Category Archives: Food

Great Gourmet Coffee is Not Created With a Single Bean

The word “coffee” brings specific thoughts and images to mind. Smooth, rich, fragrant, dark, soothing and eye opening are just some of the words that probably come to mind. On television we see rich, thick cups of coffee that simply look amazing. It is very possible to brew that same cup of coffee from home with the help of master roasters from Italy.

People often try everything to change the taste and texture of their coffee. They resort to buying expensive flavored creamers to improve the overall coffee experience. More often than not, all that does is mask the flavor of the coffee. True coffee lovers don’t wish to mask the coffee flavor, they prefer to enhance it.

In effort to achieve a better coffee at home, people resort to cleaning their coffee pot, or even buying a new one. They are often led to believe that using bottled water will enhance the flavor of their coffee. Soon they realize it isn’t the coffee pot, the problem is the type of coffee. When all else fails, change the type of coffee you purchase. If you’re in the market for a heavy, thick coffee with a full bodied taste, go for a Sicilian gourmet coffee.

Coffee beans grown in South America and Indonesia are kept at a certain height and cultivated while the fruit is at its prime. These coffee beans have a heaviness and aroma that assaults the senses and creates an entirely new love of coffee. The flavor lingers in your mouth, never turning bitter. Your morning cup becomes a savory, satisfying way to start the day.

Entertain Your Guests with Sicilian Gourmet Coffee

If you love entertaining guests who love great coffee, switch your usual grocery store coffee with a rich, bold Sicilian blend. The coffee itself will become an instant conversation starter. You may choose to share your new-found coffee secrets with your guests, or keep them to yourself. Sicilian gourmet coffee brings with it a warm feeling of friendship that your friends and guests will talk about for months to come.

Some people may believe they’re coffee lovers, but they’ve never tried anything other than grocery store brands. Every coffee drinker has slightly different tastes. The wide variety of gourmet coffee blends is sure to offer something for everyone. While planning your next get-together with friends, choose your coffee carefully.

Coffee Beans Make All the Difference

Coffees sold in your local grocery store are created in mass quantities to sell. While they try to maintain some sense of quality, quantity often reigns supreme. Coffee plants aren’t always properly nourished and cared for the way they should be to create really amazing coffee grounds.

Gourmet coffee plants are nourished and cared for. They are grown at specific altitudes that ensure the overall quality of the coffee beans. They are generally grown to a specific height and the beans are cultivated at a precise time to create the perfect balance between aroma, taste and body.

Not All Gourmet Coffees Are Created Equal

The overall quality of the variety of gourmet coffee types depends on the coffee bean used. Two types of bean are Arabica and Robusta. These two coffee beans are grown in different areas of the world at completely different altitudes. The Arabica bean is grown in the mountains of South America while the Robusta bean is grown and cultivated in Asia at about sea level.

The amount of each coffee bean used to create a cup of coffee can greatly impact the taste. The Arabica bean creates a smooth, delicate flavor. Adding Robusta beans to Arabica beans adds a true, classic Sicilian flare. The combination of 70 percent Arabica beans and 30 percent Robusta beans create one of the greatest golden blends of gourmet coffee Sicily has to offer.

Different Types of Coffee Makers

Coffee or the word cafe is all you would like to hear after a long work or right after you wake up. This is the most widely drunk beverage in the world. Coffee ingestion on an average is about a third of that of tap water in North America and Europe . While drinking coffee outside is usually expensive and preferred mostly during conversations or meetings, deals etc., many of us would prefer to make coffee ourselves at home and drink it in the company of our family members or drink it ourselves. Over the years, this art of brewing coffee has been mastered and we can make the best brewed coffee ourselves, but this has been taken over by our need to automate the coffee brewing art so that our work is made easier. Here, you will be taken through the three types of coffee makers in the world and figure out which is the best for you.

Santos Vacuum Coffee Maker , designed by Swedish designer Kass Kleeson:

First we will look at the vacuum coffee maker which is hailed by anyone who has tried it as the best coffee maker of all times. It uses a process that cooks coffee with an extremely strong flavor. The flavor and strength is usually based on how much coffee you use to make it. Today, a lot of coffee makers destroy the flavor by not mixing the components properly, or by not brewing at the right temperature or maybe not brewing for the right amount of time too.

