Cooking with Fish

Cooking with FishThere are few foods which are more finicky than fresh fish and seafood. Anyone who’s watched a season or two of a Gordon Ramsay cooking show should know just how difficult it is to properly cook scallops – it’s not an impossible task though. The problem with most seafood is the water content compared to other meats. I’m going to pass along a little science lesson here in a minute, but trust me when I say it is important knowledge for every chef, and not at all limited to use in a classroom or laboratory setting. It should be obvious too, but it has a lot to do with water.

You see, water is literally the only thing on this planet that actually expands when it gets colder. Everything else (and I mean everything) contracts as it chills, from computer electronics to plate glass, from the gaseous air inside of tires to steel fittings which hold together good knives. Water is the only thing that expands as it gets colder, which is why frostbite is such a serious issue for people braving cold weather. It’s also why frozen meats, especially fish and seafood, just don’t taste as good as fresh cuts. Freezing and thawing alters the taste and texture of many foods, but none more than seafood.

Therefore, the only way to cook good fish is to kill it, clean it and prepare it from fresh sources. Because hauling in the “catch of the day” is really impractical for most restaurants and even home cooks, this might seem impossible. But that’s where aquariums come into the equation. These tanks filled with fish are good for much more than just housing family pets. An aquarium will keep your fish alive and as fresh as possible until you scoop it up, chop it up and make something out of it. Just make sure you have some quality canister filter or other system for keeping the water clean and pure.

That will ensure your fish remains clean and pure, which in turn will provide the best possible taste experience for whoever ends up eating it. Nobody likes fish that tastes like old mud, and that’s exactly what you’ll get if you’re pulling fish from a dirty tank and using them to make food. All that grit and grime ends up in the fish if you don’t remove it from the water, and that affects the taste of said fish, and not in a positive way.

If you plan to cook with fish then, for the best possible fish, use meat which was only recently slaughtered and cleaned when preparing your dishes. Because this isn’t practical for people with small aquariums, you’ll need a larger tank if you want to handle your fish in this manner. For that, you’ll need adequate filtration to keep the water clean and the meat pure. You can read more about that at http://canisterfilterguide.com/ if the mood takes you. Otherwise, just think of it like keeping pet fish – pet fish you will eventually eat. Take good care of them and they will take good care of you.

Important cooking techniques for sausages

Important cooking techniques for sausagesSausages are great and satisfying additions to any meal. With quality sausages, you can easily cook the best sausage recipes. And whenever someone says that it is because of the recipe a sausage didn’t come out as expected, I’d correct them of the misconception immediately. Quality sausages depend more on meat science than the recipes they are used in.

Especially temperature control is a vital part of making superior textured and tasty sausages. Recipe is just a process, which can be varied based on the cook’s creative talent and smart use of ingredients. The important part that makes a sausage a fine one is not the spices you add to it, but the initial meat making procedure.

The way you grind the meat is the important part. I use an excellent quality meat grinder, which I purchased at http://www.meatgrinderadviser.com/ . Once you have a good quality sausage, you can easily cook them the right way. Another important step you should keep in mind when making sausages is to taste the meat after mixing it with the spices, as you cannot do any changes after stuffing the sausage. Here are some important ways in which you can cook sausages.

Poaching

This method, although a prolonged one, is a good way to cook sausages, if you intend to serve them as a whole. The poaching cooks the sausage thoroughly, so you can later grill them in your barbecue smoker or directly in a pan. This will give you tender and juicy sausages. But make sure you cut it into individual pieces, before adding them to the pot or they can lose their skins.

Baking

This method takes some time, but is an easy one to do. You need to just pop the sausage in your baking dish and add other accompaniments such as tomatoes or veggies, and your one pot dish is ready. The sausage may end up a little dry this way. Adding some sauce will take care of this.

Barbecuing

Important cooking techniques for sausagesIt is hard to imagine a barbecue party without sausages. I usually prefer sausages to the chops or steak as the chances of the meat being overcooked or leathery is very slim with sausages. And this is true only if the sausage is made from a proper method as I mentioned before. Meat grinders play a vital role in making great quality sausages, so I always recommend buying the top quality machines from MeatGrinderAdvice.com.

