Hello America !! This blog is dedicated just for YOU on this election day. Today got me thinking…what if I ran for president ?? Just forget about the rule that you have to be born in this country and have to be 35 years of age. I can’t help that I’m Italian and so young !! Okay maybe I have only one more year to go until I meet the age requirement. If I ran this country I would enforce that everyone eat nutella at least once a day, and cilantro would be completely banned from entering this country !! Only in a perfect world…

 

Chefs live by certain rules, in order to maintain a little bit of sanity in our CRAZY lives. Many people don’t know these rules and I think it’s important for EVERYONE to know them. Here are some chef RULES that all would live by if I became president !! I think that all chefs agree on this set of rules, no matter what political party they belong to ; )

 

Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions and neither do we !!

 

If we ask what is wrong with your food and you say nothing….we will act like nothing’s wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.

 

If you ask a chef a question that you don’t want an answer to…expect an answer you don’t want to hear !!

 

Don’t ask us what we’re thinking about unless you are ready to talk about topics such as sex, food, or vacation ; )

 

Chefs are NOT mind readers : )

 

When we have somewhere to go for dinner, ANYTHING you wear is completely fine. Seriously…we will focus mostly on the food.

 

You can ask us to either cook something or tell us how you want it done…NOT both. If you know best how to do it already, then DO IT YOURSELF !!

 

Sweat pants are not a turn on, unless they are REALLY tight. However, pork belly is ALWAYS a turn on.

 

Yes and no are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question when we’re in the kitchen. We’re allowed to keep it SHORT.

 

Crying in cooking is blackmail !!

 

Anything we said to you while cooking 6 months ago DOES NOT COUNT in an argument. Any comment made after just two days is null and void !!

 

Cooking is not a hobby and we will NEVER think of it that way.

 

When we cook, it’s a no talk zone- just let it be.

 

We truly do not care about what’s happening with your love life. As long as you’re happy, it’s all we need to hear.

 

If something a chef said can be interpreted two different ways and one of those ways makes you sad or angry….we meant the OTHER one !!

 

If you follow these simple and easy rules, everything will be OKAY in a chef-run country !! When voting today, make sure you keep #FabioForPresident in mind ; ) My recipes this week start the beginning of all my Thanksgiving dishes- I give you one a day until Thanksgiving arrives. So you have NO excuses for not having enough recipes to choose from : ) You can find all my recipes this week on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Posted by on Nov 2, 2012 in blog, Fabio Viviani's Kitchen Academy Blog | 4 comments

Hello to all the ghosts and goblins out there ; ) It is the week of a very spooky holiday…HALLOWEEN !! We don’t have this holiday back in Italy, but I do enjoy scaring my friends and getting to dress up — speaking of which, I don’t have a costume yet !! What should I be ?? Maybe I can dress up like my best friend Richard Blais : )

 When you think of Halloween, 2 things come to mind…the color orange because of the pumpkin and lots of CANDY. My recipes this week are very orange-focused, like carrots and pumpkin and all of that. But, I thought I should give you the lowdown on the temperatures for making your very own candy since it is such an important part of this holiday. Maybe this will just be for yourself on Halloween or maybe you will go to the extreme and be the best neighbor on your block with your very own professionally made candy for trick or treaters. Either way, homemade candy is DELICIOUS !!


You must first make sure that your candy thermometer is accurate or else your candy won’t turn out right !! Place your thermometer in boiling water- it should read as 212 degrees F or 100 degrees C. If the temperature is reading differently, just take the difference into account when you take the temperature while making your candy.


THREAD STAGE: Binding agent for fruit pastes
Will form a fine, thin thread when drizzling a spoonful of sugar over a plate. 223-234 degrees F (106-112 degrees C)


SOFT-BALL STAGE: Fondant, Fudge
Will form a ball that flattens immediately when you press it between your fingers after you drop a spoonful of sugar into ice water. 234-240 degrees F (112-116 degrees C)


FIRM-BALL STAGE: Caramel Candy
Form a ball that stays firm and pliable but is still sticky between your fingers by placing a spoonful of the caramel dropped into ice water. 244-248 degrees F (118-120 degrees C)


HARD-BALL STAGE: Marshmallow
A spoonful dropped into ice water will form a ball that is sticky, yet won’t be pliable. 250-266 degrees F (121-130 degrees C)


