Allergy season, how ’bout some honey?

Pollen is killing me this season. Sure, the florals in the yard are looking great but I can’t breathe.

I coughed myself awake the other night dreaming that I was smoking.

Day two of the Neti Pot and my honey consumption is up. I no longer feel a migraine like headache.

If you want to try some local honey due to the immunotherapy concept. Being that consumption of some local honey will introduce the pollen in small doses to the body. Hopefully this will build an immunity to the airborne pollen. Check out this Boston site that is very informative.

Whether it works as a sugar pill or not at least my oatmeal tastes great!

From the Garden to your table

 Whether you have a garden or not. Try as often as you can to buy fresh vegetables. This time of year there are many farmers’ markets as well as tables set up at perhaps your neighbor’s drive way offering fresh tomatoes, squash etc.

Take advantage of this. It may inspire you to start growing something on your own. Start small, perhaps a starter of lettuce or herbs that you can tend to in the window of your kitchen.

“but Kurt that stuff is WAY too expensive and hard to find”

No way I say, if I can do it you can to.

If you care to adventure out to the markets check local listings. In my area of southern Massachusetts, there is Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership (SEMAP). Check out their website to see listings of local farms where you can buy fresh or bring the kids and pick your own.

Fresh fuel for your body, you wont regret it. Get out there this weekend!

Mastering the Grill with a dog by your side

Grilling is perfect for the weekend. Definitely when the weather is great and the beverages are tasty.

I am not going to preach about the best dry rub, marinade or sauce. Just a few tips to help you master the grill.

  1. Use your grill brush before you put something on the hot grill. When you are turning your food or adding more, again USE YOUR GRILL BRUSH. This will keep items from sticking to the grates. The grill brush isn’t just for cleaning the grill when your are done cooking.
  2. Whether gas or briquettes, have one side on a high heat and one side on a low. This way thicker cuts of meat or pork along with bone in chicken can be seared on the high heat for a few minutes per side, then cooked on the low heat to avoid burnt chicken.
  3. Barbeque sauce is for finishing only or as a sauce on the side!  That means don’t marinate with a barbeque sauce; there is typically sugar or high fructose corn syrup in the bbq sauce, which burns quickly over a high temp.

Then again the dog has to eat too, so burn a piece for old times sake and let Fido enjoy!

When NOT to use Convection

Convection Cooking isn’t new technology. (oh thank you Kurt for that brainstorm statement!)

Most people who have it in their oven never use it. According to manufacturers’ Use & Care Manuals you can use that cooking mode for everything. 

Sure you can, but you may get results that go here

Try staying with the Bake mode for cakes. The batter needs the delicate surround of heat and not the variable flow that is provided by convection. 

Below are some Chocolate Cakes that I baked in Convection. 

No I didn’t throw them out!

Once I covered them in frosting they were fine. But they are individual size.  If you are baking in a standard pan you may not like the results. See how the tops are cracked?

This happens because convection heat dries out the top of the batter before the ingredients start to work their magic in the center.

Steaming Shrimp

Here is a simple shellfish preparation. Great for lobster, mussels and clams.

1 pound Key West Prawns 10-12/lb. Set on 215˚ moisture level at 100% for 5 minutes. The preheat was about 6 minutes. Once removed, I shocked the shrimp in an ice bath to serve these cocktail style. Although served hot with a pasta, saffron rice, potato gratin etc. fantastic!

The oven comes with a perforated and solid pan. I placed the solid below to capture the broth (I froze it for a base for another time). This makes cleanup easy. Although this oven is plumbed and juices can go down the drain, but why waste them?

For a sauce I just used a mix of the following:

3 tbls Mayo

juice from 1/2 orange

1 tbls chili sauce

1 tsp prepared horseradish

dash sea salt

Oven Meat Probe, who uses THAT?

Ok we all have an ego. We don’t need someone watching over our shoulder telling us how to do something. Specially a machine.

Well, don’t we have an addiction to smartphones?

The built in probe in your oven is a must.

What better way to judge how things are going or when to start cooking the side dishes.

So go find that meat probe, lost in the drawer of miscellaneous cooking tools you never use and have a roast this weekend?

Breaded Portabello

Baked Not Fried

Breaded Portabellos
by Kurt von Kahle
Convection 425˚
Bake 450˚

Four Portabello Mushrooms, remove stems and wipe clean
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup milk or water
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Fresh basil leaves
Olive oil cooking spray
Fresh sliced tomato
Fresh Mozzarella

Preheat oven in either cooking mode.
This recipe follows the classic technique of basic breading procedure.
Set up three separate bowls. One with the flour. One with the eggs combined with the milk (creating an egg wash), and the last one with the bread crumb.
Dredge the mushrooms, one at a time, in the flour then egg wash and finally in the crumbs.
When all are breaded, spray both sides with cooking spray and place onto a cookie or bake pan. Place in oven and bake until crisp, approximately 14 minutes. Remove pan and turn slices over, top with a slice of tomato and cheese*. Return to oven for 5 minutes to melt the cheese. remove from oven plate with basil on each slice and enjoy!

*A great option is to top with Stonewall Kitchens Spicy Corn Relish.