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The principles of cheesemaking

The Principles of Cheesemaking

Milk is the starting point for cheesemaking and using fresh, pure milk is critical. Unpasteurized milk is widely believed to produce the best tasting cheeses.  The pasteurization process, which involves heating the milk to kill germs, can sometimes affect the delicate enzymes in the milk.  Pasteurization may inhibit the formation of cheese curds and affect the taste of the final product.   Unpasteurized milk can be purchased from family farms that raise goats, sheep or cows.  If that isn‘t feasible, any type of  whole, 2% or skim milk may be used.
In cheese making, caseins (also known as milk proteins) are transformed by a starter culture into curds, forming the basis of cheese.  In this process, the lactose in milk is changed to lactic acid.   This can be loosely compared to functioning of yeast in beer making.   Several types of starters are used in cheese making and are chosen based on the type of cheese.   For example, some are better for making mozzarella, others for feta or camembert. Starter cultures help shape the taste, feel and scent of the finished cheese.
At the next step in the process, when the pH reaches the right level, rennet is added to the mixture.  Rennet helps the starter culture to create the curds.  Basically, it’s the «curdling» of the milk.  Next, the curds are processed depending on the desired final product.  Some cheeses such as cheddar are pressed into a mold.  Others are salted and aged.  Cheeses like Swiss require additional cooking of the curds.   Some only require salting.   Fresh cheeses such as ricotta can be eaten at this time as they are not aged.  
Aging and ripening yields a firmer cheese.  Time, temperature, humidity, bacteria and salt all affect the ripening process.  At this point, molds may develop which also contribute to the flavor of the cheese. 
As you can see, milk, the choice of starter cultures, rennet and the concentration and aging processes all help determine the finished cheese.  While creating a good cheese is a series of trial and error, they are many general concepts that will help you get started. Your patience and attention to detail will be rewarded with delicious homemade cheeses to share with family and friends.

You can cooking live lobster right

You Can Cooking Live Lobster Right

There is nothing more exciting than having a live lobster delivered to your doorstep. Especially when this lobster is alive and kicking! For starters you may be wondering if this is even possible, unless of course you live in the New England area. Well, it definitely is. With both Fedex and UPS offering overnight services you can receive live New England and Maine Lobsters at your doorstep within the continental US.
So what do you do with this lobster once it arrives, after all it needs to prepare for the dinner table? For starters the best thing to do is leave it in the package that it arrived in.
For more details go to: www.cajuns-recipes.com most likely it is an insulated foam box that also has frozen gel packs. This serves one primary purpose which is to keep your precious lobster cool and comfy during transit. Whatever you do, don’t put it in fresh water, this will actually kill the lobster and we definitely do not want that to happen, at least not yet!

Lobster is best cooked alive, however if it doesn’t arrive alive as long as it was kept cool it will still be okay to cook and to eat. The next thing to do is prepare the cooking area for you freshly delivered live Maine lobster.

Let’s move forward with the preparation which will ensure you are cooking your live lobster correctly.

Prepare a large stock pot by adding water and bringing this to a boil. It is also important to know what size the lobsters are in order to ensure the proper cooking time. Generally speaking an invoice will be included that lists the contents and will specify the size of the lobsters. Also, if you ordered the lobsters online then just make a mental note of the size when ordering. Lobsters are measured in pounds vs. inches or some other measurement. The following chart lists the different weights and the accompanying cook times for each weight range:

1 lb. to 1-1/4 lbs. 15 minutes
1-1/2 lbs. to 2 lbs. 17-20 minutes
2 lbs. to 3 lbs. 20-minutes
3 to 6 lbs. 24-28 minutes
6 to 7 lbs. 28-30 minutes
8 lbs. & up. 4 minutes per pound

Once the stock pot has come to a boil it is now time to cook the lobster! Make note of the time for cooking and either set a timer or mark the time when cooking was started as well as when the lobster will be done.

