Get Organized for a Festive Meal

November 21, 2011

t’s November.  You’re juggling end-of-year budget meetings, vacation plans and holiday gift lists. With all the other responsibilities you have to contend with this time of year, the thought of preparing the Thanksgiving meal can be overwhelming. It’s helpful to treat this holiday like any other project and to combat the stress by getting all those to-dos down on paper and asking for help when you need it.

Chances are, if you’re cooking this type of meal, you know about it well in advance, which is fortunate, because the key is planning ahead and sharing the work.  Get my list, which will help you get organized for the most wonderful time of the year at Affluent Magazine.

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The Key to a Successful Chef? Being Organized!

August 5, 2009

I love to cook.  I wish I cooked more often —  I just don’t love to cook in our tiny apartment kitchen where there is approximately enough counter space for one cutting board.  But I digress.

Last night, I DID cook (I can make it work — I’ve got a pretty good system going with a handlful of old stacking tables…) and I was reminded of all the organized reasons I love it:

1) Mise en place (pronounced meez en plas). This French phrase (literally “putting in place”) was defined by the Culinary Institute of America to refer to pre-cooking set-up. Get out all of your ingredients, prepare them according to the recipe (chop, dice, filet, etc.) and measure them out as specified.  (Bonus- you’ll know if you forgot something and can run to the store before you turn on the stove.) Ever watch a cooking show and the chef is just throwing things into the pot from those little Pyrex dishes?  His staff did a great job on the mise en place.

2) Time Management. One of the hardest things about cooking is having all the components of the meal ready at the same time.  I do this by working backwards. Say I want to serve dinner at 7:30. I know that the main dish has to cook for 35 minutes and rest for 5 minutes, so I have to get it in the oven at 6:50. I know that it takes me about an hour for all the prep and putting together — so the latest I can start prepping is 5:50. For a simple supper, it’s not a difficult timeline to manage. Come November, I’ll share my Thanksgiving cooking timeline – that one took some serious planning.

3) CAYGO – Clean As You Go. A simple concept, but one I live by. All that prep work generates a lot of dishes to clean up.  Load the dishwasher and wash large items (pots & pans, mixing bowls) as you finish using them. Later, you can focus on the delicious meal you prepared without having to worry about a sinkful of dirty dishes.

I hope this inspires you to get into the kitchen (and if not, at least inspires you to go see Julie & Julia when it opens on Friday!),

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