Barbequing And Outdoor Cooking Tips

BBQWhen looking for outdoor cooking tips and barbequing, many people aren’t sure where to start. Meat might be burned on the outside and raw on the inside, but they can’t work out where they are going wrong! So getting a few straight forward outdoor cooking and barbequing tips, you can get your meat safely and tastily cooked and prepare grilled vegetables, or bake bread and wood-fired pizza.

If you have considered building an outdoor barbeque, brick pizza oven or smoker oven, it isn’t really that hard and it will undoubtedly improve your outdoor entertaining. Barbequing and outdoor cooking tips will make your social gatherings much better. Although if you are considering any building, you may need designs or plans for outdoor kitchens, brick barbeques or ovens. You can find such things online, but there are a few easy things to consider when you are cooking outdoors:

• Cook larger pieces of meat indirectly, do burgers, steaks or chops on the fast grill. Build your coals on the opposite side of the grill to the meat and close the lid or door. This lets smoke and heat penetrate the meat and slow cooks it, making it ideal for roasts, fish, briskets and ribs, making them more tender and flavorsome

• Cook vegetables indirectly or directly depending on what sort they are, but it doesn’t take as long for them to get done, unless they are root veggies which take a little longer

• Burgers, steaks and chops should be cooked by the direct method, but make sure any direct flames have died back. Then put the meat on the grill surface – this seals in juices. So leaving the meat on the same side for a few minutes before turning ensures burgers stay together and meat cuts will be juicy and tender

• Remove meat from the grill when required to be medium-rare, and place it in an indirect heat area for medium-well or well-done steaks. Remember that steaks, burgers and chops are juicier and more tender when cooked to medium-rare because they will continue to cook for a few minutes after being removed from the grill

• Never use forks to take your meat off the grill because this pierces the outside and allows juices to run away, causing dried-out meat

• Try adding marinades and herbs to meats prior to cooking. You can even add more woody herbs directly onto the coals to flavour the smoke, such as rosemary for lamb

These are just a few outdoor cooking and barbequing tips you can use to enhance your skills. There are other helpful barbequing and outdoor cooking tips online – search for cooking websites for precise instruction on certain meats and vegetables.

Simon Michie invites you to enhance your lifestyle with Best Garden and Outdoor Living.


Basic Chicken Cooking Tips

ayamChicken is quite versatile and can serve as the cornerstone for making tasty and nutritious meals. There are so many things you can do with it. Let’s look at preparation and cooking tips that will have you and those you share meals with super impressed with your dishes.

Chicken Cooking Tips – Preparation Methods

We’ll look at wet and dry seasonings and spices we can use to prepare our poultry. If you are pressed for time you should use dry seasonings since marinades need time to have the flavoring absorb into the chicken. Ingredients I love to use in my marinade include:

• Teriyaki or soy sauce (or half of each for a nice combined flavor)

• Olive oil

• Fresh lemon juice

• Liquid smoke

• Worcestershire sauce

• Minced garlic

• Splash of Jim Beam or your favorite bourbon

If you’re in the mood for using dry seasonings, these are some of my favorites:

• Montreal Chicken seasoning

• Ground black pepper

• Chili powder

• Garlic powder

• Onion powder

• Ground red cayenne pepper

• Paprika

• Tenderizer (helps keep it tender and from drying out during cooking)

A favorite way for many to make chicken is with classic barbeque sauce. Of course you can go to the store and grab your favorite bottle, but if you’re like me, you like to add your own personal touch, even if this means making your own barbeque sauce. I like mine spicy. Here are the basic ingredients, but by no means are you limited to these:

• Chili sauce (or ketchup)

• Brown sugar

• Olive oil

• Vinegar

• Liquid smoke

• Worcestershire sauce

• Tomato paste

• Hot sauce (optional)

Of course, there are plenty of more-involved recipes you can try out and experiment with. Let’s move on to the cooking phase.

Chicken Cooking Tips – Cooking Procedures

So using one of the above seasoning methods, or your favorite recipe, your chicken is now ready to cook. The best ways of cooking poultry are by:

• Baking

• Sautéing

• Frying

• Grilling

Baking is a convenient, non-messy way to cook poultry. Easy clean up as well – just remove and throw away the foil from the pan and you’re all done. Preheat the oven (or the toaster oven) to 375 – 425 degrees, place the chicken in a foil-covered baking pan and place in the oven. For thin pieces, I’ll usually cook them at 375 for around 12 minutes. For thicker pieces the cooking temperature will be 425, between 15 to 20 minutes depending on thickness. The main worry with baking is overcooking, as chicken tends to dry out in the oven if cooked too long. To be safe, cut a small piece to test. Keep in mind the chicken continues to cook after it’s taken out of the oven, so it is okay to take out of the oven if slightly rare.

