This was originally published at EZ Vid.
Time To Glove Up
Cooking is a joy for those who love to eat and serve others. The kitchen is considered a cook's domain, their castle, the place where they create feasts for family, friends, and anybody who dares to love food. With that joy also comes a great deal of responsibility and common sense. Working with food requires the use of a lot of equipment, like ovens. Let's face it. Ovens get hot and it can be easy to get burned or singed when removing pots, pans, and other materials during the baking and cooking process. For that reason, you'll need a good pair of oven mitts to maintain the maximum amount of protection from potential burns and splatters. The good news is that there are plenty of options out there to keep you safe.
An oven mitt is an insulated glove (or mitten) that is worn over the hand in the kitchen to protect the skin from severe burns that come from hot foods, heating elements, stoves, or other hazards experienced while cooking.
The majority of oven mitts consist of some amount of heat insulation and are surrounded by heavy-duty cotton fabrics. Premium-quality oven mitts are often treated with silicone, making them resistant to water and stains. They can also be composed of other durable and synthetic materials, like Kevlar and Nomex. Textile gloves with decorative patterns are often machine washable, which makes sense for both the professional and home cook.
The degree of heat protection oven mitts provide really depends on the material from which they're made. Those made from fabric typically protect hands from temperatures up to two hundred degrees Fahrenheit (ninety-three degrees Celsius), whereas those mitts with silicone materials can provide protection up to five hundred degrees Fahrenheit (two hundred degrees Celsius).
Certain oven gloves have also been designed with individual finger sockets, making it easier to maintain a strong grip around your kitchenware as opposed to gloves having 2 separate sections for your thumb and remaining 4 fingers.
Many oven gloves are sold individually to offer customized fits for both the left and right hand, but they're also known to come in pairs depending on the brand.
Finally, if you enjoy a lot of bright colors in the kitchen, you'll be excitedly overwhelmed by the number of attractive color combinations and designs you can find on oven mitts. Designs can vary from anything such has hearts, to animals, to cartoon characters. For oven mitts, the sky truly seems to be the limit.
Most conscientious cooks use common sense when preparing or storing food. But common sense in food preparation doesn't just happen -it is learned. This learning happens and when we forget where we learned it, we call it common sense.
Here are just a few pointers to refresh and reinforce your common sense as you are preparing your current meal or storing it for future use.
- Food safety actually starts with your excursion to the supermarket. Pick up the packaged or canned foods. Do the cans have dents? Don't buy them. Is the jar cracked? Leave it. Does the lid seem loose or bulging? Pick up another. Look for any expiration dates on the labels -they are there for a reason. Never buy outdated food. Check the "use by" or "sell by" date on dairy products and pick the ones that will stay fresh the longest.
- After grocery shopping, put food into the refrigerator or freezer right away. Make sure to set the refrigerator temperature is set to 40 deg F and the freezer is set to 0 F. Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared foods, and leftovers within 2 hours. Raw meat, poultry, and seafood should be placed in containers to prevent their juices from dripping on other foods. Raw juices could possibly harbor harmful bacteria. Eggs always go in the refrigerator.
- Always cook food thoroughly until it is done. Red meat should turn brown inside. Chicken, when poked with a fork, should have clear juices. Fish, on the other hand, when poked with a fork, should flake. Cooked egg whites and yolks should be firm and not run. Be sure to use a food thermometer to check the internal temperatures of your poultry, meat, and other foods. Leave it in long enough to ensure an accurate reading.
- Wash your hands and cooking surfaces frequently. Bacteria can be spread quickly so this will ensure that it will not take hold and grow onto your food. A solution of one teaspoon of bleach in one quart of water is all that is needed to sanitize washed surfaces and utensils.
- Cooked foods should definitely not be left standing in the kitchen counter or table for more than two hours. Bacteria tends to grow in temperatures between 40 and 140 deg F.
- Foods that have been cooked ahead and cooled should be reheated to at least 165 deg F. (This just so happens to be one of the most overlooked areas in food prep).
- Chill Leftover Food Promptly. Place food in the refrigerator and don't overfill. The cold air needs to circulate freely to keep food safe. Divide the food and place in shallow containers. Think about labeling some of these containers so you don't lose track of how long they've been refrigerating.
These are just a few pointers that you already know, but need to keep remembering. If you follow these basics you will avoid most of the 'disasters in waiting'!
