Archive for July, 2010

Saturday, July 31, 2010 @ 11:07 AM

I have an over abundance of tomatoes going on right now. Made a quick salad for dinner last night as a side for my grilled chicken cordon bleu.

I had some pre-made Chicken Cordon Bleu from my local butcher. It was way too hot to cook inside last night so I put the chicken on the grill. I poured some low sodium chicken broth in a metal pan, placed the Chicken Cordon Bleu in the pan, pre-heated the grill to 350 degrees & then set up for indirect grilling on my Brinkmann grill. I cooked it for 45 mins & then served it with fresh steamed Long Island sweet corn on the cob & a fresh tomato salad.

Cut up some tomatoes in bite size chunks
Red onion, challottes, peppers(I used yellow fryers).
Toss …in some vinegar, olive oil & sprinkle in some oregano. Stir & refrigerate.
Made a nice light summer salad!

I’ve always said, use your imagination. Have fun grilling!

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Friday, July 30, 2010 @ 12:07 PM

The Cajun Fryer is a safer, commercial grade, outdoor deep fryer unit.

A Cajun fryer is a propane fryer unit that was designed with customer safety in mind. Fire burns inside of metal heating tubes that run through the oil. Any fire is actually on the back or side of the unit. Any oil spillage that may occur would be out of the front of the unit. Therefore no fire and oil would touch. This creates a much safer cooking environment. The baskets are made of long lasting rugged construction, nickle plated, and have plastic coated cool touch handles.

The burner is positioned 6″ above the bottom of the oil reservoir and is at a 45 degree angle. This prevents food sediment from collecting on the burner and allows it to fall to the bottom of the reservoir. Since heat rises, the specially designed VEE bottomed reservoir never gets hotter than 120 degrees. This isn’t hot enough to burn or scorch food residue. This helps to keep the oil clean, cooking after cooking. When the oil stays cleaner, the food always tastes good, never scorched. But as I said heat rises, so the fire in the tubes will heat the oil above in the cooking chamber to a sufficient enough temperature to fry any type of food. Since the sediment in the bottom does not burn, you can double the life expectancy of your oil. You should strain the oil after about every 5 uses, but you won’t need to change the oil for 25-30 uses. That’s about a 70 % reduction in oil use. You can recoup your oil investment in no time.

The larger units have multiple baskets, for alternate cooking, but some of the units have 2 separate cooking compartments. That way if you are at home or at a smaller function, you have the option of just using one side of the unit instead of both.That is half the oil. Or you could cook fish in one side & fries in the other. We all know how fish likes to leave it’s flavor with the oil. That way you can keep your fishy oil separate for just fish & hush puppies, and have the other for un-fishy food items. You can always remove the baskets as well, and use is as a turkey fryer.

The units come with a rolling caddy for portability. Some of the smaller units can be separated from the caddy to use as a table top unit or for tailgating. They can also be made in stainless steel if you prefer. This is especially nice for fire department kitchens.

The smallest unit is a single basket unit and holds 2 1\2 gallons of oil. This is good for home & very small tailgates. You could feed 12-15 people per hour. The largest unit, has 2 separate 8 1\2 gal. fryers on one unit. So you can serve 65-70 people per hour by using just one half, or you can get both sides going and serve up to 150 people per hour. That’s alot of wings and french fries.

The Cajun Fryers are much safer than conventional fryers and more efficient. They come in a variety of sizes from home to commercial use. They are versatile, high performance, and low maintenance gas fryers made in the U.S.A. & are unsurpassed in quality.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010 @ 08:07 PM

Lots of people out there like a good Friday night fish fry. This not only stems from a religious stand point but also from working all week & not wanting to cook your self on a Friday night. I am a firm believer in not home cooking on Friday nights. If you decide to have a Friday night fish fry at home or while tailgating, here is a recipe to get you started.

