Help us help kids (and get a great book!)

Home Chef Book Fundraiser

Cover in FrameI’m donating 100% of sales from “The Home Chef’s Guide to Frugal Fine Cooking” AND “The Home Chef: Transforming the American Kitchen” to the MY KITCHEN OUTREACH Program, to help feed the hungry, and teach important life skills to at-risk and special-needs youth.

This guidebook would make a great gift for struggling families, college students, and young couples trying to eat healthy on a limited budget!

Proceeds will only be used to pay for teaching materials, supplies, and ingredients for classes. I’ll post the results here, at MY KITCHEN Outreach Program on Monday, October 16th.

Please place your order, on Amazon, before midnight TONIGHT, to help support the outreach!

Cover in frameThese funds will be earmarked specifically for the new youth classes we’ll be doing for the high school in Stevenson WA, and for our annual turkey roast (10 this year!) for The Father’s Heart Street Ministry. Anything left over will go into the general use fund for MK.

Order your copies of “The Home Chef’s Guide to Frugal Fine Cooking” HERE.

BOTH are availabe on my Amazon author page: www.perryperkinsbooks.com

PLEASE LET YOUR FRIENDS KNOW (by using the “sharing buttons”, below!)

Thank you for helping us help kids!

Chef Perry
chefperryperkins.com

Thai Red Fish Curry

Frugal Red Fish Curry recipe

The Home Chef's Guide to Frugal Fine Cooking(Excerpt from “The Home Chef’s Guide to Frugal Fine Cooking” Available October 15, 2017. This is the first in a series of guidebooks to delve deeper into specific topics discussed in, “The Home Chef: Transforming the American Kitchen” – available on Amazon.)

Regarding Curry…

“Curry” can be a confusing term. It’s the name of an entire family of Indian, and Indian-influenced, dishes, but it’s also the name of spice blends within those dishes, and those blend of spices are different from region to region, and, typically, house to house.

Instead of a specific recipe, with set ingredients, think of it as a term like “sauce”, for which there can be uncountable varieties (and my mom’s is always better than your mom’s…)

Curries in Thailand (usually a mix of curry spice paste, coconut milk or water, meat, seafood, vegetables or fruit, and herbs) mainly differ from the curries in Indian cuisine in their use of fresh ingredients such as herbs and aromatic leaves, instead of a mix of dried, and then toasted and ground, spices.

The dry, powdery stuff we buy in the jars is a lot like kissing your sister…similar…but not quite the same thing.

My personal favorite Indian blend (when not toasting and grinding it fresh) is the “Bombay Curry” from my beloved Market Spice, in Seattle’s Pike Place Market.

Curries (the dishes) are a great way to add a touch of the exotic to a frugal dinner, while using up leftover meats and veggies, at the same time.

Think about it…both India and Thailand are home to some of the poorest people (and the best food) on the planet.

Once again, it’s less about what you’ve got, than what you can do with it.

Thai Red Fish Curry

1lb tilapia
1 knob of ginger, peeled
2 cloves of garlic
1 stalk lemongrass, minced
Juice of half a lime
2-3 fresh red chilies
1 Tbs tomato puree
1 onion, very finely chopped
Oil
2 Tbs fish sauce
2 cups coconut milk
1 cup water
A generous pinch of salt
Cilantro to garnish

To make the curry paste blend together the ginger, garlic, lemongrass, lime juice, chilies, tomato puree and a little oil.

Heat a little more oil in a large saucepan and begin to fry the onions. After 5 minutes add the paste and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Tip in the coconut milk and water and continue to cook to allow the flavors to infuse, and the sauce to reduce a bit.

Season the sauce to taste before adding the fish in large, skinless chunks. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until the fish is completely done.

At this point one can serve the dish, though if the sauce is a little thin one may opt to remove the fish from the sauce and turn the heat up for a little while.

Ensure it is served piping hot, sticky rice, mango slices, and fresh cilantro are optional.

Southern Chicken & Dumplin’s

Southern Chicken & Dumplings

Having just moved from the farm to the suburbs, we’re only allowed a half-dozen chickens, which means…we have a few in the freezer now.

Circle of life, baby.

