Essential Culinary Skills

  1. Cooking Methods – As there are many types of meat, there are also various ways to cook them. Roasting chicken would definitely differ from roasting meat due to the meat’s texture and weight. Aside from learning the right temperature to cook certain cuts of meat, it is also necessary to learn how to prepare simple sauces. Even poaching eggs the right way is very important because restaurant customers can be very picky. If you need to know the right way to stew, caramelize, broil, bake, or simmer any dish – learn cooking methods.
  2. Familiarity with Kitchen Equipment – There are many varieties of kitchen equipment that can be used to prepare food. However, it is significant to understand when and how they should be used. Proper handling of equipment such as mixer, oven, or even a spatula promotes efficiency and safety. Think of cooking for a dinner party with a hundred guests then you would understand the necessity of learning this culinary skill.
  3. Knife Handling Skills – The knife is an indispensable tool for any chef or cook. Use it properly so it can drastically reduce your food preparation time. There are many types of knives each with a specific purpose. Cheese knives, bread knives, cleavers, carving knives, sushi knives ” they all play a role in creating the right cut or slice. A good chef or cook should master knife skills; in fact, a good chef demonstrates the right way to mince onions. It seems trivial but a chef is measured by how he handles the knife.

If you are serious in making a career out of your passion for cooking, enroll in a reputable culinary school. Make sure the school has accreditation to make it easier for you to land a job. There are many local schools offering culinary courses to choose from. Make the right choice today by getting a certificate or diploma in culinary arts.

Kedgeree

Smoke the fish yourself

Don’t be put off, because it is simple and adds to the fun of cooking the dish. Traditionally the process would start with the curing of the fish in water and salt, by covering the bone less fillets of fish in the liquid solution then removing and allowing the fish to dry. This was to start the removal of water from the fish which would help in the preservation. However for your own needs at home, preservation is not needed, and in addition by removing this stage you will be reducing the chances of excessive amounts of salt being in the finished dish. Salt which is vital in small amounts to control the electrolytic balance of the body, but is hazardous in large amounts because of it increasing our blood pressure levels.

So I suggest that you start with the smoking of the fish. You will need some wood shavings, ideally from a used whisky barrel, if you have one lying around. Failing that you can buy supplies at very reasonable rates from the Internet. The fish needs cold smoking for a minimum of eight hours. At a temperature of no more than 30 degrees Celsius. Without initially buying a specialist smoker, make you own. You will need an enclosed metal container large enough to hold the fish, with a lid and a raised surface to keep the fish off the embers of wood. Over heat, with the lid on, bring the wood shaving to a temperature where they start releasing a mild burning smell. Add other flavourings if wanted, such as crushed juniper berries or a slug or two of a malt whisky. Take off the heat and add the fillets of fish. Whilst the overall temperature needs to be low the embers still need to keep smouldering, so keep a check on the temperature and if need be put back on the heat or slightly open the lid. Keep the process going for around eight hours, at the end of which you will have produced your own smoked, salt free fish. Do not worry if the temperature rises too high at any stage, just remove the fish and use as normal in the dish.

Making up the Kedgeree, the simple way

Gently heat a pan and add 150 g of cooked rice, 125 ml of cream, and a teaspoon each of ground Turmeric and Ga-ram Masala, then 100 g of the flaked smoked fish. Allow to warm and plate topped with chopped boiled egg and parsley. If you prefer replace the cream with fish stock.

An alternative way is to not add the flavourings to the mix but to serve with a jug of curry sauce. Each to their own.

Serving Kedgeree with more elegance

With this option warm the rice, cream and spices; as you are serving add a handful of chopped spinach or kale and stir until warm. Separately poach the smoked fish in milk, and when cooked place on top of the flavoured rice and spinach. Top with a poached egg and parsley.

Paneer Palakh

Paneer Palakh, also known as saag paneer or spinach paneer is a divine dish, fit for royalty, fit for your favorite party or get together, and maybe also the perfect dish you’d like to make for your family as a tempting Sunday night dinner.

Some things that make Paneer Palakh a dish as tempting as none other are:

  • It’s a tasty, fulfilling meal
  • Very nutritious, spinach happens to be a rich source of minerals while cottage cheese is one of the best sources of protein.

The dietary value of paneer paalakh is high, and this acts as an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and also Calcium, Iron, sodium and potassium.

The best part is that the dish is relatively easy to make.

So if you are trying to get your kids to start liking leafy greens, paneer palakh is the alternative to go for. If the kids happen to admire cottage cheese, they will develop a liking for spinach as well.

Go for paneer palakh, and see you guests rave in awe, admiration and delight.

