Tips for Buying an Electric Pan

Posted by Marita | Cooking | Thursday 5 May 2016 7:01 am

An electric pan is convenient, even if you have a stove. It provides an extra cooking surface for large parties, allows people to cook outdoors at their homes or at cooking sites and can be a convenient way to cook for people who do not have access to a stove.

There are many different electric pans available, and you should consider the following options before deciding on the right electric pan for you.

Right size

First you want to make sure to find the right size cooking surface for you. Just like regular pans, electric pans come in many different sizes. Think about what you might be cooking on it, and how much space you’ll need. You also need to think about where you will store it and make sure that the size can accommodate that.

Cooking surface

You should also consider the cooking surface of the different electric pans. Two major types are nonstick and ones without a nonstick surface. Some prefer the nonstick surface since they can be much easier to clean and may not require as much oil. Other people prefer to not have that coating. There are some concerns with the safety of the coating, so do research if that is a concern for you. Also, pans with the nonstick coating surface may be more expensive.

Safety features

You also want to get an electric pan that will protect you from accidentally burning yourself. Some of the pans come with insulated handles so that you can touch the sides without burning your hands. Others do not offer this feature. You may pay extra for this, but if it will save you from being burned it may be worthwhile. You can also commit to using a hot glove and not have to worry about it.

Quality and ratings

Of course you want to find an electric pan that works well. The pans range in how evenly they cook, how durable they are and how long they last. One good way to get an idea of quality is to read the different ratings and reviews by others who have already purchased the electric pan. If you go to a website like Amazon where they sell such pans, then you can look up the ratings and reviews of the individual products. Look for one that is highly rated.

Price

You also need to get something that is within your budget. Generally electric pans are not very expensive and you can often find one for less than $50. Still they can range based on features, brand and other characteristics. Look at prices versus features to determine which is the best for you.

Cleaning

There are many other features that you might look for in an electric pan. For instance, some of them are dishwasher safe if you take away the heating element. You might be able to find one that has an automatic shut off or power light indicator. Read the specifications to find out about the different features.

There are many different electric pans. Compare and contrast until you find the perfect electric pan for you.

The seven golden rules for better gilling

Posted by Tuyet | Cooking | Monday 18 April 2016 11:01 pm

Grilling is just one of those skills that, while simple in concept, is easy to miss the little things, and in grilling the little things are what separate an average meal from a great one. Here are the seven biggest changes you can make to improve your grilling and become the master of the backyard barbecue.

Never freeze your meat before cooking it. Freezing your food causes ice crystals to form in the food, which can cut and tear the meat on a microscopic level as they expand during the freezing process. Those micro tears allow the juices of the meat to leak out faster in the cooking process resulting in a dry meat instead of a juicy one.

Quality over quantity.

Use the best quality ingredients you can afford, it’s a lot easier to create something great when you have good materials. (This applies to everything really, try building a home with just composite board and linoleum tiles and your results won’t be as great as if you had access to quality parts). In meat you want to look for good marbling, meaning how the fat is distributed through the meat. You want thin lines of fat distributed throughout the meat. When it comes to meat, fat is flavor. This is what separates a steakhouse dinner from those cheap flank steaks with a texture similar to shoe leather when you overcook them.

Charcoal always wins.

There may be more work than a gas grill but it’s worth it. Charcoal adds a bit of a smoky flavor to the meat that can’t be matched by gas.

Speaking of smoky, adding smoke is a great way to add flavor to your food. There are two main ways to do this and it depends on what you’re making. In the case of either a ground meat (hamburgers for example) or something you are going to marinate overnight use a tablespoon of liquid smoke per pound of meat. You can usually find this in the condiment/marinade aisle of your grocery store.

It’s pretty much exactly what the name implies, a rich smoky flavor in a bottle. For all other meats, pick up some wood chips from the barbecue section. These wood chips are designed to be used in smokers for smoking meats over a long period of time. Soak the wood chips (about 2 cups of them) in water overnight, next make a flat bottomed bowl out of tinfoil and place the wood chips in the foil. Place the tinfoil on the grill with the food and make sure you cook with the lid closed. The wood chips will add a nice light smoky flavor to your food.

