Seafood Grilling Tips

  • Make sure your grill is clean and oiled. Fish sticks to the grill very easily, so proper lubrication is essential. If you don’t oil your grill, the fish will stick, and break apart when you try to remove it. Grab a wad of paper towels, or a rolled up kitchen towel in a pair of tongs. Dip the paper towels or kitchen towel into some vegetable oil, and rub the oil onto the grill. You can also spray the grill with cooking spray, just be sure the grill is off when you do this, or the spray could ignite, injuring you.
  • Use fresh fish if possible, since it is easier to work with than frozen fish. Each serving should be about 6-8 ounces for fillets or steaks, and 8-12 ounces for whole fish.
  • You can place fish directly on the grill, but if you do this, you should use a firm fleshed fish, like grouper, tuna, swordfish, or salmon. You can also buy grill baskets made for grilling seafood. These will help small pieces of fish from falling through the grill, and will help in grilling delicate fillets.
  • Cook the fish over medium-hot to hot heat. If your grill doesn’t have a thermometer, then hold your hand about 5 inches above the heat. If you can hold your hand there for 2 seconds, the temperature is hot. If you can hold your hand 5 inches from the heat for 3-4 seconds, it is medium hot. If you’re cooking whole fish, you’ll need to have the temperature a bit lower, so the fish won’t burn. You should plan on cooking the fish for about 10 minutes for every inch of thickness. The fish is done cooking when it is opaque, and begins to flake. It is better to undercook the fish a bit than overcooking it. You can always cook it some more if it is undercooked, but you can’t uncook it if it is overcooked.
  • Marinades are a good way to add flavor and moisture to the fish before cooking. You only need to marinate fish for 30-60 minutes. If you marinate the fish for too long, the acids in the marinade will start to cook and break down the flesh. Lean fish should also be basted during cooking to keep the fish from drying out. Fattier fish, like tuna and salmon don’t need basting, but you can baste them to add more flavor.

Dumplings

Dumplings are an ancient food. Historians believe that cavemen actually prepared some version. (Perhaps ground up dinosaur formed into a ball and dropped into boiling water, once they figured out how to create fire.) Filled dumplings probably developed centuries later, known as iiaozi, most likely about 2,000 years ago. Credit for their creation is given to a man named Zhang Zhongjian, a renowned doctor of herbal medicine during the Han Dynasty. Many poor people in his hometown suffered from the cold temperatures and had frost bitten ears. He made up big vats of boiled vegetable soup, added herbs, then dropped in dumplings and fed the concoction to the populace. (Surely this was the forerunner to chicken soup for colds and flu.) The dumplings were made from thin wheat sheets and chopped vegetables. The herbal soup was filling, soothing and helped unthaw the locals. They actually resembled the same shape and size you see today in Chinese restaurants.

Although they had been eaten for centuries in China, during the 13th century Turkish traders were introduced to manti dumplings in Mongolia. They resembled the traditional Chinese, a thin dough filled with meats and veggies then steamed, often served with garlic and yogurt, pickled cabbage or cucumber. The Turks took them back to the Middle East and from there they made their way to Western Europe, where each country created its own version. Italians first introduced the concept of dumplings with their light, potato-based gnocchi sometime in the 15th century. Sadly for explorer Marco Polo, who lived several hundred years earlier, he missed out on this glorious Italian specialty and had to limit his dumpling consumption to trips to China. (A long way to go for take-out.) Eventually tortellini and ravioli pasta were created, similar to the Chinese wonton.

India has many versions of dumplings, which vary by region and by traditional holidays and religious feasts. Africa as well features a multitude of types and cooking methods, from country to country. Spanish empanadas are a favorite in many South American countries, including Mexico and the Caribbean. They may be fried or steamed, with sweet or savory fillings. English and Irish usually drop them into stews. In Czech and other Slavic countries, bread dumplings are the most popular, which are made from a yeast dough, formed into one large dumpling resembling a football, and boiled until done. Light and delicious, they are served with gravy or sauerkraut. Fruit dumplings, a favorite dessert or light meal, are prepared by wrapping dough around a plum or apricot and boiling until done, then topped with melted butter, cinnamon, sugar and served hot.

