Saturday, October 16, 2010

3 Great Ideas For 4th Of July Party Food

Add some fun to your 4th of July party food. If you are tired of the same old burgers and hot dogs on this celebration, go ahead and add more to it or change it up the way that you would like to. There is no rule that the food should be one thing or another. In fact, a potluck of choices is the most American of all ways to celebrate. Gather up some new menu ideas and make this fourth of July fun and enjoyable for everyone.

Need some help coming up with fun ideas for party food? If so, there are more than a few things that you can do. Here are some great ideas.

Add more choices. Instead of just burgers and hot dogs, why not cook up some shrimp, crab or even lobster? You can add chicken, fish and steaks to the menu. Yes, you can cook all of this right on your grill (with the help of a side burner in some cases) and still enjoy the grilling atmosphere that the 4th is all about.

Dress up dessert. How about a cake that is in the shape of an American flag? For red stripes, go with strawberries in rows. For the stars, add enough blueberries to make them shine through. Frost the cake white and decorate. This is a great way to make a special treat.

Don't forget the drinks. You can make various types of drinks special by just adding in flavored ice cubes, in blue and red, of course. To make them, add strawberry and blueberry flavoring to the ice cube trays. Or, just use the right colored Kool-Aid to make it work. Drop them into drinks for a festive yet fun way to add to your food celebration.

You can add virtually any side dish, any dessert and any type of appetizer to your menu and find those that will love it. The only rules to considerabout food for the 4th is that it should be something that does not require fine china, something that can handle being out in the sun and something that is allabout fun eating. You can come up with your own fun menu of foods, but don't forget that some will want the traditional fare nonetheless.

What You Need to Know About Oil Fondue

Let's talk about meat fondue recipes and what you need to know first. Meat fondue also known as oil fondue is a method of cooking all kinds of meats, poultry, and seafood in a pot of heated oil.

Each person participating in a fondue experience, cooks his/her meat by placing a small portion or chunk on the end of a long fondue fork and placing it inside the pot of oil to cook. When the meat has finishedcooking in the oil, it's then placed on a small plate where you can then dip each piece of cooked meat into previously prepared sauces. Meat fondue recipes can also be prepared as a broth fondue, replacing the oil with your favorite broth - chicken, vegetable, or beef - to name a few.

Below, I've provided a pretty organized way of preparing and eating meat fondue recipes. Hope you find this helpful!

First, it's great fun and an easy way to entertain a good group of friends or family. With fondue cooking, everything can be done ahead of time and your guests cook their own food! How easy is that?

Oil fondue is used for cooking meats such as beef, lamb, chicken, fish, and seafood. The great thing is, you can do oil fondue as either an appetizer or as a main entree.
Second, you need a good and reliable cooking unit. With meat fondue recipes, the pot needs to be one that keeps the oil hot and is safe to use at your table. There are a wide range of fondue pots in a variety of styles. Some are complete sets including fondue condiment sets and special fondue plates and forks, as well as burner, stand, metal pot, and a tray to protect the table and catch spatters.

Other types, you'll need to buy each item separately. But that has its advantages in that you get to create your own customized fondue set in the colors you want and the accessories that you want to use.

Fondue pots are made specifically for a range of different purposes. Stainless steel, aluminum, copper and silver plate or sterling silver pots are generally used for oil and meat fondue recipes where enamel-coated cast iron or ceramic pots are used for cheese or chocolate fondues. In today's market, you can also find non-stick coated fondue pots that make cleaning not such a chore.

With the wide variety of pots and cooking units also comes with a wide variety of price ranges - from very inexpensive to costly. The thing to look for, in my opinion, is the sturdiness in the construction of the pot. If you are looking for and all-purpose container that can be used for more than oil fondue, make sure the unit has the capability of being able to adjust the heat source.

Fondue Bourguignonne is a traditional meat fondue recipe. The pan used for this is wider at the base and curves in at the top. Why? Because it eliminates some of the spattering that occurs when raw meat hits the hot oil and the shape helps to hold the heat. Most bourguignonnepots are are 1 1/2 to 2-quart capacity.

What if you don't have a fondue pot or don't want to spend the money on one? You can always improvise with any good heating unit that burns denatured alcohol, canned heat, or butane. The container for the oil could be any saucepan or chaffing dish. It must be one that is at least 3 1/2 inches deep and not more thanabout 8 inches in diameter. If it has straight sides and possibly curves inward at the top, even better. Like the bourguignonne pan, it reduces splatters and keeps the heat.

