Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Grilled Corn with Herbed Butter, Lime and White Cheese

A-maize-ingly Great Husker-dos

This recipe always blows people away. It is simply grilled corn with herbed butter and cheese. Barbeque's or even a weekend family dinner can shine even greater with this side dish. Whenever we have new people come to our BBq’s they always rave over this grilled corn dish, asking what makes this kick butt. Why it’s the herbed butter and cheeses folks, that’s all.

Herbed butter is easy to make and is an excellent topping for everything from steaks to seafood to vegetables. To make herbed butter just soften some butter, add some spices, and herbs (which are mentioned in the herbed butter recipe below), refrigerate and delight in this smoothe sensory sensation!


Ingredients:
Corn (on the cob with husks still intact)
Limes
Garlic Herbed Butter (see recipe below)
Cotija Cheese (Mexican white cheese) – Grated

How To Make It:

1. Remove the silks from the inside of the corn, if desired, and pull back up the husks to cover the corn.

2. Place the corn in a cooler (any large vessel will do) filled with water and let soak for at least 30 minutes.


3. Heat your grill to medium-high heat. (350-400 degrees)

4. Remove the corn from the water and shake off as much excess water as you can.


5. Place the corn on the grill over direct heat and grill for 15 to 20 minutes with the grill lid closed.

6. Remove the corn from the grill and pull back husks. (I recommend leaving on the husks because they make great handles.)


7. Brush the garlic herbed butter (see below) onto the corn and sprinkle with cheese. Squeeze a lime over the corn and mmm, mmm, they are ready to serve.

Garlic Herbed Butter
Butter – ½ cup softened
Garlic – 2 cloves minced
Italian Blend Herbed Spices– 1½ teaspoons (found in your grocer's herb and spice isle)
Lime Juice – 1 teaspoon


1. Place the butter in a bowl and mix in the garlic, Italian blend and lime juice.

2. Cover and refrigerate.


Chefs Corner

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Roasted Potatoes and Onions

Hearty and “Delish”

This side dish is hearty and delicious. It is easy to make and is an excellent change from the same old rice or potato side dish. The aroma that the herbs give off when this is baking will have everyone asking, “What smells awesome?!”

My son can eat a whole plateful by himself with a grilled steak as a side dish. I love this dish for entertaining because it requires so little effort allowing you to concentrate on other preparations.



Chefs Corner

An Early Tip:

When you clean the potatoes be sure to dry them thoroughly or they will stick to the baking sheet. This is a real downer, even if you have used aluminum foil and sprayed it with a non-stick cooking spray.

Ingredients:
Red New Potatoes – 2 pounds cut in half (make sure they are dry if you wash them)
Cippolini Onions – 1 pound, peeled
Olive Oil (extra virgin) – ¼ cup
Herbes de Provence – 2 teaspoons (If need be, you can substitute dried rosemary for the Herbes de Provence for a tasty change.
Salt – 1 teaspoon
Pepper (black) – 1 teaspoon

How To Make It:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a large bowl mix all the ingredients together thoroughly.

3. Pour the mixture out onto a baking sheet and spread out evenly.

4. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes or until the potatoes are golden and cooked through.

5. Serve on a platter and enjoy!

“What smells awesome?!”




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Monday, October 29, 2007

French Green Beans in Shallot Dressing

Dressed to Impress

This dish is an excellent side that has a lot of flavor, it is quick to make up and is a real crowd pleaser. It has a restaurant style moxie. As long as you don’t over cook the green beans you are good to go. I personally like to serve this dish with chicken or steak and risotto. But you can decide what main dish you would prefer to place this great side next to.

One time my friend had asked me for a meal that he could make for his wife on their anniversary. This recipe was one of the sides I had recommended and had written out for him. The following day he told me she was so impressed at the incredible meal he had made and how that the green beans was her favorite.

And you know what? To this day they include this dish as a regular side to many of their meals. I was and still am happy about that.


The technical term for these thin French green beans is “Haricot vert.” This comes from the French Haricot meaning, “beans” and vert meaning, “green.” French green beans are longer and thinner than most American varieties. They are also more tender and have a more complex flavor, meaning the dish or food has multiple layers of flavor – the base flavor and several subtle undertones.

Try this recipe out and we are quite sure it will be a favorite side at your house as well.

Ingredients:
French Green Beans (haricots verts) – 1 pound
Olive Oil (extra virgin) – ¼ cup
Dijon Mustard – 1 tablespoon
Red Wine Vinegar – 1 tablespoon
Shallot – 1 minced
Salt
Pepper (black)


How To Make It:

1. Place the French green beans in a steamer and steam for 4 to 8 minutes or until tender.


Gourmet Standard 2-qt.  Double Boiler & Steamer Set


Gourmet Standard 2-qt. Double Boiler & Steamer Set


2. While they are steaming it's time to make the dressing. Whisk together the olive oil, mustard, vinegar, and the shallot.

3. Remove the French green beans from the steamer and place in a bowl.

4. Toss in the French green beans with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve!

You just may hear the cries, “Sacre bleu, this is the best haricot vert dish ever!”

“Wi, monsieur.”



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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Potato Pancakes

Kartoffelpuffer, Latkes, It's All the Same Good Eatin'

Gotta love a potato pancake. Crispy fried potato perfection. This recipe is the easiest way I have found to work this one out. If you have an abundance of leftover mashed potatoes from last night's dinner, just regift them as potato pancakes. It's a different side dish, utilizing leftovers in a unique way, that no one will be sayin', “Oh man, yukkie leftovers.”

