Tuesday, January 29, 2013

5 tricks to make your life easier in the kitchen

5 Kitchen "Hacks" to Make Life Easier in the Kitchen
By: Chef Cristian Feher

 If you were to do the math - and I did - the average person spends 35 to 45 full days in the kitchen each year! That’s a lot of time. And while I’m not proposing that you try to spend less time in the kitchen - as cooking should be a relaxing and therapeutic activity - I am proposing that you make that time as enjoyable, and easy, as possible.

The following “kitchen hacks” should make time spent in your food cave a little brighter!

Save the bananas!

How often do you have to buy bananas? And how many bananas do you end up throwing out when they over-ripen? To make bananas last longer, simply pull them apart and wrap them individually  in plastic wrap (or wrap tightly in a plastic bag) this will slow down the ripening process and your bananas should last long enough for you to eat them all!

You can also refrigerate bananas. Although the skins will turn brown, the banana inside will still be good, and will last for 1 to 2 weeks in this state.

Cut Calories and Healthy-Up your Baking! 

Do you want to avoid refined oils, fats and calories in your baked goods? How about these substitutions?

When a recipe calls for butter, you can substitute with equal parts mashed avocado,  or mashed bananas. Instead of sugar, you can lower the calories by adding equal parts apple sauce. And instead of vegetable oil, you can add equal parts Greek yogurt. These substitutions may not work for all recipes, but they do work for most

Chill out, man!

So, you forgot to chill the white wine, and now you have guests over. What to do? Not problem, because you froze a bag of grapes after reading this article. Frozen grapes are a great way to chill a glass of wine without watering it down. Simply place large seedless grapes in a freezer bag and leave in your freezer for emergency situations. How long do they last? Until they are visibly frostbitten.


The Pot is Boiling Over!

Don’t you hate it when a pot boils-over on the stove? Aside from the messy clean-up and menacing hissing sounds, it’s just plain annoying.

To prevent your pot from boiling over, simply add a little vegetable oil to the water, and rest a wooden spoon over the pot. This will break the foam and prevent it from spilling over.


Send your herbs to Alaska!

Cooking with fresh herbs is great! Unfortunately, when you only need a pinch, you end up having to buy a whole bag at the grocery store. And what do you do with all those leftover fresh herbs? They will certainly go bad in your fridge after a few days, and you most likely end up throwing them in the garbage.

To keep fresh herbs for future use, simply chop them up coarsely, stick clumps of herbs in ice cube trays, fill them with olive oil and freeze. The olive oil will freeze solid. Every time you need fresh herbs, simply pop a cube out of the tray and use it for cooking!

I hope these tips will make time spent in your kitchen much more enjoyable. Until next time, happy cooking!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Sushi Chicken Wings Recipe | Superbowl Snacks

Sushi Chicken Wings
By: Chef Cristian Feher

Sushi wings are a combination of my two favorite TV-watching snack foods - sushi and chicken wings! This is a great recipe for a Superbowl Party or hanging around watching movies with your friends and family.

Because I, personally, try to avoid gluten (wheat) as much as I can, I have made this recipe without using any wheat. However, it will turn out just great with regular wheat flour and Japanese soy sauce.

You may think to yourself that it might be difficult to get some of these ingredients. But they are readily available in most grocery stores. The only ingredients that you may not find at a conventional grocery store might be the Capelin Roe (which are fish eggs used for sushi). They can be found at most Asian grocery stores in the freezer section. And rice flour (although I get it at my regular grocery store) can be found at health food stores like Whole Foods, and it can also be found at Asian grocery stores.

- 2 dozen wings
- Kikkoman Soy sauce or Gluten-free Japanese soy sauce
- 6 chopped scallions
- Black sesame seeds
- Capelin Roe
- 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup Terriyaki Glaze or Gluten-Free Terriyaki Glaze
- 1/2 tsp Sesame Oil
- Srirachia (Thai chili sauce)
- 1 large bag of regular potato chips
- Rice Flour OR wheat flour
- Cooking Spray (optional)

NOTE: You will need to make potato chip crumbs. The easiest way is to put potato chips into a food processor, and process until they are crumbs. The hard way is to crush them by hand - put them in a freezer bag and crush them by hand until they are crumbs.

1. Sprinkle fresh, raw chicken wings liberally with soy sauce and let marinade in fridge for 20 minutes to 2 hours.

2. Dredge chicken wings in rice flour and put them on a non-stick baking surface with a little cooking spray. Spray the top of the wings too. Do not pile wings on top of each other, only make one layer and lay them all flat on the baking sheet so that they bake evenly and crispy.

3. Roast wings in oven at 450 for 30 minutes.

4. While wings are in the oven, mix the wing sauce by combining 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, 1/2 cup terriyaki glaze and a little sesame oil (1/2 tsp). Mix together well.

5. When wings are done, remove from oven, put them into a large food container with a lid, add the wing sauce and shake lightly to coat wings. Transfer coated wings onto a platter.

6. Garnish wings with spicy srirachia chili sauce, black sesame seeds, chopped scallions, potato chip crumbs, and capelin roe. I like to serve these on banana leaves with a colorful garnish.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Gluten free bread that tastes like bread!

Gluten-Free Bread That Tastes Like Real Bread!
By: Chef Cristian Feher


 "This has to have something bad in it, 'cause it tastes too good." That's what my wife said as she tried an Udi's gluten-free bagel. Finally a gluten-free baked good that, well... tastes good! 

Udi's was nice enough to send me a box with several of their products to try. And before you think "Oh ok, right, that's why he's writing this article." I want to say that this is my honest opinion.

Going gluten-free is a choice that my wife and I made a few weeks ago. And for us it makes a big difference. I've actually gone gluten-free in the past and have always been rewarded by feeling good, more energetic, and losing weight. Every time I've gone back to eating gluten (even though wheat products taste really good) I've always paid for it with weight gain, and really low energy levels.

Everyone is different. Some people are tolerant to all foods, while others are intolerant to several. Aside from soy products, and corn, wheat seems to be one of those things that many people are intolerant to - and many of those people don't even know it. They notice how tired they are, or how they've gained weight, or how they're getting skin problems, but they chalk it up to other things.

I recommend that everyone try going two weeks without eating wheat (gluten), soy and corn and see how they feel. If it makes no difference - fine. You are probably tolerant to those foods. But the rest of you may notice some positive changes. Then what you do is you start to add one item at a time and see how those foods affect you. 

Let's get back to Udi's. I tried several of their products along with my wife and very picky daughter and these are the results:

Udi's gluten-free sandwich breads (white and whole wheat) were light, airy and had a really good consistency. They taste just like regular wheat bread, and when you toast them, they have a really nice, crispy texture! A little organic butter and you're ready to kiss gluten good-bye! I've found other gluten-free breads that I've tried to be too thick, dense and heavy - especially the ones made with brown rice - and a few even taste like Play-Doh!

Udi's gluten-free brownies were very good (apparently). My wife and daughter polished off the container before I could get to them, so I have no first hand experience.

The last of Udi's gluten-free chocolate chip cookies was quite good. They are slightly soft, have a great taste and the chocolate chips melt in your mouth.

Udi's gluten-free harvest crunch muffins with cranberries, sweet potato, quinoa flour and pumpkin seeds were moist, sweet and delicious. It's surprising that they had no wheat flour.

This is the first time that I have tasted a gluten-free product that was just as good as a product made with wheat! Whether they hired nuclear physicist from abroad, or they stole a secret recipe from NASA, all that matters to me is that I can eat something that tastes good and won't make me want to go to sleep five minutes later. 

You can find Udi's products near you by checking out their website at www.udisglutenfree.com