Tag Archives: Cooking 101

Cooking 101: Herb Roasted Chicken

I love roasted chicken and make this simple recipe at least a few times a month. It is super easy and delicious. Herb Roasted Chicken

Ingredients
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon coconut oil, grape-seed oil or any other oil you prefer
4 pieces of chicken breasts or 8 pieces of thighs, it can be skinless or boneless. If you are using skinless and boneless, it takes less time to cook and check on the meat 10-12 minutes earlier.

Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Pat the meat with a paper towel to make sure it is dry and all moisture is removed.

Combine together the seasonings, oil and butter.

Pour over the chicken and rub it into the meat and place in a baking dish. If you use a metal dish, the cooking time will be decreased by 5-10 minutes.

Bake the skinless, boneless chicken breasts for 30-40 minutes
Bake the  bone-in chicken breasts for 40-50 minutes
Bake the skinless, boneless chicken thighs for 40-50 minutes
Bake the bone-in chicken thighs for 50-60 minutes

This is great on salads, in sandwiches or just the way it is.

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Ghee: The Gift of The Gods

Ghee is truly a gift from the Gods! I have to say that as an Indian, this is a huge staple in my diet. When my mom was a young girl, everything in their house was fried in coconut oil or ghee. That was just the way they rolled back then. I liked their style!

See my YouTube video oh the benefits of Ghee.

I know there is a huge misconception that is fat is bad, that is whack (sorry, I just had to go there.) Please refer to my previous post on butter (which includes my recipe for butter chicken) for further information.

While I have you here, I want to break down the main reasons ghee is amazing (aside from the fact it tastes amazing!)

High Smoke Point (250 °C  482 °F).
This means that it won’t break down when cooking and you get to keep all of the benefits of it. Compare this to extra virgin olive oil which has a smoking point of 207°C, 405°F.

Here is a list of oils and smoke points, just so you are fully educated.

Oil
Smoke Point
Grape Seed
485ºF or 252ºC
Avocado
480ºF or 249ºC
Sesame
410ºF or 210ºC
Canola
400ºF or 204ºC
Macadamia
385ºF or 196ºC

 

Not Going Bad Anytime Soon
They have discovered ghee in temples in Indian that are a few decades old and it is still good. Unlike butter, ghee has been cooked down and the milk solids removed so it won’t go bad any time soon. I don’t recommend that you store it away for years but it can stand on your counter and still be good for a few months, don’t worry- it won’t last that long.

Fat is PHAT!
Ghee is comprised of full spectrum short, medium and long chain fatty acids, both unsaturated and saturated. What does this mean for you?

Ghee has good fats in it which can raise HDL (good) cholesterol just as much, if not more, protecting the body from the bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and heart disease.

Medium-Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) are fatty acids that are naturally found in “super foods” such as coconuts, palm oil, and ghee. What are MCTs and what does it mean for you?

These smaller chain lengths means that the fats are readily absorbed by the liver and more quickly metabolized so you get faster fuel. These fats aren’t turned into fat. Learn more about MCTs here.
Lactose Intolerant? No Worries!
Because ghee has been cooked down from butter, it no longer contains the milk solids which cause your allergies. You can now indulge without guilt!

Nutritious As Well As Delicious
Contains oil soluble vitamins, A D and E.

Vitamin A:
Important for your eye development.
Creates skin, hair and mucous membranes and keeps everything in working order.
Strengthens your immune system.
Develops bones, teeth and epithelial cells.

Vitamin D:
Helps with calcium and phosphorous absorption.
Regulates calcium movement from bone to blood.
Helps prevent osteoporosis.

Vitamin E:
A potent antioxidant.
Protects the fats that outline ever cell in our body.
Protect fats from free radical damage before we eat them.

Ghee contains Omega 3 and Omega 9, nine phenolic anti-oxidants, as well as numerous other minerals.

Go Grass Fed

Grass-fed butter (which is turned into ghee) has been shown to contain K2 and CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) that have anti-viral properties.

Recent research indicates that CLA may help prevent and even fight cancer cells and also help in the mitigation of type II diabetes. This isn’t found in normal butter, so go organic to get these benefits and more!

GHEE
Yield: Less than 1lb
INGREDIENTS

1 pound of organic, grass-fed unsalted butter

DIRECTIONS

Place the butter in a medium heavy-bottomed sauce pan and bring it to a soft boil from medium-high heat. Allow the butter to boil for 2-3 minutes then turn the heat down to medium.

Foam will form on the top and then disappear.

A second layer of foam will appear, this will be about 8-10 minutes into the process.

The butter will become a beautiful golden color, this is an indicator that the process is complete. Milk solids will brown and sink to the bottom of the pan, keep a close eye because it doesn’t take much for it to burn.

Allow it to cool for a bit and strain out the milk solids and keep the ghee in a metal or glass container.

I like my ghee a bit darker, it is a personal preference for a nice burnt butter flavor. That is why mine is a much deeper color, play with the timings until you find what you like.

Homemade Baking Powder

Did you know that baking powder has carbohydrates in it? Yuppers, it does. These hidden carbs tend to add up quite quickly so I like to make my own baking powder and other items that I can’t live without. It is pretty easy and you can premake it and store it for later.

Homemade Baking Powder

Yields a bit more than 1/3 cup.

Ingredients
1/4 cup cream of tartar
2.5 tablespoons baking soda

Directions
Sift together the ingredients several times, I like to do it 4 times to make sure it is well incorporated.
Store in an airtight container in a dry,dark spot.

