Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Another Cookbook Update

I would like to thank everyone following my food blog.  The blog just broke 1,000 hits in less than 7 weeks.  The daily hits are increasing each week.  I never imagined that the blog would do this well in such a short time.  Thank you again for following and please continue to spread the word about my blog.

The cookbook has been finalized.  What a great feeling.  My publisher is now going to print one actual book.  That book is the final proof that I will have to approve.  I should get the final proof sometime in early June.  Then I have 30 days to go through it from cover to cover and mark any mistakes or errors.  God willing, I won't find any.  I will then sign off on the final proof and return it to my publisher.

I will start working with the "Marketing" team in June.  These should be some very interesting months coming up.  If anyone has suggestions for bookstores in their area to carry the cookbook, please let me know.  I would need the name of the bookstore, address, phone number and a contact person.  I would appreciate all the help I can get in making the cookbook available to everyone.

We are still on schedule for a September release of the cookbook.

This week, the blog will talk a little about ovens, baking and items needed for making homemade pizza.  Friday will have a recipe for homemade pizza dough and a few ideas for topping it.

I would also love responses from any of you that have tried any of the recipes from this blog.  Please give me your likes, dislikes and any problems you may have had following the recipe.  Remember that this is a learning experience and I'm here to help.

Thanks and have a good week.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Garlic Bread Recipe

Garlic Bread
(12-16 slices)


8 tbsp. Butter (1 stick), room temperature
2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 tbsp. Garlic Powder
As needed More Parmesan Cheese
1 loaf Italian Bread, sliced lengthwise


Cream the butter, oil, cheese and garlic powder together until everything is well incorporated.  Spread the butter mixture over the cut sides of the two pieces of Italian bread.  Be generous with the butter mixture.  Now sprinkle more Parmesan cheese on top of the buttered bread to meet your personal taste.  Place the bread on a baking sheet and put under the broiler to cook.  The bread should be about 3 to 5 inches away from the broiler and will take 4 to 6 minutes.  Watch closely as equipment varies.  You want the bread to be nicely browned.  Remove bread when done and place on a cutting board.  You should get 6 to 8 slices out of each piece.

Note:  You could leave it in the 2 pieces and make a great Italian sandwich of
            your choice.  I have an Italian Meatball Sub in the cookbook coming in
             September that would be even better in this garlic bread.

Note:  You can use fresh garlic if you have it on hand.  I would mince 1 or 2
           cloves depending on size.  I use the garlic powder because I always
           have it on hand.

Ideas for Future Efforts


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Counter Top Toaster/Ovens

The second piece of equipment that usually has a broiler is the counter-top toaster/oven.  It is small and compact  for taking up minimum space on your kitchen counter.  They are electric and will need to have an outlet source.  Be sure that the outlet you use does not have other items pulling amps away from the toaster/oven.  It could cause you to blow a breaker in the electrical panel.  It is alright to have other equipment on the same breaker, just don't have all of them working at the same time.  It could cause a problem.

These toaster/ovens have various options for you to choose.  Typical options are for baking, toasting bread on both sides, toasting bagels on one side and broiling.  Some even have a convection mode.  That is where air is circulated by a fan in the oven to help food cook faster.
Counter-top Convection Toaster/Oven

I have a toaster/oven and love it.  It takes less time then the oven to heat up and start cooking because it is smaller.  That helps save on your energy bill each month.  You still need a larger oven for those times that you're making a big meal.  The toaster/oven is for doing small meals.

It works great for one or two people.  When my wife and I have some kind of Italian food for dinner, it is usually fixed on top of the stove.  However, we like garlic bread with the meal and don't want to heat up the big oven for just the bread.  That's where we will use the toaster/oven to broil our garlic bread.  As I said earlier, it is quicker and saves energy.  How can you lose?

A typical toaster/oven will range from $40 to $170.  I bought ours at my favorite place, Kohl's.  It is a Black & Decker stainless steel digital convection oven.  It sells for $89.99 but using some incentives from Kohl's, we got it for much less.  It gets used almost daily.

