Archive for June, 2010

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 08:06 AM

A  Great Lakes Boil or Lake Michigan Boil has been a tradition around the lakes region for over a century. Whitefish and lake trout were plentiful, and it was easy to prepare a meal outdoors by boiling fish, potatoes, and onions together in a large pot. Quite similar to the traditions of a New England Clam Bake done right on the beach. A Great Lakes Boil is technically a party with a bonfire and and a cast iron kettle of boiling fish and vegetables. Sometimes there is music involved. At the very end of cooking the fish and vegetables, kerosene is thrown on the fire. There is a huge ball of fire and a roar. This forces a boil over that usually rids the pot of fish oils and that nasty foamy residue that forms on top while cooking. Plus it lets everyone know that dinner is ready.  You don’t need a bonfire on the shores of Lake Michigan to have a fish boil. You just need to get out your trusty old Bayou Classic turkey fryer. So, we have yet again found another use for that propane turkey fryer that is collecting dust in your garage.

This recipe should feed about 10 people.

7-8 lbs Lake Michigan Whitefish (lake trout and whitefish are traditional choices, other trout or salmon can be used. You will need about 3\4 of a pound of fish chunks per person.)Remove the head, fins, and innards. Cut the fish into cross-sectional pieces two to three inches thick. Fresh fish is preferred, but frozen, dressed  fish can also be used. Cut it into chunks before it thaws completely.
1 1\2 pounds salt
20-30 new red potatoes, washed not peeled
30 small onions, peeled (approximately 1 1/2-inch diameter)(or 1 medium large onion per person)
1/2 pound butter, melted
lemon wedges

Fill your stock pot 3/4 full of water and half of the salt. You can use a special Bayou Classic Great Lakes Boiler pot on your outdoor patio stove if you have one, (it has two baskets, one for vegetables and one for fish), but the one perforated basket that comes with your turkey fryer will do just fine. Place over your propane cooker and bring to boil. Add potatoes to the perforated basket and place it in the boiling water. When boil resumes, time for 8 minutes. Add the onions wait until boil resumes again, then time another 2-4 minutes. Add whitefish and remaining salt. After an additional 10-14 minutes of boiling, dinner is ready. Now seeing as we’re not going to throw kerosene over our turkey fryer, skim any frothy residue off the top. Pull out your perforated basket of food, drain, and serve.

Fish is placed on plate along with potatoes and onions, melted butter is then ladled over and garnished with lemon wedge.To eat the fish, peel off the skin and lift out the bones.

Serve with fresh coleslaw and rolls.

NOTE: A bouquet garni  (a tied cheese-cloth seasoning packet) containing bay leaves, whole allspice, and peppercorns in roughly equal proportions may be added to spice up your world. You may want to add other herbs or spices of your own choosing. To feed 10 people, the seasoning packet should be about the size of a golf ball. Add the seasoning packet when the potatoes go into the boiling water.

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Monday, June 28, 2010 @ 08:06 AM

This is a nice twist instead of onion rings, but you can always add an onion or two into the mix.

A few days ahead of time, you want to start a batch of Sourdough starter. Do this by softening 1 package of active dry yeast in a qt. of lukewarm water in a large bowl or crock.

Add 2 tbsp. sugar and 4 cups of all-purpose flour. Beat to mix. Cover bowl with a towel, and set aside in a warm place for 2-4 days to sour. After your mixture has reached the desired sourness, keep it in the refrigerator. If the starter mix is not used very often, make sure you stir flour and water into it every 10 days to keep it active and fresh.

When your starter is ready, it is time to make Poblano rings.

12 Poblanos, with stems, seeds, and membranes removed. Cut into 1\2 rings or strips.

Put 1 cup of sourdough starter in a bowl & coat the pepper rings.

Dredge rings in a mixture of 1 cup flour, 2 tsp. chili powder & 1 tsp. salt(optional).

Heat  oil in your stove top deep fryer, or counter top deep fryer to 375 degrees F or in a large cast iron skillet,  heat enough vegetable oil to come 2 to 3 inches up the sides of the pan to 375 degrees F.