Frying in pan

This is an old and tested method. You slice the sausage and use a pan for frying them.  Add some oil for better browning of the sausage.  This sliced sausage can be added to a variety of ingredients to get a spicy, succulent and tasty meat filled dish.

Stuffed sausages

With Christmas nearing, turkey and stuffing come to mind instantly. When you add sausages to the stuffing, it becomes a wonderful treat. The moist and meaty taste will be appreciated by all.

Crumbled and fried

You can also remove the skin from the sausage and crumble the meat in a pan. This is the fastest way to cook the meat. Moreover, you needn’t worry about split skins. This would taste wonderful in pasta and is easy to make too.

Using Game Meat for a Unique Menus

Using Game Meat for a Unique MenusI’ve worked for as a chef and I never thought I’d use game meat in any of my menus until my most recent gig. I was invited to prepare a menu for an annual gathering of our local hunters club. I imagined the participants to be burly guys with beards and complete with hunting gears and stuff. They could be wearing some hunting boots, much like the ones found on this website. What could be the best treat for such outdoorsy, muscular gang?

I was scouring over a long list of pre-set menus that I have but it seems there’s none that best suits the occasion. Then I suddenly realized: why not use game meat? I have rarely cooked wild meat and this gig is definitely the perfect time to be inventive.

Customarily, you don’t see game meat such as antelope, wild boar, wild birds, bison, buffalo and other more unusual animals on the restaurant menu. Not that game meat is unhealthy or unsafe, but because they are quite difficult to find. In fact, if I only had a chance, I’d serve game meat dishes as unique house specialties. I’m sure patrons will crave for it. But since these types of meat are not readily available, they rarely find the way to delectable menus.

Game meats are those that come from animals that have been hunted for food. Game meat recipes are as equally rare as the meat itself. When planning to use game meat, you have to be creative and versatile. You are unsure about what type of meat will end up in your kitchen. Normally, you’ll prepare the recipe on-the-spot, depending on what is on hand.

For this hunter’s club gathering, I plan to serve rosemary winter and pheasant stew, hearty venison stew, bison bulalo, bison meatballs, clay pot rabbit and rabbit cattiatore. I am unsure if I could get real games or probably I would go for farmed game animals. I’m afraid I will do the hunting myself and might need to wear hunting boots, such as the Lacrosse Aero Head Men’s Boots, if ever I couldn’t find sufficient game meat.

Game animals that have grown in the wild have that unique taste. They are also leaner compared to farm animals as they feed on natural vegetation that is abundant in the wild. Since game meats are leaner, they have the tendency to overcook fast. It is a good idea to stick with recipes that won’t overcook the meat. Stews, long marinades, braise, and moist heats are some cooking techniques that work well with game meats.

Authentic hunter recipes are very straightforward. Grilling is the most common way for cooking game meats, especially in the wild. After a day of hunting, hunters typically set camp in the wilderness and then start a fire where they can grill their game. But with my recipes, I’ll show them what better way to prepare and enjoy their games. I hope they love my dishes as much as I love this challenge!

My Top 3 Favorite Classic British Recipes

Yorkshire_PuddingI am fond of British classic dishes. For instance, if you are looking for ideas for a Sunday roast, you could try  Yorkshire pudding recipe my up to date recipe:

Put together flour, salt, eggs, milk as well as nutmeg in order to form a batter. It should rest for almost an hour.
The ingredients are the following:

  • 175g of strong bread flour
  • 4 eggs
  • salt
  • 1 pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 300 ml of full-fat milk

You should heat a nonstick Yorkshire pudding tray with fat and then place it in the oven at 200°C/Gas mark 6 till the fat is smoking.

  • 1 dollop of lard

Pour in the batter and after that cook for approx. 20-25 minutes until it is well risen. You should serve it immediately as accompaniment to some traditional roast.

There is no Sunday lunch without pudding. Therefore, the British desserts should be by all means cooked and served on Sunday. Here is a recipe for the Shortbread Biscuits.

Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3.

Continue reading