July 15, 2013

10 Food Rules Worth Breaking

Some food rules are worth breaking says Adam Roberts, a chef and cookbook author. For example, you no longer have to rinse chicken before cooking it as the heat kills germs and rinsing just makes it soggy. Even better, he discusses the rules on using wine in cooking in a common sense way: the wine should be something slightly “less good that the one you’d want to drink with dinner, but certainly better than Two Buck Chuck”. The same logic applies to chocolate. Roberts showcases 10 food rules cooks no longer have to follow including photos and links to recipes.

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10 Food Rules Worth Breaking

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June 28, 2013

BBQ Chicken with Parsley, Lemon, Garlic Salsa

What do you think of a barbecued chicken recipe redolent with the assertive flavors of garlic, lemon and parsley? This is another recipe from Giangi using that mixture both in the marinade and, with a bit of capers for a bit more tang, in the salsa topping. She even brushes some of the marinade on her grill before adding the chicken. In case someone likes the chicken just a little more lemony, grill lemon halves next to your chicken for some additional juice.

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BBQ Chicken with Parsley, Lemon, Garlic Salsa

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May 6, 2013

The Easiest Always-Moist Poached Chicken

Do you agree that poached chicken is a really handy thing to have around? If you’re another busy homecook and obviously have no time or the energy poaching chickens, you too can cheat a bit and poach boneless chicken breasts. This method is just about the easiest and most foolproof way of cooking the white meat so that it’s moist and tender, yet cooked through properly.

chicken poached

According to Jamie Oliver, poaching whole chicken requires a large casserole or stock pot to fit your chicken. Cover it with water and add any veggie you have, or if recipe calls for it. I usually add some chopped up carrots, a few sticks of celery, and an onion. You can even throw in some herbs and bulbs of garlic for flavor. After everything has boiled, simmer for about an hour or more. Let’s trust Jamie that we are going to get beautifully soft and silky cooked chicken, plus a lovely broth. One more tip from Jamie; when you can easily pull the leg bone away from the chicken, you know that it’s cooked to perfection.

Let’s say you don’t have a stockpot, don’t worry and don’t even think it’s time consuming. Chop your chicken and use a pan or skillet that is deep enough to hold the breasts plus water to barely cover them. Here’s one to try for a chicken salad:

chicken poached

Put the water, salt, a splash of sake or sherry (if you like), and a piece of fresh ginger that has been sliced up roughly, skin and all, into the pan. Put the chicken breasts in, and turn on the heat. Heat up until the water is boiling, then turn over the breasts. Turn off the heat and pull the pan completely off the heat (important if you’re using an electric range), cover with a tight-fitting lid, and let it rest there, off the heat, for 10-15 minutes depending on how big the chicken breasts are. Full recipe is here.

In the summer, toss it in with some cooked new potatoes, mixed salad leaves and herbs. Dress at the last minute with a splash of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice or balsamic vinegar then serve it up on a big platter.

Now what about the quite a lot of broth that has been left? Don’t throw this away! There’s something really nice about having simple, clean, therapeutic chicken broth. Put it through a sieve, bag it up and freeze it to use later. It will be fantastic as a stock for making soups and stews, sauces and risottos. Did you know that one Asian cooking secret is to use chicken broths for a fabulous chicken noodle soup?

Poaching chicken is among the most versatile approach because once poached, the chicken can be used in a variety of recipes and preparations. In my case, I most of the time poached chicken breast starting with breasts that are bone in, skin on. I bring my heavy pot (cast iron retains the heat better) of water to a boil, toss in the breasts, cover, remove from heat and let sit for an hour or so. The water will still be pretty hot. I take out the birds and then wrap them individually and tightly in plastic wrap and let them sit till room temperature before tossing them in the fridge. I take the skin and bone off before using them in whatever. It really does make a difference.

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Roasted Chicken with Bacon & Sweet Paprika – Fifty Shades of Chicken

This is a fun (yes I said, “Fun”) recipe. It combines the very popular book “Fifty Shades of Gray”, with a recipe for chicken. Although I’ve never read Fifty Shades of Grey, I was intrigued with the subjective thoughts and tongue-in-cheek humor. The recipe I chose falls under the heading – Chicken with a Lardon – yep, read into what you will. Very witty, a MUST READ and cook.