Tomorrow's blog will have the recipe for the garlic bread mentioned earlier in this blog.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Broiling, Another Cooking Technique

When you broil something it's similar to grilling.  The difference is that the direct heat you are using is coming from above in broiling as apposed to heat from below when grilling.  Another difference is the broiling is usually an indoor event whereas grilling is done mainly outdoors.

In broiling, you are placing your food, let's use a steak for the example, on a broiler pan and placing it under the broiler.  The broiler only has one temperature setting.  It is simply called broil.  The temperature is very much like high in grilling.  Just like baking in the oven, you need to wait for the broiler to reach its temperature before you put that steak under it.  It is also wise to have the broiler pan in place while the broiler is heating up.  Again as in grilling, you want the grates (in this case the broiler pan) to be hot so it sears the outside of the steak.  Even though you have the heat source coming from above and a very hot pan from below, the steak will need to be turned over to finish the broiling process.  Because of this, the steak will actually cook faster than if you grilled it.

Remember that you need to watch your food closely when broiling.  The high heat and closeness to that heat can cause food to burn quickly.

A broiler pan is composed of 2 pieces.  There is the bottom pan that catches all the unwanted juices/grease and holds the insert that you place the food on to cook.  The insert has slots in it that allows those unwanted juices/grease to drip away from the food as it cooks.  This, as in grilling, helps create a healthier cooking process to pan grilling or frying.  Both gas and electric ovens come with a broiler pan.

There are two pieces of equipment that usually having a broiling mode in them.  The first is your stove.  Depending on whether you have a gas or electric will determine the location of the broiler.  Typically a gas stove had its broiler at the bottom under the oven.  It is a separate location in the stove.  An electric oven has its broiler right in the oven.  It has an electrical coil at the top and bottom of the oven.  The top coil is for broiling.  You will need to usually raise the top rack in the oven to get it closer to that coil when broiling.  The reason for this is that broiling is placing the food close to the heat source.  In the case of broiling that is about 3 to 5 inches.

The second piece of equipment that usually has a broiler is a counter-top toaster/oven.  We'll talk about the toaster/oven tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cookbook Update

I guess things are starting to pick up as far as the cookbook and blog are concerned.  It was a week for local publicity on both the cookbook and blog.

I was interviewed by the local NPR radio station, KXCV.  It is located on the campus of Northwest Missouri State University.  They interviewed me about the upcoming cookbook and my blog site.  That interview aired several times on Thursday, May 19th.

I was also interviewed by the Nodaway News Leader, a weekly newspaper for the region.  They are doing a series on blogs and local bloggers.  I was one of the bloggers they featured in the series.  That article, I believe, should appear in the May 26th edition.

The 19th was a big day.  Besides the two items above, I heard from my layout editor.  He sent me the initial layout of the cookbook.  I reviewed the document and had several questions and concerns for my editor.  We talked by phone and discussed all the items on my list plus some additional ones.  All is set and I should have a final proof sometime in the first half of June.  I'm just waiting to see the back cover for the cookbook.  That should be any day.

Life is getting a little more exciting.  Tomorrow I'll touch on process of broiling food.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Refreshing Entrée Salad Recipe


Refreshing Entrée Salad
(4 servings)


1 medium head Iceberg Lettuce
1 lb. Grilled Chicken Breast, cold and sliced
1 lb. Fresh Strawberries, hulled and each cut into 8 pieces
2 Fresh Ripe Pears, peeled, cored, sliced and each slice cut into thirds
2 tbsp. Salted Sunflower Kernels
1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped (optional)
as needed, Favorite Salad Dressing


Take the lettuce and remove the core.  Place the lettuce under cold water core hole up and fill head of lettuce with the water.  Turn over and place in a colander to drain, about 10 minutes.  Now place the lettuce in a bowl or zip-lock bag and refrigerate at least two hours.  When ready to assemble the salads, cut the head of lettuce in half.  Slice each half into one inch slices in one direction and then do the same across the slices.  This should give you about one inch square pieces of lettuce.  Divide the lettuce equally on the four plates.  Equally divide the sliced chicken among the four plates and follow with the strawberries and pears.  Now take the sunflower kernels and cilantro (if using) and divide them over the salads.  Serve with your dressing and enjoy.

