Archive for May, 2009

Cooking Tip – What is the Best way to Cook Frozen Raw Shrimp?

Shrimp is without a doubt one of the most popular forms of seafood in the US and abroad. When compared to other types of shellfish, like lobster for instance, it is more affordable, and can be just as delicious if prepared correctly. It is an extremely versatile shellfish and with a bit of experience, is very easy to cook.

As the title of this post suggests, many people are asking: What is the best way to cook frozen shrimp? The reason why this is such a popular question is because this shellfish freezes very well. Many of us, after we buy some, store it in the freezer for future use. In fact, most of the shrimp we purchase is frozen before we buy it from the store. Even the shrimp that is supposedly fresh, has more than likely been recently thawed. There is nothing wrong with this, as I said earlier, this shellfish freezes quite well.

Hopefully the shrimp you already have on hand is still in the shell. You should avoid, if possible, purchasing any that has been peeled. A lot of the flavor is in the shells, so if it has been pre-peeled, it would have lost a good deal of essential flavor. Besides, if you peel it yourself, you can save the shells and use them to make a delicious stock that can be used in lots of other recipes.

Of all the various methods for , grilling and broiling are by far my favorite methods as I believe they impart the best flavor and are rather simple to prepare. Below is a recipe and instructions for marinating and grilling shrimp.

ABOUT THAWING FROZEN SHRIMP

I highly recommend that you DO NOT use your microwave to defrost shrimp, or any meat for that matter. I know, from past experience, that the microwave can partially cook the meat during the thawing process and it also does something to the flavor and texture of the meat. I will usually take the shrimp out of the freezer a day or two before I plan on cooking, place it in a covered bowl, and defrost it in the refrigerator. If I am in a really hurry, I will place them in a colander and thaw under running cold water. Those are in my opinion, the best methods for .

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Different Ways To Cook Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast

is the most popular cut of poultry in the United States and with good reason: they are low in fat, quick and easy to prepare and extremely versatile. This wonderful cut of poultry can be grilled, sauteed, broiled, poached, fried and baked. There is a downside however to this cut of meat: they are rather low in fat. You may be asking: “What is wrong with that? That makes them healthy right?” Yes, they are a healthier way to eat, but because they are low in fat, they are also low in moisture and that makes them very susceptible to over cooking. Nothing is less appetizing than a dry and overcooked piece of meat.

There are two ways to make certain your chicken is not overcooked. The first way, and the most accurate in my opinion, is to use an instant read thermometer. I own a handy little electronic thermometer with a voice alert feature. It is extremely accurate and has never let me down. The other method for checking doneness is by pricking the meat with a fork. If the juices run clear, then it is done. I think the first option is much safer, but you can be the judge.

There are literally hundreds of combined recipes and methods for cooking chicken breast, far too many to cover in this article, so I will talk about two very popular methods.

One of the easiest and tastiest ways is to marinate and grill them.

Below is a great marinade recipe.:

GRILLED CHICKEN BREAST WITH CITRUS HERB MARINADE

INGREDIENTS:

4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons of Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

2 Tablespoons of Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice

1/3 Cup of Freshly Chopped Parsley

1/3 Cup of Freshly Chopped Basil

1 Clove of Garlic Minced

1 Teaspoon of Salt

1/4 Teaspoon of Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Step 1: Mix together everything, accept the chicken breasts, in a large bowl.

Step 2: Add boneless skinless chicken breasts to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for several hours.

Step 3: Get you grill nice and hot and oil the grates to prevent the chicken from sticking.

Step 4: Grill chicken breasts about 4 minutes per side or until done.

Another fantastic way to cook chicken breasts is by baking them in foil in the oven. The foil helps keep the meat nice and moist while cooking. What you put inside the foil is only limited by your imagination, but to make things easier, I have included a great recipe below.

CHICKEN WITH SUN DRIED TOMATOES AND KALAMATA OLIVES

INGREDIENTS:

4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

10 – 15 Kalamata Olives Pitted and Chopped

8 – 10 Sun Dried Tomatoes Cut Into Thin Strips

4 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons of Freshly Chopped Basil

2 Tablespoons of Freshly Chopped Parsley

Salt and Pepper to Taste

DIRECTIONS:

Step 1: Preheat Oven to 450 Degrees F

Step 2: In a bowl, combine the olives, tomatoes, basil, parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Step 3: Cut 8 Squares of Aluminum Foil (Cut them large, about 18 inches square)

Step 4: Grab 2 squares of foil and place one on top of the other.

Step 5: Grease the foil with some olive oil

Step 6: Place a chicken breast in the center of the foil and spoon some of the tomato and olive mixture on top

Step 7: Loosely fold the foil over the chicken forming a tent and seal tightly

Step 8: Repeat this process for the remaining chicken breasts

Step 9 : Place the wrapped chicken breasts on a baking sheet and place in the pre-heated oven

Step 10: Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until done. To check for doneness, cut a small slit in the foil to allow the steam to escape and then carefully unfold the foil. Check for doneness with an instant read thermometer. The internal temperature should read 160 degrees F.

Step 11: Let the chicken breasts stand for about five minutes before serving.

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Recipe for Roasted Asparagus with Garlic

Here is a very simple and delicious recipe for cooking fresh asparagus:

Recipe for Roasted Asparagus with Garlic

Ingredients

– 2 Pounds of Fresh Asparagus (washed and tough ends trimmed)

– 2 – 3 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

– 1 Tablespoon of Freshly Minced Garlic

–  Salt and  Freshly Ground Pepper to Taste

–  1/2 Lemon Freshly Squeezed

Directions

– Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

–  Get yourself a large baking dish then coat and toss the asparagus with the extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper.

– Bake the asparagus until it is slightly browned and tender. Should take about 8 – 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the spears.

– Remove from the oven and squeeze on some fresh lemon juice.  Adjust seasoning if necessarry.

Enjoy!

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How Long do you Cook Hamburgers on the Grill?

Cooking hamburgers on the grill is probably the tastiest method for making these yummy summer treats.  Of course many of us find ourselves asking the same question, time and time again:  How Long do you Cook Hamburgers on a Grill?

This is a fantastic question.  After all, an undercooked hamburger can make one very sick, so it pays to be safe and educate yourself.  The time it takes for your hamburgers to fully cook really depends on the thickness of your burger and how hot your grill is.   So the most accurate method for testing when your hamburgers are fully cooked, is by using an instant read thermometer.

Really folks, you need to invest in one of these.  Head over to your local home goods store and pick one up.  You will be very glad that you did.  They are not expensive and it will make grilling a whole lot easier and enjoyable….

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