Taking a cold shower, in a bowl on the counter or sink, is the recommended strategy for thawing meat.
The easiest way to thaw frozen bread is to place it, still wrapped, on the counter for a few hours or overnight, and then crunch in a 350 to 400 degree oven for a few minutes.
Becky Krystal The Washington Post
Count me among those who pat their backs as they carefully pack their food in the freezer, knowing there is something to cook and eat in the future. That, my friends, is only half the battle.
Of course, there’s a whole lot of trouble remembering what’s really there (I’ve been trying to track our inventory on a magnetic whiteboard, at least when my kid doesn’t insist on taking it down to write). But you also need to figure out when and how to thaw them out, and that’s often the one thing that tips the scales from timely comfort to time-consuming visibility. Or worse.
“You want to defrost food in a safe way,” said Shauna Henley, a family and consumer science educator at the University of Maryland Extension who has a doctorate in biology with a focus on consumer food safety issues. “This is basically to prevent potential foodborne illness or food poisoning.”
So how do you make sure thawed foods are safe and satisfying? Continue reading.
MeatThis is what must really be considered and is included in the category with the greatest potential for foodborne illness if not handled properly. Pathogens reproduce at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees, so your goal is to keep food away from what are often referred to as “danger zones.”
That’s why letting your meat thaw on the table isn’t a good idea, no matter the temperature of your house or how cold the food tastes to the touch. Likewise, you shouldn’t leave food on the patio or other place outside to defrost. Point.
Over lunch, chef Dean Keddell stares at his nearly empty restaurant in the once thriving holiday area of Seminyak in Bali.
“Usually the restaurant will be full, crowded … with people, fireworks, there will be a lot going on, but not this year,” he said.
COVID-19 has made a difference. Official figures claim there are more than 900 active cases in Bali, but Dean is seeing the impact of the virus on every empty table and every lonely street.
“When COVID-19 hit, the number of people overseas canceling trips increased and there was panic,” he said.
“I continued for three months but I couldn’t continue and I had to fire the staff – 95 percent of my staff are Balinese, I see them as my extended family, now they sit and wait for my call.”
This is a terrible situation. One that is played out in businesses all over the island. Dean watched as people left the city and returned to their villages, living with their families, growing food to survive.
“COVID-19 has had quite a drastic impact on the local population,” said Dean.
The luxury of Bali’s beaches hides everyday poverty
Even before the corona virus, Bali had a big problem with poverty.
Outside the tourist center, many families struggle to make ends meet. Limited food, basic health care and education are valuable possessions.
In fact, said Dean, many Balinese survive only with the help of charities.
“The government says no one will starve. It’s hard to imagine if it wasn’t for charity that some people would have died long ago. Charities need money to do their work.”
The charities he talks about include the Bali Children Foundation, founded by renowned Australian entrepreneur and philanthropist Margaret Barry, which provides everything from food to educational programs for 8,000 young people across the island.
Now Margaret finds the demand for Foundation services increasing, and funds to pay for them even harder to find.
“In a normal year I will return to Australia, market the Foundation to raise money to continue our work,” said Margaret. “Without question, this is the longest time I have had no return.”
Obviously talking to him that things got hopeless. Despite providing more than 1,650,000 meals to remote communities, the demand continues to increase.
“Currently we have funds for food until February and educational resources until March,” he said. Beyond that timeframe, he added, there were only big question marks.
And then something magical happened
Which brings us back to Dean Keddell.
Sitting in Seminyak, watching the lockdown take effect, she began to ask herself how she could give her remaining staff something to do. More than that, how can he help the community survive?
He began to think, if Australians don’t want and can’t come to Bali, why not bring Bali to Australia? The question is how.
“Cookbook, of course,” he said with a laugh.
But deciding to make a cookbook is the easy part. The problems are many. First, how does he differentiate his cookbook from every other cookbook in a busy market?
“Even before COVID-19, I had planned cookbooks. I thought and thought, and I bored myself to death,” he said.
“Then the idea of a community cookbook came up. It started by asking my staff what recipe they would suggest. I went to their house, ate with them and heard their story.”
At that moment, Dean said something magical happened.
“I realized it was the emotion behind the food [that’s important], “he said.” You start asking someone about their favorite dish and then you ask where it came from and a chef said when he tasted the food, he felt his mother’s warmth. That really surprised me. “
But new problems emerged. And the solution
The second problem is publishing high-quality cookbooks with no experience.
Enter Jonette George, owner of Melbourne’s Sunday Press.
With a track record of producing quality books about food and its origins, she has volunteered to help bring Dean’s vision to life.
“Having written a book about food in Bali, I want to help the local community,” said Jonette. “I wanted to dig deep and go behind the scenes to find out how people, some of them very poor and with few resources, make their favorite dishes.”
The result is Our Bali – Your Bali, a cookbook that Dean thinks will please cooks but provides something more than just a recipe book.
‘They watch you eat every bite’
Like every writer, Dean said he learned a lot as he researched and helped put the book together.
