What a calendar!

mmlogo

Well the Fresno Food Expo was a wild ride!  The Ol’ Miner is busy working up his next blog entry for you, so we thought we’d grab the blog for a couple of quick, shameless plugs!

Fresno was very busy for us, but it was fun, and we got to meet lots of folks.  As usual, the Miners Mix line of products WOWED the crowds.  FresnoOur next event will be the Eggs on the River Eggfest.  Miners Mix is a sponsor for the event, and we’d love to have you come visit us there!

For those who’d like to join the conversation, you can find us on Twitter.  We’ve also got new content slated for the website, so keep an eye peeled there!  We’ll also be firing out Instagram images from Eggs on the River.  If you’d like to see them, follow us on Twitter!

We’d love to hear from you.  You can leave a comment below, or email us at info@minersmix.com.

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Photos to make your mouth water…

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  If that’s so, then this post is worth 100,000 words.  This is a link to a cornucopia of photos taken by the Ol’ Miner of food and food prep he’s done using the Miners Mix Brand of products.  If you’re hungry (or wanna be), take a look at what the Ol’ Miner likes to call his collection of Food Porn!

Click to view

The Ol’ Miner himself is in a few of these shots.  See if you can find him!

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Fresno Food Expo is Coming!

Big News! Miners Mix just obtained a vendor number from Market Centre/Unified Grocers, one of the largest distributors in the nation. Being a vendor to Unified means that all the grocery chains they service can now buy and stock our products!

PLEASE START ASKING STORES WHERE YOU SHOP TO CARRY OUR STUFF!

To better showcase our fantastic products, Miners Mix will again be at the upcoming Fresno Food Expo Thursday, July 23, 2015. Here’s the web site: http://www.fresnofoodexpo.com/   If you want to see what the Central Valley of California has to offer in terms of eats and food companies, this is the place. There will also be beer and wine for sampling! Since inception, the Food Expo has grown and attracted more buyers, and now with Miners Mix on board with Market Centre, our fantastic new labels and packaging plus our flavors, we are more attractive to those buyers.

The first several hours are trade only (buyers, brokers, chefs, store owners, etc), but the doors open to the general public at 5PM. Tickets are available; please check the Food Expo website for info on purchasing them. The event closes at 8PM after a very long day for the exhibitors.

We’re going to be sampling our incredible garlic bread and also carne asada to showcase our seasoning rubs. To make the garlic bread faster and more uniform, we recently invested in a commercial, restaurant-grade conveyor toaster. The toaster needed fairly extensive modifications to suit our needs, but thanks to McGuyer, it now does garlic bread really well in a single pass through the machine. There are no open flames or charcoal allowed at the Food Expo, so we can’t do any (real) grilling there, which means electric. We wanted a grill that was 1500 Watts or less because we pay big bucks for power at the show and that power is sold in 1500 Watt allotments. With a 1500 Watt grill, I only have to buy two circuits. We know from experience (but don’t tell anybody) that those show electrical guys cut it real close! 1501 Watts means blown circuits and angry tech people.

 After poking around on that South American river website, I settled on a Zojirushi EB-DLC10 Indoor Electric Grill. I wanted a grill that was a real grill, not some frying pan or griddle masquerading as a grill. You can’t cook pancakes or foi gras on this thing! It’s large enough to meet our needs and get hot enough to cook our carne asada quickly, plus it leaves fantastic grill marks just like a restaurant charbroiler.grill

 It’s also coated in some kind of super Teflon they describe as “titanium enhanced nonstick coating”. We have a couple of Faberware grills we’ve used in the past, and this thing cooks rings around those grills, uses less power than the Faberware, and is easier to clean. It was fairly spendy, over $100, but I think it’s well worth the price.

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Fresno Food Expo and other related stuff and junk

While this space is usually reserved for the Ol’ Miner to talk about what’s on his mind, occasionally we (his trusty staff) steal it for our own devious purposes.

As many of you know, the Ol’ Miner has a regular Miners Mix roadshow that attends many competitions, trade shows and other events. Generally at these events, the Ol’ Miner does some grillin’, or if that’s not possible, some other type of cookin’ to showcase the Miners Mix Brand of products. At these events, we provide LOTS of samples of food, and we talk with folks about how and when to use our products (and anyone else’s that you want to know about!!).

