April 2014

Backyard Barbeque – 5 Things to Add to Your Backyard for a Flawless Party

Hosting a traditional backyard barbeque is a great way to begin celebrating warm weather with friends, family and loved ones surrounding you. When you are planning a backyard barbeque on your own, there are a few things you should consider adding to your checklist to ensure your party is entirely flawless, regardless of the number of guests you plan to host.


A Variety of Barbeque Foods

Offering a variety of barbeque foods is highly recommended if you have invited any guests you are picky or even those who are vegetarians. Offering different types of kebabs that are vegetarian and also include pork, beef, chicken and shrimp are all advisable if you want to offer the most variety possible at your next backyard gathering.


Delicious Desserts

Providing delicious desserts is not always necessary, but it helps to take care of any sweet tooth cravings your guests may have once they have finished the main courses. You can make something as amazing as some home-made ice cream with fresh fruit mixed in or some delicious brownies. Offering simple desserts such as sweet rolls, pie or homemade cake is essential for an authentic backyard barbeque atmosphere.


Atmospheric Decor

Implementing different atmospheric decor is also highly recommended if you want to host a flawless backyard barbeque that feels authentic and genuine. Red and white checkered tablecloths, napkins and themed flowers and decor can truly bring the atmosphere to life regardless of where you currently live and the time of year you are planning your own barbeque. If you want to get a little more fancy you can also try our some lounging furniture from www.designfurnishings.com/collection/tk-classics/bermuda/ to give your backyard barbeque a relaxed feeling.


A Selection of Barbeque Sauces

Whether you enjoy tangy barbeque sauces, spicy sauces or even sweet sauces on your ribs, pork and chicken, giving your guests a selection of barbeque sauces to choose from with their food is one way to make your party even more memorable. Offer barbeque sauces in different bowls with ladles in addition to also including barbeque brushes for those who want to brush the sauce on the food they have selected individually. The more sauces you have to choose from, the more likely you are to satisfy all of your attendees.


Provide Beverages and Refreshments

Another way to ensure your guests are enjoying themselves at your backyard barbeque is to provide them with an array of refreshments and beverages, both non-alcoholic and alcoholic. Creating variants of the classic backyard lemonade can go very far. Try mixing some sweet and condensed milk with vanilla to your favorite lemonade brand for some delicious Brazilian lemonade that everyone will be sure to love. You could also create some southern-based cocktails using bourbon, whiskey and scotch to bring the true atmosphere of a southern barbeque to your very own backyard.


Knowing what to add to your next upcoming backyard barbeque event you plan should be something that you give more than just casual thought. There are plenty of great ways for you to ensure your guests enjoy themselves while bringing a genuine atmosphere of caring to your loved ones this summer.

So Many Fish In the Sea: Four Seafood Dishes to Try Before You Die


Seafood is well-known for its health benefits, but the recent trend towards healthier foods may have caused you to overlook that it also can be more than a little delicious. With centuries of seafaring cultural polish on many seafood dishes, you have an entire world of perfected fish entrées to choose from – but here’s the cream of the crop.


Humble Fare for Humble Tables

The Southern crab boil or crab bake includes much more than just crab, although fresh crab is the centerpiece of the dish, and most likely the most expensive ingredient (unless, like some Southerners, you caught it yourself). Along with copious helpings of butter, corn on the cob, skins-on potatoes, smoked sausages and perhaps a little more spice than you can handle, boiled crab is transformed into a dish fit for dumping on any newspaper-covered table. The casual atmosphere is a large part of the appeal of the crab boil, which is eaten largely with specialized skewers and one’s own fingers.


Getting Ceramic Involved with a Pot of Delicious


Moqueca is a Brazilian stew, both hearty and refreshing, that incorporates flavor combinations particular to that country, such as palm oil and coconut milk. Although the seafood, which may vary from sword fish to prawn, holds the stew together, tomatoes and onions add bulk to the dish, while garlic and coriander give it the zest to stand out on your tongue. The pot traditionally is made of terracotta, which allows for even distribution of heat and even sweetens the tomatoes.