SOFT-CRACK STAGE: Taffy
Once dropped into ice water, the syrup can be pulled between your fingers and separated into elastic strands . 270-290 degrees F (132-143 degrees C)


HARD-CRACK STAGE: Barley Sugar
Syrup will solidify when dropped into water. 300-310 degrees F (149-154 degrees C)


LIGHT CARAMEL STAGE: Glazes, coating agent
When poured onto a white plate, the syrup will be a honey-golden color. 320-335 degrees F (169-170 degrees C)


DARK CARAMEL STAGE- Glazes, coating agent
When poured onto a white plate, the syrup will be a deep reddish amber color. Up to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C)


Hope you enjoy making your own candy for Halloween this year !! Join in on the conversation about this week’s blog and recipes at @fabioviviani with hashtag #HalloweenByFabio. Make sure to tweet me photos when you make my dishes, I love seeing them !! You can find this week’s recipes on Facebook, @FabioViviani, and Pinterest.

Posted by on Oct 24, 2012 in blog, Fabio Viviani's Kitchen Academy Blog | 0 comments

Wednesday, October 24, is United Nations Day !! Because of that, I give you my recipes that are inspired by other countries…some people don’t always like Italian food every day (although I don’t know why they wouldn’t…) !! We will explore the foods of India, America, Spain, Africa, Ireland, and the Caribbean…BOOM.


A few of the dishes I feature this week include a protein I haven’t talked much about…LAMB !! Do you know all about the different cuts ?? Lamb really can be made so many different ways, but sometimes people don’t really know what each way is !! Here is my easy guide to explaining the different lamb cuts so that you can become the top chef in your house ; )


Lamb Shoulder Square Cut Whole: square shaped cut which contains the arm, blade, & rib bones- you usually roast this cut


Lamb Shoulder Blade Chops: cut from the blade portion of shoulder and have the blade bone & backbone – you usually braise, broil, grill, panbroil, or panfry this cut


Lamb Breast: part of the forequarter and contains ribs- you usually braise or roast this cut


Lamb Breast Riblets: cut from the breast & contain ribs with meat and fat in layers; long and narrow cuts that are usually braised or cooked in liquid


Lamb Rib Roast: contains rib bones, backbone, and thick, meaty rib eye muscle; the fell (thin, paperlike covering) is usually removed – usually roast this cut


Lamb Rib Chops: contains backbone and sometimes a rib bone; the chops have a meaty area which consists of rib eye muscle; the outer surface is covered by fat but the fell is removed- usually this cut is broiled, grilled, panbroiled, panfried, roasted, or baked


Lamb Loin Chops- contain part of the backbone; muscles include the eye of the loin and the flank; kidney fat is on the top of the tenderloin & the outer surface is covered with fat but the fell is removed- usually broil, grill, panbroil, or panfry this cut


Lamb Leg Whole:  contains the sirloin section with hip bone and the shank portion with round bone; outside is covered with fell- usually roast this cut


Lamb Leg American-Style Roast: whole leg with the sirloin section removed; contains the same muscles & bones as lamb leg French-style roast, but with the shank removed, the meat folded back into a pocket on the inside of the leg, & fastened with skewers- usually prepared by roasting


Lamb for Stew: consists of meaty pieces of lamb with a small amount of fat, cut into 1 to 2 inch squares- usually braise or cook in liquid


Ground Lamb: contains lean meat and trimmings from the leg, loin, rib, shoulder, flank, neck, breast, or shank- usually prepared by braising, broiling, grilling, panbroiling, panfrying, roasting, or baking


Well there you go !! I impart all of this knowledge onto you so you can go on to do GREAT things with lamb !! Stay tuned for a few of my lamb recipes throughout the week. Go international this week !! Try new things !! Let me know how the recipes turn out…you can tweet me photos anytime @fabioviviani. Check out this week’s dishes on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Posted by on Oct 19, 2012 in blog, Fabio Viviani's Kitchen Academy Blog | 0 comments

When you think classic Italian food…what do you think of ?? For many, they think PASTA !! And it’s National Pasta Day on Oct 17 !! It is the best comfort food to me, and it always takes me back to when I was a child and learned to cook from my mama and grandmother. We all know I very much love my pastas- whether it be gnocchi, penne, linguine..you name it, I probably LOVE it !!

