Wine isn’t the only option for deglazing a pan. None of us
want to miss that tasty brown crust lining our skillet or pan. Some of the most
complex flavors lie there just waiting to add flavor to the dish. Deglazing is
the process of adding liquid to the hot pan to release those delicious morsels.
It’s common to use wine to deglaze, but it isn’t the only option.
While I don’t mind using wine if I have a bottle open, I don’t
want to uncork one just to deglaze. Other suitable liquids are chicken stock,
beef stock, vegetable stock, pot likker, milk, cream, nut milk, coconut milk,
coffee, and water. I try to use something that will complement the flavors of
the dish or sauce I’m preparing. I might even use peppermint tea when cooking lamb.
One way to approach this is to choose a liquid that will be
included in that or a similar dish. Coconut milk is excellent to use after stir
frying chicken for curry. Of course, chicken stock would work as well since the
base of the dish is chicken.
I often use pot likker from Cooking2Thrive Killer Beans to
deglaze beef I’m cooking for tacos, burritos, or enchiladas. The beans are
seasoned with chile peppers and cumin so I’m enhancing the flavors that I’ll
use to season my dish.
There are some combinations that may be best to avoid. I
wouldn’t use coffee with chicken, but I don’t hesitate to use it with red meat
and in brown gravy. And I can’t think of a time I’ve ever used vinegar as a deglazing
liquid. If you’re unsure which flavor profile will work best, use a tool like “The
Flavor Bible” or do a quick internet search.
Since the goal is simply to remove the caramelized food that
is stuck to the pan, use a minimal amount of liquid. I usually pour in a
little, stir with a spatula, then add a little more liquid if needed to
dislodge any remaining remnants.
When making a sauce, you may desire more liquid in the end,
but I deglaze first, remove the main dish ingredient, and allow any remaining
deglazing liquid to evaporate before adding a thickener. From that point, I
stir the thickener into the fat until it’s smooth and then add the liquid that
forms the base of my sauce. After that, I allow my sauce to simmer and reduce. If
I add all of the liquid when I deglaze the pan, I end up making my job more
If your dish doesn’t require a sauce, but needs a little
something, something you can add a can of Rotel® Diced Tomatoes & Green
Chilies and use the liquid to deglaze. When I do this, I don’t treat it as a
sauce, I just dump them in and stir to deglaze. The same can be done with
tomato juice, tomato sauce, or strained tomatoes when making chili.
In the past few days, I’ve deglazed numerous pans and I
haven’t had to open a bottle of wine. I’ve used chicken stock (already open
& in the refrigerator), coconut milk (already open and in the
refrigerator), and water instead. And there were other workable options in my
So, if you’d rather have your wine in a glass, you’re in luck. Wine isn’t the only option for deglazing.
Spend a week in my family, and you’d never know artificial
intelligence is a limited tool. Every time I swear at Siri or complain about a
search engine, of my sons delivers the dire warning that I have now insulted the
AI and it will make me pay! Even though I know he’s kidding, there’s a part of
me that feels there’s a kernel of truth in that message. Our lives are hugely
influenced by algorithms that may or may not capture us correctly. And as our
lives move more online, artificial intelligence controls more than we may realize.
I feel like I’m stating the obvious, but I am concerned that
we’re approaching an inflection point at which we may no longer recognize the
line between real and contrived. And we’ve already reached the point at which
keyword searches have become less accurate and less useful. Even broad Google
searches no longer give me broad responses. It has become harder to find
scientific research on a general topic without knowing the title or author of a
Since AI makes our lives easier, why don’t I just shut up
and enjoy it? It’s a valid question.
I do enjoy the ways in which artificial intelligence works well and saves me time. But that pleasure is tempered by the bias AI learns through natural language processing. For example, if the word doctor is grouped with male pronouns more often and nurse is grouped with female pronouns more often in natural language, then AI learns this pattern and determines doctors are usually men and women are usually nurses. From that point forward, the information that is aggregated and sent to you will be influenced by that bias. Over time, this creates an environment in which AI bias can become predictive by the manner in which it filters the information you receive.
There are ways for programmers to address such bias, but companies
may not be motivated to do so if no one is paying attention, especially if the
bias is feeding their bottom line. I know this may seem trivial on the surface,
but it can affect our medical care, food choices, dating options, job
opportunities, business success, and whether or not we receive our phone calls.
Research has shown that AI is more accurate than a majority of radiologists in reading mammograms but less accurate than the most accurate humans. That means your best chance for an accurate diagnosis would be the most accurate humans.
