02/26/14

Q&A: Foam from canned beans?

Foamy Beans


Chef Perry – I don’t know if you know the answer to this, and maybe I don’t want to know the answer either… but why when I rinse my  canned kidney beans d0 I see “foam”?

It looked like I had rinsed “soap” out….?

– Juliann

Dear Juliann:

Canned beans, like all canned products, are “cooked” in the sealed can to a minimum temp to make them safe for shelf life.

This process releases the natural starches into the water the beans are canned in, as this sits there for the life of the can, it thickens, and when you add fresh water to it, the starch creates a foam.

(By the way, if you’re enjoying this article, you may want to subscribe to our free newsletter; we’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each week. Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk teens!)

Rinsing BeansYou really don’t have to rinse canned beans, depending on the usage (though it does reduce the sodium) it’s primarily to remove that excess starch that leeches out of the beans. If you’re making a thick soup/stew, then using them is okay (remember that you’re using more sodium that way, however).

For salads or salsas though, unrinsed  canned beans would be really slimy (again from the starches).

It really depends what you want your final products to be.

Want to help me feed hungry families, teach at-risk & special-needs kids to cook for themselves and their families, and change lives?

Become a patron!

Beans Soaking

Of course the best way to avoid this would be to soak a couple of cups of dried beans in a half gallon of room-temp water overnight, before cooking. A fraction of the sodium, better texture, better flavor, and it’s usually cheaper too!

Thanks for asking, I hope that clears things up for you!

Chef Perry
hautemealz.com

02/21/14

The Secret to Winter Grilling – The Rotisserie

Rotisserie Grilling Tips
“Spit-roasting is one of the world’s most ancient and universal forms of grilling, and there’s nothing like it for producing exceptionally moist meat with a crackling crisp crust.” – Steven Raichlen

Okay, it’s cold out there, and grilling might be the last thing on your mind, but never fear…you CAN have your delicious, flame-kissed goodies, and still keep feeling in all of your fingers and toes…

The secret is that unsung hero of the backyard bbq…the rotisserie!

You can literally run out to the grill, fire it up, run back in and prep your food, then run back out, load it up, close the lid and go back inside until your timer goes off! The rotisserie just chugs away out there, evenly cooking and self-basting your dinner while you chug your cocoa (or hot toddy) and warm your toes in front of the fire!

I like chicken just about any way it can be prepared, but for the juiciest, most flavorful bird, I’ll hang my hat on rotisserie grilling, even more so now with the grill accessories that are available. This even-heating, self-basting method ensures a perfectly cooked bird, with crispy skin all around. Using a grill (with a rotisserie burner) is especially convenient when cooking for parties or holiday get-togethers, as it frees up the oven and stove-top, and you don’t even have to remember to flip or baste your entrée!

Start with a good dry rub, end with proper treatment of the finished fowl, and you’ll have a winner chicken dinner that folks are going to remember!

Plus, rotisserie cooking is thought to be the oldest cooking technique known to man… so that’s pretty cool, too.

Here are 5 things to remember when grilling a chicken rotisserie style:

Dry rub 8-24 hours in advance

Rotisserie Grilled ChickenA dry rub is a combination of salt, spices, herbs, and sometimes sugars, that’s used to flavor meat in advance of cooking. Unlike a marinade or brine, a dry rub forms a crust on the outside of the meat when cooked.

The salt draws out the juices in the meat, making it more moist and tender, while the sugars caramelize and form a seal that traps in flavor and juices.

You can add just about anything you want to a rub (and you should experiment with some of your own favorite flavors) but here’s my go-to dry rub for chicken: 2 Tbsp. sea salt + 1 Tbsp. each: dark brown sugar, coarse black pepper, granulated garlic, smoked paprika, onion powder, and Italian seasonings. Combine all in an airtight container and mix until completely blended.

Once you’ve sprinkled, then rubbed the spices into (and under) the skin, and trussed it, wrap the whole bird in plastic wrap and refrigerate until 1-2 hours before you plan to start cooking it. Be sure to sprinkle some of your seasonings into the body cavity of the chicken or turkey, as well.

Truss the bird

3Trussing (tying up) a whole bird before cooking is always a good idea as it helps keep it moist and promotes even cooking (and a prettier presentation), but for rotisserie grilling it’s absolutely essential. A non-trussed bird will loosen up on the bar, legs and wings floppin’ ever which-a-way, and start burning at the extremities long before the rest of the chicken is cooked through to the bone.

