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Tuesday, April 28 2009
Only those who are allergic to shellfish would doubt that Shrimp Scampi is probably on the menu in heaven. St. Peter himself no doubt munches on the garlicky treats from time to time. I'm not sure if they're cooked on a stove or grilled over charcoal in those green pastures in the sky, but I'm sure the shrimp tastes divine.
My education involving shrimp began one evening in a little hole in the wall oyster bar named Jimmy D's American Shrimp Restaurant and Fish Market! Located in a little fishing town on Florida's northwestern Gulf Coast, it was a fish market on one side of the small cinder block building and a fish market on the other.
The café were packed with people wanting seafood, so we sat on a wooden bench and waited for someone to leave the tiny café so we could take their place; there were only six tables.
After consuming two large orders of Shrimp Scampi, I asked the chef, who was also the owner of this little fish shack to give me the recipe for the best Shrimp Scampi I had ever eaten. He surprised me with the same simple recipe I had been using at home, which included the main ingredients in any Scampi dish; shrimp, garlic and lemon. There was however, a secret ingredient; offshore shrimp!
He uses only Wild American Shrimp, harvested off the gulf coast or the southern Atlantic Ocean. Jimmy D told me that most of the shrimp eaten in the United States is raised in either Asia or Latin America. Foreign shrimp simply does not taste as good as home grown.
I discovered later that almost 90% of shrimp consumed in America is foreign raised on farms in Southeast Asia, East Asia, South Asia and South America. The American shrimper simply cannot compete with the flood of farmed raised shrimp that is shipped into the United States.
Wild American Shrimp is catching on with folks all over the U.S., who like me, have decided to ask for the best. We'll pay a little more per pound at the market at the market, than pond raised shrimp that have been shipped over the ocean in a container ship.
Foreign shrimp have large amounts of fungicides, antibiotics, pesticides and algaecides in them, while Wild American shrimp feed on plankton and other protein sources in its own natural environment. They are more nutritious and have a more flavorful taste than their Asian or Latin American cousins. Simply cook both American Wild Shrimp and foreign shrimp and eat them. Wild shrimp will win the taste test hands down!
Besides the chemicals introduced to foreign shrimp as they are grown in earthen ponds, much of the shrimp are raised on grained based food. This gives them a bland taste compared to the products harvested off the southern shores of the United States.
I like preparing Shrimp Scampi almost as much as eating them. Here's how I cook them on the charcoal grill:
Allow the fire in the grill to become medium hot. I use a fish basket to cook my shrimp, held about 6 inches from the coals. Cook 2-3 minutes per side, or until they turn pink. Don't over cook.
More markets around the country are carrying certified American Live Shrimp. If yours doesn't, there are plenty of places on the internet that will ship them to you. Happy eating!
Monday, April 27 2009
There are a wide variety of delicious seafood recipes out there, but consumers should note that sablefish, found in the North Pacific and very popular in Alaskan, Canadian, British, and Japanese diets, also goes by a variety of other names, including butterfish, black cod, bluefish, and coal cod. The delicate texture and rich flavor of this ocean protein, regionally known as black cod, has yielded comparisons to sea bass, and the fish is chock-full of the anti-coronary disease fatty acids, omega-3s. Black cod is harvested in the pure, icy waters off the shores of Alaska from March through November, making it a very well-priced, available product. The market, however, is controlled by environmentally-conscious regulations, meaning that Alaska black cod is not just tasty and economical, but also sustainable.
For some interesting recipes, why not try Alaska, or black cod, with Asian ginger lime sauce? Simple to prepare, the filets can be cooked stovetop with a splash of vegetable oil and some chopped garlic, while the sauce is a combination of garlic, chopped serrano chiles, sugar, and ginger, pounded into a paste, and added to a quarter-cup of fish sauce and a dash of lime juice.
Curry black cod is another tasty, hearty-healthy option, as is the exquisite Alaska sablefish with a sugarcane marinade that is prepared with a variety of tropical ingredients such as fennel, sugar snap peas, pearl onion, and fresh ginger and cilantro, along with a homemade spiced lobster broth. The exotic broth is crafted from a combination of peanut oil, lobster stock, Thai red curry paste, ginger root, and rock sugar, which are blended together and simmered on the stove. Serve roasted filets over dished lobster broth and the vegetables for an exotic platter with a heart-healthy Alaska black cod base.
