Thursday, February 16, 2012

How to Cook Perfect Pork Roast

Pork roast are very easy to cook, but my experiences tell me that not many people know how to cook them. The biggest problems I see when eating someone's pork roast is there is not enough seasoning, the roast is over cooked and dry, or the meat is greasy. All three of these problems can be remedied without much work.

Seasoning food and in particular, meat, seems to elude many cooks. People either don't put enough seasoning or they put too much. After a few times of doing this and having their loved ones complain about the flavor they give up and quit seasoning the food altogether. I understand your frustration if you are one of these cooks that have had this type of problem with seasoning. I used to have the same problem and every once in a while I still have a mishap.

But seasoning meat is not that hard. I like to coat my pork roast with a 2:1 mixture of salt and pepper with about 1 tablespoon of salt and 1/2 tablespoon of pepper per pound of meat. Rub the mixture in and then brown the roast in a hot dutch oven on all sides. This will seal the meat and fuse the seasoning to the meat. Once you have seared the meat, you can add beef broth to the pot. Using a good broth further enhances the flavor. Finally you can add whatever dry seasoning you would like to flavor the broth with. I usually add sage and rosemary. I also like to add some dry cranberries right at the end to add some sweetness to the broth.

For some, it seems that the only way to cook pork roast is to over cook it. This doesn't have to be your pork roast. If you sear the roast like I talked about above, you will lock the moisture in for a certain amount of cooking. Once you have added the broth, you need to bring it to a rolling boil, cover, and reduce the heat to medium low. The broth should continue to simmer. Cook the pork roast about 15 minutes per pound or until 170 degrees internal temperature is reached. Your roast will be perfectly cooked.

The third and final problem I see with pork roast is they are too greasy. There really is one simple solution to this problem. Buy lean meat. Look for roast that do not have a lot of fat. I know that many people like the fat and say it adds flavor, and a little bit does add flavor. Most people over do it with the fat. A leaner roast will be less greasy and will be healthier for you to eat.

Pork roast is meant to be enjoyed. A few small steps can get you on the right track to making the perfect roast. Season the meat right, don't over cook it, and choose lean meats with a little bit of fat; the next time you cook, your pork roast will be just right.

Ten Practical Ways to Use Ice Cubes

Almost every home has at least one ice cube tray, but for the large part, most of us tend to use ice cubes in the regular way - to cool down our drinks. We may try something a little bit different by buying trays that create cubes in various shapes, but there are many more ways to jazz up a simple cube of ice. In fact, ice trays and cubes have the potential for many other uses - some of them practical and some of them just plain fun.

10 Ways to Use Ice Cubes

Here are a few ideas on how to turn your ice trays from mundane to fantastic, with just a few additional ingredients. 

Add edible flowers such as pansies or rose petals into your ice trays before adding water. These are a great way to add some style to drinks for functions, cocktail parties, romantic dinners or even tea parties with friends.

Add some food colouring or even edible glitter to your ice trays for an even more eye-catching option - this option is ideal for weddings or glitzy parties where you want to make a statement.

Freeze individual portions of baby food for a quick and convenient way to heat and serve later. This saves plenty of time for busy parents!

Freeze herbs of any kind to reuse later. As cut herbs don't last very long even in the fridge, this is a good way to keep them fresh until you use them.

Add flavoured yoghurt or fruit juice, or even bubbly or sweet wine to your ice cube trays, and once they are almost set, add a toothpick. Once they are completely frozen, you will have delicious mini ice lollies.

Keep your iced coffee perfectly chilled with frozen cubes of ready-made coffee. If you prefer your coffee on the stronger side, freeze strong black coffee. Otherwise add milk and sugar to taste for a milder version.

Make ice sculptures from your ice cubes by adding glitter, flowers, food colouring and other decorations before freezing. Once frozen, these blocks can be melded together using a bit of salted water, resulting in fantastic creations made of ice.

Create an elegant, unusual ice cream dessert by adding your ice cream mixture to individual ice trays rather than one large container. Once the ice cream has set, you can build an edible ice cream sculpture that is sure to impress guests.

Add pureed fruit or whole small berries to use for smoothies and slushy drinks. These can be added to drinks as whole cubes, or added to the blender along with yoghurt for a scrumptious frozen drink.