Trussing isn’t particularly difficult, but it does take some practice to perfect. Google “How to truss a chicken” for any number of excellent videos and step-by-step guides to trussing.

Watch the heat

4I like to preheat my grill (burners on full, lid down) before putting the pre-loaded spit (the rod that holds the meat) in place. Watch the bird closely, checking every few minutes at first, and adjust your flame as needed to avoid hot spots or burning the skin.
Cook to the right temp

Figure about 25 minutes per pound to cook a chicken on a rotisserie, but what you’re really looking for in an internal temp in the thickest part of the thigh of 175 °F. A lot of variables can affect the number of minutes it takes a bird to cook to the bone, including starting temp of the meat, the heat of your grill, and the weather while cooking, but 175 °F is done regardless of outside influences.

Give it a rest

Once your chicken is removed from the heat, it’s vital that it be allowed to “rest” for 15-20 minutes, tented loosely in foil.

Resting allows the meat to relax and reabsorb its own juices back into the muscle fibers as they cool. The reason for tenting in foil is to keep the surface temperature from dropping much faster than the internal temp, which can lead to drying.

Once the chicken has rested go ahead and snip away the trussing (I use a pair of kitchen shears for this), cut the bird up as you see fit, and serve.

Oh, and be sure to save those lovely roasted bones and extra bits for making stock or flavoring soups or gravies. It’s gold!

Enjoy!

Chef Perry

02/17/14

Chicken Kotletki with Sour Cream Mushroom Sauce

My six-year old daughter and I are on a culinary journey to cook our way around the world. Once a week, Gracie picks a country, we research the food of that nation, pick a traditional dish, then shop and cook together. Sometimes we even work in a side trip to an ethnic market or food-truck.

This week, Gracie went for that big orange country at the top of the map…Russia!

This is a very simple, hearty, and delicious comfort food dish. A pre-cooked rotisserie chicken would make this dish a snap!

Russian Chicken Kotletki

Chicken Kotletki with Sour Cream Mushroom Sauce & Sweet Cabbage Salad
Serves 4

4 cups cooked long grain rice, hotRussian Chicken Kotletki
2 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken*
2 Tbsp. butter
16 oz button mushrooms
1 onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
thyme
salt, pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon flour
1 1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp. sour cream
2 Tbsp. fresh dill, minced

Mise en Place

Cube chicken (equal parts white and dark meat), clean and quarter mushrooms, chop onion and celery. Mince garlic and dill.

Need some help with your chopping, dicing, and mincing? See this post.

*You can bake your own chicken or use a store-bought rotisserie chicken for this dish.

Russian Chicken Kotletki

Prepare the Dish

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the fresh mushrooms, onion, celery, garlic, and thyme (whole stalk). Season with salt and pepper. Add flour, mix well, and cook for about 10 minutes.

Pour in the chicken broth, heavy cream, and sour cream. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook ten minutes to thicken.

3Stir in the cooked chicken and stir to coat the chicken evenly. Let rest, off heat, 10 minutes. Remove thyme stem.

Sprinkle Kotletki with fresh dill, and serve over hot rice, with cabbage salad.

Sweet Cabbage Salad

The sweet-tart, acidic component to this salad pairs perfectly with the rich, luxurious mushroom sauce in the Kotletki.

1 half a small head of cabbage
2 small cucumbers
1 large carrot
1 celery stalk
1 medium yellow bell pepper
8 radishes
1 apple
fresh herbs (scallions, dill, parsley)
2-3 Tbsp. sunflower oil
2-3 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar
1 Tbsp. sugar
salt, pepper, to taste

Shred cabbage. Julienne cukes, carrots, and bell pepper. Slice celery, apple, and radishes (thin). Mince herbs.

For the dressing: Combine oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper in a bowl, and whisk to combine.

Toss veggies with dressing and serve immediately, or chill up to 1 hour.

Enjoy!

Chef Perry

02/10/14

Seriously Sharp Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese Egg Rolls

Here’s another in a series of cheesy recipes I’ve been toying with, last week we looked at Roast Beef and Horseradish Cheddar Pretzel Subs (and yes, they’re as good as they sound), this week we’re going to take it to the next level with…

Seriously Sharp Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese Egg Rolls.

Mac & Chese Egg Rolls

Yeah, we said that.

Thanks again to the folks at Cabot Creamery, who were kind enough to send me samples of several of their cheddar cheeses.

(By the way, if you’re enjoying this article, you may want to subscribe to our free newsletter; we’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each week. Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk teens!)

