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Just a French Guy Cooking: Easy Recipes and Kitchen Hacks for Rookies

French Guy Cooking is a YouTube sensation. A Frenchman living in Paris, Alexis loves to demystify cooking by experimenting with food and cooking methods to take the fear factor out of cooking, make it fun and accessible, and charm everyone with his geeky approach to food.

In this, his debut cookbook, he shares 100 of his absolute favorite recipes – from amazingly tasty toast ideas all the way to some classic but super-simple French dishes. Along the way, he shares ingenious kitchen hacks – six ways with a can of sardines, a cheat’s guide to wine, three knives you need in your kitchen – so that anyone can throw together great food without any fuss.


Easy Peach Jam Recipe

I’ve made peach jam several times, thanks in part to an annual delivery of peaches courtesy of the Washington Stone Fruit Growers, but I continue to look for ways to simplify the canning process. Standard peach jam recipes call for a lot of sugar and some powder or liquid pectin. The result is good, but can be a bit on the sweet side and a little rubbery. My preference is for a softer jam with less sugar and frankly less fuss. I wondered if there might be a way to make jam without bothering with the tedious job of peeling peaches? It turns out, there is. 
The key to this recipe is the peels. Lemon peel and peach peel are high in pectin and so if you cook the peaches with them, you won’t need to add any additional pectin. I started with a recipe from A Sweet Spoonful, but the main difference was I skipped peeling the fruit and used the lemon peel as well as the juice. I added some slices of fresh ginger in my first batch but I didn’t find it added much flavor so I’m skipping it. You could certainly add some powdered ginger, candied ginger or even scraped vanilla bean if you like. 
This jam is in between jam and preserves. It has some skin in it, but it’s silky smooth and doesn’t detract from the texture or flavor of the peaches. The pureed skins add a pretty rosy tint. How much you puree is up to you, I estimate I pureed about 1/3 cup or so. Note: You could can this in half pint or pint jars. I used  a combination of both. 

Easy Peach Jam

Makes 2 1/2 pints
Ingredients
4 pounds washed peaches, pitted and cut into chunks, about 8 cups 
2 cups ganulated sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Lemon rind from one lemon, cut into large pieces
Instructions
Fill a canner with water and bring to a boil. Place the jars in the canner and boil. Put a small plate in the freezer so you can test the jam later. 
Place the peach chunks in a large non-reactive bowl. Sprinkle with sugar and lemon juice. Don’t stir–just let the sugar sit and macerate, this helps to release the natural juices of the fruit. Allow to sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours.
Add the fruit along with the lemon peel to a large pot and bring to a boil. Using a potato masher mash the peaches. Continue stirring the peaches as they cook, using a wooden spoon. After about 10 minutes skim as much of the peels out of the pot using a slotted spoon and puree them in a blender then add them back to the pot. Remove the lemon peel and discard. Continue cooking until the mixtures thickens, about another 20 minutes. Test the thickness by placing a teaspoon full of the jam on the chilled plate and let it rest for about 30 seconds. Run your finger through the dollop and if it stays separated where your finger was, it’s thick enough. 
Lift the jars out of the canner, pouring the hot water back into the canner. Ladle the jam into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. After filling the jar, release the air bubbles by inserting a narrow silicone spatula or similar tool between the jam and the inside of the jar. Place the rims on top of each jar and loosely seal with the bands. Carefully place the jars back in the canner and process/boil for 10 minutes. Remove from the canner and let rest overnight, you may hear the lids pop. Store for up to one year. 
Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Peaches were provided to me as part of the canbassador program by Washington State Stone Fruit Growers and to Ball Home Canning for the jars. 

A braised version of Charsiu (the one I make for the kids most often right now)

I think almost every child likes charsiu (also spelled “char siew”), aka Chinese barbecued pork. There’s something wonderfully delicious about the combination of juicy, tender pork and the salty-sweet and very umami charsiu sauce. It’s something that my own kids, especially my son, absolutely loves. It’s highly addictive when done right. And I add that caveat because there are just as many horrendous, dry versions of charsiu sold in hawker centres all over the island as there are wonderfully plump, tasty and moist versions. The absolutely worst ones feel like cardboard, have artificially colored pink exteriors and unappetising grey flesh. I feel sorry for any person whose first taste of charsiu was one of these substandard and frankly embarrassing versions.