This is my favorite recipe for using a yard-bird that is a bit past her prime, and one that was handed down from my grandmother, who kept her own small flock for the family’s eggs and an occasional pot of soup.

This is classic Southern comfort food at it’s best. If you’re not wild about dumplings, you can leave them out, and ladle this soup over fresh-baked buttermilk biscuits, as well.

Grandma’s Chicken & Dumplin’s

  • 1 large broiler-fryer chicken, cut up
  • 2 celery ribs, sliced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp powdered sage
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1 Tbs grapeseed oil
  • 2 teaspoons chicken base
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • hot water
  • Southern style dumplings (recipe below)

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In a heavy-bottom pot, melt the butter with oil over medium heat, and brown the chicken pieces (including back) with salt & pepper. Remove chicken and set aside.

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Add celery, carrots, onion (Mire Poix), parsley, sage, and garlic to the pot, and saute until just softened, scraping up any browned bits left from the chicken.

Southern Style Chicken and Dumplings Recipe

Add chicken back into the pot, along with chicken broth and base; add enough hot water to cover chicken.

Home Chef Note: Unless specified, you always want to add heated liquid to a hot dish, otherwise the drop in temperature and adversely effect the cooking time and texture of the recipe.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 2 hours or until chicken is done.

Remove chicken and let stand until cool enough to handle, then remove skin from chicken and tear meat away from bones. Return meat to soup; discard skin and bones.

Taste for seasonings, and add more salt and pepper to taste, if desired.

If you like what I’m posting, please share! If you love what I’m posting, and want to help me feed the hungry, and teach at-risk and special needs kids to cook for themselves, please consider becoming a patron at my Patreon page!

Southern Style Dumplings Recipe

Drop dumplings into simmering soup. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve immediately.

 

Serves 6

Southern Style Dumplings Recipe

Southern Style Dumplings

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk milk
  • 3/4 cup homemade chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons oil

Combine all; mix well to form a stiff batter.

Drop by tablespoonfuls into simmering soup.

Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Home Chef Note: Traditionally, the dumplings start out as round, ping-pong size balls. If you prefer something a little less dense, try making them about half that size, and flattening into 1/2 inch thick coins, before adding to the soup. This will result in more dumplings, that are less of a mouthful each.

 

From “The Home Chef”: Butter Poached Garlic

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Click here to pick up The Home Chef, on Amazon.com

This is one of those little “Chef Secrets” that can elevate a great dish into the range of freakin’ amazing.

Slowly poaching the garlic cloves in butter adds an amazingly sweet, deep roasted-garlic flavor without the often accompanying hint of bitterness…and, of course, who doesn’t like garlic butter?

I use this technique with mashed potatoes (just add warmed heavy cream), in poultry stuffing, to toss with fresh green beans, asparagus, or wilted spinach, and it’s my go-to finishing ingredient to brush on steak or pork chops, just before serving, as well as a can’t-do-without addition to my favorite noodle soups. And it couldn’t be easier.

For four servings of…well, anything…

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Butter Poached Garlic
1 cube Sweet Cream Butter
10-12 fresh whole garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt

In a small pan, melt butter over medium low heat.

Add garlic and salt, and poach for 20 minutes, tossing occasionally.

When a fork or knife can pierce the garlic with absolutely no resistance, it’s done. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Add garlic and butter to a blender, or use an immersion blender or even a fork to mash and mix the garlic together into a smooth slurry.

OR, allow to cool slightly and store the whole garlic cloves, covered in butter.

Use immediately, or cover, store and chill for up to a week in the fridge.

Garlic is divine.

Few food items can taste so many distinct ways, handled correctly. Misuse of garlic is a crime. Old garlic, burnt garlic, garlic cut too long ago and garlic that has been tragically smashed through one of those abominations, the garlic press, are all disgusting.

Please treat your garlic with respect. Sliver it for pasta, like you saw in Goodfellas; don’t burn it. Smash it, with the flat of your knife blade if you like, but don’t put it through a press.

I don’t know what that junk is that squeezes out the end of those things, but it ain’t garlic.

And try roasting garlic. It gets mellower and sweeter if you roast it whole, still on the clove, to be squeezed out later when it’s soft and brown.

