Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ever wonder why there is "Dark" and "White" meat?

Dark -vs- White Meat

So you're sitting at the table on Thanksgiving Day and a one of life's questions arises. White Meat or Dark Meat? What is the difference? What makes dark meat dark and white meat white? Look no further, I have your answer!

Muscles use a protein called Myoglobin to store oxygen when that muscle is used. The more that muscle is used, the higher the concentration of Myoglobin. The higher the concentration means darker the color. Since Chickens and Turkeys fly very little, if at all, the breast and part of the wing has a low concentration of Myoglobin. However, they do a lot of walking and running around which would give the legs and thighs a high concentration of Myoglobin. This also explains why ducks are all "dark"meat. They actually use the breast and wings to fly.

Other Poultry facts:
  • The muscle tissue of poultry is similar to mammals except in the way it stores fat. Poultry doesn't have "marbling", it stores fat in it's skin, abdominal cavity, and the fat pad near it's tail.
  • Poultry fat is softer and has a lower melting point than other animal fats.
  • A flightless bird, such as an Ostrich or Emu, is called a "Ratite".
  • To get a bird to cook evenly, truss it. Trussing is where you tie the legs together and the wings are tucked neatly behind the bird. This keeps the bird's legs and wings from overcooking.
  • Tryptophan is the chemical in turkey that makes you sleepy.
I hope this blog post satisfies your curiosity if you've ever asked the question, Dark or White?

I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful holiday! 
Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Chicken Puttanesca

A couple weeks ago, while at work, a fellow coworker was demoing Chicken Puttanesca. I've always wanted to make it and after trying his, I knew I HAD to make it!

Puttanesca is an italian sauce made of Tomatoes, Olives, Capers, Garlic, Onions, Anchovies, and Herbs. It's very simple to make and very quick. It is also very fragrant, which leads me to the origin. According to this website, there are mulitple translations as to how this dish was derived. The version I heard said that it was made in brothels either to lure men in with the aroma or to feed the men while waiting for their "turn".

But for whatever reason it was made, it is a very tasty and vibrant sauce that you can make quickly on a weeknight and put over pasta or chicken.

I added the chicken to a Pasta Puttanesca recipe from my fellow coworker, Damian.
The sauce recipe can be found on Epicurious:

Chicken Puttanesca
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 35 min
Serves: 6-8


  • 1 lb Dried Linguine
  • 5 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbls Anchovy Paste
  • 1/3 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 (28 oz) Can Tomato Puree
  • 1/2 C Pitted Kalamata Olives, chopped
  • 2 Tbls Capers, drained and chopped
  • 3/4 C Basil, coarsely chopped
  • 1lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
  • Flour, for dredging
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 Tbls Oil, for frying (any oil you prefer, see step 2)
  1. Bring pot of water to boil for pasta.
  2. While water is coming to a boil, Cut Chicken into 1/4" slices. Season with Salt & Pepper.
  3. In a large skillet with deep sides, heat the oil for frying over medium high heat.
  4. Dredge seasoned Chicken in the flour until slightly coated and shake off excess.
  5. When oil is hot, toss in the floured chicken and cook until no longer pink.
  6. Remove Chicken and set aside.
  7. Add the Olive Oil to the hot pan. Add Garlic and Anchovy Paste and let cook stirring occasionally. It will look a little yellowish.
  8. Add Tomato Puree, Olives, and Capers. Simmer until Pasta is just about al dente.
  9. Drain pasta. Add Chicken, Pasta, and Basil to sauce and simmer for just a couple of minutes longer until the pasta is al dente.
  10. Serve and enjoy! Goes great with Garlic Bread!

Seasoned and Sliced Chicken and Flour for Dredging

Dredging the Chicken

Frying the Chicken
Cooking the pasta

Pressing Garlic

Anchovy Paste and Garlic in the oil

If you don't have tomato puree, you can puree whole tomatoes in the blender.

Chopping the Olives

Everything in the sauce except the basil and pasta.

Everything mixed together, minus Basil. I used dried since I did not have fresh.

Finished dish
You can add or remove ingredients to you tastes. You don't have to add the flour, but it helps the sauce "stick" to the chicken better. 

As always, please feel free to leave any comments, positive or negative. I would love honest feedback on all my posts!