Monthly Archives: July 2017

Buy Best Quality Charcoal for Your Barbecue

Buy charcoal than there are several vendors on the web these days that are involved in the selling of quality charcoal and other such elements that help you enjoy a beautiful meal after all the hard work and efforts that have been made by you. Charcoal is easily available in the e-stores as well as in the physical stores at cost-effective rates. They are usually stocked in a pyramid fashion. Spread out the heated charcoal evenly all around the grill to enjoy the best barbecued food ever.

If you enjoy an outdoor barbecue then, there is nothing best than the charcoal barbecue. Charcoal is the most commonly used fuel for grilling and barbecuing. Food lovers often love to have their barbecue cooked over a charcoal flame as it is what induces that peculiar and authentic taste to the food being cooked. Nothing beats the aroma of the food that is cooked over a charcoal or wooden barbecue not even the so called modern gas grills. The quality of charcoal too plays a very important role in the barbecue apart from the quality of meat, ingredients used and arrangement of the grills. To enjoy a good meal one should always buy best quality charcoal for cooking.

There are specifically made barbecue grills are available in the market that makes use of the charcoal as the main source of heat generation in order to cook the meat thoroughly from inside out. The form, pattern and size of the grills may vary from place to place. Thus depending upon your requirement you can pick up a size that cat cater to your family needs. To ensure that the meat is well cooked and has that peculiar aroma, it must be cooked on low heat over supreme quality charcoals. Following the step by step guide of the barbecue meat helps you bring forth onto the table something amazing not only in looks but at the same time in taste too.

Also while, barbecuing makes sure that you do not add the charcoal lighter fluid to the already heated charcoals as they can further strengthen the heat which in turn might result into the fire that might be hazardous. This should be avoided in all situations as they can lead to unwanted and unnecessary burns and rashes. If a little care and attention is paid, one can easily cook food without getting oneself hurt or injured. Soak the charcoals beforehand only in the charcoal liquid for about 10mins to get absorbed.

Care should also be taken while igniting your barbecue grill to make sure that the meat being cooked is not burnt and is well cooked from inside out, leaving no raw corners. Place the meat only when the charcoal is well heated and appears to be white hot and ashy. Further you can serve the meal thus cooked with freshly chopped veggies or a salad. The dishes that are prepared in the similar fashion are simply mouthwatering and lend an exceptional taste in the mouth.

If what you are seeking is a place to buy charcoal than there are several vendors on the web these days that are involved in the selling of quality charcoal and other such elements that help you enjoy a beautiful meal after all the hard work and efforts that have been made by you. Charcoal is easily available in the e-stores as well as in the physical stores at cost-effective rates. They are usually stocked in a pyramid fashion. Spread out the heated charcoal evenly all around the grill to enjoy the best barbecued food ever.

The Best Coffees in the World

When considering the best coffees in the world, I went to the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) for research. They are the organization that sets the quality standards for specialty coffee, which the public calls “gourmet” coffee. All specialty coffees use arabica beans. The other category of is the robusta bean, which is of inferior taste quality to arabica. Within these categories, there are several varieties of bean. Arabica beans are grown at a higher altitude than robusta.

Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world and is graded in a similar manner as wine. This event is called a “cupping” and has a set of strict standards. Winning a cupping is very prestigious and has a direct effect on the prices a coffee grower can get for his crop.

History of these “cupping” winners has shown that three areas of the world produce the most winners. Interestingly, these regions have a very similar latitude when looking at the world map. The three regions are Ethiopia, Sumatra and Panama.

Ethiopian/Kenyan Coffee (Africa)

Ethiopian coffee is aromatic, highly flavorful, and also known to be some of the best coffees in the world. It is also the origin of all coffee. The Ethiopian people have a legend that says that a goat herder discovered Ethiopian coffee around 850 AD. This legend claims that the goat herder noticed that his sheep were very excited and nearly dancing after eating red berries from a tree. The legend of the founder goes on to say that the herder sampled the red berries for himself and took some of the berries home to his wife who insisted that he take them to the monks. The monks supposedly threw the berries into a fire and noticed the delicious smell that the berries produced. The monks are said to have removed the berries from the fire and boiled the berries in water to create the beverage that we now know as Ethiopian coffee.

Whether this legend is true, or in fact just a legend is forever a mystery. Regardless, Ethiopian coffee has been used for religious ceremonies. These ceremonies are still held today and if a guest is invited to participate in the ceremony, it is well known to be a very beautiful experience.

