Detroit Eats

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Technique #1 – Standard Breading Procedure

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    One of the most useful techniques used in the kitchen is Standard Breading Procedure. It is called this because the same techniques are used in a large variety of recipes including Chicken Parmesan, breaded fish, Mozzarella sticks and fried green tomatoes. Standard breading Procedure consist of three components, flour(seasoned), egg and milk mixture and breadcrumb. The idea is that the flour will stick to the Food being breaded. The food is then dipped in the egg and milk mixture and sticks to the flour. Finally, the food is the dredged in the breadcrumbs. One of the fine points if this procedure is the use of both hands in the process. For me this means that my left hand (my “wet” hand) moves the food into the flour to be coated, then into the egg mix and then into the breadcrumb mixture. This is where my right hand (dry hand) will coat the food with the breadcrumbs thoroughly. The reason this is important is that if the right hand (dry hand) becomes wet the breadcrumbs will stick to your hand and your food will not be coated properly. By the same token if your left hand gets coated with flour the egg will not stick (if this happens just wash and dry your hands and continue). Also if you are not comfortable working from left to right just switch your station around and work right to left     

standard breading procedure                     from Left to right        Flour               Egg mix       breadcrumb

     Within this framework there are a number of things that can be done to spice up the process. I have added cheese and herbs to the breadcrumbs or used crushed tortilla chip instead of breadcrumbs. I have also used instant potato flakes instead of breadcrumbs for fish. There are also Panko (Japanese) breadcrumbs that are available in almost every supermarket these days. Once breaded the food should be allowed to sit for about 10 minutes to allow a “glue to form that bond the flour,egg mix and breadcrumb together before cooking. At this point your food can also be individually frozen. This allows you to prep ahead of your meal. At the appropriate time just remove from the freezer and cook.

     One of the points that are important in cooking foods that are breaded is to make sure not to overbrown your coating. For me this means either sealing my breading in a pan with some oil or “flash frying” in my deep fryer ( there are many fine home models on the market these days) until I get the desired light brown color. I actually take my foods out a little lighter than I want them do to the fact that they will keep browning after being seared. Also, it is important to not overfill your fryer or your oil temperature will drop and your coating will not set. Because many of the items I prepare this way are somewhat larger(chicken or fish) than a slice of zucchini or tomato I prefer to finish these foods on a sheet pan in the oven. This way I get a great color without burning the breading before the food is actually cooked. I “flash fry” these items one or 2 at a time. They will still finish well in the over even if they have been pre fried.

     I hope you have enjoyed this post and will try some of techniques discussed. If anyone has questions I can be contacted at Detroit Eats

     Until Next time..

Written by Ed Schenk

April 19, 2010 at 7:49 pm

Posted in Food, Recipe

Tagged with , , , , ,

Turning Japanese..I think I’m turning Japanese.I really think so ! Making and Eating Chicken Katsu

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Katsu 1    

I have always had a love of Japanese food and culture. As early as me teens I was going out to Japanese restaurants and slurping up sushi. My Asian journey was helped by a good friend whose nickname Red Ed. He was called due to the fact that he had red curly hair and freckles and so people would know which Ed they were talking about ( I was called …..Ed. Sorry I won’t reveal more!). The thing about Red Ed was that he grew up in Japan and was fluent in the language. Besides introducing me to Japanese food and culture he also taught me some of the language (a skill that would serve me well later). A favorite prank of ours was to go to a party and speak Japanese to each other and watch as the whole room fell silent while trying to figure out what we were saying to each other. Anyway…

  Fast forward 30 years. I was hired to run the Cafeteria at a large Japanese auto concern. It was a natural. I knew food and spoke some Japanese. One of the requirements of the position was to serve authentic Japanese food. In order to fill this requirement I hired a Japanese Chef. Now my background as a Chef is pretty deep but I was in awe watching this Chef work. It was such a pleasure and I learned so much more about Japanese cuisine than I thought I knew. One of the dishes we served was called Chicken Katsu. It’s basically Japanese fried Chicken but is very popular. We served it once a week and people would line up around the building just to order it.

