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What’s the difference between a boil, a rolling boil, and a simmer?Simmer – The water is warm and little bubbles are forming around the sides of the pan.Boil – The water is hot, and bubbles are forming throughout the entire pan.Rolling boil – The water is really hot and the bubbles are rapid, almost boiling over the sides of the pan (this is the ideal stage to add your pasta for cooking).What are good staples to always keep on hand for cooking?Cooking oil, flour, salt, pepper, dried pasta, eggs, bread, and milk (and garlic if you’re Italian!). Why does chicken breast dry out so easily?For the most part, it depends on where and from whom you’re purchasing your chicken. Manufacturers process their chickens differently. After the chickens are heated (a process needed to remove their feathers), they’re either air cooled, or cooled in cold water to quickly bring their temperatures back down. As the birds were heated for feather removal, the pores of the chicken have opened up. If the chicken is then water cooled, the pores will expand and absorb excess water. As the chicken is sitting in its packaging, that water and moisture will leak out into the container (also known as the “diaper” in packaging), leaving you with a less juicy piece of meat before you even begin cooking. However, with air cooled chicken, the chicken breast only contains its natural, undiluted juices – enabling the chicken to better maintain those juices during packaging and cooking.Other tips & tricks: brining your chicken over night, cooking it with the skin on and/or bone in, and coating the chicken it olive oil.How long can you keep meat in the freezer?Joe isn’t a fan of freezing meat due to the “purge” that occurs, which refers to the loss of blood and natural juices in the meat. However, if you want to keep meat on hand in your freezer, it’s best to get it straight from the butcher, and then put it directly into your freezer. Reason being, the longer it sits in the fridge before hand, the more blood and juice will be purged, leaving you with a less juicy and flavorful piece of meat than you originally purchased.Never re-freeze previously thawed out meat.0 degrees Fahrenheit is the best temperature for maintaining quality of frozen meat.When thawing meat, always defrost it in the fridge (in a bowl to catch any drippings). The bigger the cut of meat, the less time it should spend in the freezer.What’s the rule with substituting dried herbs for fresh ones?Dried herbs are much stronger in flavor compared to fresh herbs, meaning you need much less of them. Typically, dried herbs will be measured in teaspoons and tablespoons, while fresh will be measured in cup measurements. However, always use fresh herbs whenever possible. Some pasta recipes call for reserving some of the pasta cooking water for the sauce; can I just use regular water? No, the pasta cooking water contains the starch and flavor from the pasta. That starch will help thicken and flavor your sauce, as well as help it to better coat the pasta.If your pasta recipe calls for veggies, you can cook those veggies right in the same pot as your pasta.Does bone-in chicken breast taste better than boneless chicken breast?Yes, bones provide the chicken with more flavor and moisture (as they do with any kind of meat). The bones themselves contain flavor, and absorb the heat while cooking, as opposed to the meat itself absorbing the heat and drying out.Chicken ScarparielloIngredients:Bone in chicken, cut into chunks with a meat cleaverFlour seasoned with salt and pepperOilItalian SausageHot and sweet vinegar peppersSherry wineFried potatoesMethod:Dredge the chicken pieces in the seasoned flour, and then sear them in hot oil.Once seared, remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.Add the sausage and peppers; once cooked, deglaze the pan with sherry.Return the chicken to the pan, and transfer it either underneath a broiler or into a hot oven. Allow the chicken to finish cooking until it reaches 170 degrees. Finish the dish off by topping it with freshly fried potatoes.How do I avoid meat sticking to the pan when trying to sear it? First off, make sure your pan is hot enough. When searing, try to use a cast iron skillet that has been heated on medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes. Nonstick skillets are not recommended because the enamel coating used prevents them from getting hot enough. After the pan is heated, add a small splash of oil, or use a paper towel to lightly coat the pan with oil. Also, never overcrowd the pan when searing meat. If there’s not enough space in the pan, the temperature will drop and your meat will steam instead of sear.Thanks for all your questions! If you have any more, or need clarification on past Q&A’s, don’t hesitate to email us! See you next Sunday!
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