A vacuum coffee maker is made up of two units. The lower and upper pots which are both made of glass. The upper pot is placed directly on top of the lower pot, and both the pots sealed together with the help of a stopper. A tube is attached to the upper pot which runs down to the lower pot as well. A filter is also attached to the upper pot to filter the coffee while it flows down to the lower pot.

Ground coffee, usually of coarse texture, is added to the upper pot. This depends upon how much your taste buds want. Usually, for a strong coffee, 1 tablespoon per cup of coffee will suffice. Then the lower pot is filled with the required amount of water and placed over a heating element or fire. After reaching boiling point, the upper pot is placed on top of the lower pot and the decreased pressure in the lower pot will cause the water to push up itself through the pipe into the upper pot. Here, the coffee is brewed in hot water and after a few minutes (depending upon the strength of coffee you want) the whole apparatus is removed from the heating element. If you are a beginner at using this type of coffee machine, it pays to experiment and figure out the right time duration that produces the coffee of your choice. As the water cools down, a vacuum is built up in the lower pot and coffee is sucked down. The upper pot is removed and the coffee collected in the lower pot is poured into the cups and enjoyed. The greatest benefit of using this coffee machine is that the temperature is perfect and this does not destroy the oils and flavor of coffee which is often the case in other coffee makers. Though this process requires little manual effort to place the apparatus on the heating element and taking it out of the heating element, this manual effort is affordable once you start drinking coffee made by this procedure.

Stove Top Coffee Maker :

This is made up of aluminium or stainless steel. The bottom of the pot contains a reservoir of water and the top has a round basket with a stem reaching to the end of the pot. First, water is filled and the basket of coffee is then added. The pot is heated and as the water boils, it comes in contact with the coffee and the coffee is brewed. The basket must be removed to filter out the coffee beans. Latest types include espresso pots which use steam and water to brew the coffee. This is reported to brew better coffee, but taste buds vary from person to person. Steam is used to produce latte or foam milk for cappuccinos.

Nowadays, we have stove top pots which function similar to the French press which presses the coffee beans to the bottom of the pot to produce a darker and much richer cup of coffee. However, this type of machine requires constant watching as there is possibility of burning the coffee beans in the absence of careful observation.

Drip Coffee Maker:

Almost all the drip filter coffee makers work the same way. They contain a paper or a plastic filter which holds the finely ground coffee. Cold water is poured through a tube from a reservoir and heated before falling over the coffee powder. This brews and extracts the oils and flavor of the coffee into the waiting carafe. This is a simple and reliable method compared to many other models available in the market.

Many companies use these three models with other additional features such as the strength of coffee, sugar adding facility, coffee with milk, number of cups etc. It is up to you to choose the best coffee maker according to the budget and the one which is most appropriate to your convenience. You would not choose the one which adds sugar automatically for an extra price as we can do that for ourselves, unless you are the one who does not know how to spend your money. The bottom line is that the machine must brew coffee at the right temperature for the right time using the right amount of water.

Lose Weight By Excluding Poor Quality Foods

Several people do not comprehend just how they must begin whenever needing to drop pounds. Somebody possibly will suggest doing exercises a lot more. Someone else may say eat additional vegetables and fruits. Getting all this guidance, commencing a nutritious fat loss program might be challenging. Nonetheless, an individual ought to understand if trying to lose weight many basic adjustments can assist with losing unwanted pounds.

For starters, a person must realize a little exercise in addition to consuming nutritionally sound food items are crucial in eliminating extra weight. Try seeing physical activity as freedom, instead of duty. Attempt to see food as fuel and not food calories. Dieters ought to try seeing removing extra weight like a reward to them as well as family members.

