Grilling Good Eats
by Mike Thayer
By Mike Thayer
One of the best compliments to any meat/fish dish is a great pan sauce. Sauces add another texture and some moisture to your dish (and just in case you overcooked that pork chop or chicken breast, you'll need that sauce!), more importantly, it's another layer of FLAVOR!
Knowing how to make a quick pan sauce can turn that plain pork chop into a mouth-watering entree or a boring chicken breast into a, "DAMN this is good!"
One of my go-to preparations when I pan fry a meat or fish is rubbing that protein down with equal parts Parmesan cheese, garlic powder and seasoned salt. I use that as a substitute for breading. After you've cooked that Parmesan/garlic powder/seasoned salt rubbed protein in some olive oil to perfection, remove from the pan, but don't turn off the heat.
It's time to make a sauce. You'll probably notice a bunch of "brown bits" in that pan..... That's FLAVOR! It's all that seasoning rub and olive oil goodness that didn't stick to the chop, chicken, steak or piece of fish. In culinary terms those brown bits are called 'Fond' and that fond is the base for a great sauce.
All you need to do after you remove the protein from the pan is add liquid. Just about anything will do, chicken stock, beef stock (I like to use low sodium varieties, because you've already added salt to the rub and you don't want to over-salt), wine (take the pan off the heat before adding any kind of alcohol), cream, heck even water will do the trick, about a 1/2 cup will do. After adding that liquid, stir things up with a wooden spoon or a whisk to break up the fond and incorporate it into the liquid, creating the sauce. This is a loose sauce, not a gravy, cook to desired thickness and pour over the meat. Parmesan, seasoned salt, garlic and yes, even when combined with plain ol' water, is DELICIOUS! It's another does of YUM!
Bonus, cleaning the pan just got a lot easier!
Grilling Good Eats
by Mike Thayer
If you've never had lamb before, it's a MUST try! Lamb is the go-to meat in much of the Mediterranean. It's used there like beef is here in the states to make sandwiches, casseroles, entrees and sides. It's enjoyed as roasts, chops and you've probably heard of a 'Rack of Lamb' which is delicious! The meat presents a whole different flavor profile and it's outstanding! So if you're looking for something a little different to try, lamb is the ticket, no mint jelly required!
Meat Temp for Lamb: To get a medium rare, grill lamb until the meat thermometer hits the 135 degree mark. Remember to let the meat rest after pulling it from the grill!
Mike's Lamb Chops
A lamb chop from the grill is OH SO TASTY! If you've never grilled lamb before this is the cut to grill that first time. They are easy to do and do well and by serving lamb to dinner guests you'll look like a real grill pro.
Whisk together the wine, olive oil, rub, garlic powder, minced onion and Rosemary. After placing the chops in a ziplock bag, pour the wine mixture over the chops and let those flavors marry, refrigerating for at least four hours. Grill over direct heat, lid off, to get that good sear and great looking grill marks, 3-5 minutes depending on the thickness of the chops. After you’ve got that great presentation side look, flip the chops over to the low heat side of the grill and cover. Grill for about another 15 minutes or until the meat thermometer hit’s the 135 degree mark (medium rare). In the grill set-up, cherry wood pellets add another layer of flavor. TIP: Trim some of the fat off the chops before marinating or rubbing and save it to create pan drippings. When you’re grilling, put those fat trimmings in a cast iron skillet over low heat and let them render to create the base for a sauce or gravy.
A quick pan sauce for chops…. Combine lamb fat drippings with a little flour, some black berries or blueberries - whatever kind of berry you might have on hand for that matter - and some balsamic vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste and you’ve made an excellent compliment to the chops!
For more great grilling recipes, beef, chicken, fish and more, go to www.grillinggoodeats.com
By Mike Thayer
According to our "Oh-so-wise" government, in order to maintain a healthy weight, the U.S. daily recommendation is to consume 225 - 325 grams of carbohydrates per day based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
If you're the typical American, that's horse manure. If you're the typical American, consuming that many carbs will cause weight gain!
"So Mike," you ask...... "Define Typical American."
