Julia’s Mexican Green Rice

This is an inspired recipe from creative consultant and recipe writer Julia Scannel, a friend of mine. She traveled in Mexico to help write a veritably unknown little book called Cooking With the Chiles & Spices of Mexico published by Culinary Alchemy, a self-published gem of a book I was lucky to get as a gift from her.

Julia’s Mexican Green Rice
source: mexicanplease.com

This green rice is to be served alongside enchiladas and chile rellenos.  Cilantro, known as fresh coriander greens, is an herb that is a characteristic taste associated with Mexican cuisine and just freshens up this rice so beautifully. Don’t consider reducing the amount called for here; it is perfect as designed. This will become a weekly favorite.

Overview

  • Machine: Medium (6 cup) ceramic rice cooker
  • Yield: Serves 3

Ingredients

  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 small white onion, chopped (about 3 to 4 tablespoons)

Instructions

  1. Combine the rice, water, salt, and cilantro in the rice bowl. In a medium sauté pan, heat the butter until melted, add the onion and sauté until the onion is translucent and softened. Add the onion to the rice bowl. Stir just to combine, then cover and program for the regular cooking cycle. Let the rice rest 15 minutes on the Keep Warm cycle. Serve hot.

Red Copper Pan vs Gotham Steel: Which is the Best Pan?

If you are faced with the dilemma of the Red Copper Pan vs Gotham Steel, then, you are on the right page. This is because, in this review, you will know the salient features of these two products. You will also learn the pros and cons of these two products to enable you to objectively weigh their pros and cons. You can eventually make an informed choice when selecting the best nonstick pan in the market today.

Red Copper Pan vs Gotham Steel

Comparative Reviews of Red Copper Pan and Gotham Pans

The Red Copper Pan and the Gotham Steel Pan exhibit great similarities in features. Yet, there are subtle differences that differentiate each from the other.

Red Copper Pan Review

The Red Copper pans come in a set of different pieces for your cooking needs. Online, you can buy a set of 5 pieces or 10 pieces of Red Copper Pans. A 10-piece Red Copper Pan set includes the following: an 8″ frying pan, a 1.5-quart saucepan (w/ lid), a 2.5-quart saucepan (w/ lid), a 10″ fry pan (w/ lid), 6-quart saucepan (w/ lid), and aluminum steamer insert.   

Features

The strong point of Red Copper pan is its non-stick feature. Since it is non-stick, you can say that it is safe to use, and it gives you a healthy alternative for cooking. This is because you don’t need to use fatty oils and butter when cooking. This non-stick property is made possible by its ceramic coating. This coating is PTFE and PFOA free. Moreover, its manufacturer says it is scratch-resistant. Thus, it is durable.

The Red Copper Pan is made of aluminum. Yet, it is also infused with copper for greater conductivity of heat. Thus, it distributes heat evenly across its surface allowing you to cook evenly your food.

The Red Copper Pan is also quite sensitive to varying temperatures. This makes this pan quick to adjust for perfect heating and cooking. Another thing about the Red Copper Pan is that it is easy to clean and is dishwasher safe. Moreover, it is safe to use even in your oven!

Pros:

  • The Red Copper Pan is not the cheapest in the market, but it is affordable.
  • It comes with a lid for its 10-inch frying pan.
  • It is non-stick and thus is safe to use.  

Cons:

  • It may be a bit expensive as compared to the cheaper alternative.
  • Its handles are made of stainless steel which means they get hot.

Gotham Steel Pan Review

Gotham Steel pans, on the other hand, offer various sizes of pan ranging from 9.5″ to 12.5″ pans. Gotham Steel also offers saucepans, square pans, and pots. The largest pan offered by Gotham Steel comes with two handles (a short and long handle). It is also 2.2″ deep.

The selling point of Gotham Steel is that it is infused with Titanium and comes with a ceramic surface finishing. Thus, it is marketed as scratch-resistant and comes with better durability. It is also very light, and thus, they are easy to carry around.

The core, however, of this pan is supposed to be aluminum. It is also said to be safe to use because it is PFOS, PFOA, and PTFE safe. Moreover, it is oven-safe and is capable of handling heat up to 500°F.

