Author Topic: Cooking With Chefist!  (Read 27773 times)

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Re: Cooking With Chefist!
« Reply #210 on: December 11, 2015, 01:55:22 PM »
I think that British cuisine, to a greater extent than the rest of Europe, was infected by the same convenience-food blight that infected American food in the 20th century so that they forgot what real food tasted like.  Thanks to some good food tv they're coming out of it now.

I have a fondness for English baking this time of year.  Nothing says Christmas like good old mixed spice, fruitcake, plum pudding, mincemeat.  And they're, to my knowledge, the only other people to bake with saffron -- heaven in a bun.

This is the week to bake lussekatter.

Usually, on the rare  occasions when you see them, saffron buns aren't made with the real thing any more, sadly. Too expensive, so they use some cheap option instead, probably with added colouring.

I don't think British cuisine was ever that great, really. The French don't have much of an opinion of us when it comes to food (among other things), and our stuff tends to place great emphasis on heavy, suet-based things above all else. Also, it is very rare to encounter anyone born before the war who didn't cook vegetables until they were almost destroyed. I just had a mince pie a few minutes ago and they are all part of Xmas for me, but a little bit of Xmas cake goes a long way and I much prefer the pannattone.

You also used to be able to get something called Tunis Cake, but it is very hard to find these days. Xmas pudding is also something that most homes will have here at Xmas but, again, it is usually too heavy on the day and you would prefer something a bit lighter - although it is traditional and there is no arguing with tradjtion, even if you really can't face wading through a steamed pudding filled with dried fruit.

Re: Cooking With Chefist!
« Reply #211 on: December 11, 2015, 02:04:43 PM »
Usually, on the rare  occasions when you see them, saffron buns aren't made with the real thing any more, sadly. Too expensive, so they use some cheap option instead, probably with added colouring.

I don't think British cuisine was ever that great, really. The French don't have much of an opinion of us when it comes to food (among other things), and our stuff tends to place great emphasis on heavy, suet-based things above all else. Also, it is very rare to encounter anyone born before the war who didn't cook vegetables until they were almost destroyed. I just had a mince pie a few minutes ago and they are all part of Xmas for me, but a little bit of Xmas cake goes a long way and I much prefer the pannattone.

You also used to be able to get something called Tunis Cake, but it is very hard to find these days. Xmas pudding is also something that most homes will have here at Xmas but, again, it is usually too heavy on the day and you would prefer something a bit lighter - although it is traditional and there is no arguing with tradjtion, even if you really can't face wading through a steamed pudding filled with dried fruit.

Tunis cake is a new one on me, thanks!  Will look it up.

I'm so sorry about your saffron buns.  The real thing is heaven.  And I do like the unctuous texture of suet, resorting to grinding my own from butcher's scraps on occasion.  You're supposed to fatten up a little this time of year to get you through the cold.

I still bear the scars from a flaming-pudding disaster three years ago -- the sacrifices made for tradition!

Re: Cooking With Chefist!
« Reply #212 on: December 11, 2015, 02:16:06 PM »
Tunis cake is a new one on me, thanks!  Will look it up.

I'm so sorry about your saffron buns.  The real thing is heaven.  And I do like the unctuous texture of suet, resorting to grinding my own from butcher's scraps on occasion.  You're supposed to fatten up a little this time of year to get you through the cold.

I still bear the scars from a flaming-pudding disaster three years ago -- the sacrifices made for tradition!

One big difference between there and here is that Americans go for mashed potatoes whereas we would opt for the roast variety. I can't think that anyone would have mashed potatoes now, yet it was quite common in Dickens's time. Also, I think Americans go for the sweet stuff a lot more than us. We wouldn't think of having sweet potatoes at Xmas, I don't think, but we certainly wouldn't put sugar and marshmallows in them if we did!

If you are being totally traditional about Xmas pudding, you also have to put a sixpence in the mixture, thus giving you the option to have all your teeth broken too. The best thing about Xmas pudding for me wasn't the pudding itself, but that it gave you the excuse to make brandy butter - usually eating a good part of it at the same time.

I think all these suet puddings came about as a way of finding something that would really stick to the ribs. We get some really miserable weather here, as you probably know, and the combination of fog and rain makes you want to go for something that is comforting if not necessarily healthy. You can always find Atora suet here, both the traditional  one and the vegetable variety.



Re: Cooking With Chefist!
« Reply #213 on: December 11, 2015, 02:28:21 PM »
One big difference between there and here is that Americans go for mashed potatoes whereas we would opt for the roast variety. I can't think that anyone would have mashed potatoes now, yet it was quite common in Dickens's time. Also, I think Americans go for the sweet stuff a lot more than us. We wouldn't think of having sweet potatoes at Xmas, I don't think, but we certainly wouldn't put sugar and marshmallows in them if we did!

