Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby zetreque on July 14th, 2015, 1:45 pm 

Why such a cold fridge Darby?
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on July 14th, 2015, 1:52 pm 

Because it suits my cold cold heart. ;-)

Kidding aside, perishables last a little longer at 34 than at 40F. That, plus I'm a total milk addict, and like to drink it as cold as possible without having to add ice cubes.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on July 21st, 2015, 5:46 pm 

No cooking today ... power outtage since noonish. Friggin HOT.

Slumming it in a bar ATM, waiting for power to return. Gotta get off grid.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on July 27th, 2015, 12:32 pm 

Lunch today is a bananna-blueberry smoothie.

For some strange reason, grocery shoppers in my area dislike fully ripe (read: spotty skinned) bananas, so the grocery manager periodically repackages large bundles of spotty bananas into the discount rack, where I occasionally grab like 4-5 lbs for $1. I peel em, freeze them, and then use them as the base for smoothies. They keep for about 3 weeks in the freezer before they begin to brown excessively and change flavor.

> 1 frozen fully ripe bananna (peeled)
> 1 palmful of frozen blueberries or frozen mango pulp
> 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
> Enough of your favorite cold milk (whole or skim dairy, coconut, almond, cashew, oat, whatever).
> Optional: 1 tsp sprouted organic hemp seed (hulled)
> Optional: 1 fl oz White Rum

The banana replaces both ice and added sugar.

As for dinner, we're literally swimming in tomatoes now, so I'll probably do a salad of fresh mozzerella, multi-color cerry tomatoes, a balsamic dressing, and some grilled chorizos on the side.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on August 1st, 2015, 4:55 pm 

Having an old friend over for some 1:1 culinary training, while the wife's out of town. He expressed an interest, so I thought I've give culinary instruction a whirl.

Tonite:
> Pie dough from scratch > TBD Pie Variety
> Masa Corn Tortilla Dough.
> Basic Knife Skills >> Beef Fajitas (6 varieties of peppers, and onions).

Pretty easy stuff.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on August 2nd, 2015, 4:32 pm 

Well, dinner was a lot of fun.

Unfortunately, my friend dropped a bombshell ... esophageal cancer ... surgery in a few days. (8-O

It sucks getting old ... seems like a third of my friends and family (myself included) are dealing with, or have already dealt with, cancer.

Where did the time go ? I miss being one of the 'young turks' of my generation.

Youth is totally wasted on the young.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Watson on August 3rd, 2015, 12:40 am 

Sorry to hear. I was going to ask about hints from the culinary training. I guess that didn't happen. I've had the bomb drop as well.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on August 3rd, 2015, 12:53 am 

He told me over dinner, after we'd cooked. :-/

Ok, back on topic, before I depress myself further ...

Today I taught myself how to clone/extend buttermilk. Blindingly simple actually ... add 1/2 cup of your favorite brand of commercial buttermilk (a variety with live cultures) to a scant quart of 2% or whole milk (I prefer whole), shake well, then let sit at room temp for 12 hrs until thickened, then refrigerate. Dirt simple.

The actual definition of true historical buttermilk is different and not as simple, so it would probably be more correct to call this 'cultured milk', but it's close enough in terms of flavor and texture not to matter.

Tomorrow I'll turn 8 lbs of surplus apples in my veg drawer into apple butter.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on August 4th, 2015, 11:23 am 

Last night I made a blackberry-blueberry double crust pie (using a can of filling that's been kicking around in my cupboard forever, plus frozen blueberries from the freezer that were starting to get old).

I'm drowning in cherry tomatoes, so today I'm making a large tray of oven-dried cherry tomatoes, followed by a pair of cherry tomato pizzas with shaved italian sausage**.

------------
**Shaved sausage is easy ... take a frozen italian sweet sausage straight from the freezer, briefly run it under cool tap water for 10 sec until the skin turns grey, then quickly slit the side and peel off the casing (it should come off easily). Then slice the still frozen sausage thinly (1/8th inch) on a steep bias with a sharp but sturdy chef knife. Arrange slices in a single layer on a plate to thaw while you ready your pizza, then transfer to your assembled pizza and bake.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Braininvat on August 4th, 2015, 11:37 am 

I don't eat pork. Are there alternatives, in the world of Italian sausage?