Freeze pre-made stock in ice trays for a quick and convenient way to add flavour to soups and stews, without having to remake stock from scratch.
Did you know that your ice trays also have many different uses? These can be used for anything from button and bead storage to jewellery boxes, snack trays or even office odds and ends storage. With so many unique ways to use both ice cubes and trays, these items become far less mundane and a lot more useful than you may have assumed before.

How Simple Steps to Preparing Easy Recipes at Home?

There are so many easy recipes online and so many cookbooks it's no wonder some people feel overwhelmed about cooking at home. Many decide to forgo cooking and opt to eat out instead.

If you're trying to save money or you have a family to feed, eating out can quickly blow a budget. In addition, it really doesn't save time by the time you travel to the restaurant, wait for a table, and then wait for service. Finding simple restaurant recipes will allow you to enjoy your favorite dishes without added costs.

Begin by preparing your kitchen and organizing your space. Then follow up with selecting favorite dishes found in a cooking guide for restaurant recipes.

• Clean out expired food from your cabinets and refrigerator.

Don't procrastinate. You'll be surprised how fast you can do this by dedicating 30 minutes a day until the task is complete. How easy is that? If you feel like dedicating an hour, then do so. The point is to bite off the task in small bites so you don't keep putting it off.

As you go through your food, write down the items you have on hand and organize them. This will allow you to use things you already have on hand for easy recipes. This will also help cut down on unnecessary grocery store purchases, which will save you money. In addition, organizing your cabinets will make it easy to find the items you need when cooking easy recipes for dinner.

Once you have completed this task, it's much simpler to maintain. To keep up with your list of available items, keep your cabinets and refrigerator clean and organized by setting aside fifteen minutes a week to do so.

• Write down some of you and your family's favorite restaurants, the restaurant dishes you love, and the foods you enjoy.

This will be a jumping off point for identifying where to begin in the search for easy recipes for dinner. Usually main dishes are the focus of favorite restaurant dishes, but that's okay because you can then list the side items you enjoy, such as green beans, potatoes, broccoli, etc.

From this point on, it's just a matter of mixing and matching your chosen main dish with side dishes to add flavor, nutrients, and color to your plate for easy cooking options.

• Look for recipes with few ingredients and few steps.

Don't overwhelm yourself. Start out with simple meals and add a couple sides of vegetables. Once you've prepared a few dishes and feel more comfortable cooking, you can really start to roll out restaurant style recipes and find a method that works for you.

Using these steps will provide you with great tasting food that takes only a little amount of time. As you prepare dinner, you can then start accumulating a list of favorites you can pull out when you are hungry for a certain type or style of food. Easy cooking is not an impossible task: with a little planning and practice, you can learn how to cook restaurant style dishes and certainly won't miss all the extra time and money you spent before.

How to Steam Fish Without Losing Its Natural Flavors

Steaming is a cooking technique that seals the food with moist heat and helps to retain their nutrients, flavor, and texture. When you steam fish perfectly, you will get a very tender, silky and slightly chewy texture that is so hale and hearty. Steaming does not require a lot of techniques and skills. You simply have to learn the secret tricks that would turn your plain steamed fish to Chinese-restaurant worthy.

Note that whole fish is better than fillets as the best flavor you get from steaming fish comes from the blood. Plus, the head, bones and skin add flavor. In fact, the fatty belly meat is the tastiest part of a fish. This is why almost every steamed or poached fish recipe calls for a whole fresh fish. Don't buy pre-gutted fish as the blood will drain out and you will have a tasteless piece of fish to eat. You can gut the fish yourself to reduce fluid loss. Frozen and thawed fresh whole fish can just be as good as fresh fish.

To begin the steaming process, make sure the water is rapidly boiling so it produces high heat and full steam before adding fish on the steamer basket. This ensures constant heat right through the cooking time. See to it your water is kept below the steaming rack and not in contact with food. Steam a small fish for 5-8 minutes, and 8-10 minutes for a bigger fish. Use your best judgment. For bigger fish, you might need to watch the level of water and add more as needed.

Do not over steam or overcook your fish. When you remove fish from the steamer it should still be a bit translucent at the spine. Just make sure the fish is fresh. You can add a glass of dry white wine or cider to the pot along with a few sprigs of fresh herbs, lemon and onion slices for a more robust steam flavor. If you want, you can also steam vegetables along with your fish by placing the veggies on top. To give your steamed fish that perfect sheen, brush a little amount of heated oil on the fish.