Pros

  • It is very lightweight.
  • It is non-stick.
  • It is oven safe.
  • It is dishwasher safe.

Cons

  • It is not that durable.
  • It is not designed for induction cooking.

A comparative review of these two products indicates that both products are non-stick pans with non-stick coatings. They both have stainless steel handles that heat up. They are also both capable of a maximum temperature of 500°F. Moreover, both are oven-safe and dishwasher safe and both also claim they are scratch-resistant. Plus, they are lightweight.

Conclusion

This review hopes to resolve the usual Red Copper Pan vs Gotham Steel dilemma. Both products, however, have almost equal qualities and features and choosing between these two is just a matter of preference.

This review, however, doesn’t suggest that these two products belong to the best nonstick pans in the market today for there are other products that are better than these products. Yet, both pans are great options, given their affordability and good features.

A Review of Best Flat Top Grill in 2020

Do you want to have a perfect time in the sun? Do you want your food to come out perfect than before? Well, then to get these yummy treats you need to have a flat top grill. Choosing the best flat top grill however, can be so challenging.

That’s why we have highlighted for you the top 3 best flat top grill to choose, from together with their advantages and disadvantages. We hope this review will help you choose the best grill that you will love!

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Flat Top Grill

There are several factors to look for in a flat top grill before even thinking of buying it. However, the most important ones include:

  • Its portability

One of the most important factors to look for in a flat top grill is its portability. More often than not you will want to have a perfect family or friend’s moments outside the house or home. That’s why you should ensure you buy a flat top grill that you can easily carry with you everywhere. You can consider looking for one that can be folded and assembled easily.

  • Size and drainage

Another important factor that you should consider before buying a flat top grill is its size and drainage. You should buy grills that have large drainage holes that will help collect grease from the food thus your food will be crisper and healthy.

Reviews of The 3 best Flat Top Grill

Blackstone Outdoor Flat Top Gas Grill

One of the best flat top grills is this outdoor Blackstone Outdoor Flat Top Gas Grill. This quality outdoor gas grill will help you cook for a large group of people all at once. Some of its best features include: it has better side shelf and bottom shelf that acts as a removable cutting board, a trash bag hooks that is strategically placed and a paper towel holder. It also has four independently controllable heat zones.

The best thing about this grill is that you can use it to cook all meals, from breakfast to supper, from eggs to pancakes. The grill is very easy and simple to assemble and use since it has a powered push button ignition, hence you will prepare your meals in no time. The grill is also easy to transport and wheel around the yard.

Last but not least, this Blackstone Outdoor Flat gas grill is very durable, it is built with steel frame that is powder coated.

Pros

  • It has four controllable heat zones.
  • The grill is very easy to transport.
  • It has a better side shelf.
  • Can be used to cook almost all the meals.
  • The grill is very durable.

Cons

  • Poor customer service.
  • Rusts easily even when covered.

Blackstone 28 inch Flat Top Gas Grill

Yet another best flat top grill that you can consider spending your hard earned income on is this Blackstone 28 Inch Flat Top Gas Grill. It offers you up to 470 square inches of flat top grilling space that you can use to cook almost all the meals and food styles. This grill also has a bottom shelf and other two shelves on the sides that are used for food storage and preparations.

Other important features of this grill include; the grill will help you prepare food in no time since it is very easy and simple to assemble and to use. Besides, it is very easy to start by just pushing the ignition button. Moreover, the grill is very easy to transport to your preferred area since it has caster wheels, fold up legs and removable griddle top.

Lastly, the grill will last to pass the test of time, it is very simple to clean and has two independently controllable heat zones.

Pros

  • Very easy to clean.
  • Has two controllable heat zones.
  • The grill is very durable.
  • It has a bottom shelf and two side shelves.
  • Very easy to use and to assemble.
  • The grill is also very easy to transport.

Cons

  • No customer service.
  • The grill rusts easily.

Blackstone 1554 burner Propane flat top grill

Last but not least, another flat top grill that will take your outdoor experience to another level is this Blackstone 1554 Burner Propane Flat top Grill. This grill will give you a taste of traditional barbecuing hence you and your guests will enjoy your delicacies.

