Summer Fun

Insulated Ice Cream Keeper Tubbies

August 5, 2012

Insulated Ice Cream Keeper Tubbies

I recently discovered this awesome product.  If you are storing home-made ice cream or transporting your favorite store bought brand, this insulated ice cream keeper is a must.  I cannot tell you how many times I have brought ice cream home from the store only to find ice cream soup. The Zak ice cream Tubbie fits a pint of ice cream from the store so that you can keep it cold on your way home. It is also great for packing cold salads to either take for lunch to your office or a party as well as holding homemade ice cream.   This ice cream keeper (made by Zak) is fully insulated with a freezable gel lid to keep contents cold for up to 90 minutes.  The 1 pint container measures 5x5x5 ½ inches.  These ice cream keepers come in a variety of fun colors and are freezer and dishwasher safe, but NOT microwavable.  The seal on the top seems to get quite tight and can be difficult to get off (which can be annoying) right after the container leaves the freezer, but within a few minutes it thaws enough to remove easily or you can run it under warm water for a moment.  The cost is from $16 to $25 per Tubbie and can be purchased at either Amazon or the Zak Designs website. 

http://www.planet-zak.com/Ice-Cream-Food-Storage-Containers-On-Go/b/5446588011

http://www.amazon.com/Zak-Designs-Insulated-Ice-Cream-Freezable/dp/B001SS1H96

 

Very Cherry Pie

July 21, 2012

I just made my Very Cherry Pie today. 

Bastille Day

July 14, 2012

Bastille Day

Bastille Day commemorates the storming of the Bastille on July 14th, 1789, by the Parisian revolutionaries which was seen as a symbol of the uprising of the modern nation and of the reconciliation of all the French inside the constitutional monarchy which preceded the First Republic during the French Revolution.  Bastille Day, commonly called “Le quatorze juillet”, became the French national holiday one year later, during the “Fete de la Federation” on July 14, 1790.  Festivities and official ceremonies are held all over France.  The oldest and largest military parade in Europe is held on the morning of July 14th on the Champs-Élysées avenue in Paris in front of the President of the Republic, French officials and foreign guests.

Viva la France!

New Canaan Farmers’ Market

July 8, 2012

New Canaan Farmers’ Market

I love going to farmers' markets, especially good ones. It's the closest to "farm to table" that I can get without growing my own fruits and vegetables.  Yesterday was my first visit to the New Canaan farmer’s market.  It’s a good one!  I picked up beets, radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, peaches and plums.  Everything looked great and even though the vendors were busy they were very friendly and seemed happy to be there.

New Canaan Farmers’ Market

Saturday 10am to 2pm

May 12th Through October

Old Center School Parking Lot

South Avenue & Maple Street

www.newcanaanfarmersmarket.net

 

 

A Note About Grilled Steaks

July 1, 2012

A Note About Grilled Steaks

Steak is perfect for the grill.  A well marbled, cut thin and flat steak is made for searing over a bed of hot coals.  A grilled steak is mouthwatering if it is brown and crisp on the outside and pink & juicy on the inside.  There really isn’t an easier and less complicated dinner than a grilled steak with a green salad on the side.  Plus, the cleanup is practically effortless.  Most any cut of steak is great for grilling.  The classics are rib eye, New York, filet, tenderloin and porterhouse.  The lesser cuts are cheaper and usually every bit as tasty if they are marinated.  A flatiron, chuck, skirt steak, hangar steak, top sirloin or tri-tip are lesser cuts of steak that I tend to marinate overnight.  Steaks can be grilled as a single portion or larger steaks can be grilled whole and sliced for more than one.  A steak is best cut 1 to 2 inches thick.  If a steak is thinner, then the inside will be overdone before the outside is properly seared.  If a steak is thicker then the outside, it will start to char before the inside is ready.  Trim off all but a fourth of an inch layer of fat.  The less dripping fat means fewer flare-ups. 

