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Sous-vide March 31, 2017

Sous-vide (/suːˈviːd/; French for ‘under vacuum’) is a method of cooking in which food is sealed in a vacuum-sealed plastic pouch then placed in a water bath or in a temperature-controlled steam environment for longer than normal cooking times (usually 1 to 7 hours, up to 48 or more in some select cases) at an accurately regulated temperature much lower than normally used for cooking, typically around 55 to 60 °C (131 to 140 °F) for meat and higher for vegetables. The intent is to cook the item evenly, ensuring that the inside is properly cooked without overcooking the outside, and retain moisture.

The method was first described by Sir Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford in 1799 (although he used air as the heat transfer medium). Butterfly, brine and roulade your breasts - roll it around whatever you like - for instance, a nice spicy sausage, or pesto or whatever you have on hand. Tie it (them) up with butcher's twine, of course.

Roll your rolade in the dry or wet rub of your choice.

Now, take a square of parchment paper, a larger one of BBQ foil and wrap the two sheets around your roulade (s).

Seal it well, this is what the foil is for.

This will trap all the flavors of the filling and the rub and the only place it has to go is into the chicken.

Bake in a 400 degree oven - sorry, I use a temp probe for this, so I'm not sure how long. But clearly, until the center is 180.

Remove from oven, open and if you wish to brown it, you can finish under the broiler, or with your handy brulee' torch. (we all have one of those, right?)

It won't be AS tender as sous-vide, but I've never had any complaints.

If you have a pressure cooker or a crock pot, there are many things you can do; most are more complete dishes.

But if I had a whole tray of the things and I wanted to cook all of them - say to freeze and reheat - I'd simply slather them in my favorite BBQ sauce and pack them into a cast-iron dutch oven I'd lined with parchment paper, with the bottom covered with chunks of carrot, celery, yellow onion and crushed garlic.

Add about a cup of liquid - something like lemon juice and beer, or white wine or orange juice mixed with white vinegar.

Throw the whole thing into the oven with the lid on tight at about 350 for three or four hours.

When the temp probe says it's ok, remove, let it cool and then do whatever you were going to do. Remember to pour off the liquid and veggies and put them in the fridge until you are ready to make some awesome soup - because you are half done.

The Top 20 January 28, 2017

Here are 20 chicken recipes that have been loved and repeated in my household:

  1. White chicken chili
  2. Lemon garlic chicken kababs with basil chimichurri
  3. Chicken with lime, garlic, and cilantro
  4. spatchcock a chicken and roast it in a pan at 450, use the backbone to make stock or a au jus.
  5. Sprinkle chicken seasoning on thighs and broil 8 minutes per side.
  6. Ina Garten's lemon chicken
  7. Serious Eat's 5 minute grilled chicken cutlets with rosemary and garlic
  8. Serious Eat's halal chicken and rice
  9. Chicken rollatini
  10. Pioneer woman's chicken tortilla soup
  11. Chicken enchiladas (I use pre-cooked shredded rotisserie chicken and the budget byte recipe for sauce.)
  12. Chicken marsala
  13. Chicken cooked in milk. It sounds disgusting but it is totally delicious - especially if served atop mashed potatoes.
  14. Lemon-tarragon chicken salad
  15. Chicken with dried fruit
  16. Thai curry made with chicken thighs. (America's test kitchen)
  17. Chicken Stew from ATK. I serve it with biscuits.
  18. Baked chicken cutlets with breadcrumb/parmesan coating. I mix olive oil/garlic, coat the chicken and then dip into seasoned mixed breadcrumbs with parm before baking.
  19. Sheetpan harissa chicken potatoes
  20. We also like a NY Times recipe for garlic Middle Eastern chicken though I can't find it.

Then there is the classic. Roast chicken.

Most roast chicken recipes call for roasting a normal sized bird (4-5 lbs) at 350F for 20 minutes per pound. This can take an hour and a half or more depending on the size of the chicken. The problem with that approach is the white meat overcooks often before the dark meat is done and the skin is more leathery than it is crispy.

Keller's approach is different. He roasts a slightly smaller bird (2-3 pounds or so) at very high heat for a shorter amount of time. The result is that the white and dark meat are done in about the same amount of time and the skin crisps up nicely. With a smaller bird, you can even roast two at a time and be flush with chicken for a week, plus extra for soup.

The Perfect A Pecan Pie Recipe Does Not Exist December 3, 2016

We had a Dansih family stay with us for Thanksgiving. It was nice and we shared recipes. One that I was sure to make was my pecan pie. But they were hesitent about the corn syrup.

Pecan Pie recipes used corn syrup long before corn syrup had the reputation it does today. In fact, I would wager that when corn syrup became a key part of good pecan pie recipes, cane sugar was cheaper (sweet corn wasn't even grown in abundance then, and corn syrup wasn't as commonly found).

Corn Syrup was used because it imparts the proper sweetness, thickness, and texture.

While I understand (and even agree) with the vilification of corn syrup as an ingredient, there are still old school recipes kicking around where it's the right ingredient to use.