Note:  I would recommend using a raspberry vinaigrette or a poppy seed
             dressing.  I like using a dressing that is in the cookbook coming in
             September called "Jane's Dressing."  You'll have to try it once it is out.

Note:  You could use Romaine lettuce if you prefer.  I just think this salad
             works better with the cold iceberg.

Note:  The grilled chicken can be flavored if you like too.

Ideas for Future Efforts


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Grilling Season, cont.

Once you have a grill (we talked about them yesterday), you will need a few utensils to go with it.  You really only need four utensils to get by in using your grill.  Those four are; tongs, metal turner (hamburger flipper), basting brush and a wire brush for cleaning.  One utensil that should never be used in conjunction with your grill is a fork and any kind.  All a fork can do is pierce a food and let the natural juices out.  You don't want that when your grilling.  It makes your grilled food dry and dull.  You want your steaks, chicken, burgers, etc. nice and juicy.  You also want to let the food rest for a few minutes so the juices stay in the food and don't end up all over the plate.

That brings me to a pet peeve of mine.  Don't cook these items to well done.  That does the same thing as sticking a fork in them.  The food gets dry and tough.  You might as well just cut up your shoe and eat the shoe leather.  It would have as much taste.

You don't have to grill it rare or medium rare.  Try just grilling it to medium well with just a hint of pink.  When I had my own restaurant, I converted my well done customers to medium well.  If fact, many of them ended up closer to medium.

Back to the wire brush for a moment.  You want to use this brush each time before you grill and each time after.  The wire brush gets the cooked on food particles off the cook grate.  It helps keep the grates clean and  the food from sticking.  Another item that helps keep food from sticking is paper towels with a little oil on it.  Fold up the paper towel and add a little oil.  Then using the tongs, pick up the paper towel and run it back and forth over the grates before putting your food on to grill.

Make sure the grates are hot when you oil them and place your food.  All of this helps keep the food from sticking.  One of the eye pleasing aspects of grilling is the grill marks on the food.  To get beautiful grill marks, you need to the turn food over only a few times.  When you place the steak, for example, on the grill.  You want to lay it down so the grates are at an angle to the steak.  Here you want to let it grill until the grates have had enough time to make good bold marks.  This also helps in the steak not sticking because once those marks are boldly made the meat will release from the grates.  If you want a diamond pattern on your steak, pick it up and turn it a quarter turn and set back down.  Do the same to the other side too.  Your family or friends will think you're a pro.

Lighting a charcoal grill can be overwhelming for some.  Here are a few tips.  Know how much food you plan to grill and use the appropriate amount of charcoal briquettes.  Pile the briquettes up and use only an approved lighter fluid.  Never try gasoline, kerosene, etc. to light your fire.  That's for any kind of fire.  It will take between 20 and 40 minutes for the briquettes to reach the heat needed to grill.  Once the coals are white and have reached that heat level needed, spread them out so they are only one high.  Put the grate on the grill with the lid on and give it 5 to 10 minutes to heat up.  Remove the lid and wire brush the grate before continuing with your grilling.  If you're grilling something that takes a longer time, you may want to add a few more briquettes just before you put the food on.  This will extend the life of the fire.

Remember to be safe when working with any of these grills.  That is both personal safety and the safety of the area

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Grilling Season

Spring is finally here and "Grilling Season" too.  Memorial Day weekend is the official start to outdoor grilling. With that in mind, we need to get ourselves and the equipment ready.  In the cookbook coming out in September, there is a chapter on "Grilling Basics."  I'm not going to go into all I covered there, but will touch on what you need to get your grilling season off to a successful start.

