TIPS FOR AUTUMN GRILLING IN SO CAL

As autumn approaches, and things cool down, and summer grilling becomes a fond if distant memory, the question arises: “Do I put away my grill, or do I keep cooking?” And since we live in a beautiful place that just never gets too cold, why not keep it up? But instead of continuing to repeat the recipes of summer, why not turn a page in the cookbook to autumn, and switch things up with seasonal socializing and produce?

WINGS

The big game is on. Everybody’s coming to your place? Why not grill up a batch of chicken wings? Use your favorite marinade, or just grill and sauce them as you normally would. It’s not exactly the fall harvest, but more of a game-day treat for your football frends.

TURKEY

If you’re ambitious, why not grill the Thanksgiving turkey? Or, if you’re like us, and you believe practice makes perfect, why not do an October test run on the fabled bird? We just noticed that the turkeys are showing up in our local supermarket en masse. Not surprisingly, Butterball offers some useful turkey grilling tips. And if you’re feeling adventurous, Alton Brown’s brined turkey recipes have worked out well for some of us. If you decide to tackle a turkey brine, it can be rewarding. Here’s one of Mr. Brown’s more popular grilled turkey recipes.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH

Another traditional autumn vegetable, butternut squash stands up well to the grill. You can grill slices brushed with olive oil and salted. Or, try cutting the squash into cubes and grilling them on skewers (also brushed with oil and salted, of course).

GRILLED CHILI

This is a dish that pops up in various chefs’ autumn grilling repertoires. Cooking a pot of chili on a smoky grill imparts a richness and depth that’s not obtainable indoors. Especially if you have a group coming over to watch the game, a smoky grilled chili could be just the thing to surprise their taste buds.

LEEKS

The fall harvest brings with it a lot of leeks. Split ‘em, grill ‘em with olive oil and salt, and dig in. A tasty side dish for whatever grilled meat you’ve got going on.

APPLES

With lots of apples available in autumn, why not turn to the grill? Brush them with a little oil for a tasty and surprising side dish. Or, if you want to serve them for dessert, try brushing them with a little brown sugar, bourbon and butter.

LOOKING FOR AN AUTUMN GRILL? 

If summer wore out your trusty workhorse, Friedmans Home Experience still has all kinds of grills in stock. Come on by the Long Beach showroom and check ’em out. they’ll send your heart all aflutter.

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE SELECTING A RANGE

A Capital Culinarian 48″ Convection Range. (You might not need this much range. But it would be fun, wouldn’t it?)

LAST WEEK, we talked about how BTUs are not the be-all and end-all. Here now, the five most important things to consider when buying a new range for your home kitchen here in Southern California. (Sure, it can apply no matter where you live. But since we live in Long Beach, we’re especially interested in right here right now.)

1. THE COOKTOP

Most important to us, because we do a lot of cooking on the cooktop surface, is to make sure that you have the right burners. A high-end range typically has high-output burners and low-output burners. Some of our favorites have all-in-one burners, a single burner with high-output and low-output flame levels, so you can simmer and boil on the same burner. That’s very important to us. As discussed previously, you don’t have to have a 30,000 BTU burner, but you want to make sure you’ve got enough. If you cook a lot of pasta for big groups, do big shrimp boils, or other large-scale meals that require many gallons of water,  you want to make sure you have burner enough to boil all that.

2. OVEN CAPACITY

Another important feature: we like an oven with a large enough capacity to fit your large holiday-type items: turkeys, roasts, things like that.

3. GLIDE-OUT RACK

While we’re talking about those big roasts, you also want to make surethat at least one of your oven racks is a glide-out rack. This makes it very easy to pull out those large items, like a turkey or a roast. Safely handling a big, hot roasting pan is important.

4. CONVECTION

We love having a convection oven. If you’ve never experienced it, convection ovens have a fan in the back with a heating element. It super-heats the air, blowing it back out at the food being cooked, giving you a consistent temperature from side to side, top to bottom, front to back. It provides for really even cooking.

5. THE BRAND

Possibly the most important feature in a home range: a reputable brand. You want a brand that you know is going to last, that has good reviews, that’s well known, that stands behind its products and has staying power. There are plenty of brands in all price ranges, and at Friedmans, we carry most of them. To learn more about selecting your new range, come on down to our showroom and we’ll give you the VIP tour of ranges for your home.

