Rachel Ray...I know I know..the name does not inspire much of ooh's and aah's in the foodie blogdom :) And there are reasons. I will give that to ya'll. But, I adore her. Simply do. It isn't so much that I am a big fan of her recipes. It does not hep that I am not a fan of the concept of recipes in the first place. But what I like best about her, is her earthy, rustic approach to cooking. Anything goes. And there aren't any rules. I like it. Cos me is like that. In the kitchen, one can't be too cautious :)
But one thing I recently did find out, that got even me a little worried. Use of extra virgin Olive oil (EVOO) in Rachel's recipes. Now I use extra virgin olive oil in any cooking. Almost all. I use it in salads, dressings, baking, fries, cooking..and this I did pick up from Ray. Till I found out, how terrible it might have been. Turns out that all forms of cooking fat-oil and butter mostly-- have something called a 'smoke point'. A temperature above which these fats break down and release harmful chemicals. Carcinogens. Cancer causing stuff. And this smoke point is lowest for canola oil and extra virgin oilve oil! ~ 225F. We don't make anything at such low temperatures. Scary Scary. But does that mean we don't use our favorite olive oil? No! We simply used regular olive oil which has been refined enough to have very high smoke points. 470F. In fact light olive oil is the best with even higher smoke points. Here is a link that explains it all so well.
I checked my blogs to see what oil I have been recommending. Was relieved to see I suggested any good quality olive oil. Whew :). Anyways basic point is extra virgin olive oil and canola oil is good and full of nutrients and should thereby not be used for heating. Just use it in salads, dressings etc. Veggie oil, sunflower oil and light oilve oil, which high smoke points for cooking and baking!!
Rach..girl..I love you..but you surely are out of line here ? :)
Anyways, having said so, Rach did have a fantastic middle eastern chicken recipe this week, and I did make something similar to it. Turned out super good.
Here's the recipe. Using Light Olive Oil!
- 2-3 tbsf light olive oil. You definitely can use regular oil as well.
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, chopped into bite-sized pieces. You can use regular chicken as well. Just keep in mind that the time to cook would go up. But tastes way better :)
- 1 onion, coarsely sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, grated or chopped
- 1 carrots. Coarsely cubed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon paprika. Smoked is best. Hot is good too, if you like heat :)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- Pinch ground cinnamon. You can use a bit of unground cinnamon too.
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 2.5 cups of hot water.
- Handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped. You can easily sub with Cilantro
Here is what I did :)
Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil ripples add the chicken and brown 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Add the onions, garlic, carrots, bay leaf and season with spices, salt and pepper, cook 5 to 6 minutes. Add the zest of the lemon, and 2 1/2 cups of stock. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes more. Sprinkle with lemon juice and turn off heat. Somehow adding the lemon juice early on just makes the dish a bit bitter. So when using lemon juice, its prolly best to finish off that dish adding the juice at the very end :)
Garnish with parsley.
Indeed a lovely middle easternish dish. Great to be had with some full bodies red wine. My choice is Cabernet