Grilling Vegetables

The intense dry heat of the grill carmelizes plant sugars. And this makes the vegetables taste very sweet.

Some vegetables, like corn, form a sweet outer shell. Onions, soften to a buttery texture. Bell peppers soak in the smoke and become almost meaty.

Grilling vegetables takes much less time than any meat.

Start with fresh good-quality produce. When vegetables age, they become dehydrated and they taste dry. Don’t use any vegetables that are wrinkled or have damages to their skin.

Use lots of color when grilling. Mix peppers, such as, red, green, orange, and yellow. If you want to turn up the heat, add a hot pepper such as a serrano.

You can grill almost any vegetable. Try grilled tomatoes, artichokes or zuccini. Just sprinkle some olive oil and salt and pepper before you grill. Or you can sprinkle vinegar and some herbs on them first.

Use high heat when grilling tomatoes. Only turn them once and remove from heat. Use them as an appetizer or on sandwiches. You can make a meal of only low-calorie grilled vegetables. They can also be used tossed with more olive oil as a side dish.

Grilled tomatoes can be made into bruschetta. Use them on Italian bread slices that are toasted.

Fresh Bass

Most forms of wild fish have up to 12 days shelf life if kept in ideal conditions. These conditions being that the fish is thoroughly cleaned as soon as caught, also scaled and having the fins and gills removed. The reason for the thorough cleaning is to prevent enzyme action, both in the gut of the fish and the surface of the fish, from contaminating and damaging the flesh of the fish, and at a minimum creating an unpleasant smell.

After cleaning, store the Bass in ice to keep the temperature around freezing point. These storage conditions must be maintained until it reaches the retailer, where you will make your purchase.

But does it happen? Well in the main no. The fish is rarely cleaned at sea. It might undergo some chilling on the journey back to the fishing port, but will probably not be packed in ice since this should be removed for the auction. In all likelihood the fish will now be packed with ice for the wholesaler to transport. But once again when sold to the retailer it is likely to have the ice removed to re-weigh. The fish will now arrive at the retailer some several days old, where in most cases it will still not be cleaned. The deterioration will now be advancing rapidly. This is your fresh fish!

The only way to resolve the problem is to incur the extra labour costs both at sea and through the distribution process, to meet all of the correct conditions. It will cost more money to buy the fish, but it will be in a better condition. Insist on your fish supplier going some way along the correct process by stocking line caught fish from a day boat, who ideally cleans the fish on board. But do not buy the Bass if it remains unclean on the fish suppliers slab.

If we go back several stages and assume that you have just received freshly caught fish, then these are the stages that you need to carry out to clean the Bass. With a sharp set of kitchen scissors cut off the fins. Next, using a small sharp knife scrape off the scales, this is best carried out with the fish under water in the sink, to stop the scales scattering all over the kitchen. Now with a sharp knife open the gut from the vent, at the tail end, to the mouth at the head end, and remove all the stomach contents and the bright red gills. Wash the cavity, and the outside of the fish, taking special care to remove the blood along the inner spine, and dry. You now have a clean fish Now fillet the Bass. With a sharp knife cut on either side of the spine, and gradually work your way along the length of the fish to remove the fillets from the skeleton. Check to make certain that there are no tiny pin bones remaining, remove with tweezers or pliers. Now cut the fish fillet into even sized and thickness fillets of around 150 g, use any trimmings for fish stock or in a fish stew.

For Sea Bass it is preferable to leave the skin on. For the thicker fillets make slight incisions in the skin of the fish, to ease cooking.

Finally to the frying. Have a pan of a size suitable to take the fillets. Lightly coat with a vegetable oil of your choice, and bring up to medium heat. Place the fillets skin side down in the pan until it is light golden and slightly crispy, but not burnt. Turn the fish over to complete the cooking. Check that the thickest part of the fish is 62 degrees Celsius.

Casseroles

Why do we like casseroles so much? This isn’t fine cuisine — it’s comfort food. These are often your family’s favorite dishes. Casseroles are good for your budget too. Many recipes can be made with leftovers and staples from your pantry. Even better, if you have any left, you can divide and freeze the leftovers and you’ll always have something to take to work for lunch. That plugs one of the biggest holes in many people’s budget.

Casseroles are crowd pleasers. These are easy dishes for church suppers or potlucks. Be sure to bring the recipe with you as people will be asking for it.

Here are a few of our favorite casserole recipes:

Chicken and Apples Casserole

  • 1 chicken, cut up
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 or 4 apples, peeled, cored and sliced (Granny Smith are best)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup apple juice, cider or brandy

Brown chicken in butter. Place a layer of sliced apples in a two-quart casserole. Add chicken, then add remaining apples. Add sugar, salt, pepper and onions to juice. Pour into pan in which chicken was browned. Stir, warm, and pour over chicken. Bake, covered, for 45 minutes at 375 degrees.