But as others have noted, there are numerous syrup substitutes. But if it were me, I'd still use corn syrup.

The corn syrup you buy at the grocery store and high fructose corn syrup are not the same thing.

If you want to use something else I wouldn't even consider using maple or agave at a 1:1 swap with corn syrup but they'd both complement either corn or simple sugar syrup nicely at a ratio of ~1:4-1:6.

Here is a good one without corn syrup.

A pecan pie recipe I've been making for 15 years has come to include varying amounts of maple, blackstrap molasses and date honey. You can basically use any sugary syrup just make sure there's a more neutral foundation underlying it so none of the more dominant aromas become overpowering. Too much of any fragrant syrup and you'll drown out the pecan.

Easily, I might add.

I'm happily willing to buy, cheat and steal my way out of hard work when cooking but when it comes to baking I'll go the hard way every day...

Nothing you can buy gets close to the results you get from just putting the work in.

The satisfaction you get from pulling off (or even just not entirely fucking up) baked goods is worth all the effort; it validates your ability to tackle the science, rather than just the art, of the culinary craft.

Chobani Chili Lime November 24, 2016

I recently started to use this Chobani chili lime for marinading chicken breast for around 24 hours and it makes some of the most juicy chicken I have ever made!

I've cooked a lot of chicken breast.

Is there something in the yogurt that helps break down tissue, like enzymes or something? I love the way it tastes too, ill be making most marinades from here on out with some yogurt in the mix!

I used to like to cook thighs, but my husband avoids them due to the veins; I read that there is some vein along the bone that can contain blood even when the meat is done. I'm not sure if this is a health issue, or only cosmetic. I think it's possible to remove the vein, if you know how. Some people don't like to see any red or blood.

Perhaps barbecuing or basting with red sauce is a good way to cook it to hide the red.

Personally, my favorite is breasts with bone, which I get for $0.99/lb.

But we normally cook them on the outdoor grill.

There are a lot of tricks to make a breast more flavorful.

  • Poach them to keep them tender, then brown them quickly for some texture
  • Sear quickly, then bake in a pan with a bit of chicken stock, to keep it from drying out too much
  • Cut the breasts in half longwise, creating 2 cutlets. Pound flat, bread them (optional), then saute. Thin, even cutlets cook more evenly on the stove top than whole chicken breasts
  • Brine or yogurt-marinade the breasts before sauteeing or roasting if you want something even more tender
  • Eat chicken thighs instead

Thighs are cheaper. Breasts routinely get down to 1.99/lb. in some places, but I've seen thighs for half that if not cheaper. What's the ratio like elsewhere? My brother told me that he generally speaking, buys chicken breast for ~3.99 /lb. Delicious leg quarters are $0.98 at their local market.

Stove Top Cooking November 13, 2016

If you're only going to cook the chicken on the stove, then either pounding it thinner will make the cooking process faster and easier to not over cook. You can also butterfly the chicken breast for the same effect.

If you have a bigger chicken breast that you want to leave whole, then searing oven is one of the best methods of cooking it. The main problem most people run into is overcooking the chicken and the beast way to counter that is thermometer.

It'll lead to a more juicy and tender chicken breast. Look into brining also as that'll up the flavor and moisture.

A marinade is different form a brine in that its main ingredients are oil and vinegar (or some/several types of acid.) Marinades are great for chicken and a fine substitute (but really a different thing) for brining. Usually with marinades, you leave the marinade on the meat when you cook so it really retains a lot of the flavor. I did this by accident once with a brine and it was a bit....ridiculously salty.

Lemon Meringue Pie Low On the Carbs October 25, 2016

Lemon pie is my favorite pie and I was kind of sad when I realized the other day that we had not eaten it in a long time. Today I was willing to whip up a pie to have a slice.

Pie crust:

  1. 1 1/2 cup almond flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  3. 1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 350. Press into pie pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until brown and let cool.

Filling:

  1. 6 egg yolks
  2. 1/2 cup heavy cream
  3. 1/4 cup Splenda
  4. 1 packet unsweetened gelatin
  5. 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  6. 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  7. 1 tablespoon butter
  8. 1 cup water

Meringue:

  1. 6 egg whites
  2. 1 teaspoon cream of tartar.
  3. 1/4 tsp salt
  4. 1/4 cup Splenda

Separate the egg whites from the yolks.

Let the whites get to room temp while you work on the other parts.

Mix the cream, gelatin, butter water, egg yolks, lemon, Splenda, and lemon zest into a sauce pan and heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Set aside and let cool for an hour, then pour into the pie crust.

Add 1/4 teaspoon salt to the egg whites while they rest.

When it's time to continue, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix the egg whites with a beater for 2 minutes on high. Add the cream of tartar and Splenda. Mix for another 5 minutes while stiff peaks form. Spoon the egg whites on to the custard in the pie pan.

Bake in the oven ~5-10 minutes or until it starts to just brown. Let cool until chilled (the gelatin needs to set more! Overnight is ideal.)

Cut and serve!

10 slices nets 4 grams of carbs (245 calories.) 8 slices nets 5 grams of carbs, 300 calories.