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Ask Kirstin: Fish on the BBQ; Making Your Own Peanut Butter


We cooked some fish on the barbecue and it was dry and overcooked, any ideas? — O. Cross

Two ideas. First, blame the fish. It might not have been that great. Not much you can do then, so in the future, buy the freshest fish you can. Second, blame the cook, and gently remind him next time to:

1. Have patience. Wait until the coals have burned down, or use a lower flame on the the gas grill.
2. Use a good clean grate that has been oiled.
3. Flip the fish only once, (save the fancy flipping for pancakes).
4. Cook the fish just about 7 minutes per inch of thickness.
5. Take its temperature, use your thermometer, the fish is done at 140º (120º if you want to cook a fish like tuna rare), or poke a pointy knife into the thickest part of the fish, then touch the knife, if it is warm the fish is done.
6. But here is the tricky part, remember the fish continues to be hot/cook a bit after you take it off the grill, so take it off just before it is completely done, and let it sit and relax a few minutes before you serve it.


I have a few pounds of peanuts left over from a party, can I make my own peanut butter? — Jen B.

Nut-butters are so easy to make! The only thing you need is a food processor, unsalted toasted nuts (I like to leave the skins on), a little honey, and patience, as processing can take as long as 8 minutes. Peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds and macadamias, all make delicious butters.

Put 2 cups nuts in the food processor and start it running. First the nuts will become chopped, (remove a few tablespoons now, to add later if you want chunky nut butter). Scrape down the sides. Then they will become meal. Scrape down the sides again. Then they will become a dough ball… keep going. Then they will suddenly relax and become nut-butter. Scrape out into a bowl!

Just keep an eye on the food processor, you don’t want it to overheat. Sweeten with a little honey if you’d like to, add a little salt if you need too. Fold in the chopped nuts if you want “chunky style”. Add cinnamon for spice, or a little melted chocolate to be extra nice. Store in the refrigerator.


Can I make risotto with brown rice? — R.J.P.

Well… not really, the whole magic about risotto rice it that the outer starch melts into creaminess, and that won’t happen much with brown rice as it is still encased in its healthy hull. That said, I have cheated by first cooking short grain brown rice, then continuing as if I am making regular risotto, with onions, garlic, a little wine, vigorously stirring in a bit of broth to loosen it up, then vegetables, cheese and butter… it won’t be classic but it will be good.


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