Spring is finally here and with spring comes grilling outdoors! Do you plan on buying your own barbecue grill for get-togethers, holidays or just for everyday grilling? Well, before buying any barbecue grill, you should first do some research about the best products available. Consider all factors; the type and quality of the product, materials used, operability, price and even warranties if there are any.
The most common material used to make a barbecue grill is stainless steel. Aside from the durability of stainless steel, products made from this material are also easy to clean and maintain. Stainless steel products last for a very long time. Stainless steel barbecue grills also require less time to heat up as compared to other grills made of different materials. Barbecue grills that are made of stainless steel are typically the best sellers.
There are four types of barbeque grills:
- Gas Grills. This is the most common type of barbecue grill. You can use it indoors or outdoors whichever you want. This kind of grill can be used with propane or natural gas. Although using liquid propane is more convenient, using natural gas is more practical since it is cheaper. This kind of grill is actually really good for fast cooking/grilling. However, the main disadvantage of using this grill is that it doesn’t give that smokey flavor that barbecues are known for. If you are willing to sacrifice flavor for speed, then go for gas grills.
- Charcoal Grills. This kind of grill uses charcoal to perfectly make tasty and savory barbecues. Charcoal grills however are time consuming. If time is not that of a big deal to you, then go for this kind of grill. It may take some time to fire up those meats, but the results are going to be mouthwatering and perfectly smoked barbeques. Charcoal isn’t very expensive either. Cleaning this kind of grill may be a turn off to some people. The ashes need to be removed after grilling to maintain the quality of the product.
- Electric Grills. Electric grills are simply grills that are powered by electricity. If you live in the city and lovesto cook barbecues, this kind of grill is the perfect match for you. Charcoal grills are still the best grills for getting that perfect barbecue taste. However, charcoal grills can’t be used indoors. Electric grills are best for apartment uses. This type of grill is also very easy to operate.
- Portable Grill. This kind of grill is best for picnics, camping and outings. Portable grills usually come in small sizes. There are different kinds of portable grills. There are portable grills that make use of charcoal, natural gas and even powered by electricity. Because this type of grill is small, you can only grill/cook food one at a time.
Barbeque is one of the best foods in the world. Everybody loves barbecue. Get the right kind of grill that would suit all your grilling needs. Enjoy barbecuing!
Every year in my garden I grow strawberries, although I can never seem to gather enough for a delicious strawberry tart, the kind I dream about making each spring.
Maybe that is because I can’t resist the urge when I see a bright red, fat, juicy strawberry peeking out under a leaf to pick it. I swear those strawberries actually call my name. I should just ignore it, BUT I CAN’T!
I immediately hurry over, pick it, run to find the garden hose for a quick rinse and pop it into my mouth before anyone notices. It is sooooo…. good! And I feel so guilty!
That is why last week while running errands I just decided to pull into Gnisner’s Farm and pick my own. I got a cool cardboard box with their name on the outside and I could pick to my hearts desire all the red fat juicy strawberries I wanted. All 3 pounds of them. And finally, I could go home and make my fresh strawberry tart.
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds, finely ground
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted after measuring
- 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour (spoon flour into dry measure cup and level off)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
- 8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted, cold, cut into 8 pieces
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 large egg yolk
- One 9.5″ tart/quiche pan with removable bottom
Filling and Topping
- 8 oz. mascarpone
- 8 oz. cream cheese
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp. Grand Marnier
- 1/4 cup apple jelly
- 2 pints strawberries (4 cups, rinsed, hulled and thickly sliced)
For the Crust: Combine the almonds and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse repeatedly until finely ground, about 1 minute. Add the flour, lemon peel and salt and pulse a couple of times to mix. Add the butter and pulse again repeatedly until no visible pieces of butter remain. Add the yolk and vanilla and pulse again until the dough forms a ball.
Invert the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap, shape into a thick disk and wrap. Refrigerate until firm.
Take the crust out of the refrigerator and let is loosen up a bit. Spray the tart pan with cooking spray. Tear a large piece of the dough off and with your fingers push the dough into the sides of the tart pan. Continue tearing off large pieces of the dough and pressing it into the tart pan evenly covering the bottom and sides with the dough. I use a small rolling pin to even it out.
After the crust is prepared, chill for several hours or overnight before baking. When you are ready to bake the tart crust, set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 350F. Pierce the chilled tart crust all over at 1 inch intervals with a fork. Line the crust, bottom and sides with a 15 inch disk of parchment or wax paper and fill with dried beans or other small weights.
Bake for 15 minutes and take out of the oven and remove the beans and parchment paper. Return to the oven and bake until the crust is brown and dry, 10-15 minutes longer. Take out of the oven and let cool completely.