Fresh Water

8 large cat fish fillets, cut in half (you can use any kind of fish cod, tillapia,sole, flounder, whatever you want)

4 tbsp of Creole or Cajun seasoning

2 tbsp paprika

2 cups yellow cornmeal of Louisiana fish fry

3 eggs

2 cups flour

Oil for frying

Wash the fillets. Soak in a mixing bowl with enough water to cover the fish, plus 2 tbsp. of Creole or Cajun seasoning and the paprika for 2 hours.

Drain without rinsing.

Mix corm meal or fish fry with remaining 2 tbsp of Cajun or Creole seasoning. Pour eggs into a second bowl & beat.Place flour in a third bowl.

Dredge fish in flour, then eggs, then corn meal mix.

Preheat oil in your Cajun fryer or cast iron cookware on your grill. Drop fish in the fryer & cook until golden brown, approx. 4-6 mins. Remove & place on paper towel lined plates. Serve with hush puppies & cole slaw.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010 @ 02:07 PM

I love fried green tomatoes. My landlord in Florida used to go to the local farmers’ market and buy a bushel of green tomatoes at least once a year. He was on his own, so he always had plenty to spare. You can deep fry these indoors, or if you have a side burner on your grill, you can deep fry them outdoors as well. You can use a stove top deep fryer, but a cast iron skillet will do.

Cut the ends off the green tomatoes & discard. Slice tomatoes about 1\4″ thick.

Get yourself some flour, beaten eggs & Italian seasoned bread crumbs. The amount will all depend on how many people you’re feeding & how many green tomatoes you have.

First, dredge your green tomatoes in flour. This is an added step I never found necessary, but for sake of argument, we are going to do it today. Next dredge the tomatoes in egg wash, and then coat with Italian seasoned bread crumbs.

Heat oil on the side burner of your grill to 350 degrees. Fry the tomatoes until they are golden brown on both sides, about 4-5 mins. Place on plate lined with paper towels to drain. Shake on the salt & pepper & serve immediately.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010 @ 07:07 AM

People who know how to use a smoker will tell you that practice makes perfect. The key to smoking the best meat is to know just how prepare the wood, how much wood should be added to the smoker once started and what kinds of wood go best with what kinds of meat. You want the wood to burn slowly at a nice even temperature so soaking is a must. You may like different wood than your local expert so take advise with a grain of salt and then experiment a bit.

The wood needs to be soaked and then heated thoroughly before you add the meat. You want it smoking, not burning. You also need to watch the temperature while you are smoking the food.  It takes practice to know when to adjust the dampers and the flues to keep the temperature at the right level. This is important to achieve great smoked food! So as always, you need to be around. Don’t leave your smoker unattended. Flare ups can ruin your day. And no smoke, just means no smokey flavor and uncooked food.

The smoking process takes time. The idea is to create a smokey flavor to the food.  You want to place the food in the grill or smoker with the heat temperature between 180 and 200 degrees F. If you are using a gas grill, you will need to set up  the food with indirect grilling. Smoking food with gas is also harder to achieve unless the unit has a smoker compartment. There are many things out there to help out if you don’t have the smoker box, but real wood & charcoal smokers produce a more intense smokey flavor. If using wood or charcoal, you must tend to the heat & smoke continually during the smoking process. Again, don’t just leave & go to the store. Don’t leave the bbq smoker unattended. The food will not cook itself. It will ruin itself, but if you want it done right, pay attention.

Use a meat thermometer to make sure smoked foods are done but not overcooked.

Smoked foods can look different than other grilled or oven-prepared foods. They can be pink or red when done depending on the type of wood that is used.  For example, smoking with apple wood will make chicken look a slightly red.  Experiment with different woods and meats until you find the right combination for your taste.

Use tongs and gloves when adding charcoal, turning meats, refilling the water pan, or adjusting the vents.  You don’t want to burn yourself and you don’t want to stab a hole in your meat so that all the juice leaks out either.

