Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby mtbturtle on March 5th, 2015, 9:52 am 

Two keys to beef bourguignon homemade beef stock and cutting the beef chunks about the size of a fist. Cutting them in small stew size cubes and they end up on the dry side.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on March 5th, 2015, 10:05 am 

Amen. For true aficianados, flavor and texture always trumps mere convenience.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on March 10th, 2015, 12:16 pm 

Just trapped the second of two enormous racoons that were frequenting our attic this winter (i'd guess the male is at least 20 lbs). I cringe to think how much its going to cost me to clean and replace all the blown insulation in the attic, along with any damage that was done. Probably several grand, hopefully covered by homeowners insurance (they're technically in the bear family, rather than rodents, so they should be covered).

It's too bad my wife is so culinarily squeamish, or I'd happily take a stab at a native american recipe or two. Racoons were apparently a staple for early settlers and native indians alike, as they're relatively easy to track and trap in winter and can't run very fast. Apparently, the primary trick with cooking them is to carefully remove their scent glands. Supposedly the meat is darkish, and a bit gamey (like lamb shanks) ... but I like it that way.

Oh well. We live in gentler times now, so I'll just politely wave goodbye when pest removal arrives to haul the latest one away.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby mtbturtle on March 14th, 2015, 5:18 pm 

Cheese Souffle

Imagesouffle2 by mtbturtle101, on Flickr

Imagesouffle by mtbturtle101, on Flickr
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on March 14th, 2015, 5:43 pm 

That looks awesome. Ive never tried my hand at a souffle before.

Got a recipe to link ?
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby mtbturtle on March 14th, 2015, 7:33 pm 

I use Julia Child's [url=recipe http://www.food.com/recipe/classic-chee ... ild-296752]Cheese Souffle[/url]

I use 3-4 oz of cheddar cheese instead of Gruyerer and I melt it into the milk sauce before folding in the egg whites.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on March 16th, 2015, 12:45 pm 

Ah, thx ... I own a copy of that book. I haven't tackled a souffle because my wife's slightly sensitive to certain cheese products (ex: she can enjoy pizza, but not milk or cheese sauce).

Got a 6qt batch of Callos in the slow cooker. Since the wifey won't touch it, most of it will be bound for the freezer (and a homebound friend) when done. Will post photos as time permits.

Gotta do another loaf of Irish Soda Bread too.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on March 16th, 2015, 3:34 pm 

Clockwise from top left: 3 lbs Beef Honeycomb Tripe, Chorizo (I only used 2 of the 5 links shown), and a 3 lb rind-on slab of cured smoked pork belly (rind side down).
Callos1_lr.jpg


Here's the pork belly again, after it's been sliced, blanched, and lightly browned.
Callos2_lr.jpg


I'll take & post pics of the finished callos later ...
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on March 17th, 2015, 12:03 am 

BTW, if anyone has an interest in chef knives and knife sharpening, let me know.

I also have a review posted on Amazon for the knife in the photo.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Braininvat on March 17th, 2015, 12:19 am 

Love Irish soda bread. With real butter. Lately, I've been pouring agave nectar on breads and such...sounds like one of those New Age-y things, but it's got a subtle flavor I sometimes prefer to honey or jam.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on March 17th, 2015, 12:59 am 

I love soda bread too ... I like to saw off a 1" thick slice, toast it to golden brown, let it partially cool, then slather it with butter and enjoy it with tea (or masala chai).

Here's a loaf of rustic Irish Brown Bread, and a loaf of Irish Soda Bread, both straight out of the oven (this photo was from Dec 2013).

IrishBreads_lr.jpg


Here's a closer photo of the Irish Soda Bread.
Irishsodabread1_lr.jpg


My version is a bit of a hybrid between Irish and Irish American versions. Mine uses the biscuit like texture and caraway of the former, but also a little of the sweetness of the latter (as well as the use of golden sultana raisins). In many ways, it's like a giant scone.

