Web Cooking Classes with Chef Todd MohrWeb Cooking Classes with Chef Todd Mohr

By Chef Todd

Cutting Pineapple Boats In Hawaii

If you’re in Hawaii, you must know how to cut a pineapple for pineapple recipes or to make a decorative pineapple boat. Chef Todd Mohr is on the edge of a 300 foot cliff in Princeville, Hawaii to show you how to cut a pineapple.

Excellent knife skills is the key to cutting pineapple. The challenge is having enough horizontal knife control to cut as closely to the tough skin as possible without leaving the pineapple fruit behind. If you’re preparing a pineapple recipe, or just want to present a decorative pineapple boat, this quick video will show you a simple secret.

Basic knife skills are essential to any kitchen success. Even with cut pineapple. Items that are cut consistently will cook consistently and have better eye-appeal. The old adage is “you eat with your eyes first”. If I were to present you with a bowl of soup and one piece of carrot was large, one was small, one oblong, one square, your eyes would tell you that it was made without much regard to presentation. Upon tasting, the large carrot would be hard, the small one would be mushy.

A chef’s knife is the first knife you should have in your kitchen. It’s the work-horse of most kitchen tasks. In the time you can retrieve your electric chopper from the cabinet, plug it in, use it, wash it, return it to the cabinet, your chef’s knife would already have the job done. When use with correct grip and the safest technique, your skill with a chefs knife will result in amazing meals at home, or just a decorative pineapple boat made of cut pineapple from Hawaii.

Join me for my next FREE Webinar Workshop, "The What, How And Why of Hawaiian Fusion Cooking"

and discover how to bring the exciting flavors of Hawaii to your everyday cooking.

Register to hold your spot HERE.

By Chef Todd

Hawaiian Treats On The Kauai Food Tour

The islands of Hawaii offer some of the most culturally diverse food combinations in the world.

Hawaiian cuisine IS the definition of "fusion" in cooking because so many cultures and styles have contributed to the flavors of Aloha.

Today I'm joining Marta Lane, the founder of Tasting Kauai Food Tours for a deliciously fun day exploring the flavors of the north shore of Kauai.

These flavors are found in our very first stop with the most traditional of Hawaiian foods. Poi is the base for Lomi Lomi Salmon and Kalua pork from the Hanalei Taro and Juice company.

This is the height of sustainable and local farming, as the ingredients for much of the meal came from less than a mile away!

The Trucking Delicious food truck put coconuts to good use as Chloe has whipped up her famous Haupia Cream Pie that didn't last long on the plate.

Our scenic drive over the bridge than brought us to Tiki Iniki's tiki bar and a great time with Michele Rundgren, the owner. Yes, that's Rundgren like Todd Rundgren, the rock star, and Michele is his wife who makes a MEAN Mai Tai!

From rustic pizzas at the Palate Market to freshly baked gluten-free breadfruit pastries, the rest of the tour was a discovery in the exciting and unique ingredients YOU can find in Hawaii.

Join me for my next FREE Webinar Workshop, "The What, How And Why of Hawaiian Fusion Cooking"

and discover how to bring the exciting flavors of Hawaii to your everyday cooking.

Register to hold your spot HERE.

By Chef Todd

The 5 Benefits Of Simple Cooking

Simple cooking is the best cooking.

There, I said it for the 1000th time! No matter where I travel, no matter with whom I speak,
the people that know good food say the same thing.

“Simple things are good things”

In a fish market on Hawaii, the local fish monger advised me to cook my tuna very simply.
“Only scare the fish with a fry pan, it will be Ono”, he said. Ono is “delicious” in Hawaiian.

The multi-generational spice store owner in Paris told me his secret for cooking with herbs and spices.
"Simpler is better"

The grass-fed beef rancher in Nebraska I spoke with said his steaks get only salt and pepper on the grill.

The restaurant owner in Spain that I dined with didn't have complicated recipes, he bragged that it was the simple things done well that really impress his customers.