I love these pancakes with a dab of sour cream on top, or if I am having these with pork chops, my kids top them with applesauce. Whether it's breakfast, lunch or dinner you can’t go wrong with a kartoffelpuffer on your plate.

Ingredients:
Mashed Potatoes – 2 ½ cups
Egg – 1 large
Flour (white) – ½ cup
Onion (white) – 1 small
Chives – 2 ½ tablespoons
Salt
Black Pepper
Oil (vegetable or canola)

How To Make It:
1. In a large bowl mix together the potatoes and egg, then stir in the flour.

2. Mix in the onion, chives then season with the salt and pepper to taste.

3. Put enough oil in a skillet (I use an electric skillet) 1/8 inch deep over medium-high heat. Make sure it's very hot but not smoking. If you are using an electric skillet set the temperature to 350 degrees.


Cuisinart 18x15-in. Nonstick Electric Skillet


Cuisinart 18x15-in. Nonstick Electric Skillet


4. Scoop heaping tablespoons of the mix into the hot oil a few at a time to cook them without crowding them.

5. Once they are in the oil flatten them with the back of your spoon. Let them cook for about a minute on each side or until golden brown.

6. Remove the potato pancakes from the oil and let drain on paper towels.

7. Serve with your favorite meal, whether it's breakfast, lunch or dinner.



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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Brined Roast Turkey

Brine, Dine, and Shine

Years ago, I had found an incredible recipe for a brined roast turkey that sounded delicious. I had brined chicken and pork before but never turkey until now. But before I impart to you the recipe, let me first share a little story.

I remember the time I had made this roast turkey for my brother and his family. It was about five years ago on Christmas. We had taken a trip to visit them in New York. They wanted to have a turkey for Christmas dinner and I suggested that we brine it. They are always “game” (ha, ha – get it? Turkey? Game?) for new recipes so away to the store we went for the ingredients. They had gotten all the fixin’s and the turkey already, all we needed were a few spices.

When we returned, they pulled out this freakin' Godzilla sized turkey. I knew we would have to use some ingenuity on this one. It definitely was not going to fit back in the refrigerator in the brine. I told my brother it was no problem. We will just make up the brine, submerge the turkey in it, place the whole mixture in a clean portable cooler, and set it outside on the patio until we are ready to cook it. (By the way, the temperature outside was sub zero.)

Well, needless to say they absolutely loved the brined roast turkey and have made it that way since. The cooler idea worked great, and I have done it this way since then. (A clean 5 gallon bucket would do just as nicely also.)

A Little Chemistry About Brining:

“Brine” is simply defined as, “water saturated or nearly saturated with salt.” The science of brining meat is very simple. All meat contains salt water and by submerging it into a liquid that has a much higher concentration of salt, the brine mixture is absorbed into the meat.

When you add spices to the brine it is carried into the meat, flavoring it, as well as adding extra moisture to the meat which makes it extra juicy when served.

A very simple basic brine you can use for any meat is as follows: 1 gallon of water to 1 cup of kosher salt. The spices you prefer to add are up to you. Be imaginative and enjoy the most flavorful, juicy meat you’ve ever had.

Brine: (The following brine is based upon a recipe by Alton Brown)
Vegetable Stock – 1 gallon
Brown Sugar – ½ cup
Kosher Salt – 1 cup
Peppercorns (black) – 1 tablespoon
Allspice Berries – 1 tablespoon
Candied Ginger – 1 tablespoon
Iced Water – 1 gallon

Ingredients:
Brine
Canola Oil
Turkey – 16 pounds

Aromatics for Inside the Turkey:
Apple (your favorite)– 1 sliced
Onion (white)– 1 sliced
Cinnamon Stick – 1
Water – 1 cup boiling
Rosemary – 4 sprigs

How To Make It:
A. Do this the day before you are going to have the turkey.

1. In a large stockpot combine together all brine ingredients. Bring this mixture to a boil to dissolve the sugar and salt.

2. Remove the brine mixture from the heat and let cool.

3. Once the brine is room temperature mix it with the iced water into a container large enough to hold the brine and the turkey.

4. Place the thawed turkey into the brine, cover and refrigerate or set in a cold area for a minimum of eight hours, preferably overnight.

5. Turn the turkey over once during the brining to ensure the entire bird gets flavored up.

B. The day of the roasting.

1. Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse with water inside and out.

2. Throw away the brine.

3. Preheat the oven for 500 degrees.

4. In the meanwhile, combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and water in a measuring cup and let steep for at least five minutes.

5. Place the turkey on a roasting rack in a large roasting pan and add the aromatics and the rosemary.

6. Using a basting brush, coat the entire turkey with canola oil.

Oneida 17x14x3-in. Nonstick Roasting Pan with Rack


Oneida 17x14x3-in. Nonstick Roasting Pan with Rack



7. Roast on the lower level in your oven for thirty minutes at 500 degrees.

8. Remove the turkey from the oven and cover the breast with aluminum foil. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and return the turkey to the oven.

9. Using a instant read thermometer roast until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. (This should take about 2 to 3 hours.)

10. Once done, let the turkey rest for 10 – 15 minutes, covered loosely with an aluminum foil tent before carving.

Now you are ready with your brined turkey to dine and shine!



