Shortcuts

I’m one of those fancy chefs who serves small portions, treats the plate like a canvas and uses flowers and ingredients you’ve never heard of. But I’m also a fan of shortcuts.

Many of the world’s best chefs will readily admit to resorting to shortcuts when they’re cooking.

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While we were staying at the Casa Tres Coronitas in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, last October, I asked the house chef, Marilu, to show me how to make her famous salsa. She was giving me a lesson and it was nothing out of the ordinary — tomatillos, onion, garlic, chiles de arbol, salt. And then she reached into the cupboard to pull out her “secret ingredient” — Knorr powdered chicken bouillon. Sure enough, when I tried it at home (with the bag of Knorr powdered chicken bouillon Marilu picked up for me at the supermercado), it contributed a salty umami depth that was missing before I added it. Couldn’t have been the MSG, could it?? More

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The Fastest Chili in the West!

I was in a pinch! I had to go out and needed to feed my family. Desperately searching my nearly empty fridge (we were going on vacation), freezer and cupboards, I found a can of beans. Inspiration took over — I could make a quick chili!

Practically instant chili

Practically instant chili

Despite what the chili-heads and aficionados will try to tell you (and sell you), chili doesn’t have to be a complicated or obtuse affair. Indeed, some of the chili I’ve thrown together in a pinch with ground turkey and tomato paste, for example, have been better than the fancy versions with heirloom tomatoes and tri-tip that I’ve labored over across the course of days. More