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    Tina s chocolate chip cookies

     

    A Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe that will become a family favorite. Guaranteed to become one of your treasured make again recipes. This Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe has become a favorite of my family and friends. My sister found it first, so we affectionately call it ‘Tina’s Choc Chip Cookie Recipe’. And it has a special place in my blue folder. My blue folder is full of hand written recipes often covered in food splatters and torn out snippets of magazine recipes. It is where I keep my treasured recipes. If you don’t have your own ‘blue folder’ I suggest you get one today. And let me be the first to give you a tried and tested recipe, for you to use again and again. These chocolate chip cookies tend to be chewy while still maintaining a ‘meaty’ texture. The number one tip is to not over cook. Tina’s Chocolate Chip Cookies Ingredients 2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour Ѕ teaspoon salt Ѕ teaspoon baking soda 6 oz (170g) butter, melted Ѕ cup white sugar 1 cup brown sugar 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 1 egg 1 egg yolk 2 cups chocolate chips Method Pre-heat your oven to about 315oF (165oC). Line your cookie tray with non-stick baking paper. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside. In another medium bowl, beat together the butter and sugars. Beat until mixed thoroughly and creamy. Add in the egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Beat until well blended. Using a spoon mix in the dry ingredients until combined. And stir in the choc chips. Drop spoon sized pieces of the dough onto the prepared cookie trays allowing about 2 inches between for spreading. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the edges just start to color. Cool on the cookie tray for a few minutes and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Quickly hide them away or you will need to make another batch :-) Happy Cooking Francis Chang

         
    Tiny region colossal quality

     

    Hawaii, the only state in the United States where coffee is grown commercially, produces the amazing Kona coffee bean, known for its unique gourmet quality and flavor. In fact, Kona coffee thrives only in a tiny region on the western slopes of the Big Island where it has, over 175 years, been highly developed using heritage trees that do exceedingly well in the rocky volcanic earth. Sunshine, rainfall and soil strike a perfect balance in this small, fertile locality where the harvests are bountiful. The area’s exquisite Kona coffee is world renowned and emerging boutique-like coffee flavors are earning their stripes. The prized Kona trees are never touched by mechanical harvesting equipment. Instead, families and workers from six hundred private estates gently pick by hand, so you’ll never find a combination of ripe and unripe beans—individual inspection of each coffee “cherry” assures you of a perfect cup of coffee every time. This naturally high quality coffee can only get better with the special care it receives—the higher the level of care, the better the coffee. Rather than comparing the growing of Kona to other types of coffee, a closer parallel can actually be made by comparing it to how the grapes for fine vintage wines are nurtured and harvested. The majority of Kona coffee earns the grade of Prime or better due to the excellence of the climatic conditions, the labor-intensive hand cultivation, and wet-method processing used throughout the region. The Kona growing region has produced world class coffee continuously since the early 1800s and the name “Kona” only applies to beans grown in North and South Kona. Coffee grown elsewhere in Hawaii cannot be called Kona. So valued is the Kona growing region of the Big Island that the plantations in the area have their own organization—The Kona Coffee Council—with a special green “seal of approval” that vouches that each bag of coffee it adorns is true and genuine 100% Kona Coffee and helps you, the coffee lover, discern between 100% Kona and lesser blends. 100% Kona has its own distinctively delicate yet rich aromatic flavor that can be overpowered if it is blended with harsher coffees. Most Kona coffee (there are more than 100 private label brands) is graded Prime or better. Picked when bright red and fully ripe, the Kona coffee “cherry” is first pulped to remove outer flesh. Next is the fermentation step which is credited for giving the coffee its bright, clear flavor. After a thorough washing in clean, fresh water, the coffee beans are laid out on large decks for natural drying by the sun, a step during which they are raked regularly to facilitate even drying. It is then that the beans are graded to Department of Agriculture standards. Afterwards, the dry beans are milled to remove “parchment” and “silverskin” and then they are ready to be sold to roasters or, as is the trend by some Kona coffee estates, custom-roasted by the farmer to produce a truly unique coffee flavor. Due to its excellent quality, Kona coffee is regarded as one of the most highly valued coffees in the world.

