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The Chef shows you how to reduce.

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01 May 2010

The Chef shows you how to reduce.

When Danny and I first started dating, we ate a lot of meals with swirls of sauces on the plate. Red-wine reduction sauce. Madeira sauce. Balsamic sauce. Every night, he brought home a little to-go container of sauce soft as velvet, with a flavor so bold it took only a few tablespoons to make me look at him in awe.

I kept wondering: how did he do this? Why did these spoonfuls of sauce taste like an entire day's worth of cooking, condensed?

"It's a reduction sauce, honey," he told me.

Ah, reducing.

You'll see a number of recipes in our cookbook that call for reducing. It's a very French technique, and Danny was classically French trained. Making a reduction sauce takes time and patience but not much effort. Mostly, you wait. Anything with veal stock or beef stock has a lot of gelatin in it, so those stocks grow thick with just the cooking. Another liquid might need something like a cornstarch slurry to make the final sauce cling to the back of a spoon.

Lately, we've been reducing fresh juices for use in recipes we're making up. You'll see some of them soon.

And so, we thought you might like to see Danny guide you through the reduction process.

(We were both a little unexpectedly sleep deprived, so there's a lot of silliness here. Also, after editing this video, I realized: man, we have to clean off our stove! sheesh.)


p.s. maybe it's just our internet at the moment, but this video seems to slow down in places. (thanks, Vimeo.) be patient, just like you have to be when you reduce liquids.


At 9:31 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

wish there was a written step by step. my computer doesn't do video clips so well! hopefully i don't forget to come back and watch this when i have a better connection.

At 9:48 PM, Anonymous Jennifer said...

You guys are so cute. Even sleep deprived! And my stove looks like that too. Thanks!

At 12:17 AM, Blogger Ruby said...

can I just say that...
the blue kitchen aid fits perfectly in your kitchen with the yellow wall!

I've always seen it in red everywhere. But this blue fits your kitchen splendidly :)

At 3:56 AM, Blogger magpie bessie said...

Charming! ...and very helpful! I have only done balsamic reductions, and I am very excited to try some other sauces. Very much looking forward to your recipes w/ fresh juices! Thanks guys!

At 5:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loved the Chef's lesson! Very cute and informative!!!

At 6:09 AM, Anonymous Sarah @ Celiac in the City said...

Wish I had been there for a taste test. Looks rich and delicious! Love the video demos.

Reducing does seem overwhelming at first read, but like he said, you just have to wait for it. Worth the wait! (kudos to Lu on her guest appearance)

Thank your for sharing.

At 7:43 AM, Blogger Cindy said...

Thank you for the lesson. Well done! I especially liked bopping around with a toddler, I miss those days. And I miss those fat crayons.

Wish I could reach through the computer with a piece of my Udi's inspired bread to dip into that delicious-looking finished sauce!

Looking forward to experimenting with reduction sauces. Thanks again,


At 9:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm starting to wonder what kind of audience your cookbook recipes are geared towards. Not everyone will have a professional chef to teach them the proper techniques while trying your recipes. I guess I'll have to wait and preview in a store before buying. Please remember us folk who are gluten-free and somewhat cooking/baking-challenged. Perhaps they have a cooking gluten-free for dummies?

At 10:03 AM, Anonymous La NiƱa said...

You guys are too funny... and saucy.

Don't worry about the stove. Anyone who really cooks has dirty burners. We just discovered a new cooking toy- a stainless Basque mesh "basket pan" (got it from Williams & Sonoma) that will let you cook just about anything on the grill without it falling through the grill. Booth caught spot prawns yesterday (!) and we inaugurated the mesh pan with prawn scampi... wow. Less mess and darn delicious!

(and Booth is making prawn head scrambled eggs with chives now... wish you were here!) -xo

At 10:49 AM, Blogger SKIP TO MALOU said...

Please thank the chef for sharing... btw, the sound is soft... is there a way to make it louder?
thanks shauna!