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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Grilled Garlic Shrimp

Shrimp Eatin' Excellence

These babies are an excellent side to a grilled steak or an appetizer. They are very easy to prepare and are full of flavor. My kids are “shrimp crazy” and could eat a bushel, I'm sure, by themselves. If you are a crazed shrimp eater like my kids or just love a tasty shrimp from time to time, this is a great grillin’ dish.

Ingredients:
Shrimp – 16 - 20 large shrimp, shelled and deveined, tails left on
Olive Oil – ½ cup
Garlic – 3 cloves chopped
Oregano – 1 tablespoon dry
Parsley – 2 tablespoons fresh chopped or 1 tablespoon dry
Red Pepper Flakes – 1 teaspoon
Salt – ¼ teaspoon
Pepper (black) – ¼ teaspoon

How To Make It:
Combine olive oil, garlic, oregano, parsley, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper in measuring cup and mix well to make this marinade.

Place shrimp in a 1-gallon freezer bag and pour marinade over them. Seal and marinade for at least an hour.

While the shrimp are marinading, take wooden skewers and place in a bowl of water. Presoaking them prevents them from burning on the grill.

Prepare the grill for medium high (350-400 degree) heat.

Remove the shrimps from the marinade and skewer them on the wooden skewers. This makes life easier when you try to flip them on the grill.

Place the shrimps on the grill over direct heat (shrimps directly over the heat source) and grill covered for 2 minutes per side.

Now you are ready to serve and enjoy this fantastic dish!



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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Down Home Fried Catfish

A Fish Fry Favorite

Some time back catfish wasn’t what I thought of as “good eats.” Reasons why? First of all I just never tried it. Secondly, I just didn’t like the looks of ‘em. Terrible reasons, I know, especially from me being a “foodie” and all.

But the truth is, many people use the same crazy reasons (more accurately called, “excuses”) why they don't like a certain dish as well. Well, let me share this little story with you and maybe, just maybe catfish will become one of your favorites like it is mine now.

My wife’s family has a semi-annual fish fry that is greatly anticipated by everyone. We all bring a little something, but the spotlight is always the fish. All types of fish are prepared, but my new favorite became, on that day, catfish.

I can still remember the day I tried catfish just like it was yesterday. The weather was warm with a cool breeze flowing, a distinctive smell of frying fish in the air. Everyone was enjoying an icy cold beverage, playing darts, pool, horseshoes and eating up some real good vittles.

My wife brings over a plate of catfish and asks me to try it. “Nah, I’m ok,” I said, noticing that her overall expression has now changed. No one ever accused me of being real smart, but I am smart enough to realize that the look from her meant, “Eat it or wear it.”

So grabbing my first ever nugget of unkowingly perfectly prepared catfish, I bit into the flaky piece and said, “Hey, this is pretty good.” I thought, “Hmmm, I’d like to have myself a little fish fry of my own. A similar outing with good friends, good drink, and good eats would be great. But I need to pick someone’s mind about the catfish and hushpuppies and then I can get to making it myself.”

My wife smiled at me and said, “See. It didn’t kill ya'. Now get over yourself.” She then turned and walked away.

Yes, I will live to see another day, whew! But seriously, I did really like this delightful new taste sensation and went to the table to fix me a plate of my own.

Well, after much trial and error I have finally come across a method for making delicious fried catfish. I have tried wet batters and many different dry mixtures till I finally settled on this particular recipe as my all time favorite. (It seems that all who partakes agrees also. Hope you will too.)

Ingredients:
Frying Oil – preferably peanut oil, but you can use canola or whatever frying oil you prefer
Flour (white)
Cornmeal
Catfish fillets – cut into 2 inch pieces
Salt
Old Bay Seasoning

How To Make It:
1. Preheat a fryer with oil to 350 degrees.


T-Fal 2.65-lb. Titan Class Pro-Fryer Deep Fryer, Stainless Steel


T-Fal 2.65-lb. Titan Class Pro-Fryer Deep Fryer, Stainless Steel


2. Mix together the flour and cornmeal. I usually measure these out 4 to 1, for example: 1-cup flour to ¼ cup cornmeal, or say, 4 cups flour to 1-cup cornmeal. It all depends on how much fish you are going to make.

3. Place the flour-cornmeal mixture in a paper bag. You can use a large covered plastic bowl if you prefer.

4. Season each catfish piece lightly with salt and the Old Bay seasoning. (Do watch the amount of seasoning you use. You don’t want this to taste like a salt lick.)

5. Place the fish in the flour-cornmeal mixture and shake, shake, shake till they are covered evenly.

6. Place the fish in the oil carefully and deep fry for 8 minutes. (Don’t over crowd the fish in the fryer because they won’t cook evenly and they will stick together.)

7. Drain the catfish on newspaper or paper towels and serve with slaw, hushpuppies or your favorite fixins.

Hope this becomes one of your Fish Fry Favorites!




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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

How to Grill the Perfect Shrimp

Shrimp Eatin’ at Its Best

Grilled shrimp is a favorite food accoutrement to any meal we have around our house. As an appetizer you can’t ever get enough and as an addition to a main dish, such as a juicy steak, it is “the tops.”

One of the biggest pitfalls many people face is keeping the shrimp moist and tender. They (the shrimp, not the people) overcook very easily due to their short cooking time. Because of this factor you may wind up with a plateful of chewy, gnarled and dried out shrimp.