We all love spicy chicken; except if you are allergic or you just can't love spicy food. Being a chicken lover myself, I have collected 3 hot n' spicy recipes for you to try out in your chicken today or anytime you would like to treat yourself for a deelicious meal; they make good family specials as well! Although they have similar names, they are very different. Perhaps their origins differ.
Hot N' Spicy Chicken Recipe
#1. Spicy Chicken Wings
- 1 lg. can Parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp. oregano
- 4 tbsp. parsley
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 1 stick margarine
- 4-5 lbs. chicken wings
Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Melt margarine in small pan. Cut up chicken wings. Discard tips. Mix all dry ingredients in bowl. Dunk chicken wings in margarine and roll in cheese mixture. Place on cookie sheet. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 1 hour. Serve warm.
#2. Hot Chicken Wings
1/2 stick margarine
1 bottle Durkee hot sauce
2 tbsp. honey
10 shakes Tabasco
2 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
Deep fry wings for 20 minutes. Drain and dip and let set in sauce. Take out to dry and then serve.
#3. Hot-N-Spicy Chicken Wings
5 lbs. bag chicken wings (drumettes)
12 fl. oz. Louisiana Pre Crystal Hot Sauce
1-2 sticks butter
Fry chicken wings until golden brown and drain on paper towel. Mix hot sauce and melted butter and pour into deep pan or crock pot. Add chicken wings to sauce and heat thoroughly.
Since Americans in the South began roasting pigs publicly, Barbecues have been a staple of North American living. For many, grilling becomes a routine mealtime activity, while for the most devoted grillers, summer is ruled by massive barbecue parties. But grillers do not have to choose between boring repetition and outrageous get-togethers: every barbecue can and should be an exciting family event. Here are 5 ways to make your routine evening barbecue a more unique experience:
1) Who said you have to stick to meat? Much can be done with bread and fruits over an open flame. To make this into a fun activity with your kids, use cookie cutters to make the bread and fruit into shapes. You can decide on themes like “animals” and “letters” or ask that each shape be different from the others! Then, let your kids decide which toppings they would like to put on. Add cheese, onion and various spices to bread and cinnamon and honey to fruit.
2) Try foil-wrapped surprise meals. Place different combinations of chicken, fish and vegetables with sauces and spices in foil packets. These cook in less than 20 minutes and lead to no-mess, lip-smacking results. Children will love the surprise element and can easily switch packets. You can even ask your family for combo suggestions before the barbecue, or draw ingredient names out of a hat to create new meal ideas.
3) A little variety goes a long way. If you tend to stick to the same old beef burgers and pork wieners, why not try grilled pizza or salmon steaks? Similarly, try to mix it up with condiments and seasoning. Sick of ketchup? Try salsa instead. Look online where you’ll find hundreds of easy recipes for barbecue rubs. These give your food that extra pizzazz and prevent the mess and drip that comes with barbecue sauces.
4) Barbecues don’t have to be rushed. In fact, barbecue devotees will tell you that today’s quick broiling is an insult to the term, which should represent a process of slow cooking on low heat. You can find many slow cooker recipes online, and the wait is a great opportunity to pass some quality time with your family and friends. Entertaining backyard activities include creating an outdoor canvas to paint on or playing backyard bowling with household items.
5) Mom said not to play with your food, but there’s always an exception! Barbecue games are great fun and tasty at the same time. In the game Glutton, each player gets a certain amount of mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese or any other side dish. Various kitchen utensils are put in a box and the players blindly pick a few. On the go, they begin to eat their dish with the items that they took out. The first to finish his or her food wins the prize!
Finally, don’t fret! Far too many people get lost in the details of planning the perfect barbecue party and forget to enjoy the social atmosphere and delicious food. So kick back, bask in the relaxing sun and prepare for a summer of unforgettable barbecues!
Organic food is food that is free from all genetically modified organisms, produced without artificial pesticides and fertilizers and derived from an animal reared without the routine use of antibiotics, growth promoters or other drugs. Once only available in small stores or farmers' markets, organic foods are becoming much more widely available
Organic foods have been shown to improve your immune system, help you sleep better, shed the excess weight more easily, and improve your blood work just to name a few. Organic food can boast intense, realistic flavors, and a higher vitamin and mineral content.
And though logically it makes sense to consume a diet based on organic foods, some worry about the cost. But with careful planning and preparation, going organic is actually quite affordable. And, the peace of mind knowing you and your family are consuming foods that haven’t been treated with pesticides or genetically altered is worth the extra money spent.