Without further babbling I present to you Chicken Katsu:

Chicken Katsu Dinner for Two

  • 2×4 oz chicken Breast
  • kosher salt
  • White pepper
  • 1 cup flour (all purpose)
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • milk
  • Bulldog brand Tonkatsu Sauce
  • Finely shredded cabbage*
  • Nishiki brand Japanese short grain rice
  • Black sesame seeds

1. Butterfly both chicken breast so that they are an even thickness through out.
2.Sprinkle each piece lightly with kosher and white pepper.
3.Make a batter with the egg milk and some of the flour. It should be the consistency of a thin pancake batter.
4.Dredge the chicken in the flour and then dip it in the batter. Place the battered chicken in the breadcrumb.
5.Using dry hand  coat the chicken with the breadcrumb. Allow the breaded chicken to rest fir 1o minutes so the coating will set.
6.Fry the chicken at 350 degrees until golden brown and the internal temperature is 165 degrees.
7.Place shredded cabbage on the plate in a mound.
8.Run a knife through the chicken in order to cut it in strips.
9.Put on plate with the cabbage and drizzle with Tonkatsu sauce.
10.Serve with cooked rice sprinkled with black sesame seed.

 

* Soak the cabbage in cold water after shredding. It will get crisp as it absorbs the water.

  • Panko breadcrumbs are available in all Japanese grocery stores and most groceries.
  • I am not endorsing the rice brand as I know there are other brands of Short grain Japanese rice. It is, however the most recognizable brand in the U.S.
  • While it is possible to make Tonkatsu sauce nobody in Japan really does because the commercial stuff is widely available. It’s like mayonnaise…Yeah I know how to make it but why go to the trouble if I don’t have to.
  • Bulldog brand Tonkatsu sauce is the most widely available brand and can be found in Most Japanese (and Korean) groceries.

Nokorimono ni wa fuku ga aru

Luck exists in the leftovers.

Written by Ed Schenk

April 15, 2010 at 7:44 pm

On the Grill – Rack of Lamb

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Chop 3  

     Years ago I worked at a very well known restaurant here in Detroit. As a line Chef it was my responsibility to prepare several of the menu items to order. I remember many of the items I prepared. On the appetizer menu there was a Calamari with a Tomato and Basil Burre Blanc and Oysters Rockefeller. For entrees I remember Sautéed Whitefish, Sweetbreads,Roast Duck with a Rosemary infused Red Wine and Honey reduction and Rack of Lamb. I loved Rack of lamb. One of the reasons was that in a Lamb Rack (double rack) there are 9 bone. Now a portion at the restaurant was 4 bones so I would get 2 orders plus one end piece that couldn’t be served. being and end piece it wasn’t a full chop and only had a small amount of meat. What to do with this chop. Many times it was sacrificed for quality control. You can read into that what you like! Ever since this experience Rack of Lamb has been one of my favorites.

     Due to the cost involved I don’t get to have Rack of Lamb often and almost never order it in a restaurant but I went shopping today and what did I find on sale but Rack of Lamb. It was still pricy but I couldn’t pass it up. I immediately took it home and started to marinate it. Since I was planning on cooking it over charcoal I though a Mediterranean approach would be in order. In Italy or Greece this would have meant meant olive oil, garlic,lemon and fresh rosemary but several years ago I discovered a Middle Eastern spice blend called Zatar. Zatar is a spice blend with many uses. It is sprinkled on pita dough before baking. It is also a seasoning for meats. Once I added it to my rack of lamb marinade there was no going back. The rosemary was out and the Zatar was in.

With the weather warming up again it was a pretty good day for grilling. I built the fire so that I could take advantage of indirect heat cooking while being able to move my Lamb onto the fire as I felt necessary. I also soaked a few hickory chips to take advantage of the smoke. This method produces a very nice Rack of Lamb!

