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

  • The Timid Chef 2:47 am on June 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bouquet garni, Cooking, ,   

    Module 1-4 Bouquet Garni and Sachet d’Epices 

    A bouquet garni is a bundle of herbs and aromatics (such as celery or leeks) tied together with cooking twine and simmered in stock, soups or sauces to add flavor and aroma to a recipe. The classic is fresh thyme, parsley stems, and a bay leaf. In modern cooking they could be thyme, celery, and parsley that is wrapped in a leek leaf and then tied with a piece of twine. I like using parsley, thyme, and a bay leaf that is wrapped up with a strip of lemon zest.

    bouquet garni
    bouquet garni

    The difference between a bouquet garni and sachet d’epices is how it is held together. A bouquet garni is held together with a piece of baker’s twine, whereas, a sachet d’epices is held together in a piece of cheese cloth or muslim drawstring bag.

    sachet d'epices
    a sachet d’epices

  • The Timid Chef 8:29 am on June 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cooking, , , mise en place, , sucs   

    Module 2-2 Pan-frying with Stainless Steel 

    Check out this video.


    Temperature control is key in using stainless steel cookware. The surface of a stainless steel pan is porous at the microscopic level. As the pan is heated, it expands and these pores shrink. If food gets pinched by these pores, it will stick. To prevent this you need to follow a few simple rules:

    • Preheat your pan properly by using medium to medium high heat and check the temperature with the water droplet test.
    • Add cooking oil AFTER preheating. You will heat the oil until you can see the first wisp of smoke and then IMMEDIATELY add your food. This is the reason that your food should already be prepared and waiting for you. This is known as “mise en place”.
    • If the oil gets too hot, pour the oil into another container, allow the skillet to cool, and then wipe out the oil with a paper towel. If the skillet has become discolored, wash and dry the skillet before continuing.
    • Depending on what you are cooking, food should be close to room temperature before cooking. Temperature differences make food sticking to the pan more likely.

    Properly heating the pan

    The water droplet test is a time-proven technique that will tell you exactly when your pan is ready for adding oil. Watch this youtube video by Rouxbe before continuing.

    Water Droplet Test
    • Heat your pan over medium to medium-high heat and let it sit for a few minutes on the burner.
    • After a few minutes add a drop of water to your stainless steel pan
    • If your pan is too cold – the water droplet will bubble and evaporate extremely fast. Adding oil and food at this point could cause food sticking problems.
    • Wait about 15 seconds and try again.
    • If your pan is too hot, the water will split into smaller droplets and dart around the pan very fast. If this happens, wipe the droplets from the pan, turn down your heat and let the pan cool for a moment.
    • When your pan is ready to add the oil, the water droplet will stay intact and move around the pan like a ball of mercury. This is when you should wipe your pan clean of water and add your oil. Do NOT add the oil without wiping the pan.

    Adding the oil

    So now you know when to add the oil, but when do you add the food? Now watch this Youtube video from Rouxbe on adding oil and when to add the food.

    Think about this:

    When adding oil to your pre-heated stainless steel pan, it immediately begins to smoke and turn brown. What should you do?


    You should discard the oil and clean the pan. Burnt oil can alter the flavor of your food. Additionally, oils that have exceeded the smoke point can be dangerous to your health.

    What is Mise en Place?

    It is a French phase that means, to put in place. Chefs use this phrase to describe the things that need to be done to prepare a dish. This includes chopping the necessary veggies, measuring spices and placing in little bowls, etc. The end result is that all of your measured ingredients and preparations are complete and at your fingertips as your prepare the food †

    Mise en Place

    What are sucs?

    The word “sucs” describes the caramelized bits that stick to the bottom of a pot or pan. When pan-frying, the juices from the meat caramelize and form browned bits. Sucs have an intense, sweet flavor, which can be released from the bottom of the pan by deglazing.

    To develop the best sucs, which are dark-golden brown, it is essential that you properly heat and oil your pan before adding any ingredients. The ingredients must be patted dry before adding. To properly develop and preserve the sucs during cooking, the heat must be controlled. The heat must be high enough to develop the sucs in the first place, but not so high that the sucs burn. Burnt sucs must be discarded as they will only add a bitter flavor to the dish. If the heat is too low or if the pan is overcrowded, little or no sucs will form.

    It is also important to not leave too much space in between ingredients, as this could cause the exposed oil to continue to heat and burn. Therefore, you should always use an appropriate-sized pan for the amount of food you are cooking or cook in batches.

    The last thing to note is the amount of sucs that form depends on what is being cooked. Leaner cuts of meat will yield less sucs versus meats with higher fat content. In addition, foods that are high in natural sugars, will yield more sucs.

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