Still need some more sablefish recipes? Consider a recipe with the poached variety, served with a mustard-infused bread pudding or a full seafood spread with smoked fish, Alaska king crab, and shrimp risotto. Another delicious gourmet meal can be prepared from Alaska black cod filets with rich peppery Sofrito, cooked white beans, littleneck clams, and chopped chorizo.
All of these are sure to be certain crowd pleasers. Head to the kitchen today to get started on your way to a great meal!
Wednesday, April 22 2009
Knowing the basic facts for good BBQ ing, start with the correct tools.
 Long handle tongs
 Long handle spatula
 2-3 thick towels
 1 damp to wet cloth
 1 metal wire brush and/or scraper
 a source to grill [gas, charcoal, electric]
 a small table to hold serving plates and food waiting to be grilled.
I also keep a spray bottle of water and one box of baking soda, near by for the occasional flair up of hot grease. The water will cool the grill and the soda will smother out the flames, if needed. A great way to avoid flare ups is to add the cooking oil to the food, not the grill.
Set up your cooking area in a safe place, near your guest but far way enough to not endanger your house or guest. About ten feet is a good general rule.
Never leave your grill unattended. If you have to walk away, assign someone to take your place.
Having a helper who can keep running children or pets from coming into your cooking area is a great benefit, also.
Knowing how to operate your grill is very important. If it happens to be a new grill, take the time to read the instructions that came with the product. It might cut down on lots of frustrations later.
Pre-heat your grill for fifteen to twenty minutes before adding food. That is about how long it normally takes to reach the 500 degrees maximum for good grilling. While you are waiting, decide the food layout on your grilling surface it will save you time later.
Start with the food that takes the longest to cook. Heavier meat items should be closer to the heat. Leave your fresh vegetables until the last 10 to 20 minutes. Having food sitting and getting cold while you are waiting on the meat will only entice your guest to leave, not eat.
Now that you know what and how, don't forget to invite me to the party.
Monday, April 20 2009
Times are tight and the price of everything from clothing to entertainment is going up. The cost of feeding your family continues to rise, too. Every week at the grocery store, it seems like we pay a little bit more and get a little bit less.
To help you make the most of your already tight food budget, we've got 5 deliciously complete dinners than you can make for your family of 4 for under $10.
Chicken Rice Bowls
Dice chicken thighs. Heat a skillet on the stove over medium heat. When hot, add 1 tablespoon canola oil. When oil is hot add chicken. Brown, seasoning with garlic salt and pepper. While chicken is cooking, boil rice according to directions. Heat beans in a small saucepan on the stove. When the rice and chicken are done, layer rice, black beans and chicken, topping with 1 oz cheddar cheese, avocado slices and salsa.
Heat grill. Place bratwurst on grill, turning occasionally until browned on all side and cooked through. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and cook fries according to directions.
Pasta and Italian Sausage
Boil water in a large pan, salt and cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add Italian sausage, breaking up into small bits. Cook until brown and cooked through. When no longer pink, drain fat. Add tomato sauce to Italian sausage, turning heat to low. Slice baguette and tear lettuce into bite sized pieces for a salad. When pasta is done, drain and serve topped with Italian sausage and sauce, with bread and salad on the side.
Slice steak into ½" slices against the grain. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. When hot, add steak and onion slices. Cook, stirring occasionally. When steak is cooked through, add 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon garlic salt, 1 teaspoon cumin, cracked black pepper and ¼ cup water. Stir to combine, coating steak. When some of the water has cooked off, serve steak wrapped in tortillas, topped with tomato, cheese and lettuce.
Friday, April 17 2009
This is another Korean soup dish that involves cucumbers. This dish is an incredibly easy dish. My family over in Korea likes to make this dish when they're in a sudden mood for something cold. It is many times a replacement for ice cream for my family because it is healthier for you and much cheaper than ice cream. Here is how to make chilled cucumber soup.
There are not many ingredients that you will need to make chilled cucumber soup. Here are the ingredients that you will need: a couple of large cucumbers, water, vinegar, Korean chili pepper powder, sugar, and ice.
Now it's time to make the soup of the cucumber soup. Get a good sized bowl of water, add a little bit of vinegar, and add some sugar and Korean chili pepper powder to it. You can also get a pack of the soup at a Korean market, have it frozen, and take it out whenever you need it.
