Gourmet Foods and the Use of Alba White Truffles

Whenever you think about culinary arts and skills, think gourmet foods and white truffles. Gourmet foods come with high quality and taste. These dishes are very common in the United Kingdom, despite being originally from Alba, Italy. They are as well among the most highly upheld and traditional foods of exotic cooking that have been passed down from one generation to another by the Roman culture. Continue reading

Without oil, the fish can be cooked, how come?

DURING this to get a level of maturity in fish, of course, you use oil for frying, there is now a way that can be done, without using oil.

“To cook the fish, do not ever use oil but to use other materials, then you can do it, do I just use salt water,” said Heriyanto, Executive Chef at the Millennium Hotel Okezone when met at the Millennium Hotel, Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta.

According to him, the use of salt water fish will easily mature, because salt has a high compound to make the body of the fish so hard.

Well, to make it, then simply soak the fish with salt water use, with size 50 tablespoons water, and just one tablespoon of salt, then soak the fish for 30 minutes.

“With salt water soaked, then the texture of the fish will be hard to change,” he continued.

After soaking the fish removed, then cleaned the fish, then cut the fish to taste. New you can eat.

In mature fish using salt water, then do not use warm water, as hot water will kill the bacteria in fish meat, the freshness factor was so lost.

Similarly, using cold water, because cold temperatures will cause freezing, as cold curing properties.

“Simply use water temperature of 20 degrees Celsius, equivalent to room temperature,” he concluded.

Why not processed foods?

Have you ever seen a picture of your blood plasma after you’ve eaten a meal from McDonald’s or Burger King? It’s not a pretty picture. It looks thick and cloudy. Fast foods are loaded with fat and sodium. They use white bread and rolls, which means they’ve used white processed flour, with very few nutrients in them.
And how do you feel after a Big Mac and french fries? You need a nap, don’t you? All that fat will drag you down and make you feel sluggish.

Going on a diet is hard, but think about some of the things you do when you go on a diet. You eliminate those high fat, processed, high-sodium foods. You eat less, true. But you also eat more raw fruits and vegetables. You drink water. And the results of eating this way are increased energy, less need for sleep. Processed foods, with their high fat content are hard to digest. They take an enormous amount of the body’s energy to consume. When your body’s energy isn’t used up digesting all that fat, it’s available for YOU – for work, play, love, exercise – in other words, for LIFE.

These aren’t drastic concepts. You don’t have to make drastic changes in your lifestyle. But take a good look at what you consume without even thinking about it. We reach for the potato chips, or stop at McDonald’s or Taco Bell when we’re hungry and we want something in a hurry.

It’s much easier these days to have snacks on hand so you don’t have to stop at a fast food place when you’re hungry. If you’re on the road a lot, and get hungry, pick up a bag of vegetables or apple slices at a grocery store. Yes, it’s easier to drive up to Wendy’s, but taking a few extra minutes, not to mention a few extra steps, will be well worth it in energy and vitality.

Coffee Storage Myths; Freeze Your Fresh Roasted Coffee & Other Popular Misconceptions

So you are finally fed up with that bland black liquid, you once called coffee, brewed from the finest can of generic supermarket grinds. You are financially outraged at the price of a single cup of designer coffee shop coffee. It’s now time to take matters into your own hands!

So you invest in the latest technologically advanced coffee maker, including your very own coffee bean grinder. Even the engineers at NASA would envy the bells and whistles on this baby. You splurge on several pounds of the finest fresh roasted Arabica bean coffee the world has to offer.

You pop open the vacuum-sealed bag and release that incredible fresh roasted coffee aroma. Your eyes widen at the site of all those shiny brown beans as you begin to grind your first pound of gourmet coffee. You feel like a mad scientist as you adjust every bell and whistle on your space age coffee maker and you revel in this accomplishment as you finish your first cup of home brewed gourmet coffee. No more long lines and outrageous prices at the neighborhood café for you!

Now it’s time to store all those pounds of unopened packages of fresh roasted coffee beans and the unused portion of the black gold you have just ground. Then you remember what your mother told you; “Freeze the unopened beans & Refrigerate the freshly ground coffee”.