Dad’s Favorite Casserole

  • 1/2 pound noodles
  • 3 medium onions
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 2 pounds ground chuck
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon salad oil
  • 1 can cream of celery soup, combined with 1 can milk
  • 1-1/2 cups grated cheese
  • 3 eggs, beaten

Cook noodles; drain. Cook onion in skillet in butter. Season meat with salt, pepper and thyme; brown in oil, stirring to break up meat, about 10 minutes. In a three-quart casserole arrange 1/3 noodles, then half of meat mixture and half of soup mixture. Repeat, ending with noodles for the top layer. Sprinkle grated cheese over casserole. Pour beaten eggs on top of cheese. Bake for 60 minutes at 350 degrees or until hot, bubbly and brown.

Outdoor Barbecue Grills

The taste of the food prepared using the charcoal grills will be better than that prepared using gas grills. The reason is that the gas grill can not give the smoky flavor to the food which is produced by the charcoal grills. If you want to cook in a bulk the gas grill will be convenient.

The charcoal grills will be a better option for cooking less quantity of food and it is easy to transfer too. The charcoal grills are less expensive as well. There are some disadvantages for charcoal grills. In a rainy day it will be difficult to light the grills and also to keep it lit till the end of cooking. After igniting the grills one has to wait till the flames die out and the coals are hot.

The food may get burnt easily soon since it is difficult to control the heat. The charcoal has to get cooled down completely before cleaning the grills. This may take hours and one will have to wait till that. When charcoal grill is used grease, ash and charcoal will be formed. Removal of these ashes for cleaning the grill can be messy. After each use the coal has to be disposed.

Gas grills are easy to ignite. The heat of the grill can be controlled easily, so there is no need of worrying about burning of the food. The gas grills may have more than one burner which can be operated independently. This helps in simultaneous cooking of different food stuffs which require different cooking temperatures. Another main advantage is of cleaning with less toil.

The selection of gas grills can be done based on the size and shape of the grill. The main drawback of the gas grill is that the smoky flavor is not obtained in this. Comparatively the gas grill is costly. It requires more space also since it is bigger than the charcoal grills.

Points to be considered to make effective use of out door barbecue are:

  1. Check whether there is adequate fuel.
  2. Charcoal should be stored in a dry place.
  3. The cooking time and fuel used will be more when outdoor barbecue will be in cold or gusty weather.
  4. Place barbecue in a direction of the wind away from the crowd.
  5. Spray some vegetable oil over the grill before lighting it.
  6. Small pieces can be placed in skewers.
  7. All the things needed for grilling should be assembled in a tray before starting. This includes the tools, utensils and raw ingredients.
  8. If the outdoor barbecue is lit once, do not leave it unattended.

Grilling Fish

The grate must be clean.

A little bit of oil should be applied to both the fish and the grate.

Heat should be medium high to high.

Use a wide spatula (or two) instead of tongs or a fork to turn it.

Even this may not work on all grills. Some grills have a very small surface area verses open space area (grate gaps). If you really like grilling fish, your best bet is to

Get a grate with more surface area than space.

Because fish is so delicate, many people have come up with their own ways of grilling fish (so it won’t fall apart). One way is to

Leave the skin on.

But some people (like me) prefer no skin. Without the skin, fish will take on the flavors of smoke, seasonings, sauces, etc.

So, what else do we do? Another way is to

Use aluminum foil.

Using a piece of foil on the grate under the fish will keep it from falling through.

There are also what I call fish baskets available.

They are like a pan with small holes in it.

Grilling fish is much more common now than it used to be. It would probably be done more often, too, if the sticking problem were solved. The fish is already tender. And once it is cooked, it tends to flake apart very easily.

That may be the biggest obstacle of all. Sticking just makes it worse. I guess even if it didn’t stick at all, it still might be hard to turn over on the grill. So use the suggestions as you see fit. Eliminate your sticking problems, but be prepared to deal with all that tender falling-apart fish.

Drinking Tea While Eating to Lose Weight

Furthermore, since we sleep during the day, we find no time for exercise, so there is a big chance to develop this mild to severe obesity.

We mainly use carbohydrates, which is mainly glucose, from what we eat. Left unused, this turns into fat. This fat is stored in our cells, so we should not wonder why we cannot get rid of the love handles.

The consequence is we search for slimming pills online that we are hopeful could solve this fat problem. When using these pills or laxatives, either we see only a temporary improvement or that they are not effective at all. Some of us even attempt different types of diet, the modified types, like the paleo, the vegan, and other trending diets we read on the Internet.

The solution is simple – drinking tea while eating. You may call this a trick, but this is simply changing the way we eat. Green tea, which has flavonoids aside from a bit of caffeine, is unquestionably beneficial to the body. It makes us think more clearly, more active during the day, makes us awake with minimal side effects, unlike coffee.

