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Ask Brando?

Brando Says:

“I will read a baker’s recipe several times and fully prep out the ingredients before beginning to mix and bake.”


Q: I’m a bachelor and I would like to make a succulent but quick pasta. I need to impress and I don’t want to open a jar.

A: Bachelor Pasta? Say no more. You and the honey can make this together or let ‘em kick back and watch you get your chef boy-r-dee on.

You’ll need:

  • 2 Large Pots: 1 for boiling and 1 for sauce

  • Good Olive Oil

  • 3-4 Handfuls of cherry tomatoes

  • 1 clove of thinly sliced garlic

  • Fresh picked basil

  • Good Ass Parmesan

  • Pasta of your choice

What to do:

  • Grab a pot and get that water to a rolling boil. Salt it heavily if you like good tasting food.

  • Place the olive oil and sliced garlic into the 2nd pot and turn the heat up to low-medium.

  • Salt that garlic a little, it could use some love.

  • The idea is to gently warm the garlic and the oil together slowly.

  • As you see the garlic become translucent drop in those cherry tomatoes, if you recently washed them make sure they are completely dry and void of water droplets to avoid a reaction to the oil.

  • Turn the heat up to full medium.

  • The tomatoes will start to burst and pop, but don’t be afraid, now is your chance to show off. You Got This!

  • After a few minutes the tomatoes will release most of their liquid, help them out a bit and smash them with your spoon or whatever is on hand. DON’T USE YOUR HAND, tough guy.

  • The mixture is the base of your sauce and by now your pasta should be in a roaring boil and ready to go.

  • Turn off burner, drain the pasta and save 1/2 cup of the pasta water to mix into your tomato mixture.

  • HOME STRETCH! Toss the pasta and smashed tomatoes in the sauce. Hand tear a couple of sprigs of basil and toss that in as well. Give another good stir.

Plate it up, Shave some parm and Enjoy! FANTASTICO!!

Q: Why do we separate the wet and dry ingredients when baking?

A: Following a baker’s recipe is as close to alchemy as you’re going to get. The simple reason for this is to allow your ingredients to evenly mix with one another throughout the entire process. Mixing all your dry and wet ingredients give them the opportunity to be combined evenly, resulting in an optimal and smooth batter and pastry.

Personally, I will read a baker’s recipe several times and fully prep out the ingredients before beginning to mix and bake.

Q: What is the key to the perfect pancake?

A: You are trying to whip up a lil’ weekend brunch? weekday brunch? Yum! Here we go!

When executing the ultimate pancake, I always fall back on 3 Key Rules.

  • Rule #1: Separate your wet and dry ingredients (now you know why)

  • Rule #2: Melt your butter and let it cool for 5-10 min. Seems minor, but mix it into your cold wet ingredients and you will be blessed with butter lumps galore. These nooks and crannies of your pancake will provide the fluff factor that defines a perfect pancake.

  • Rule #3: Once the batter hits the HOT skillet be sure to flip that pancake only once. Wait for tiny bubbles to form on the top of the batter and in one swoop, flip that puppy! Whoops… I mean, hot cake.

Q: What is the deal with chili peppers? Some are sweet, some are spicy, some are mild? How can I tell? Which should I use?

A: With over 200 varieties of chili peppers in the World, you’ll have your work cut out for you finding your favorite. The pepper’s heat comes from the white lining of the interior as well as the seeds. Best to wear gloves and keep fingers away from eyes and face!

My latest pepper obsession is the Brazilian Biquinho Pepper. Smokey and Sweet. It makes a killer pickle and a beautiful garnish to any dish.

Q: What is the difference between all the flours?

A: The every day home cook should always have several cups of all purpose flour on hand for those emergency biscuits you always crave.

The most common flours are: All Purpose Flour, Whole Wheat, Gluten Free and Self Rising Flour.

One must re-examine measurements when substituting flours.

All Purpose Flour is a staple in any home and one should always have some on hand. I really like King Arthur’s brand and Bob’s Red Mill. A good APF should have a minimum protein content of 11.5% as this will be the foundation for a well structured and smooth dough.

Whole Wheat Flour requires a lot of hydration, so when working with whole wheat be sure to have adequate moisture in the dough as it tends to break up gluten resulting in a more crumbly textured bread as opposed to chewy, soft and elastic bread. Beginner bakers should consider using a whole wheat and APF blend of flour as that can be a little more forgiving than just using whole wheat.

Almond Flour is my go-to GLUTEN free flour, its nutty flavor profile and fine texture is ideal in many cakes and desserts. Often times you can find almond flour made from blanched almonds, meaning they may or may not have the skins removed before they are milled into flour. Anthony’s goods is my favorite brand for almond flour but there are several in your local grocery stores.

Self-Rising Flour is typically made from a type of all purpose flour (APF)that has a lower protein content than most traditional APF. For this reason the low protein APF is fortified with baking powder and salt to assist in the rise and structure of your baked goods. Feel free to make your own self rising flour, the measurements are standard and easy to mix together yourself.

Recipe for Self-Rising Flour:

  • 1 cup All Purpose Flour

  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

  • 1/4 tsp Salt

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