Grab the lobster firmly around the body, behind the two main lobster claws. Put the lobster head first into the boiling water. To make sure you don’t burn yourself you can simply release the lobster as it is entering the water. Their is the possibility that the lobster will kick a little so make sure that the lid to the lobster stock pot is put on immediately. For help visit: www.atkins-diets-recipes.com the lobster is cold and will most likely stop the water from boiling as the temperature adjusts. This is normal and the water will begin to boil again momentarily. Leaving the lid on the stock pot helps to get the water boiling again quickly and ensures proper cooking throughout your fresh lobster.

Once the timer has gone off it is time to remove your cooked lobster. Use heavy duty utensils to remove your cooked lobster. They can sometimes be heavy so simple salad tongs most likely will not be sufficient. Once removed be careful not to grab or touch the lobster with your hands, they are extremely hot and will burn your skin. Let the lobster cool a little and then place it on the serving tray for presentation.

If the detailed directions are followed properly then there is no question that you will have cooked your live lobster properly. It is not a difficult process and anyone can pull this off with ease. Even if this is the first time you have ever cooked a live lobster is confident that armed with the correct information you can cook your lobster like a master chef.

Practice food home safety

Practice Food Home Safety

Home safety is a hot topic, with innumerable TV shows, books and DVDs available to teach you how to keep yourself and your family safe from everything from burglars to house fires. One thing that gets overlooked, though, is food home safety. Poor attention to food safety and lack of knowledge about it contribute to food-borne illnesses, which cause more hospitalizations every year than other home dangers combined.

One simple thing you can do is to check your refrigerator. Most kitchen stores and mega stores sell refrigerator/freezer thermometers, which will allow you to check the actual temperature inside the appliances, ensuring that they are functioning properly. Be sure and move the thermometer around, checking inside the crisper drawers and on the door shelves. If airflow is blocked, the drawers could become too warm, meaning food could spoil.

Also, never, ever put hot food into your refrigerator. It will cause the temperature within the refrigerator to rise steeply, and other foods in the refrigerator can spoil in the time it takes for equilibrium to be restored. Use an ice bath to bring the temperature of hot foods down before putting them in cold storage.

In the freezer, make sure you don’t let ice build up on racks, walls and vents. Most modern freezers are frostless, but in times of heavy use they can need some help.

All around the kitchen, let sterilization be your watchword. A simple solution of one tablespoon of bleach to one gallon of water is all you need to kill bad bugs on kitchen surfaces, and you can even make such a mixture in your sink and dip your small kitchen items in it to keep them spotless and germ-free.

Practicing food safety around the home isn’t hard at all to do, but it does require constant attention. Every time you cook, take a few extra minutes to make sure your workspace is well cleaned both before and after the process. You won’t regret it!

Does homemade stock really make a difference

Does Homemade Stock Really Make A Difference?

With all the convenience available these days, it is natural to wonder if homemade stock really makes a difference. Is it really worth all the trouble to make your own stock if you can simply go to the store and buy some? Well, the answer to this is not as simple as it may seem.

Whether homemade stock is going to make a difference to the taste of a dish depends on the specific dish. For a delicate soup there is no doubt that you have to use homemade stock. Most of the stuff you can buy is seasoned very strong and can kill the taste of a delicately flavored soup. So, sorry no way you can get away on this count.

On the other hand, if you are going to make a very spicy dish, the difference in taste will get completely lost in all the flavors and in such a case it is not necessary to use homemade. The only thing you have to be careful of here is to make sure you adjust your seasoning to prevent the dish from becoming to salty.

What it all boils down to is that you have to know the function of it in your dish. Does it only have to supply some much needed liquid or is it an integral part of the taste of the dish. Always keeping the function of a ingredient in mind in any dish is a good idea.

Whether you make your own will also depend on your personal circumstances. If you love cooking and always have lots of bones, leftover meat and veggies available you will want to use those and make some tasty homemade stock. On the other hand if you do not cook that much, simply buy it.

