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5 Tips For Cooking In Cast Iron On The Grill

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Cast iron, first utilized two thousand years ago in the Han Dynasty in China, continues today to be the ultimate multi-purpose cookware tool. It can be used on the stove, in the oven or directly on a grill to make almost any type of food—from sweet cornbread to juicy steak. If you’re unfamiliar with cooking in cast iron on a grill, here’s what you need to know:

First things first. Remember when we seasoned our grill grates? Cast iron cookware also needs to be seasoned regularly to prevent food from sticking. Before you start grilling, evenly spread canola, coconut or flaxseed oil on the cast iron. The fattier the oil, the better. Bake the cast iron on the grill at 350 degrees for about an hour, then remove and let cool completely. Repeat if you want stronger seasoning.

Cast iron diversity. Cast iron skillets aren’t the only type of cast iron you can use on a grill. Pans are the most commonly used, but cast iron griddles and Dutch ovens open up a world of possibility. Making breakfast? Break out the griddle and grill eggs, pancakes and meats all at the same time. Use a cast iron Dutch oven to make different types of bread, pulled pork or homemade baked beans on the grill.

Meat lovers rejoice. Using cast iron on a grill is a boon for meat lovers. Cooking a steak in a cast iron skillet allows the meat to cook flawlessly in its own juices. Black edges on your burgers are a worry of the past. Maybe you’d rather make sausage and kale-stuffed acorn squash? Cook the stuffing in your cast iron pan while the squash browns on the grill.

To cook or not to cook. Cast iron offers endless options. Bake a pizza or a loaf of bread inside your cast iron pan and close the grill lid to imitate an oven. Grill up spicy mushrooms and bacon or tasty paella valenciana. There are tons of different things you can cook in cast iron, but also, a few you should avoid:

  • Thin fish. Thin fish, like flounder, will stick to cast iron and flake when pried off. If you must use cast iron, try meatier pieces of fish like salmon and cook it with the skin side down. If your pan is well-seasoned, this shouldn’t be a problem.
  • Sweet and savory. Cast iron holds the taste of whatever food is cooked in it. If you make tilapia and then, immediately make s’mores, don’t be surprised if the s’mores taste kind of… fishy. Give your pan a good wash if you’re going to use it when going from savory to sweet food. Having two pans will easily solve this problem.
  • Acidic food. Unless your pan has a thick film of fat from heavy seasoning, don’t take chances cooking acidic food in cast iron. Acidic food damages cast iron, strips the seasoning and can cause food to taste metallic. Keep your cast iron away from anything tomato- or citrus-based and avoid deglazing cast iron with vinegar or wine.

A Clean Gleam. There are tons of ways to clean cast iron, but a dishwasher is not one of them. You can use a little soap and warm water or just warm water, but coarse Kosher salt and a paper towel will also do the trick. Remember: keeping it clean now makes it easier to clean later.

What are you waiting for? Now that you know how to use cast iron, do something different for dinner and grill in cast iron to your heart’s content.

 

Article from Saber Grills: http://betterbarbecueblog.com/cooking-cast-iron-grill/


How to Build a Home Theater

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How to Build a Home Theater 

Want a movie-theater experience in your home? Learn how to build a home theater with step by step instructions from the pros at HGTV.com.

Home theaters are no longer only an extravagance for the rich and famous. Thanks to more affordable technology, many families are enjoying a true movie theater experience without leaving home. If you're thinking about building a home theater, let HGTV walk you through the steps.

Step 1: Choose a Location

The ideal space for a home theater is 20 feet long by 13 feet wide and relatively isolated from the rest of the house. "It has to be in a place that does not interrupt the business of the home," says Rob Rickel, president of RSR Custom Renovations and Additions. "You don't want the sound disturbing everyone."

Good options include:

  • Building a theater wing off the family room
  • Closing in the open second-story space above a formal living room
  • Converting a spare bedroom that's at least 12 by 12 feet

Step 2: Frame and Insulate

Building the shell of a home theater is similar to building any other addition to your home – with one exception. You'll want to pay special attention to insulation. A rating of R30 is standard for the floor, ceiling, and exterior wall insulation, but don't neglect the interior walls. Loosely packed R11 can help keep the sound of movie explosions from rocking the rest of your home. It won't block the noise completely, though. You'll need to add additional sound barriers after you pre-wire the room.

Step 3: Pre-Wire Surround Sound

Most home theaters use a 7.1 surround sound system. This includes one subwoofer and seven channel speakers – left, right, center, two side surrounds, and two rear surrounds. To pre-wire a 7.1 system, follow these steps:

Mark the location where each speaker will go:

  • Center – just above or below the viewing screen
  • Left/Right – on either side of the screen at ear height
  • Side Surrounds – on the side walls just behind the main row of seating
  • Rear Surrounds – on the back wall (how far apart depends on the system)

Choose a spot for the hub that will house your receiver and other A/V equipment. The hub can be hidden in a cabinet inside the theater or in a closet nearby.