         
    Tips for cooking the best fajitas

     

    Fajita is generally beef, chicken, pork or shrimp grilled and served on a flour tortilla with condiments. The chicken is worked with onions and bell peppers. Fajita is served to the table sizzling loudly on a metal platter with tortilla and condiments on the side. Making your lips watery? Texans would love to take credit for giving the world fajitas but the honor goes to south of the border, Vagueros, who learnt the art of cutting tough beef into skirt steak. Fajitas are basically Tex Mex dishes. Nowadays Fajita is almost anything cooked and wrapped in a flour tortilla. Only true fajitas are skirt steak. The preparation of Fajitas starts with marinating the beef using limejuice to tenderize at least for 24 hours. Well, there are no set rules for marinating; you can use your creative sense for that, but don’t forget to use limejuice. To marinade beef or chicken, you can use the Ass Kickin Soakin' and Grilling Sauce. This would bring a true Mexican flavor. Fajitas are real fun to eat, and here are the ways to cook the best Fajitas, namely: Grilling an exciting fajita Traditional method for cooking fajita is over coal for approximately 6 minutes on both sides for skirt steaks around one pound. After the meat gets cooked, you should let it rest for a few minutes and cut it across the grain diagonally in to finger length strips. Oven broiling fajitas Broil the meat 4 inches below the flame for about 6 minutes on both sides. Then you can let it rest for a few minutes and slice it diagonally in to finger length strips. Pan frying fajitas Drain the meat and cut it across the grain in finger length strips and fry over high heat for not more than 1.5 minutes turning frequently. Roll them in flour tortilla. Choose thick tortillas available in any supermarket. Warm them up by sealing in foil packages, 6-8 at a time. On a frying pan, add few tablespoon of olive oil, cut one large onion and separate into rings and cut bell peppers into strips. Add them to the frying pan and stir fry. Serve with stir fried onions and bell peppers. Some specialized fajita preparations are Pico-de-gallo, guacamole, Fajita on a stick, Fah-HEE-Tah, Beef Fajita Marinade and many more. Here are a few, which I find interesting, but you can always add your magic touch to them: Pico-de-gallo This fiery and flavorable salsa is like any other salsa but the ingredients are finely chopped. If rightly made it is hot. Since people make it to their liking they can control the heat. Guacamole Cool and buttery smoothness of guacamole adds the finishing touch on a fajita. Experiment your ideas on it and get it right. My suggestion is to select the right Avocado of Haas variety with brownish-black skin with a pebbly texture. Fah-HEE-Tah Traditional skirt steak has to be marinated for long 24 hours in limejuice, red capsicum and garlic. Cooked meat is cut into strips and them wrapped in a warm tortilla and garnished with salsa or guacamole. Fajita On A Stick Soak 8-9 bamboo skewers for 10 minutes. Trim fat from steak and cut crosswise into Ѕ " thickness. Thread equal amount of beef weaving back and forth onto skewerbine dressing and lime juice. Brush on beef peppers and onions. Place vegetables on grid for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and add beef to the centre. Add salt. When ready, serve beef and vegetables in tortilla with salsa. Beef Fajita Marinade Combine limejuice, tequila, crushed dried oregano leaves, cloves of garlic, minced fresh cilantro, ground cumin, ground black pepper. Mix well and pour marinade over meat, refrigerate overnight or even 24 hours in zip top bag. It makes enough marinade for 1 Ѕ pound flank steak. Fajitas are terrific for informal dinner party. It is inherently festive or goes hand-in-hand with margaritas or Mexican beer and Tex Mex treat. Good Luck! Taste your own Fajitas, don't go for the restaurant version of Fajitas.

         
    Tips for great pizzas

     