The typical American these days wakes up, gets ready for work, travels to work be it by car or mass transit. Sitting at a desk makes up much of the day for many. Standing on your feet performing light physical duties is what takes place for many others. For most folks, regular exercise is not part of the routine, which is wake up, work, do something not really physically demanding after work, get some sleep, repeat.
That typical way of life does NOT require 225 to 325 grams of carbohydrates a day to function.
Here's a simple, general rule of thumb. If you work out regularly, you need all those carbs. If you don't work out regularly, you flat out don't. The government's recommended daily intake is pretty much garbage in the real world.
A sedentary lifestyle - desk jockey, no work out - your body only needs about 135 grams in carbs to maintain body weight.... Note I said 'maintain', not lose weight. If you want to lose weight, that carb gram intake needs to be under 60 a day.
A moderate lifestyle - standing on the job, light physical activity - your body only needs about 180 grams in carbs to maintain weight.
So what does that mean in terms of food? Cut back on the potatoes, rice, pasta and bread. And it's not that hard.
Consider the following:
A typical slice of bread/toast has 13 grams in carbs. It takes two slices of bread to make a sandwich and most folks eat two pieces of toast with breakfast. That's 26 carbs total.
A 1/2 cup of white rice comes with a carb price tag of 23 grams.
A cup of pasta as 35 grams of carbs.
A medium potato has 38 carbs.
Those are all typical serving sizes. So follow me on this..... You have two slices of toast/biscuit, croissant/bagle with breakfast, around 26 carbs.... Having a side of hash browns with that? Add another 19 carbs. Chinese stir fry and rice for lunch, 23 carbs and that doesn't count the carbs in the veggies that are part of the stir fry.... Some potato chips for an afternoon snack, let's say another 19 carbs..... Spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, and you had two helpings along with some garlic bread.... Add another 96 carbs.... Total carb intake for the day? A whopping 183 grams in carbs!
For that sedentary lifestyle, you've gone over what your body ACTUALLY needs by about 50 carb grams. Do that everyday and yes, you'll gain weight.
"But Mike," you say, "that 183 grams in carbs you laid out in a typical day is perfect for somebody with a moderate lifestyle right?"
Let's dig a little deeper into those carb counts shall we? Did you have cream and sugar with your morning coffee? Add at least another 5 grams in carbs.... And how many cups did you have? Most folks don't drink just one cup. Did you put some ketchup on those hash rounds you had with breakfast? Add another 5 carb grams. That cheese on that sausage, egg, cheese croissant? Add another gram. How about those veggies in the stir fry for lunch? Depending on the mix, that's another 10-20 carbs. Did you drink a regular soda or two at some point during the day? Add another 24 grams in carbs. Did you have a salad with that spaghetti at dinner? Add another 10 grams in carbs. So how many MORE carb grams do we add to the total? Another 55 - 65 grams in carbs.
Even for the moderate lifestyle, that's at least 238 carbs, 58 grams above what a moderate lifestyle kind of person 'needs' to maintain a healthy weight. It's a recipe for weight gain, not 'maintain.'
So how do you cut back, without finding yourself hungry between meals? It's easier than you think. Eat one slice of toast, not two. Knock off 13 grams in carbs. Switch to heavy cream for your coffee (0 grams in carbs) instead of the coffee creamer, knock off 5 more carbs. Ditch the soda, knock off 24 more grams in carbs. Don't have that second helping of spaghetti, having a bigger salad instead, knock off 25 more grams in carbs. Knock off total: 67 fewer carbs. Doing little things like that, means a better looking you! We can talk about why the heck you're eating bread, rice, chips and pasta all in one day - you shouldn't be - at a later time.....
The Juicy Lucy
This burger was made famous in Minnesota, instead of a burger with a slice of cheese on top, it's a burger with ooey-gooey cheese melted in the middle core of the burger.
