Hot Summer Grilling Ideas and Tips

Hot Summer Grilling Ideas and Tips

Posted on 13. May, 2008 by .


Hot Summer Grilling Ideas and Tips
One thing is hot this season is skewers. A lot of chefs and home cooks are giving the skewer a sophisticated makeover.
Whether it’s a spicy chicken with chillies, sweet scallops with peppers or fragrant lamb with preserved lemon one ting is for sure there will be no cutlery is necessary.


Tips and ideas when cooking with skewers:

When using wooden skewer, make sure you soak them before you cook.

Skewers can be done ahead of time: simply marinate overnight

Experiment with different mediums such as rosemary or lemon grass to skewer meats or vegetables

Create a colorful contrast and flavor by adding cherry tomatoes, peppers or mushrooms between layers of meat

Create a grilled dessert by skewering pieces of your favorite fruit

“Double up” use 2 skewers so that it is easy to cook and the meat will not roll over when flipping.

Do not have a grill a cast iron char grills with handles which fit over two burners is perfect for those crosshatch lines on grilled meat, seafood and veggies.


chutney Grilled Chicken Tikka wodden skewers skewered bread cheese

Above images clockwise

Green Chili and Thai Basil Marinade
Chicken Tikka Skewers
Lemon and Sage Chicken Skewers
Cheese and Vegetable Skewers



Continue Reading

"Taste for life" – An culinary event with a commitment to ending violence

Posted on 12. Apr, 2008 by .




Cooking for Life” Presents TASTE FOR LIFE

Join Honarary Lead Chef Vikas Khanna from New York City

and Chicago’s Top Chefs

Featuring Master Sommelier Alpna Singh (Host of Check. Please!)

Tantalize all your senses with culinary samplings from Chicago’s hottest restaurants and tastes of fine wine from around the globe. Stir your soul with the sounds of live entertainment from singer Greta Pope, Enjoy a whiskey tasting with your dessert and bid on exciting live and silent auction prizes.

Touch the world with your commitment to ending violence.

Thursday, April 17, 2008
River East Art Center
435 East Illinois Street, Chicago, IL 60611

apna ghar fundraiser apna ghar fundraiser Apna ghar fund raiser apna ghar fundraiser

Watch Past events organized by cooking for life

Continue Reading

Modern Indian Cook's Essentials

Posted on 24. Mar, 2008 by .


spice rack

There is no single right way to cook any Indian dishes, nor is there a single proper way to serve an Indian meal. The Indian recipes can be made using a variety of techniques – experimentation and practice are the keys to success!

Spices are to Indian cooking what basic stocks, sauces and dressings are to the Western cooking.The exotic spices add warmth, pungency, heat, and subtlety to dishes. Cooks are judged on their skills in blending seeds, powders and pastes. Adventurous chefs may juggle a dozen or more spices in one dish, but most good Indian home cooks do just fine with around six mainstays, although you may want to keep other spices handy for adding extra flavor dimensions to particular dishes.


* Chilli powder
* Cumin seeds
* Garam masala
* Coriander powder
* Turmeric powder

Handy spices

* Black peppercorns
* Cinnamon sticks
* Cloves
* Coriander seeds
* Fennel seeds
* Fenugreek seeds
* Nigella seeds
* Nutmeg and mace
* Dried red chillies

Buying and storing spices

Spices are at their best when used within three months of purchase. To ensure maximum freshness, buy whole spices rather than powders, and grind only what you need. Buy spices from an ethnic grocer rather than a supermarket. Prices are surprisingly low and quality is top-notch. Store whole spices in tightly lidded jars or in the freezer.

Cooking with spices
Toasting whole spices before grinding them intensifies the flavors. To toast, or dry-fry, heat a griddle over a moderate heat, add the spices, and shake the pan until you catch a warm, nutty aroma – it doesn’t take long, about 30 seconds. Similarly, dropping whole spices into a spoon of hot oil also releases essential oils – ‘Tadka’

spice powder

Continue Reading

How to preserve an open bottle of wine

Posted on 13. Feb, 2008 by .


There should not be any excuse for letting a drop of good wine go to waste!


We all love a good bottle of wine! You’ve just had dinner with your significant other, and the half-finished bottle of wine remains on the table. It’s late, and you both have work in the morning, so you’re not thrilled with the idea of polishing it off right away.

But it’s a good wine, and cost a lot more than the bargain bin selections at the local wine shop. So how to ensure that the aroma, taste and character of the wine remain consistent for days – or even weeks – after opening?

