Healthy eating with your iPhone, grilling tips for the 4th and all the Blue Kitchen that’s fit to print

by Terry B on July 1, 2009

A Blue Kitchen round-up: Look and Taste launches an iPhone app for healthy eating, award-winning grill master Neil Strawder shares his secrets and a Blue Kitchen recipe is featured in the Chicago Sun-Times. How cool is that?

look-taste-iphone-appOkay, a Luddite confession here. My cell phone is a phone. It makes calls, takes messages and, when absolutely necessary, sends text messages. No camera, no Internet connection and certainly no “apps” [as in applications—the kids are crazy for them].

Apple’s iPhone is a veritable playground for apps, as my iPhone-wielding colleagues are only too willing to demonstrate. Essentially, Apple created a certain number of apps, then told independent Web developers to go nuts. And nuts they went. According to a Fortune magazine report dated June 10, 2009 [so already hopelessly out of date], “Apple vice president Phil Schiller announced that there were 50,000 applications available on the iPhone App Store.”

Well, now Dublin, Ireland-based Look and Taste has developed an app that will have healthy eaters drooling. It’s called Look and Taste Healthy, and it offers hundreds of delicious healthy food recipes, many of them with step-by-step videos. Recipes include descriptions with prep and cook times, degree of difficulty, health factor and more. And new videos are being added every week, browsable by keyword, most popular or most viewed. Hungry for more details? check out the Look and Taste Healthy app.

Get your grill on with Bigmista


Seasoned griller Neil Strawder, a.k.a. Bigmista, has been competing in California barbecue festivals for years, winning awards for his briskets, pulled pork and ribs. His passion and skill led to a catering business, Bigmista’s Barbecue, with a loyal following at Farmer’s Markets around Los Angeles County. So when he offers up grilling secrets, he knows whereof he speaks.

Recently, California grocery chain Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market partnered with Neil to share some of his secrets just in time for July 4th, a grilling holiday if ever there was one. So I’ll share some of them with you:

Choosing a grill. Buying an expensive grill will not make your barbecued food taste better. Find a kettle grill at a local supply or hardware store for less than $50. It distributes heat more evenly and when the lid is on, it holds in the flavor-enhancing smoke.

Fire starting. Never use lighter fluid as it leaves a chemical taste on the meat. The secret to a great barbecue is a chimney grill starter, also available at supply or hardware stores. It uses newspaper instead of lighter fluid, and in fifteen minutes, you’ll have hot coals with no chemical smell.

Coal placement. Place all coals on one side of the grill. Slow cook the meat with the indirect heat on the opposite side of the grill. Then crisp the skin with the direct heat. This allows for meat to cook thoroughly, preventing a burnt outside and a raw inside.

Wood chips without soaking. Hickory, apple, cherry or mesquite wood chips can infuse great flavors into the meat. Wrap a handful of wood chips in foil, poke holes through the tent and place it on top of the coals. No presoaking needed.

Neil also recommends brining chicken before grilling, to keep it juicy and tender, and using savory rubs to add flavor to all sorts of meats. So up your grillsmanship this summer—and be sure to thank Bigmista and Fresh & Easy when you do.

Hey, everybody! I’m in the Chicago Sun-Times!

Any day you get your name in the newspaper and it’s not for holding up a liquor store or yelling at your toilet is a good day. Today is a good day at Blue Kitchen.

You’ll find my Pan-grilled Crostini with Green Garlic and Chevre recipe in the food section of today’s Chicago Sun-Times. I mean the actual print edition that you find at newstands or paper boxes—or that you steal off your neighbor’s lawn. So if you’re in Chicago, pick up a copy. If you can find one—I’m going to be driving around buying them up until the car’s filled.


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Ronnie Ann July 1, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Hah! If I were there I’d be fighting you for some of those copies. Congrats, Terry. So cool! I always thought you’d be in the papers (esp. because of the toilet-yelling thing), but that recipe in particular was one of my favorites just for its simple elegance. I eagerly await more fame and glory for Blue Kitchen.

Randi July 1, 2009 at 4:17 pm

The odds of me getting an iPhone or Blackberry are really remote as I barely use my $49 phone. BUT that app looks really really handy!
So true about the BBQ. We bought a pricey gas BBQ and the heat is really uneven. It’s frustrating.
How cool they featured your recipe! It’s posted on-line as well. I would have liked to see an article about you too.

Shauna July 2, 2009 at 12:06 am

Amusing cell phone info. I’m in your league. I buy a $20 card to load on my cell each month- it’s plenty, unless Zach breaks his arm sleepwalking like he did in May. Then I needed $40- just to check on him a lot.
Loved the fact your “local paper” picked up a good column of yours!! Big city guy you are!! I see it online, too!

dani July 2, 2009 at 12:33 am

Congrats on the article! Now I really have to try this recipe. It’s nice to see you getting some recognition. My granddaughter is now hooked on your blog, too. Always interesting.

Terry B July 2, 2009 at 1:00 am

Now, Ronnie Ann, I haven’t yelled at the toilet in weeks. Thanks, though.

Thanks, Randi! They wanted to do a story on me, but I’m in the witless protection program.

Okay, Shauna, this is now the second broken bone we’ve learned about through comments here. I hope Zach’s doing okay.

Thanks so much, dani! And hi to your granddaughter for me.

Phyllis July 23, 2009 at 6:36 pm

Hi Terry,

My names is Phyllis Strawder aka Mrs. Mista. I wanted to thank you for the nice write-up about my husband. He like you has a passion for cooking with no formal training but hours in the kitchen.

I just wanted to say I believe you could open a spot and it would be a success but I agree it is a great deal of work. So if you ever decide you want to switch gears and start a new career just know there is someone on the west coast rooting for you and will be there opening night.

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