Using Your Cooking Skills To Teach Others About Good Nutrition

cooking class, culinary, food and people concept - happy group of friends and male chef cook cooking in kitchen

The more you know the easier learning something new becomes. That also applies to cooking. Yes, anybody can acquire cooking skills. When you know and understand the basics of cooking, that leads to preparing good nutritious meals, something you can’t find at a sit down, or drive through restaurant.

Some individuals have taken their knowledge of cooking and preparing nutritious meals a step further. How so?

With their knowledge of cooking and nutrition, they want to share with others the benefits of turning food preparation in a home kitchen into a healthy nutritious meal.

Our guest today is one such individual. Her name is Keisha T. Prosser, and she calls herself: The Mobile Cooking Teacher.

Keisha T. ProsserAn Interview With Keisha

Splendid Recipes: Hey Keisha, how are you today?

Keisha: Doing just fine. Thanks for asking.

Splendid Recipes: Ready to answer some questions?

Keisha: Sure, but not to personal.

Splendid Recipes: No, nothing personal. Okay Keisha tell us, where are you from?

Keisha: I am a native of Philadelphia (USA).

Splendid Recipes: How long have you been working in the food industry?

Keisha: I have over 20 years’ experience in the food service industry.

Splendid Recipes: Wow, over 20 years. Where have you worked during those 20 years?

Keisha: I worked at Whole Foods Market, School Distract of Philadelphia, and as a Private Chef.

Splendid Recipes: What did those jobs teach you then, which have helped you now in the food service industry?

Keisha - The Mobile Cooking Teacher

The Mobile Cooking Teacher – Teaching a hands on healthy cooking class cooking class

Keisha: I learned how to be a better person and cook, and with that I have helped others to become good at healthy cooking. I don’t really look at it like a job, more like making new friendships.

I really enjoy cooking and showing others to prepare and cook different cuisines. Just seeing my client’s faces when they taste the food is priceless.

Splendid Recipes: Where did you learn your cooking skills?

Keisha: I graduated from “The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College” with an Associates of Science in Pastry Arts.

Splendid Recipes: For those of you who may not know where Walnut Hill College is, it’s in Keisha’s home town of Philadelphia.

The college was founded in 1974 and at the time was America’s first private college to offer career training in fine dining and the luxury hospitality industry.

The college offers four majors: Culinary Arts, Restaurant Management, Pastry Arts and Hotel Management. The majors are offered at the Associate and Bachelor’s degree levels.

Splendid Recipes: Keisha tell us what inspired you to want to work in the food industry?

Keisha: What inspired me was a nutritionist who came to our middle school. There was this one particular time, I believe it was March, yes the National Nutrition Month.

She came to our school and talk about the eating healthier and why we should. Though, I will say she brought food that I was not really familiar with.

Splendid Recipes: Oh really, what food was that?

Keisha -The Mobile Cooking Teacher - Talking to school children about homemade sugar cookies and life

Keisha -The Mobile Cooking Teacher – Talking to school children about homemade sugar cookies and life

Keisha: Green tomatoes, I don’t know much than about green tomatoes and personally I didn’t like green tomatoes. The nutritionist always seemed to bring food that to me did not make sense from where I come from.

Splendid Recipes: I guess at the time you might have not realized it, but March is also Dr. Suez Month, and Green Eggs and Ham is a favorite for many children. I guess therefore the green tomatoes and connection to good nutrition.

Keisha: Yes, that would be right.

Splendid Recipes: Tell us Keisha, what are you doing now with what you learned at Walnut College?

Keisha: I enjoy cooking, and I teach, “Healthy Cooking and Food Safety Workshops” at the local library, and Jenkintown Day Care Centers, both in Philadelphia.

Splendid Recipes: Is that all you do?

Keisha:  No, I also do public speaking at the local middle and high schools to teach the kids about the hows and whys of eating healthy.

Splendid Recipes: What is your hopes and desires when you are either talking about eating healthier, teaching others cooking skills and using that to preparing good nutritious meals?

Keisha: Since I have gone into food service, I always make sure that when I am teaching cooking skills, I do it in a way that people can understand, so they can prepare food in their own kitchens that is nutritious. I show them how to cook to benefit their health.

Splendid Recipes: Would it be fair to say Keisha, you have put cooking and nutrition into one package that will benefit your clients health?

