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By Chef Todd

Members Only Post: Long Island Clam Chowder

In this Special Members–Only Blog Bonus, I'm going to show you how I cook my second favorite dish with clams, my Long Island Clam Chowder. I hope you enjoy and cook some for yourself.

We’re so glad to be able to offer you this special video, available only to members of WebCookingClasses.com.

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To Your Cooking Success!
Chef Todd

By Chef Todd

Summer Demands an Easy Baked Stuffed Clam Recipe

When I go clam digging and I am as successful as I was on this particular trip, my favorite clam recipe to cook is baked stuffed clams. Today, I'm going to share how I create this fantastic dish!

Knife Skills
First and foremost, all of the clams need to be cut into small
, yet uniformly sized pieces. While you are chopping the clams, it's good to keep a watchful eye out for pieces of shell. You may also feel these unwanted pieces with your hands.

Into the Pan
Calling on your knowledge of basic sauté method
is what you'll need to do next starting with melting butter into your pan. For the best baked stuffed clams, make sure that you control the heat so your melted butter isn't allowed to brown in the pan. Once melted, add your chopped clams.

After a few moments, the clams you brought home from your clam digging expedition will release much of the moisture that they have and begin to poach in their own liquid. Watch your temperature to ensure that the clams don't boil or simmer, but continue to poach.

The Thickener
Add enough Panko bread crumbs to soak up some of the liquid
as well as a heaping mound of Parmesan cheese. Stir all of the ingredients together and taste it to ensure that you have the correct seasoning in place. Now, your clam recipe is starting to take form!

Seasoning
I like to add basil and oregano, but it doesn't mean that you have to.
Make sure that you season your clams to your sense of taste. After the seasoning is just right, I like to add a large quantity of fresh chopped parsley to give it a fresh aromatic flavor.

The Half Shell
Set up some half shells on a sheet pan for your baked stuffed clams
and use a portion scoop to get the same quantity of clam mixture out of your bowl and into the clam shells. Using a portion scoop will ensure that your clam recipe cooks consistently for each clam shell.

Percentages
From my clam digging adventure, I ended up using 120 raw clams
for my clam recipe which yielded a total of 40 baked stuffed clams. That's 3 whole clams for each baked clam.

The next time you go clam digging, remember that the most flavorful dishes that you cook are made from the freshest ingredients and the simplest cooking methods. I hope that your clam recipe for baked stuffed clams turns out just as flavorful as mine.

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By Chef Todd

Members Only Post: Clam Broth

In this Special Members–Only Blog Bonus, I'm going to share with you the trick to reserving the liquid from a clam which can then be used in soups, sauces, or other clam recipes that you desire. I hope you enjoy these exclusive tips.

We’re so glad to be able to offer you this special video, available only to members of WebCookingClasses.com.

Look for more free members-only bonuses coming soon!

By Chef Todd

You Need to Dig Deep for a Fresh Clam Recipe

One of my favorite clam recipes is baked stuffed clams. But, to get the freshest clams, you have to go clam digging first, and then you need to open the 300 clams that you dug up.

Heading out in a small boat to find a secluded low-tide spot that no one else knows about and spend the afternoon clam digging is a fond childhood memory of mine. I grew up on Long Island, NY and as a kid, I could walk along the shore, dig my toes into the sand and find clams to bring home.

I decided to revisit this childhood memory. It’s a beautiful day. I’ve even brought my dogs, who want to get into the act, even if they think clam digging is a game to find very hard tennis balls.

Once we’ve collected all our clams, my head begins to swim with clam recipes. In the end, I know that one of the recipes I will have to cook is baked stuffed clams as it's my absolute favorite. However, to even start making baked stuffed clams, the fresh clams need to be opened.

There is a specific technique to opening fresh clams and a certain tool to be able to do it correctly and safely. First, it’s wise to wear gloves, because the clam shells can be sharp, but also because the knife can slip under the pressure you exert to open them and you can easily cut yourself.

The key to opening fresh clams is not to cut through the belly of the clam as this makes the clam unappetizing for clam recipes. The proper technique is to cut the two muscles on either side of the shell to expose the clam meat in tact.

Clam digging is done, 300 clams are opened, baked stuffed clams are a must...but there are so many more clam recipes to choose from!

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By Chef Todd

Members Only Post: Three Mistakes

In this Special Members–Only Blog Bonus, I'm going to share with you the three mistakes that most people make when choosing fresh produce. I hope you enjoy these exclusive tips.