I like the buttermilk extender recipe...it seems obvious, when you hear about it. I wonder if one could clone yogurts in a similar fashion. Or at least a liquid yogurt like kefir.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on August 4th, 2015, 1:37 pm 

I don't eat pork. Are there alternatives, in the world of Italian sausage?


In Italian cuisine, sausage (both fresh and cured) is almost exclusively pork based. However, other countries abound that have beef & veal based (and sometimes chicken based) options, like Germany & the US. Wild game sausage is an option too, but it's hard to find Rabbis willing to sit quietly on a hunting stand up in a tree for hours on end while heavily armed gun-toting rednecks patrol below without chanting the torah. The latter tends to spook your game and reveal you to the rednecks (8-P~~

Braininvat » August 4th, 2015, 11:37 am wrote:I like the buttermilk extender recipe...it seems obvious, when you hear about it. I wonder if one could clone yogurts in a similar fashion. Or at least a liquid yogurt like kefir.


One thing I've noticed about my "extended" buttermilk is that although the finished texture is right, the flavor tends to be noticeably milder than the source BM you use to culture it, so it pays to select a really pungent one, to counter the decrease in flavor.

Favored brands in my area:
> Friendship - This is a cultured skim milk with live tri-culture. Great for straight up drinking and baking needs. Very thick, and a consistent well balanced tart flavor without any off notes. My only nit is the annoyingly outdated waxed cardboard carton, which tends to leak at the folded corners due to the high acidity of BM. Great product, poor packaging.

> Kate's Creamery - A near opposite in style to Friendship in almost every way. This is authentic old fashioned naturally soured buttermilk (a direct byproduct of churning cream into butter) of the style predating refrigeration. Very high quality product in modern high quality leak proof packaging. My chief nit is their apparent bias against modern tri-culture, in favor of natural souring - the latter sounds better on paper, but in reality leads to a variable flavor that is sometimes a bit pungent for some. Flavorwise, the house strain seems to lean firmly towards northern European sour butter (no surprise since this is a byproduct of same), with a strong backnote of Roquefort Societe cheese. I actually prefer to drink this extended, rather than straight, because of it's pungency ... a little too pungent to be refreshing, IMO.

As for yogurt, I've never tried making it, but articles and guides about on how to do so. The base material and cultures are a little different, it's a little less sour, and because it takes longer to thicken it's best to repasteurize the base before culturing, to give the good cultures you introduce a longer head start against other contaminants that try to compete before re-refrigeration occurs. Definitely do some reading.
Last edited by Darby on August 4th, 2015, 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on August 4th, 2015, 2:07 pm 

Just started 3 qts of extended BM (why pay $7+ for what you can make for under $3 ?) ... tomatoes from earlier are still in the oven, and starting to look/smell good.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby CanadysPeak on August 4th, 2015, 4:23 pm 

Darby » Mon Mar 02, 2015 4:13 pm wrote:
Some things I see in the store I pass, only because I have no idea what to do with it.

I routinely take pleasure in grabbing strange items that occasionally appear in the produce aisles of the ethnic markets I shop in, and then figuring out how to use them once I get home. I've done it enough that it's now fairly rare that I see something that stumps me. My most recent new item was a vegetable I fell in love with last year called bitter melon. Adore it, but definitely a rather uncommon and highly acquired taste for most here in the States (outside of indian, chinese and filipino communities that is). I already harvested a few seeds that I'm going to try to grow this summer, with a trellace.

Image

I'm not able to explore the wonderful world of foods and teas as much as I would like, at this time


Why not ? GI issues ?

I keep seeing those bitter melons at a nearby grocery, but haven't tried them yet. What would be your suggestion for a simple and relatively fail-safe dish using them?
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on August 4th, 2015, 4:46 pm 

The Ginisang Ampalya I mentioned here is relatively mild and easy to shop for and make. If you dont like that dish, bitter melon will never be a good fit for you ... a real litmus test recipe. The link includes photos. ;-)
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on August 6th, 2015, 11:19 am 

Since I have a lot of roasted red peppers and oven-dried tomatoes in oil in my fridge now, I put a small dent in them just now by making a quart of hummus with a generous helping of both.