    A pizza made at home should be better than a commercial pizza. You get it fresh from the oven made with fresh ingredients and the combination of ingredients that you want, on a homemade crust, and with the care that is not possible commercially. But there are tricks to the technique that will make that pizza truly wonderful. • A great pizza must have a great crust. A soggy crust will never do. Instead of piling the goodies on the uncooked dough, partially bake it first. Usually about eight minutes will do. Then pull it out of the oven, put the toppings on, and finish baking. • Don’t under bake the crust. The crust is done when the bottom is partially browned. Use a spatula or tongs to lift one edge and peek at the crust. • Never use a light-colored pan for baking a pizza. It will reflect the heat and you will have a hard time baking the crust thoroughly. • A baking stone will help bake the crust. Put the baking stone in the oven at least fifteen minutes ahead of the pizza. We like to bake our pizzas on a dark baking pan placed on top of the hot stone. • Place the pizza low in the oven where radiant heat from the heating elements will help bake the crust. • If you have trouble forming the pizza crust, the gluten may be the problem. Gluten gives the dough elasticity and a tight dough wants to spring back into shape. Partially shape the crust and then walk away for five to ten minutes. When you get back, the dough will have relaxed and you can finish the crust. • A pizza crust of uniform thickness is a better crust. If you are not adept at spinning the crust, roll it to a uniform thickness of about 1/4 inch with a rolling pin. You can do that on a peel dusted with cornmeal or semolina flour so that the crust will slip off easily onto the stone or pan. If you don’t have a peel, a sheet of heavy cardboard or even a wooden cutting board will do. You can also form the crust in your pan. The lips on the pan will preclude a rolling pin, but you can purchase a little rolling pin meant for the task (and for rolling pasta) that will work within the rims. If all else fails, grab a small jar and use it as a rolling pin. • If you don’t have time to make or buy your favorite sauce, a jar of spaghetti sauce will do. Homemade is better but a good commercial sauce is okay. • Some people prefer tender crusts; we prefer chewy. For a tender crust, use all-purpose flour. Our favorite crusts are made with bread flour tempered just a bit with whole wheat, rye, or all-purpose flours. • For a really great pizza crust, once the dough is kneaded, cover it and place it in the refrigerator over night. The next day, remove the dough and let it rise on the counter. Allow plenty of time for the dough to come to room temperature and rise. At lower temperatures, the yeast produces a complex yeasty flavor that is very good. • Pizza dough that is just a bit on the wet side is easier to work with and makes a nicer crust. • Toppings can be anything you want them to be. Measurements don’t count though less is usually better. Experiment with some of your favorite foods. • Olive oil makes a much nicer pizza crust than vegetable oil. • If you are having trouble cutting your pizza with a knife or pizza wheel, grab the kitchen shears.

         
    Tips for hosting a true texan bbq party

     

    As the saying goes ‘Everything is big in Texas’, the Texan BBQ Party is no exception. You do not have to go to Texas. Stay where you are and we offer you swashing ideas for a Texan BBQ Party. Set the backdrop Texan BBQ Party will be a fun – frolicking experience for you and your guests. To be swept in the mood of Texan style party forgo the fancy flatware and get to the down-home approach. So set the stage for the Texan mood at your backyard. Start with a dress code of faded blue jeans or head-to-spur fringe to keep the guests in a Texan frame of mind. You may bring out some posers with naughty slogans like – ‘high noon until the cows come home’ or ‘eat barbecue without a napkin’ etc. Spread a desperado dйcor by turning your backyard into tumbleweed-strewn dust bowl with straw on your deck or patio and hay bales for guests to sit. Cast-iron cookware, dinner bell, cowboy boots, saddles, horseshoes, bedrolls, wagon wheels, dried chilli pepper, rope, Texan flag and many more of your innovative ideas to bring the right mood. A county toe-tapping music by Texas born country artists is a must, without which it would be a big bore. Unfold a red checked or denim tablecloth. For napkins, make some colorful bandanas tied with rope or even sheriff’s star work wonderfully at your Texan BBQ Party. Make ‘guest name cards’ to place on the tables, which makes them feel special. Add decorative centerpiece on clay pots with cactus or hide a pot in an old pair of boots and some fresh flowers in the pots. A Texan’s mouth waters like the Colorado River for a slab of spareribs or a hunk of corn bread. The food turns attractive with mouth-watering varieties of special hot sauce. For adventurous guests add tortilla chips and funky salt and peppershakers. If possible keep the drinks in old styled washtub filled with ice. Fun at the BBQ party Guests may be unknown to each other. Bring in fun and break the ice with a dance lesson. Invite guests on the floor barefoot or with cowboy boots for a line dancing class. Texas Hold’em is a fast and funny game of 2-10 people. The objective is to finish with the best poker hand and win the pot. Cattle Corral is steer roping. Position a pint-sized wrangler a few feet away and try catching the cattle. Squirt-gun-showdown to set a lit candle or an empty soda can and get your guests to shoot a water pistol to either knock out the flame or the can first. Just because sun sets, it does not mean fun has to end, set up a campfire, which is legendary with Texas cowboys, and invite someone to strum a song on the six string to reach to the climax of Texan BBQ party.

