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The allure of exotic spices launched Columbus on his journey of discovery. Today, home chefs can explore new taste sensations by using spices and other flavorful ingredients to add a new world of flavor to fresh fish and seafood.

Tips For Spicing Up Seafood

Tips For Spicing Up SeafoodThe allure of exotic spices launched Columbus on his journey of discovery. Today, home chefs can explore new taste sensations by using spices and other flavorful ingredients to add a new world of flavor to fresh fish and seafood. "There's nothing like the fresh flavors of herbs and spices for cutting unhealthy calories without sacrificing taste," said Red Lobster Executive Chef Michael LaDuke, who offers the following simple tips for enhancing the natural flavor of fresh fish and seafood: World of Flavors: An easy recipe that turns fresh fish into an exotic dish is topping tilapia with a mixture of soy sauce, lime juice, orange juice, fresh ginger, garlic and cilantro. To produce a richer flavor, make the soy sauce mixture at least 24 hours in advance and refrigerate the sauce overnight. Serve the sauce at room temperature or slightly warmed. With its sweet, mild taste and firm, flaky texture, tilapia will soak up the flavors and take on a deliciously Asian flair. If you prefer a delicately flavorful fish such as halibut, complement its medium-to-firm texture with bold spice blends such as curry or chili. Healthy Oils: The key to making flavorful oils for a simply elegant and heart-healthy meal is to add herbs and spices, such as basil, garlic, salt and pepper, to olive oil over a low heat on the stove, similar to making tea. This allows you to adjust the intensity of the flavor. After heating the olive oil, strain the mixture and remove the herbs and spices. For a special touch, place the olive oil on your table surrounded by sprigs of the fresh herbs and spices.Be adventurous! Add a variety of flavorful herbs and spices to your oil mixture, such as exotic peppers, chives, dill, lemongrass or mint. If you serve olive oil over salmon, you'll also enjoy the heart-health benefits of essential omega-3 fatty acids found in this delicious fish. Cooking With Wine: Wine is not only good for drinking, it's also great for cooking. Pour white wine, such as a Sauvignon Blanc, over a firm white fish like mahi-mahi and season it with chili powder to intensify the flavor. Mahi-mahi is light enough to bring out the crisp citrus taste of this popular wine. But remember, your sauce will be only as good as the wine you choose, so always cook with a wine you enjoy drinking.Adding Some Zest: Add the tangy flavor of citrus by generously squeezing lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit juices over your favorite fish or seafood and garnishing with freshly grated zest. When using fruit zests as a garnish, it is best to slightly poach them beforehand in sugar water, as raw zests can taste bitter.For quick, tasty meals, make a citrus butter ahead of time by combining melted butter and citrus juices, cooling the mixture and storing it in the refrigerator until ready to use. Citrus juices mixed with melted butter also make great dipping sauces for succulent lobster and shrimp.Studies show eating fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, including mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon, at least twice a week is good for the heart. Using an array of herbs and spices offers endless opportunities to bring out the best in all varieties of fresh fish and seafood.Red Lobster serves guests fresh fish entrees with bold flavors, savory seafood dishes that include shrimp, crab and scallops, as well as the company's signature, live Maine lobster.