Steaming fish is a wonderful way to make a simple, fresh and healthy meal in one pot without taking too much time in the kitchen. It is amazing you only need to steam your fish perfectly to get the most flavorful steamed fish recipe. Match it with a green salad and you sure are getting all the healthiness you have been looking for.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Are You Making These Seven Mistakes When Cooking?

Do you want the same to happen to you? If not, keep reading. I'll share seven of the most important cooking mistakes people do all the time.

1. Frying with olive oil Many cooks may want to shoot me for saying this but I'll say it anyway. Don't fry with olive oil. Olive oil, just like most other vegetable oils is not resistant to the high temperature that it reaches when frying. This produces cancer-causing chemicals and trans fat.

Olive oil is excellent for salads and might be fine for cooking in a soup because the water temperature doesn't get as high. But it's very bad for frying.

If you want to fry at all, fry with butter or even lard.

2. Switching off the oven when the food is ready

In short, don't wait the food to be ready to switch off the oven. Even if you have one of these modern ovens that switch off and on pretty fast there is always remaining high heat in it for a couple of minutes. Switching it off when the food is ready leads to a couple of consequences:

a) You waste energy. Switch off a couple of minutes earlier and you will use the heat "for free".

b) Your food gets burnt.

3. Cooking with salt from the beginning

Of course no food is good without any salt in it. So in order not to forget it, you put the salt in the beginning, do you? Bad idea. Salt preserves most vegetables and especially the pulse and makes them hard to cook. That's why you have to boil the lentils and green peas for such long time and at the end they still nibble.

Put the salt after the pulse becomes soft, not before that.

4. Putting cold water when baking

Next time when baking potatoes in the oven pour in hot water instead of cold. You can heat the water in a water jug or a kettle which will happen much faster than heating it in the oven. Putting cold water results in awful loss of energy and time.

5. Putting the parsley too early

When cooking a soup or some pottage inexperienced cooks often put the parsley to cook when the food is nearly ready. Even this is too early.

Parsley is best consumed raw. And the point to add it to a dish is to have something fresh in it. It gets soft and cooked for minutes so don't put it to boil even for short time. Put the parsley when you take out the pot from the hot plate. Only then it will be good.

6. Cutting out fat

In our efforts to make healthy food we often get to extreme. I'm guilty too. I've made quite a few tasteless dishes by trying to cut out fat.

One of the most common mistakes is to cut out all fat. This is plain wrong and stupid. Don't do it. Here is what it leads to:

a) Tasteless food. Most cooked foods need at least a bit of fat to be tasty. Otherwise they become as tasteless as those in the dietetic restaurants.

b) Health problems. Yes, a lot of fat is bad for your health but so is too low fat. Don't go to extremes in cooking.

7. Overcooking vegetables

You know what Chinese cooks ask every time they taste Western food. "Why do these guys cook the vegetables for hours?!". You know the cooked vegetables in Chinese cuisine are very fresh and crunchy. Why don't you do the same? The vegetables in the soup or the stew don't have to be soft. They are much better if cooked less. Of course this is not valid for pulse, pulse has to be cooked well.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Tips and Benefits Italian Cooking

If you are aiming to reproduce the most authentic Italian cooking, you need to keep the following in mind. 

Freshness of the ingredients is the first and most important requirement of authentic Italian cooking. Use high quality fresh produce. You will not need to use many ingredients; so do not settle for less than the best for the few which you do have to buy. For ingredients like tomatoes, garlic, lettuce etc always use fresh products and do not put them in refrigerator.

Pasta is the base of most Italian menus. So you need to be familiar with it. There are more than 120 different varieties of pasta. You should know how and where to use it. The most important trick is to combine the pasta with the right sauce. For example, fine spaghetti has to be combined with light sauce. Thicker the sauce, thicker should be the pasta. Full flavor sauces need to be combined with penne or shell like pasta. If the texture of the sauce is chunky, use pasta with large diameters so that they can be flavored inside out. Heavier pasta like ziti are ideal for baking.