I’ll sauté my chicken when I’m in the mood for stir-fry. It goes fantastic with red peppers, onions and snow peas. I like to slice the breasts into thin strips, which allows more of the surface area to be smothered in the sautéing juices.

Fried chicken is a classic. Roll or dip the poultry in your favorite breading or batter and toss in the deep fryer. Not much beats the taste of good old fashioned fried chicken. It cooks really quick in the deep fryer – usually five minutes or so. You are guaranteed to have juicy, tender chicken when you fry it because the batter and oil will help seal in the juices. I don’t eat as much fried now as when I was younger because I’m watching my health and waistline, but boy did I always love the taste and aroma of fried chicken.

For many people, especially now that spring is here, and summer is approaching, nothing beats the taste of chicken fresh off the grill. Follow these steps when grilling:

• Get the grill nice and hot

• Put the chicken on the grill on has the flames nice and high

• Cook for 1-2 minutes, then flip and cook 1-2 minutes on high flames

• Reduce the flames to medium, then continue to cook, flipping every 2-3 minutes

• After 10 minutes total cooking time (a little longer for thick pieces), chicken should be done

This sears the chicken on the outside, giving it a bit of a crunchy or crispy texture, while keeping it moist and tender on the inside. When grilling barbeque chicken, be sure to have spare sauce to rub on it at the end of cooking as some will have burnt or fallen off.

We hope you enjoyed these tips for cooking chicken, and that they help you prepare entrees that the whole family will love.


The Best 7 Quick Dutch Oven Cooking Tips

ovenA number of people enjoy preparing and eating the best of easily created Dutch oven cooking tips that can be incorporated into modern but equally tasteful preparations of traditional dishes. While the older, more reliable cooking methods gave great tasting recipes, they are no doubt time-consuming; however, the ones listed here for you are those based on these time-honored techniques but with a touch of simplified basic cooking tips anyone could benefit from, even beginners!

1. Always take a timely look into to check for the tenderness of the food item you are cooking in the oven; experts it is better to be safe than sorry in lifting the lid to judge the amount of cooking scope required, if any than end up with a charred meal. Even though the frequent lifting of the lid allows essential heat to escape, use your discretion to judge if checking in is required

2. Typically, if steam is escaping too fast from the lid, it means you need to reduce the heat as this is a phenomenon that is a consequence of high heat only; either move the dish from the heat source or regulate the temperature for good Dutch cooking tips to be effective.

3. Another smart way to ensure even cooking and right temperature being set for the cooking is to rotate the casserole every 15 minutes so there is even browning and mold spots are minimized besides undercooking avoided too!

4. Experts on Dutch oven cooking tips never fail to advice turning the pot to around 90 degrees whenever one rotates it to ensure all sides get even heat exposure.

5. Besides the above, since most Dutch oven cooking involves using a pot, you could remember to keep an eye out for the cast number (wherever it appears on the lid) so you know which direction you have already turned the pot in, to avoid confusion over again rotating it that way. Do remember to wear gloves for best hand protection while handling these hot pots placed in ovens.

6. Learn to use the briquettes right as the method for adding, removing or moving them is time-consuming but useful to know for quality and smart Dutch cooking that gives tasteful results.

7. Learn the right way of stacking pots to save time and space as this is a knowledgeable way to apply your love for cooking right and cooking smart when using traditional but easy Dutch oven cooking tips, beginning with one pot and then moving on to combining multi-pot cooking.

Besides the above mentioned tips, you can search for other tips online or by consulting old timers who can clue you in on the conventional cooking style of using a Dutch oven or through reading books on this topic. Meeting people who share this interest is another way to adding to your knowledge of this specialized cooking technique.


Our Top Eight Restaurant Start-Up Basics

Many people have dreamed at one time or another of owning a food service business such as a restaurant. As fascinating as that may seem, let it be known, as our blog post below will cover, that this is not an easy thing to do. However, as obviously there are so many successful restaurants and eateries, it’s not an impossible dream by any means.

Restaurant Start-Up 101

1- What kind of restaurant will it be: A fast-food franchise or a luncheonette concept? What kind of food will be served: American home-cooking, Italian or Asian?

2- “Location, Location and Location!”: Depending on where your place will be situated, this can be the deciding factor as to whether you survive to break even in the first year–or not. Have you carefully researched as to the number of previous eating places that occupied the place, and how soon after opening did they vacate the premises?

3- A Name Says A Lot: If it’s Italian, then a name like “Luigi’s” might be best. If it’s barbecues, then “Old Hickory” may be best. How about “The Crazy Carrot” for a health food eatery? Choose to your delight for this can be a fun experience.