At this point, it would be best if you just returned to the supermarket and purchase a stock of those generic grinds you had grown to loathe. Having the best coffee beans available and using the most advanced coffee brewing equipment will do little to provide you with the best cup of coffee you desire if the beans are not treated correctly.

Looking at the facts, we learn that the natural enemies of fresh roasted coffee are light, heat and moisture. Storing your coffee away from them will keep it fresher longer. Therefore, an airtight container stored in a cool, dry, dark place is the best environment for your coffee.

But why not the freezer, It’s cool & dark?
This does make sense, but if it be the case, then why do we not find our supermarket coffee in the frozen food section?

Here’s why!

  • Coffee is Porous. It is exactly this feature that allows us to use oils and syrups to flavor coffee beans for those who enjoy gourmet flavored coffees. For this same reason, coffee can also absorb flavors and moisture from your freezer. The absorbed moisture will deteriorate the natural goodness of your coffee and your expensive gourmet coffee beans will taste like your freezer.
  • The coffee roasting process causes the beans to release their oils and essences in order to give the coffee its distinct flavor. This is the reason why your beans are shiny. These oils are more prominent on dark-roasted coffee and espresso beans and the reason why these coffees are so distinct in flavor. The process of freezing will break down these oils and destroy the natural coffee flavor. So unless you don’t mind frozen fish flavored coffee, you should avoid using the freezer to store your gourmet coffee beans at all costs.

There are some exceptions to freezer storing your coffee, but you should proceed with caution! Fresh roasted coffee will remain fresh for approximately 2 weeks. If you have more than you can use in this 2 week period you can, and I shutter to say, freeze your coffee but you should follow these steps:

  • Apply the Freeze Once Rule. What this means is that once you take the beans out of the freezer, they should never go back in. The constant changes in temperature will wreak havoc on your coffee. The frozen moisture on your coffee will melt and be absorbed into the bean, destroying the coffee oils and allowing absorption of unwanted flavors. When you put it back into the freezer, you are repeating the process and destroying your expensive gourmet coffee
  • Keep moisture out! Remember, moisture is coffee’s natural enemy. If you have a five-pound bag of coffee to store, divide it up into weekly portions. Wrap those portions up using sealable freezer bags and plastic wrap. If possible, suck out the excess air from the freezer bag using a straw or a vacuum sealer. Remove the weekly portion when you need it, and store it in an air-tight container in a dry place like your pantry. And remember, Do not put it back into the freezer!

So when is it best Refrigerate Coffee?
Simply put, Never ever, unless you are conducting a science experiment on how long it takes to ruin perfectly good coffee. The fridge is one of the absolute worst places to put coffee. The reasons why not to freeze fresh roasted coffee also apply here.

Other Popular Coffee Myths Exposed.

  • Grind all beans before storing Absolutely wrong!. Grinding the coffee breaks up the beans and their oils, exposes the beans to air, and makes the coffee go stale a lot faster, no matter how you store it. This especially holds true for flavored coffees! For the best tasting coffee, you should buy your beans whole and store them in a sealed container in a dark place. Grind right before serving!
  • Vacuum-sealed packaging equals fresh coffee. Again, absolutely wrong. The coffee roasting process causes the coffee beans to release a gas by-product, specifically carbon dioxide. This gas release process continues for several days after roasting. In order to be vacuum sealed, the coffee has to first release all its CO² or it will burst the bag, which means that it must sit around for several days before it can be packaged and shipped. This sitting around begins to rob the coffee of its freshness. Vacuum sealing is best for pre-ground coffee, which we already know is not going to taste as good as fresh-ground coffee. The best method for packaging and shipping is in valve-sealed bags. The valve allows the carbon dioxide gasses and moisture to escape but doesn’t allow oxygen or moisture in. Therefore, the fresh roasted coffee beans can be packaged and shipped immediately after roasting, ensuring the coffee’s freshness and taste.