         
    Tips for throwing a perfect wine tasting party

     

    If you enjoy wine and your friends enjoy wine, a casual wine tasting can be a great way to enjoy wine together and test each other’s palates. You can hold blind tastings if you really want to test your skills and the skills of your friends, or you can just get together and try out the different types of wines that you and your friends enjoy. Many formal wine tastings do not allow you to swallow the wine. The tasting is simply to get the taste, smell the bouquet and enjoy the overall experience of the wine. At your casual tasting you can feel free to allow your guests to drink the wine, but there may be sobriety issues if you do this. It is also important to realize that you may not get the full flavor and effect of the wine as you get deeper into the tastings. Either way that you perform your tasting you will want to have clean glasses for each person and each bottle. You will also need a clean white tablecloth. The white tablecloth will allow you to get a good view of the wine. The tablecloth allows you to see the wine’s body and any sediment that may be in the glass from an aged wine. Candlelight will also allow you to see the wine clearly and any sediment that may be in the bottle or decanter. Clean glasses are extremely important, as any residue in the glass will cause your wine to have an impure taste. To help keep the event easy, ask your guests to bring a bottle of their favorite wine. You may also need them to bring their own glasses if you do not have enough. You will also need some crackers or bread to help cleanse the palate as well as room temperature water. Cold water will shock your taste buds. You will want to decant your red wines. If you cannot decant them all at once, you may want to pour a small amount in each glass and allow them to breathe a bit. The more air contact the wine has, the better they will taste. You may also choose to explore the difference that decanting makes. Taste the wine at ten and fifteen minute intervals. White and blush wine should be chilled slightly before serving. When you taste your wines, it is a good idea to have a paper and pencil available so that your guests can take notes and rank their wines. You will also want to start with lighter and simpler wines and then move on to the drier and heavier wines. You will not taste your white wines as well as if you drink the heavier and dry wines first. If you must reuse a glass, swirl some water around in it and dry it with a clean cloth so that the water does not dilute the wine. Begin by looking at the wine and observing its clarity and color. A wine is judged on its color, aroma and taste. Hold the wine up to a light and note the color of the wine. The wine should also appear to be clear and cloudy. Next, tip the glass slightly and swirl it gently. The wine flows around the glass and if the wine clings and dribbles down the side in “legs” or stripes, this mean that the wine is a medium bodied wine. If the wine forms a sheet, it is a full-bodied wine. Next, tip the glass and swirl the wine around while holding it a little bit away from your nose. This helps to increase the amount of scent that is available for your nose to smell. Inhale the wine deeply and then move it away, this will keep you from becoming overwhelmed by the aroma. You may be able to smell fruit, yeast, grass, or earth in the wine. The last step is to taste the wine. Take a small sip and push it up in front of your mouth and then inhale through your teeth. Slosh the wine around in your mouth and cover your tongue with it. You are going to want to taste the predominant tastes at first and then the secondary tastes that appear. Is the wine’s taste complex? Does it have a wood-taste? Take a moment between wines to rinse your mouth and take a bite of unsalted crackers or bread. This will help to clear the taste from the previous wines. If you hold a blind tasting, place the bottles in brown bags or remove the labels. Have your guests make notes and guess what the varietals and brands are. Wine tastings don’t have to be formal affairs. They can be very casual and you can have a lot of fun with it. There are even wine tasting kits that you can buy to supply you with the necessary bags, tags and other wine information that you may need.

         
    Tips for your wine gift basket business

     