As you can tell, I also like the coarse grain and buttery flavor of scones (which I play up in my recipe), and I like the golden crust that a generous brushing with buttermilk imparts before you slide it into the oven. I've always preferred a buttermilk wash to an egg wash.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on March 17th, 2015, 2:16 pm 

I froze all but 2 qts of the callos.

Dinner tonite is corn beef (in the slow cooker as I type this), potatoes, cabbage, carrots, and soda bread. The spuds, cabbage and carrots get rotated though the braising liquid one after the other, and then I discard the liquid.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Watson on March 19th, 2015, 11:21 am 

I would think the liquid would be very flavorful. I usually cool such liquid to separate off any fat, and save the liquid for later use.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on March 19th, 2015, 2:02 pm 

Ordinarily yes, in most circumstances I nearly always save and reuse broths. I was raised by depression era parents, so very few bones and carcasses escape my clutches unsimmered.

HOWEVER, corn beef is a special case, because the curing process includes high levels of not just regular salt (which is fine) but also sodium nitrite, which serves the dual role in charcuterie of color fixative for certain meats, and also an anti-botulin. Although food grade, it's not something that should be consumed in large amounts, and making a broth from meats saturated in same is an example of such.

Instead of the broth of corned beef, I'll instead save the braised deckle instead, which freezes well and minces well while frozen ... I'll sometimes use that in place of butter or bacon when lubricating a pan for say, pasta, stirfried rice, sauteing mirepoix, eggs, etc.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Watson on March 19th, 2015, 8:42 pm 

That's why I defer to your expertise. Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on March 25th, 2015, 11:53 am 

I'm currently experimenting with making small batch homemade granola that's lower in overall sugar, higher in omega-3, better tasting and vastly cheaper than commercial versions. First batch came out good ... nice mix of separation and clusters. There's a complex ballet of texture, adhesion and caramelization that has to happen, and my next attempt will involve trying a little egg white to replace part of the honey and oil in my control version.

I'll post a finished recipe, once I finish several more iterations of tweaking.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on March 27th, 2015, 7:51 am 

I stopped by a Korean market on my way home wednesday, and picked up (among other things) a salmon frame (i.e., the carcass leftover after both fillets are removed), a daikon radish, and a package of Tteok.

Dinner last night was a korean-style soup of salmon, daikon radish, potato and tteok, with some asparagus, scallions, a little shrimp paste, and a little miso. For the broth, I took the salmon frame, scraped off and reserved a little over a cup of salmon meat with the tip of a spoon, and then boiled the carcass with some vegetable peelings, onion, and a little shrimp paste. After fine-straining the broth, I added diced daikon and potato (simmer til al dente), followed by sliced asparagus & tteok (ditto), and garnished with the scallions, the salmon meat and miso (take it off the heat once the flesh turns opaque). Easy soup, and fairly cheap.

I like tteok ... somewhat similar to japanese mochi. You can microwave it, grill it, saute & sauce it, use it in soups, pound it with other flavorings, stuff it (savory or sweet), et al.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Braininvat on March 28th, 2015, 6:34 pm 

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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on March 28th, 2015, 7:34 pm 

Breakfast this morning was some homemade egg-asparagus-cheddar-parm matzoh brei, which I did stovetop in a covered nonstick saute pan. An easy to make staple of jewish-american breakfast cuisine (and no, I'm not Jewish) that adapts easily to whatever leftover veg/herbs/cheese/meat that need using up, and very similar to the Italian Fritatta (which uses leftover pasta instead of soaked and squeezed matzoh).

