Kabob Grilling Tips

You can cook almost any kind of meat and many vegetables and fruits as a kabob. Just make sure that you use ingredients that will cook in approximately the same time. Otherwise some pieces will be done and burning while others still have a ways to go. Making separate skewers with similar ingredients can solve this. Try to leave a little space between each piece (a quarter inch should do). This will help the heat circulate better and cook each piece more evenly.

Marinating the meat ahead of cooking will give flavor as well as keep the meat moist. Use your favorite marinade and 1″ chunks of meat in a zip-lock bag for 1 hour before you prepare and grill your kabobs. Nothing says that the meat has to be cut into chunks. For something different, cut the meat into strips and marinate. Then put them on the skewers in a ribbon style. Cook the marinade on the stove for a few minutes, and then use it to baste the kabobs with as they cook. This will add flavor and help keep them from drying out.

You can use either metal skewers or bamboo. If you use bamboo skewers, soak them in water for 45-60 minutes before cooking. This will help the kabobs from burning. If you have trouble with the pieces sliding around when you turn the kabobs, try using two skewers instead of one. This will make it easy to turn each kabob without problems.

Chianina Steakhouse

As you enter the restaurant, a glass wall of wine offers mysterious glimpses of the low-lit restaurant behind. Not until you reach the hostess at the end of the entry are you awarded with a full view of the restaurant and bar. Only then will you discover the sophisticated ambiance of neutral tones, geometric shapes and natural textures of wood, marble and metal. The predominant greys and whites pay homage to the Chianina breed of cattle that is the restaurant’s namesake. Behind the wall of glass and wine is a long white-marble bar capable of accommodating approximately 20 patrons. The other half of the room is consumed by the restaurant with mostly booths and a few 2-seat tables off the bar. At the end of the bar is an automated wine bar that allows affordable samplings of fine wines that are being sold by the bottle. Adding to the ambiance is the trendy music softly being played overhead that will occasionally hook you into the beat.

We arrived early on a Saturday evening without reservations and were not surprised that the entire restaurant was reserved for the night. Luckily, the bar was completely open so we saddled up on cozy bar stools. The friendly staff welcomed us immediately and filled us in on all the selection details for the evening. We started with a couple glasses of their recommended Pinot Noir and unique bar condiments like spicy pickles, spiced nuts and warmed olives – each uniquely delicious. An amazingly flavorful Steak and Frites appetizer set the bar for what was yet to come. Between the four in our group, we ordered the 8 oz. Petite Filet, Chianina Beef Burger and Housemade Piedemontese Corned Beef and shared portions between us. Everything was an overwhelming hit. The Petite Filet was super succulent and mouthwatering; the Beef Burger was a nice thick portion with scrumptious chunks of bleu cheese, marinated onions and specialty pickles; and the Corned Beef sandwich was perfectly paired with rye bread, pickles and hot mustard. All of the breads at Chianina are house-baked from the table bread to the rye bread and burger buns. We were full from the meals but couldn’t resist the Chocolate Cake with Espresso Whipped Cream and Caramel Sauce. Espresso whipped cream? Yum! A comment from Parker behind the bar sums it up best – “It’s nice to work at a restaurant where you don’t have to worry about the quality of food”.

Chianina is located on the Naples Island section of 2nd Street in Long Beach. Reservations are highly recommended as they are quickly being recognized as one of the best steak restaurants in L.A. and Orange Counties. Chianina is open every evening for dinner except Monday. Dress is business-casual to formal. Leave the worries of finding a parking spot on the ever-popular 2nd street at home because they offer valet parking. Chianina would be a smart choice for a date. The menu is full of pricey and not-so-pricey choices for meat lovers and vegetarians alike. And just a short drive from the restaurant is Gondola Getaway where couples and groups are transported through the canals of Naples Island in authentic gondolas. Gondoliers are even known to sing Italian songs while passing under several arched bridges along the way. – – Now That’s Amore!

Countertop Grilling

The traditional grill comes with one or more cooking surface. The cooking surface sits atop heating elements and a drip pan is used to collect juices and fats while cooking. To achieve smokeless grilling, pour water into the drip pan to cool the drippings before they have a chance to create smoke.

Another type is the countertop contact grill. These grills work by applying heat directly to food via heating grids. Countertop contact grills usually have two heating surfaces that is used to clamp down the food. Think of a waffle maker and you pretty much get the idea. Contact grills work best with sandwiches and the likes and are not that effective with thick meat. Countertop contact grill heat is usually well insulated inside the grill itself, leaving your countertop unscathed.

