Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Cheeseburger In A Can

Not sure what to make for dinner tonight? Well have I got the solution for you! Ladies and Gentlemen; allow me to present to you the greatest invention since the wheel… Cheeseburger in a Can! Does it come with bacon?

And I have the perfect slogan for it; “Straight from the can to your can!”

Monday, April 7, 2008

Multiple Reasons to Use Extra Virgin Olive Oil

If your doctor wants you to switch to Extra Virgin Olive Oil, these may be the reasons. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is great for the skin, hair, heart, preventing cancer, cooking, tanning, and whatever else you can think of.

This article on Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Johns Hopkins University is very informative and explains why you should be using EVOO to cook with.

The Benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

EVOO, which stands for extra virgin olive oil, is an abbreviation I first encountered watching Rachel Ray's cable TV show "30 Minute Meals."

The celebrity chef has even launched her own brand of olive oil (which she's dubbed EVOO, naturally). But even though Ray uses extra virgin olive oil in abundance, I was never sure what made extra virgin different from regular olive oil. A little research revealed that there are, in fact, culinary as well as health reasons behind choosing this type of olive oil.

Extra virgin olive oil, known for its strong taste and flavor, is produced from the first pressing of the olives and has no more than 0.8 percent acidity. Regular olive oil is a blend of virgin and refined olive oil and can have up to 1 percent acidity. The flavor and taste of regular olive oil is not as strong as that of extra virgin olive oil.

All olive oil contains monounsaturated fats that help lower total and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels in our blood. In fact, the FDA has stated that there is limited evidence to support consumption of two tablespoons a day of monounsaturated fat to help reduce the risk of heart disease.

So when you add fat to your meals, replace saturated fats, found mainly in animal products, with sources of monounsaturated fat, like nut, canola, and olive oils.

Like regular olive oil, extra virgin olive oil contains monounsaturated fats. Because extra virgin olive oil is less processed, however, it contains more of the antioxidant polyphenols, said to help reduce the risks of cancer and heart disease.

Despite the health benefits, I suspect Rachel Ray uses extra virgin olive oil in most of her dishes because of its distinctive flavor. The popularity of her term EVOO has made it a new addition to our culinary vocabulary.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April Is National Soft Pretzel Month

In honor of “Soft Pretzel Month”, here is Alton Brown’s Soft Pretzel recipe from the classic Good Eats episode Pretzel Logic.

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Recipe Summary
Difficulty: Intermediate
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 8 pretzels

1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Pretzel salt

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Hat tip Slashfood