Nothing will permeate your food more irrevocably and irreparably than burnt or rancid garlic.

Avoid at all costs that vile spew you see rotting in oil in screw-top jars.

Too lazy to peel fresh?

You don’t deserve to eat garlic.

~ Anthony Bourdain

Q&A: Tips for Crispy Tofu

How to get tofu crispy

Facebook friend, Susan, asks: How do you make tofu nice and crisp?

Now, some of my readers might be surprised that I LOVE tofu, but I do…I just like it WITH meat, not INSTEAD of it. 😉

Most restaurants deep-fry crispy tofu, which, while delicious, negates the healthy aspect of the dish, plus is tricky to do at home without it coming out soggy and greasy.

The problem is, tofu has a LOT of water in it, and you have to get a LOT of that water out, before it will crisp up, instead of just sitting in the pan, poaching in it’s own liquid.

Sure, you can press it, but it takes a LONG time to do it right, and if you try to do it faster, chances are good you’re going to end up with a bowl of tofu mush.

Personally, I like (and use) Mark Bittman’s tofu hack:

Freeze and then thaw your block of tofu.

This allows the water pocket inside to expand, and the drain, which makes more room to soak up flavors.

Simmering Tofu

Simmer the block in salted water for 5-10 minutes.

This plumps and firms up the tofu, helping with the sometimes mushy consistency.

Cube and sauté in just a little oil

I use Grapeseed, which has a high smoke point, and is flavorless. Peanut oil is probably the most traditional, barring any allergies.

When crisp, lower heat and add flavoring.

I like ginger, garlic, and fish sauce. Spicy Thai peanut sauce is great too.

My favorite way to eat is is with some grilled chicken, and Amy Roloff’s Fried Rice recipe. I usually top with some chopped scallions and fresh-toasted sesame seeds.

Amy Roloff's Fried Rice

We are standing at the edge of a cliff

IMG_3999We are standing at the edge of a cliff.

Our health, our finances, even the very fabric of our families are poised to plunge over the brink.

At our backs is the home kitchen, the family…our lives.

Before us nothing less than total destruction.

We have an obligation, a moral imperative if you will, to regain control of our children’s health, our planet’s sustainability, even our nation’s greatness. We must recapture our ability to take care of ourselves and our families at a fundamental level, to stop, as it were, having someone else feed up the fish, and instead learn to fish for ourselves.
And I believe it starts in the kitchen.

For parents, the priority is that their kids not go hungry. Not having enough food to give your kids has an effect on the parents in that home. I look at my nine year old daughter and think how would I feel if I had to put her to bed hungry and how would I respond to everything else in my life if I had to do that?

I don’t want anyone to go through that. I think there need to be more voices out there bringing this to our attention. There’s something wrong with kids going to bed hungry every night in the richest country in the world.

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Much of the problem is in a lack of fundamental education. It really doesn’t matter how healthy a food is, or how inexpensive, people aren’t going to buy what they don’t know how to prepare, especially when money is tight and every dollar has to count.

I’ve had kids in our grocery-shopping field trips tell me that it was the first time they can ever remember being in the produce department, except in passing on the way to the canned, frozen, or “convenience” food sections. Kids in their late teens who couldn’t identify a cucumber from a zucchini.

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Do you know what Lima beans, Carrots, Pumpkin (fresh), Sweet potatoes, Collards, Kale, Mustard greens, Spinach, Turnip greens, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Chayote, Pear squash, Eggplant, Okra, Zucchini, and Yellow Squash, all have in common?

They are among the healthiest, least expensive, and simple to prepare vegetables in the grocery store or market. Just about any person who walks the aisles can afford these ingredients. Simple…that is, if someone has taught you. Otherwise they might as well have been grown on another planet.

But if, like many second and third generation families below the poverty line, your only experience with these foods is mushy school lunch carrots and zucchini, cloying holiday “sweet potatoes”, or God help us all…canned spinach…are you going to spend your last few food dollars experimenting with unfamiliar ingredients, or are you going to grab a few boxes of mac & cheese, some frozen chicken nuggets, or maybe some ice cream for a special treat?