I recommend grilling shrimp with the shells on. This helps retain the moisture and insulate the shrimp from the intense heat of the grill. I also recommend using only large to Jumbo shrimp for grilling as small shrimp always overcook and take on the consistency of pencil erasers.

To Prepare:

To make it easier to remove the shells after the shrimp are grilled, cut along the back of the shrimp with kitchen shears stopping about a ½ inch from the tail. (This also helps facilitate deveining them if you chose to before you start grilling.)

Skewering the shrimp makes it easier to flip and to remove them from the grill. If you use wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least a half an hour prior to grilling to prevent the skewers from burning on the grill.


Weber Set of 7 Skewer and Kabob Set


Weber Set of 7 Skewer and Kabob Set


Ingredients:
Large to Jumbo Shrimp – ½ pound, unpeeled

How To Make It:
1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat, from 350-400 degrees.

2. Prepare shrimp as instructed above, deveining if you choose to.

3. Grill the shrimp, with the lid for the grill on, directly over the heat source until they are opaque in color (not able to be seen through, or not transparent) all the way through. Use the chart below as a guide for grilling times.

Shrimp Cooking Times:
Large:
2 minutes per side

Extra-Large:
2 ½ minutes per side

Jumbo:
Three minutes per side

4. Be careful removing the shrimp from the skewers as the shrimp and the skewers will be very hot.

Well now. There is only one thing left to do and that is to have at it! Enjoy these moist and tender crustaceans.



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Monday, October 15, 2007

Practical Cooking Safety Tips

The kitchen can be a very busy center of activity. Many of us have more than one thing that we are working on in getting that meal prepared and ready for consumption. The stove is heating pots of whatever, the oven is cooking or baking something else, the cutting board and knives are either being used or going to be used for chopping, dicing, mincing, etc. We are moving from the refrigerator to the sink to the stove to the kitchen countertop to the microwave to the . . . You get the idea.


Add one or more precious ingredients while this is going on, like our children, and we really need to be extra careful that no mishaps occur. Here are some cooking safety tips that we trust will avoid anyone getting hurt in your kitchen.


• Always use cooking equipment tested and approved by a recognized testing facility.


• Never leave cooking food on the stovetop unattended.


• Keep a close eye on food cooking inside the oven.


• Keep cooking areas clean and clear of combustibles (e.g. potholders, towels, rags, drapes and food packaging.)


• Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a “kid-free zone” of three feet (1 meter) around the stove.


• Keep pets from underfoot so you do not trip while cooking. Also, keep pets off cooking surfaces and nearby countertops to prevent them from knocking things onto burner.


• Wear short, close fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto stove burners and catch fire.


• Never use a wet oven mitt, as it presents a scald danger if the moisture in the mitt is heated.


• Always keep a potholder, oven mitt and lid handy. If a small fire starts in a pan on the stove, put on an oven mitt and smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan. Turn off the burner. Don't remove the lid until it is completely cool. Never pour water on a grease fire and never discharge a fire extinguisher onto a pan fire, as it can spray or shoot burning grease around the kitchen, actually spreading the fire.


• If there is an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you and your clothing.


• If there is a microwave fire, keep the door closed and unplug the microwave. Call the fire department and make sure to have the oven serviced before you use it again. Food cooked in a microwave can be dangerously hot. Remove the lids or other coverings from microwaved food carefully to prevent steam burns.


Source: The National Fire Protection Association (www.nfpa.org).


If you feel you've got some other safety tips that just might help someone stay safe in the kitchen, why not let us know.



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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Bratwurst in Beer

Have I Died and Gone to Heaven?

Doesn't it seem like some things are just made for each other? Things like peanut butter and jelly, milk and cookies, ice cream and cones, etc. Aahh yes. Then there's grilling bratwurst and beer. This recipe is way easy and tastes phenomenal.

My favorite Canuks, Bob and Debbie, who lived down the street, loved this recipe and requested it every time we had pool parties. Its funny. Bob would season everything he ate with, what we dubbed, “Bob Spice” (ketchup). I was honored that this was the only dish he didn’t have to season with Bob Spice.

They have since moved back to Orillia, Canada but I can still hear him sayin’, “Hey Johnnie! How’s aboot you make that Beer Brats this weekend, eh? We’ll bring the beer!” Well Bob, this Labatt’s Blue is for you, my friend. Cheers!

I like to whip this baby up on a grill with a side burner to keep from having to run back and forth from the kitchen to the grill. It isn’t all that bad if you don’t have a side burner, it is just convenient. You can substitute kielbasa for the brats if you prefer. No crime here, just good eats.

Ingredients:
Beer – 1 can of your favorite
Water – 1 ½ cups
Onion (yellow) – 2 medium chopped
Bratwurst – 2 pounds
Salt – ¼ teaspoon
Pepper (black) – ¼ teaspoon
Butter – 2 tablespoons
Flour – 2 tablespoons
Apple Cider Vinegar – 2 tablespoons
Sugar – 1 tablespoon
Parsley – just enough to garnish

How To Make It:

1. Preheat the grill for medium high heat. (A gas grill with a side burner is recommended for this recipe. But if you need to use the stovetop in the house it will work just fine as well.)

2. Combine the beer, water, onion, bratwurst, salt and pepper in a saucepan over medium heat on the side burner.

3. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook covered for 10 minutes.