You have a choice between fresh and dried pasta. If you are really going for the most authentic Italian cooking, you should make your own pasta at home. Otherwise, you can buy from stores where both types are available. However, fresh pasta spoils easily and should be used at once. Frozen pasta can also be used.
If you do not find a particular ingredient, use the nearest substitute. Here are some common examples

Use chicken broth instead of beer
Margarine instead of salted butter
Combination of white sugar and molasses in place of brown sugar
Bouillon cube in place of broth
Unsweetened chocolate instead of cocoa
Cottage cheese in absence of cream cheese
Agar instead of gelatin
Macadamia nuts in place of Hazel nuts
Sour cream instead of mayonnaise
And many more
Finally, combine your Italian cooking with the correct beverage to round off the experience. Different types of coffees will be highly appreciated. Choose your wine correctly.

Some benefits 

If you want to enjoy the true flavors of Italian meals, you will have to take your time over it. Then only will you be able to appreciate its myriad tastes, textures and flavors. This style of eating is not only conducive to digestion, but also the total quantity eaten will be less if you take time to savor your food.

The emphasis on fresh ingredients in Italian cooking ensures that you eat food high in nutrient contents.

In a typical Italian menu, the emphasis is on vegetables. Italian cuisine will open your eyes to the vast number of ways in which veggies can be prepared. This will address the health issue of all members of the family, regardless what their age is.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

How Using Techniques and Tips In Baking Potatoes?

One of the most enticing and evocative kitchen smells is that of the baked potato. Its association with childhood and most particularly with Bonfire Night keeps it forever as something of a treat. It remains too a comfort food but one that can be transformed daily with a different stuffing.

The jacket potato is The Great Standby and The Complete Meal. Treated simply with a pinch of salt and a generous dollop of butter its a pauper's supper fit for a king. With a liberal grating of mature Cheddar cheese is even better. After Christmas it really comes into its own. When served with pickles, a couple of crunchy baked potatoes make the prospect of unlimited cold turkey almost seem attractive.

In France they call the jacket potato pommes de terre au four - au four for short - or most often robe de chambre, a corruption of the original robe des champs (of the fields), meaning in their skins as they were grown. Many French chefs use the flesh of potatoes for making pommes purée because the steam-cooking makes for dry potato flesh. It also breaks down the flesh of their waxy potato varieties.

Perhaps because the French don't go in for the mealy variety of potato which is best suited to baking, their potatoes tend to be elaborately stuffed. These potatoes are usually called pommes de terre farcies. They are prepared by partial baking then the flesh is scooped out, mixed with the stuffing and returned for a final baking. The potato becomes a vehicle for very fanciful combinations and is a very different animal from the potato baked in the embers of the dying bonfire.

The secret of perfect baked potatoes is to put the potatoes into a very hot oven; from 400-425F/200-220C/gas mark 7) and to cook them for a minimum of 1 hour. The exact length of time depends on the size of the potato and the number of potatoes being cooked - they will take longer the more there are. Any variety of potato will taste good baked but mealy varieties are best. The starch expands under the intense heat and the potato becomes fluffy on the inside and with a nice crisp skin: the combination that makes the potato such a delight. Some people rub salt or oil into the washed skin to make it crispy but I rather like the nutty flavour that is most prevalent if the skin is merely washed. Also good is the burnt flesh edge of halved potatoes. If you favour a soft skin, wrap the potato in foil.

To allow the steam to escape cut the potato with a cross or prick it a few times with a fork. Potatoes can be partially cooked in advance and finished to order, this is especially useful to remember when providing baked potatoes for a party. In fact in his delightful Cooking In Ten Minutes Edouard de Pomiane recommends keeping a stock of baked potatoes for making instant meals.

Monday, January 30, 2012

How to Make Chocolate Fondue and Delicious Dipping Ideas?

More people are realizing how simple and delicious fondue is, and there are so many different ways to enjoy it. Not only are there many different recipes for the fondue itself, the list of items you can dip into it is endless.

Different Types of Fondue

Probably the most well known types of fondues are those made with chocolate and cheese. A lot of fondue fans also like to place small meat or fish chunks into a simmering broth, and frying in oil is another popular option. Dip style fondues are another alternative such as spinach or bean dip.

Types of Fondue Pots

There are electric fondue pots and those that are heated with Sterno or candles. Personal experience has shown that electric models produce more even and consistent heating. You have much more control over the heat level if you use a unit that has a temperature dial.

Once the fondue is melted and smooth, the heat can easily be turned down to low and kept warm without burning. With Sterno there is first making sure you have a sufficient quantity, there is the associated odor, and you don't have control over the temperature.

