Monday, 7 October 2013

Knowing When to Clean Your Grill

If you want to get the best results out of your BBQ it is very important to take care of your grill. By keeping your grill in good condition you are not only going to ensure that your cooking recipes tastes better, but you are also going to extend the life of your barbecue grate. We have already talked about choosing the best BBQ grill brush for the job, but when is the best time to actually do the cleaning? Well there are two schools of thought here, both with their pros and cons. What they share in common is that they are both times when the cooking grid is hot which makes the job much easier.

Most people probably think that the best time to clean is after those great recipes has been prepared, but there are some great advantages to doing it beforehand too. Get the grill heated up first, then give it a quick clean before you put any food on. The first advantage of doing things this way is that food is going to be cooked on a totally clean grate. Bits of crud can sometimes find their way in there if you have not grilled for a while, and you don't want these messing up the flavor of your dinner! Another advantage is that by by cleaning before, and leaving the grill dirty afterwards, you are leaving a layer of burnt on food/grease on the bars that will protect them from corrosion until you next get the BBQ out. This is particularly important if you have cast iron grills, as they are the most prone to rusting. One last advantage, and this is a big one for me, is simply that you are getting the cleaning out the way as soon as possible; I can never be bothered to get up and clean once I have a belly full of food!

The is perhaps the more traditional way of doing things. The first advantage here is that the grill is already going to be hot, and all the food and grease are fresh and therefore easier to brush off. But as we said before, by cleaning after the meal, you are leaving the cooking grill more exposed to the elements and at a higher risk of rusting. This can issue can be worked around by ensuring you oil the grate once you have finished cleaning as the oil will prevent any moisture corroding the metal. Remember, this is especially important if your grate is cast iron.

Going Pineapple for Chicken Salad

Here comes the summer and with it comes the feeling of heaviness on the body when heavy meals are eaten in this season.Chicken as a light meat and pineapple as a juicy fruit are more appropriate in the summer than heavy sauces and meats. Pineapple is rich in vitamin C and not only that but also supplies the body with vitamin A, pantothenic acid and folate. With its juiciness that is a good replenishment for the body to remain hydrated, there is nothing like having pineapple in the hot summer months. While chicken is rich in protein, it also provides the body with phosphorus, tryptophan, vitamin B6, selenium,vitamin B3 and more. Though it can be prepared anytime you want, Pineapple Chicken Salad recipes are especially great in the summer. The sweet-tasting pineapple gives a more delicious taste into the chicken salad you surely wouldn’t want to miss when picking your favorites served on a buffet table. The lemon juice, pepper, salt as well as the tomatoes make the salad more flavorful which creates a perfect balance in your palate. This recipe is especially a delight for the pineapple lovers, which can also be made as a filling for sandwiches. Some prefer to munch on a pineapple chicken salad sandwich at lunchtime. Chicken salad is not only great with sweet pineapple but also with crunchy pecan, both are considered a perfect combination to make a delicious pineapple chicken salad sandwich. One of the best easy recipes out there and is very popular in casual gatherings especially when made as a filling in sandwiches. Great for picnics, for any weekend getaway or just any day of the week, this recipe is irresistible that everyone is just sure to love since it is not only light but also healthful and perfect for those who are dieting as well.

4 chicken breasts cooked and chopped into bite size pieces
3 cups fresh chopped pineapple
24 oz. bag of fresh spring mix
2 cups of cherry tomatoes sliced in halves
Olive Oil
Lemon juice
Basil (Dried)

1.After the chicken breasts are cooked, using a large bowl, mix the pineapple, spring mix and chicken well. 

2.Drizzle the salad with some amounts of lemon juice and olive oil. 

3.Sprinkle pepper and salt. 

4.Add dried basil, a few dashes of it. 

5.The salad should be mixed well and tenderly. 

6.Separate equally into 4 chilled plates. 

7. This recipe makes for 4 servings.

Loving Slow Cooked Delight

There is something incredible and comforting when you enter your home and the smell of dinner recipes hit you. It is like a reminder of a childhood moment when you entered the home from school and your mother was cooking a delicious meal for you. After a long day of running errands and attending meetings, appointments, car pools and workouts, this trip down memory lane is highly soothing. Entering your home with such memories, home-cooked meals and flavorful scents seems like a dream. However, with a slow cooker, this no longer needs to be a dream, but rather reality.