Founded in 1919, Cabot Creamery is a cooperative of 1,200 dairy farm families located throughout upstate New York and New England. They manage four plants in three states, employing over 1,000 people, who make award-winning cheeses, premium butter, light cheddars, flavored cheddars and rich Greek-Style Yogurt, cottage cheese and sour cream.

You can follow Cabot Creamery on Facebook, as well.


Seriously Sharp Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese Egg Rolls.

Mac & Cheese
1/2lb macaroni or other medium tubular pasta
2 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs.  flour
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1.5 cups 2% milk (1 1/2 gal + 1 cup)
2 cups + 1/2 cup Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar, grated
1/2 lbs thick bacon, cooked & crumbled

Egg Rolls
8 (7 inch square) egg roll wrappers
2 Tbs flour
2 Tbs water

Bacon Mac & Cheese Egg RollsMac & Cheese

Cook bacon. Boil the pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking, and return to the pan you boiled it in. Set aside. (Mix in a little butter to keep the noodles from sticking)Over medium heat, melt 2 Tbs. of butter.

Add the flour, salt, dry mustard, pepper, and the smoked paprika. Stir constantly over medium heat until the mixture has thickened, about 3-4 minutes.

Bacon Mac & Cheese Egg RollsTurn off the heat then add 2 cups of the freshly shredded cheddar cheese and stir until smooth.

Stir in the milk. Keeping on medium heat, whisk constantly for about 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Add bacon.

Bacon Mac & Cheese Egg Rolls
Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles and toss  gently until all noodles are covered. Let cool to room temp.

Bacon Mac & Cheese Egg RollsEgg Rolls

In another large skillet heat oil to about 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) or medium high heat. While oil is heating, combine flour and water in a bowl until they form a paste.

Bacon Mac & Cheese Egg RollsLay out one egg roll skin with a corner pointed toward you. Place about a 1/4 of the mac & cheese mixture, and a little of the remaining shredded cheese on egg roll paper and fold the bottom corner up over the mixture.

Bacon Mac & Cheese Egg RollsFold left and right corners toward the center and continue to roll.

Bacon Mac & Cheese Egg RollsBrush a bit of the flour paste on the final corner to help seal the egg roll.

Mac & Cheese Egg Roll
Place egg rolls into heated oil and fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown.
Mac & Cheese Egg Roll
Remove from oil and drain on paper towels or rack. Let cool 10-15 minutes before serving.
Mac & Chese Egg Rolls
02/10/14

New favorite thing – homemade sesame crackers

Homemade Sesame Crackers

This might be my new favorite thing!

Made these homemade sesame crackers yesterday with my daughter, and they are SO good! Spread with a little cream cheese and some fresh chopped green onion.

The thinner you can roll them, the crispier they’ll be. You can do a big, round, “communal” cracker, for a cool presentation, as well.

Also, I looked at those strips of raw dough and couldn’t help myself…boiled in a bit of salted water, they make a very different, but really delicious pasta. Now I just gotta figure out a recipe for that!

Enjoy!

-Chef Perry
Hautemealz.com

PS – My 6y/o daughter Gracie insisted on buying that kitchen timer for me because “it looks just like you, Daddy!” :)

Sesame Crackers
1 1⁄2 cups flour
3/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
1⁄2 tsp garlic powder
1⁄2 tsp baking powder
1⁄2 tsp salt
3 tbsp butter, softened
1⁄2 cup milk
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp coarse salt

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine flour, sesame seeds, garlic powder, salt, and baking powder in a bowl.

Work butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles cornmeal. Gradually add milk, stirring until a crumbly dough forms (dough will be on the dry side but moist enough to hold together).

Shape dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and transfer to the refrigerator to let relax for 10–15 minutes.

Divide dough in half. Roll first piece on a lightly floured surface to a 1⁄8″-thick rectangle, about 10″× 12″. Brush dough with half the oil and sprinkle with half the salt. Cut dough into rectangles.

Transfer dough rectangles to a parchment paper–lined baking sheet about 1⁄2″ apart and set aside.

Repeat process with remaining dough, oil, and salt. Bake crackers until golden brown, about 30 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time.

Let cook (to crisp) and serve.

02/8/14

Independent Living Cooking Classes

ILP1It’s official!

As part of our expanding Outreach Program, hautemealz.com will be partnering with Impact NW’s Independent Living Program to teach an ongoing series of basic home cooking classes for teens coming out of the foster-care system to live on their own. We’ll fund a portion of these classes from our outreach budget (thank you hautemealz subscribers!) and special cooking fundraisers.

