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Monthly Archives: Mar 2017

outdoor fireplace
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10 Meals You Can Make With An Outdoor Fireplace

An outdoor fireplace is an important feature that attracts many people to an outdoor kitchen landscape design for their home. Backyard fireplaces are a great way to enjoy the outdoors, and can be used to prepare some of your favourite meals. You can also get creative and make gourmet dishes, depending on your outdoor fireplace design. For the most part, all you need are oven mitts and a grilling rack to make a large number of different dishes. If you’re looking for culinary inspiration, here are ten meals you can make with an outdoor fireplace.

Meals You Can Make With An Outdoor Fireplace

  1. Scrambled Eggs
  2. All you need is a cast-iron skillet to have a great breakfast outdoors using your fireplace. In addition to eggs, you can cook bacon, sausages, beans, oatmeal and pancakes on your outdoor fireplace. You can make a complete breakfast for your family to enjoy outside, hot off the grill.

  3. T-bone Steak
  4. There is no better way to cook a T-bone steak than over an open flame, and it takes under ten minutes to cook. Simply season the meat and place it directly on the grilling rack, turning after five minutes. When those perfect grill marks start to appear, you know the meat is done. You can also place the steak directly on the embers at about four minutes per side. Once removed from heat, brush the meat off to remove any embers that are clinging to it.

  5. Fish
  6. This is one of the easiest meals to make on an outdoor fireplace. Simple seasonings like salt, pepper and lemon juice are all you need for delicious fish. Drizzle a cast-iron skillet with olive oil and place it on the heat for about two minutes (or until hot). Then, place the fish of your choice on the the hot, cast-iron skillet. Flip after about three minutes (four minutes for salmon or other thick-cut fish). Cook for another three minutes before serving.

  7. Roasted or Baked Potatoes
  8. Whether you use sweet potatoes, white potatoes, yellow ones or red ones, roasted potatoes are easy to make on an outdoor fireplace. In fact, you can bake the potatoes directly on the fireplace embers if you so desire. For roasting, you can leave the potatoes whole if they are small, or cube them, and place them in foil on a grilling rack. You can season your potatoes with salt, pepper, chives, garlic—it’s your call.

  9. Catalan Tomato Bread
  10. This is an easy fireplace recipe that takes no time at all. With garlic, ripe tomatoes and the bread of your choice, you have an exciting side dish. All you need is to rub some roasted garlic and halved tomatoes on the bread, getting as much juice out of them as you can. Then drizzle with olive oil and place on the grilling rack for two to four minutes. Remember that bread burns quite quickly so do not take your eyes off the grill.

  11. Onions
  12. Onions can be cooked over any open flame, so they work great on any outdoor fireplace. Cooking onions outdoors is easy because they can be placed whole directly on the fire or on a grilling rack. You can also wrap them in foil and cook them with other vegetables like mushrooms and peppers.

  13. String-turned Roasted Chicken
  14. Depending on the outdoor fireplace design you have, you should be able to easily set up a truss to roast your chicken. This works best with a whole chicken, and you will need a fireplace-safe pan to catch the drippings that fall as the bird cooks. You can also use the drippings to make a gravy or sauce to accompany your roasted chicken.

  15. Roasted Beef Tenderloin
  16. To make this dish, you will need to wrap the tenderloin in a clean towel (you can use a dishtowel if it’s thick enough). The meat needs to be closely wrapped in a towel so that you can place it directly on the fireplace. You will have to dampen the towel first otherwise the meat will stick to it, or it could catch fire. Roasted beef tenderloin on the fireplace takes about thirty minutes. For best results, turn the meat after fifteen minutes.

  17. Pizza
  18. To make perfect pizza it will depend on your outdoor fireplace design. If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor pizza oven then you’re all set. If you have a traditional fireplace, don’t fret, you can still make pizza on it. You will need a grilling rack to place your pizza on and you will want it to be very hot. When removing the pizza from the fireplace you will need to wear oven mitts, otherwise you will burn your hands.

  19. S’mores
  20. Everyone’s favourite childhood camping trip treat is easy to make on your outdoor fireplace. All you need are graham crackers, marshmallows, dark or milk chocolate and foil. Simply build your s’mores, wrap them in foil and place on the the grilling rack for one or two minutes. Alternately, you can skewer the marshmallows and hold them over the flames for about two minutes. Remove the marshmallows from the skewers and build your s’mores from there. If you have young children they will probably get a kick out of being able to roast their own marshmallows.