4- Have Your Support Team In Place: Having an accountant or bookkeeper, an attorney and a bank all in place are crucial. A good insurance policy and agent is also a must. Likewise, who will be your primary funding source? Is it your family, your bank or the credit line limit on your credit cards?

5- Compliance With The Law:

Permits, variances, certifications, board of health registries and other legalities can either make you or break you, so you better have everything in order.

6-Choosing Your Right Equipment:

For instance, in choosing your ice makers, then careful thought must be given to the design, style and most importantly, its purpose in making what kind of ice cubes you’ll primarily need.

Whether you’re serving soft drinks, mixed drinks, bagged ice, ice for dispensing, cocktails or just plain ice for the buffet table, each ice cube machine has a distinctive design, price tag and style–so choose wisely and discriminately.

There are many kinds of ice making machines available, including full-cube, half-cube, frappe or simply shaved ice; each has a purpose in a restaurant and requires differently designed commercial ice makers. A consultation with a reputable restaurant equipment dealer will help you in making the right selection.

7- Restaurant Design, Menu And Staff Personnel:

Choose carefully now. Your seating arrangement, restaurant furniture and ambiance are crucial; obviously, your food’s quality, and who serves it to your customers, are equally vitally important.

8- The Most Important Of All

Patience, a high tolerance level for stress and a sense of humor–without them, you’ll not enjoy success in the restaurant business.

What I Can Teach You About Sinks

Selecting the Most Appropriate Commercial Kitchen Sinks A good drain is very important specifically for people who are inside the food business. If you should be in the motel business then you definitely realize that getting the suitable kitchen discharge aids boost hygiene in your proven. It is crucial therefore to learn which sinks to have for commercial applications. A few characteristics ought to be your information when choosing a suitable professional sink. Here are some of what exactly you need to look for when selecting a proper home sink. For commercial purposes, your drain must be huge. A large, deep sink means that you can soak several utensils or even prepare large quantities of vegetables and food. Check out what is available in stores before you settle for one option. Pick a drain that’s flexible plus one that works with your preferences. Apart from selecting the most appropriate measurement, usually consider having the proper content for your sink. Pick a sink that’s made-of good-quality product including metal. It is important for you to choose a sink type that will not disappoint you after only a few years of use. Select a drain that is tolerant to rust. Stainless steel is a good quality of sink that will last longer. Never accept something less.
The Best Advice About Drains I’ve Ever Written
Choose an appropriate style of sink. The best sinks are useful for the purpose for which they are intended. Do not forget that a kitchen sink for a house might not serve equally well in a big restaurant. A busy diner needs a sink that may endure continual use. Though a destroy at home is not used regularly, it may be of crisp substance and expensive however you like. The identical cannot work for a cafe discharge. You’ll need anything constant and easy to avoid receiving on your way when working.
Short Course on Drains – Getting to Square 1
Consider the advantages and disadvantages of the types of sinks available in the market. Never accept a sink because it’s economical or as it will be the first one you discovered. You can find different reasons why one form of drain may work with one situation and fail to succeed to another. Look at the extras that include your new sink. A good sink comes with a number of other accessories such as strainers, chopping board and colander. You need to be sure what you need for your needs at the time. A drainer board can be a great accessory especially for commercial kitchen drains and sinks. You will have the capacity to prevent major blockages and drainage issues that could soil your kitchen procedures. Be careful when making your decisions.

Having a Fully Stocked Kitchen

There are essentially two main categories of must have staples for the well equipped kitchen. The first is the equipment and the second is something to prepare. You shouldn’t need to run out and purchase a lot of kitchen equipment or stock up on cartloads of groceries if you do a little planning.


In addition to the essentials, a sink with hot and cold water, oven and stove top burners, and a refrigerator, you will need an assortment of cookware, something to drink from, utensils to cook with and table service. First the cookware.

Cookware comes in a wide variety of materials and finishes. There are many schools of thought on what is the best so much of the choice is a matter of preference as most all cookware will do the job. I personally prefer stainless steel and I have some favorite cast iron pans, but I also have glass or Pyrex that I use often. You should look for some basic sizes in any set you purchase.

  • 10 fry pan for sauté, making sauces, frying and one dish meals
  • 2 and 4 quart sauce pot for heating vegetables or cooking grains like rice, re-heating canned foods like soups, and boiling small quantities of foods like a few eggs.
  • 8 or 10 quart pot for boiling pasta, potatoes, and making soups and stews.
  • Small fry pan used for things like cooking eggs.
  • And of course lids.