Less is not more, well when it comes to seasoning anyways. Using just a little more seasoning can help kick up any dish. Usually you want to use a ½ tsp. of seasonings per side of steaks and chops and a full 2 Tbsps. of seasoning or rub per side for tri-tip and ribs.

Pull the meat off early. You want to remove your food from the grill when it’s about 10 degrees below your target temperature. (You do know what temperature your food should be at right?) Carry over heat from the cooking will allow the food to increase its internal temperature another 10 degrees on average. For example if you want a medium well done steak pull it off the grill when it’s medium, if you wait till it’s medium well on the grill it will be well done and overcooked when you finally serve it.

Just let it rest a bit. You should let your food rest 10 to 15 minutes when you pull it from the grill in order to let the juices settle and the carry over heat to finish the cooking process. Remember that steak house steak we were talking about? It was done cooking about 10 minutes before the waiter brought it to you in a good steakhouse.

So there you have it, the seven golden rules of grilling. Stick to these rules and your food should turn out just fine. Remember grilling is an art not a science, it takes practice to get right and is at its best when you experiment a little and make it your own.

Hummus Recipe is Easy and Enjoyable

Posted by Lon | Cooking | Saturday 16 April 2016 4:11 am

In my past, I was been an addict of eating chips. And one day my father tells me those there 10 worst foods that most people eat and that one is chips. In fact, I realize that it was the right time to start the eating clean habit. Nowadays, Rice Crackers can be purchase and it really tastes good. In these few days, I encounter the very cheap brand of rice crackers that contains 3 % sodium in every 8 cracker flakes, 2% saturates, 2% fat and 0% Trans fat. This sounds good. The sesame seeds that the cracker has is calcium enrich.

Imagine that the fruits and colorful vegetables are known to be a good source of healthy factors. Who cannot love the cob corn, asparagus, strawberries, red peppers, cantaloupe, grapes carrots, juicy apples and sweet oranges. But before I put them in the fridge I wash them with clean tap running water. After I do this, I eat the one I put in the fridge.

The ground flax and nutritional yeast are best on crisp breads. Ground flax with peanut toppings is tasty when it is toasted. I consider Humus is one and only my all time favorite when it comes to dip and spread. These easy and simple hummus recipes try to checking it. Prefer to use the organic ingredients for it is healthy for you and for the environment.

You will need the following for this delicious and nutritious recipe of hummus. First thing to consider is getting the 2 tbsp. Of tahini and sesame seeds. Followed by, the ½ of olive oil, and salt, if you want to put garlic in a large amount depending upon you, the 15 0z. Of chick peas and the 2 tbsp. Of lemon juice and ½ tsp. Of dried or roasted chili peppers. If you want to save try the sesame seeds for it is cheaper.

To prepare these Ingredients, get the best blender you have for the chick peas to be minced. Start putting the sesame seeds and the tahini along with 1 tbsp. Of clean tap water then put the dried or roasted pepper with the salt and garlic. Now, as the process is still on going easily but surely mix the olive oil, lemon juice and chick peas on it. Lastly, if you want a creamy texture on this hummus you can add some water. You’re done. Now, get the recipe and serve. This clean eating habit can be attaining by trying these hummus recipes.

The Love of my Crock Pot

Posted by Terica | Cooking | Saturday 16 April 2016 3:01 am

There are three special kitchen aids I cannot do without. They are my small, medium and large crock pots. I like my stove, I’m quite fond of my microwave, but I absolutely and unequivocally love my crock pots.

The crock pot, or slow cooker, is the most efficient and versatile cooking tool for todays busy lifestyle. All the ingredients can be combined in the pot in the morning, set on low and simmered as you go about your daily business, and the family sits down to a delicious dinner in the evening. No muss, no fuss.

Here are some advantages of crock pot cooking:

* Using a crock pot is cost effective, because cheaper cuts of meat actually do better. The slow cooking produces juicy, tender and flavorful entrees.

* The newer models have removable inserts, so you can prepare the ingredients in the evening, refrigerate, place in the unit and turn on before walking out the door in the morning.