Having a slow cooker at home is almost like having a professional cook prepare all of your meals. This is because slow cooked meals are extra moist and extra delicious perfect gourmet food for you and your family. All you have to do to achieve such a delectable meal is just to set it into action in the morning when you place all the ingredients in it. You can add some vegetables with chicken or meat with a little broth to add just a bit of extra moisture. These fulfilling ingredients are cooked all day long until the meat is tender enough to melt in your mouth. You can grab a bite for yourself or wait until the whole family arrives and enjoy the best cooked family dinner ever, minus the effort!

Slow cooked meals are very economical as well. How so? Well, first of all for meals cooked in this device you don't have to buy special cuts of meat that require less time to cook. These cuts are more costly than the low-cuts. So, while cooking in a slow cooker, regardless of how hard the meat is, it will always be cooked at the right time and will also be soft and moist just like it should be. Secondly, the thought of going home and preparing a meal is something we all dislike and to avoid it we normally go for fast food options. But when you know that a meal will be ready for you when you get home, you won't feel the need to spend money eating out. Hence, it definitely saves you a lot on food expenses.

Meals cooked in a slow cooker are also very healthy since the natural nutrients and ingredients are preserved in the dish. Now you can enjoy a hearty meal with your family without shedding a drop of sweat.

Soup Recipes for Your Family

As the temperature drops and the leaves begin to fall, it's natural to gravitate to heart-warming meals. Soups are a delicious and easy way to load up on good-for-you ingredients, and a great way to keep on top of your weekly meal planning. They can be made ahead of time and frozen in batches, to be part of both lunch and dinner for your busy family. Plus, they're good for you and can keep everyone in your family protected during cold season.

Next time you're in a warm kitchen on a brisk fall afternoon, try out one of these quick soup recipes. From beans to veggies, each food recipe offers something for everyone. They'll warm you up, keep you energized and make even the pickiest eaters around the dinner table happy.

1. Black Bean Chorizo Soup
While it can certainly be adapted for the vegetarians in your house, using chorizo and bacon as a base in this savory soup recipe will add a distinctive layer of flavor that's complemented by the bold flavors of Bouillon stock, peppers, onions and garlic. Top it off with some shredded cheddar, sour cream or avocado slices (or maybe even all three!), and serve with a side of tortilla chips for extra crunch.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

2. Vegetable Medley Soup
The cold weather is here and what better way to warm up than with a soup recipe. Asparagus, mushrooms and onions are the base for this particular recipe, but you can always throw in other veggies, such as potatoes, carrots and celery, to suit your taste. Best of all, the entire dish comes together in 30 minutes max, so it's the perfect weeknight staple.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

3. French Onion Soup
Nothing says "fall" like a steaming bowl of French Onion Soup. Perfectly matched with some French bread and freshly ground black pepper, this easy soup is a surefire crowd pleaser as either an entree or a starter.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

4. Hearty Minestrone Soup with Tortellini
An old standby, this flavorful soup should be an autumn essential to your kitchen table rotation. A mix of stock, beans and vegetables fills you up and keeps you going through even the busiest weeks of work, school and family obligations. Whatever is left over will freeze beautifully; or you can make a batch on Sunday and enjoy for lunch or dinner throughout the week.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

These recipes for easy, delicious soups can help you fill your kitchen with warmth. Providing hearty meals for the entire family brings everyone together in an instant. Get creative and pair any of these soups with some of your favorite sides and salads, or serve as a starter. You couldn't ask for a quicker way to a balanced and flavorful meal.

Healthy Juicing

We know that eating healthy food is good for us, but why is it that we don't eat right the majority of the time? What has become so important that we can't seem to manage to eat a balanced meal? Perhaps maybe we are just asking too much; perhaps we should start with something a little easier like juicing. The Juicer Health Benefits that can be achieved are those that our bodies need on a daily basis.

Learning the Juicer Health Benefits
Most of us know that oranges contain Vitamin C and bananas are full of potassium. Spinach provides a ton of antioxidants and is a great anti-inflammatory. Bell peppers provide a wealth of benefits that are good for the heart; benefits such as necessary folic acid and lycopene. Did you know that brussle sprouts contain Vitamin B, C and K along with fiber, omega-3 and potassium? Then it ain't bad to add it to your quick recipes.

Juicing not only provides nutrition to our bodies, but it also educates our minds. We have to know what certain foods contain before we juice them. We need to know why we are going to juice them. Juicing is more than a tasty drink, it is a way of life.

Juicers are simple to use so creating a serving of juice is an easy process. It's knowing which foods to juice in order to obtain the maximum benefits possible combined with a great taste. If you are unsure where to start, there are numerous recipes on the Internet today that offer the Juicer Health Benefits that you are after.