Most cookware sets will come with at least these pieces, some will have more. If you choose a non-stick coated set, remember that you will need to replace it as soon as it shows signs of wear. Ingesting the coating that has flaked off in the food is not healthy.

Small appliances like a coffee pot, a teapot, and a hand mixer are the basics. You may choose to get an electric can opener and a small food processor but these are not necessities. You can chop food with a good knife and use a manual opener if need be.

You will need cooking utensils. I would recommend a couple of each of the following

  • Spatula and pan cake turner – the Teflon ones are a good choice, however at least one metal one is helpful for turning meats and the thinner edge makes flipping pancakes or eggs a little easier.
  • Whisk. This is used in making gravy, beating eggs and egg whites, whipping puddings and other tasks. You should have at least one even if you plan on using an electric mixer most of the time.
  • Several wooden spoons in different sizes
  • Several large metal spoons. These are not tableware, but the larger spoons used in cooking
  • A ladle is useful, but you can use a large spoon in its place
  • A couple of large, two-pronged forks for meats
  • Tongs
  • A grater
  • Can opener AND a church key. A church key is the kind used to open bottles and pierce cans. You may find an all-in-one that works well.

You will also need

  • A kitchen timer. This is indispensable if you plan on baking anything
  • Salt and pepper shakers or a pepper mill and salt shaker
  • Bowls in several sizes
  • A colander
  • Measuring cups for dry and wet ingredients and measuring spoons
  • At least one but preferable two cookie sheets, the kind without sides
  • A set of cake pans
  • A rectangular shaped pan with about a 2 inch side
  • A square pan with 2 or 3 inch sides
  • A pie pan
  • Storage containers for dry goods and leftovers

And of course no kitchen will work without a good set of knives. Be sure to look for a knife sharpener as well. More cooks are injured with dull knives than with sharp ones because of the additional effort required to cut or slice through foods. You will need

  • A small paring knife
  • A large carving knife
  • A serrated bread knife
  • A meat cleaver

There are many other gadgets and equipment you can get to stock your kitchen but these are the basics. With this equipment you should be able to create delicious meals for your family.


At the grocery store you will want to be sure to add these basics to your list. If you are just starting out it may mean a larger bill at first, but once you have purchased the basics it is easy to keep a list and pick up replacements as you see you are about to run out. These are the staples, not the regular foods you will purchase to make your meals with. You should keep on hand in your pantry:

  • Sugar, brown sugar, and confectioners sugar
  • Honey
  • Syrup for pancakes, waffles, and desserts
  • All purpose flour
  • Corn starch
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Spices, especially garlic powder, onion powder, and Italian seasoning. Chili powder, cumin, oregano, dried parsley, and sage are also good additions to the spice cabinet.
  • Pickles and olives and Capers if you like them.
  • Flavoring extracts, especially vanilla and almond
  • Coco powder
  • Quick cooking oats (oatmeal)
  • Rice
  • Pastas
  • Dried beans
  • Dried potatoes as in mashed potato flakes
  • Cans of Tomato sauce and tomato paste, cream of mushroom soup, chicken broth, evaporated milk and tuna
  • Vinegar – white,apple cider and balsamic are good choices to begin with
  • Soy, and Worcestershire sauces
  • Oil for frying
  • Solid shortening
  • Cereals especially those that can double as bread crumbs such as corn flakes
  • Canned vegetables as a backup. I like to keep a few cans of peas, corn, green beans, spinach, asparagus,,mixed vegetables, canned small potatoes, and artichoke hearts on hand
  • Canned fruit. Pineapple, peaches, and perhaps a jar of applesauce
  • Jams and jellies
  • Powdered milk
  • Peanut butter unless of course there are allergies in your family
  • Salad dressings
  • Condiments such as ketchup, salsa, mayonnaise and mustard
  • Coffee and tea

There are other items you may wish to add or you may make some adjustments but this is a good basis from which to start.

In the fridge and freezer you should have at least

  • a pound of butter
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Sour cream
  • Cream cheese
  • Assorted hard cheeses
  • Assorted nuts
  • Pie crusts ( the frozen variety)
  • Whipped topping
  • Maraschino cherries
  • Vanilla ice-cream
  • Bacon
  • Pork neck bones for flavoring beans and soups
  • Onion
  • Potato
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • lemons

Don’t forget plates, bowls, mugs, and cutlery to serve on. A couple of large platters are nice to have, but you can always serve directly from the stove.

With these items you have all the basics you need to feed your family delicious meals that are properly cooked and served. You can add additional items to the list as you begin to feel more confident in your cooking or when you find that wonderful gadget that you just know will make your life in the kitchen so much easier. Cooking is not a chore unless you make it one. Being the cook of the family is a big responsibility, but it is also an honor and a way to show your family how much you love them. Remember, the most important thing to have in the kitchen at all times is LOVE. It will make every meal something special.