With the high percentage of minerals, vitamins, pigments and phytonutrients that we find in spinach, the vegetable is beneficial for a host of vital processes.

Let’s run through some of the additional benefits of spinach that we should be aware of:

  • Maintaining A Good Eyesight
  • Preventing AMD or Age related Macular Degeneration. High percentages of antioxidants that are present in spinach help prevent harmful effects of free radicals which negatively affect vision. Consuming spinach regularly could work towards preventing age related conditions such as glaucoma or even macular degeneration.
  • Neurological Benefits. Components of spinach such as potassium, folate and several antioxidants offer neurological benefits to people who regularly consume them. So the risk of Alzheimer’s disease reduces. Potassium is essential for brain health and works towards improving cognition, concentration and neural activity.
  • Maintaining Blood Pressure. Spinach has high potassium content and low sodium content. The combination is extremely effective for someone suffering from high blood pressure as potassium lowers blood pressure while sodium increases blood pressure.
  • Bone Mineralisation. Spinach is a rich source of minerals such as manganese, copper, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus which keep the bones strong and help prevent osteoarthritis. Alternately, vitamin K present in spinach helps retain calcium in bone matrix so as to ensure bone mineralization.

Cabbage and Polish Sausage

I believe it’s a trait I learned from her. Here is a cabbage recipe I would like to share that I learned from watching her. I have several ways I prepare cabbage, and it’s a very versatile side dish or you can add meat to it to make it an entrée. This recipe is how I fix it for when I want it as a main course. It is best served with hot water cornbread.

Ingredients

  • 1 head cabbage
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 large potato or 2 small ones
  • Half an onion
  • 1 lb package smoked sausage (turkey sausage optional)
  • A sprinkle of red pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Take the head of cabbage and cut into quarters. I sometimes remove the outer layer of the cabbage if the edges are turning brown. Remove the hard-core of the cabbage and cut the quartered pieces into smaller pieces. Wash in a colander and add to pot. Add about ¼ cup of water to the pot. You don’t want to cover the cabbage in water because cabbage makes its own water. Peel the potato and dice the potato to add to the pot. Dice the onion and add with the cabbage ingredients. Slice up the polish sausage into 1 inch pieces or smaller slices if you have small children and add to pot. Put in 2 heaping Tbsp of butter and salt and pepper the ingredients. Add in a touch of red pepper or more depending on how much heat you like in your food. I usually do a couple of shakes of red pepper to the pot to give it a little quick. Cover and quick for about 30 minutes or until cabbage is tender. I usually serve this with hot buttered cornbread.

Healthier Fast Food Choices

Noodles & Company

Generally speaking, if you opt for one of the small plates here you’ll do just fine. At the top of the list is the Bangkok Curry which contains broccoli, carrots, red peppers, onions, mushrooms and a light portion of rice noodles, which are coated with a sweet coconut curry sauce and served on a bed of cabbage. It clocks in at a very healthy 250 calories and 430 mg. sodium.

Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill

The Chicken Street Taco is very yummy and quite filling. It features a warm corn tortilla filled with chicken, cilantro, onions and a dab of guacamole. And at just 90 calories and 180 mg. sodium, you can even have two!

El Pollo Loco

The “naked” Grilled Chicken Salad has 232 calories and 517 mg. of sodium; and it includes lettuce topped with chucks of grilled chicken breast, pico de gallo, tortilla strips, corn poblano mix, cilantro and cotja cheese. Skip the salad dressing and instead top it with a dab of salsa, or even some jalapenos from the salsa bar.

Taco Bell

Run for the border and get a Chicken Gordita Supreme. This flatbread taco is filled with grilled chicken, reduced-fat sour cream and shredded lettuce; then topped with a cheddar, pepper jack and mozzarella cheese blend. Nutrition wise it stacks up pretty well, with 270 calories and 510 mg. sodium.

Subway

This fast food deli chain has a number of healthy choices, but the Veggie Delite Flatbread Sandwich tops the lists. It’s served on 9-grain wheat bread and contains lettuce, tomatoes, onions, green peppers and cheese. And if you pass on the condiments, it’s only 230 calories and it has just 310 mg. sodium.

KFC

Although the fried chicken is a no-non here, a grilled chicken thigh with a large ear of corn is a manageable choice, at 310 calories and 535 mg. sodium.

Burger King

The flame broiled Hamburger is pretty tasty, and it has just 240 calories and 460 mg. sodium. Cut that down even more by ordering it without the bun, and have it as lettuce wrap.

