Hi all. Bill Cary here, filling in for Liz Johnson on the food beat. Liz is off the rest of the week.
I’m just back from a press breakfast and cooking demo with Martha Stewart, who is launching a new TV cooking series on PBS stations. Called “Martha Stewart’s Cooking School,” the weekly series debuts the weekend of Oct. 6-7. (Check your local listings.) It’s loosely based on her 2008 book with the same title.
The goal is to give cooks of all levels lessons on basic techniques in the kitchen. “We want to teach the user how to cook really well,” Stewart says. “It’s not a shortcut show, not a dump and stir.”
“In this show, you see the process,” she adds. “We want to simplify but not make everything so elementary that it’s not interesting.”
(Martha Stewart demonstrating how to peel a head of garlic by tossing it between two tightly closed steel bowls. Photos by Mark Vergari.)
Most stations will air the show three or four times a week, she says, “which is exactly what we want for this kind of show.”
The first show will be dedicated to the versatile egg (fried, scrambled, hard boiled, soft boiled, and in omelets and frittatas). Week 2 will teach the basic sauces any home cook should be able to master: marinara, hollandaise, bechamel and beurre blanc.
Other shows will focus on braising, poaching, frying, pan searing, emulsions, stocks and roasting. On the weekend of Nov. 3-4, fifth-generation NYC butcher Evan Lobel will join her for a master class on meat.
As a bonus for TJN/lohud.com readers, Stewart has agreed to answer one question from our readers and that person will win a free copy of her book, “Martha Stewart’s Cooking School.” Type your question into the Comments section below. We’ll gather them up and let her choose the one she wants to answer. We’ll share her answer here and in print.
The breakfast this morning was delicious—fresh scrambled eggs from her Bedford farm with toast and three kinds of jam (raspberry, blueberry and red currant). “Those are jams that I made myself from my very own berries,” she said as she stopped by our table to chat.
Stewart also gave us a hands-on demo on how to make a four-cheese bechamel sauce for a yummy stove-top mac and cheese. (Tip: a good bechamel needs both cayenne pepper and grated nutmeg.)
The first 26 episodes have already been filmed and edited, but future episodes will be taped at her Bedford farm. “It’s a fabulous kitchen for filming,” she says. “I like doing things there — the dogs and cats are very happy when I’m there. And I can go to the chicken coop and get fresh eggs.”
As usual, recipes from the PBS shows will be posted online right away. “I don’t want people to watch the shows and think they have to write things down,” she says.
If you want to see the full schedule of shows, I’ll paste it in here from the press release, after the jump.
WEEKEND OF OCTOBER 6/7: EGGS
Want to know how to cook the perfect soft- or hard-cooked egg? Or the fluffiest scramble? Martha shares these and other secrets as she teaches viewers all they need to know about eggs, the world’s most versatile protein. Whether you like your egg over easy or sunny-side up, Martha shows you how to prepare them properly every time, with easy-to-master techniques and tips. You’ll learn a clever method for frying eggs, a surefire omelet recipe, and the key to a foolproof frittata.
WEEKEND OF OCTOBER 13/14: SAUCES
Join Martha as she teaches the classic sauces everyone should know how to make: hollandaise, béchamel, beurre blanc, and marinara. Each of these easy, adaptable recipes offers a culinary lesson in flavor-building techniques, so viewers can learn to create other sauces in the same family. Martha begins with two different methods for preparing hollandaise sauce, a delicious accompaniment to steamed asparagus and eggs Benedict. A creamy béchamel sauce becomes the basis for a grown-up take on macaroni and cheese. Martha serves the French sauce beurre blanc over steamed lobsters. Finally, she prepares a quick, fresh-tasting, better-than-anything-from-a-jar marinara sauce using only four ingredients.
WEEKEND OF OCTOBER 20/21: VEGETABLES
Everyone knows the importance of eating vegetables, but many home cooks avoid cooking them simply because they don’t know how. They want to add more vegetables to their diets but lack an understanding of the basic techniques. In this episode, Martha shares her favorite methods for preparing vegetables so that they retain their delicious flavors, bright colors, and nutritional properties. She offers viewers her approach to the wonderful world of cooking vegetables with quick, easy-to-follow recipes and tips. Viewers will learn how to make very simple vegetable side dishes including both corn on the cob and Mexican corn, sautéed broccoli rabe, acorn squash, brown sugar–glazed carrots, sautéed sugar snap peas and shelled peas with mint, and lemony kale salad.
WEEKEND OF OCTOBER 27/28: STOCKS
Making stock is an exercise in building flavors and, as such, is one of the first lessons in any culinary course. Having a steady supply of homemade stock in the freezer will elevate anyone’s home cooking. In this episode, Martha shares recipes and techniques for the three most common stocks—chicken (including a time-saving pressure-cooker version), beef, and vegetable—as well as useful cooking and storage tips.
WEEKEND OF NOVEMBER 3/4: BUTCHERING
Fifth-generation New York City butcher Evan Lobel joins Martha for a master class on meat. Together, they teach viewers how to choose and cook the best cuts of meat, from tender to lean. Not only will this episode make you a better cook, but it will save you money as well. After all, buying a whole chicken and cutting it up yourself is much more economical than buying chicken parts. Martha and Evan demonstrate some of the most useful butchering techniques, including cutting up a whole chicken, butterflying a leg of lamb, butchering a beef tenderloin, and making medallions from a pork loin.
WEEKEND OF NOVEMBER 10/11: RICE
If you have rice in your pantry, you’re well on your way to a great meal—something you have in common with home cooks around the globe. Martha offers a lesson on the world’s most common grain, starting with a perfect pot of fluffy white rice, which you can incorporate into a main course or serve as an accompaniment to a host of other dishes. From there, she’ll show you her tried-and-true techniques for flavorful pilaf, risotto, and Thai fried rice.