How To Make Money With Cooking To Go

Do you enjoy cooking? If this is you then you may be able to turn this into a little sideline and make yourself some extra money.

Quite often individuals who love to cook find that cooking for their family is just not enough of a challenge. But what if you were to do some cooking for a neighbor’s party for example. You will need to do something that’s a little bit different to entice people to use your services.

Let’s say your neighbors down the street work all week and are too tired to go out to a restaurant but would love it if somebody would bring in a home-cooked meal as opposed to the fast food type. This is where the beginning of your business could be.

Ideally, you could start off with a menu that each night is something specific. For example Monday night could be a chicken night, Tuesday pasta and so on. Individuals could choose the night that best appeals to them.

You would need to do some planning as to whether you would just deliver this food to the home or whether you would actually serve the dinner while you were their almost like a restaurant in their own home.

There are lots of different ideas that you could employ for this type of business and it’s just a matter of being creative.

You may feel that you’re not a business person but because of your love for cooking, you are probably a good cook and that in itself is going to sell your services once you begin. It is a great idea and if you’re not sure if it would work go over and ask your neighbors what they think.

Start off maybe once or twice a week and you will see that your business is going to grow. Make sure you do cost factoring so you don’t undercut yourself. Ideally, what you might want to do is go on the Internet and get some basics of how to start a business so you know what to look for.

You are going to experience some trial and error when you are first starting out but there’s nothing to say you can’t change different things about your business as you go to make it work better for you and your customers.

One of the things you’re going to have to keep in mind is good planning so that you can service two or three clients in an evening. You are going to have to decide how big you want your business to grow because the chances are you could end up nonstop cooking.

Don’t forget to check with your local authorities to ensure you do everything legal.


Radical Cooking

I am supposed to be doing my math homework right now. But radical ideas are swimming in my head (and note that typing is slow since the “a” key is broken off of my computer and my pinky has to trust that striking empty air will, in fact, make an “a” pop up on the screen). I stare out the window of my apartment at bright green leaves of the Greenbelt. I think of how I have always wanted to change the world.

How can I do that with Le Creuset (which I don’t actually own, but stick with the theory here, eh?) and a $20 whisk (which I do, now, own)? I am blessed with creativity for sure, but today it crosses my mind that I may be blessed more highly with idealism and shortsightedness. Some people who know me have also deemed this combination Stubborn As A Mule. I cannot argue this. The truth of my likeness to this animal has nearly been caught in photographs it is so true. With this being divulged to you, let us return to the original question.

Why do I think I can save the world with a casserole dish, a stainless-steel pan, and a $20 whisk?

My Stubborn As A Mule instinct says to tell you, “Because I CAN.” But that would be rude, and you may never return to read me again. So allow Chef Mule to explain to you how we, my dear army of cooks, will radically change the world for the better.

Cooking is the way to the Heart
The heart heals all.

The way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach. I rationalize this partly through my belief in evolutionary behaviorism psychology. Before I understood that this is largely the type of psychologist I am (or will become when I graduate), I was validating behaviors by both children and adults alike in patterns of behavior among different apes and mammals. The fine line between enjoyment and addiction

For we mammals, food begins the bonding to our mothers. Food=breast=mother. NONE of these things can be separated for the infant. The desire to nurse is as much about a desire for closeness as it is about hunger. We develop the same hormone releases when we experience good satisfying food as when we feel the skin of someone we adore. These correlations will continue our entire lives. This is why food addiction is a deep issue for all of us, it is primal. To not get what you need in the way of bonding or intimacy can, hormonally, be found in enjoying food.

Let’s back away from negative issues though and look at healing ourselves and our communities with food.

You start reading every day about this crazy good stuff I am making here in my small apartment in Austin, Texas. You see that cooking is not just for dowdy chicks and middle age balding men (both of who never go out (and my apologies to both of these groups of people, I think you are both very sexy)). You may cook sometimes, and you may cook well, but do you put yourself into it like an artist? Do you laugh at yourself? Do you invite people over to help, or just to even watch and talk? Do you take food to your neighbors, or do you think they would think you are weird?

Preparing food with mindfulness (not even like *buddha* mindfulness, just the idea that you want to please someone and yourself by the time you are done), sharing it (both triumphs and those meals where you trash it and go get a latte instead), going slow enough at the table to revere natural flavors, and staying in touch with the seasons on your cutting board… THIS can heal us all. You don’t have to be the one cooking either. You can be the eater. The eater has a special role, as there are often more eaters than chefs at any party. You eaters are the ones that we cannot live without. The look on your face, the small or loud noises from deep within your chest as you consume and feel what we meant when we made it… you are the soil and sunlight to our most hallowed crops. You are the ones willing to take a chance with us at your helm.

