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  • The Timid Chef 2:13 am on June 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cooking videos,   

    Module 1-1 Foundation Videos 

    I learned to cook by watching free cooking videos. There are so many, and you could spend a lifetime watching all of them. I am sharing the ones that I found most helpful. (I would love it if you would share your favorites).

    If you are serious about becoming a better cook, don’t skip watching the ones I have included here. They are not long and you will be amazed at how much you will learn from them. As in anything else, a picture (in this case a video) is worth a thousand words. You can watch all of these videos in less than an hour. You will be glad that you did.


    Experimenting with taste with Chef Bill Briwa – This is an awesome video. If you are thinking of skipping this one DON’T. You will be pleasantly surprised.

    Choosing a chef’s knife – A comparison of the Mercer Renaissance and the Wusthof Classic chef’s knives. The Wusthof has a solid reputation in the cooking world but can be very expensive. The Mercer is a less expensive alternative and was the one that I chose.

    How to hone a knife – Honing and sharpening are not the same thing.

    How to use a chef’s knife – This teaches you some very useful techniques in the proper use of a chef’s knife. If you are new to the kitchen, this is a “MUST” watch video. You will learn how to hold your hand to prevent being cut, how to dice an onion, how to chiffonade herbs, how to julienne, and the oblique cut. Pay careful attention how the instructor holds her hand while cutting. I call this hand position “the claw” which will keep you from accidentally cutting off your fingers. I would suggest buying a few inexpensive vegetables (onion, celery, or carrots) and practice these techniques.

    Practice your knife skills with Chef Bill Briwa – The name of the video speak for itself. I love Chef Briwa’s videos. He is an amazing teacher. If you really like his videos, he has a full video course in “The Great Courses“. You can either purchase the DVD or receive this cooking course in a download for around $50. I have watched every single video available by him. I cannot stress how great his videos are. I learned more about cooking by watching his videos than I did anywhere else.

    An overview of basic knife cuts – Uniform size is important so that everything cooks at the same speed. When starting out, practice your knife cuts at a slow and steady pace.

    The following are free videos from SaltedTV. This is a cooking-video subscription website. This is not one of my favorites websites, but they do have several helpful videos that are free to the public. They are only a few minutes long and teach valuable techniques. If you want to join a paid cooking website, I do not recommend this one. The best I found was Rouxbe. Their subscription service is only $9.99 per month and has the feel of a real culinary school. It is the best site I found other than the online cooking school.

    How to cook bootcamp – This is a cooking “bootcamp” that is mostly free. It covers grilling, steaming, roasting, sauteing, searing, and frying. It is extremely informative and a must for those wanting to learn proper cooking techniques. If you don’t watch any of the other videos, you need to watch this.

    An overview of common kitchen knives

    An overview of beef and pork ribs

    An introduction to fats

    How to deglaze a pan

    Everything you need to know about baking pans

    How to render bacon

    An overview of common peppers

    An overview of onions

    An overview of seasoning

    How to tenderize protein

    If you are serious about becoming a better cook, these videos are an important part of the learning process, and I highly recommend watching them. Yes, I have watched every single one.

    • The Timid Chef 4:34 am on June 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      If you are having difficulties traversing the website: Click on categories on the sidebar and follow the modules in order.


  • The Timid Chef 11:28 am on June 10, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: care of cast iron, cast iron, , , , cooking with cast iron,   

    Module 2-4 Iron Skillets 

    I have gone on and on about the importance of cooking with the right cookware. Using nonstick cookware on high heat is bad! I am aware that there are many out there that cannot afford the expense of a decent set of stainless-steel cookware. They can be expensive. That is where the timeless iron skillet comes in. Some of you may be lucky enough to still have the skillet used by your grandmother or even great-grandmother. If you don’t mind purchasing one used, I recommend taking a trip to Goodwill. They almost always have one. You can also check out garage sales, Craigslist, and stores that sell pre-owned merchandise. Even if it is a little rusted, you can bring it back into like-new condition. The only exception would be if there are any cracks in it which is the only time it needs to be thrown away. Even if it is rusted, sticky, or has lost its seasoning, it can be redeemed, and I will show you how.