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By Chef Todd

Peel Tomatoes in 2 Easy Steps

In my efforts to help you understand how to cook healthy foods for yourself and your family, the most important thing to remember is that the most nutritious food comes from the freshest produce. So go ahead, enjoy the summer harvest and the flavor of just-picked items. You might even want to enjoy the flavors of some unfamiliar fruits and vegetables that your new confidence will allow you to purchase and cook to fantastic results.

Today, I want to share information about an item that you probably very familiar with and already understand the health benefits and eat it every summer. The tomato.

One of the best flavors of summer are fresh tomatoes. They are bright, clean, slightly acidic and can be used in just about any kitchen application. Most of us love a sliced tomato on sandwiches, or diced tomatoes into a cool summer salad or salsa.

However, if you have to cook a tomato, the skin becomes bothersome. The skin of a tomato does not break down under heat and needs to be removed unless you like little rolled quills of tomato skin stuck in your teeth after a meal. This is when you Make Tomato Sauce Like a Pro, Not Like Grandma.

First heat some water to simmer or a very slow boil. While your water is heating, core your tomato and on the opposite end, mark an "X" in the skin. Once your water is ready, drop in your tomato. You will not need to leave the tomato in very long as you're not trying to cook it, rather to tease the skin off. When the skin on the tomato begins to split, remove it from the water and drop it into ice cold water. This change from intense heat to ice cold is called "shocking" and will cause the skin on the tomato to begin to roll up on the edges and separate from the tomato so you can easily pull the skin off using your fingers.

Once this is complete, you can cut the tomato in half and flick out the seeds inside the tomato. Once you remove the seeds and give your halves of tomato a good squeeze, you now have peeled, seeded tomatoes that you can use in any number of dishes. The French call this procedure “tomato concasse” (con-ka-say). It’s peeled and seeded tomato, and a procedure anyone can master in their own kitchen for sauces, jarring, or diced in any dish.

Nutritious food can be found all around us and in learning how to cook healthy dishes, open your mind to the idea of learning some new procedures that will enable you to enjoy your produce in fresh, new ways. Enjoy your healthy eating!

By Chef Todd

Members Only Post: Ratatouille and Eggplant Secrets

In this Special Members–Only Blog Bonus, you're going to learn some of the secrets of working with eggplant as I work on creating Ratatouille. I hope you enjoy these exclusive tips.

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We’re so glad to be able to offer you this special video, available only to members of WebCookingClasses.com.

Look for more free members-only bonuses coming soon!

By Chef Todd

5 Simple Steps to Cook Healthy Nutritious Food

Every night when you go home, you have to make a decision about what to have for dinner. For the most part, we would like to eat nutritious food, but many of us didn't grow up learning how to cook healthy meals. If you're watching your health, eating out is not the best option, so most people look in their cookbooks for recipes. This isn't always the best solution, because recipes lie. But, if you know the right way, it’s very easy to cook nutritious food every night of the week.


This is the process that many people go through:

  1. You come home from work, and have to start planning dinner.
  2. You’ve already cooked the 5 things you know how to cook this week.
  3. You need more ideas,
  4. You look through the pantry, consider calling for pizza…

 

It’s not only exhausting, but you have to re-educate yourself every single night. It's not going to get you the results you want or deserve for yourself and your family. If you’re looking to cook more nutritious food at home, save time and have endless cooking ideas, you’re in the right place.

There are 5 simple steps to cooking with fresh ingredients.

Step 1: Get Fresh Ingredients

  • The first step for using fresh, seasonal ingredients is to actually GET some.
  • This could be the most difficult step for many of you that are used to the huge mega-mart grocery store.

 

There are alternatives. My eyes were opened to more alternatives during my trip to Paris, France. The food culture in Paris is so much different from where I live in the US. There were very few corporate “chain” restaurants there.

Many of the restaurants were small, 10 table places where there were three people on staff, the chef, the maitre d’ and the dish washer. They had their service each night and went home. Each time I asked why their food tasted so good, they all had the same answer. And, not a single person bragged about their recipes.

Instead, I was told that I needed fresh, simple ingredients. I discovered that I needed to examine where my food is coming from. This doesn't mean simply the store where you shop, but what is the country of origin for your food. Think about how you feel about your money going to another country when there are farmers in your community that need your help. Now think about how long ago that vegetable was harvested in the far away country, and what happened to it during its travels.

It might be inconvenient to drive past dozens of mega-marts to find a farmers market. But you may find that there’s a local produce roadside stand near you that you’ve avoided. In my case, I signed up for “The Produce Box” which delivers fresh community supported agriculture to my doorstep. Fresh is important because fruits and vegetables degrade as soon as they’re picked.