    Nowadays young people who have the foresight to actually plan a career in wine can choose from a plethora of study programmes that focus on different academic aspects of wine. Not so long ago, however, there was hardly any professional wine education available. Join Wine Tasting Party. Dreaming of having your own successful wine gift basket business? Looking for ideas and tips on how you can market your product as well as creating your very own designs? There is no sure fire way to a successful business. Diligence, patience, a good product, and belief in yourself are important factors of a successful business. With that said, here are some things that you should consider for your business: Marketing Ideas 101 - Introduce yourself to the target market. There are many ways on how you can do this. You can offer your baskets to a local charity during Christmas or Thanksgiving to be distributed to people. You could also partner with a local bakeshop or deli and include bread or meat in the basket. Make sure that the reporter for the local newspaper is present to take pictures. This is beneficial to both you and your partner's establishment. - Get to know local clubs and associations that may potentially be your clients. Start by asking if they are open to the idea of selling your wine baskets at fundraising parties. You can give a percentage to the organization in exchange for access to the fundraising party and their members. - Ask for help from your family and friends in organizing basket parties. Use your networks, socialization opens doors that you might miss. - Create themes and accessorize. Make baskets that are exclusively for particular events and holidays. A good example would be to market a "valentine basket" filled with wine, chocolates, hotel passes, the works. This will increase the demand for your product once the consumers become aware of it. - Forge a business partnership with event organizers and meeting planners. Gift baskets are staple items that are given as welcoming items at conferences and conventions. Expect large orders from them so it is important that you are ready and have many prepared. Prepare weeks before the event so that you won't have a bad reputation as someone who can't deliver on your obligations. This can make or break your business. - Have your own online shop which sells your products. This is another effective way of reaching out to your target consumers. It also presents a convenience to them and they will be more encouraged to buy from an online store which is more convenient than actually going all the way to a department store. Running a business is a tough thing to do. There will definitely be ups and downs but it is really up to you to take command of your business. The history of wine consumption in America has been frought with starts, stops, and inconsistencies. The American population has always had a love-hate relationship with alcohol. Historic prohibitionist attitudes amongst much of the American population have blurred the line between moderate wine consumption and detrimental alcoholism. As a result, regular, moderate consumption of wine by the American public continues to face ideological and legal impediments. The History of Wine Consumption During the Colonial Years Since its origins, the history of wine consumption in America has been both encouraged and despised by different demographic groups. Spanish missionaries produced the earliest New World wine during the early 17th Century. Shortly thereafter, French immigrants began to cultivate grapes in the Hudson River Valley. They made wine, juice, and preserves.

         
    Tips on choosing your next bottle of wine

     

    Tonight’s the night. You’ve got that special dinner party with friends and you want it to be perfect. You’ve got the menu completed but the question is which wine will compliment the meal best? Here are some tips for choosing fine wine. Lighter foods need lighter wines while heartier foods need full bodied wines. For example, fish is light and thus a wine like Pinot Noir goes very nicely because it is also light. The way the food is prepared will also influence the type of wine you choose. Whether your meal is grilled or roasted as well as the spices you use will affect your wine choice. Bitter foods need a fruity wine that will compliment it, such as a Chardonnay or Merlot. Shiraz or some of the other heavy tannic red wines go great with a grilled steak because the fat in the meat tones down the bitterness in the wine. Foods that are salty or oily go much better with a wine that’s higher in acid like Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc. Sweet foods do much better with a slightly sweet dry wine such as Riesling or Chenin Blanc. Dry wines, both red and white, work well with a wider selection of foods so if in doubt go this route. A general rule of thumb is that you want your wine to offer a nice contrast from your food but you don’t want it to clash. The most important tip to remember is that wine is about taste and it’s a personal choice so trust your taste buds. It’s always a good idea to test a wine before purchasing it, and don’t base your wine buying decisions on what your friends or family say. Use your own palate to make your choices. You should also be patient with yourself because learning to buy good wine has quite a learning curve. The best way to learn is try many different wines and expand your wine cellar. People tend to find a wine they like and then stick with it spending little time experimenting with other wines. Why not explore other wines and find some other great choices? The price of wine doesn’t dictate the quality. Of course many would like you to believe it does but the British Columbia wine industry is proving that’s just not so, producing some top quality wines at a fraction of the cost of imported wines. Of course, as with many things, best costs more but there are plenty of excellent choices and it really does pay to shop around. Always put together your wine cabinet with thought. Think about your budget, the types of food you most often serve, and how much entertaining you do. Set aside the most expensive wines for those special occasions and serve the less expensive, but still delicious, wines for your daily use. These tips for choosing fine wine will have your wine cabinet looking very healthy in no time and your wines will compliment your meals nicely!

