Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Things I Use

Some things I like to use:

Stainless steel skillets: These are perfect for browning and cooking meats. Most can also be placed in the oven for finishing cooking of large cuts of meat. I always use these pans for cooking unless something requires covering.

Grill Pans: I like to use grill pans sometimes as well. Grill pans are pans designed to use on the stove top and they put sear marks on meat. They make for nice presentation for indoor cooking. The raised lines in the pan also allow for the food to not be completely submersed in the fat/grease that it's cooking in so it's not quite as unhealthy as straight up pan frying.

Spices: Usually, I like to use my own blends. However, there are premixed spice blends that I use as well. These include but are not limited to, Adolph's Meat Tenderizer with Seasoning, and McCormick's Rotisserie Chicken Seasoning. These are the main two that I use. I will add more if I find any.

Habanero Peppers: This is one of my favorite "spices." Dried habanero peppers add quite some heat to dishes that you see fit. You must be careful when handling these peppers. Even after thoroughly washing your hands, the capsaicin can still remain on your hands, as well as knife and cutting board. I suggest wearing gloves while preparing habanero peppers for drying. I know first hand the burning that comes from forgetting that you have handled habaneros with gloves. I know have an even better reason to use proper protective equipment, my baby girl. I dry my habaneros in the oven. Heat the oven to the WARM setting. Cut the tops off of the peppers. Then cut them in half, lengthwise. Some people with suggest removing the seeds and ribbing of the peppers. I prefer to leave these intact as it adds to the heat of the spice. Place the peppers on a sheet pan, skin side down. Leave the oven door slightly open so all moisture can escape. Leave in the oven for 4 to 5 hours. Turn over the peppers. Leave them in the oven for another 4 to 5 hours until very brittle and crisp. Remove from oven and let cool. I have a little mortar and pestle that I grind the peppers to a powder when they are completely dry. You can also use a food storage bag and rolling pin to break them down. Apply just a small amount to foods that you want to be spiced up. Be very careful when using this spice because just the smallest amount can be too much for most people.

Garlic: Garlic is one of my most used herbs while cooking. If you don't use garlic very often then buying the occasional bulb should be just fine. If you use garlic as much as I do, you might want an option to save a little bit of time. At my most recent trip to Costco, I found a bag of fresh, peeled garlic cloves. This is a three pound bag of garlic cloves that are already peeled. This is the way to go if you use a slew of garlic like I do. I don't suggest using the cans of minced garlic that you can find in stores. I'm not even sure what that liquid is that the garlic is stored in. I do suggest that you go ahead and store the bag in an additional gallon sized food storage bag so the wife/husband doesn't complain about the overwhelming garlic smell coming from the refrigerator.

I will add more to this list as time permits.

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