Fry the poblanos, a few at a time, until golden brown, turning once, about 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.

Serve up with some spiced up ketchup, try adding 1\3 cup cider vinegar & 2 tsp hot sauce, like Tabasco into a 1\2 cup of ketchup.

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Sunday, June 27, 2010 @ 08:06 AM

I’ve heard many different terms for this great camping breakfast. Eggs in a box, eggs in a nest, eggs in a basket. They all refer to an egg or two cooked into a whole in a piece of bread and toasted on a  griddle or cast iron skillet. I’ve gone camping with my two Boy Scouts many times and was served eggs in a box many mornings. I have version of this camp out breakfast that is just made with fancier bread. You want a nice loaf of sourdough or some sort of country style bread. Slice about 1 inch thick. Tear out the center of each bread slice leaving about 1\2 inch around the edge. Save the centers to make toast on the grill. Heat some bacon fat or butter on your skillet or cast iron griddle over the fire or on your grill. Place the bread rings on the griddle. Break 2 eggs into each ring. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you may wish. Cook 2-3 minutes. Flip the bread rings and cook 1-3 minutes more. Serve with the toasted centers.

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Saturday, June 26, 2010 @ 08:06 AM

My Coating Buddy has become a main stay in my kitchen. It saves time, cuts down on the clean up and mess of my hands and my counter top. Every time I use my counter top deep fryer or deep fry on my stove top, I use my Coating Buddy now. I am very excited about taking it to the last NASCAR race of the year. We tailgate there for 5 days. I haven’t had my  Buddy in the trailer or taken it tailgating with me yet.

The Coating Buddy is a quick and easy way to perfectly coat your food. Fish, shrimp, chicken, onion rings, mushrooms, jalapeno poppers; whatever you want to fry, grill, or bake that requires a coating. You simply fill the bottom of the container with your breading (seasoned flour, fish fry, corn meal, or wet batter), place the basket tray inside, put your dredged food on top of the basket & secure the lid.(Don’t over stuff. You wouldn’t over stuff your fryer, don’t over stuff your Coating Buddy!) Now the fun begins. Shake side to side, up and down or my favorite, the tumbler method. Remove the lid, and you will find your food, perfectly coated. I’ve never been dissatisfied.

As I said, this is a great time saver. Especially if you are using an outdoor cooker or  propane turkey fryer, and are having a fish fry for a large group of people. You won’t have to keep “de-clumping” your hands.

One last use that I recently found. I wanted to grill up some pork ribs. I decided that I wanted to brine them ahead of time. The Coating Buddy was the PERFECT size for the 3 small racks of ribs that I had purchased, and the brine. It fit quite nicely in my refrigerator too.So, it isn’t just for coating, it is a multi-use container. Have fun, and get cooking.

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Friday, June 25, 2010 @ 07:06 AM

Before you use your Brinkmann grill for the first time, and every time you change an LP gas tank,  you should check for gas leaks.

An easy way to do this , is a 50% water- 50% dish soap solution. Make sure your grill control knobs are in the OFF position; turn the gas tank supply ON. Apply the soap solution with a clean brush to all the gas connections. If you see bubbles forming, then you need to check your connections. Check the fittings and tighten or repair as necessary. If you have a connection leak that you can’t repair yourself, call your LP gas supplier for assistance. It’s a good idea to check for leaks on your tank as well. Many people rely on a tank exchange program. I’ve been a participant in that program. Let me say…not all of those tanks are the greatest. Take some of your soap solution and apply it to the seams on the gas tank. If you see bubbles, shut the tank OFF. Do not use or move it. Call a local LP gas supply company or call your fire dept. for assistance.

Never, ever check for leaks with flame!!! You want to cook meat & vegetables…not yourself or your grill.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010 @ 07:06 AM

While you are doing your annual cleaning of your Brinkmann grill, especially if it has been sitting idol for a while, you should clean your burner tubes and ports.

If you are doing your annual cleaning, your tank will already be off, the regulator assembly removed, the cooking grates,  heat diffusers & grease tray will already be out.