Generally when using a Sterno heated pot, you will have to heat the ingredients in a saucepan first on the stove and then transfer to the fondue pot, which sort of defeats the purpose of having a fondue pot in the first place.

You can purchase an electric fondue pot for less than $30, and you won't have to worry with purchasing Sterno or candles for heating. You'll also have a much better fondue experience.

How to Make Chocolate Fondue


1 pound of semi or bittersweet white or dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces (you can also use packaged chips)
1-1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream
2 Tablespoons of Grand Marnier or Torani Flavored Syrup of choice

Place chocolate in fondue pot.
Add cream and melt gradually on moderate heat, stirring often.
Don't use high heat as chocolate and cream will burn.
When creamy and smooth, add Grand Marnier or Torani Flavored Syrup.
Turn heat to low.
Dipping Ideas

There are many food items you can enjoy with the fondue you make, including vegetables, fruits, breads, desserts, meats, and seafood.

A few ideas for the chocolate fondue recipe above include fruits such as strawberries, cherries, grapes, bananas, oranges, peaches, blackberries, raspberries, apples, pears, honeydew melon, and pineapple. Graham crackers, pretzels, small chunks of angel food or pound cake, ladyfingers, biscotti, brownies, and doughnut holes are also good dipped in chocolate.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

How Choosing Ideal Seasonings for Chicken?

Chicken is a favorite dish and widely accepted in many cultures. It is not expensive and can work with all purpose seasoning. Seasoning comes in form of spices or herbs. Seasonings for chicken can be made from any or a combination of both. Herbs are made from plant leaves while spices come from the bark, root, fruit, seeds or stem. Spices for chicken can be from a wide variety. Options for conjuring up Spices for chicken for a delicious chicken recipe are open. An experienced and creative chef can try new combinations every time. However, some spices will keep showing up every time.

Seasonings for chicken may not be the same everywhere. Each chef knows what mixes to use. A blend of spices does wonders especially when mixed into chicken dry rubs. Mexican recipes make use of coriander seed, cumin, black pepper and cayenne pepper to make an all purpose seasoning. Spices from India include sesame, saffron, turmeric and ginger. European spices for chicken are cinnamon, paprika, mace and allspice.

All purpose seasoning can also be made from savory herbs. These are from plants that are known for their distinct aroma. Good examples are sage, thyme, rosemary and basil. Their strong aromas and flavor make them ideal for grilled chicken seasoning. For a distinct flavor stick to one herb combined with other spices for chicken. Combining two or several herb flavors may confuse the palate. Alternatively, herbs used in seasonings for chicken can be tossed into the pan and cooked together with the meat for a strong aroma.

Table salt, a commonly found all purpose seasoning ingredient is mostly categorized together with spices. It should, however, be sparingly used for health reasons. Instead, flavor your favorite chicken dishes with spices for chicken to get that mouth watering flavor. There are other options for creating seasonings for chicken. You could try some lemon juice, orange or lime juice. They make the chicken dish appear brighter. Mushrooms and tomatoes are common flavorings as well.

If you are not sure of which spices for chicken you could use, then look for chicken recipes. These provide instructions on how to make or what seasonings for chicken to buy. When you are trying to blend an all purpose seasoning with flavors like coconut milk or juices, be sure that you understand the outcome. Otherwise you may ruin the dish. Seasonings for chicken make it delicious and enhance the flavor.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

How to Make Cookies the Right Way?

What is the cookie method you may ask? Well, let me tell you. The cookie method is the fancy (or not so fancy depending on how you look at it) way that professional chefs say "how to mix your cookies right". There are three different ways of mixing including; the one-stage method, the creaming method (this is the one we will be concentrating on the most today), and the sponge method. Here is a brief overview of each.

The One-Stage Method -

This method is not used very much because the baker has less control over the mixing than with other methods. However, when you are making a recipe where over-mixing isn't going to be a problem, like with chewy cookies, this method can be used. The basic procedure goes like this- Measure all of your ingredients. Let them all come to room temperature. Put them in a mixer all at once and mix them until they are uniformly blended. Make sure you're scraping the sides of the bowl now and then so you don't end up with clumps of flour in your cookies because that's disgusting. Mmmmm flour clumps-not! This method is simple and quick and even a child could do it. It is good for macaroons, some bars and a few other recipes. So moving on....

