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We're going to:
Use Flavor Freebies! (herbs, spices, citrus and aromatics/bulbs)
Taste, Taste, Taste!
Get Organized! (mise en place and workspace)
Turn Up The Music!
Keep it Simple!
Use Awesome Ingredients!
Master the Basics!
Have More Fun Cooking Than Ever Before!
Moist and Crispy Roasted Chicken with Savory Coconut Oil
Curry and Coconut-Poached Chicken Tenderloin
Japanese Steakhouse Vegetables with Hibachi White Sauce
Golden Brown Pan-Seared Tilapia with Basil and Grapefruit
Perfect Salmon with Marinated Tomato and Cucumber Tangle
Orchard Hand Pies
Moist and Crispy Roasted Chicken
1 (4 lb.) whole chicken, giblets removed
1 recipe Roasted Chicken Dry Rub
1 recipe Savory Compound Coconut Oil
1 whole lemon (reserved from Savory Compound Coconut Oil)
2 sprigs fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, sage, basil or a combination of your favorites)
1. Preheat oven to 250F.
2. Rinse the chicken under cold running water inside and out. Pat dry. Use a sharp chef's knife to remove the wing tips. Carefully loosen the skin of the chicken from the breast and thigh meat with your hands, working from the neck end to the back. Pipe the compound coconut oil under the skin onto each breast. Use your hands to smooth out the skin and spread oil evenly across each breast and back to the thighs. Rub any leftover oil all over the outside.
3. Season the chicken inside and out with dry rub. Cut the lemon in half and place it, along with the fresh herbs, into the cavity of the chicken. Tie the legs together with twine, then bring the twine up along each side of the bird and loop at the neck. Tighten to compress the chicken and tie securely. Tuck the wings underneath the twine. Place in a roasting pan.
4. Roast until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 150°F, about 2 hours. Increase the heat to 425°F and roast until the thermometer registers 165°F and the skin is golden and crispy. Transfer chicken to a carving board and rest for 20 minutes. Carve the chicken and serve simply with the reserved juices from the roasting pan. Serves 4.
Roasted Chicken Dry Rub
1 Tbl coarse salt
1 Tbl light brown sugar
2 tsp cracked black pepper
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cracked pepper flakes
1 tsp cumin
1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Cover and store in a dark, dry place. Makes 1/4 cup.
Savory Compound Coconut Oil
1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil (substitute softened butter if coconut oil is unavailable)
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tsp fresh thyme, rosemary, sage or basil (or a combination of your favorites)
1 Tbl lemon zest (1 large lemon; reserve lemon)
1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Place in a quart-sized food storage bag or piping bag and set aside at room temperature until ready to use. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers. Makes about 1/3 cup.
1 gallon water
1 cup coarse salt
1 lb jumbo asparagus
1. Combine water and salt in a stock pot and bring to a rolling boil. Prepare an ice bath.
2. Remove and discard the bottom third of the asparagus stalks. Optional Chef Tip: Peel stalks with a vegetable peeler for improved texture.
3. Place asparagus in boiling water and cook just until al dente, about 4 minutes for jumbo, 3 minutes for large, 2 minutes for medium and 1 minute or less for pencil-thin asparagus. Use a strainer to immediately transfer asparagus into an ice bath. Use hands to gently move asparagus around.
4. Once asparagus is chilled, about 5 minutes, transfer asparagus to a paper towel-lined tray or container to drain.
5. Serve asparagus chilled with your favorite vinaigrette, or warm briefly over medium heat with touch of butter, rendered bacon fat or extra virgin olive oil. Due to the salt in the blanching liquid, additional seasoning is typically not needed. Be sure to taste before adding. Serves 4 - 6.
Curry and Coconut-Poached Chicken Tenderloins
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup sake or white wine
2 cups water
2 Tbl red curry paste
1 jalapeno, sliced (optional)
2 sprigs fresh basil (spicy Thai variety if available)
1 lb chicken tenderloins (or more, in one pound batches)
1. Combine all ingredients, except chicken, in a heavy-bottom sauce pot. Mix well. Bring just to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and let flavors meld for 15 minutes.
2. Place chicken into the poaching liquid and cook until almost cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a tray and cool at room temp until steam dissipates and chicken cooks through, about 5 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator, cover and store until needed, up to 3 days. Serves 4.
Japanese Steakhouse Vegetables with Chicken and White Sauce
2 Tbl grape seed, peanut, vegetable or canola oil
1 Tbl toasted sesame oil
1 large yellow onion, sliced
2 large carrots, sliced
1 qt sliced white mushrooms
2 large zucchini, sliced
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
2 cups cooked, cubed chicken tenderloin
1/4 cup soy sauce or ponzu
1 Tbl Hibachi White Sauce
1 Tbl unsalted butter
2 Tbl toasted sesame seeds
1. Heat oil over high heat in an extra large saute pan or wok until it just begins to smoke. Add carrots and onions and cook for 3 minutes, or until vegetables begin to brown. Add mushrooms and zucchini and cook for 4 minutes more, or until zucchini and mushrooms are golden brown. Chef's Tip: Add vegetables in batches if necessary. It is essential to only add as many vegetables as your pan can accommodate in a single layer. Do not overcrowd!