         
    Tips on how to buy the best wines

     

    For most people wine is an essential part or their dining experience. Wine is also mostly present in any social function. The problem with wine is that there are so many types of wines to choose from. As a result the wine selection process becomes very difficult. What is wine? Basically, it is a liquor that is made by fermenting various types of fruits. But no doubt, that the most popular wine type is made of grapes. Wines made of different types of grapes, turn into different flavored wines. Wines that are not made of grapes are referred to as fruit wines. Why grape wine is good for you body? There have been some medical studies that show that drinking one or two glasses of grape wine a day may be beneficial to one's health. This is due to the findings that some properties that are found in grapes have a medicinal effect on the body. This includes decreasing a person's chances of developing heart disease, cardiovascular disease, stroke, etc. Here are some tips on how to choose just the right wine for you 1. Experiment. Individuals should discover which types of wine suit their taste. The best way to do this is to order a different type of wine every time you dine out. This way, individuals would pretty much have an idea of what types of wine they will stock on their wine cellar. 2. Ask friends for a recommendation. For those who are not wine connoisseurs, the best way to start gaining some knowledge about wine is to ask friends to give you the names of their favorite wines. Ask them about the wines that they love, and which types of dishes go with which types of wines. Make a list of the brands of wines that are highly recommended by friends. The next time you are in a liquor store, pull out your list and look for these brands. 3. For those who have found their favorite wines, and want to keep stocks. The best way to go about this is to buy their preferred brands of wine by cases. This will be much cheaper than purchasing them individually. Some wine manufacturers offer to take off up to 10% as a discount if individuals buy by the case. 4. Know which types of wine go with different types of dishes. For instance, white wine goes well with white sauces, salmon, etc. Those who are throwing a party, and plan to spend a considerable amount of money on wine should do some research about the types of wines that compliment the dishes they plan to serve. 5. Be wise when it comes to serving wine. The more costly wines should be reserved for more important occasions. Remember that wines can get very expensive. So individuals should keep track of the types of wines that they have in storage, and be wise when it comes to deciding when to serve them! 6. French wines are famous worldwide! France ranks first when it comes to exporting wines. Some of the more famous French wine includes: Bordeaux wine, Burgundy wine, and of course Champagne. For those who are just starting on their wine collection. These are some of the essential wines that they should stock in their wine cellar. Choosing wines may be daunting at first, especially for a person who is not a wine connoisseur. But once a person gets the hang of it, and start to discover the wines that matches their preference, it won't be long until they start to fill up their wine cellar. All Rights Reserved. You may reprint this content as long as it remains unchanged and the links are intact.

         
    Tips on how to choose a gift wine

     

    Wine makes a fantastic gift, one that can be enjoyed by both giver and recipient or saved for a special moment. You don't have to worry about wine being the right size or spending an eternity at the back of a closet. If you're considering giving the gift of wine, here are a few tips for making your choice and a quick breakdown of the different types of wine available. Before you start, pick your price. When in doubt, go with a mid-range bottle. If you're having trouble making a choice and don't want to go over the top, pick a basic Cabernet Sauvignon at a middle price point. If you want something for a more special occasion, go with a Champagne or vintage, but don't skimp. Try something older. It's not very often that the casual wine drinker gets to enjoy a vintage bottle. It may be something we think of fleetingly at a restaurant, but never stop to get for ourselves. A vintage bottle of wine can make a fantastic gift for the wine lover. If you're not sure, ask your wine store clerk. They are full of information and are almost always happy to help. Include a few accessories. If you're gifting wine and want to add a little something extra, try topping off your present with a crafted wine stopper or a gift certificate for dinner at a nearby winery. Think about the type of wine you want to buy. Some of the most common and popular wine types are; Merlot, a great choice for new red-wine drinkers; Cabernet Sauvignon, a full-bodied red wine; Pinot Noir, a much more delicate and fruity red; Chardonnay, a dry and citrusy white wine; Sauvignon Blanc, a light wine; and the Reisling, a very dry but still fresh white. Almost any of these choices are sure to be a hit.

         
    Tips on how to use a smoker

     