    If you want to buy yours new or can’t find a used iron skillet, I recommend the Lodge cast iron skillet. Here is a thorough review of this skillet from America’s Test Kitchen. I am a big fan of their website, and I am sure you have heard me refer to them more than once already. I recommend that you have both a 10-in and a 12-in skillet. There are several reasons for this, but the most important is that you need the right size pan for the job. I covered the importance of the correct sized skillet in module 2-3.

    You can buy either a skillet that has an enamel finish or a traditional cast iron skillet. I prefer the traditional skillet because if it is seasoned well, it won’t stick. Here is a quick video from (of course) America’s Test Kitchen.

    So you have bought a used cast iron skillet and it is rusty and ugly. How do you bring back that wonderful nonstick coating (seasoning) and get rid of the rust?

    The following video does a great job of explaining what to do to bring your old, ugly skillet back to a beautiful sheen. However, once your pan is nice and shiney and looking brand new, DON’T use steel wool or Brillo pads on that skillet. Those are not necessary, and they will destroy the seasoning that you worked so hard to develop!

    I use about 1/8 cup (more or less) of regular table salt to clean my skillet and a wad of aluminum foil (if I need a scrubbie, and I usually don’t) to scrub away stubborn stuck-on food. You will be amazed at how well it works and it won’t destroy your hard-won, seasoned finish.With that being said, this is a great video on getting that skillet in tip top shape.

    Cleaning Cast Iron

    There is a lot of controversy on whether or not you can cook acidic foods in a cast iron skillet. When acidic foods are cooked in cast iron for extended periods (30 minutes or longer), it can eat into your hard-won seasoning. This could result in trace amounts of metals from the cast iron being released into your food. Although this is not harmful to your health, it can leave an undesirable metallic taste to your food. If you think you are going to be cooking a lot of acidic food in your cast iron skillet, and you don’t want to keep an eye on extended simmering, you can buy an iron skillet with an enamel finish instead. The coated skillets do not need to be seasoned but you sacrifice the beautiful seasoning that keeps your food from sticking. (In my case, I chose the best of both worlds. I have the traditional iron skillet and a porcelain covered dutch oven). Visit Module 1-3 for a review on dutch ovens and other cookware.

    The good news, a well-seasoned skillet discourages those pesky metals from leaching into your food. Until you become competent cooking in cast iron, use recipes that are specifically designed for use in cast iron. They will use little tricks like shorter simmer times and waiting until late in the recipe to add the acidic ingredients.

    Unlike stainless-steel pans, cast iron is not very good at heating evenly. If you throw a cold cast iron skillet on a burner, it will form very hot spots where the hot burner is, while the rest of the pan remains cooler. However, once it is hot, it stays hot! So to get around this, put your iron skillet in a preheated 500 degree F oven for about 15 minutes. This creates the perfect surface for superior searing that can’t be beat by any other skillet. Don’t forget to use an oven mitt on the handle. That handle gets REALLY hot!

    By the way, not only can you use your cast iron skillet on an electric stove, glass tops work well too. I know because I am not lucky enough to have a gas stove in my home. We have a glass top. However, be very careful. The skillet is very heavy and you don’t want to drop it on your glass top.

    How to maintain your iron skillet:

    • Always clean your skillet immediately after use and while it is warm. Don’t soak the pan or leave it in the sink because it WILL rust.
    • Wash the skillet by hand (dishwasher is bad) using hot water and a sponge or a wad of aluminum foil. (Use tongs or wear gloves if the water and/or skillet is extra hot!) Avoid using dish soap, but if you really need to (sigh), use only a drop or two (NO brillo pads).
    • To remove stuck-on food, scrub the pan with a paste of coarse salt (table or kosher salt work fine) and water. Then rinse or wipe with a paper towel. Stubborn food residue may also be loosened by boiling water in the pan.
    • Thoroughly towel dry the skillet or dry it on the stove over low heat. It will rust if not dried completely.
    • Using a paper towel, apply a light coat of vegetable oil (don’t use shortening, butter, or ghee) while the skillet is still warm. Some people also like to oil the outside of the skillet. Buff with a paper towel to remove any excess oil.
    • Remember to always clean your skillet immediately after use and while it is still hot or warm. Don’t soak the pan or leave it in the sink because it may rust. (Yea I know I’ve repeated the rust thing several times. If it rusts, you are going to spend some time removing the rust and reseasoning. (That means don’t soak it and dry it after washing).
    Le’s Cook with Cast Iron

    A cast iron skillet has some additional uses. I would have never thought of using my skillet the way it demonstrates in the following video. I only recently began experimenting in ways to use my skillet besides cooking. I would really like to hear my readers’ ideas on this.