MY NEW RANGE IS ALL ABOUT THE BTU’S…RIGHT?

Yes, there it is: the arms race in home kitchen cooking. The British Thermal Units are coming! The British Thermal Units are coming! BTUs are often considered the be-all and end-all of home cooking.

Not so fast, and not so hot. Yes, high BTU’s can be good. But there are other factors to consider—flexibility ranking high among them.

Bertazzoni Heritage 48″ Gas Range with Convection

When you’re looking at a pro-style range for your home, you’re going to find yourself confronted with high-output burners that can deliver up to 25,000 BTUs.

BTU (British Thermal Unit) is a measure of heat output. Want a fact you can throw around at cocktail parties? Here ya go: A traditional unit of heat measurement, a BTU the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. Gas-burner capacity is measured in BTUs per hour. Pro-style ranges for the home typically offer high-output burners varying from 15,000 to 25,000 BTUs.

But…do you need that much? It depends on what you do. Consider that the reason professional kitchens have lots of high-BTU burners is they cook in high volume at high speed. Getting orders in and out of that kitchen is paramount. Even if you entertain a lot, you’re probably not doing anywhere near that volume.

But say you do a lot of Asian stir-fry dishes. High-BTU burners are good for that. Boil a lot of big pots of water for pasta feasts? Having a 15,000-BTU burner for that is a good idea. But a lot of your cooking is also going to be low heat, medium heat, or even medium-high heat, like simmering, steaming or sautéing. And low heat especially is a challenge. In some cases, it’s easier to develop cranking high heat than it is to generate a steady, consistent, low-level heat.

This is why flexibility is so important. It’s best to have an array of different size burners with a range of heating capability. (Yes, a “range” of capabilities. Welcome to a little insight into the etymology of the word “range” as applied to cooking appliances.) You want to be able to cook on high heat. But you also want to be able to cook over low heat without overdoing it. A big, crankin’, 25,000-BTU burner is going to have a hard time simmering something in a one-quart saucepan. When trying to cook on low heat, big burners like that will do a better job of heating up everything around them.

A smart array of high, medium and low burners is your friend. And go beyond BTUs. Consider all the features that would make you happy. Five burners? Six? How about a griddle? Oven with steam cleaning? Convection? Finish? A range is about much more than just the British Thermal Units. (As the photo of the Bertazzoni range at the top of the post shows.) For a full tour of all the available BTUs and more, come visit us in our Long Beach showroom. (It’s a fun place full of warm people.)

Getting More Out Of Those Mighty Tight Laundry Spaces In So Cal Homes

Let’s face it: a lot of the really cool homes in southern California are also really small. And when you have an 800-square-foot-condo or a 1,200-square-foot bungalow, having a proper laundry room presents challenges.

One answer to those challenges is the stackable washer/dryer. Talk about space saving: we’ve even seen stackables tucked into closets aboard sailboats and in motorhomes. Of course, not all stackable laundry machines are created equal. And at Friedmans Home Experience, we are very picky about the products we sell. One of those products is Speed Queen—one of the oldest and most respected names in laundry machines.

The first bonus of stackable washer/dryer combos is that they take up a lot less floor space. And one of the bonuses of Speed Queen is that they have excellent technology with some of the best construction—and a 5-year warranty that covers all parts and in-home labor on electronic control models. That’s five times longer than the industry standard. (Specific details of your warranty can vary, depending on your particular model.)

Speed Queen’s electronic control panels are designed to last 25 years, and they go through rigorous testing to ensure the circuitry stands up to extreme moisture, temperature, vibration and power surges. Additionally, Speed Queen’s Dynamic Balancing Technology virtually eliminates vibration. The result is better performance, and operation so silent you’ll want to check to make sure it’s still running. When you’re living with limited square-footage, it’s nice to know that kind of quiet is available in your laundry machines. To see Speed Queen machines and put your hands on those electronic controls, come and see Speed Queen our showroom and we’ll be glad to share the joy.

What’s With All The Mattresses At Friedmans?