You want remove any screws or clips from the burners. Lift them up and away from the gas valve orifice. Run a stiff brush, like a bottle brush, and\or use an air hose inside the burner tubes, a few times to remove any debris. Use a fiber pad or nylon brush to clean the outside of the burner tubes. Get off all food particles and dirt. If you notice any clogged ports, use a paper clip to unclog them. Inspect the tubes for cracks and holes. If you notice any damage, you should replace those tubes.

When replacing the burner tubes, whether just cleaned or new, check to ensure the gas valve orifice is inside the burner tube before using your propane grill. If the burner tube does not fit over the orifice, it could cause a fire.

You should inspect your grill at least twice a year, but remember that spiders & small insects are very active in the late summer and early fall. They like to nest inside of burner tubes and disrupt the gas flow. You may want to check out your grill at least one a month in this time period. I’ve seen many people just throw out a perfectly good grill because of this. They think that the grill is not working so they just go out and get a new one. With proper care and maintenance, your grill should last a while. Get out there and start cooking!

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010 @ 09:06 AM

Burning off food and grease particles on your Brinkmann grill, or any propane grill, after each use will keep it ready for your next grilling session. However, once a year you should give the entire grill a good thorough cleaning. You may want to do this right before the grilling season starts. Or if you grill year round, make the time.

To do this you want to make sure all burner valves are turned to the off position. Make sure the propane tank is also in the off position. Detach the gas hose & regulator assembly. Inspect it for damage and replace anything necessary. You should be able to find a list of replacement parts with the manual that came with your grill. Remove any heat diffusers, cooking grids, and gas burners. Cover gas valve orifices with foil. Brush the inside & bottom of the grill with a nylon brush and wash with a solution of mild soap & warm water. I like to use a sponge with a scrubby side on it too. The heat diffusers may also be cleaned with the warm water & mild soap solution. Rinse thoroughly & let dry. Depending on the material that your cooking grates are made of, the soap solution may work here as well, but never use soap on cast iron grates!!!! Season them or clean and re-season if need be.

Clean your grease tray. This should be done periodically anyway…not once a year. Check it frequently & empty, wipe out, & wash with mild soapy water if necessary.

Also keep in mind that spiders get busy in late summer & early fall. In those time periods, or if your grill sits unused for a  while, you will want to clean your burner tubes and ports once a month, to avoid flash backs. Tomorrow we will go into cleaning or burner tubes and burner ports.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 08:06 AM

Foods have been preserved with smoke since before recorded history. In all cultures, people have relied on the smoke-curing of fish and meat for long-term storage. Packed as dried smoked products, fish can travel great distances and remain edible for long periods of time. Today smoking fish and meat is still common in less developed countries where transportation and  extreme climates may be a factor.  In developed countries where refrigeration and transport of fresh products has a major role, smoking fish has now become a luxury, a way to impart a pleasant mild smoky flavor for your palate.

Buying smoked salmon at the grocery store can be costly. Not all smoked fish is expensive, but you can smoke salmon or any fish, right on your Brinkmann charcoal grill at home.

Here is a basic recipe for smoked salmon:

Make a brine of 4-6 c water,  1\2 cup to 3\4 c salt & 1\2 c to 3\4 c brown sugar. Stir until dissolved. Place in a non-reactive container.

If you are using  fillets of salmon, you may have pin bones to remove. Run your finger tip against the grain of the fish and you’ll feel them if present. They are spaced  pretty evenly, every ¼ inch or so along the bottom of the fillet. Pull them out with a clean, food grade needle nose pliers.  Rinse the fish under cold running water and slip into your container of brine, flesh side down. Cover  with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours, or in the fridge for 6 hours.  Overnight in the fridge is fine but  it may  make the fish more salty.

Set up your charcoal grill for indirect grilling. Pick what kind of wood you’d like to use for smoke. Soak your chips, place on your lit charcoal. Place salmon, skin side down on the oiled grate. Place grill lid so that the air vents are directly over the fish. This will create a funnel effect drawing more of the smoke over the fish.