* They are portable and make it easy to transport a hot meal to social events and pot lucks.

* The newer versions are pretty enough to set right on the table as a serving dish.

* You can cook almost anything, from meatloaf and spaghetti sauce to casseroles, and even a whole turkey.

* There is no mess. When you sit down to eat, you are not staring at a sink filled with pots and pans as happens with conventional stove top cooking.

* They come in a variety of sizes, from two quart to eight quart. A four or six quart is usually right for the average family.

Crock pots are perfect for summer cooking because they do not heat up the kitchen. In the winter, there is nothing to compare with the cozy aroma which permeates the house while a homemade soup simmers away in the pot.

I have a collection of cookbooks, but the most tattered and worn from constant use is “Fix it and Forget It, Feasting With Your Slow Cooker” by Dawn J. Ranck and Phyllis Pellman Good. It is my kitchen bible.

If your young adult is moving out into an apartment, the crock pot with a “Fix it and Forget It” cookbook inside is the perfect “apartment warming” gift. Make a crock pot your signature gift for every new bride and groom, and it is also the ideal anniversary gift. The new, updated varieties will be appreciated by everyone, and you can never have too many crock pots.

When I have a large holiday gathering, I generally have several crock pots with hot choices among the buffet offerings. Most of the newer styles come with a “warm” setting. Welcome indeed is the guest who does not walk in the door saying, “Can I put this in your oven to keep it warm?”

What a pleasure when something unexpected comes up, like a late mandatory meeting at work, and you can simply call home and say, “I’m going to be late, but dinner is in the crock pot, help yourself.” Crock pots contribute to guilt free living. Gone are the days when the crock pot sat on the back shelf of the pantry gathering dust.

As I said before, I like my stove, I’m fond of my microwave, but I have a longstanding and fulfilling love affair with my crock pot!

There is no Danger in using Aluminium Cookware – No

Posted by Trent | Cooking | Wednesday 23 March 2016 3:01 am

There is a misconception that aluminium cookware is somehow unsafe. The main concern centres on a possible link between aluminium and Alzheimer’s disease and the other on the possible toxic nature of aluminium itself. Both these concerns are unwarranted.

The first suggestion that there was a link between aluminium and Alzheimer’s disease was made in the 1970’s when research from Canada showed that patients suffering from Alzheimer’s had evidence of higher levels of aluminium in their brains than healthy patients. In the intervening years further research has discounted this link. It is possible that Alzheimer’s causes more aluminium to accumulate in the brain, but there is no evidence to suggest that higher consumption of aluminium heightens the risk of contracting the disease.

Of course aluminium is toxic is large concentrations, but we all consume aluminium and for most of us that means about 30 to 50mg every day. Aluminium is one of the most common elements in our environment, drinking water has minute traces of it, and it is present in many foods and many medications. There are relatively high levels of aluminium in antacids, aspirin and in the antiperspirants many of us use everyday. Most of the aluminium consumed passes harmlessly through our digestive systems, only a very tiny fraction is actually absorbed into the body.

Aluminium cookware was singled out as something that should be avoided because certain foods with a high level of acidity, such as tomato sauce and vinegar, can react with aluminium, leaking trace amounts from the cookware into the food. Needless to say, most aluminium cookware is treated so that there can be no reaction to food. However, even an untreated aluminium pot will leak only minute traces of aluminium into the food that is being cooked in it. This is backed up by research, showing for example, that cooking tomato sauce in an aluminium pot will lead to the release of about 3mg of aluminium into the food, a small proportion of normal daily intake.

Therefore aluminium pots and pans pose no risk to users, even if they are old and scratched and pitted. Additionally, as mentioned briefly above, aluminium cookware is almost always treated so it cannot react with foods. When aluminium is anodized it goes through a chemical bath and an electrical current and this binds the metal into the pan, sealed in this way the aluminium cannot leach into food.