The Ol’ Miner is always around to talk one on one with anyone who wants to talk cookin’, and he answers questions, gives advice and generally shoots the breeze with everyone who stops by. This month, we’ll be at the Fresno Food Expo, in Fresno, CA. FFEThis event is a great place to find out about what’s happening in the food world as the San Joaquin Valley (California’s Great Central Valley) is the undisputed Food Capital of the World! The public portion of the event takes place on July 23rd. Please see the event web site for more information. If you drop by, come see us at the MM Gourmet booth – and don’t forget to vote for Miners Mix for the People’s Choice Award either at the event, or on the Fresno Food Expo Facebook page or web site!

We’ll do our best to keep our show agenda posted here (and on our Facebook site) so keep a look out for when we might be near to you. Meanwhile, if you’d like to chat with the Ol’ Miner, or any of us here at Miners Mix, please feel free to drop us a line at info@minersmix.com, or just leave a comment below!

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Come see us!

FFE

For those who have plans to be in California’s Central Valley around July 23rd, we’d like to extend the invitation to come and see us (and maybe meet the Ol’ Miner himself!) at the Fresno Food Expo!  We’ll be there sampling a range of Miner’s Mix products for the public and enjoying the day.  The Expo is at 2600 Fresno Street | Room 2065 – 02 Fresno CA. 93721.  See the event web site at http://www.fresnofoodexpo.com/.  We hope to see some of you there!  Drop by the booth (look for us under MM Gourmet) and let us know you’ve seen the blog!

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Fish on!! The grill…

done salmon

People who claim they don’t like fish have NEVER had GOOD fish. This blog will tell you how to make GOOD fish!

A lot of folks are scared to grill fish the way it was meant to be grilled, which means….on the grill. I’ve never seen anyone seal up rib steaks in foil, and then put them on the grill. I think even the best USDA Prime rib steak done this way, would pale in comparison to an average steak when grilled in the normal way. So why do it with fish? Fish takes a little more skill to grill than your average steak and that’s why folks are afraid of doing it the right way, which is directly on the grill.

grill salmon In actual fact, there’s no reason why most fish can’t be put directly on that grill, just like everything else. Aluminum foil is really popular and so are planks, but I’ve never cooked fish on a shingle and see no reason to do so when I know how to cook it directly on the grill. Foil and shingles are popular because folks think the fish will flake apart and fall through the grill onto the coals or burners below. While you might lose a morsel here and there to the charcoal below, there’s only a few fish I’ve ever cooked that were dang near impossible to grill successfully directly on the grill. I’d much rather give up a bite or two to the “angel’s share” than wrap my fish in foil and call it “grilled”; might as well bake the thing in the oven if you wrap it up in foil. Fish grilled directly over the coals or even on a gas grill tastes so much better than the same fish sealed in foil. Hermetically sealed in foil, the fish doesn’t get any of the caramelization and flavor it normally would acquire from the fire and searing that goes on while cooking.

dorado There’s a couple of tools necessary to really do a great grilling job on fish, plus there’s a few kinds of fish that are more amenable to direct grilling than some other kinds of fish. Through experience, I’ve encountered a few species which are very difficult to near impossible to grill and some that are really easy. Plus some cuts of fish are easier than others to grill. If you really don’t want to lose any fish to the “angel’s share”, then you should invest in a fish basket. A fish basket is a flat two sided basket made from closely-spaced wire mesh into which you can put your fish, latch the basket closed and then put it on the grill. When it comes time to turn the fish, all you have to do is to flip the basket over. Fish, when properly done in a fish basket comes out great!

When I cook fish, I put it right on the grill. Fish needs a coating of oil to avoid sticking to the grill, which is why Miners Mix Salmon Marinade is such a great seasoning for fish! Blend the packet with soy sauce, vinegar and olive oil and soak your fish for about 15-20 min only, then grill. The marinade works wonderfully with ALL fish, we get eye-rolls and an OMG! with lowly tilapia, for example. At home we do quite a bit of salmon and buy filets with skin on one side at the local shopping warehouse. I used to fish long-range boats off Baja, CA and I’m really picky about my fish. Those big warehouses are best because they have a very high turnover so your fish is FRESH! If your fish smells fishy, or worse tastes fishy, then it’s not fresh! I stay away from grocery stores that put the same ol’ filets out there day after day on ice for a week or more, or worse yet, wrap that filet with stretch wrap in a Styrofoam container and set it next to the beef.

