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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Knowing Your Butcher

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I’ve been getting a few requests for #tips when you’re shopping for meat at your grocery store. I would first, and most important is, get to know your butcher and/or your fishmonger. Your butcher and fishmonger are there to provide a service, but let me tell you they can do so much more for you. Get to know them, I mean, like on a first name basis. They have great knowledge in their field and they love to help with any questions you may have. I’m always learning something new.

Let me give you some examples.
First, the butcher. Where I shop, you can watch the butchers working behind a glass backdrop at the meat counter. When they come out to restock, I always, make a point to stop and talk. They know me by name because I’m usually there every day.

The reason, I was taught if you have a well-stocked pantry along with the basic spices you rely on, you really need to shop for meat, poultry, or fish, and the fresh produce you’re going to need for that day.

I have a few pictures here of different cuts of meat.

Second, I learned a few things from my butcher over the years about how to prep certain cuts of meat. Which types of meat are better when they are marinated. What to look for with ground meats and how to properly handle poultry. They told me that if there was something I needed from them not to hesitate to ask. I took those words to heart.

If I see that a certain cut of meat is on sale, and I need it to be ground up, I know I can ask and it’s no problem. Sometimes ground meat may not be on sale, and chicken cutlets are expensive. Having built a relationship with my butcher, I can just pick the kind of meat I want and (s)he’ll prepare whatever I need. All I’m saying is, just because certain meats are packaged in a particular way doesn’t mean that your only option. Ask your butcher to customize the cut of meat you want into the style you need.

Below was a  boneless pork loin I had my butcher grind up for me.

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Skin-On Boneless Chicken Breasts

For example, your recipe may call for chicken breasts that are boneless but you need the skin to remain intact. What about a recipe that calls for chicken cutlets.

Boneless chicken breasts are less expensive per-pound than chicken cutlets. I believe it’s because chicken has already been thinly sliced and you’re paying for that convenience. Stop and talk to your butcher, ask him or her, if they wouldn’t mind slicing a package of chicken breasts into cutlets. I’m sure they’d be glad to do it for you. Saving a few dollars here and there really helps.

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Third, Fishmongers are also very knowledgeable in their field. They can tell you what to look for in fish, or shellfish and the proper preparation of the different varieties.

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Whenever possible, go to your local farmer’s market to purchase your product. Support your local farmers and buy what’s in season. Believe me, when I tell you, it will make a big difference in your finished recipe.

Finally, when buying spices, try to buy them whole. The shelf life is much longer. Keep them in a cool, dry, dark place. Spices that you use regularly, of course, buy those ground if you don’t want to do that yourself.

Another #tip I learned is to keep all your nuts in a tightly sealed container, in the freezer, for longer shelf life. Also, keep a dried bay leaf in any type of flour containers, it seems to keep unwanted pests away.

Well, I hope this post helped to answer a few of those questions people have asked me over the years. Keep those questions coming and I’ll try my best to answer as many as I can.

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Semi-Homemade Drop Biscuits

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Growing up in my house it was always a big deal when my parents took my sister and me out to eat. When Melissa was a young girl she and I would have dinner and a  movie every Friday night. Our first stop was to a seafood restaurant where we would have dinner before going to a movie.

Anyway years later this particular restaurant came out with Cheddar Bay Biscuits they served you before your meal. I don’t know about you but I loved those biscuits. Over the years I’ve tried to recreate them, and they were good but not near as good as the real thing. If you know me, you know I love to cook and bake too, Although when I’m cooking a certain dish which requires a lot of time, I don’t mind saying, I do take shortcuts on certain things. I mean we are all busy, and if I had the time to make everything from scratch I would.

When it comes to my cake making, sure, I could get all the ingredients together, and measure everything out, and I have. Remember when I made that 3 tier wedding cake for friends of mine. That was a whole day of work to put that beautiful cake together. The chocolate buttercream frosting was from scratch and so was the cake batter. I loved doing because I knew I had the time.

Today, I don’t feel bad or guilty when I take help from the store with certain items, especially cake mixes, and pancake mix. I just add ingredients to them to make them my own. Cookies though. I do like to make from scratch. I’ll be posting some of my favorite cookie recipes soon.

Wow, how did I get so far off topic!  Biscuits are one of my favorite things to have with a meal. You can pretty much add whatever you want to them. Drop style biscuits are my favorite, no kneading involved. Anyway, the grocery store now carries the restaurant’s brand box mix for these wonderful biscuits.

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I follow the baking instructions on the box but, I do make a few changes.

To the actual dry mix, I add 1 tablespoon of ricotta cheese, and 1/2 a cup of shredded white cheddar cheese, and a little less than 3/4 cup of water to the mix. Do not over mix. Bake at 425 degrees for 14-16 minutes and then brush that delicious buttery mixture over the top of each one. By making these changes, I’ve kind of made them Semi-Homemade Drop Biscuits.

I don’t use their seasoning pack, included in the box, I just use the dry mix, which yields 10 biscuits. I make my own seasoning for the top of the biscuits. I use 1 stick of unsalted melted butter. To that, I add 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of dried parsley. I brush this mixture on the top of the biscuits right when they come out of the oven. 

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Semi-Homemade Drop Biscuits

 

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