If you have an outdoor fireplace and you’ve wondering what to do with it, now is the time to unleash your inner chef and get to grilling! If you’re looking for outdoor kitchen landscape ideas, contact us. We can convert any outdoor fireplace design into a reality.

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snow removal
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Questions To Ask Your Commercial Snow Removal Company

Winter brings us a snowy wonderland that may look beautiful, but can create a lot problems. If you’re stuck shovelling on your own, you could find yourself shivering outside for hours clearing your driveway and steps. Plus, you risk back and arm injuries, not to mention catching a cold. For these reasons and more, many people turn to a commercial snow removal company to clear away mother nature’s debris.

Questions To Ask Your Snow Removal Company

If you’re looking for a commercial snow removal operation to take care of shovelling and clearing, you should do your research before settling on a company. Ask around to see which companies other local businesses use, and read online testimonials if possible. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few snow removal companies, give them a call and ask the following questions. The answers will determine if they’re the right commercial snow removal company for you.

Do you have insurance?

Any reputable commercial snow removal company will have general liability insurance. Moreover, they should also have a workers compensation program in place for their employees. If something happens on your property that is out of anyone’s control, the snow removal business must be covered. You must be covered as well, so contact your insurance provider and make sure that your house insurance includes accidents related to snow removal (it probably does but it’s better to be safe than sorry).

What services does your company provide besides commercial snow removal?

Snowfalls come in all shapes and sizes. Does the snow removal company have other services in place to deal with the different conditions associated with snowfalls? For instance, will they salt the area as needed? Will they haul the snow away if the accumulation is too great? Will they provide a shovelling service to clear walkways and maintain your safety? Most snow removal businesses will provide these additional services. If the company you are speaking with does not, move on to another one.

Will you be assessing my property before the first snowfall?

Any company that refuses to visit your site before taking you on as a client is not one you should work with. There is ample planning that must go into snow removal and any company that is willing to wait until the first snowfall before assessing your home and street shouldn’t be considered for the task of snow removal.

Are you in good standing with the Better Business Bureau?

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Canada is an organization that holds companies accountable and provides consumers with trust. If the commercial snow removal company you are considering isn’t in good standing with the BBB, move on.

What kind of equipment will be used?

A regular truck is not going to do the job of commercial snow removal. In order to ensure the company you are looking into has the right equipment for the job, make sure they use high-grade snow removal equipment like skid steers, plows, pushers and front-end loaders.

How many clients do you currently have?

This questions ties in to the one above. A snow removal business that has forty clients should have the equipment and manpower to service each one in a timely manner. If the company only has two trucks and forty clients then your needs will not be met and you’ll be waiting for hours for your snow removal service. Make sure that the commercial snow removal company you choose has enough equipment and employees to deal with each of their clients properly.

When do you get to work?

Any reputable snow removal business will get to work as soon as there’s a centimetre of accumulation. Companies that wait any longer before starting their snow removal process are putting you at risk. Black ice can form quickly, leaving you with a greater chance of someone slipping or skidding and increasing the likelihood of collisions on your property.

Do you work with any subcontractors?

A worthy snow removal operation will not use subcontractors. If they do, then consider everything they told you about equipment, insurance and manpower meaningless, because a subcontractor could operate within their own set of rules that have no bearing on the company you have agreed to do with business with.

How much do you charge for your services?

Ideally, you will find a commercial snow removal company that charges a flat-rate for the season and not per snowfall. It’s easier to sign a contract for the winter at a fixed price then to be billed after each snowfall. If you live in a place that receives constant accumulation this can quickly exceed your budget and take a toll on your finances.

Do you have a dispatcher to respond to emergencies?

Snow doesn’t always fall on command, and ice build-up and other problems can arise without snow even falling, which is why you want a removal company that is available 24/7. Any company that does not employ a dispatcher for emergencies isn’t one you want to work with.

Any Canadian city will be hit with more than one snowfall during the winter months. It’s important to find a commercial snow removal company that you trust, and that will be attendant to your needs.

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