How to butterfly a Chicken Breast


Date Published: August 20th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 20th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: how-to
Serves: — | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time:

Butterflying a chicken breast sounds fancy but it’s so much easier than I initially thought. You’re essentially just cutting the the thickness of the breast in half and opening it up, effectively doubling the size of the chicken! This is how you get giant schnitzels at restaurants and if you pound down the breast it becomes even bigger like the famous Hot Star Taiwanese Big Fried Chicken.

Other than doubling the size of your chicken, butterflying a chicken breast also evens out the thickness and helps the chicken cook more uniformly, especially when you’re breading it for a parma, schnitzel, or a katsu. It only takes a couple of minutes and all you need is a knife and cutting board.

I’ve included photos and tried to be as descriptive as I can in how to butterfly a breast. If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! Let me know if a video would be helpful as well. You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

What you’ll need:

  • Chicken breast
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp kitchen knife

Directions:

  1. Start off by rinsing your chicken breasts and pat them dry with paper towels. Lay them flat on a chopping board.
The breast on the left has the side piece cut off whereas the right breast still has it intact for comparison.

2. Cut off the small side piece of meat located on one side of the breast (see photo above). Note: Some butchers sell chicken breast with this small piece already cut off so don’t worry if you can’t locate yours. Set aside this piece for another use.

Starting at the thicker side, slice the breast in half, keeping your knife parallel with the chopping board but don’t cut all the way through

3. Starting at the thicker side (opposite side of where you just cut off the small side piece), take your knife and cut the thickness of the breast in half, keeping the knife parallel to the chopping board. Do NOT cut all the way through the breast. Stop when there’s about 2cm left from the edge, then open up the breast.

Stop cutting when you get near the end of the breast. Open it up and done!

4. Congratulations! You have just butterflied a chicken breast. Repeat with the other breasts.

Ta-da! Two butterflied chicken breasts

Recipes that use this method:

How to Make Brown Butter


Date Published: August 10th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 10th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: how-to, basics
Serves: — | Prep time: 2 minutes | Cook time: 5-8 minutes

Brown butter is literally butter than has been “browned” by cooking it down. The process is as easy as placing butter on a skillet and waiting until it’s brown. No other ingredients needed other than butter itself. The end result is this beautiful fragrant nutty magical brown liquid that adds amazing flavour and depth to a dish. Although it’s very easy to brown butter, there is room for error so that’s why I’ve written a step-by-step guide with photos on what to look out for to ensure you get a perfectly browned butter every time.

Butter itself is not only fat. It’s composed of 1) fat, 2) water, and 3) milk solids and all 3 of these will separate during the process of browning butter. In a nutshell when you brown butter, you melt it down and the water content will evaporate as the mixture sizzles. Once the water has evaporated, you’re left with fat and milk solids. The milk solids will toast during the process which is what gives us the nutty bold flavour so make sure you scrape as much milk solids out of the pan when transferring! The water content of butter is roughly 13-17% (thanks Google), which means that the amount of brown butter you end up with will be 13-17% less than the amount of better you started with (ie. 100g of butter will result in 83-87g of brown butter) so make sure you calculate properly how much butter you need to start with for your recipe.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • Butter (either salted or unsalted)
    • I like to use unsalted butter which is what most baking recipes call for and I add my own salt at the end for savoury dishes.

Directions:

Cut the butter into even sized cubes so they melt evenly.

Heat a skillet (ideally one with a silver and white bottom so you can easily see the colour changes) on MEDIUM heat and add the butter to the skillet.

The butter will go through several stages during this process. Make sure you’re frequently stirring during this whole process to keep everything moving:

  1. Butter blocks will all melt to a liquid state and sizzle.
  2. The butter continues to sizzle and you’ll start to notice white foam forming. These are the precious milk solids.
  3. The foam will start to subside a little and the mixture will start to brown (timing will depend on how much butter you put in the pan, but usually 5-8 minutes). You will notice that some of the milk solids will have sunk to the bottom of the pan and start to turn brown. KEEP AN EYE ON THESE MILK SOLIDS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAN!
  4. Once the milk solids at the bottom of the pan turns toasty brown, the brown butter is done and quickly transfer the contents to a heat-safe bowl. Done!
    • DO NOT leave it in the pan, otherwise the heat from the pan will continue cooking the butter. There are only a few seconds between brown butter and burnt butter, so once those solids are toasty brown, you’re done! There should be a a delicious nutty aroma that fills the air. Make sure you get all the milk solids out of the skillet when transferring because that’s where most of the flavour is!
Done! Beautifully browned butter

Recipes that use brown butter:

Easy Moist Chicken Breast


Date Published: August 10th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 10th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: basics, how-to, healthy, easy
Serves: 2 | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 30 mins

Jump to recipe |

Chicken breast is one of the things I always have in my freezer. It goes well with so many things and it’s so easy and quick to make. You can have it as part of a healthy meal seasoned with simple spices and paired with a veg or pack it full of flavour with a kickass sauce and toppings. The most common way I like to use it is in salads. It’s amazing how you can turn pretty much any side salad into a main dish just by adding chicken breast.