McDonald’s

Try the Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich and ditch the bun. Pick up a few extra napkins because it’s a little messy. On the plus side, it’s also very filling, yet has only 150 calories and 490 mg. sodium.

Wendy’s

Choose the Sour Cream and Chive Potato, which has just 320 calories and 50 mg. sodium. Be sure you specify “no butter” though, as they tend to pile it on if not specified otherwise.

Cayenne Pepper

Capsium annuum or cayenne is actually coming from the Greek verb “to bite”. Extremely popular in many cuisines around the world, the cayenne pepper can be used both fresh and dried. It has the ability to turn the dishes hot. It is also useful, because the spice contains Calcium, Potassium and Magnesium, as well as vitamins A, C, E and some of the B-complex. Capsaicin, its active compound, is beneficial for blood circulation. Therefore, it is not surprising that the it is an effective natural remedy used in the alternative medicine.

It can be very helpful for various severe and mild conditions: arthritis (including rheumatoid arthritis), headache, toothache, back pain, bad digestion, and cardiovascular diseases. It can even urge the wounds to be healed faster. Pain, inflammations and allergies can be suppressed, thanks to this wonderful natural remedy. This means that by eating cayenne you can easily prevent yourself from a cold and flu.

When it comes to digestion, capsicum annuum could produce saliva in order to improve it. There are some studies, which suggest that cayenne pepper might be fighting off lung cancer and liver tumors. Those, who wish to lose some weight, can also benefit from the useful spice – it will help them burn a lot of calories. There are some cayenne substitutes in a cooking aspect: for example, paprika, red chile powder, hot sauce and red pepper flakes. However, there is probably no adequate cayenne pepper substitute for health purposes.

Also, this spice has anti-allergen and anti-irritant properties and can be used to reduce blood pressure, weight or even as a cleanse diet. It contains a lot of vitamins and minerals, stimulating the immune system.

If you aren’t used with this remedy, don’t rush taking enormous amounts of it with the first time. You need to start with 1/16 teaspoon of cayenne in warm water/tea and gradually increase the dosage to half a spoon or a full teaspoon. Such an intake is recommended in case you are using it for medicinal purposes. Otherwise, it can be added to some of your meals. Thus, the cayenne pepper will become a delicious addition to your cooking creations.

Low Calorie Meals

The first and foremost step you need to take for preparing healthier Chinese dishes at home is to refrain from deep-frying. Surely you can recall that any food, whether meats or veggies, that you eat at your favorite joint, contains too much of fat. Well, that’s an accepted norm currently. Oil is awful for your health because of its high calorie content and also because it generally has a high content of saturated fat, as well as cholesterol. These components are injurious and one of the main reasons for cardiovascular diseases. So, as far as possible, do not deep-fry your eatables. When you deep-fry food, it retains fat in abundance. If you cook at home, you can certainly reduce your consumption of oils to a great extent. Apart from the volume of oil you may use at home, you also have a control on its quality. It is possible to almost completely avoid oil by using non-stick cookware and vegetable cooking spray.

Rather than deep-frying your food, you can follow some other ways of cooking that help controlling fat. Let us consider a very popular Chinese dish named Sweet and Sour Chicken. The traditional style of preparing this dish is to deep fry pieces of chicken, making them absorb a lot of oil. Here, you have the option of breading it, using bread crumbs and a bit of cooking spray before finally baking it in an oven.

You may already be aware of the healthy benefits of steaming your food. You can surely use this method for preparing Chinese dishes also. This technique of cooking employs the heat content of water vapors for cooking food. A very healthy feature of using steam for cooking is that your food largely retains its vitamins and nutrients, which get considerably reduced or almost eliminated.

Another benefit of cooking Chinese foods at home that goes a long way in keeping a check on your weight and waist is to reduce your consumption of meats. Meat contains saturated fats, increasing the calorie content and cholesterol.

Myths About Calcium Diet

Calcium causes weight gain

Here is the simple formula to gain weight. Eat more than your requirements. So, if you are eating more calories than you need, you are going to gain weight.

Milk and dairy products give us protein, calcium, vitamins A, D, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc.

We need all these elements into our diet. They are essential for our body growth. While milk is not the only source for calcium, milk will give you these vitamins.

In addition to milk, add salads, green vegetables, nuts, peanuts, almonds and seafood into your diet plan.

To fulfill our calcium needs we need 1 cup of milk daily along with above-mentioned foods. I take 1 glass of milk daily because I like milk and I know my diet plan.

I have a perfect body figure and I know if I am taking 1 glass of milk, I should take only 4 to 5 nuts, Not more than that.

