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.
From now on you would be glad to know there is a way to improve your job performances and help you along your journey to achieve professional success. A day of your life should be divided in stages that can assure you the needed aliments for great professional performances. It doesn't matter if you work form 9 AM to 5 PM or if you work all night.
Long run persons
If you are a “long run person”, you are on your feet the entire day so the amount of physic effort you are making is great. Your body needs energy from morning till evening. You must keep the sugar level stable with the help of complex hydro-carbonates. You will be like a little ant if you start your day with cereals and milk, you eat for lunch soup and vegetables with cheese and in the evening you can save yourself some lasagna and salad.
If you are a “night star” your work hours keep until the first morning hours. You need food for feeling OK and happy, combating depression that can often occur during nights. Vitamin B1 is the one that will keep you smiling all night. Your day should start out with a breakfast of bread and honey and the lunch should consist of pasta and vegetables. You can end your day with a dinner with chicken barbecue and salad.
If you are an “office angel” then you are performing intense mental activities and a low physical effort. Your body needs “intelligent” food, that would give energy to the brain and nerves, that means aliments rich in vitamins B and C. for breakfasts you can eat bananas and yogurt, at lunch scrambled eggs and toasted bread and for dinner potatoes, fish and vegetables.
No matter what your job is, you should have always enough needed energy to perform it. it well, you won’t get fat, but you have to eat as much as you need in order not to feel hungry while at work. That will clearly affect your performances.
Even if you don’t really follow football closely or at all - everyone celebrates the Superbowl. There is fun for everyone, like new and funny commercials, over the top pre-game and half time shows, and an excuse to have a party, eat and drink too much.
The foods that are most famously associated with this event are admittedly geared more towards men and carnivorous choices but, you can find a vegetable or legume on the list too. Some items on the list can be made as unhealthily or healthful as you like by the ingredients you use.
Most would agree that the Superbowl is all about food, friends and fun!
Okay, Here is my list of the top ten Superbowl foods:
10. Chips, Dips, Salsa and Nuts
This is a big umbrella of general "snack food" or " junk food". Beer nuts or any kind of nuts are almost a pre-requisite for a Football party anyway. There are some really great appetizers that are now almost synonymous with Football. For example: Nachos - whether you just pour some melted cheese on them or go all out with salsa, guacamole, jalapenos, black olives, refried beans and spiced ground meat – these are always a crowd pleaser. There’s also the "old fashioned" Chex mix that is really quite a nice retro snack. Purchase, various Chex cereal flavors, add mini pretzels, some peanuts, melt some butter and honey with some kicked up seasonings – mix them all together and spread them out on a cookie sheet in the oven on 350 for 15-20 minutes. Great stuff.
9. BBQ Baked Beans
The classic baked bean recipe can take over 24 hours to prepare and serve. It involves soaking the dry beans which takes up most of the time, and marinating and baking the beans in a combination of Molasses, brown sugar and BBQ sauce. It normally has Pork in it too and that adds a really great flavor but, if that’s not your bag you can substitute ground turkey or have no meat at all.
8. Steak Tips
There are also Turkey, Swordfish and Chicken tips out there too now a days. Whichever you choose, marinating them in a good marinade first is a must. Steak will need the longest in a marinade but, all of them will be great once they are grilled on a nice hot grill. Pair tips with Salad and a mixed rice and you are all set!
I prefer the foot long Italian hoagie from the local deli cut up into 2 or 3 inch size sandwiches. Hot peppers are a necessity but should probably be "on the side" for the less inclined. Any kind of sandwiches will work really and Calzones which are not really considered sandwiches are a great choice because they are easy to eat while not sitting down and come in all kinds of yummy flavors.
Well, I had to put it on the list. It is really popular as a football food. It’s not truly my choice but, considering that watching football is a male oriented past time and most men are not into cooking, it makes sense that something you can pick up the phone and have delivered within 30 minutes (men are not normally planners either) would be on the list. PS: Anything that can be ordered, created and delivered within 30 minutes is not something I would recommend for adults – Children…okay.