     Unfortunately I can’t really offer a real recipe for this dish as it’s always been something I have just done as a technique.I’m hoping that I’ve given enough information so that anyone who likes lamb but was intimidated by cooking a rack will it will give it a try. I am always available to answer question about cooking so folks shouldn’t hesitate to ask!

    To go along with the Lamb I served a Mushroom Risotto and Sautéed Spinach.

Mushroom Risotto

  • 1½ cups Orzo
  • 1 qt mushroom or Chicken stock
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ½ small onion, chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter (½ stick)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

    Heat your stock up separately and reserve. Keep warm.

    Sauté the onion and mushroom in a little vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon of butter until the onion is soft.

    Add the orzo and continue stirring until the rice is coated with the oil.

    Add the wine and continue stirring until all the wine is absorbed.

    Lower the flame to medium and slowly add the stock a little bit at a time and stir constantly. You don’t have to stir fast but you must continue stirring. Continue adding stock until the orzo swell and your mix gets creamy (20 – 30 minutes). Test the orzo to make sure it is not crunchy if it is add more stock.

    When the Orzo is done stir in the remaining Butter and Parmesan cheese and serve immediately)

    Notes:

    • Zatar is available in any Middle Eastern grocery and a little goes a long way so it’s worth the investment.
    • For presentation sake I like to buy Racks that have been Frenched. What this means is that the fat and connective tissue that exists between each bone has been removed and the bones scraped. This gives your chops that nice “Lollipop” effect If I can’t get it that way I French it myself.
    • Remember to let your meat “rest”. This allows the juices to settle and they won’t run out of the meat when you cut into it.
    • With lamb I never cook past medium rare. The meat should be pink but not bloody.
    • For the Risotto I like to use orzo instead of Arborio Rice. It works just as well and I like the texture of the grain.
    • Using a wild mushroom in the Risotto is a great way to go but not absolutely essential.
    • Do not walk away from the Risotto it need to be stirred continually.
    • If your Risotto seems too thick add a little heavy cream or stock to make it creamy again.

    rack 1 

  • Bon Appétit!

  • Written by Ed Schenk

    April 12, 2010 at 5:42 am

    BBQ Ribs – Beef and Pork

    with 19 comments


    ribs

          One of my favorite meals is BBQ ribs. I don’t get to have them as often as I like due to the fact that my wife doesn’t eat pork. This time, however, I came up was offered a solution. The BBQ gods, in their infinite wisdom, decided that beef rib and pork ribs should be on sale at the same time. Now I haven’t an opportunity to do beef ribs on the BBQ before but I figured the process shouldn’t be any different. Beef ribs, by the way, are the bones that are attached to a prime rib so they were nice and meaty.

         The first step was to brine the meat. This step helps to ensure that the meat stays moist and flavorful. While there are a lot of brine recipes out there I chose to keep it simple. I brought 1 cup of Kosher salt, 1 cup of brown sugar and 1 gallon of water to a boil the night before. Considering the ingredients I wasn’t concerned about any type of spoilage so I just left the pot (covered) on the stove to cool overnight. I also took the opportunity to remove the membrane from the back side of the ribs. Without this step the membrane would make the ribs tough. The next morning I placed my ribs in the brine and put the pot in the refrigerator for 4 1/2 hours.

         The second step was to cover my ribs with a rib rub. There are many brands on the market but the fact is the all the ingredients are probably in your spice cabinet already. A good basic rub is:

  • 1/3 cup paprika
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons  Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons Chili Powder
  •      After removing your ribs from the brine pat them dry with a paper towel. Then rub both sides of your ribs and allow to sit (refrigerated) for at least 1 hour.

         While your ribs are resting you can be soaking your wood chips. There are several types of wood that can be used. I like hickory the best but many people will use oak,apple cherry or pecan. I will use mesquite when I am grilling (as opposed to BBQing). Mesquite burns at a very high heat and as such is great for steaks and chicken or anything you want to sear and cook quickly.