The pesticides used by conventional farmers can have many negative influences on your health, including neurotoxicity, disruption of your endocrine system, carcinogenicity and immune system suppression. Pesticide exposure may also affect male reproductive function and has been linked to miscarriages in women. Additionally, conventional produce tends to have fewer nutrients than organic produce. On average, conventional produce has only 83 percent of the nutrients of organic produce. Studies have found significantly higher levels of nutrients such as vitamin C, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, and significantly less nitrates (a toxin) in organic crops.
So it’s a smart idea to buy and eat organic produce and free-range organic foods as much as possible for maximum health benefits. In addition, the knowledge that you’re supporting the organic foods industry that is dedicated to protecting the environment by steering clear of harmful pesticides and chemicals that can result in the loss of topsoil, toxic runoff and resulting water pollution, soil contamination and poisoning and the death of insects, birds, critters and beneficial soil organisms should help you feel even better.
There’s no doubt that having the right tools for the job makes any task easier, and there’s no better place to illustrate this than in the kitchen, where having the right cooking utensils can be the difference between creating good meals and great meals.
Many cooks think about major appliances such as the stove and refrigerator when planning to equip their kitchens, but to be a success in the kitchen, you need to have a good selection of cooking utensils in addition to the bigger items. And don’t forget, cooking utensils means more than just spoons; there’s a host of small cooking utensils ranging from cutting devices, juicers, graters and more.
Think about what you do in a kitchen and about how different cooking utensils come into play for each task:
• Washing and drying fresh produce – always easy to accomplish with a strainer and salad spinner. A vegetable peeler is also an important addition to your cooking utensils closet.
• Slicing, chopping and dicing all kinds of food and garnishes – a food processor makes short work of vegetables, but mandolins, knives and graters are also helpful cooking utensils to have on hand.
• Measuring – cooking and baking can be a form of art and recipes should be followed as precisely as possible so measuring dishes, cups (both wet and dry measures) and measuring spoons are invaluable cooking utensils.
• Weighing – depending on what you like to cook, you may want to add a food scale to your shopping list of cooking utensils. Such a tool can be excellent for portioning meat and other products that have cooking times affected by weight.
• Temperature – as important as measures are temperatures, which can affect the success of your kitchen endeavors. An oven or meat thermometer is key to having properly cooked meat that is safe to eat, and should be included in your pantry of cooking utensils.
• Mixing – no kitchen would be complete without a cadre of mixing bowls in its cooking utensils cupboard. Having a selection of bowls in assorted sizes is essential to fast, efficient cooking.
• Manipulating, poking, prodding, lifting and stirring – perhaps what most often comes to mind when you think of cooking utensils are implements used to move food: spoons, forks, knives, spatulas, wire whisks, pastry blenders, tongs, salad lifters, slotted spoons, wooden spoons, serving spoons and more.
By imagining the tasks you do every day in the kitchen, you will get a better idea of the cooking utensils you should consider purchasing. Think about every stage of the food preparation process, from storage and cleaning, to cooking and presenting.
Other useful cooking utensils: pastry brush, kitchen shears, rolling pin, salt shaker, pepper mill, cutting board, ramekins, flour sifter, rotary beater, ladles, juicer and a can opener. Cooking utensils come in a range of prices, quality and materials such as wood, metal, rubber and silicone. Regardless of how much you pay, always make sure any cooking utensils that have multiple pieces, fit together securely.
When it comes to barbecuing, there are two main schools of thought for the techniques that you can use.
The first of these techniques – and the most popular method for those who grill in their back yards – is the style where the food is cooked directly over the source of heat. This way, the food is rapidly cooked on a hot grill suspended directly over the charcoals, the wood, or the gas burners. Rarely is the lid ever closed. Any foods, including the most tender cuts, hamburgers, steaks, kabobs of all kinds, chicken, and even vegetables are quickly seared and cooked to perfection using this technique. If sauces are desired, they can be added before hand, during the cooking process, or even after the food comes off the grill. These choices will all create different and enjoyable tastes and flavors.
