Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Roast Chicken (with an FDA warning*)

YouTube Link: Zuni Cafe Roast Chicken Breast
More Videos: Helen's Kitchen Channel

Chicken cooked below 165F always raises eyebrows. In case you are worried, here are some points to keep in mind:
  • Salmonella occurs in the digestive tract.  It might get onto the outside of the chicken, but not inside its muscles.  The outside gets very hot.  If you don't think this chicken is safe, you should stop eating runny eggs and definitely stop licking the bowl after making brownies.
  • If you want to feel better about salmonella, buy air-chilled poultry.  When the chickens are chilled in ice water, the disease spreads from chicken to chicken.  When the chickens are chilled with air, the spread of the disease is tremendously reduced.  While I think that air-chilling is a much better procedure and produces tastier chickens, it's not a necessity to make the recipe I describe safe, but might help some people feel psychologically better about this recipe.  
  • Pathogens don't drop dead at 160F while thriving at all the temperatures below.  All pathogens will die after being held at 150F for 10 minutes, at 140F for 30 minutes, and 130F for 1 hour.  You don't want to go below 130F.  120 to 130 is gray area, and 90-120F is pathogens happy growing zone.  Although we remove the chicken at 125F, it quickly shoots up to 150F.  At that temperature, pathogens (even if there are any inside the muscle by some tiny chance) are dying very fast.  
* Consuming raw or under-cooked poultry might increase your risk of food-born pleasure.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Braised Macomber Turnip (or Rutabaga)

YouTube Link: Braised Macomber Turnip (or Rutabaga)
More Videos: Helen's Kitchen Channel

Little did I know when making this video that Macomber Turnip is our local legendary Massachusetts treasure (here is the legend).  There is a Russian folk tale about a turnip that grew so big it took a whole family to pull it out of the ground, and being Russian I have a soft spot for big turnips.  If you can't find Macomber Turnips, use any type of Rutabaga.

For Braising:
1 Large Macomber Turnip or Rutabaga
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp madeira, white wine, chicken stock, or water

Pureeing after Braising:
2 cups braised turnips
3/4 cup milk
1 Tbsp butter

Monday, January 12, 2015

Sunday, January 4, 2015

What to Do with Green Peppers

A YouTube viewer asked me what to do with green peppers.  Here is a wonderful recipe from my Japanese food mentor Elizabeth AndohSkillet-Blistered Green Peppers, Tossed with Smoky Fish Flakes

In the classic Japanese kitchen, many vegetables are BRIEFLY treated to heat – either by blanching (spinach, asparagus, green beans) or skillet-searing and blistering (green peppers, leeks and onions, mushrooms) before being drizzled with soy sauce (sometimes mirin, too) and tossed with smoky katsuo-bushi (fish flakes). Dishes prepared this way are called okaka aĆ©. The fish flakes are briefly dry-roasted before using to heighten their smoky flavor and to make them easier to crush to a powder. The flakey-powdery fish infuses the vegetables with deep flavor (somewhat like adding bacon bits to a salad).

Here is another idea: 

2 large green peppers
28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and chile powder to taste
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
parsley for garnish
pomegranate molasses for garnish