Yet, food TV shows will have you believe that elaborate meals are the only way to be considered a truly good cook.

Why would cookbooks and food TV want to make you feel as if your cooking were inadequate?

So you’ll buy more cookbooks and watch more food TV!

When you discover just a few basic cooking methods, then you can break this cycle. Imagine the benefits you would enjoy if you stopped searching for recipes and avoided the influence of celebrity chefs who make you feel unworthy of a kitchen.

What if you were empowered with this concept of simple cooking? What if you could just choose items already in your pantry and improvise a delicious, nutritious, quick and easy meal every night of the week?

You would then begin to improve your lifestyle with simple cooking. You needn’t be on TV, nor need to write a cookbook to know what type of food YOU like. No celebrity chef or recipe author can tell you what you should be eating or how you should be cooking it. Only you can decide that.

Cook simply and you’ll enjoy the following benefits:

1) Freedom – You’ll gain freedom from written recipes and vague instructions that make it impossible to cook consistently. You’ll have the freedom to eat what you want, how you want it.

2) Confidence – Once you gain your freedom from others telling you how to cook, you’ll have the confidence to create your own recipes, using the ingredients you desire.

3) Health – With confidence comes a desire to cook new ingredients, more wholesome, fresh, farmer’s market ingredients. Once you discover simple cooking, you’ll want to try it out on items you were afraid to purchase before because you couldn’t find a recipe for the item.

4) Family - You’ll reunite your family over the dinner table. When they actually look forward to your cooking, when you enjoy preparing healthy meals with confidence, you’ll spend more time together. Also, cooking is a social skill. You’ll find yourself entertaining more, making friends and meeting new people.

5) Money - When cooking in your home moves from the living room as entertainment and back into the kitchen as art, you’ll save money. You’ll order less take-out food. You’ll purchase less convenience items and make better decisions at the grocery store. You’ll stop buying cookbooks. Simple cooking will save you money.

Something else I’ve said 1000 times is that cooking is an art. There is no other art form that comes with a strict set of instructions to follow. Your cooking should come from your heart, using basic cooking methods with the ingredients you and your family desire.

Otherwise, you’re giving the responsibility of something as important as your health and nutrition to a guy on TV.

Discover how to use the freshest ingredients
in my upcoming FREE Webinar,
"Buy Fresh. Cook Simple. Eat Well"







Click HERE to reserve your spot for the FREE event.

authentic paella recipe

By Chef Todd

Why There's No ONE Authentic Paella Recipe

There is no ONE authentic paella recipe. Every region of Spain has their own interpretation of this dish, which means YOU can have your own version as well.

I’ve been traveling throughout Spain to explore and discover Spanish foods that are new to me. I’m not trying to find recipes, they only teach you how to cook ONE thing.

I’m in search of new ingredients that I can apply the cooking methods that I already use in my own kitchen. The idea is not to change HOW I cook, but search for a new WHAT to cook.

That’s why there is no singular authentic paella recipe. Paella is more of a cooking METHOD that can accept the ingredients YOU desire.

You might want shrimp, clams, and mussels. You’ve then made Paella Mariscos.
Use tomato, onion, garlic and rabbit and you have Paella Valencia.
Go ahead and use ALL ingredients you can think of and create Paella Mixta.

Or, you can invent the combination of ingredients to make your OWN original paella recipe.

Here’s the basic procedure for making the authentic paella recipe for YOUR kitchen:

  • Heat a large flat pan until water evaporates quickly.
  • Add a good quality olive oil and wait until it starts to look streaky.
  • Saute’ your protein products like chicken, shrimp, or sausage.
  • Add RAW short-grain rice like Bomba rice or Arborio rice.
  • Add aromatics like onion, garlic, peppers or tomatoes
  • Deglaze the pan with a flavorful stock, using twice the quantity as rice.
  • Add any delicate proteins like shrimp, clams or mussels to cook in the moisture.
  • Cover and simmer on low heat until the rice absorbs the liquid.