The second barbecue cooking technique uses heat indirectly. This is more appropriate when you’re cooking much larger or whole cuts of meat, such as especially thick steaks, roasts, a whole hog, or a pork shoulder. When you’re cooking using this method, the food is cooked away from the actual source of heat. This usually requires a water pan of some kind in order to maintain the moisture level of the food. The temperatures generally sit in around 250ºF. During this cooking method, the lid of the barbecue remains closed most of the time, and the length of the cooking is much longer than in the first method. When you’re using an indirect barbecue cooker, there is usually an additional fire box that allows you to combine charcoal and wooden logs for burning. This allows the heat and the smoke to rise through the cooking chamber where the meat is, so that it is heated perfectly. The rule of thumb of this technique is a low temperature for a long time.
No matter which method you use, it’s important not to cook your meat too quickly. If the internal temperature of your meat rises too quickly as you cook it, the water and the fat within it will be expelled before the collagen is able to melt. This means that your cut will be dry and tough. However, you cannot cook too slowly or you will risk a bacterial contamination. Though there is a fine line for barbecuing properly, it’s important to find that line and stick to it.
If you’re already dealing with a cut of meat that is tough, such as a brisket or a pork roast, consider cooking slowly as the collagen adds flavor to the meat. If you buy a less tough, more expensive cut, you can cook at a higher temperature for a shorter period of time. This is why ribs and steaks take such a short time to cook, while pork shoulders or beef brisket can run up to 20 hours.
As a final note, it’s important to have fun while you barbecue! Your pleasure will come through in your cooking as it will leave you motivated, and willing to try new and interesting things.
Mexico has many Easter customs. Many of these customs derived from Spain. These customs vary throughout the different regions and cities. Catholics are forbidden to eat red meat on certain days during Lent, so meals that exclude it are consumed during these times. Dishes that involve fish become popular. The Nopal is also a popular food eaten during this time.
Nopal is a type of cactus that has flat leaves. It is very flexible. Part of it is considered a vegetable, while the other being a fruit. The nopal can be made fresh, canned, or dried. There are many dishes that include nopal. Salads with added shrimp are great when fasting during Lent. Eggs with nopal are common. They can also be put into tacos. Nopal is rich in fiber and vitamins.
Romeritos is another vegetable eaten during Lent. It is a green leaf that resembles rosemary. It is made with whole shrimp with a touch of chile sauce or powder.
Naturally since corn is a popular vegetable in many Mexican dishes, it is eaten a lot during Lent. Chacales is a dish made that is dried white corn that is broken into pieces and prepared into a soup. One other vegetable that seems to top all other vegetables in popularity is the Italian squash. The squash is cut and placed in a cloth which is then laid out in the sun until the squash is fully dried. Once it is dry, the squash is fried with tomatoes and onions. Cheese is placed on the top of the vegetables and not served until it the cheese completely melts.
Fish is an easy way to fast from meat during this time of year. It can be prepared in many different ways. A fish soup that is made around this time includes lima beans with the fish in pieces. Shrimp is also eaten. Shrimp can be served raw, or even made into shrimp patties. These patties can be covered with a traditional Lenten sauce called Pipián. Pipián is made of different spices, and also pumpkin seeds.
One of the most well-known desserts served around lent is known as capirotada. Capirotada is a Mexican bread pudding. This pudding varies from home to home. It usually consists of toasted French bread, cheese, milk, butter, peanuts, and raisons. It is soaked in syrup that includes water, brown sugar, cinnamon, and a variety of other ingredients. Another dessert that is popular around Easter time in Mexico is Empanadas. They are turnovers with a flaky crust that is filled with fruit in the middle. Some fruits inside are cherry, and strawberry. They come in a variety of flavors, but the favorites are apricot, apple, and blackberry.
Even though Lent is a time to fast, that doesn't mean the people doing the fasting cannot enjoy what they eat. There are many more foods that are eaten during this time. Some dishes date back from many centuries ago. It is no surprise as to why these dishes are still popular.
Have you heard that organic foods are healthy to eat and good for the environment? If you have, you may be interested in making the switch to organic foods. With that being said, you may still be a little bit uncertain about doing so. For many individuals, a change in eating habits is a big deal. In fact, a change in eating habits can also be considered a lifestyle change. To help ensure that you are making the right decision, you may first want to examine the pros and cons of eating organic foods.
Perhaps, the greatest pro or plus side to eating organically is the health benefits. Organic food differ from many of the other foods that are available for sale today because they are not made with chemicals and other additives, some of which may be harmful to our bodies. Organic food is one hundred percent, completely natural. You are also given guarantees, as most organic foods must be certified and pass rigorous tests.
