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Tag Archives: Alan Hause

A Lesson on Oils…

12 Jul

Oils are something that we use every day, whether it be for cooking, skincare, hair care, or even motor vehicles. Of course we will focus on cooking, but the way that we use oil in cooking is just as diverse as its other uses. Here is a lesson on oils…

Oils are a type of fat that remains liquid at room temperature. Cooking oils are refined from various seeds, plants and vegetables.

Fats break down at different temperatures. The temperature at which a given fat begins to break down and smoke is known as its smoke point. Choose fats with higher smoke points for high temperature cooking such as deep-frying and sautéing. If a fat with low smoke point is used for high temperature cooking, it may break down, burn and impart undesirable flavors.

Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oils are extracted from a variety of plants, including corn, cottonseed, peanuts and soybeans, by pressure or chemical solvents. The oil is then refined and cleaned to remove unwanted colors odors or flavors. Vegetable oils are virtually odorless and have a neutral flavor. Because they contain no animal products, they are cholesterol- free. If a commercial product contains only one type of oil, it is labeled “pure”. Products labeled “vegetable oil” are blended from several sources. Products labeled “salad oil” are highly refined blends of vegetable oil.

Canola Oil

Canola Oil is processed from rapeseeds. Its popularity is growing rapidly because it contains no cholesterol and has high percentage of monounsaturated fat. Canola oil is useful for frying and general cooking because it has no flavor and a higher smoke point.

Walnut Oil

Nut oils are extracted from a variety of nuts and are almost always packaged as a “pure” product, never blended. A nut oil should have the strong flavor and aroma from the nut from which it was processed. Popular examples are walnut and hazelnuts oils. These oils are used to give flavor to salad dressing, marinades and other dishes. But heat diminishes their flavor, so nut oils are not recommended for frying or baking. Nut oils tend to go rancid quickly and therefore are usually packaged in small containers.

Olive Oil

Olive Oil is the only oil extracted from a fruit rather than a seed, nut or grain. For further reading on olive oil, go to EVOO Tid Bits….

I hope you learned something new today.

Mmm take a bite out of that!

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Duck, Duck, Duck, Goose!

29 Sep

Sometime I feel like cooking something a little different than what I am accustomed to making. I realize that when this happens, I usually end up cooking things that will require a little more time and energy than I am used to. Today’s recipe is a perfect example, but it is well worth the energy and time.

Duck Confit, a very delicious idea, takes approximately 3 days if it is done correctly.  But sometimes that’s ok. First you would have to find duck, because I am sure that it will be pretty hard to find in your local supermarket.  This may actually take a trip to the local butcher, which may be kind of fun. (By the way, I love grocery shopping…Butcher included. :-))

But if you are having guests over, and you have a couple of days to plan, this would be a great way to impress them.

Let’s get started!

Duck Confit

Duck                                       4lb (cut into 4 pieces)

Kosher salt                              2 Tbsp

Black Pepper (cracked)         1 tsp

Bay Leaves                             4

Fresh Thyme                          6 sprigs

Garlic cloves, crushed            6

Duck or goose fat, melted      2lb

1)    Rub the duck with the salt. Place skin side down in a roasting pan just large enough to hold the pieces in one layer; season with the black pepper, crumbled bay leaves, thyme and garlic. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

2)    Bake the duck at 325°F until brown, approximately 15-20 minutes. Add enough melted duck or goose fat to cover the pieces completely.

3)    Cover the pan and cook in a 300°F oven until the duck is very tender, approximately 2 hours.

4)    Remove the duck from the fat and place in a deep baking pan. Ladle enough of the cooking fat over the pieces to cover them completely. Be careful not to add any of the cooking juices.

5)    Cover the pan and refrigerate for 2 days and allow the flavors to mellow.

6)    To serve, remove the duck from the fat and scrape off the excess fat. Bake at 350°F until the skin is crisp and the meat is hot, approximately 30 minutes.

Yield: 4 Servings

To complete your meal you can pair this wonderful poultry with Spinach stuffed Zucchini. To find that recipe, you can click here “Dressing Up Your Greens“.

Mmm take a bite out of that! 

Half the Meal is Eye Appeal

9 Jun

Proper Plate Presentation

We all know that the way that we “shop” for food is by its looks. If we went to a restaurant and our food was slapped on our plate any old way and looked like slop, we would feel gypped and probably lose our appetite.  How our food is presented to us makes a big difference in how much we enjoy our meal.  I mean I am a person that is more about taste and texture than anything else, but I have to admit that half the meal is eye appeal.

Poor Plate Presentation

So to all my foodies out there that like to entertain guests at their homes, here are some tips to “proper” plate presentation.  I hope this will help you out.

There should be a balance between overcrowding and leaving large gaps of space. The food should not touch the rim of the plate, but doesn’t have to be confined to the center of the plate either.

There should be a focal point.  What is the eye going to be drawn to? Design the plate so that there is a high point.  The high point should be to the center or the rear of the plate.  Try to steer clear of putting things of equal height around the perimeter of the plate leaving a gap in the middle.  The eye will be automatically drawn to the gap in the center.

The plate’s composition should flow naturally. For example, make the highest point the back of the plate and have the rest of the food become gradually shorter toward the front of the plate.  Slicing and fanning foods can attract the eye and help establish flow.

Tell me what you think.

😉 Hershey