3 Non-Traditional Ways to Prepare Your Holiday Turkey

3 Non-Traditional Ways to Prepare Your Holiday Turkey

3 Non-Traditional Ways to Prepare Your Holiday TurkeyDeep-Fryed Turkey3 gallons peanut oil for frying, or as needed1 (12 pound) whole turkey, neck and giblets removed1/4 cup Creole seasoning1 white onionIn a large stockpot or turkey fryer, heat oil to 400 degrees F. Be sure to leave room for the turkey, or the oil will spillover.***** Side Note *****How to determine the amount of oil you need:The easiest way I've found to determine the amount of oil you need is to place the turkey into the fryer and fill with water until the turkey is just covered. Remove turkey and allow to drain, pat dry with paper towels as well. Make note of the level of water in the fryer. Discard water and dry throughly. Fill frying vessel with oil to the level as noted above. This should help in preventing hot oil spill overs.***** End Side Note *****Layer a large platter with food-safe paper bags. Rinse turkey, and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels. Rub Creole seasoning over turkey inside and out. Make sure the hole at the neck is open at least 2 inches so the oil can flow freely through the bird. Place the whole onion and turkey in drain basket. The turkey should be placed in basket neck end first. Slowly lower basket into hot oil to completely cover turkey. Maintain the temperature of the oil at 350 degrees F, and cook turkey for 3 1/2 minutes per pound, about 45 minutes. Carefully remove basket from oil, and drain turkey. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh; the internal temperature must be 180 degrees F.Finish draining turkey on the prepared platter.Grilled Whole Turkey12 pounds whole turkey2 cups water3 tablespoons chicken bouillon powder2 teaspoons garlic powder2 teaspoons onion powder1 teaspoon poultry seasoning1/2 teaspoon chopped parsley1 teaspoon paprikaPrepare an outdoor grill for indirect medium heat, and lightly oil grate. Rinse turkey, and pat dry. Place turkey breast side down on the prepared grill. Sear turkey on both sides until skin is golden to dark brown. In a large roasting pan, mix together the water, bouillon powder, garlic powder, onion powder, poultry seasoning, parsley, and paprika. Place turkey breast side down in the roasting pan. Scoop the pan mixture over the turkey. Cover tightly with foil and place on grill. Grill 3 to 4 hours, until the internal temperature of the thigh reaches 180F. Remove turkey from grill and let stand 15 minutes before carving.Smoked Turkey1 turkey 8 to 22 lbs., fresh or completely thawedSweet Pickle Brine (recipe to follow)Maple syrupSweet Pickle Brine:1 gal. water2 1/2 cups salt, rock, pickling or canning salts are recommened1/3 cup of light brown sugar1 tablespoon Lquid garlic1 oz. pickling spicesMix well. You may need to adjust the amounts depending on the size of your bird. This recipe should suit you fine for an 8 to 12 lb. turkey.Rinse turkey thoroughly with cold water, drain and pat dry. Prepare sweet pickle brine. Brine turkey according to the following schedule, 8 to 12 lb. bird 3 days, 13 to 16 lb. bird 4 days, 17 to 22 lb. bird 5 days. Remove from brine; rinse thoroughly in cold water and pat dry. Allow to dry in refrigerator for 24 hours. Lock wings behind back and tie legs and tail together. Baste turkey with maple syrup before putting in smoker and every 2 hours while smoking. Position turkey on cooking grill. Smoke cook until done. The best way to determine doneness is to insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey (the breast) the internal temperature should read 180 degrees F.Smoking food is more an art than a science; this recipe is not intended for the novice. Allot of factors go into determining the cooking time for a particular food when smoking.Cool turkey in the refrigerator for 24 hours before serving to enhance the smoked flavor. You may serve the turkey right away if you wish.

Where There's Smoke, There's Flavor Smoking Foods On Gas Grills

Where There

Today's grillers are hungrier than ever for more flavorful foods, as evidenced by the steady increase in the sales of wood chips and wood chunks over the last several years (according to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association). "When you add particular kinds of wood smoke to your food, you are taking advantage of a technique that most people associate with charcoal. Actually, it's just about as easy to control wood smoke with a gas grill, and the results are fantastic," says Chef Jamie Purviance, author of "Weber's Real Grilling." As one of the country's top grilling and barbecue experts, Purviance offers consumers useful tips when smoking meats, fish and vegetables on gas grills:Choosing a Smoking Flavor. "The world of barbecue has its traditional pairings of certain woods with certain meats, like hickory with pork and mesquite with beef. Those traditions wouldn't last if they didn't taste great, but keep in mind that there are many flavors of wood and foods, other than pork and beef, that improve with a touch of smoke," says Purviance. Purviance suggests smoking with hardwoods provided they are sold dry and untreated. Avoid softwoods, like pine and fir, because they are too resinous for smoking. According to Purviance, hardwood chips and chunks fall into three categories of flavor intensity: pungent (mesquite, hickory and pecan), moderate (oak, maple and alder) and mild (apple, cherry and pear). "Beef, lamb and pork handle the pungent woods really well," he adds. "For the moderate woods, I like fish, pork and poultry. It's amazing what a handful or two of oak chips can do for chicken pieces. Very quickly they pick up a deep wood-fired flavor without any bitterness. The mild woods have an even sweeter, fruitier quality, which works beautifully with chicken and also with vegetables." Prepping the Wood. Not quite ready for grilling, wood chips should be soaked in water for at least 30 minutes; chunks need at least a one-hour soak. Soaking ensures that chips/chunks will smolder rather than simply burn. Thoroughly drain and loosely fill the gas grill's smoker box, such as the one featured on some Weber Summit grills, and leave enough room for air to circulate. On the Rocks. Even without a smoking attachment, you can still enjoy the diverse, rich flavors imparted by smoking. Simply place presoaked wood chips in a foil pan, cover with aluminum foil, and poke enough holes in the foil to allow the smoke to escape. Once the grill is preheated, place the foil pan directly on the bars or lava rocks over the lit burner. Place the cooking grates on top, turn the burners on high, and close the lid. Begin cooking when the grill is fully smoking. Smoking Sense. Whenever smoking your foods, Purviance offers this last reminder: Meats and vegetables will taste best if the smoke is kept inside the grill. So don't peek too much. Keep the lid down when grilling with wood. And, for safety, always allow the wood to cool completely before disposing it.