For the Colonists, dumplings in some form were an easy way to stretch soups and stews. And there is some evidence that even the Native American Indians had some form prior to the Colonial settlements, probably made with corn meal. They could take just about any meat or vegetable, chop it up, wrap it in dough or some old bread and drop it into the boiling pot over the hearth. As thousands of ethnic immigrants poured into New York City, they brought their own traditional recipes and versions with them, turning the country’s melting pot into just that–filled with dumplings. In the Midwest and the South, where chickens were plentiful and Sunday dinner was a tradition, chicken and dumplings took center stage after a morning in church. This popular dish is still embraced and enjoyed by millions and is as traditional as apple pie, or make that apple dumplings. It is highly likely that foodie President Thomas Jefferson enjoyed Sunday dinners of chicken and dumplings at the White House as well as his home, Monticello.

Many restaurants and towns across the country celebrate Dumpling Week, and entire restaurants feature them in their name. (The Dumpling House is a popular eatery in Chicago’s suburbs where a large population of Slovak and German descendants reside.)

If there is one common food that unites the entire world, it’s got to be dumplings. So did the cavemen start the trend? Or was it the Chinese? You decide. The Japanese said it best: “Dumplings are better than flowers.”

Strawberry Fields Forever

Gathered in the woods by early colonists, foodie president Thomas Jefferson experimented with different varieties in his vast gardens as early as 1789, serving them up at grand dinners to the delight of his guests. His frustration was the small size at that time, still a strain of the Alpine variety which he brought home from France. Fortunately, horticulturists and growers continued to work on producing a larger size and of course were eventually successful.

But Americans are not the only country which cherishes this delightful red fruit. They are a tradition at England’s Wimbledon annual tennis tournament, served with cream. In Italy, strawberries are a favorite gelato flavor. The Greeks like to dip them in sugar, then roll them in brandy. Japan still experiments with dozens of varieties, which were originally very expensive and available only for royalty. During the 1930s, their production was increased dramatically, and they now rank as one of the top growers in the world.

Needless to say, America’s love affair with the strawberry is legendary, as we far surpass any other country in production and usage, cranking out 1.5 million tons a year, a third of the entire world’s production. Translating into just over 9 pounds per American in consumption, here’s what tops the U.S. hit parade:

  • Jam – America’s favorite flavor
  • Shortcake – with biscuits or sponge cake, topped with whipped cream, a classic
  • Pie – either fresh (with a sugar glaze) or baked, often with rhubarb
  • Ice cream – in popular Neapolitan (with chocolate and vanilla) or by itself
  • Yogurt – fruit on the bottom or blended
  • Smoothies – blended and flavorful
  • Pairs well with bananas
  • Fresh – by themselves, sliced and sugared or as a topping
  • Chocolate-covered – a candy and fruit in one
  • Sliced – on breakfast cereal and pancakes

Hardy and easy to grow, the plants also make an attractive ground cover, although local critters like to sneak into backyards and devour the fruit when the coast is clear. They also freeze well and can be enjoyed year-round.

If you are fortunate to live in a region where strawberries are grown, an enjoyable outing is visiting a “pick your own” field, even though it’s tiring under a hot sun and puts a strain on the back, worth doing once (and all you can eat in the process). So make it a point to pick up a quart or two on your next visit to the local supermarket or farmers market. The best ones are fresh, ripe and flavorful.

Tips On Cooking Tuna

Pan fried Tuna

This method is very simple and quick. In a very hot and lightly oiled pan seal a 175 g steak for a couple of minutes on either side, then take off the heat and rest. This will produce a cooking level similar to medium rare in a Beef steak. If you prefer then cook for a little longer. Serve on a something of your choice. Try a chilli flavoured salsa, or chunky mashed potato mixed with chopped olives.

An alternative Salad

Cut strips around 1cm square and 6cm long. You will need five per serving Quickly fry in sesame oil, to cooler on all sides, place on top of the seasoned salad. Prepare the salad with some imagination. Use a small handful of leaves, small tomatoes, French beans, artichoke hearts, boiled egg and stoned olives. By not including the traditional anchovy fillets and capers the salt level will be dramatically reduced. The Tuna may be replaced by other types of shellfish. Try thin strips of Squid or chunky Prawns stir fried with a Chilli sauce.

