. We then add stock halfway up the meat, bring to boil, and immediately lower to a simmer, cover, and cook at a low simmer for 3-4 hours. Cooking low and slow breaks down short ribs, as well as all tougher cuts of meat, creating tender and delicious meat that hardly requires a knife.
Basting, blanching, and braising are cooking basics that create great results. As our weather cools, these techiques are a wonderful way to prepare tasteful dishes.