Cooking and Catering Blog | Chef Chic, Tucson

Cooking Tips to Help You Create Professional Meals at Home

May 5, 2014

Eating better doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice taste. Personal chefs know what cooking techniques to use to create delicious, high-quality meals each night of the week. Here are some professional chef tips you can use to create the same high-quality meals on your own.

 

Use chopsticks for scrambled eggs

Chopsticks are generally considered more of a utensil than a cooking tool, but when making scrambled eggs, chopsticks are much more effective than spatulas or wooden spoons. Using chopsticks to stir your scrambled eggs helps break the eggs into smaller, more delicate pieces, while simultaneously keeping the cooked portions away from the hot areas of the pan.

Avoid adding oil to pasta water

Four pasta servings should be cooked in at least a gallon of water with salt. Even though adding oil to the pot can help prevent the water from boiling over, it makes it more difficult for sauce to stick to the noodles.

Pan-fry your tofu

There’s a common misconception that tofu is bland. If you learn to cook tofu right, you can make tofu that is delicious, versatile, and a great addition to your weeknight meals. The secret to cooking tofu is pan-frying it, which creates a crispy brown crust. In order to pan fry your tofu, make sure you buy high-quality tofu. When cooking, cut the tofu into 3/8-inch thick slabs and soak it in hot, salted water for 15 minutes. Next, you should use a clean dishtowel or paper towel to pat the tofu dry. To pan fry your tofu, use a big cast-iron skillet and be sure to use plenty of oil. To ensure that the tofu cooks evenly on each side, avoid overcrowding the pan.

Chef Wendy founded Chef Chic to make it easier for Tucson families to eat better, healthier foods. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Chef Wendy has worked at Canyon Ranch Health Spa and as a Sous chef at Flying V at Loews Ventana Resort. To learn more about hiring a Tucson personal chef, call (520) 406-2575.

Tips for Hosting Your Next Dinner Party

April 23, 2014

When was the last time you invited friends and family over to your home for a dinner party? If you have been putting it off because it just seems like too much work, it’s time to hire a personal chef to handle the catering and host a memorable evening. Hosting a dinner party takes some planning, but with a little bit of forethought, it’s easy to have a great event that your guests won’t soon forget. Keep reading for some tips on hosting your next dinner party.

Determine the Mood

Before you plan your catering menu, invite your guests, or decide on your décor, you’ll need to decide what kind of mood you’d like your dinner party to have. You could go for a more formal setting with a multi-course sit-down dinner and ask your guests to dress up, or you can keep it casual with a buffet and guests can absolutely wear jeans. When you decide what kind of party you’d like to have, consider who will be attending. If there will be small children running about, it might be a good idea to keep it on the casual side. If it’s going to be adults only, you can make it more formal without having to worry.

Choose a Theme

You don’t have to have a theme for your dinner party, but it can make the occasion feel a little more special. The theme can run from a birthday or anniversary celebration to a theme based on the type of cuisine you’ll be serving. Let your guests know what to expect on their invitations so they can dress accordingly if themed outfits are in order.

Create a Menu

Perhaps the most important part of your dinner party is what you and your guests will be eating. Instead of spending all night working away in the kitchen, rely on a chef to cater your dinner party so you can mingle with your guests. You and your caterer can come up with a menu to suit everyone’s unique palate.

Chef Chic of Tucson is here to help you host a dinner party to remember. Call us at (520) 867-9597 for a free consultation and to learn about our catering menus. Don’t forget to inquire about our personal chef services for after your dinner party is over!

The Benefits of Hiring a Personal Chef

April 6, 2014

You lead a busy life, juggling work, family, friends, and maybe even a little bit of quality alone time. With so many obligations, wouldn’t it be nice to take the chore of cooking out of the equation? Hiring a personal chef is a great choice for all different kinds of people, whether you don’t know how to cook, don’t have time, or are tired of take-out food. Keep reading to learn about the benefits of hiring a personal chef.

Save Time

By the time you get out of work and pick up your kids at practice, the last thing you probably want to do is try to come up with a healthy and delicious meal for your family. When you have a personal chef, you don’t have to because all of the work is done for you. Your time away from work with your family is precious, and you shouldn’t have to spend it cooking alone in the kitchen. A personal chef provides you with a refrigerator full of meals that are ready to go. Your chef will also handle all of the grocery shopping, so you can take that off of your to-do list in your spare time.

Delicious Meals

Not everyone is born with an innate skill for cooking. There are those of us who seem to burn every piece of toast and can barely boil water with a disaster in the kitchen. If you are lacking culinary skills and don’t have the time or desire to learn, a personal chef could be an excellent idea for you. Don’t worry about choking down a bland or overcooked meal again, because your personal chef will make sure everything that’s prepared for you is tasty and healthy.

Creative Options

If you order a lot of meals from restaurants, there will probably come a time when you get sick of your choices. You can consult with your personal chef to let her know your likes and dislikes, and you can change things up at any point.