Start with a small amount of wood to see how you like the flavor. Add more next time for a more intense smoky taste.  Too much wood smoke over the long smoking period can make food taste bitter. As I said, experiment. Try some fruit wood, then try hardwoods. Make smoked fish, chicken, pork, beef. Smoke some fruit & vegetables. Use your imagination. Get out there & cook up a storm.

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Monday, July 26, 2010 @ 04:07 PM

An electric oil free turkey fryer cooks extra large turkeys of up to 18lbs. But, does it really fry the turkey? It more technically roasts the bird, unlike a conventional turkey fryer. The roasting basket allows you to cook a wide variety of foods from corn on the cob to whole turkey and chickens. This is great for the health conscious & those that have cholesterol on their minds.

These units do also have a  wood chip tray and lid included, so you can use these units for BBQ smoking. They have a  double walled construction & thermostat temperature control. Tempered glass lid. Cooking basket with drain clip. No propane is needed. It is an electric unit with 1650 wattage. Removable drip pan for easy cleaning.

It is not really a fryer though. You can’t make french fries in it. It works with high radiant heat, making it able to roast a turkey in less time than a conventional oven. Makes a  turkey that’s crisp on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside. You can roast or smoke anything you want in there. But as I said, not really a deep fryer. If you are looking for that traditional deep fried turkey, then oil free is not what you are looking for. Go with the conventional propane turkey fryer or a safer fryer, like a Cajun fryer or Bayou fryer. If you want that deep fried crispiness that everyone raves over, then oil is the way to go.

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Sunday, July 25, 2010 @ 12:07 PM

Potatoes make a great side dish. There are so many different ways to cook them on your Brinkmann grill. They don’t just have to be boring old baked potatoes. Here are some ideas for your next barbecue.

They can be cut in half or into logs, rubbed with olive oil & sprinkled with black pepper and garlic powder & cooked on the top rack of the grill.

You can cook them in a foil pan. Cut red potatoes in half, place in a foil pan, with crushed garlic & olive oil. Toss to coat the potatoes. Sprinkle with paprika & chives. Just cover the pan with foil and cook on lower grilling surface at 350 degrees for an hour.

Another way is to make a foil pouch with heavy duty foil. Cut up 4 medium red potatoes into cubes. Cut 1 onion into thin wedges. Put into a bowl & pour on about 1 tbsp. of olive oil & toss together. Sprinkle with garlic powder and black pepper or any other seasonings that might intrigue you. Put the potatoes and onions in your foil pouch & seal. Grill on medium high heat for about 35 mins. turning the foil packet over once while grilling.

Another foil packet method can be done by coating thick potato slices with olive oil. Place a slice of bacon on a flat piece of foil. Put a layer of sliced potatoes. Then put a layer of thinly sliced onion, a dab of butter, (if you wish, at this point you can add more bacon, but if you put bacon in the middle have some partially cooked bacon for the center),season with salt and pepper. Make another layer of potato, onion, and bacon. Salt & pepper it again & drizzle more olive oil over the top. Seal the packet up tight, add another layer of foil. Repeat until all the ingredients are used up. Grill over medium high heat for about 40 mins. You may need to open a packet to check if they are done.

There are many different ways to grill up potatoes for your barbecue or tailgate party. Use your imagination and get out there and start cooking!

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Saturday, July 24, 2010 @ 08:07 AM

Having a deep fryer at home offers convenience when frying foods. They are a must if you cook a lot. If you don’t already own a counter top deep fryer, you probably use a large cast iron cooking pan to fry your food or a large stove top deep fryer. This not only consumes a higher amount of cooking oil, some foods cannot fit properly in the pan. There is also the risk of burning food. Getting a deep fryer for your home may be something you want to consider.

What are some of the considerations to make when buying a home deep fryer you ask?

You want to choose the right size deep fryer for your needs. If you will be frying food for one or two, then a small counter top fryer will do. If you have a big family or entertain a lot, you might consider a larger counter top deep fryer or even a fryer that you use outdoors. (When a lot of food is squeezed in a small fryer, it will not cook properly). If you’re a food vendor or are a big tailgater, you might want to go for a commercial grade fryer. There are lots of  safer fryers out there that are mobile enough to take to a tailgate party, go camping with and still use in the back yard, just like your BBQ grill.

