How to Make Roux

It’s easy to make delicious sauces and gravies with butter and flour

roux ingredients
Butter and flour, the basics needed to make roux

 

Want to make gravy? How about a cheese sauce? A velouté perhaps?

Then you’ll need to start with roux. Roux (pronounced roo) is the most basic of thickeners for stock or milk to make gravy or velouté (vuh loo tay), which I’ll cover in a minute. So today I’ll show you how to make roux. I promise this will help bring your recipe repetoire to new levels.

Roux is a combination of flour and fat, most usually butter, in equal proportions, which then has stock or milk/cream to it and brought to a boil and allowed to thicken. At the Culinary Institute of America we were taught 2 parts clarified butter to 3 parts flour. For a roux with more flavor you can also use vegetable oil or rendered chicken fat. Technically the ratio is based on weight.  Me, I use one to one butter/flour.

To make roux simple melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Read more

Beekeeping, The Ups and Downs

Despite our best efforts one of the hives died this winter

Dead Out
One of the beehives died this February

 

Back in the fall we added mountain camp feeders to the beehives so the bees had supplemental food if they ran out of honey, which they did. We usually get a thaw in January and were counting on that so we could check the hives to see if they still had enough honey or sugar. The thaw never came and we just couldn’t get into the hives to check them. One never opens a hive in wither with temps below 40˚F (4˚C.) The end result is hive two, Ruby, starved on 16 February.

There are many reasons a colony of bees could die. They may get wet from moisture in the hive, they may be overloaded with varroa mites and be weakened, or there could just be too few bees to maintain a cluster for warmth. The mountain camp feeders took care of the moisture and we didn’t have any significant mite problem.  Read more

Maple Syrup Cookies, The Final Recipe

And the importance of Mise En Place!

Maple Syrup Cookie Three
Ready to eat, and oh, so good!

 

And now for the final recipe in the Maple Syrup Cookies showdown. But you don’t get the recipe until I talk about “mise en place” first.

Mise en place (meez on plahs) is French term for everything in place. Before you start to bake the Maple Syrup Cookie, or any baked good, or cook any recipe for that matter, you should gather all your ingredients and have them pre-measured. That is what mise en place is all about. In the professional world we shorten this to mise. At that pace one cuts corners very carefully and wisely. A shortened phrase is acceptable while a shortened process is bad juju.

Why should you prepare your mise? Read more