COOKING TIPS – CHEF DEAN’S TRUCS OF THE TRADE
Turkey Safety Basics
Thawing turkeys must be kept at a safe temperature, it is best to keep in the refrigerator. The “danger zone” is between 40° and 140°F — the temperature range where foodborne bacteria multiply rapidly.
Do not cross contaminate. Bacteria present on raw poultry can contaminate your hands, utensils, and work surfaces as you prepare the turkey. If these areas are not cleaned thoroughly before working with other foods, bacteria from the raw poultry can then be transferred to other foods. Clean as you go.
For optimal safety and uniform doneness of a whole turkey, cook the stuffing outside the turkey in a casserole dish. However, if you place stuffing inside the turkey, do so just before cooking, and use a food thermometer. Make sure the center of the stuffing reaches a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F.
Set the oven temperature no lower than 325°F and be sure the turkey is completely thawed. Check the internal temperature at the meaty portion of the breast, thigh, and wing joint using a food thermometer. Cooking times will vary. The food thermometer must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F. Let the turkey stand 20 minutes before carving the meat.
Sauté is translated into “to Jump” it refers to the way food sizzles in the pan. Sauté is a relatively high heat cooking method with a small amount of fat. Sauté is used highly in an à la minute/à la carte cook setting.
*Product for sautéing should be portion size, tender meats to be finished on the range top. Larger portions of meat may need to be finish in the oven.
*Sauté dishes usually include a sauce made from the pan juices. Deglazing is essential part of creating pan juices.
Combination Cooking Methods
These methods include braising, stewing and even basting. Braising is a combination method where the product is first seared for caramelization to develop color and flavor. Then a flavorful liquid is added just 1/2 to 2/3 up the side of the product.
*If the product is covered, the method becomes Stewing. The product is then covered and cooked slowly at a simmer until tender. Braising and stewing are usually preparations for smaller, under-utilized products that need to be tenderized.
Braising is a technique that has Art and Love as a necessity. Braising is one of my MOST favorite techniques, one that we often use to show a warmth and soulful approach.
A helpful hint and a precaution from turning everything “RED” while cleaning a pomegranate is to fill your sink with cold water, submerse and break fruit into large pieces. Use your thumb to free the seeds from the white pith. The seeds will sink and the pith will float, naturally separating the desired seeds. Skim the pith from the top of the water and continue with the next fruit.
Not only are the seeds good for you, they also freeze well, make a great preserve and if juiced and reduced make a marvelous molasses, something we use often in our “Breakfast Experience”
Taste & Flavor! Toasting your spices
Before seasoning your dishes, take a dry small sauté pan and toast the spices prior to adding to the dish. Remember many of these have been trapped in the jar for who knows how low. Giving them a little warmth brings out the flavors and oils to refresh and intensify the flavor. Black Pepper is a prime example. You will taste the difference immediately with your aroma to the nose. As a good cook does, always keep a salt and pepper mix at your cooking station to share a little love with everything you prepare.
Choosing a Knife for YOU
Important Factors in the Quality of a Knife include:
1) Balance is number one!
2) High Carbon Stainless Steel
3) Full Tang
4) Cost Factor, possibly
Pick up the knife; hold it in your hand. It should feel comfortable and become part of an extension to your hand. Become one with the Knife. Be the Knife. Na-na-na-na-na…