First, you need to know that grilling and barbecuing are often used to mean the same thing.  That is, cooking in the backyard on a barbecue grill.  In really, they are two different cooking styles.  Grilling is when you are cooking items over a direct heat source.  Barbecuing is cooking with an indirect heat source.  You can barbecue on a grill by placing the heat source to one side and the food to the other side and cover with a lid.  Smoking ribs, pork butts, turkeys, etc. can be referred to as barbecuing because you are using that indirect heat source to smoke the food.  For today, we are just talking about grilling.

If you don't have a grill, you need to get one.  There are basically three types of grills you can buy.
3 Burner Gas Grill

1. Gas:  This can be fueled by natural gas or propane.  The most common is one with a propane tank that is removable.  For a common size grill the propane tank is usually a 20 pound one.  The gas grill is quicker to use but is also more expensive to buy.  A gas grill can give you more bells and whistles for more options in your cooking.  They include direct and in-direct cooking methods because of the ability to use all or some of the burners as you grill.  Some come with side burners for cooking side dishes or heating sauces for the items on the grill.  There are plenty more bells and whistles you can get with your gas grill.

2. Electric:  This is probably the least used of the three types.  They are easy and quick to use.  Again, they are more expensive compared to a charcoal grill.  I don't have much experience with this type of grill.  I do know that it works just as good as the other types, but may mot be as flexible for use.
Charcoal Kettle Grill

3. Charcoal:  This grill uses charcoal or wood (both in briquettes or chunks) as a hear source.  It is the most versatile of the three because it can travel easier for cooking away from home (picnics, camping, etc.).  A charcoal grill is also the least expensive grill to buy.  It also gives a flavor to your food that the other grill options can't match.

My usual places to shop Kohl'sFood NetworkQVC are maybe not the best for this purchase.  A few places that would be a good start are Wal-Mart, Target, K-Mart, local hardware stores and grill specialty stores.  You can find grills from a small table top style to the huge outdoor kitchen types.  They can run from $20 for that table top one to four figure ($0,000) models that do everything but cross your t's and dot your i's.

Which one you buy/use is up to your lifestyle, income and personal taste preference.  I have both gas (propane) and charcoal grills.  I use both depending on the situation for that meal.  I plan to add a smoker at some point to give me another option on my outdoor cooking.

We'll continue tomorrow with more info on grilling.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cutting Boards

Last week we talked about the knives you use in cooking.  Something that goes hand in hand with the knives is cutting boards.  It is best to use a cutting board when you use a knife.

Most counter tops don't really like knives and knives don't like counter tops.  A knife can be very hard on a counter top and scratch or nick one quite easily.  The counter top can be just as bad for a knife and dull or damage it much faster than a cutting board.

There are plastic, composite, glass and wood cutting boards to buy/use.  I would stay away from the glass ones and thankfully they are hard to come by today.  The plastic and composite cutting boards work great.  They clean easily and can be put in a dishwasher without usually damaging them.  I have seen some that have warped over time.  Wooden cutting boards are as good or better than the plastic and composite boards depending on who you ask.  Everyone has a type of cutting board they prefer.  You won't be any different.
Bamboo Cutting Board Set

Wooden cutting boards should never be put in a dishwasher.  They will warp, crack or wear more if put in a dishwasher.  To clean a wooden cutting board just use a little bleach in warm water.  You can do that with the  plastic and composite boards, too.  Cutting boards can stain a little because of different items cut on them and the bleach can take care of that.  It is good for a wooden cutting board to have some fresh lemon juice rubbed on it from time to time.  It helps keep it looking good.

There are different kinds of wood used to make wooden cutting boards.  Right now I think the best one to use is a bamboo cutting board.  It is a good wood to cut on and it is good for the environment.  Bamboo is one of those woods that replenishes itself quickly.  The photo above is a set they sell at Kohl's for $19.99 the last time I checked.