 Keisha: Yes, that is right. My hope is that with the knowledge the individuals and families get from my workshops, will continue on to their own kitchen. Cooking and preparing food for themselves in a healthier way.

Splendid Recipes: Tell us Keisha what else you would like to share with us?

Keisha: I would like to share the importance of cooking together as a family.

Splendid Recipes: Great, we look forward to that Keisha. Thanks for your time.

Keisha: You’re welcome.

Please return for another interview with Keisha on cooking together as a family, March. 17,2016.

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The Have To Know Food Preparation Techniques

college of hands of chefs in the process of cooking Sometimes preparing food to either cook or bake can seem like a tedious job. Yes a job which takes up far too much time that you just don’t have.

But there are ways to save time with your food prep so you can spend more time doing other things you like or want to get done. Check out these creative food preparation techniques to help you save time in the kitchen.

Peeling Garlic Cloves

Image GIF Credit: America Cooks For Health

Peeling Garlic Cloves – Lay the clove on the cutting board and place the side of your knife over the garlic.

Place the knife on the garlic clove and with the palm of your hand push lightly over the glove, and the papery skin will peel fight off.

Need to peel multiple garlic cloves? Hit the head of the garlic with the palm of your hand, and then put all the cloves in a large jar.

Place the lid on tightly and shake vigorously. Remove lid, and pour garlic cloves and paper skin into a large bowl. You’ll have these cloves peeled in less than ten seconds.

How To Soften Frozen Butter Fast – You know putting the frozen butter in the microwave can often end up melting instead of softening. You can never get it quite right. So instead, take a cheese grater to the frozen butter and shred it. It will be softened before you know it.

Peeling Pearl Onions – These little devils can be a royal pain to peel. Well, not anymore. Chop off the tip of the onion – the end opposite the root end.

Cook in boiling water for two minutes and drain. When they’re cool enough to touch, simply squeeze each one at the root end, and they’ll slip right out. Chop off the remaining roots, and you’re done.

Shucking Ears Of CornCorn on the cob is the perfect summer side dish, but preparing it can be a shucking mess. No longer do you have to sit there and peel ears of corn and pull off every little hairy strand.

Some individuals do, but if you don’t have any concerns using a microwave, than put two ears of corn in with the husks still on and microwave for 8 minutes – that’s 4 minutes for each ear of corn place into the microwave. Remove with a pot holder, cut off the end without the stringy parts, then simply squeeze the ear of corn right out of its husk, silky pieces and all.

Removing Tough Stems – You don’t even need a knife to separate those tough stems from vegetables like kale, collard greens, and chard. With one hand, hold a leaf at the bottom by the thickest part of the stem. Use your other hand to gently pinch the leaf with your index finger and thumb, and then pull it up and off along the stem.

Removing An Avocado Pit – Slice your avocado in half, lengthwise. Take your knife and chop into the exposed pit, then twist and pull. Out comes the pit. Watch your fingers when you remove the pit from the blade of the knife. Now you can scoop out all of the yummy avocado goodness.

How To Peel A Hard Boiled Egg – Soft boil the eggs for about 12 minutes (or until eggs are hard boiled) with about two inches of water above the eggs and one teaspoon of baking soda.

How to cool boiled eggsRemove eggs from water. While still warm, give one end of the egg a tap on the counter and remove the shell pieces from the tip. Repeat with the other end of the egg.

Now cup your hands with the egg, raise your cupped hands with the egg to your mouth and blow. The egg falls right out of the shell! No peeling necessary.

Be sure to get your hard boiled eggs into cold water right away. If not you will have some issues as demonstrated here in the image to your right.

Peeling A Potato – Simply cut the peel lengthwise with a knife, all around the potato. Put in a pot of boiling water and boil until it’s soft inside. Then immediately remove from the water into ice water. Allow to soak in the ice water for 10 seconds and remove. Rub between your hands and the peel falls right off.

a womans hand squeezing a lemonHow To Get All Of The Juice Out Of Citrus Fruits – No need to purchase expensive juicing tools. Get all of the juice out with a simple pair of tongs.

Cut the fruit in half, place between tongs over a bowl or pitcher with the cut half down, and squeeze. You’ll be amazed at how much juice you have been missing from your fruit.