A terrific way to get more exercise each day is taking a walk during lunch break. A number of individuals use this time to socialize and eat their lunch. As an alternative, a person ought to devote one-half their lunch break walking. Taking an afternoon walk will improve stamina plus decrease tension. Best yet, whenever individuals can persuade another person to join them, then an individual is more apt to walk daily. An additional benefit of going for walks during lunch is individuals have even more free time after work to spend with family members.

One error a lot of dieters do regarding exercise is only doing a preferred exercise. As the human body becomes acquainted with that workout, a person uses smaller amounts of food calories. Nevertheless, a dieter should not discontinue their favorite activity, just mix it together with others. When fitness gets better, enhance intensity amounts to challenge a body and burn off additional calories. Thus, an individual ought to not forget to mix up workouts in order to remove unwanted pounds.

An individual should understand when trying to lose weight consuming healthy food products is important also. A human body requires foods to create fuel. What foods people eat determines the amount of energy a body will make. An individual ought to remember the body will only make energy dependent upon whatever is taken in. If junk foods are consumed an individual feels less energetic. Whenever nutritionally sound foods are ingested an individual feels full of life. Therefore, eating healthy food items will be crucial for dropping body weight. Additionally, a body must have healthy food items abundant with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals in order to work effectively.

Books on Candle Making

Making your own candles is a favorite craft and hobby many individuals. They find the process to be enjoyable and relaxing. Candle makers have been know to turn to their hobby in times of stress. For some candle makers, once they learn the basics they are ready for new challenges. Purchasing books on candle making can provide you with everything from basic instructions, tips, and creative ideas to make beautiful candles. Most candle making books offer wonderful illustrations as well as step by step instructions. Continue reading

Gourmet Foods and the Use of Alba White Truffles

Whenever you think about culinary arts and skills, think gourmet foods and white truffles. Gourmet foods come with high quality and taste. These dishes are very common in the United Kingdom, despite being originally from Alba, Italy. They are as well among the most highly upheld and traditional foods of exotic cooking that have been passed down from one generation to another by the Roman culture. Continue reading

Purchasing a Food Sealer

Have you considered purchasing a food sealer for your home but are not quite sure which one is right for you? There are a number of different options available on the market today, and deciding which type is appropriate for your situation can sometimes be a challenge. This article will identify some of the different types of food sealers and hopefully help you decide which one is perfect for your own home.

One of the most popular types on the market today is the personal food sealer which is made to be used in homes for personal use which includes the occasional sealing of meats, vegetables, dried foods, and more. These types of sealers have become more and more popular these days since people are becoming more and more conscientious about what they are doing with the excess food that is produced in their daily lives. The personal models are generally smaller than commercial models and are capable of sealing small amounts of food at one time. They are typically not used every day, but on occasion when there is excess food that can be stored away.

Another type of food sealer that is frequently purchased is the commercial food sealer which is quite a bit large than personal models and is capable of sealing large quantities of food at one time. The commercial models are typically purchased by businesses such as restaurants, meat shops, grocery stores, delis, and any other business where there is a large amount of food inventory turnover. You may also consider purchasing a commercial sealer if you plan on constantly sealing large amounts of food at home.

When it comes to price you are going to pay less for a personal model because they aren’t capable of doing the amount of work that can be done by a commercial model. Also, personal sealers are smaller and more compact so there is less material required to make one when compared to the bigger, more robust commercial models. You can typically expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $150 for a personal food sealer, and $150 and up for a commercial model.

If you’re planning on using your product occasionally in order to seal and store excess food, then perhaps the personal model will be your best solution. Otherwise, if you plan on using your sealer to seal and store large quantities of food items on a consistent basis, or if you have a business that requires the use of a food sealer, then you would want to consider purchasing a commercial food sealer.

Clean and Conscious Dining With Halal Foods

The process of preparing halal foods can be said to be multidisciplinary. The foods should not only be from good sources but they should also taste good. For example, the true taste of chicken biriani cannot be compromised. The spices must be in the right proportions and prepared at the right temperature. Presentation is also important especially for gourmet food and specialty food. Zabihah halal food distributors do justice to the ingredients they work with bringing out the true flavor.