    Once you know how to use a smoker, cookouts will never be the same again. If you have ever been tempted to toss your grill and try smoking your meat but didn't know how to use a smoker, fear not! Using a smoker is easier than lighting a barbeque and it produces tastier meat. A smoker is a piece of equipment that cooks food over heat created by burning wood, rather than burning coals. Once you have the know-how to use a smoker you will be able to make terrific food with unbelievable flavor. The secret to knowing how to use a smoker is all in the wood. Each type of wood used in a smoker creates a different flavor to the food. Mesquite wood gives your steak or your salmon a robust flavor, while oak or hickory adds a completely diverse flavor. The first thing to do is find a location where there will be as little traffic as possible. Usually cooking with a smoker will take some time and occasionally the smoker will be left unattended so it should be in an area where children and pets are not likely to go. Wind conditions should also be taken into consideration so that smoke is not entering the house or interfering with outdoor activities. A typical smoker has two barrels at the bottom. Build a fire at the base of the barrels with whatever type of wood you choose to cook with. Heat the wood for at least an hour. Those who know how to use a smoker will tell you that the key to making the best meals is to know just how long to heat the wood, and how much wood should be added to the steamer once you start. You want the wood to burn at a nice even temperature. This takes some practice so don't despair if you don't get it right the first time. The more you use the smoker the better you will become at deciding when the temperature of the wood is correct. Once the wood has been thoroughly heated, you can add your food. You will need to monitor the temperature on a regular basis while the food is being smoked. Cooks who know how to use a smoker will tell you to that it takes practice to know when to adjust your flues and your dampers but that keeping the right temperature is the key to turning out delicious smoked food. You have tons of options when cooking with a smoker. Not only can you pick between lots of different types of wood to give your food flavor, you can also experiment on smoking lots of different types of foods. Cooks who know how to use a smoker to their advantage not only smoke more than one kind of meat at a time (try smoking a turkey and steak at the same time) they also try different foods. Wait till you try chili in your smoker! Seriously, once you know how to use a smoker, there is a whole new world of cooking experiences waiting for you!

         
    Tips to buy online organic foods

     

    Whether you’re looking for organic foods online or in your local supermarket, the one thing that you can be assured of is that you will be able to find at least one or two organic products. Granted you will want more than one or two organic products to tide you over for the week, but it does go to show you how far organic foods have really come in the last few years. From near obscurity to actually being sold in places outside of health food stores is no small feat, especially when you take in the opposition it has to face in the guise of processed foods, and the more readily available non-organic foods. If you’re looking for a ready source of organic foods however, your best bet is to turn to suppliers of organic foods online. These organics foods suppliers come with more than a few benefits, one of which is the fact that your foods will more often than not, be delivered straight to your door. This saves you the hassle of fighting your way through rush hour traffic to get to your grocers, and also saves you the trouble of having your toes run over by errant shopping carts. That’s just one benefit of course that you gain by getting your organic foods online. Another great benefit is that you have a ready supply of organic foods at the touch of a button. You also have a larger supply of organic foods to choose from, both the natural organic food variety as well as the processed organic food variety. This means that you have necessarily a larger choice than you would otherwise have had in a normal grocery store selling organic foods. You will also find that this applies to the online version of your favorite supermarket. Their selection of organic foods online will be greater than what you might find in their stores, and these also include the maybe-not-so-readily available organic meats. It’s easier to find organic produce and organic processed foods than it is to find organic meats, but by using the internet to facilitate your weekly shopping you will find just about all your organic foods online. And if you’re still not convinced, you also have an added benefit in the form of lowered monthly food bills. You might have gone organic, but that doesn’t mean that you need to pay through your nose for it. If you get your organic foods in-store, be it a supermarket or a health food store, you will find that your weekly expenditure is more. By getting your organic foods online you will find that your costs come down a significant amount. Of course to get this last benefit you will need to do a little bit of research and find an online store which will give you lower prices with the same great quality that you look for, but in the end it will be worth the effort.

         
    Tired of the same old wine try a prize winning variety

     

    Even before the movie "Sideways" made wine tasting de rigueur, connoisseurs knew the value of sipping and savoring a great wine. But if you don't know a Beaujolais from a Bordeaux, then recommendations might be a welcome relief. To this end, why not consider the 2002 Samuele Cabernet Franc from Viansa Winery? This complex wine exudes aromas of violets and luscious flavors of juniper and blueberry. A distinctive blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot aged in oak barrels for 26 months makes this a rich and elegant wine with beautifully balanced tannins and acids. Still not convinced this wine is a keeper? It was awarded a Gold Medal and chosen best of its class at the 2006 Jerry D. Mead New World International Wine Competition. Established in 1990, the competition is open to wines produced anywhere in North America, Central America and South America, as well as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. All wines are judged by price category, ranging from inexpensive to premium prices, with each wine being judged against others of its type and also against its price peers. To date, it is the only competition in America to pit the best wines from each price class against each other to determine an overall best of variety or type. To ensure that all wines are based on merit, judges for the competition do not know the identity of the wines they are tasting nor do they know the wines that are entered. Samuele can be fully experienced by pairing it with something as simple as a summer barbecue, meats roasted with herbs and garlic, as well as heavier Italian dishes. Viansa is a destination winery at the entrance to the Sonoma Valley Wine Country. In addition to offering an array of award-winning California varietals, Viansa is the premier producer of Italian varietals in the United States.