    It works great to prevent food from scorching. I melted chocolate in a regular stainless steel pan and then sat that pan inside of my iron skillet. It did a great job of keeping the chocolate from scorching; maybe not as good as a double boiler, but I don’t have one and there is no more room in my kitchen to store stuff (I swear cooking can turn you into a pack rat). I use that same technique when simmering milk for homemade yogurt to prevent the milk from scorching. I would love to hear of anyone else’s creative ideas.

    I promise we are at the end of this article. We will continue learning about cast iron by cooking steak in the next module!

    Cast iron can be used for more than just cooking

    Now that we have the basics out of the way, let’s learn how to cook the perfect strip steak in an iron skillet: Module 2-4 Cast Iron Steak

  • The Timid Chef 9:29 am on June 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Dry Heat Cooking, , , frying pans, malliard reaction, nonstick cookware, , sauteing, searing   

    Module 2-3 Dry-Heat Cooking with Fat 

    Dry-heat cooking methods with fat includes stir-frying, pan-frying, deep-frying, and sautéing. They rely on high smoke-point fat such as canola oil, grapeseed oil, refined olive oil, ghee, etc., to act as the cooking medium.

    Dry-Heat Cooking with Fat: Sautéing and Pan-Frying

    Fat allows you to cook your food using very high temperatures; this effectively browns your food and makes it taste great. Steak, chicken, and fish are tender proteins that behave and respond well to this cooking method.

    Tender cuts of protein cooked using dry-heat methods result in a piece of meat that is tender and juicy. This method is not suitable for tougher cuts of meat. Muscle that gets a lot of exercise will be your tougher cuts of meat. Whereas muscle that does not exercise will be the more tender cuts.

    What is the difference between sautéing and pan-frying? In a sauté, the food is cut into small pieces (diced onion or a tenderloin cut into bite size pieces) and in pan-frying the meat is left in larger pieces (chicken thighs or ribeye steak). I will use the term pan-frying when discussing this technique.

    Pan-frying/sautéing are used for tender cuts of meat.

    1. Cube steak – this is most often a piece of pounded top round or sirloin steak
    2. Pork cutlets
    3. Pork chops
    4. Fish
    5. Chicken
    6. Any cut of beef from the rib or loin sections such as: rib-eye steak, tenderloin, porterhouse, T-bone, top sirloin, or filet mignon.

    We will practice pan-frying with:

    • Chicken breast medallions
    • Pork tenderloin cutlets
    • Chicken thighs

    When pan-frying you need to use a skillet that is on the larger side but not too big. If the pan is too small, the meat will not brown. Instead, it will just simmer in its juices.  On the flip side, we don’t want to use a pan that is too big either. If the skillet is too large, there will be spots that will not have food, and since there is nothing to absorb the excess heat, the oil will burn in these areas.   We want the meat to develop a beautiful brown sear which will seal in the juices and flavor of the meat without scorching or burning.

    The previous lesson discussed how to properly use a stainless-steel skillet and when to add oil and food to the skillet. If you have not yet not read this lesson (Module 2-2) or the lesson on Cookware (Module 1-3), please stop and read before continuing (unless you already know how to use a STAINLESS-STEEL skillet). Nonstick cookware is not an acceptable choice for high heat cooking. If you use your nonstick skillet for everything, then please read this article on nonstick cookware. If you don’t have a stainless-steel skillet or cannot afford one, invest in an iron skillet instead. With the exception of acidic foods, you can cook anything in an iron skillet that you can cook in a stainless-steel skillet. I cannot stress the necessity of understanding how and why to use the correct skillet for the job.

    Once you have finished cooking your protein, allow it to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. There is a reason for this and its not because “that’s what they do on all of the cooking shows”. As meat cooks, the muscle fibers constrict and get firm. This pushes the moisture out towards the surface of the meat. Resting the meat allows the moisture to redistribute back through the meat. This will results in a juicier, more tender piece of meat. If you cut the meat too soon, the liquid spills out resulting in a dry, tougher piece of meat.

