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September 13, 2012
When you buy pot roast you have to get a little more than the usual half pound per person since there is a lot of shrinkage and loss of fat. If you plan on serving another meat, half pound will be fine. Cut garlic cloves into quarters. Poke knife into meat and slip garlic into slits. Season meat with sea salt, pepper, paprika, smoked Spanish paprika. In this photo I added some short ribs. The bones add flavor to the dish but they are not necessary. Cut up and add onions, carrots, celery parsley and add to pan. You can also include fresh ginger, scallions and/or jalapeños for additional depth of flavor. (Remember, make it yours.) Add water, wine, beer or broth or any combination thereof. Cover and bake in oven at 400° for an hour.
Take out of oven and slice meat and put in back in the pan. Recover and cook about 300° for about two hours.
The reason I don’t give you exact time and temperatures is because every oven is different. You will need to check every half hour and adjust accordingly. The slower it cooks, the better it will taste. You can also cook the night before and re-heat for serving. This dish goes well with any starch such as roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes or noodles. Enjoy!
December 06, 2011
We all know that this time of year is filled with temptations. But that doesn’t mean we have to eat everything put in front of us using the holidays as an excuse. Here are some suggestions:
1. Be selective. Offices are filled with deliveries of sweets. Holiday parties provide extra noshes. Choose a small taste or pass on foods you wouldn’t usually eat during the year.
2. Don’t skip meals for party food. Just because you know that evening will be the office party, eat a healthy lunch so you aren’t starving by the time the party food comes around.
3. Eat normal portions. Small plates can be deceiving. What you place on 3 plates might equal a whole meal. When you sit down to a family style meal only fill your plate with what you would at a normal meal at home or even in a restaurant. If you want to taste everything serve yourself small portions. Don’t be afraid to insult your hostess. Accept a passed around platter and move it along. If you intend on eating dessert stay away from sweet side dishes. And when you have dessert, one piece of cake is enough. Remember, the second piece of cake tastes the same as the first, but eating it will double the calories.
4. Don’t skip your normal exercise routine. Exercising regularly will help you to avoid the big promises you’re going to make to yourself about taking off the weight after New Year’s.
5. Watch out for the egg nog. That goes for all alcohol consumption. Alcohol, especially when served as egg nog or punch contains large amounts of sugar. Drinking too much can also slow your body down from processing fat.
Just use your judgment and remember, everything in moderation.
March 11, 2010
Well almost. Obviously, there isn’t anything as fresh as freshly picked, fished or baked food. Freezing fresh food is the best way to keep it in your home. Many of the foods we eat are always previously frozen such as shrimp and sushi grade fish which is always frozen when caught. Any shrimp you buy which is not frozen has been defrosted. The best way to buy shrimp is frozen in pre-packed bags. They are individually flash frozen which allows you to use as much as you need.
I made this delicious, easy soup with all fresh ingredients that had been frozen. They are: chicken stock which was made at my favorite supermarket, Fairway, fresh linguini pasta, shrimp, frozen peas and fresh scallions. I sauteed some thinly sliced onion in butter (olive oil is also good). Then I added the defrosted chicken stock to that pan. Threw in the shrimp to cook right into the stock which gave the stock a slightly fishy flavor. I added frozen peas and scallions. The pasta was broken into short spoon-size and cooked separately. All the ingredients were blended together to yield a hearty, fulfilling meal.
This can also be a good option if you have leftovers or just a little bit of fresh ingredients. Read the ingredients on packed soup stocks. Some of them contain a lot of chemical additives. Most of them, unless they are marked “concentrate” are under salted so you’ll have to add salt to taste.
Three to four weeks is the maximum time frozen foods should remain in your freezer. Frost free refridgerators (which is what most of them are nowadays) blow both hot and cold air on food which causes the icing and “freezer burn.” So don’t neglect your food. Once it’s been a couple of weeks, please cook. Or make a lovely soup such as this. By the way, baked goods keep very nicely frozen. Cake will defrost easily outside the fridge and will be ready to serve in a couple of hours.
