Jun 15 2010

Brine baby brine

Sunday was the first time I brined a chicken and I can honestly say that I will never make a whole roasted chicken again without first completing this step.  It was more tender, more succulent and more flavorful. For those of you who have had tasty Kosher chicken meat, this is the closest you will get in terms of flavor. It’s as simple as this:

Bringing chicken

1 Gallon water: 1 cup kosher salt

Soak the chicken for 1.5 hours and pat dry.

Season with white pepper only (no excess salt is necessary) and stuff the cavity with your favorite herbs (please see my earlier posting in The Daily Dish about a cooking a perfect roast chicken).

And definitely let me know after you try to brine, I’m sure you will agree this makes the world of difference.

Jun 13 2010

Method Madness

Poaching, simmering, roasting, grilling, frying – you name the method we’ve covered it these last two weeks. I certainly have not perfected all these methods of cooking just yet, so I’m gonna have a ton of fun practicing over the next few months.

Once you check out my pictures below, it shouldn’t surprise you why I didn’t eat dinner all week at home. Here’s just a sampling of some of my creations and 4 pm “snacks” in class.  For all of you wanting to live vicariously through me, here’s your chance. Now if there was only  a way for you to taste everything…..  hmmm….i’ll have to get on that with Apple. If anyone can invent smelloputers or computasters, its the geniuses behind the new iPad.

Fear not, when I’m on break in a couple weeks I will post lots of these recipes for you to try at home. And in the meantime, summer is finally here – fire up the Weber and get on grilling!  If you live in the North like me, there are only a few months we can grill. Don’t stay inside. Marinate some lamb chops in olive oil, crushed garlic gloves, rosemary. Season with salt just before cooking.  Squeeze a little lemon. Perfection.

Slow Braised Beef

Braised Endive

Mixed Grill (lamb chop, beef tenderloin, pork sausage & shoestring friesVeal Fricasse

Onion Rings

Jun 9 2010

When food freezes over

Rule of thumb:  Keep frozen foods no longer than 6 months in the freezer. After that, toss it. Flavors and texture begin to change. I always write the date with a permanent pen on the plastic wrap and periodically do a clean sweep, tossing out old items or items with any visible freezer burn.

Jun 7 2010

A Perfect Roast Chicken

So succulent, so satisfying, sooooo easy!!!!  Just follow these few simple steps and you are on your way to a perfect roast chicken:

1) After cleaning the chicken, pat it dry.  I also like to truss the chicken which allows the bird to cook evenly, retain as much moisture as possible and improve the overall appearance.

2) Season the skin with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with your favorite herbs (I also like to add lemon slices) and salt and pepper. If you put the herbs directly on the skin they will burn when roasted at such high temperatures.

2) Since the dark meat takes the longest to cook, I like to sear each side of the chicken on the thigh/leg in a pre-heated very hot (oven safe) pan coated with oil.

3) Place the seared chicken directly in the oven and  cook at 375-400 degrees (F) for 15-18 minutes per pound, rotating the chicken at least 2 additional times (second thigh side up, ending with the breast side up).  This will help prevent the breast from overcooking.

4) Add your aromats (onion, celery, carrot, garlic) to the bottom of the pan about 10-15 minutes before the bird is finished cooking.

5) You will know the chicken is cooked when the joints become very loose and the juices run clear with no blood. An instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh should reads 165 degrees as well.

Cover loosely with foil if you see that it is browning too much.

Deglaze the bottom of the pan with water, wine, or stock to make a nice pan gravy. Thicken with a cornstarch slurry or roux if desired.

Jun 7 2010

Buyer’s beware

After receiving such great response to last week’s posting about Fish on Mondays, I thought I should share another buyer’s beware tip.  You know all those pre-marinated items at your butcher or fish counter that sound delicious? Stay away!!!  Typically, the protein used is leftover meat or fish with visible signs of aging. These signs can be disguised beneath a marinade sauce. Aha! It all makes sense. The kicker is these stores are even upcharging the item because of the marinade, and people pay! Making a profit at your health’s expense.  Better idea, make your own marinade or buy some of my favorite Soy Vey perfect for summer grilling.