When Fresh is Best


Japanese sashimi is what many Westerns incorrectly refer to as sushi: expertly-prepared, uncooked seafood, often accompanied by dips like soy sauce. Obviously, home preparation isn’t recommended for most of us, but many specialty restaurants both inside Japan and outside it are known for their artistic presentation of sashimi with the highest quality cuts. Tuna, salmon and mackerel are particularly popular, but you also may want to try more exotic choices, like uni (the sea urchin). Even caviar can be considered a subset of sashimi.


Senator Webster’s Favorite


‘Scrod’ may not sound especially appealing until you know what it actually is: a bisected and de-boned white meat fillet, commonly of haddock or cod. Parmesan-encrusted scrod is a classic New Englander’s dish, equally suitable for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. As an upscale version of a traditional fish and chips style meal, scrod remains highly accessible and low in price, but still suitable for fine dining. Available from a seafood restaurant in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania all the way up to Maine, scrod is being added to more and more menus. Earlier usages of the term ‘scrod’ also carried the implication of fresh, high-quality meat, which many restaurants still make use of to this day.


These samples may exemplify how differently diverse cultures treat their seafood, from the newspaper-covered dining table to the most ornately-decorate porcelain, but further adventures still await – and are left as an exercise to the reader. The good news is that none of these examples are out of range of anyone’s wallet, particularly if you’re lucky enough to live near one of the world’s many coastlines.


Information credit to Calabria’s, calabriasnorthstclair.com


Baker’s Birthday? Five Great Gift Ideas for the Avid Baker in Your Life


Anyone with an avid baker in their life knows what a blessing it can be. They also know, though, how difficult it can be to shop for a baker, especially bakers who already seem to have everything. Finding a gift for a baker doesn’t have to be difficult, though. Here are five gift ideas for the avid baker in your life.

Kitchen Scale

Some recipes call for weighted objects rather than volumes, which means a lot of converting (or internet searching) to get the correct conversion. If your baker doesn’t have a kitchen scale, this gift will save them a lot of time and trouble later, or may encourage them to try recipes they’ve been avoiding. A scale will be a much-welcomed addition to your baker’s kitchen.

Piping Set

Young or amateur bakers may not be able to justify buying a nice, large piping set for themselves, so do it for them. They’ll love getting to try new decorations or tricks they’ve been dying to learn. The plain-looking cupcakes you’ve grown used to will get fancier every time, and learning to decorate may even renew your baker’s passion.

Basic Supplies

Bakers go through a lot of supplies quickly, so sometimes the best gift is simply replenishing their dwindling stock. Get them new, cute cupcake paper, or buy them new food dyes or cooking spray. Take care of the little things for them so they can spend their time worrying about which recipe to try next.

Appliance Accessories

So your baker invested in a KitchenAid stand mixer, but did they invest in the accessories, too? You could consider getting KitchenAid covers for their mixer to help minimize clean up after, or an ice cream maker attachment for them to try branching out or decking their desserts in their own ice cream creations. Appliance accessories will make your baker’s life a little easier, and may encourage them to branch out and try new things.

Decorative Stands

Your baker made a dozen a beautiful 3-tier cake only for it to be placed on some unused counter space. After working so hard on them, bakers want their creations to be seen, and a cake stand or cupcake tree will do just that. They’ll love getting to show off what they made in such a pretty way, and a stand will save counter space as well, a win for everybody.

Buying a gift for the baker in your life doesn’t have to be difficult. There are tons of options out there, even some your baker hasn’t thought of! These are just five gift ideas for your baker, and there are many more options out there.

Important Techniques for Easy Desserts

Dessert can be as simple as a plate of fruits or a piece of chocolate, or warm baked goods that can take hours to prepare, something sweet to conclude a meal. There are a bunch of easy dessert techniques you can learn such as baking, candy-making, whipping, mixing, melting, tempering, glazing, frosting, piping, decorating, plating, freezing, sifting, topping, layering, flambéing, and frying to make a wide range of desserts and sweet gourmet recipes including cakes, cookies, ice creams, sorbets, pies, tarts, pastries, gelatins, custards, biscuits, candies, crepes, and puddings.