- One pound ground beef
- One pound pork sausage (where my burger is different, another layer of flavor)
- One Tablespoon Cookies Flavor Enhancer or if you want to keep it simple, salt and pepper
- American cheese slices
- ½ stick of butter
- Garlic powder to taste
- Hamburger buns
In a large bowl, season the ground beef with the Cookies Flavor Enhancer or the salt & pepper and hand mix until the seasoning is incorporated. Add the pork sausage, hand mix again until incorporated into the beef. Form into thin patties, larger than the cheese slices. Lay a formed patty on some plastic wrap, top with two slices of cheese, then top with another patty and pinch the sides to seal. When your grill is ready to receive, place the patties over the hot spot to get those great grill marks and a good sear. Keep the lid off and watch for any flare ups. Because that cheese is in the core of the burger, it's going to be tougher to know when to flip the burger. Carefully check the underside of a burger and if you've got some great grill marks, go ahead and flip the burgers over to the lower heat side of the grill and get ready to put the lid on. These burgers take a longer period of indirect cooking time to ensure they are done on the inside. Before ‘lidding‘, place the butter and garlic in a grill safe dish to melt down on the low heat side of the grill next to those great smelling burgers. Check after about ten minutes. Pull the burgers and let them rest. Apply the melted garlic butter to the hamburger buns and toast. Serve with your favorite burger toppings. The great thing about these burgers is playing with a variety of cheeses. Melted cheddar, swiss and or provolone are great too! Do combinations or specialty cheeses like pepperjack. Your choices are almost unlimited!
I used to look up carb counts on the internet or read the packaging for each and every food item I prepared and ate. When putting something on the grill or in a frying pan for example, I would read the packaging or look on the internet for the serving size and carb count. Writing those numbers down, I would then do some math to get a carb count total for all foods consumed at meal time. That carb count research got tedious at times, but now I've got some great data to share!
You don't have to look up carb counts one-at-a-time, I've done all that work for you!
Find carb counts for meat, fish, dairy, veggies, fruits, right here on www.carbcheckdiet.com.
And if you don't see the carb count for a food you want to eat listed here, it's not listed for a reason - the carb count is too high, don't eat it!
Fish and shellfish are excellent sources of protein. You can eat just about any kind of fish and not have to worry about blowing up your carb count. Most shellfish by the very nature of their diet, tend to carry more carbs than fish. The only real rule of thumb here, don't eat fish that's been breaded or battered.
Carb Count: Fish & Shellfish
|Item||Serving Size||Carb Count (in grams)|
|Anchovies, canned in oil||6 oz.||0|
|Bass, all varieties||6 oz.||0|
|Catfish, all varieties||6 oz.||0|
|Clams, canned or fresh||2 oz.||3|
|Herring, cured||2 oz.||0|
|Herring, pickled||2 oz.||5.4|
|Salmon, canned, fresh, smoked||6 oz.||0|
|Sardines, canned, in oil||6 oz.||0|
|Sardines, canned in tomato sauce||6 oz.||0.8|
|Trout, all varieties||6 oz.||0|
|Tuna, canned or fresh||6 oz.||0|
For more Carb-Check Diet tips, recipes and information, go to: www.carbcheckdiet.com
Grilling Good Eats
By Mike Thayer
If fried fish is about the only way you will eat fish, then you'll come to like grilled fish even better than fried after reading this chapter.
That's pretty much the only way I used to eat fish, fried... Beer batter was preferred and I had absolutely no interest in offerings that were 'baked,' 'poached' or just sauteed in butter. There just wasn't enough flavor in the fish and the texture wasn't right in those other preparations.
Enter, the grill.
Smoke does A LOT for fish, so does the kind of heat you get from a grill. The texture of fish changes when placed directly over a fire and it absorbs smoke flavor readily. Fish and the grill are a perfect pairing because what turns out to be mush in a poached offering, becomes crispy on the outside but tender on the inside deliciousness in a perfect bite delivered from the coals...... What is bland in a baked preparation becomes, "I didn't know salmon could taste this good!" in a grilled preparation. I don't care how much seasoning and pretty decorative parsley is placed on the fillet, baked fish sucks.