Easy recipe ... simply combine the following in a sturdy 7+ cup food processor, and process until smooth and thick like soft serve ice cream. Refrigerate.

Roasted Red Pepper & Oven Dried Tomato Hummus
> 15 oz can chickpeas, drained (discard liquid)
> 1 cup Tahini
> 3-4 large lobes of roasted red pepper
> 1/3 cup oven dried cherry tomatoes**
> 3+ fl oz lemon juice
> 3/4 tsp ground coriander seed
> 1/4 tsp ground cumin
> 1/4 tsp ground pepper
> 1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper
> (optional) Salt to taste

---------------
** My oven dried cherry tomatoes are not as fully dried as classic sun dried ... I roast them until the moisture is reduced by about 2/3rds to 3/4ths, which leaves them much smaller, but still moist enough to puree in hummus and use in pasta or spreads.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Braininvat on August 7th, 2015, 10:01 am 

I had a bowl of cereal. Threw on some peanuts. Excellent. Of course, I used a Calabrian peanut, left in the sun for 3 days while marinating in vinegar, epsom salt, turmeric, cinnammon, and Tuscan civet oil with a pinch of closet-dried sage. The key, however, is to have the peanuts sit close to a farvergnuggenberry bush for 7 minutes while cool jazz is played on a glass harmonica.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on August 7th, 2015, 10:49 am 

Never seen a farvergnuggenberry bush before. I used to make mead, so I'd love to try a few. Might make us both rich, if they're any good. (8-P

j/k
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on August 7th, 2015, 3:40 pm 

Lazy today, so I drove an hour round trip to one of my go-to chinese places known for some atypical but excellent dishes, and got some take out (aka 'take away' in the UK).

> Crispy Boneless Duck (similar to Wor Shu Opp - in this case, they debone, marinate and braise entire ducks, then sear an entire half-duck to order skin side down, under a weight, until the skin is brown and crispy, and the meat is warmed though, then chop it into 1/2" thick slices and serve it over mixed veg with a star-anise based brown sauce for sipping).

> Mango Chicken (picture a variation on lemon chicken, albeit with mango slices, and a mango-based sauce with a touch of jalapeno ... a little gloppy, but very addictive).

> Mala Trio (Authentic Sichuan) - Most westerners would find this incineratingly hot and spicy, but I like it. Its a complex sauce made of various hot peppers, sichuan peppercorns, black pepper, star anise, fermented pixian doubun paste and other ingredients worked into a slow-simmered spicy brown sauce, used to finish a stirfry of beef, shrimp and chicken with peppers and a few other veg du jour.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on August 9th, 2015, 9:43 am 

Typo: "sipping" should be "dipping" at the end of the crispy duck description.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on August 9th, 2015, 9:45 am 

Today's a baking day:

> Triple batch of pizza dough, which I divide evenly between 2 sandwich baggies, press flat into 'tiles' and freeze for later use (they keep for several months this way, take up less space, and thaw quickly).

> Apple Butter Apple Pie (not a typo - I used some homemade apple butter for part of the filling)

> Zucchini Walnut Bread
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on August 11th, 2015, 9:02 am 

Just started a batch of adzuki beans sprouting ... Should be ready in 3 days. Love them sauteed in a little browned butter.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Braininvat on August 11th, 2015, 9:54 am 

Tried them as cooked beans, pretty good in stirfry, so expect a sautee would be good. They seem less gassy than many beans, too. (I also like pintos, for that latter reason)

Zucchini walnut bread is sublime, if done right. Really, any gourd-based bread with nuts....it's something I will try my hand at when have more time. There's an organic store that sells it here, but prices outrageous, so it's worth learning to bake.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on August 11th, 2015, 10:27 am 

Adzuki beans taste completely different when sprouted. Give it a try sometime ... sprouting is dirt simple.

