10/17/17

New MY KITCHEN Outreach Classes

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Heyya Heroes,

Launching our after-school classes for at-risk and homeless kids in the gorge, next week, and it’s time to raise some funds to cover expenses!

Click on this link to read more about this exciting new chapter for the MY KITCHEN Outreach Program, and how YOU can help us help these kids!

Blessings!

~Chef Perry
MY KITCHEN Outreach Program
501(c)3

10/12/17

Today Only – Help us help kids (and get a great book, too!)

Home Chef Book Fundraiser

Cover in FrameI’m donating 100% of sales from “The Home Chef’s Guide to Frugal Fine Cooking” AND “The Home Chef: Transforming the American Kitchen” to the MY KITCHEN OUTREACH Program, to help feed the hungry, and teach important life skills to at-risk and special-needs youth.

This guidebook would make a great gift for struggling families, college students, and young couples trying to eat healthy on a limited budget!

Proceeds will only be used to pay for teaching materials, supplies, and ingredients for classes. I’ll post the results here, at MY KITCHEN Outreach Program on Monday, October 16th.

Please place your order, on Amazon, before midnight TONIGHT, to help support the outreach!

Cover in frameThese funds will be earmarked specifically for the new youth classes we’ll be doing for the high school in Stevenson WA, and for our annual turkey roast (10 this year!) for The Father’s Heart Street Ministry. Anything left over will go into the general use fund for MK.

Order your copies of “The Home Chef’s Guide to Frugal Fine Cooking” HERE.

BOTH are availabe on my Amazon author page: www.perryperkinsbooks.com

PLEASE LET YOUR FRIENDS KNOW (by using the “sharing buttons”, below!)

Thank you for helping us help kids!

Chef Perry
chefperryperkins.com

07/20/17

Cooking Perfect Artichokes

How to know when artichokes are done

Just posted this article over at chefperryperkins.com, and thought I should add it here as well! ~Chef P

My Facebook friend Anna asks:

How long should you boil artichokes? Mine always seen to come out either under-done or mushy. How can you tell when they’re just right? Thanks Chef!

My response:

Hey Anna, thank YOU for the questions! Everyone at my house are total artichoke fiends, lol, so I cook tons of ’em. While there are a lot of ways to prepare these beauties, boiling fresh artichokes is one of the original and classic methods, and how most restaurants still do it today.

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Make sure to pick ripe ones. California artichokes (buy American!) are available all year, but peak season is March through May and again in October. You want them to feel more like a softball than a baseball when you give ’em a squeeze. You can also hold the artichoke next to your ear, and squeeze its leaves with your fingers. If you hear a squeak, the artichoke is extremely fresh, and a good one to buy.

Artichokes should feel disproportionately heavy for their size. This indicates that they still have plenty of natural moisture and will be packed with flavor.

Avoid any that have a lot of dark spots, dried/cracked leaves, or if the stem feels mushy or isn’t nice and green. Never store your artichokes in the fridge, or in a plastic bag, both will hasten spoilage. Some will disagree on the fridge thing, but my rule of thumb, after many years of professional cooking, is, if it ain’t refrigerated in the store, I don’t refrigerate it at home.

And I have to say it…my Dad, regardless of what restaurant he was working in, or how far in the weeds, always shouted, “You might’a choked Artie, but you ain’t gonna choke me!” whenever he dropped them in the pot. I do the same. Call it good mojo.

Read the rest of this article, here, on my Chef Perry Blog!

07/18/17

An open letter to my friends…

A letter to the bullied

Hello my friend…

I’m writing this letter to the young man who stutters, or has an acne problem, or is just smaller than everyone else. To the young lady who never seems to know what to say, or may be carrying a few extra pounds, or who’s skin is a different color than everyone else in class.

You may not believe it, but once upon a time, I was the littlest kid in class. An only child with a sick mom, a sever speech impediment, coke-bottle glasses, and a thrift-store wardrobe…in other words, I was an easy target.

You know what I’m talking about.

Bullies made my life a nightmare from the 3rd grade, through most of high-school. With no real friends or defenders, it was a frightening, lonely way to grow up, and I still carry some of those scars, on my skin and on my heart, forty years later, and I always will.

So will you.

Bullies suck, and so does being bullied.

