Q: Dear Chef, I love to eat fried chicken, but I know it’s not healthy for me. Is there a way to make a similar dish with less fat?
A: Greasy, crispy, fried chicken. Yum! One bite and you can feel the grease seeping through your pores, but you’re in luck, there is a substitute. Try this.
Purchase a whole roaster chicken already cut up. Put one cup of store-bought seasoned breadcrumbs in a bowl. Take five sun-dried tomatoes (the dried kind, not the ones packed in oil) and drop them in boiling water for a couple of minutes until they are soft. Take them out with a slotted spoon and chop them almost to a paste consistency. Mix the tomatoes with the breadcrumbs. Season the chicken on both sides lightly with salt and pepper and dredge both sides in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing down firmly as to provide an even coating. Place the chicken on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in a 400-degree oven. Roast the chicken for about 45 minutes, or until you poke the meat close to the bone and the juices run clear.
(Hint: Dark meat usually takes five minutes more to cook than the white meat). The breadcrumbs will seal in the juices providing you with a scrumptuous piece of unfried chicken. Good luck!
Q: Dear Chef, I eat a lot of steamed white rice, but it’s plain and boring. Is there a way to spice it up while keeping it a healthy dish?
A: One of my favorite meals is a bowl of steamed Japanese short grain rice (available at most supermarkets) with a touch of low sodium soy sauce and a dash of furikake nori.
Furikake nori is a condiment used in soups, salads and rice that can elevate a bland bowl of rice into a heavenly experience. It consists of mainly seaweed, sesame seeds and wheat flour, and is sprinkled sparingly atop your cooked rice. You can find Furikake at most Asian specialty food stores and in some supermarkets.
Let me know how you like it.
Q: Dear Chef, as meat prices continue to increase, is there a way to purchase less expensive cuts of meat and make them tender like the more expensive cuts?
A: Yes, citrus! You can take, for example, a London broil and marinate it in your favorite marinade. If your marinade is Terriyaki sauce, add some lime juice to it. If your marinade is herbs, garlic and oil, add some lemon juice to it.
Marinades for meat should go on the night before cooking to provide optimal flavor, and the adding of citrus will help break down the texture of the meat, making it more tender. If you need a complete recipe, you know where to find me.