My top 10 fave kinds of bread

At a time when its “in style” to go gluten free, I’m letting everyone know how much I enjoy making bread and even better eating it. Seriously if you have a gluten sensitivity then of course stay away, otherwise enjoy the staff of life. Bread has been around in many forms for thousands of years, my grandparents all made it to their nineties except for one who died at 104… bread was a big part of their Mediterranean diet.

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Pita
Baguette
Ciabatta
Focaccia
Grecian olive bread
Pizza
Naan
Multigrain (but not the commercial grocery store kind)
Rye bread
Pumpernickel

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Why is my chicken breast so dry? and what can I do about it?

Weather you bake, fry, broil or grill chances are your chicken breast will be dry because it is so lean. The average size chicken breast roasted without the skin and boneless has approx. 4 grams of fat and about 30 grams of protein this is why it can easily dry out once cooked. There is not enough fat in the white meat to keep them moist.

To follow are five suggestions for tender juicy chicken breast.

For 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1. Brine your chicken breasts: brining is the number one most impressive way to get the best chicken breast. Add one tablespoon each salt and sugar mixed in cold water and submerge chicken breasts in it for about 30 minutes. After 30 min. Drain water and pat down chicken with paper towel and let it sit in a strainer for about ten minutes, now brush chicken with olive oil, your favourite seasoning and grill on BBQ or broil in oven.

2. Marinade: put 4 chicken breasts in a large zipper seal bag. Meanwhile in a mini food processor add 2 cloves of garlic, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano, juice of half of a lemon, juice of a whole orange, pinch cayenne pepper, 2 cloves and 3 tablespoons curry powder; spin a few times and pour entire contents in zip bag with the chicken and seal, refrigerate for 1 hour or up-to 4 hours. When ready to cook drain out excess marinade and allow chicken to come to room temperature before cooking.

3. Braise; put chicken breasts in oven safe corningwear and add two cups low salt chicken stock, add vegetables of choice such as potatoes, carrots, onions, zucchini etc, add cracked pepper, couple sprigs rosemary, 3 cloves of garlic smashed. Cover and bake at 400* for about 20 minutes.

4. Baste; brush chicken breasts with olive oil and season with salt and pepper or seasoning of your choice now put on a hot grill or under a hot broiler. In the meantime combine 3 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar , pinch salt, two tablespoons of olive oil and pinch dried oregano. As soon as chicken has cooked on one side, turn over now brush chicken with balsamic vinegar and oil mixture, once second side has cooked turn over chicken again and brush with more balsamic mixture turn off oven and let chicken sit for about 5-10 minutes and keep brushing with mixture. Take chicken out of oven when done and tent it with a piece of foil for another ten minutes.

5. BBQ trick: indirect heat method; brush chicken with your favourite BBQ sauce, chipotle sauce, Harissa sauce, sriracha sauce or any marinade of choice, heat your grill on high for about ten minutes, brush grates with oil and put chicken on grill, after about 4 minutes turn over chicken breasts which should have cooked with nice grill marks on that one side, after another 3 minutes on the other side, turn off the grill on that side of BBQ but leave the opposite burner on high, cover grill and let them cook for about another 10-15 more minutes, chicken breasts should be far away from the high heat side of BBQ… The grill marks on each side should have sealed in the juices.. Again as above it doesn’t hurt to tent the chicken breasts on a plate once ready.

Please comment and let me know how things worked out for you.

Note: Remember when brining chicken will not be salty if you allow then to drain properly and pat them dry with paper towel.

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Dolmathes

This is a recipe that is a classic Middle Eastern/Greek dish, the egg-lemon sauce is very Greek, some use oil and lemon others use sour cream. Herbs are what really make this food shine so be very generous with the fresh herbs. Pine nuts work really well but I have used walnuts with great results. I use wild or brown rice which need about 10 minutes of pre cooking. I use brown rice cause I love the texture, nutty taste and nutrition they provide. Please comment and let me know how this worked out for you, it is time consuming rolling all those dolmathes but put on the radio and have some fun, it’s well worth it.

Ingredients

1 lb. ground beef or lamb
1 jar of preserved grape leaves
8 cloves garlic diced, divided in half
1 cup long grain white rice
1/2 cup wild or brown rice
2 tbsp dried mint or 1 tbsp fresh
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 bunch fresh parsley chopped
1/2 bunch fresh dill chopped
1tbsp. dried oregano
1 handfull pine nuts lightly toasted
juice of 1 lemon juice
2 eggs (one for sauce)
1 tbsp sea salt
pepper to taste

Simmer wild or brown rice in water for 10 minutes with a little bit of oil. Drain and let cool, then add to mixture of white rice and meat. Knead all ingredients in a bowl to combine except lemon juice and 1 of the eggs and 4 cloves garlic.

toss pine nuts in non-stick skillet on high for one minute do not burn or brown too much, just enough to extract great flavour, then cut them or crush if preferred and add them to rice and meat mixture.

There is no need to boil or blanch the grape leaves unless the jar instructs you to do so. Drain leaves very well, rinse with cold water and separate them as you rinse. On a large cutting board or work surface roll grape leaves up from the stem (cut off and discard stems if long) with small spoonfull of rice mixture, sealing by folding in the sides before completely sealing the top.

In a large pot with a flat bottom pour in some olive oil and line with
some defective grape leaves that have holes.

Arrange dolmades in circular pattern at bottom of pot seam side down building up as far as the come. Do this as you roll them, if convenient. Pour water over dolmades just enough to cover, put a heavy plate on top of dolmades so they stay down and simmer steam over low heat for 1 hour. After an hour take one out and taste to make sure that rice has cooked through

Avgolomono suace

beat egg and whisk egg with lemon juice and 4 cloves garlic.

Remove dolmades from heat. Pour some of the liquid from the pot a little bit at a time into egg/lemon sauce while whisking vigorously, whisk in more liquid until all used up and keep stirring until frothy and add olive oil to sauce.

Take dolmathes out of pot into a bowl pour egg-lemon sauce over them. If you are saving some dolmathes for later refrigerate without avgolemono sauce.

1 jar of grape leaves usually yealds 30-40 grape leaves

For a vegetarian version substitute diced, carrot, celery, onion, spinach and zucchini instead of meat.

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