Locally, Ethiopian coffee is served with either sugar, or in some parts of Ethiopia, salt. Milk or any type of creamer is never used in traditionally brewing. The process of making the coffee varies by region. In some regions it is dry processed and in some other regions it is washed. The Ethiopian coffee found in stores today is dry processed.

The process is often grueling and coupled with with importing adds to the reason of why Ethiopian coffee can be expensive.

When consumers purchase Ethiopian coffee to be brewed at home, it is wise to consider fair trade Ethiopian coffee. The obvious reason to consider fair trade is so that the producers of this wonderful product can reap the benefits of their hard work. Ethiopian coffee has a rich, bold, and exciting history and a taste that has been favored by many people for a long time.

Sumatran Coffee (Indonesia)

Sumatran coffee comes from the island in Indonesia called Sumatra. The taste of Sumatran coffee is spicy, herbal, and very distinct. It is considered to be one of the best coffees in the world and was first introduced by the Dutch around 1699 when the Dutch wanted to keep up with the demand of coffee to Europe. The Dutch traders knew the difference between Sumatran coffee beans and other coffee beans by the appearance, which are irregularly shaped and bright green.

Sumatran coffee is one of the best coffees in the world and has a low acidity which makes it highly favored among other types of coffee. The beans are usually grown in full sunlight and with no chemicals. A highly popular type of Sumatran coffee, yet thoroughly disgusting in many peoples opinion, is the kopi luwak Sumatran coffee. The kopi luwak coffee is coffee beans that have been eaten by the small animal known as a luwak. After the luwak digests and excretes the coffee beans, local villagers collect the excreted beans and roast them. These excreted and roasted beans are said to cost about $300 a pound. Of course, not all of Sumatran coffee comes from the excrement of the luwak. There are many other varieties of Sumatran coffee as well.

Most of the Sumatran coffee beans are processed using the wet and dry processing method. This processing method is another reason why Sumatran coffee is so popular. Most other types of coffee beans are processed by using either a wet method or a dry method, hardly ever both.

When purchasing Sumatran coffee for use at home, a person should try to purchase fair trade Sumatran coffee. Fair trade beans can be found at various online retailers and also at gourmet coffee retailers. This insures that the growers benefit from all of the hard work that they put into growing this delicious coffee.

How to Make It As a Fitness Model

People that follow my stuff know I generally write about nutrition, supplements, training, and other topics that are more science based than subjective topics, such as what is covered in this article. I decided to shuck my science geek persona, and write on a topic I know will be helpful to thousands of would be and want to be fitness models. Continue reading

Clean and Conscious Dining With Halal Foods

The process of preparing halal foods can be said to be multidisciplinary. The foods should not only be from good sources but they should also taste good. For example, the true taste of chicken biriani cannot be compromised. The spices must be in the right proportions and prepared at the right temperature. Presentation is also important especially for gourmet food and specialty food. Zabihah halal food distributors do justice to the ingredients they work with bringing out the true flavor.

Considerations must be made whether to have fully cooked or precooked meals. This is important with regards to frozen food which must be reheated. Some dishes go especially well with specific sauces. For obvious reasons, they are packed separately but they should be served in one dish. Some of the halal food like chicken nuggets can be taken as snacks. Others are the variety of gourmet food and so are served as appetizing entrees.

Frozen food is convenient for individuals and also for parties. You don’t have to be worried that guests will reject the food at the event you are hosting. The halal food is enjoyed both by vegetarians and beef eaters. The logistics of preparing food en masse is beaten hands down by the availability of frozen food. Call it modern convenience; you can now be the perfect host without having a clue on culinary matters. The makers of frozen food have explored the intricacies of world cuisine. They have the knack of producing the family meal that can bring a sense of nostalgia to many people.

Apart from the gastronomic experience, halal food is a health plus and a credit to the reduction of green house gases. This comes about due to the fact that halal food originates from farms that run on sustainable energy. Taking the entire subject of conservation and social responsibility to another level, bio-digestors and other sustainable energy sources are used. The source farms are a haven for clean energy. The animals themselves can be considered clean because they are never given antibiotics. The animals are of a natural size since they don’t have growth enhancers such as hormones. The goal is to culture food sources which are less fattening or pegged with risk indicators to cancers and other health issues. For the same reason, the sauces have no preservatives as they come from fresh produce which is not processed.

It is worth mentioning that meat from halal food is from animals that were not abused neither did they face animal cruelty. It thus gives consumers a clean conscious when choosing halal food from the frozen food section. The livestock such as lamb, cow and chicken are well treated and their animal rights are respected. The farms that are certified for halal food are currently small farms. However with the endorsement of conscious consumers they are growing larger and larger. For the health freaks or for persons who are ill, specialty food is also available. Many have seen the benefits of specialty food when they are ill and have continued taking it after full recovery.