You don’t deserve it, you didn’t ask for it, and it’s not happening because there’s anything wrong with YOU. You are amazing. You are beautiful, and there is not another living soul on earth who is like you. That makes you a treasure beyond price.

Maybe your parents don’t understand, maybe your teachers and coaches were never bullied, and can’t relate, but you’re not alone.

You are SO not alone.

Your bullies are weak, and scared, and small. So small on the inside that the only thing that makes them feel good about themselves is to make someone else feel bad.

How sad is that?

But, you know what? There’s a gift in being bullied.

That can be hard to accept, believe me, I know.

But it’s true.

It can make you strong. It can make you brave. But most importantly, it can make you…kind.

And it’s not easy (but you’re used to things not being easy, aren’t you?)

You see, when you know what it feels like, the fear, the confusion, the betrayal, the pain…you can choose to let it make you bitter, to make you as small inside as the ones who hurt you, OR you can use it to guide how you treat others, how you speak to others in pain, how you protect and defend those weaker than you. How to choose compassion and mercy, over hate.

How you be exactly the kind of hero that you lay awake longing for.

Hate is easy, any small-minded weakling can hate. But love…love and kindness are the strongest powers in the universe, and when you have that strength, you cannot be beaten.

Because you…YOU…know.

And because you know, you have greatness in you.

You are developing a strength that many will never attain, no matter how fast, or smart, or rich, or pretty. A strength of heart, and of mind.

You will be able to see things others don’t, do things other’s can’t.

And the world needs you…desperately. They need you more and more every day, because it’s people like you…like US…that have the power to make the world a better place…because we know.

chef-perry-perkinsChoose Kindness, little hero, and hang in there.

It will get better…I promise.

Your friend,

Chef Perry
chefperryperkins.com

If you’ve know what I’m talking about, please share this.

If not, share it anyway, you never know who’s reading…

07/14/17

Enter to win a FREE copy of “The Home Chef: Transforming the American Kitchen”

See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: The Home Chef: Transforming the American Kitchen.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.

Click-here-to-Enter-Button-IMG

Ends the earlier of Jul 19, 2017 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules.

Giveaway Summary:
Title: Win a FREE copy of The Home Chef!

 

Entry Message: Welcome to this week’s Home Chef giveaway! To get revved up for the upcoming release of “The Home Chef’s Guide to Frugal Cooking” I’m giving away 5 copies of the book that started it all…The Home Chef:Transforming the American Kitchen!

 

Duration: Jul 14, 2017 3:00 PM PDT – Jul 19, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

 

Prize: The Home Chef: Transforming the American Kitchen

 

Number of Prizes: 5

The Home Chef

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/76d89ce8e81f8a4a

07/13/17

Chef P’s Penny Pincher Mock Southern Catfish

Southern Fried Tilapia

Had a hankering for fried catfish this week…until I priced it at my local fist monger’s shop.

The poor country-boy in me just couldn’t shell out $12.50/lb for somethin’ I can catch with a cane pole and a couple of smelly chicken livers. Glancing around, I noticed that tilapia fillets were on sale $2.98/lb.

Well, there you go.

Fresh tilapia fillets can be rarer than an honest politician, in chain grocery stores, but the frozen, individual portioned version will work just fine, too. Just make sure you thaw them before soaking.

If you’re feeling brave, buy whole tilapia (usually cheaper, too) and fillet them yourself. I like my whole tilapia fillets scaled, but with the skin left on, as it adds an extra crunch and a little fat, but to each their own. My local Asian super-market has tanks of live tilapia, which they’ll net and fillet for you…doesn’t get much fresher than that!

Chef P’s Mock Fried Catfish

  •     6 (4oz) tilapia fillets
  •     2 cups milk
  •     1 tsp sea salt
  •     2 cups yellow cornmeal
  •     1 Tbs seasoned salt
  •     2 tsp coarse black pepper
  •     1/2 tsp onion powder
  •     2 tsp garlic salt 
  •     Vegetable oil

Southern Fried Tilapia

Place tilapia fillets in a single layer in a shallow dish; cover with milk, sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt. Cover and chill 1 hour.

Combine cornmeal, seasoned salt, pepper, and onion powder in a shallow dish, and mix well.