The Creaming Method -

Although I've never Googled this fact or anything, I think it is safe to say that this is the most commonly used method of making cookies. It is what you use when you make chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies and several others. The amount you "cream" will affect your cookies texture, the leavening and how much it spreads. You should only cream a little if you want your cookies to hold their shape (you don't want to loose the edges on those pretty Christmas Trees). If your cookie is short (chef talk for "high in fat and low in gluten development") or if you are making one of those very delicate thin cookies, too much creaming will make your cookie crumble-literally. So here is the basic procedure;

1. measure all of your ingredients 
2. let them come to room temperature 
3. put the fat, sugar, salt, and spices into the mixing bowl and cream them on low speed 
* note that you can also blend your spices and salt into your dry ingredients 
* for lighter cookies, cream until light and fluffy, this incorporates more air for leavening 
* for denser cookies, cream to a smooth paste, but do not cream until light 
4. add the eggs and any liquid and blend at low speed 
5. blend in your dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder) 
* mix just until combined, you're making cookies, not bread

If you follow these basic steps, you should come out with a pretty nice cookie in the end. If your cookies still are coming out like crappies, check out the "what's wrong with my cookies" at the end of this article. And last but not least...

The Sponge Method -

This procedure can vary considerably, depending on the ingredients you're using. The batches should be kept small because the batter is super delicate, in other words, don't double recipes that require this method because your cookies won't come out. This method is generally used for meringue cookies.

1. measure your ingredients 
2. let them come to room temperature (for greater volume warm your eggs a little) 
3. whip your eggs and sugar together until the desired consistency 
* soft peaks if you're only whipping whites, thick and light if you're whipping yolks or whole eggs 
4. fold in the rest of the ingredients according to the recipe

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How Best Ways to Screw Up Thanksgiving Dinner?

1. Over Cook the turkey

Cooking the turkey from 5 am until dinner time was how grandma cooked a turkey. Doing that now is a guarantee for the dreaded dry turkey. You know when a turkey is done by its temperature and not by amount of time it has been in the oven. This is because a turkey's required cook time varies based on size, weight, temperature of the turkey when it went in the oven, etc.

How to avoid the dreaded dry turkey? Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Assuming you are cooking a 14 lb turkey, after it has been in the over for approximately 2 hours, measure the temperature of the turkey by placing a meat thermometer in its thigh. Then measure the temperature every 30 minutes. (You should take the temperature of the turkey during the same time that you are basting and rotating the turkey.) Once the temperature has reached 155 - 160 degrees - the turkey is done!

2. Carving the turkey as soon as it gets out of the oven

Cutting the turkey immediately when it comes out of the oven causes all of the juices (and all of your hard work) to run immediately out. The result? A dry turkey. Instead, wait 20 - 30 minutes to allow all of the juices to re-circulate and then slice it.

3. Carving the turkey incorrectly

There may be 30 ways to leave your lover, but there is only one way to carve a turkey. A picture is worth a thousand words and this video is going to give your turkey the recognition it deserves.

4. Forgetting to watch your breasts

The turkey breasts are the leanest part of the bird and therefore they cook the fastest. When you reach the approximate two hour mark, start checking the temperature of the breasts as well. If the temperature of the breasts have reached 155 - 160 degrees but the temperature in the thighs have not, put aluminum foil over the breast area of the bird to keep the moisture in while the rest of the turkey continues to cook.

5. Watching your breasts too much

Opening the oven too much can cause temperature fluctuations, uneven cooking and prolonged cooking. Only open the oven every 30 minutes to baste and rotate the turkey.

6. Forgetting who is coming to dinner

It has practically becoming family lore, the story of the Thanksgiving our aunt decided to get creative with dinner. The result? A table full of people wondering why there were raisins in the stuffing and other assorted nuances which are remembered every year as we are (once again) eating the traditional meal. If your guests tend to lean towards non-traditional, creative food - well, then certainly consider giving them what they want. But, if your guests are looking forward to that one Thanksgiving meal they get and expect every year - then give them what they came for.

7. Forgetting texture

Turkey, mash potatoes, stuffing and yams on one plate can get a bit, shall we say, baby food-ish? Adding some crunch can give the meal balance. Try adding a crisp romaine salad with pear or apples or toasted walnuts in the mashed sweet potatoes or squash.