         The rule about BBQ is to cook low and slow. I build my fire on one side of my grill and put a drip pan full of water on the other side. I also make sure to always have a thermometer inside the grill so I can monitor the temperature. Ideally I like to cook between 225 and 250 degrees. I control the temperature by using the vents on the top and bottom of the grill (I am currently using a Weber Kettle), as well as, partially opening the lid if necessary.

         Having taken all these steps I am now ready to put my ribs on. I place the as far away as I can from the flame (over the drip pan) and sprinkle the moist chips on the fire. It takes approximately 4 to 4 1/2 hours for the ribs to finish. One additional step I take to keep them moist is to have a squirt bottle filled with apple juice which I use to make sure the top of the ribs stay moist. When the bones just start to pull away from the meat the ribs are done.

         The final step before feasting is to sauce the ribs. While some BBQ experts will tell you that good BBQ need no sauce I prefer it. I do find that a simple homemade sauce is often far superior to a store bought sauce. I think that too many ingredients are added when a less is more approach should be used. ketchup,cider vinegar and brown sugar are all you need although this time I had some maple syrup in the house and used it to replace some of the brown sugar I would normally use. This was a great decision as the sauce was spectacular. It should be noted that , due to the sugar in BBQ sauce it should be added only at the end of the BBQing process.

    A couple of notes:

    • I like to use a baby back rib. I find it more meaty (and less fatty) than a St. Louis rib.
    • While you can find inexpensive ribs remember that you get what you pay for so if the deal seems too good to be true it probably is. You could end up paying for all fat.
    • The beef ribs worked exactly as expected and were very meaty and moist.
    • I didn’t add a sauce recipe here due to the fact that my sauce only has 3 ingredients (4 with maple syrup but that’s optional). Just mix the three ingredients together until you get the balance of tart and sweet you are looking for and remember it’s not necessary to add every spice in the cupboard!
    • Wood chips can be purchased at Lowes,Home Depot, K-Mart etc. Watch the pricing. You shouldn’t have to pay more than 4 or 5 buck for a bag that will last you most of the summer!

    Written by Ed Schenk

    April 6, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Meatless Fridays #6 – Deep Fried Catfish,Creamy Coleslaw and French Fries

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    catfish

         I was a little lost when I started thinking what I should make for Meatless Friday but a quick trip to the grocery provided me with  inspiration. I’m not one to blow my budget on just one item no matter how good it is. I would rather face the challenge of creating based on what is presented to me. The catfish that was on sale at the market was really a no brainer. I have used catfish in a number of ways including making a really good catfish gumbo ( believe it or not it’s a traditional dish) but the tried and true thing to do with catfish is to fry it. The natural progression of the plate would have demanded hush puppies and coleslaw. The coleslaw was easy enough but I only had enough cornmeal to bread the fish or make hush puppies, not both! I decided to put my best efforts into the fish and forego the hushpuppies. Instead, I had some frozen French fries languishing in my freezer so I decided that this would complete the meal.

         The catfish was breaded using a standard breading procedure and for the crumb I used 50% bread crumb and 50% cornmeal. I fried at 350 until the crust was golden brown. The fish was perfect. I often forget how good this dish is!

          For the slaw I was feeling lazy so I bought a bag of pre – shredded cabbage. I did, however, make my own dressing. I mixed the sugar and apple cider vinegar and whisked until the sugar dissolved. I the added my mayonnaise and cabbage and managed to get it right on the first shot. A perfect mix of tart and sweet made for a great dressing.

         What can I say about the fries? The frozen ones are great! You would be hard pressed to make it better yourself.

        I also had some kicked up tartar in the fridge. Really just mayonnaise, pickle relish, brown mustard, chopped parsley and caper but it’s just awesome!

    I only eat what nature provides!!

