Our Favorite Eastwood Dishes

As a nation, we’re embracing low-calorie foods more and more with many changes in the way we look at healthy eating. French chef Harry Eastwood has some of our favorite dishes that will satisfy your craving for healthier dishes that are still packed with plenty of flavors.

Roasted chicken

Roasted-chicken in black dish

Here’s a great twist on free-range chicken that will change your concept of what stuffing is really used for. Most of us think of chicken stuffing as being a great side dish that is delicious and filled with lots of bread crumbs and spices. This stuffing also serves as a tenderizer for your chicken, since this is free-range chicken. Instead of being finished off in a saucepan, this stuffing is marinated underneath the skin of your chicken.

This is somewhat awkward if you don’t have much experience pulling the skin away from a whole chicken. The trick is to start at the base of the neck and slowly work your way down the breast. When you’ve reached the hind legs (drumsticks), then you’re ready to start adding the stuffing underneath the skin. This stuffing mixture includes roughly chopped wild mushrooms, parsley, lemongrass, tarragon, minced garlic, and sliced prosciutto.

Kung Pao chicken

kung-pao-chicken in white dish

Who doesn’t like Chinese food with lower calories and is much tastier if you prepare this meal in a traditional wok. What is not mentioned is how old your wok must be nor how much of the wok has buildup flavor. If you are unaware of wok cooking, you aren’t supposed to clean the inside surface of your wok. This helps to preserve seasonings that were built up from previous wok dishes.

Typically, you use a paper towel to wipe away any oil and leftover food within the wok itself. What’s left is a surface that includes seasonings that are lining the surface of the steel. Because you’re using free-range chicken, this is cut into thin strips and placed into a tablespoon of cornflour and then one tablespoon of water is added to this. This helps make a paste that covers the chicken strips. These are added immediately to a hot wok.

The marinade is added right after this with other ingredients, and then finally the vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce to thicken this mixture further. After it gets thick, it gets served with rice and chopped cilantro on top.

Gourmet lamb burger

Gourmet-lamb-burger with ketchup in white plate

Everyone likes a great hamburger and what better way to enjoy hamburgers than to add a different type of hamburger meat. This version uses a lean lamb with only 20% fat content, so it’s going to give you plenty of flavors and lower calories. Harry likes to add chopped mint, parsley, dill, Dijon mustard, dried chili flakes, finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste.

What gives this burger a real kick in the mayonnaise sauce with minced garlic, finely chopped cilantro, smoked paprika powder, and a dash of fresh lemon or lime juice. The final touch is grilling fresh Halloumi cheese. This classic Greek cheese is made from goat or sheep and gives the lamb tempting and tasty squeaky cheese flavors. This gives your lamb burger more salt with a fine creamy aftertaste.

Top this burger off with purple onion slices and a sweet chili marmalade or jam. Be sure to buy top-quality burger buns that are fresh and not the typical store package variety.

Gratin Dauphinois

Gratin-Dauphinois in pan on wood piece

While we’ve saved the best for last, this southern French recipe is just the perfect side dish that is enjoyed with just about any kind of meat. Now this version of Gratin Dauphinois requires waxy potatoes that are Charlotte potatoes that need to scrubbed rather than peeled. They’re sliced thinly into coin size slices using a mandoline slicer. You can do this by hand if you like, but a mandoline makes slicing them evenly a lot easier.

It’s important to get your bring your skim milk to a slow simmer beforehand so these potatoes don’t start to brown. In this recipe, you’re also adding a whole bulb of garlic that is bashed and peeled. When the potatoes are soft but not totally cooked, these are strained and then added to your casserole dish with grated Gruyére cheese and 3 tablespoons of crème Fraiche, then baked in an oven for 20 minutes until it’s golden brown on top.

The remaining milk can also be saved and used as a base for garlic-flavored béchamel for other sauces if you like. Bon Appétit!

Things We’ve Learned from Harry Eastwood

It’s no surprise that Harry Eastwood has revised French cooking in many ways to recreate classic French dishes with lower calories. But that’s only scratching the surface since Harry has a unique style that stands on its own for a whole new generation that is seeking to be more health-conscious.

Mentally embracing the process of cooking

Harry had grown up in France since the tender age of 4 and embraced many facets of eating styles that many of us are exposed to. She was an avid animal activist in her early years of being an extreme Vegetarian and partook in demonstrations that were opposed to the eating of veal. After three years of opposing the eating of meat and dairy, she made a conscious decision to return to eating meat and dairy in a whole new way.