In order for Slicing Hand Not Hot Chili After

Indonesia has many areas that have variants spicy foods, such as beef jerky balado of Sumatra, rice duck from Madura, rica-rica of the Manado, or chicken taliwang of Lombok.

Not only can be processed into sauce, spicy chili as the producer can also be sliced ​​and mixed in food, however, one issue that often arises is a burning sensation in the hand after slicing a lot of chili.

“If the too much slicing chili, the hands usually will be felt hot. This heat is caused because of the existence of compounds capsaicin in a chili that produce the taste spicy and hot,” obviously Chef Ragil told Compass Female, after the event “Yuk Sambal Cook the-in Indonesian” in Gandaria City , South Jakarta.

To “cool” burning sensation in the hands, you can do this:

1. oil greasing
The way this one is little known. Before cutting the chili, it helps to lubricate your hands with cooking oil clear. Layer of cooking oil will prevent the affected hand capsaicin that makes hot hand.

2. Put it in salt or rice
You can prevent the onset of a burning sensation in the hand by inserting the hand into a container of salt. “This process is done after you cut the chili, but before hand was hot,” he advised.

If you love using salt (for fear of being exposed to dirty hands), you can replace it with rice. After cutting the peppers, put your hand into the rice for a few minutes. Salt and rice will help cool your hands from the heat.

Medicinal And Culinary Uses For Corn Silk

Corn silk may now be associated with a healthy lifestyle and medicinal benefit, but, as an adolescent, my memories of the use of corn silk was as a cigarette alternative. I have been told tales of those people in the Dirty Thirties who regularly rolled this dried corn fibre into cigarette papers, since tobacco was prohibitively expensive. While I do not recommend this practice today, the anecdote illustrates that desperate people use creative tactics to achieve an end. Continue reading

Bad Dog Food – Is Your Pet Dog Eating Deadly Food?

With all the new and controversial pet food recalls, it is no wonder that pet owners have preferred making homemade dog food for their pet animals in lieu of commercial and, quite possibly, bad dog food and cat food considered as contaminated. So what’s all the fuss about? What unlikely result can bad contaminated dog food do to your pet dog, and more importantly, what can you do keep it from happening? Just what are in these supposedly good dog food that has got pet owners in an uproar?

We humans are discouraged from consuming too much canned goods for various health reasons. The same holds true for dogs.

Moist dog food is packed in cans. You can just think of all the harmful ingredients injected into the dog food package, mostly to bring a good taste, enhance palatability, and even improve appearance.

What’s truly disconcerting is the fact that animal by-products, the main components of pet food, are already bombarded with chemicals long before they reach the processing plant. So even if the can’s label tells you otherwise, there’s really nothing like a ‘No Preservatives’ guarantee.

Dry dog food is even worse. And because canning in itself is already a preserving process, moist dog food contains less of the contaminated materials used to prolong shelf life compared with its dry counterpart.

Another problem is the ingredients themselves, usually meat, poultry, and grains. Any part which is not good for human consumption, such as innards, blood, and bones, make up the by-products that are ground and blended into what we know as commercial pet food. In reality, they are bad dog food.

The thing is, it is not always slaughtered animals that make their way into these meals, but oftentimes, unhealthy meat of farm animals are included also. And the drugs and bacteria, like Salmonella and Escherichia coli, thriving in these meats do not always die during product making, which incidentally, destroys much of the nutritional content as well.

Furthermore, when moldy grain is thrown in, as well as all the other synthetic and unnatural additives the numbers of which are too many to count with both hands, you then have a lethal canine cocktail. It doesn’t take a genuine nutritionist to know that this spells disaster for the end user, i.e., innocent little Fido.

Injurious outcome of bad dog food include vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. But that’s just for starters. The more dangerous toxins, like cf1 butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), and ethoxyquin, which are all permitted in small doses, can cause cancer, organ failure, and ultimately, death when ingested after sometime.

So what can you, the dog owner, do about all this? Voice your concerns. Call pet food manufacturers and demand for better quality products so you get your money’s worth. Better yet, try making your own homemade dog food. At least then, you can be sure about what your loving dog is actually eating. If you have any doubts on the food you’re feeding your dog, consult your veterinarian immediately.