For the Filling and Topping: Place the cream cheese and mascarpone in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed just until it is smooth.
Arrange the berries over the filling in an attractive pattern. Place the jelly and Grand Marnier in a small saucepan and simmer over low, stirring constantly, heat until smooth. Remove from heat. Use a pastry brush to paint the jelly glaze over the fruit.
Remove the tart from the baking pan and place it on a serving platter. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
To serve, cut into wedges.
The finished tart is quite the show stopper and tastes even better than it looks. And with the delicious strawberries that I picked from Gnisner’s Farm, I can honestly say, it doesn’t get any fresher than this!
Who knows, maybe one spring I will wait and be able to boast about my own home grown strawberries in my tart. Yeah right! Did I tell you they actually call my name? Enjoy!
Cooking at home is by far the cheapest and healthiest way to eat. If you’re good at it, you can quickly and cheaply make healthy, restaurant-quality meals in the comfort of your own home. Unfortunately, cooking is a skill, and a lot of us (let’s face it) aren’t very good at it. Cookbooks are fine, but they only get you so far. Fortunately, modern smartphone science has your back – there are a number of apps that simplify the process. So, next time, rather than just going out for fast food, try out these apps and see what happens. You might just surprise yourself.
Based on his famous, enormous cookbook, this app by Mark Bittman provides handy interactive recipes for literally hundreds of meals. Whatever you want to cook, from pizza to duck l’orange is in there. Better, the app allows you to search by ingredient, making it easier to make meals based on whatever you happen to find in the fridge. The app also breaks down the details of food preparation for the culinary-challenged, with built-in timers, how-to drawings, and emailable grocery lists.
This app provides a sense of comfort for the mildly-incompetent home chefs among us. If you trust the app and follow its instructions precisely, the food comes out great. There’s no room for interpretation, and, thus, no room for error.
A budget option compared to the previous entry, ‘In the Kitchen’ provides a “Deep Impact” to ‘How to Cook Everything’s “Armageddon,” if you see what we’re saying. It’s developed by the food network, and isn’t quite as good as ‘How to Cook Everything’. It is, however, a lot cheaper. If you just want a replacement for your moldy old recipe book, and can handle the details on your own, this app will do exactly what you need for cheaper than a trip to the used book store.
This app is one of those apps whose usefulness is hard to explain until you try it. The app provides simple, fast conversions between all the various weird units of measurement that come up in cooking. Over the course of your cooking lifespan, it’ll save you endless time doing tedious arithmetic. The app also tells you exactly what temperature and time you need to cook meat for to achieve a desired level of doneness, eliminating a lot of guessing and possibly a nasty case of salmonella.
Another simple, surprisingly useful app, this app is perfect for anyone who wants to eat well, but doesn’t know enough to distinguish bad produce from good. This app provides a great tool that tells you which vegetables are in season, and provides an easy checklist to see if your vegetables are ripe, without squeezing all of the cantaloupes in the store. For the health-conscious the app also provides a simple utility for determining pesticide levels in a given produce, to determine whether or not it’s worthwhile to buy organic produce.
If you’ve ever found yourself in the vegetable aisle trying to figure out what on earth constitutes an acceptable breadfruit, this is the app for you.
Recipes are great! They greatly simplify the cooking process and help you reliably make decent food. However, sometimes you want to experiment and try something new. This app helps you do that in a clever way. Like an elementary physics text, this app provides fundamental principles of the science – it tells you the basic ratios that are involved in the building blocks of cooking. From there, you are free to improvise anything your heart can desire and your stomach can hold.
Scott Johnson is a tech blogger who writes on behalf of companies such as Protectyourbubble.com smartphone insurer, a popular brand who insures gadgets that people can’t live without.
It is rainy and cold in Texas and I am craving one of my favorite comfort foods – Beef Short Ribs With Pappardelle.
The ribs are simmered in a flavorful sauce until the meat is fall-apart tender, shredded and added back to the sauce along with mascarpone cheese to make a rich delicious stew. Serve this over hot, buttery pappardelle noodles and start tasting that satisfying comfort. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! All you need is some hot crusty French bread and you have a meal that will take the chill off any cold, rainy day.
What I also love about this recipe is that you can make so many other things with it. After shreddeding the meat, bind it with mascarpone cheese and make delicious ravioli. Use the delicious rich sauce in risotto or over any steak. Or you could serve halibut on top of the stew for a very satisfying meal.
Season the short ribs generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper and dredge in flour.
Heat the oil in a dutch oven or other large, heavy-bottomed vessel over medium-high heat. Add the short ribs and cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes total cooking time.
Use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer the pieces to a plate and set aside.
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the Dutch oven. Add the onions, carrots, celery, bell peppers, and garlic and cook until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes.