We really want to hit the ground running, and build on the class we held last week, with a second and possibly third class in February.

20140130_171443We’re starting from scratch, so our first goal is to equip 10-12 portable cooking stations with a table, syllabus, burners, pans, pots, and various basic cooking implements.

We can’t tell you how excited we are to build a relationship with these amazing kids, while giving them the tools they need to prosper on their own!

Here’s what the program coordinator told us, following the first class:

“You did a fantastic job with the youth, who really benefited from the experience. I saw self confidence grow in individuals who didn’t have any before. They are excited about signing up for future sessions and we could not be more pleased!”

impact-nw-logo-332px

Experts estimate that 45 percent of youth leaving foster care become homeless within a year.

Young people who have spent their lives in foster care often struggle when they leave the system. Impact NW’s Independent Living Program (ILP) helps foster care youth ages 14-21 gain the skills they need to successfully transition out of foster care and into adulthood.  They work with participants to set and reach attainable goals through one-on-one meetings, weekly job readiness classes, and social and skill-building activities and events.

ILP2 Each year, ILP ensures a happy, healthy, independent adulthood for more than 60 vulnerable young adults.

Hautemealz is excited and honored to be a part of this program by hosting this ongoing series of “Kitchen Skills” courses for the youth of the ILP.

ILP4These will not be classes that focus on a career in the culinary arts, but instead it will cover the primary skills and techniques required to plan, shop for, and cook healthy, affordable meals at home, using basic cooking equipment that these young people are likely to have available starting out on their own.

We believe that the ability to cook for oneself is a set of basic skills needed by  everyone, and that the confidence and independence that comes along with these skills will transfer into all other areas of these kids lives. In other words, when they learn that they can cook for themselves, they learn that they can do anything else they want to do in life.

We also want to make sure that Impact Northwest can continue to focus it’s time and resources on the important programs that are already in place, without having to divert monies from those, to our classes. We will have several opportunities in the future for people like yourself to help, including one-time activities, cooking events, and student sponsorships in the program. (There is no cost to the students to participate, nor does hautemealz receive any compensation. Sponsorships would be used for ingredients and materials that each student uses throughout the course of the classes.)

There are three ways you can help us change these kid’s lives for the better: Individual Sponsorships

Please consider sponsoring a student (or two…or ten…) for an entire series of six classes. Total cost per student, per class is around $40.00, so full sponsorship in the program would be just $240.00 per student.

Besides the satisfaction of knowing that you’re helping these kids learn life-changing skills, we also want you to know that we’ll be promoting the heck out of each of our sponsors in all of our literature, social media avenues, and live events! Payments will be made to Impact NW specifically for our program. Impact NW is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and will provide receipts for these donations.

Equipment/Ingredient Donations

Most of these students will come to their first class with nothing in the way of cooking gear. If your company has branded cooking hardware (measuring spoons, spatulas, knives, aprons, spices, etc.,) we would love to get it into the kid’s hands. We will also have a lot of quizzes and educational games throughout the course, and if you have small cooking-related items that we can add to the prize box, that will be an ongoing need, as well.

One Time Gifts

Every dollar helps, and is greatly appreciated. If you would like to make a donation to our Independent Cooking Program, payments can be made to Impact NW specifically for our program. Impact NW is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and can provide receipts for these donations.

Thank you very much for your consideration and generosity. We look forward to partnering with you to inspire our next generation toward a healthier, happier, more independent life!

SimplySmartDinnerPlans.com

Perhaps the simplest way to contribute to our outreach programs, on an ongoing basis, is to subscribe to our SimplySmartDinnerPlans service.

Our dinner plans are all about helping busy families get back to the dinner table and share delicious, nutritious meals together, by helping you with the research, planning, and list-making that takes so much time…time that most of us just don’t have.

We create and personally test “real food” recipes for every night of the month, provide an easy-to-follow itemized grocery list for every week of the month, and offer constant support and training through our weekly newsletter, interactive blog, and social media sites…all for just $10.00 a month.

A large portion of this subscription income goes directly towards supporting our outreach programs.

So, you get great recipes for delicious meals, while helping kids learn to cook the same for themselves…that’s what we call a Win-Win!

If you have any questions, please comment below, or contact us at hautemealz@gmail.com

Thank you all!

Chefs Perry, Terry, & Chris SimplySmartDinnerPlans.com

02/4/14

Roast Beef and Horseradish Cheddar Pretzel Subs

Roast beef and horseradish cheddar

The folks at Cabot Creamery were kind enough to send me some samples of several of their cheddar cheeses.