A quick review for storing your gourmet coffee

  • Buy fresh roasted, whole bean coffee directly from a coffee roaster if possible
  • Look for valve-sealed bags, not vacuum-sealed
  • Store your coffee beans in a sealed container in a dark place
  • Grind your beans just before brewing
  • Enjoy!

Food and Health Concerns Among People

In terms of nutrition food and health are great concern all over the world. The major concentration is on the threats exerted by kinds of foods, and how we can cut them by avoiding junk foods and modifying our daily diets. For example, many consumers avoid the white sugar as they perceive that it is harmful for health.

Many nutrition and health authorities offer guidance for people to avoid health problems associated with over or under-consumption of certain foods. However, it largely depends on the attitude of the people to their food intake and health. Continue reading

Fun Cooking Accessories the Entire Family Can Enjoy

When it comes to cooking, the whole family can get involved. Sometimes, it is easy for one parent to get stuck doing all of the kitchen work because he or she is naturally the better home chef. With the right tools, though, everyone can get involved in this fun activity. The key is to find fun cooking accessories that the entire family can enjoy, so all of the adults and children can make meals together.

One of the best ways to get the family involved in mealtime is to find fun and creative ways to make the foods they love. Start with dessert, which is always a crowd-pleaser. An ice cream machine is a good investment. Along with the rest of the family, you can mix up a batch, and let it freeze as you are cleaning the dishes. Once the ice cream is ready, you can all take turns scooping it into cones, adding toppings in a bowl, or even baking other treats that can be topped with ice cream.

It is also easy to get the whole family involved with baking cookies. Sugar cookies work well, since even the smallest hands can decorate the cookies with sprinkles or cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Consider buying a cookie press, which can help streamline the process. They are fun for kids to use, and once you buy the machine, you do not have to spend much money to purchase different shapes for every occasion. Along with a cookie press, be sure that you purchase good cookie sheets, as well as a baker’s cooling rack so that the end product turns out as delicious as possible.

Another great way to get your family involved in the cooking process is with a juicer. Fruit and vegetable juice is perfect for helping your children (and picky adults for that matter) get enough nutrients into their diets. With a juicer, your family can choose exactly what they want to drink, and you do not have to worry about the hassle of chopping and peeling, like you would if you used a blender. You can also use your juicer to make more adult drinks, like a Bloody Mary, so it is great for adults as well as kids.

There are actually a number of kitchen gadgets that you can use to entice the other adults in your household to participate in the kitchen. For example, your spouse may not like to cook, but maybe he or she would like to mix the drinks using a glass tabletop beverage dispenser.

Perhaps they would be willing to choose and chill the wine using a rotating wine cooler. You can even purchase a Mr. Beer home brewing system, which comes with everything you need to make the perfect beer from the comfort of your kitchen. Even people who do not like to cook are usually willing to work a little if it means having fun entertaining guests later.

No kitchen would be complete without some fun tea and coffee gadgets. Your spouse may not like being in the kitchen, but learning how to brew the perfect pot is not that difficult, especially if you have the right tools. Many retailers sell percolators and stovetop teakettles. You can also invest in an espresso machine, a cream whipper for topping cups of hot chocolate, or an entire coffee set. Instead of buying a bulk package of the store brand, consider splurging on specialty coffee and tea blends that complements your new equipment.

When it comes to getting your family involved, fun tools can make the prep work for a dish seem to go a lot faster. Luckily, most little gadgets are not expensive at all. For example, a cherry/olive pitter is a fun tool that most home chefs do not own, but can make the task fun for those who are not usually cooking. You can also purchase a hand held citrus juicer, a pineapple cutter that makes perfect rings, a frozen drink mixer, cake decorating pens, an egg slicer, a can crusher, several tools to make mini hamburgers, a waffle maker, a peanut butter maker, pancake molds, or even a yogurt maker. New gadgets in the kitchen can go a long way towards making cooking a lot of fun for you and your family.