In essence, whether you make your own homemade stock or whether you buy it is a matter of personal taste and your personal circumstances.

Minimizing vitamins loss while cooking

Minimizing Vitamins Loss While Cooking

Vitamins are essential for human body and can be found in various fruits, vegetables and other edibles but due to the fact that all of those food items can not be eaten raw and require some cooking so it is very unlikely that we are getting all the vitamins from the food after we have cooked it. It all goes down to which method of cooking we use as different vitamins are lost from food due to longer exposure with light, air, temperature and water. It is also necessary to consume fruits and veggies raw and in fresh form. It is advised not to store fresh food items for long as it will only lower their nutrition level.

Vitamins are water soluble which means if you soak fruits or vegetables in water for long then all the vitamins contained in them would be leached into that water. The amount of vitamins that the food retains is mostly dependant on how long they were soaked in water. So it is advised not to soak them for long. The other way to retain the leached vitamins is not to drain the water which was used to boil the food, instead use it for making gravy, soup, stock or if possible serve the food without removing water as most of the vitamins and other essential minerals which your food contained have now been transferred and dissolved in water. So make best use of that water.

Although it is not advised to store fresh fruits and vegetables for long but if they are to be stored temporarily then make sure that they are well covered and are not exposed to light as well as air. Also keep the stored veggies and fruits in refrigerator (with the exception of sweet potatoes and winter squash). Another way to prevent from exposing to atmosphere is to cut larger pieces of fruits and vegetables so that only smaller cross sectional areas are exposed to air and light.

It is much better to steam cook or use microwave oven for cooking vegetables and fruits instead of boiling, deep frying or baking in oven. This will help retain most of the minerals and vitamins in your food as steaming and microwave cooking minimizes cooking time and lowers the amount of nutrients being lost. If frying or boiling is unavoidable then it is best not to remove skins of the fruits and vegetables and use very low quantity of oil and water for frying and boiling respectively. During cooking keep the pan or pot covered so that essential nutrients do not get wasted through steam. Serve the veggies and fruits when they become tender and crispy and avoid making them mushy or soggy. This can be achieved by boiling the water for about a minute before you add vegetables or fruits and let the water simmer rather than boil vigorously.

Above all one should adopt not only healthy cooking practices for minimizing nutrients loss but it is also recommended to buy only fresh food and in a quantity that can be consumed in few days as longer storage time kills many vital nutrients. 

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Tips for a successful barbeque

9 Tips for a Successful Barbeque

There are thousands of tips to be found when it comes having a successful barbeque. There’s a wide variety of subjects that can be covered from how to cook different cuts of meat and what type of grill to use to how to achieve a particular taste for your barbequed foods. But there are some basic tips that can help anyone with the basics and will get them started successfully barbequing. By following the 9 tips listed below you can start you career as a backyard barbeque master the next time you fire up your grill. 1. The most important thing you need to do when barbequing is to control the heat. If your fire gets to hot or flares up out of control you can easily burn and dry out your meat. This is not something that is fun to have happen because it effectively kills the whole barbeque experience. 2. Rub you grill with oil before you fire it up to help prevent your meat sticking to the grates. If your grill is already hot you can use a regular spray bottle filled with cooking oil. Just spray the grates before you set your meat on it. 3. Use tongs or a spatula to turn your meat. Never use a fork because piercing the meat allows the juices to escape. 4. Bring your meat to room temperature before grilling. This will allow your meat to cook evenly throughout. 5. Always pre-heat your barbeque. For gas turn on high for 5-10 minutes then adjust temperature as needed. For charcoal light the coals 30 minutes before you intend to start cooking. 6. A clean barbeque grill is a happy grill. See step 2 above. By keeping your food from sticking to the grill it will stay cleaner. 7. When using a barbeque sauce be sure to wait until the outside of the meat is cooked before applying the sauce with your brush. If you add your barbeque sauce to early it can char and cause flares ups when it drips off the meat. 8. The larger the cut of meat the further away it should be from the heat source. This will allow the meat to cook evenly all the way through. 9. If you are doing shish-kabobs and using wooden skewers be sure to soak them in cold water for an hour or so to prevent them from burning. These tips are a great general guideline to follow for anyone wishing to become a backyard barbeque master. They will give you a good base to start from and any recipe or technique you attempt will have a much better chance of success.

