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Wholesome Cooking Techniques: Part 1

Mediterranean inspired comfort foods that you can cook in batches and eat anytime.

Lesson Objectives:
• Why Grilling, Poaching & Roasting are healthy
• Understand the food science behind healthy cooking techniques
• Learn Proper Kitchen Techniques

Lesson Plan:
Do you ever feel overwhelmed in your kitchen? During this lesson, you will not only observe simple cooking techniques, but the science behind what makes nutritious and delicious. Learning these techniques will give home cooks the confidence to cook and even improvise using swap outs depending on what you have lying around.

Featured Video Recipe Tutorials:
• Herbed Chicken Kabobs
• Babaganouj
• Citrus Tabbouleh

Basic Cooking Methods

There are three basic methods of cooking and controlling heat. Heat can be dry, moist, or a combination of both. Believe it or not, oil/fat is considered dry heat. Heat energy transfers in three different ways: convection, conduction, and radiation. For example, you can cook a hot dog in a pot of boiling water (convection), in a pan (conduction), or over the fire (radiation).

Technique: Grilling

Recipe 1: Herbed Chicken Kabobs

By using a zippered bag, all the ingredients are self contained and clean up is quick and easy. The skewers are just for the looks. If you do use skewers, make sure to pre-soak them in water beforehand.

In the video, the chicken is grilled on a French grill pan rather than an outdoor grill. Both methods are useful, but the grill pan uses conduction heat while an outdoor grill uses radiation so this will affect the cook time. Once the chicken is on the grill, don’t peek for 2-3 minutes because you would disrupt that beautiful caramelization that happens. When the chicken changes from pinkish to white, then that is a good indication to flip it.

I really love cooking with herbs and spices and they infuse a ton of flavor when it comes to this yogurt sauce. This dish provides a variety of texture and flavors which will create satiation. The chicken itself is chewy and crispy while the yogurt sauce is creamy. The chicken provides umami flavor, the herbs and zest are a little bitter, there is some salty flavor and the yogurt is sweet and sour.

Technique: Roasting

Recipe 2: Babaganouj

Babaganouj is great as a sauce, side or dip and hits a “healthy comfort” factor. Once the eggplant is done in the oven, it is going to be very silky, soft and creamy and the skin is going to come right off.

Adding the garlic and herbs provides an element of freshness to balance out the smoked paprika. Cooling the babaganouj down is going to temper the bitterness that comes from the spices. Finish with a little garnish, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of some cumin or paprika on it.

Technique: Poaching

Recipe 3: Citrus Tabbouleh

Bulgur is a whole grain from the red wheat family. It can have a really chewy texture, as long as it is rinsed to get rid of the extra starch; if not it will be a creamy texture. It’s important to salt the boiling water to provide flavor to the food.

Make sure to use a glass or ceramic bowl to hold the bulgur because it’s going to help hold heat and allow the bulgur to carryover cook. When it’s done all that water should be absorbed inside and if it’s not you can drain a little bit of that residual water. Then we want to spread these grains out onto a sheet pan or cookie sheet so that it can continue to evaporate and cool.

So you know that consistency in size is consistency in cooking, but it’s also consistency in eating.  The lesson here is that if we want people to enjoy our cooking then make sure they can get all those flavors on one fork.

Acidity is a really important way to enhance the flavor of this tabbouleh. A little tip with oranges, if you want to get twice the yield roll it out then cut and squeeze it. If you don’t like a lot of juice, you can use part zest and part juice. This tabbouleh has chewy texture of the bulgur and crispy from cucumbers. It also provides umami, salty, sour, sweet, and bitter flavor making it quite the satisfying dish.