Kitchen Insider (Part 5) - On the importance of homemade stock

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The yummy team’s got their own tips to share, too! Here, we dish on some of our best-kept kitchen secrets.

On the importance of homemade stock

Rachelle Santos, food editor

Description: Rachelle Santos, food editor

Rachelle Santos, food editor

“The secret to flavorful soups, sauces, and stews is good stock. Making it from scratch is always better than using store-bought cubes. Cook it low and slow, let the flavors take their time and develop on their own. If you’re busy, stock can always be made ahead: Find the time to make a big batch of stock on a lazy weekend afternoon. It’s mostly hands-off work since you just have to leave it to simmer for a few hours. Let it cool, then portion into muffin cups or rice cube trays and freeze. Once they’re frozen solid, transfer them to zip-top bags. Now you have stock available any time you need it. It’s worth going the extra mile because homemade stock provides the foundation for a flavorful dish, producing complex flavors like nothing else can”.

On achieving balance

Klar Joseph, editorial assistant

“We always talk about the importance of salt, but don’t forget about the importance of acidity in cooking, too. A squeeze of lemon juice or a simple splash of vinegar can help round out the flavors of a dish and make it more balanced”.

On properly measuring ingredients

Liezl Yap, acting editor in chief

“Never measure ingredients over the mixing bowl, pot, or pan that has all the other ingredients – that’s a recipe for disaster! It’s too easy to pour a little too much into the measuring spoon and have the excess spill over into the bowl, effectively ruining the entire batch and requiring you to start over. What a waste of ingredients! Before you cook, read the recipe from beginning to end, gather all the ingredients required, and properly measure everything out”.

On delicious shortcuts

Paulynn Chang Afable, managing editor

“I don’t have a lot of time to cook from scratch, so it’s great when I find useful and delicious items in the frozen section of the supermarket. One of my favorite finds is frozen ravioli that’s stuffed with four different kinds of cheese. All you have to do is whip up a simple tomato sauce, toss them all in a baking dish, top it with mozzarella, and pop it in the oven. Another great find is puff pastry – you can make both sweet and savory items with it”.

On the wonders of a pressure cooker

Zee Castro, incoming features editor

“To easily cook delicious batches of melt-in-your-mouth beef, use a pressure cooker! Some pointers: Brown the meat first to make the dish more flavorful. Make sure to put enough liquid (together with the aromatics) into the pot. Remember that the contents should not exceed two-thirds of the pot’s capacity. Once done, adjust the valve to release the pressure and make sure all steam has dissipated before you open the lid. Enjoy and savor yummy, tender beef! You can make a big batch and freeze portions for use in soups and stews”.

On properly slicing baked goodies

Aileen Anastacio, chef and owner, goodies ‘n sweets

Description: Aileen Anastacio, chef and owner, goodies ‘n sweets

Aileen Anastacio, chef and owner, goodies ‘n sweets

“Use a ruler for accurate sizing. Carefully make small marks first before cutting from end to end. To ensure a clean cut, use a wide offset spatula and dip it in hot water after cutting each slice”.

On giving old family recipes a new spin

Jam Melchor, owner and chef, villa café

“Old family recipes are the best. Not only are they delicious, they also hold happy memories. Making these recipes modern or putting a twist on them is always a challenge because altering it should not change the original taste of the recipe. Its quality and flavor should be retained, but the dish should be presented in a modern and enticing way. I’ve always loved my Lola’s biringhe. It’s the Kapampangan version of paella. Traditionally, she serves it Valencianna-style, sopped with lots of chicken flakes, caramelized bell peppers, and hard-boiled eggs. For my own festive tribute to my lola’s recipe, I turn it into a stuffing and place it in the cavity of a Lechon Manok or Lechon de leche”.

On creative ways to serve ice cream and gelato at home

Peter Chua, owner, café public

“if you start off with a scoop of good vanilla gelato (made with real pods), the classic Italian affogato is a delight. In Italy, an affogato (the word literally means drowning) is a scoop of vanilla gelato dunked in a shot of espresso. You will not need cream, nuts, or a fudge sauce – these will only mask the aroma of a good quality affogato. At Café Publico, we take the classic affogato further and offer a fun variety – the Mexican Bandit has a shot of Patron coffee tequila while the Arigato Affogato has coffee jelly in the mix. You can do this at home, too”.

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