When it comes to getting help in the kitchen, most of the time all you have to do is ask. Nearly everyone is happy to help in the kitchen, at least occasionally, if they think that they are wanted and can be of help. You family may just be avoiding helping you because they think they will be in the way. Give every member of the family a task to help prepare each meal. Even small children can learn to set a table or mix batter under supervision. Cooking together makes every meal better, since everyone at the table eating the food will take a small sense of pride in it.

Food Flavorings Bringing Out Good Taste

In order to get food to taste good most people think that you have to result to unhealthy food flavorings. Most people wonder if it is possible to eat healthy while maintaining the great taste. Artificial sugars are an alternative to table sugar (sucrose) as they tend to be more intensively sweeter and have zero calories. Artificial sugars have become the main functional ingredients in many diet drinks and other healthy food products. Many artificial foods have been made to cater for those of us who watch what we eat. You can add texture to your food which is good for your digestive system via food texturizers. Here is how to add taste to your food:

Spices: Its definition tends to be a grey area for many culinary aficionados, as one definition is inclusive of herbs. The American Spice Trade Association has it that, flavoring is “any dried product used primarily for seasoning purposes.” The other widely and most accepted definition is whether fresh or dried or derived from the bark, stem, root, seed or fruit of a plant. They tend to be grown in tropical climes. They are highly regarded for their medicinal value and in preparation of cosmetic products. Examples include garlic, ginger, cloves, pepper, cinnamon even wasabi.

Herbs: Herbs are different in that they are derived from leaves. They may be whole, grinded a little to be flaky, or well grinded to be powder. When consumed whole they tend to give texture to food and hence are a great natural food texturizer. Herbs do not favor tropical climes and are commonly found in more temperate areas. Herbs are similar when it comes to their medicinal values and also cosmetic properties. Examples of herbs are parsley, basil, oregano, thyme and rosemary.

Condiments: They tend to be simple sauces; good examples include mustard, ketchup and barbecue sauce.

Others: Salt is a mineral, but it would be unfair to ignore it when talking of seasonings. Salt has preserving qualities, commonly used to preserve fish before refrigerators, hence the term salted fish. There are many different types of salt, from rock salt to sea salt. Iodized salt is usually recommended so as to limit the salts’ dehydrating properties. Some like to confuse sugar as a seasoning, but it is considered as part of functional ingredients as food can be made out of it. To be fair sugar changes the taste of whatever it is mixed in, but it is more commonly referred to as a sweetener.

We are what we eat and whenever we want to eat healthy there is always the drawback of sacrificing taste. Good food has to have the right functional ingredients and complementing food flavorings to bring out great tasting food. Food that tastes good is not enough; addition of good food texturizers will ensure that your food also feels good in your mouth. We usually rush at what tastes good to us every meal time, and probably our best meal is usually what we remember tasting best. With the proper application of food seasonings you will always have a feast of even the smallest meals.

Asparagus with Clean Water is Not Enough, Need Ice Cubes!

ASPARAGUS relatively new in Indonesia. No doubt, the European vegetable processing must be known, including the cleaning.

“Clean the asparagus is different from other types of vegetables, where the asparagus must be given ice chips,” said Wawan Setiawan Barito, Chef de Cuisine Plaza Hotel Jakarta, the Okezone in Jakarta, recently.

Use ice cubes made after asparagus washed under running water. This function gives coolness in asparagus that maturation process stops. This process is judged very reasonable because the asparagus come from mainland Europe subtropical climates.

“If there were ice cubes, then after cleaning asparagus will easily wilt, its texture when cooked too much changed,” he added.

Process indwelling asparagus in ice cube does not have to be long. Most importantly, the extent of making asparagus so comfortable.

When it cleared, then the asparagus to go through the boiling process before it will be processed into meal, well made soup and pan-fried. In perebusannya, give lemon.

“If given the other food items during boiling, the flavor will be lost and the fitting removed it will change, because asparagus has properties to absorb odors. Happens to be enough just to pull lemon asparagus bitter levels. Enough lemon juice to give a third to half the size of the asparagus pounds, “he concluded.