The Sweet Health Benefits Of Sour Foods

As a young man, I remember my grandmother trying to give me sauerkraut for dinner once and making the worst face possible in response to which my grandmother laughed and said, “Sauerkraut is not only good, it’s good for you!” When I tell my patients about sauerkraut as a health food, they make almost that same funny face! Recently, however, it turns out that grandma’s words were correct – sauerkraut has a surprising health benefit to it as do other fermented foods. In fact, a group of Polish women were recently studied for their rates of breast cancer. The group who ate a lot of sauerkraut had very low rates of breast cancer.

Health Benefits of Fermented Foods

Fermented foods, like sauerkraut, olives, pickles, sourdough bread have been around for a long time. They were created to help food keep longer using a natural fermentation process called lacto-fermentation. In this process, beneficial lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria (the kind that live in your gut and help digest your foods) convert the starch and sugar in foods to lactic acid. The lactic acid acted as a preservative so refrigeration was not necessary and food had a long shelf life.

A surprising, little known health benefit about these fermented foods was then discovered. It seems that the same fermentation process that both preserves and gives these foods their distinctive sour-tangy taste are also higher in vitamins and actually help your digestion, remove excess saturated fats and cholesterol, and keep your digestive tract healthy and happy.

In fact, these good bacteria present in naturally fermented food have recently started popping up all over television ads and health food articles as “probiotics” which restore and maintain your intestinal flora, i.e., the level of good bacteria in your gut. In case you didn’t know this, your large intestine, the place that houses all these beneficial bacteria, is the very seat of your immune system. When your beneficial bacteria levels are optimal, you have a healthy immune system strong enough to ward off infections and other diseases.

Many fermented foods, like olives, also contain good Omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial in reducing inflammation throughout your body.

Not All Sour Foods Are Naturally Fermented

When I tell my patients about naturally fermented superfoods, they say, great I’ll pick up some at the grocery store! However, most canned sauerkraut, pickles, greek olives on the shelves, and buttermilks, yogurts, and kefir in your dairy section of your grocery store may not have been created through a natural fermentation process and may not contain the live bacteria.

In fact, many of these grocery store varieties of sour-tasting dairy foods are pasteurized, and the canned-shelf varieties can get their sour taste through the addition of vinegar (a fermented food in itself) and/or certain preservative-grade minerals like potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate added to extend shelf life. Most have lactic acid added to them rather than it developing naturally in the fermentation process described above. However, even these grocery store varieties of “fast” fermented foods give some health benefits in addition to their vitamins, minerals, proteins, fiber, etc, just not as much as naturally fermented that contain the live culture.

Unless your local grocery store has a special section for refrigerated health foods, you likely will have to go to a health food or natural foods store to get real, naturally fermented, nonpasteurized sauerkraut, pickles, olives, kefir, buttermilk and yogurt. You can also make your own fermented foods very easily. Fermentation starter kits are available, along with directions how to ferment many foods, in health food stores and/or online.

Finding the “Best of the Best” in Coffee

Tips for Finding Perfect Premium Coffee…

There is coffee and THERE IS COFFEE! You likely know about the generic quality coffees you find at the supermarket, using the inferior Robusta beans. And, in contrast, there is the alternative: the coffee regularly termed Gourmet Coffee you buy direct from roasters around the country. Popular large volume roasters, like Starbucks as well as most of the the smaller roasters dispersed about town, essentially utilize this far better grade, high altitude, shade grown Arabica bean.

That being said, and broadly known by all nowadays, how can you siphon out the crème de la crème of gourmet coffee beans to purchase?

To begin with, let’s hone in specifically on taste. Nowadays, coffee has become a “drink of experts”…
evolved into an art of reflection! We’ve begun to savor our coffee…flavor identify and define the subtle hints and nuances, as well as the qualities that identify the bean’s continent of origin. You as a coffee drinker, can begin to explore and experience the undertones of your coffee’s region, but better yet, begin to revel in the independently specific flavors of the bean defined by the specific hill and farm where it’s grown.

Coffee Cupping: Defining Coffee by its “Underlying Flavors”

There are, nowadays, a limited number of coffee roasters that independently test their coffee beans for taste observations and aromas. These beans are graded and assessed just like fine wine. This activity is called Coffee Cupping or Coffee Tasting. Professionals known as Master Tasters are the assessors. The procedure involves deeply sniffing a cup of brewed coffee, then loudly slurping the coffee so it draws in air, spreads to the back of the tongue, and maximizes flavor.

These Master Tasters, much akin to wine tasters, then attempt to measure in detail, every aspect of the coffee’s taste. This assessment includes measurement of the body (the texture or mouth-feel, such as oiliness), acidity (a sharp and tangy feeling, like when biting into an orange), and balance (the innuendo and the harmony of flavors working together). Since coffee beans embody telltale flavors from their region or continent of their origin, cuppers may also attempt to predict where the coffee was grown.