My recipes this week all center around yummy Fall recipes, many of which are pasta. So in my blog for this week, I cover everything you need to know about this amazing food : )
First, there are SO MANY pasta types and names !! So many time I hear people asking their waiter: “what is the difference between rigatoni and penne? linguine and spaghetti?” There needs to be an end to this !! So here are my quick tricks for knowing the different pastas like the back of your hand:
Bucatini- thick spaghetti shaped pasta that is hollow in center, like a straw

Capellini (Angel Hair)- very thin & delicate pasta, like fine hairs

Farfalle (Bow Ties)- shape of a bow tie!

Fusilli- long, spiraled pasta, look like twisted spaghetti

Linguine- flat pasta that is wider than spaghetti, but not as wide as fettuccine

Penne- short tubes

Ravioli- square pillows that are stuffed with things like cheese & meats

Rigatoni- tubes with ridges, slightly bigger and wider than penne

Spaghetti- probably the pasta that comes to mind first, long and thin shape

Tortellini- ring-shaped pasta that is usually filled with meat or cheese
Now we must cover how to COOK your pasta !! You must cook it perfectly to make it as good as possible ; ) Here are my tips for cooking the perfect pasta !!


  1. Use a LARGE pot with lots of water- more than you think you need! You want your pasta to have lots of room. For every 1/4 pound of pasta, use 1-1.5 quarts of water.
  2. After you bring water to FULL boil, add a splash of oil (not always necessary) & a few shakes of salt (I like this).
  3. Add your pasta & make sure it is COMPLETELY covered by boiling water- if it’s not at a full boil, it won’t be good !
  4. After you add pasta, stir well so it doesn’t stick to bottom of pot…and then stir again after 2-3 mins. NEVER cover your pasta with a lid !
  5. Start checking your pasta at the minimum time the package suggests- test it yourself ! If it is slightly firm but tender & not crunch/hard in the center, then you are GOOD TO GO. If it isn’t, check every minute until it’s ready !! Every second counts !!
  6. Once pasta is ready, remove it from the heat and drain in a colander. Shake the colander to get rid of all extra water, and you don’t need to rinse.
  7. Enjoy !!!!
Check my #PastaByFabio recipes for this week here: Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Posted by on Oct 10, 2012 in blog, Fabio Viviani's Kitchen Academy Blog | 4 comments

For 10.9.12

This week it is my BIRTHDAY week…can you guess how old I’m turning ?? 25 you say ?? How did you know ?!? ; ) The big day is October 10 ! When I think of birthdays, I think of BIG parties and LOTS of food. I am Italian after all !!
The dishes I give you this week are all my favorite foods…so that’s why I say you should make them for my birthday week !!

When cooking for a big group of people, it can be a hard task- you can be confused with how much chicken is too much chicken ?? Is there such thing as too much cheese for a person ?? How much cake should I make ?? It’s always good to know how much of an ingredient to get in order to satisfy ALL of your guests : )

Take a look at these suggestions on how much of each ingredient you should get in order to make enough for 25, 50, or 100 guests !! And have a FANTASTIC party !! I know I’ll be celebrating ; )

…As always, don’t forget to check out my daily recipe cards on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 

Bread 25 servings: 50 slices
50 servings: 100 slices
100 servings: 200 slices
Cake 25 servings: 1 (10 x 12-inch) sheet cake – 1 1/2 (10-inch) layer cakes
50 servings: 1 (12 x 20-inch) sheet cake – 3 (10-inch) layer cakes
100 servings: 2 (12 x 20-inch) sheet cakes – 6 (10-inch) layer cakes
Cheese (2 ounce serving slice) 25 servings: 3 pounds
50 servings: 6 pounds
100 servings: 12 pounds
Chicken 25 servings: 13 pounds
50 servings: 25-35 pounds
100 servings: 50-75 pounds
Fish (Fillets or Steak) 25 servings: 7.5 pounds
50 servings: 15 pounds
100 servings: 30 pounds
Fish (whole) 25 servings: 13 pounds
50 servings: 25 pounds
100 servings: 50 pounds
Hamburger 25 servings: 9 pounds
50 servings: 18 pounds
100 servings: 36 pounds
Ice Cream (bulk) 25 servings: 2 ¼ quarts
50 servings: 4 ½ quarts
100 servings: 9 quarts
Lettuce (salads) 25 servings: 4 heads
50 servings: 8 heads
100 servings: 16 heads
Meat (Poultry, bone in) 25 servings: 20 pounds
50 servings: 40 pounds
100 servings: 80 pounds
Meat (Poultry, boneless) Meat (Poultry, boneless)
25 servings: 8 pounds
50 servings: 16 pounds
100 servings: 32 pounds
Spaghetti 25 servings: 1 ¼ gallons
50 servings: 2 ½ gallons
100 servings: 5 gallons
Turkey 25 servings: 13 pounds
50 servings: 25-35 pounds
100 servings: 50-75 pounds