A well-made piece of charsiu is a thing of beauty. The pork should have flavour. It should be moist and have a little bite (meaning, it shouldn’t be too tender). I’ve played with a wide variety of charsiu preparation and cooking methods over the years. For a significant period, my preference was to use sous-vide techniques in the process. But more recently, and mostly because I was never 100% satisfied with the texture of the sous-vide charsiu, I’ve gone back to more basic styles of cooking.

Several foodies (online) have advocated a braising method in which you cook your pork in a wok, allowing the liquid it is cooking in to reduce until it finally becomes a sticky caramelised coating for the meat. I tried out a few online recipes but didn’t like the results. Not only did the meat come out overly sticky (which made it a mess to handle) but cleaning pots and woks in which you’ve reduced caramelised sauces is a real bitch.

But I liked the idea of braising the meat. Especially when you can add aromatics to make the liquid and the meat that much yummier. So, I tried braising the pork, letting it cool in the braising liquid, and then basting it in charsiu sauce, followed by a short but super hot turn in the oven. After a few iterations, I think I’ve come up with something that works well. Based on the family’s reactions, it appears to be a winner with kids and grandparents alike. I’ve found that the braising time greatly effects the texture of the meat. The best charsiu should have some bite. So if you braise the meat too long, while the pork can come out nice and tender, it will also fall apart… which isn’t particularly what you want. An hour seems to be sufficient to cook the pork nicely and still provide some nice resistence when you cut it as well as when you bite into it.

I’ve also taken to making my own charsiu sauce. I tend to avoid both commercial charsiu and Hoisin sauces these days and instead prefer to whip up my own concoction (which is admittedly very adjusted to my specific palate). Of course, it helps that I have a very well stocked pantry, courtesy of the superwife. That means if I want to use fermented soy beans I have multiple options to choose from. I make my sauce and use it as marinade and in the cooking process, and then use it again, with honey added, for the final roast.

The recipe is below. While this takes considerably less time than other charsiu recipes I’ve posted previously, it is by no means a quick dish to make. You’ll want to block off a few hours for this the first time you make it. And, since we all have different tastes, as always you should adjust the seasoning and ratio of the various ingredients for your own tastes.

 

The post A braised version of Charsiu (the one I make for the kids most often right now) appeared first on Chubby Hubby.


Instant Read Meat Thermometer For Grill And Cooking. UPGRADED WITH BACKLIGHT AND WATERPROOF BODY. Best Ultra Fast Digital Kitchen Probe. Includes Internal BBQ Meat Temperature Guide

Here’s Why You’ll Love Our Instant Read Thermometer:

Speed (2-5 sec). Accuracy (±1°F). Super Easy To Use. All this for less than 20 bucks!

Still unsure? Our LIFETIME MONEY BACK GUARANTEE removes all risk.

Cook With Confidence And Enjoy Tastier Meals Every Time

We all know the sinking feeling when you cut open a delicious looking steak, hot off the grill, and realise that you’ve overdone it. Instead of a enjoying a tender and juicy piece of meat you end up chewing on tire rubber. Or even worse, you’re finally carving up the Thanksgiving turkey and discover to your horror that its still raw! The crazy thing is, all you need to prevent these situations from ever happening again is a good quality digital meat thermometer. Good news – you have just found one!

Before Long You Wont Know How You Used To Cook Without It

Having friend over for a BBQ, hosting a party, or simply rustling up a meal for yourself? Whatever you are cooking, it is just so much easier when you have a top quality, reliable thermometer at your disposal. The Alpha Grillers Instant Read Thermometer is fast! No more burning hands as you wait for the temperature to settle over a hot grill. It is also extremely accurate so you can really trust the reading it gives you. On top of that the dial is backlight and extra large so you can easily read the temperature, even in the dark.