As a practical matter, there’s no way to know who those are.
That’s where AI can be a useful tool. What if all mammograms were read by both
a radiologist and AI? Essentially, the technology would work as a second
opinion. If the two diagnoses differed, then a second human opinion could be
But as medical AI expands into more areas of medicine, the
possibility grows that it could carry undetected bias as well. Studies that
identify possible substance use disorder patients based on the language in
their tweets can be affected by the algorithms Twitter uses. Not to mention, I
believe there are people who can have drug using friends and not participate.
But they still may use the language of those around them and risk being improperly
identified and stigmatized.
Data is important and useful, but it often presents an incomplete
or flawed profile. Think of the sheer number of fake profiles on dating sites
or the number of polyurethane handbags that show up in a search for genuine
Last year, I received numerous job listings for
epidemiologist positions in Los Angeles. I am not remotely qualified to be an
epidemiologist and I live 1500 miles from LA, but something in my online
history made search engines think those jobs were appropriate. While AI seems
like a great tool for matching people with jobs, it may not bring the
candidates you need.
So I say all of this mostly to raise awareness of what is happening behind our screens and to remind you that artificial intelligence is a limited tool. It cannot be trusted to replace human intelligence. We must provide the checks and balances it needs.
Believe it or not, that will soon be critical to thriving.
The past year has been, and continues to be, emotionally
exhausting so how do you know if you’re experiencing poor mental health or a
normal response? It’s difficult to watch the news any given day without hearing
a story about increasing occurrences of poor mental health. Often, the slant of
the story is geared to support a particular policy objective.
I find this rhetoric dangerous and unhelpful. It increases
the chance that we will begin to catastrophize normal responses that are, in
fact, temporary and healthy. This is especially true if we are already isolated
and lacking support. And it’s hard to dismiss worry about our mental health
when we’re bombarded by emotionally taxing events one after the other: pandemic,
insurrection, natural disasters, infrastructure failures, police shootings, and
We know we feel different. Many of us have never been through
an extended period of disruption and trauma. If an expert appears in front of
us and says these feelings reflect poor mental health, we’re going to believe
them. The reality is much more nuanced. and nuance is not the forte of news
reporting or social media.
Most of us cling to the idea that if we can just get back to
normal, we’ll feel relieved and joyful. But an ongoing experience of trauma is
not that easy to shake. Knowing this can help alleviate excessive worry about
our state of mental health.
One thing that can provide perspective is to view the
effects of trauma as wounds. Think of them like a sprained ankle or a broken
bone. If you sprain your ankle, you expect it to swell, bruise, hurt, and
prevent you from walking normally for a significant period of time. In order
for it to heal, you understand and accept that you’ll have to do things differently
This doesn’t usually mean you’ll be crippled for life or
never be able to wear those cute heels again. It just means that it is normal
and reasonable to change your daily routine to facilitate healing.
If viewing an emotional wound as a physical wound doesn’t
work for you, try thinking of a friend who is grieving. Would you be alarmed if
they get choked up at unexpected times or don’t have the emotional energy to
hang out? No, you’d understand that they feel sadness and loss and need time to
work through that before they’re ready for fun and frivolity. And, most likely,
you’d understand that their capacity for joy may be temporarily hidden beneath a
flood of tears.
The point of all of this is to remind you that certain “negative”
emotional states can be a normal and reasonable response to circumstances
beyond our control. They are not problematic or signs of poor mental health
unless they become chronic, or we use poor techniques for dealing with them.
For example, depression is a normal response to change. Think of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, DEPRESSION, acceptance. Depression is an expected, normal phase that represents great progress through the process. But watch the news and you’ll think any amount of depression is a reason for desperation.
The quicker we become aware, acknowledge, and allow ourselves to feel so-called negative emotions, the quicker we can release them and return to a positive state of equilibrium. It is more difficult to do this if we view such states as catastrophic or as signs there is something wrong with us. All of us want to avoid feeling that we’re defective.
We’d often rather hide our distress than acknowledge it. And
there may good reason for that. Expressions of vulnerability can make the
receiver of the message also feel vulnerable. To avoid that feeling, they may
turn away from us when we share our deepest feelings.
If you’ve ever experienced this, you’ll be less likely to attempt to share again. This cycle can result in a significant lack of support for those who are experiencing trauma and attempting to express its effects. And unfortunately, the research of Dr. Brené Brown has indicated that most of us are not comfortable in a vulnerable space.
That means many of us will find that we must be our own best
advocates in the arena of mental health. So where do we start? In any moment
that I am struggling, I like to first examine what is going well for me before
deciding what needs adjustment. This helps give me perspective when determining
what I need to do next.
