Category Archives: Tips From the Kitchen

Fresh Ingredients

tips from the kitchen

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Fresh ingredients do make a difference. Unlike many other cooks, we always specify such items as freshly ground black pepper. If you ever grind your ownfresh-ingredients black or white pepper, you’ll never buy another box of ground pepper. If you don’t have a good pepper mill, indulge yourself. It’s a must in food preparation.

There is no substitute for fresh garlic. And dehydrated onion does not impart the sweet flavor of fresh onion.

You will find a world of difference in a dish made with fresh lemon, lime or orange juice rather than processed juice.

In addition, we make our own sauces. While you can sometimes substitute a commercial product, you won’t get the same flavor.

You may not believe it, but crumbs made from fresh crackers will be so much tastier than prepared ones. Use unsalted or salted saltines.

In recipes calling for bread, we use Italian bread. It is a simple, basic bread containing only flour, yeast, water and salt. It takes just a second to make fresh bread crumbs in the food processor. For dry bread crumbs, first toast the bread, then process the crumbs.

And cheeses! Once you use freshly grated cheese, you will always grate your own, whether cheddar, Parmesan or any other variety.

Always use real wine, not cooking wine, in your foods. It doesn’t need to be expensive. Buy a bottle of dry white wine such as chenin blanc, not a fruity or sweet one. Most cooking wines contain preservatives and salt. And you have to wonder how long they were aged – maybe 10 minutes?

Does it take more time to use fresh products? Yes, a little more. But try making a few recipes with fresh ingredients. Once you do, you’ll see what we mean. And your family will appreciate the difference. Besides, we’re dealing with seafood and it deserves the best ingredients.

From: Mariner’s Menu: 30 Years of Fresh Seafood Ideas

Contributed by Joyce Taylor

Seafood: Judging Doneness

Tips from the Kitchen

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The two biggest problems in seafood cooking are lack of freshness and overcooking.

Fish and shellfish cook quickly, and it’s easy to overcook them.

Fish is perfectly cooked just at the point when it turns opaque. Insert a fork or the tip of a sharp knife at its thickest point and gently push the flesh aside, or flake it.

Some fish, such as tuna and shark, do not flake. Cut into the center of these to check for doneness.

Recipes give you a cooking time, such as “about 8 to 10 minutes.” You should always check before this suggested time. If it isn’t done, you can cook it further, but if you check it at eight minutes and it’s overcooked you can’t remedy the problem.

Another method of judging doneness is to cook fish for about 10 minutes per inch of thickness, measured at the thickest point of the fish. Again, you should check before the time is up.

Fish should reach an internal temperature of 145 F. It usually isn’t practical to use a thermometer, but if it is cooked until opaque and flakes easily it is done.

If you’re cooking fish in a sauce or wrapped in foil, add five minutes to the total cooking time. Double the cooking time when cooking frozen fish.

Shrimp, scallops, crabs and lobsters turn opaque when done. Cut into the center to test.

Cook live clams, oysters and mussels until the shells are opened and the flesh is fully cooked. Before you eat them raw or partially cooked, be sure to read up on seafood safety.

From: Mariner’s Menu: 30 Years of Fresh Seafood Ideas

Contributed by Joyce Taylor