Its best features include; the grill is very easy to assemble and to use and it also have an ignition button. Moreover, the griddle top can be easily removed and it has four independently controlled burners and the grill is very durable.

Pros      

  • The grill is easy to assemble.
  • It has four independently controlled burners.
  • The griddle top is removable.
  • It is very durable.

Cons

  • No customer service.
  • The grill does not come with an instruction manual.

Conclusion

These best 3 flat top grills that we have highlighted in this review are the best in the market and you won’t regret choosing any among them. However, we would like to recommend Blackstone 28 inch Flat Top Gas Grill to be the best among the best since it has everything you need in a grill; it is durable, has both bottom and side shelves, are easy to clean and has two controllable heat zones.

briberybakery.com

5 Effective ways of How to use wood pellets in a charcoal grill

How to use wood pellets in a charcoal grill

Charcoal grills are the most versatile types of grills because unlike their gas-fuelled counterparts, you can use alternative types of fuel to heat them up. In addition to charcoal, one of the things you can use is wood pellets. With wood pellets, there’s more to the efficient and eco-friendly fuelling, and the best thing I love about them is the different flavours they add to food.

So if you’re looking forward to doing something different with flavours, you can choose from the cherry, alder, maple, apple, hickory, oak and mesquite pellets depending on what excites your taste buds. One thing that you should know before heading to the store to grab a few pieces is that not all the wood pellets are suitable for charcoal grills.

Therefore, insist only on grilling wood pellets because other types like heating pellets are infused with chemicals that can easily contaminate your food. Many still don’t know how to use wood pellets in a charcoal grill, and if you’re one of them, we’ve got you covered. We will walk you through the basics that you have to observe once you have decided to use wood pellets for your next grill.

Step-step guide on how to use wood pellets in charcoal grill

  • Fire up the grill

It’s always recommended to mix wood pellets with charcoal when grilling. This is to let the charcoal do the heating as the latter brings flavour as you desire. A combination of the two will have your food ready in relatively shorter duration unlike when you heat up the grill with pellets only, helping you conserve energy.

There’re many ways to start-up fire in a charcoal grill,but I prefer to use a chimney starter. It will have you incurring extra expenditures, but it’s relatively faster and effective. They’re also durable, so you won’t need to make any replacements any sooner.

  • Transfer the coals to the grill

With lit coals at hand, your grill will heat up in no minute after you’ve transferred them from the chimney starter.  After this, remember to put the grill lid on to retain the heat. To speed up the process further, leave the vents fully open. Leaving them closed will have your already lit charcoal dying-out and you may end repeating the first process, which is already time-consuming.

  • Add the wood pallets

Before adding wood pellets, you have to see-to-it that the grill is heated to the desired temperatures, depending on what you’re planning to grill. There’s absolutely no limit to the amount of pellets that you should add. You should be guided by how much smoke and flavour you want in your food and for how long you’ll be cooking.

On average, half a cup of wood pellets will keep the flavour flowing for close to 30 minutes. Today we have different flavours of wood pellets as we have seen. This makes it easy to match the flavour with whatever you’re preparing for a tastier outcome.

  • It’s time to cook

After adding wood pellets over the charcoal, you’re required to give them time to ignite before placing your food on the cooking grate or grilling mat. This takes time depending on the quantity that you used. This helps in actualizing the needed amount of smoke and also allows heat from the coal to fully reach the food.

  • Close the grill lid

The final step is to close the lid and let your grill handle the rest. Having opened the grill vents the entire time, you should ensure that they are only half-open at this point. This is key, especially for foods that need slow cooking. Leaving the vents fully open will run out your fire, prompting for addition of fuel.

However, you may also require to have them closed, and the best way to know this is by using a grill thermometer that helps figure out if the cooking temperatures are running high or low. For foods that require cooking times that go up to an hour or more, always check on your grill to know if you need to add extra wood pellets or charcoal to keep the process going.

Summary

There you have it; all made simpler. Learning how to use wood pellets in a charcoal grill makes it easier to embrace this modern aspect of grilling that will leave your guest amazed at how flavourful the food is. You don’t even have to worry about the pellets getting the grill all messed up.