Full Specs:

– 2-5 sec response time

– Accurate to ±1°F between -4ºF to 392ºF

– Backlight

– Back Magnet

– Calibration Feature

– MIN/MAX TEMP Feature

– HOLD Feature

– Auto Off / Auto On Feature

– Button Battery (included)

– Display in F or C (default is F)

– Laminated Meat Temp Guide Included

– Fully Waterproof

– LIFETIME GUARANTEE

Click Add To Cart and take back control of your kitchen

Product Features

  • SO EASY TO USE – WORKS RIGHT OUT THE BOX! The second you flip out the probe it starts reading the temperature. Insert the tip into your food, and in 2-5 seconds you will have an accurate and easy to read temperature displayed on the large dial. No more sweating over a hot grill waiting for the temperature to settle. No more squinting in the sun to read the numbers. When you’re done simply flip the probe back and the unit auto powers off.
  • NO MORE SPOILT MEAL – COOK WITH CONFIDENCE. Never again worry about ruining a steak by over or under cooking. With our digital meat thermometer at your disposal you can confidently cook any food to perfection. Get inspired to cook and BBQ more often, be creative in the kitchen and eat healthier! These accessories even include a comprehensive laminated meat temperature guide for quick reference.
  • BEAUTIFULLY PACKAGED FOR GIFTING OR STORAGE. We will deliver your electronic thermometer to you in an elegant, foam lined box, making it the ideal gift for any barbecue or cooking enthusiast or professional. It also doubles up as great place to store your thermometer, fitting nicely into your drawer and keeping it well protected.
  • PERFECT INDOOR OR OUTDOOR. Whether you’re cooking in the kitchen, grilling on your Weber or Char Broil, or sitting round the campfire, this tool will take your culinary skills to the next level! Beef, chicken, pork, turkey, fish, you name it. We’ve got you covered. Gas, charcoal, electric, infrared. All barbeques will bow to your command! It even works great for deep frying with oil, making bread and cheese, and brewing beer or wine.
  • LIFETIME MONEY BACK GUARANTEE. We remove all risk. You have absolutely no need to worry about getting a dud product as we promise to return your money if you are not happy with your purchase. Check the reviews for proof. You won’t get this kind of service with the big brands like Thermoworks thermapen, Maverick, CDN or Polder.


Secura 1500 Watt Large Capacity 3.2-Liter, 3.4 QT, Electric Hot Air Fryer and additional accessories; Recipes,BBQ rack and Skewers

Fry your favorite foods with hardly any oil! The Secura 3.2 liter Electric Hot Air Fryer cuts out the oil to give you crispy food without the added fat. The air fryer uses hot air in combination with high-speed air circulation (rapid hot air) and a top grill to surround food with heated air to cook all of your favorite fried foods quickly and evenly. The variable temperature control ranges from 180-400 degrees (F) and the 60-minute timer automatically shuts off the machine once cooking is complete. The frying basket has a large 3.2 liter capacity, making it easy to fry up snacks or a main dish for the whole family. The accessories included with the Secura Hot Air Fryer are; a BBQ rack and skewers, giving this Fryer extra versatility.

Product Features

  • The Secura 3.2-Liter, 3.4 Qt., Electric Hot Air Fryer uses hot air in combination with high-speed air circulation (rapid hot air) and a top grill to prepare a variety of tasty dishes in a healthy, fast and easy way
  • Large 3.2 liter basket (7.5″ diameter x 4.25″ high) provides enough capacity to cook snacks for the entire family or a main entrée. Create Healthier food by using less grease in your cooking with the “Hot Air Cooking” method
  • 60 minute cooking timer with auto-shut off when your food is done. Heating & Power indicator lights. Variable temperature control 180°~400°F, giving you total control over the food you are cooking.
  • Accessories included with the Secura Hot Air Fryer for extra versatility;Recipes, BBQ rack & skewers
  • 2-Year Manufacturer’s Limited Warranty, Only for use with North American Electrical Standards,120V/1500W large 3.2 liter capacity


True or False Cooking Quiz: Answers and Winners! by PW Fun & Learning

Good job, everyone—most of you scored 80% or higher! That quiz made us hungry for a patty melt topped with a poached egg. With a macaron or two for dessert. (Clearly, we’re easily tempted when it comes to food.)

 
Here are the stats, answers, and winners.

 
STATS

1,915 people took the quiz.
204 people scored 100%!
The question most people (about 98%) got right was…#5!
The question most people missed (only 51% got it right) was…#9.