Some other items used with fondue pots:

Fondue forks and plates are designed for cooking and serving meat fondue recipes and are available in a wide range of materials, sizes, shapes, colors, and of course, price ranges.

Long bamboo skewers can be used instead of forks. The disadvantage is, it's sometimes harder to keep the meat or bread on the skewer while it is cooking and the oil can be so hot that you risk getting too close to it and burning yourself.

Fondue forks are long - at least 10 inches long - and have insulated tips for safety from burning when using oil or broth fondues. The tines on the forks should be generous in length and not made of flimsy materials.

Many places that sell fondue pots and their accessories will provide a set of forks with different colored handles for each. This works similarly to the little doo-dads we attach to wine glasses for identification purposes. There's also a fun fondue game you can play to get the party started.

Fondue plates are special because they have little sections built into them in the form of small indentations for sauces and a larger section for the meat. They are convenient and nice to have, but not necessary. These plates are usually available inceramic, china, pottery, plastic or metal.

Fondue sauce bowls are often used and are particularly festive when the colors or designs of the bowls complement the rest of the fondue set. They are passed around with the different fondue sauces to each of the guests.

Below is the recipe for Fondue Bourguignonne:

What you'll need:

- 3 pound piece boneless beef sirloin or tenderloin

- 2 cups cooking oil (canola or other vegetable oil)


- 1 cup oil + 1 cup Clarified Butter

- Salt and Pepper to taste

- Dipping Sauces (check out all the wonderful dipping sauces you can make on my web site. See info below.)

Trim the fat from the meat and cut into bite-size cubes. Keep refrigerated until about 20 minutes before serving. This recipe lends itself to doing everything in advance of your party, makeing it an easy recipe.


Important: Please feel free to republish this article on your web site or in your ezine. However, you are not allowed to modify any part of its content and all links should be kept active.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Easy Summer Grilling Success

Summer evenings are so beautiful, you just need to move outside. Clean off the grill and prepare to enjoy these long leisurely evenings. Here are some tips to be sure your next barbeque is a success!

1. Heat the grill. If using charcoal, allow plenty of time for the coals to reach the proper temperature and be tinged with ash. Spread the coals out in an even layer. You can make a double or triple layer on one side of the grill and a single layer on the other for better heat control.

2. A flavorful aromatic smoke adds to the aroma and penetrates the food to add a distinctive flavor. You can use wood chips that have been soaked in water and apply directly on top of thecoals. Or pick fresh herbs from your garden such as rosemary, marjoram, thyme, bay leafs or oregano and lay onto the coals. Do not use green wood, or any wood that has been treated for use as lumber.

3. Lightly oil the grill surface or spray with Pam. Or oil the food lightly. Careful, too much oil will cause flare-ups.

4. Pre-heat the grill with the lid closed for 10 or 15 minutes. On charcoal grills, the coals should be glowing red with white ash forming, this can take a little longer.

5. Choose a good piece of meat. Meat that is higher in fat marbling will produce a juicer BBQ product. Much of the fat will cook away during cooking anyway. Excess fat on the outside of the meat should be trimmed, this fat does not help the moisture content of the food and will cause flare-ups.

6. Brush the food with a water or vinegar based marinade and place the meat or vegetables on the grill. Be careful not to overcrowd the food. Ideally meat should be marinated for 1 hour or more before grilling.

7. Use pieces of meat less than 1 – 2 inches thick. Grill on a hot grill and keep the lid down except when brushing with marinade, checking for doneness, etc.

8. Cook on one side for half the cooking time, then brush the top with additional marinade and turn to cook the other side. Avoid turning more than needed, as this can prevent caramelization.

9. Keep a spritzer bottle handy to help deal with flare-ups. If flare-ups occur, move the food to prevent burning. Usually, moving the food is enough to control the flare; however, your can spritz with a fine mist of water if needed.

10. Barbeque sauces usually contain a lot of sugar and will burn if applied too soon. Apply sauce as the food is almost ready to remove and cook only long enough to just set the sauce- 10 minutes or less.

11. Use a meat thermometer to check doneness. Avoid pricking the meat unnecessarily as juices will drain away.

12. Enjoy!