June 27, 2013

Keeping Fresh Herbs Fresh

Italian parsley is the most used fresh herb in my kitchen that gives me quite as much trouble. Buying a bunch of fresh parsley usually get me two or three uses out of it before it reverts to dirt. Sage, thyme, and rosemary last a couple of weeks. Since I’m growing my own, I’ve found a way to enjoy green freshness on demand without being so wasteful.

Basil will live perfectly happily on a cool counter and may even sprout new roots). Cilantro and parsley (and other “soft” herbs…tarragon, sage) prefer to be covered loosely with a plastic bag and put into the fridge. They’ll last this way for at least a week.

herbs

Keeping Fresh Herbs Fresh

Loosely wrap herbs in a damp paper towel, then seal in a plastic bag filled with air. Refrigerate for up to five days. Check herbs daily, as some of them lose their flavor after a couple of days.

Store herbs bouquet style. Cut tips off the ends of the stem, about 1 cm or so, then place bunches of herbs, stems down in a glass of water covering 1 inch of the stem ends. Change water every other day and herbs should keep for up to a week. Snip off stalks as you need them.

To revive limb herbs, trim off ½ inch of the stems and place in ice water for a couple of hours.

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The best herbs are fresh, so have some of your favorite herb planes nearby – either in pot or in your garden. Then when you need them, snip off what you need. The plant will continue to grow providing fresh herbs for weeks or months. In most cases, heat reduces the flavor of fresh herbs, so add then to your dished as a last step and as a garnish when served.

Parsley and cilantro are delicate herbs. Trim their stems as soon as you get them home, and stick them in a small glass full of water. Spritz them with water, cover them loosely with a plastic ziplock bag, and put them in the fridge. Every couple days, change out the water and give the stems another small trim to keep them fresh.

Rosemary, thyme, and oregano, are considered hardier herbs which will brown and mold if kept in water. Wrap them loosely in damp paper towels and then in plastic wrap, and keep them in the crisper or in your fridge door — the warmest spot in the fridge is ideal. Swap out the paper towels for fresh ones every couple days.
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April 25, 2013

The Best Beef Jerky in the World – An Art of Manliness?

It’s been proven time after time that cooking at home is vastly healthier than eating out, especially if “eating out” means grabbing fast food. While cooking has been tagged as a traditional chore for women, men who can quickly throw together a meal also has born the tradition proving how they took the lead when it comes to outdoor cooking – grilling or roasting.

There are no hidden ingredients in his kitchen and he’d even be proud his grilling masterpieces will categorize him as leaner, more muscular, and healthier.

In search of the perfect marinade, from the thoughts of hard-core survivalists, friends’ grandfathers, chefs, and beyond, its amazing to know the best and simplest recipes that don’t require a smoker or a food dehydrator. From submerging near-identical meat slices into 2–5 containers of marinade at a time, sometimes testing on different amounts of teriyaki sauce, and other times adding a random ingredient like truffle oil or mustard, is something worth manly cooking. So, whether you’re a man or woman but enjoys grilling,   Making the Best Beef Jerky in the World, is for you to find out.

-Maria

beef jerky

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April 23, 2013

How to Crisp Skin of Your Pan-Seared Fish

You’re willing to work hard for your pan-seared fish, and you don’t want to ruin that crisp by exposing it to moisture. It is not hard to master the skill, but there are some tips and tricks you need to know.

When to turn? How long now? Again, depends on the width of the fish. Since you are allowing 2/3 of the cooking on the other side and 3-5 for other fish, in most cases that your pan will be very hot, so you can turn off the heat and let carryover finish the job. It can be a challenge if you want perfectly-seared fish, but all you need are a few things first. You’ll find it easy how seafood master Hanks Shaw did it.

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March 27, 2013

How to Tell When Your Shrimps and Prawns Are Cooked

There are many ways to cook shrimps and prawns – they can be steamed, boiled, grilled, sautéed, baked, or deep-fried. Shrimp and prawns lose their transparency during the cooking process; it becomes cloudy white or pale pink. They also curl up as they become a bit firmer. Improperly cooked shrimp is never a welcome sight. When it’s under-cooked, some can still carry dangerous bacteria, and when it’s overcooked, it’s chewy and dry.

