Archive for July, 2011

Friday, July 29, 2011 @ 12:07 PM

Moving across town is a hassle. Moving to a whole new state is stressful and a major pain in the neck.

You will find out that moving any LP gas tanks that you have is a big no, no. No moving company will move any sort of gas tanks. You can always give them away and you will just have to buy new ones when you arrive at your new destination.

This does not mean that you need to leave your gas grill, BBQ smoker, or outdoor propane deep fryers behind. Just remove the tanks, clean them up. Make sure there is no grease in your grill’s drip pans and make sure your deep fryer is free of frying oil. If your moving company is good, they will take the necessary care to ship your outdoor cooking equipment with out damaging them.

If you are moving yourself with a rented truck or shipping container, there are a few tricks you should use. As I said, make sure the grease traps are clean and that any oil from your fryer is cleaned out of the cooking compartment. Take moving tape, tape to the handle of your grill, but then flip the tape over so that the sticky part of  the tape is on the outside. You do not want the sticky residue from the tape stuck to your cooking equipment or any finish on the equipment being ripped off when you remove tape. Wrap the backward tape around doors and lids so that nothing can open and damage or harm other items in your moving truck. Any glass windows on your cooking equipment should be covered with cardboard and taped over. If you like you may then wrap the unit in a moving blanket for extra protection. If you have a unit that comes in pieces, disassemble the major parts and wrap them up in moving blankets.

Good luck with your move.

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Thursday, July 14, 2011 @ 10:07 AM

Have some friends drop by unexpected? Family members pop in unannounced? You can throw together a nice barbecue in a pinch if need be. It all depends on what you have in your fridge or freezer and how good your imagination can stretch. Having a little time to prepare is great, but if not, just put your thinking cap on, open the fridge and freezer, and get creative!

Boneless chicken is very versatile. If you happen to have some in the freezer, this will be your best bet. You can cook boneless chicken breasts from a frozen state and still get excellent results. That does not work with all kinds of meats.If you have a little time to get it on a thaw though, throw it in some orange juice with some spices, or coat it in some Italian dressing. The same can be done with certain types of fish fillets.

You can put other meats on a thaw with your microwave. Do not defrost entirely. Sometimes you can end up ruining meat that way. Having sausages, hot dogs, and pre-made burgers in your freezer for just such an occasion is always handy too, especially if people pop in on you a lot.

Summer time is a great time to have other fruits and vegetables on hand. You can grill other things besides meat. Get your Brinkmann grill going and throw on some halved peaches and nectarines that have been brushed with olive oil.

Grilled roasted peppers and mushrooms are always a nice side dish.

Have a bunch of asparagus in the fridge? Lay out some foil, put in a pat or two of butter, sprinkle lightly with some seasonings, seal and throw the pouch on the grill. Turn it once or twice. Don’t leave it on too long though. You want the asparagus still a bit crispy, not mushy.

Don’t have lettuce or enough lettuce to make a salad? Open up your cupboard. Salad doesn’t always have to be about leafy greens. Open a can of chick peas, or red beans to add to a salad. Onion, pepper, celery, carrots, whatever you have on hand. You can even cut up pear to use in a salad. Toss everything together, add a little lime juice or olive oil and vinegar and viola, salad! I went to a barbecue last night. Someone came unexpectedly, but not empty handed. She threw together a creamy cucumber salad, and a really neat mixed up salad that had fresh corn kernels stripped from an ear of corn, blueberries, red onion, fresh mint, and a nice vinaigrette.

Don’t have enough stuff to make a salad? If you have a couple of baking potatoes in the cabinet, slice the bakers in half or quarters, coat them in olive oil, sprinkle with garlic powder and black pepper. Place it on the top rack of the grill, prior to meat and  while the meat is cooking.

Throwing together a BBQ in a pinch is easy.  Use your imagination and get creative. If you have time to run to the store for added ingredients, go ahead, but as long as you have some food around, just use it. Just have a little faith in yourself. Get out there and start cooking!

