Ramp Season is Here! But What are Ramps, Anyway?

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The first few weeks of spring can only mean one thing; it’s officially ramp season! It’s that special time of year where chef’s throw root vegetables out the window and grab these fragrant greens just breaking through the soil. So what exactly is a ramp and how can you cook with ramps in your own kitchen? Here’s everything you need to know about these unique spring greens.

Ramps look similar to scallions but have one or two long green leaves on the top. Ramps also have a mild onion flavor with hints of garlic and leek. Sometimes they are referred to as spring onions, but that is actually a completely different ingredient all together. Ramps are grown and harvested in many areas of the country, and I actually got the beautiful ramps pictured above from my uncle’s farm in Kentucky. But remember, as quickly as you can get your hands on them in the beginning of April, they disappear just as fast, only lasting a few weeks.

Ramps are beautifully delicate but packed with intense aromatic flavor, so try preparing them a few different ways. For example, pickling the white bottoms in vinegar and dry spices will add an acidic punch to any salad. Save the green tops and sauté them for elegant scrambled eggs. Ramps are also great roasted, and they will become sweet and caramelized like onions. Quickly blanch ramps for a simple preparation that works very well in pestos and sauces. And one of the most unique and delicious ways to work with ramps is to fry them. Try making a light tempura batter and fry them until they are crisp and golden.

However you decide to cook ramps, they are a delicious green worth buying and experimenting with this spring in your kitchen.

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Get to Know Your Knives

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Sharpen your knowledge on the different kinds of kitchen knives and discover the best uses for each when cooking in your kitchen.

Chef’s Knife
– This knife is your workhorse and can take on almost any job. A chef’s knife should have a strong blade, nice weight and a sturdy feel. Use this knife for anything from dicing vegetables to mincing herbs.

Bread Knife
– A bread knife is usually long, thin and has a serrated edge. These qualities are perfect for slicing through the thick crust and soft interior of a loaf of bread. A serrated knife is also great for slicing soft vegetables and fruits, like tomatoes.

Filleting Knife
– This knife has a flexible yet strong blade, making it easy to slide along the spine of a fish. While a filleting knife may not get as much use as some of your other knives, it’s still incredibly useful in butchery.

Boning Knife
– As the name suggests, this knife is ideal for removing the flesh from bones when butchering meat. It has a very strong and sturdy blade with very little flexibility. The blade is also thin so it can get into tight spaces. While you can use a boning knife to slice cooked meat, it’s more suited for trimming and slicing raw meat.

Cleaver
– A cleaver has a classic rectangular shape and very strong blade. This knife is great for heavy duty tasks because of it’s heavy weight. Use a cleaver for chopping through squash or even through poultry and fish bones.

Utility Knife
– Also known as a petty knife, this cutlery is most basically a smaller chef’s knife. It can be used for a wide range of tasks but is perfect for finer jobs, like slicing small fruit.

Paring Knife
– This knife is an everyday knife you will find in almost any kitchen. A paring knife is small in shape and very light. Use this knife for trimming and peeling, as it can easily fit in  your hand.

Slicing Knife
– A slicing knife has a very thin, long and sharp blade. Also, the blade on a slicing knife commonly has indentations so the knife slides through smoothly and without sticking. Used a slicing knife to easily cut through a steak or through delicate pastries.

Styling Your Thanksgiving Table


With all the planning and time it takes to execute the perfect Thanksgiving meal, it makes sense that the table setting could get pushed to the back burner. However, creating a festive and beautiful table is easier than you think. Here are some tips and tricks to create a beautiful table setting this Thanksgiving that is quick, easy and effortlessly stunning.

Mix and Match Texture and Design
When setting your table, mix and match the texture and design of your plates and bowls for a unique and personal touch. Try combining plates with different patterns but make sure to keep them in the same color profile. You want the table to look organic but not messy. For my table setting, I kept it simple with white plates but I added a salad plate with a dot design on the boarder to add depth and texture. This is an easy way to add personal details to your Thanksgiving dinner with items you already have.

Create Your Own Name Cards
Go the extra mile and create your own name cards for each guest. Making your own name cards doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. Use what you already have laying around your house. For example, I used white card stock, a permanent marker and some fresh thyme to create festive name cards. The cards are simple to make, plus I only used items I already had in my apartment. Get creative and make your own personal touches on your Thanksgiving table.

Add a Touch of Sparkle
A little sparkle and glitter is always appropriate during the holidays. So why not add some to your Thanksgiving table setting? I used a sparkly bread plate to add a touch of glamour. It was a great balance with the black wood table and brown paper napkins. Don’t be afraid to add a sparkly touch this Thanksgiving to make your table look effortlessly chic.

If you need some additional tips for a perfectly moist Thanksgiving bird, check out the CC&BT recipe for a Turkey Brine here. Happy Thanksgiving from Coffee, Cabs and Bar Tabs!

All About the Ingredients: Corn Tortillas and Flour Tortillas


Corn tortillas or flour tortillas; what kind of tortilla should you use for your recipe?