Furthermore, most aluminium cookware is coated. The exterior is either porcelain enamel, which has a distinctive gloss finish and is very heat resistant, or it is a PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), the most common non stick coating which most of us know as Teflon. PTFE is not damaged by acid or alkali, and is heat resistant to 400°C. PTFE is approved in the USA, Europe, and in many other countries for use on cookware as it has no reaction to food, water or household cleaners. PTFE is used to coat heart stimulators and has even been injected into patients with serious kidney problems. If this non stick coating does peel or scratch and PTFE particles are accidentally ingested, there is nothing to fear as they are not absorbed and simply pass through the body.

Aluminium cookware represents a substantial part of the cookware market, between 40-50% in total. It has significant advantages over other types of cookware. It is lightweight, it has superb thermal conductivity, 13 times more than stainless steel, and heat diffusion is excellent, making for even cooking results.

Tips for Cooking Fried Meatballs

Posted by Reynaldo | Cooking | Monday 14 March 2016 11:01 am

In my family, when we make meatballs, we make them fried. And, not surprisingly, they always turn out delicious. However, as with other foods that are fried, fried meatballs have their pitfalls. They can sometimes fall apart or they can come out dry, and no one wants to eat dry and messy-looking meatballs. With the tips that I’m going to share with you, however, I’m sure that you will be able to enjoy picture-perfect fried meatballs with little effort.

First, you have to consider the different types of meats that you can make meatballs with. I believe that meats that are not too lean are perfect for making fried meatballs because they have enough fat to hold them together. Turkey meatballs are best baked or steamed. You should try to purchase ground meat that is no more than 70% lean (sometimes, the ratio of leanness is described as 70/30 or 80/20).

Then, you have to consider the types of things that you will mix the meat with. Dried herbs are best used for frying because the fresh ones will release natural moisture that will interact negatively with the hot oil. You want to keep splattering to a minimum so that your cleanup will be fast and easy. Herbs such as rosemary, oregano, dill, and basil are perfect for meatballs. Consider adding spices, even if they aren’t spicy, to your meat mixture. Garlic powder and onion powder are best used instead of fresh garlic and onion because of their lack of moisture.

Whether you want to deep-fry the meatballs or just shallow-fry them, you want to allow the oil to get hot enough. If the oil isn’t hot enough when you are ready to fry, then take some time to yourself and allow it to get hot enough. There is nothing worse than really greasy meatballs that are undercooked. The oil shouldn’t be too hot, however; it shouldn’t be smoking. One tip for making meatballs is not to mash and handle the meat too much. Mix your ingredients just enough so that it holds together, then refrigerate the balls for an hour or until the meat is firm. This prevents the meatballs from falling apart. Using a deep-fryer is not absolutely recommended when you want to fry things; in fact, I think I prefer frying in my own pan instead (a stainless steel one, which is able to take very high temperatures) because I don’t have to clean up a bulky item with so many different parts. Also, I prefer not to shallow-fry meatballs because I want them to finish up quickly. Although deep-frying does use more oil than shallow-frying, I would rather use the former method because I will not have to think about having to turn them over, because that means less work for me.

Fry only a small amount of meatballs at a time. Frying too many at once lowers the temperature of the oil too quickly, and you will get soggy, greasy meatballs. Also, once you take one batch out, wait for a couple of minutes for the oil to come up to temperature again. When you fry things in this way, you will always get picture-perfect, restaurant-quality fried foods that everybody will enjoy.

The Pros and Cons of using Aluminum Cookware

Posted by Barabara | Cooking | Saturday 12 March 2016 3:01 am

This article will discuss the pros and cons of using aluminum cookware. The pros are that it is a good conductor so food heats up fast. It is lightweight and easy to move around, this can be a con too because it can be easily damaged by rough handling. But aluminum cookware is mostly used in commercial kitchens.

Aluminum pots and pans are very popular and easy to find. They are low cost because of their popularity which took off in the mid 20th century.

Another con is that it can discolor sauces when they are mixed with a metal spoon and stored in aluminum pots. Also, aluminum can react with certain foods and discolor them making them less appealing to eat so aluminum pots can not be used to store certain sauces and foods.

