All posts filed under: Basic technique

Video: How to Carve a Chicken

How do you carve a chicken? I get this question a lot. Here’s my video answer: How to Carve A Chicken [YouTube] And, here’s a recipe to use if you need a chicken to carve: Rotisserie Chicken with Fennel, Coriander, and Red Pepper Spice Rub What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below. Related Posts Video: Rotisserie Grilling Two Chickens Video: How to Butterfly a Chicken Video: Rotisserie Turkey Legs Enjoyed this post? Want to help out DadCooksDinner? Subscribe to DadCooksDinner via eMail or RSS reader, recommend DadCooksDinner to your friends, and buy something from Amazon.com through the links on this site. Thank you.

Rotisserie How To: Two Chickens, One Set of Forks

What is the most common question I get about rotisserie grilling? “I want to cook two chickens on my rotisserie. Do I need two sets of forks? You can spit two chickens with one set of forks. Just cram them together and…wait, this would be easier if I showed you. First, truss the chickens   Like this .   Spit the first chicken Get it tight on the first spit fork.   Add the second chicken to the spit Nose to tail   Secure them with the other spit fork Push the chickens together as hard as you can, then lock down the second spit fork. If the chickens are not tight together, they might work loose and start wobbling around on the spit.   Done!   Notes This works with as many chickens as you can fit on your spit. It also works for cornish hens, which are just smaller chickens. I’ve squeezed four cornish hens onto the spit for my Weber kettle, and I would guess I can fit at least six on …

Pressure Cooker Beans (Basic Technique)

Here’s another killer application for my pressure cooker.  Dried beans, cooked in under an hour. I do something that will sound a little weird. I use my pressure cooker to make dried beans…and then freeze them. I know, I know. You would think a pressure cooker would be best for making beans just before you use them. And it is – fresh made pressure cooker beans are much better than beans that come out of a can. But so are dried beans that are pressure cooked, then frozen. The cooking liquid from homemade beans has a lot of flavor in it, and it tastes good even when frozen. The liquid in canned beans? It’s not good; throw it away. *Lorna Sass taught me this trick, in her The Pressured Cook cookbook – she sings the praises of make ahead beans, and I’m passing the word along. Lorna knows what she’s talking about. **I freeze my beans in two cup containers; that way, they replace the 1.5 cups of beans you get in a “regular sized” …

Basic Technique: Saute with Pan Sauce

Saute is derived from the French word “To Jump”. In cooking, it means: Using a small amount of oil in a hot pan to cook thin, tender ingredients by giving them a good sear on the outside. The saute technique is one of the core techniques in cooking, and is used for both meat and vegetables. Most recipes saute at least a few of the ingredients. Sauteing builds flavor in two ways. The first is the good sear you get on the food you are cooking. The second is the browned bits that are left in the bottom of the pan, called the fond (French for “foundation”). Fond is the foundation of pan sauces; it dissolves into liquid added to the pan, adding flavor to that liquid. I’m going to use a saute to make a quick weeknight dinner, with a pan sauce from the fond. This is the first real cooking technique I learned. I was chained to recipes, to use Michael Ruhlman’s wonderful turn of phrase.  Learning to saute, as a technique, unlocked those …

Weeknight Grilling on DadCooksDinner

*Wherein we discuss Dad Cooking Dinner when the chips are down. I’ve mentioned this scenario before: It’s been a long day at work, the kids are ricocheting off the walls (and each other), and the wife has left for evening classes.  You’re tired, and not motivated to cook.  The siren song of pizza delivery is singing in the back of your head.  What do you do? This week, I’m getting quick and dirty.  You need a protein, a veg, and a starch, and you need it now, or you’re going to lose your nerve and go to the drive-through.  Again. What do I do?  I can have dinner on the table in 30 minutes.  45 minutes, tops.  It may not be gourmet, but it’s good, it’s quick, and it’s homemade.  All the other recipes and techniques I’ve shown you on this blog?  They’re my passion, obviously; I love food and cooking.  But sometimes I’m just not in the mood.  Or, we’re in a hurry to get to a kid’s soccer game.  Or…well, you know how …

What does “Season to Taste” mean, exactly?

