What’s Cooking With Chef Sara Moulton?

Sara Moulton released her cookbook Sara Moulton’s Everyday Family Dinners earlier this year, and is on a book signing tour. This former Food Network celebrity chef is even giving cooking demos and classes in select locations on her tour. I was fortunate enough to be at one of her demos, and let me tell you, she’s as witty as she is talented in the kitchen. This wasn’t a dull demo of just reciting the recipes, she had stories, told jokes, gave tips, and answered questions without missing a step.

Sara Moulton’s show Cooking Live was one of the first shows I watched on the Food Network. It’s a shame they took it off the air to make room for more food-related shows. I think it’s important to also have real chefs showing technique and giving tips, but maybe that’s just me. She can now be seen on Sara’s Weekend Meals which airs on PBS in most areas on Saturday mornings, so check your local listings. As you’ve probably guessed, the book was inspired by the new show.

During the demo, she put together a non-traditional lasagna which used sliced polenta instead of lasagna noodles. For dessert, she prepared a chocolate cheesecake which she microwaved. Both recipes are included in the new cook book, and tasted great.

She asked us if we knew the two irreversible kitchen disasters. Some thought adding too much salt. She explained that could be fixed by adding liquid. After we seemed stumped, she gave us the answers. 1. You can never recover from burning food. 2. You should never purée potatoes in a food processor, because once they’re over whipped they because a gluey mess, and the texture cannot be restored.

She also shared the three conductors of flavor. 1. Water 2. Oil and 3. Alcohol. She has even conducted a taste test of Penne à la Vodka with and with the alcohol. Sara emphasized that vodka itself  doesn’t have flavor, but it imparts so much in the sauce, that makes a big impact on taste!

Before she started cutting onions for the lasagna, she put on a pair of special glasses. Sara, who is also the Good Morning America Food Editor, told us these goggles prevent your eyes from tearing up. In the clip below, it’s shown as one of the featured gadgets.

Chef Moulton also shared her thoughts on two ingredients. First, she is NOT a fan of canola oil due to the fact that the non-organic varieties are modified. She prefers using grapeseed oil. The second bit of information she shared was about salt. She prefers using Kosher salt because of the feel of it. It’s easy to take a pinch and know how much to use without measuring. I totally agree. She even compared brands, mentioning that Morton’s uses additives and Diamond Crystal does not. Wow, I didn’t know that, but good thing I’ve ALWAYS used the latter!

If Sara Moulton comes to your town, do yourself a favor, and watch her in action. Not only do you get to watch a Culinary Institute trained chef do what she does best in your presence, you also get to see a side of her the camera doesn’t always capture, and it’s priceless!


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