    Written by Ed Schenk

    April 3, 2010 at 10:37 am

    Living in a Maple Wonderland

    with 16 comments


    syrup-pancakes     I would like to like to begin this post by introducing some friends of mine. They go by the screen names Gizmar and Psychgrad. They are the mother and daughter team behind Equal Opportunity Kitchen  andAdopt a Blogger Badge _4 my mentors in the Adopt-a Blogger program. Giz and Psychgrad have been blogging together since 2007 and have graciously offered to help me with my blogging. For the last month or so we have been e-mailing each other, checking each others sites out and working on a post together. While checking out their site I came across a couple of posts about Maple syrup. Now Maple syrup is one thing I haven’t tackled ( except if you count pouring it on my pancake with great enthusiasm) but living in Michigan I am aware that there is a fair amount of production of this special product. There are also activities associated with the product. I hope to attend one of these events and eventually tap a tree, boil it down to make syrup and follow up with that pancake thing I mentioned earlier. In any case being right in the middle of Maple syrup season we decided that a post on this subject would be timely. The photos were taken by Psychgrad last season the with recipes from Gizmar and myself.

         Long before the first Europeans came to North America the native peoples were making  maple syrup. How they happened upon this treasure is the subject of some debate but several native tribes tell  that, long ago, pure maple syrup ran from the trees and that one of the gods thought this too easy for the people and that they would take it for granted so he gathered water up into the skies and and poured it onto the trees watering the syrup down into sap. After that the people had to boil the sap in order to make the syrup.

         When the Europeans arrived the natives taught them how to take the sap and make syrup from it. The French Canadians began making in the 1600’s with the British colonists in New England following suit. It was an important commodity early on as the cost of sugar (which had to be imported) was prohibitive. As settlements were established in the west the tradition of making maple syrup went too. While Canada produces the most Maple syrup many Northern US states from Maine west to Washington produce maple syrup as well .

    maplehistory3

         The process for making maple syrup is a very time consuming process. First maple trees are “tapped”.

    syrup4 syrup2

    “Tapping” is when a hole is drilled into the maple tree to allow the sap to flow. a spigot is inserted and the sap drips into a container. The sap runs best on days when the nights are cold but the days are mild (February,March and April). Each day the sap is gathered and it’s brought to a central processing point. It is then boiled down to remove the water and concentrate the sugar.

    pioneer sugar making

    When the sap is collected it contains 97% water and 3% sugar but by the time the process is finished the numbers are reversed and the syrup contains 97% sugar and 3% water.

    rustic maple cabin

         If you live in the Northern tier of the United States (or in Canada)  chances are Maple syrup events are going on in the late winter and early spring. People gather to celebrate the coming of spring and the syrup harvest (Maple syrup is actually the first “crop” of the season). There are an assortment of activities at these festivals. Of course there are sap collecting, syrup making demonstrations and usually a pancake breakfast.  These events are great family friendly activities that shouldn’t be missed! Here in Michigan you can find out about Maple syrup events at the Michigan Maple Syrup festival site. For our friends across the river in Ontario you can visit the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers website or Fulton’s Pancake House and Sugarbush. Of course there are several other states that produce Maple syrup  and if you live in ( or think you live in) one of those states just Google it on the internet and you will find events in your area!

          Even though maple syrup is best known as the topping of choice for pancake it also works great in many other dishes. My friend Giz and I have come up with a couple of recipe that that scream “Maple Syrup! It’s not just for breakfast anymore!”

