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David Russo VMD, PhD | 30. April 2007 @ 16:17


Wild, superior, caught in the open ocean or raised in the splendid isles of Northern Europe; many of the self-aggrandizing statements brought upon this product, apart from being difficult to verify, are also devoid of any real import. The salmon, as a product, is especially inviting to these grand statements straight from the wildest fantasies of the marketers. Many, for example, gush over the superiority of wild salmon, or that caught in the open ocean. It is unfortunate, however, that most of the salmon that arrives onto our plate, smoked or fresh, is the product of intensive aquaculture and not of the wild. Furthermore, salmon can be frozen before it is smoked, so even smoked salmon is not guaranteed fresh. Of course while the salmon is being cured, many different kinds of wood are burned to lend the fish a particular flavor. Unfortunately, in some cases not only different types of wood are used but also chemicals. This goes on without any disclosure to the consumer on the product tag as one might usually expect. In knowing these facts one may be beset by doubts as to the nutritional value of salmon. One sign of quality, for example, is the disclosure of the precise location of capture or farming of the animal. Our smoked salmon not only specifies the country of origin, but also the precise location and the methods used in raising it. An extra safeguard is offered by the certificate of origin.

The overwhelming majority of salmon which is imported around the world was raised in either Scotland, Norway, Canada, Alaska or Ireland. All of these products, without much truth, are vaunted by their marketers as being of higher quality because of their place of origin.

Based upon the assumption that the biggest factors in the quality of salmon are the methods used in raising it and curing it, we will try to trace a map of the quality of this species. According to the experts, the Norwegian salmon (the most widely consumed in the world) is not quite excellent and is surely inferior to those caught in Scotland or Ireland and is comparable to Canadian salmon. At the top of the totem pole of quality are placed the Scottish and Irish salmon. The Scottish salmon offers a fine texture and a delicate taste, while their Irish counterparts are better known for their lean meats.

The method of curing was born, naturally, in Northern Europe out of the necessity to preserve meats for long periods. Once the salmon is caught, it is cleaned and eviscerated so that it may be opened and salted. The salting can be done dry (the favored method), or using a specially-made brine (water and salt). This is done to ensure good results during the actual smoking and in either case it is unlikely to be done by hand. Once the salmon has been properly salted it is then smoked. As was said before, the best smoking process burns various woods (elm, ash and oak are most commonly employed) to lend the meat a particular flavor. The process is a fairly simple one and many of the qualities of the salmon are in fact due to it. It is made difficult, however, by its finer points which serve to ensure the products hygiene and flavor.

There are, of course, other factors affecting the quality of the salmon's final product. Among them is the choice of cut, for example, where considerations such as visual aspect come into play. A cut taken close to the tail is not as well-presentable as one taken farther up the flank.I guarantee that the Scottish and Norwegian salmon available in our "store" is among the best the market has to offer.

About the author:David Russo VMD, PhD

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Webmaster | 1. February 2007 @ 16:17

When we stand at the butchers counter, most of us may wonder what is the difference between a top sirloin and a porterhouse. If you ever come across a good beef cookbook, you will be able to appreciate a good diagram of beef cuts.

Beef is the widely consumed animal protein through out the world when compared to any other meat. Hence it is important for a good steward to select a good piece of beef for his wonderful recipe.

Grading of beef cuts

The beef is usually graded into three categories based on its quality by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Grades are specified after taking into consideration the color, appearance, meat�s consistency and last but not least the amount of marbling in the beef. The Graded beef is classified as follows:

Prime meat
Choice meat
Select meat

Prime Meat

The meat, which is having more marbling, is termed as Prime meat. This is usually found in fine restaurants.

Select Meat

The select meat consists of less marbling, which means low fat and less calories. But it won�t be as tender as that of prime and also contains less juice and flavor.

Choice Meat

Choice meat consists of more marbling than Select meat but less marbling than Prime meat. But it is somewhat tender than Select and also juicy and flavor than select.

Beef Cuts

The names of the beef cuts vary between countries. Sometimes it varies within the regions of the country also. The rear section of the carcass is termed as Rounds in US, but in Canada it is called hip. Here is a break down of some common cuts of beef:

Rib eye

This is the top cut preferred by most of the beef connisieurs. This is characterized by abundant marbling. When you cook this beef cut, the rib eye gets melted into the meat and produces a juicy tasting recipe. The Rib eye steak is called an Entrecote in French.

Top Sirloin

Lesser grade cut but this is the largest beef cut when compared to other beef cuts. In layman's terms, a family of four can complete their dinner with one top sirloin. Always prefer to buy prime grade rather than choice and select grades.

Porterhouse

As the name suggests, it is not concerned with any kind of house. This beef cut has ample marbling. It is a top loin with good flavor. It has the largest eye and tenderloin. This is being usually used in restaurants with challenge for their customers. They will give entire meal free for those who took all of their 26-ounce steak.

Chateaubriand

This has been cut from the butt end but should weigh around 24 ounces. A six inches long chateaubriand will weigh around 24 oz. A chateaubriand with Bearnaise sauce served in a dining table is a wonderful delicacy.