One of the nice qualities of this set is that it has three different sized cutting boards.  I believe you need multiple cutting boards and multiple sizes too.  There are just too many different tasks to perform in the kitchen to not have multiple boards.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Knives (cont.)

I am sorry this blog is out of order and late.  Thursday the blog site had some problems.  They didn't get them fixed until sometime of Friday.  Because of this the Thursday blog did not go out and I had to re-schedule it for Saturday.  Again, I'm sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.   Let's get started.

The next knife that you need in your kitchen is a serrated one.  They usually run 8 to 12 inches in length.  The blade is not always the same in shape because of the many different uses.
Serrated Bread Knife
Serrated Carving Knife

The serrated blade lets you slice breads, whether they are hard or soft crusted, without destroying them.  Carving knives come with straight or serrated blades.  The serrated ones were sometimes referred to as a ham slicer years ago.  The nice thing about a serrated carving knife is that you can get by with just that one knife.  It will double better for both a bread knife and a carver.

These 3 types of knives (chef, paring & serrated) are really all you need to get by in your kitchen.  I'm sure you noticed that I showed pictures of more then 3 knives and they are all mine.  I believe that I have somewhere around 12 to 15 knives.  Remember that I was in the business for 40 years.

Having said that, most people buy a set of knives to get started.  These sets can offer a variety of knives and you will usually use each one of them.  My set has 6 different knives in it.  In getting started, buy what you can afford.  Just make sure you buy quality over quantity.

 Taking care of your knives is your number one priority.  Remember that  a good quality knife will last you almost forever.  There are basically 3 things that you need to do to take that good care.

First, never put a knife in the dishwasher.  You always wash them by hand with a little soap and a lot of hot water.  Second, store them correctly.  If you have a set and they came with a knife block to put them in, use it.  If they came with a knife shield, use it.  If they didn't, store them in a place by themselves.  It could be a drawer, a box or any place you won't accidentally cut yourself when you go to get something.  Think safety for you and safety for the knife too.  If you keep the knife safe, it's blade and edge will last much longer.
Knife Steel & Sharpener

The third is keep them sharp.  A dull knife will cause more injury than a sharp one.  To keep them sharp you need to have a knife sharpener that you will use.  It also helps to have a knife steel.

The steel is used to hone a knife blade.  Honing a knife is not sharpening a knife.  Honing extents the life of a blade by realigning the molecules on the edge.  It is the using of the knife that creates this need to realign.  You should use a steel every time you use the knife.  Blades will dull over time from use even with you using a steel.  So from time to time the blade needs to be sharpened.  You can take your knives to someone that sharpens knives.  But you can do it yourself too.  Just follow the instructions that come with your sharpener.  When you buy one make sure it is one that you understand and can operate easily.  I like the one in the picture.  It is easy to use and safe.  I'll go back to my favorite places to shop, Kohl'sFood Network and QVC.  I don't remember which one is where I got the sharpener, but it was at one of them.

Tomorrow there is a recipe for "Chicken Burgers on the Grill."  Enjoy them.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Chicken Burgers on the Grill

I figured that since it is spring and grilling season has started, I better give you a recipe you can use for Memorial Day Weekend as you cook out.  I hope you enjoy it.  Everyone I have served it to has given it a thumbs up.

Chicken Burgers on the Grill
(4 servings)


1 lb. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into small pieces
1 tbsp. Fresh Ginger, minced
4 Green Onions, white parts only thinly sliced
1/2 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
1 large Egg, beaten
1/3 to 1/2 cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. Lime Zest, grated and chopped
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Black Pepper


Place chicken, ginger and green onion in a food processor with the blade attachment.  Set the processor on high and using the pulse button, pulse until the mixture is a medium grind.  It won't hurt if it is a little over or under ground.  Place the mixture in a mixing bowl and add all the remaining ingredients and mix by hand.  Divide the mixture into 4 portions and form into patties with your hands.  Place on the patties on a plate and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  When ready to cook, place on an outdoor grill and cook for 6 to 8 minutes per side.  Serve with your favorite condiments on buns of your choice.