Chicken breast often get a bad rep for being dry and bland which is why some people avoid it. There’s not much fat on the meat and thus it’s easy to dry out when cooking. Follow this basic tutorial and I’ll show you how I like to prepare chicken breast so it comes out moist and perfect every time! I use a combination of baking and steaming to ensure the chicken stays moist.

If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • Chicken breast – as many as you like, but try not to crowd them too much in a pan so they cook evenly.
  • Olive oil – roughly 1 tsp per breast. You don’t need much oil since you’re steaming.
  • Water – enough to fill 1 cm of the pan
  • Salt & pepper
  • Optional: any seasoning you like – I keep it plain with just salt and pepper if I’m using it as a base with a sauce, but if I’m adding it to a caesar or garden salad, I rub some Italian seasoning or oregano over it.

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 180˚C (~350F) and arrange a rack in the middle of the oven.

Rinse your chicken breasts and place them in a baking tray. Add a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, any additional spices you like, then rub it all over the chicken breasts on both sides.

Pour 1 cm of water into the pan (it doesn’t have to be exact).

Cover the tray with aluminum foil and make sure the edges are sealed (otherwise steam will escape while baking and could result in a dry chicken). Bake in the oven on the middle rack for 20-30 minutes. You can check the doneness of the chicken by either cutting the thickest part and if the juices run clear, it’s finished. If it’s pink, then put the foil back on and bake for another 5 minutes. Alternatively you can use a thermometer and poke it into the thickest part of the breast until it reads 65˚C.

*Caution: HOT steam will escape when you unwrap the foil so please be careful when checking on your chicken!

Once your chicken is cooked, serve it on a plate immediately or rest them for 5 minutes before slicing. It’s VERY important not to slice them when they’re steaming hot, otherwise the juices inside the chicken will evaporate and your chicken will be dry. By allowing them to rest, it lets the juices redistribute throughout the meat.

Enjoy!

Tip: if you’re adding this to a leafy salad, wait until the chicken comes to room temperature before adding it in otherwise the heat might wilt your salad leaves.

Summarized Recipe:

Easy Moist Chicken Breast

Date Published: August 10th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 10th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: basics, how-to, healthy, easy
Serves: 2 | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 30 mins

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breast – as many as you like, but try not to crowd them too much in a pan so they cook evenly
  • Olive oil – roughly 1 tsp per breast. You don’t need much oil since you’re steaming.
  • Water – enough to fill 1 cm of the pan
  • Salt & pepper
  • Optional: any seasoning you like – I keep it plain with just salt and pepper if I’m using it as a base with a sauce, but if I’m adding it to a caesar or garden salad, I sprinkle some Italian seasoning or oregano over it.

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180˚C (~350F) and arrange a rack in the middle of the oven.
  2. Rinse your chicken breasts and place them in a baking tray. Add a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, any additional spices you like, then rub it all over the chicken breasts on both sides.
  3. Pour 1 cm of water into the pan (it doesn’t have to be exact) and cover the tray with aluminum foil. Make sure the edges are sealed (otherwise steam will escape while baking and could result in a dry chicken). Bake in the oven on the middle rack for 20-30 minutes. You can check the doneness of the chicken by either cutting the thickest part and if the juices run clear, it’s finished. If it’s pink, then put the foil back on and bake for another 5 minutes. Alternatively you can use a thermometer and poke it into the thickest part of the breast until it reads 65˚C.
    • *Caution: HOT steam will escape when you unwrap the foil so please be careful when checking on your chicken!
  4. Once your chicken is cooked, serve it on a plate immediately or rest them for 5 minutes before slicing. It’s VERY important not to slice them when they’re steaming hot, otherwise the juices inside the chicken will evaporate and your chicken will be dry. By allowing them to rest, it lets the juices redistribute throughout the meat. Enjoy!

Tip: If you’re adding this to a leafy salad, wait until the chicken comes to room temperature before adding it in otherwise the heat might wilt your salad leaves.