Stir in the tomato paste, parsley, thyme, cocoa, cloves and allspice. Cook, stirring to coat the other ingredients with the paste, for 5 to 6 minutes.
Add the sherry and cook, using a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits cooked onto the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half, about 4 minutes.
Stir in the stock, Worcestershire, and chile pepper, and return the meat, along with any accumulated juices from the plate, to the pan.
Return to a simmer, cover and cook, checking every 30 minutes to be sure there is enough liquid to come three-quarters of the way up the sides of the solids, adding more stock or water if necessary, and stirring periodically to prevent scorching or sticking, until the meat is falling-apart tender, about 3 1/2 hours.
Transfer the meat to a plate, remove the meat from the bones, cool and refrigerate overnight.
Cool the sauce down and refrigerate overnight so that the grease rises to the top.
The next day, skim the grease off and discard. Heat the sauce and using an immersion blender, blend the sauce until smooth.
Add the shredded short rib meat back to the pot and heat thoroughly.
Gently stir in the mascarpone and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pappardelle noodles.
Cook until al dente (firm to the bite), about 8 minutes.
Drain the pasta and toss with a little butter. Divide among 4 to 6 bowls.
Ladle the stew over noodles and garnish with the grated cheese. Serve piping hot. Enjoy!
Chicken Divan is a chicken casserole usually served with broccoli, almonds, and Mornay sauce. Since I love mushrooms so much, I make mine a Chicken-Mushroom Divan with broccoli and a Mornay sauce. Just add a side salad and you are set for dinner. My family loves it!
Chicken Divan was invented at and named for the by-gone Divan Parisien Restaurant in the New York Chatham Hotel. The Divan Parisien served Chicken Divan as its signature dish in the early twentieth century. In France the word divan refers to a meeting place or great hall. This name was chosen to attract the attention of the Divan Parisien owners by implying a kind of continental elegance.
- 1 large bunch broccoli, trimmed and cut into 4-inch long spears
- 8 oz. sliced mushrooms (white button)
- 1/3 cup (5 1/2 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, diced
- 5 Tbsp. all purpose flour
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 3 Tbsp. medium dry-sherry
- 1/2 cup well-chilled heavy cream
- Fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 lb. total), poached (see below) and sliced thin
Basic Poached Chicken
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, halved
- 1 medium carrot, cut into thirds
- 1 celery stalk, cut into thirds
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 3 sprigs thyme or parsley
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
In a large straight-sided skillet or pot, combine all ingredients except chicken; cover with water by 1/2 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add chicken and cover skillet and remove from heat. Let stand until chicken is cooked through about 15 to 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove chicken from poaching liquid, let cool, slice thin.
Heat oven to 350F.
In a large saucepan of boiling, salted water, cook broccoli for 6 to 8 minutes or until tender. Drain and shock in a bowl of ice water, set aside, covered.
In a heavy saucepan, melt butter over low, add mushrooms and cook until tender, about 6 to 8 minutes.
Add flour and cook, stirring for 3 minutes.
Add broth and bring mixture to a boil. Cook on low, stirring, for 5-10 minutes or until thickened.
In a mixing bowl, beat cream with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form, then add to flour mixture, along with sherry and lemon juice to taste. Season with salt and pepper.
Arrange broccoli in a large casserole dish. Top with half the sauce. Stir 1/4 cup Parmesan into other half of sauce. Arrange chicken on broccoli.
Pour remaining sauce over top, and sprinkle mixture with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.
Cover with foil and bake in oven until heated through, approximately 15-20 minutes.
Remove foil and turn the oven to broil. Broil about 6 inches from heat, for 1 minute or until sauce is golden and bubbling.
Make ahead: Poach the chicken and boil the broccoli a day ahead, then all you have to do is make the sauce, grate the cheese, assemble and bake. Simple enough! Enjoy.
This month’s newsletter is all about making some delicious party appetizers for your “BLOWOUT” party!
As The Big Game is fast approaching, I can’t wait to start planning the dishes! Gotta have chips and dip! The hubby loves the party meatballs. I love the drunken shrimp. Pulled pork sliders are always a favorite and the tailgate pasta salad is a must.
One good thing about a party for The Big Game is that whatever you decide to make, those football fans will love it, just as long as you have lots of it!
I find the easiest way to approach the setup is to have an appetizer buffet filled with all kinds of junk food favorites (and maybe slip in a few healthy ones too!) And then have several ice chests set up at different locations filled with water, soft drinks and beer.
Paper everything is the only way to go for this party. Paper plates, paper napkins, paper cups etc. This will make clean up a snap and will put everyone in a more relaxed mood. Nobody wants to worry about breaking some china when the score is 21-20 and it’s the fourth quarter, 3rd and goal!
