Coleman Cooking Tips
If you like to make some salsa at home - try this trick to create a smoky,
roasted flavor. I like to take all the ingredients for my salsa - onions,
Chiles, garlic, and tomatoes and roast them whole on the grill. First
peel the onions and garlic. Let all the ingredients get charred all over.
Take the stems off the Chiles and tomatoes, and lightly puree the ingredients
in a food processor with cilantro, cumin, salt and pepper. This salsa
has a great, roasted flavor.
Grilled seafood is an excellent and healthy choice for a BBQ party. You
should use fish that has a firm texture, unless you're planning to grill
a whole fish. For filets, I would recommend salmon, tuna or swordfish.
If you like to marinate your fish, only marinate the fish for about an
hour, otherwise the fish will start to taste like seviche! I don't use
foil when I am grilling fish, make sure the grill is very hot and clean.
Set the oiled, skinless filet on the grill and don't move it around too
much. After a few minutes, turn carefully using a spatula. I like to season
the fish when I take it off the grill, because otherwise, the seasoning
makes the fish stick to the grill. If you're grilling shrimp, put them
on a skewer so it is easier to turn them. If you're grilling lobster,
split them in half, crack the claws, and grill them shell-side down the
whole time, otherwise, the tail will get done and the claws are still
And on to our quick cooking tip for the week - lemon grass adds a wonderful
citrus flavor without the acid usually associated with lemons - the flavor
comes from the oils within the stalk. You can buy the long stalks at many
stores and markets, and they are actually very easy to use. The key is
to bring the essential oils out - you can steep the stalks in water or
whatever liquid you are using. First smash the stalks with the back end
of a knife and then steep for at least fifteen minutes. Remove the stalks.
Or you could finely mince the bottom part of the stalks and add them to
your dish. If you're making lemon-grass vinaigrette make sure you let
it sit for a while so the flavor can permeate. I love to make lemon-grass
ice cream - just add smashed stalks to your vanilla custard while you're
heating it and let it steep. Remove the stalk before you put the mixture
in your ice cream maker.
Butterflying is a great way to roast whole chicken because the thigh and
leg meat takes about the same length of time to cook as the breast. Normally,
the leg meat of chicken tends to be overcooked by the time the breast
meat is done.
Fat-free Salad Dressing
We got a question from Arthur Gordon in Philadelphia - he wants to know
how to make a tasty fat-free dressing for a healthy salad: here is a recipe
that I use at the hotel - you replace the oil with tofu:
- 10 1/2 ounces of soft tofu
- 3 tbs of Dijon mustard
- 1 tbs of balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 tbs lemon juice
- one bunch of fresh chives
- salt and pepper to taste
Roughly chop the chives and combine all ingredients in a food processor
- blend until smooth. You can refrigerate this dressing for up to a week.
It also works great as an ingredient in dips!
Cooking with Beer
When you're cooking with beer, remember three things; hops makes beer
bitter, malt makes it sweet and the fermentation gives it a yeast flavor.
Naturally, beer is bitter - if you use sweeter ingredients like a caramelized
onion or corn, beer will work great. To avoid an overly bitter dish, add
only a small amount at a time and keep tasting. Also, the more the beer
cooks down, the more intense its flavor gets, so add it in the end.
The yeast in beer is perfect for baking, add beer to breads, pancakes,
or muffins, it makes for a fluffy texture and nice crust. Beer also works
great in tenderizing meats, and it's good for marinades. To make Beer
batter for deep frying, use 3/4 of a cup of light colored beer, and the
same amount of flour , by the way, pastry flour works great - and add
a pinch of salt! Vegetable oil is best for frying, and the oil should
be between 350 to 375 degrees, don't overcrowd the pan. A good old brown
paper bag is still the best thing to use to drain your fried ingredients
Wild rice is not really rice, it's the seed of a grass. When you prepare
it, forget everything you know about cooking rice, because it's not the
same thing. Wild rice is native to North America, and Native Americans
were eating it long before settlers brought white rice here. Here are
a few things to keep in mind: One cup of dry wild rice will make three
cups of cooked wild rice. Usually, when you cook rice, you use two cups
of liquid for each cup of rice. Wild rice cooks more like pasta - cook
it in lots of boiling water with some salt.
Cook the wild rice until the grains pop open, the cooking time differs
depending on where the wild rice is from, but it will take at least 30
minutes. I like to serve wild rice with fowl or wild game, and it's very
easy to form wild rice into little cakes.
We have all made a dish that just didn't taste right in the end - it needed
a little kick or a flavor boost. Salt and fat are actually the ideal flavor
boosters, but if you're trying to eat healthy, you wouldn't want to add
a big amount of either one to your recipe. Next to salt and fat, acidic
liquids also work well as flavor boosters. You could add bit of vinegar
to a sauce, or lemon juice. If you're using vinegar, choose a mild variety
like Balsamic Vinegar, or Red Wine Vinegar. I have also found that ginger
juice works extremely well - just puree a big piece of ginger and strain,
or you can buy bottled ginger juice in Asian stores or specialty food
markets. As far as techniques go, reduction is a big flavor booster. Let
your sauce or gravy simmer until it has cooked down to half of what you
originally had, and you will end up with a much more intense flavor.