Here's a fantastic marinate for about two pounds of salmon:
- Half cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
- The juice from half a lime
- One Tablespoon of dried, minced onion
- One teaspoon of garlic powder
- One Tablespoon of light brown sugar
- Couple dashes of balsamic vinegar
Mix all ingredients for the marinade in a bowl or big measuring cup, set aside. Cut your salmon into four equal pieces (optional), place in a Tupperware bowl or a big zip lock bag, pour in the marinade. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Fish does not need a lot of time to marinade, don't marinade more than four hours, or your fish will turn to mush. Salmon is great for the grill, remember to take the fish out of the fridge about 20-30 minutes prior to placing over the coals. You’re doing this to inspect the fish and make sure it‘s well covered in the marinade. It’s not about letting the protein come up to room temperature like you hear some of the cooking show talking heads say, that’s just yada, yada talk to kill air time. The truth is, refrigerated meats and/or fish won’t come up to room temperature in just 30 minutes, not even close. OK, back to the salmon…..
Put the fish over direct heat, fish side down at first (not skin side), let them sizzle for about two minutes to get some nice grill marks, do NOT cover. Flip to the skin side after two minutes, keeping it over direct heat to get that skin crispy. Now you can put a lid on it, for about another 3-5 minutes to get that nice charcoal flavor. Remove from the grill and let them rest. This recipe is a real crowd pleaser. Excellent served with grilled lime wedges, a side of rice pilaf and glazed carrots.
Three Amana men decided to revive the art that had not been practiced in the Amana Colonies for years - the art of brewing beer. Carroll F. Zuber and brothers James and Dennis Roemig dreamed of building a small brewery to produce small batches of hand brewed beer reminiscent of Europe's finest.
To brew the best they needed the best, so they called on one of America's premier brewers, Joseph Pickett Sr., who helped in the brewery design, in the development of the beers, Millstream Lager and the robust, Schild Brau. Later, Millstream brewers, developed the zesty Millstream Wheat Beer.
In 1985 Millstream Brewing Co. opened its doors - the first brewery to operate in Amana since 1884. So the Millstream Brewery was born and so it has come to be recognized as the home of quality brews of rewarding taste.
The Story Continues in 2000 with the sale of the brewery to Chris Priebe, Tom and Teresa Albert. Chris is naturally handy and keeps the brewery in tip-top shape. Chris also is a trained brewer from the Siebel Institute of Brewing Technology and has brought many years of brewing experience to Millstream. Teresa is an excellent people person and handles all the sales and marketing. Tom is our warehouse and production manager. He is the "glue" that binds the place together. It takes a good team to run a good brewery!
These owners are committed to continually making quality brews, one batch at a time. With a current count of 33 national awards and 1 international award, Millstream speaks of some of the finest beer made in the Midwest today. The brewers have introduced many different styles of beer to Millstream Brewery and with the passing of the higher alcohol law change in spring of 2010, many more styles will be coming out! The Brewery hopes to be able to reach out to local consumers in new and exciting ways.
Millstream Beers - Year Round Beers, Seasonal Beers and the Brewmasters Extreme Series
835 48th Ave Amana IA 52203
Find it in the Online Newstand!
By Mike Thayer
So, the stomach is whining between meals, what do you do?
Reach for the pork rinds? Nah, not in the mood for crunchy.
Slice up some cheese, or dish out some olives perhaps? Nope, feeling a bit lazy today, need something 'to go' quick....
Grab about six slices of lunch meat!
I always have some on hand. It's an easy grab, especially if you're on your way out the door or need to get back to the computer/desk.
Turkey is my favorite lunch meat to snack on. Six slices gives you about 10 grams of protein to hold you until dinner and depending on the variety of turkey you choose, there's just one, maybe two grams in carbs.
There's just so much lunch meat variety out there, roast beef, smoked ham, chicken, bologna, etc., you can't get bored with it and most lunch meats carry very few carbs.
So if you're looking for a quick snack to tide you over until lunch or dinner, serve yourself up about six slices of lunch meat, perhaps put a little mustard on it, roll it up and go back to doing what you were doing.
By Mike Thayer
Some people call it grilling, others call it BBQ (I’ll talk about the difference later), but to borrow a snippet from the United States Postal Service creed, rain or shine, snow or sleet… you can deliver great grilled eats on any given day! It’s true, sunny days are optional. Anytime is grilling season, even if there’s a foot of snow on the ground where you live! Any day is a great day to light the charcoal, fire up the gas grill, load up the smoker, take the lid off the portable Weber, heck, rub two sticks together - it doesn’t matter how - put some meat on the fire!
Don’t forget the tongs…..