Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Don’t Just Gaze…When You Could Deglaze

Now that you have finished sauteeing whatever it is that you are sauteeing, you will find that your skillet has little bits of brown stuff still stuck to the bottom.

Your first thought as you gaze at this skillet that you dread cleaning is that you now have to get out a Brillo and clean the darn thing…all the time wondering if you’re gonna scratch the new skillet that you just forked over how much for…

But wait…

There is a way not only to make cleaning this skillet easier, but also to use these bits to make your food taste even better.

What you find stuck on your skillet is actually a mixture of browned sugars, carbohydrates, proteins, and rendered fat that have collected on the bottom of the pan.

This caramelized “mess,” which the French call sucs, is actually packed with flavor and will only require some sort of liquid—such as wine, stock, or juice—to become something quite delicious.

How do I do that?

The way that you make this stuff actually taste good, not to mention cleaning your skillet is deglazing.

Deglazing transforms this messy residue into a delicious gravy or sauce that can be served with the food that you finished sauteeing or used to flavor sauces, soups, and gravies.

This will add an additional rich flavour to the dish, capture the food’s flavor that is lost during cooking, and tenderize the foods that have so often become dry as you have sautéed them.

So how do you deglaze?

First transfer whatever you have just cooked onto a platter and cover so that it stays warm while you are deglazing the skillet.

Next add a liquid—such as wine, beer, stock, wine, juice, or both—and any desired fresh herbs to the hot pan. Add enough liquid to make twice the amount of sauce you want to make.

The flavor of your sauce or gravy will ultimately be determined by the following three things…

  • the key ingredient
  • the liquid used for deglazing
  • any flavoring or finishing ingredients that you add—such as aromatics, herbs, or butter

Raise the heat to high. Bring to a boil, and gently boil gently until the sauce is reduced to the desired consistency, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan and make them dissolve into the sauce.

Cook until the there seems to be half as much liquid as you started with.

Taste the sauce until you get the flavor that you like.

If you need to thicken your sauce or gravy so that you get a richer and more concentrated sauce or gravy, add some flour, cornstarch, or arrowroot…or simply simmer some more.

You could also add a tablespoon of whipping cream, olive oil, or butter to add even more flavor, give it a velvety texture, and thicken the sauce.

And there you go—not only a cleaner skillet that will be easier to wash, but also a delicious something extra to serve with whatever you had just sautéed…

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Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Best Cooking Oils to Use for Diabetics

  • The next step in our learning how to saute food is choosing which oil we would like to cook in.
  • There are at least a dozen choices out there…each of which not only affects the final taste of your food, but also your health—even more so as a diabetic.
  • Let’s take a look at some of these choices, starting with the most commonly used—or at least the most commonly used cooking oil in my own house—olive oil. 

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Olive Oil

The What

  • Most of us think that about huge bottle of olive oil that we hide under the sink with the other bottles—such as rum and vodka—that we might want to have close at hand.
  • And most of us think that olive oil is olive oil—never having any variety as far as flavor–ranging in flavor from fruity to peppery,, viscosity, and color.
  • Some of the olive oils found around the world that can make you change your mind about all olive oil’s tasting the same include…
  • Badia, ..a great, inexpensive well-rounded olive oil from Spain, found in many supermarkets.
  • Ravida…a brightly-colored green Italian olive oil with a pungent taste that stands up well to the robust flavor of Sicilian cooking
  • Terra Medi…a smooth, well-rounded, and not too heavy olibr oil from Greece
  • Unió…a mild and fruity olive oil from Spain with a soft peppery finish

The Why

  • Olive oil is considered by many to be the healthiest of all the cooking oils, mainly for helping to reduce the risks of heart-related conditions.
  • As far as diabetics are concerned, olive oil is a good choice because olive oil helps improve the sensitivity of the body towards insulin.
  • Olive oil is also rich in antioxidants and monounsaturated fats.

Almond Oil…Another cooking oil that can be used to saute your foods is almond oil.

Nutrients...Almond oil is not only a good source of monounsaturated fats, but also a rich source of nutrients—including potassium, zinc, vitamin E, manganese, and magnesium.