Implementing Your Healthy Knowledge

Now that you have learned about a variety of fruits and veges, it's time to use your juicer. The process to prepare your juicer should be pretty straight forward. The next step is to prepare your produce. It is best to remove seeds, peels and rinds prior to juicing. For some fruits, such as grapefruit and oranges, you may want to remove the white pith that is found on the fruit when peeled. If the chute on your juicer is not a "wide mouth" one, you will want to cut/slice your produce so that it each piece will fit without any unnecessary force.

Which recipe will you be making to obtain the Juicer Health Benefits that you have been learning about? Is it strictly vegetables or a combination of fruits and vegetables? Whichever one you have chosen, I am sure that you will enjoy the final results.

Continuing Your Education

If you have any questions regarding your health and juicing, you should consult with your doctor. Do not rely solely on juicing to obtain your daily nutrition requirements. Juicing can be used to assist with your dietary needs. Juicing can be a refreshing summer drink or a quick pick-me-up after a workout.

One of added benefits to juicing is the pulp that is extracted. The pulp can be used in a variety of other recipes like muffins, casseroles or even soups. You can increase your overall health by maximizing the Juicer Health Benefits you learn and incorporate them into daily diet which will benefit you and the rest of your life.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Coffee and Machines

Possessing bean to cup coffee machines, you can expect to get an enhanced coffee drinking which would let you feel more refreshed. The demand of commercial coffee makers is increasing rapidly. Bean to cup coffee machines are the part of this range and people appreciate them for offering an excellent drink that too with easy operation. Making complete justification to their name, they are acclaimed for producing fresh coffee directly from the beans. There are two variations including fresh and powdered milk. Top quality taste is a promise which can be expected from these machines.

There is no doubt that these machines are called an automated barista and integrated with the modern features. Most of the machines come with incorporated internal grinders and fresh coffee is grounded for each drink. Furnished with tamping and dosing, these coffee makers conduct self-calibrating for producing best tasted espresso while preparing your breakfast recipes or meals. You can sip different drinks as these can produce latte, macchiato and cappuccino. Besides these features, bean to cup coffee makers must have some essential features like:

Importance of Wattage:
This lets you know that how quickly your coffee maker can boil the water and how much time, it would take to generate a delicious cup of coffee.

Utility of Hoppers:
The hopper is defined as a part that play a vital role in holding the beans. As per the size of the machines, these come in multiple sizes. If we talk about high end machines so you might need a second hopper to blend more beans.

Value of Bar Pressure:
There can be around fifteen bar pressure, the higher would be the pressure the more mouth-watering coffee flavor you can expect.

Types of Coffee Drink:
Some coffee machines would offer you only espresso drinks but there are many that can also provide you other flavors as well.

Benefits of Bean to Cup Coffee Machines
High convenience level: With the help of bean to cup coffee machine, you can surely get rid of the messy traditional coffee makers. The bean to cup coffee maker is appreciated for having automated functionality which helps you to get a cup of coffee quickly.

Superior quality: To ensure the best quality, you should select bean to cup coffee maker from a recognised brand. A good machine ensures the correct amount of coffee beans that need to be grounded and brewed.

Time-Efficiency: These are many reliable brands such as Jura that come integrated with the facility of cleaning, rinsing, descaling and power saving.

Price Consideration: It is true that these coffee machines promise diverse functionalities but you must not get pre-occupied with the thought that they would have a heavy price tag. As per your budget and requirement, you can purchase a suitable coffee maker from this array.

Yummy Chocolate Ganache

Ganache comes from an old French word meaning pillow. And effectively that's what a ganache is, a little pillow of delicately blended chocolate and cream. The mixture is traditionally made by blending chocolate, cream and sometimes butter together. But modern chocolatiers have taken to making in with different ingredients and methods as we'll discover. Depending on how it is made it can be used to fill chocolates, cakes, macarons, to make truffles and as a glaze for cakes and dessert recipes.

The age old method for making a ganache is to heat cream until it is just at boiling point then pour it over chopped chocolate or callets (chocolate buttons used by professional chefs & chocolatiers). The cream is left to sit on top of the chocolate for 30 seconds or so, before the chef slowly stirs from the centre incorporating the cream with the melted chocolate. What is happening here is that the cream and chocolate are forming an emulsion. Some chefs prefer to incorporate cream at around 45c to already melted chocolate at the same temperature. In any event the aim is to achieve a fully emulsified, silky smooth result. This can be helped by using a hand blender immersed into the liquid mix- Note it must be kept below the surface, as air should not be introduced into the ganache mixture. Once fully blended butter may be added to increase the richness, but also the firmness of the final ganache.