Ole’! You’ve made your OWN chicken or beef or lamb or pork or tofu or vegetable paella!

Even though I watched an experienced paella chef make his paella recipe in today’s video, I still realize that it’s up to ME to follow his method but use the ingredients I want in my own paella dish.

It’s another example of how cooking METHODS, the HOW to cook, always gives you power over the ingredients, the WHAT to cook. This is when cooking is liberating and FUN!

Paella is an obvious choice for studying Spanish food, but there are so many more flavors and ingredients I discovered there.

Join me for my next FREE online webinar workshop, "International Food Finds: Discover Global Inspirations For New And Exciting Meals At Home"

Gilda Restaurant

By Chef Todd

The Best New Food Ideas I Took From Spain

My journey for new food ideas and cooking methods never ends, but it has come to a jaw-dropping stand still today because of what Michel told me.

I’ve been searching for new food ideas because my cooking has become boring, lazy and stale. I know there’s more to the culinary world than my typical American diet of meat, potatoes and vegetable.

I’ve searching Spain for inspiration to bring home to my kitchen. I’m confident in my cooking METHODS, I know HOW to cook and this empowers me to find ingredients I may never have tried before.

With this in mind, the first of many food ideas I discovered in Spain was Tapas.

My cooking strategy changed when I started to think about smaller portions but greater variety as is found on the two-bite tapa throughout the country.

If you missed my last video, you can still view New Cooking Ideas From Spain.

I realize that I’ve cooked with ham before, but it’s always the same bland water-added product you find everywhere. However, once I discovered Spanish Jamon, ALL my cooking changed. My expectation of what a pork product should be changed completely.

Now, I use more flavorful jamon in my cooking like I showed in my video Why I Won't Be Cooking Ham Anymore.

I’ve accepted new food ideas into my repertoire and felt quite satisfied, until I met Michel at The Gilda Restaurant in Barcelona. Michel put an entirely different perspective on ALL I’d learned and spun my head in confusion once again.

Michel puts fried shrimp on basil ice cream with pesto sauce and calls it dessert!

One of his food ideas is to pair lamb chops with a spicy chimichurri sauce and serve it over tandoori mashed potatoes! He’s like a mad scientist of flavors, colors and textures on a plate!

This Spanish trip has re-ignited my desire to cook and explore with new ingredients. I’ve come away with new food ideas, but more importantly a new perspective on cooking from another culture’s point of view.

I’m now feeling like a culinary Columbus, having discovered a new world of unique ingredients, but also a WAY of combining flavors, textures, and colors in food like I’ve never witnessed before.

Hopefully, it will inspire you to use dependable METHODS of cooking but be adventurous with the foods and ingredients you choose. This is where the new food ideas will come from in your home.

You start cooking in an inspired way just like Michel when you join me for my FREE online webinar workshop, "International Food Finds: Discovering Global Inspirations for New and Exciting Meals at Home."

Hold your spot in the FREE webinar by clicking HERE.

cooking ham

By Chef Todd

Why I Won’t Be Cooking Ham Again

I won’t be cooking ham ever again since my trip to Spain. I’ve come here to discover new food ideas and have learned the difference between “ham” and the artisan product they make here.

When there’s ham in my kitchen, it doesn’t mean I’m cracking jokes for the camera during a cooking demonstration. I’ve had plenty of people tell me that I’M the ham in the kitchen.

When I’m cooking ham, it’s usually the water-added, brined and salted, bland pork product that is found everywhere in North America. It all tastes the same, there’s no qualifier between different brands or processes. Here in the US, ham is ham.

Most often when I cook with a pork product, it’s bacon. Americans are crazy about the cured meat and I understand why. It’s crispy, it’s crunchy, it’s fatty and smoky. These are the flavors that land on your tongue and light up your brain.

But, bacon has been stripped of most of its flavor also. Bacon is bacon in the U.S., the only difference between brands is the price, not the quality or the WAY it was made.

That’s why I won’t ever be cooking ham again. I’ll be using Jamon from now on.

