I had the opportunity to be a Foodista Product Tester for the Rouxbe Online Cooking School (in partnership with Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver) and test several of the online videos and instructions. I was really impressed how informative the sessions were and learned so many technical tips, anatomy of meat, the science of the cooking process and best cooking practices.
In the How to Select Pasta session, I learned how to optimize my pasta eating experience by understanding how pasta is made and the difference between extruded versus laminated pasta. I had no idea that only dry pasta can be al dente.
How to Select and Cook Perfect Pasta
Then I tried the How to Cook Grains session. I loved learning about the anatomy of the grain and the illustrations and the various methodologies (boiling, steaming, pilaf and risotto method). At the end of the session, they offered great tips on how to add grains into a diet and how to maintain nutrients via steam method or use the boiled off nutrients that was in the water and adding it to soups.
How to Cook Whole Grains
In the How to Brine session, the salt and water effect meat to retain moisture. The ratio of a less salty brine is 2 tablespoons or 30 grams of salt to a quart (or 1L) of water. To brown the meat, adding any types of sugar or molasses and adding aromatics will infuse more flavors. In terms of time it takes an hour per pound.
How to Brine Meats and Vegetables
I tried the Pan Frying series, which was extremely helpful. The series instructed when to add oil to a stainless steel pan (with a water test and how the water forms into a mercury ball state on the pan). Additionally, I learned how important that the pan is at a proper temperature and the meat is dry to insure a proper crust and use sound of the sizzle to ensure proper cooking and adjust the heat.