If you are being totally traditional about Xmas pudding, you also have to put a sixpence in the mixture, thus giving you the option to have all your teeth broken too. The best thing about Xmas pudding for me wasn't the pudding itself, but that it gave you the excuse to make brandy butter - usually eating a good part of it at the same time.

I think all these suet puddings came about as a way of finding something that would really stick to the ribs. We get some really miserable weather here, as you probably know, and the combination of fog and rain makes you want to go for something that is comforting if not necessarily healthy. You can always find Atora suet here, both the traditional  one and the vegetable variety.

I've tried the Atora vegetable suet from a British-imports store here but it's not the same.  Our local high-end grocery packages their own beefy stuff around Christmas, presumably for expats and neotraditionalists like me.  I've always wanted to make a roly-poly pudding but the urge strikes out of season.

Nice about the coin!  Will try that this year.  I don't think I have any old British currency around here except for an ancient third-guinea piece I don't want to risk to someone's digestion.  Wonder how much a sixpence is on Ebay.


Re: Cooking With Chefist!
« Reply #214 on: December 11, 2015, 02:35:54 PM »
I've tried the Atora vegetable suet from a British-imports store here but it's not the same.  Our local high-end grocery packages their own beefy stuff, presumably for expats and neotraditionalists like me.

Nice about the coin!  Will try that this year.  I don't think I have any old British currency around here except for an ancient third-guinea piece I don't want to risk to someone's digestion.  Wonder how much a sixpence is on Ebay.

You've got me thinking of the things that pop up here every Xmas now!  ;)

For some reason, people like to buy boxes of dates, whether they want to eat them or not. It's like those people who buy those net bags of nuts and then throw most of them away halfway through January. You always find these orange and lemon slices too, although they are not really fruit, but jellies. If you'd never tried mincemeat slices rather than the pies, I would recommend them. It's like a flapjack with mincemeat in the middle and it's a good alternative to the traditional stuff.

http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/main-ingredient/mincemeat/wholefood-mincemeat-slices.html

Re: Cooking With Chefist!
« Reply #215 on: December 11, 2015, 02:41:53 PM »
I think that British cuisine, to a greater extent than the rest of Europe, was infected by the same convenience-food blight that infected American food in the 20th century so that they forgot what real food tasted like.  Thanks to some good food tv they're coming out of it now.

I have a fondness for English baking this time of year.  Nothing says Christmas like good old mixed spice, fruitcake, plum pudding, mincemeat.  And they're, to my knowledge, the only other people to bake with saffron -- heaven in a bun.



This is the week to bake lussekatter.
Ever watch the "Great British Bake-off" on PBS?  My wife had it on once, and I got hooked.  It's fascinating to see ordinary people make amazingly complicated baked goods and deserts entirely from scratch materials. 

Re: Cooking With Chefist!
« Reply #216 on: December 11, 2015, 02:44:08 PM »
Usually, on the rare  occasions when you see them, saffron buns aren't made with the real thing any more, sadly. Too expensive, so they use some cheap option instead, probably with added colouring.

I don't think British cuisine was ever that great, really. The French don't have much of an opinion of us when it comes to food (among other things), and our stuff tends to place great emphasis on heavy, suet-based things above all else. Also, it is very rare to encounter anyone born before the war who didn't cook vegetables until they were almost destroyed. I just had a mince pie a few minutes ago and they are all part of Xmas for me, but a little bit of Xmas cake goes a long way and I much prefer the pannattone.

You also used to be able to get something called Tunis Cake, but it is very hard to find these days. Xmas pudding is also something that most homes will have here at Xmas but, again, it is usually too heavy on the day and you would prefer something a bit lighter - although it is traditional and there is no arguing with tradjtion, even if you really can't face wading through a steamed pudding filled with dried fruit.

I would remind everyone of creme Anglaise...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cr%C3%A8me_anglaise

Apart from the 5 mother sauces, Creme Anglaise is just as important and should be in the "6 Mother Sauces"...Creme Anglaise (English Cream) is responsible for: Ice Cream, Custard, Creme Carmel, Creme Broulee, French Toast, Bread Pudding, and on and on!

Re: Cooking With Chefist!
« Reply #217 on: December 11, 2015, 03:02:06 PM »
Ever watch the "Great British Bake-off" on PBS?  My wife had it on once, and I got hooked.  It's fascinating to see ordinary people make amazingly complicated baked goods and deserts entirely from scratch materials.

Yes, an excellent show!  I wish I had the patience for the decorating part; my cakes are exceedingly homely.