Countertop grills are popular because they are easy to clean. The grill surface and drip pan are easily removable and can fit most dishwashers. For contact grills, you just open the grill and wipe the grilling surface when done cooking. Countertop grills are quite portable too. Any countertop surface will do when you have that urge to do some grilling. When done grilling, you just pack it up and store it away.

For the serious grillers, you might want to consider a built-in countertop grilling unit. These units offer more grilling surface and some even come with a frying surface. You can install a gas fed countertop grill for open flame cooking. Some popular countertop gas grillers also accommodate wood chips to add the wood flavor to your grilling. You will need to install a ventilation unit to suck all that smoke away. There are electric built-in countertop grillers available where heat is generated from heating elements sitting under the grill – much like the portable countertop grill.

Charcoal Barbeque Grill

There are also some potential negatives with using this type of grill. The coal can be hard to light, especially if it has become wet or damp in any way. And once you’ve lit it there will be no way to adjust the temperature. You will have to get a ‘feel’ for the best number of coals to use while you are setting up. And when you are done grilling your food you will be forced to let the charcoal cool for a considerable time (several hours) before putting the grill away. Similar to fire wood, the coals must completely burn out over time before they are safe.

However, these are nothing major and should not steer you away from using a charcoal barbeque grill at all. Once you become used to operating one you will quickly realize the benefits in terms of flavor and overall grilling experience. Here is a list of things to ponder when considering the merits of one of these charcoal grills.

  • The briquets produce carbon monoxide and cannot be used in an enclosed space. Make sure you have ample circulation around the grill before you light them.
  • If you need to move the charcoal grill around at all you should consider buying a portable model. These grills are built with wheels and other handy features that make them very easy to move around.
  • Look for some useful features like vents at the top and bottom of the grill, as well as built-in thermometers to let you know how hot it is in there at all times. You will be able to make some small adjustments to the coal, but keep in mind with these grills you cannot just turn a dial to make it hotter or cooler.
  • Make sure the bottom grate is durable, as this will be used to move or lift the coals out as necessary. You want one that will stand up to the blazing heat and perform its’ job each and every time you need it.
  • Also make sure each of the handles are insulated to protect your hands from the heat. If not, be sure to use mitts each time you open the grill to protect from burns.
  • Read the specs regarding the finish used during the painting application. You want a paint that is extremely heat resistant, as well as one that will stand up to the harshest of weather.

5 Important Factors for Being as Healthy as Possible

If your health is failing or compromised, it can overshadow all other areas of your life. From aches, pains, and lethargy to life-threatening diseases, not feeling your best can quickly be a drain on your energy, time, and resources.

Fortunately, reclaiming your health and improving your state of affairs even preventing disease is made easier with some essential steps that proactively protect your health. You must add these healthy habits to your daily routine to promote optimal health. Creating a quality life starts with your health, and these critical factors:

1. Avoiding toxic substances

People put things into their bodies that are downright dangerous. Whether it’s cigarettes, alcohol, prescription or recreational drugs it’s all a risky cocktail that compromises your mental and physical health. These substances have the potential to be highly addictive, and your casual use of them can quickly spiral out of control, taking a toll on your health and wellness. If you realize that you do have a problem with substance abuse and addiction, seeking Ohio outpatient treatment and similar options in other states might be a good idea for getting back on track with your health and your life. The sooner you let go of these toxic addictions, the more your body can start to repair and rejuvenate itself, moving again toward balance.

2. Eating clean

Our food is more processed and nutritionally void than ever before, and it’s time that we learn to recognize the difference between whole foods and processed foods, for processing them excessively robs them of the life force that nourishes our cells. Generally speaking, if it comes in a package, box, or can, it has been processed in some way. If you have been eating the standard American diet for a while, the thought of revamping your diet can seem overwhelming. Our advice to you makes small and consistent changes that compound on themselves over time. Replace canned vegetables with fresh ones, choose fresh cuts of meat from your butcher or grocer, and learn to cook using these ingredients. Over time, you’ll feel better, you’ll look better, and you’ll want to keep making these changes toward a life with rich, whole foods, fresh produce, and whole grains that contributes to vibrant health.

3. Exercise

Your body was designed to move stretching, lifting, pulling, pushing, running, and walking are all activities that you should incorporate for the long haul. Keeping your bones and muscles strong as you age is particularly important; studies show that those who perform weight-bearing exercises on a regular basis have greater strength and a healthier rate of metabolism than their counterparts who don’t exercise regularly. Simply put, if you want to slow the aging process, start moving that body!