 

Posted by on Oct 5, 2012 in blog, Fabio Viviani's Kitchen Academy Blog | 0 comments

For Week 10/02/2012

 I know many of you cannot wait for this week’s theme…because its ALL about desserts !!!! October is National Dessert Month — did you know that ?? We all know my LOVE of nutella, which means that I have a true love for chocolate and anything for my BIG sweet tooth ; ) Since this week we will be baking up a storm, I thought why not tell you all about an ingredient that is needed in almost all desserts ?? Have you guessed it yet ?? EGGS !!
There are SO many different things about eggs that I thought I need to put them all together to teach you !
BROWN VS. WHITE: What is the difference between white and brown shell eggs you may ask ? Different kinds of hens can actually lay eggs in different colors, but the actual egg will have the same flavor.
SOFT BOILED VS. HARD BOILED:  Soft and hard boiled are cooked the same way but the cooking time is less in soft boiled (the yolk is runny instead of firm).
EGG SIZE: Always use large eggs in recipes unless it says something different. There are MANY different size eggs like peewee, small, medium, large, extra large, jumbo, and MORE !!
SLIGHTLY BEATEN VS. WELL BEATEN:  Slightly beaten means that the eggs are mixed with just a fork until yolks & whites are blended together….well beaten eggs are beaten until the whites & eggs are light & frothy.
EGG STORAGE: Best way to store eggs is to keep them in carton and refrigerate !! They should last for about 30 days but keep an eye out for the expiration date ! Keep hard boiled eggs refrigerated & they should last for about a week (smell will be bad if eggs are bad). Egg whites have a refrigerated shelf life of about ONLY 4 days. Egg yolks should be used within TWO days.
ROOM TEMPERATURE EGGS:
Eggs should be at room temperature before adding them to other ingredients when you bake !! They beat up lighter and make everything BETTER when not too cold : ) It takes eggs about 90 minutes to get down to room temperature once you take them out of the refrigerator. If you are in a rush, you can try covering the eggs in a small bowl with warm water — they should be okay to use within around 5 minutes.
SEPARATING AN EGG: This looks a lot easier than it actually is !! Instead of pouring the yolk back and forth between egg shell halves, you can buy an egg separator OR use a small kitchen funnel (crack the egg & pour it into the funnel…the egg white will come through the funnel while the yolk stays at the top).
EGG WASH: Always you hear the term “egg wash”- but do you know what it is ?? It’s usually a whole egg beaten with a pinch of salt ! It’s used on pastries to make them SHINE or to moisten meats before putting them in flour/batter.
FRESH VS. ROTTEN:  I have an easy trick to tell if your eggs are fresh or rotten !! Put the egg in a bowl of water — a fresh egg will sink…so if it floats..it’s not fresh !!
Using these egg tips and knowledge, I hope your baking of my #TreatYourself desserts this week will go SMOOTH and DELICIOUS !! Tweet me photos of your desserts when you make them @fabioviviani : ) As always, don’t forget to check out my dessert recipes on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 

Posted by on Oct 2, 2012 in Fabio Viviani's Kitchen Academy Blog | 0 comments

For Week 9/25/2012

Ahhh the fall season is upon us….I can just smell it in the air !! The leaves are changing colors and falling off trees. I always get that warm & fuzzy feeling inside when I think of this season because it makes me want to be with family and curl up by the fire !! I miss the time when LOG ON was a way to increase the heat in your fireplace and not something to do with technology!!!! AND I love winter clothing sooooo much….but since I’m in California, I don’t get to wear them so I really look forward for fall cause for the few months after I can wear something heavier!!!  Sorry for rant…Anyway, this season marks the start of all the DELICIOUS holidays that are coming up !!

This week I feature my favorite #FallClassics….dishes that are perfect to make at this time of year. When I think of fall, I think of vegetables. SO, for this week’s blog, I will teach you ALL about these magical foods : )

Here is the cooking info for some tasty fall veggies that I know will make your tummy smile !! This info is all based on ONE pound of the vegetable—don’t forget !!

