Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Click below to listen to Chefs Jackie and Jeff talk about these recipes and tips:

For the majority of Americans, food has become more about packaging and beauty than about quality and affordability. We've seen bottles of bay leaves on the shelves in your traditional spice section with as few as 5 leaves in them for $5 to $10. If you step a few aisles away to the Latino section, you'll find the same bay leaves packaged in 1 pound cellophane bags for under $5. That's a huge difference in your food budget.

You'll find dozens of other similar examples of very affordable dried spices in ethnic sections of major grocery stores and at wholly ethnic grocery stores. One such product is Azafran (the Spanish word for Saffron). Though not technically the same spice, Azafran is the stamen of the Safflower while Saffron is the stamen of the Crocus. In our tests, very few people can tell the difference between the two, either in taste or the color they both give food. An astute gourmand would notice the slight difference between the threads of stamens, Azafran being somewhat thicker.

Saffron can cost $80 to $100 an ounce. The same amount of Azafran will set you back $1.79.

Check out all the wonderful identical spices and experiment from your ethnic markets and spice aisles. You'll be surprised. Pleasantly.


Courtesy of Chefs Jeff Calley and Jackie Olden © 2012

Below is a side-by-side glimpse of Saffron (left) and Azafran (right)



2 chicken breasts, halved, skinned and boned
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon parsley, snipped
1 pound scallops
1 cup uncooked rice
2 cups chicken broth
Pinch saffron (or substitute Azafran from your local latino spice section)
1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas, thawed
1 tablespoon pimento, diced


Place thicken breasts in an 8 inch square baking dish, with thicker portions to outside edge of dish. Cover with wax paper. Microwave at MEDIUM HIGH (70%) until tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Set aside.

Place shrimp, butter and garlic powder in a 9 inch pie dish. Cover with wax paper. Microwave at HIGH (100%) until shrimp turns pink, 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside.

Place 1 tablespoon butter in a shallow glass dish. Microwave at HIGH (100%) until melted, 30 to 45 seconds. Stir in parsley. Place scallops in butter sauce. Cover with wax papers Microwave at HIGH (100%) until tender, 4-1/4 to 5 minutes. Set aside. Place rice, broth and saffron in a 3 quart casserole. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave at HIGH (100%) until tender, 14 to 17 minutes, stirring twice during cooking time. Stir in peas and pimentos. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave at HIGH (100%) 3 minutes.

Mix shrimp and scallops into rice. Place chicken breasts on top. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave at MEDIUM HIGH (70%) until heated, 4 to 5 minutes.

Makes 4 generous servings.

Have you got a great recipe, cooking tip or food story to share with the Too Fun Chefs? Email us and we might just share them with everyone else out there listening. Email: Jackie & Jeff

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