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Roasted Chicken with Bacon & Sweet Paprika – Fifty Shades of Chicken

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Chicken Fat Potatoes, Fried Eggs and Tomato Olive Salsa

Sometimes the sum equals more than the ingredients, and that’s especially true when it comes to cooking. Recipes are great maps to a desired outcome, but coming up with your own spontaneous recipes can produce incredible results. Chicken Fat Potatoes, Fried Eggs and Tomato Olive Salsa are the perfect example of browned and deep-flavored roasted potatoes, bright cherry tomatoes and silky yolked fried eggs for a memorable breakfast.

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Chicken Fat Potatoes, Fried Eggs and Tomato Olive Salsa

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May 5, 2013

Chicken Tikka Masala at Home

A chicken masala dish at home simply states that sometimes a home made meal is better then a take out/ restaurant meal. It’s more time consuming, but you can make a meal just as good as your favorite food place. It also gives you the chance to try new foods, instead of ordering the same every time you go out to eat. Masala-flavored chicken in a plate of rice equals one fulfilling meal.

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Chicken Tikka Masala at Home

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May 1, 2013

Chinese Chicken Stir-Fry

This first recipe for May is something healthier and looking seriously delicious. What is intriguing is the combination of light soy sauce and lemon juice. Plus, wrapping the stir fry up in tortillas is way healthier. Many of us love stir-fry but it always just has so much sodium in most recipes so we could try to stay away from it. Definitely you can try making another version.

This for you is a chicken must-try. Check the recipe for yourself.

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April 10, 2013

Tips for Cooking Chicken in a Tagine

A tagine, which is technically a clay baker, traditionally requires the base to be soaked in warm water for about a half hour before assembling the ingredients. The shape of the pan is making much of a difference. You can cook chicken in 2 1/2 hours instead of 5 hours (on high) in the slow cooker. But usually, tagine-cooked chicken seems to be more deeply flavored (and less soupy) than the slow cooked chicken.

The heat (during cooking) stays in the pan and the condensation collects in the top of the lid and drips down to the edge of the pan, cooking the food. This is different from a slow cooker, where the condensation seems to drip all over the food. Could it be the cast iron? or the lid? This is important because the moisture within the clay helps it tolerate and diffuse heat better and it also modifies how much oil is absorbed into the clay during the long cooking process. This process makes the clay stronger and stronger with time.

If you have been wondering why Moroccan chicken is so popular, it’s probably because of method of cooking it. You don’t need tagine for all Moroccan chicken recipe though, but in case, you are a new follower, see both versions of the recipe.

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Chicken Tagine with Dates Recipe

This cracking spicy stew from Angela Harnett, combines different types of meat and fruit. This flavor-rich recipe is perfect for slow-cooking cuts – so try replacing the chicken with lamb shanks or beef shin.

Angela Hartnett's chicken tagine with dates.
Half a teaspoon each of the following:

-Ground cumin; dried chilli; ginger powder; ground coriander
-8 chicken thighs
-30ml vegetable oil
-2 cloves of garlic, chopped
-1 bunch spring onions, sliced
-200g dates, pitted
-1 400g tin of tomatoes
-Fresh coriander, chopped

Directions:

Combine the dried spices, rub half of the mix over the chicken and cover for 10 minutes. Warm the vegetable oil in a pan, season the chicken and colour it for around five minutes. Remove the chicken, add the garlic and the spring onions and saute for three minutes.

Add the remaining dried spices and cook for a further two minutes. Add the chicken, dates, tomatoes and, if needed, a little water to cover the chicken. Simmer for 20 minutes. Pierce the chicken to check it’s ready. If the sauce looks too wet, remove the thighs for a few minutes while you reduce it. Sprinkle over the coriander. Serve with couscous and flatbread.

For a variation, toast almonds in a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stir about 3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan at once. Let cool before adding to other ingredients.

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April 4, 2013

Don’t Throw Out That Chicken Skin (Also: A Meditation on Self-Control vs. Self-Denial)

Many chicken dishes do not require the skin, so what can you do with the leftover skin you removed from your chicken? This tempting recipe for fried chicken skin can stop food waste in your kitchen. What happens next is, one of the great transformations that can happen in your kitchen. But beware, this is so good you might not be able to stop eating it!

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Don’t Throw Out That Chicken Skin (Also: A Meditation on Self-Control vs. Self-Denial)

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