For lunch today (and leftovers for dinner), I took the wife to an atypical chinese takeout restaurant in my area that is trying to partially break away from the boring generic interchangeable americanized chinese takeout cuisine that has overproliferated in my region (and which I generally despise) by offering some more authentic, seasonal, or left-of-center variations on familiar dishes. My wife had mango chicken (a variation on orange chicken), and I had mala beef (medallions of tender beef and veg in a spicy brown sauce featuring a lot of numbing sichuan pepper, hot chili pepper, dobun, pungent black pepper, and a few other things ... if it helps, think of it as the sichuan analog of oaxacan mole sauce). The former was good, but the latter was excellent ... enough so that I plan to learn how to make it.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on March 31st, 2015, 10:21 pm 

Dinner tonite was one of my favorite Sichuan dishes ... homemade Mapu Doufu, which is tofu and a little ground meat in a spicy red fermented chili-bean paste (Dobun) based sauce. It's served over jasmine rice, with a palmful of thinly sliced scallion greens. Very hot & pungent, very addictive.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on April 1st, 2015, 5:57 pm 

In honor of the proverbial dangling carrot representing April Fool's Day, tonite is vegan nite.

App: Homemade roasted pepper hummus (with chips, carrot sticks, and halved mini tricolor peppers)

Entree: Spicy carrot-ginger-coconut soup that I reverse engineered a few years back. I use carrot juice and coconut milk as the base (plus a little ginger and garlic), spices, and for the thickener I used ground rice flour, and ground toasted cashews. It's quite good.

Recipes upon request for anyone wishing to replicate.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on April 2nd, 2015, 10:04 am 

Darby » March 31st, 2015, 10:21 pm wrote:a spicy red fermented chili-bean paste (Dobun)


Phonetic spelling error ... it's Douban (short for Doubanjiang).

I love the stuff, but it's still a bit hard to find in my area, and I have to drive almost 20 miles to get it. When I run out, I sometimes substitute some easier to find Korean gochujang, but it's not the same because it lacks broad beans and the distinctive musky and deeply fermented complexity. Powerful stuff. Good with udon or ramen too, once you acclimate to it.

When I'm cooking for myself I'll use it straight, but when I'm cooking for my wife, I'll scale it way back and blend it with some of the gochujang ... less hot and funky that way.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Watson on April 2nd, 2015, 1:40 pm 

Interesting stuff here. I'm going to look for some of these ingredients next time I'm in the big city.
Last year I marinated a whole chicken in Coke Cola. It was very good and I can't believe I haven't had it again since. I think it is time to do it again, with some spices to jazz it up further. We are getting back to the BBQ type weather.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on April 2nd, 2015, 2:55 pm 

Watson » April 2nd, 2015, 1:40 pm wrote:Interesting stuff here. I'm going to look for some of these ingredients next time I'm in the big city.
Last year I marinated a whole chicken in Coke Cola. It was very good and I can't believe I haven't had it again since. I think it is time to do it again, with some spices to jazz it up further. We are getting back to the BBQ type weather.


Ah, now vertical can chicken is something I can help you with, and improve your technique on.

As for the marinade: the cola technique is better suited for pork rather than chicken, but if you want better results, dilute the coke to half strength first (too much acid will start to ceviche the meat, and add some salt to it). Personally, for chicken, I prefer just a little oil, ground dried rosemary, and kosher salt, and that's it.

OLD SCHOOL METHOD:

About 20 years back, I used to regularly use a half-full "tallboy" can of whatever beer was handy for vertically roasting chicken. Some tips, in no particular order ...

* Liquid: It is important to keep the can about half full. The actual liquid used is of minimal importance, since the flavor & steam contribution is counter-intuitively minimal. The REAL purpose of the liquid is to help lower the center of gravity to reduce the tendency to tip. Another reason not to let the can run dry is that modern cans are lined, and contain BPA, and sometimes a plastic nitro widget for things like guinness, and if the latter burns, it's gonna stink up your dinner.

* Church Key: To help promote steam, use a church key to make a few extra openings in the top of the can. If you happen to have some impermeable stainproof pie weights, you can add a few of those too, to help lower the center of gravity still further.

* Pie Plate: The chief purpose of a plate is to provide a stable base for the can to help further deter tipping, and ideally it should be just slightly wider than the widest part of the bird. The other purpose of the plate is to catch drippings to prevent flareups. Fill it about halfway with boiling water, for extra steam, which also helps prevent splatters if bird juices otherwise fall into a pan of hot fat.

