Simple Roasted Vegetables

Make some yummy roasted vegetables with just about any vegetable. Use different combinations to create a batch that is colorful and has different textures and flavors.

What you will need…

A combination of vegetables (zucchini, summer squash, onions, mushrooms, peppers, carrots, etc)

tsp of fresh parsley or thyme

few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

tsp of lemon juice

salt & pepper

 

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

2. On a sheet pan, add a layer of vegetables. Toss with herbs, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt & pepper.

3. Roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until vegetables start turning slightly brown.

Herb Pesto

Traditionally pesto is made with basil, but who is traditional in 2011? Try using any kind of green herb in place of basil. Play around with different flavors and see what you discover. Pesto can be used as a rub, for marinating, or for tossing with your favorite pasta.

Bunch of your favorite herb, no stems (basil, pasta, chervil, cilantro…)

1/2 cup of grated parmesan

a clove or two of garlic

1/2 cup of pignolis (pine nuts)

pinches of salt and white pepper ( I use white pepper because it blends in)

1/2 cup of oil, divided

1. Combine all of the ingredients with half of the amount of oil in a blender and pulse until it becomes pureed.

2. Slowly pour in the remaining oil while the blender is running until smooth. Check your seasoning and adjust to your taste.

Makes about 1 cup-1/2 cup of sauce.

Potato Crusted Chicken Breasts

Everyone love potato chips, but have you ever thought of having them for dinner?

Try using your favorite potato chips in place of bread crumbs to coat a chicken breast.

1 cup of AP flour

egg wash

bag of your favorite brand of potato chips (not the wripple cut)

4 chicken breasts

pinch of salt and pepper

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Gather 3 bowls. Using one bowl for each, fill with the flour, egg wash, and crumbled potato chips.

3. Use the breading procedure of flour—egg wash—potato chips until each piece of chicken is coated.

4. Place on a pan with a little bit of water to prevent sticking and place in the heated oven. Cook until the chicken is brown and reaches the internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

Serve with your favorite vegetables.

Who knew potato chips could compliment the chicken so nicely.

Broiled Catfish with pico de gallo

Catfish can be so boring because a lot of people will only FRY the fillets. Try this healthier version.

Pico de Gallo (should be made before cooking the catfish)

2 large slicing tomatoes, medium dice

1 red onion, medium dice

1 jalapeno, small dice

1 bunch of cilantro, chopped

lime juice, to taste

salt, to taste

1 pound of catfish fillets (or however you need for the number of people you are serving

kosher salt

cracked black pepper

lemon juice and olive oil

1. Preheat oven to broil.

2. Place fillets on a flat pan. Season with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of both lemon juice and olive oil

3. Broil in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the fillets reach an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees F.

4. Serve on to of prepared Spanish rice (or any type of rice) and top with pico de gallo.

Shrimp stuffed with crab

1 red bell pepper, chopped into a small dice
1 green bell pepper, chopped into a small dice
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped into a small dice
1 medium white onion, chopped into a small dice
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
half stick of unsalted butter
kosher salt and white pepper to taste
4 oz of crab meat (not the imitation stuff…you’ll need the real deal for this)
4 oz of Japanese panko breadcrumbs
80z seafood stock (found at some WalMart stores or Whole Foods Market)
2lbs 26/30shrimp, raw, peeled and de-veined
2 Tsp dried dill

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Heat a pan on the stove on medium high heat for a minute. Add in butter.
3. Add in all three of the peppers along with the onions and garlic. Season. Cook until the vegetables are soft.
4. Add in the crabmeat…cook for 5 minutes.
5. Add contents from pan into a large bowl. Pour in panko and stir until incorporated. Pour seafood stock into the mixture. Mix until incorporated. Season. Set aside.
6. Rinse shrimp. Following the line on the back of the shrimp, cut a slit on the back of each shrimp and fill with the stuffing mixture.
7. Season shrimp with kosher salt and dill. Put into oven and cook until pink and they read an internal temp of 165F.
8. Enjoy!

A mushroom is a ‘fun guy” (fungi).

From button to crimini, mushrooms are delicious and versatile with almost any meal. Whether they are cooked in a sauce or used in a fresh summer salad, mushrooms are a great added component. They are unique in their own way being neither animal or plant, but are in a classification all their own called Eumycota or “The True Fungi”.

Each mushroom is unique with its own flavor and texture. The type of mushrooms that are edible are packed with nutritional goodness such as potassium, phosphorus, and protein. They are often sold in three varieties: fresh, canned/jarred, or dried. The taste and flavor of the mushroom depends on the genus and can range anywhere from light and subtle like that of the white mushroom to bold and peppery that you get from the shiitake.

Chefs often order different varieties of wild mushrooms such as morels and the oyster mushroom to use in special dishes. These wild mushrooms have more of an earthy and nutty flavor than that of cultivated ones. Mushrooms like these can be found in fresh, dried, or canned varieties.