Baking a cake is one of the first things any homemaker or cook should learn to make a special and easy dessert for family and friends. Chocolate cake is one of the most popular types of cake and never fails to impress. Basic gourmet recipes for chocolate cake consists of flour, sugar, water, eggs, melted chocolate, vanilla, salt, shortening, and sour cream. The ingredients are mixed and blended together, placed in a greased and floured cake pan, and baked for 30 to 45 minutes. The cake is cooled completely and covered with chocolate frosting made with melted chocolate, sugar, butter, sour cream, and vanilla.

Baking methods

When baking, it is important to follow the recipe as precisely as possible. The dry ingredients must be sifted and measured then leveled. A weighing scale may also be used to get accurate results. Once you learn how to bake a cake you can easily follow recipes to make different flavors as well as cupcakes, petit fours, and other kinds of cakes like airy sponge cakes or dense cakes.

Measuring techniques

While you can get away with making estimates and adjustments by adding a pinch of this or subtracting a little bit of that during cooking, with baking you need to pay extra attention to the quantity of each ingredient that the recipe specifically calls for or you will get disappointing results. Make sure to use the correct measuring techniques for the dry and liquid ingredients. Sift the four when the recipe requires it to make it fluffy, light, and airy, getting rid of lumps and increasing volume. Some recipes may require you to measure the flour first before sifting while others may require you to sift first before measuring. The order of these steps makes a difference in the final amount of flour and the end result of the recipe.

Dry ingredients

The ‘scoop and sweep’ method is one technique for measuring dry ingredients. You scoop the ingredients into the cup straight from the bag so that the cup is filled to the brim and then sweep off the excess at the top with a spatula or knife to level it off. Another method is to lightly spin the ingredients into the cup and then sweep off the excess with a spatula or knife so that there is better aeration, ideal for measuring light and delicate ingredients like flour.

Liquid ingredients

For liquid ingredients, use a liquid measuring cup and pour the ingredients carefully into the cup until you reach the desired amount. Make sure to place the measuring cup on a flat surface and read the measurement at eye level.

Barbecue Tips for Chicken, Fish, Beef, and Hot Dogs

Grilling out is one of the world’s favorite past-times. Almost anything can be grilled to add a new level of flavor, or to infuse a smokiness to existing foods. Everyone has their favorite grilling secrets. But here are some tips you might not know about to take your cue to a new level.

Chicken on the Grill Made Tastier


Paul Kirk of www.finecooking.com recommends a few things when it comes to grilling your chicken: Lower the heat and let the chicken cook longer. Leave off any sauce that you are going to put on until the end, and use spice rubs to fuel the flavor of your meat. The sauce is usually the culprit behind a charred glaze on chicken. Here are some different flavoring options to try:
• Try a marinade of jellies, jams, and hot sauce. Fruit and pepper taste great on chicken. Coat the chicken on the grill, and set some of the mixture aside for dipping.
• For easy teriyaki, combine brown sugar, Worchestershire and mustard. Use the mixture to baste the chicken while it’s on the grill.
• For a slightly Italian flavor, soak the chicken in vinaigrette overnight. If you don’t have vinaigretta, simply combine vinegar, oil, and sugar water, and soak the chicken in the mixture overnight.

Fish Is Great on the Grill


According to Chef Zakary Pelaccio, there is a few things to keep in mind when grilling fish. First, you don’t want to pick the wrong kind of fish. The firm flesh fish like salmon and snapper is a great way to go. One big problem when grilling fish is that it sticks to the grilling surface. Before you slap a fish on, clean and oil the grate. Oil the fish thoroughly and add seasoning. You want to grill your fish with the skin still on the meat. It’s ok to char your fish when it’s on the grill. In fact, Pelaccio recommends you should be burning the skin of your fish when you grill it. Here are some flavor ideas for fish:
• For a whole fish, such as tilapia, an ordinary rub of salt and pepper, with whole olives and sliced lemons in the fish cavity lets the flavor come through.
• Thicker, denser fish such as swordfish can be cut into steak-like portions, grilled on mesquite, and served with steak sauce.
• Shellfish such as muscles, shrimp, and oysters can be grilled right on top of the coals or wood, no metal grill is necessary. Use grill-safe tongs to pluck them out.