 
ANSWERS

Q.3
Adding salt to water makes the water boil quicker and at a lower temperature.
• True
False
 
Q.4
Marzipan is typically made with almonds.
True
• False
 
Q.5
To poach something means to cook it over dry heat.
• True
False
 
Q.6
The main ingredient in polenta is corn.
True
• False
 
Q.7
Kombucha, kefir and sauerkraut are all fermented.
True
• False
 
Q.8
Branzini is a type of pasta.
• True
False
 
Q.9
“Kitchen Bouquet” refers to a bundle of herbs tied together used to season soups and stocks.
• True
False
 
Q.10
Bright yellow turmeric powder comes from the root of a plant.
True
• False
 
Q.11
To sauté means to cook something quickly in a large amount of fat.
• True
False
 
Q.12
Croque Monsieur is a type of sandwich.
True
• False
 
Q.13
The three main components of Caprese salad are tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and parsley.
• True
False
 
Q.14
To “segment” an orange means to slice it into quarters.
• True
False
 
Q.15
French macarons are NOT made with wheat flour.
True
• False
 
Q.16
A chinois is a type of strainer.
True
• False
 
Q.17
Examples of leavening or rising agents include yeast, baking powder, and salt.
• True
False
 
Q.18
There are 8 tablespoons in 1/2 cup.
True
• False
 
Q.19
Traditional Greek Feta cheese is made with cow’s milk.
• True
False
 
Q.20
Hush puppies are typically made with potatoes.
• True
False
 
Q.21
Canola oil typically has a higher smoke point than extra virgin olive oil.
True
• False
 
Q.22
A classic patty melt sandwich is made with pastrami.
• True
False

 
 
WINNERS

The first place winner is…Dee Hul…!
The second place winner is…Melissa Les…!
The third place winner is…Jean Fis…!

Congratulations, winners! Contact prizes@thepioneerwoman.com to claim your prizes!

 
 


Cinnamon Sugar-Topped Banana Snack Cake

There are all kinds of cakes out there, from single-serving cupcakes to towering layer cakes. One of my favorite types of cake is a snack cake, an admittedly less official category than some of the others. Snack cakes should be easy to make and are usually single-layer affairs, with straightforward ingredients that you can throw together on short notice. They’re not the showstoppers you might bring out for an event, but they’re delicious and satisfying any day of the week. This Cinnamon Sugar-Topped Banana Snack Cake is the perfect everyday cake, loaded with banana flavor and topped with a crisp sugary topping.

The best thing about this recipe is that it is very easy to make and requires only a few ingredients. You only need a single banana, making this a good choice for days when you want a banana dessert but don’t have enough ripe bananas for a full sized banana bread loaf. I added a handful of chocolate chips simply because I was in the mood, and chopped nuts could be used just as easily. The batter bakes into a light, tender cake with a good banana flavor. It has just the right amount of sweetness to highlight the banana without being overly sweet.

It’s just as well that the cake itself isn’t overly sweet, since the sugary topping is what sets this apart from other cakes by creating a crisp and sweet crust that contrasts well with the tender cake underneath. I used a mixture of cinnamon and sugar for most of the topping, but added an additional sprinkling of coarse sugar to add even more texture. The coarse sugar I used is called Swedish pearl sugar and you can find it online or at specialty baking stores, though turbinado sugar is a great alternative if you already have that on hand.

The cake is at its best when it is freshly baked and has just cooled, since that is when you get the best contrast between the sugar topping and the fluffy cake. The smaller sugar crystals will soften when the cake is stored, but the larger crystals will retain their texture, so even leftover slices of cake will have a bit of crunch on top.

Cinnamon Sugar-Topped Banana Snack Cake
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large banana, mashed (approx 1/3-cup)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup chocolate chips

Topping
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp coarse sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking pan.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a medium bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Bear in egg, mashed banana and vanilla extract. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the milk. Stir in the remaining flour mixture until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan.
In a small bowl, make the topping. Whisk together all topping ingredients and sprinkle evenly over the top of the cake.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clear or with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Allow cake to cool completely before slicing.

Serves 9.

The post Cinnamon Sugar-Topped Banana Snack Cake appeared first on Baking Bites.