At 11:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Chef's lesson. Thank you very much!!!!

At 2:55 PM, Blogger Heather @Gluten-Free Cat said...

You two are adorable! Thanks for the lesson. The term "reduction" always scared me. Now I think I can tackle it!

At 7:12 PM, Blogger Brenda said...

I love your videos! And OMG! I would have never thought of reducing anything, but after seeing the before and after shots...well, let's just say I'll be on the lookout for reducing opportunities!
Thanks so much! B=)

At 7:21 PM, Blogger Shauna said...

We're glad you enjoyed it, everyone.

GEMI, we didn't do a written step by step because it might be different for every sauce. Mostly, bring it to a boil, turn it down really really low and wait until it has reduced. Dancing is optional.

Magpie bessie, the carrot cake in our book has a secret carrot juice component. makes the cake amazing.

Sarah, I love how you put this. What seems overwhelming at first becomes habit pretty quickly.

Anonymous, our cookbook is a celebration of all things food, so the audience is for anyone who loves food and cooking it. This site is pretty emblematic of it. If you're the kind of person who wants to tackle gluten-free puff pastry, you'd like the book.

There are a ton of easy, homey recipes, but there are also more complex recipes from the chef. Danny shows us how to do each step, in writing, so it is like having a professional chef next to you. That was our intention.

(Also, that's part of why we do these videos!)

There are plenty of really excellent cookbooks out there for beginning cooks/bakers, if ours does not seem right for you.

Skip to Malou (cute name!), I don't know what's up with the sound. We use a Flip camera and post it on Vimeo. Maybe it's time for another camera...

At 5:07 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Loved the video! Just made my first demi-glace a week ago, and it was such a relaxing (all day and into the next) process that just required me to stay home, chill out, and skim on occasion- you inspired me to tackle it with your no fear attitude (and it made an amazing sauce, by the way- so proud) I can't wait for your cookbook so I can learn more, from a professional chef no less...

Looking forward to tackling your puff pastry soon- you guys are awesome! Keep teaching us!!!!!

Loved the commentary by Lu in the background... that's my favorite part about what you guys are doing- it's so real, and obviously filled with love.

At 10:52 AM, Blogger Deanne said...

Thanks for the tips. I knew nothing about reductions. Yay for other people's messy stoves! You all are so fun and cute!!

At 11:29 AM, Anonymous Heather D. said...

Thank GOD somebody else's kitchen looks like mine! Please don't clean those burners too well or you'll make some of us feel bad :-).
The video was great, I really appreciate that Danny explains the classic French terms in words and in ways that I can understand. thank you both so much, you have really helped expand my culinary horizons,especially since going gf about 2 years ago! Peace!

At 2:28 PM, Anonymous Lisa said...

I love The Flavor Bible! Might have bought it after you rec'd it on this site. And thanks for the reminder to take it slow w/reductions! When I 1) rush w/too high a heat and 2) am too busy to pay attention, that leads to not-great reductions.

No doubt you already do this when you're not standing by the stove w/a video camera in your hand, but as a fellow mom, I'd like to take this opportunity to remind everyone to KEEP THOSE POT AND PAN HANDLES TURNED IN ON THE STOVETOP, especially if there are any little ones in the house. As a dear ER nurse friend used to say, "often it is such a little thing that changes our lives forever."

At 9:25 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

heheheee! He reminds me of my four-year-old just a wee bit in the beginning with the fidgeting during the intro.

This is a great video, and instructional, too! Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing. :)

At 7:15 AM, Blogger L Vanel said...

Nice video! Now I think I'll do a sauce like that tonight.

At 7:48 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

But is oyster sauce gluten free? I thought it had soy sauce in it, which definitely contains wheat!

At 7:31 PM, Blogger Chef Mama Lori said...

Vimeo is not being a friend-o right now! But it takes me up to where you are laughing & Danny is fanning himself. You're so cute!


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