Now, whenever someone wants something refreshing but something more than just ice cream, you can just take out the soup and serve it.
Although cucumber soup is preferred during the summer time, you can actually enjoy it any time, even in the winter.
You can teach your friends how to make this delicious soup today. It's incredibly simple to make and easy to serve to others.
Thursday, April 16 2009
So your grandma's ribs are excellent, you say. You uncle can cook a pretty mean smoked ribs dinner as well. That bbq ribs restaurant downtown is to die for. Ha! Grandma cooks them in the oven (strike one). Uncle Larry cooks them on his propane grill (strike two). That restaurant downtown uses liquid smoke to flavor their ribs (strike three). Let's get real people... those are NOT smoked spare ribs. Those are bludgeoned ribs, boiled ribs, oven ribs, etc. Now, you are probably thinking that you know how to cook ribs the correct way. Let's talk about how you are wrong and I am right for a minute.
Rib Rule # 1: Smoked ribs have to be SMOKED !
Rib Rule # 2: The 3-2-1 Method is Bogus
Rib Rule # 3: You Cannot Pulverize the Ribs
Rib Rule # 4: Fall off the Bone Tender is Flawed
Rib Rule # 5: Don't Baste the Ribs
Tuesday, April 14 2009
Upon entering the supermarket, people are often quick to scamper over to the butcher counter and order up some red meat - be it chop meat for hamburgers, flank steaks for grilling, or a nice round piece of rib eye for a dinner party you are having later that night. Others order up half a dozen pieces of boneless chicken breast or whole roasted chickens that they are going to prepare for a picnic set for the following afternoon. Some will scrap both those options and buy a handful of uncooked sausages to bring over to a friends house for a barbeque that night.
While all of these options sound appetizing and will no doubt be eaten (and enjoyed) by anybody and everybody, they are fairly run of the mill. None of them are uncommon enough to raise any eyebrows, and none of them are different enough to have your company blown away. If your goal is to have your dinner table buzzing about how delicious and different your food was, try throwing some fresh Alaska crab into a pan and see what happens. Often overlooked as an ingredient for an entree, fresh Alaska crab is bursting with flavor as well as nutrients that will not only satisfy your friends and family, but also be good for their bodies and minds.
A great source for a long list of minerals - including zinc, iron, calcium, and selenium - Alaskan seafood in general is known to be one of the healthier sources of high-protein available. Many varieties are often chock full of essential vitamins, such as E, C, D and A. Even more, some types have an abundance of antioxidant E, which will strengthen your immune system as well as lower your risk of developing any sort of heart disease. With even more nutritional benefits, it is clear that when matched up against some of the other, more common types of meat that are prepared and served for dinner every night, Alaskan seafood has the competition beat.
In developing a diverse set of meals that you can put together in a minutes notice, it is important not to loose out on some of the more fun, different dishes. Using fresh Alaska crab one night instead of a piece of steak will be both satisfying and healthy for everybody sitting around the table.
Wednesday, April 08 2009
Easter falls on April 12th this year! Here's my two favorite menu for that very special day! One is for brunch and one is for dinner, depending on how you might want to celebrate.
I love coming home after Holy Mass on Easter and having brunch with the family. We usually start brunch around 11:30 and leisurely eat and visit until mid-afternoon. We like long, slow meals that allow us to really enjoy each others company!
Things to do on Saturday:
1. Make the muffins. When they are cool wrap each one individually in plastic wrap.
Make your Hollandaise sauce before Mass and keep it in a sealed thermos.
If you prefer to take it easy and celebrate later, Easter dinner is the answer for you! Some years I just prefer to invite everyone later so I start my Easter dinners around 4:00 in the afternoon and serve a five course dinner around 5:30.
Things to do on Saturday:
1. Prepare the vegetables for the crudites and refrigerate in an air tight container or zip-lock bag.
Of course, however you decide to celebrate, do not forget the Easter egg hunt! Hide those chocolate eggs well and have a ball watching everyone looking for them. You go ahead and reward yourself with the biggest ones. After all you did a lot of work!
Monday, April 06 2009
There is no great secret to cooking the perfect roast - just a bit of knowledge, the right tools, and the patience to let you meat rest after cooking and you'll find that it's actually hard to go wrong.