4. Remove the bratwurst from the beer mixture and place the bratwurst on the grill turning them frequently to brown them all over. (The brats are done when an instant read thermometer reads 165 degrees.)

5. Remove the beer mixture from the heat and reserve for a reappearance later on for this dish.

6. Meanwhile, place a large sauté pan on the side burner over medium heat. Melt the butter and stir in the flour, cooking for about 6 minutes to make a light brown roux.


Calphalon 3-qt. Nonstick Simply Calphalon Nonstick Saute Pan


Calphalon 3-qt. Nonstick Simply Calphalon Nonstick Saute Pan


7. Then stir in the vinegar, sugar and the remaining beer mixture.

8. Season with salt and pepper and bring the mixture to a boil.

9. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, which is about 10 to 15 minutes.

10. Slice the brats into 1-inch pieces and add to the sauce. Cook for 5 more minutes.

11. Garnish with parsley and you are done.

Serve this wonderfully flavorful dish to your adoring guests with pride. You've done well. I'm proud.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Cooking and Fire: Some Alarming Statistics

Food for Thought

Cooking is fun and very rewarding. The holidays are quickly approaching and with it the cooking intensifies and seemingly multiplies. But cooking can also be deadly if safety is not maintained. Here are some alarming statistics that may cause you to be more conscious of safety while cooking.

• Cooking fires are the #1 cause of home fires and home fire injuries.

• More than 100,000 home fires associated with cooking equipment are reported each year, resulting in nearly 300 deaths and more than 4,000 injuries.

• Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires.

• Three in ten reported home fires start in the kitchen – more than any other place in the home.

• Two out of three reported home cooking fires start with the stove.

• Electric stoves pose a higher risk of producing fires, injuries and property damage than gas stoves. Gas stoves carry a higher risk of fire deaths.

• A study published by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found that 75 percent of stove fires started with food ignitions, 45 percent began with cooking oil and 63 percent occurred when someone was frying.

Source: The National Fire Protection Association (www.nfpa.org).

We at Team Eat This!™ ask that whenever you cook, please be extra careful and be safe



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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

How to Grill the Perfect Fish

I’d like to be, down by the sea . . .

Fish on the grill is awesomely good eats. Simply seasoned, or with a wonderful marinade or glaze will tantalize your taste buds and elicit “ohhs and ahhs” from your guests. I will show you how to prepare the perfect fish fillet on the grill. After you have the basics down, then watch out – the sky is the limit on grilling flavorfully fishy feasts.

“How the heck do you keep the fish from sticking on the grill” you might ask? The answer to this seemingly everlasting question is this -- the grill grate needs to be very clean. If this one step is over looked you can expect to scrape your fish off the grill in fragments and bits.

Prepping the Grill:
• Set it to high heat.
• Place a sheet of aluminum foil on the top of the grate.
• Close the grill top and let it clean like a self-cleaning oven for 10 minutes. The heat will burn off any bits o’food that may have stuck to the grill surface previously.
• Open the lid and remove the foil.
• Using a wire brush scrape the grill clean.

You are now ready to dive into some awesome fish grilling.

My personal opinion is that all fish is great grilled. Some fish take more to grilling than others due to the texture of the meat. Firm fish like red snapper, grouper, tuna, salmon, or swordfish grill up nicely without the use of extra hardware like the grill basket I'll mention next.

Other fish such as tilapia, catfish, and trout work nicely with the use of a grill basket since these fish are thinner and tend to flake apart when you try to flip them over.


Nonstick Rectangular Grill Basket


Nonstick Rectangular Grill Basket


Marinating, lightly oiling, or using a cooking spray on the fish will help prevent the fish from sticking to the surface of the grill grate when they are ready to be turned over. The fish will naturally release itself when it is ready to be turned providing the following three simple rules are in place:

1. Ensure that the grill is clean.
2. Oil the fish before placing it on the grill.
3. Use medium high heat to cook the fish.

If you are ready to kick this thing off, let's get grillin.'

Ingredients:
Fish Fillet or Steak
Olive Oil
Salt – kosher ¼ teaspoon per fillet
Pepper (black) – ¼ teaspoon per fillet

How To Make It:
1. Get grill ready for medium high heat (350 to 400 degrees).

2. Let fish stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes then brush both sides of fish fillet with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

3. Put the fish on the grill over direct heat ( directly over the heat source) skin side up and close the grill lid. (Use the chart below to determine when to flip the fish over.)

4. Turn and continue to cook for remaining suggested times. If the fish has skin attached you can remove it when taking the fish off the grill by sliding a spatula between the fish skin and the meat.

5. Remove the fish from the grill. Now it's time to serve and enjoy this very flavorful dish..

Suggested Fish Cooking Times:
If the fish is ¼ to ½ inch thick (use a grill basket):
3 to 5 minutes per side

½ to 1 inch thick:
5 to 7 minutes per side

1 to 1 ½ inches thick:
8 to 10 minutes per side

More than 1 ½ inches thick:
Plan on at least 10 minutes per inch and reduce the grill heat to 300 to 350
degrees



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Saturday, October 6, 2007

Best Ever Potato Salad

Potato, Spud, Tater – It's All Good!

Another great salad for the beach, for grillin’, parties, or whatever your pleasure may be, is potato salad. There are many variations out there but, and I must be bias now, mine has got to be the best.