Considerations must be made whether to have fully cooked or precooked meals. This is important with regards to frozen food which must be reheated. Some dishes go especially well with specific sauces. For obvious reasons, they are packed separately but they should be served in one dish. Some of the halal food like chicken nuggets can be taken as snacks. Others are the variety of gourmet food and so are served as appetizing entrees.

Frozen food is convenient for individuals and also for parties. You don’t have to be worried that guests will reject the food at the event you are hosting. The halal food is enjoyed both by vegetarians and beef eaters. The logistics of preparing food en masse is beaten hands down by the availability of frozen food. Call it modern convenience; you can now be the perfect host without having a clue on culinary matters. The makers of frozen food have explored the intricacies of world cuisine. They have the knack of producing the family meal that can bring a sense of nostalgia to many people.

Apart from the gastronomic experience, halal food is a health plus and a credit to the reduction of green house gases. This comes about due to the fact that halal food originates from farms that run on sustainable energy. Taking the entire subject of conservation and social responsibility to another level, bio-digestors and other sustainable energy sources are used. The source farms are a haven for clean energy. The animals themselves can be considered clean because they are never given antibiotics. The animals are of a natural size since they don’t have growth enhancers such as hormones. The goal is to culture food sources which are less fattening or pegged with risk indicators to cancers and other health issues. For the same reason, the sauces have no preservatives as they come from fresh produce which is not processed.

It is worth mentioning that meat from halal food is from animals that were not abused neither did they face animal cruelty. It thus gives consumers a clean conscious when choosing halal food from the frozen food section. The livestock such as lamb, cow and chicken are well treated and their animal rights are respected. The farms that are certified for halal food are currently small farms. However with the endorsement of conscious consumers they are growing larger and larger. For the health freaks or for persons who are ill, specialty food is also available. Many have seen the benefits of specialty food when they are ill and have continued taking it after full recovery.

Some Tips for Preventing Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is one thing that people often worry about when eating food at a restaurant, especially if they have not eaten there before. While food poisoning is widely regarded as something that comes from food in a restaurant, or somewhere else outside of the home, keep in mind that food prepared within your own home can cause this problem as well. One benefit, though, is the greater degree of control you can have over the food prepared in your kitchen.

To reduce the risk of food poisoning, one must understand how the food poisoning process works. Coming down with a food-borne illness is a direct result of digesting food that has viruses, bacteria, and even parasites, which have developed on the food over time. While harmful bacteria and other “germs” are common in virtually any environment, a healthy immune system usually protects the body from becoming ill. When you introduce tainted food directly into the body, however, it becomes harder to combat.

Coming down with a food-borne illness typically leads to symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, and even vomiting. Food poisoning symptoms can appear either within a few hours or can take up to a few days to manifest; any timeline will greatly depend on the food that was digested, as well as how your body handles it. With that said, here are a few safety precautions that one must take in order to avoid this type of poisoning:

Know the Risky Foods

If you cannot control the foods that are handed to you such as dishes at a restaurant, you must know which kinds of foods that can cause this sort of poisoning. Food such as undercooked meats, raw produce, and even seafood are notorious for carrying viruses and parasites. Avoiding these dishes altogether can reduce your risk of food poisoning a great deal, but may be considered an unreasonable precaution for meat eaters. It is important to consider both your appetite for risk along with your literal appetite when making choices. However, if you ever feel your food is undercooked, never be afraid to send it back.

Always Wash your Hands and Food Contact Surfaces

Before serving any type of food at home, always make sure that you wash your hands properly and with antibacterial hand soap. You should wash both before and during preparation, especially after handling raw meat, fish, and poultry. Not washing your hands between handing raw meat and lettuce used in a salad, for example, can easily cross contaminate the salad. You also need to sanitize cutting boards, countertops, pans, utensils, and other surfaces that encounter food.

Use a Thermometer

When preparing and cooking items such as meats, use a meat thermometer to ensure that the inside of the meat is at an appropriate temperature. When cooking foods such as fish and chicken, the temperature should always be higher than 140 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. By reaching these temperatures, you will kill the vast majority of live bacteria or parasites.