Benefits…

  1. can help you lose weight and prevent weight gain
  2. can reduce your risk of colon cancer.
  3. decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease
  4. helps fight inflammation in the body
  5. helps naturally regulate blood sugar levels
  6. keeps you feeling full, which helps to prevent snacking and overeating
  7. may also work as a natural laxative, relieving constipation and IBS
  8. naturally reduces cholesterol levels
  9. promotes the flow of oxygen and nutrients through the blood
  10. reduces the risk of heart disease
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Some Like It Hot

Before you start to actually sauté your ingredients, you should preheat your pan for a few minutes. 

Making sure that your pan is at the proper temperature before adding oil or ingredients.

Meat…As far as cooking meat, heating the skillet before adding any oil or ingredients—such as chicken or pork chop—will mean that your meat will not be as dry as if you had not done this. The reason is that tender cuts of meat needs to be cooked as quickly as possible in order to stay tender.

If your pan is cold when you add your meat, the meat will spend more time over the heat

If your pan is not hot enough when you add your meat, then the meat will just sit there until your pan slowly heats up enough to start cooking the meat.

As the meat just sits there waiting, eventually the juices will start leaking out and then boiling away….resulting in disgusting gray-colored soggy pork chops or tough, instead of tender,  chicken.

Veggies...As far as cooking veggies, heating the skillet before adding any oil or ingredients will mean that your veggies will steam them instead of sautéing. This will mean that you will have drab, mushy, overcooked vegetables—not crisp, flavorful and brightly-colored veggies because the veggies have spent too much time over the heat.

How Hot is Hot Enough?…To make sure that your pan is hot enough to add your meat and/or veggies, set a drop of water into the pan. If it’s ready, the water will jump and skitter around on the surface.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Macro Facts About Microfiber

Another choice that would be more “correct” in what has become our global effort at saving our environment, creating “greener” homes, and doing our role as a responsible member of current society than using ordinary Brawny would be microfiber cloths. 

Microfiber cloths are more commonly used in Europe than here in the United States because this is where the original first two leading brands of microcloths—e-Cloth and Norwex—were created and marketed.

Microfiber cloths have micro fibers that usually consist of an equal combination of two different plastics—polyester and nylon. These materials are forced through a tiny pipe and then heated. Once the two materials fuse together, they are then split apart into tinier fibers, known as “microfibers,” that are as much as twenty times smaller than the fibers originally were.

Because these new microfiber cloths have far fewer and much smaller fibers than the fibers found in ordinary cleaning cloths—such as those that are made from cotton or a synthetic such as nylon that has not been used to create a microfiber cloth—they can more easily grab even the smallest, most microscopic dirt, dust, and other stuff that ordinary cleaning cloths leave behind.

  • Microfiber cloths are hastier …Microfiber cloths get things looking far cleaner in a lot less time and are better at clean up spills faster than paper towels because their tiny fibers are more absorbent.
  • Microfiber cloths are healthier for the environment…Microfiber cloths eliminate the need to buy expensive and harmful detergents.
  • Microfiber cloths are healthier to your wallet…Microfiber cloths are fairly cheap when compared to many other ways of cleaning up spills and doing other such jobs around your home.
  • Microfiber cloths are hygienic…Microfiber cloths have been shown to minimize the spread of infections in hospitals and similar environments.

Choosing Microfiber Cloths…When choosing microfiber cloths, look for those that have the smallest microfibers because these are the most hygienic.

