You can find 1000+ of my kitchen-tested recipes using the Recipes tab, watch nearly 100 of my Kitchen Encounters/WHVL-TV segments using the TV Videos tab, join the discussion about all of my creations using the Facebook tab, or Email your questions and comments directly to me--none go unanswered. Have fun!


~ Culinary Q&A & Kitchen Therapy Too (10/1/10) ~

Culinary Q & A #2

Wow... it is October!  Like clockwork, here in Pennsylvania, the temperatures have dropped, the trees are turning golden and "the frost is on the pumpkin".  Actually, there is no frost quite yet, but my pumpkins are ready to be picked this week and turned into:

~ Roasted Pumpkin Puree ~.  Here at Q&A on 9/10/10, Charlotte asked a pumpkin question, so, Charlotte, if you are reading this, the post will be coming your way very soon!

I want to thank everyone for all of the nice comments this week!  I'm so glad to hear you are all enjoying my website and I love the feedback.  As always, if you have any special requests, please ask and I'll try to get it posted as soon as I can!  We had two great questions this week, so let's get started:

Q.  PSUinBOSSton asks:   I am inspired.  I am going to make David's pizza to hold me over until the weekend.  But, I also wonder if you could help me with some of the mechanics of a grilled pizza?  I need some tips for expedience and convenience.  I always make a colossal mess, and have a feeling I could be doing it differently.  Maybe you have a recipe for one you could share along with your usual helpful hints?

6a0120a8551282970b0133f4c64956970bA.  Kitchen Encounters:  A few weeks ago I might have "fumbled" around trying to answer this question, but it just so happens that my son in Pittsburgh makes the best grilled pizza I have ever tasted.  In August, on a visit to their house, I spent an afternoon taking picures, while Becky made her homemade dough and Jesse grilled the pizzas.  My plan is to do a full blown blog about grilled pizza.  In the meantime, here are some tips:

6a0120a8551282970b013487e63394970cCut sheets of parchment paper slightly larger than the size of the pizzas you intend to make.  Spray one side of each parchment sheet with no-stick cooking spray.  Roll or press the dough on the oiled side of the parchment, to form the crust, then spray the top of the crust with no-stick cooking spray.  If you are making a lot of pizzas, like Jesse did that afternoon, you just keep stacking the crusts, with the parchment between them, on top of 6a0120a8551282970b013487e63492970ceach other.  You can do this ahead time and keep "the stack" in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before your guests arrive, but your dough needs to be at room temperature at grilling time, so you'll have to remove them about an hour or so in advance of grilling. 

To grill:  Lay the dough/crust on the grill grate, parchment side up.  Using a pair of tongs, grip one corner of the parchment and peel off the paper.  Flip the grilled dough onto a baking sheet, grill marked side up,  add the toppings, slide pizza back onto grill, close the lid and wait for the cheese to melt and the underside of the crust to grill.  That said, that day, Jesse grilled all of his crusts on both sides, put them on a big pile, then we topped them (all day and into the evening), placed them back on the grill, at a lower temperature, closed the lid and waited for the cheese to melt.


Q. Desiree asks:  Hi jessedotsmom!  I got to your site through BSD but I am so happy I found it.  I love to cook and entertain.  I have a question for you.  I would truly like to cook tuna steak at home but am afraid of over/under cooking the tuna and I don't really have a good recipe for how to cook it.  Can you help?

A.  Kitchen Encounters:  Great question Desiree.  My first experiences with and introductions to tuna were excellent ones, due to my cousin Victor who does a lot of deep-sea fishing and presents me with prime cuts!  Two summers ago, he caught a prize-winning tuna and presented me with the entire fish... he and I spent the entire weekend cutting, cooking and eating!!! 

#1)  When you're at the seafood counter, whenever possible, ask the fishmonger to cut your steaks directly off the loin, instead of buying presliced ones.  Exposure to air makes tuna discolor and spoil, so this step will give you a slightly longer shelf life.  I personally always ask for my steaks to be cut to a thickness of 1".  Why?  Because the thickness controls the cooking time, and I know that for a 1" thick tuna steak, it will be perfectly cooked, over the most intense heat for about 2-4 minutes per side.   

#2)  When you get your tuna home, keep it tightly wrapped in plastic and well-iced right up until you are ready to cook it.  It is always best to cook tuna steaks the same day you purchased them.  You'll notice a dark strip of meat that runs through each steak.  I like to remove that.  It's perfectly harmless, but does have a slightly strong taste (cats love it).  The best tuna, bluefin, yellowfin, bigeye and albacore really shouldn't be marinated.  Why?  Well, this is just my opinion, but their flavor is delicate and most marinades tend to mask that lovely flavor.  Also, marinade starts the cooking process and quickly turns the tuna white.  One more thing, marinade tends to make tuna stick to the grill.  No-stick cooking spray is your best friend when cooking tuna!

#3)  The best two methods for cooking a tuna steak are:  panfrying or grilling.  It can also be quickly broiled with pretty good results.  Deep-frying it is a disaster.  You want your tuna steak to sear quickly, so that an outer crust forms (just like a rare steak), but the inside stays anywhere from completely raw to pink and no longer translucent.  Once you do this once, you can make a mental note (or a real, written one if that works better) of exactly how you like yours.  For instance, I'm great with 2 1/2 minutes of cooking time per side.  I like mine rare... the center of the steak is deep pink/red and raw (but warm and lightly cooked).  When cooked slightly longer 3-3 1/2 minutes, to medium-rare, the center will be pink.  The center of a tuna steak should never look:  brown, white or opaque.

#4)  A tuna steak is a lot of food.  I like to serve it sliced, so depending on what you are serving it with, one steak may be enough to feed two people.  Also, sliced tuna is delicious tossed into salads!

Have a great weekend everyone, and once again:  To leave a comment or ask a question, simply click on the blue title of any post, scroll to the end of it and type away!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2010) 


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