5. BBQ Pork with all the fix’ins
This choice is really for a dedicated BBQ’er and will take some time to do right but, boy. It is well worth it. You really have to start this menu item the day before you want to enjoy it. It takes a smoker and a pork butt, some good dry rub, a mop sauce (this is important as far as I am concerned) and some good BBQ sauce along with a dedication to the low and slow way of cooking. In addition to the pulled pork, lay out some hamburger buns, home made cold slaw, and some chips and you have the perfect football party meal.
This is one of the most versatile and easy one-pan dishes you can make. You can prepare it for a whole crowd using a crockpot and it has so many variations there is bound to be one that’s to your liking. Just type in "Chili Recipes" in Google or your favorite browser and see all of the hits you get. Yep, you can’t go wrong with a good chili. Make sure to have extra hot sauce for the diehards that insist on kicking it up a notch!
Short ribs, Long ribs, Dry ribs, Wet ribs….There is a whole big debate about the best type of meat to use and the best way to cook ribs that is almost as hotly debated as who is going to win the big game. Two things I can tell you about ribs: 1. They are difficult to cook just right and, 2. When they are cooked correctly they are delicious! My suggestion to you is to purchase some ribs at your best local BBQ restaurant or grocery market and pop them in your oven before your friends arrive, set out your favorite BBQ sauce and pass them off as your own creation. See if anyone figures it out.
2. Sausages, Hot Dogs
These may not appeal to those of you that are on a health food kick but, really there have been vast improvements in the hot dog and sausage varieties and quite a few are now more healthy options than other choices. And really, what’s better than a sweet Italian Sausage smothered in sauted peppers and onions with gobs of mustard all wrapped up in a bun – mummm mummm. You can take a walk at half time to make up for it.
1. Chicken Wings
Okay, No surprise here. I don’t know exactly how Chicken Wings became the unofficial Football food but, I am cool with it. I have no complaints. Wings are pretty easy to make and you can make small batches at a time which is great if you are not sure how many people will be showing up demanding to be feed on the big day. The secret to great wings is the Wing sauce. There are almost as many brands of Wing sauce these days as BBQ sauce and mustard! That tells a little something about how popular these babies are.
Whether it's a small gathering of family members or an invitation extended to friends and neighbors, entertaining can take on a delightfully casual approach when it's done outdoors.
Add instant sophistication to a casual atmosphere with these entertaining and grilling tips guaranteed to impress every guest.
Be Courteous to Your Guests
Be sure to note any food restrictions or allergies and prepare alternate options.
Prepare ahead. Cut meats and vegetables, set the table, and toss the salad before the guests arrive. This will give you more time to relax and enjoy your company.
Create an Ambiance
White dinnerware always looks appropriate and pairs nicely with casual double-duty prep and serving pieces, such as rustic wood cutting boards for an outdoor meal.
Add instant elegance to your casual get-together with flowers. Just trim a few stems from the garden and arrange them in glasses or bowls.
Offer a few different bottles of wine at the table for a great conversation starter. The best wines to serve are ones that pair well with all types of food and do not require additional aging once purchased. For example, Rioja, one of Spain's oldest and most renowned wines, includes reds, whites and rose at all price ranges, aged to be ready to drink at purchase and complement meat, fish and vegetables.
Efficiency Is Key
To speed up grilling time, partially precook chicken, red meat, potatoes, carrots and other slow-cooking food in the oven or microwave. When grilling, if you need more than one cooking temperature, mound some coals on one side to create a hot section and spread coals out on the other side for a cooler section.
When grilling food on skewers, cut pieces into chunks that are too large to fall through the grate. Or for easy cleanup, consider using foil packets to grill onion rings, slices of zucchini and squash or even pineapple rings.
When basting, use two brushes - one green and one red. Use the green brush to baste raw meat. Once the meat has begun to cook, switch to the red brush to continue the process. This will help to avoid contamination.
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