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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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

Tips And Tricks

2014-11-24 12.43.47

I’ve been getting a few requests about #tips when you’re shopping for meat at your grocery store. I would say you first want to get to know your butcher and 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 on a first name basis. They are so educated in their field. I’m always learning something. Let me give you some examples of what I mean. First the butcher. Where I shop you can watch the butchers behind the glass working while your at the meat counter. When they come out to restock, I always stop and talk to them, Besides, they know I’m there pretty much every day. The reason for this is because I was taught, if you have a well stocked pantry, and your staple spices, the only things you really need to shop for on a daily are what proteins and produce your going to be using that day. Now I have a few pictures here of some cuts of meat. I learned a few things from my butcher  over the years about how to prep certain cuts, what cuts are good to marinate. Also what to look for in 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 that statement to heart. If I see that a certain cut of meat is on sale, but I need to have that kind of meat ground, well now I know that I can ask them to do that for me and they are glad to do it. You know that sometimes ground meat may not be on sale, or chicken cutlets are expensive. Now all I do is choose the package and type of meat that I want, then go to them and they will make it into the style I want. All I’m saying here is that just because it’s packaged a certain way does not meant that they can’t customize something for you that you want for no extra charge. For example, boneless, skinless chicken breasts are less expensive than chicken cutlets. So, all I’m saying is stop and talk to your butcher ask him or her if they wouldn’t mind cutting  the package of chicken breasts down for you into a cutlet style. I’m sure they would be glad to do it for you.

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Now fishmongers are also people who are knowledgeable in their field. They can tell you what to look for in fish, or shelled fish and the proper preparation of the different varieties.

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Whenever possible, go to your local farmer’s market to purchase your produce. Support your local farmers and by what’s in season. Believe me when I tell 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. Oh, another #trick I learned is to keep all your nuts in a sealed container in the freezer for longer shelf life. I also keep a dried bay leaf in all my flour containers, I don’t know why it seems to keep unwanted pests away. Well, I hope I helped with some of the #tips and #tricks that I learned over the years, and having this blog, able to share.

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Semi-Homemade Drop Biscuits

2014-12-04 13.16.16

Growing up in my house it was always a big deal when my parents to my sister and me out to eat. It was one of those popular family seafood restaurants. When Melissa was a young girl her and I would have dinner and a  movie every Friday night, Our first stop was to this seafood restaurant where we would have dinner before the movie. Anyway years later they came out with cheddar biscuits before your meal. I don’t know about you but I love these 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, bake too, Although when I’m cooking a certain dish which requires some work, I don’t mind saying that I do take short cuts 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 recently got married. That was a whole day of work to put that beautiful cake together. The chocolate butter cream frosting was from scratch and so was the cake batter. I loved doing it, it was so fun. Now, I have to say, I don’t feel too badly when I take help from the store on 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 to these wonderful biscuits.

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I follow the baking instructions on the box but I do make some changes. I do not use their seasoning pack that came in the box, I just use the batter mix, which yields 10 biscuits.  I make my own, using 1 stick of unsalted butter that’s been melted. To that I add 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, and 1-1/2 tablespoons of dried parsley. This I brush on the top of the biscuits when they come out of the oven. To the actual dry mix I add 1 tablespoon of ricotta cheese, and 1/2 a cup of  grated Fontina 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. I feel by doing these few extra things to the box mix, it’s kind of semi-homemade.

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