If using for truffles, ganache is ideally left at room temperature for 4hrs before refrigerating until the desired working texture is achieved.

Ratio wise, for truffles and fillings a 2 parts chocolate to 1 part cream formula is generally used. For coating cakes the cream element may be increased slightly and sometimes sugar syrup is blended in for glossier results. Other variations will include the addition of fruit purée, flavoured oils, nut pastes, alcohol, or infusing herbs and spices into the cream from the outset.

The traditional method outlined above is used by most people. However for those seeking even greater flavour heights there lies one problem with the traditional method of making ganache and that is that cream and butter mask flavours. Just think about how you dull down the spices in a curry if it's too hot - by adding cream or yoghurt. The same things happens when you add it to chocolate, it dulls all those beautiful top and bottom notes that make up a great chocolate, along with whatever flavours you have chosen to add. So some chocolatiers and chefs have started to make ganaches without the use of cream, using what many refer to as the water ganache method, where water, a flavoured liquid or fruit purée is used instead of cream. This presents a number of problems, but when solved properly can deliver exceptional length, depth and clarity of flavour.

Summer Smoothies

Greek yogurt, strawberries, mango and banana are especially blended together to come up with an ultra refreshing and super Pink Sunrise Summer Smoothie healthy recipe. This smoothie is naturally sweet in the sense that there is no sugar added in the preparation rather it is sweetened with the use of agave honey unless the fruits are already sweet enough then the agave honey is not needed at all. Vanilla extract may be used to flavor the smoothie, and with flax oil, this recipe is even made healthier and smoother. The blender and crushed ice are primarily needed in this preparation for the consistent smoothness and thickness up to the last drop of the luscious smoothie. Although the crushed ice is necessary in the preparation, it is not needed when the fruits are frozen before the preparation of this healthy recipe. This is done by washing the fruits thoroughly starting off with the bananas that should be peeled, sliced into pieces and kept in an airtight container before freezing to harden. The strawberries with each green stem removed should also be washed in like manner as the bananas and cut in halves before placing them in a freezer. The mangoes are peeled, seeded and sliced into several chunks then kept in an airtight container before finally placing the container in the freezer. All these fruits in this healthy recipe make for a very refreshing and delicious smoothie after they are frozen and put into the blender for processing. When put in the freezer, the fruits however are to be separated from fish, meat, any product or food to avoid any alteration in their fragrance and taste. When they turn into big lumps when frozen, the fruits cannot fit into the blender. To avoid this, spread out each chunk or slice of every fruit while freezing. When the pieces are already frozen, you can store them in Ziploc bags since they will remain separated already. Nothing beats having a refreshing, cool smoothie at breakfast on a scorching day in the summer! Begin with strawberries, a banana, Greek yogurt, mango and so on. Recipe prepared by: Reinhold, Dorothy.

1 ripe banana (if it is huge, you can use one-half a banana)
1 ripe large mango
seeded and peeled
15 or so strawberries, stemmed
½ cup or so Greek yogurt (prefer Oikos Organic Greek Non-fat Yogurt, Vanilla Flavored, but use whatever you like)
1-2 tablespoons agave (optional 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon flax oil (or 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds)
1 cup (or more) crushed ice

1.Put all ingredients in a blender. Then whirl for 30 to 60 seconds until frosty and thick. Note:You may not use the crushed ice if the sliced banana is frozen.

The Scorpion Pepper

Ever wonder what the hottest pepper in the world is? It has changed a few times over the years, most recently from the Naga Bhut Jolokia, commonly known as the Ghost Pepper, to the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, also known by its shorter name, the Scorpion Pepper, as reported by Susan Bryan of the Associated Press. Anyone that has ever investigated peppers, whether they are hot, medium or mild, will be familiar with the Scoville Unit Scale. This scale is a charted system that documents the average heat levels of peppers, so pepper fans can get an idea of what they will be enjoying (or not enjoying) before taking that first bite.

The average size of your typical scorpion is the size of a golf ball and it is bright red in color. Scoville units of this pepper clock in at a little over 2,000,000 according to Ironically, even though this is the hottest pepper on record, it has a very sweet and tasty flavor to it once the seeds and intensity components are removed. Keep this in mind when cooking. If you are trying to find a unique spin for your cooking recipes, the exterior of the scorpion may be for you if your a creative and sharp chef.

Remember two things when preparing your Scorpion pepper for a dish:

1. These peppers are no joke, and should be handled with gloves.

2. The only time you should eat these (if you are not a hot food lover) is if they are de-seeded and properly inspected so there are no remnants of the inner core remaining.