Carneval book and harry eastwood
“Carneval”, published in 2016

Harry then went on to spend the next 15 years researching meat in all of its aspects and even served as an apprentice to a butcher in her early 20s. Her book entitled “Carneval“, published in 2016 is her love letter of 100 meat-inspired recipes and sauces from around the world. Her quest for knowledge now embraces free-range, organic, and select farm meat varieties. She even includes a Foie Gras Maison recipe in her book that’s also ethical.

If that’s not enough, Harry places more emphasis on a method of cooking that replaces the deep-seated tradition of using many types of fats, butter, and sauces in her recipes. Her process of alteration rather than substitution has drawn minor French food criticism

Longer meal periods

franch dishs on table

The French are accustomed to having a lunch that lasts at least 2 hours and is a leisurely traditional affair. Harry Eastwood understands that these meals are served in three plates of lunch over that period, allowing you to digest this meal proportionately. But one of the drawbacks to today’s lunch breaks will encompass eating a large meal in a very short amount of time. Harry is a firm believer in taking time to eat rather than eating all at once.

This is not always easy for most working-class people, which often need to eat their meal at their desk or on the go. The only time we can usually enjoy this freedom is on the weekend. This isn’t a bad thing, but of course, breaking bad eating habits is fairly difficult if you don’t have a flexible lunch schedule already.

Changes in deep frying

franch fries and chicken

Harry also has a different approach to deep-frying that gives the surface of many traditional fried French foods have a different texture and crunch. Instead of breading the surface of something that’s fried, her method is to double-breaded twice. This means that it’s dropped in egg and then into breadcrumbs a second time so it gets very crispy. There’s no mention if she is using Panko bread crumbs, which would be crispier with just a single coating.

For the hot oil, she is only using 3 tablespoons of oil instead of a saucepan full of oil. This ultimately means that the level of oil is more akin to pan-frying than regular deep frying. The oil that is absorbed into breaded meats will instantly make the surface crispy, while the pan heat will cook the meat within the breaded coating keeping in the juices. You can see a sample of this recipe used for breaded camembert cheese.

Her fried chicken recipe is likely cooked Sous Vide beforehand before it gets breaded, so the chicken is cooked to perfection.

More vegetable dishes

vegetable in white plate

Harry is still a big fan of vegetables, not that her past has anything to do with this, but the generous use of veggies that are commonly found in French dishes. Her approach to eating more vegetable side dishes and mixed meat and veggie meals is one of the hallmarks of French cooking. Of course, the essential part of eating vegetables is that they will be at their peak of freshness.

One of Harry Eastwood’s favorite choices is organic and pesticide-free, but you can get around this by simply finding a local Farmer’s Market that will offer cheaper alternatives.

The organic food you buy at the supermarket that is marketed towards vegetarians is often three times the cost of regular fruits and vegetables. This is why we recommend Farmer’s Market fruits and veggies that are using natural pesticides that are cheaper than the store.

Use of leaner meats

lean meat on black dish on black table

Another solution that reduces the calories n French cooking from the perspective of Harry Eastwood is to use lean and select cuts of meat. While most French recipes call for rich and adequate cuts of meat that release natural flavors and fats as it cooks. The older methods that used richer and fattier meats also took a lot of time to render down. Harry’s method has simplified this time constraint by today’s standards by using leaner and tougher meats.

The advantage is that these parts of beef and pork must be requested at a local butcher that you trust. This way, these cuts of meat will be cheaper for you since they are not the typical pricier select cuts of meat. They will need preparation to help tenderize them a bit more than usual, but the result is meat that is tender and tasty with lower fat content. This makes Harry Eastwood’s French recipes better suited for low-calorie recipes as a whole.

Dumb Things American’s Believe about French Food

For far too long, many people have developed this odd notion that French people are eating unsavory and disgusting things. But the culinary history of France might just surprise you about the ideas that American’s still believe about French cooking.

The difference between stereotype and prejudice

two mans cooking food

To be completely honest, there are two types of people in this world that have two points of view. As education is an important part of a culture, higher learning doesn’t always mean you will have the right opinion. In fact, some people who hear about history might just have their facts totally wrong. The perpetuation of rumors isn’t always as it seems, just as a factual record of French history gives a clear truth about what is true and what is not.

A stereotype is essentially a step toward discrimination without learning any factual reason for a possible truth. It’s forming an opinion about a race or culture, in this case, the food that’s enjoyed by French people.

This is how derogatory words such as ‘Frenchie’ or ‘Frog’ sum up the lack of understanding of a cultural background whatsoever.

Those who are uneducated about French food that’s considered weird, also feel all French people are alike.