In the book “Professional Cooking” by Wayne Gisslen it mentions that there are special types of aluminum pots called anodized aluminum that have a harder, corrosive resistant finish on them, unlike regular aluminum pots. These pots are beneficial because foods stick less to the surface of the pot than with regular aluminum pots and other types of pots. However, these pots are more expensive and they are not as heavy duty and long lasting as regular aluminum pots. Also, this type of pot easily stained and not dishwasher safe.

There are different types of aluminum pots and each one has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. Heavy aluminum pots heat quickly and evenly. Thin aluminum pots heat unevenly as well as become dented quickly making more difficulties to let food lay evenly in the pan and cook evenly. Low end lines of pots have are usually enamel coated aluminum pots. There are other varieties of aluminum pots such as heavy-cast, pressure-cast and polished aluminum.

The three main catagories of aluminum pots and pans are:

Pressed
These are the cheapest variety and they have the shortest lifespan. They are easily tossed out after they become damaged through rough handling.

Cast
These pots last longer than pressed pots because they have thicker sides and off more porousness. Heat is held in longer with these pots offering better cooking abilities.

Anodized
These pots were mentioned earlier. The aluminum in them has undergone electro-chemical changes to affect its cooking abilities. They are the most expensive of the three catagories of pots but they offer great benefits such as non-stick surfaces, and scratch resistance.

At the end, if you are looking for a good quality pot or pan that can be found easily than invest in anodized aluminum pans. They have been used for a long time and have a good reputation for quality and cooking strength.

The benefits of digital slow cookers

Posted by Clyde | Cooking | Thursday 10 March 2016 3:01 am

Slow cookers are not a new addition to kitchen products. What is relatively new is the digital slow cooker. With manual slow cookers, you turn the knob to warm, low or high and let it go. That is nice and simple and works pretty well. 

On the other hand, digital slow cookers offer more options and convenience. When shopping for a slow cooker, it pays to weigh the options offered in digital models. Some digital models offer more features than others.

Time settings

One big difference and benefit in using a digital slow cooker is that you can set the cooking duration. With a manual cooker, once it’s on, it’s on until you shut it off. So if your roast is only supposed to cook for four hours but you get distracted, too bad. Digital cookers shut off after the designated time.

With time and temperature settings, digital slow cookers really are nearly the perfect cooking appliance. The only thing you have to do is enjoy the tasty cooked meal. Well, then there is the clean up. 

Fix it and forget it

With a digital slow cooker, you truly can fix it and forget it. Simply add all of the ingredients to the cooker, set the timer and temperature and walk away. When the cooker has been on for the allotted time, it goes into “warm” mode or shuts itself off.

Warm mode is nice because it keeps the food nice and hot until you are ready to eat. After an hour or two of being on warm mode, it will then shut itself off. The auto shut of is a really nice feature that manual cookers just do not have. 

Plan ahead

Some digital models offer settings for cooking at a later time. For example you can put all of the ingredients for a desired meal in the cooker and then set the time for it to come on and start cooking. This is nice for people that go to work early in the mornings or late at night. 

The other nice thing about this feature is you can preset the cooker and then add the ingredients right before it is set to come on. This way the kids can help with dinner without any safety issues of the stove or oven. Hint: cutting meats and veggies before hand makes this even easier. 

Price

This is the one thing that factors in when most people shop for a slow cooker. It is good to note that digital does not always mean super expensive. It is true that some fancier brands are more pricey. However, there are plenty of affordable digital slow cookers in your local stores. 

The key to finding the right digital cooker for you is knowing what you need it to do. Check out the features of several different models before making a final purchase. There is no good reason to pay more for features you may never use.

Slow cookers brought more convenience to all day cooking. Before the slow cooker, people had to stick close to the kitchen when slow cooking soups and chili and some meat dishes. The manual cooker did a great job of taking some of the hassle out of the process by not having to check on it as often. 

Now with the advent of the digital slow cooker, these tasks are even easier and safer. A manual cooker stays on until you shut it off, a digital cooker will shut off at the designated time. Another nice feature is that after the allotted cooking time has passed, the cooker switches to “warm” mode and then shuts itself off after an hour or two.