CHEF ALEJANDRA SCHRADER

 

July 11, 2013 10:08:41 AM PDT
Chicago-native Chef Alejandra Schrader was one of Master Chef's top finalist and fan-favorite.

She's known for losing over 200 pounds from learning how to cook healthy, diet-friendly gourmet food. And now she's returning back home for the "Taste of Chicago" where she will be demonstrating some of her favorite summer dishes. But Chef Alejandra joins us in our kitchen to give us preview what she will be making.

You can meet Alejandra at a cooking demonstration at the Taste of Chicago on Friday, July 12 at 12:30pm.

COOKING TIPS AND HEALTHY INFO

1) Calamari and Watermelon Salad with Fresh Herbs
To make calamari noodles: cut each calamari tube lengthwise in ¼" strips. Season and sauté for just a couple of minutes!
Calamari packs a good amount of protein (4.4 g per oz) and is also rich in vitamin B, zinc, phosphorous, etc.
Watermelon is refreshing and hydrating! It is rich in vitamins A and D. Its sweet flavor and crisp texture really adds a twist to any salad.

2) Braised BBQ Chicken Sliders with Purple Slaw
Using an all-natural, good quality BBQ sauce makes all the difference. I love using Grandma Izetta's!
Did you know purple cabbage packs twice the amount of vitamin C compared to green cabbage? It adds a great color and texture to the sliders but also nutrition!
Rehab your summer favorites with small changes: use whole wheat buns, skip the processed cheeses and condiments, and serve with greens or sliced vegetables.

3) Green Gazpacho with Mango Pico de Gallo
Put your blender or vitamix to use! Make red and green gazpachos this summer. They're as easy to make and very refreshing!
Get creative! Gazpacho soups can be topped and served with a variety of ingredients like shrimp or lobster.
This recipe is so healthy and full of flavor! The avocado makes this gazpacho a little thicker than the average. This is a low-calorie option that will make you feel fuller and satisfied.

RECIPES

Calamari and Watermelon Salad with Fresh Herbs by Chef Alejandra Schrader
Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients
¼ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 tbsp honey
4 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp chili paste
1 tsp lime zest
1 tbsp soy sauce
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp grape seed oil
1 lb calamari, cleaned
1 small seedless watermelon, rind removed, c ut into ¼" slices
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
¼cup fresh mint leaves
¼ cup scallions, thinly sliced
Lime wedges

Preparation

In a bowl, whisk together lime juice, rice vinegar, honey, toasted sesame oil, chili paste, lime zest, and soy sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
Cut calamari tubes lengthwise into ¼" strips; cut tentacles in segments. Heat large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add calamari, season with salt, and sauté for 1-2 minutes, until calamari turns opaque. Remove from heat and set aside.
As you're getting ready to serve, combine together cilantro, mint, and scallions in a bowl. Drizzle with half of the dressing and toss to coat.

Plating

Place watermelon slices on a serving platter and top with herbal mix. Carefully place calamari noodles and drizzle with the remaining dressing, to taste. Garnish with herbs and serve with a lime wedge.

Braised BBQ Chicken Sliders with Purple Slaw by Chef Alejandra Schrader
Yield: 12 sliders/6 servings
Sliders ingredients
2 lbs chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
3 tbsp grape seed oil, divided
1 large onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup BBQ sauce
1 cup cucumber, sliced thinly
12 mini whole-wheat slider rolls

Purple slaw ingredients
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 cup purple cabbage, finely shredded
½ cup pineapple, diced
¼ cup flat scallion greens, finely chopped

Preparation

Sliders
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tbsp grape seed oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken on both sides, approximately 3-4 minutes
per side. Work in batches, if necessary; transfer to a platter.
Add 1 tbsp of grape seed oil to the hot pot and sauté onions for a couple of minutes. Add garlic and bell pepper; continue to sauté for additional 3-4 minutes. Stir in beer and BBQ sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and transfer chicken and drippings back to the pot. Cover and cook until chicken is very tender, approximately 1 hour.
Using thongs, transfer chicken thighs to a clean baking tray and allow cooling slightly. In the meantime, return pot to a medium heat for 15-20 minutes, until the sauce has thickened. Using two forks, shred chicken finely, then return to pot and mix with sauce thoroughly. (At this point, additional sauce may be added to chicken to reach desired consistency)

Purple slaw
In a medium bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, and pepper; whisk to emulsify. Add cabbage, pineapple, and scallions; toss to coat.

Plating
Assemble each slider with shredded chicken, purple slaw, and top with a cucumber slice!. Use a bamboo skewer to secure it all in place!

Green Gazpacho with Mango Pico de Gallo by Chef Alejandra Schrader
Yield: 4 servings
Pico de Gallo Ingredients
1 cup fresh mango, diced
½ cup English cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1 tbsp red jalapeño, seeded, finely minced
1 tbsp shallots, minced
2 tbsp lime juice
Extra virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt

Gazpacho Ingredients
Freshly ground pepper
2 cups English cucumber, coarsely chopped (peeled/seeded)
2 Hass avocados, chopped
3 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 tbsp scallion greens, chopped
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp mint, chopped
1 tbsp shallots, chopped
1/8 cup olive oil
1/3 cup non-fat Greek yogurt

Special instructions
Set 4 bowls in the refrigerator to chill at least 15 minutes before serving.

Preparation

Pico de Gallo
In a small bowl mixed mango, cucumber, red jalapeño, shallot, and lime juice. Drizzle with olive oil (about a tbsp) and season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Toss to coat and set aside.

Gazpacho
Using a food processor (or a blender), combine all ingredients and process until mixture is smooth, for 1-2 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning*. Transfer to a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap; set in the refrigerator for at least half hour.
*You may add water by the spoon if it is too thick and to reach desired consistency

Plating
Divide soup evenly among 4 chilled bowls and top each with the mango pico de gallo. Set lobster shell half on plate hollow-side-up and spoon cucumber salad. Serve immediately.


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