4. Get healthy, restful sleep

Good sleep is critical for overall health, both mental and physical. Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep! The lack of sleep contributes to the development of many disease and conditions, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Elevated Blood Pressure
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Depression and anxiety

Get back on the sleepy train and establish healthy bedtime habits that promote restful sleep. Follow these tips to help you get to sleep faster and sleep longer:

  • Refrain from drinking caffeinated beverages later in the day
  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day
  • Upgrade to a more comfortable mattress and better bedding
  • Sleep in complete darkness
  • Dim the lights and refrain from the use of electronics a few hours before bedtime
  • Sleep in comfortable pajamas and bedding

Get some shuteye your health depends on it!

5. Manage your stress

Stress really is a silent killer it has adverse effects on almost every system in your body. When you are stressed, excess cortisol has a depressive effect on your metabolism and poses an elevated risk for damage to your heart. You are more likely to suffer from mental distress and depression if you are constantly and excessively stressed.

You must manage or learn to release your stress in healthy ways to promote total health. Try taking regular nature walks, taking up yoga and meditation, or developing a supportive network of family and friends who can support you and help shoulder burdens from time to time. We all have unpleasant life experiences from time to time knowing what to do when the chips are down will help you avoid stress levels from going up.

With these critical elements in place, consistent healthy habits and practices will do wonders for mind, body, and spirit. Practicing preventative measures is literally a matter of life and death; start creating the healthy, vibrant life you desire today!

Desserts for Diabetics

You will need a 9″ pie crust brushed with egg whites, ¼ cup whipping cream, ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 cup of fruit-sweet raspberry jam or syrup, ½ pint of fresh, rinsed raspberries, 1 packet of Equal or NutraSweet, 1/3 cup of fat free or light cream cheese, 2/3 cup of partially skin ricotta cheese, ¾ cup of milk, 1 4-serving package of instant sugar-free chocolate pudding, and a mint sprig to decorate each slice.

To make the Creamy Raspberry Filling, first beat the whipping cream. When it is nearly stiff, add the vanilla and a tablespoon of the strained raspberry jam or syrup. Save one berry for the garnish, and fold the remainder of the fresh raspberries and the Equal into the mix. Spread the filling evenly over the bottom of the baked pie shell.

To make the Chocolate Raspberry Mousse, blend the following thoroughly in a blender or food processor: The cream cheese, ricotta cheese and ½ cup of raspberry jam or syrup. When the mixture is smooth and no seeds are detected, hand stir in the milk. Beat in the chocolate pudding powder, only until it is thoroughly mixed. Pour the mousse mixture over the berry filling immediately, making sure that it spread evenly and until the edges of the crust.

Refrigerate for thirty to sixty minutes, until properly congealed. Or you can chill the pie for fifteen to twenty minutes in the freezer. When ready to serve, garnish each individual slice with one raspberry and one mint sprig.

You will need one cup of raisins, 1/3 cup of dates, ½ cup of chopped apples, ¾ cup of chopped nuts, 1 cup of water, ½ cup of vegetable shortening, two well-beaten eggs or egg-substitute, 2 ½ teaspoons of liquid sweetener, 1 cup of flour, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of baking powder.

Soak the raisins and dates for at least an hour. Then boil the raisins, dates and apples for a full three minutes. Next, you will want to add the shortening to melt, cool and add the remaining ingredients with nuts last. Refrigerate the mix until it is well chilled, then drop the mix by the teaspoon onto a cookie sheet. Bake the cookies at 350ºF. for 10 to 12 minutes, and enjoy!

Winter Grilling Tips

At our test kitchen we’re always working out of season. That means that we develop turkey recipes all summer for winter publications and then grill all through February for summer magazine articles. (In the picture above that’s recipe tester Rob Heidenreich and test kitchen manager Sabrina Falone’s arm cooking up summer recipes last week).

After years of shovelling snow off the patio to spend the day grilling, we’ve become savvy and safe cold-weather grillers. Here are our tips for cold-weather grilling success:

  1. Gas grills with higher BUT ratings heat up quickly even when it’s very cold so if you’re purchasing a gas grill and know that you want to use it in cold weather, opt for a unit with a BTU rating per square inch that is higher than 125.
  2. If you haven’t used the grill recently, check all gas lines, burners and jets for possible blockages. Insects such as spiders may pick these places to build cocoons for the winter and their homes will prevent fuel from flowing freely to the burners.
  3. Avoid wearing scarves or wide-sleeved jackets that may dangle into the flames and catch fire. Instead, opt for snugly fitted sleeves and a turtleneck sweater or a fleecy neck warmer.
  4. Although the garage may seem like a wind-sheltered, inviting spot to grill, the comfort is not worth the safety risk. Instead, set up the grill at least 10 feet away from the house to avoid the risk of a fire or an explosion that can result when grill flames and stray vapours from the gas furnace, water heater or the lawn mower’s fuel tank meet one another in an enclosed space.
  5. If necessary, brush off all snow on the grill to speed preheating and shovel the surrounding area to prevent a dangerously slippery skating rink from forming under and around your grill.
  6. Position your grill out of the wind to conserve heat.
  7. Many metals and almost all plastics get brittle in very cold weather so handle the knobs on the grill gently to avoid snapping them off.

