Dear Barbara: My grandson keeps asking me to grill bananas on the grill. Not only do I not know how, but I have never even heard that you could do that. Is there really such a thing, or is he just trying to make me look silly? — Sharon from Lodi
Dear Sharon: No, he is not trying to make you look silly! Grilled bananas are getting more popular all the time. You can leave the peel on, or you can take most of it off and wrap it in foil. They only need about 4 minutes per side. Be sure the grate on your grill is very clean so they won’t stick. What you can make with grilled bananas is only limited by your imagination.
Dear Barbara: When you buy nova salmon thin sliced and smoked ... is it considered cooked. I was with a person the other day who ordered this on a salad, then insisted it was not cooked salmon and she wanted cooked salmon ... was she right? Thank you for your help. — Nelly from Stockton
Dear Nelly: Your friend is mistaking “cured” with cooked. Curing by brining and aging was used back in the days of no refrigeration, as a preservative. We don’t need to do that now, but companies still do it because that is the taste the public is used to.
Cured salmon, thinly sliced, is not cooked. It is “cold” smoked. It is letting the smoke into the smokehouse, but not the heat. The smoked salmon that is both brined and cooked means that smoke was used in the process and so was the heat. You very seldom will see it cooked.
Dear Barbara: I’m visiting from the Midwest and found a curious piece of meat in the supermarkets. I have never heard of “tri-tip”. What would that cut of beef be called in the Midwest? — Fran from Chicago
Dear Fran: Tri-tip is known mostly in California and according to tri-tip history, it wasn’t until the mid 1950s that it started being found in butcher shops. Tri-tip can be a very tough piece of meat if not cooked properly. It is found at the bottom of the sirloin. Up until then, it was considered too hard to get and too tough, so it was cut up for stew meat and ground into hamburger. A butcher at a Safeway store cut the tri-tip as a whole piece and threw it on the grill. When they took it off the fire, it was cut across the grain and was tender and delicious.
Texas has brisket, Carolinas have pork, Kansas City has sauce and we Californians have tri-tip!