Feel free to write to me about suggestions for soups and for frozen ingredients. I’m here for you!
February 08, 2010
How are those new year’s resolutions going for you? Are you still going to the gym three times a week? Have you lost your first 10 pounds? Why does this subject die down in the media, and in our minds, only a couple of weeks after the year begins? Maybe because most of us realize that our goals are a bit beyond what we can handle.
The best way to honor your resolutions is to make realistic ones. Most of the time we set ourselves up for failure by making promises to ourselves that are beyond our capabilities. And you know we can be our own worst critic. Then we punish ourselves for our lack of self control and wait for next year to start over.
So if you are already off track on your workout routine or abandoned your new diet here are some ways to get back in action.
1. Take baby steps. Be realistic about how many times you can go to the gym. Might you be able to walk to work instead of ride? How about dancing at home to your favorite music without anyone watching? How about once a week at the gym? Basically, take small steps every day. Once you notice the change in the way you feel and look you are more likely to increase your workout time.
2. Don’t call a diet a diet. Once you feel restricted from what you can eat you crave it. Compose a new plan of action for eating. One important way to become conscious of your eating habits is to eat with intent. Do not eat with a book or television, while you are walking or driving. Distractions contribute to over eating. Plus, when you look at your food you enjoy its taste more. You will recognize when you are full and just like in a restaurant, make yourself a doggy bag for the next day’s lunch.
3. Make additions not subtractions. Add more vegetables to your meals. Treat yourself to a dessert once in a while. Cook more often. Add walks to your evenings. Add water to your bar order. If your resolutions have to do with saving money be realistic with the amount you can put away. Think about creative ways to save like adding pot luck dinners with friends instead of going out. Have a girls mani-pedi afternoon at home. Resolutions should be about nourishing not depriving yourself. Look at it positively and reward yourself for staying on task.
So what if we are approaching mid-February? It’s never too late to Reset. Restart. Refresh.
December 21, 2009
1. Don’t panic. Know one knows what you have planned or what you left out.
2. Prepare ahead. Baked goods, sauces and dips can be prepared a couple of days ahead.
3. Place lots of snacks around the house. Hungry guests waiting for dinner will have something to fill themselves. Think of olives, cheese and crackers, nuts, hummous, crudites. I found these amazing crackers from Dr. Kracker filled with organic ingredients. They have 9 flavors of flatbreads and crackers. Shown here are the cherry semolina and fire roasted crisps served Old Amsterdam cheese. Check their website for where to purchase: www.drkracker.com
4. Serve a buffet dinner. A sit-down, plated meal takes the most energy to serve.
5. Add cold side dishes to your buffet. You’ll be able to make more ahead of time. Think about bean salads, grilled vegetables marinated in olive oil, cold shrimp salad.
December 17, 2009
Regardless of the occasion, it’s a good idea when giving a gift that it represent both you and your gift recipient. Your friend with the contemporary furnishings might not appreciate antique teacups. Just as well, your great aunt with the full time housekeeper won’t really need that dustbuster. The same applies to food gifts.
If you’re known for your cooking, spread the joy. The young neighbor, down the hall, with a new baby might love a well-cooked casserole of sorts. The foodie in your life would appreciate gourmet items she wouldn’t buy for herself. Whatever you decide, make sure everything is included to complete the gift. For example, I once received a creme brulee torch but I have yet to use it because the gas capsule was not included.
Here are some variations of food gifts, good any time of year:
If you can cook think of something that everyone loves and that can be served immediately in case extra dishes are needed at a party or freezes well:
1. Tray of lasagna or sweet potato/jalapeno/scallion latkes
2. Baked goods (try to be more creative than holiday sugar cookies)
3. Basket of extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, mixed peppercorns, 100% natural vanilla beans or extract. Decorate your basket with fresh herbs for a lovely aroma.
4. Sushi making kit. Include seaweed leaves, pickled ginger, and wasabi.
For those who have everything:
5. Cooking classes are a great idea. Those who already cook might appreciate lessons with a specialty such as Thai or Indian cooking.
