Saturday, March 14, 2020

Homemade recipes for healthy eating



While the mob panics and the rest of us avoid the human freak show, I thought I'd post a few homemade soup recipes since we all want to eat healthy and be healthy as this flu bug passes us by. Originally I was a chef by trade and I was a decent saucier. That was a long time ago.

The French wrote the book on the culinary arts. Twice. First it was Escoffier with Ma Cuisine, then they rewrote it with Nouvelle cuisine. Classic cuisine was heavy sauces with aspic and chaud froid, then Nouvelle cuisine came in and simplified it making it more health conscious. I like to remix the old with the new. When I was a kid Stephen Yan had a cooking show called Wok with Yan. He was funny and talented. There's lots you can do with a wok or a large frying pan. Since we're all stuck at home and have stocked up on groceries, what are we going to do with them?

Yorkshire Pudding

England isn't know for it's culinary arts but they are known for their Yorkshire pudding. I worked as a chef in London for a while. I'm not sure how they make their Yorkshire puddings there. We do it differently in Canada. Over there the Yorkshire puddings look like hockey pucks. I was kind of baffled by that. You guys f*cking invented these things. A cup of eggs, a cup of milk and a cup of flour. How can you f*ck that up? Our Yorkshire puddings are fluffier and look more like a souffle.

OK so that's the ratio: a cup of eggs, a cup of milk and a cup of flour. To make a batch start off with four cups of eggs and whisk them until they are frothy. Add some salt, pepper, season salt and a touch of nutmeg. Gradually stir in four cups of milk then gently fold in four cups of flour. Don't over beat the flour. Just gently stir it and let it sit. Every five or ten minutes gently stir it some more until the lumps dissolve. Add a couple of tablespoons of cooking oil as well.

As that sits, put a muffin tray on a cookie sheet and fill each muffin tin with just over a tablespoon of cooking oil. Then put it in the oven for five or ten minutes to heat it up. The cookie tray is to catch the oil that spills over so it doesn't catch fire on the bottom of the oven and make a mess. When the oil is warm take it out and fill each muffin tin with batter then put it back in the oven. We used to cook it at 425 but now I start it at 400 degrees then turn it down to 350 after they have risen so it gets cooked on the inside without getting too crispy on the outside.

Try not to open the oven door while it's cooking and don't slam it if you do. Traditionally Yorkshire pudding are served with gravy and roast beef or prime rib. They're cheap and easy. Something you can make at home. You can put in in the fridge and microwave them the next day.

Irish Potaoe Bread and Soda Bread

Ireland isn't known for their culinary arts either. They're known for their Guinness and their ability to survive famines with potatoes. Homemade bread is awesome but it's a bit more difficult. I used to make homemade bread at Hollyburn lodge. The trick is to use warm water to dissolve the yeast in and not to over knead the dough. It has to be warm when it rises as well. My brother has a bread machine he uses all the time. Soda bread however is really easy and you don't even need yeast. You use baking soda and baking powder instead. That means it's quick and easy to make.

Soda bread is just a big buttermilk biscuit. In Northern Ireland they slice it and fry it in oil. Olive oil is healthier than regular oil. The traditional Ulster Fry is a bit heavy on the cholesterol and I'm not a fan of blood pudding but soda bread fried in olive oil is nice.

Pan fried Irish Potato bread is nice too. I'll just post a link to that recipe because it's not mine.



Deep fried prawns and deep fried fish

We like Chinese food in Canada. It's a big part of our culture. People say our Chinese food isn't authentic. We have deep fried prawns, chicken fried rice, honey garlic pork, lemon chicken and beef chop suey. We don't care if it's not authentic. That's what we like.

The tempura batter for the prawns is pretty easy. Just flour, cornstarch, touch of baking powder, salt pepper, an egg and water. Don't over stir it. Stir it and let it sit then stir it some more until the lumps dissolve. Aside from Yorkshire pudding, England is also know for it's fish and chips.

The batter for the fish is the same as for the prawns. You can add beer instead of water if you like. I used to cook with wine a lot. That's a French thing. Grand Marnier soufflé glacé were nice and easy. A lot easier than a hot soufflé you bake in the oven.