Your salmon will be done when the thickest part of the fillet flakes with a fork. You can  smoke for 3 to 4 hours and stay toward the longer side when the fish is particularly moist, but you can have edible fish in 2 hours or less. Add more charcoal & wood chips as needed.

Smoked salmon is great warm, but even better cold. It will last a while in the fridge if you can manage to keep it that long.

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Monday, June 21, 2010 @ 08:06 AM

This is a unusual take on two traditional sandwiches. It has the makings of a Cuban sandwich. Instead of  Cuban bread pressed and grilled, you take regular sliced bread and egg battered and deep fry it like a Monte Cristo.

Per sandwich:

2 slices of firm bread

1-2 tsp mustard

5 dill pickle rounds (or 2-3 sandwich pickles slices)

2-3 slices boiled ham

2-3 slices of roast pork

3 thin slices of Swiss cheese

1 large egg

2 Tbsp milk

Panko bread crumbs

Take 1 slice of the bread.  Spread  mustard, evenly across. Then place  pickles on top of the mustard. You then place  Swiss cheese on top of the pickles. Slice ham to desired thickness,  the thinner the better. Now fold each slice of ham in half and place evenly on bottom of bread. On top of the ham, place slices of roast pork, about  1 1/2 ounces per slice. You then join both halves of the sandwich. Hold together with long wooden picks. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oil in your stove top deep-fryer or counter top deep fryer to 350 degrees F.

Beat eggs and milk in a medium shallow bowl. Place the panko bread crumbs in another shallow bowl.

Remove the sandwich from the refrigerator. Dip into egg wash, let drain, and then coat the sandwich completely in the panko bread crumbs. Fry in hot oil until golden brown (about 45 seconds). Remove from oil, drain on paper towels.

This recipe can also be fried in a shallow cast iron skillet with 1 tbsp melted butter & 1 tbsp of oil over medium low heat. Cook sandwich uncovered, until underside is well browned, 3-4 mins. Flip, and cover the pan. Cook for another 3-4 mins. Remove from heat and let stand covered for about 1 min. Slice sandwich diagonally, & serve.

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Sunday, June 20, 2010 @ 08:06 AM

When planning to purchase deep fryer cooking  equipment for your kitchen, or  patio there are some important factors you should consider before you actually go online or to an  appliance store to  purchase it.

Some deep fryers can be really big and can take significant amount of space in your kitchen. Some fryer sizes are often as large as  a microwave oven. So it is very important to consider the size of the specific fryer you will buy and the space in your kitchen where you intend to place it. I have a larger counter top deep fryer that I have to cool off, drain, clean, and put away every time I use it. I have very little counter space so I have to put my fryer back in the closet after every use. To conserve on counter space you can purchase a smaller deep fryer, like a  Presto Fry Daddy, that you can actually store the oil right in, but then you are limited on the size of items that you can cook. I purchased my Masterbuilt counter top deep fryer with the intention of being able to fry a small turkey indoors. I wanted to try it out before deciding on making the larger purchase of an outdoor patio propane deep fryer. Besides, my fryer is very versatile. I can steam and boil in  it as well.

Now if you’re considering an outdoor patio propane deep fryer, there are many styles and sizes to choose from as well. There are some smaller units. Table top would be a good term here. These units would be great for small gatherings, camping and tailgating. Some, called turkey fryers, are an outdoor patio stove, with a separate stock pot and basket that you  fill with oil and heat on the patio stove. Some people are scared of this type of fryer, due to the open flame & oil. Flare ups are common if proper care & safety are not taken. The turkey fryer is very versatile, in that you can steam & boil with these outdoor cookers as well. That opens the door for lots of outdoor cooking opportunities! There are “safer” fryers, that the flame is contained and runs through a tube in the oil. There are many items that can be cooked in these units. Some are even large enough to deep fry a turkey.

So, when planning to purchase a deep fryer, think about the types of food that you would like to cook. Think about where you’d like to do this cooking. At home, in the kitchen, outside? Do you want to take it tailgating or camping? How many people are you  looking to feed? Do you just want to feed the family, or have a fish fry for the church congregation? There are many things to consider, but with the proper research, anyone can make the proper deep fryer purchase to suit their needs.

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