The easiest way to do this is to view myself as a close friend, then ask myself a series of questions: Am I sleeping well and on a regular schedule? Am I keeping my environment clean and uncluttered at the level I would when I feel I am functioning well? Am I eating regularly? Am I making reasonable food choices? Am I making time to move on a regular basis – walk, run, swim, lift weights, row, do yoga, bike, etc? Has my alcohol consumption increased? Do I rely on medication more than I did before? Am I doing too much? Am I able to feel or am I numb? Am I making forward progress at work? Am I able to be alone and feel content? Am I able to connect with at least one person?
If my answers to those questions wouldn’t concern me if they were a friend’s answers, I let go of the idea that I am suffering poor mental health and address anything that may need to change from the point of view of thriving. If I’m not sure, I reach out to someone I trust to help me gain insight.
Mind you, I’m not suggesting that anyone avoid professional
help. In fact, I’d encourage you to seek the advice of a professional in lieu
of assuming you fit some profile you saw online. My purpose here is simply an attempt
to provide a path to find balance to the rhetoric that has become increasingly pervasive
I can’t determine whether you are responding normally,
adaptively, problematically, or in the best possible way given a particular set
of circumstances. But I know it’s always worth believing in yourself and asking
questions before accepting someone else’s take.
If you feel pain over something, that pain is real. If you
feel sad about something, that sadness is real. If you feel angry, it is a
signal that you feel a need to protect yourself. Accepting that these feelings
may be normal and not an indication of anything other than a response to the
circumstances in which you find yourself, can be a great start toward thriving.
In this cultural moment when we are all experiencing trauma
and there is the cancel culture tendency to only accept a narrow range of
beliefs and behavior, it is important to step back, take a moment, and give
ourselves permission to feel how we feel even if it’s out of step with the
majority. If you are an introvert and enjoy being able to work from home, it’s
okay to relish in it just as it’s okay to feel sad about the loss of breakroom chats.
Trust yourself. Trust your process. Just because the world is falling apart doesn’t mean you are. Give yourself some time and space to learn whether you’re experiencing poor mental health or a normal response to a difficult circumstance.
Last week, I tried some delicious and gluten-free chicken tenders. While I prefer preparing fresh food, sometimes I’m a less-than-perfect planner. I get caught up in work and before I know it, I’m too hungry and just need something to eat. For those moments, I like to keep a few partially or fully prepared foods on hand.
Choosing those foods is fun because it gives me an
opportunity to explore new or different gluten-free products that are on the
market. Often, the search more satisfying than the consumption. Over the 17
years I’ve been gluten-free, there has been improvement in the selection and
availability of convenience foods. But there’s still no guarantee those
products will be palatable. I can’t help but open each new package with a bit
I will enthusiastically say, there is no need for hesitancy with Bell&Evans® Air Chilled Gluten Free Breaded Chicken Breast Tenders. They are the best frozen chicken tenders I’ve ever eaten!
There are many reasons for this. First, they are made from
chicken – not chopped or separated chicken parts and fillers. Next, they’re
flash fried to set the breading but remain uncooked until you cook them. Third,
they’ve been marinated in a sea salt brine.
Additionally, the breading is a very thin coating that lets
tender chicken be the star. It consists
of rice flour, water, yellow corn flour, sea salt, xanthan gum, dried whole
eggs, yeast, cane sugar, black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder that has
been set by flash frying in organic expeller pressed soybean oil.
Because the tenders have not been previously cooked, it is
important that they reach a safe internal temperature. To that end, the tenders
can be pan fried, air fried or oven baked. Once they are golden brown, I’ve served them alone as an entrée
and atop a salad. They are large enough for a sandwich as well.
For small fingers, you can choose gluten
free chicken nuggets rather than tenders. The nuggets are made from chicken
breast meat without fillers and breaded with the same ingredients.
Bell&Evans products can be found at Whole Foods and Fresh Market in my area. To locate their products where you live, there’s a zip code search on the company’s website. Not all products will be gluten-free so be sure to read the descriptions carefully before purchasing.
My experience was so good, I’m
planning to sample the Bell&Evans meatballs as well. If those are good, I’ll
consider the chicken burgers.
It’s always great when food exceeds your expectations. These chicken tenders did that and raised the bar. Not only will I add them to my set of regular options, they’ll replace every chicken tender brand I’ve previously ordered.
I hope this week’s discoveries turn out as well for me and for you! Happy gluten-free exploring!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”