Rough Puff (Easy Puff Pastry)


Date Published: July 29th, 2020 | Last Updated: July 29th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: pastry, how-to
Serves: 1 sheet of puff pastry | Prep time: 5 mins | Make time: 50 mins

Jump to recipe | Watch the video

Get ready to have your world changed with this easy puff pastry recipe. If you don’t know what puff pastry is, it’s a flaky buttery dough that’s commonly used in pastries such as danishes, turnovers, tarts…etc. The traditional way to make this dough takes effort and time which is why a lot of people commonly buy the pre-made frozen dough from grocery stores. It’s great to keep in the freezer for a quick dessert or snack. There are SO MANY things you can make with puff pastry. I love using it to make spanakopita, curry puffs and cherry cheese danishes (all of which are on my to-do list of recipes to write up). Once you learn how to make puff pastry, you’ll unlock a world of possibilities!

In Australia, especially in country towns, puff pastry isn’t always easy to find which led me to try and make it myself. This puff pastry dough is a rough and easy version (hence the name “rough puff”) that yields fantastic flaky buttery results. All you need is 4 basic ingredients that you most likely already have in your fridge.

Like a croissant, in order to get buttery flaky layers, you need butter and you need to keep it in layers within the dough rather than have it combined together. Therefore, the key to a flaky puff pastry is to keep everything cold so the butter doesn’t melt into the dough. We’ll be using cold butter, cold water and lots of fridge time. This dough is easy to make, but make sure you keep everything cold and don’t overwork the dough to keep the buttery layers.

You can watch the video below to guide you through the recipe.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 2 cups (288g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 250g cold unsalted butter (NOT softened!)
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) cold water

Directions:

In a bowl, combine the flour, salt and cold butter cubes.

Use a spatula to mix it all together and coat the butter in flour.

Add cold water to the mixture.

Mix the ingredients until you get a thick mixture of clumpy flour and butter (pictured above).

Turn out this mixture on a lightly floured surface and knead a few times with your hands until you get a rough thick dough (1-2 mins). Do NOT overmix! You want there to be flecks or small chunks of butter in your ball. This is what makes your pastry flaky. If your dough is all one colour, you’ve kneaded it too much! Gather your dough into a ball and wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

After 20mins, roll out your dough on a floured surface into a rough rectangle shape. You should have a marbled effect in the dough (see photo above).

Fold the top third of the dough down and the bottom third up (like a letter). Then turn the dough 90 degrees, roll it out in an up and down direction (not side to side) and fold it into thirds again. Repeat rolling and folding the dough another 3 times. Remember to always stick with one direction of rolling so the butter doesn’t become too incorporated into the dough. If this sounds confusing, check out my video tutorial below.

Try to do the rolling step relatively quickly because you don’t want the butter in the dough to melt while rolling. If melting, put it in the fridge for a few minutes to harden up then continue rolling.

After you’ve finished working with the dough, wrap it in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for another 20mins or overnight.

Ready to use for your recipe! (When you use the recipe, you don’t need to unfold the dough, just roll it out.)

Watch the Video Tutorial!

Summarized Recipe:

Rough Puff (Easy Puff Pastry)

Date Published: July 29th, 2020 | Last Updated: July 29th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: pastry, how-to
Serves: 1 sheet of puff pastry | Prep time: 5 mins | Make time: 50 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (288g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 250g cold unsalted butter (NOT softened!)
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) cold water

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, combine the flour, salt and cold butter cubes. Use a spatula to mix it all together and coat the butter in flour.
  2. Add cold water to the mixture and mix the ingredients until you get a thick mixture of clumpy flour and butter (pictured above).
  3. Turn out this mixture on a lightly floured surface and knead a few times with your hands until you get a rough thick dough (1-2 mins). Do NOT overmix! You want there to be flecks or small chunks of butter in your ball. Gather your dough into a ball and wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  4. After 20mins, roll out your dough on a floured surface into a rough rectangle shape. You should have a marbled effect in the dough (see photo above). Fold the top third of the dough down and the bottom third up (like a letter). Then turn the dough 90 degrees, roll it out in an up and down direction (not side to side) and fold it into thirds again. Repeat rolling and folding the dough another 3 times. Remember to always stick with one direction of rolling so the butter doesn’t become too incorporated into the dough.
    • Try to do the rolling step relatively quickly because you don’t want the butter in the dough to melt while rolling. If melting, put it in the fridge for a few minutes to harden up then continue rolling.
  5. After you’ve finished working with the dough, wrap it in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for another 20mins or overnight.
  6. Ready to use for your recipe! (When you use the recipe, you don’t need to unfold the dough, just roll it out.)