Speaking of BBQ grills, there are many multi-purpose units out there. I have a counter top deep fryer that also serves as a steamer or boiler. Comes in handy when having an afternoon crab boil, or New England style clam “bake”. An All-In-Oneis an Counter Top Deep Fryeroutdoor cooker that will deep fry, smoke, grill, boil, steam, etc.  This can be especially convenient if you yourself are a multi-purpose cooker and have limited storage space in your house to keep a larger sized counter top deep fryer/steamer/boiler. These units are  great to take on camp outs and to the tailgate party as well. Let’s you change up the menu without having to bring different types of cookers with you. The All- in -Ones come in LP gas, charcoal or electric models. This gives you more considerations to ponder, but gives the flexiblity of choice.

Whatever kind of fryer you decide on, an indoor or outdoor deep fryer, counter top, conventional, commercial grade, or All-in-One, the conveniences of having one is endless. Especially the multi-purpose models. Cooking is only limited by your imagination. Dream up some culinary masterpieces today.

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Friday, July 23, 2010 @ 01:07 PM

I am a tailgater. There are lots of us out there. Even if you are just going to the lake with a cooler & a picnic basket…technically, that’s a tailgate party. I met some people at a lake recently. They brought everything in the canoe. Cooler, food, the dog, and a charcoal grill. Just because it’s not at the game in the parking lot, or behind the back straight away, you’re still tailgating. My favorite tailgate is when we go to the last NASCAR race of the year. Then, I have a motor home with a working refrigerator. It does make life easier. We still do all of the cooking outside though. We fire up the Brinkmann grill and make all kinds of great stuff. Scallops wrapped in bacon on skewers, marinated pork tenderloin, butterflied leg of lamb marinated in tequila & green tomatillo salsa. Hey, just because you’re tailgating doesn’t mean burgers & hot dogs. Who doesn’t love a good brat with sauted onions in beer? We even get the crock pot going & leave it to cook all day while we’re in watching the races. I know I’m not the only crock pot tailgater out there. I’ve seen them at the NHRA tracks. It’s nice come back and have dinner all ready. All you need to do is dish it out. I’ve made pulled pork, beef stew, and chili that way. All the prep is done in the morning before you hit the track. It’s nice when the cook can come back to the lot after a long day in the sun & just kick back, eat, drink beer & enjoy friends. So, what’s your favorite way to tailgate? Deep fryer, charcoal grill, crock pot, BBQ smoker? Inquiring minds want to know. Besides, I need some ideas for my next tailgate.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010 @ 09:07 AM

Dutch ovens are ideal for cooking long and slow. Making casseroles, stews, and roasts are perfect in a Dutch oven.They can also be used to make or bake, pies, pizzas, breads, cakes, and biscuits.

Old style cast iron Dutch ovens are very versatile and can be used while cooking on an open campfire and on propane and charcoal grills. You can cook anything that you want and with so many different applications, without your stove top & without your conventional oven. A traditional Dutch oven with a flanged lid, is just that, an oven. You can pile coals on top to get a more even heating throughout the unit, creating a perfect oven.

Dutch ovens are also perfect for making stew or chili over an open fire. A tripod is especially handy to have when cooking this way. You are stewing, not baking, so you can cook long and slow by hanging the food over the flame & not placing the food right in the coals. Anyone that has ever made beef stew knows that the longer & slower you cook the meat, the more tender it will be. This also gives vegetables time to soften & flavors time to blend.

You can still use your Dutch oven inside at home. Start a roast on the stove top to brown the meat & saute some vegetables, cover & throw it in the oven to finish. You can deep fry in a cast iron Dutch oven on your stove top. You can still bake with it in your oven as well.

As long as you properly season &  care for a cast iron Dutch oven, it will treat you well and last for a lifetime.

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