New Ways to Spice up Beef
• Everyone loves a filet. Instead of slicing your tenderloin, try grilling it whole. This will keep the inside of the tenderloin rare and more juicy than grilling it in cuts.
• Want an Indonesian flare? Rub your beef cuts with garlic and ginger. Then cut thin slices of garlic and ginger and put them into slits cut into the beef before and during grilling.
• If you want to make your beef more tender, and you like a zing, try marinating the beef for an hour in citrus juice such as orange juice or lime juice.

Hot Dog!

Barbecue Tips for Chicken, Fish, Beef, and Hot Dogs-dogs
• Want a juicier dog? Soak it in beer overnight. The beer will infuse the dog and make it fatter and juicier on the grill.
• Grill the dog on one side. Flip it, cut it lengthwise (not all the way through), and put sliced green peppers inside the dog. The pepper flavor will infuse the dog and make it taste like a philly steak dog.
• Want a cheese dog without paying the high grocery store price? If you have a pastry bag, you can try this trick. Hollow out the center of the dog with a straw or metal tube. Take a pastry bag and fill it with soft or melted cheese. Before the cheese hardens, squeeze the filling into the dog hollow, and grill.


Summer is almost here, don’t settle for a subpar grilling set up. You are going to need quality cooking material for quality food. You can get specialty gas house barbecues in Columbus, OH for a pretty good price if you know where to look.

In The Kitchen: Five Foods You Need For A New Selection Everyone Will Love

If you’re tired of the same old food at mealtimes, there’s a wealth of new food choices that will not only perk up your meals, but are nutritious and easy to make or find as well. Here are five items you will want to try today:

Stuffed Vegetables

Bland veggies like sweet green or red peppers are given a new lease on life when they’re stuffed with rice and ground beef. Olives, of course, are also stuffed. The good news is that olives can be stuffed with just about everything besides the pimentos they’re paired up with in the store. Big green olives can be stuffed with smoked salmon, anchovies, jalapeno and other types of peppers, roasted garlic and blanched almonds. Light party appetizers such as stuffed olives are a must have and just the right food for a snack or parties.


Don’t worry. Sushi doesn’t have to be made of raw fish, though many people find raw fish irresistible. One good sushi roll is in fact vegetarian. It’s made of slivers of avocado, green onion and shiitake mushrooms placed on a bed of sushi rice on a sheet of nori. The nori is carefully rolled up and then cut into bite sized sections. It’s served with wasabi, a fiery hot Japanese horseradish, paper thin slices of pickled ginger and tamari, a robust soy sauce.

Flashed Fish or Beef

First, take a fillet of salmon, tuna or flank steak. Place it between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound it thin with either a mallet or something else heavy like a frying pan. Peel and sliver some ginger. In the meantime, heat up about a cup of olive oil. Remove the fillet from between the plastic wrap. Arrange on a platter, sprinkle with some sea salt and freshly ground pepper and the slivered ginger. Then, pour on the hot oil. The hot oil will cook the meat. After that, garnish with chopped chives.

Orzo Risotto

People love risotto, but when it’s made out of a short grain rice like arborio it can be rather fiddly to cook. The solution is making risotto with orzo, a rice-shaped pasta. Instead of having to constantly stir it, add all the hot broth and white wine at once. Let the orzo absorb the liquid, then add whatever you fancy, like diced tomatoes, asparagus tips or mushrooms or shrimp and heat through.

Preserved Lemons

These are staples of Moroccan cooking. All that’s needed are some lemons, kosher salt and a sterilized jar for preserving. Quarter the lemons, but don’t cut them all the way past the stems. Pack them with salt, put salt in the bottom of the jar and drop the lemons in. Some people add lemon juice. Seal the jar and put in the refrigerator. It can last as long as a year.

These new foods will certainly add zest to your meals and make you the talk of your friends and neighbors. Don’t be afraid to try something new to spice up your kitchen routine. These items will get you started on healthy eating with lots of flavor.