Always Chill Food

The longest that raw meats should stay out of a refrigerator is two hours. It is best to either thaw your meats in the microwave, or let them sit in the refrigerator until they are ready to be cooked. When thawing food at room temperatures, be sure to set it down on a plate away from any other types of food and make sure that it does not touch the countertop.

Check the Expiration Date

Although this may sound obvious, it is crucial that you check the expiration date on the meats that are going to be prepped. All grocery stores and butchers will place a date to use by on all labels. Be sure to glance at these labels before cooking. If the meat has expired, do not gamble and try to cook it – play it safe and toss it out.

By taking basic precautions and using your head, food poisoning can be prevented, especially in your own home. When eating outside of the home, try to avoid raw foods and inspect your meats before consumption. By being more aware of the food you consume, you can decrease your own risk of becoming ill from food poisoning.

Coffee Roasts 101 – What Are You Drinking?

You’re new to the world of coffee and you want to digest as much information as possible in the simplest way to consume. You’ve been drinking your father’s Yuban for years and you just know there has to be something better out there. You want to buy good coffee, but you’re not sure where to start. This guide will serve as your starting point, your beacon of hope in the night.

Let us begin with simple terminology and then we’ll move on to a more refined glossary. There are three ‘main’ categories of roast. There is the Light Coffee Roast, Dark Coffee Roast, and Medium Coffee Roast. To put it simply any coffee you choose is going to fall upon this range of flavor. Each roast is denoted as such by the time spent in the roaster, the temperature it is roasted at, and the color of the bean after the roast.

Coffee Roasting:

This is the process of transforming a green coffee bean into its more noticeable self, the roasted coffee bean. Coffee roasting can last anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes and goes through multiple stages of low to high heats in order to capture the complexities and flavors that are sought in the final production. Coffee has a large spectrum of flavor and color that denotes its characteristics.

Light Coffee Roast:

A light coffee roast is perhaps the least popular of all coffee roasts, but that isn’t to say that it is the least desired coffee or that it is inherently worse than a darker roast. Quite the opposite is true in that a light coffee is more apt to capture the true flavor of a coffee bean. Because its flavors will stay intact a green coffee bean of high quality and desired taste is much more suited to a lighter roast. A lower quality coffee bean will be roasted longer and at higher temperatures to mask its inferior taste.

A light coffee roast will typically have more caffeine than its darker counterpart. As a coffee bean roasts longer the caffeine is ‘burned off’ thus a lighter roast will keep more caffeine intact.

Certain regions and blends are more apt to produce a high quality light roast coffee. Roasters often choose a particular region of green bean coffee to use in their light roast coffee.

How to tell if you’re drinking a Light Coffee Roast?

A light coffee roast is denoted by its light body, full taste, and its bright liveliness. The first impression you will experience is the taste. Because the green coffee bean has been roasted for as little time as possible the true flavors are still in tact. As the coffee is tasted across the palate you will be able to extract the full flavor of the bean. The finishing taste of the light coffee is often described as sweet or lively. A bad light roast will have the acidic taste of grass left on your palate. A good light roast will have a slightly acidic, floral aromatic finish to it often described as citrus or fruity in flavor.

Dark Coffee Roast:

The dark coffee roast is the second most popular of all the coffee roasts, but that isn’t to say that it’s the best roast available. It is often characterized as a dark roast because of the amount of time spent in the roaster and the temperature at which it is roasted. A coffee bean that has been subjected to longer roasting times and higher temperatures will lose a majority of its true green coffee bean flavor. This results in a more uniformed taste and consistency. Often times lower quality coffee beans will be dark roasted because of this. However, there is still a large difference that can be noted when high quality coffee beans are dark roasted.

Just about any green coffee bean can be dark roasted and still have a drinkable taste. Because the process of roasting a coffee to its breaking point nullifies any of the off tastes and inconsistencies that can be found in a green bean, the region of the green coffee bean is of less importance to the roaster when creating their dark coffee roast.

How to tell if you’re drinking a Dark Coffee Roast?