There is an infinite range of vocabulary that is used to describe the tastes found in coffee. Descriptors range from the familiar (chocolaty, sweet, fruity, woody) to the conceptual (clean, vibrant, sturdy) to the wildly esoteric (summery, racy, gentlemanly).

Following are a few key characteristics as defined by Coffee Geek. (http://coffeegeek.com/guides/beginnercupping/tastenotes)

Key Characteristics

Acidity:

The brightness or sharpness of coffee: It is through the acidity that many of the most intriguing fruit and floral flavors are delivered, and is usually the most scrutinized characteristic of the coffee. Acidity can be intense or mild, round or edgy, elegant or wild, and everything in between. Usually the acidity is best evaluated once the coffee has cooled slightly to a warm/lukewarm temperature. Tasting a coffee from Sumatra next to one from Kenya is a good way to begin to understand acidity.

Body:

This is sometimes referred to as “mouthfeel”. The body is the sense of weight or heaviness that the coffee exerts in the mouth, and can be very difficult for beginning cuppers to identify. It is useful to think about the viscosity or thickness of the coffee, and concentrate on degree to which the coffee has a physical presence. Cupping a Sulawesi versus a Mexican coffee can illustrate the range of body quite clearly.

Sweetness:

One of the most important elements in coffee, sweetness often separates the great from the good. Even the most intensely acidic coffees are lush and refreshing when there is enough sweetness to provide balance and ease the finish. Think of lemonade…starting with just water and lemon juice, one can add sugar until the level of sweetness achieves harmony with the tart citric flavor. It is the same with coffee, the sweetness is critical to allowing the other tastes to flourish and be appreciated.

Finish:

While first impressions are powerful, it is often the last impression that has the most impact. With coffee the finish (or aftertaste) is of great importance to the overall quality of the tasting experience, as it will linger long after the coffee has been swallowed. Like a great story, a great cup of coffee needs a purposeful resolution. The ideal finish to me is one that is clean (free of distraction), sweet, and refreshing with enough endurance to carry the flavor for 10-15 seconds after swallowing. A champion finish will affirm with great clarity the principal flavor of the coffee, holding it aloft with grace and confidence like a singer carries the final note of a song and then trailing off into a serene silence.

Coffee Buying Caveat

Buying coffee simply by name instead of by taste from your favorite roaster (in other words buying the same Columbian Supreme from the same “Joe’s Cuppa Joe Roaster”) definitely has its pitfall! According to Coffee Review, “Next year’s Clever-Name-Coffee Company’s house blend may be radically different from this year’s blend, despite bearing the same name and label. The particularly skillful coffee buyer or roaster who helped create the coffee you and I liked so much may have gotten hired elsewhere. Rain may have spoiled the crop of a key coffee in the blend. The exporter or importer of that key coffee may have gone out of business or gotten careless. And even if everyone (plus the weather) did exactly the same thing they (and it) did the year before, the retailer this time around may have spoiled everything by letting the coffee go stale before you got to it. Or you may have messed things up this year by keeping the coffee around too long, brewing it carelessly, or allowing a friend to pour hazelnut syrup into it.”

Your savvy coffee-buying alternative is to look for roasters who buy their beans in Micro-Lots- smaller (sometimes tiny) lots of subtly distinctive specialty coffees. According to Coffee Review, “These coffee buyers buy small quantities of coffee from a single crop and single place, often a single hillside, and are sold not on the basis of consistency or brand, but as an opportunity to experience the flavor associated with a unique moment in time and space and the dedication of a single farmer or group of farmers.”

Coffee Review: Coffee Ratings

And finally, look out for the very small community coffee roasters that will submit their coffees to be 3rd-party evaluated by Coffee Review and other competitions for independent analysis and rating. Coffee Review regularly conducts blind, expert cuppings of coffees and then reports the findings in the form of 100-point reviews to coffee buyers. These valuable Overall Ratings can provide you with a summary assessment of the reviewed coffees. They are based on a scale of 50 to 100.

Bottom line for a certain premium purchase: To find the coffee that will ascertain most flavor satisfaction, seek out beans that been independently reviewed and rated. This approach will, without a doubt offer you the advantage of being able to choose the flavor profile suits you best in a bean. What’s more, it gains you certainty in quality due to its superior rating. The higher the rating, the better the flavor. True premium coffees start from the upper 80’s. By finding a roaster that consistently rates within the 90’s will ultimately buy you the best java for your buck!