WEEKEND OF NOVEMBER 17/18: DRESSINGS AND EMULSIONS
Homemade dressings far outshine any store-bought varieties, and Martha will show you how easy it is to make your own. She starts the lesson with a delicious shallot vinaigrette prepared two ways: whisked directly in the bottom of a salad bowl and shaken in a small jar. She also makes a creamy blue cheese dressing—just the thing for drizzling onto a wedge of iceberg lettuce. And did you know that you can make your own mayonnaise, too? Follow Martha’s step-by-step instructions, then use it to prepare the most delectable BLT.
WEEKEND OF NOVEMBER 24/25: STEAMING
Steaming is one of the fastest and healthiest ways to cook—and it’s not just for vegetables. In this lesson, Martha demonstrates a variety of steaming techniques and tools that allow you to make complete meals in just minutes. She’ll show you how to cook chicken breasts in parchment paper for moist, flavorful meat, as well as how to clean and steam mussels. And if you’ve never used a bamboo steamer before, you’ll become a convert after watching Martha use one to prepare steamed salmon and peas simultaneously for a quick and easy dinner.
WEEKEND OF DECEMBER 1/2: ROASTING
This episode is devoted to roasting, a straightforward and adaptable technique that also works well for meat, fish, and chicken. Martha’s roast chicken showcases the benefits of this method, with a crisp exterior and moist interior. Because roasting so beautifully concentrates the flavors of the ingredients, it’s also well suited to vegetables, and Martha includes a recipe for a delicious roasted root vegetable salad. Finally, she prepares a show-stopping dish fit for any holiday table: a green peppercorn-crusted roast tenderloin of beef.
WEEKEND OF DECEMBER 8/9: BRAISING
Braising is a busy cook’s best friend, and here’s why: With little hands-on time and no special equipment, this “low-and-slow” method produces hearty, consistently flavorful main courses and side dishes that belie their ease. It’s also a great way to cook lean, inexpensive cuts of meat. In this episode, Martha shows you which cuts are ideal for braising and the best ways to cook them, sharing recipes for classic pot roast, braised cabbage with apples, and pulled pork sandwiches.
WEEKEND OF DECEMBER 15/16: POACHING
Because poached meats are moist and tender yet still mild in flavor, they work well as the basis for numerous salads, soups, and light suppers. They’re also famously low in fat. Martha begins this lesson by showing how one of the most healthful and versatile preparations—simply poached chicken breast—can be incorporated into all-American chicken salad sandwiches as well as a Cobb salad. Martha also shares recipes and techniques for poached salmon steaks, and last she reveals the secret to poaching eggs.
WEEKEND OF DECEMBER 22/23: FRYING
The very best fried foods are golden brown on the outside and deliciously tender within—never greasy or soggy. Yet frying on the stove top is a technique that can elude even the most ambitious home cook. In this episode, Martha offers lessons in how to deep-fry and pan-fry to perfection at home in your own kitchen. Recipes and step-by-step techniques include French fries, pan-fried chicken (a Southern favorite marinated in buttermilk before coating), and Japanese tempura vegetables with dipping sauces. She shares lots of tips for keeping foods crisp without allowing them to absorb excess oil.
WEEKEND OF DECEMBER 29/30: PAN SEARING
In this episode, Martha demonstrates how to pan-sear, a technique that produces consistently satisfying—and quick—meats and fish. Pan searing involves browning food quickly over high heat so it develops a nice crust and locks in the flavor and juiciness. Martha shares her technique for pan-seared scallops with lemon-caper sauce. She also offers recipes for crisp-skinned salmon fillet, pan-seared steak with mustard-cream sauce, and Muscovy duck breasts with a port-wine reduction.
About Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc.
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. (NYSE: MSO) is a diversified media and merchandising company, inspiring and engaging approximately 66 million consumers a month across all media platforms with unique lifestyle content, and has a growing retail presence with 8,500 products in thousands of retail locations. MSLO’s four magazine brands—Martha Stewart Living, Martha Stewart Weddings, Everyday Food and Whole Living—are available in print, digital and App formats; the Company also offers special issues, books and utility Apps. MSLO’s television and video programming includes the new “Martha Stewart’s Cooking School” series, slated for debut in Fall 2012, in addition to a vast library of how-to video available online. Martha Stewart Living Radio is available on SIRIUS XM Channel 110. MSLO also designs high-quality Martha Stewart products in a range of lifestyle categories available through select retailers, including The Home Depot, Macy’s, Staples (together with Avery), PetSmart, Michaels and Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores. The Company entered into a strategic alliance with J.C. Penney Company, Inc., in which the two will build distinct Martha Stewart stores in jcpenney department stores, and jointly develop an e-commerce site, for a 2013 launch. The MSLO family of brands also includes Chef Emeril Lagasse’s media and merchandising properties. Additional information about MSLO is at www.marthastewart.com.
WETA Washington, D.C., is the third-largest producing station for public television. WETA’s other productions and co-productions include “PBS NewsHour,” “Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal,” “The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize” and documentaries by filmmaker Ken Burns, including the premiere November 18 and 19 of “The Dust Bowl.” WETA presentations include Pati’s Mexican Table, Sara’s Weeknight Meals, Cuisine Culture, Everyday Food and more than ten seasons of Globe Trekker. More information on WETA and its programs and services is available at www.weta.org.
PBS, with its nearly 360 member stations, offers all Americans — from every walk of life — the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches nearly 123 million people through television and more than 21 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; hear diverse viewpoints; and take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org.