Many people use its color to determine whether or not it’s done, but, the best way to tell is by the shape. If the shrimp has curled into the shape of a letter “C”, it’s perfectly cooked, if it curls around tightly into the shape of a letter “O”, your shrimp is overcooked. Like fish, shrimp cook up quickly and it can be easy to over do them if you’re not paying attention. However, with these simple tips, you’ll always know what to look for.

shrimps

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March 22, 2013

How to Cook Perfect Pork Chops

Many of us experiment with different ways to get tender and more flavorful pork chops when all that is needed is a simple dry rub and correct frying pan. Cooking tender and flavorful pork chops is accomplished by cooking the meat with a moderate amount of fat over a moderate heat.

Bread the chops by dipping the meat in egg wash so both sides are thoroughly coated; follow this by dipping them in breading mix such as breadcrumb or Panko. Be sure they are covered thoroughly. Shake off the extra breading and set aside for up to three hours before cooking. Heat a cast iron pan over medium heat until pot gets the temperature uniformly distributed, then add the pork chops and cook 3 to 4 minutes.

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pork

During frying, turn once and cook on the other side for the same amount of time. If the chops are thick, you may need to extend time a few minutes. Turn over the pork chop once and cook the other side for another 2 to 3 minutes. When the chops are golden brown, remove from pan. Deglaze the pan by adding in a few ounces of white wine and cream then stir to get all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the pork to the fry pan and cook over very low heat for about 2 minutes.

Baking the pork is another alternative for achieving succulent results. You can bake breaded pork chops in a 425 degree F oven for 25 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven, let rest for 6 to 10 minutes and serve. For boneless chops, reduce the time by 5 minutes and the temperature by 50 degrees. A third alternative is to grill the chops after breading. My preference is to place in foil along with rosemary, minced garlic, onion slices and a drizzle of vegetable oil, then seal the foil and cook on the grill over low indirect heat for nearly an hour. It may take a little longer to cook this way but I love the way it gives me moist, juicy and flavorful pork chops.

However, cooking with a cast iron pan is the most efficient way to prepare pork chops. The heavy cast iron provides even heat distribution that browns food very quickly and evenly. While some modern cooks like using superior quality nonstick pans to quickly brown meat with less oil; old-fashioned cast iron pan remains the number one choice when it comes to cooking breaded pork chops. Whether a saute pan, skillet, or grill pan, as long as it’s cast iron, you decide.

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March 17, 2013

How to Make a Pinata Cake

A cake that hides the sweet treats inside, is what is famously known as Pinata Cake. It prepares just like most cakes for the initial bake. However, the inside of this pinata is hollowed out, allowing you to fill it with goodies. The moment you know how to make a delicious pinata cake that you can fill with candy for a surprise treat the whole family will enjoy, you’d be wishing to make another one in a not so distant future. Click the link to read more about how to make this delicious pinata cake!

Read the full article here:
How to Make a Pinata Cake

cake

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March 4, 2013

How to Satisfy Your Salad Cravings

You can choose to prepare a salad with Romaine lettuce, carrots and tomatoes, with fat-free or reduced-calorie salad dressing in 5 minutes, or the most complex rice and bean salad with a bunch of salad greens and a bottle of light salad dressing, but always begin with how to satisfy your salad cravings.

salads

Go Fresh as Much as Possible

Creating the freshest, most tantalizing salads takes fresh thinking. From the selection and chopping of ingredients to blending of tastes, and mixing process, give it your best. Fresh salad ingredients speaks. Even if your days are a little hectic to go to the nearest farm, there are ways to store salad ingredients in the refrigerator for a days to a week. One of the benefits of picking only fresh is that you’re much more likely to eat it. We’re all trying to eat healthy these days. Making sure of something fresh on hand allows you to just go into the fridge and have a salad in your bowl in minutes.

Fulfill Your Wishes for a Salad

It can be easier putting whatever toppings or dressing on your salad you want when you know what you are having. Though it varies on location and season, the effort is not only healthy, appetizing and delicious as possible, but real friendly to the pocket, super time saver, and gratifying. Not only that, salads should be fun to eat with lots of textures, colors, and flavors. If you put your heart in the salad you are making, even kids will enjoy. You can customize them to include the fruits and vegetables that appeal to you the most, and whichever ones you have on hand.