8. Not seasoning the turkey correctly

To get the turkey taste you and your guests are looking forward, place your turkey in a roasting pan and line the bottom of the roasting pan with equal parts carrots, celery (do not include the root end or leaves) and yellow onions. Take one handful of equal parts fresh thyme, rosemary and sage, a quarter of a stick of butter, an apple cut in two and a lemon cut in two and place it inside the turkey. Soften ½ a pound of butter and rub it evenly over the entire turkey. Then season the outside of the turkey evenly with ¼ cup Matt's Mix. Every 30 minutes while it is in the oven, use a turkey baster to gather the juices at the bottom of the pan and spread them evenly across the turkey. Before closing the oven door, rotate the turkey. Continue to do this until has, you guessed it, reached 155 - 160 degrees.

9. Being too traditional with dessert

Ever notice most people have no problems eating a day or two of calories in one meal, but everyone seems to be "full" for dessert. An untested theory? Everyone loves the tradition of Thanksgiving dinner, but not everyone loves the tradition of Thanksgiving dessert. How about adding some chocolate or fresh berries in on the dessert tray.

10. Not being thankful.

In the midst of setting the table, greeting guests and waiting for 155 degrees to arrive, it is easy to forget that this day is all about being thankful. Don't forget to take a moment to enjoy all the many things in life in which to give thanks.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

How Tips in Buying Beef?

Beef is the one of the most versatile meat in the world. Beef comes from bovines and it is primary meat used in Middle East, Brazil, Europe and Australia. Buying the right cut of beef for your recipe can be sometimes confusing. Each cut means different cooking time. It depends on the part from where it is from.

Like the chuck which located at the neck part of the cow and it is normally used for hamburgers and roasts. The rib which is divided into three parts: the short ribs, prime ribs and rib eye steak. The brisket that located at the bottom of the chuck and it is usually used for stews and other cooking method that requires slow and a long time. It is also the cut used for corned beef. The shank which is at the leg part and it is commonly used in soups and stews as well as it imparts a very strong beef flavor. The loin which is composed of three divisions: the tenderloin used for filet mignon and porterhouse steaks. The sirloin is more flavorful than the tenderloin and it is used for stir fry. The short loin is used for a strip steak.

Always remember that more marble of fat in the meat, the more tender it is. You can always ask your butcher to give you the right cut for your recipe. They always know which cut fits your recipe. To check the freshness of the beef, make sure that it does not smell bad. If it is smells funky and rancid then it is not fresh anymore and therefore you should not buy it. Another thing to consider when buying beef is the firmness. A good meat is a firm meat so make sure to touch and check the beef before buying it. Touch the fleshy part of your hand below the thumb, raw meat should have the same firmness.

Color is also a crucial part in buying beef. Raw beef is red in color and it is brightly colored. If it is pink and soggy, definitely it is a bad meat. Aged beef is different though. Aged beef has a chocolate brown and reddish color to it. Make sure to buy what is needed and not what is economical. We all know that buying in bulk saves a lot of money but it is does not apply in meat. Beef for instance, has a very sensitive handling procedure and short shelf life that it cannot be stored at home for a very long time and still maintain its quality. So make sure that when you buy beef, to buy what is called in the recipe. Ask your butcher for the shelf life of the meat and the right temperature to store it if you are not going to cook it right away.

Friday, January 6, 2012

How Using a Charcoal Barbeque Grill Safely?

Even with the proliferation of propane, natural gas, or other gas-fueled barbeque grills, old-style charcoal barbeque grills still remain a popular and economic cookout option. Charcoal barbecue grills are far less expensive than gas grills for the most part, and they are not as inconvenient to use as many who have converted to gas grills believe. You need only know the right way to use charcoal BBQ grills.

BBQ charcoal grills come in several variants, from the traditional large pan type to the small tabletop or large on-casters kettle type and back to the smaller, square Japanese-style hibachi. When choosing your charcoal grill, be sure its ventilation is sufficient enough to allow proper air to spread your cooking fire around the coals evenly.

To prepare your fire, pile charcoal briquets into a pyramid at the center of the grill. If you have a kettle charcoal grill, there should be a smaller grill toward the bottom of the kettle, above the ventilation holes, on top of which you can pile the pyramid. Some hibachis also feature that lower grill. If you have a large pan-style grill, simple pile the pyramid in the middle of the pan.