6. Who doesn’t love S’mores? There are hibachi kits made especially for melting those marshmallows and making that special dessert that reminds us of childhood. This is a great gift for almost anyone. Please include the marshmallows, graham crackers and a large bar of chocolate.
Be creative with your offerings and your wrapping. In this economy, it’s the little things that count the most.
November 24, 2009
One of the judges on a recent episode of Iron Chef said he expected turkey to be dry. I’ve never had that problem. Here’s what I do that keeps my family waiting all year for this day:
1. Cook the turkey breast side down. Well, at least for most of the trip. When the skin starts browning on the back side turn the turkey over so the skin gets crisp on the breast side for about half hour. Then turn it back so the breast sits in the gravy.
2. Use chicken stock. Cover the bottom of the pan with 1/4 to 1/2 inch of stock (depending on turkey size). Baste the turkey and the stuffing in the cavity every 20 minutes. Basting the stuffing will keep the moisture flowing thru the bird.
3. Do not over cook. An average cooking time is 12 minutes for every pound at 400 degrees. Let the bird sit (still breast side down) 20 minutes before you carve it. Remove the sections first, carve the white meat last so it doesn’t dry sitting on the plate.
Read full instructions at How to Cook a Thanksgiving Turkey and Stuffing below.
I’m proud to say the photos are from the dinner my daughter cooked as an early Thanksgiving office party today. She combined years of helping me in the kitchen, the written instructions below, and many phone calls to make her dinner a success.
Vegetables cut up for the stuffing.
Sauteing in olive oil.
Mix vegetables in bowl with torn bread and an egg.
Stuff bird. Add fresh herbs under skin. Rub generously with sea salt, pepper and paprika. Place in oven.
These beautifully grilled vegetables add many flavors and fall colors to your table.
November 17, 2009
It finally happened. My meat driven meals weren’t going to happen when my friend, Sol, came to dinner. Luckily, he isn’t a vegan. Not that I have anything against anyone’s choices but it would have limited mine. I had a package of Gyoza Skins which I have been itching to use. So I decided to make mushroom raviolis for the main course. I sauteed shiitake and crimini mushrooms with garlic, scallions and basil. Then I mixed it with about 40% ricotta cheese. Put a small dollop of the mixture in the center of each Gyoza Skin, wet the edges and sealed by sqeezing the skins until they merged.
I decided because of the delicate nature of the skins that I would boil them in a large pan with a little over an inch of water. It only took a few minutes to cook. I made a mushroom puree for the topping, which might not look as good as it tasted. To accompany the raviolis I oven roasted yams and onions with fresh rosemary and savory spices. The mix of sweet and savory was perfect. Then I made collard greens cooked in olive oil, garlic with crushed red pepper for heat.
For our salad, I made a puree of olives and capers with olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt and pepper which was excellent over the arugula and breakfast radish. I look forward to many more creations that I can cook with those skins.
November 16, 2009
This article also appears at www.singledad.com
I have promised several of my audience members some “recipes” for Thanksgiving. I had planned on shooting a Thanksgiving video, however, the nature of that time-consuming meal doesn’t follow our philosophy. And we were able to shoot several videos in the same time as the single meal.
Even though one of our other main philosophies is “no recipes” I am able to share how to make these dishes with simple instructions and a list of ingredients.
Thanksgiving Turkey and Stuffing
I usually buy a turkey which weighs two pounds for every guest I have. For 8 people I would purchase a turkey that’s at least 16 pounds. My preference, as mentioned on my videos, is to use a fresh Kosher bird. The meat is sweeter because the bird is soaked and salted which means it drains impurities and alters the meat to yield a sweet and tender situation. Everyone loves a sweet and tender bird.
You may choose whatever kind of turkey you prefer. Nowadays there are so many choices such as organic, free range, hormone free, fresh and frozen. Larger birds are tougher so don’t go overboard on size. However, if you do choose a Kosher turkey, make sure to leave enough time to clean it. Kosher poultry is not machine plucked and often you need a tweezer to pull out some leftover feathers. Please don’t be alarmed. It’s well worth it.