A dark coffee roast is denoted by its full body and its smooth liveliness. The first impression you will experience is that the taste is more neutral when compared to a light roast. As the green coffee bean is roasted longer it neutralizes any off tastes and creates a more uniform taste. The dark coffee will be most noticeably smoother than its light counter part. The longer the green coffee bean spends roasting the less acidity is left to impart on the palate. It will have a finishing taste that is less pronounced and considered smoother as a result.

Medium Coffee Roast:

The medium coffee roast covers the full gambit of coffee that fall somewhere between a light and a dark coffee. Entirely up to the roaster and the region of the coffee bean it can have a medium to full body flavor and either a smooth or slightly acidic after taste. Its goal is to provide the best of both the light and the dark coffee. It wants to capture the flavor of the green bean without leaving its off marks in place. It is a highly artisan practice to create a well balanced medium roast.

You will find that most coffee blends you drink will be considered of the medium roast variety. A roaster will carefully choose which regions to blend together to capture the just the right flavor from the roasting process.

How to tell if you’re drinking a Medium Coffee Roast?

A medium coffee roast is denoted by its medium body and its smooth-bright liveliness. Because it covers such a wide range of flavors, the medium roast is perhaps the most popular coffee. It allows the roaster flexibility to derive the most flavor from the green coffee bean. If the coffee you’re drinking lingers on your palate and finishes with a lively flavor you’re probably drinking a medium roast coffee.

Conclusion:

Coffee comes in all different forms. There is no right or wrong choice, simply put; it is a matter of personal opinion. When choosing your coffee roast a general rule of thumb is that as the sun rises in the morning it is time for a light coffee roast and as the sun sets it is time for a dark coffee roast. In between the two, feel free to drink the medium coffee roast.

Culinary Career Options in the Hospitality Industry

Careers in the culinary arts go beyond basic cooking. There are a variety of specialized chefs that focus on anything from sauces to deserts. In bigger establishments there are chefs whose duties almost exclusively involve the management of other chefs and there can even be chefs who manage them. Here are some of the culinary world careers.

Executive chefs are going to be those chefs at the highest levels and are considered executives. Their main functions are to manage the chefs and preparation workers at a restaurant. They can also advance to be responsible for multiple restaurants in a chain. They are required to plan the menu, estimate food needs and cost plus supervise the staff of chef and other kitchen help. They are also responsible for the hiring and training of new chefs. They still may have some regular cooking duties or may just prepare certain meals and at special functions.

Sous-chefs are also managers but are below executive chefs. They are responsible for the direct supervision of the staff. They also play a hands on role in the training of new techniques, equipment and recipes. They also may be involved in menu planning, food and supply ordering. They are usually still required to prepare the main dishes as well as help in special events.

A saucier is exactly as is sounds, a chef whose main purpose is to prepare sauces and also dished cooked in sauces or gravy. Sauces are a foundational part of cooking so a saucier needs to be very knowledgeable. They need to know everything that has anything to do with the possible permutations and mixtures that go in to creating a fine sauce.

A garde manager, also known as a chef garde manager, is also used to describe a chef that is in charge of all colds foods. Garde is a French term for a pantry where cold dished are stored and prepared, prepared foods such as desserts, salads, sandwiches, dressings, cold sauces and appetizers. They are usually very skilled at using left overs in a creative way to invent new dishes.

A pastry chef may have the most delicious job of all. They have to make a variety of confections and baked items. This may include pastries but also cookies, cakes, chocolates, beignets and petitfours but they can routinely make any desert imaginable. Not only are the very knowledgeable of the flavors and tastes involved in deserts, they can also fill supervisory roles in establishment large enough to a pastry staff.

Upscale establishments the career an extensive wine list will employ sommeliers. Sommeliers are experts in wine and they routinely suggest wine for customers that are complimentary to their meals. While some may think that a job that requires you to consume and judge a ton of wine sound like a dream, it can be difficult work the needs a lot of practice and an abundance of knowledge. There are classes that can be taken that will focus on wine. They will teach you the chemistry that goes into making wine as well as how to properly taste wine. You will also learn how to judge wine based on its aroma, flavor, color and body.