  • Nutrients are lost
  • They become visually unappealing
  • Harder to cook successfully
  • Loss of flavor!

 

Step 2: Select the freshest ingredients when you shop

Be aware of what you're choosing, even if you shop at the local produce stand or farmers market. Some items may still be fresher than others and the most nutritious, healthy food is the freshest. You have to be even more aware if you shop at the local mega grocery.

In understanding how to cook healthy, you need to be able to understand the difference between fresh food and food that has been ripened artificially or is not ripe at all. Do you know how to tell a fresh orange or grapefruit? Did you know that color is NOT an indicator of freshness in peaches?

Step 3: Storing Fresh Ingredients

 

For maximum shelf life, nutritional preservation and budget savings, there are three issues in storing fresh ingredients:

  1. Moisture
  2. Air circulation
  3. Temperature

 

Not everything can be thrown in to the drawer in the refrigerator and preserve their freshness. In fact, some things will suffocate in a plastic bag. Other produce will need to be wrapped tightly to retain moisture. Other items will need to be kept cold, while others will degrade under the cold.

Step 4: Master a few basic cooking techniques

At the very least, master the following techniques:

  1. Understanding the transfer of heat
  2. Saute method
  3. Know how to make sassy sauces

 

But there are so many more. All of the basic methods in cooking are covered in my live cooking classes. Giving you the tools to understand these basic methods is what makes my approach to teaching cooking so unique and why people rave about my Web Cooking Classes. Web Cooking Classes empowers you with a thorough understanding of basic methods which allows you to cook and create without a reliance on recipes. Pure freedom!

Step 5: Finishing the Process with Fresh Herbs

This is the number one question I get during my live cooking classes:
Q: "Which herbs to use and how much to use?"
A: "Use the ones you like."

Seriously! Use your nose to see what it reminds you of, use the ones that you like and use as much as you like.

You want to know my number one herb secret? Herbs go last! Fresh herbs should not be cooked. In fact, just the heat of the finished dish is enough to release the aromas of fresh herbs.

These are the secrets that chefs know about how to cook healthy which are so easy to incorporate into your every day cooking. You can cook nutritious food that you want to eat for your health and for how wonderful it tastes.

You can do it!

Starting TODAY, you can cook healthier, better tasting food and STILL save money.

"Discover my simple 5 step process for getting fresh, nutritious and cost-effective meals on the table every night of the week!"

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By Chef Todd

Marie Antoinette’s Kitchen at Versailles

In this Special Members–Only Blog Bonus, while visiting the palace at Versailles, I was able to get a private visit to Marie Antoinette’s kitchen. I hope you enjoy this exclusive footage.

We’re so glad to be able to offer you this special video, available only to members of WebCookingClasses.com.

Look for more free members-only bonuses coming soon!

"Buy Fresh, Cook Simple, Eat Well" describes my latest cooking DVD, "French Food Finds"

By Chef Todd

Party Like it’s 999! Medieval Meal is the Strangest Paris Food Yet

In my Paris travels, I’ve been examining Paris food while trying to figure out why it is so flavorful, fresh, and makes me feel so good after I’ve eaten.

While I spent hours with my Paris guide to all things food, Pascal Mierve, owner of L’ Epicerie Fine in Paris, I ignored most of his advice last night. Pascal is a multi-generational grocer and spice dealer, and advises that the reason Paris food is so good is that it’s simple food. It’s made from simple ingredients and served in appropriate portions.

Last night, I had the strangest meal in the strangest restaurant I’ve ever been in. It also turned into the strangest night of my Paris travels. The Medieval restaurant served everything “community” style. This means that your salad is a large basket of whole vegetables that you choose, then pass to the next table.

The wine flowed, and I ultimately found myself invited to a French bachelor party. Guillame was getting married the next day and we helped him celebrate Medieval style.

If I had only known how the day would end when I got on the train to Versailles earlier that morning. The train ride through French neighborhoods took us slowly out to the French countryside and the amazing site of Versailles palace.

The palace itself is a work of art, but the grounds, with hundreds of gravity-fed fountains are an engineering marvel for hundreds of years ago.

It was a beautiful day in the French countryside, and as my Paris travels come to a close, just as the fountain show ends, I wish Pascal would have reminded me that the best Paris food is simple food, and next time, get a Paris guide that will keep me away from Medieval wine and French bachelor parties!

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