These days there are SO many different websites selling microfiber cloths, so it can be hard to know which ones are the best ones, but this list of the most highly-reviewed microfiber cloths found on the internet might come in handy. These microfiber cloths include…

AmazonBasics Microfiber Cleaning Cloths

  • Absorbency…can absorb up to eight times its own weight
  • Best used for…cleaning inside the house, not advised for outdoor use because they can tear easily
  • Care…machine washable and can be washed, rinsed, and reused over and over again
  • Color…three different towel colors—blue, yellow, and white
  • Cost…packs of twenty-four for only fifteen dollars
  • Material..,90% Polyester 10% Polyamide
  • Review…
  • Size…25″x33″

Chemical Guys Miracle Dryer Towel

  • Absorbency..absorb up no less than ten times their weight in liquid
  • Best used for…best suited for drying a wet surface or applying a polish or wax on a car or kitchen appliances
  • Care..best temperature to wash the towel at is 60 degrees celsius, and if it is not washed at that temperature the towel could need to be washed twice to fully clean it out
  • Cost…brand is the most “premium” available, so cost more than most other brands out there…
  • Material…360,000 strands in every square inch of highly refined loop-woven microfiber, more than the numbers of strands in the competition, which is usually only 100,000-150,000 strands for every square inch of the towel
  • Size.. 16″ x 16″
  •  
  • Zwipes Microfiber Cleaning Cloths
  • Absorbency..,eight times its weight in water
  • Best used for…cleaning off and dusting surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom—such as sinks, toilets, showers, bathtubs, vanities, mirrors, countertops, appliances, and stainless steel
  • Care…wash in the washing machine with cold water and then tumble dry on a low setting
  • Color…orange, white, and blue
  • Cost…fifteen dollars
  • Material…110,000 fibers per square inch of cloth
  • Size..12″x16″
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Maintaining Your Knife For Life

If I just forked over this much money for a quality knife to slice and dice veggies, I am gonna want to take the very best care of it that I can.

So how do we do that?

Here are a few tips…

After each use wash your knife in warm, soapy water and dry it well.

Never put it in the dishwater. This can dull and damage the blades.

Never soak your knife in water.

Store your knife in a certain place, not in a drawer crammed with everything else that manages to find its way into your kitchen….but more on this later…

Use a traditional knife sharpening steel to sharpen your knives. Otherwise, bring them to a knife store that will sharpen them for you. Remember that sharp knives are  not only easier to use, but also safer.

——————————————————————

  • Cuts
  • slice, mince, chop, crush, tenderize, and scoop up
  • cutting and
  • making garnishes
  • hold the knife in your writing hand (the Chinese
  • call this the “chopstick hand”).
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

These Knives Made the Cut

7" Chinese Chef's Knife Vegetable Cleaver, , large

So in my quest for the best knife to buy as far as veggies, which ones did I find worth considering…

Cutco Vegetable Knife #1735

  • Blade…wide enough to easily move ingredients from the cutting board to the pan
  • Blade Length…7-3/4″
  • Blade Material…410 High-Carbon, Stainless Steel
  • Cost…$150
  • Edge…straight
  • Engraving…available
  • Guarantee…Cutco’s Forever Guarantee means that they will sharpen, hone, buff, repair and if necessary replace your CUTCO knives and accessories for FREE, no receipt required
  • Handle…ergonomically designed for all hands—both large and small…both left and right
  • Handle Color…classic brown or pearl white
  • Handle Material…highly engineered thermo-resin
  • Overall Length…13-1/4″
  • Review…On the Gas
  • Source…”American Made. American Proud.”
  • Tang…full, meaning that the blade extends the full length of the handle
  • Use…to chop, slice and dice ingredients for soups, stews and vegetable platters
  • Weight…7.6 oz.

Dalstrong Phantom Series 6” Nakiri Vegetable Knife

  • Blade Length…6”
  • Blade Material…forged from a single piece of ice tempered steel with high levels of chromium added for stain resistance…the ice-tempering ensures excellent resilience and superior edge retention
  • Cost…$149.99…on sale now for $44.04
  • Edge…straight…double-bevel…tapered to minimize surface resistance and to increase both durability and flexibility
  • Handle Material…traditional Japanese D-shaped black pakkawood with a distinct red spacer, carefully crafted mosaic of copper and brass, and hand-polished stainless steel end cap designed to create counterbalance and distinction
  • Review…That’s a Knife
  • Tang…full tang for incredible robustness and quality
  • Use…prepping vegetables in bulk