Spanish jamon is an artisan product that is produced and sold like wine is in France. Jamon in Spain is so much more than just “ham”. Each pig is treated differently, fed different diets, cured and aged in a specific way to give a distinct flavor and texture to each and every piece.

Jamon is not mass-produced like ham is. Jamon comes with the care and cultivation of a unique product which yields the flavor and texture that is characteristic of something produced for quality, not just quantity of output. Cooking with jamon is a greater art than cooking ham.

My new love of Jamon and all the cooking ideas it’s inspired was born out of my discussion with Mark at The Jamon Experience in Barcelona. Mark is a jamon expert who amazed me with the process, care and results involved in producing this signature Spanish food item.

Mark explains that there are three things that dictate the quality of jamon:

  • The breed of the pig
  • What it eats
  • How it is cured

 

Once you discover the difference between cooking ham and cooking WITH jamon, you’ll never go back to the pig-in-a-can ham again. Jamon is the perfect type of ingredient to add a new outlook on my cooking at home. It’s a better, more flavorful replacement for something I’ve been cooking already, and that’s how I refresh my cooking at home.

When you are confident in HOW to cook, the repeatable and reliable cooking METHODS, then the opportunity to add endless variety to your meals comes with discovering new ingredients to apply those same cooking skills to.

You can join me to stop cooking ham and start cooking with a better product like Jamon, and the other Global Food Finds from my trip when you join me for my FREE online webinar workshop, "International Food Finds: Discovering Global Inspirations for New and Exciting Meals at Home.

Hold your spot in the FREE webinar by clicking HERE.

There are more Cooking Ideas From Spain for you to see in the previous blog post.

cooking ideas in spain

By Chef Todd

New Cooking Ideas From Spain

I’m always searching for new cooking ideas. Sometimes they come from my local farmers market, other times I have to travel great distances to discover something inspiring.

I’ve been bored with my cooking lately, it’s not exciting me anymore. I find myself preparing the same meals again and again. I gravitate toward the same ingredients at the market every Sunday, bringing home a duplicate of last week’s menu of green beans, broccoli, chicken, beef and potatoes.

My cooking has gone the easy route, the path of least thought, the easy and comfortable. I’d even call it cowardly. I used to be brave in the kitchen while trying new cooking ideas, but now I’m lazy and meek.

You might feel the same way in your home kitchen, the flame has gone out.

It’s not that I don’t know HOW to cook. I think I’ve established that fact from the Executive Chef positions I’ve held and the tens of thousands of people that benefit from my cooking instruction every day.

The cooking part isn’t the problem. WHAT to cook has become the problem.

Geez, I can cook chicken 25 ways. You might think that’s exciting, but every one of those 25 chicken dishes are still made with chicken! I need even MORE variety than chicken done two dozen ways.

I need new foods and cooking ideas to combine with the cooking methods that I rely upon every day. I don’t want to change HOW I cook because that’s never let me down. What I need is a new ingredient, a new outlook, a new way of looking at the same old same old in a new light.

So I went to Spain. It might seem like a long way to go just to refresh my cooking, but I know the greatest inspirations I’ve had in my cooking career have come from other cultures, other countries that use ingredients I’ve never heard of, and treat food differently than I have.

What I’m finding in Spain and my tour of Spanish cuisine has changed the way I think about preparing food in my home and has immediately given me dozens of new cooking ideas to bring back with me.

Within minutes of getting off the plane, I had discovered “Tapas”, the two-bite food items that are everywhere in Spain. I love tapas because there are no rules in preparing them. Just about ANY ingredient paired with ANY other ingredient makes a tapa. This thought was liberating!

It’s made me think that bigger isn’t always better when it comes to adding variety to your cooking, and that good things can come in small packages if you know where to look for the new cooking ideas.

You can join me to see some of my other inspirations from Spain and other Global Food Finds when you join me for my FREE online webinar workshop, "International Food Finds: Discovering Global Inspirations for New and Exciting Meals at Home.