Another pro or plus side to eating organically is that organic food is ideal for individuals of all ages. This is great if you are looking to have your whole family eat organic, not just yourself. It is also important know that organic foods aren’t just fruits and vegetables. There are snacks, drinks, and deserts that are all considered organic. Most organic foods, including fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and snacks are designed for individuals of all ages. With that being said, there are also many companies that specialize in selling organic foods for babies and toddlers. One of those companies is Earth’s Best Organic.
Another pro or plus side to making the switch to organic foods is that you can do your part to help the environment, as well as organic farmers. Unfortunately, farms seem to be a dying bread in the United States. Many farmers, even those who have been farming for years are finding it too costly to continue. Although most will simply just close down their operations, others decide to make the switch to organic foods. This not only helps to keep farmers afloat and in business, but it can also help the environment, by eliminating the number of pesticides and other potentially harmful chemicals that are used.
Although there are a number of pros or plus sides to buying and eating organic foods, it is also important to touch on the downsides of doing so as well. One of the biggest cons or downsides associated with eating organic is the cost of doing so. Visiting one of your local supermarkets and walking through an organic food section will give you an idea as to the costs. When compared to other foods, organic does cost more money. While that cost is more than worth it to many, some are turned off by it. With that being said, it is important to know that there are a number of ways that you can save money on organic foods. These ways involve searching for store sales on organic foods or by using organic food coupons.
There are also many individuals who are unhappy with the selection of organic foods that they are able to gain access to locally. For the largest selection of organic foods locally, examine specialty organic food stores, as they specialize solely in the selling of natural foods. The internet can also be examined, as there a number of product manufacturers who sell their organic foods online, as well as organic food stores that sell a number of different brands.
Because cooking takes so many nutrients and vitamins OUT of food, you automatically start feeding your body what it needs when you stop cooking food and start eating uncooked, nutrient-rich foods. A raw carrot has exponentially more nutrition than a cooked carrot.
Cooking also alters the chemistry of foods, often making them harder to digest. Why do we have so many digestive problems in this country? Because we’re putting foods into our bodies in a form that we weren't designed to absorb. High fiber, high water content fresh produce abolishes constipation of the bowels, cells and circulatory system. Obstructions are cleared and blood flow increases to each and every cell in the body. Enhanced blood flow is significant for two reasons: as mentioned above, blood delivers nutrients and oxygen to living cells, and carries away their toxic metabolites.
Obesity is endemic in this country. The diet industry is more profitable than the oil companies. Why? Because the way we eat and prepare our food practically guarantees that we’ll overeat. Psychologists tell us that we overeat because our souls are hungry. But in reality, our bodies are hungry, even though we may feel full. When you start giving your body the nutrients it craves, overeating will cease.
Eating raw foods is a boost to your metabolism as well. It takes a little more energy to digest raw foods, but it’s a healthy process. Rather than spending energy to rid itself of toxins produced by cooking food, the body uses its energy to feed every cell, sending vitamins, fluids, enzymes and oxygen to make your body the efficient machine it was intended to be.
You’ll naturally stop overeating, because your body and brain will no longer be starving for the nutrients they need. A starving brain will trigger the thoughts that make you overeat. The brain and the rest of your body don’t need quantity; they need quality.
"These gloves are fantastic. I make a lot of dishes in heavy cookware and had such a hard time keeping my grip or moving the large cast iron pots. These are perfect because your whole hand is protected -- no more burns on the top of your hands, while giving you better control over what you are handing than a classic oven mitt. They're also a lifesaver if you are making anything at the top end of the temperature range."
"The gloves really work! I used them to remove hot trays from the oven, in addition to not feeling any heat at all the trays didn't slip out of my hand. I was anxious to use them while grilling and they really made the whole experience much easier. I was not worried about getting burned when I was turning the food."
"Love these gloves! I have small hands and love to bake, so I often run into problems of almost losing my grip on whatever I'm pulling out of the oven. These gloves give me a much better grip on hot cookie trays and pie dishes than the standard oven mitt. It's also a lot easier to grab oddly-shaped dishes with the dexterity of the glove, as opposed to oven mitts where you don't have a lot of control over what you're grabbing."
"I do quite a bit of smoking and it can get dicey trying to add wood chips or more water mid-smoke with your bare hands. Using oven mitts really isn't an option due to the dexterity required. These gloves seem to get the job done much better and clean up real nice."