Global Cutlery USA SAI 6″ Vegetable Knife

  • Blade Material…three-ply corrosion-resistant 18/8 and CROMOVA 18 stainless steel
  • Cost…$164.95
  • Edge…12.5-degree convex convex blade edge
  • Handle…unique thumb rest to give added comfort and control.
  • Handle Material…metal, totally wood free….three-ply corrosion-resistant 18/8 and CROMOVA 18 stainless steel
  • Review…Knifeista
  • Tang…full
  • Warranty…lifetime warranty against defects and breakage
  • Weight…1.3 pounds

Shun Classic 7-in. Vegetable Cleaver

  • Blade…hand-sharpened 16° double-bevel blade
  • Blade Length..7 in
  • Blade Material..high-performance VG-MAX stainless steel.
  • Cost…300.00
  • Handle Material…D-shaped ebony PakkaWood
  • Overall Length…13-1/4″
  • Source…Japan

ZWILLING Cutlery TWIN Signature 7″ Chinese Chef’s Knife Vegetable Cleaver

  • Cost…90
  • Edge…laser-controlled edge that is incredibly sharp, honed, and hand-finished
  • Handle…three-rivet handle
  • Handle Material…polymer
  • Source…a German manufacturer that has been making knives for over 280 years
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Sources for Cooking Utensils

Quality cooking utensils are key to quality cooking results, regardless of the cooking method that you are using.

And so here I’ve highlighted a few of the sources of quality cooking utensils that you can refer to as we finish discussing the various cooking methods…

I also used this as a chance to find which one spatula to buy to go next to my brand new saute pan.

 

1. di Oro Seamless Spatula

  • Material…BPA free, US FDA and German LGFB certified silicone with 18/10 stainless steel reinforced core
  • Size: 11.2″ x 2.5″ with 3.25″ blade
  • Cost…$11
  • Awards…Chosen America’s Test Kitchen  & Cook’s Illustrated “2017 Best All-around Silicone Spatula
  • Colors…Black, Red
  • Easy to Clean…Dishwasher Safe
  • Temperature Resistance…to 600ºF
  • Warranty…Forever Guarantee…Every spatula or utensil bought from them is guaranteed. forever.
  • Weight: 3.2 oz

  • Material…BPA Free and FDA Approved Silicone
  • Colors…red, orange, purple, and blue
  • Design…one-piece design
  • Heat Resistant…to 450°F
  • Easy-to-clean…dishwasher safe…stain and odor resistant
  • Durability…will not discolor, warp, melt or chip.

3. OXO Silicone Sauté Paddle

Silicone Saute Paddle 3647
  • Cost…$9.99
  • Colors…available in black or red
  • Easy to Clean…dishwasher safe

Vremi

West

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

How to Choose the Right Spatulas to Saute Food

Now that we’ve learned how to choose the right saute pan, let’s move on to the next tool that you will need in order to saute food—the spatula.

Using a good spatula as you saute food in your new an is important because you don’t wants to scratch your pan or shorten its lifespan.

Don’t settle for using the metal spatula that you’ve been using for the last thirty years or a metal spoon to stir your food. This will definitely damage the surface.

Not only does having a good spatula keep your new pan looking like new, it also makes it easier to turn your meat, as well as softer foods—such as egg, pancakes, or tender fish—smoothly without disrupting their shape.

Although it’s always a good idea to have several different types and sizes of spatulas on hand to handle various cooking jobs, right now we’re only talking about one method—sauteeing…so we’re only going to choose the right ones for this job.

There are several factors to consider as you shop for your new spatula. These include…

  • Design
  • Durability
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to keep clean
  • Heat resistance
  • Long lasting
  • Materials used
  • Shape
  • Size
  • Style

Design...

One-piece design…Choose one that is only one unit, that does not have both a handle and body because these always tend to…

  • be difficult to clean
  • breed bacteria
  • detach from one another
  • get food stuck at the joint
  • Slotted…f the food you are cooking typically has a lot of grease, using a slotted spatula will allow the grease to pour off before you put it on the plate or serving platter

Handle…Three factors to look for as far as the handle are…

  • Flexible…they should be flexible enough to help you scrape out your pans
  • Heat-Resistant…will not turn hot when exposed to hot materials
  • Sturdy…they should be sturdy enough to handle meat

Hanging loop…Look for a hole at the end of the spatula that will allow you to hang it as you finish organizing your kitchen, should you choose not to stash it in a drawer or cram it into some sort of jar with every other utensil in your kitchen.