Note:  I have made this recipe into 8 smaller patties and served them as sliders
           with hamburger slides for everyone to have some variety with smaller

Note:  You could use ground chicken or turkey if you don't have a food
           processor.  I just like the courser mix and I know what I'm getting when
           I grind it myself.

Ideas for Future Efforts


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Kitchen Knives

Today I'm going to try to cover the knives that you would use in the kitchen.  We will cover the name of each knife, their purpose or function.  At the end I will go over how to clean, store and keep them sharp.

We'll start with the workhorse of the kitchen.  That would be the "Chef" and/or the "Santoku" knife.  The chef knife has been around and popularly used for centuries.  It is also referred to as a "French" or "French Chef" knife.  It comes in various lengths ranging from as small as 5 inches to as large as 12 inches.  The size you use depends on what you are doing and how comfortable you are with the knife in your hand.  A range of 7 to 10 inches is normal.  I prefer using an 8 inch chef knife.

Top is Santoku & bottom is Chef
The santoku knife is of oriental origin and has become popular in the states.  A variety of chefs on the Food Network use this knife, but it is probably Rachel Ray that really made this knife popular.  Just like the chef knife, the santoku knife comes in various lengths.  I use a 7 inch one and find that the best size for me.  Again it goes back to what you are comfortable with in your hand.  I believe that you need to feel comfortable and that helps you feel safer when using a knife.  Yes, the size can affect how fast or easy a particular task can be accomplished.  However, when handling a knife, safety should always come first.

In the photo, you can see how the blades are shaped differently.  Even though the blades are different, both types of knife will perform the duties of chopping, slicing, dicing and mincing that are required for you to get dinner on the table.  Now it just comes down to the fact that practice, with either one of these knives, will get you to feeling comfortable.

I use both but didn't get them at the same time.  If, like most people, you can only afford one, get just one.  Remember that any knife you are going to buy should be a good quality knife.  There are a lot of places out there to buy knives.  A few good places to look are Kohl's, Food Network and QVC.

At Christmas, my wife and I bought our children and my mother a 5 piece set of knives from QVC.  They were reasonably price and of good quality.  Look around for a good deal and then make your purchase.

The second important knife for your kitchen is the "Paring" knife.  Paring knives have a blade that runs between 2 and 5 inches.  Again, it is what length makes you comfortable.
3 sizes of paring knives

In the photo are 3 different sized paring knives.  I believe they range from 2 1/2 inches to 4 1/2 inches.  I use all three for different tasks.  You really only need one.  However, over the years you seem to collect more then you need.

This knife is made to handle the small or delicate jobs in the kitchen.  Most of the time it is used when handling individual fruits and vegetables.  It is great for peeling fruit, coring apples and pear, hulling strawberries, coring tomatoes and peeling potatoes to name a few.

As I stated earlier, the chef knife is the workhorse of your kitchen but the paring knife is close behind.  There is one more knife you need as a minimum in your kitchen.  Tomorrow we will discuss it and general knife care.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cookbook Update

Thank you to everyone that responded to cookbook cover.  All of you were very nice and I received no negative responses.  Of course, I'm very excited about it and everything that is still to come in regards to the cookbook.

I have picked up my photo proofs for my picture that is to be on the back cover of the cookbook.  The photographer, Bill, wants me to narrow it down to 3 proofs.  Then he will send them to my design editor and see which one she likes the best.

I started working with my layout editor last week.  We put our game plan together last Thursday.  It really is amazing how my word document is going from just pages of typing to an actual creation of a book.  In just over a month, I should have an actual copy of the cookbook in my hands.  Granted, it is the proof copy and I have to go through each page and word to make sure there are no mistakes.  But to have a copy in my hands in just less than two years from when I put down the first words is amazing as well as exciting.