As she researches a chapter, she meets the chefs of 14 warungs – small and humble, usually open and family-run cafes that can be found everywhere in Bali – to inquire about their kitchen secrets.
“I was greeted with hospitality. They wanted me to eat their food,” said Dean. “They don’t want me to pay for it. They show me the same warmth and sincerity that a five-star restaurant has. They watch you eat every bite to see if you enjoy it as much as they like to cook it.”
Dean said he learned something else too while he was writing the book: “It’s expensive, it’s a big investment to make it happen.”
To overcome the shortage of upfront funding, he created a website where Balinese lovers can pre-order and pay for books before they are published. The pledge will be ready and delivered for Mother’s Day in Australia in May.
His goal was to sell 5,000 copies. It’s a huge request, but all the money she makes goes to the island’s struggling charities.
A valuable lesson
There are many people who want this project to continue including Margaret Barry. She knows book sales will fund food deliveries, but she also knows the money she spends goes back to the community.
“There are so many local people who are part of our organization. We have 16 staff, teachers, interns and people delivering food,” he said.
“Locals help deliveries, we buy locally and there is strong community support.
David Booth runs the East Bali Poverty Project, which is all about sustainable development providing water, toilets and food in remote villages in Bali. It also provides opportunities for young people to work outside their village. However, with unemployment increasing, providing food has become a priority.
“Currently, the monthly basic food package is very important,” he said.
“In December I spent money I didn’t have and now I am faced with having to pay for January’s food distribution… there are malnourished children out there”.
Summing up the whole project Dean still can’t believe he got this far.
People gave him the recipe, they gave him the time and expertise to make the book and the foodie has sent money up front to make the book happen.
But most importantly, the Balinese he wanted to thank and the life lessons they gave him.
“I totally take the idea that the fewer people, the more likely they are to give.”
This is a valuable lesson in difficult times and very easy to forget.
When I was a kid, my mother used to tell me – a lot, actually, and usually at dinner, when I frowned at some gastroterror as grim as cubed beets in thick syrup – “You know what your problem is? I will tell you what your problem is. Your problem is, you don’t know what’s good. That’s your problem. “
Thankfully, after a lifetime of experience and a lot of therapy, I believe I have learned what is good. Affection, one of them. And anti-slip shoes.
But it is also the recognition that self-improvement has no limits, and that quest is, in itself, good. Let us think, then, of ways to improve ourselves and, furthermore, the world, when we are on the last sabbatical in 2020, the roadkill is flat and rotten in a year, receding in the rearview mirror.
Multiple resolutions, then?
Resolution No.1: Order some luggage. I don’t know if you’ve seen the newspapers, but there’s a pandemic. Among its many victims is the restaurant industry. So here’s one good thing you can do: Find a restaurant you like, then pick up the phone (contact them directly – the delivery app costs money) and pay some cash. Once a month would be great, every week if you were loaded. The cooks and hosts of the line, servers, dishwashers and bussers, many of them barely scratched, even at the best of times. Order some luggage. Really. Oh, and a great tip. Always.
Resolution No.2: Repeat after me: “I, (state your name), hereby decide that, with dogs as my witnesses, this year, I will cook more good food.”
Here’s what’s cool about that resolution: you can emphasize the “cook more” section or the “good food” section. If you haven’t cooked much, get started. If you have been cooking a lot, you can now improve your technical skills or expand your vocabulary. Learn to move faster or just make your food taste and look like something you want to put in your piehole.
Here are three sub-resolutions, for your convenience:
No.2A Resolution: If you’re the “can’t make toast” type, decide to cook at least one meal per week. It doesn’t have to be “gourmet” or even “from scratch.” Start small. Make toast or, better, square pasta. (Add the pasta to a large saucepan of boiling salted water, and cook, stirring occasionally to keep the pasta from sticking, for the time indicated on the package.) Then, learn how to heat a stirred pasta sauce (Pour sauce into “saucepan” – tall ones instead of the short, wide ones called “wok” – and place them over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally so they don’t burn.) From there, learn how to make roasted potatoes and boiled green beans and rice (not instant rice; you too. can eat wet cricket husks). Remember, the journey of a thousand miles started with something I can’t remember. But, mi, shmiles, you have to learn to cook.
No.2B Resolution: If you already cook, try to expand your culinary horizons. What dishes do you like but have never tried to make? Indian? Italy? Israel?
Do some research. Find a good book or website about the cooking. Go to a neighborhood inhabited by the people who make the food. Take some of your time there (See Resolution No. 1). Then, find a grocery store for the spices and dry goods you will need to make the dish. Start reading and following recipes. Watch and respect the people who grew up making these foods, however, don’t obsess over “authenticity.” Even with grandma’s recipe, your beshbarmak won’t fool anyone in Zhezqazghan.