Materials…As far as materials, there are at least three different choices, including…

Plastic...Don’t even bother getting one of these to saute your food. They tend to curl at the ends and melt easily when used on heated pans and cookware, are very flimsy, and cannot handle much if any weight.

Silicone

  • Durability…extremely durable…will not melt or become misshapen…made to last decades…will look the same year after year unless they are purposely destroyed…won’t flake, peel, break, crack or even fade
  • Easy to Clean…can be washed in the dishwashee
  • Health Factor…bacteria resistant
  • Heat Resistant…able to withstand high heat…handles are cool to the touch so there is no fear of the user getting burned, even if it is left on the stovetop or somewhere else that is hot
  • Use…great for using on any kind of cookware, designed to handle high heat such as when stirring hot sauces on the stove

Wood

  • Easy to Clean…not dishwasher safe …also require conditioning from time to time so that they will not wear out.
  • Heat Resistance…poor conductora of heat…so you can comfortably hold it without getting burned
  • Use…great for scraping the browned bits of food off the bottom of the pan…can also be good for stirring….not very efficient for scraping since they do not have any flexibility

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Here’s to a Super Bowl

Now that we’ve learned that there are way more salad greens to choose from than the ordinary iceberg lettuce, let’s talk about the good stuff that actually makes salad good.

One major difference that makes a salad that you actually enjoy eating better than the salad that you dread seating is using just as many vegetables as your do leafy greens.

Raw veggies and other add-ins will give your salad texture as well as more surface area for dressings and toppings.

Here are some of the most common choices as far as salad add-ins…

Note…I was going to be more detailed when I first started this, but decided that since one of my goals is to finish working my way through the Raw Foods yamid, thought that this would be rather redundant, and for making salads, this would be more useful instead…

Vegetables…

  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Baby Carrots
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Beets
  • Bell peppers
  • Black Olives
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Corn kernels
  • Cucumbers
  • Green bell pepper…
  • Green olive…
  • Heirloom Tomato…
  • Jicama
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  •  Pickled beets
  • Portabello mushroom
  • Radishes
  • Red bell pepper
  • Red onion
  • Tomato
  • Zucchini

Fruits

  • Apple
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Mandarin Oranges
  • Strawberries

Legumes

  • Chickpeas.
  • Kidney beans

Carbs

  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Chia seeds
    peanuts

    pumpkin seeds,
    Sesame seeds,
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • xsummer squash, hot peppers, possibilities are endless!

  • minced garlic,
    garlic powder,
    cayenne pepper,
  • oregano,
  • cumin,
  • paprika,
  • onion powder
  • salt
  • pepper 
  • black beans,
  • lentils,
  • pinto beans
  • Herbs
  • Cilantro
  • Basil
  • Dill
  • Mint
  • Rosemary
  • Oregano

Meats

  • Bacon
  • Chicken
  • Ham
  • Steak
  • Turkey
  • ————————————————-
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

You Mean There Actually Are Other Leafy Greens Besides Iceberg?

  • So we’ve decided to raise the bar on our salad bar…
  • And learned that as far as nutrition goes, iceberg lettuce is at the bottom of the totem pole…
  • But what leafy green is out there lurking at the local grocery store or farmer’s market?
  • Below is a list of several varieties that you could use instead…

Arugula

  • Also called…rocket, Italian cress, Mediterranean rocket, rugola, rugula, roquette, rucola
  • Leaves…small, flat, frilly-edged leaves
  • Most Common Uses…salads, wraps, sandwiches, pasta, risotto, and Italian dishes like pesto
  • Nutrition…especially high in vitamin K
  • Originated…the Mediterranean
  • Taste…distinct peppery taste and aroma

Butterhead Lettuce

  • Also called…butter lettuce, Boston, bibb (limestone)
  • Leaves…soft and smooth like buttee