“Why?” you may ask? I could get into a million reasons, but let your tongue do the judging. It's simple to make and you will definitely not be disappointed.

To begin, let me give you a couple of simple “potato tips.” The best accommodation for these spuds is to be kept in a dry, dark, and cool place to prevent them from turning them green and bitter. A refrigerator is too cold so don't put them there. They need to be in room temperature, cool, like a closet or pantry.

Any potatoes that are green or ripened to the sprout or eye stage may contain a mildly toxic compound you don’t want anything to do with. Cut away these portions or discard the potato all together, especially if it has an odor. That’s basically it. “Easy peasy.”

My personal favorite potato to use for my potato salad is the red creamer or new potatoes. They will stay together after they are boiled, preventing you from making potato salad puree when you mix the ingredients together.

If you use baking potatoes, which, by the way, have a higher starch content (and this is what makes them flaky and fluffy when making mashed potatoes), they will start to crumble up when you mix the salad ingredients together. In my opinion, it doesn't make for a very appetizing looking concoction so I don't use them for this dish..

Now, this is just a matter of preference but I sometimes leave the skins on for a little flair. It's totally up to you.

Ingredients:
Red Creamer or New Potatoes – about 2 pounds and diced to 1-inch cubes
Hard Boiled Eggs – 3 and chopped
Mayonnaise – 1/2 cup (Hellman’s brand is my favorite)
Onion (red) – 1 medium size and diced
Celery – 2 diced stalks
Salt – Kosher
Pepper (black)

How To Make It:

1. Cut the potatoes into 1-inch cubes and place in a large pot. Put enough water in the pot to cover the potatoes.

RSVP International 8-qt. Multi-Purpose Stockpot

2. Boil for about 15 minutes or until tender. When done, let them cool in a colander.

3. Mix together the eggs, mayonnaise, onion, and celery in a large measuring cup.

4. When the potatoes have cooled, transfer them to a large bowl. Add the contents of the large measuring cup to them and fold together gently. (To “fold” means to cut and mix lightly with a spoon to keep as much air in the mixture as possible.)

5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

No matter what you call it, Spud Salad or Tater Salad, this Potato Salad rocks!



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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Hard-Boiled Egg Perfection

“Egg-zactly” Perfect Boiled Eggs

Can you boil an egg? I know, I know, “insert your favorite joke here.” But believe it or not, many people have asked me how to boil an egg. Well, heck. Before I had any sense I figured that boiling eggs in water for half an hour was the way to go. Little did I know.

Over boiling eggs leaves that delightful green ring around the yolk that is oh so appetizing and the texture is something NOT to be desired. That's the way my boiled eggs used to come out.

I noticed that my grandmother used to make the most prefect deviled eggs that I had to ask her where she bought her eggs at. I thought that where you bought your eggs, not how you boiled your eggs was the crucial difference, but no. I got learned, now so can you.

This method I'm about to reveal is the easiest, fool-proof method out there. Grandma insisted that I should have no real difficulty learning this. She’s right. As the saying goes, “It's so easy even a caveman could do it.” Pretty much if I can do it, anyone can, so lets get a crackin’.

Ingredients:
Eggs
Water

How To Make It:

1. Place the eggs in a pot large enough so that all the eggs have plenty of “breathing room” and cover with cool water.

2. Place the pot on the stove, uncovered, and set the heat to medium-high and bring this baby to a boil.

3. Let the eggs boil for one minute, then remove the pot from heat and cover with a lid.

4. Let the eggs cook for 11 minutes off the heat, then drain the hot water from the pot and rinse the eggs under cool water.

Presto! “Egg-zactly” Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs.



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Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Grilled Mustard-Savory Pork Loin

A Mouth-watering and Juicy Meat Experience

I had seen this recipe on a cooking show many years ago and loved the marinade. It was very simple with big flavor. Simple with big flavor -- that’s what I’m talkin’ about. They used country ribs at the time, but I prefer a pork loin. It's a little less fatty and oh so tender.

This recipe will go over great if you love boneless grilled chops, since the pork loin is the very same cut of meat that boneless chops are cut from. Let me tell you what, it stays moist and juicy.

When using pork tenderloin be sure to truss it. This may sound daunting to some, but believe me it isn't. All trussing a pork loin requires is kitchen twine and the ability to tie a simple knot.

Just cut the twine and tie it around the pork loin. Separate the tying of the twine every 2 inches. This will give you a more uniform size allowing the pork to cook more evenly.

Ingredients:
Olive Oil – ¾ cup
Dijon Mustard – 1/3 cup
Red Wine Vinegar – 3 tablespoons
Savory (dried) – 3 tablespoons
Pepper – ½ teaspoon
Water – 3 tablespoons
Pork Tenderloin – 3-4 pounds (trussed)

How To Make It:

1. Prepare the grill for medium high heat of 350 - 400 degrees. If you are using a gas grill you can get the grill ready after you pour the marinade over the pork. (It's a good idea to oil the racks to prevent the pork from sticking.)

2. In a measuring cup whisk together the olive oil, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, savory, pepper and water.

3. Place the pork loin in a dish large enough to lie flat and pour the marinade over it. Cover and let marinade for 30 minutes (at room temperature) turning over once halfway through the marinating time.

4. Remove pork from marinade and discard marinade.

5. Place the pork on the grill over direct heat ( meat directly over heat source) and grill these fine pieces of meat for 30 minutes with the lid closed.

