Archive for November, 2011

Expand Your Grilling Horizons with Indirect Grilling

Indirectgrilling-274x300 in Expand Your Grilling Horizons with Indirect Grilling and barbecueA couple of years ago I had a whole chicken in my refrigerator and wanted to grill it. I did not want to deal with the hassle or mess of cutting and disjointing my chicken but I also knew that if I tried to just grill it normally the outside would burn long before the proper internal temperature would be reached. So I began asking some of my most respected chef friends what would be the best way to grill a whole chicken, and consequentially discovered a great method to add to my grilling repertoire called Indirect Grilling.

The basic concept of indirect grilling is similar to roasting in a conventional oven while maintaining those great grill flavors, textures, and appearances that comes with grilled foods. Instead of placing your food directly over the flame or heat, you would heat only a portion of your grill and then place your meat away from the direct heat. Indirect grilling does require a grill with a cover as you are relying on reflexive radiant heat similar to that of a convection oven to prepare your meal.

Indirect grilling is ideal when you are preparing cuts of meat that are greater than 2 inches thick, whole chickens and turkeys, roasts, briskets, and other foods that typically burn or dry out on the outside before the inside if fully done to your liking. Indirect grilling is a pretty simple method to utilize and can be done on either a gas grill or charcoal smoker.

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Topiaries: A Classical Design of Plant Sculpture – Part I

Topiary in Topiaries:  A Classical Design of Plant Sculpture - Part I and gardeningtipsTopiaries are a form of classical design where plants are trained or pruned to take a certain shape.  There exist two forms of topiaries.  The first form is an indoor topiary that is formed solely by pruning and training to grow up pole or a two-dimensional shape.  The second type is the outdoor version that grows inside a form and is pruned to enhance the shape.

The history of topiaries is long and full of twists and turns.  The word topiary comes from the Latin word topiarus, which means landscape gardener.  The earliest mention of topiaries can be found around 23-79 A.D.  During this time, topiaries were very popular in Ancient Rome where cypress trees were pruned into different shapes.  This continued until Rome fell.  Then topiaries fell out of popularity for several hundred years.

This art form was again discovered during medieval times and utilized fruit trees instead of cypress.  The art of plant sculpture was once again discovered during the Italian Renaissance.

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Gardening by Moon Signs – Understanding Principles of the Farmer’s Almanac Part II

Full Moon1-300x225 in Gardening by Moon Signs - Understanding Principles of the Farmer’s Almanac Part II and gardeningtipsEven ancient man knew the relationship between the moon cycle and the zodiac.  They learned through observation that the position of the stars and the moon had an affect on their crops.  Some positions benefited plant growth and harvest while other positions hindered progress.  Today this information is once again being used to create a holistic approach to gardening.

To understand this approach one must first understand the lunar cycle.  The moon cycle occurs every 29 days and starts with the new moon.  From this point, the light of the moon becomes brighter or it goes through its waxing phases.  These phases continue all the way to the full moon stage.

After the full moon stage, the light begins to decrease or it goes through its waning phases.  These phases continue from the full moon until a new moon is reached.  During these stages some of the phases overlap, such as the new moon and full moon but the key point to remember is whether the light is increasing or decreasing.  This will help determine whether it is in a waxing or waning phase.

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