Frozen battered fish is expensive. That's why I buy the frozen cod, thaw it and deep fry it myself. In England they're big on chips as in French fries. They wrap it in old newspaper to soak up the oil. I don't get that. The newsprint gets on your hands when you read it and must get in the chips you eat. In England they even have chip butties. They put potato chips or french fries between two slices of buttered bread. I kid you not. I respect the tradition but that's not really my thing. I guess I'm a little more French when it comes to that but I'm not into poutines. They're a bit heavy for me. If I do eat french fries it's with vinegar and mayonnaise not ketchup.

Chicken Teriyaki

Costco sells the cases of frozen chicken breasts as does Superstore. Superstore also occasionally has the family packs of fresh chicken breasts on sale. They're boneless and skinless. I thaw them overnight in the fridge and wash them in cold water. Put them on a cutting board and slice them diagonally into small chunks and fry them in olive oil with season salt. I also buy the premade Teriyaki sauce and add that after it's half way cooked. You want to saute or fry it not boil it. After it's cooked you can add a bit more water or sauce so it isn't so dry.

Honey Garlic Pork

Costco also sells the large pork loins as does Superstore occasionally. Superstore also has the frozen pork loins now which are really cheap. Beef is just way too expensive these days. I take a section of the pork loin and cut it in half lengthwise down the middle. Then I slice it into very thin slices cross cut and fry it with olive oil. After it's half way cooked I add season salt and premade honey garlic cause. It's cheap, fast and delicious.

Stir Fry Vegetables

Now that I'm older and my metabolism rate has changed I try not to eat carbs for dinner. In Israel they have their biggest meal of the day for lunch not dinner. At dinner I'll have a protein and some cooked fresh vegetable. You can throw a mixture of fresh vegetables into a wok or large frying pan. Often I'll wash and cut up some cauliflower and fry it in a pan with margarine, a bit of water and season salt. I like the Hy's or Lawry's season salt without the MSG.

Right before the cauliflower is fully cooked I add in some grated marble cheese. Cheese sauce or mornay is pretty old school but straight cheese is a bit lighter following the Nouvelle cuisine philosophy. Everything has it's time and place. Occasionally I'll wash and cut up f=some fresh broccoli and fry that in a pan with margarine and water as well. When that's half way cooked I add in a bunch of washed bean sprouts and cook them with it. Cooked fresh vegetables are a healthy way to fill out your meal without carb loading.

Fried Rice

A friend got me into the rice cookers. I bought a large one and use it all the time. I make a big batch of rice and keep it in the fridge them just fry it up and add other things in it like chicken, hamburger, frozen peas and an egg. I always wash and drain the rice before I cook it. The rice cooker even has a rice pilaf mode where you can saute onions first but I don't usually bother with that any more. It's nice but takes more time. Chow mein noodles are nice too. You just fry them with a touch of soy sauce and a decent amount of water that cooks out by the time it's finished.

Perogies

I had a friend who used to make homemade perogies. They're awesome and inexpensive. However, they are time consuming. The doe is really simple: just flour, a touch of salt, an egg and some cold water. Knead it into a lump, let it sit for a while then roll it out flat with a rolling pin and a light dusting of flour so it doesn't stick to the rolling pin. You can use a large glass or small bowl as a cookie cutter to cut out the circles then you just fill them with left over mash potatoes. We would make cheese potatoes by adding grated cheese to the mash potatoes while they were hot.

Hold the circle of dough in your hand and scoop a spoonful of left over mash potatoes in the middle. Then just fold it over and pinch the edges tight so they seal. You can use a touch of water on your finger to run along the inside edge to help it seal but again, that's time consuming. After it's sealed you just lay them out on a cookie tray until it's full. Then you can freeze them or put them in boiling water until they float. When they float drain scoop them out and put them in a strainer. After that you fry them in a pan with olive oil and voila, they're done.

Serve them with sour cream, fried onions and or fried garlic sausage. To simplify things you can just buy them premade by the case at Costco and throw a bag in a large pot of boiling water. When they float you can just dump the whole thing into a strainer them dump it on a cookie tray with olive oil on it. Shake them around a bit, so the oil loosens them up and they don't stick to the cookie sheet then sprinkle on some simulated back bits and some grated cheese. Throw it in the oven at 350 until the cheese melts. That's faster mass production.

More recipes to come....

Mexican Beans and Rice

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