Cured and marinated loin of Tuna

This dish takes some preparing but is well worth the time. For a starter or light lunch for four people you will need 450 g of loin of skinned Tuna from the thinner tail end. The first stage will consist of tightly wrapping the fish in cling and freezing at minus 18 degrees Celsius for five days Since the fish served uncooked this first stage i.e. necessary to kill any possible parasites, which would normally be eradicated during the cooking process. Allow the fish to defrost in a fridge.. Cut matchstick pieces of fresh ginger and stuff them into the length of the fish. Either use a larding stick or create a whole with a bamboo kebab stick. Separate the sticks of ginger by about 1cm. Do the same with thin strips of tender lemon grass. Rub into the surfaces 25 g of salt and sugar. Place in a small container, cover with fresh fennel shoots and drizzle with a liquor of you choice. Cover and place in the fridge. Each day turn over and baste with the juices. After four days it will be ready to serve. Cut wafer thin slices and place on cold plates, serve with lemon wedges and whole meal bread.

Chicken on the Grill

There are many ways to prepare the chicken, but usually the chicken is marinated for at least two hours beforehand. The types of marinade vary from Asian styles to Indian styles and other styles as well. One of my favorites is satay chicken and the marinade recipe and the satay sauce recipe are shown below. Usually, I prefer to cook boned chicken thighs on the grill, rather than legs or wings. There is no problem cooking these pieces, only a personal preference.

Marinade for the satay chicken (for 600gm of chicken). Place this mixture with the strips of chicken that will be suitable for skewers into a sealed plastic bag into the refrigerator for up to five hours.

Two Tablespoons of thai chilli sauce

One tablespon of soy sauce

Two teaspoons of crushed garlic (fresh is best)

Two teaspoons of crushed ginger

Two tablespoons lemon juice (or lime juice)

Satay Sauce for basting. Basting is best done with a silicone basting brush (as it is heat resistant, and real easy to clean)

300 g of peanut butter (most of a small jar)

One 400 ml (or so) can of coconut milk

Two tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce (or more if a sharper taste is desired)

Two tablespoons of oyster sauce

Add sugar, if a sweeter taste is desired

A medium hot (oiled) grill will do the trick, if the chicken is turned every five to ten minutes, basting regularly depending how thick the chicken is. The process is much the same if the chicken is whole or on skewers, and allow about thirty minutes to cook the chicken thoroughly. Check the chicken by cutting the thickest piece to see if the flesh is all white (There should be no hint of red)

Serve hot with vegetables of choice, and add the sauce onto the chicken if there is any left!

Cook Salmon on a Grill Perfectly Every Time

First of all, you want to leave the skin on the salmon. This will help the salmon cook all the way through without charring the meat. Heat your grill to medium high heat.

The next thing you want to do is rub or brush the skin of the salmon with a bit of olive oil. This is one of the greatest tips on how to cook salmon.

The olive oil on the skin helps bring out the flavor of the meat. The small layer of fat on the skin also helps with flavor.

You can also season the salmon with your own personal seasonings if you choose. Some good seasonings for Salmon are lemon and pepper seasoning, garlic, and cayenne pepper.

It’s up to you on what kind of seasoning you want. You will place the salmon skin side down on the grill and cook for around five to seven minutes.

Check to make sure that no part of the salmon is cooking faster than another. If there are parts which are cooking faster, move the salmon to a cooler part of the grill.

Continue cooking for another five to seven minutes. It’s not hard to learn how to cook salmon if you remember to leave the skin on, and keep the grill closed while it’s cooking.

Also, you want to check and make sure the meat of the salmon is flaky and not heavy. Then, take the salmon from the grill and brush with butter and a bit of lemon juice. Yummy!

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Americans are adopting such superfoods in day-to-day life because of its high nutritious values. Toasted seeds are easily replaceable with fried and unhealthy snacks. Peoples like us in United States want to cut down the calories without missing the tasty, crunchy snacks. So, there is no better option than roasted or toasted seeds.

Let’s check out the nutritious values of toasted pumpkin seed. It is high in fiber. If you look through vitamins side, it is having vitamin B as well vitamin E. There are various essential minerals like zinc iron and magnesium. There are some vendors who offer gluten free seeds as packed snack food. Such kind of products can help people to maintain their healthy snacks habits even if they have celiac disease.

In it, you have great option of having low calorie healthy snack. You can toast at home by shaking the pan constantly over medium heat until seeds turn golden brown. If you don’t want to waste time in making toasted pumpkin seeds, there are manufacturers who made available the toasted seeds in various sizes of packages. So, you can buy the healthy packaged snack from a grocer or manufacture’s outlet.