The Kitchn has a great post on how to properly season a dish.  When a recipe says “season to taste”, what do they mean? I tried to cover this in my Turkey Noodle Soup post, but after reading their version…boy, did I ever Fail. They explain the thought process I go through when I’m seasoning soup, but they have some important clues that I couldn’t put into words. My explanation of when to add salt: The tasting part of the recipe is the key piece. Does it seem bland? Add salt. Their explanation: 1. Does It Need Salt? – Nine times out of ten, it does. Salt reduces bitterness and amplifies other flavors in a dish. We add it a half-teaspoon at a time until we can taste those two things happen and just before the dish actually tastes salty. [thekitchn.com] That’s IT!  I add salt until I taste that “reducing of bitterness.”  I’ve always thought of it as adding salt and tasting,  until the soup starts to taste “a little sweet” – that’s what I’ve learned to …

Basic Technique: Pickling Vegetables

Welcome to pickling week on DadCooksDinner! I’ve been meaning to make some homemade pickles; I make pickled red onions from time to time, and I love them, but I’ve never really branched out into any other recipes.  Then our CSA announced “pick your own” green beans, with no limit.  Diane loves green beans, so she took he kids, and they came back with about five pounds worth.  Oh, and what about those pickle cucumbers I got in the CSA box?  And that gorgeous picture of Michael Symon’s Pickled Chillis on Ruhlman.com?  I was off and running. What I’ve found from this week is that pickling is a great way to save some of the bounty of your garden, CSA or farmer’s market.  If you have an overload of a vegetable, look for a recipe.  You’ll be glad you did.  And it’s easy! I’m doing this pickling mainly for flavor, not long term preserving.  These pickles will only last 2 to 3 months, and they have to be refrigerated.  I could have found recipes for canning …

Basic Technique: Slow Cooker Dried Beans

[Updated 9/10/2010:] Warning: kidney beans have a natural toxin in them that is only destroyed by heating them to boiling temperatures (212F, 100C) for ten minutes.  I’ve updated this technique to boil any beans for 10 minutes before putting them in the slow cooker; make sure you don’t skip this new step, particularly with red or white kidney beans.  More details available here:Slow Cookers and Red Kidney Bean Poisoning. I’m a big fan of beans; this is the technique that introduced me to the joys of a simple pot of beans.* *Beans, beans, the magic fruit. The more you eat, the more you…yes, I’m really an 8 year old, why do you ask? With this recipe, you can have beans that are cheaper and taste much better than canned beans. And, it’s remarkably easy. It will take you less time to have the beans going than it will for you to read this blog post.** The recipe freezes well, so you can make a big batch and always have homemade beans ready for you. **OK, …

Basic Technique: Rotisserie Poultry

This is my basic technique for rotisserie cooking poultry. It produces the best whole birds I’ve ever cooked. They look gorgeous, and have the best crispy skin I have been able to make. The meat turns out juicy and tender, due to the brining. I’ve used this technique on chicken, turkey and duck*, and I am going to try it with cornish game hens in the near future. *Rabbit season! Sorry, had to shout out to Daffy. Basic Technique: Rotisserie Poultry [Update 2013-01-24: Here’s a video overview of the entire process.] Video link: Rotisserie Grilling Two Chickens – [YouTube.com] Equipment: Gas or charcoal grill with rotisserie attachment (I’m a Weber fan; my jumbo Weber S-650 gas grill with infrared rotisserie burner is here, and my Weber Kettle with rotisserie attachment is here). 9×13 aluminum foil drip pan Butcher’s twine Directions: 1. Brine – Brining works wonders on poultry, by using osmosis to pull salt and water into the meat of the bird. (What? Click here for an explanation.) I use two strengths of brine, depending …

Straining stock

Straining the stock (Adapted from Alton Brown) This is the quick and easy way to strain stock that I learned from my hero, Alton Brown. It makes straining your stock a one-step operation – you are filtering out the big stuff and the little stuff all at once, resulting in a pot full of strained stock. Equipment: Collapsible metal steamer (like This) fine mesh strainer cheesecloth, damp 2 – 3 clothespins (or other clip) 12″ tongs Trivet (or large oven mitt) Oven mitts (or something to keep your hands protected with the hot pot of stock) Ladle (optional, but useful for a very large pot) Largest pot (or pots) you have that aren’t full of stock Ingredients: Pot full of just finished stock See the picture for the setup: Put the pot you’re going to pour into in your sink. Clip the damp cheesecloth into the fine mesh strainer, and put it over the target pot. (Or, if you have one, use a chinoise instead). Put the pot full of stock on the trivet, on …