You will want to clean your turkey inside and out. If you are lucky to have giblets (organs) with your turkey use them in your stuffing. Refrain from removing too much excess fat. Turkeys tend to be dry so you’ll want all the help you can get.
Make a rub to spread over the turkey. Keep it simple. Sea salt, freshly ground pepper and sweet paprika are best. For heat, add just a little cayenne pepper. You can also choose to add a twig of rosemary or thyme under the skin of the breast side. Rub the seasoning well all over your bird.
Now for the stuffing. It is not unsafe to cook stuffing in the turkey. Just don’t do it in advance and let the turkey sit. Stuff it and put it in the oven.
My secret to delicious stuffing is using an egg based bread. Use fresh or day old bread. I prefer using onion rolls which are made with an egg dough or challah. For a 16 pound turkey a large challah loaf or about 6 to 8 onion rolls (depending on roll size) will be good.
I usually saute the following ingredients in olive oil: garlic, one chopped onion, shiitake mushrooms, two or three stalks of celery, julienne carrots, fresh rosemary, thyme and parsley and the chopped giblets. Season this mixture well because it will be diluted by the bread. There is no need to cook vegetables thoroughy because they’ll be in the oven for hours. When the vegetable mixture is cool enough to handle place in large bowl. Break up the bread and place in the bowl. Then I add one or two beaten eggs and mix with my hands.
Stuff your turkey. Stuff as much as you can into the cavity. There is also a small cavity at the front of the bird. Stuff that as well.
You can use a large oven roasting pan, or even disposable ones (you may want to use two to hold the weight of your bird and to avoid leakage if you accidentally poke the first one). Now here’s another secret. Place the turkey breast side down. All the juices will drip toward that traditionally dry part of the bird. Do not place the turkey on a rack. You want it to sit in all the juices. I also add about a half inch of chicken stock. The best is made at home but many grocers carry freshly made chicken stock.
Cook your bird for about 12 minutes per pound at 400º. That 16 pound turkey should take about 3 1/2 hours to cook. You might want to begin cooking with a piece of aluminum foil over the bird. Take it off after about an hour. Baste the turkey about every half hour after that. Once the skin on the upside (back) of the turkey starts turning brown turn it over so the breast side can brown. Turn it back over the next time you baste. If it needs more browning, repeat after the next half hour.
When your turkey skin is nice and browned, and the juices flow clearly from the turkey when poked, your bird is done. Take it out of the oven and let it cool for about 20 minutes. Remove the stuffing and put into a bowl. You should have a nice amount of juices for gravy. Carve the turkey beginning with removing the legs and thighs and wings, then slice the meat into serving pieces. Avoid cutting the white meat in slices that are very thin. It will dry out quickly.
Put your roasting pan on the stove burner and turn on the heat to low. Add half a glass of water with a teaspoon of well mixed corn starch to the gravy. Mix until the gravy thickens. Don’t worry if it doesn’t get as thick as it is in the jars. It’s better to under thicken than over thicken. Pour some gravy on your turkey platter and stuffing and put the remaining gravy in a server.
I usually also cook several vegetables such as sweet potato pie, green vegetables, wild rice with nuts and dried berries and cranberry sauce. If you are entertaining a large crowd make more dishes instead of larger portions. It will be easier for you to handle.
Have a few hors d’oeurves to serve your guests because they’ll be hungry when they arrive and especially from smelling your lovely dinner in the oven.
Please write to me at CONTACT US at cookingforbachelors.tv if you have any questions.
September 09, 2009
Photos are coming soon of the wonderful dishes that were cooked on our Second Season of CookingforBachelors.TV. And just like the first season, I cooked dishes I have never cooked before. That’s right — the big no-no of cooking shows — first time, on camera with cheat sheets in front of me. I knew what I was making would be easy and fit the philosophy of our dishes. However, I needed the notes in front of me because cooking and talking at the same time is not easy. Some of my favorites were a baked ziti made with a meaty classic Bolognese. (I’ve cooked Bolognese but not as baked ziti). I made Moqueca, a popular Brazilian dish, which was amazing. I made pork fried rice, absolutely delicious. And poached pears with graham cracker crumble, quite delightful.