How to ensure barbecue food safety

How To Ensure Barbecue Food Safety

Many friends and work colleagues have phoned in sick because of food poisoning and followed it up with something like «I had a BBQ at the weekend, and I must have eaten something not properly cooked».
To be honest I think some of them probably just drank too much but clearly there’s enough of a belief out there that food hygiene is a problem at a barbeque for either a genuine day off work or a cast iron excuse.
In many of the barbecue articles that I’ve written I’ve concentrated on the phrase «sizzle is hot, flames are not» which focuses on the need to be patient and control the barbecue flames. If however you still haven’t mastered this point then maybe it’s time to resign yourself to buying a barbecue thermometer?
Why do I need a BBQ thermometer? Take this barbecue hamburger example:
Many folks assume that when barbecued hamburger is brown in the middle, it is well done but according to USDA research, 1 out of every 4 hamburgers turns brown before it reaches a safe internal temperature. The internal temperature must be 160°F before its safe to eat.
The bug we’re trying to protect ourselves against is e-coli, and bacterium that live on the surface of meat. This is an important point and essential to understand because we can happily eat a rare steak without any chance of food poisoning. Provided the steak is cooked well on the outside, the bacteria are killed.
This is not the case with a hamburger however because the burger is made from ground meat so surface bacteria could be anywhere inside the hamburger.
The signs and symptoms of food borne illness range from upset stomach, diarrhoea, fever, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and dehydration, to more severe illness-even death, but having said all this, please don’t be put off having some hamburgers at your next BBQ cookout. With a few simple precautions that follow the rules of basic food hygiene and barbecue food poisoning will be a thing of the past.
Use a food thermometer. Instant-read food thermometers are good for checking the internal temperature toward the end of the cooking time.
1. The food thermometer should be placed in the thickest part of the food and should not be touching bone, fat, or gristle.
2. Make sure to clean your food thermometer with hot, soapy water before and after each use!
The other option is to use a large-dial oven-safe or oven-probe thermometer and these can be inserted in the meat and used for the duration of cooking.
There are many types of food thermometers, so it is important to follow the instructions for your food thermometer to ensure the correct reading. When happy with the method of use you can refer to the USDA Recommended Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures to ensure a safe barbeque cookout.
· Steaks & Roasts — 145 °F
· Fish — 145 °F
· Pork — 160 °F
· Ground Beef — 160 °F
· Egg Dishes — 160 °F
· Chicken Breasts — 165 °F
· Whole Poultry — 165 °F
That’s the main one, but to finish off here are a few more tips to help you avoid food poisoning at your next BBQ:-
1. Wash hands and surfaces often
Use warm, soapy water for 20 seconds before and after handling food and wash you’re cutting boards after each food item is prepared
2. Don’t cross-contaminate, always keep raw and cooked food separate. Never place cooked food on a plate which previously held raw meat, poultry, or seafood.
3. Refrigerate promptly — but do not cover (e.g. with stretch wrap) if the food is still hot
Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared foods, and leftovers within 2 hours or sooner.
Be Food Safe! Prepare With Care
Know how to prepare, handle, and store food safely to keep you and your family safe. Bacteria can grow on meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy products, as well as cut-up or cooked vegetables and fruits.
Follow the above and food poisoning should be a thing of the past. Why not pass this onto your employees? You may see a marked improvement in Monday morning attendance — or maybe just a different excuse.