“Preparing food with mindfulness , sharing it, going slow enough at the table to revere natural flavors, and staying in touch with the seasons on your cutting board… THIS can heal us all.”

The kitchen is a place of service to others. There are many chefs that aspire to greatness because it is like being a rock star, it is like having a hold on a society’s wants and desires to be a top-notch chef. But these are not chefs to me, they are rock stars who ended up with a pallet instead of a voice. Let’s repeat, the kitchen is a place of service. It is where we dream of making someone else feel good. It is where we pay attention to what hurts and what uplifts. It is where we think grandly of making love to the whole world with one bowl of soup, one seared tuna steak rare, or one perfect sauce. The warm glow is addictive, the smells intoxicating, the labor a fine-tuned dance, and the end result… both art and service.

It is about radical change. Bringing communities together. Providing experiences for others and sharing experiences with others. I love to go out to eat. I love it like some people love to go shoe shopping.

Experiencing someone else’s ideas about combination and presentation is like seeing a good movie. However, going out to eat is not going to further this idea on community. Having dinners where things are locally grown (if possible), where a friend or acquaintance cooked for you, where there is dramatically less waste generated that in a restaurant, where your take-home boxes had better be reusable containers, where people sit around on the couch afterward and make plans for revolution of any kind… THIS IS WHERE IT’S AT.

I am not interested in inspiring you to cook what I am making. I am very interested in inspiring you to feel the way I do about the importance of food. To know and understand it for both it’s base value, and the value it can hold creating a different kind of place to live. I am a complete food snob. I also work on a budget most of the time and cut corners or make things faster, because there are three kids to feed.

I am interested in your energy, in you being in the kitchen (which is a place of great service to others) and your heart soaring out of it’s cage, your mind feeling clear and agile, your body relaxing and your self-love mounting a great steed and taking off with you on it. This is your task at hand and it must be done…


Ready, Set, Cook

When is the last time the ovens or the food thermometers were calibrated? Do staff check the food production label when products are cooked and stored? Does management ensure that staff members wash their hands? These are 101 foodservice principles that are essential to getting employees ready to perform. Cooking is an art and, as with any performer, the staff is on stage for each meal performance. An operator’s job is to ensure that the performers have the correct props, tools and script to deliver a quality performance.

As with any artistic production, there needs to be a clear understanding of the plot of the story. Fortunately or unfortunately, scripts and plots start and end with the FDA’s food codes. To name just a few:

· 3-401.11 cooking of raw animal foods.

· 3-401.12 microwaving cooked foods.

· 3-402.12 plant food cooking for hot holding.

· 3-401.14 non-continuous cooking of raw animal foods

· 3-402.11 freezing parasite destruction.

· 3-403.11 reheating of hot held foods,

· 3-5 and all of it subcategories, which relate to temperature and time control (TSC)

What can be a simple cooking process, however, can seem daunting and overwhelming, filled with the obstacle within the regulatory script after reading all the regulatory components in the FDA code.

Fortunately for foodservice operators, technology helps us monitor the cooking process. With the challengers of recruiting qualified staff, the push to improve output and the industry moving to toward advanced cooking processes, operators have no choice but to get on board with computerized food safety control equipment. Whether the monitoring equipment is part of the individual piece of equipment, such as combi oven, cook and hold oven, blast chiller or convection oven or there is an integrated system for the entire food process, food monitoring is essential in today’s kitchens. Relying on staff to document all critical control points in the HACCAP process constantly and accurately is an unrealistic expectation.

Another important factor to consider is, when during DOH inspections questions are asked about the quality and safety of the food process, that it is more creditable to show a stack of computer-generated forms than the hand-written forms we are accustomed to. Whatever the operation, food safety is all about knowing what is happening at each critical control point of the cooking process.

With all the focus on safer operations, operators who adapt these systems should use the information they produce to communicate to their customers that they take food safety seriously and care about their diners. Establishing good safety practices is not just about following the regulatory guidelines, it is also about good business and improving revenues. Making food safety a best practice can only catapult operations to new levels, both in quality and in consistency.


Outdoor Cooking and the Appeal of the Grill

Grills and outdoor cooking has been a traditional way of cooking and achieving the grilled taste of wood-cooked food. Grills make cooking convenient and safe. Through this the fire is distributed evenly under the bottom of a cookware. It is advisable that no child or children would come near it to make outdoor cooking safe and enjoyable. On a nice summer day, families enjoy cooking outdoors with different recipes that are easy to prepare as well as cook.