I had the most fun with our musical guests. The menus from those episodes were based on the artists’ lives. Hilary Hawke played her banjo with her band. Steven Himmelstein played Brazilian music with his beautiful singer, Jennifer and Will Scott played Gnawbone. Sweet and saucy Anita Cookie made a hot and sweet sauce for my fried chicken wings. Erica Shea from Brooklynbrewshop.com showed us how to make beer with the kits they sell.
Keep coming back to see the new episodes and view some preview photos. Happy cooking!
August 18, 2009
We are going to shoot a full episode on indoor grilling for next season. For now, take a look at how lovely and perfectly cooked these salmon steaks came out.All I did was rub them with olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat the pan, dry, until it is very hot. Rubbing the oil on the salmon instead of the pan gives it a nice sear. Don’t you love those grill marks?To accompany the salmon I sauteed zucchini I purchased from the Farmer’s Market, with olive oil, garlic slices and fresh rosemary.I started eating before I photographed my plate. Whoops! We also had tomato, parsley, scallion salad with lemon vinaigrette. It was a yummy, Summer meal.
August 10, 2009
As promised, here is my review of the movie, Julie & Julia which I saw on opening night. This movie had to mean more to me than anyone else in the theatre. What could bring an emerging online cooking show host more joy than seeing the success of two food loving women? I could relate to their passion for food and the challenges we all put ourselves through to create delicious dishes. Julie & Julia were women who used their gifts and their beliefs to make a difference and they touched many lives.
Just like Julia Child was an inspiration for Julie Powell, they were both an inspiration to me. I began Cooking for Bachelors to truly teach cooking. I would love my site to become off-the-charts successful but I want people to learn to cook, just as well. Both women represented courage, determination and creativity, all to which I inspire. They also had very supportive husbands. I have my wonderfully supportive children. I hope I can make a difference in that many lives.
So I would be biased to write a critique of Julie & Julia. For me — it was a unique experience.
Just go forewarned. This movie is filled with food and eating — do not go hungry.
July 30, 2009
Like I often say, cooking is an art and it can be very creative. You might have a few things in your refrigerator that can be made several ways. So, I decided to cook two dishes at the same time using the same ingredients. They were chicken breast, Kalamata olives, grape tomatoes, jalapeño peppers, and parsley. I sauteed one dish in olive oil and garlic. I browned the chicken first, then removed it and cooked the vegetables. I added freshly roasted red pepper. To the second pan, I began cooking the vegetables first, covered. I added the chicken and when it was cooked, added tomato paste and white wine. It cooked covered until the sauce blended. Then I turned off the heat and let it sit for a few minutes to steep the flavors together. I added freshly grated romano cheese and served this dish over linguini.
July 14, 2009
I was thinking the other day that we know Elvis’ favorite foods. Yet we do not know Michael’s favorites.
Michael Jackson’s death was very sad for me. I grew up listening to his music, watching him dance, and evolving with the changes he made in the way we “view” music. This remarkable man bore so many wonderful gifts. And in spite of all the quirkiness he is known for, he lived true to his talents. He expanded them. He pushed himself beyond any limitations he might have had to overcome. He lived through the rumors, the lies and the assumptions to create a legend, a genius, a friend, a loving father.
How many people let fear get in the way of what they’re capable of? How many times do we say, “I can’t?” When all we really have to say is, “I can.” Cooking, like the other arts, is one of those things people say they can’t do. My goal is to make cooking accessible. Easy. Nutritious. Delicious. And FUN.
So download the lists of things you should have in your kitchen. Choose your meal from the many individual dish videos. And start cooking, today. It will be easier than you think. Be creative, have fun, impress yourself and your date. Push yourself beyond what you thought you could do.
This weeks episode shows frying techniques. Coincidentally, one of Michael’s favorite foods was fried chicken!
We’ll miss you, Michael.