The are two sections below and you will only need one of them, depending on the size of your cut of meat. Once you start getting above 5kg (11 lb) you need to accept that things will be slower as it takes time for the heat to penetrate to the centre and cook the meat and yet you don't want to burn the outside of your roast.
One further piece of advice; go and buy a probe thermometer. You've probably seen them - they look like a steel meat skewer with a dial or digital thermometer face on the end. They range from $10-$80 in Australia so you should be able to squeeze them into virtually any budget.
Why do you need one ? Easy, they give you much more control by knowing what the actual temperature inside the thickest part of the meat is, rather than guessing or, even worse, cutting into the meat to see if it's cooked.
The instructions below are written so that you can get by quite well without a probe thermometer, but if you're going to reach the pinnacle of roast meat on a regular basis, eventually you're going to want one.
OK, let's get into it;
For Cuts/Joints Up To 5Kg (11 lb)
For Cuts/Joints Over 5Kg (11 lb)
Use this reference table if you have a thermometer probe, checking in the thickest part of the meat;
Blue - 49°C (120°F)
OK, that's everything you need to know.
Saturday, April 04 2009
Throughout the world, fats and heart disease appear to be inseparable companions. When investigators found one, they generally found the other, no matter in what countries they searched.
The low-fat diet will add immeasurably to your general health and well-being. Fish is natural low-fat and is a good quality protein, filled with vitamins like riboflavin, which aids the body in the metabolism of amino acids, fatty acids, and carbohydrates and Vitamin D, which aids calcium absorption to help prevent osteoporosis.
Unlike meats, very little fats will be cooked out of the fish, so attempting to drain off fish fats in cooking is unnecessary.
Some fish such as perch, haddock, flounder, sturgeon, smelts, scallops are especially low in fat. Others like brook trout, porgy, cod, and croakers are somewhat higher in fat content, but are still quite low in fat content when compared with meats.
The eating of shellfish is often encouraged by dietitians, because they are outstandingly low in fat and cholesterol content. Lobster, shrimps, and crabs are ideal examples. oysters are a bit higher in fat content, but are still low in comparison with beef, lamb, or veal.
Tuna is an excellent source of protein and much lower in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol than many other protein choices, it is considered a heart-healthy food. Wild Salmon is also much higher in heart and brain healthy Omega 3s over farmed salmon.
Nutritionists recommend you eat fish 2-3 times a week, as they are proven to offer multiple nutritional benefits. According to new research published: Fish is a good low calorie, high protein choice to assist in weight loss, and also is a good choice for people with diabetes.
Fish that are safe for children to eat up to 3 times a week include smaller species such as: Atlantic and Tasmanian salmon, barramundi, blue-eye cod also known as blue-eye trevalla, bream, flathead jewfish, hake, hoki, mackerel, mullet ocean and rainbow trout, redfish, sardines, snapper, and whiting.
Fish is truly the new 'meal in minutes', it is ridiculously quick and easy to prepare. Cook any large fish in salted water, adding one cupful of vinegar,and sliced onions, celery root, and parsley to season. fish also can be cooked under the grill, it just needs to be attended very closely and only takes a few minutes per side.
Fish is so delicate that it dries out quickly and is easy to overcook. It is done when the colour turns from translucent to opaque (white) or has reached 140 degrees F to 145 degrees F internal temperature.
By adding fish to your diet 1-2 times a week not only reduces your risk of coronary heart disease and will help you manage your weight, but what does a healthy diet consist of.
Wednesday, April 01 2009
WASHINGTON—Urging the estimated 60 million Americans who have not yet made the transition to the more advanced form of sustenance to do so as soon as possible, acting FDA commissioner Frank Torti announced Wednesday that the nationwide conversion to Digital Food (DF) will take place on Apr.17, 2009. "The only thing consumers who currently rely on analog foods will need is a digital converter box, which you can purchase at any grocery store," Torti said at a press conference, adding that every American household is eligible for a $40 coupon to digitize its current pantry. "DF offers higher texture quality and better taste, as well as multiple spice choices and interactive capabilities. I must stress, however, that after the deadline you will no longer be able to eat your current food." On the heels of the announcement, President Obama has begun pressuring the Senate to pass legislation that would require all food to be completely wireless by 2015.