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Monday, July 11, 2011 @ 09:07 AM

I have been finding more and more people coming to the food vending or the catering business. Many people either lost their jobs or found such a lack of work that they needed to recreate themselves. Everyone has to eat, right? In this turbulent economy, having some comfort food to make the heart and soul feel better, is not such a bad thing. The recreated people that I have been finding are now cooking, grilling, and\or deep frying food for festivals, farmer’s markets, events and catered parties.

Some of the people that I have recently met were lawyers, contractors, carpenters. Their career industries have not been doing so well. They have chosen to take up deep frying and food vending as side income or as an out and out career change. The food vending industry has blown through the roof right now. The West Coast of America taking a great leap forward with the food truck industry. But food vending has spread it’s fingers far and wide throughout the U.S. and even into Canada. And not just food trucks either. Caterers, street vendors, food carts, mobile trailer vendors, event and festival vendors.

And, we are not just talking about the typical hot dog truck or coffee truck anymore. The more your fare varies compared to the cart next door, the better off you may be. You want something interesting and tasty. Not the same old, same old. People are not just using griddles and steam trays any more. There are mobile grills and BBQ smokers. Panini and sandwich press machines. Mobilized trailer pizza ovens. Portable outdoor propane deep fryers have become a huge added cooking appliance to some vendors. With so many different nationalities and palates in North America, the food fare  options are endless!

I spoke with someone the other day. They do bratwurst for festivals. They have decided to add a deep fryer to their outdoor cooking equipment to hopefully bring in more business. They will be adding a sort of thick potato chip with different spices.

I know of another company that all they do is deep fry. They work a farmer’s market in Oregon, once a week for the whole season. They deep fry empanadas, sort of a meat and vegetable pastry.

Potato twisters, a deep fried spiral cut potato on a stick, has become huge. Originating in Korea, where it has become the number one street food, it has hit the streets and fairs of America with full force. I saw a program on TV where a vendor at The California State Fair has taken the twisted potato and tweaked it. He put a hot dog on the stick first, then placed the spiral cut potato around it before deep frying it. Sounds odd right, but interesting. I would try it!

Fish tacos have taken the country by storm. Odd as they sound, having deep fried fish in a soft shell tortilla is all the rage. Even some of the bigger fast food restaurants have picked up on that.

There are endless ways to make money while selling food. Time and effort are involved, but ingenuity, honesty, integrity, and a little brains can get you places that you never thought you could go. There is a man the started a deep fried food tent at the Texas State Fair. He deep fries anything and everything. It brings people back for more. Just to see what they are deep frying today. This gentleman makes enough money through the fair to now sustain him for the rest of the year. Now, that’s deep frying for a living!!

Like I said before. Everyone has to eat. If you are looking for a way to make extra money, and you can cook fairly well, maybe it is time to jump on the comfort food vending band wagon. Get a deep fat fryer and start making french fries at the local festivals. Take your grill to the farmer’s market and roast corn on the cob. When the weather starts getting cooler, get yourself a turkey fryer, or a large stock pot and propane cooker and make some chili for the apple festival or fall leaf and craft fair. With a great idea and some time and effort, you could be on your way! The American dream starts here!

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011 @ 11:07 AM

I love watching programs relating with food. This has been a passion of mine since I was a small child. Back then there was not a lot to choose from. When I was a kid, I loved The Galloping Gourmet. I got such a kick out of Graham Kerr jumping over counters and his passion for good food and wine. As the years went by, more and more cooking programs began to appear. From Julia Child and The Frugal Gourmet to Yan Can Cook and then Graham Kerr reinventing himself  with lower fat yet higher flavored meals.

We’ve come a long way since then haven’t we? Not only do we still have PBS cooking shows, we now have 2 food channels, do it yourself television showing multiple cooking programs, and my favorite…The Travel Channel. The Travel Channel has jumped on the food band wagon by adding such favorites as Man VS Food, Bizarre Foods, and whatever Paradise they deem fit. Bacon Paradise, Deep Fried Paradise, Ice Cream Paradise, Steak and BBQ Paradise, etc. This is a program where they show the 10 best places to get this favorite type of food within the United States.

