Make a Three-, Five-, or Seven-Course Version of our Tasting Menu!

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Want to cook a tasting dinner, but not so much into menu-planning? Want to impress your friends with some ambitious, chef-level dishes from our Tasting Menu: Spring feature, but aren’t ready to commit to the full 14-course odyssey? Maybe you just want to host a warm-weather wine pairing party, and need some suggestions for what to serve.

In any case, we totally get it—and we’ve got you covered. Here are three shorter versions of our spring tasting dinner that are big on flavor and fanciness, but way easier to pull off than the whole shebang. Click on the recipes for wine pairings and suggestions on serving dishes, along with notes and everything else you need to try something new and novel.

Once you’ve selected a menu and served it, please share some photos on the ChefSteps forum. As always, we can’t wait to see what you make.

Three-Course Menu

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1. Water and Oil (Nick’s Nasti Salad Soup)
2. Boeuf Bourguignon
3. Henna Egg

Chef’s notes: Jump-start your guests’ palates with the intense Water and Oil—right out of the gate they’ll get a dish that’s acidic, earthy, and packed with distinct textures. You can follow that labor of love with a dressed-up version of Boeuf Bourguignon—a meaty main course with an umami-packed demi-glace. The silky, sous vide–cooked beef offers a texture you won’t find in the previous dish, giving guests something new to chew on. End with the dramatic henna egg, a light-and-lovely conclusion to a short meal with Indian-inflected spices and rich, tongue-coating textures.

Five-Course Menu

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1. The Field
2. Farm and Garden (Savory Ice Cream Salad)
3. Chicken and Dumplings
4. Boeuf Bourguignon
5. Matcha Rice Pudding

Chef’s notes: This menu starts out with the Field—a homemade oat cracker that offers guests a fun, crunchy bite. From there we transition into a creamy, lightly sweet ice cream that melts away in your mouth and is accompanied by tender fresh herbs—the perfect thing after the briney, nutty cracker. From there, we go straight to the savory safari that is this globe-trotting Chicken and Dumplings riff, featuring fun textures and a broth with enough kick to jump-start guests’ palates. Ah and there she is, that Bouef Bourguignon—sexy and substantial with the hearty savory notes we’ve been building up to. To end the festival of flavors: Matcha Rice Pudding, which is complex in flavor and showcases some fun new techniques you’ll learn while making it.

Seven-Course Menu

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1. The Bay
2. Water and Oil (Nick’s Nasti Salad Soup)
3. Northwest Pozole
4. Boeuf Bourguignon
6. Black Forest Glen
7. Garden Tea

Chef’s notes: Set the tone for a fun evening with The Bay, a faux-risotto featuring cucumber and caviar that just pops and melts in your mouth. Next up, the Water and Oil salad-soup offers a hit of acid along with a playground of textures. Then comes our take on pozole, transitioning your palate into more savory flavors with chewy geoduck hidden below a bed of fried tortillas. Your guests will need a little refreshment after all that, so here comes The Park, an aerated sorbet. Ratchet up the intensity once more with Black Forest Glen, a party of chocolate and cherry, followed by refreshing Garden Tea—fresh greens steeped in honeyed water.

Head to ChefSteps for hundreds of recipes, techniques, and tips designed to get you cooking.

Best of The Forum: Banana Bread and a Most Violent Steak

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Welcome to Best of the Forum (BotF), a series in which we highlight fascinating bits from the ongoing conversations happening among our awesome community of cooks. Let’s get to it.

Bloody brilliant

Is it just us, or does the photo above both make you want to up your cooking game and remind you of the opening theme from Dexter? This is the work of community member Lennard Yeong, whose culinary skills and plating prowess just keep getting more impressive by the day. Want to design and plate your own killer dishes? Check out this comprehensive guide from our on-staff food artist Nicholas Gavin.

Speaking of sexy plates

Forum member Rob has been killing it in the plating department as well. Forget Triscuits and cheddar cheese. When this guy gets a mid-morning hankering for a snack, he combines smoked salmon, capers, cream cheese, shallots, toast and pink Himalayan salt for a dish that would fit right in at a fancy restaurant. We like your style, Rob.

Go bananas

There’s banana bread, and then there’s the fruit-forward wonder developed by Nick Gavin. (He’s coming up a lot today, isn’t he?) It’s one of our all-time favorites, so it makes us very happy to see forum member Ethan give it the royal treatment—topping it with toasted brown butter oats, whipped mascarpone, blueberries, AND EVEN MORE BANANAS. Ready to make your own version of our Banana Bread? Be sure to stop by the forum and post a pic. We can’t wait to see what you do with the stuff.

Join ChefSteps today for amazing recipes, tons of techniques, and access to our lively forum of enthusiastic cooks.

Best of the Forum: Dumplings, Kid Food, and One Rich Dish

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Hmmm. What to do with all that leftover duck liver?

Duck liver—everyone’s got some lying around in the fridge, right? Okay no. But if you’ve always wanted to cook with the stuff, take inspiration from community member Manfred, who rolled some up into great-looking dumplings for the gorgeous soup you see above.