Unlike charcoal or regular wood, they leave minimal traces of ash after burning out, giving you easy times when cleaning afterwards. However, it’s important to note that they burn out way faster than charcoal. Therefore, if you choose to use them without adding charcoal, you might need to keep adding them to the fire in order to bring your grill to the desired heat levels. 

Another thing that you should note is that for genuine flavour, always buy from trusted brands. This applies to all stores, whether you’re buying them online or at the local store.  With them you’ll only need a few pieces of pellets to actualize the true flavour, saving you money. It also guarantees you safety, with no fear of any added harmful substances during preparation.

Thank you! briberybakery.com

Meatball and Rice Soup Recipe

The weather will be getting cooler (although you wouldn’t know it here in NYC because it’s currently 76 degrees!) and that nothing warms the bones better than a nice bowl of soup. If you haven’t experimented with making soups, it really is an amazingly versatile dish. Soups are perfect family food for a few reasons. You can make a soup out of almost anything, it’s easy to make for a crowd, very cost effective and most soups freezes beautifully. I don’t know about you, but any dish I can make in one pot is my kinda cooking. Less cleanup makes for a happier mama!

This soup was inspired by my son Griffin, who just turned one. I want him to try things and have new experiences with food and I realized that he never tried veal. I’ve found that the best way to get a kid to try a new meat is to make it into a meatball. Of course, I couldn’t just make a plain ‘ol meatball, I layered in some extra nutrients by adding shredded carrots and shredded zucchini.

Mini Meatball and Rice Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2lb ground veal
  • 2 carrots, (one shredded and one coarsely chopped)
  • 1 yellow (or green) squash
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 c seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4c chopped parsley
  • 1/2c brown rice
  • 1/2 c green peas

Instructions:

1. In a medium bowl, combine, veal, shredded carrots, shredded yellow squash, chopped garlic, breadcrumbs, eggs and chopped parsley. Mix until just combined. Roll veal mixture into 20 tiny meatballs (about 1 tablespoon of meat per meatball).

2. In a medium stock pot set over medium heat, bring chicken broth to a slow simmer.

3. Carefully drop in the meatballs, celery and remaining chopped carrots. Stir in the rice and cook over low heat for 30 minutes or until rice is tender and meatballs are cooked through. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, stir in peas. Serve  with a piece of crusty bread or freeze.

Note: Soup can be frozen in an airtight container for 1 month.

Mexican Fiesta Soup Recipe

I know I know it’s supposedly Spring but today’s weather is crappy and you never know when a Summer cold will strike. A good chicken soup recipe is something that everyone should have in their recipe arsenal. It is very simple to make and freezes beautifully so there is no reason to have to buy it in a can. And everyone has their own little twist on this classic recipe (mine is a 1/2 of a peeled apple-it adds a creaminess to the soup). While this recipe isn’t for my classic Chicken Soup, I thought my take on a Mexican Chicken Soup would instantly become one of your family favorites. The garnishes are such a thrill! Kids will love the toppings for this soup. Put out tiny bowls filled with the avocado, popcorn and corn chips and let your kids go to town and build their own soup! Enjoy!

Fiesta Mexican Chicken Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 whole chicken, cut up, skin removed
  • 1 small onion, cut in half
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and finely diced (optional)
  • 1 box chicken stock
  • 4 cups water
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¼ c chopped cilantro
  • 1 large avocado, diced (for garnish)
  • popcorn or corn chips or corn nuts for topping soup
  • 2 limes cut into wedges (for finishing soup)

Instructions:

1.In a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add chicken to the pot and cook for about 2 minutes on each side. Add in onion, garlic, celery and carrots.
2. Add chicken stock, water, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce soup to a simmer, and cook, partially covered, until chicken is cooked through, about 35 minutes. Skim off any foam or extra fat that rises to the top and discard.

3. Stir in cilantro at the last minute (this keeps the herb bright and fresh tasting)Right before serving, top each soup with diced avocado, popcorn or corn chips and a squirt of lime.