There are different tools to make outdoor cooking and grilling more fun. There are stores that offer different tools at affordable or reasonable prices. You can choose from different products that you will need for your outdoor cooking during a family gathering or camping. You can also do your outdoor cooking in the garden where everybody could enjoy a warm sunny day and cool air.

Grills are effective tools when barbecuing and to achieve this you have to have the grills thoroughly cleaned. Cleaning grills is a way to evenly distribute heat and also for sanitary purposes. Another reason for cleaning the grills is to make it last longer.

Grilling and Outdoor Activities

When families or friends go for a camping trip, one of the best tools is the portable grill. You could prop it securely to the ground. One way to make sure that the food is not overcooked is having with you an all-in-one timer and thermometer. Wood chips are also essential when doing grills and outdoor cooking.

Another way of enjoying a garden barbeque or a poolside cooking experience is having a table that is made of granite with a grill in the middle. The lower part of the table is made of sturdy steel that makes it safe. This table adds to the appeal of outdoor dining because of the color as well as portability.

Very hot summer or bitterly cold days should not stop you from enjoying barbecuing because there are portable table top grills. There are also propane gas and gas grills that you could choose from at your nearest outdoor store. Another way of adding flavor to your food is using bisquettes which are available in packs that makes them convenient to use. There are different flavors that you could choose from depending on what you will be cooking. You will be lucky to have a store that offers grills and outdoor cooking tools and other products at great and reasonable prices.

For each product you need on your next outdoor cooking there are different information that you could learn through Internet research and going to your favorite outdoor activity catering store. Professional services are also provided when it comes to helping you with the installation and other instructions concerning the product that you plan to buy. Another way of enjoying the grills and outdoor cooking is availing of catering services and this will save you time as well as money. All you have to do is look for these catering services using either the traditional yellow pages, asking around or through the net which is the easiest so far.


Cooking Oil Recycling

Impact of Cooking Oil Disposal

With over 2.5 billion gallons of used cooking oil created in the U.S. annually, proper oil disposal is a significant waste management issue. Due to the environmental impact of grease disposal, a conscious effort should always be made to recycle rather than disposed of waste oil. Grease disposal into a landfill can lead to long-term environmental harm. Furthermore, used oil is often improperly disposed of down kitchen drains, which can lead to clogged plumbing, sewer blockage, and groundwater contamination. Here are some facts about the negative environmental and financial impact of grease disposal:

  • The City of San Francisco spends $3.5 million every year to unclog sewers, with a large contributor being cooking oil poured down drains
  • One liter of waste cooking oil can contaminate up to one million liters of groundwater
  • Animals exposed to large amounts of cooking oil are at risk of suffocation, smothering, and coating of fur and feathers

Benefits of Cooking Oil Recycling

Recycling has become easier for both households and businesses in recent years. Many municipalities have implemented grease recycling programs and more companies have focused on providing oil recycling and grease trap cleaning services to businesses that create large amounts of waste oil. The majority of what is recycled is refined into various types of biofuels used for fueling automobiles and home heating. Some of the benefits of recycling include:

  • Biofuels produced from vegetable oil burn cleaner, emitting 78% less carbon dioxide than traditional diesel fuel
  • Biofuels, when used as an alternative to traditional fuels, have the potential to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint by 80%
  • Recycling can provide additional revenue for restaurants in the form of compensation from the recycling company, as well as significant tax deductions
  • Reduction in the blocking and deterioration of sewage systems

The many benefits of recycling grease are leading to widespread implementation of grease recycling and waste oil collection programs:

  • In Europe, more than 80% of used vegetable oil is currently being converted into biofuel
  • The average U.S. McDonald’s restaurant recycles nearly 1,450 gallons of oil per year
  • 100% of used oil from Darden Restaurants is recycled (Darden owns popular restaurant chains including Red Lobster and Olive Garden)

How Can you Recycle Cooking Oil?

Recycling For Households

  1. Go to Dispose of Cooking Oil to have all the necessary information about proper disposal and recycling at your fingertips
  2. After cooking, allow the oil to cool down and pour it into plastic storage containers. You can store the containers in the freezer to allow the oil to solidify and prevent spills during transportation to the recycling drop-off point
  3. Locate your nearest recycling drop-off location
  4. Plan ahead for recycling. Designate storage containers and drop-off periodically (e.g. once per month)
  5. Be happy that you are protecting your home and city from damage, helping the environment, and possibly earning some extra money for your used oil

Note: Many cities and recycling companies will offer additional drop-off locations after Thanksgiving to handle increased demand.