Tomorrow I'm going to talk about knives and cutting boards.  Until then, have some fun in the kitchen trying something new!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Pan Fried Chicken

When one hears the words "Fried Food", I believe most immediately think of food fried in a deep fryer.  Well that is one way of frying food but there is also pan frying of food.  In deep frying, you need deep enough oil to completely cover the food you are frying in the oil.  Pan frying requires much less oil.  The most you need in pan frying is to cover whatever you are frying about halfway up.  The best equipment to use for pan frying is a heavy pan.  You can use the sauteuse pan I talked about earlier or a good sized cast iron pan.  In pan frying, you will always turn the food over once the first side is done.  Either method, deep frying or pan frying, usually involves a food product that has been breaded some way.  A few products that are good for pan frying include; chicken fried steak, breaded pork chops and fried green tomatoes.  Below is a recipe for pan fried chicken.  Enjoy!

Pan Fried Chicken
(4 servings)


4 Bone-in Chicken Breast or 8 Bone-in Chicken Thighs
1 Quart Buttermilk
1/8 Cup Bottled Hot Sauce (our favorite)
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 Tsp. Seasoned Salt
1/2 Tsp. Black Pepper
2 Tsp. Paprika
Canola Oil for frying


Take a gallon zip-lock bag and carefully pour the buttermilk and hot sauce into it.  Zip shut and mix.  Carefully add the chicken, one piece at a time, to the bag.  Zip the bag shut squeezing out as much air as possible.  Then place the bag in a 9x13 pan as a safe guard to the bag leaking.  Place the pan in the refrigerator over night.  When it is time to start frying the chicken, place your sauteuse pan or a large cast iron frying pan over medium high heat (#7 on an electric stove).  Fill with canola oil to about 1/4 full before turning on the heat.  While the oil is heating (about 350 degrees), mix the flour, salt, pepper and paprika together in a medium size bowl or pan.  Take one piece of chicken at a time and let it drip free of buttermilk.  Then dredge the chicken in the flour and shake off any excess flour and place on a cooling rack that has been placed in a sheet or cookie pan.  When all the chicken is floured and the oil is up to temperature, start adding one piece at a time. Be careful when placing the chicken in the oil and don't over crowd the pan.  The oil should come up to about half way on the chicken.  The chicken should take about 10 to 12 minutes per side or until it reaches an internal temperature of a 170 degrees.  The internal temperature should rise to 180 degrees after letting the chicken sit for a 5 to 10 minutes.  It's too hot to eat right out of the pan so letting it sit could keep you from burning the inside of your mouth.  Remember that dark meat takes a little longer than white meat to cook.  If you need to cook in batches, you may have to add more oil to the pan.  If you do add oil let it heat up before frying more chicken.

Note:  You can use a whole cut-up chicken in this recipe.  Just remember that
           the wings and legs won't take as long to cook as the breasts and thighs.

Note:  You may have to turn the chicken pieces over more than once.  You
           want to get a nice golden brown all around the chicken.

Note:  You could use this recipe for boneless chicken too.  But for good fried
           chicken, you really need the chicken skin on the chicken pieces.

Ideas for Future Efforts:


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Saute or Sauteuse Pan with Lid & Clean As You Go

For our purpose here, we will refer to it as a saute pan.  There are way too many things in this world that have multiple names.

If you have only one pan, make it a saute pan.  It is the most versatile pan they make, in my opinion.  You can saute, pan fry, braise, poach and do anything a sauce pan can do.  If yo have big enough one, soups, stews or chili can be done in the pan.  I like the straight-sided ones with glass lids.  A glass lid lets you see what is going on in the saute pan when it is covered.  The metal lid requires you to lift it off to see anything.  That is something you usually don't want to do during some cooking processes.

They come in both non-stick and stainless steel.  The difference has to do really with flavor.  The non-stick does not need the butter and oil that a stainless steel pan requires.  Now that butter and oil in a stainless steel pan will give you food particles that stick to the bottom of the pan.  Those particles are what gives flavor to the sauces you make in the pan.  You don't get that with a non-stick pan.  Clean up and care of the non-stick pan is easier than it is with the stainless steel pan.  Neither of them should ever be put in a dishwasher.