Now that you know a bit about the scorpion pepper, let's talk about a few cooking recipes use for it. A favorite dish in Mexican culture is stuffed peppers. Typically these will be filled with a variety of cheeses and seasonings teamed with the most common stuffed pepper dish, the Poblano. You can actually use any pepper you like when stuffing, the scorpion pepper is a unique choice but can offer a smooth and sweet flavor after the core is removed. If you decide to use the scorpion for a stuffed pepper, we recommend adding a few seasonings to the cheese that you stuff inside, sweet ingredients will often subside heat. A dash of lime powder or sprinkle of sugar can help prepare the palette for any rouge heat it may encounter from the exterior of the Scorpion.

A common use with peppers is obviously in cooking recipes for salsa. It is very universal for salsa manufacturers to dabble in the likes of ghost and scorpion peppers to get that outlandish level of heat for their salsa fans. If you have the patience and knowledge of this famed pepper it can really make for a one-of-a-kind salsa.

The heat intensity of each pepper is different, and can have a variety of reactions to one's palette based on its placement within the Scoville Scale. When using dry heat ingredients like crushed red pepper seeds or chipotle powder, expect to have a minor delayed reaction to the heat when mixed with other ingredients for a recipe for salsa, guacamole, tacos or chicken tortilla soup. Depending on the ingredients that you use, you will actually receive a steady build-up until the intensity reaches its climax; the more you eat, the hotter it gets.

Gluten Free Soups

Honey, I'm home! rang the familiar phrase as the man entered the home after a hard day at work. The father and husband would be greeted by a loving wife who had slaved over a hot stove to make a pleasant meal after his exhausting day. He would sit down at the table and indulge in the home cooked feast. Does this really have to be a fantasy or an image of the past? Or, can there still be a permeating smell that envelops the house and excites all who enter in the present? Yes this can be a reality. After the savory scent is detected, the mouth waters as the salivary glands are activated. Then, the stomach grumbles in anticipation of the upcoming dinner. No matter what gluten-free soup recipes are on the menu; whether it is Chicken Noodle, Hamburger, or Potato, it is sure to please the palate.

The best way to make a fabulous gluten-free Chicken Noodle Soup is to add homemade broth. Homemade chicken broth has a soft enticing taste that is free of added flavor enhancers. It is so pleasant that it brings on nostalgia from the days when grandma always slaved away at the stove for hours making her own broth. All that is needed is two cups of broth, along with one cup of water. Just dice one long carrot and one celery rib and add it to the mixed liquids. Next, add 1 cup of shredded chicken, 3/4 teaspoon of thyme, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, and some gluten-free noodles. It is as simple as it sounds and those who consume this savory meal will suppose that it took hours to create. Let them assume that, and in the meantime enjoy this delightful recipe.

For a more labor intensive (yet worth all of the effort) recipe, attempt the gluten-free Hamburger Soup. While chopping all of the luscious vegetables that grace this filling meal, turn on some music to take pleasure in during this process. Chop one cup of carrots, celery, green cabbage, and potatoes. Add these vegetables to one pound of cooked ground beef and 1/2 cup of cooked brown rice. In order to obtain liquid, use one quart of home canned tomatoes and water. Then to enhance the flavor, add thyme, basil, sea salt and black pepper. After listening and dancing away to music during the preparation of this soup, take a hot bath while it simmers. After an hour of relaxation, dinner will be ready and the fragrance of the ground beef, vegetables, and spices will entice everyone to the table to begin the feast.

Another great tasting recipe is gluten-free Potato Soup. The wonderful feature of this recipe is that it can be made dairy-free and vegan as well. I make it gluten-free and dairy-free to meet the special needs of my family, but regular milk can easily be substituted. Simply pour four cups of coconut milk into a large pan. Then, chop three red potatoes, two long carrots, and two celery ribs. Combine these vegetables with the milk and add paprika, sea salt, and pepper. Once the vegetables have simmered for 45 minutes, add four tablespoons cornstarch to a half cup of water and mix well. Add the mixture to the completed meal and thicken. The blend of spices combined with the coconut milk gives this soup a unique taste that will lure those present back for seconds.

With the choice of these three gluten-free soups, dinner will be a smashing hit for those who indulge in it. The permeating smells that induce the salivary glands to be excited and the stomach to beg for food will leave everyone ecstatic for dinner. "Honey, I'm home," will now be a phrase that everyone excitedly recites as they enter the walls of their home knowing that a luscious meal waits.