Hamdog

The story made me think about other incongruous food combinations. Salads used to be simply lettuce with salad dressing. Over time, other raw vegetables made their way into salads. Now, people commonly put meat in their salad. Thus, we have tuna salad, chicken salad, fish salad, and we also have fruit salad. But “hamdog” seems to have crossed some line of respect. It is a presentation of two different critter meats. I say two, but who really knows what critter is in a hot dog?

Would you go to a fine restaurant and order “lambkin?” That would be lamb with chicken. How about “horsenpfeffer” (horse meat and rabbit stew)? They do eat horse meat in some countries. There is no reason why a meat-on-meat culinary creation cannot come to America from any country if the Australians can send us “hamdog.” In fact, the possibilities of what critter meat is in a hot dog expand greatly when you consider what Australian critter meats might be put in one of those.

My mom likes to eat fried chicken livers. Could “hamdog” inspire the combining of organ meats from different animals? If you are a vegan you may puke at the idea of that. Is vegan puke, combined with the puke of a meat-eater an enhancement of nausea? Maybe we had better take a stand. We should tell the Australians not to send “hamdog” to America, before we must learn to live with the “McHamdog.” If they don’t listen to us, we may have to retaliate. We could send them “gizzard-chitterlings,” which would be cooked bird stomach and hog intestines.

Rooftop Grill

If that describes what you’re looking for, you should consider the Cobb Premium Portable Grill. The Cobb does everything I’ve just described, and even more. It’s a great little grill that others have called a complete cooking system, and a “kitchen-in-a-bag.” I can give you some more information.

The Cobb is light, just under nine pounds, and very compact, fitting in an area just a little bigger than one square foot. Think about all the tiny corners you could store a grill like that in, and still leave enough room for all your other gear! When it comes time to get the Cobb out (or put it away!), there’s no lugging a heavy, cumbersome grill around. If a rooftop grill is what you need, the Cobb should be your grill of choice.

But what about what you buy a grill for in the first place… cooking? The Cobb Premium Portable Grill shines there, too. With just one or two of the Cobb’s available accessories, like the griddle, the roasting rack, and the frying dish/wok, you can use your Cobb for everything from roasting a whole prime rib or pork loin, to steaming some fresh beans or asparagus. Use the Cobb’s “secret” flavor well to add flavor and moisture to whatever you cook, and you’ll have your guests begging for more. They won’t believe you turned out their dinner on your rooftop grill!

They surely won’t believe that you did it all using just 8-10 charcoal briquettes, but that’s exactly what the Cobb uses. This little workhorse will burn for a full three hours on just that much charcoal. Where else can you find a grill that will do that? No more buying and lugging home those huge, heavy bags of briquettes. One small bag will last you weeks, or even months.

When it comes time to cleanup, the Cobb’s aluminum and stainless steel construction, and non-stick cooking surfaces, mean you can put the Cobb right in your dishwasher, letting you off the hook. The Cobb’ stainless steel mesh base stays cool-to-the-touch all throughout the cooking cycle, so you can cook on any surface safely and without fear, and even move your Cobb around during cooking. No other rooftop grill has all these features and benefits.

Roast Beef

Choose a cut that is perfect for roasting

The best joint for roasting is rib of beef. There should be plenty of fat on top of your cut, and preferably throughout as well. Even if you don’t like to eat the fat (which I find very strange but each to his own), it will greatly improve the taste and texture of the meat, making it juicy and rich.

Take the joint out of the fridge well in advance

Beef must be around room temperature before you stick it in the oven. Take your joint out of the fridge well in advance – at least 30 minutes, but preferably an hour or two (depending on how big it is). You can spend this time admiring it and thinking how wonderful it will be once cooked!

Season well

Season your joint just before cooking – I use a simple mix of salt and pepper, just rubbed all over the meat. This complements the flavour of the meat.

Seal the meat

The first step to roasting beef is to “seal” the meat so that all juices are kept inside while cooking. Some people advise frying the joint, but I think searing it in the oven is better, as the heat gets to the whole of the surface at once.

Preheat the oven to 250C/475F/Gas Mark 9 – please note this can take a while, so for best results use an oven thermometer to measure the temperature inside. Once the oven is extremely hot, stick your joint in for 15 minutes – regardless of size.

While the meat is searing, delicious sizzling meat smell will start to emerge in the kitchen. Enjoy it!