Southern Fried Tilapia

Remove catfish fillets from refrigerator, and let stand at room temperature 10 minutes. Remove from milk, allowing excess to drip off. Sprinkle evenly with garlic salt.

Pre-heat your deep fryer, or add oil to depth of 1 1/2 inches into a large skillet; heat to 350F.

Southern Fried Tilapia

Dredge catfish fillets in cornmeal mixture, shaking off excess.

Home Chef’s Note: Dad had a trick he learned while cooking in Georgia. Place your fish fillet on top of the cornmeal mixture, mound the remaining cornmeal over the top until completely covered, then give the whole thing a firm press with an open hand. Shake off the excess and continue.

Southern Fried Tilapia

Fry fillets, in batches, about 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown.*

*The darker ou let them brown, within reason, the crispier the finished fillets will be.

If you like what I’m posting, please share! If you love what I’m posting, and want to help me feed the hungry, and teach at-risk and special needs kids to cook for themselves, please consider becoming a patron at my Patreon page!

Southern Fried Tilapia

Drain on wire racks over paper towels.

Speaking for my people, you’ll be on these like a hungry ‘gator on a French poodle!

Chef Perry
MY KITCHEN Outreach Program
www.joinmykitchen.com

07/12/17

Outreach Spotlight: Kings for the Kids

Kings for the Kids

 Did you know that the average number of days a child spends in foster care is 457?

    Clackamas County has 387 children in foster care.
    Washington County has 754 children in foster care.
    Multnomah County has 2,037 children in foster care.

This adds up to 3,178 children in the tri-county area. The Tri-County area alone accounts for 35% of the total number of children in the Oregon foster care system.

Rick King knows…and that’s why he founded Kings for the Kids, an Oregon Not for profit Organization started to help fund camps, like Royal family Kids Camps, for abused and neglected children in Oregon and Washington, almost twenty years ago. 

Rick King - Kings for the Kids

Kings for the KidsRick’s heart is for foster children and the monies he, his volunteers, and local fishing guides raise supports several key ministries focused on kids in the foster care system.  These professional guides volunteer their time, during the height of spring fishing season, to offer an amazing fishing experiencing, as part of KFK’s salmon fishing tournament fundraiser each spring.

Later, the guides and fisher-folk gather for dinner (that’s were MY KITCHEN Outreach come in!) and an amazing raffle/silent auction with many donated items from local artists and merchants.

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Cookin’ up a brisket and chicken BBQ feast for the hungry fisher-folk!

You can fish with your own boat or with a guide or boatsmen and have a fantastic dinner and silent auction to raise money for foster kids here in Oregon.

Kings for the Kids Volunteers

How You Can Help

Kings for the Kids always needs volunteers. Whether it’s administrative work or help at one of the activities, they have a spot available for any amount of time you can commit. Below are some of the specific opportunities. To offer your time, please contact volunteer@kingsForTheKids.org.

Tournament Help: Needs at the annual tourney abound! Contact KFK if you’d like to help. What they need most are bodies willing to serve where needed. Some common needs are: Greeters, Servers, Registration, Setup, Cleanup, and the list goes on! Contact Rick to sign up or get more information.

David Johnson Guide Service
Donation Coordinator: Kings For the Kids needs assistance with coordinating donations from local and national sponsors. The donations are used for our silent auction, raffle give-a-ways, and Christmas Boxes.

More Information: For additional details about the supported ministries or Kings for The Kids, please contact Rick King, rick@KingsForTheKids.org, and be sure to follow their official page on Facebook!

MY KITCHEN Outreach is proud to support and promote Rick, and Kings for the Kids, for the amazing work they do on behalf of foster kids!

Kings for the Kids

07/10/17

Support us on Prime Day!

Prime Day MY KITCHEN

Support MY KITCHEN Outreach Program
on Amazon’s Prime Day!

Amazon’s Prime Day is here, and will feature more than 100,000 deals exclusively for Prime Members, making it one of the biggest shopping days of the year!

Deals start at 9:00 pm ET tonight, July 10
and run through July 11.

When you #StartWithaSmile on #PrimeDay, Amazon donates to
MY KITCHEN Outreach Program!

CLICK HERE to begin shopping and supporting MY KITCHEN!