Recycling for Businesses (e.g. restaurants)

Since most businesses produce much larger amounts of cooking oil than the typical household, it is best to hire a waste oil recycling company to provide recycling services. Many of these services provide compensation for waste grease on a per-gallon basis.

Whether you use cooking oil in your household or business, it is important to learn about proper disposal and recycling, so you can do your part to help the environment and potentially improve your bottom line.


How to Choose a Cooking School

Cooking schools or culinary schools as they are also called are classic illustrations of the premise that if you want to join a trade, the best and only thing to do is to learn it from those who practice it. Before there were cooking schools, those aspiring to become chefs would work at restaurants and hotels as apprentices, toiling eighteen hours a day, mostly for little or no wages, learning from master chefs. Although this is no longer the standard practice today, many senior chefs do take on apprentices who arrive at their food service facilities as interns.

The Latter-day Scenario

For those interested in becoming a chef at a restaurant, hotel, golf club or a catering facility, cooking schools offer the best alternative to full-blown hospitality degrees from established universities where cooking is one of the focus areas-not the only focus area. As is the case with every category of educational institutions or institutions of higher learning, cooking schools provide students with a dazzling array of choices. Here are three factors to consider when selecting a cooking school for yourself.

Chef’s School in the Right Location

Although most cooking schools are self-contained and provide most if not all the learning facilities one may need to become a professional chef, cooking schools located in or near large cities tend to have a strategic advantage. Proximity to a large city, especially one that boasts a culinary tradition of its own like New Orleans, New York or San Francisco, allows you to build your very own network which can be useful when you enter the job market. Moreover, your cooking school is able to arrange site visits and project trips to area restaurants, hotels and resorts more frequently as the gamut of choices tends to be more widespread.

Cuisine Style and Teaching Philosophy

Cooking is both a science and an art. Many cooking schools will offer you more than one culinary choice in terms of the cooking degree they will offer you. However, there are culinary schools which specialize only in one culinary style and these are traditionally known to be superior. You should take this factor into consideration when narrowing your choices down to the right cooking school for you. If it is French cooking that interests you, look for a culinary school that specializes in French cooking. If you are planning to become an Italian chef, seek a reputable cooking school that specializes in Italian cuisine. Better still, consider pursuing your degree in its country of origin. If you pursued the culinary degree in Italy for instance, you wouldn’t learn just Italian cooking but more specifically Tuscany style cooking, Venetian cuisine or northern Italian cookery.

Conducting a Cost Benefit Analysis of your Proposed Cooking School Degree

Once you have short-listed the cooking schools that interest you, it is time to perform a cost benefit analysis. Divide the total tuition fee by the total number of contact hours you will be spending in a classroom and laboratory or learning kitchen environment to arrive at an approximate per-hour cost of instruction at the school. Although this is by no means the only measure of evaluation, using this figure as a benchmark is an excellent way for you to assess the value proposition.

There are scores of online resources you can use when researching the right culinary school for yourself. The extent of research you could will, to a great extend, determine the kind of culinary training you will receive. Therefore, take the time to explore possibilities using as many online resources as you can find and chances are that you will eventually find yourself in a culinary school that will well surpass your expectations.


How to Choose a Camping Stove

When it’s time to purchase camping gear there are many things to consider. How often do you plan on upgrading your equipment or replacing it? If you’re like me, I like to buy quality, knowing that what I buy will last a few years. When you buy camping stoves the same applies. I decided to buy the best camping stove to meet my needs. I use 2 types of stoves for tent camping when you can drive close to your campsite. I use another type of stove for backpack camping, where you’re more interested in a small and lightweight model for heating things up.

Important considerations in choosing the right camping stove for your use are where you’ll be camping and how many people you’ll be cooking for? For tent camping in a campground area, the two-burner propane or white gas stoves work well. I use a two-burner stove that uses white gas and a single burner propane stove. This set-up works well for a family of 4 or 5. The two-burner white gas stove works great for cooking, since it is easier to control the flame and does not burn as hot. The single burner propane stove works great for heating water for hot drinks and for washing water – both for personal hygiene and washing/rinsing dishes.

Many lightweight stoves come with a push button ignition. However, always bring water-proof matches and a camping lighter as a back-up.

Most lightweight stoves come with a carrying case to protect them when they’re being stored and packed.

Each type of stove has its own fuel needs. Make sure you bring enough of the right kind of fuel for your usage needs. The types of fuels are: propane, butane, isobutene, and white gas.

Most fuel types can be used for lanterns as well as for stoves. Make sure you get stoves and lanterns that use the same type of fuel to make life easier.

Having the right camping stoves for your situation will definitely add to your camping enjoyment, but if you don’t have the right cooking equipment it could ruin what should be a fantastic time.