The right way to cook or BBQ

. Steaks: Steaks that are at least 3/4-inch to 1-inch thick won't dry out easily during grilling. Trim off excess fat and slash the fat edges at 1-inch intervals to prevent curling. Turn your steak with tongs once, halfway through cooking (don't use a fork — it will pierce the meat and let the natural juices escape). Many factors can influence cooking time — including the weather, especially wind, when you're using charcoal — so test for doneness by cutting into the thickest part of the steak and checking its color. 2. Hamburgers: Make ground-beef patties about 1-inch thick — they're juicer than thinner patties. Ground meat is very susceptible to bacterial contamination, so be sure to cook your meat until it's at least medium-well done (160 degrees F on a meat thermometer inserted horizontally into the burger). 3. Poultry: Whether you're cooking chicken, duck, or turkey, the best way to test for doneness is with a thermometer. Breasts should be cooked to 170 degrees F; thighs and whole birds to 180-185 degrees F. You can remove poultry from the grill when it's 5 or 10 degrees below the recommended temperature, but be sure to let it stand about 10 minutes to allow the temperature to rise. If you don't have a thermometer, remove the bird to a white plate and pierce with a fork. Any juice that comes out should be clear. If juice comes out pink, cook a little longer and check again. You can test cut-up pieces of chicken the same way. 4. Kabobs: Foods that are cooked together on the same skewer should heat quickly and take the same amount of time to cook. Foods with different cooking times, like vegetables and meat, should be grilled on separate skewers. Also, be sure to leave a little space between pieces on the skewer so the food cooks evenly. If you like metal skewers, buy twisted or square ones, not round — the food will twirl on the skewers less and cook more evenly. If you're using wooden or bamboo skewers, shape isn't a factor. But soak them in water for at least 15 minutes before using so they don't burn. Just pat dry before putting food on them.

The right choice,,organic

For many, the words organic gardening conjures up visions of granola and the Grateful Dead. But today organic gardening is a growing - and very mainstream -- portion of the gardening population. Perhaps it's a backlash against our high-tech world of genetic engineering, laser beams and virtual everything. Or maybe people are just looking for better-tasting food. Organic gardening is the process of growing plants without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Those who garden naturally argue that their gardens are better off without these man-made chemicals. They believe chemicals are harmful to gardens, people and the environment. Tampering with the natural makeup of soil and plants eventually weakens the plants -- leading to a cycle of problems. For instance, a chemical fertilizer may compensate for a lack of humus in soil; however, the soil eventually loses its structure and becomes dependent on fertilizer. Insects and diseases can mutate and become resistant to synthetic sprays -- another long-term drawback of chemical use. Plus these poisons kill indiscriminately and can rid a garden of helpful insects, further upsetting the natural order of garden life. Perhaps most importantly, organic gardeners don't want to be harmed by eating chemically treated food, or by exposing themselves to chemicals, nor do they want the environment harmed by the use and disposal of

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Enjoy more great recipes at www.hootowlcafe.com