Chef Amanda Freitag was back in the studio yesterday with another great edition of "Cooking Today." Joining Chef Freitag on the show were Colleen Grapes, pastry chef at The Red Cat and The Harrison restaurants, and Food Network's "Chopped" co-executive producer Vivian Sorenson.
Colleen helped demystify baking techniques, explaining that because baking is a science, if you keep to the recipe exactly you can make a great dessert. Once you have a good base, Colleen said that it is very easy to bake and you can even make substitutions to the recipe, like using honey instead of sugar. For those impatient bakers, Colleen explained you have to allow time for your dessert to cool so that turns out perfectly. Since many people do not like to bake in the summer because of the heat, Colleen suggested making dishes on top of the stove and offered advice for making ice cream at home!
Television producer and friend, Vivian Sorenson sat down with Amanda to dish with our listeners about what really goes on behind-the-scenes at "Chopped." Vivian explained that idea for the basket of mystery ingredients came from thinking about items that are normally in a pantry and then choosing one ingredient that's really creative and different, you might see at a specialty market. The two also discussed some of their adventures on location, including an impromptu dust storm they braved while taping an upcoming episode of "Chopped Grill Masters." The new series premieres this Sunday at 10 ET/9 CT.
Amanda invited listeners into her kitchen to discuss chicken, which she described as a soul satisfying meal that also tastes great as a leftover. She revealed that she loves it because it can be made in so many ways. Amanda said she really prefers the dark meat of the chicken, and shared a recipe for her Cornmeal Crusted Chicken Thighs which she made while trying to trim down choses. See below for Amanda's recipe.
Cornmeal Crusted Chicken thighs with Jamaican spice
Chef Amanda Freitag
4-6 Chicken thighs, skin on, bone in
1 cup instant polenta or finely ground cornmeal
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon coriander seed, ground
salt to taste
2 baked sweet potatoes
2 cups cooked kale
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a shallow baking dish combine the cornmeal and the spices thoroughly.
- Season the chicken legs with salt if desired. Place the thighs into the cornmeal mix skin side down and then flip over to coat the other side.
- Place the crusted thighs into another shallow baking dish skin side up and place in the oven for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes turn the oven down to 350 degrees and cook for 15 more minutes or until juice of the chicken run clear when poked with a fork.
- Serve the thighs with a simple baked sweet potato and kale.
If you missed yesterday's show, you have another chance to catch it today at 3 and 6 p.m. ET and be sure to check out some of the highlights below.
“Cooking Today,” is live each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 3 p.m. ET / 12 p.m. PT, on Sirius XM 110. Tune in Friday, July 20, as director of operations at Jack's Stir Brew Coffee, David Trotta, and mixologist and bartender Robert Crosson of New York's The Little Owl-The Venue join Amanda in the studio!
Colleen Grapes explains how to alter recipes when baking.
Colleen Grapes shares her recipe for the perfect pie crust.
Amanda Freitag explains what it's like to be a judge on "Chopped."
Amanda Freitag shares what it's like for judges behind-the-scenes at "Chopped.'