6. Now turn the pork over and grill (covered) for 20 to 25 minutes more or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the loin registers 155 degrees.

7. Remove from the grill and let the pork rest for about 10 minutes.

(With large cuts of meat, the internal temperature continues to rise another 10 to 15 degrees while resting, finishing the cooking process. Cooking the meat on the grill to a temperature any higher than the recommended 155 degrees will result in a dried out pork loin. We don't want that. We want it to be moist and juicy.)

8. Remove trussing from the pork loin and slice. Mmmm, mouth-watering it is.



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Sunday, September 30, 2007

How to Grill the Perfect Chicken Leg Quarter


Getting a “Leg Up” on the Competition

(I must preface this by saying that the following is a recounting of an actual event.)


I can remember my first grilling experience on my own grill just like it was yesterday. My family had helped my wife and me move into our first home some years ago. My dad and I put my gas grill together, but what good is a grill if there's nothing to grill? So off to the store we go and came back with chicken leg quarters.


My dad said he was going to show me how simple it was to grill. He proceeded to light up the grill, cranking it on high, and then chucked the chicken inside and put the lid down. “It's just like an oven,” he says.


We then headed back inside the house leaving the chicken quarters in a cranked-on-high gas grill with the lid shut.


About twenty minutes later my wife tells me that black smoke is coming from the grill. So I run outside, followed by my dad, only to see fire coming from under the lid. Indeed black smoke was belching out from under the lid.


Once the fire had been extinguished and the severely charred remains of the leg quarters were removed from the grill, my dad grabs one of these partially incinerated chicken parts and takes a very, umm, “crunchy bite.” Smiling he says, “These aren’t too bad,” as the black char was blotting out his teeth and gums.


My wife gives me “that look” and seconds later I was on the phone ordering pizza for delivery. (I should have captured it all on video.)


Despite my true story introduction, grilling chicken is easy. One just has to keep a few simple things in mind, like:


• Chicken parts render off a lot of fat.


• Grills cranked on high will probably easily reach 450 degrees.


• Fat and very high heat will produce lots of fire. This is not considered, “good eats.”


• Chicken leg quarters are an excellent choice for grilling due to the higher fat content than chicken breast, giving you a juicier and more flavorful meal.


• They are more cost effective and can be substituted for chicken breast in any recipe.


• Certain care is required though, to prevent my first grilling experience from becoming yours.


Maverick Industries, Inc. Redi-Check Remote Cooking Thermometer and Timer




Maverick Industries, Inc. Redi-Check Remote Cooking Thermometer and Timer



Ingredients:
Chicken Leg Quarter – 1 leg quarter
Olive Oil – extra virgin
Kosher Salt – about ¼ quarter teaspoon
Black Pepper – about ¼ quarter teaspoon


How To Make It:

1. Prepare the grill for medium heat. It would be wise to use a thermometer to get a reading of 325-350 degrees.


2. If you are using a gas grill, only turn on one side of the grill burners. If you are using a charcoal grill, mound up the coals on one side. The reason for this is because you will be incorporating both direct (meat over the heat source) and indirect (meat away from heat source) cooking techniques.


3. Brush both sides of the chicken leg quarters with the olive oil and season with the salt and pepper.


4. Place the chicken directly over the heat and grill with the lid open for about 3 minutes per side. (It doesn't make a difference which grill you are using here as long as you have an internal temperature of 325-350 degrees.)


5. Move the chicken to the other side of the grill (away from the heat source) and grill with the grill lid down for about 45 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the chicken leg quarter registers 170 degrees.


Although salmonella, a bacterium that causes food poisoning, is instantly killed at 165 degrees, chicken still has a slight pink color at that temperature and most people are hesitant to eat chicken that is pink. Therefore, 170 degrees is what I recommend.


(On a side note: if you prefer to cook legs or thighs, use the same techniques described above. Just reduce the covered grilling time to about 30 to 35 minutes or until a thermometer registers 170 degrees.)


6. Once this is accomplished, your chicken has just been grilled to perfection. Now there's just one more step to take and that is,


7. Bring in the chicken, serve it to the awaiting fortunate recipient(s) and bring on the accolades.


And that's, “How to Grill the Perfect Chicken Leg Quarter.”



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Monday, September 24, 2007

Overnight Salad

This Baby’s an “Overnight Success”

O.K. My wife has this wonderful overnight salad that is to die for. The best part is you can make it the day before you entertain, giving you more time to be with your guest(s) and get your “drink on” (whoo-hoo).

Her friend, Beth, many years ago shared this recipe with us and it has been a favorite at our BBQs and other get-togethers since.

The longer this baby sits in the refrigerator the better it tastes. But I am talking a day or two, no longer. Any longer than that and you can submit it to become one of your kid's science projects.

Ingredients:

Bacon (regular) – 1 lb cooked and crumbled
Lettuce (Iceberg) – 1 head (shredded)
Cauliflower –1 small head (broken up into small florets)
Onion (white) – 1 medium; julienned or thinly sliced.
Mayonnaise – 1 cup (I prefer Hellman’s)
Sugar – ¼ cup
Parmesan cheese – 1/3 cup
Salt – ½ teaspoon

How To Make It:

1. Here's how to prepare the bacon. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place strips of bacon onto the baking sheet and place in a cold oven. Why a cold oven? The fat will render off the bacon as the heat slowly rises.