2. Season vegetables with salt and pepper and add cubed chicken. Add soy, White Sauce, butter and sesame seeds and toss to coat. Serve immediately with fried rice and remaining sauce. Serves 6.
Hibachi White Sauce
2 cups japanese mayonnaise (substitute regular mayonnaise)
1 Tbl simple syrup
1 tsp ketchup
1/2 tsp sriracha sauce (substitute your favorite hot sauce)
1 Tbl water
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Transfer to a container or squeeze bottle, cover and refrigerate up to 1 week. Chef Tip: Make sauce at least 1 day ahead of time to allow flavors to meld and intensify. Makes 2 1/4 cups.
Golden Brown Pan-Seared Tilapia with Basil & Grapefruit
1 Tbl grape seed, peanut, vegetable or canola oil
4 tilapia filets
2 Tbl Wondra flour
1 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1 Tbl unsalted butter
1 grapefruit, segmented
1 Tbl chopped basil
1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large saute pan. Pat tilapia dry between paper towels.
2. Combine Wondra, salt and pepper and mix well. Dredge tilapia filets in Wondra, tapping off any extra that doesn't stick.
3. Carefully place tilapia filets into hot oil. Cook until golden brown and almost cooked through. Flip and finish cooking on the other side just until cooked through, about 1 minute more.
4. Remove pan from heat and transfer fish to a cutting board, pan or plate to rest for 2 minutes. Add butter, grapefruit and basil to pan. Toss gently and pour over fish. Serves 4
Perfect Salmon with Marinated Tomato & Cucumber Tangle
2 Tbl sherry vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 shallot, finely minced
1 Tbl minced chives
1 tsp coarse salt, divided
1 tsp cracked black pepper, divided
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 large heirloom tomatoes, seeded and sliced into matchsticks
2 large English cucumbers, seeded and sliced into matchsticks
4 (6 oz) salmon filets (bones removed, skin on)
1 Tbl grape seed, peanut, vegetable or canola oil
1. Combine vinegar, mustard, shallot, chives and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a mixing bowl and whisk well to combine. Drizzle in olive oil while whisking. Combine 2 tablespoons of sherry vinaigrette with tomatoes and cucumbers and toss. Set aside to marinate while preparing salmon. Reserve the remaining vinaigrette.
2. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large saute pan. Meanwhile, pat salmon dry and season with remaining salt and pepper. Place salmon filets, flesh side down in the pan and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook 2 minutes more or until skin is crispy and salmon is cooked to desired doneness. Serve with skin on, or remove by sliding a spatula between flesh and skin, allowing the skin to stick to the pan as you remove salmon from the pan. Use spatula to remove grey albumen left behind after removing the skin and return salmon to the pan on the cleaned, de-skinned side to sear and finish cooking through for 30 seconds. Serve salmon filets with tomato and cucumber tangle and drizzle with reserved sherry vinaigrette. Serves 4.
1 large granny smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large Bosc pear, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup sugar, divided
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbl blue cheese
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 recipe Perfect Pie Crust
as needed cooking spray
1. Heat oven to 375F. Combine apples, pears, 3 tablespoons sugar, pecans, cornstarch, butter, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, lemon zest and vanilla in a medium bowl; toss well.
2. In a separate bowl, mix blue cheese and Cheddar cheese.
3. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough 1/8-inch thick. Cut out eight 4 1/2-inch circles and eight 4-inch circles using round cutters or a plate, glass or lid of the right diameter. Lightly spray 8 wells of a muffin tin with cooking spray and line with 4 1/2-inch dough circles, leaving a 1/4-inch overhang. Brush edges of dough with water.
3. Sprinkle cheese mixture over bottom of dough, dividing it evenly. Mound fruit mixture on top of cheese, dividing it evenly. Place 4-inch dough circles on top, pressing edges with the tines of a fork to seal. Mix together 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Brush tops of pies with water and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. With the tines of a fork, poke a few holes in each pie to vent steam. Bake 35-40 minutes or until pies are golden brown and a knife inserted into the filling feels no resistance. Cool pies in tin about 10 minutes; remove from tin and cool on a rack. Serve warm or room temperature.
Perfect Pie Crust
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup shortening, "cubed" and frozen
1 Tbl granulated sugar
3/4 tsp white vinegar
as needed cold water
1. Combine flour and salt. Add shortening and cut it into the flour salt mixture using a pastry blender, two knives (or your hands), until mixture resembles coarse meal.
2. Combine eggs, sugar, vinegar and enough cold water to make 1/2 cup.
3. Combine liquid with flour mixture. Mix just enough to combine.
4. Form into 2 balls; wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
5. When rolling the dough, sprinkle and spread a minimum amount of flour (a pie cloth is ideal) on the rolling surface and roll when the dough is cold.
6. Place crusts in pie pans. Trim and crimp edges.