I want to change how everybody in America eats, says Chris Smith, dubbed The Diabetic Chef. Im on a mission!
The apostle of healthy-yet-tasty gave a 90-minute presentation during Sundays Foodways Culinary Expo that left everyone in the vast audience at the Woodland Mall feeling practically fortunate to have to watch their calories, carbs or whatevers.
Im going to show how you can get consistency in nice, juicy meat, he said, while demonstrating his methods with chicken breast. Its chicken, but it applies to any meat.
Smith said that, contrary to what most diabetics or dieters have heard, he doesnt object to using the skin of chicken or any other bird if theres a purpose for it.
Think of skin as protecting the nice tender meat in the same way a coat protects us in bad weather. Once the cooking is done, just discard it. Im not saying to eat it!
Smith encouraged the use of poultry seasoning, a blend of herbs and spices, in place of salt. But he warned everyone not to keep spices in the cupboard forever.
Another sin: How many of us have our spices right above or next to the stove? Or in direct sunlight? Its the absolute worst place for it. He recommends refrigerating spices, instead.
His recipe for chicken breasts includes rosemary, red pepper flakes and garlic.
When adding rosemary, keep it whole. Dont chop it up, because rosemary is like pine needles in your mouth; it hurts. The rosemary stays in the bowl during the chilling/marinating stage and is then discarded.
Red pepper flakes are a good choice for those who dont like their food too spicy, which includes Smith. My theory for spice is, use less and develop it. He puts red papper flakes at about a three on a hotness scale of 10.
Spicy ingredients can heighten the flavor of the food without overwhelming it.
As for the garlic, fresh or jar garlic is best. Dont buy a gallon of garlic oil from Sams Club. After six months it will start crawling from one end of the refrigerator to the other and even the most avid Italian food fan probably will not be able to use it up in a timely manner.
Smith spent a good amount of time extolling the virtues of olive oil, noting, This is the only food in the world that reduces plaque in your arteries. Its like liquid Roto-Rooter!
What many people dont know is that the flavor of olive oil can vary widely, from very sweety and nutty all the way to very spicy. Like varieties of wine, it is worth educating oneself about where a particular olive oil was created and for what foods it is recommended.
Regular and light olive oils can be heated to a higher temperature than extra-virgin olive oil, without burning. Extra-virgin is great in cold salads, etcetera.
Smith encouraged his audience to become Nutritional MVPs with the three letters standing for moderation, variety, and portion control.
The recommended portion for a serving of meat is a modest 4 ounces. Thats about the thickness of a deck of cards at a size no larger than the palm of ones hand.
The restaurant industry came in for some good-natured criticism by Smith, with its emphasis on giant portions. The restaurant industry is going to tell you this is a good value! And it is monetarily, but not health-wise.
He teased the men in the audience, asking in a falsetto voice when was the last time any of them ordered a petite-size steak? Yet even a petite steak will end up being anything from 6 to 8 to 10 ounces. A real he-man steak is usually 16, or 20 or even 22 inches!
Im an associate chef at the hospital in Winston-Salem, N.C. Down there is a restaurant that advertises that if you can eat 80 ounces of steak in one seating, its free. Eighty ounces!
SIMPLE CHICKEN BREAST
4 skinless chicken breasts, each 4-oz.
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. rosemary, dry
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 tsp. lemon pepper, salt free
1 T. garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Pan spray, as needed
In a medium size bowl, combine all ingredients and incorporate. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Pre-heat a saute pan to medium-high heat. Spray pan with Pan spray for 1 second.
Add chicken breast to pan and sear for desired color, about 10 second; then turn over to other side and sear. When both sides are seared, remove chicken from pan and place into a baking dish, uncovered, and place into a pre-heated 375-degree oven. Cook food to temperature, not to time! Cook chicken to internal temperature of 160 degrees. When chicken is 160 degrees, remove from oven and let it rest for 2-4 minutes, to allow the juices to feed back into the meat.
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