Cos Lettuce

  • Leaves…dark green, long, narrow
  • Taste…..sweet and tangy
  • Texture…crispy and crunchy texture

Cress

  • Leaves…tough, fibrous stem and small green leaves
  • Taste…peppery taste
  • Varieties…watercress, upland cress, curly cress, and land cress

Endive

  • Color…off-white center with loose, lacy, dark green outer leaves which curl at the tips
  • Leaves..loose, lacy, dark green outer leaves which curl at the tips
  • Taste…slightly bitter
  • Uses…salads and soups

Dandelion Greens

  • Leaves…the green leaves from the so-thought-of “weeds” in your yard…stiff leaves with pointy, fine “teeth.”
  • Taste…sharp bitter flavor
  • Uses…a classic French bistro salad, salads with roasted beets

Endive

  • Leaves…unique oval shape
  • Texture…soft and satiny
  • Taste…slightly bitter
  • Uses…scooplike shape makes for serving small appetizers

Escarole

  • Color…various shades of green
  • Head…loose, elongated heads
  • Leaves…broad, wavy leaves with smooth edges
  • Other Names…Batavian endive, scarole, broad-leaved endive
  • Taste…darker green leaves are lightly bitter and spicy; but the paler interior leaves are milder
  • Uses…soups and beans…popular in Italian cuisine.

Frisee

  • Color…pale green
  • Leaves…feathery leaves tinged with yellow and green
  • Other Names…curly endive, chicory, chicory endive, curly chicory
  • Taste…bitter

Iceberg

  • Leaves…tightly packed leaves on dense, heavy heads
  • Water Content…contains more water than most other leafy greens

Kale

  • Nutritional Value…high in fiber
  • Taste…earthy, slightly grassy taste
  • Uses…salads, soups, pasta, and smoothies
  • Varieties…include curly, baby, and lacinato

Lacinato Kale (a.k.a. Dino Kale)

  • Other Names…Tuscan kale or black kale
  • Leaves…very dark blue-green or black-green leaves
  • Taste…earthy and  nutty flavor

Leaf Lettuce 

  • Color…can be either green or red
  • Leaves…large, frilly-edged
  • Taste…mildly sweet and delicate taste
  • Uses…sandwiches, burgers, popular lining for hors d’oeuvres platters

Mâche

  • Other Names…Field salad, lamb’s lettuce, corn salad, field lettuce, fetticus
  • Taste…mild and slightly sweet flavor
  • Leaves…very small
  • Notes…expensive, very delicate, will bruise easily

Mizuna

  • Leaves…petite elongated leaves with spiky edges similar to miniature oak leaves
  • Origin…Japan
  • Other Names…Japanese greens, spider mustard, xue cai, kyona, potherb mustard, and California Peppergrass
  • Taste…peppery

Oak Leaf Lettuce

  • Color…reddish-purple
  • Leaves…very similar to leaf lettuce, but with more of an oak leaf shape
  • Taste…super-mellow, sweet

Radicchio

  • Color…burgundy-red leaves with white ribs
  • Other Names…Chioggia, red chicory, red leaf chicory, red Italian chicory
  • Taste…mildly bitter with a subtle spicy undertone
  • Texture…quite firm but still tender
  • Uses…in salads, as a cooked vegetable, and grilled or roasted and mixed with other grilled vegetables

Romaine

  • Nutritional Value…particularly rich in folic acid and vitamin K
  • Taste..light, almost grassy taste
  • Texture…a satisfying crunch
  • Uses..Caesar salads, wraps

Spinach

  • Color…dark green leaves
  • Leaves…smooth, sturdy, deep green
  • Taste…mild, lightly herbal
  • Uses…salads, wraps, and smoothies

Sweet Potato Greens

  • Taste…lovely, almost sweet flavor with no discernible bitterness
  • Uses…soups or stews

Tatsoi

  • Leaves…small and rounded much like little spoons, hence its other name, spoon cabbage
  • Other Names…Tat soi, spoon cabbage, rosette bok choy
  • Taste…mildly peppery and sweet, with only the faintest hint of cabbage flavor.