It’s very clear that one is made with corn while the other is made with flour, but are corn and flour tortillas interchangeable? Also, what kind of tortilla is best for which recipe? Check out the latest post all about these ingredients on CC&BT. Here you’ll learn some facts about the two so you’ll know exactly what to buy when you’re shopping for tortillas.

Check out the post Corn Tortillas vs. Flour Tortillas here. And after you read the article, check out all of the Ingredient posts on Coffee, Cabs and Bar Tabs here. Cheers!

How To: Poach an Egg


Now that you know how to boil an egg, it’s time to learn how to poach an egg! A soft boiled egg and a poached egg are similar in that they are both cooked in water, and the white has set and yolk is still runny. However, they are different because a poached egg is cooked outside of the shell and at a lower temperature.

Poaching an egg sounds daunting and finicky, but it’s really quite east and quite delicious. Try putting a poached egg on some blanched veggies, a crisp salad, or on top of a chunky soup. The egg will add a creaminess and decadence to any dish.

Check out the How To page here and learn the proper way to poach an egg!

Tips for a Tidy Kitchen


A tidy kitchen means an organized kitchen, but achieving organization can seem daunting. Knowing some easy tips and tricks to organize and de-clutter will help your kitchen go from messy to orderly.

Store Items by Use
– Kitchen items that are used most frequently should be stored in a place you can easily reach. Some of the items that you only use for special occasions should be stored higher and further away.

Label Your Dried Spices
– Organizing your dried spices in similar containers with similar labels will make finding different spices quicker and easier. Try arranging them alphabetically for additional organization.

Group Similar Objects Together
– Grouping similar kitchen items together will make your kitchen more organized. For example, pots and pans should go on one shelf, and baking dishes and sheet pans on another. This will make finding items much easier as well.

Exchange Plastic for Glass
– With the growing concern for chemicals in plastic products, consider switching out plastic for glass! Storing food in glass containers will ensure safety from harmful chemicals, plus it’s still great for the environment because you can continually recycle these items.

Clear the Clutter
– Keeping your kitchen organized means clearing the extra clutter. A kitchen with unused equipment and tools is never good for overall organization. This tip applies for drawers and cabinets, as well as the counter.

 

* If you haven’t already, follow Coffee, Cabs and Bar Tabs on Instagram at @coffeecabsandbartabs, thank you for reading!

All About the Trail

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What is a trail?

In the food industry, there is a hiring process that all line cooks and chef’s will encounter, called a trail. A trail is basically an audition, where the cook is trying out in the hopes of working in that specific restaurant. While the tasks vary from job to job, all restaurants take this opportunity to meet potential employees and see if they have what it takes to work as a chef in their kitchen.

From my personal experience, I have learned a lot about trailing at restaurants. Trails can be both nerve racking and exciting, so here’s a list of tips to help you land your next kitchen job!

Trail Tips:
1) Come Prepared
Do some research on the restaurant you are trailing at. Do not go into any kitchen without knowing what type of food they prepare, who the executive chef is, and so on. Knowledge is always a plus!
2) Bring a Knife
Not only come prepared with knowledge, but also come with basic cooking equipment. Most restaurants will not have knives for you to use on your trail, so coming with one chef’s knife is a good way to be prepared for any tasks you may be asked to complete.
3) Act Professional
Show up on time, don’t leave early, respect the chef and other line cooks, and thank the chef for the opportunity. For any job, always be professional.
4) Don’t Limit Yourself
One of the most important things I’ve learned is to keep your options open! Trail at a lot of different restaurants, and don’t just accept a job at the first place you trail. See what restaurant and kitchen you fit into and enjoy because believe me, you will be spending a lot of time there!
5) Be Yourself
During your trail, remember to be yourself! You want the chef to notice your cooking knowledge and talent, and you won’t be able to show this if your nervous and out of sorts. Take a deep breath and enjoy the trail!

Tips for Studio Apartment Living

Finding an apartment in New York City can be one of the most challenging tasks a person will ever take on. And if you’re not extremely wealthy or shacking up with a Wall Street businessman, then you most likely will settle down in a small studio apartment.

While most studio apartments lack space and personality, I’ve learned a few tips that will make any studio apartment feel more like home.

1) Room Dividers
Dividing up a small room so there is a definite living and sleeping area is key when living in a studio apartment. For my apartment, I used hanging curtains around my bed to close off that area from my living room. Having dividers will actually make your apartment feel larger and also give the apartment more personal style.IMG_4608

2) Multiple Sleeping Options
A studio apartment is small, and it seems crazy that you could fit anything more than a bed and a couch. So what do you do when visitors come? A really smart idea is to invest in a sleeper-sofa (aka pull-out couch). I found one at IKEA that is on the smaller side, but is still large enough to sleep comfortably. Having this option is great for studio apartment living.IMG_4617IMG_4616

3) Organization
Organization is important in any living space but is even more crucial in a studio apartment. Organization helps save precious space, as well as keep your apartment clean and clutter free. I bought this great bathroom caddy from IKEA to organize my makeup and hair accessories. If you plan on living in a small studio apartment, definitely organize!IMG_4612