Original recipe published by Davida Kugelmass for The Healthy Maven
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Summer calls for grills, shrimp and tacos galore! Make it Mexican night with these Spicy Grilled Shrimp Tacos with all the fixins for your next summer bbq or party! No one will believe you that they’re healthy too!
Guys, I’m exhausted right now. There’s also a very real possibility that I’m buzzed too. I’m not going to pretend that this isn’t the first time I’ve blogged under the influence. Hint – It’s another drunken shrimp post.
This article was originally published in Tonic Magazine Summer 2011
Cooking fish on a hardwood or cedar plank is healthy, almost foolproof, absolutely delicious and impressive when served. The plank creates a gentle cooking environment, while adding a bit of smokiness that is perfect for pretty much any fish. Planks can usually be purchased for $2-4 and will last you several uses; cedar wood is to most common, maple wood is my favourite.
Follow these directions and you can’t go wrong; I’ve used a simple honey-dijon salmon recipe as an example. Although salmon is by far the most common fish cooked on a plank, the method works brilliantly with almost any type of fish filet or even whole fish – I’ve yet to discover a type of fish that doesn’t come out great cooked in this way.
Ancient Technology That Still Kicks Butt.
This article was originally published in Tonic Magazine May 2011
“Kamado” is a Japanese word for “oven” or “stove”, and essentially refers to a heavy clay cooking vessel that is round or oblong in shape. In recent years, Kamado style cookers have become extremely popular amongst grilling and smoking aficionados, and for good reason. No matter how high end your gas grill, fully loaded with all of todays BTUs and gadgets, it is next to impossible to win the battle of the steaks if you’re up against a Kamado cooker using good old fashioned charcoal. To boot, the Kamado cooker will out-slow-roast, out-smoke, out-bake and pretty much whoop a gas grill in every conceivable outdoor cooking category.
Circular clay cooking vessels have been discovered in China that are over 3000 years old. It is believed that the earliest versions did not use fire at all, but were placed in the sun to cook food; the clay would heat up and retain the heat for long enough to cook. The added benefit of heat retention is that the food is cooked from every conceivable angle, not just from below (who needs an added rotisserie?). One of the biggest problems the original clay cookers had was cracking, so today thanks to modern ceramic and the newer glazed outer surfaces, that fault has been almost eliminated.
The most popular brands on the market are The Big Green Egg, Primo, The Keg and Grill Dome but there are a few others that have a following as well.
This article was originally published in Tonic Magazine Summer 2011
If you find yourself in America west of the Mississippi, the word “barbeque” refers to one thing and one thing only – a good ole’ fashioned, slow smoked, pit-barbeque style beef brisket. Personally, I think making a damn good barbeque brisket is easy , even on a simple gas BBQ, and I will explain how below. But before southern snipers are aiming at my forehead, I will say this – perfecting barbeque brisket requires a lifetime of experience and is far more complicated than the recipe below. I bet that even professional multi-award winning barbequers who compete in big circuits and win big money for their barbequed briskets would freely admit they haven’t perfected the brisket; it is simultaneously the easiest and most challenging cut of beef to cook over direct heat (which is one of the reasons the recipe below cheats by using aluminum foil).
Before providing the recipe, I need to give credit where credit is due, to The Healthy Butcher’s Head Butcher Dave Meli, who has on multiple occasions, cooked briskets that are beyond words heavenly, and has provided the guts of these instructions. Even following his every word, my briskets never turn out as good… but I guess it’s the cook’s hands that matter… I still can’t make a tomato sauce as good as my Mamma’s either.
Such a brilliant idea—lightly pressing together some good minced beef with a little seasoning, grilling it for five minutes and serving it on a fresh bun with a few choice toppings. I can’t think of many dishes that are so easy to make yet completely transcend the sum of their parts. Although cheap, mass-produced burgers are horrible, good burgers are culinary works of art.
The following are my rules for making the best burger.
A great burger begins with great beef. If you start with a properly raised animal that has roamed around on pasture and been well-fed without added antibiotics or industry by-products, the end result will be excellent. It doesn’t really matter what cut you use; the key is that you have the right amount of fat—somewhere around 20% (up to 25%, no less than 15%). It just so happens that meat from the chuck (shoulder) of the beef will have the proper amount of fat, but so will brisket, and skirt, and flank, and rib… all great cuts for burger. Proper dry ageing of the beef by your butcher will also vastly improve the taste.
“Bad barbequing, which I fear is far more often practices than good barbequing, is the inevitable result of impatience, latent pyromania and the subconscious desire to create an unpleasantly smoky atmosphere in which cheap but cold beer tastes better than it should. Misplaced enthusiasm for the event often outweighs respect for one’s ingredients, with fatal results.“
– Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, The River Cottage Meat Book
Grilling steaks correctly is an art, as well as a science; this issue of Live to Eat will attempt to shed light on the latter and focus on the physical and chemical transformations of meat during grilling. Our goal is to achieve The Perfect Steak; of course – what that means to you is different than what that means to another person. Some people prefer their grilled steak rare, others medium; some will use a thick steak, others will use a thin steak; some will use a piece of quality organic meat, others will use the unfortunate alternative – the point is, the variables are many and the combinations of those variables are endless. So really, the goal of this newsletter is to equip you, the home cook, with a solid foundation of knowledge that is not commonly found in recipe books – an understanding of how meat changes during the cooking process. Although this newsletter is geared to grilling, the knowledge can be applied to better understand all cooking techniques. Perhaps we will never achieve The Perfect Steak, but so long as your reaction to taking that first bite is “damn that’s good!” then we’re happy butchers.