Monday, January 27, 2014

how to make green chef salad recipe

How to make a salad bar at home
By: Chef Cristian Feher

My own personal salad bar!
Having your own personal salad bar at home has its perks - primarily, you'll actually eat salad!

My family's first choice of food at home is not salad - but put us in a restaurant with a salad bar, and watch us go to town! The difference? Variety. It's the spice of life, and it's a selling point to salad. So, I decided to make our own salad bar at home. And guess what? Everyone has been eating salad!

Try this at home and maybe your family will eat more salad too.

Before I get to the recipes and descriptions, I'm just going to give you a few pointers on making healthy salads, since the whole point of a salad is to provide your body with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients - not just sugar and water disguised in the shape of salad - you can watch this video here to see what I mean.  How to make a healthy salad video

  • Use dark greens like baby spinach, baby kale, and dark organic salad mix to maximize enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. 
  • Avoid light colored lettuces like iceberg, and romaine, which don't really have any nutritional value.
  • Avoid store-bought salad dressings that are filled with sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives, and all sorts of crap that defeat the purpose of eating a salad in the first place.
  • Make your own salad dressing - it's easy! And it's healthy. 
  • Buy organic vegetables to avoid pesticides and chemicals. But conventional veggies are still MUCH better than not having a salad at all, if that's what you can afford.
  • Use different colored vegetables to liven up the salad visually (stimulating your appetite), and to pack it with nutrients. 
Alright, having said all that, here are the loose recipes from my personal salad bar. It may probably take you a couple of hours to prep. But you'll have fresh, interesting salads all week long! And if you replace at least one meal a day with a healthy green salad, you'll notice the difference in how your body feels right away.

Sour Cream Salad Dressing  This is one of my favorite salad dressings. For this one, you will need a food processor, or at least a hand-blender to mix all the ingredients together. Put the following ingredients in the food processor and process until smooth:
  • 8oz sour cream
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp of white vinegar
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Sliced Cucumbers will keep in a plastic container filled up with cold water and 3 tbsp of white vinegar. Shake off the excess water when you're ready to put on the salad.

Shredded Beets are a great way to add nutrition, natural carbohydrates and color. I used a spiral slicer to make beet strands. You can use a vegetable shredder or cheese grater if you don't have a spiral slicer.

Shredded Red Cabbage is easy to make with a food processor. Cut the cabbage into wedges that you can fit down the chute of the food processor. Put the shredding wheel on the processor and shred away! You can do it with a cheese grater, or you can just slice it really thin with a chef's knife if that's all you have.  Add a little salt, and a few splashes of vinegar to the mixture to keep longer, and to soften the cabbage.

Shredded Carrots are full of vitamins, minerals and low-glycemic carbohydrates. You can shred them with a cheese grater, or with the food processor like I did.

Pickled Radishes and Red Onions are really easy to make. I buy pre-shredded radishes, combine that with sliced onions in a container and add the brine. To make the brine, I used 1 cup of white vinegar, 2 cups of water, and 1/2 cup of sugar. I warmed it on the stove just enough to melt the sugar into the liquid. You can then, pour the liquid into the container with the vegetables and refrigerate over night. The result is tangy, crispy, sweet radish and onion! And most of the sugar stays in the brine.

To make Soy Marinated Mushrooms, simply quarter about a dozen large white mushrooms, put them in a pot, splash them with 1/4 cup of Japanese soy sauce, 2 tbsp of Mirin (sweet rice wine), salt and pepper to taste and bring them to a boil. As soon as they boil, take them off the heat and leave them covered for 15 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a container and keep the "mushroom juice" in the pot for the next vegetables.

To make Soy Marinated Zucchini, simply slice the zucchini, put them in the pot with the mushroom juice, bring to a boil, take off the heat, cover pot and let them sit in there for 15 minutes. Remove them, put them in a plastic container and leave the "mushroom zucchini juice" in there for the next vegetable!

To make Soy Marinated Green Italian Beans, put fresh or frozen beans in the pot with the mushroom zucchini juice, bring to a boil, take off the heat, cover pot and let them sit in there for 15 minutes. Remove them, put them in a plastic container and you're done. With this leftover "mushroom, zucchini, green bean juice", you can even poach other vegetables if you wish. It will just keep on getting tastier with each new vegetable that you add in there.

To create even more variety and add protein, you can top your salads with:
  • Grilled meats like, chicken, beef steaks, pork, turkey, sausages.
  • Cold cuts of all kinds.
  • Sliced cheeses, and creamy cheeses like Boursin.
  • Steamed fish, salmon salad, tuna salad, grilled fish, shrimp, scallops.
  • Smoked almonds, nuts, and dried fruit.
  • Canned fish, and smoked meats are quick, easy and nutritious.

You may think this is a lot of work, but you'll thank yourself after a couple of days of eating really good salads!  You may notice that you're not as tired as you used to be, that you can get more done, and you may even lose weight. But the point of this for us, was not weight loss (although it will likely happen), it was to add a tonne of nutrition to our diet. Add to this, our morning green smoothies, and we've been flying every day!