For a lot of folks–even for some of our long-time Long Beach customers–it comes as a big surprise that we sell mattresses. Some folks think it’s the best kept secret in southern California mattress retail. But when we say, “You could live here,” we mean it. We have all the big stuff for all your big-deal rooms—kitchen, bath and bed. And since you spend a third of your life in bed…well, you can do the math.

But, why buy a mattress here? Typically, the salesman at a big mattress retailer starts by asking, “How much do you want to spend?” At Friedmans Home Experience, the first thing we ask you is, “How do you want to feel? What do you want this new mattress to do for you that your old one doesn’t?”

Once we know your desires, we can talk about price—and it’s all good. We have deals most mattress places don’t. As part of the nation’s largest buying group, we get killer discounts and pass them on to you. We help you have a mattress that can make your dreams happen at a dreamy price.

And yes, we have 0% financing (on approved credit) and free delivery. It’s all part of the deal. We compete with the 600-pound gorillas of mattress on price, financing and delivery. So, why don’t we spend all our advertising dollars yelling about it all over Southern California? Well, that would force us to raise our prices. And yelling really isn’t the Friedmans Home Experience way.

So the next time a mattress retailer is yelling at you…maybe think about turning in this direction. With a better price and a better experience, you’ll sleep like a log. If that’s your goal. Nudge nudge, wink wink.

Isn’t It About Time To Control Your Bed With Your SmartPhone?

Yes, the technological convergence has finally merged your smartphone with your Tempur-Pedic bed—when you go with the TEMPUR-Ergo® Premier Adjustable Base for your Tempur-Pedic mattress. As the folks at Tempur like to tell us, this is the bed base that “puts you in control: a virtually unlimited number of ergonomic rest positions, plus rejuvenating massage.” Yay, massage!

This base comes with a wireless remote lets you control the movement of the bed as you lie in the bed. Or, if you have an Apple® iOS or Android® device, you can also wirelessly control TEMPUR-Ergo® Premier from there.

Among the benefits of the TEMPUR-Ergo® Premier Adjustable Base is unlimited ergonomic positions:

You can obtain perfect support by raising your head up to 70 degrees, and your feet up to 37 degrees, all while the wall-hugging design keeps you near the nightstand;

The Massage feature offers four individual programs: standard, wave, synchronized wave, and pulse;

The Memory Positions feature allows you to store up to four preset ergonomic positions for near-instant comfort adjustment;

The base height options include standard 6.5-inch legs, which come with the base; they can be replaced with higher 9-inch legs or lower 4.5-inch legs that are purchased separately;

Since Tempur likes to (understandably) boast that they design and build every base to last, the 5-year Full Warranty on parts and labor, and the lifetime warranty on the frame itself, come as no surprise.

And, as described, the wireless and WiFi remote features allow you to control the base using either the Tempur® wireless LCD remote, or your smartphone or tablet.

Are you looking to love your bed in Long Beach (or in some other part of Southern California or beyond)? Want to know more about how this bed base can give you a lift in the memory-foam mattress department? Get more information on the TEMPUR-Ergo® Premier Adjustable Base by clicking here.

Why Hire A Kitchen Designer?

One of the simplest reasons to add a kitchen designer to your budget is this very common response to seeing the designer’s recommendations: “I didn’t know you could do that!”

It doesn’t matter how much you’re spending on a kitchen remodel. Unless you’re simply replacing existing appliances and leaving everything else as is, you can benefit from the services of a designer who specializes in laying out a smart, efficient custom space for work and socializing.

And according to the National kitchen & Bath Association, the expense of a designer usually represents about 4% of the overall budget—and that 4% can make your kitchen much more usable, practical, comfortable and valuable. (Something to remember is that often, the best improvements to your home are the ones you’ve done to entice the person who buys your home after you’re done enjoying it.)

At Friedmans Home Experience, we’re happy to work with whoever you’ve hired to bring your kitchen dreams to life. Or, if you’re unsure who to hire, know that we have an in-house design team that has designed kitchens all over Southern California. Learn more by clicking here.

A Foodie Ferrari For Your Kitchen?

