Food Network star Paula Deen is in town today for a few events that
will showcase her culinary skills -- and, of course, her Southern charm.
Deen, 65, will be at MGM Grand Detroit for a private luncheon, a VIP event and the main public event, "An Evening with Paula Deen," during which she will do two cooking demonstrations. Sorry, folks, tickets are sold out for the public event.
The Free Press spoke with the queen of Southern cuisine about her stop in the Motor City. She has been here before, but not for quite some time. She recalled that her last visit was with her ex-husband, who was in the car business. "We went to a new car showing up there," she said.
Here's what Deen had to say about her visit, the latest trends and the controversy sparked by her revelation that she has Type 2 diabetes and announcement that she had become a paid spokeswoman for diabetes drug maker Novo Nordisk.
QUESTION: What will you be cooking during your public demonstration?
ANSWER: I am doing Beer in the Rear Chicken. I am hooking up with St. John's Providence Health System, so I am going to be talking about healthier options for you and your family. And that Beer (in the) Rear Chicken (a chicken cooked standing upright on a beer can) is so good, and it's a fun thing to do. It's having fun with your chicken.
Q: What kinds of tips will you be giving folks?
A: Oh gosh, I don't know until the moment. I really like to talk about things that the audience wants to know and is interested in. I really like conversing with the people there ... so it always depends on their questions. Sometimes they want to talk about food, sometimes they want to talk about personal things ... which always makes these events so fun. You just never know. I never know what's going to come out of my mouth.
Q: You have done several of these cooking demonstration events. What trends are you seeing?
A: Personally I am not a trendy person. ... To me, I represent the mothers in the homes across America and I kind of stick to that. That's who I am, that's where I came from ... and my restaurants are the same thing. They're not trendy. They are the tried and true things that kids remember mama and grandma cooking. And I never have been one interested in trendy things. They come and go.
Q: Are you seeing anything fresh or new?
A: I think people are becoming real aware of what's in their foods. Gosh, when I was being raised there wasn't all the chemicals and things they are putting in livestock today and all the preservatives. That was just never an issue. I think people are really sitting up and taking notice. I think they are really opting to go the fresh way and organic.
Q: It has been more than year since you announced you have Type 2 diabetes. I know it was a trying time for you. How do you feel?
A: It was very traumatic for me and for my family. Because a couple of people out there had access to print, they were pretty rough on me. I was so shocked. You know, I didn't ask for this. You know, you have to play the cards that you're dealt. It's not something I did to myself. ... I am one of the baby boomers. We are all to that age where we are facing these kind of problems: high sugar, high cholesterol; we just live long enough that we have to deal with these issues. ... It was heartbreaking and terrible hurting. But I knew I was strong enough to get through it. I think the decision I made to go to work with Novo Nordisk was the right one.
Q: How did you feel about the decision?
A: I thought I made the right decision once I lived through all the hate. To bring awareness and to help and encourage other people with this problem. Like I said, I stand on the decision I made, I know in my heart it was the right one.
Q: What dietary changes have you made? Any new ingredients or techniques you've found useful?
A: We all know what we should do in our kitchen. What we should do is not always the easiest. I got rid of everything white, except for my husband, in my kitchen. I got rid of potatoes, my rice, my white bread, and I stuck by that for about four months. But now I am going back to using moderation. I used to have potatoes in some form in every meal, and I don't do that anymore.
Q: Any other advice?
A: I try to make small changes, and if you can make enough small changes, they can render your big results. I try not to fry too much. ... That roasted (Lemon Pepper Rosemary) Chicken is so easy and delicious. As I lost weight I changed what my plate looked like. I have clean protein and double the veggies.
Beer in the Rear Chicken
Serves: 2-4 people / Preparation time: 10 minutes /
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
1 (12-ounce) can beer
Paula Deen's House Seasoning, see cook's note
1 (3-pound) chicken
1 sprig rosemary
Assorted barbecue and hot sauces, your choice
Wash and drain the chicken and pat dry. Season the chicken inside and out with the seasoned salt and House Seasoning. Refrigerate until ready to cook.
Prepare the charcoal grill. When the coals are hot and glowing, carefully push them over to the sides of the grill, leaving an open space in the middle of the grill. Open the can of beer and pour off approximately 1/4 cup. Insert the sprig of rosemary into the can, then place the beer can, keeping it upright, into the rear cavity of the chicken. Carefully place the chicken, standing up on the beer can, in the center of the grill, making sure not to spill the beer. Cover the grill and cook the chicken for approximately 1 hour, rotating the chicken as necessary. The chicken is done when the juice runs clear when pierced with a fork.
Carefully remove the beer can from the chicken using mitts and discard the can. Cut the chicken into halves or quarters.
Cook's note: To make Paula's House Seasoning, mix together 1 cup salt, 1/4 cup black pepper and 1/4 cup garlic powder. This makes 11/2 cups. You can store it in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
Recipe courtesy of Paula Deen. Nutritional information not available.
New Potato and Green Bean Salad
Serves: 8 / Preparation time: 20 minutes /
Total time: 30 minutes
1 (3-pound) bag new potatoes, quartered
1 pound fresh green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/3 cup olive oil
21/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
In a large saucepan, add potatoes to enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and boil for 8 minutes. Add green beans, return to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and cool slightly.
Place potatoes and green beans in a serving bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil and next 5 ingredients. Pour over potato and green beans, tossing gently to coat. Cover and chill.
Recipe courtesy of Paula Deen. Nutritional information not available.
Lemon Pepper Rosemary Chicken
Rosemary and chicken are a natural for each other, and the lemon pepper adds just the right twang.
Serves: 4 / Preparation time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
1 whole roasting chicken, cavity cleaned
1 lemon, halved
1/2 head of garlic
4 stems of fresh rosemary, divided
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons lemon pepper seasoning, divided
A small section of butcher's twine for tying legs
Lemon slices for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Wash and pat dry chicken.
Sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt inside cavity. Stuff lemon halves, garlic and one stem of rosemary inside cavity. Note: Rosemary can be sticking out of bird.
Being careful not to tear the skin, gently separate skin from breast meat and stuff two sprigs of rosemary under the skin. Rub the entire bird with the softened butter. Sprinkle evenly with the lemon pepper seasoning.
Soak a small section of butcher's twine in water. Tie legs of bird together using soaked twine.
Tuck wings under bird.
Cut the tops off some garlic heads, drizzle with olive oil and toss in the roasting pan with your chicken. Never miss the chance to have roasted garlic. Great as a spread on ciabatta bread with the chicken!
Place in a shallow roasting pan (breast side up) and bake until internal temp reaches 165 degrees and juices run clear. Let rest before serving.
Garnish with lemon slices up the breast of the chicken and rosemary tucked in between.
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