Cooking

Stuck at home and don’t know how to cook? This professional chef is here to help

Anyone know how to cook? With more and more restaurants closing their dining rooms amid the coronavirus pandemic, many people are going to have to rely on cooking their own meals. Whether you’re an experienced cook or a complete novice, it’s likely that you’re going to be spending more time in the kitchen. Chef Richard Ingraham, Gabrielle Union and Dwayne Wade’s personal chef and author of the cookbook “Eating Well to Win, Inspired Living Through Inspired Cooking,” spoke with Fox News and gave some pointers about keeping things fresh in the kitchen. “I like to keep fresh vegetables, a variety of spices like curry, cumin, five spice powder, and lean meats like chicken breast, and fresh salmon in my kitchen,” he explained when asked about the best items to keep around the house. Since many people may have to figure out what to make for dinner with whatever they already have, Ingraham gave some tips on what to cook. “I love casseroles,” he said. “I believe in not wasting anything if I can help it. If I have left over chicken. I’d cut it up and sauté it with some onions and garlic. Add in pasta sauce, vegetables, cooked pasta and cheese. Mix it up, put it in a casserole dish and bake it. Now you can feed your whole family a new and improved way of eating that chicken.” He also explained that “it doesn’t take a lot to make dinner interesting.” “Sometimes it’s all in preparation. Take asparagus for instance. Instead of steaming or sautéing them, coat them in eggs, a mixture of breadcrumbs and seasonings. Bake the asparagus at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes until golden. What a great side dish.” “The trick to being successful in the kitchen is organization,” Ingraham explained. “Measure out all your ingredients and have them ready to go before you start. The worst thing in the world is to start the cooking process and having to stop and get an ingredient. Get organized and have success in your kitchen. ” He also provided Fox News with a recipe for toffee brownies, in case anyone is looking to get in the kitchen right away. Just click here:

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How to clean your gas grill

If your gas grill is a workhorse during the warm weather months, it’s worth learning how to clean it. Follow any of these options to get your gas grill clean, which will help your food taste great and keep your grill in good shape for years to come. For safety’s sake, always make sure your grill is cool and both the grill and its gas supply are turned off before you start cleaning. It’s also a good idea to review how to avoid major grilling safety mistakes and how to tune up your gas grill at the start of each grilling season. Click here for more!

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How to clean your grill with an onion

Did you go a little heavy on that barbeque sauce during your last cookout? It’s OK, life happens, and barbeque sauce is delicious. Plus, with this simple hack on how to clean your grill, you won’t have to worry about that caked-on barbeque sauce much longer. This grilling hack doesn’t require a brush or aluminum foil (which yes, is also a nifty way to clean your grill), but requires a simple vegetable: an onion. That’s right, an onion can actually clean your grill, while also being an eco-friendly product for your food, grill, and the environment. Numerous grillers rave about this simple trick, and how incredibly easy it is to do. Here’s all it takes: Cut an onion in half. Take your grilling fork and spear that onion on the skin side. Head over to your preheated grill (warming up the gunk on your grill helps to scrape it off) and rub the cut side of the onion on your grill. That’s it. Now, if the barbeque sauce on that grill is too powerful to your onion, you can actually loosen it up with other natural ingredients. Try spraying lemon juice or white vinegar across the grates to dampen and separate the gunk from the grates. The acidity can actually help with the cleaning process, and will make cleaning the grill with that onion even easier than it was before. Apparently, onions have antibacterial properties that can help with cleaning, especially with a messy outdoor grill. According to the National Onion Association, onions contain phytochemicals, which are various biologically active compounds that can be found in plants. The health-functional properties in these compounds actually include anti-cancer and antimicrobial activities. So why does this matter for the grill? For the antimicrobial activities, actually. An antimicrobial is an agent that can kill off microorganisms and stop growth, fighting bacteria and fungi.

Now, that’s holiday weekend news you can use!  For more, click on the text above.   🙂