    Malliard Reaction

    Browning, or the Maillard reaction, creates flavor and changes the color of food. It requires temperatures to reach at least 300 degrees to complete the necessary chemical reaction for browning to occur. Until the Maillard reaction occurs, meat will have less flavor. Interestingly, it is not limited to meat or fish but to all foods that contain protein. The main problem is that the Maillard reaction is both time and temperature dependent. This means that the home cook or beginning chef must listen to variables such as meat thickness, time, and how hot (or not hot) the pan is for the Malliard reaction to successfully complete.  

    Water is the sworn enemy of the Maillard reaction; it lowers the temperature and greatly minimizes the reaction. This is the reason that overcrowding your pan is such a bad thing.

    So now that we have covered a few basics and reviewed a few concepts let’s get cooking with:

    Module 2-3: Recipe: Pan-Fried Chicken Breast Medallions

    Module 2-3 Recipe: Pan-Fried Pork Tenderloins

    Module 2-3 Recipe: Donna’s pan-seared crispy chicken thighs

  • The Timid Chef 7:08 am on June 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    Everything You Want to Know about Garlic and aren’t Afraid to Ask 

    For everything garlic, click on Garlic

    From recipes, to health benefits, to history. I had to reblog this website as I found it really fascinating.

  • The Timid Chef 5:59 am on June 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: leeks, onions, red onions, scallions, vidalia, yellow onions   

    Let’s Talk About Onions 

    Onions are a member of the allium family of vegetables and herbs. This family also includes chives, garlic, scallions, and leeks. Just so you know, scallions are another name for green onions. I am sure there is some subtle difference between the two, but they are so frequently used interchangeably that I don’t think it matters.

    Onions can vary in size and flavor, as well as in shape and color.  They can be sweet, sharp, spicy, and pungent. Whether or not the onion is in season directly influences its flavor and its affect on your precious recipes so keep this in mind when shopping.

    Onions are a nutrient-dense vegetable that can be sautéed, roasted, grilled, caramelized, or eaten raw. They are low in calories, yet high in beneficial nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

    If you want to learn about onions and have a good laugh, watch this youtube video. It really is funny.

    This is a much more serious but informative video about onions. Did you know that onions have real health benefits?

    Chives are related to garlic, leeks and onions and are native to Asia, North America and Europe. It has a milder flavor than onions and garlic.Chives add flavor soups, dips, mashed or baked potatoes, fish, seafood dishes and omelets. Heat destroys their flavor, so add chives to dishes at the last minute.

    Garlic is used as a flavoring in cooking, but it has also been used as a medicine throughout ancient and modern history. To learn more about garlic, follow the link for an article from the George Mateljan Foundation. Their mission is to help you eat and cook the healthiest way for optimal health. I could rattle off a lot of what is on their website, but I wouldn’t be able to do it better. I highly recommend visiting for some great information on this herb.

    Green onions are actually baby, immature onions that are picked before they are fully grown. Green onions are milder and sweeter than their more mature selves. They are frequently eaten raw or cooked by stir-frying, steaming, or roasting. Green onions are great for topping salads, soups, and pasta.

    Leeks add subtlety and flavor to recipes without overpowering the other flavors that are present. Although leeks are available throughout the year, they are in season from the fall through the early part of spring which is when they are at their best. Their leaves are not edible, but the stalk and bulb are usually sliced thin and used in soups.

    Pearl Onions are mild, very small, and sweet. Best things about these little guys, you don’t need to chop them. Just peel, give a quick rinse, and they are ready.

    Red Onions are not good choices when caramelization is needed. These onions are medium to large in size and have a mild to sweet flavor. They are most commonly used raw in salads and sandwiches. They tend to lose their colour when cooked.

    Vidalia Onions are very sweet and best eaten raw. This makes them an excellent choice for topping that juicy burger. If you prefer the onions on your burger to be cooked, then white onion is a better choice.

    White onions and yellow onions  can be stored up to a month in a cool, dark place that has good air circulation. They should not be stored in the fridge. These two onions are interchangeable and there is hardly a difference in taste. They are higher in sugar and great for caramelization.