Chop Everything Nicely

Since it entails the use of special ingredients, it also follows a good definition of how to cut every ingredient. How can you make fresh melon tidbits without mushing them? If you’re including mango, can you cube the fruit flawlessly? What about making cuts of carrots as uniform as possible? For instance, peeling pineapple sounds easy, but only when you use a long sharp knife, or a long serrated bread knife that you can do the peeling slightly flexible making it easier to follow the contour of the pineapple. The secret is to get a kind of knife that adapts to the flexibility of fruits and vegetables. Find some of the kinds of knives that me too find very functional here, and pick your choice.

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I use my chef’s knife when dealing with salads. I can cut even the biggest iceberg lettuce by placing the head in the center of a cutting board with the core side down, place my hand on top of the head, fillet the head in half, and so on. Mastering how to get fine slices of Iceberg lettuce has proved to me to be the fastest method that produces consistent uniform 1″ square pieces of lettuce. I’ve thought you might find this video on how to cut lettuce, useful.

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February 20, 2013

How to make Japanese Brown Sugar Glaze for Your Fish

One tip to a delicious fish dish is the sauce. It must carry a kind of zest that makes a special kick when combined with the strong flavor of fish. This is how Asian cuisine is so famous about – the wonder of how a brown-sugar sweetened “sauce” that comes as glaze makes most of their fried and pan-seared fish dishes one of a kind. Have you been wishing to make your own brown sugar glaze for your salmon, halibut, or mahi-mahi? Another thing this sugar-based fish sauce is known terrific is that you can make it in advance and stored in your refrigerator.

If you have been using pineapple before, this time, you would love to make another recipe that uses rice vinegar, even just before you intend to use it. Learn to make it here. Hungry now?

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Cooking Asian Sweet and Sour Fish, Seafood and Meatballs

Guest Post by Tonette Fornillos

The blend of sweet and sour seems impossible to understand. It is the only flavor that many people find a little strange for their palettes. However, sweet and sour recipes are among the most popular dishes when visiting a Chinese or Asian restaurant.

In Asian cooking, sweet and sour sauces are used as glaze that gives extra zest to meat, fish and poultry. Typically, thin sauce accompanies stir-fried vegetables while thick bright colored sweet and sour dipping sauce go great on deep-fried chicken, pork or seafood. All recipes for sweet and sour sauce contain sugar, which is responsible for the sweet taste while the “sour” is achieved by adding vinegar.

sweet and sour

I love using fish, because it’s so easy to prepare. I usually bread fish fillets (tilapia, halibut, bass, and even cod); deep fry them and cook in a delicious sweet and sour sauce with an assortment of fruits and vegetables, it’s very TASTY. If you’re not using a deep fryer, then pan fry. I use pineapple, tomatoes, green peppers and onions to go with my sweet and sour fish. For my sauce, I mix vinegar, sugar, salt, orange juice, pineapple juice and ketchup, simmered for about 10 minutes.

Meatballs can also be very tasty and preparing is also very simple. Some recipes would ask for ground pork but feel free to use ground beef or chicken depending on your preference. There are two different methods of cooking meatballs – deep fry them or bake them. When the meatballs are done, serve them with sweet and sour sauce. Add some vegetables with the sauce and serve the dish with rice. Try this Sweet and Sour Meatballs. Get recipe from a Filipino cook.

Another good combination is sweet and sour seafood. It has soft spot for sour food, not so much of a sweet tooth. The natural sweetness in the seafood provides room for tanginess owing to the unique blend of herbs and spices. Some recipes combine pineapple chunks and green bell pepper, which makes a wonderful stir-fried sweet and sour seafood dish that is perfect when served with hot rice. Add some crunch by coating shrimp and tofu (if using) with cornstarch, and then pan-fry.

You notice there’s a lot of pan-frying, so don’t worry if you don’t own a deep-fryer, I don’t own one, too. That is why I make sure of quality fry pans or grill pans so I make the most of preparing sweet and sour dishes. If there’s anything you need, you can visit Your SMART Kitchen. They have everything your sweet and sour cooking requires.

Enjoy!

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February 12, 2013

Fancy Mac and Cheese

One of the best comfort foods is macaroni and cheese. While Fancy Mac and Cheese as its name denotes, is a fancy version, it’s the fun loving pasta. Quarter some mushrooms and roast them, saute a small onion with butter; grade Parmesan, Fontina and Gruyere cheese, don’t forget to set aside some goat cheese along with blue cheese. Mix together and bake it off with the remaining ingredients. When it’s done, call the hungry crowd.

Read the full article here:
Fancy Mac and Cheese

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