Archive | September, 2011

Inspiration Stations

30 Sep

One of the most fun things to do when you’re bored, hungry, and uninspired is to look at food. Yes, looking at food is a great way to build up a repertoire of recipe ideas, inspire yourself in the kitchen, and develop your recipe reading comprehension.

Here are a few places to get your ogling on:

 

Feed your eyes: pumpkin bread

Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwich

These websites, blogs, and recipe sites are fantastic resources for any cook. They have won awards and been recognized by numerous outlets for their effectiveness, professionalism, and deliciousness.

WARNING: If you recognize symptoms of hunger: growling stomach, drooling, licking of lips, or pangs in your belly region; this seek immediate culinary attention. Get off your butt and cook.

 

 

 

Chicken cutlets

23 Sep

Wondering what you should cook this weekend?

Well now that you have a bit more time to cook and swallow your food before running off to your next class or homework assignment, it’s time to put some of your cooking skills to the test.

This weeks recipe is chicken cutlets

For the chicken cutlets you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-4 medium-sized chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup – 1 cup panko or Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • OPTIONAL: grated cheese of your choice, milk, various spices, salt, pepper

Directions:

  1. First, create your mis en place (a french cooking term meaning everything in its place).
  2. Measure out your flour onto a dinner plate (OPTIONAL: add some salt, pepper, garlic powder, and any other spice you might think would be good) then set aside.
  3. Measure out your breadcrumbs onto another plate and set aside.
  4. Crack your two eggs into a bowl and whisk them up (OPTIONAL: if you have a favorite cheese, grate some into the scrambled egg mixture and add a little milk) then set aside.
  5. Add your vegetable oil to a pan on medium heat. (HINT: don’t allow to overheat, you WILL set your fire alarm off)
  6. Take another dinner plate and put a piece or two of paper towel on it, and set aside.
  7. Open up your package of chicken breasts and lay the pieces on a cutting board. Get a large chef knife and cut the pieces of the chicken breast into smaller cutlets. (TIP: the reason you cut the chicken into smaller pieces is because it helps them cook faster, taste more tender, and portion more efficiently. Here’s a how to video below if you would like learn how to cut chicken)
  8. Take your cutlets and cover them lightly in flour.
  9. Next, dip the cutlets in the scrambled egg mixture.
  10. Without dripping too much, bring the cutlets onto the plate with your breadcrumbs and cover them. Press the crumbs into the chicken coating them well.
  11. Once your chicken is layered with those three things, your ready to cook them.
  12. Test your vegetable oil. Take a drop or two of leftover scrambled egg mixture and drip it into the oil: if it sizzles your ready to go. If it doesn’t it’s not hot enough–wait a few minutes and test again. If it’s very loud and sizzles like crazy it’s too hot–remove your pan from heat for a few minutes and then test again.
  13. When your oil is ready, carefully lay your cutlets  into the oil (TIP: lay the chicken away from you so you don’t get burnt by splashing oil) and space them so each piece isn’t touching. You will not fit every piece all at once (maybe 4-6 at a time) so be patient.
  14. Watch your chicken. When the edges turn white or the part that’s face down becomes a golden brown, you can flip the piece. Move pieces around and check to be sure you’re not burning them.
  15. When a piece is golden brown on both sides remove from the pan and place the cutlet on the plate with the paper towels on it. (TIP: when cooking any kind of meat in a vegetable oil [NOT olive oil or butter] you want to use a paper towel to remove any excess oil from the meat).
  16. Repeat until all of your chicken is cooked.
  17. At this point you can do whatever you’d like to your cutlets. Here are a few ideas:
  • Chicken parmesan: just add marinara sauce and cheese
  • Chicken sandwich: put the cutlet on a roll and add your favorite sandwich fixings
  • Chicken francese: put the chicken in a clean pan with butter and lemon juice
  • Or just add your chicken cutlets to a favorite salad or pasta dish to make any meal feel heartier.

Chicken cutlets are very versatile and can be made to fit any meal with a little creativity. Try the recipe out and make it your own.

