Cook With Haley

Tips, tricks and culinary know-how for home cooks, entertainers and gourmets.

Cayenne Braised Chicken Thighs, Side of Life Lessons

I have secretly always wanted to teach, but I never dared to admit it because teaching was one of those careers that would never make me “successful.” I also wanted to be a writer and a cook….funny how I chose three passions that don’t seem to fall in line with the “picture of success.”

After hearing “Girl, you must be crazy” for a number of years when you announce your next venture into something new, you can start to second guess your life choices.  It can be especially discouraging when the thing you want to try out to see if it has legs is the thing that you’re most passionate about, the thing that you think about 24 hours a day, the thing that connects you to the world you live in. You might find yourself resorting to a career that you are capable of doing (really well, even), and that brings in a descent income, but that just tears you apart from the inside out every day.

If I’ve learned anything over the last 2 years it’s that I don’t have to buy into those old ideas anymore. My view on what it means to be “successful” has changed in a really important way.  I realize now Continue reading Cayenne Braised Chicken Thighs, Side of Life Lessons

Roux and The Mother Sauces

Thickening Sauces with Roux

Probably the simplest and most used classic French culinary component, roux is nothing more than equal parts fat to flour cooked to varying degrees and used as a thickening agent for sauces, soups and stews. Butter is most commonly used as the fat, but olive and other oils or animal fat can also be used.

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Fennel Roasted Chicken

I recall the day we prepped and roasted whole chickens in culinary school to be terrifying. My fear was clearly irrational. I had, after all, cooked whole turkeys for many Thanksgiving feasts prior.

I suppose the idea that this time I would be judged for my efforts, given a grade and potentially told I had been doing it wrong for all those years caused unwarranted anxiety to build up inside me from the moment I saw “Whole Roast Chicken” on the syllabus. On some occasions I allowed that fear to paralyze me and my team mate, Norma, a lovely lady who had worked at a Tyson Chicken Factory, took the lead.

It’s funny how a couple of years of life has changed my perspective from paralyzing fear of being told I’m wrong to seeing criticism as an opportunity to gather feedback, learn something new and continue to grow.

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How To Chop an Onion – Alternative Method

In culinary school I learned a very standard technique to chop, dice or mince onions. This process involves cutting an onion in half, placing it cut side down on your board, placing your hand on top and making horizontal cuts toward your arm! This has always felt a bit terrifying and insane to me.

The beauty of not having chef instructors watching my every move when I’m cooking at home for my family is that I can cut my onions however I want! This is the way I’ve adapted to my fear of sharp things moving speedily in the direction of my limbs while still achieving a sufficient and evenly sized cut.

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