You can also place the palm of your hand over the citrus fruit while rolling it back and forth over the kitchen counter-top. Cut the fruit in half and see all the juice squeezed from it.

How To Peel A Kiwi – Slice both ends off the kiwi. Put a tablespoon between the flesh of the fruit and the skin and move the spoon all around the kiwi. This will ease the kiwi right out of its peel.

Fishing Out Egg Shells – We’ve all accidentally dropped a small fragment of egg shell in the mixing bowl from time to time. You wouldn’t think it would be so difficult to fish this minuscule piece of shell out of the yolk, but it can be one of the most frustrating moments of cooking when it happens.

Simply wet the tip of your finger with water and lightly place your finger over the egg shell, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly that piece of shell will stick right to your finger.

cutting round vegetables Cutting Round Vegetables – Nothing can be more frustrating like chasing down that carrot, or potato to chop it up.

Next time you have to cut a round vegetable, cut a thin slice along the length of the vegetable to create a flat side, turn it cut-side down on the cutting board and slice away.

When you get to the point where it starts to roll again, flip it onto the flat side from your last cut and continue to slice.

Separate Egg Yolks From Egg Whites – This might not be a time saver, but it’s a fun way to separate an egg. Crack an egg into a bowl. Gently squeeze an empty plastic water bottle and hold it over the egg yolk. It should suck up just the egg yolk, allowing you to transfer it to another bowl.

Prevent A Pot From Boiling Over – They say a watched pot never boils, but if you don’t watch it then you have a mess on your hands. So to keep that pot from boiling over. Simply place a wooden spoon over the top of the pot. Any spoon will do really, but a wooden spoon won’t get scalding hot.

These are just a few food preparation tips we have used. There are many more. Tell us, what are some of your  Food Preparation Techniques?

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Mango Guacamole Chicken Salad

close up of Mango Guacamole Chicken Salad

This salad has flavors of the tropic’s, as it contains mango, avocado, and coconut sugar. It is a quick and easy recipe to prepare.

mango tree with ripe fruit Did you know that mangoes are eaten fresh more than any other fruit in the world?

The mango has been around for some 4,000 years now, and it is biologically a close relative with other flowering plants like the cashew and pistachio trees.

The mango trees originated in sub-Himalayan plains, and there are over 1,000 different varieties, with the Hayden being the most popular.

Mango_tree_Kerala_in_full_bloom

Image Credit: Wikipedia

Mango trees grow up to 115–131 feet tall, with a crown radius of 33 feet. The trees live a long time, as some specimens still fruit after 300 years. Though not a related tree spices, avocado trees can grow just as tall.

When preparing this recipe, it reminded me of our visited to the south of Mexico were the mango trees grow profusely. We seen young children throwing rocks up into the trees to bring down a mango. Yes, they threw a rock up 115 to 133 feet, and never missed to bring down a ripe fresh mango.

Now for our featured recipe: Mango Guacamole Chicken Salad

shredded chicken

Preparation is for two servings.

1 large cooked chicken breast, without bone or skin

3 tablespoons mango puree

3 tablespoons of mayonnaise (Link Here For Homemade Recipe)

1 teaspoon coconut sugar

Shred the cooked chicken breast into a medium bowl and mix with mango puree, mayonnaise, and sugar. Set the mixture aside.

For the Guacamole

1 avocado, seeded and peel removed

1 small tomato, without seeds

2 garlic gloves

2 teaspoons powder coriander

3 tablespoons chopped yellow onion

1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon lime juice

1 teaspoon lemon juice

fresh lemon lime water1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt

5 to 6 whole pepper corns

Place all the ingredients in a blender, and blend together for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Set aside.

Unless you have another use for the other half of the citrus half’s, and including the juiced half’s, you can either freeze the juiced rinds and save for zest in another recipe, or slice them up for lemon-lime water.

Plating The Salad

Now that you have your chicken mixture and guacamole prepared, let’s start to plate it.

plate of baby greens

Add a mixed few hand fulls of baby greens, like spinach, chard, beet greens, and arugula.

baby greens and Mango Guacamole Chicken Salad

Next, using a 5 inch in diameter ramekin, fill chicken mixer to the top, and invert it over the baby greens.

Mango Guacamole Chicken Salad

Next, spread some guacamole carefully over the chicken mixture, and enjoy.