What Every College Pantry/Fridge Should Have

16 Sep

Now that you’re on your own in new place, cooking for yourself for possibly the first time can be a challenge. If you go to your local market and pick up the following items, you’ll be ready to whip up just about anything.

1. Pasta, and lots of it! Take your pick of regular, whole grain, Smart Balance, penne, angel hair, spaghetti, or all of them. Try different kinds, explore the possibilities.

2. Olive oil. This may be the most expensive thing on your receipt, but it’s vital to cooking anything and everything, especially if you like Italian food.

3. Garlic. A jar of pre-chopped garlic is the best for those who are more concerned with the length of the their prep time and not picky about freshness.

4. Frozen Vegetables. Buy in bulk cause they won’t go bad for a long time. One of the fastest, healthiest things you can buy.

5.Eggs. A vital ingredient in most baking dishes, and most breakfasts of champions.

6. Milk. Even if you’re vegan or lactose intolerant, milk is accessible and great for cooking, baking, and, of course, cereal.

7. Rice. You’ve got lots of options to choose from: brown, white, wild, long grain, basmati, arborio, jasmine, etc. Try different kinds and pair it with different vegetables and proteins.

8. Tomato sauce. An easy topping for meats, pastas, and Italian dishes.

9. Spices. I’d say the most important ones are: salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder, cinnamon, and Italian seasoning (a combination of basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram). These spices will come in handy for just about anything you might want to cook.

10. Sugar. Sold in various forms: powdered, fine, brown, light brown, molasses, agave nectar, etc; sugar is a vital ingredient in baking and coffee enhancement, so think about getting some next time you’re out at the market.

11. Flour. All purpose flour will come in handy for most things you cook/bake in the kitchen. Wheat flour is a good healthy alternative.

12. Vegetable oil. Though it’s not the healthiest ingredient, if you ever want to make a boxed cake mix, fried food dish, or thanksgiving turkey, you’re probably going to want a medium-sized bottle of vegetable oil just in case.

13. Butter. Who doesn’t love butter? The famous cook, Julia Child once said, “Fat gives things flavor.” Depending on how healthy you want to be you can use it sparingly or go all out; either way, butter is a valuable ingredient to have in your fridge, just in case.

14. Bread. Yup, bread is an amazing thing. Wherever you go in the world, bread will be there in one form or another from pita to naan, french to tortilla, hoagie to dinner roll. Try different forms of bread at your local bakery or market each week and see what different things you can do with it. Tip: freeze your bread to keep evil mold from attacking it before you’ve finished enjoying it.

15. Cheese. Depending on where you are studying abroad, you may not be able to find cheddar like you’re so spoiled with in Vermont. Cheese is one of the most versatile dairy products. Get whatever kinds of cheeses you like and try them in different dishes like homemade mac n’ cheese, fondue, grilled cheese, nachos, poutine (for those Montrealers), or whatever you feel like.

16. Fruit. As one of the major food groups on the new MyPlate (designed by Michelle Obama, it replaces the established Food Pyramid concept), it’s important that you get about two cups of fruit in your daily diet. Make weekly trips to your local farmers market or favorite produce seller and buy fresh fruit to snack on. Additionally, get frozen fruit, yogurt, and a thick fruit juice (like Naked or Odwalla) at the grocery store and make fruit smoothies for a delicious breakfast.

17. Frozen burger patties. Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, a flexitarian, or an all out meat lover, it’s super helpful to have a box of frozen burger patties that can be ready to eat in ten minutes or less and won’t go bad.

18. Local delicacies. Now that you’re abroad, you need to go out an try new things. Explore your area for unique markets, restaurants, and specialty shops.

Now go out there and get your pantry and fridge ready because next week there will be a delicious recipe here to try…

Hey Study Abroad students, and food lovers everywhere!

9 Sep

So a new season of worldly exploration begins. Now that you’re off in a new place, some of you may be missing the familiarity of certain grocery items, fast food, and maybe even the college cafeteria. You’re cooking for yourself—for a few people, it’s heaven; for others, not so much.
With a few skills and lessons from this Champlain Foodies Abroad blog, you’ll be just fine. Take a look around and check out our recipes, tips, restaurant suggestions, and other neat ideas to fill your stomach and mind.

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