There are several options these days to keep your wine fresh after it’s first opened, from high-tech preservation systems to simple tricks. “If you’ll be finishing the bottle in a day or two, simply re-cork it and refrigerate it and you’re good to go. In fact, aerating wine can actually improve the flavor after a couple of days.”

But if you’d rather save the remaining wine for weekend entertaining or beyond, here are a few things to know:

Re-pressurizing the bottle is a must. There are several ways to do this. Manual pumps that stick through the cork like a syringe will suck out the oxygen and create a vacuum inside the bottle – necessary to stop oxidation. Simply pump until you feel significant resistance, and you’re done.

Automatic vacuum preservers take out the guesswork. These high-tech devices cost anywhere from $30 to $100. Just press a button, and in just a few seconds they’ll remove the excess air in the bottle before inserting a wine stopper, creating a vacuum that will preserve the bottle for as long as 14 days more than simple re-corking.

Insert a wine preservative. Just point the straw into the bottle, spray a couple of blasts and re-cork. Comprised of a safe, odorless and colorless mix of inert gasses, usually Nitrogen and Argon, these preservatives create a barrier between the wine and the air remaining in the bottle.

Go pro. A new breed of restaurant-quality wine-preserving systems are trickling down to the consumer market. These systems allow upright display, on-tap-style dispensing and Argon gas preservation of three to eight bottles, so there’s always a variety of choices on-hand and ready to serve. Wine Saver Pro offers a classy looking, chrome and black, five-bottle model for around $1,000 and a three-bottle version for $800.

These above tips were taken in conversation with a wine expert and a good friend Dan Soskin, founder of PINOT , the wine accessories superstore in Philadelphia’s historic district. A must see!

Also visit an interesting site

Continue Reading

FOOD TRAVEL TO KERALA – Gods own country

Posted on 29. Jan, 2008 by .


Located along India’s southwestern coast, Kerala is home to gorgeous beaches and a pleasing tropical climate. The region is known for growing and exporting spices including pepper, cardamom, cloves, turmeric, ginger, chilies, and mustard, all of which are featured in local recipes.


My recent visit to Kerala was a memorable one. The time i spent there was one of my best culinary experiences I ever had. What can I say about Kerala cuisine? It is something every person should experience at least once in a lifetime. This was my first time trying the traditional Syrian Christian Cooking in Kerala. It was explosion of flavors in my mouth. Try the one at the Grand Hotel’s restaurant in Cochi.


The essential ingredients in Kerala’s flavorful cuisine include rice, coconuts and a variety of fresh bananas. Also prevalent is fresh seafood, including fish, prawns, shrimp, crabs, mussels and oysters, and fresh fruits and vegetables including jackfruits, pineapples, mangoes, cassava, yam and tapioca. Traditional dishes include appams, chutneys, biriyanis and Sadya, a Kerala feast of more than 14 vegetable dishes served on a large banana leaf. For dessert there are many kinds of payasam.

Banana Chips fried in Coconut oil ” a local snack ”


I spent most of my time around Kochi (Cochin). We were filming for a TV series ” Food of India “.

Kochi is a gourmet’s delight and at all the cuisine is as diverse as it is remarkable. There is a huge variety in seafood, from shrimp, crisp-fried mussel, grilled prawn, lobster and squid done just so and, of course, soft-shelled crabs tossed Kerala-style. But the meen pollichathu, a delicious fish fillet coated with spice paste, wrapped in banana leaf and roasted should be a priority. There is the staple kappa kari, which is fish and tapioca, and puttu (steamed rice cakes) with beef roast. Again Grand Hotel’s restaurant comes top of my list.

Chinese fishing nets

kerala kerala kerala

Fort Kochi’s ‘You buy, I cook’ beach side food stalls, not far from the Chinese fishing nets, offer good fresh seafood and beautiful views. You can also choose from fresh catch prawns, pomfret, snapper, shark or king fish. You can choose your own “catch of the day” from one of the fishmongers opposite the fishing nets. Then, take it to one of the nearby “fast food” shacks where they will cook it for you.


Spice Market and Trading Areas

The region is known for growing and exporting spices including pepper, cardamom, cloves, turmeric, ginger, chilies, and mustard, all of which are featured in local recipes


Curious to learn more about the local cuisine!!

I recommend some hands on cooking experience, with Nimy Paul

Nimmy, a professional cookery instructor,conducts cookery classes. She teaches guests the nuances of traditional Kerala recipes. She offers food and hospitality to guests at her home. Nimmy and Paul belong to traditional Syrian Christian community in Kerala. In keeping with the tradition of their families they enjoy having guests and serving good food.


Continue Reading