Coffee has more addictive content – caffeine, as we know it. A potent content, caffeine causes sleeplessness and, in some people, tremor, nervousness, and agitation. Other coffee-lovers may develop withdrawal symptoms or tolerance, which is when they can no longer feel the effect of coffee, such as keeping them awake. The coffee’s effects here may be exclusive only to black coffee.

Green tea’s effects include detoxification without damaging the kidney. Back to the main topic, green tea improves fat oxidation and metabolism. Drinking tea while eating is more effective than drinking it at night. The tea instantly takes effect while our body is digesting the food we have just eaten.

Tea also improves insulin secretion, which hormone regulates macronutrient metabolism. Hence, if there is a normal secretion of insulin in the bloodstream, the glucose level would be in balance, preventing diabetes mellitus type II.

Types of Italian Food

When people think Italian food the first thing that comes to mind are pasta dishes. According to experts they believe that pasta came to Italy sometime during the 9th century. It was thought to have come from an Arabic recipe that combined water and flour but today Italy has perfected pasta in many different forms. In addition to spaghetti you will also find other Italian pasta dishes like ravioli, which are filled pastas. Italian food also includes dumpling-like pasta that is made from potatoes called gnocchi. Most pasta dishes, including gnocchi, are usually served in some type of sauce. The most common Italian sauce is called marinara and is made from a tomato base and includes garlic, onions, and herbs like oregano and basil. Many of the classic Italian pasta and sauce dishes will have various cheese and meats or vegetables that have been sautéed in olive oil added to the dish.

Italian food is also noted for using seafood in many of their dishes. One notable food, Calamari, is a dish that has deep-friend quid that has been garnished with parmesan cheese. It is a very popular appetizer. The fish dishes found in Italian cuisine are generally simple and reflect the seasonality of the food. It is usually cooked in olive oil, parsley, and lemon juice that will offer different variations but keeping the integrity of the original flavors. There are also many different Italian desserts. Tiramisu is one of the more popular desserts. It is a concoction of sponge cake that is flavored with marsala-wine and espresso. It is layered with a heavy custard and coated in cocoa powder. Another favorite dessert is gelato, which is a frozen dense dessert that is similar to ice cream. The difference is that gelato is more creamy and rich.

Honey vs Sugar

Both sweeteners contain glucose and fructose. However, for sugar, in the process of manufacturing, the organic acids, protein, nitrogen elements, enzymes and vitamins in the sugar cane are destroyed, whereas honey, a natural sweetener, subjects only to minimal heating. Also, honey has certain beneficial antioxidant and antimicrobial properties which are not present in table sugar.
Here are three honey nutrition facts that will make you feel good about eating honey:

  • One tablespoon of table sugar or sucrose contains 46 calories, while one tablespoon of natural sweetener honey has 64 calories. Though honey may have more calories, we actually need to use less of it since it is sweeter than table sugar. As a result, you may in fact consume even less amount of calories that you would with sugar. And in the long run even though honey is more expensive, it may be more economical than table sugar.
  • Compared to table sugar, honey has a healthier Glycemic Index (GI) which measures the negative impact of a given food on the blood-glucose level. The lower the GI rating, the slower the absorption and infusion of sugars into the bloodstream and hence a more gradual and healthier digestion process.
  • Unlike honey, table sugar lacks minerals and vitamins (hence it’s been often called empty calories), they draw upon the body’s nutrients to be metabolized into the system. When these nutrients are all used up, metabolizing of undesirable cholesterol and fatty acid is impeded, contributing to higher cholesterol and promoting obesity due to higher fatty acid on the organs and tissues. So the message is, if you are watching your weight, honey will be a smarter choice than sugar.

Eating Raw Fish

The benefits of eating raw fish dishes

The most important one being that they all taste wonderful and look brilliant on the plate, and there is a great range from which to choose. Cold smoking fish with all kinds of types of wood shavings and flavourings. The coating of fish with herbs, spices and flavoured spirits such as Fennel Liquor. The discussion could stop now. However there is one very important fact to consider as a health benefit to us all.

They are raw, and as such give us all great health benefits.

In the normal preparation and cooking process some of the vital ingredients, such as vitamins and minerals, are lost through being washed away or destroyed by heat. This happens with most forms of fresh food when cooked. Raw fish is of course not cooked, and as a results benefits us all in retaining very high proportions of the gifts of nature, such as vitamins and minerals. So we can eat really healthy food that tastes great. However, let us consider the other side of the equation.

The dangers of eating raw fish dishes

Now there is no need for anybody to become paranoid about the dangers, because they are not widespread and are easily resolved. The potential problem is parasitic infection, commonly known as worms, that naturally spreads through the food chain. If undetected parasites can cause us serious intestinal problems, which in many cases we are not aware of. The stomach problems happen as a result of the consumption of eggs, that then grow and develop in our stomachs.