Enjoy!

how to make cinnamon candy

In our house, Halloween marks the beginning of the holiday season. This time of year I ramp up and get ready for the chaos that will ensue in the next coming months. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE it, chaos AND ALL! I’m one of those people. That doesn’t mean I still don’t feel a little pressured to be super mommy and get it all done. In fact, I fall behind. A lot. Still…I try. That’s gotta count for something, no?

This year I have extra guilt because I’ve spent the last month developing all sorts of Halloween treats for work (like these and these) and left my sons nursery school party snack for the last minute. Luckily I have a few tricks up my sleeve. Yup. That’s right! I have Cookie Pops up my sleeve! LOL.

The dough for these cookies is basic, but very tasty (if I do say so myself). It’s a yummy sugar cookie dough which lends itself nicely to many different flavorings and spices. In this case, I flavored them using cinnamon and vanilla extract and decorated with candy corn. Feel free to add your favorite extract or spice and top it with any seasonal appropriate sprinkle or candy. How about dipping them in chocolate and rolling them in crushed candy canes for Christmas? I bet that would be good. OK, lemme stop. I even made some of the pops more, “adult” and topped them with pepitas (aka pumpkin seeds). Very fancy!

I made these with my two year old. It’s the perfect recipe to get the kids involved (they love inserting the sticks and adding the candy corn).

**Read on after the recipe for some more fantastic Halloween treats.

Cinnamon Candy Corn Cookie Pops Recipe

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
18 wooden popsicle sticks
candy corn for topping

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment or a Silpat liner.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugars on low speed. Add in egg and vanilla. In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add flur mixture to butter mixture until dough comes together, about 1 minutes. Roll dough into walnut sized balls place onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart (cookies won’t spread much).

3. Top each ball of dough with one candy corn and press slightly to flatten. Gently insert popsicle sticks into each ball. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheets before removing with a thin spatula.

Note: As you can see, I used some whole wheat flour in this recipe but I assure you, I wasn’t trying to make these healthy. Truth be told, I ran out of white flour so I gave these a try with a small amount of wheat flour. Luckily, they tasted great! Feel free to use all white flour in this recipe, just don’t use more than 1/2 cup of wheat flour for these. The texture will not be the same.


How to Make Soba Soup – Easy Recipe

One thing my son will always eat is soup. He loves the stuff. His favorite is a noodle soup that we eat at a Chinese restaurant near our house. It’s a giant bowl of chicken broth chock-full of thin hand-rolled noodles, roasted chicken (amazing flavor!), bean sprouts and spinach. Griffin loves using the Chinese soup spoons and even brings his own chopsticks to slurp up the golden broth and slippery noodles. By the time he leaves the restaurant both he and the floor are covered in noodles. Thank goodness the waitress knows us else we’d be in trouble.

Noodles soups are easy to make and can be suited to anyones tastes. Even the pickiest eaters love soup because, let’s face it, slurping is fun! Try experimenting with different broths, noodles, meats and veggies to create your own perfect meal. For this recipe I decided to head to Japan for inspiration and used yummy Soba noodles. Soba noodles are made with buckwheat flour and can be eaten hot in soup or cold with a dipping sauce. They can be found in the ethnic aisle of almost any grocery store and are a great alternative to every day pasta. This dish takes all of ten minutes, making it perfect for a weeknight meal. Try it tonight.

This meal was a slurping success!

This meal was a slurping success!

Soba Noodle Soup Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups low sodum chicken or vegetable stock
  • 4-5 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup baby corn, cut in half
  • 2 baby bok choy, quartered
  • 2 bundles of soba noodles
  • sesame oil, to top
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

Instructions:

1. Cook soba noodles according to package instructions. Once cooked, divide the noodles amongst 4 deep soup bowls.

2. Bring stock, soy sauce and ginger to a boil in a large saucepan. Lower the heat to medium and add in mushrooms and baby corn. Cook for about 5 minutes then add in bok choy. Cook for 2 minutes more or until the bok choy is slightly tender but still bright in color. Turn off heat and drizzle about 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil over the broth. Ladle hot broth and vegetables over the soba noodles and garnish with chopped scallions.