They chose three ingredients: merguez sausage, garbanzo beans, and harissa, and each made a distinctly different dish. Tom's was the chef's way: an elaborate preparation that involved homemade sausage, stuffed leg of lamb, and fresh garbanzo beans. Gail created something more accessible to the home cook with store-bought sausage and canned garbanzos. As they cooked, they chatted; to see some tips I picked up from Tom and Gail,
- You want to be a good cook? Tom says you have to practice: "the more you practice, the better you'll get."
- If you don't have a convection oven, Tom advises searing meats, like large roasts, in a hot pan on the stove before placing it in the oven. This will ensure an evenly crisp exterior.
- When it comes to cocktails, Gail sweetens hers with infused simple syrups. The gin-tea concoction she made was sweetened with a mint-infused simple syrup.
- Both Tom and Gail believe one should never be afraid of touching their food.
- Gail happily pointed out that Tom is the best kind of chef: he cleans while he cooks!
- Colicchio reminds us to not be wary of longer preparations. He says, "the longer it takes to cook something, the more flavors will develop."
- Don't be cheap when purchasing cooking equipment. "Buy the best you can afford," Tom recommends. "A well-made, more durable pot or pan will cost you more, but it will last you a lifetime." He suggests buying three quality pieces instead of 20 cheap pieces.
- When you can't find an ingredient, ask your favorite restaurant chef to locate it.
- Don't always make the same recipes. Tom and Gail proved that with just three ingredients, one can put together an endless possibility of dishes.