2. Turn the heat on to 400 degrees and cook for about 15 minutes. The degree of crispiness that you like will determine whether you cook them for more than 15 minutes or not.

3. Remove from baking sheet and drain on paper towels. Crumble and put aside.

(If you enjoy cleaning up bacon spatter reminiscent of the Exxon Valdez from your stovetop, counters and floors, then frying bacon in a pan on the stovetop is for you.)

4. Place the lettuce, cauliflower and onion in layers. Lettuce on the bottom of the salad bowl, then the cauliflower, and finally the onion.

5. In a large measuring cup mix the mayonnaise, sugar, Parmesan cheese, and salt to make an incredible dressing.

6. Now pour the dressing on top of and evenly across the salad. DO NOT mix at this point.

7. Sprinkle the crumbled bacon on top of your masterpiece, seal over the salad bowl with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator.

8. Let sit overnight and let “the magic” happen. All the flavors will blend to make a wonderful overnight taste sensation.

9. Mix well before you serve.

Feel free to add your favorite additions to this salad, such as: hard-boiled eggs, beets, carrots, etc. etc. The sky's the limit.

Believe me. This salad is good and good for you!

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

How to Grill the Perfect Steak.

Bring the Steakhouse to Your Backyard

The perfect steak starts with a good piece of meat. Some good choices are rib eye, porterhouse, New York strip, or filet mignon. Personally, my favorite is the rib eye because the price is right and it has just the right amount of fat. Always remember – fat equals flavor!

When you can, look for steaks with a Prime grade or Angus cut of meat. These types of steaks have the perfect amount of marbled fat rewarding you with rich taste, juiciness, and are great with the simplest of seasoning.

Prepping the steak for the grill is very simple. Some easy-to-follow guidelines are what's needed to ensure a very happy grilling experience. (Aahh, I can just smell the steak now . . .)

Prepping the Steak :

Fat (the fat on the steak I'm talking about, not necessarily on our hips, people) rewards you with great benefits to your palate but requires a little prep work before you grill.

1. If you find that your steak has a large amount of fat on the outside edge, just make a few cuts vertically through the fat at 2 inch intervals to prevent your steak from curling up and taking on the resemblance of a catcher's mitt from the 1930s.

2. Definitely brush your steaks down with a little olive oil before any seasoning is sprinkled on. This will ensure that your entire steak gets covered with oil resulting in great color. It also prevents the steaks from sticking to the grill grate.

3. Some people let steaks come to room temperature before grilling. Most professionals don’t bother, so, heck, why should we. Any meat left out to come to room temperature is an invitation for bacteria to grow.

4. Preheat your grill to high heat. Preheating the grill heats up the grates and helps prevent the food from sticking. High heat is required to sear the outside of the meat, thereby sealing in those fantastic juices.

5. You'll never hear a steak shout out and say, “Hey buddy! Stick a fork in me, I’m done!” I beg of you with my entire being, DON'T DO IT. You never ever want to violate a steak with a fork to turn it over on the grill. Piercing the steak will only release the juices resulting in a dried out piece of meat. Instead, what I suggest to use is a pair of tongs.

6. Brush the finished steaks that come off the grill with extra-virgin olive oil or butter for that little extra added richness.


Barbeques Galore Capt'n Cook 3-Burner Grill On Black And Stainless Steel Cart (Propane)



Barbeques Galore Capt'n Cook 3-Burner Grill On Black And Stainless Steel Cart (Propane)



When you take them off the grill let the steaks rest on a platter (or whatever you want to use) uncovered for about five minutes. You may be asking, “Why wait? Can't I start eating them right away? I'm starving!” You can, if you must.

But, did you know that when you cook meat the juices pull toward the center, huddling away from the heat source? So by letting the meat, after cooking, rest for about five minutes you will allow those wonderful tasty juices to redistribute themselves throughout the meat. This makes the entire steak full of flavor. A little patience before serving will result in juicier steaks all the way through and make for satisfied palate.

Ingredients:

Rib Eye Steak
Olive Oil – Extra virgin
Kosher salt – About ½ teaspoon for each steak
Black pepper – About ½ teaspoon for each steak

How To Make It:

1. Preheat the grill for high heat.


Weber 22.5-in. One Touch Gold One Touch Gold BBQ, Black




Weber 22.5-in. One Touch Gold One Touch Gold BBQ, Black



2. Brush both sides of the steaks down with olive oil and then season them with salt and pepper.

3. Grill on a covered grill to the desired degree of doneness. For your aid, I've prepared a chart below that you can use for grill times.

(If you like those fancy crosshatch {+ or X} marks on the steak, simply rotate the steak 90 degrees after two minutes then continue for the remaining grilling times per side. Repeat this technique on the other side to get the same effect.)

4. Remove steaks from the grill and let rest for about five minutes before serving.

Enjoy the praise. You deserve it. Now that you have successfully brought the steakhouse to your backyard, you just may never order a steak out again.

Steak Cooking Times

3/4 inch thick:
medium rare – two minutes per side
medium – three minutes per side
medium well – four minutes per side

1 inch thick:
medium rare – three minutes per side
medium – five minutes per side
medium well – six minutes per side

1 1/2 inch thick:
medium rare – six minutes per side
medium – seven minutes per side
medium well – eight minutes per side

Personal note: Steaks cooked “well done” are not my idea of the perfect steak. But if you consider this to be your perfection then just add another minute to the “medium well” times per side.

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