How to Cook Quinoa


Date Published: July 27th, 2020 | Last Updated: July 27th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: how-to
Prep time: 5 mins to measure ingredients | Cook time: 15 mins

Did you know that quinoa is actually a seed? This superfood is packed with protein, nutrients and fibre. Best of all, it’s really easy to cook and takes only half the time to make compared to rice. It comes in different colours but white quinoa is the most commonly used and tends to be the fluffiest.

To me quinoa itself doesn’t have much flavour other than a hint of nuttiness, which is why I love using them to bulk up salads to make them more filling and to add some extra nutrients to my diet. They can be a little pricey in regular grocery stores here in Australia, but if you’ve got a Costo membership you can buy them at a pretty good price in bulk and it stores well for a very long time (I’m still using the same bag from 2 years ago!). You can also use quinoa as a rice substitute or eat it as a side dish using recipes that star quinoa such as the delicious tabbouleh that pairs beautifully with a lamb dish.

The directions below are a little wordy because I wanted the instructions to be as clear as possible without any room for confusion, but I promise it’s actually SO easy to make it. You essentially just boil 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa until all the water absorbs and then you fluff it. Done!

I’ll be updating a short video on how to cook quinoa shortly – I just wanted to publish the written version first because I couldn’t wait to share some good quinoa recipes with you guys!

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the tutorial. If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • Quinoa – quinoa will expand about 3 times its size once it’s cooked, so measure out your quinoa according to how much you want to make (ie. if you want to make 1 cup cooked quinoa, then measure out 1/3 cup raw). Usually if I’m making a big salad for 4 people, I’ll measure out 1 cup raw to make 3 cups cooked.
  • Boiling water – you can use room temp water as well, but I find boiling water makes the cooking process a little quicker. You want a 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa, which means if you’re using 1 cup raw quinoa, you’ll need 2 cups of water, or if you want 1/3 cup raw quinoa, you’ll need 2/3 cups of water.

Directions:

Rinse the quinoa and strain out the water (I find it easiest to put the quinoa in a mesh strainer and run it under tap water until the water runs clear).

In a saucepan (or any size pot that will accommodate how much cooked quinoa you want), add your washed quinoa and water. Put the lid on and turn the heat on HIGH until it starts boiling.

Once boiling, turn the heat down to MED-LOW until all the water has absorbed and the quinoa softens and “opens up” (this will take about 10-15 mins). Make sure you watch the quinoa carefully when the water is nearly gone or else you may burn it.

If there’s only a small amount of water left (just slightly wet at the bottom of the pan), you can turn the heat off early and keep the lid on to let the quinoa soak up the remaining water (~ extra 5 minutes).

Once all the water has been absorbed, fluff the quinoa up with a fork and add to your recipe! Done!

See how the quinoa has “opened up” when cooked and fluffy

Proofing Dough in the Oven


Date Published: July 12th, 2020 | Last Updated: July 12th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: how-to

I used to hate working with dough. No matter how hard I tried, when it came to the proofing stage where you leave your dough to rise or “double in size”, mine never did as it was supposed to no matter how closely I followed the recipe. Perhaps it was because I grew up in Canada where it was difficult to find a warm place for my dough to rise (central heating made sure we’re always at perfect room temperature) or maybe the humidity conditions were never right. Whatever the reason was, it was always disappointing to see the dough I spent half an hour hand kneading prior to still be a flat ball after even 2 or 3 hours of resting time.I avoided breads and pastries at all costs, until I stumbled upon this method of proofing dough. It’s so easy and fool-proof and best of all, it doesn’t matter what season or temperature your home is! All you need is some hot water and an oven.

Directions:

Get your dough ball and place it into a glass bowl. Put your bowl in the middle rack of the oven (make sure there’s enough room above your rack for the dough to rise).

Fill a flat baking dish halfway with boiling water and put it on the bottom rack of your oven. (The size of the tray doesn’t matter too much as long as it’s not too small since it’ll decrease the surface area).

Close the oven door and let the steam and heat from the hot water proof your dough for you. You do NOT need to turn your oven on at all during this process. That’s it! Easy, huh?

Leave your dough in the oven for the specified proofing time in your recipe. For proofing times more than an hour, I’d recommend refreshing the hot water in the pan after 1 hour.

Try not to open the oven while the dough is proofing because the warmth and steam will escape and will slow down your proofing process. If you must open your oven, do it quickly or just refresh the hot water after doing so.

Note: you do NOT need to cover your dough with a moist tea towel with this method. The tea towel usually prevents your dough from drying out when proofing your dough the traditional way. However, since we’re keeping the dough in a concealed oven with plenty of humidity, there’s no chance for it to dry out.

Ta-da! Beautifully risen aerated dough.

I haven’t made a recipe video for this but if you’d like me to make one, let me know in the comments! If you have any other comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!