Re: Cooking With Chefist!
« Reply #218 on: December 11, 2015, 03:06:51 PM »
You've got me thinking of the things that pop up here every Xmas now!  ;)

For some reason, people like to buy boxes of dates, whether they want to eat them or not. It's like those people who buy those net bags of nuts and then throw most of them away halfway through January. You always find these orange and lemon slices too, although they are not really fruit, but jellies. If you'd never tried mincemeat slices rather than the pies, I would recommend them. It's like a flapjack with mincemeat in the middle and it's a good alternative to the traditional stuff.

http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/main-ingredient/mincemeat/wholefood-mincemeat-slices.html

Now that's a nice idea!  Put a little mincemeat in everything for Christmas flavor.  Much preferable to the pumpkin-spice nonsense.

Re: Cooking With Chefist!
« Reply #219 on: December 11, 2015, 04:14:22 PM »
Here's something I've always wanted to ask a real Englishman:  how do these little conveniences compare in flavor to what the average family has on their table on Christmas?





Do you guys just pop one of these in the nuker and whip up a packet of Bird's?

I've tried many of them and, to me, they're lacking something in, ah, heft, but I've never had a real Christmas pudding, just what I've made from recipes.

Re: Cooking With Chefist!
« Reply #220 on: December 11, 2015, 04:26:30 PM »
Usually, on the rare  occasions when you see them, saffron buns aren't made with the real thing any more, sadly. Too expensive, so they use some cheap option instead, probably with added colouring.

It occurred to me it's probably turmeric!  Dave has reached across the Atlantic!

Re: Cooking With Chefist!
« Reply #221 on: December 11, 2015, 04:33:29 PM »

Here's something I've always wanted to ask a real Englishman:  how do these little conveniences compare in flavor to what the average family has on their table on Christmas?

Normally you are supposed to steam them. There is usually plenty left over for the next day so you end up putting it in the microwave then to warm up, but they are full of sugar so you don't need very long in there before it comes out hotter than molten lava. That one at the top looks more like a cake with raisins in it to me and is probably pretty cheap.

Over here they will do lots of comparisons in the newspapers, and quite often the more expensive ones do quite badly. I think there is a good balance somewhere in the middle between one that is really cheap at one end, and one of those at the other that has frankly too much fruit in so that it's pretty indigestible. I am not a fan of ones that have about five different types of booze and a load of nuts in it as well, and I think that the simpler they are the better. You can get an expensive pudding from Fortnum's that looks posh (and will be very expensive) but you can pick up a perfectly decent one from the supermarket that will be OK and will cost a fraction of the price.

Re: Cooking With Chefist!
« Reply #222 on: December 11, 2015, 04:40:03 PM »
Normally you are supposed to steam them. There is usually plenty left over for the next day so you end up putting it in the microwave then to warm up, but they are full of sugar so you don't need very long in there before it comes out hotter than molten lava. That one at the top looks more like a cake with raisins in it to me and is probably pretty cheap.

Over here they will do lots of comparisons in the newspapers, and quite often the more expensive ones do quite badly. I think there is a good balance somewhere in the middle between one that is really cheap at one end, and one of those at the other that has frankly too much fruit in so that it's pretty indigestible. I am not a fan of ones that have about five different types of booze and a load of nuts in it as well, and I think that the simpler they are the better. You can get an expensive pudding from Fortnum's that looks posh (and will be very expensive) but you can pick up a perfectly decent one from the supermarket that will be OK and will cost a fraction of the price.

Oh so most families buy them?  The ones I've tried to make, including old Mrs. Beeton's, aren't too difficult.  I'm afraid the ones imported here are like your raisin cake, maybe with a little peel.  God I would love to have a good selection at the local grocery; I'd put on 20 pounds (nearly a stone and a half!) just trying them all.

Re: Cooking With Chefist!
« Reply #223 on: December 12, 2015, 02:02:28 AM »
I would remind everyone of creme Anglaise...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cr%C3%A8me_anglaise

Apart from the 5 mother sauces, Creme Anglaise is just as important and should be in the "6 Mother Sauces"...Creme Anglaise (English Cream) is responsible for: Ice Cream, Custard, Creme Carmel, Creme Broulee, French Toast, Bread Pudding, and on and on!

Sir, five mothers are savory.  But this, sweet!

+1

Re: Cooking With Chefist!
« Reply #224 on: December 12, 2015, 02:04:13 AM »






Slap a gelatin aspic (heh) on it, and I'd serve it for dessert at my $1000/plate luncheon...

Re: Cooking With Chefist!
« Reply #225 on: February 01, 2016, 04:52:21 PM »
This may be off-topic as it pertains to baking not cooking, not that I'd let a minor detail like that stop me.

I have recently become interested in making flat-breads i.e. the types you grill on the stove-top/griddle.  Pita-bread, tortillas, English Muffins &tc.