  • The Timid Chef 3:58 am on June 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: soup, , , tomato soup, tomatoes   

    Module 1-7 Recipe: Homemade Tomato Soup 

    Summer is here, and I have been craving homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. I like my grilled cheese on sourdough bread (the kind with the crispy crust) and REAL American cheese. Yummy! This recipe uses the tomato concasse technique that we covered in Module 1-7. The peeled tomatoes and vegetables are roasted which gives this soup a deep, tomatoey flavor.

    Just you know, I am not a very good photographer so don’t laugh at my cheesy pics. On second thought, laugh away. It is always good to have a good laugh.


    • 3 lbs fresh ripe tomatoes
    • 4 cloves garlic (chopped fine)
    • ½ onion (medium dice)
    • ½ red bell pepper (medium dice)
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil (be sure you are using a good quality olive oil)
    • salt & pepper to taste (I prefer using sea salt and freshly ground pepper)
    • ¾ teaspoon dried basil
    • ¾ teaspoon dried oregano
    • 14 oz. crushed tomatoes *
    • 2 cups chicken broth
    • 2 tablespoons fresh herbs (basil/parsley/oregano)
    • fresh basil & parsley for serving
    • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream 
    1. Preheat the oven to 450° F
    2. Concasse the tomatoes using the techniques learned from Module 1-7. In case you haven’t read that post yet, concasse is a technique for removing the skin from a tomato. It is so easy once you learn how to do it. (After removing the skin, I also removed as many seeds as possible. I put the skins and seeds in a cheesecloth and squeezed out as much juice as possible. I then threw away the seeds and skin and poured the squeezed tomato juice into a saucepan.  Although this is not necessary, why not save as much flavor as possible)?
    3. Cut the tomatoes in quarters. In a large bowl, gently mix together the raw tomatoes, (NOT the crushed tomatoes from the can) garlic, chopped onion, chopped red bell pepper, olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried herbs. Then pour this into a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
    4. Roast in the oven at 450° F for 15 minutes. Turn the broiler on and broil for about 3 minutes (maybe a minute or so shorter or longer) until the tomatoes begin to char. Gently stir the tomato/veggie mixture and lower the oven to 450° F and cook another 10 minutes. Watch closely as these times are approximate. You want a nice char, but you don’t want them burnt. I don’t suggest you watch tv or youtube videos until you take them out of the oven.
    5. Add the canned crushed tomatoes and chicken stock to the tomato juice that you squeezed from the seeds and skin and bring to a simmer.
    6. Add the tomato/veggie mixture and fresh herbs. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
    7. Use an immersion blender and blend until smooth and creamy. You could use a regular blender, but the immersion blender works so much better.
    8. Add ¼ cup of the heavy cream and taste to see if you need to add more. I usually use the whole ½ cup, but some people do not like as much cream. Also, the amount of cream you use depends upon the intensity of the tomato flavor. You may need to add a little more if it’s too intense to tone it down a little.
    9. Bring back to a simmer and then turn off the heat.
    10. Serve with a shaving of freshly grated parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of FRESH, chopped parsley.

    *I was not able to find a 14-ounce can of crushed tomatoes. I bought the 28-ounce can and saved half of it to use for meatloaf tomorrow night.

  • The Timid Chef 12:14 am on June 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    Sauteed Cabbage with Mustard Bacon Relish 

    I am always looking for new ways to incorporate more cabbage into meals. This looks really tasty and I will try it soon


    Bits and Bobs

    When you need a quick lunch before work. Sauteed cabbage with mustard bacon relish and some of the pork butt in gravy* over mashed potatoes. Washing the dishes took more effort than fixing the meal, to be honest.

    Welcome to moj’s complaint corner. Around here, people love to fry up cabbage with bacon, but 90% of the time, the dish turns out limp, bland, and super greasy. Sauteed cabbage with mustard bacon relish redeems my faith in cabbage with bacon- the bacon’s crispy/chewy and the cabbage is slightly caramelized with a nice bite. Plus, it helps clear out some leftovers, so total win. (Serves 1)

    Heat a medium pan over medium low heat with the relish, adding a bit of fat if needed.

