CrankaTsuris Cooking Class

It is finally Friday. You have made it to the end of the week. It is now the time to take a bit of CrankaTsuris inventory.

You started out the week determined to do a deep dive, but you have barely scratched the surface.

You wanted to start peeling the onion, but you were only given a sack of potatoes.

You needed to get to the heart of the problem, and you were told that “we are not doing brain surgery here.”

You thought about taking the road less traveled, but you quickly discovered that there was no map.

You decided that you were going to start thinking outside the box, but you were facing a stack of boxes with the instructions that “there is a lot to unpack here.”

You needed to turn over every stone, but it felt like being pelted with rocks.

By the end of the week, you resigned yourself to picking only the low hanging fruit, but most of that fruit had already spoiled and you found yourself staring at the delicious fruit just out of reach.

You were hoping that you would finally catch up, but you found yourself just dropping further down.

You were assured “not to worry because we will crack this nut,” but you start to think that you are the only nut that will end up getting cracked.

We all have had one of these moments in our lives, and hopefully, this does not describe many days in your life, or a week in your life, or your entire life. NOOOO! But yes, be rest assured, we have all been there. There is a reason that they created the concept of “happy hour.” There is a reason that we have TGIF Friday chains spread through out the country.

While I have enjoyed many happy hours in my life, and I am completely supportive of the “happy hour” concept, effective crankiness is more about doing something long lasting and positive rather than something that lands you in an Alcoholics Anonymous group, or with a bad hangover the next morning.

So, I am going to take you to the CrankaTsuris Cooking Class. Cooking is one of the great ways to treat a CrankaTsuris. You will never hear a great chef tell you how much he or she hates to cook. You never turn on the television to watch a cooking show to see someone in agony stuck in the kitchen. There are many books that talk about the “Joy of Cooking.” But, find me a single book that is titled “The Misery of Cooking.” It just does not exist.

My mom was a fabulous cook, and she never complained a single day about the fact that she was cooking all the time. In fact, the only time that she actually complained was when we took her out to eat at the finest restaurant on Mother’s Day. Her complaint was always the same.

“I can make the same food so much better!”

If ten people are reading this right now, half the people are thinking or saying “I do not know how to cook.” I have had some people even tell me that they do not even know how to boil water.

For those people who do not know how to boil water, here is your first cooking lesson.

Take a pot. Add water. Place pot on stove over a medium or high flame. Wait about five minutes. When you see the water start to bubble, that means that the water is boiling.

See! You did it! That was easy.

For all of those other people who tell me that they can’t cook, I still do not buy this this. These people who tell me that they cannot cook are the same people who will bring home three dressers and a bookshelf from IKEA, and have everything assembled in twenty five minutes. Because of this, I have to ask these people who say that they cannot cook one simple question:

“Can you read?”

If the answer is “yes,” I can then explain to this person that “Add one cup of flour” means one thing. You have to add one cup of flour. Very simple.

For those people who are not able to read because they are watching TV all day, there are plenty of excellent YouTube videos you can watch.

Because you are reading this right now, I will assume that you can read, and I will start you on your path to cooking your CrankaTsuris away. I am not going to start with anything fancy. It is going to be simple, easy to follow. You can even use prepared ingredients, some frozen ingredients to put together with your fresh items.

I have a few rules here. It should be easy to whip up, taking you no more than an hour. It should taste delicious. It should be healthy. It should provide a beautiful and impressive display. It should be easy to clean up. It should leave you with a decent amount of leftovers that you can zap up in the microwave for the week.

Sounds good, right? Are you in? I can go into more complicated stuff where you get out your mini-chopper and your food processor. That is not the point here. All I want is to get you on this path as a very effective and fulfilling way to deal with your weekly CrankaTsuris.

This is what you need:

A Cast Iron Pan, a Grill Pan, a Regular Frying Pan, a scissor for cutting meat or a good knife, a can of Extra Virgin Olive Oil Spray, and various seasonings that suit your own particular taste buds. I happen to be a big fan of Spiceology spices, but the ones you can get from a local supermarket can work out just fine.