And, honestly, do YOU know how to prepare all of these ingredients? Are you willing to bet your child’s opportunity to eat this week on it?

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Neither are many, many poor families out there, who, faced with the agonizing decision of something that tastes good even though it’s killing them, and going to bed without anything at all, make the sad, but logical choice that something, anything, regardless of health concerns, is better than nothing, all too common.

This is where our politicians, big food and (yes, I’ll say it) the corporate manipulation of the women’s liberation movement of the sixties and seventies, when anything that got Mom out of the “slavery of the kitchen” was progressive and positive (and lined food manufacturer’s pockets), has gotten us.

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From those first glorified c-rations, to the sugar, salt, and dye loaded poison in pretty packages on our store shelves today – greed and laziness have turned what was once the greatest nation on earth into a wheezing, pill-popping country that pours drugs into our hyperactive babies and stomach-stapling our teenage girls to combat the growing epidemic of a society happily starving the brains of our future generations, while eating itself to death so that Kraft Foods can see a bump in their stock price, and give their senior executives seven-figure bonuses.

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Throughout history, citizens whose nutritional needs were ignored by the rich and powerful for their own gain, from Rome, to Imperial Russia, to the French Revolution, to the genocides of modern Africa, when pushed to the edge of the cliff have universally responded the same way…

Heads rolled, cities burned, and thrones toppled.

We are standing at the edge of the cliff.

~Chef Perry Perkins

The Home Chef: Transforming The American Kitchen

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“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”

~Mahatma Gandhi

 

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Pasta alla Carbonara on AM Northwest

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As the saying goes, “a great time was had by all.”

Well, I can’t speak for all, but I can tell you, this guy had a blast cooking Pasta alla Carbonara (recipe below) on AM Northwest yesterday morning!

There were some oddities for this television newbie…(a prop sink with no water, and a kitchen counter on wheels took a little getting used to), but getting to work with the supremely talented and funny Helen Raptis at KATU, was awesome. 

(Thank you, Helen, for the second bite…that meant a lot!)

I can’t think of a better way to have launched “The Home Chef: Transforming the American Kitchen”, and the guidebooks, classes, and podcasts to follow.

Here’s the clip, if you didn’t get a chance to watch:

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Click here to watch

Thank you, again, to Helen, Janice, and every at K2 for this amazing opportunity, I can’t wait to come back!

~Chef Perry

Chef Perry’s Pasta alla Carbonara

(serves 4)
1 pound dry pasta (I used campanelle)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces guanciale (pork jowl bacon), cubed small
1 large shallot clove, finely chopped
2 Tbs sweet cream butter
4 large egg yolks
Roasted mushrooms (optional)
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved (optional)
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper
1 handful fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, chopped

campanelle pasta
“Campanelle” means Little Bells in Italian.

Note: make the sauce while the pasta’s cooking so the pasta will be hot and ready when the sauce is done; the pasta needs to be hot when adding the egg yolks, so that the heat of the pasta cooks them.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender yet firm (“al dente.”)  Drain the pasta well, keeping a 1/2 cup of cooking water, in case you need to it in the sauce.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the guanciale and saute for about 3 minutes, until the meat is crisp and the fat is rendered, drain off all but about 2Tbs of the fat. Toss the shallots into the fat and saute for less than a minute to soften, add the roasted mushrooms and butter.

Home Chef Pasta alla Carbonara
Add the hot, drained campanelle to the pan and toss for 2 minutes to coat the pasta in the fats. Beat the egg yolks and Parmesan together, stirring well to prevent lumps.

Carbonara with egg yolks

Remove the pan from the heat and pour the egg/cheese mixture into the pasta, whisking quickly until the eggs thicken, but not scramble.

Adding pasta to sauce

Thin out the sauce a little with the reserved pasta water, until it reaches desired consistency. Season the carbonara with a large pinch of freshly ground black pepper and taste for salt. Mound the spaghetti carbonara into warm serving bowls and garnish with chopped parsley.

Serve with small bowls of extra cheese.

Chef Perrys Pasta alla Carbonara
“The Italian’s were eating with forks, when the French were still eating each other!”

~ Mario Batali