When looking for a perfect “fun guy” (fungi) to use in cooking, they should be clear of any spots or blemishes, as well as, clean. If they are dirty, gently dust them off with a dry towel. It is sufficient to rinse mushrooms with water also, but if mushrooms are allowed to soak up water they will start to deteriorate. If water is used to clean them, allow them to dry on a towel before using them in cooking.

Since mushrooms are served as a vegetable, any cooking technique will work. However when sauteing, be careful to not crown a lot of mushrooms in a pan. Mushrooms are happier when they are spread out in a pan not touching each other. This will ensure even cooking and browning.

Chicken Breast with Mushroom Shallot Cream Sauce

2 4oz chicken breasts
2 Tsp olive oil
2Tsp shallot, finely chopped
2Tsp garlic, finely chopped
2oz white mushrooms, sliced thin
1oz dry white wine
16oz chicken stock
8oz heavy cream
as needed-kosher salt and white pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. In a saute pan, heat olive oil on medium high heat
3. Season both sides of chicken breast with kosher salt.
4. Add chicken breasts to pan, skin side down.
5. Brown both sides of the breast, 3-4 minutes each side, then transfer to a oven safe pan and put in the oven. Cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 165F.
6. Pour off some of the fat from the saute pan. Add in the shallot and garlic and saute until soft.
7. Add in the mushrooms. Be careful to not crowd them in the pan. Saute until soft.
8. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and reduce until all the wine is gone.
9. Add in the chicken stock and reduce by half.
10. Add in the heavy cream. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Cook until the sauce is thick and coats the back of a spoon. Season with kosher salt and white pepper to taste.
11. When chicken is done add back into the pan with the sauce and coat each breast with some of the sauce. Serve immediately.

Roasted Mushrooms

2Tsp olive oil
9 cloves of garlic
as needed-kosher salt
1Tsp crushed red pepper
1lb of mushrooms (any type)
juice of one lemon

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Heat a saute pan on medium high heat. Add oil after a minute.
3. Add all ingredients in order to saute pan. Toss and until incorporated. Put in oven and roast for 20 minutes or until brown.

Risotto with roasted mushrooms

1oz olive oil
2oz dry white wine
16oz arborio rice
48oz hot chicken stock
roasted mushrooms (from above recipe), chopped
1oz heavy cream
2Tsp butter
4oz Parmesan-reggiano cheese

1. Heat a pot on the stove on medium high heat.
2. Add in olive oil.
3. Add in arborio rice and coat.
4. Add in wine. Cook until the wine has evaporated.
5. Add in mushrooms.
6. Pour in 8 ounces of stock and stir until absorbed. Continue this process of adding in stock, 8 oz at a time, and stir until you use all of the stock.
7. Finish with cream, butter, and cheese.
8. Season to taste and serve’.

Pork!

While I was gnawing on the piece of chop I thought about how delicious and versatile the pig is. Pork, or porcine, has been a delight to eat for many people. Throughout the years people have deemed eating pork as being dirty, evil, or just fattening. Truthfully, eating some pork in your diet is actually good for you. It only starts getting evil and fattening when you fry it. I might be contradicting myself being that I just shoved a fried pork chop into my mouth almost 4 hours ago. Hey a person can indulge ever now and then right? I say yes, but I digress. Pork is great. It has good flavor and the oh so juiciness that people enjoy when they are eating meat.

There are many parts of the pig that you can eat.  I was raised in the country where you are taught to not waste any food. This included the pig which means that we ate every part of the pig almost. Every part of it was cooked and enjoyed. Ahhh I am smiling as I type this. Anywho…let’s look at the pig…

Depending on where you are located, the diagram of the pig may look a little different, but they all mean the same thing. In culinary school, my amigos and I use to make up names for each primal so it would be easier for us to remember the subprimals. The primals are the section that are colored and your sub primals are the cuts of meat that come from that primal. For example, center cut pork chops, like those pictured above, are a sub primal of the loin section of the pig (which also yield baby back ribs YUM!). The Boston butt is your roasts, your ham is, well hence the name, the belly of the pig is where you get your fresh pork belly…excuse me for all of you that arent so culinary literate, that where your bacon comes from. All of the other sections are pretty self explanatory. The jowl might be a little confusing to some of you mainly because not too people I know indulge on pork jowl; unless it is when they are eating a hot dog or bologna (the jowl is one of the parts of a pig that is thrown in the mix with other ingredients to make a lot of processed meats).The skin of the pig is cut and fried in oil (pork rinds) and also fat back is fried also or used to add flavor to a pot of collard greens or beans. Pig’s feet are also a delicacy (one of my favorites), as well as the ears, tail, and intestines (chitterlings). The head of the pig is even eaten. It is often put in a pot with seasonings and such and cooked until the meat of the head is a mushy, creamy texture…what they call Hog Head Cheese.

Whether you are eating a pork chop or a rack of ribs, be sure that your piece of the pig is cooked to the proper temperature of 155 degrees F.