No.2C Resolution: If you are an experienced cook, admit your weaknesses. How fast can you cut an onion? Is your knife even sharp? Or, what have you always wanted to learn? How about throwing vegetables in the hot skillet like a wild animal? Place a handful of kosher salt in a cool, dry frying pan – a short, wide one with slanted sides. With the saucepan placed on the burner unlit, move it back and forth to get the salt moving en masse, like a herd of hyacinths roaring in the semi-arid Kazakh Steppes. Next, try moving it forward and stopping suddenly, so that the salt rises slightly to the far side of the pan. Do it again, but this time, as the salt rises, quickly pull the pan back with a slight wrist motion upward to make the salt curve slightly backward through the air and back down to the surface of the pan. Keep practicing until it’s consistent, rhythmic. Next, try it while you sauté the delicious onions or mushrooms in the recipe here.
Bonus Resolution: Practice. Name one thing you perfected the first time you tried it. The trombone? Brain surgery? Cooking is the same. The more you practice your kitchen skills, the more you make certain dishes or cook from certain dishes, the better you will be and the quicker the results will feel like a habit.
In closing, my friends, this year, think about the way you eat. Support your locally owned restaurant. Make a delicious meal for yourself. The world will be a better place. Or, at the very least, because you ate something delicious that you made with your own hands resting on the tip of your arm, the world would appear, if only briefly, to be better than it really is.
OPTIONAL BRAND MUSHROOM
Don’t hesitate not to drink alcohol. The mushrooms are delicious on their own.
Start to finish: 15-20 minutes
Makes 2 cups
2 tablespoons butter or oil
1 to 2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 pound mushrooms, sliced or cut into quarters
Salt and pepper as needed
2 tablespoons brandy (optional)
Place the butter in a large skillet with the base set over the highest heat. Once the butter has melted, it will start to foam.
When the foam starts subside, add mushrooms to cover the entire pan. Season with salt and pepper, and let the mushrooms sit, undisturbed, until brown, 1 to 2 minutes.
Push some mushrooms to the side of the pan to make room, then add the garlic to the fat and let it cook until fragrant, 20 to 30 seconds.
Stir or stir the mushrooms until cooked, about 1 minute.
Remove the pan from the heat, and add brandy. Reheat the skillet, and tilt the brandy until it turns on. When the flame subsides, stir or stir the mushrooms until blended, then taste the seasonings and serve immediately.
Nutritional information per serving: 39 calories, 3 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 8 mg cholesterol, 3 g carbohydrates, 1 g sugar, 1 g protein, 4 mg sodium, 0 g fiber.
VARIATION: SAFE MUSHROOM
After the mushrooms are cooked, reduce the heat to medium and mix with 2 tablespoons of flour. Cook, stirring, until flour is mixed with fat in skillet to form a roux, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn up the heat to high, and add 1 liter of chicken, beef or vegetable stock, making sure all of the roux is completely dissolved. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes to reduce the starchy taste. Remove from heat, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of whole butter and keep stirring until the butter is combined into the sauce. Taste it as a seasoning, and serve immediately.
“Whenever you have fun doing something, you’re more likely to continue doing it,” said Zoey Mahoney, a culinary instructor at Gallatin Valley Farm to School. “We found that having children and their parents work together to cook delicious meals creates a fun and positive food-centered experience.”
He said they were working to form positive associations with food so that children and families would continue to cook together.
The nonprofit usually offers cooking classes at local elementary schools, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic and safety precautions, the organization has not held classes since March.
“We hope that these classes can be a source of resources for the family as well as a fun and safe experience over the years,” said Mahoney.
Classes focus on kitchen basics and are geared toward connecting children and their parents in the kitchen and on building confidence in letting children help. Mahoney also spoke to families about the local food system and why eating fresh and local produce can be so important.
“Most of our recipes are quick and budget-friendly to show that eating healthy, homemade food can be done without spending a fortune,” he said.
Ahead of class, the family receives details on what recipes they will cook, where to buy food, and video demonstrations of knives to help the children use them safely. Virtual class about one and a half hours.
Each class costs $ 150, and the proceeds are used to support other nonprofits to make them more accessible to children and low-income families, said Mahoney.
That online registration has been open for about a week, and Mahoney says they have three families signing up on Saturdays.
Many nonprofit programs are conducted in schools, but this year many schools canceled outside programs to limit the number of people entering and leaving buildings.
Mahoney says they get creative with how they reach students. He said the group collects virtual lessons to send to teachers in their classes and share them on non-profit social media accounts.
The group can also host small private camps for children to learn about cooking, gardening and the local food system on one of their virtual study days.
“Although our ability to reach as many families as usual has been affected, with the help of technology and a staff of talented and wise people, we are still able to reach many families,” he said.
The nonprofit, which focuses on building children’s connections with local food in classrooms, cafeterias and parks, also owns the Bozone Ozone Bus, or BOB. The buses are mobile greenhouses that travel to local schools and events to teach students about nutrition and sustainable agriculture.
Mahoney said the nonprofit is committed to teaching about local food systems, holding cooking classes and showing people how to grow their own food “in a year of uncertainty, and especially uncertainty about food supply”.
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