The Thrill Of A Safe Grill

The Thrill Of A Safe Grill

Barbecuing or grilling outdoors this summer tops the list of fun ways for families to eat dinner together, according to a survey from the Propane Education & Research Council. And almost two-thirds of Americans say that a barbecue or cookout is their favorite way to entertain-or be entertained-during the summer months. But only one in three adults say they know enough about basic safe grilling tips. To help the 74 million "barbecue households" in the United States enjoy a safe and healthy summer season, the propane industry teamed up with best-selling author and grilling expert Steven Raichlen to release its top-ten tips on grilling safely with propane gas:1. When the cylinder is refilled, have the supplier check for dents, damage, rust or leaks. 2. After filling or exchanging, take the cylinder home immediately. Keep the vehicle ventilated and the cylinder valve closed and capped. 3. Always use or store cylinders outdoors in an upright (vertical) position. Do not use, store or transport cylinders near high temperatures (this includes storing spare cylinders near the grill).4. Never leave the grill unattended. Always follow grill manufacturer's instructions on lighting the grill and make sure the grill top is open when attempting to light the grill.5. Before connecting or lighting a propane gas grill, use a leak-detection solution to check connections for tightness. Do not use matches or lighters to check for leaks. 6. If you suspect a gas leak, and are able to safely turn off the gas supply valve, do so immediately and call the fire department.7. Do not allow children to tamper or play with the cylinder or grill. 8. Do not smoke while handling a propane cylinder.9. Never pour an accelerant such as lighter fluid or gasoline on the grill.10. When not in use, grill burner controls should be turned off and cylinder valve closed."Interest in grilling is skyrocketing," said Raichlen, author of The Barbecue Bible and the just-released Raichlen on Ribs. "Given the large numbers of grillers in this country, it is imperative that safe grilling tips are made available and, more importantly, followed."