The parasites themselves pass through the food chain from the smaller to the larger species. In some instances they can be visually seen in the stomach wall. However with most cases they will be not noticed because they will be in the form of very small eggs, which in the process of preparing raw fish dishes for consumption can end up in the finished dish, as well as cross contaminating working surfaces.

However, have no fear because help is at hand, in the form of temperature, either hot or cold. Any parasitic infection will be totally eliminated if the core of your fish reaches a minimum of 62 degrees celsius. So for cooked seafood there is no problem. It is of course ideal to check the temperature of cooked dishes with a digital probe, which are very quick acting and affordable. So you can rest assured that your cooked fish dishes will be totally safe if you reach the minimum temperature.

To return to raw fish dishes the problem can also be easily and simply resolved. The fish needs to be frozen. There are no doubt screams of horror taking place now across our planet. Why we are freezing fresh fish? The reason is simple, this process will totally kill all parasitic action. There are various recommendations for the length of time and the temperature to be reached. The standard that is most commonly accepted is to freeze for 120 hours at a temperature of minus 18 degrees centigrade. Other options will take a shorter period but at a lower temperature, which is not achievable in with most domestic freezing equipment. Providing that the fish, in either whole or fillet, is tightly wrapped in cling film or sealed, it will lose very little moisture and have no freezer burn.

After the freezing process you can now progress to curing, salting or pickling your fish in total confidence that there will be no potential problem. Some of the fish you buy might already be frozen. To give yourself total reassurance freeze all the versions for the 120 hour period, and then enjoy the great Raw Fruits Of The Sea.

Raw fish dishes either smoked, marinated, pickled, salted or just raw provide seafood lovers with some wonderful tastes that cannot be matched by other food types. Being aware of the dangers, and how to solve them, is the solution in itself to eating healthier and enjoying some great dishes.

Main Course Ideas

Wrapped in a parcel with hidden delights

This version will offer mystery and surprise. From your grocery supplier obtain sufficient banana leaf, if they do not have it in stock they will have supplies in a couple of days. You will need a piece 25 cm square for each of your guests. In boiling water blanch the leaf for four minutes, to soften. Place the Salmon fillet in the centre of the leaf. Now you need to add the flavouring ingredients to give the visual and flavour sensation when opening the parcel. Try an Oriental touch with thin strips of ginger, lemon grass and spring onion with a touch of soy and Thai fish sauce. Fold up the parcel and close with a wooden kebab stick, or wrap together with long strips of spring onion. Steam until cooked, the core temperature needs to reach 62 degrees Celsius. Plate the closed parcel and allow your guests to open them. The choice of items to include in the parcel gives you a licence to thrill.

Cold cured with fennel herb and liquor

Curing originated as a way of preserving fish prior to introduction of fridges. It would start with a period of covering in salt or a salt solution, to start reducing the water content, following by drying and possibly smoking or further curing with sugar and salt. Nowadays we do not need to preserve fish, since we have daily sources of supply and the means of safe storage. Curing provides a method of adding extra flavour to the fish. Additionally the salt level in the dish will be low. You will need a container to store the fillets of fish tightly packed together in two layers. Place in the first layer flesh side up and cover with a small handful of chopped fresh fennel herb per fillet. Pour over 25 ml of a fennel or aniseed based liqueur per fillet. Add the second layer flesh side down. Cover with kitchen foil, top small weights to press down, such as clean pebbles or potatoes. Remove the covering and turn over and baste the fillets twice a day for five days. Prior to serving lay the fillets on a flat tray, cover with cling film and place in the freezer compartment for around an hour, until they begin to freeze. This process will enable you to cut the fillets in very thin slices and place on a cold plate, drizzled with the basting liquid and served with a chunk of lemon. This option can also be served as a starter with a smaller using a smaller fillet.

Grilled with Tandoori spices

Skin the fillet of fish, make cuts around 0.5 cm thick on both sides, lightly coat in vegetable oil and liberally coat with Tandoori spices, pressing the spicing into cuts. Allow to stand in the fridge for a minimum of two hours. Place on a tray under a very hot grill, turning the fillets once, until cooked to a temperature of 62 degrees Celsius. Serve on a bed of chopped cucumber in yoghurt flavoured with lemon juice.

The above three options are merely a drop in the ocean, pardon the pun, with what you can do with just one cut of fish. You can also try poaching and serve it cold with a salad, used as part of a fish pie with some white fish and Prawns, in a pate, in batter, as part of a fish curry, with asparagus and basil sauce, stir-fried, baked with a herb crust, fish cakes and many more. You can then consider other types of fish. With fish main courses there need never be any menu boredom.