How to cut up a whole chicken

I find that knowledge of how to prep from basic ingredients (as basic as you can get, anyways) invaluable. It opens up a wider variety of recipe possibilities and can help in saving some money over buying prepared ingredients. One of those things is learning how to cut up a whole chicken.

I like buying whole chickens because we can get a few things from it; namely the meat, the bones and the skin/fat. The meat can then be prepared in whichever way you like. The bones are great for making stock (roasted or not, with veggies or not), and the fat is rendered from the skin. A favourite is also the leftover fried skin bits which can be salted after frying, kept in the fridge for 1-2 weeks and used as soup toppings much like bacon bits. (I sometimes just take a pinch of them to eat straight up, to get the taste of fried chicken.)

Jacques Pépin’s videos have been an invaluable resource for information on how to cook. Here’s his video on how to cut up a whole chicken.

Bonus – complete deboning of a whole chicken:

On detoxes and cleanses

Scott Gavura for Science Based Medicine – The one thing you need to know before you detox:

“Detox” is a legitimate medical term that has been co-opted to sell useless products and services. It is a fake treatment for a fake condition. Real detoxification isn’t ordered from a menu at a juice bar, or assembled from supplies in your pantry. Real detoxification is provided in hospitals under life-threatening circumstances — usually when there are dangerous levels of drugs, alcohol, or other poisons in the body.

Gavura doesn’t mince words.

The lifestyle implications of a poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, lack of sleep, and alcohol or drug use cannot simply be flushed or purged away. Our kidneys and liver don’t need a detox treatment. If anyone suggests a detox or cleanse to you, remember that you’re hearing a marketing pitch for an imaginary condition.

Oat and Rice Flour Pancakes

1 1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup rice flour blend*
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup ‘milk’ or water
2 tbsp oil
1 egg replacement**

  1. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Combine wet ingredients in another bowl.
  3. Slowly add wet ingredients to dry, mixing as you go so there are no dry lumps. Let the batter sit to thicken.
  4. Heat up pan at medium low, ladle in batter (about 1/4 cup for a 5-6 inch pancake). Cook for about 2 minutes on the first side, flip, and cook for about 1 – 1 1/2 minutes on the second side.***

Makes about 6 pancakes.

Notes:
* The rice flour blend I’ve been using is as follows: 2 cups brown rice flour, 2 cups white rice flour, 2 cups glutinous rice flour, 1 2/3 cups tapioca flour or potato starch.
** I use Ener-G egg replacer. I haven’t tested any others.
*** Compared to traditional wheat pancakes, these won’t brown as much, and may even be very light tan coloured. Make the first flip when the outer edges are dry.

  • Place cooked pancakes on a rack in a 200°F preheated oven to keep warm
  • I usually double the recipe, and store the extra pancakes in the freezer. To reheat, microwave for 45 seconds, flip, and again for another 45 seconds.
  • This is essentially a basic recipe for pancakes with replacements for the milk and egg, and the flour is replaced with a 3:1 ratio blend of oat and rice flours, respectively. I find that the oat flour helps to keep the gummyness of the rice flour mixture down, and the end result is fluffier.

On paleo diets

Melvin Konner for the Wall Street Journal – Confessions of a Paleo Diet Pioneer

Anthropologists know that people obsess about diet. Kosher and halal diets are about discipline, not health. Hundreds of millions in India never let flesh cross their lips. All of these strategies—low-carb paleo diets, too—seem to be compatible with life and health. Within these bounds, pick your poison. With care, you can extend your life—but as far as I know, nobody lives forever.

 

On the updated 2015 US dietary guidelines

Marion Nestle:

In the 2015 Dietary Guidelines,

  • Saturated fat is a euphemism for meat.
  • Added sugars is a euphemism for sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Sodium is a euphemism for processed foods and junk foods.

If the Guidelines really focused on dietary patterns, they wouldn’t pussyfoot.

Why don’t they?  Politics, of course.

 

Insect and animal noises, and growing food

Podcast – Gastropod – Field Recordings

As an acoustics professional, the measurement and usage of insect and animal sounds in the growing of food is fascinating. I’ll definitely be reading up on some of the sound measurement methods.

(I’m just getting caught up on the archives, having only recently found out about this great podcast.)

Restaurants and food allergies

Why food allergy fakers need to stop

Neil Swidey for the Boston Globe:

Moreover, Leviton emphasizes that, as much as they work with extreme caution, they don’t cook in a vacuum. “We make bread in the same tiny kitchen we make everything else in,” he says, noting that it’s not as if the kitchen is being steam-cleaned to remove all flour dust. Most people who are “super-hyper-allergic,” he says, would stay away from restaurants because they know that just one tiny mistake could prove fatal.

This is the reason we haven’t served our son any restaurant food, and if we can avoid it, we don’t go to restaurants at all with him. We hardly go out to eat at all. Great for the wallet, but not so great if we’re out and forgot to bring his snacks/food with us.And then there are people who lie about their food preference or diet, calling it an allergy to ensure the item is taken out of their meal:

Dr. John McDougall, who peddles his low-fat, high-starch McDougall Program diet as a way to prevent degenerative disease, kicks it up a few notches, urging his flock to paint a picture for their servers. “Tell them you’re allergic to oil. [Say] ‘If I eat oil, I’ll have an anaphylactic reaction. I’ll have a seizure. You’ll have to call the ambulance. It will just be a whole big bad scene here in the restaurant. . . .’ ”

But restaurants are not blameless in this dance of deception. Culinary Institute of America professor and author Ezra Eichelberger is a leading voice on all things front-of-the-house. For too long, he says, too many restaurants tried to talk diners out of their preferences (“You’ve never had garlic the way our chef uses it”) or outright lied to them. They might, for instance, fail to disclose to vegetarians ordering the French onion soup that it was made with beef stock or neglect to wave pescatarians off the clam chowder because it has a little pork hidden in it.

Both restaurants and eaters need to come clean.