         
    To brew or not to brew home wine brewing kits

     

    If you have a few grapevines growing in your backyard and if you have tasted the fruits of your labor, then maybe the time has come for you to stock your own label. Actually, you do not need your own grapes to make your own wine and you normally make better wine if you do not have your own grapes. The reason for this is that home wine brewing kits are so popular these days that you can go from chardonnay to merlot from a click of your mouse and simply order on-line whichever wine you prefer. Home wine brewing kits also provide you with all of the basic equipment needed to make your own flavorful and unique wine at home. But then, if you decide to use your own grapes, your cost will be much less since you do not have to order the fruit. There are home wine brewing kits that specialize in home grown grapes. There are Vintner’s Reserve Wine Kits, Chianti Wine Kits, Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Kits and the list goes on. There are Wine Expert Wine Kits and the Beginners Home Wine Brewing Kits. These kits all come with instructions on how to make your wine, so even the newest wine connoisseur can venture into a kit for home wine brewing. The Kit Contents You kit will come with some basic equipment that will include: your recipe-this is absolutely necessary for any wine maker, a huge fermenting bucket with lid, a 6-gallon Better Bottle plastic carboy, #10 drilled rubber stopper-absolutely necessary so you don’t lose a drop, 3-piece airlock, triple scale hydrometer, bottle brush-you definitely want clean bottles, siphon unit, one–step sanitizer, Italian double lever corker-definitely needed, approximately 30 #8 X1.5” corks - you must have corks. Your ingredients will be your fruit, yeast, additives and water. Most home wine brewing kits do not come with the bottles, but they are easily added with another click of the mouse. Usually the same company where you ordered your home wine brewing kit from will sell the bottles to you, as well. After you have read the instructions very carefully, you may begin your pouring and measuring with your ingredients of the home wine brewing kit. When you have completed your mission and are sitting back waiting for your wine to ferment, its time to open a cookbook and learn how to bake your own bread sticks. Go to the local gourmet store and choose their finest olive oil and a few herbs and spices. When all is ready, uncork your special reserve, taste a bread stick dipped in oil and put on your favorite CD. Brewing your own wine with your home wine brewing kit doesn’t get much better than this.

         
    Toast of the town wine as a preventative medicine

     

    While not many of us look forward to taking our daily medication, some remedies are more palatably pleasing than others. Among these, some preventative medicines for heart disease and some cancers, including red wine. And while many are cheering the benefits of the robust beverage others are wondering if it's really the toast of the town. And, according to experts, the answer is an unresounding yes and no. They note that although wine offers many preventative powers against heart disease, some cancers, and inflammation cause by arthritis, these qualities are not intrinsic to the fruit of the vine. Experts assert that while red wine (in moderation) "does" have health benefits, they are not any greater than those they can obtain via a hearty diet of antioxidants including fresh fruits such as red grapes, fresh squeezed grape juice, grape seed oil, deep green veggies, melons, pumpkin, squash, blueberries, peppers and other brightly-colored fruits and foods. However, they "do," note that the antioxidants in red wine may be more concentrated than in other foods due to the fermentation process. Yet, the concentrated levels may not be significant enough to make daily consumption recommended. Also, health and nutrition experts note that there is also evidence that moderate amounts of other alcohol may be just as effective in boosting HDL (good) cholesterol. Still, they (the experts) assert that they remain reluctant to encourage people to start drinking in an effort to stay healthy (against heart disease and some cancers) because alcohol consumption may raise other risks and concerns. Among these, weight gain and addiction problems. Excessive drinking can also increase LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and also estrogen levels in women, which has been linked to increased risk of breast cancer. For women who fancy white wine, beer and other types of alcohol, the "bad" news is that none possess the same preventative and protective powers as red wine, since all the antioxidants are found in the skin and seeds of the grapes. White wine is fermented without the skins of the grapes. Women wine drinkers say experts can enjoy two to three ounces a day for the added antioxidant and benefits, but remember not to use it as an excuse to drink or in place of a healthy and balanced diet rich in preventative properties.

         
     
         
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