Hold your spot in the FREE webinar by clicking HERE.

Baking Steak or Grilling Steak

By Chef Todd

Baking Steak Not Grilling Steak With The Lid Down

The difference between baking steak and grilling steak lies in HOW you apply heat to the beef. There are two types of heat in cooking and only one of them is the right one for grilling.

Grilling is a conductive cooking method. It uses intense direct single-source heat to quickly cook thinner and more tender items. That’s why nobody grills a whole turkey.

Larger, thicker, tougher items need indirect heat over longer periods to cook into the middle and help tenderize the product. This type of heat found in your oven is called convective heat.

Apply convective heat to beef
and you’re baking steak, not grilling it.

Should you keep the lid up or lid down when grilling steak?

Home cooks are trying to decide if the barbecue grill lid should stay up or down during the grilling process. I’ve seen backyard grillers open and close the lid so many times, I thought they were sending smoke signals!

The best results in grilling come from the direct source heat that quickly caramelizes sugars, giving you those beautiful grill marks. This direct heat has to be single-source. In grilling, that means from below the item being cooked.

Home grillers that close the lid create a convective cooking environment where the hot air and trapped moisture circulating within is baking steak just like your oven indoors would!

Things to remember
when grilling steak, chicken, fish, or anything else:

1) Because grilling uses intense direct source heat, always choose an item that is thinner, that will cook completely under this quick cooking process.
2) Items to be grilled will not tenderize during the process, it happens too fast. Choose a cut of meat that is already tender.
3) Marinades add moisture, flavor and tenderizing properties. While grilling steak won’t tenderize it, marinating in an acidic liquid like tomato, vinegar, citrus, or wine will help break down connective tissues.
4) Grill 75 percent on the first side and 25 percent on the second. As soon as you flip your steak, you’ve lost all the visual indicators of whether it’s done or not. Cook as long as you can on the first side (the “show” side), and finish on the second.
5) Get yourself a thermometer! The ONLY way to quantifiably tell when your grilled item is done is by internal temperature. Guessing, gashing, and poking are not reliable methods.
6) And, LEAVE THE LID OPEN!

Closing the lid of your barbecue grill means you’re baking steak and not taking advantage of all the benefits of actually grilling steak correctly.

All of cooking comes down to repeatable, reliable, dependable, standard METHODS that can be applied to anything YOU want to cook. That’s what the professionals know and home cooks are quickly finding out the same secrets.

Home cooks all over the world are discovering the cooking secrets taught in culinary college during my FREE online webinar, “The 5 Skills Only Taught In Culinary College That Are Essential In All Cooking”.

You’ll become empowered with SKILLS, not recipes when you can use these most important 5 skills that everyone should know. Reserve your spot in the next webinar by clicking HERE.

With these insights, it will be the last time you’ll suffer from inconsistent cooking, dried out food, bad sauces, bland flavorings, and wasted food, but you must attend the webinar to get the benefits.

Then, you’ll know when you’re baking steak and not grilling it.

By Chef Todd

Steak Done Perfectly - No Guessing Or Gashing Ever Again

“When is my steak done?”

People always ask me, "When is my steak done?" “When is my chicken done?” and “How do I tell when my food is done cooking?”

 

I'm confident that everyone recognizes when they START cooking, but most home cooks aren’t sure when to STOP cooking. This is the most important skill to avoiding dried out food.

My culinary college students ask me this question all the time and the answer is always the same. “How long should I cook my steak,” they'll ask. “Until it’s DONE,” is my standard response.

A better question would be, “how do I TELL steak doneness?”

Skilled cooks are using a fool proof OBSERVABLE way to SEE when to stop cooking and it doesn’t include guessing, poking or gashing the beef.

You don't believe the myths and old wives tales about how to tell when you should STOP cooking, do you?

  • Poking the food with your finger and comparing against your palm or cheek is ridiculous.
  • Gashing an item open to look inside only releases all the moisture, creating dry lacerated food.
  • Cooking by TIME or how LONG to cook something doesn’t take all the variables in cooking into consideration.