Calcium causes heart diseases

We need calcium for our healthy bones. Our bones get slimmer as we are ageing. Good mixture of essential nutrients, fatty acids, magnesium, and vegetables are required for healthy bones.

If your diet is high in saturated foods, it will definitely cause heart disease.

I have heard this statement many times:

“Do not take calcium. It will cause heart attacks because fats will block heart valves and arteries. “

The answer is in their statement.

You should consume low-fat dairy foods. Remove the cream from the milk and drink it. You have removed the major source of saturated fats from the milk.

In this way, you will receive nutritional benefits of dairy food without fats.

Raw cheese is a good bone building and cardio protective food. It is easily available in the market. If you have time, you can make cheese at home.

Calcium supplements are enough

First, I do not recommend calcium supplements. Try natural supplements like milk, yogurt, fish and vegetables.

If you are taking calcium supplements, do not assume that you are taking enough calcium. You need 1200 mg calcium dose per day.

Moreover, calcium supplements will not give you other necessary minerals and vitamins. I do not like calcium supplements because I like milk and supplements are not tasty like a milk dessert.

Have you ever taken frozen milk?

Try it! It is a nice dessert.

Calcium supplements are not enough. Do consult your doctor before making any kind of health decision.

Calcium causes acne

Well friends

This is a rare case. I do not know about your skin conditions. But it doesn’t make sense to me. Calcium cannot cause acne.

If your skin is oily, you should not take too much fat.

In scientific terms, I cannot see any link between acne and calcium. If you are using yogurt, honey or milk cream for facial purposes, stop using them and consult your doctor.

May be your skin is not ready for such materials. Before you buy any beauty product, make sure it is tested and it is suitable for your skin conditions.

Greek Yogurt Flavors

Chobani Bites: Coffee With Chocolate Chips

If you’ve been watching your diet for some time, chances are you have cravings for chocolate now and again. Chobani bites offers the option to get a snack in that hits that sweet spot, provides 8 grams of protein, and still manages to be in low in fat and provide a great taste for 100 calories. This is hands down my all-time favorite type of yogurt, and I recommend it to friends pretty much every day. It’s a bit high in sugar for those that closely scrutinize your carb intake, but still worth it.

Chobani Fruit at the Bottom: Apple Cinnamon

If you’re not a big fan of fruits and vegetables, it can be incredibly difficult to work into your eating habits on a daily basis. Combine an easy fruit serving that with the curative powers of a super food like cinnamon, and you have my second favorite greek yogurt flavor. Clocking in with a whopping 28% protein and only 120 calories, Chobani’s Fruit at the Bottom is easy to squeeze in at any time of the day.

Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt Dips: Roasted Red Pepper

Combining the indulgent feeling of a creamy, delicious dip with the healthy facets of Greek Yogurt, this Dannon Dip powerhouse provides a feeling of fullness and nutrition. If your friends are health-conscious as well, this is an easy alternatives to fattier dips. You can also mix in carrots and other vegetables instead of the usual chips and dip combination. The very best part of a dip like this is that in terms of calories, the density isn’t there. You can take a whole two tablespoons of Dannon Oikos Grek Yogurt Dip and it only comes in at 25 calories a serving. That’s impressive and delicious!

Healthy Summer Foods

Summer is an amazing time that fresh produce and other healthy foods are plentiful. The fresher and closer that it was grown to where you buy it will increase the nutrition and make for tastier healthy summer recipes. Many of the summer fruits or vegetables are teaming with nutritionís that you need more of, and aside from the added sunlight the summer diets can be joy inducing. Here are a few of the best healthy foods that you can use to make your favorite healthy summer recipes.

  • Corn
    Fresh sweet corn is a great addition as a side dish or incorporated into a dip recipe. Corn also contains two antioxidants (lutein and zeaxanthin) that help to eliminate the damaging free radicals in your body. These specific antioxidants also have been shown to aid in the protection your eyes from the harmful UV rays. Corn is a great tasting summer food that can be used in a multitude of healthy summer recipes.
  • Tomatoes
    Fresh off the vine there is nothing more versatile in healthy summer recipes than tomatoes. Tomatoes also provide an extra layer of protection from sunburn. Specifically the lycopene that is present in tomatoes, has been shown to reduce the effects of the sun by as much as 50% with as little as 3 tablespoons of tomato paste. The best summer diets wouldn’t be complete without a healthy dose of fresh tomatoes.
  • Raspberries
    Aside from their delicious taste these little berries are a great natural source of pectin. Pectin has been shown to lower cholesterol and as soon as you can pick them you should be including them in your healthy summer recipes. Raspberries are also really high in fiber which aids with digestion and weight maintenance.