Halibut Burgers Recipe

I get a delivery of seafood once per week from Real Good Fish, and for two weeks in a row, it’s been halibut. Rather than just cook the filets, I decided to go in a different direction, burgers. Sometimes I’m in the mood for a burger even if it’s not a hamburger. Salmon is very popular for burgers, but halibut works too. The trick with fish burgers, much like fish cakes, is to minimize the filler. 
I came across a brilliant technique from Melissa Trainer, who wrote that she learned it from chef Jordan Mackey. The trick is to use pureed raw fish as the binder, rather than bread crumbs or egg. That’s pretty much it. The burgers hold together beautifully. Halibut is lean though, so it’s important not to overcook it. You can check the temperature if you like and when it’s 145 degrees it’s done, but I just cook it until it’s firm. 
I like my burger served on a bun, but you could also serve it on a bed of greens. It does benefit from a slathering of tartar sauce. Use any recipe for tartar sauce that you like. Tartar sauce is just mayo, lemon juice and some chopped capers and pickle relish or chopped cornichons. If you’re not planning to use tartar sauce but just mayo, double the salt in the burgers. 
Halibut Burgers 
Serves 4
Ingredients
1 pound halibut, skin and bones removed
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
Pinch sugar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
1 Tablespoon minced fresh dill
Oil for grilling
Instructions 
Roughly dice the halibut into about 1/2 inch pieces. Sprinkle the diced halibut with salt and sugar and let rest for 10 minutes. Remove about 1/3 of the fish and process in a food processor until smooth. Add the puree back to the remaining fish along with the mustard, lemon peel and dill and stir until well combined then form 4 patties. 
Heat a grill pan or skillet and lightly oil it. When hot, add the burgers and cook for 3 minutes over medium high heat. Flip the burgers and cook until cooked through but still moist, about 3 minutes. Serve on a bun with tartar sauce, arugula and a slice of tomato.
Enjoy!  
Disclaimer: My thanks to Real Good Fish for providing me with the halibut used in creating this recipe. 

Tovolo Vented, Easy Grip, Collapsible Microwave Cover, 10.5 Inch, Red

This Tovolo Collapsible Microwave Food Cover keeps your microwave clean and free from splatters. When you are finished using it, it collapses to save precious space in the drawer or cabinet. Perforations in the lid allow steam to escape while protecting against food splatter. This kitchen accessory is ideal for heating leftovers, or steaming in the microwave.Features: Microwave safe cover expands to 3.5″ but collapses to 1″ for easy storage; Use thumbs to easy “pop up” and press to flatten Multiple lid perforations allow steam to escape, keeps food moist while splatters and mess are contained Can be used expanded or flat on bowls; reduce waste and movement of paper towels or other wraps in microwave 10.5″ diameter the perfect size for most bowls and plates; dishwasher safe Bright red color is easy to find in drawers and cabinetsCare Instructions: Dishwasher-safe

Product Features

  • Microwave safe cover expands to 3.5 inches but collapses to 1 inch for easy storage; Use thumbs to easy “pop up” and press to flatten
  • Multiple lid perforations allow steam to escape, keeps food moist while splatters and mess are contained
  • Microwave use only. Can be used expanded or flat on bowls; reduce waste and movement of paper towels or other wraps
  • 10.5 inch diameter the perfect size for most bowls and plates; BPA free and dishwasher safe
  • Bright red color is easy to find in drawers and cabinets


Cuisinart DLC-2A Mini-Prep Plus Food Processor (White)

Durable ProductThis little 250-watt workhorse comes in handy when a full-size food processor is unnecessary. The 3-cup work bowl is just right for making pesto or a salad dressing, and two receptacles in the lid have pinholes for one or two oils to stream into the bowl while the processor is blending a perfect emulsion. It’s also ideal for chopping and grinding. Pressing the “chop” button deploys the sharp edge of Cuisinart’s patented reversible blade to chop onions, herbs, or bread crumbs. Pressing the “grind” button whirls the blade in the other direction so its blunt side can grind nuts, coffee beans, or cheese. Compact at just 9 inches high and lightweight (it has a plastic body), the Mini Prep Plus can be tucked away in a cabinet, and the little spatula accompanying it goes into a drawer. It carries an 18-month warranty against defects. The plastic work bowl and lid are dishwasher-safe, but the stainless-steel blade should be hand washed to protect its edges. –Fred Brack

Product Features

  • 250-watt food processor with 3-cup plastic work bowl
  • Chops and grinds with patented reversible stainless-steel blade
  • Simple push-button control panel; durable, yet lightweight plastic body
  • Dishwasher-safe bowl and lid for quick cleanup; spatula included
  • Product Built to North American Electrical Standards