One of the said idioms “precaution is better than cure” is perfectly suitable to this healthy food. Toasted seeds help you to take precaution by offering various vitamins and minerals with fiber. It is low calorie snacks, so there is no more chance to have high cholesterol level. It is also gluten free, that’s why it is great healthy snack for people having celiac decease. Its special element also helps to fight against depression. A study has proven that it also prevent the formation of stone.

Various families in America are adopting the concept of healthy snack on board. Are you one of them? If not, be one of the healthy families by having it in your daily healthy snacks diet. There are several vendors offering large variety of packaged toasted seeds. So, grab it and be the healthy family.

Types of Cheesecakes

Cheesecake is one of the most common and popular desserts in the world today. It is also one of the oldest made from a dairy product other than milk. Cheesecakes can be made of ricotta cheese, havarti, quark, twaróg, or more usually, cream cheese. Other ingredients such as sugar, eggs, cream and fruit are often mixed in, too. This is the reason why there are so many types of cheesecakes because the number of recipes you can come up with are virtually unlimited.

So what styles of cheesecakes are there? Below are just a few with a brief description of each. There is the good old American style cheese cake. These are usually made from cream cheese, which was invented in 1872. After James Kraft invented this type of cheese, it became the top product for making cheesecake in America.

New York style cheese cake is a little different. It also uses cream cheese but relies on heavy cream, eggs, and egg yolks in addition to the cream cheese to add a richness and smooth consistency. New York style cheesecake is also called Jewish style cheesecake. It’s baked in a special 5 to 6 inch spring form pan.

Then there is Chicago style cheesecake. This is another cream cheese version that has been made popular by Eli’s Cheesecake. This style of cream cheese cake is firm on the outside and creamy inside. People from Chicago claim there is none better. Naturally.

Pennsylvania Dutch style cheesecake gets its taste from a tangy kind of cottage cheese. This cheese has larger curds and less water content. This type of cottage cheese is called pot or farmer’s cheese.

Sour cream cheesecake is said to have come from the United States some time in the mid 20th century. It still used cream cheese but no heavy cream in the recipe. It is mostly used for making cheesecakes that are outside of the New York style. It can actually be frozen for short periods of time without ruining the texture.

Roman style cheesecake uses honey and a ricotta-like cheese along with flour and is traditionally shaped into loaves. Some recipes use bay leaves as a preservative. It is still baked in certain areas of Rome that kept cooking traditions after the fall of Rome.

French style cheesecakes are very light. They use gelatin as the main binding ingredient and are usually only about 1 to 2 inches in height. This cheesecake gets its light texture from a cheese found in the outdoor markets in the south of France and in fine pastry shops in Paris.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it will give you a good start on your search for the cheesecake that YOU think is the best.

Preparing Alaskan King Crab

The bulk of Alaskan Crab consumed in North America is pre-cooked and frozen, a practice that would not be tolerated by seafood eaters in the rest of the world. Where the emphasis is on buying shellfish such as Crab or Lobster. Fresh shellfish does not benefit from being frozen – moisture, texture and flavour will all be reduced. You could ask yourself why is it pre-cooked and available frozen? Is it to maintain freshness? No, how can freezing preserve freshness. Is it because when landed the Crab are in a precarious state of life, if alive at all? Most forms of Crab do not take kindly to being disturbed from their natural habitat, and are not good travellers, especially in tightly confined spaces. At best a large proportion will be struggling for life and some will have died, cooking and freezing at the landing point is the only salvation.

When it is stated that king Crab has the best flavour in the world, a fact that many people around the world would dispute, why freeze the Crab? Buy it freshly and cook it right away. If fresh supplies do not exist, then try another form of fresh seafood, there are over 20,000 species in the world, so something else will available.

Your store or market might have holding tanks to keep the Crabs alive, if not make certain that the Crab shows some sign of life and was recently caught, and has no undesirable smell. If you are only interested in the legs and not the body then break them into even sized manageable pieces.

They can now be cooked in a various ways. In unsalted water, boil the legs for around six minutes if of medium size, or steam for the same length of time. Any flavourings added to the boiling water, such as sea salt will only distract from the natural flavour of the crab. To grill coat the legs in vegetable oil and under high heat grill for around eight minutes, turning over once. To bake place in a baking tray with 1 cm of hot water and several squeezed lemons, cover and at 180 degrees Celsius bake for ten minutes. Crack open and enjoy with whatever dip that you choose. However as with most things in life there are alternative ways to cook and serve a food ingredient such as Crab. Do not just rely upon the same old tried and tested ways, but some variety into your life.