Roasting Red Bell Peppers

Red bell peppers are inherently sweet and delicious. They are my favorite thing to add toRoasted Red Bell Pepper any dish! Here is a way to kick it up another notch (in the words of the famous chef, Emeril Lagasse)by just roasting it on the oven.

This simple method adds so much flavor to the peppers, you will taste a hint of smokiness, the pepper gets sweeter and the flesh becomes so soft. I absolutely adore this. I also love canning them once they have been roasted. You can choose to either can them in vinegar or oil but always add some spices to the mix. Once they marinate in there, you can use the oil to cook with for added flavor. Genius, right??

Directions

Turn your oven broiler on low. Wash and dry the red bell peppers and place in a single row on a baking sheet. I like to cover the bottom in aluminum foil to make clean up that much easier.

Place the baking sheet with the peppers under the broiler. You have to keep a close eye because you will notice small brown bubbles will appear. You want the skin to darken but not to become completely black. This process will only take a few minutes (2-4 minutes.)

Remove the baking sheet and turn the peppers over to expose the other side. You want the entire pepper to have brown blisters throughout.

Remove from the oven and place the peppers in a plastic sealable bag and allow the steam that is contained to separate the skin from the pepper. After 15-20 minutes, remove the peppers and the skin should come off quite easily.

Chop them up ad add them to salads, soups, serve as appetizers with a cheese plate or can then for later.

Chicken Saltimbocca

Chicken SaltimboccaThis classic Italian dish has been elevated with Parmesan cheese (cheese makes everything better) and the wine adds an amazing touch!

Ingredients
2 chicken breasts, cut into half and pounded with a meat mallet until they are very thin
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 teaspoon black pepper
8-12  slices of prosciutto (I like to use 12 for great flavor)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (feel free to leave out if you want)
1 teaspoon dried sage or 2 teaspoons fresh sage
1 tablespoon oil (I like to use coconut but use what you like)
2 tablespoons butter
1 (14-ounce) can low-sodium chicken broth
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons dry white wine (low-carbers, leave this out and just add additional chicken broth)

Directions
Sprinkle each piece of chicken with salt and pepper. Place 2-3 pieces of prosciutto on one side and sprinkle the Parmesan and sage in the center and fold in half. You can use toothpicks to keep the chicken from opening up.

Heat the oil in the pan to medium, add the chicken and allow it to cook until golden brown on both sides (2-3 minutes per side.)

Add the butter, chicken broth, lemon juice and white wine and allow it to cook on medium-low until the chicken is fully cooked through.  This should take 8-10 minutes.

Serve the chicken with the condensed sauce drizzled over.

Cooking 101: The Perfect Boiled Egg

I love keeping hard boiled eggs around they house as a quick breakfast or a snack when I am on the run. I know it is one of the most basic recipes but coking it properly really makes a world of difference.Perfectly Boiled Eggs

Directions
Eggs should be added to a heavy-bottomed pot and filled with cold water, there should be at least an extra inch of water above the top of the eggs. Do not crowd the pot with eggs or they will be pushed against one another when the water begins to boil and the ending result will be broken shells and yucky boiled eggs that resemble egg drop sou

Turn the stove on to medium-high heat until the water comes to a boil then turn the stove off and cover the pot.

Allow the eggs to stand in the water for 12-15 minutes with the cover still on, this traps the heat and allows you to better control the temperature inside of the pot.

Remove the eggs and place in cold water, doing this will make the eggs so much easier to peel.

Experiment because each stove is different as well as the changes in elevation makes a difference in humidity and boiling time.

Tips:
Never overcrowd the pan.
Have a tight fitting lid ready.
Eggs can be left in the fridge for up to a week after being boiled. I make 6-8 for a week and grab them for a quick snack or breakfast.

Cooking 101: The Perfect Cup of Coffee

Cooking 101: CoffeeI am a coffee addict. This just happened recently and I wanted to share how to brew a perfect cup of coffee. I know that it sounds simple: add the coffee grounds, boiling water and tada, you have coffee.

No, there is actually way more to it than that!

1.) I can’t emphasize enough the importance of buying well sourced beans and whenever possible, organic coffee, it really makes a huge difference in the taste.

2.) Buy fresh beans and grind them yourself. I know that sounds like a lot of work but it is so worth it, the flavor just bursts open!

3.) Never buy from the bulk bin, light and air changes the flavor of the coffee. You might as well just drink mud.

4.) Storage is so important, keep them in an air-tight container that is away from light and moisture. I store them in my cupboard.

5.) 100 percent means 100 percent. Never buy blends, you don’t know what is in there. They usually substitute cheaper beans to balance the price. Buy 100% and I prefer something that is mountain grown, less chance for mold.

6.) Clearly we have done a lot before this step, do not use tap water. You have worked too hard to ensure a great result, use filtered water.

7.) Watch the temperature, when you boil the water, let it cool for a minute or two. This will ensure that your the water is hot enough to get the most out of the beans without giving you that burnt taste. They say that the best temp is between 195 and 200 degrees, I don’t take the temp every time and prefer my easy tip.

8.) To press or not to press? I prefer a coffee press, it is the purest form. Coffee filters tend to get an odd taste after a while and when using filters, it add the bleaching chemicals to your coffee, not really a flavor I am looking for.

9.) Clean, clean and clean. Keep your press, coffee maker and everything else included in the process clean. If you don’t, you will get added flavor that you never intended for.

10.) For every 20 ounces of coffee, use 4 tablespoons of coffee grounds for strong coffee (I use 2 tablespoons because I value my ability to sleep at night.) Play with it until you find what truly works for you.