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Healthy Eating

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How are those New Year's Resolutions going? I wonder how many of our promises involve food? Lose weight, cut down on this and that, eat fewer snacks. Maintaining a healthy diet is a fantastic way to contribute to your health, and Chef Jerry Pellegrino has noticed, once a new approach to eating sets into your lifestyle, it becomes a habit and pretty easy to stick to.

This year we are going to concentrate on minimizing fats. One great technique is to cook "en papillote", i.e. cooking in parchment paper. Kitchen grade parchment paper is pretty easy to find in quality grocery stores.

Chicken and Vegetables En Papillote

Ingredients

·         boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1-1/2 pounds), cut into chunks

·         1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced

·         3 cloves garlic, minced

·         1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

·         1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

·         1 small carrot cut into 1/4 inch dice

·         1 cup frozen green peas

·         1 teaspoon mild curry powder

·         1 tea spoon kosher salt

·         1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

·         Fresh basil, thinly sliced (for serving)

Technique

·         Preheat oven to 400°. Cut 4 pieces of parchment paper 12 inches by 16 inches. Fold in half to form an 8-by-12-inch rectangle, then cut into a half-heart shape as you would a valentine. Open the parchment, divide the mixture into four even piles on one side of each of the hearts. Fold the other side over and roll the edges together completely around the outside edge to seal the packets. 

·         Place the packets on a baking sheet. Bake on the middle rack for 25-30 minutes, or until chicken pieces are just cooked through. You may have to open the packets and check a piece to be sure. If you prepared the packets earlier and refrigerated them, it may take a few more minutes for them to cook through.

·         When ready to serve, open the packets carefully as not to allow the steam to burn your fingers. Serve hot and garnish with fresh basil.

Al Spoler, well known to WYPR listeners as the wine-loving co-host of "Cellar Notes" has had a long-standing parallel interest in cooking as well. Al has said, the moment he started getting serious about Sunday night dinners was the same moment he started getting serious about wine. Over the years, he has benefited greatly from being a member of the Cork and Fork Society of Baltimore, a gentlemen's dining club that serves black tie meals cooked by the members themselves who are some of Baltimore's most accomplished amateur cooks.
Executive Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Corks restaurant is fascinated by food and wine, and the way they work in harmony on the palate. His understanding of the two goes all the way to the molecular level, drawing on his advanced education in molecular biology. His cuisine is simple and surprising, pairing unexpected ingredients together to work with Corks' extensive wine offerings.