Take the unique Italian sensibilities for great design and great food, add a family with six generations of kitchen appliance manufacturing  know-how (including the Toyota manufacturing system for speed and quality), and you have Bertazzoni: a line of ranges, cooktops, hoods, refrigerators and dishwashers that look like nothing else in Southern California’s kitchens. If you’re designing a new kitchen, remodeling your existing space, or just want to marvel at impeccable aesthetics and  fabulous functionality, take a peek at Bertazzoni’s video…

And if you want to put your hands on these artistic appliances, come on down to our Long Beach showroom. Bertazzoni is a feast for your eyes.

Top Grilling Mistakes To Avoid: Not Enough Heat

We all know at least one guy who loves to flame everything that goes on the grill, charring it all to charcoal dust. But you often don’t hear about an equally challenging situation: not using enough heat. Especially for steaks, don’t you want to get that steakhouse-style crust? It requires knowing how to use the heat. Getting those grill grates screaming hot is a requirement. You want to sear the meat on each side until it has that toothsome crust you’re looking for. Then, transferring the steak to a lower-temperature grate facilitates cooking the inside.

Lynx 27″ freestanding grill w/ProSear

Of course, if you really want to make those steakhouse steaks about which your friends wax poetic, there’s a grill to help make that happen. High searing temperatures like the pros attain are a challenge to in a typical backyard grilling scenario. But Viking and Lynx both offer gas grills with ProSear burners. These advanced infrared burners are designed specifically to provide high-intensity, infrared heat for searing foods and sealing in flavor. Then, once you’ve seared your meat, you can move it to a conventional burner to attain the right amount of juicy, succulent doneness.

If you’d like to learn more about grills with ProSear burners, come on in to our long beach showroom. We’re happy to talk about this (and other tools) to help you attain barbecue nirvana.

What’s The Right Refrigerator For You?

At Friedmans, we understand. Picking the right refrigeration configuration can be a challenge. We’ve been helping Southern California kitchen shoppers suss it out for decades. And it all begins with understanding your own criteria and a few basic benefits can help make the decisions easier.

How much do you want to spend? If the sky’s the limit, go for the internet connectivity and in-door coffee maker. If money’s tight, consider going for a no-frills fridge.

How tight is your kitchen? Think about the space. What will fit best? And how’s the space around the fridge? Air needs to circulate around a refrigerator to operate. Are your counters shallow or deep? Are there any other space issues with clearance when it comes to opening the door?

How do you live? Do you entertain a lot, and need space for wide platters? Do you eat a lot of frozen food on the fly? Do kids need easy access?

How green do you want to be? The Department of Energy says that a refrigerator accounts for as much as 13.7% of household electricity usage. The reason is simple: motors that run a lot. If you’re energy and electric-bill conscious, it helps to know that some configurations are more efficient than others.

How do you feel about cleaning? Stainless steel finishes can smudge easily. Inside, glass shelves with lips can contain spills.

Do a little soul searching, lifestyle appraising and kitchen measuring. Then, consider the broad stroke basics of the most common refrigerator styles.

Top freezer is a classic. It’s the most common style, can be the most affordable, is often the most efficient, and comes in a range of sizes—starting with compact. The fridge section is also kid height—but typically not the freezer. A grown up usually has to bend down to look inside it.

Bottom freezer is often spacious and wide. You don’t have to bend down to get to the fridge. Since most folks use the fridge more often than the freezer, this is convenient. But your 6-year probably won’t reach the top shelf.

French door is fancy—and practical. It gives you the benefits of the freezer on the bottom, plus the bonus of working well in a kitchen with a tight configuration. Also, since you can open only one door at a time, it’s more efficient. More cold air stays inside.

Side-by-side can be good for tight spaces. And with the vertical freezer configuration, it lets you see everything that’s inside at a glance without digging around. That said, they can also use more electricity.

Built-in is the most slick. Now we’re talking true custom-kitchen thrill with a chill. Available in all kinds of configurations, you can even cover the doors with the same material as your cabinets.

Of course, nothing beats a hands-on experience with a whole bunch of products. At our Long Beach showroom, we have all kinds of refrigerators on display for every budget. Come visit, have a cup of coffee, and we’ll talk all things refrigerator.