The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Food

April 24, 2013

Reboot your pantry

TARBORO — The best meals offer loads of fresh flavor and are best served with a side of originality. Let your pantry serve as your starting point for creating memorable meals the family will love.

Proper Pantry Practices

Before letting those creative culinary juices flow, take inventory of your pantry. If you find items that are too old, that have never been touched, or that you hardly ever use - get rid of them.

Look closely at the ingredient list to decide which items to keep. Get rid of items filled with corn syrup and artificial sweeteners and colors. Foods with fewer ingredients and pronounceable words tend to be more natural or "whole." Made from four ingredients, Kikkoman's Soy Sauce is brewed naturally, using a traditional process that goes back hundreds of years. Other "keepers" include honey, canned beans, whole grain pastas or rice, raw nuts and olive oil.

Once your pantry is in order, you can incorporate these healthy staples into meals using the freshest vegetables, poultry, fish and beef. By keeping your pantry stocked with the most wholesome ingredients, you can be sure you are giving the very best to your family.

For additional recipes and information, visit www.kikkomanUSA.com.

Savory Chicken Brine

Servings: 6

    1    chicken (5 to 6 pounds)

    1     gallon cold water

    1     tablespoon dried sage

    1     tablespoon dried celery seed

    1/2     tablespoon dried thyme

    3/4     cup kosher salt

    3/4     cup sugar

    3/4     cup Kikkoman Soy Sauce

    2     tablespoons of seasoned salt

Remove giblets from chicken cavity, rinse chicken inside and out. In large stock pot or container, mix water, sage, celery seed, thyme, salt, sugar and soy sauce to create brine. Stir well until sugar and salt are dissolved. Place chicken in brine, cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400?F. Remove chicken from brine and rinse well inside and out. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of seasoned salt. Bake chicken at 400?F for 45 minutes.

Brining 101

What exactly is brining? Much like a marinade, meat and poultry is soaked in flavorful liquid, such as an all-purpose seasoning like Kikkoman Soy Sauce. This adds a tremendous amount of flavor and also breaks down proteins, thus, tenderizing the meat or poultry.

The only real rule to brining is that the meat must be kept cold throughout the entire process. Use a large container, cooler or brining bag that can fit into a refrigerator because the protein and brine solution has to be kept below 40 degrees at all times.

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