NEWER METHOD:

The beercan method has since been rendered somewhat obsolete, with the advent of sturdy tip-proof stainless steel vertical roasters. Here's one I reviewed on Amazon.

Image

Norpro Stainless Steel Vertical Poultry Roaster: Here, a support cage is attached firmly to a drip pan, which eliminates tipping. The pan is just narrow enough, and deep enough, so that the juices shed by the bird during roasting will prevent it from running dry and splattering with subsequent drips, and evaporate of same will help humidify your oven. Keep the neck opening of the bird unobstructed, so that air can circulate vertically inside the carcass, which will speed cooking, and help it cook more evenly.

> Amazon link.
> My review (Nov 2010).
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby mtbturtle on April 2nd, 2015, 4:01 pm 

I had a vertical roaster like that for years. I got this beer can roaster for Christmas this year and it's much nicer. It has a spot in the center to add liquids, and a bigger pin for drippings.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on April 2nd, 2015, 5:09 pm 

Looks fine, and tip proof.

Just to elaborate a little on the pan issue ... the one thing to be careful about with drip pans for vertical chicken systems is that they shouldnt be too wide, because if they run dry (wider pans boil dry faster), then only the fat remains, which will promptly rise from the 212 of boiling water up to the 400+ of your oven temp, and then if the chicken drips more, the liquid hits the hot fat and splatters ... and that could potentially cause a fire in a gas oven, if it happens too often and too much, and runs down the walls of the oven.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Watson on April 2nd, 2015, 5:31 pm 

I hadn't thought of using pork but the sweetness from the coke would work well. I used just the coke and nothing else so I could identify the influences of the coke on flavor and texture of the chicken. There was no noticeable acidic effect from the coke, unless as a tenderizer. I should have done 2 birds, 1 without the marinade as a true measure of the effect of the Coke. As I recall the skin brown up nicely, but with a moist and juicy under side. The meat was juicy and delicious, over all with a slight sweetness from the coke. I think the subtle flavors might be lost in a diluted marinade.
So far I like the idea of this technique, and the results. I have friends telling me how good the beer can chicken is. I just haven't tried it myself, yet.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on April 2nd, 2015, 7:27 pm 

Chicken as a rule doesnt need long to marinate, whereas a big bone in cut like a half or whole pork shoulder is much thicker, and benefits from several hours in the marinade ... and full strength coke would definitely start to cook it, if immersed that long. So, if you dont dilute it for the chicken, definitely dilute it for the much longer soak with a big piece of pig.

Been using coke with pork for a while now ... it has the advantage of having both flavor, acid and pre-dissolved sugar, and being dirt cheap, so it's a nearly complete ready to go marinade that doesnt have to be heated first to mix up. BTW, star anise works nice with the diluted coke too, as does fresh ginger, cloves and a little pineapple juice (use the latter sparingly though). Pull off a little of the marinade, simmer the spices to infuse their flavors, and add back to the marinade.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on April 2nd, 2015, 8:18 pm 

Ok, some pics of cola-brined smoked pork shoulder from spring 2014 ... food porn alert.

A pair of marinade-ready half shoulders ... I cross hatch the rind to make it easier for the marinade to penetrate, and to pull off bit size pieces of the crispy rind when it's done.
Ps1_lr.jpg


Into the water smoker with hardwood charcoal and some wood chunks (I think these were mesquite).
Ps2_lr.jpg


At the halfway mark, I added a pan of some perky bacon-barded bourbon baked beans
Ps3_lr.jpg


The beans are done, but the pork is still only about halfway (the bone has to wiggle, and the rind has to be crisp) ... since my bullet smoker runs a little too hot, I usually finish shoulders in the oven on low heat, to avoid oversmoking the meat.
Ps4_ls.jpg


p.s. In honor of Easter, I'll try to remember to post some procedural photos on boning out and charcoal grilling a whole butterflied leg of lamb sometime on Sunday.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Watson on April 3rd, 2015, 2:33 pm 

Green grass....sgh!!! I have a smoker I haven't used in several years. I should dust it off and spark it up. Those sure do look good.
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