My kitchen_1 - Twitter

 

06/8/17

When Good Kids Cook Bad Food (and what to do about it)

teaching kids to cook

When Good Kids Cook Bad Food (and what to do about it)

Excerpt from: “The Home Chef’s Guide to Cooking with Kids.”
Coming Soon.

teaching kids to cookLearning to cook from a father who’s also a professional chef, isn’t always…fun.

I’m not talking about these television “stand and stir” celebrity chefs who smile, and make jokes, and have a team of cooking-college pukes doing all their mize off camera, either. I’m talkin’ about OLD SCHOOL chefs, the kind who viewed an 8oz steel ladle as a “tool of instruction”, if you know what I mean.

If you’ve ever cooked with me (and I apologize) try to imagine a guy who looks a lot like me, but with a hair-trigger temper, even less patience, and a MUCH more relaxed attitude toward profanity and volume.

Now, don’t get me wrong, my dad was a GREAT dad, he just wasn’t a very congenial teacher. I struggle with this myself (ask my wife about her one and only cooking lesson some time…) but I try to do a better job of keeping my emotions, and expectations, in check when working with my own daughter in the kitchen.

This morning was a good example…

The Pickle decided, as a celebration of the first day of summer vacation, that she was going to cook me breakfast. A lovely thing that happens more and more often these days. (Woo-Hoo!)

This morning she decided to make French-style scrambled eggs, a specialty of hers, but she got a little…exuberant…with the spices. WAY too much salt and pepper and, even on a burger roll, it was almost inedible.

 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!

Now, while my father would likely have just tossed the whole thing in the trash and told me to “do it right this time”, I paused, took a breath, and thought about the opportunities in the situation.

First (and it’s important that this be first) what was GOOD about the dish? Well, the eggs were cooked perfectly, exactly the light and fluffy consistency that I like. Likewise, the toast with exactly the right shade. Looking in the kitchen I could see that the ingredients had been put away, and the cookware, if not washed, had at least been moved to the sink, and the eggs were still hot when she served it.

These are all simple, but very important, elements of a finished dish, and I made sure to let her know that she’d done that right.

teaching kids to cook

1. Inspiration will always produce better results than fear.

teaching kids to cookWorking closely with at-risk kids, many of whom have never (literally) boiled water before, has taught me that fear and anxiety, which most of these kids are already dealing with, will do nothing but increase the likelihood of an injury or mistake. My personal philosophy is that the younger the child, the more praise and encouragement is required. Are they holding the spoon right?

Praise them!

Did they crack that egg without getting any (or very little) shell in it?

Praise them!

Do they just generally seem to have a good attitude and are willing to listen?

PRAISE THEM!

Basically, go watch a few episodes of Hell’s Kitchen, and do exactly the opposite!

You see, no one is born knowing how to cook, or enjoying the tasks required to do so. When we’re praised for something, the brain creates new neural pathways and releases endorphins and dopamine to the pleasure centers of the brain, increasing the likelihood that we will remember to do it THAT WAY again, because doing it THAT WAY makes us feel good.

teaching kids to cook

Negative feedback also creates these pathways, but as a warning NOT to do it that way, which may seem like a good thing, but it’s not. Negative feelings (or lack of dopamine reception) triggers the human flight response, because, on an instinctive level, it’s easier to just NOT do it again (run away), than to risk doing it wrong.

This is why a lot of people don’t “like” to cook…their brain tells them it’s going to make them feel bad, and so they should avoid it.

And, before you start asking, “If YOUR dad was so tough, why do YOU love to cook?” it’s because as much as Chef Frank could rant, and rail, and slam frying pans, he also knew how to PRAISE.

When I did something right, he made a big deal out of it, he bragged to others about it in front of me. I guess you could say he made me feel good MORE than he made me feel bad, and though (at least in my case) that might sometimes work, it’s a risky way to do things.

teaching kids to cook
Also, it’s important to remember that any time a child brings you something they’ve made, even a bowl of mashed bananas covered in powdered sugar, they’re offering you a part of themselves, they’re giving you a precious gift and trusting you with it, and their goofy little brains can’t always distinguish between you rejecting a SANDWICH, and you rejecting THEM.

BUT (and there’s always a big butt) as much as patience, and praise, and making it “feel good” are important, there are still absolutes in the kitchen, there are rules, and reasons for those rules, and it’s far easier to establish those from the beginning, than to try to add them in later.