When you go to buy one, make sure it is a good one.  The cheap or light weight pans will warp and not last because they don't take the heat like a heavy good pan.  As far as the non-stick or stainless steel option, it is up to you and your cooking needs.  If over time you can afford two pans, get one of each.  They each have their place.

Clean as you go:

While we're talking about the saute pan, I mentioned their clean-up and not using a dishwasher for them.  Let me talk about clean-up in general.  In the business, we told and taught our employees to "clean as you go." There are several reasons for this statement.  First, if you continue to pick-up and clean as you work the area is safer to work in.  Less mess means more safety because you have less opportunities to get injured.  Second, it has to do with health.  By cleaning as you go there is less chance for cross-contamination of foods.  Cross-contamination is when one food contaminates another.  The best example is using a cutting board for raw chicken and using it for cutting fresh fruit without first thoroughly cleaning the cutting board and the area where the cutting board was used.  Doing this means there is a less chance of getting sick from the food you are preparing.  Last, if you have cleaned as you worked than final clean-up will take a lot less time.  Besides the kitchen will look nicer throughout the process and a friend won't pop in when it is looking like a disaster area and embarrass you.

Tomorrow we'll cover pan frying and a fried chicken recipe.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Get Involved

From time to time I will get off cooking topic and mention a few other topics that are near and dear to my heart. Today I want to talk about "Getting Involved."  By "getting Involved," I mean the use of your abilities of time, talent and treasure.

Each of us is different.  Our lives have had their ups and downs.  But none of us would be where we are today without the help of someone or a multitude of someones.  Although we all want to think that we did it all on our own, people out there have helped us in some form of time, talent and treasure.  They may have mentored us, given us knowledge in a particular field or financed us in some way.

Believe it or not, it is your responsibility to do the same in whatever way works for you.  It can be just helping an individual, joining an organization or making a monetary contribution to a cause.

We have just had one of the worst natural disasters in the United States with the tornadoes in the south.  Japan's earthquake and tsunami was one of the major catastrophes of all time.  Many people have and are offering their time but many are not able to do that.  Many are making donations to the proper organizations that help in this kind of relief.

For me, I give monetarily to those kind of organizations and more.  But I also am involved in an organization.  I'm involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters.  It is an organization that helps mentor young boys and girls that are at risk.  This is a great organization and offers a great opportunity for individuals to help these young people by spending an hour or two with them each week.  The results of this mentoring are terrific.

This is only an example of organizations that are out there waiting.  My suggestion to all of you is to find one that works for you, that gives you a passion to help others succeed.  Some may not seem to have world impact.  However, just like everything in life, it takes that first small step to accomplish anything and who knows where it will go from there?

So find your niche and help make a difference by getting involved in something.  Thanks.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Here's the Cookbook Cover

The cookbook cover has been finalized.  This is how the cookbook will appear in the Book Stores.  It was hard to get this on the blog.  It was actually a pdf file and the blog doesn't take them.  So I had to get the file into a jpg photo and then load it into the blog.  The dimension of this cookbook will be 7 7/8 inches high by 8 7/8 inches wide.  Please comment on what you think of the name and look of the cookbook.
Official Cookbook Cover - Coming in September

My picture will be on the back cover of the cookbook.  So last Friday, after William and Kate said "I DO", I had my photo taken.  The proofs should be available sometime this week.  Bill Bateman is the professional photographer that photographed my session.  He is a terrific photographer and hopefully his genius will be able to make me look good.  Anyone in or around Maryville, Missouri should check out Bill and his studio.

I start working with the layout editor this week.  If all goes well, the layout process will be completed by Memorial Day.

Enough for today.  Tomorrow I'm going to talk about something outside of cooking.  It's something all of us should be doing.  See you tomorrow.