Canned pumpkin is not what you think it is

So there you are, drinking your first PSL (ahem, that’s Pumpkin Spice Latte) of the season. But wait. What I’m about to tell you could rock your Starbucks-loving world: The coffee drink that makes you feel like you’re eating liquid pumpkin pie is in fact a SSL. Yes, that is a Squash Spice Latte. Because that pumpkin pie you grew up eating—the pie from which the aforementioned drink derives its name, owing to the spices commonly included in said pie—was most likely made not from pumpkin, but from squash. Libby’s Pure Pumpkin—the quintessential American canned pumpkin brand—is responsible for 85% of canned pumpkin sold in the world. When we think of a pumpkin, we usually imagine either the rotund, bright orange specimen that we buy up at Halloween to carve into a jack-o-lantern—which, while edible, isn’t good for cooking—or its smaller, tastier cousin, the sugar pumpkin. But instead of those pumpkin varieties, Libby’s grows a proprietary strain of tan-skinned Dickinson squash. And although Libby’s does refer to its fruit as “pumpkin,” in appearance, taste, and texture (not to mention species) it more closely resembles squash. In fact, its closest high-profile relative is butternut squash. Because the FDA finds that drawing a hard-line designation between pumpkins and “golden-fleshed” winter squash is murky, it’s perfectly legal for Libby’s and other canned pumpkin brands to label their products as such. In addition, companies are allowed to combine different plant varieties into one purée to achieve a desired flavor and consistency—especially beneficial if one type doesn’t grow as well from one year to the next. And because many of these companies do offer a product that is denser, sweeter, and more flavorful than the more commonly available pumpkin would be, can we really begrudge them the semantics? If it does bother you to think that your pumpkin pie might be filled with squash, you could always make your own purée by slicing a sugar pumpkin in half, discarding the seeds and pulp, and then roasting it, cut-side down, at 375ºF until it’s tender throughout, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours (test by sticking a paring knife into the side—when there is no resistance, it’s ready). Once it’s cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh from the peel and purée in a food processor or blender until totally smooth. Finally, depending on the water content of the fruit, you may or may not have to scrape the purée into a cheesecloth-lined strainer and let it strain for a few hours. Or, you could just pop open a can and accept the fact that if it was good enough for grandma, it’s good enough for you.

Exactly!  And, let’s be honest..  Pumpkin IS a type of squash.  So, it’s really a semantics argument.  Thanks to Joe Sevier over at epicurious for this piece.    🙂

Top tips for foolproof deep-frying

Call me a fry daddy—after all the deep-frying I’ve been doing lately, I certainly feel like one. First, Senior Editor Matt Duckor and I created the ultimate crispy chicken sandwich. I followed that up with three weeks of developing the perfect apple cider doughnut. So at this very moment, I’m very aware of the pitfalls of deep-frying (scary oil, the splattery mess, the fish shack smell). But I also know now that frying is not as intimidating as it looks, and can result in some seriously delicious food—especially if you keep a few key points in mind.

What are those “few key points,” you ask? Well, click on the text above to see what Katherine Sacks over at Epicurious recommends. Bon Appetit!! 🙂

The secret to making the world’s best scrambled eggs

When people ask you how you like your scrambled eggs, they’re really asking one thing: Soft and buttery or firm and fluffy? I’m not here to convince you of the virtues of one or the other. After all, how you take your eggs is like your social security number. Your fingerprint. Your astrological sign. It’s you. But while I won’t tell you how to take your eggs, I will tell you what to put in them: cheese. That’s right. Most scrambled eggs are missing some cheese. And it makes no sense. Why should omelets have all the fun? omelets usually aren’t the best carrier for cheese anyway. All too often, that cheese remains an unmelted block within that log of egg. And even if it does melt, you’re still biting into alternating mouthfuls of egg and cheese.

Some fun tips from Adina Steiman over at Epicurious…  I agree you have to have cheese with your scrambled eggs.  I use cream cheese..and then sprinkle in some cheddar.   Then, gotta have some salsa on the side..  Anyway, to see Adina’s tips, click on the text above.

Weird household uses for butter

Have you ever tried convincing someone that butter is part of a healthy diet? He or she was probably skeptical, most likely because of news coverage that advances the idea that saturated fat, which is found in butter, is bad for your health. That may have been the general consensus several decades ago, but based on recent studies, it’s widely agreed upon that butter can be a stepping stone on your journey toward a healthy lifestyle. The latest about butter shows that it can be consumed in moderation because it contains fat-soluble vitamins, which are key to maintaining a healthy weight. Butter is mainly composed of fat: 70 percent of butter is saturated fat, about 25 percent of butter is monounsaturated fat, and about 2.3 percent is polyunsaturated fat. Although butter does contain some trans fats, dairy trans fats are considered healthy, unlike trans fats from processed foods. The conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) found in butter is associated with several health benefits — it may reduce the risk of cancer, promote weight loss, and improve cardiovascular health. The vitamin and mineral breakdown of butter demonstrates that it is a nutrient-dense food. It provides vitamins A, D, E, B12, and K2, some of which have antioxidant properties that help with health problems. When choosing which butter to buy, opt for the grass-fed variety. Studies show that grass-fed butter has more nutrients than grain-fed butter in terms of healthy fat content, fat-soluble vitamins, and antioxidants. Now that you know its ok to consume butter in moderate quantities, check out some other handy uses for this common kitchen spread.

Some really good info here! To read some of the “weird” uses of butter, click on the text above. 🙂