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10 ways I use my Blendtec blender

10 ways I use my Blendtec blender

I purchased a Blendtec blender a couple of years ago, and I have not regretted the purchase at all. I had been eyeing both the Blendtec and the Vitamix for a few years, and had even done a little research as to which I thought I’d prefer, […]

Back to school series: Flax Breakfast Cobbler

Back to school series: Flax Breakfast Cobbler

Flax Breakfast Cobbler 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed 1-2 teaspoons sweetener (such as monkfruit, xylitol, stevia) to taste 1 tablespoon chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, or almonds, etc.) 1 tablespoon healthy fat (ghee, coconut oil, sustainable palm oil) 1/2 – 3/4 cup chopped or sliced fruit of choice (berries, apples, peaches, plums -whatever […]

Easy Salmon Patties

Easy Salmon Patties

Everybody needs some quick dinner ideas to use when you’re short on time, but still want to cook a nutritious meal. Even better if you can easily keep the ingredients on hand.

These salmon patties fit the bill, and can be adapted for your preferred ingredients.

Here’s what I use, with substitution ideas:

2 cans of salmon (about 5 oz each)
1 egg, or the equivalent egg substitute
1/2 cup of gluten free flour (I use plantain flour, but almond flour, rice flour, or something similar will work)
1/4 cup of chopped veggies like celery, onion, bell pepper, scallions (any combination)
1/2 tsp horseradish (or more to taste)
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
oil for cooking the patties (olive, palm, coconut, avocado, etc.)

Simply sauté the chopped veggies in some oil. While they’re cooking, drain your salmon, and mix well with t

four salmon patties in frying pan.
salmon patties

he flour, egg, horseradish, lemon juice and seasonings. Add in the the drained veggies, and shape into patties. Cook the patties in your oil until browned on each side. That’s it! Your dinner is ready – just add a green salad and maybe some sweet potatoes on the side.

When Your Big Green Egg Won’t Heat Well

When Your Big Green Egg Won’t Heat Well

A common lament from new Big Green Egg owners (and other kamado style grill owners) is, “why doesn’t my grill get as hot as it did when I first used it?” This is usually heard after the new owner has had two or three cooks […]

Cult of Fire and Grate

Cult of Fire and Grate

I am always suspicious when something is talked about in overwhelmingly glowing terms by all who are associated with it. I usually suspect that there is some combination of a great marketing campaign and the human species’ tendency to engage in mythologizing. This suspicion almost […]

Holiday gift idea for men who grill

Holiday gift idea for men who grill

If you are looking for a gift for the man (or woman) who likes to grill in the somewhat expensive range ($250 to $500) a good idea is one of the grill temperature controllers. This assumes that the recipient already has a charcoal grill such as one of the kamado type ceramic grills or other charcoal grill. If he doesn’t already own a charcoal grill, and you’re interested in an even more expensive gift, check out our article on the Big Green Egg.

The controllers are used to maintain temperature in tight ranges during long slow cooks (some cooks may go 16+ hours). One primary use is for cooking pork shoulders “low and slow.” When pork shoulders, also known as Boston butts, are cooked this way, the meat has time to be flavored by any wood chips that may have been added to the charcoal. These may include applewood, hickory, maple, etc. The fat will also be slowly liquified adding flavor to meat. Finally the collagen in the connective tissues will be broken down, letting the meat fall off of the bone and melt in your mouth.

The controllers work by constantly monitoring the “pit” temperature and automatically turning on or off a fan mounted in a grills air vent. When the temp goes to low, the fan comes on. Once the temperature reaches a certain set point, the fan is turned off. When grills are paired with one of these controllers and packed correctly with the right kind of charcoal (lump charcoal), the grill master can walk away without worrying that the temp will be too high or two low.

Most versions of the controllers include sensors that also measure the temperature of the meat as well. This allows the grill master to monitor the temperature of the meat without lifting the lid or otherwise opening the grill. This also helps keep the temperature constant.

There are a number of these controllers. We are familiar with two of these: The Stoker II and the DigiQ DX2.