We will be making the perfect butterflied Roast Chicken that is moist and delicious on the inside with the crispy skin on the outside. A three pound chicken will take about 30 minutes. A four pound chicken will take about 37-40 minutes.

For this, you preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Once it hits 450, take the cast iron pan, liberally spray it with olive oil spray, and season it with chicken seasoning, and let the pan heat in the oven for 30 minutes.

While the pan is heating in the oven, cut the chicken from the back side, opposite from the breast side so the chicken opens up. Rinse it and pat it dry with a paper towel. Spray the chicken with your olive oil spray. Season it with your chicken seasoning, garlic powder, lemon pepper, and if you have a rosemary thyme seasoning, you can sprinkle that as well. Do this for both sides. You can use paprika as well, but because you are putting the chicken skin down on to the cast iron pan, it may make it too dark and not as pretty. Feel free to use paprika liberally on the other side to your liking.

After the cast iron pan heats in the oven for 30 minutes, you can take it out, and then place the chicken flat on to the pan skin down. Listen to the sizzle. Just stick it into the oven. If it is close to 3 pounds, leave it in for 20 minutes. If it is closer to 4 pounds, it stays in for 27-30 minutes. I stay away from the 5 pound chickens just because they just do not taste as good, and can be a bit tougher.

After the 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken, just flip it over so the skin side is now on top. Cook the chicken for another 10 minutes, and then take out the chicken. You are all done. Squeeze some lime on to the chicken and that will give it a nice citrus taste.

At the same time, we will be roasting on a separate pan fresh beets (you can peel them but I find that scrubbing them over water is easier and does the trick), small potatoes, brussel sprouts, multicolored baby carrots, Indian baby eggplants (if you see them at your store), baby zucchinis, frozen or jarred artichoke hearts (drain oil).

We again spray the vegetables with the olive oil spray, and then season them to our liking. I use a Greek Freak seasoning on my potatoes, and brussel sprouts. I happen to like a pink peppercorn thyme seasoning on the other vegetables. You can season these the way you choose. It is your tastebuds we have to satisfy here.

While the chicken is on the bottom rack of the oven, the vegetables can cook on top.

On a grill pan, you can spray in with olive oil, add low sodium soy sauce or coco-aminos, and place any kind of mushrooms; shitake, baby bellas, oysters, portobellas, and add some sliced colored peppers.

This just needs about 10 minutes to cook while you toss them over so they can brown on both sides.

On the frying pan, spray with the oil, empty a bad of frozen spinach, spray again with the olive oil. Sprinkle a bit of salt on to the spinach.

This should take no more than 5 minutes to get ready.

You need a soup too? How about a Tomato Red Pepper Corn Coconut Seafood Bisque?

I get the already prepared low sodium Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup from the store. I also get a can of coconut milk. Of course, I get a bag of frozen seafood or giant scallops. Cod even works here quite well.

It all goes into a pot. I add chopped onion, chopped slivers of pepper, fresh corn, cumin to taste, curry powder to taste, and salt to taste. I stir and taste, stir and taste, and while I do this, I then decide a touch more of this or a touch more of that. At some point, I decide it is perfect. This also should be done after 30 minutes on a medium heat.

When you are done, add a big spoon of no-fat yogurt in your cup, and you will arrive in Soup Bisque Heaven. It is enough soup for a few days, and every day, the soup just gets better and better!!

Again, nothing should take longer than 30-40 minutes to cook, but an hour after you started, you will have a delicious chicken with many colorful vegetables, with an amazing soup. Lots of delicious leftovers. You can heat up some fresh bread and serve with a good wine. If you have some extra time, you can made a nice salad with pretty greens and some fruit added in.

Do you know what happens next? All that CrankaTsuris quickly melts away!!!


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