Cake Decorating Ideas For All Occasions

You really dont need a special occasion to decorate a cake, but some events that can be made unforgettable and extra special with a decorated treat are holidays, birthdays, graduations, religious occasions, showers, weddings, and other personal special events.Here are some cake decorating ideas that will help you make any occasion special:New Years Champagne ToastBake one 9-in. round and one 9x12-in. rectangle cake.Cut the round in half. Use one half for the top of the champagne glass.Cut a 2 or 3-inch long strip for the stem of the glass and a 2 x 4-inch section for the base of the glass. Piece them together to form the champagne glass. To be sure all the pieces stay together, lightly frost each piece separately before you piece them together.Place the pieces on a cake board. Ice the top part (straight edge) of the half-round cake and the stem and base sections in white icing. Ice the bottom part (rounded edge) of the half-round cake in light yellow or light pink icing to resemble champagne. Easter Egg Hunt (So easy kids can do it!)Bake 6 large muffins. Cool and frost them with green icing. Generously sprinkle green shredded coconut* on top of the frosting to resemble grass. Place colored jelly beans within the coconut so they are half-hidden. Place small bunny toppers on the top of the muffins so they look as if they are finding the jelly beans.*To tint shredded coconut, place coconut in a plastic bag. Add a few drops of food color. Knead color into coconut. Dry on waxed paper.Spooky Halloween Brownies (Let the kids help!)Bake your favorite brownies. When cooled, cut into 3-inch circles, using a cookie cutter or a pattern and sharp knife. Place a Halloween stencil (available in most stores) in the center of each brownie. Sprinkle the stencil with confectioners (powdered) sugar. Remove the stencil. Edge the top and the bottom of brownie with tip 14 white icing stars.Shiny Christmas Ornament Bake a one or two-layer round cake. Ice the cake smooth with white icing. Pipe tip 5 white icing lines across the top at 1-inch intervals. Vary the shapes of the lines, making one straight, one zigzag, one curvy, etc. to resemble decorations on an ornament. Randomly pipe tip 5 icing balls and tip 16 stars between the lines also to resemble decorations. ADULT BIRTHDAY / SPECIAL OCCASIONLet Me Call You Sweetheart Bake a heart-shaped cake and a heart-shaped mini-cake. Ice the larger cake smooth with pink icing. Place the mini-cake in the center of the larger cake. Cover the mini cake in tip 16 red icing stars. Add a tip 14 red icing shell border at the bottom of the mini cake and a tip 16 red icing shell border at the top and the bottom of the large cake. Write your message in pink with tip 3 on the mini-cake.KIDS BIRTHDAYRainbow Train Bake four mini-loaf cakes. (about 3-1/2 x 4-1/2 inches each.)Ice each one smooth one with red icing, one with blue icing, one with green icing, and one with yellow icing. Use the cake iced in red as the engine: Make a smokestack for the engine with 2 large marshmallows. Frost them together with green icing. Attach the marshmallows to the top of engine with a toothpick. Using green icing, attach a piece of white curly ribbon or candy on the top of the smokestack for smoke and attach two white or yellow gum drops to the front of the engine for headlights. With a spatula, place a small mound of yellow icing on top of the yellow car; add small chocolate chips to resemble coal. Place two or three small plastic cars on top of the blue car. Stick small stick candies, such as licorice pieces on top of the green car to resemble metal parts. Decorate the sides of the cars with various small hard candies for decorations. For wheels: With icing the same color as the car, attach 4 large candy discs, such as peppermint swirls, to the bottom of each car. Connect the cars with one-inch licorice whips or pretzel sticks.Up! Up! And AwayBake two each: tulip, flower, butterfly and dragonfly cookies (eight total) and a 9x12-in. rectangle cake. Ice the cookies smooth in various pastel colors with thinned royal icing.** Decorate the iced butterfly cookie with tip 3 colored icing dots. Ice the bottom half of the 9x12-in. cake smooth with green icing and the top half smooth with light blue icing to resemble grass and the sky. Place two small mounds of white icing on the blue half for clouds. Pat down the clouds with your fingers dipped in cornstarch. Place the tulip and flower cookies in the grass and pipe tip 3 green stems and leaves, if necessary. Place the one butterfly cookie near the flower cookie and the other butterfly cookie and the dragonfly cookies in the sky. Write your message on the cake with tip 3 white icing.**Royal Icing Recipe2 cups sifted confectioners sugar2 scant tablespoons meringue powder3 tablespoons waterBeat all the ingredients a low speed until the icing forms peaks.(Makes about 1-1/2 cups)