Both of these controllers do a great job. The Stoker II kit for the big green egg costs $297 and comes with a 5 CFM (cubic feet per minute) fan and one probe for pit temperature and one for food. Additional probes and other accessories can also be purchased. Make sure you choose the correct kit for the recipient’s grill.

The DigiQ base package also comes with a 10 CFM fan one probe for pit temp and one for food.

We have not used the the CyberQ (made by the same company that makes the DigiQ). However it comes with the ability to send “food ready” updates via text and email. It can also be controlled via smartphones, tablets, desktops, etc. As of this writing, the CyberQ is $361.

There is also a somewhat less expensive controller at amazon. Though it does cost less ($159.50), we don’t really recommend this option. It only controls the grill temperature, it does not show the temperature of the meat inside. It is nice to be able to check the meat temp without opening the grill. There is no way to upgrade this controller later to include a food temperature read out. Also it only runs on batteries – it can’t be plugged into an outlet. Unless there is a compelling reason, such as no outlet for plugging in the other options, one of the others would likely be a better choice.

If you are looking for a gift for someone who loves to BBQ and has a charcoal grill, you won’t disappoint with one of these grill controllers.

4 Amazing Apple Recipes for Your Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot

4 Amazing Apple Recipes for Your Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot

Now that it is a officially fall, it’s apple season! There’s nothing like a crisp apple, eaten straight out of your hand, or maybe smeared with a little nut butter. But there’s also something special about cooking with apples – cooking can tend to bring […]

Pumpkin Spice Vinaigrette

Pumpkin Spice Vinaigrette

While out shopping this week I spied bottle of Pumpkin Spice Vinaigrette salad dressing, and I thought it sounded interesting and tasty. A quick scan of the ingredients showed some additives and types of oils that I normally avoid, so I snapped a quick picture […]

Menu terms: reduction

Menu terms: reduction

Have you ever had to break out your smartphone in a restaurant to Google a term on a menu? Follow our menu terms series and you’ll get up to speed on the important info you need to be an expert at understanding menus.

A “reduction” is the result of a cooking technique in which a liquid (such as a broth, sauce, soup, etc.) is simmered until it is “reduced” in volume. This technique will thicken the liquid and intensify the flavor.  Although you will see references to “reducing” a soup, stew, or similar dish, most menus with the term “reduction” are referring to a sauce made by reduction. Some common ingredients included in sauce reductions often include broths, fruit juices, wines or other spirits, and vinegars. The sauce may also include herbs, spices, butter or other flavorings. When you see the term reduction on a menu, you will know that the sauce coming with a dish will have intense flavor.

You can make a simple balsamic vinegar reduction at home. You’ll simply need a small saucepan (a heavier weight one is best), a good quality balsamic vinegar (look for aged varieties), and around 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the quantity you’re working with. Simply pour the balsamic in the saucepan. You’ll want to start with about 2 to 3 times the vinegar that you want in the resulting reduction – so starting with 1 cup of vinegar will yield 1/3 to 1/2 cup of reduction. Bring the vinegar to just under boiling, and then quickly reduce to a slow simmer. Do not put a lid on it, as this will hamper the necessary evaporation. You don’t need to stir it much, but do monitor the progress frequently until you’ve used this technique a few times and learned how quickly your cookware and stove will reduce. It’s done when the volume is reduced by 1/2 to 2/3 (less reduction if you desire a thinner consistency, more reduction if you want it thicker). The reduction should coat a spoon nicely. Be careful not to go to far and burn the reduction. That’s it! This simple sauce has many delicious uses. Pair it with a nice hard cheese such as a parmesan or asiago, drizzle it over berries for a simple but elegant dessert. It’s also great over steak, pork, or roasted chicken parts. Enjoy!

Watch our page for future installments in our menu terms series.

(Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reduction_(cooking) )

Compound butters

Compound butters

“Compound butter” is an ingredient that you might often find on menus. Compound butter is a simple concept – it is basically butter combined with ingredients to add depth and flavor, such as herbs, seasonings, fruit zests, garlic, and more. But it is a wonderful […]