Founded in 1919, Cabot Creamery is a cooperative of 1,200 dairy farm families located throughout upstate New York and New England. They manage four plants in three states, employing over 1,000 people, who make award-winning cheeses, premium butter, light cheddars, flavored cheddars and rich Greek-Style Yogurt, cottage cheese and sour cream.

You can follow Cabot Creamery on Facebook, as well.

Here’s the first of several recipes I’ve been toying with…this is some GREAT cheese!

Roast Beef and Horseradish Cheddar Pretzel SubsRoast Beef & Horseradish Cheddar Pretzel Subs
1 lb. premium rare roast beef, thinly sliced
4 Regular or pretzel-style hoagie rolls
1 cup pickled red onions (see recipe below)
4 oz. Cabot Horseradish Cheddar Cheese
2 cups au jus*

Mise en place:

Preheat broiler.

Roast Beef and Horseradish Cheddar Pretzel SubsHalve pretzel rolls. Shred cheese, and heat au jus to a simmer.

*Combine 3 tsp. of Better Than Bullion Au Jus, with 2 cups hot water.

Prepare the dish:

Place halved rolls, cut side up, on a baking sheet.

Dip the roast beef slices one at a time into the simmering au jus, just for a second, and then place them on the top half of each roll.

Top the roast beef with 1/4 of the cheese.

Roast Beef and Horseradish Cheddar Pretzel Subs

Place the sandwiches under the broiler until the bottoms are golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.

Close up sandwiches and serve immediately.

MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.

Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids, in our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program.

 

Roast Beef and Horseradish Cheddar Pretzel Subs

Options: top with chilled tomato slices and fresh green lettuce leaves.

pickled onionsPickled Red Onions
1/2 cups rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 red onion, thinly sliced

Whisk first 3 ingredients and 1 cup water in a small bowl until sugar and salt dissolve.

Place onion in a bowl, add vinegar mixture, and let rest at room temperature for an hour.

Cover and chill. Drain onions before using.

02/3/14

Perfect Oven Pork Ribs

Perfect oven pork ribs

These ribs always get rave reviews. Firm yet tender, they pull off the bone with each succulent bite. For the sake of disclosure, I learned the amazing method from an episode of “Restaurant Impossible” with Chef Robert Irvine.

When I don’t have all day to slow cook my pork ribs in the smoker, this is my go-to recipe.

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F. To prepare the ribs, remove the silver skin from the back or under the rib side.

3

Then rub the trimmed rib racks with my Burnin’ Love dry rub (see recipe, below).

5

Place the racks onto a sheet of plastic wrap, wrap tightly, and repeat with a second layer. Place in the oven (don’t panic, the plastic won’t melt at this low temperature) and roast for 2 hours.

7

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. The plastic wrap will have filled with steam and “puffed up”, I try to let the ribs rest until the wrap has completely collapsed.

8

Now you have a decision to make. You can sprinkle the ribs with more rub (this is how I like them…), and serve them as “Dry Ribs”, or….

13

Unwrap, place on a cookie sheet and coat with BBQ sauce (see recipe below). Roast, in the oven set to broil, until the sauce is caramelized, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the sauced ribs and allow to rest, 3 to 5 minutes.

Finally, portion the ribs into serving-size pieces, and serve.

Enjoy!

Chef Perry
joinmykitchen.com

1“Burnin’ Love” Dry Rub
¼ C sea salt
½ C light brown sugar
2 Tbs garlic powder
2 Tbs onion powder
2 Tbs Italian seasonings (spicy, if you can find them.)
2 Tbs smoked paprika
1 Tbs coarse black pepper
1 Tbs ground white pepper
1 Tbs hickory salt
1 teaspoon cayenne powder

Combine all in a tightly sealed glass jar. Store in a cool, dark area.

Dirty Little Secret Sauce
(If you need a diabetic friendly sauce, try this one!)
1 C “Sweet Baby Rays” (Brown Sugar, or Sweet & Spicy)

1/2 cup Thai-style sweet chili sauce
1/2 C apple cider vinegar
1/2 C Coca Cola
1/4 cup butter

Bring all ingredients to a simmer, blend well and allow to cool. Best after 48 hours.

I also like to serve my ribs with our simple tangy slaw, Low & Slow Baked Beans, and my all time favorite Southern side, Maque Choux with Bacon!

MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter!

We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday. Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids.