Contents

A balsamic vinaigrette dressing is not some closely guarded secret made mysterious by a celebrity or gourmet chef. A good tasting vinaigrette is easy to make, and healthy for you. Oil and vinegar salad dressings or vinaigrette recipes can be made by those of us who have not attended the culinary institute.Times have sure changed since Seven Seas Italian Dressing and Wishbones Green Goddess sat on every store shelf as salad dressing staples. Remember when we thought Ori...

Vinaigrette Dressing, A Simple Balsamic Recipe Will Do

Vinaigrette Dressing, A Simple Balsamic Recipe Will DoA balsamic vinaigrette dressing is not some closely guarded secret made mysterious by a celebrity or gourmet chef. A good tasting vinaigrette is easy to make, and healthy for you. Oil and vinegar salad dressings or vinaigrette recipes can be made by those of us who have not attended the culinary institute.Times have sure changed since Seven Seas Italian Dressing and Wishbones Green Goddess sat on every store shelf as salad dressing staples. Remember when we thought Original Ranch was a vast improvement for our salad dressing repertoire, and store bought bacon bits were a hit? Then packaged spring mixed greens became available, and pine nuts were considered healthy and just a moment; you still buy bottled salad dressings? Our quest for lighter fare and healthy greens in our diet, has led us down a daunting path, searching for that elusive healthy salad dressing. Low carbs, low cholesterol, and healthy for all that ails you, has become a must. So what is it, that we should, (or better yet) are allowed to put on top of our salad thats good for you?Today we walk down the salad dressing aisle in a gourmet food store and behold the gourmet condiments from floor to eye level. Organic spreads, sauces, and accoutrements. Wine vinegars, infused oils, and herb flavored vinaigrettes. Some endorsed by celebrities. Some seen on TV. Some made by celebrities, (yeah, right). Some made on a distant island, in some strange sounding place. (We move on a step further.) We shake our head at Modena consortium, imported Spanish, and California Napa Balsamic vinegars. A huge question mark appears over our heads as we gaze at Aceto, Traditionale, aged, and Special Blends. We mutter, What hath God Wrought? Inventor, Alexander Graham Bell, couldnt have verbalized our incredulous thoughts more accurately.A simple oil and vinegar salad dressing, why is the degree of difficulty exponential? It neednt be. A simple "vinaigrette dressing" recipe can be made easily, from simple ingredients, be healthy for you, and actually taste great.The key ingredients in a vinaigrette dressing, is a traditionale aged balsamic vinegar, and an excellent olive oil. You dont have to spend a fortune for the balsamic either. Two very good balsamic vinegars that are very reasonably priced, are Caroliva Reserve balsamic and Masserie di Sant'Eramo balsamic. (Those other vinegars that are under $8, dont bother).Your balsamic vinaigrette dressing will go great with other dishes besides a salad, too. A balsamic vinaigrette is outstanding with fresh lobster and scallops, artichokes and asparagus. A balsamic dressing also goes well with fresh sliced tomatoes or steamed vegetables and greens. A balsamic dressing recipe can be altered to your individual taste. The normal proportions for a balsamic vinaigrette dressing are one part balsamic vinegar to three parts olive oil, with seasoning of salt, pepper and Dijon mustard. A rule of thumb is one teaspoonful of mustard for every half cup of salad dressing. The flavor of balsamic vinegar is rich and intense, and with a delicate olive oil you may want to use proportions of one part vinegar to four or five of olive oil. Other herbs and spices will enhance a "balsamic vinaigrette" , such as chives and sage. Even a bit of finely grated fresh ginger root will add zest to your dressing. It is all a question of how you want your finished dressing to taste.Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing Recipe (that you can make yourself)INGREDIENTS 3 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar1 teaspoon Dijon mustard1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed through a garlic press3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oilSalt and freshly ground pepper, to taste Use a blender to mix the ingredients. It will produce a thicker vinaigrette dressing. One serving will equal 2 to 3 tablespoons of dressing. One cup should easily be enough for 6 to 8 servings of mixed green salad. Refrigerate and store in a covered container. Whisk well before serving.

Raining Outside? Try Indoor Barbecuing!

Raining Outside? Try Indoor Barbecuing!

Yes, there is such a thing as indoor barbecuing. But hey, indoor barbecuing doesn't mean using your ever-reliable wood or gas grill. First of all, that's illegal in most places because it's a major fire hazard. Second, it could kill you since these types of grills produce large amounts of carbon monoxide. What you need to know is that there are two basic types of indoor grills the open grill and the folding contact grill.Indoor Barbecuing 101An open grill is pretty much like the electric version of the wood/gas grill. It provides you with the outdoor barbecuing feel as you occasionally turn the meat while cooking and even produces flavor closer to the outdoor variety. . On the other hand, the folding contact grill works much like a panini press or sandwich maker. (Such as the George Foreman Grill). The upside to using this kind of indoor barbecuing grill is that is cooks your food faster as it simultaneously cooks both sides. Thus, it doesn't require turning so you can do other things while grilling at the same time.The George Foreman Grill is an electric grill which has non-stick grill surface, grooved to give those desirable grill marks on food and a cover which has the same type of grooved surface.Food is placed on the grill and the cover is closed on top of it, enabling the grilling of food from both sides at once cutting the normal grilling time in half. The grill is built with a tilt toward the front and a plastic dish is place under the front end so that fat can draw off away from the food. This is considered a low-fat feature. It also helps with the ease of cleaning in which George markets as one of the most important features of the grill.The George Foreman also cooks food more evenly because the surface maintains a constant temperature that's easy to control, so you won't get hot spots or flare-ups. You should never use an extension cord with any electric grill, and always use an outlet with a ground fault circuit interrupter.The George Foreman Grill currently comes in nine versions and prices range from $19.99 to $99.99However, as we always say, equipment is just one aspect of producing amazing barbecue dishes. Though it's true that using an indoor barbecuing grill means none of that smoky flavor, which only wood or coal can deliver, there's definitely more to barbecue taste than smoky flavor. There are a variety of rich, bold flavors that characterize a good barbecue dish and these you can definitely get from a good marinade, dry rub or barbecue sauce. If you're looking for the greatest ones with the richest and boldest flavors, visit InsaneChicken.com and check out their wide selection of products, which can be delivered right to your very doorstep.

How to Clean and Fillet Fish

How to Clean and Fillet Fish

Fish is one of the most wholesome foods that man can eat. In fact, people have been eating fish throughout human history. These days, many cooks yearn to add fish to their repertoire, but the whole process of cleaning and filleting fresh fish is a little scary to them. The process of cleaning and filleting fresh fish is relatively simple once the steps are understood. To begin, you must clean your fresh fish properly in order to maintain it's quality during the remaining steps of processing. First, use a knife or fish scaling tool to remove all of the scales. Removing the scales early on is a key to easy fish cleaning. Next, remove the fish head by cutting just behind the first set of fins. Now, insert your sharp knife into the area where you just removed the head and make a slit in the belly of the fish. You will want to slit the fish belly all the way down to the vent next to the tail. This should open up the cavity of the fish and you can pull or cut away any viscera or organs from inside the fish. The next step is to cut away any additional fins that the fish may have. Do this by cutting into the fish in a circular motion around the fins and remove them. Finally, rinse the fish body and cavity under cold, running water. Now that the fish has been properly cleaned, you can move on to filleting. Begin the fish filleting process by laying the fish on one side and inserting your knife into the fish body almost to the backbone. Guide your knife along the backbone, exposing the fillet as you cut. You will have to lift and separate the flesh from the bone as you cut. Next, repeat this process for the other side. Once you have created the two fish fillets, place them skin side down and cut through the flesh next to the tail. Do not cut through the skin next to the tail, as you will hold onto this skin as you separate the skin from the flesh. Insert your fillet knife between the flesh and the skin and use a back and forth motion to separate the two. Rinse the fillets with cold water and be sure to dry them before storing or using. These simple and easy steps are all that it takes to make the most out of fresh fish. With these steps in mind you can prepare fresh fish for any meal.

How to Cook Turkey on Natural Gas Grills

How to Cook Turkey on Natural Gas Grills

The holidays bring with them thoughts of carving and serving delicious turkey dinners to your family and friends. Tradition has its fans, but perhaps this year you'd like to try a twist to your turkey recipe. If you have a gas grill and enjoy the smoky flavor of grilled meats, why not try grilling your turkey this year? It's not only possible, it is rather simple. And it delivers a delicious flavored bird to your table. Plus, having the turkey on the grill instead of the oven leaves you with all the room you need to prepare the rest of your dinner in less time.When you are ready to buy your turkey, the first thing to consider is the size of your grill. You don't want a bird that is so enormous that it can't fit on the grill rack. Ideally, the turkey you select should sit on the grill and the lid should close without touching the bird. If this isn't possible, don't worry, you can still grill your turkey. You'll need some heavy duty aluminum foil and either a V shaped grill stand or another metal cooking instrument that you can safely use to prop open the lid of the grill.Prepare and stuff the turkey as you normally would. Place it on the grill so that it is positioned over one burner that you can turn off. Turn that burner off and the other burner or burners on. Since you can't really "flip" a turkey, you want the turkey to cook by indirect heat, not by a direct flame underneath it.You get the smoky flavor by using wood chips. If you haven't used wood chips before, they're easy to use. You soak them in water so that as they dry out from the heat of the grill, they'll release a flavored smoke that infuses the turkey. You can purchase a tray that is designed for putting wood chips on the grill or you can make one yourself from heavy duty aluminum foil. Take the wood chips out of the water and put them into your tray. Place the tray on the grill over the lit burner.Next, close the lid fully if possible. If not possible, prop the lid up just enough to keep it from touching the turkey. Then cover the remainder of the opening with aluminum foil. If heat gets out you will probably have to cook the turkey longer. However, the foil creates enough of a barrier so the smoke is kept circulating inside the grill and flavoring the turkey.The time required to cook the turkey will vary depending on whether or not you were able to close your grill completely. If you can, it will take less time. If you can't, you might want to increase the heat on the other burner or burners to try to make up for the lost heat by having to prop open the grill. After a couple of hours, rotate the turkey 180 degrees to help ensure even cooking.As with any method of cooking poultry, it's important to make sure that the internal temperature of the meat reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Ideally you should use a meat thermometer to monitor the temperature as you cook. If you don't have one, then you'll have to check the readiness by poking the thigh with a fork or skewer. If the juices that run out are clear and the turkey has turned a nice golden-brown color, then you are ready to remove it from the grill. Consider glazing the turkey with a sauce you use on other meats, or possibly adding barbecue sauce to the traditional cranberry sauce as a condiment. Don't be afraid to experiment - enjoy the new twist you're putting on an old family tradition.

How to smoke a turkey

For those who long for the wonderful taste of smoked turkey but forgo the luxury because of how much it costs in stores, take heart! It's surprising just how easy and economical it is to make your own smoked turkey at home. Not only will you enjoy this tempting morsel, but just think how much you'll impress your friends and family.you don't need a smoker; any covered grill will give the same effect. Simply place the turkey breast on the cool side of the grill and use soaked wood chips.It's important to allow yourself plenty of time to smoke the turkey until it is completely cooked. Smoking time depends on the size of the turkey, the distance from the heat, temperature of the coals, as well as the outside air temperature. You can roughly estimate about 20 to 30 minutes per pound of turkey, but it's important to use a meat thermometer to be sure your turkey is thoroughly cooked. The turkey is done when the food thermometer, placed in the inner thigh, reaches 180 F (be sure the thermometer is not touching the bone).Important points about how to smoke a turkey: Food safety is of primary concern when smoking turkey. Turkey breasts, drumsticks, wings and whole turkeys are all suited for smoking, although for safety's sake, stick with whole turkeys that weigh 12 pounds or less. A larger turkey remains in the "Danger Zone" - between 40 F and 140 F for too long.Do not stuff a turkey destined for smoking. Because smoking takes place at a low temperature, it can take too long for the temperature of the stuffing to reach the required temperature of 165 F, not to mention that smoked stuffing has an undesirable flavor.Here's a wonderful and easy recipe:Chili-Spiced Smoked Turkey Breast 1/4 cup fresh lime juice2 tablespoons olive oil2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa2 teaspoons paprika2 teaspoons brown sugar1 teaspoon salt1 teaspoon dried oregano1 teaspoon chili powder1 teaspoon dried thyme2 garlic cloves, minced1 (6-pound) whole turkey breast2 cups mesquite chipsCooking sprayCombine the first 10 ingredients in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; cool. Combine lime juice mixture and turkey in a large zip-top plastic bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 2 hours. Soak wood chips in water at least 30 minutes. Drain well.Preheat gas grill to medium-hot (350 to 400) using both burners. Turn left burner off. Place wood chips in a disposable foil pan or a foil packet pierced with holes on grill over right burner. Remove turkey from marinade; discard marinade. Place turkey, skin side up, on grill rack coated with cooking spray over left burner. Cover and cook 1 1/2 hours. Turn turkey over; cook 15 minutes or until meat thermometer registers 170. Remove turkey from grill. Cover loosely with foil, and let stand at least 10 minutes before carving. Discard skin. Yield: 16 servings (serving size: 3 ounces)If you prefer an actual smoker, water smokers are available in electric, gas or charcoal model, and all work well. Charcoal smokers have two pans - one for charcoal and one for liquid which creates the moist, hot smoke needed for cooking. These are available wherever barbecue grills are found, but here's an economical secret: start going to garage sales. For some reason, smokers seem to be a popular item, possibly because a lot of folks don't know how to use them. However, as stated above, a smoker is not necessary to get the full, smoky flavor you desire. Unless you're really into smoking many different things (cooking, not inhaling!), it's an expense you can do without. Not only will you save money, you'll also save space.But, if you do have a smoker, here's an easy how to smoke a turkey recipe:1 15 pound turkey, fresh or thawed 1/4 cup butter 1/2 cup white wine 1/2 cup honey 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon Prepare smoker for a 6 to 8 hour smoke at about 230 degrees. In a saucepan melt butter. Add wine, honey and cinnamon. Heat on low temperature until mixture is smooth and thin. Using a turkey injector, inject half the mixture into the turkey in all meaty areas. Brush remaining mixture over turkey. You can reserve some of the baste to apply later, during the cooking process. Place turkey in smoker. When the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 165 degrees the turkey is done. Remove from smoker and let rest for 10-15 minutes. Carve and serve.Enjoy!

European Teapot: Teakettle That Settled The West

The European Teapot has become an American heirloom that most of us thought originated here. Craftsmen and glassblowers from Europe have immortalized their craft for the American market where most European Teakettles are sold as gifts.A teapot makes an attractive gift selection that adds character to a kitchen and is practical for daily purpose. A vast amount of history and culture is attached to the teapot. Its invention dates back to the sixteenth century. The aim behind creating this kitchen staple was to provide a vessel to brew and serve tea.Tea has been a popular beverage since its discovery in the third century. The tea plant was first cultivated in the fourth century. This plant is actually a tree of evergreen variety and can grow up to a height of about 50 feet. However, for cultivation purposes, it is usually pruned into bushes and allowed to grow up to a height of five feet.The discovery of tea has debatable origins. Some give credit to the Chinese Emperor named Chen Nung who reigned during the third century. It is said that he once sat under a tree to boil water for drinking. The leaves of the tree Camellia sinensis dropped into his bowl. The resultant mixture was so tasty that it prompted tea making.Some attribute the discovery of tea to a Dharuma Buddhist monk who went to India from China in the fifth century. It is reported he discovered a brewed drink from the leaves of the tea plant which assisted in keeping him alert and awake.Tea making, as practiced in ancient times was not as simple as it is today. In the eighth century, tea leaves were rolled manually and then dried. These dried leaves were ground into a powder, mixed with salt and shaped into cakes. To make tea, a cake was dropped into a bowl of boiling water to form a thick fluid. In the later years, the loose powder began being used. The powder was mixed with hot water and a froth was whipped up, steeped, and the mixture was poured.Teapots were first introduced in China during the Ming Dynasty. They were made of purple clay called "zisha". Teapots were also known as teakettles and used in Europe only after 1610, when the Dutch importers introduced tea there. In the eighteenth century teapots were made of porcelain and contained artistic paintings on its rounded surfaces. The English added their touch by mixing bone ash with porcelain clay to give it a freshly distinct look. The evolution of the teapot spanned hundreds of years to attain its present form. Today teakettles can be found in large varieties ranging from clay, porcelain, glass to even stoneware.There are certain factors to be kept in mind while selecting the right teapot. The European Teapot is the most sought after of all teakettles. Do remember to check the following:1.. Looks - A thing of beauty is a joy forever. Selecting a European teapot that is visually appealing is the first step. It should look good enough to make a person long to use it. An attractive teakettle becomes a conversation piece and makes you want to show it off to your guests.2.. Material - The right material is based on the use you want to put it to. A clay or porcelain teapot is a good idea if you only want something to serve tea in. A special glass teapot is ideal if you want to avoid unnecessary hassles as you can brew as well as serve tea in it. It is sturdy enough to be used on the stovetop and at the same time, it makes for pretty tea ware for your guests.3.. Handle - Ensure that the handle is of a material that does not get heated making it difficult to hold. This should be especially looked into while buying a stovetop teapot. A handle that gets hot on heating will only serve to increase your troubles and the risk of burning your fingers.4.. Flow - A good teapot is one in which the liquid will flow out smoothly through the spout without any risk of leakage. If the teapot is equipped with an infuser, its even better, as the tea will automatically be strained on pouring.5.. Tightness - Keep in mind to check that the lid of the teapot is tightly fitted. This will ensure that tea will remain hot longer and is an essential for brewing good tea (in a glass teapot only).6.. Gravity center of the teapot - Try this small test. Fill the teapot with water to three-fourths of its capacity. Lift and pour the water into a cup. If you find any difficulty or if the hand becomes unbalanced, the teapot's gravity center is not right. Reject such an item immediately.The style of "European teapot" is an ideal kitchen gift for any virtually any occasion - a birthday, anniversary or Mother's Day.

Summary

A balsamic vinaigrette dressing is not some closely guarded secret made mysterious by a celebrity or gourmet chef. A good tasting vinaigrette is easy to make, and healthy for you. Oil and vinegar salad dressings or vinaigrette recipes can be made by those of us who have not attended the culinary institute.Times have sure changed since Seven Seas Italian Dressing and Wishbones Green Goddess sat on every store shelf as salad dressing staples. Remember when we thought Ori...