Different Types of Coffee Makers

Coffee or the word cafe is all you would like to hear after a long work or right after you wake up. This is the most widely drunk beverage in the world. Coffee ingestion on an average is about a third of that of tap water in North America and Europe . While drinking coffee outside is usually expensive and preferred mostly during conversations or meetings, deals etc., many of us would prefer to make coffee ourselves at home and drink it in the company of our family members or drink it ourselves. Over the years, this art of brewing coffee has been mastered and we can make the best brewed coffee ourselves, but this has been taken over by our need to automate the coffee brewing art so that our work is made easier. Here, you will be taken through the three types of coffee makers in the world and figure out which is the best for you.

Santos Vacuum Coffee Maker , designed by Swedish designer Kass Kleeson:

First we will look at the vacuum coffee maker which is hailed by anyone who has tried it as the best coffee maker of all times. It uses a process that cooks coffee with an extremely strong flavor. The flavor and strength is usually based on how much coffee you use to make it. Today, a lot of coffee makers destroy the flavor by not mixing the components properly, or by not brewing at the right temperature or maybe not brewing for the right amount of time too.

A vacuum coffee maker is made up of two units. The lower and upper pots which are both made of glass. The upper pot is placed directly on top of the lower pot, and both the pots sealed together with the help of a stopper. A tube is attached to the upper pot which runs down to the lower pot as well. A filter is also attached to the upper pot to filter the coffee while it flows down to the lower pot.

Ground coffee, usually of coarse texture, is added to the upper pot. This depends upon how much your taste buds want. Usually, for a strong coffee, 1 tablespoon per cup of coffee will suffice. Then the lower pot is filled with the required amount of water and placed over a heating element or fire. After reaching boiling point, the upper pot is placed on top of the lower pot and the decreased pressure in the lower pot will cause the water to push up itself through the pipe into the upper pot. Here, the coffee is brewed in hot water and after a few minutes (depending upon the strength of coffee you want) the whole apparatus is removed from the heating element. If you are a beginner at using this type of coffee machine, it pays to experiment and figure out the right time duration that produces the coffee of your choice. As the water cools down, a vacuum is built up in the lower pot and coffee is sucked down. The upper pot is removed and the coffee collected in the lower pot is poured into the cups and enjoyed. The greatest benefit of using this coffee machine is that the temperature is perfect and this does not destroy the oils and flavor of coffee which is often the case in other coffee makers. Though this process requires little manual effort to place the apparatus on the heating element and taking it out of the heating element, this manual effort is affordable once you start drinking coffee made by this procedure.

Stove Top Coffee Maker :

This is made up of aluminium or stainless steel. The bottom of the pot contains a reservoir of water and the top has a round basket with a stem reaching to the end of the pot. First, water is filled and the basket of coffee is then added. The pot is heated and as the water boils, it comes in contact with the coffee and the coffee is brewed. The basket must be removed to filter out the coffee beans. Latest types include espresso pots which use steam and water to brew the coffee. This is reported to brew better coffee, but taste buds vary from person to person. Steam is used to produce latte or foam milk for cappuccinos.

Nowadays, we have stove top pots which function similar to the French press which presses the coffee beans to the bottom of the pot to produce a darker and much richer cup of coffee. However, this type of machine requires constant watching as there is possibility of burning the coffee beans in the absence of careful observation.

Drip Coffee Maker:

Almost all the drip filter coffee makers work the same way. They contain a paper or a plastic filter which holds the finely ground coffee. Cold water is poured through a tube from a reservoir and heated before falling over the coffee powder. This brews and extracts the oils and flavor of the coffee into the waiting carafe. This is a simple and reliable method compared to many other models available in the market.

Many companies use these three models with other additional features such as the strength of coffee, sugar adding facility, coffee with milk, number of cups etc. It is up to you to choose the best coffee maker according to the budget and the one which is most appropriate to your convenience. You would not choose the one which adds sugar automatically for an extra price as we can do that for ourselves, unless you are the one who does not know how to spend your money. The bottom line is that the machine must brew coffee at the right temperature for the right time using the right amount of water.