Sunday, February 17, 2013

Even More Coming Soon!

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As anyone who has been following Screw Your Diet is surely well aware, the updates here have slowed to a crawl. If only I had the time to earn straight As in culinary school, work my day job, do my usual boatload of homework, AND keep this site more up to date. But alas, there are only so many hours in a day. Even so, I’ve still got a load of content planned – I haven’t even come close to posting all of the meat dishes from my previous class!

The next wave of content is all about baking, since that’s the class I just completed. Everything from French bread (not pictured here, but still coming), éclairs, custards, plated desserts, and everything in between. Most of it is sweet, with a bit of savory baking here and there. There’s sure to be something for everyone, so check out the previews below to see what you have to look forward to. And, as always, I’ll do my best to start posting them as soon as I can.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Poached Filet of Sole in White Wine Sauce

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I must start this post with a confession – I am no great lover of cooked fish. When I was younger, I used to eat it all the time, but somewhere along the way my taste buds decided they weren't having it anymore. These days, the majority of my fish consumption comes in the form of sushi, but an enjoyment of cooked fish is starting to slowly return to me! Even so, I’ll still only go for white fish that doesn’t taste particularly fishy. Salmon is still a no go for me.

Of course, a nice pan reduction sauce can make almost anything taste better than it was originally intended. Such is the case with this filet of sole recipe, called “Sole Vin Blanc” in French (Sole with White Wine). The filets are rolled, skewered, and then cooked in a pot full of aromatic vegetables, white wine, and stock, then served with roasted potatoes and sautéed mushrooms. It’s a fairly simple dish to prepare and, like me, you’ll probably wonder why it took you so long to try fish prepared this way.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Brioche Dough Cinnamon Rolls

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Alright, so, I know I said I’d be posting a bunch of savory, meat-related dishes that I learned in class – and I still intend to post the rest of them. But first, let’s take a break – a sweet, delicious break. Since I’m in the baking and pastry class now, I figured why not have a sugary interlude before diving back into the entrees? It doesn’t get much better than a fresh batch of cinnamon rolls.

One of the best kinds of dough I learned to make recently was brioche. The richness of it makes for the perfect cinnamon roll, and it’s relatively simple to make. Another thing to keep in mind is that for baking recipes, I’ll often be measuring out a lot of things in ounces now instead of teaspoons, tablespoons, and cups. Baking is like a precise science, especially when it comes to leavening agents like yeast, baking powder, and baking soda, so it is ultimately beneficial to measure things out this way instead. You can find a perfectly good scale for less then $30 at Target if you don’t have one – this is the one I’ve got, and it works like a charm.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Duck Leg Poêler (Special Roast) With Sweet Pan Reduction Glaze

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Happy new year, everybody! In my previous recipe, the sautéed duck breast, I told you I'd also show you what to do with the legs and thighs of a duck as well. So, as promised, today I'll show you what to do with them. It's actually a relatively simple recipe that doesn't require a whole lot of labor, though that will also depend on what kind of side dish you choose to prepare with it. I made little potato tournes, but honestly, I do not recommend them. They're tricky, labor intensive, and exist basically just for their aesthetic appeal (and to drive culinary students insane). You'd do just as well with something like boiled potatoes without the fancy cuts, or green beans.

Anyway, if you’ve ever roasted anything before, this is a little bit different. Poêler (which is a French culinary term with no English translation) refers to the process of roasting, but with moisture added. So instead of roasting in a pan by itself, these legs will be roasted on a bed of aromatic vegetables.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Crispy Sautéed Duck Breast with Cherry Quinoa

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And now for my favorite bird – duck! Chicken is alright, but it just doesn’t have the natural flavor or richness of a bird that can fly. If you’ve never had duck, my advice is: HAVE DUCK. It’s all dark meat, it’s fatty, and it’s delicious. This first duck dish is a relatively easy one, with only a few components to worry about. You can sauté using clarified butter, but I opted to use duck fat instead. Sweet, sweet, versatile duck fat. I found a little tub of it at Whole Foods, so that’s where I’d start looking if you’re not sure where to purchase it.

Speaking of purchasing things, you’ll likely need to buy a whole duck and cut the breasts off for this. I couldn’t find any place selling just duck breasts, but if you can, go for it. If you buy a whole duck, don’t worry – the next recipe will tell you how best to prepare the legs and thighs, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Sautéed Chicken with Mushroom Risotto and Asparagus

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Next up, we’ve got a sautéed chicken airline breast (a boneless breast, skin on, with the drumette still attached), some mushroom risotto, sautéed asparagus, and pan reduction sauce. With so many different parts, this recipe is going to get fairly in depth. In fact, this dish was actually my entry into a cooking contest recently, and although I didn’t win, it came out pretty great.

My point is, it’s pretty labor intensive and you’ll use a lot of pots and pans to make it happen. Its individual components are not especially difficult on their own, it’s just the combination of them and timing it all out that can be tricky. In fact, I’m going to be laying this one out a little differently than normal. Instead of trying to fit all the parts together for you, I’m going to list the preparation methods for each component in their own separate sections. That way you can coordinate it however you see fit, since my order of operations may or may not have been ideal for most. Do feel free to leave your feedback regarding this layout – let me know what works and what doesn’t.

It might also help to have another cook in the kitchen to assist on this recipe – if no one is available, you may want to swap the risotto for mashed potatoes, depending on how adventurous you’re feeling. Included below will be tutorials for clarified butter and pan reduction sauce, both of which are necessary components of this dish. So if you’re feeling particularly ambitious, this is one dish that’s sure to impress.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Grilled Chicken With Rice Pilaf and Glazed Vegetables

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We might as well start at the beginning of my most recent class, and it began with chicken. This particular dish is a grilled chicken breast de supreme (a boneless breast with the skin on), with rice pilaf and glazed carrots and turnips. It’s a fairly basic meal for one or two (though the recipe can be easily doubled, tripled, etc., depending on how many you need to feed) and takes less than an hour to prepare.

Unfortunately, as I made this in class, I didn’t have the time to take pictures of the process. It is, however, fairly straightforward, so I’ll just do my best to make the description as detailed as possible. This won’t be an issue for ALL of the upcoming recipes here, but it will be for some of them. There is also the possibility that I’ll make these at home and update the recipes with pictures after the fact.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Coming Soon to Screw Your Diet!

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Hello everyone, and happy holidays! It’s been about a month now since I’ve really been able to update Screw Your Diet with new recipes, but that doesn’t mean I have nothing to post. Quite the contrary, in fact – I’ve been so busy cooking and learning, that I’m backlogged with delicious recipes! For the next 2 weeks, I’ve got a well deserved break from school, and I’ll use that time to post up as many of the dishes I’ve been working on as possible (the dish above is roasted rack of lamb with creamy polenta and ratatouille, by the way).

Also, I will soon be adding a new page to the site called “The Basics”. Here you’ll find basic recipes and techniques to help you get started. Lessons on stock making, how to clarify butter, mother sauces, vinaigrette, pan reduction sauce, knife cuts, etc., just to name a few. A lot of the upcoming recipes feature these techniques, and rather than detailing them every time they’re needed, I felt it’d be easier to be able to simply refer to the basics page. It should be up and running before too long, so check back soon!

In the meantime, enjoy previews and descriptions of all the recipes you’ll be seeing here over the next 2 weeks! (Note: they will not necessarily appear on the site in the order they’re listed below.)