it’s time to grill outside, grilling your entire meal is a good habit to get
into. Don’t run the oven and stove along with the grill – it’s a huge waste of
energy. Grill your meats, grill your vegetables, bake potatoes, and even a head
of romaine lettuce which you will quarter and serve with Caesar dressing. Grill
it ALL. The key is to let the grill get hot before putting your food on it.
But, in order to be thrifty, you don’t want to be idle while the grill gets hot;
it’s a waste of gas. So time things perfectly and be ready to grill the instant
that the BBQ is hot enough to grill perfectly – full heat. Turn it on and crank
it to full heat. Leave the lid down, if it has one, and let it get as hot as
possible. Make sure that all of the items you want to grill are dry and ideally
at room temperature (yes, even meat), before they go onto the grill. It will
make for a consistently cooked product and won’t cool down the grill too much.
Be careful of meats that have been marinated with too much sugar; they will
burn. Happy grilling!
to create great vegetable side dishes on the BBQ, simply fold your vegetables
(i.e. broccoli, beans, carrots, asparagus, etc.) with a little butter, maybe
some lemon, salt and pepper, in a tinfoil pouch and place on the BBQ with your
meat or fish. It’s important to fold a solid seal along the top of the tinfoil
pouch so that the vegetables will steam and cook more evenly. Remember, the
vegetables won’t take as long as the meat, so put them on the grill towards the
end (i.e. the last 5 to 8 minutes) of your meat’s cooking time or, if your BBQ
has one, put them on the upper shelf and away from direct flames.
common, but the grating technique offers many less-common possibilities.
Cheese, potato, carrot, garlic, ginger, and nutmeg all spring to mind when I
think of grating. Cheese for a pizza or sandwich or gratin, potato for a hash
brown or potato pancake, carrot for a salad, garlic for anything and
everything, ginger for a stir fry or soup, nutmeg for gratin or apple crisp.
Grating is a fast way to process foods and fast is thrifty. Try grating
something that you would not normally grate and then choose one of the many
methods of cooking to finish it off. Grate yam and sauté it…
any ground meat and season it with whatever you like: maybe soy, mustard, onions,
garlic and parsley, or maybe ginger, garlic, miso, or cilantro. Making burgers
is fun and opens a great many doors to a variety of flavors. Turkey, pork,
lamb, venison, beef, salmon, nuts and seeds…all lend themselves to being the
bases for tasty burgers. If the meat is really fresh it will bind up on its
own, but if it’s been thawed from frozen, you ought to add an egg to it.
Breadcrumbs, cooked rice, beans, or even tofu are also nice fillers for
burgers. When kneading your mixture together, you want to achieve a consistency
that is firm and not too sticky – easy to form into balls or burgers. If you
score a bunch of inexpensive ground meat, make it into tons of burgers and
freeze them as mentioned above. They will make for quick, inexpensive, and easy
associated with dough – pasta, bread, pastry, pizza – kneading is a technique
for forming malleable solids out of a combination of liquids and solids. Using
the palm of one’s hand, a ‘kneader’ pushes the ingredients together in a
constant motion, over and over and over until they achieve a substance that is
one phase – uniform and consistent. Since kneading typically involves grains
and protein, one can say that the more you knead, the tougher the mixture will
become. If you knead a bread dough too much, it becomes very dense; pastry will
become cracker-like; pasta like a rubber band; hamburger very chewy. Practice
is key as with all of these techniques. You will learn what is too much
kneading and too little. Fortunately, the dishes that require kneading are
typically comprised of inexpensive ingredients, so you can experiment with less
Marinating is another simple way to add value to
lower cost items. It can also help the body digest animal proteins because the
principle of marinating is to use a form of acid – vinegar, tomato, lemon juice,
etc. – to break down muscle fibers. Beyond tenderizing, marinating is a way of
infusing another, complimentary flavor into the meat, fish, or vegetable that you
wish to improve. Marinades require
acid, and perhaps a counter-flavor for the acid (something sweet, such as honey
or maple syrup or something savory like mustard or miso), herbs, spices, or
roots like onion, garlic, or ginger, and perhaps a little fat, depending on the
type of food that you’re marinating
and how you will cook it. The acid in the recipe could come from fruits or
vegetables of fermented products like wine or beer or miso; and also milk
products because of their lactic acid can be excellent in marinades.
meats are particularly suitable for marinating
because they are cooked in the open air on thin, hot pieces of metal.
Unfortunately, roasting pans and ovens are not marinade friendly for many foods;
marinating a piece of lamb shoulder
and cooking it in a roasting pan will have a tough and lousy result, for
example.You want to marinate foods dry
heat cooking (the BBQ), not moist heat.
Homemade Marinade Examples:
I marinate boneless turkey legs
with sage, thyme, a little bit of lemon, white pepper, and salt and then roll
them up and tie them with butcher twine. I let them soak in all the
flavors for four hours and then deep fry them – they’re gorgeous!
I marinate boneless lamb shoulder
with yogurt (outstanding ability to tenderize), lemon juice, garlic, rosemary,
thyme, chili pepper, and a little bit of soy for about 12 hours or more, and
then grill it.
I marinate skirt steak (very
inexpensive) in miso and garlic and chili and apple cider vinegar for 12
hours and then grill them.
I marinate venison chops in red
wine, juniper, thyme, rosemary, black peppercorn, and bay leaf for 24 to
48 hours and grill them –game loves marinade. Note: wild game meat is
extraordinarily healthy compared to farm raised meats. If you hunt and
know how to prepare game meats, you have what it takes to cut you meat
protein bills to nearly $0.00!
I marinate duck legs in orange
zest and juice, thyme, juniper, apple cider vinegar, Szechuan peppercorn
and rock salt for 24 hours (then rinse the salt with water). I then cook
thelegs slowly in duck fat for
four hours on top of the stove – this is duck confit and you’re gonna love
it! Duck confit is another form of curing – see above – and the final
product is delicious and has a very long shelf life (many months), stored
in its own fat and in the fridge.
Macerating is a means of tenderizing and
sweetening fruits: dried or fresh. Place your fruit – strawberries, apple
slices, dried figs, etc - in a bowl and sprinkle with a few tablespoons of
sugar. Gently mix and store in the fridge. The process starts immediately. The
sugar will begin to break down the skin and the juice/moisture from the fruit
will start to come out. Serve the fruit with ice cream, meats – macerated
apples with pork anyone? – or fish. Some spices, such as cardamom and cinnamon,
are lovely additions to macerated fruits. Even black pepper with strawberries
and a couple of drops of balsamic vinegar is a nice side for cheese, a piece of
venison, or other game.