Turkey Stock for people who aren’t obsessed

Recipe: Turkey Stock for people who aren’t obsessed (AKA, like my Dad used to make*) *Still does, actually… Makes about 6 quarts of stock, but this will vary depending on width your pot, and how much you break up your carcass Equipment: 12 Quart or larger pot (my dad has always used one like this: Granite Ware Stock Pots) Ingredients: Carcass from one turkey, broken into pieces that will fit in your pot (or not broken up at all, if your pot is big enough) 1 large onion, trimmed and halved 1 celery rib, cut in half (optional) 1 large carrot, peeled and cut in half (optional) 1 tsp salt 1 tsp whole black peppercorns (optional) 1 bay leaf 1 sprig fresh thyme, or 1 tbsp dried thyme (optional) 1 half a bunch of parsley stems (optional) Cold water to cover other ingredients Directions: 1. Put all ingredients in granitware pot, and add the cold water – you want to cover the ingredients by one inch. 2. Put pot on high heat, bring to a bare …

Easy Barbecue Sauce

One of my original cooking jags was barbecue – real, low-and-slow barbecue. (See here. Or, more embarrassingly, here, 3rd picture down.*) Now, with the kids, I usually have to live with ribs every now and then, instead of overnight beef brisket. One of the things I learned was that store-bought barbecue sauce is not good. And what’s even worse is that you can make it yourself in no time at all! I can whisk up a batch of this no-cook barbecue sauce in about ten minutes, and it keeps in the fridge for just about forever. *Aargh. Remember this picture if you ever think of putting something on the web that you might later regret. Black socks? What was I thinking? On the other hand (literally), I’ve got Ben in all his baby cuteness to distract you. Recipe: Easy Barbecue Sauce       Notes: Obviously, this recipe can vary quite a bit (see all the optional ingredients and variations) When I have it on hand (almost always), I’ll add a tablespoon of barbecue rub …

Grand Unified Stir Fry Theory (aka: Stir Fry, basic technique)

This is the basic technique I use for weeknight stir frying – meat, vegetables, or (preferably) both together as a one skillet meal.*  As I’ve mentioned before – anything that goes well with basic white rice is a recipe I use a lot. *Right now, the kids make me cook the meat and the vegetables separately; I can’t let the vegetables contaminate the meat. Or vice versa.  I accidentally added a red pepper to the chicken stir fry this week – you should have heard the whining.   However, stir fry is another one of my culinary pathways.  “American” Chinese food was the first non-american cuisine I ate*, and the one that started to open my eyes to the fact that there was a wide world of taste out there.  Specifically, the little hole in the wall Hunan restaurant on Chardon Rd in Wickliffe (just past E 260th) that served the best Hot and Sour soup I’ve ever had.  Their Governor’s chicken was great, too.  The combination of sweet, spicy, sour and hot was a revelation to me.  Especially …

Grill Roasted Chicken Pieces: Basic Technique

This is the basic technique for grill roasted chicken. It’s my favorite way to cook chicken breast on the grill – bone in, skin on, indirect heat for 40 to 45 minutes. It comes out much juicier than boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Personally, I prefer dark meat, and this technique also gives you great chicken legs, or thighs and drumsticks. The basic technique gives you a delicious, basic “grilled chicken” with nice crisp skin. But this technique is the base for cooking any bone-in chicken pieces on the grill. In the technique, I show you where you should add a rub, like a barbecue rub or spice paste (before the chicken goes on the grill), or where you should add a glaze, like barbecue sauce or teriyaki sauce (at the end of the grilling time, because glazes tend to have a lot of sugar, and they will burn if you put them on too soon.) Basic Technique: Grill Roasted Chicken Pieces Ingredients Chicken: 4 lbs assorted chicken pieces, bone in and skin on Brine (optional, …