We observe the safety rules: proper knife handling, bar mops in place for handling hot pans, appropriate clothing for cooking (protective of heat and splatters, not slip, foot-protecting shoes, nothing too loose or baggy that might catch fire, long hair pinned back, or under a cap, keeping our station free of clutter and dirty cookware to avoid accidents, etc.

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We understand that, outside of the professional kitchen, clean-up is part of the cook’s job.

Cookware is rinsed, dishwasher is filled, and counters and stove-tops are wiped down BEFORE we eat. One of the greatest gifts you can give a child is to teach them to clean-up as they go. This is a habit that will make their whole life easier, inside and outside the kitchen.

Oh, and a modern-day tip on praise? Take pictures of your kids cooking and/or their finished dishes, and post them for your friends and family to see. To a 9y/o having another adult come up to them and say, “Wow, that omelet you made last week looked SO good!” is a really, really big deal.

2. Every mistake is a learning opportunity.

First of all, EVERYBODY makes a bad dish now and then. I’ve been cooking, personally and professionally for more than 4 decades, and I will still, on occasion, put out a stinker.

An important truth to remember is that, if you really want to master a craft, cooking or anything else, and you’re NOT making the occasional mistake…you’re not trying hard enough, and you’re not growing your skills. It’s been said, and I believe it, that “Good cooking comes from experience, and experience comes from bad cooking. Every mistake is a learning opportunity.

This morning’s eggs were an opportunity to reinforce three important cooking principles to my daughter:

a. Sometimes, less is more. Great cooking isn’t about a laundry list of spices and ingredients, it’s about knowing what to DO with them, and when. If the main ingredient is egg, you want that to be the dominate flavor, and not buried under a bunch of spices.

b. A smart chef under-seasons while cooking, and re-seasons before plating. Or, as my dad used to say, “It’s a hell of a lot easier to add more salt, than to take it back out!” Which leads to…

teaching kids to cookc. Always, always, ALWAYS taste your food as you go! First of all, it’s educational. If you’ve ever tasted a spoonful of beef bourguignon just on the heat, it’s a nasty, depressing thing.

But when you taste is again after hours of simmering and reducing, allowing the flavors to marry and the alcohol to cook off, you realize that there’s something transformative, almost magical, that you can do to raw ingredients when you understand certain techniques and when to use them.

No dish should ever be plated without a final tasting, and any adjustments required (if any) at that point.

Here are a couple of more tips:

1. Have a plan, and work the plan

Even when you’re having them start a dish from scratch, YOU, as the teacher, should already know exactly what needs to be done. Make sure you have all of the ingredients, the proper cookware, and anything else needed for the dish.

Make sure it’s something YOU know how to make, so you’re ready to step in with advice and guidance if things start to go off plan. Nothing is more discouraging to the learner than having to scrap a dish because they weren’t supplied with the right ingredients and tools. It’s like the old saying, “Never ask a question you don’t already know the answer to!”

teaching kids to cook
2. Never teach in a rush, or under pressure

Trying to teach an 8y/o how to make turkey gravy when you’re cooking six other dishes and have a dozen family members showing up in two hours for Thanksgiving dinner is…bad. (And half those dishes should have been cooked days in advance…what were you thinking?”)

I kid, I kid…sorta.

Teaching, well…anything requires a calm, focused head, and getting frustrated and demonstrating that cooking is stressful and no fun, is the last thing you want to do. Teach when you have the energy, the positivity, and the TIME to do so. A smart chef knows when to order a pizza, too.

3. Then, always have a Plan B.

Speaking of pizza…what’s for dinner if that casserole catches fire, or a cup of salt is mistaken for a cup of sugar? Don’t make your child feel guilty for “ruining dinner, and NOW what are we going to eat???”

When the Pickle’s in charge of dinner, I know in advance that if the spaghetti turns into a solid ball of gluten, or the chicken gets immolated, there’s sandwich fixin’s, or omelet ingredients, or the phone number for the local delivery place, close at hand. Praise what went right, discuss what went wrong, and then laugh it off and go eat dinner.

How about you? Any nuggets of wisdom to add, either as the learner or the teacher, for encouraging a little chef?

Have FUN,

Chef Perry
chefperryperkins.com

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.