I happened to be watching an episode of Man Vs Food the other day. Adam Richman had journeyed to The California State Fair. There were many deep fried food vendors there. Obviously Adam had to sample some of the fried fare. Most of these food vendors are set up in an outdoor atmosphere and not in a food truck. They were cooking all sorts of delectables with their outdoor propane deep fryers. One vendor was doing mostly sweet stuff. Everything was dipped in a funnel cake batter and then deep fried. Cheese cake, cookie dough, etc. One thing that stood out at that stand was a monstrous deep fried Twinkie. It was 3 Twinkies placed together on a stick, dipped in batter and deep fried. There was another vendor that put a twist on his potato twisters. This vendor decided to put a hot dog on the stick and then place the spiral potato around the hot dog before deep frying the whole thing. Now you may think that deep fried hot dogs sound weird, but I have had one before. I found out about a place in New Jersey, from a food program with Guy Fieri, and the Travel Channel. This place is called Rutt’s Hut. It is famous for it’s deep fried hot dogs. The Ripper, being fried just until the skin rips, to The Cremator which goes well beyond the ripping stage. If you ever get to Clifton, NJ you need to stop by and give these savory dogs a whirl. It was well worth the side trip.

Food TV has come a long way over the years. Obviously I was not the only one inspired by watching others cook. The multitude of food information that can be gotten from chefs on TV and the internet is astounding. We all have our favorites, we all have our non-favorites. But that is what life is all about, having choices. Need an idea for dinner tonight? Turn on The Food Channel or Food Network and get inspired!

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Monday, July 4, 2011 @ 08:07 AM

Cajun Fryers by R & V Works, located in Homer, La, are not just an everyday deep fryer.

R & V Works provides versatile, high performance, low maintenance LP gas fryers with unsurpassed quality that make these fryers one of the greatest all around values. (They also make high quality Smokin’ Cajun Grills).

The success of the Cajun Fryer is due to the design of the burner/flue.  The burner is positioned 6″ above the bottom of the oil reservoir and is at a 45 degree angle. This prevents the food batter from collecting on the burner and allows it to fall to the bottom.  Since heat rises, the bottom never gets hot enough to burn or scorch the batter. This keeps the frying oil clean, cooking after cooking.

Cajun Fryers offer  and estimated 70% reduction in oil use. Let’s face it, good quality frying oil can get expensive. It is recommend to change the oil after 25-30 normal cooking’s and strain the oil every 5th cooking.  Double oil life expectancy and revolutionary design, which results in fewer oil changes and you recoup your investment within a short time.

These outdoor deep fryers, that are manufactured in the United States, are of the highest quality, compared to other units of similar make. Honesty and service backs up everyone of these fryers. R & V Works will guarantee your satisfaction or will replace your fryer or refund your investment. That’s more than can be said of many other companies around.

More can be said of the “other” companies units. One point being that there are so fewer sizes to choose from. Another being that their units are cookie cutter. No modifications can be made.

The Cajun Fryer comes in many shapes and sizes. They range from a small 2 1\2 gallon unit, perfect for back yards, camping, and smaller tailgate parties, all the way up to a 17 gallon unit that is perfect for caterers, festival food vendors, and outdoor restaurants. There are 6 other sizes in between. Including, like the 17 gallon fryer, units that have 2 separate cooking compartments. The FF4R is an 8 gallon deep fryer, but it is comprised of 2 4 gallon units on one caddy. Should you have a smaller function going on and wish to only use the one side, that can be done. Or, if you are doing a fish fry, you can cook the fish strictly in one side, and save the other side for french fries, hush puppies, etc, without them getting any added fishy undertones from the oil.