Oh, and speaking of liver…

Apparently forum friend Rob ain’t afraid to combine some rich flavors. Check out this decadent-yet-easy dinner: English Muffin, Chicken Liver Pâté, and a perfect sous vide egg. Bonus: This would also make the sickest breakfast in bed ever.

You’ll eat it and you’ll like it.

Brendan Lee shared a thought-provoking article on kids’ menus, and the dangers of raising a generation who dine only on chicken fingers, mac-and-cheese, and hot dogs. This fires up several of his forum-mates, who weigh in on the prickly subject of picky eaters.

Our forum’s the best, man. Join ChefSteps today to get in on the conversation. 

Cooking and Recipe Ideas: 5 Ways to Get Inspired

 

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Not spending a lot of time in the kitchen? Don’t beat yourself up there buddy; it happens to the best of us. The antidote to that epicurean ennui? Re-inspire yourself with novel techniques and tools, a chatty community of fellow food enthusiasts, or a new look at old classics. Here, we’ve got a bunch of ideas that involve all those things. Let’s get cooking.

Treat yo’self to a new tool

Sous vide can help you create the tenderest meats and vegetables, sure, but did you know it’s also an awesome way to make no-fail Crème Brûlée? You can get started with sous vide using nothing more than a pot and a thermometer, but investing in an immersion circulator is the fastest way to master this convenient, highly predictable method. The good news is, they’re pretty cheap now. And once you’ve got yours, you can embark on an epic journey into the surprisingly wide world of this remarkable cooking technique.

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Remember a forgotten tool

You know that pressure cooker gathering dust in your pantry? Bust that out, clean it off, and start exploring amazing recipes and techniques like our Kung Pao Carnitas. And if you’ve got an immersion blender in need of work, put it to use making Green Pea Mash to go with Sous Vide Salmon—a complete dish that’s delicious, healthy, and ridiculously easy to prepare.

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Play with powders

Go modern with these five powders—all integral to creating novel textures and flavors in the kitchen. A good start: our Mayo No.4.

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Make some friends

Getting to know an online community of enthusiastic cooks is a great way to stay inspired. The ChefSteps forum, for instance, is full of recipe ideas—like the Breakfast Pizza pictured below, from Erin Z—beautiful images, and hard-to-find advice for ambitious food folk who want to take their skills to the next level.

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Rethink a classic

Maybe you’ve made many soufflés, maybe you’ve never attempted that airy, always-impressive dessert. Either way, follow in the footsteps of all the happy cooks who’ve found success with our foolproof Molten Chocolate Soufflé recipe.

Not into sugar? Then learn the art of restaurant-level meatwiches with our house specialty, the Au Jus Burger.

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Feeling fired up? Join ChefSteps today for hundreds of recipes, techniques, tips, and tricks. 

 

Yup, You Can Make That at Home: 5 Homemade Takes on Storebought Stuff

There’s something uniquely satisfying about making your own version of storebought foods using fresh, quality ingredients. It’s also a great way to cook with kids (and keep them from destroying the house on a rainy day). From Starburst-Style Chews to Nacho Cheese, here are five of our favorite ways to recreate supermarket treats without having to leave the house. Try these recipes, and if you’d like us to develop techniques for other stuff on your grocery list, tell us about those in the comments.

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Starburst-Style Chewy Candy—so pretty.

Nooks and crannies! Thomas isn’t the only one who can make English Muffins. Since 1747, baking enthusiasts (or, you know, people who just wanted to eat) have been doing their own versions of this comforting breakfast treat, and you can too.

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English muffins, fresh from the oven.

What’s the best thing to serve with pulled pork and crunchy coleslaw? King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls, of course. The only way to improve on that satisfying summer meal is to make the rolls yourself and serve ’em up fresh.

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Hawaiian Sweet Rolls, always great with pulled pork.

Life hack alert: If you only make one recipe on this list, let it be homemade Ice Cream Cones. Because it’s so easy you won’t believe you ever bought that stack of styrofoam-esque sugar cones. This is how you get fast-tracked to parent of the year, and you don’t even have to attend one PTA meeting.

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Homemade Ice Cream Cones—as impressive as they are easy.

Nacho Cheese is one of those foods you eat with the blinds drawn when your significant other goes out of town. Well come out into the light, Velveeta lovers. ‘Cause there’s no shame in indulging in creamy, chip-coating cheese sauce when it came out of your own kitchen. The secret—melting salts. And they’re about to change your life.

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Homemade nacho cheese—so creamy.

That’s right, you can make your own Starburst-style Chewy Candy—all you need is a stand mixer and a set of really strong arms. (The more sets of really strong arms you have, the better. So invite your gym-iest friends over to help you pull.)

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Stretch your confectionery skills with Starburst-Style Chewy Candy.

Want to find more great recipes to enhance your experience in the kitchen? Chat with other modernist cuisine enthusiasts? Get the first word on ChefSteps news and events? Join our community and get cooking.