    When the pan bottom is lightly coated with said fat, add…

    View original post 70 more words

  • The Timid Chef 2:17 am on June 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: mashed potatoes, , potatoes, side dish, whipped potatoes   

    Module 2-3 Recipe: Amazing Mashed Potatoes by Donna 

    I use whipping cream instead of milk in my mash potato recipe. I never said this is a low- calorie recipe, 🙂 and it is not meant to be. The cream gives the potatoes a wonderful, creamy flavor without watering them down. You could substitute half and half, but the result isn’t quite the same. I have tried whole milk, but to get the creamy flavor they become too watery.

    I am not giving exact measurements in my recipe as I don’t use them myself. I taste and add a little more of something and taste again. Remember that you can add more of something but you can’t take it out, so be sure to add just a little then taste and decide whether you need to add more. I am giving approximate measurements so you can get an idea of where to start.

    How to make the best mashed potatoes

    Donna’s Amazing Mashed Potatoes

    Be sure to watch the video and to read the entire recipe BEFORE beginning.

    • About 4 to 6 medium russet potatoes (waxy potatoes such as red potatoes are not the best choice)
    • 1/8 to 1/4 cup unsalted butter approximately (margarine is a poor substitute)
    • 1/2 cup whole cream (maybe a little more or less)*
    • 1/8 to 1/4 cup finely chopped white or yellow onion (green onion also works really well)
    • Potato water from the potatoes (you may or may not need to use it)
    • 1 – 2 heaping tablespoon(s) sour cream (more or less)**
    • 1/8 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (more or less)
    • Sea salt or seasoned salt to taste (start with 1 teaspoon and adjust from there)
    • Pepper ( like to start with about 1/4 teaspoon and adjust from there)
    • Chicken stock (optional)

    Step 1: Watch the video above and read this entire recipe BEFORE beginning.

    Step 2: Wash the potatoes thoroughly and scrape off any bad spots. I don’t peel my potatoes, but you can if you want to.

    Step 2: Cut the potatoes in cubes that are about the same size and carefully drop in a pot of COLD, salted water. (Optionally you could use half cold water and half chicken stock). Adjust the temp and bring to a gentle boil.

    Step 3: Cook until soft and then drain reserving a cup of potato liquid. (If the potatoes are too dry and I don’t want to add more cream, I use the potato water). Turn the burner down to low. Don’t return the potatoes to the heat YET.

    Step 4: Using a different pan, slowly heat the cream, butter, sour cream, and mozzarella until the cheese and butter are barely melted.

    Step 5: Turn off the heat and return pan full of drained potatoes back to the hot burner. (It needs to still be hot but not on. This keeps the potatoes from getting cold) Use the potato masher to mash potatoes as you add the melted butter-cheese-cream mixture. If necessary, add a few splashes of the potato water with the cream to obtain the right consistency. Be very careful to not add too much.

    Step 6: Add the salt, and pepper to taste. Adjust all of the ingredients as necessary for your taste. You may need to add a little more butter or cream or onion or sour cream.

    Step 7: Add onion last and mix in.

    Step 8: You can use a hand held mixer but if you do, be careful to not over beat or you will have a bowl full of glue.

    Note: To build more flavor, you can saute the onion in ghee until slightly brown and then add to the potatoes.

    Also, you can sprinkle with chopped bacon, chives or chopped parsley if you desire. I have also added a little garlic powder and/or basil to the recipe as well.

    These potatoes are delicious with cream gravy and pan-seared chicken thighs or even chicken fried steak. They are also good by themselves!

    *Some people add cream cheese to their whipped potatoes. I am not a fan but I know many people are. However, the cream cheese will not get the same results as the sour cream and whole cream.

    **You could substitute plain, whole-fat greek yogurt for the sour cream. The taste and texture is slightly different.


  • The Timid Chef 11:41 am on June 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: baked chicken, chef, , , , fried chicken,   

    Module 2-3 Recipe: Donna’s pan-seared crispy chicken thighs 

    I made this for dinner with mashed potatoes, pan gravy, and roasted mixed vegetables. Make extra chicken for an easy chicken salad for lunch the next day.

    I prefer to use bone-in chicken thighs with the skin on. I think the bone gives added flavor, and who doesn’t love crispy chicken skin?