Filet Mignon

A well worth costly choice beef cut, if you cook it with pot-roasting. This is most soft with less water beef cut. This don't have intense flavor as that of rib eye and porterhouse.

New York Strip

This is one of the cost-effective beef cut parts. This cheap cut is a t-bone with the tenderloin and also a good quality cut.

T-bone

This is also one of the cheapest beef cuts. This consists of a full loin eye and medium sized tenderloin. A couple for few delicate bites always prefers this. This smaller tenderloin is not always suitable for heavy meals. For heavy dinner, the customers usually prefer New York Strip.

Ground Beef

Ground beef should not be less than 70% lean. The package will usually indicate whether it is from ground sirloin, or ground round.

Suitable cooking methods

Loins and ribs are the most tender cuts of beef. The loins and ribs should be cooked with high heating methods to improve its taste and tenderness. Broiling, grilling, roasting, sauting, and frying are the common methods employed for cooking the loins and ribs.

Pot-roasting, stewing, and steaming are the most preferred methods of cooking the cuts from the round, plate, brisket and flank.

Selecting beef cuts based on cooking methods

Apart from selecting a good beef cut from butcher shop or grocery store, the beef cuts can also be selected based on the method of cooking you preferred to perform.

If you want to cook the beef on a grill, it is always advised to go for tenderized meat rather than tougher cut from the rounds. A beef with minimum of 2 inches thick may require oven roasts. A very tender cut such as loin and rib primal cuts can be oven roasted for better results.

If you want to do Pot roast, it is always to select the beef cuts from round and chuck. Pot roast is the method of boiling the beef in a pot containing liquid in the stove. Standing rump, eye roast are the best pot roast products.

Tips to select better beef cuts

Before shopping for a good beef cut for a particular recipe, you should learn about the various cuts available in the market. The following tips may help you in selecting good beef cuts:

1. Try to locate the origin of the cuts from the body of the carcass.

2. This will help you to identify the names of the cuts.

3. Look for the tenderness and leanness of the beef cuts before procuring it.

4. Inspect the "Sell-by" date in the packaged beef. You should buy your beef cut either before or on the "sell by" date.

5. When selecting the beef cuts from cold storage cases of the grocery stores, the packages chosen for your use should have no excess liquid at all. If it is not too cold, then it has been stored above 40 degrees and taste may be questionable.

Inspect thoroughly the coolness of the pack and ensure that it has not been damaged.

6. Firmness of roasts and steaks should be checked. Avoid the purchasing of soft roasts and squishy steaks.

7. Always select the beef cuts that are bright red in color with thin creamy white fat evenly distributed throughout the surface. But if you are selecting veal, the color should be either white or light pink.

8. Beef injected with flavorings should be avoided because flavoring makes your beef break down and may be easily overcooked.

9. Always try to avoid buying tenderized beef because during the procedure, the butcher pierces the beef to push the juices and flavor out of it and produces tough and bad flavored beef.

10. Be friendly with the butcher to get ideas about the perfect beef cuts and sometimes he will offer you fantastic recipes too!

About the author:

Mike Sullivan is a grill master and meat lover. Read his most recent report on How To Marinate Steaks to put the most flavor into your next steak meal. http://www.buy-steaks-online.net/.

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Webmaster | 24. September 2006 @ 18:17

The best part of summer is a fresh, sun-warmed red juicy vine ripened tomato. Depending on where you live this can be a long or short season.

So how do you pick a tomato in your local store? One important trait is its smell. If it looks like a tomato and smells like a tomato, it is a good tomato to pick. Choose a tomato with no bruises or cracks. Always try to support your local growers in your community for their fresh vegetables.

There are three different types of tomatoes. They are cherry tomatoes- good for salads and eating, plum tomatoes- good for sauce, soups and canning and don't forget the slicing tomatoes-great on a fresh bread on those hot summer days. Tomatoes should be left on the counter and most importantly never refrigerate them.

Nutritionist have been saying that tomatoes are good for you because they contain Lycopene. "Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant abundant in red tomatoes and processed tomato products, it may help prevent prostate cancer and some other forms of cancer, heart disease, and other serious diseases", according to lycopene.org.

If you look out on my deck you will see the most beautiful tomatoes ever. I know this because our neighbors are constantly checking over our fence and it is not so see us. This is because we found a fool proof way to grow tomatoes with very little work. The secret is using "Earth Boxes" earthbox.com.

Once you fill the earth box with all that is required, soil, lime and fertilizer you go to your local garden center and purchase tomato plants. The tomato plant is contained in the box and the soil is covered so there is no weeding. Earth boxes are self watering containers so you can't over water your plants. This is great because it takes up very little space. Just place them where you get lots of sun and water as needed about every 1-3 days.

Personally, I choose to grow the beefsteak variety along with sweet 100 cherry tomatoes. Don't forget to plant some green leaf lettuce for completely fresh salads during the summer.

Now what do you do with all these tomatoes? How about canning? Sauce? Salsa? The possibilities are endless. Go online for many recipes and suggestions.

About the author:

Article written by Gary Nave of http://www.just-tomatoes.com.

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