The ONLY way you can precisely, accurately and QUANTIFIABLY tell chicken doneness and correctly get steak done perfectly is with a thermometer. There’s no guessing, no poking, no gashing when you have an exact temperature that can be the STOP sign so you don’t over cook.

 

You can start to quantify your cooking with measurable temperatures and you'll add consistency to your cooking as well. Your items will all be cooked to the perfect doneness without becoming tough or dried out.

That’s why you should figure out your “personal steak number”.

You should arrive at the EXACT temperature that’s perfect for YOU, and your results will be spot-on every time.

Trade in your clock for a thermometer as the authority of steak doneness, and everyone can have their own perfectly cooked piece of beef. You’ll be able to cook some steaks more rare, some medium and others well-done based on your steak number as a benchmark.

This is one of the largest differences between the way home cooks are taught and culinary college students are taught to cook. Tomorrow’s professionals are instructed in the METHODS behind cooking. They're empowered with the OBSERVABLE and QUANTIFIABLE step-by-step procedures that can be used on any combination of ingredients they desire.

I’d like to share even more culinary school tips and techniques with you in my FREE webinar, “The 5 Skills Taught In Culinary College That Are Essential In All Of Cooking”. You can register for the next online gathering by clicking HERE.

Because, when you start to THINK like a chef, you start to COOK like a professional!

Claim your FREE Spot for the next webinar session by CLICKING HERE

make gravy

By Chef Todd

You’ll Never Use Sauce From A Jar Again
When You Discover This Easy Way To Make Gravy

There are a lot of great home cooks out there, but many of them have a stumbling block in one particular area of the kitchen, they can't make gravy. Perhaps you have the same hurdle.

I interact with hundreds of home cooks every day. I answer their questions, I share their successes, I try to guide them through their challenges.

We share the same problem that I had many years ago, and this problem may be the singular reason a decent home cook named Todd Mohr made a dramatic life change and enrolled in culinary school 20 years ago.

Like the people all over the world that I now help with their cooking questions, I had a LOT of uncertainties and skill-gaps in my cooking back then.

I could roast a chicken. I could sauté some vegetables, I could grill a steak. I felt confident with those things. I was consistent, I could depend on the results.

 

But then, I’d cover it with a jarred sauce because I couldn't make gravy!

 

I was buying Alfredo Sauce in a jar, Beef Gravy in a can, even frozen Tomato Sauce! This is where my skill-gap was most evident.

What Chef Todd Mohr would like to tell Todd Mohr of 20+ years ago is that the key to making ALL sauces is the concept of Thickening Agents. If you can thicken a liquid so it sticks to food, you can make ANY sauce known to mankind.

With ONE method, you can make sauce for fish, sauce for chicken, sauce for beef, or any sauce you just dreamed up. It’s empowering!

I wish I had known that 20 years ago because it’s so simple.

Any sauce that you can dream up is made of the same three elements; 1) liquid, 2) thickener, 3) seasonings and flavorings. It’s that easy, 1-2-3.

But, the real skill lies in being able to create the appropriate thickening agent for the right liquid, the METHOD of creating a thickener that will be the foundation of your flavorful sauce.

I share the secrets to making great sauces that are original, flavorful, and didn’t come out of a jar in my Webinar Workshop, The 5 Skills Only Taught In Culinary School That Are Essential In All Of Cooking and you can claim your spot for FREE.

Sauce-making is a skill that immediately turns one cooked chicken breast into 10 different meals when you can just whip-up a variety of sauces using this ONE skill that I’ll share in my webinar presentation.

Discover the secrets and make gravy like the pros to add flavor, color, texture, moisture and appearance to ALL your dishes. Get your FREE admission to my Webinar and you’ll be making great sauces in your own home.

Discover the difference between how professionals and home cooks are taught in my next
FREE Webinar Workshop

Claim your FREE Spot for the next webinar session by CLICKING HERE

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