I love that I can add all sorts of grilled meats and seafood to this - being a guy, and a chef, a juicy rib eye steak, butter grilled chicken thigh, or bacon-wrapped scallop, really makes me look forward to eating a nice colorful salad for dinner.  And now that I have my GrillGrate grill grates, I've been grilling everything!

My wife and I work-out three to four days a week (since December), and I've noticed how much more energy I've had during our last two workouts - all due to the salads and clean proteins. Well, I'll stop trying to sell you on this personal salad buffet. But you know, me, when I find something I really enjoy, I like to share it with you!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Best replacement grill grates for BBQ grill

Pimp My Grill!
By: Chef Cristian Feher

GrillGrate grill grates over existing cast iron grates.

Perfectly cooked chicken and ribs! Notice the fat held in the channels.
For many of us, the term "grilling out" brings a smile to our faces. What's better than fresh air, good food, and getting back to our primal way of cooking?  Well, for one, doing it with less flare-ups and less fuel.

Whether you are looking to replace your existing BBQ grill, or would like a way to "Soup it Up!", I have a great recommendation for you!

A few years ago, my wife got me a dual grill - one side charcoal, and the other side propane. I fell in love with this grill righ away. I even coined a name for it, I call it the mullet grill (business in the front, party in the back!) If I'm short on time, I use the propane portion of the grill, and if I have time, I can spend a few hours making a smokey and delicious BBQ using the charcoal side.

I noticed this winter that the grates (made of cast iron) had started to rust. And the replacement grates were priced too steep to make it a worthwhile replacement. So, in considering getting rid of this grill altogether, I happened to come across This company makes grill grates that fit over your existing grates. Not only can you use these to replace your existing grates, but you can also take these easily from grill to grill, ensuring that they will stay with you for a long time - I like products with this type of versatility. That was my first selling point.

The other selling points of these hard anodized aluminum grates were a claim that they amplify the heat source (turning your grill into an infrared grill), allow you to use less fuel to create the same heat, have a really long life, resist corrosion, and prevent flare-ups (something everyone has to deal with when grilling out).

I received the grates two days after ordering them online. Excited to try them, I rushed out to fill my propane tank which had been sitting idle for a few weeks - I just didn't want to use the rusty grates anymore, and although I had done my best to cure them, they still rusted. But, back to the new grates - I made a raspberry balsamic BBQ sauce, picked up chicken and baby back ribs, and put these grates to the test using the propane side of the grill.

The results were as advertised:
  • I grilled with all three burners on med-low (with the old grates, I used to light one burner on high, and grill the food over the two "off" burners to keep it from burning). I can now use the entire grill surface, at an even heat without burning a lot of fuel.
  • My favorite aspect of using these were ZERO FLARE-UPS! The fat from the ribs dripped down into the channels of the grates instead of the burners below. It was a pleasure to grill directly on the flame without flares!
  • Even heat distribution across the entire grill surface.
These grates will probably outlast my BBQ grill, and I look forward to using them on any future grill that I buy - I especially foresee using these on a Traeger wood pellet grill that I've had my eye on. But for now, they have not only allowed me to keep the "Mullet Grill", but have actually improved it from its original function. Grilling season has officially re-opened at the Feher household!

In conclusion, whether your grill grates are falling apart, or you want to have a more enjoyable and efficient grilling experience, I highly recommend the GrillGrate grill grates. I have no affiliation with GrillGrate and have received no compensation for writing this article. When I come across a good product, I like to tell people about it.

Friday, January 3, 2014

7 tips for roasting meats

Roasting Tips
By: Chef Cristian Feher

Perfectly Roasted Beef
For the carnivore, there is nothing more satisfying and sought after than a perfectly executed roast. Whether it's beef, lamb, pork, or poultry, doing it right, makes it taste-tastic! Here are seven tips to help you make better roasts.
  1. Always season your roast with salt and pepper. This can be done before, during, or after roasting. But for the most flavor, letting the salt dissolve into the meat before roasting, will yield more flavor.
  2. Roast your meat on a rack. If your meat is fatty, place it fat-side-up. That way the fat melts and runs over, and through the meat, basting it in its own juices. And the fat that is left over, falls to the bottom of the pan below your meat. This way the bottom of your roast is not 'boiling' in the drippings, but roasting uniformly on the rack.
  3. Do not sear. Yes, many chefs sear their roasts before roasting, believing that this will somehow transform the outside of the roast into a water-proof bladder. Searing does not keep in the juices. Your roast will be nicely browned without searing it.
  4. Do not add water. If you roast your meat at a constant temperature, the drippings should not burn. If your temperature cannot be kept constant, you may want to add a little water to the drippings.
  5. Do not cover a roast. Technically, if you cover the pot, your meat will steam, thus you will be making a "pot roast".
  6. Turn a boneless roast once or twice during the roasting process to ensure a more even roast.
  7. Roasting low and slow (325 to 350) will reduce shrinkage and increase flavor, juiciness and tenderness. And, isn't that what roasting is all about?