Moving onto Prejudice, any statement that is considered prejudice is 100% testable based on the argument of presented facts. When facts become truths, these are very hard to question after that. Prejudice offers a look into cultural differences that allow for the argument to help justify the truth based on cultural preferences and practices. This is why stereotype claims fall short of actually being proven correct at all.

What do most Americans hear about French cooking?

American hear call about French cooking

For most Americans, the French people have been a punching bag since the very inception of America itself. Many of these stereotypes are perpetuated in movies and television, so you have to wonder why these are started in the first place. In other words, name one disaster film where the world was ending, that the entire city of Paris was immediately wiped off the map- at some point…

Despite this, we have less appreciation when hearing about French waiters and their lack of seeming to care about customer service. The truth is that many hired French waiters are paid a good salary. There are perhaps one or two waiters if the restaurant can afford a second employee. They aren’t working for tips (as American waiters do), so there is an emphasis placed on being cheerful or friendly toward the customer.

With that being said, here are good examples of French foods that are misunderstood and considered disgusting.

Frogs

fried frog legs in white plate

You only have to understand the issue of why frog, or in this case, frog legs are considered a favorite of French cuisine. It should be noted that frog legs have been long enjoyed in Chinese, Indonesian, Turkish, and Vietnamese dishes for many centuries before. It was only until the Middle Ages that frog legs made their way to French monasteries. Perhaps the most famous mention came from Alexandre Dumas who wrote the original Three Musketeers!

Frog legs are hard to distinguish from chicken or even quail, yet- for most folks, this thought is so horrific. Perhaps it’s because the idea of eating an amphibian rather than accepted forms of meat is crossing the line. Many frog legs are popular when they are soaked in buttermilk and then breaded and fried. More often than not, they are served in tomato sauce or cooked in butter, garlic, and parsley.

Snails (Escargot)

cooked snails in dish

Another fine example of cringe-worthy delicacies is the consumption of snails. Not this is truly a French invention and was first introduced in 1814. The introduction actually came by a last-minute decision when a visit by the Russian czar Alexander the First with Napoleon’s chief diplomat. While this was during the war, food was scarce and the Inn where the dinner was to take place was out of food.

The innkeeper has to think creatively to find something to cook from his garden. He spotted plenty of garden snails which sparked an idea. What he concocted later went on to become a sensation that evolved into a very specific cooking method.

These days, snails go through many steps of purging, salting, and boiling long before it gets to any dinner plate. The addition of creamy butter, garlic, and parsley along with baguette makes this delectable.

Horse

horse meat on wood table

Yes, it’s true without any wincing involved, French people love eating horse meat.

While the UK had placed sanctions on their citizens eating horsemeat in the 1800s, this didn’t stop French and German people from enjoying it. At a time when many families were struggling throughout Europe, many outside the UK were lining up in droves to purchase a cheaper source of meat. By 1866, France finally legalized horsemeat by popular demand.

Just when you would like to think again, the UK also now allows a certain amount of mixed horsemeat into beef. Since 2012, Taco Bell across the UK now serves 50/50 blends of beef and horsemeat in their tacos! Before you knock it, horsemeat often tastes better than beef in many ways. For others, it might have a gamey taste similar to venison. It depends on how it’s prepared so not every recipe will have a gamey flavor left-over.

Goose liver (Foie Gras)

Goose-liver on white table

If you’re into fine dining, you probably have heard of Foie Gras, which is the height of high living! Goose liver is specially prepared by overstuffing geese through a standard feeding method. The upstanding ethical terrorists at PETA will tell you how terrible these geese are being treated, but it’s hard to believe that PETA would be buying Foie Gras anyway. When a goose is ready to be slaughtered after 8 to 10 weeks, all parts of the goose are used.

This includes the meat, various body parts, and organs are used after a goose is selectively cut apart by trained butchers. These days, Foie Gra is an ethical issue for animal rights activists, but somehow the practice of making Foie Gras dates back 4,200 years, tells a different story.

Steak Tartare

 Steak-Tartare with egg in black pan with black background

It might make the hair on the back of your neck stand up on end, but steak tartare is a tasty French starter. All of the stories you’re told in America seem to crumple apart about eating raw meat, but that’s where steak tartare is very different. Getting fresh meat from a trusted butcher will ensure that your meat is free from bacteria. Often, high-end French restaurants practice the same process, so no one ever gets sick.

Now here’s the real fun part about steak tartare in France. It’s often a favorite when it’s made from horsemeat, so you’ll understand how embedded this dish is for French culture. This dish isn’t actually French and comes from the Tartars that originated from Central Asia and eventually moved westward. The meat originally used was either camel or horsemeat, so once again, across Europe, horses have also been considered a good source of meat.