After piling the briquets, coat them liberally with lighter fluid. You should see a glossy sheen on the coals for a few seconds after you do this. Allow the fluid to soak into the coals before you light two or three single coals, either with a match or a long-nosed propane-fueled lighter. If there is too much breeze to keep these coals lit long enough to spread around, you can spray a very small amount of lighter fluid over their small flames. That should be enough to begin spreading the fire around the coals.

Normally, depending on the size of your cooking fire and how much you plan to cook, it should take only fifteen minutes for the flames to dissipate and the coals to begin turning white as they heat completely on their inside. Spread them evenly and closely around your cooking area. When your coals are almost completely white, you can begin cooking your hamburgers, hot dogs, steaks, chicken, or other barbeque foods.

However, many people prefer not to use petrochemicals to light BBQ grills charcoal. If you are one of them, there are two methods you can use. One is a chimney made from a gallon can with several half-inch holes drilled into the sides approximately half an inch from the bottom. Place a few crumpled sheets of newspaper into the can, leaving one or two ends to protrude when you place the can over your coal pyramid, and light those ends. Leave the chimney on the coals for approximately ten to fifteen minutes, then remove the chimney safely and spread the coals evenly and closely around your cooking area.

The second such method is an electric barbeque fire starter, usually made of a long or wide coil similar to an electric stovetop burner's coil, shaped in a loop. If you use one, be sure its electric wire is long enough not to have to set your grill up next to your home, or use an extension cord.

Place the starter into the charcoal BBQ grill first, then pile your charcoal on top of its coil. Leave it under the coals a few moments after the coals ignite before unplugging the starter and removing it from the grill very slowly. Let the starter rest on the nearest concrete ground to cool off completely; do not leave the starter resting on wood, on grass, or against your home.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

How Healthy Cooking and Cooking Made Simple?

If there is one thing that is on the minds of everyone across the country, it is eating healthy. In a time when people have fast food for dinner more than once a week, it can be just a little bit difficult to get into a healthy mindset when it comes to food. If you are concerned with eating healthy, then there is no better place to start than in your own kitchen. Here are some tips and methods that you should use to cook healthy recipes and get your way to a healthier lifestyle.

The first thing you need to keep in mind when it comes to healthy cooking is to be more selective when it comes to the foods you buy. If the majority of your groceries come from the frozen food aisle or come in a box or can, then there is a pretty good chance that it isn't good for you, or your family. Instead, pick a set list of recipes that you would like to try and then go buy the freshest ingredients for it that you can. You will find that buying fresh ingredients is not only healthier for you, but that it is also far cheaper than buying already assembled, processed food. Remember, if you are not sure how a particular food is made, then you probably should not eat it.

You need to be sure to shy away from recipes that involve a lot of frying. Fried foods, while tasty, do not exactly do your body any favors. However, you do not have to totally abstain from fried foods, just so long as you remember to use smaller portions.

There are certain ingredients that you need to learn how to control in order to cook more healthy meals. Butter, for example, is a very tasty ingredient that has multiple purposes in cooking. However, more often than not people tend to overdo it and end up using too much butter, which ups the fat and cholesterol in the meal. Meat is another thing that many cooks overdo. While meat is a valuable source of protein, too much of anything can be bad for you. You also need to regulate how much oil you allow in your food. Another commonly misused ingredient is cooking oil of any kind. Oil is absolutely essential for many recipes but overusing it can not only yield unhealthy consequences, but it can ruin the recipe.

Cooking healthy is something that takes patience to learn. You have to learn to do away with a lot of the short cuts that are available to you when you are preparing food that comes from a can or box. But you will find that you will have more control over the food that you are putting into your body as you keep learning. Something else you will find is that many recipes were designed to be healthy in the first place, but utilizing larger portions is what undoes the health factor. You need to be sure that you portion each ingredient properly and to not over indulge. You can undo all of your healthy cooking if you deviate too far from the set recipe.

Substitution is often a big deal in trying to learn how to cook healthier food. If you find that there is a type of ingredient you have to cut out of a recipe, or that there is a type of food that you have to abandon altogether, take comfort in knowing that there is a good chance that there is a healthy substitute available for you. Substitution is a way to get the flavor that you are craving without having to use the unhealthy original ingredient or recipe. Remember, being healthy requires a level of discipline, especially when it comes to food, so in some scenarios it may be easier for you to learn to live without certain foods.