 

Seasoning a steak is simple.  All you really need is kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Some people like an herb crust.  Chopping fresh herbs together in any combination is great.  You can combine thyme, rosemary, oregano and/or oregano; however, you should always use rosemary.  Mix the fresh herbs with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  Rub onto the steak with some olive oil an hour or so before grilling.  You should take the steaks out of the refrigerator about 1 hour before grilling to allow the steaks to come to room temperature.

 

Clean your grill with a wire brush and then prepare a hot fire.  Oil the grill and put on the steaks. Your grill should be so hot that you shouldn’t be able to tolerate the heat for more than a couple seconds.   Cook for 5 to 6 minutes.  Turn the steaks over and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes.  If your steak has a border of fat then turn this onto the grill by holding the steak up with your tongs.  Sear the fat for 1 to 2 minutes.  After you flip your steaks you should start checking for doneness after about 2 minutes.  Press the back of your tongs into the steak.  If it is rare it will be soft.  If it springs a bit then it is medium rare.  If it is resilient then it is well done.  Keep testing by using the “back of the tong” method.  You can check by cutting into the steaks, but I really think that it is better not to cut into the steaks.  Keep working on the “back of the tong” method and you will become a good judge pretty quickly.  I think that it is a good idea to take the steaks off of the grill when they are a little less done than you want them to be.  They will continue to cook while they rest.  A 1 inch steak will be grilled rare in about 8 minutes and for medium it should take about 12 minutes.  Check your fire while the steaks are cooking.  Move the coals as needed to make the fire hotter or cooler.  If your fire flares up then move the steaks out of the flames right away or the fire will burn up your steak.  This will form a black and acrid crust.  When you remove your steaks from the grill let them take a little rest for a few minutes before serving.  Resting stabilizes the internal juices so that they don’t run out excessively when you cut into the steaks.  If you are not going to serve right away, make sure to cover loosely with aluminum foil to help keep warm.  Don’t seal tightly or they will continue to cook. 

Happy Grilling!

Building A Healthier Burger

June 19, 2012

Building A Healthier Burger

 

Nothing says grilling season like a hot & juicy burger.  You can enjoy an American favorite that is new and improved by giving your burger a healthy twist without skimping on flavor.  Here are some things that you can do to create a better burger. 

Choose Your Patty:  For a classic burger it is important to choose the leanest ground beef available.  Purists will tell you to use the fattiest ground beef, but if you are trying to cut down on fat and create a healthier burger try using lean meat.  I like to use ground sirloin.  You also might try: Ground Turkey Breast (usually 99% fat free); Ground Buffalo/Bison (naturally sweet & lean); Veggie Burgers (usually has one seventh the saturated fat of traditional burgers); Fish Burgers; Salmon Burgers (rich in omega-3); Mushroom Burgers (made from large grilled Portobello mushrooms). 

 

Jazz Up Your Burgers:  Spices and condiments are key here.  Mix in or season your burgers with salt free or low sodium spices.  You can get creative here to suit your tastes or mood.  I like to use Cajun spices, Italian spices and sometimes a touch of curry spices. You can get a fiber boost and add texture by adding chopped or grated vegetables or herbs. 

 

To Bun Or Not To Bun:  Who says a burger must be served on a traditional white bun?  Feel free to serve your burgers on 100% whole grain buns or pita pockets.  If you are going for a totally bunless burger you might want to try sturdy lettuce or cabbage leaves. 

Accessorize:  The tasty trimming options are endless, but here are a few ideas.  Choose condiments that are low in fat, sodium and sugar.  Read the labels on varieties of ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, relish and salsa.  Choose low-fat or fat-free varieties of cheese.  The white cheeses tend to be lower in fat such as Swiss or provolone.  Top your burger with grilled onions and sliced tomatoes.  Instead of using iceberg lettuce try radicchio, arugula or romaine.  While you’re at it add cucumber slices, radish slices or red pepper rings for some extra crunch.

 

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