 

Artichoke (whole):
Steam: 30-60 minutes
Microwave: 4-5 minutes each
Boil: 25-40 minutes
Green Beans:
Steam: 5-15 minutes
Microwave: 6-12 minutes
Boil: 10-20 minutes
Beets:
Steam: 40-60 minutes
Microwave: 14-18 minutes
Boil: 30-60 minutes
Parsnip:
Steam: 8-10 minutes
Microwave: 4-6 minutes
Boil: 5-10 minutes
Bell Peppers:
Steam: 2-4 minutes
Microwave: 2-4 minutes
Boil: 4-5 minutes
Potato (whole):
Steam: 12-30 minutes
Microwave: 6-8 minutes
Boil: 20-30 minutes
Broccoli (flowerets):
Steam: 5-6 minutes
Microwave: 4-5 minutes
Boil: 4-5 minutes
Turnips (whole):
Steam: 20-25 minutes
Microwave: 9-12 minutes
Boil: 15-20 minutes
Carrots (whole):
Steam: 10-15 minutes
Microwave: 8-10 minutes
Boil: 15-20 minutes
Zucchini:
Steam: 5-10 minutes
Microwave: 3-6 minutes
Boil: 5-10 minutes

 

Just a few helpful suggestions for when you cook these: When you steam, the time BEGINS when the water boils & you see steam. When you microwave, some veggies don’t need water, just the tiny drops that are still on after you’ve rinsed them ! Lastly, when you boil, cover the bottom of the pan with ½ – 1inch of water…if you have whole or dense veggies, use MORE WATER—and make sure the water is boiling BEFORE putting the vegetables in.

As always, you can find my daily recipes on my Twitter, Facebook, & Pinterest  ; )

Happy cooking !!

Posted by on Sep 25, 2012 in blog, Fabio Viviani's Kitchen Academy Blog | 0 comments

Week of 9/18/2012

How everybody like the comfort foods of last week ?? I hope you all enjoyed sharing memories with your family.

For this week, it is all about chicken, chicken, chicken !! Why ?? Because September is National Chicken Month AND who doesn’t love chicken ?? Well…maybe vegetarians…; )
For my blog this week, I want to share with you the meanings of some cooking words that have to do with chicken/meat that you may not know…this stuff can be confusing !! Here you go:

  • Braise- when you brown meat or veggies in a small amount of hot fat…then cook slowly in medium amount of liquid in an oven or on a stovetop
  • Broil- cooking food by putting it in direct heat under the broiler of a gas/electric range, electric broiler, or over open fire
  • Deep-Fry- making food to have a crisp golden-brown crust by cooking it in enough fat that covers the food completely (some food will need to be breaded )
  • Deglaze- after you brown meats or veggies, you add wine or stock to the pan on HIGH heat & then you combine the burnt/brown/sticky coloring that’s left in the pan with the wine/stock
  • Fricassee- cook pieces of meat/fowl by first braising it and then serve it with a thickened sauce
  • Hack- cutting up chicken with a cleaver into big bite-size pieces and keeping the bone (which keeps meat moist while it is cooking) kind going at it like Jason in Friday 13 ; )
  • Julienne- to cut food into very thin strips, make sure finger are out of the way
  • Pan-Fry- cooking food in small amounts of fat on stovetop, this is a bit messy for the stove, lots of spill normally
  • Poach- cooking delicate foods in almost simmering liquid..but being VERY CAREFUL that your food holds its shape
  • Pound- flatten meats & poultry using a meat mallet (I call it the “Punisher”) or rolling pin…this tenderizes tough meat and makes sure your food has even cooking throughout
  • Sauté- fry food very lightly until it is golden in just a SMALL amount of hot fat on your stovetop…don’t forget to turn it continuously !!
  • Sear- to cook your food at VERY high temperature in oven or on top of range for a short time…just enough time to quickly get a brown crust on the surface of the meat
  • Skewer- cooking different foods such as chicken or meat on a long, thin metal pin or a hard rosemary sprig
  • Truss- when you tie your meat with metal or wooden pins/skewers/sting to help hold the shape of the meat while you are cooking it

Did that help ?? I hope so….
Join in on the twitter conversation about chicken this week with hashtag #ChickenDinner…stay tuned for my daily chicken recipes on Twitter & Pinterest !!

Posted by on Sep 18, 2012 in blog, Fabio Viviani's Kitchen Academy Blog | 0 comments