Crab Cakes – with any remaining Crab legs make a simple nibble that you can bring out and quickly fry when unexpected guests arrive. For 30 cakes you will need 350 g Crab meat, 650 g uncooked Prawns, shelled and de-veined, 1 tablespoon of red curry paste, an egg, 2 spring onions, 2 tablespoon of coriander and lemon grass, 1 chilli. Blend the ingredients and form into thin circular disks. When needed fry in a lightly oil covered shallow pan until golden and serve with a dipping sauce. Pan fry from frozen.

Bread on the Grill

We can think of all kinds of reasons to use the grill. You can enjoy fresh baked bread while camping, or at the cabin, or at the next family reunion. Sometimes, it’s just nice to get out of the kitchen, enjoy the spring air, and bake outside. (Watch the neighbors turn their noses upwind when the smell of fresh baked bread wafts over the fence.) And in the summertime, you don’t have to heat up the kitchen to bake. Finally, if there is ever an extended emergency when the power is off, you may have the only fresh bread in town.

You can bake nearly anything with a covered grill. (If your grill doesn’t have a cover, improvise with a large inverted pot.) The heat rises and circulates in the covered area just as it does in your oven. The heat source can be charcoal, gas, or even wood. We prefer gas because it is easier to control and does not impart a smoked taste to the bread. Since it is hottest near the flames, elevate the bread even if you have to improvise. In our grill, there is a secondary shelf for baking potatoes and such.

For this demonstration, we used Old-Fashioned White Bread mixes though any mix or recipe will do. We mixed according to package directions. After it had risen, we formed one batch into oval country loaves, one into hamburger buns, and another into dinner rolls.

The trick to grilling bread perfectly is controlling temperature and time. If your grill comes equipped with a thermometer, you’ve got it made (though outside temperatures and winds may impact how well your grill retains heat). If you have a thermometer, just heat to the temperature designated on the package or in the recipe. If not, guess. After a few loaves you’ll have it perfect and we bet that the first batch off the grill will be just fine.

Rolls and buns will probably bake in 15 to 20 minutes and loaves will take 20 to 30 minutes depending on size and temperature. An occasional peek to see how your bread is doing as it nears completion is okay.

We made twelve giant-sized hamburger buns, just the ticket for that quarter-pounder. Form the buns as you would dinner rolls then press them flat several times until they look like those in the picture to the left. (The dusting that you can see on the pan is cornmeal.) Cover and let rise.

Just before baking, we washed the buns with an egg white wash (one egg white plus one tablespoon of water). We then sprinkled them with sesame seeds. On our grill, we baked them with the heat turned about two-thirds open for about 18 minutes.

For the dinner rolls, we used a 8 1/2 x 15-inch pan and made 20 rolls scaled at 2.5 ounces each.

We made two country style loaves from one mix. If you look closely you’ll see that we forgot to slash the tops to release the steam and consequently ended up with a split on the side of the loaf. Don’t do as we did-score two or three quarter-inch deep slashes on the top of the loaf just as you begin baking.

Here are a few more hints to help you along the way:

  • Bake the bread before the burgers. The bread can cool while you cook the rest of the food. Burning grease in the bottom of the grill makes the temperature harder to control and the soot can stain the bread.
  • If you are letting your bread rise outside where the temperature may be less than indoors or where breezes may swirl around the bread, consider using a large food-grade plastic bag as a greenhouse. Simply slip the bread dough–pan and all–inside the bag, inflate it slightly, and close it. If the day is cool, set the bag and the bread in a sunny warm place to capture a little solar energy.
  • Grills tend to not circulate the hot air as well as ovens. To keep the bottom of the bread from burning, place one pan beneath the other and a wire rack between the pans to create space for insulation.
  • If your bread is baking faster on one side than the other, turn the pan 180 degrees part way through the baking time.
  • The tendency is to burn the bottom of the bread. Place the bread as far away from the flames as you can even if it means elevating the bread.

We hope that you have fun baking bread outside this summer. We do know that you will be the envy of the neighborhood, campground, or RV park.