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4 Commonly Asked Questions About Cast Iron Cookware

Cast Iron Cookware

Whether you’re new to cast iron cooking or have been using your favorite pieces for years, chances are you may have a few questions about how to use and care for your cast iron.

Here are four common questions about cast iron cookware:

1. Question: I bought a new cast iron skillet and it says it’s “pre-seasoned” and “ready to use.” Is it really? I’ve heard so much about the proper seasoning of cast iron, this
just doesn’t seem right.

Answer: This is a tricky question two-part question which actually can be answered both “yes” and “no.”

Yes, you can cook in new “pre-seasoned” cast iron cookware without going through any seasoning process. However, it is not truly “ready to use.”

You should still rinse your new cast iron piece in hot water to remove any of the dust or dirt it picked up on the store shelf. Then, dry it completely by heating over a burner set to medium-high heat for about one minute. Once it is completely dry, allow your pan to cool before lightly coating with a good food-quality oil or fat with a high smoke point. Adding a light coat of oil after each use will help build up an even better patina on your pan surface over time.

2. Question: I had a really nice seasoning on my cast iron skillet, but now it seems to be peeling and chipping. What happened?

Answer: There are a few things that can cause this. The most common causes are washing your skillet with a harsh soap or letting it soak overnight in the sink. Both of these actions can soften the finish and cause it to peel off or disintegrate.

The recommended method for washing your cast iron is to give it a quick rinse in hot water, wipe with a paper towel, and dry thoroughly on a hot burner. This will maintain the cast iron patina.

Cooking highly acidic foods or using metal cooking utensils can also damage the patina on your cast iron pieces. For instance, if you are making something with a lot of tomatoes, you may see some distress or dulling on the finish. To combat the reaction that acidic foods have on the finish, be sure to cook other types of food in the same pan often.

Fortunately, if the patina is very well established, a little acid isn’t going to hurt it. It’s really in those first stages that you might have some pitting and softening. Just watch it closely and avoid acidic foods as much as possible in newly seasoned cookware.

3. Question: I recently pulled out my grandmother’s old cast iron skillet and noticed that rust had formed where the pots were stacked together. Is it ruined?

Answer: No, definitely not. While it can be discouraging to find rust on your favorite pieces of cast iron, it is not impossible to remove.

There are a lot of remedies out there, but the most natural methods for rust removal are often the best and safest. Simply sprinkle salt onto the area, cut a lemon in half, and rub the lemon over the salt. Let the cast iron sit out to dry, then rinse. Repeat the process to remove any remaining spots of rust.

The nice thing about this method is you are not going to hurt the pan, and you can repeat it as often as necessary. Be wary of any suggestions that a spray-on oven cleaner is the only remedy. A little salt and lemon will remove the rust without severely stripping whatever patina you have already built up.

4. Question: I really want to wash my cast iron cookware, but I keep hearing people say I should just wipe it out to keep the finish nice. Isn’t that just asking for trouble with germs?

Answer: In a perfect world, soap would never touch your cast iron cookware. However, there are times when a little mild dish soap on a sponge is needed. The key is to not overdo it with harsh detergents or abrasive surfaces so you don’t damage the patina.

If you’re worried about germs, soap and water isn’t the only solution. Heat your cast iron over high heat and add some oil to the pan. Allow the oil to heat to just below the smoke point. Then, remove from the heat, let cool and wipe with a paper towel. No germs will survive through this process.

If you still want a water bath, add water to the cookware and bring it to a boil, then pour it out, and dry on a hot burner, wiping the cookware clean. If you absolutely must use soap, then do so sparingly. Wipe the cookware with a sponge (never a scrubber) and a dab of dish soap. Then, rinse and dry thoroughly. Be sure to brush on some oil or grease after each cleaning, regardless of what method you use.

Keep in mind, there are different methods to care for your cast iron cookware depending on the types of foods you cook in them. For example, if you cook a lot of chili or other acidic food, you may have to season your cast iron more often. If you use a skillet just to fry eggs and bacon, you can probably just wipe it out with a papertowel and you’ll be good to go.

With a little practice, you’ll know exactly what your cast iron needs to perform perfectly every time.

Come back later  and we will show you how to oven roast a whole chicken using a 10.25 inch cast iron skillet.


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