The Cajun Fryers come with a rolling caddy to ease in portability. Should you not want the rolling caddy, so that you may add a fryer to a built in outdoor kitchen or attach the unit to a tailgate trailer, this can be done. Nothing is ever set in stone. Special orders can be accommodated within reason. If you need a unit taller, a caddy can be made taller. If you don’t need a double cooking compartment on a 17 gallon fryer, something can be done. If you are a funnel cake vendor, a unit can be made with the rings already in place. For restaurants and food vendors, all stainless steel units can be made. A locking and sealed lid can be custom manufactured, should you be a traveling vendor or hard core tailgater.

If you are considering an outdoor propane deep fryer, whether for home or for your business, the Cajun Fryer is an investment well worth making.

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Saturday, July 2, 2011 @ 09:07 AM

As of July 1, 2011, Barbour International, ie.: Bayou Classic has decided to discontinue the turkey fryer kit.

A turkey fryer kit is everything that you need to deep fry turkey. A stock pot with a lid, an outdoor propane cooker or patio stove, the hose and regulator, a poultry rack and lifter, a thermometer, and seasoning injector are typically included. Some of the more deluxe models would include other perforated baskets and pans for smaller deep frying adventures, like a Friday night fish fry, or a large perforated steam/boil basket for Low Country Boils.

Turkey fryers are versatile in that you can, steam, boil, stew, and deep fry in them. These kits are ideal outdoor cooking equipment for tailgaters. You can change up your menu for every game and not just be grilling all the time. You can make chili one week, or just steam corn on the cob the next week while you grill steaks for your tailgating crew.

Some units are made of aluminum, some stainless steel. This part is all preference. Stainless usually cleans up easier than aluminum but the aluminum turkey fryer stock pots tend to be less expensive. If you are just starting out in the turkey frying fad, aluminum may be the way to go for you. After you gain some more experience, maybe you want to upgrade to a stainless steel model.

Luckily, Barbour International is still carrying all the items that were in all of the turkey fryer kits. The items must all be purchased separately now. This is good in one sense, as not everyone wanted everything that came in some of the kits. On the down side, purchasing all of the original items as compared to everything in one box as one kit, is considerably more expensive. I see this as being a bad move for business, especially in the economic times we are experiencing right now. People are looking for a great value with a great price tag. People are still going to fry turkeys, they just may be looking elsewhere for a better deal.

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Friday, July 1, 2011 @ 09:07 AM

This past week there was an article regarding deep frying in The New York Times. Not something that you would expect to see in The Times. There were even a few recipes as there was also a discussion of different types of breading that may be used when deep frying.

The article entitled “Everybody Outside With the Deep Fryer”, by Melissa Clark, made some great points regarding outdoor use of a deep fryer. When you deep fry indoors, whether using a cast iron, stove top deep fryer, or a counter top deep fryer, you always end up with a lingering odor in your house, not to mention a nice coating of oil on everything. Melissa’s husband decided to take their counter top deep fryer outside. They invited their friends to a deep fry party. Having a whole party devoted to deep fried foods allowed Melissa to play and experiment with different kinds of foods and different types of coatings. From sweet to savory, appetizer to entree, Melissa got to have fun, feed her guests, and didn’t have an oily, smelly, messy kitchen to deal with afterward.

Using an electric deep fryer outside is OK, but typically not recommended by the manufacturer. It is not an item that you could ever keep outside permanently. Some units can handle the outdoor exposure, but the heating element would need to be taken off after every use and brought indoors. If you really do deep fry all of the time, and you have a nice back yard, why not consider an outdoor propane deep fryer? These units are made to stay outside and range in size from small to large professional grade. Even if you don’t deep fry all of the time, having a propane fryer can add to your BBQ menu. While you are grilling steaks you can fry a batch of onion rings as a side dish. While grilling a nice tuna steak or some nice stripped bass you can deep fry a batch of french fries, hush puppies and clam strips. After smoking some delectable delights all day on your BBQ smoker, you can deep fry some candy bars, cookies, or fried dough for dessert.

Deep frying outdoors, especially in the hot, sultry summer months is an excellent idea. Whether you decide to get a propane deep fryer or just take your counter top deep fryer outside. Happy frying!

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