    • Preheat oven to 350 ° F
    • Trim the fat and excess skin from the chicken thighs.
    • Thoroughly pat the chicken dry with a paper towel before seasoning, This will ensure a delicious crispy skin.**
    • Lift the skin (don’t pull it off) and season under the skin with salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of the dried basil.
    • Sprinkle a little salt, pepper, and basil on the outside of the skin as well. Be sure to season both sides of the chicken
    • Heat skillet as you learned in Module 2-2 with the water drop test and add oil.
    • At the first wisp of smoke, add the chicken, skin-side down. You should hear a nice sizzle. Adjust the heat as necessary. (Listen to the food). You can use a splatter screen if you have one
    • Using a pair of tongs, turn the chicken after the skin browns. Brown the second side as well. (Don’t keep turning the chicken. You should turn ONLY once)
    • Once both sides are brown, place on a rack sitting inside a cooking sheet and put in a 350° F oven until done. This should take about 30 minutes.
    • Use an instant read thermometer to test for doneness. Chicken should be about 160 -165 F
    • Allow to rest 5 minutes before serving.

    *  I used ghee for the nutty flavor. Peanut oil or any neutral flavored oil such as canola oil would also work. Just be sure that the oil you choose has a high smoke point. Butter or margarine would not work as it will burn  with the high heat required to get a brown, crispy skin.

    ** What is the secret to crispy skin? It is simple, be sure to pat the chicken dry with a paper towel before seasoning. Also never cook a partially frozen or frozen piece of chicken. This will make the chicken tough. Be sure that it is completely thawed prior to cooking. You can also season the thawed thighs and put them uncovered in the fridge for about an hour before cooking.

    This is a great youtube video on cooking chicken thighs. He uses a cast-iron skillet,but the concept is the same for a stainless steel skillet.

    3 ways to cook chicken thighs
  • The Timid Chef 9:29 am on June 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Canola oil, , , Cooking oil, , Olive oil, , Peanut oil   

    Module 2-1 Cooking Oils 

    Watch this video from salted to learn about cooking oils.

    Smoke Point

    What is smoke point and why do we need to know? The “smoke point” of an oil is the temperature at which it begins to break down and begins to smoke. Exceeding an oil’s smoke point will not only set off your smoke detector, it will also give your food a burnt and bitter flavor.

    Best Oils for Frying (not necessarily the healthiest)

    These oils all have a high smoke point and are great for the high temperatures associated with pan-frying and deep-fat frying. Canola oil is a great choice when you need a neutral-tasting oil.

    Unrefined Verse Refined Coconut Oil

    Refined coconut oil has been filtered and bleached to remove any scent and impurities. It also has additives to reduce fatty-acid content and increase its shelf life. While you can refine coconut oil mechanically, it is more commonly done chemically. Unlike refined coconut oils, unrefined coconut oil is expeller-pressed and much healthier. Cold-pressed, unrefined coconut oil is rich in medium-chain triglycerides which are made of healthy fatty acids. Unfortunately, these are lost during the refining process.

    Cooking oils explained
  • The Timid Chef 3:06 am on June 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Mirepois, mirepoix   

    Module 1-6 Mirepoix 



    Mirepoix is a combination of aromatics (onion, carrots, and celery). It is the foundation of many flavorful dishes and frequently used in sauces, soups, and stews.

    Mirepoix Recipe

    50% onions

    25% celery

    25% carrots

    Another way to think of it as 1/2 cup onions, 1/4 cup celery, 1/4 cup carrots

    Mirepoix uses

    Whole – If your recipe doesn’t require caramelization or to be strained at the end, it can be used whole. This is most commonly done in stocks, large batch sauces, and pureed soups.

    Finely Chopped – Uniform sizes will help with even cooking. Remember, the smaller you cut your aromatic vegetables, the shorter your cooking time.

    Light Sauté – Most recipes will call for you to only sweat, not caramelize, the mirepoix. If that’s the case, follow these steps:
    1)Melt the butter.
    2)Add in the onions and carrots and sauté until the onions are translucent.
    3) Add in the celery and cook until the carrots and celery begin to soften

    Caramelized – If you want a richer, deeper flavor to your mirepoix, caramelizing will help. Follow the same steps as above, but wait until your carrots have developed a golden brown sear before adding the celery.

    Aromatics – Mirepoix can be used to lend aroma and flavor to what you are cooking even without directly using it as an ingredient. For example, if you were to roast a turkey for Thanksgiving, you could place the mirepoix under the turkey (directly, or under the roasting rack) to impart it’s flavor.

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