The Featured Recipes Are:
- Salsa Baked Goat Cheese
- Drunken Shrimp with Sriracha Cocktail Sauce
- Party Meatballs
- Tailgate Pasta Salad
Salsa Baked Goat Cheese
This appetizer is so easy! It literally takes no time to assemble.
- 1/4 cup, plus 2 Tbsp. pine nuts
- 3 oz. package cream cheese, softened
- 4 oz. log plain or herbed goat cheese
- 1/2 cup red salsa
- 1/2 cup green salsa
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
- grape tomatoes for garnish
- Tortilla chips or pita crisps, for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spread nuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until lightly browned and fragrant, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer 1/4 cup to a medium bowl (reserve the other 2 Tbsp. for garnish). Add the cheeses to the bowl with the nuts.
Scoop the cheese mixture into the center of a baking dish, such as a decorative 9-inch pie plate, and form into a 1 5-inch disk.
Spoon the red salsa on one side, then the green salsa on the other side. Bake until heated through, 10 to 15 minutes.
Sprinkle with the 2 Tbsp. reserved pine nuts, and the cilantro. Scatter a few tomatoes around the sides for color if you like. Serve as a dip with tortilla chips or pita crisps.
Drunken Shrimp with Sriracha Cocktail Sauce
These appetizers are perfect for a party. If you are having a fancy party, you may want to serve them in shot glasses or martini glasses, but for a party for The Big Game just use these little paper cups. The guests love running to the buffet table and grabbing one or two at a time!
Serves 6 (2 each)
For the Shrimp:
- 3 (12 ounces) bottles beer
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper
- 12 peeled (leave the tails on for presentation purposes), large raw (headless) shrimp
For the Sriracha Cocktail Sauce:
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 3 teaspoons Sriracha hot sauce
- 4 teaspoons prepared horseradish
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Bring first three ingredients to a boil in a large saucepan, add shrimp and return to boil. Cook just until pink, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and strain. You will have a few red pepper flakes left on the shrimp which is fine. Cover and chill shrimp until ready to serve.
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
To serve, spoon some cocktail sauce into the mini paper cups and gently stick a shrimp into the sauce making sure the ends are sticking out of the cup for presentation purposes.
- 5 slices of packaged white sandwich bread
- 1 cup milk
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 1 small white onion, minced
- 1 tablespoons salt
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mace
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- vegetable oil, for brushing
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup currant jelly
- 1/2 cup dry sherry
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Preheat the broiler. In a large bowl, soak the bread in the milk for 1 minute until softened. Squeeze out the excess milk and return the bread to the bowl. Add the eggs, onion, salt, paprika, dry mustard, pepper and mace and mix until evenly combined.
Brush a large rimmed baking sheet with oil. Using a 2 tablespoon size ice cream scoop, form the meat into 1 1/2 inch balls; roll until smooth. Transfer the meatballs to the baking sheet and brush the tops with oil. Broil 10 inches from the heat for about 10 minutes, shifting the sheet occasionally until the meatballs are sizzling and browned.
Meanwhile, in a large deep skillet, combine the ketchup, jelly, sherry and Worcestershire. Add 1/2 cup of water and bring to a simmer, whisking until the jelly is melted.
Using a slotted spoon, add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer over low heat until thickly glazed, about 15 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to a bowl and serve with picks.
Tailgate Pasta Salad
This pasta dish is great to serve at a football party or take to a tailgating party! You can serve it cold or at room temperature and it keeps very well in the refrigerator or ice chest.
- 1 small eggplant, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and stem removed and cut into large chunks
- 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and stem removed and cut into large chunks
- 1 red onion, cut into large chunks
- 2 cloves garlic peeled
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided use
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided use
- 2/3 cup olive oil, divided use
- zest from one lemon
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
- 8 ounces orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
- 1 small bunch green onions thinly sliced white and part of green
- 3/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 4 ounces crumbled feta
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large sheet pan with foil and spray with non-stick vegetable spray. Toss the eggplant, bell peppers, onion, garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper with 1/3 cup olive oil; coat evenly. Place mixture on the sheet and roast for 40 minutes, turning once with a spatula. Cool and chop all vegetables into bite sized pieces.
Make the dressing by combining remaining olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
Cook the orzo according to package directions. Drain and add hot orzo to the dressing. Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta. Let cool to room temperature.
Add green onions, pine nuts, feta and tomatoes. Check the seasonings.
I have found that football fans are really very easy to cook for. They love anything that’s savory, sweet, easy to eat, and delicious! So I feel quite confident that when you serve these party appetizers, all you have to do is stand back and watch the party begin! ENJOY!