The Importance of Food Elements

The purposes of food are to promote growth, to supply force and heat, and to furnish material to repair the waste which is constantly taking place in the body. Every breath, every thought, every motion, wears out some portion of the delicate and wonderful house in which we live. Various vital processes remove these worn and useless particles; and to keep the body in health, their loss must be made good by constantly renewed supplies of material properly adapted to replenish the worn and impaired tissues. This renovating material must be supplied through the medium of food and drink, and the best food is that by which the desired end may be most readily and perfectly attained. The great diversity in character of the several tissues of the body, makes it necessary that food should contain a variety of elements, in order that each part may be properly nourished and replenished. The Food Elements.The various elements found in food are the following: Starch, sugar, fats, albumen, mineral substances, indigestible substances. The digestible food elements are often grouped, according to their chemical composition, into three classes; vis., carbonaceous, nitrogenous, and inorganic. The carbonaceous class includes starch, sugar, and fats; the nitrogenous, all albuminous elements; and the inorganic comprises the mineral elements. Starch is only found in vegetable foods; all grains, most vegetables, and some fruits, contain starch in abundance. Several kinds of sugar are made in nature's laboratory; cane, grape, fruit, and milk sugar. The first is obtained from the sugar-cane, the sap of maple trees, and from the beet root. Grape and fruit sugars are found in most fruits and in honey. Milk sugar is one of the constituents of milk. Glucose, an artificial sugar resembling grape sugar, is now largely manufactured by subjecting the starch of corn or potatoes to a chemical process; but it lacks the sweetness of natural sugars, and is by no means a proper substitute for them. Albumen is found in its purest, uncombined state in the white of an egg, which is almost wholly composed of albumen. It exists, combined with other "food elements" , in many other foods, both animal and vegetable. It is found abundant in oatmeal, and to some extent in the other grains, and in the juices of vegetables. All natural foods contain elements which in many respects resemble albumen, and are so closely allied to it that for convenience they are usually classified under the general name of "albumen." The chief of these is gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, and barley. Casein, found in peas, beans, and milk, and the fibrin of flesh, are elements of this class. Fats are found in both animal and vegetable foods. Of animal fats, butter and suet are common examples. In vegetable form, fat is abundant in nuts, peas, beans, in various of the grains, and in a few fruits, as the olive. As furnished by nature in nuts, legumes, grains, fruits, and milk, this element is always found in a state of fine subdivision, which condition is the one best adapted to its digestion. As most commonly used, in the form of free fats, as butter, lard, etc., it is not only difficult of digestion itself, but often interferes with the digestion of the other food elements which are mixed with it. It was doubtless never intended that fats should be so modified from their natural condition and separated from other food elements as to be used as a separate article of food. The same may be said of the other carbonaceous elements, sugar and starch, neither of which, when used alone, is capable of sustaining life, although when combined in a proper and natural manner with other food elements, they perform a most important part in the nutrition of the body. Most foods contain a percentage of the mineral elements. Grains and milk furnish these elements in abundance. The cellulose, or woody tissue, of vegetables, and the bran of wheat, are examples of indigestible elements, which although they cannot be converted into blood in tissue, serve an important purpose by giving bulk to the food. With the exception of gluten, none of the food elements, when used alone, are capable of supporting life. A true food substance contains some of all the food elements, the amount of each varying in different foods. Uses of The Food Elements.Concerning the purpose which these different elements serve, it has been demonstrated by the experiments of eminent physiologists that the carbonaceous elements, which in general comprise the greater bulk of the food, serve three purposes in the body; 1. They furnish material for the production of heat; 2. They are a source of force when taken in connection with other food elements; 3. They replenish the fatty tissues of the body. Of the carbonaceous elements, starch, sugar, and fats, fats produce the greatest amount of heat in proportion to quantity; that is, more heat is developed from a pound of fat than from an equal weight of sugar or starch; but this apparent advantage is more than counterbalanced by the fact that fats are much more difficult of digestion than are the other carbonaceous elements, and if relied upon to furnish adequate material for bodily heat, would be productive of much mischief in overtaxing and producing disease of the digestive organs. The fact that nature has made a much more ample provision of starch and sugars than of fats in man's natural diet, would seem to indicate that they were intended to be the chief source of carbonaceous food; nevertheless, fats, when taken in such proportion as nature supplies them, are necessary and important food elements. The nitrogenous [*_*] especially nourish the brain, nerves, muscles, and all the more highly vitalized and active tissues of the body, and also serve as a stimulus to tissue change. Hence it may be said that a food deficient in these elements is a particularly poor food. The inorganic elements, chief of which are the phosphates, in the carbonates of potash, soda, and lime, aid in furnishing the requisite building material for bones and nerves. Proper Combinations of Foods.While it is important that our food should contain some of all the various [*_*], experiments upon both animals and human beings show it is necessary that these elements, especially the nitrogenous and carbonaceous, be used in certain definite proportions, as the system is only able to appropriate a certain amount of each; and all excess, especially of nitrogenous elements, is not only useless, but even injurious, since to rid the system of the surplus imposes an additional task upon the digestive and excretory organs. The relative proportion of these elements necessary to constitute a food which perfectly meets the requirements of the system, is six of carbonaceous to one of nitrogenous. Scientists have devoted much careful study and experimentation to the determination of the quantities of each of the [*_*] required for the daily nourishment of individuals under the varying conditions of life, and it has come to be commonly accepted that of the nitrogenous material which should constitute one sixth of the nutrients taken, about three ounces is all that can be made use of in twenty-four hours, by a healthy adult of average weight, doing a moderate amount of work. Many articles of food are, however, deficient in one or the other of these elements, and need to be supplemented by other articles containing the deficient element in superabundance, since to employ a dietary in which any one of the nutritive elements is lacking, although in bulk it may be all the digestive organs can manage, is really starvation, and will in time occasion serious results. It is thus apparent that much care should be exercised in the selection and combination of food materials. Such knowledge is of first importance in the education of cooks and housekeepers, since to them falls the selection of the food for the daily needs of the household; and they should not only understand what foods are best suited to supply these needs, but how to combine them in accordance with physiological laws.

Summary

The allure of exotic spices launched Columbus on his journey of discovery. Today, home chefs can explore new taste sensations by using spices and other flavorful ingredients to add a new world of flavor to fresh fish and seafood.