    Grilled Chicken Glazed with Maple Syrup and Whole Grain Mustard

     

    2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts ( 5-6 oz)
    1/2 cup Liquid Steak Seasoning
    1 tablespoon minced Garlic
    1/2 4 cup vegetable oil
    3/4 cup pure Maple syrup
    1/4 cup Whole grain Mustard

     

    • Trim the Chicken breast of any fat or skin.
    • Mix together the Steak seasoning, Garlic and oil.
    • Marinate the Chicken in the Seasoning mix above for 1 hour.
    • In a sauce pan reduce the Maple syrup by 1/3 and stir in the Mustard. Your glaze is done.
    • Grill until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.
    • Glaze your chicken breast on both sides and continue grilling until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
    • Remove from heat and glaze once more if needed.

    maple glazed chicken

    • You may have notice that I used a store bought steak seasoning (Kroger brand). This is because it work well for my purpose. It’s a very concentrated (liquid) seasoning so it only take an hour or so to marinate. If there isn’t a Kroger store I’m sure they have an equivalent product. If not, or if you choose otherwise you could use and make your own marinade.
    • I reduce the syrup a bit to ensure that it doesn’t run off the chicken when I brush it on. It also intensifies the flavor.
    • I don’t start glazing until the Chicken is almost done. This prevents the sugar in the maple syrup from Burning.

    From Gizmar at Equal Opportunity Kitchen we also have a Maple Salmon recipe:

    Maple Glazed Salmon

    plated salmon

    1/2 cup canola oil
    1/4 cup light soya sauce
    1/4 cup dark rum
    3-4 Tbsp Maple Syrup (some use 1 1/2 – I like more)
    3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
    salt and pepper to taste (I eliminate the salt)
    1. Line a cookie sheet with tin foil
    2. Marinate the fish for 2 hours.
    3.  Bake at 400 F for 20 min.

    Enjoy the taste of Maple syrup this year and support local agriculture!!!!

    Written by Ed Schenk

    April 1, 2010 at 12:01 am

    Meatless Fridays # 5 – A Different take on Shrimp and Grits.

    with 10 comments


    shrimp and grits

         Anyone who has visited the low country of South Carolina is probably familiar with the dish Shrimp and grits. What started out as a breakfast for the fishermen here has turned into Haute Cuisine around the country. Basically the dish takes creamy grits and tops it with savory shrimp in a sauce. There seems to be a variety of interpretation of this dish mostly concerned with the shrimp and the sauce. I felt spicy so I  came up with my own take on this Southern classic. My version has Italian roots in that the sauce for the dish is a Marinara sauce. My Grits are made of coarse ground cornmeal seasoned with onion, garlic and fresh basil. I took the grits and let them cool into a cake. I then breaded and fried the cakes in panko. The shrimp were sautéed in Olive Oil

    Grit Cakes

     

    1/2 onion finely diced
    1 tablespoon chopped garlic
    1 cup water
    12 oz cornmeal
    1  cup milk
    1/2 cup parmesan cheese
    1/4 cup chopped fresh basil.

     

    • Sauté onion and garlic and add water. Stir until thickened.
    • Stir in milk, cheese and fresh basil.
    • Spoon into a lightly oiled casserole dish.
    • Smooth into 1 even layer and allow to cool.
    • Cut into triangles.

     

    For breading

     

    1/2 cup flour
    1/4 cup milk
    1 egg beaten
    1 cup panko breadcrumbs

     

    • beat the egg with the milk.
    • Coat the triangle in flour.
    • Dip in the egg and milk mixture.
    • Dredge in the breadcrumb making sure that the hand in the crumbs is dry. If the hand is wet the breadcrumbs won’t stick
    • Fry at 350 degrees until golden brown.

    Marinara sauce

    This is the most simple but most delicious Marinara Sauce you will ever make!

    1 can ground tomato (28 oz)
    1 table spoon sugar
    1 teaspoons salt
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 teaspoon minced garlic
    fresh basil
    Lemon juice

    Place the first 5 ingredients into a sauce pan and simmer (low) for 45 minutes.

    Add some fresh basil. I don’t chop or tear it. I just throw it in stem and all ( I pick them out later). The basil will steep in and flavor your sauce like you couldn’t imagine. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more.

    Pick out the basil and give your sauce a squeeze of lemon. Your done!

    For the shrimp I just sautéed them in a little oil and placed them on the Marinara sauce.

    Mangia!

    Written by Ed Schenk

    March 29, 2010 at 10:00 am