Run audio cables from the hub to each speaker location. Cables should be at least 16-4 (16-gauge, four conductors) for side and rear speakers. Use stronger 12 or 14-gauge cables for left, right, and center speakers.

Some home theaters now use 9.1 surround sound, says Michael Fox of Cinema Sound. This adds another set of speakers in the front of the room. "If there's a helicopter flying overhead (in the movie), you'll hear that sound from those top speakers," Fox says.

Step 4: Pre-Wire a Video Projector

For a realistic, large-screen theater experience, you'll need to pre-wire a projector system. This involves just two cables:

  • An HDMI cable to carry high-definition video to the projector
  • A CAT5 control wire for accessing the projector with a radiofrequency (RF) remote.

This will let you start your movies without pointing at the projector.

One end of these cables should extend from the ceiling at the rear of the theater, where the projector will hang. The other end should connect to your equipment hub. Be sure to pre-wire the hub with your cable or satellite feed, as well as high-speed Internet for streaming video.

Step 5: Pre-Wire Lighting

Appropriate lighting is essential for creating a movie theater atmosphere. This includes recessed lighting in the ceiling and sconces along the side walls. Run basic electrical wiring to each of these locations. Connecting the lights to an RF dimmer will let you control them with the same RF remote you use for the projector. You can even set the lights to auto-dim when you press play.

If you plan to have stadium seating, you'll also need floor lighting along the steps. One option is to pre-wire low-voltage lighting that can be left on all the time.

Step 6: Install Drywall and Sound Barriers

When hanging the drywall, make careful incisions through which you’ll route all of your pre-wired electrical and audio cables. At this stage, you'll have two main options for additional soundproofing:

  • Use specialty drywall, such as QuietRock Soundproof Drywall. This is a very effective 
  • sound barrier, but can cost eight times as much as standard drywall.
  • Use ordinary drywall lined with sound-dampening materials, such as high-density vinyl.
  • Whichever way you go, be sure to hang a solid-core door for optimum sound reduction.

Step 7: Set Up Video and Sound Systems

Once your drywall is painted, you can hang your speakers, projector, and screen. In a theater of 20 by 13 feet, the ideal screen size is 110-120 inches. For a professional feel, frame the screen with a proscenium – a set of black acoustic panels that hide the left, right, and center speakers.

Camouflage the remaining speakers with acoustic panels that double as artwork. These panels can be printed with custom designs, including family photos or favorite movie posters.

The speakers and projector will connect to the receiver in your equipment hub. The receiver accepts content from a wide range of multimedia devices, such as:

  • Blu-ray player
  • Cable/satellite feed
  • Game console
  • Home theater PC

A good Blu-ray player will do far more than play discs. Through a pay-per-view service like VUDU, you can stream high-definition movies off the Internet whenever you like. Some Blu-ray players also network with your personal computer, making it easy to enjoy photos, music, and home videos in your theater.

Step 8: Install Theater-Style Seating

You can furnish your theater with comfy sofas and loveseats. But for the real deal, you'll want to install authentic theater-style seating. Two rows of four seats will fit comfortably in a 20 by 13 theater. For better viewing, elevate the back row with a pre-built platform.

Theater seating comes in a wide range of styles, including genuine leather with cup-holders in the armrests. These are the kind of seats that beckon you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the feature presentation!


8 Steps to Closing Your Pool

For those who decided to hang on to summer just a little longer, it's time to finally close the pool. In doing so, it's important to make sure all the pieces are properly put away and cared for. See below for our eight easy steps to closing your pool this fall...
 
Step One: Make sure water in pool is crystal clear, free of debris and the PH, Alkalinity and Hardness is properly balanced.
 
Step Two: Purchase a Natures Way Closing Kit for your pool size. Stop chlorination 24 hours prior to winterization.

Step Three: Add the contents of the Natures Way closing kit by pouring the entire bottle of Winterizing Algaecide and Winterizing Stain N Scale directly into pool. Broadcast contents of bags or bag of Non Chlorine Shock treatment.

Step Four: Allow filter to run for at least one hour to properly circulate and distribute the closing kit chemicals and then shut filtration system down.

Step Five: Remove water from the pool to a level below the water inlet fitting in the pool wall and then insert a winterizing plug into the pool inlet wall fitting and skimmer bottom opening. Follow your particular pools manufacturer's instructions.

Step Six: Follow the manufacturer's directions for properly winterizing your pool equipment. If you choose you may remove the filter connecting hoses from the pool and pool equipment and bring equipment inside for storage.
 
Step Seven: Punch out all eights holes as indicated on the white winterizer chemical cartridge and place in pool oblong side up.

Step Eight: Cover the pool with a solid winter cover of your choice making sure that there are no holes or tears in the material to possibly allow rain water to contaminate the pool's water. Failure to cover the pool properly could result in severe structural and liner damage.

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