I can post the zucchini walnut bread recipe if you like ... both the regular and a reduced sugar/fat version (I replace a third of the oil and sugar with homemade apple butter, or you can use apple sauce).
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on August 16th, 2015, 12:34 pm 

Not a fun morning ... woke up to discover the compressor in my fridge/freezer died during the night. A small fortune in repair costs later, and it's slowly getting cold again. *sigh*

Gonna be eating our way though salvageable perishables and partially thawed frozen goods for a few days.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Watson on August 17th, 2015, 6:02 pm 

My first roma tomato is red and looks ready to harvest. The two hanging beside it are getting a bit of color as well.I should be well supplied with tomatoes and potatoes in a few weeks. The rest of the garden is a bust, but I should be better organized for next year.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Braininvat on August 17th, 2015, 8:05 pm 

I liked the post on dubious EnergyStar standards and poor thermal recovery, over in Science, D. I am often surprised how many foods survive lapses in refrigeration. Many foods used to be kept for several days without cooling - milk, eggs, butter, roots, some fruits and vegs, cured meats, etc. And a lot of foods one is told to keep frozen right up until nuking, don't need it. I often put microwavable entrees in the fridge and they nuke in half the listed time. I know they are anathema to a cooking thread, but handy sometimes. If I could get to a grocery every couple days, probably wouldn't need a fridge, just put perishables on floor of cellar. But, believe me, I know a full fridge failing in the summer can have food casualties. No one likes melted, then refrozen, ice cream. The mouthfeel is just off.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on August 18th, 2015, 2:48 am 

Worse still are extremely expensive refrigerated medications that spoiled AFTER the fridge was repaired (due to poor thermal recovery). :/

Yes, I'll be careful when shopping for a replacement ... if I have to spring for a model with dual evaporators in order to get the thermal recovery I need, so be it.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on August 21st, 2015, 7:01 am 

Ugh ... seem to be coming down with an upper respiratory infection. Probably caught it at the computer store. Made a half gal of gunpowder green tea that I infused with a few slices of my preserved ginger before filtering it. Its one of my go to bevs when I'm feeling sick. I like it tepid, unsweetened.

Got a backlog of multiple varieties of peppers to use up, so I'll probably make sausage and peppers tonite.

One odd thing I've noticed about my yellow banana peppers .... if you hold them for a few days after harvesting them, they actually turn red off the vine, and the jalapenos I'm growing turn a sort of rust/purple color. Wasn't expecting that.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on August 25th, 2015, 9:10 pm 

Dinner tonite was leftover pasta that I repurposed for a fusion lomein stirfry featuring egg ribbons, sauteed box-grated grated zucchini and summer squash, toasted pepate, a little shaved sopressata and garlic, butter, fish sauce, and a crumbled dried cayenne.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on August 26th, 2015, 4:06 pm 

I dont normally post squees (they're a little undignified), but in this instance I'll make an exception.

I've really been enjoying the Bonne Jalapeno Hot Pepper plant this year ... its been yeilding bountifully all year long (it has 25 peppers in various stages of growth on it as I type this), and the peppers are delightfully firm and (unlike most supermarket varieties in my region) they're actually HOT. Better still, here in late summer, it's begun yielding RED jalapenos, which have a delightfully intense flavor and a subtle sweetness, in addition to their near perfect modest level of heat.

One of my favorite ways to enjoy them: halve lengthwise, core it, then chiffonade crosswise (this requires a very sharp knife) into very thin slices (1/16"), and saute in butter over medium heat until tender, reduced, and beginning to color ... this intensifies and concentrates the flavor, caramelizes the sugars present, and also infuses the butter with the hot oils and a bright pepper color. I'll then toast a slice of multigrain bread, spread it lightly with refritos, spread the sauteed hot pepper on top, then fry an egg 'crispy over easy' in the hot pepper infused butter and place the egg (and the remaining infused butter) right on top, sprinkle with salt, and you're good to go.

My other favorite way is to halve and core them, fill each half with cream cheese, wrap it with bacon, secure with a toothpick, and grill it on a cast iron plancha until the bacon is crisp and the cheese is gooey.
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