Let Chef Chic handle the shopping, cooking, and cleanup duties for you and your family in Tucson. Call us at (520) 867-9597 to learn more about having a personal chef work for you. Together, we’ll come up with a menu that will make everyone in your family happy. Visit our website to learn more.

The Hardest Part of Going Vegetarian (That No One Ever Thinks Of)

March 20, 2014

Nutritionists share most of the pitfalls of adopting a plant-based diet. To a lesser extent chefs have risen to the challenge of providing recipes; however, practical gaps remain. Among other problems newcomers to the vegetarian lifestyle underestimate the chasm between adopting a few recipes on the one hand and the sort of habitual practice born of thousands of years of culture and a lifetime of application.

To that end, most counselors recommend building a plan. That’s a good thing, as far as it goes, but there is at least one key problem with becoming a vegetarian in the US that almost no one mentions, mineral depletion.

All the way back in March 1936, Cosmopolitan reported: “… 99 percent of the American people are deficient in … minerals, and … a marked deficiency in any one of the more important minerals actually results in disease.” Cosmo based their on Senate Document 264 of the 74th Congress, 2nd Session 1936, which summarized the results of a study on the mineral content of US food. The study pointed to a variety of diseases directly traceable to minerally deficient plants grown on depleted soil.

The National Response

The scientific evidence of soil depletion led to two main initiatives. First, the government pressed the food industry to reformulate processed food to add back more minerals. Nutritionists may shudder at the processed food industry, but most have forgotten why processed foods were subsidized in the first place. Second, livestock producers began feeding minerals derived from the process of salt refining. Likewise, while vegetarians may shudder at the thought of eating meat, it’s important to know that without a careful plan, our livestock eat better than we do.

What To Do

The US agricultural establishment tracks about eight minerals in the soil. By contrast the Japanese track seventy-two. Of those, healthy mammals need at least 20-24. Nutritionists often warn new vegetarians that they need a source of vitamin B-12. What they rarely say is that the dietary cobalt in B-12 mainly comes from meat, after being bound by friendly bacteria and that it’s in the meat because the farmers feed minerals to their livestock. So many exotic illnesses result from mineral deficiencies that the vegetarian plan should include sources of trace minerals including:
· Direct supplements
· Organic sea salt. Note: Salt is not organic but here ‘organic’ means ‘unrefined.’
· Mushrooms. Look for varieties grown organically on trees.
· Organic produce. Look for organic farmers that remineralize their soils

Of course, these days you can buy rock flour to remineralize your own soil and organically grow more of your own food. The same is true of a variety of mushroom cultivars today, as well. Freshly harvested fruit, veggies, and fungi are healthier, too. If you want to start living a healthier life but don’t have time to cook, contact the Tucson personal chefs at Chef Chic today.

Why Go Gluten-Free?

March 5, 2014

As Americans are becoming pro-active about taking their quality of life into their own hands, a correlation with going gluten-free is revealed. This gluten-free craze is catching on with people for many beneficial reasons and it should. According to the FDA, Wheat is now number seven of the top eight allergens in the United States.

It’s been estimated that only 1% of Americans suffer from the autoimmune condition called Celiac Disease which affects the digestive tract. Because of the body’s abnormal response to gluten, damage to the lining of the small intestine is caused which will also significantly affect the absorption of important and vital nutrients that the body needs to function. Yet because of the lack or subtlety of symptoms and lag time of effects after consuming gluten, only 5% to 10% of cases are diagnosed correctly in the United States.

In the recent past, a gluten-free diet was only implemented by people who had Celiac Disease, a Wheat Allergy and a Gluten Sensitivity. These conditions often included symptoms that ranged from bloating, fatigue and respiratory issues to a severe skin rash, diarrhea, bone pain and anemia. Today, more and more people who are incorporating a healthier diet into their lifestyle, are finding that going gluten-free is improving their lives in more aspects than one.

Although whole wheats and grains contain nutrients and many health benefits, they are practically nutritionally void once it reaches our tables. Most of the foods that are stocked in our grocery stores are so highly processed that all nutrients it did have, have been lost and taken out throughout the manufacturing process.

Avoiding gluten in the diet can decrease inflammatory conditions and prevent blood sugar spikes. Since humans have a hard time fully digesting wheat, the likelihood of undigested gluten proteins sitting in the digestive tract is significantly reduced. Wheat may exasperate Intestinal Permeability where toxins that are in the digestive tract leaks into the bloodstream causing a riot of health problems.

Although going gluten-free may sound intimidating, the Tucson personal chefs at Chef Chic can demonstrate that you don’t have to compromise on delicious taste and quality. A nutritious and healthy diet will enhance your taste-buds, making everything good taste better, while processed foods will taste bland and empty. You’d be surprised that eating so healthy can taste so good by implementing Chef Wendy’s vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free recipes.

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