 After marinating, place the fish on the grill skin side down if using salmon filets. With catfish, tilapia, or many other fish, there usually is no skin. If cooking fish steaks, then just leave the skin on to hold the meat together. If directly on the grill, sans fish basket, place the filet perpendicular to, or across the grill wires, not parallel to the wires. This is an important consideration when it comes time to flip the fish. Let the fish grill for four to five minutes or even a little longer if the fire is not real hot. Time to flip the fish! I have a big, wide spatula with the blade about 10” wide. fish spatIf you don’t have a big wide fish spatula, use two regular spatulas. You need to support the filet over most of its length. It’s important for the spatulas to have flat, not rounded or beveled blades. Cooked fish is fragile; if the blade is rounded, when you angle the spatula to slip it under the fish, there will be a gap at the blade left and right that will tend to tear up and fragment the filet. With a quick sharp motion, slip the spatula, or if using both hands and two spatulas, under the filet and then angle the blades up to near vertical and then with a gentle motion, roll the fish over onto the other side. You might lose a bite or so of the fish but that’s the “angel’s share” anyway. Once flipped, if it’s done enough, you should be able to effortlessly peel the skin cleanly off the filet. I use tongs or sometimes the spatula to get a piece of skin up so I can then pull it with my fingers. skinAfter the skin is off, drizzle more marinade onto the fresh surface.

 Tuna or ahi, albacore, and other tunas tend to hold together fairly well and will stand up to rougher treatment. In texture, tuna is more like a steak than a fish. Easiest of all are tuna steaks or any other fish steak for that matter. The skin holds them together in a nice meat package really well, but you still want to use the spatula-roll technique when flipping them over. Rock fish and red snapper filets are intermediate. They’re quite a bit more flaky and tend to fall apart easier than salmon, and might be better candidates for that fish grilling basket. Whole fish such as trout, grill easily and the skin will peel off just like with salmon filets, if you want skinless trout. About the only fish that’s ever defeated me is Dover sole. This stuff just falls apart if you look at it wrong. A definite grill basket candidate for sure!

Fish is done when it feels done. It will be flaky and separate easily. It cooks quickly, so don’t go far away when you’re grilling fish. Dover sole, being incredibly flaky, remains soft and mushy even when cooked completely through. Fish is considered “cooked” when it’s in the range of 120 to 145F, according to online sources. However, since folks eat it raw, I guess it could be considered “cooked” as soon as it comes out of the water. In general, fish will be a little less soft when done and with filets, the thinner sections will be done before the thicker sections are done. I’ve developed a sense of feeling it with the spatula to determine if it’s done. If some folks like their fish on the rare side, then things should be just about perfect for everybody.

Posted in Barbeque, BBQ, Big Green Egg, Cooking, Food, Outdoor Cooking, Spices | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Ol’ Miner’s Smoker

smoker a smokin

The Ol’ Miner himself sent this picture to us (his trusty IT staff) for another Miner’s Mix enterprise (hint: keep an eye out for “Sierra Smoke”).  This is the Ol’ Miners Pit Smoker.  It’s got some pretty special modifications designed by the Ol’ Miner himself.  Here’s the photo, and below an excerpt from one of his past blogs as it relates to the smoker:

“One may not notice at first glance, but the chimney is on the same end of the cook chamber as the firebox. How does that work? My special little cooking gem is a reverse-flow pit smoker. It started life as a conventional offset pit smoker with all heat gradient problems (that implies). I had it modified by welding a false-bottom plate under the cooking grid. The plate seals the fire box from the cook chamber and extends all the way to the opposite end where it stops short a few inches. The heat and smoke travel under the steel plate and up into the cook chamber at the far end, then back over the meats and out the chimney just above the firebox. This design doesn’t completely eliminate the hotter area close to the firebox, but it’s only 25-50° F or so hotter at firebox end than at the other end. With some additional modifications, I could probably reduce this gradient further, but it would take a lot more work. Also, I have a 1” steel pipe mounted in the very center of the cook chamber, protruding out the very bottom of the smoker. The pipe opens at the false bottom plate where it is flush welded. This nifty innovation allows grease dripping from the meat to drain into a bucket under the smoker, or the occasional high pressure wash water to drain out of the smoker. One final modification is a small water tank I had mounted inside the top portion of the fire box. The tank is welded to a pipe that penetrates into the cook chamber, all the way to the far end where it opens. There is a pipe nipple from the tank that extends outside the firebox from which I can fill the water tank to facilitate steam being injected into the cook chamber. Ribs and other meats stay nice and moist with this system.”

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