The perfect home-made English Muffin being the end goal here, after a logical progression from tortilla to pita and culminating in the English Muffin.  Crawl>walk>run theory in action.

Baking, I learned in chef's school, is more scientific than cooking.  Measurements (weight, ambient temperature, altitude &c affect final product) are key to bread making, both in yeast-raised and quick-bread (baking soda/powder) applications.



You filthy Anglishers have any of MeeMaw's recipes for English Muffins?  Your own recipes?  Stolen/reverse-engineered commercial recipes?


English Muffin or other "grilled" breads being the paramount research topic of interest.

Tortilla

Syrian Pita (have not tested)

English Muffin (1st research/test subject)]

English Muffin (2nd research/test subject)

English Muffin (3rd research/test subject)


(also interested in Indian Naan, I understand there is a special oven that is used?  Sort of like an upside-down flower-pot, you throw the bread dough onto the roof of the oven where it sticks and bakes for an unspecified amount of time then falls to the baking stone and finishes baking?  Not quite a "grilled" flatbread, but sounds as if it might technically be.   The specialized oven part makes this a research project for the distant future...)

PS:  am also on a quest for the best scratch Yellow Cake.  I think it must include buttermilk to activate the baking powder/soda and for a slight buttermilk twang in the finished product.  Tonight's experimental baked good will be a Carrot Cake (think I have all ingredients on hand) with classic Cream Cheese Icing (frosting).





Re: Cooking With Chefist!
« Reply #226 on: February 01, 2016, 06:03:16 PM »
Boy,  I'd love some of that Naan, Pate.  It would go nicely with the Yellow Curry Chicken and Shrimp thing I'm making tonight.

When I used to live somewhere else, and was cooking curry, I'd walk down the street to this kind of sketchy Indian restaurant, and order 2 Naan to go.  That's it.  The cook would give me a look--sort of an unhappy, resigned sneer--then slap some dough around and throw it in the tandoor oven (that's the key component to Naan-making, and why, since I didn't have a clay flower pot handy, I found myself ordering a Side of Naan from Zante's Indian Pizza and Cuisine).  It took almost half an hour for it to be ready.  At a cost of about $2.00, that Naan absolutely made the meal.

ps:  the best Indian food I've ever had was in London.

It's nice that BellGab is cooking again in this thread.  Like a rare saffron thread, hey?  Thank you, Chefist.

Re: Cooking With Chefist!
« Reply #227 on: February 03, 2016, 06:44:05 PM »
Boy,  I'd love some of that Naan, Pate.  It would go nicely with the Yellow Curry Chicken and Shrimp thing I'm making tonight.

When I used to live somewhere else, and was cooking curry, I'd walk down the street to this kind of sketchy Indian restaurant, and order 2 Naan to go.  That's it.  The cook would give me a look--sort of an unhappy, resigned sneer--then slap some dough around and throw it in the tandoor oven (that's the key component to Naan-making, and why, since I didn't have a clay flower pot handy, I found myself ordering a Side of Naan from Zante's Indian Pizza and Cuisine).  It took almost half an hour for it to be ready.  At a cost of about $2.00, that Naan absolutely made the meal.

ps:  the best Indian food I've ever had was in London.

It's nice that BellGab is cooking again in this thread.  Like a rare saffron thread, hey?  Thank you, Chefist.

Not Sure that BellGab is cooking again, if they are nobody but me is writing about it.  Perhaps some are, but are in the closet perfecting the rat recipes?

I'm on a baking kick of late, quest for the perfect scratch Yellow Cake etc.  My scratch Carrot Cake the other night turned out awesome, although I should have let the butter soften a bit longer or nuked it or something as there were very small peppercorn sized nuggets of butter in my finished Cream Cheese frosting.  The Cake itself was awesome, I admit I tweaked the spices a bit from the recipe I attempted.  I could be persuaded to share it I suppose, although I would like to tighten it up a bit for my altitude I think...  or perhaps the oven temp was for a convection oven?  It took 33% longer than the stated 45-50 mins to bake (45min + about another 15min), my next attempt I will let it go for 1hour before checking, as there was a minor 'crown collapse' after I checked it at 45mins.  Big no-no opening the oven before the cake is set!

Anyhow, the English Muffin quest is of a business nature, but the intermediate Pita phase is of interest as I want to try a "('muricanized) Mediterranean" meal of Orange-Tomato Chicken with Couscous, side vegetable "Greek" green-beans (cinnamon!) and home-scratch Pita bread.  Paired with a Grape Kool-Aid, or Iced Mint tea perhaps, heh.


As for the Naan bit, I made a curried cauliflower & chicken stew awhile back and I wish I'd had the forethought to try going to my local Indian place to beg/buy some bread to go with it!   Funny thing about the cauliflower was the two heads I got surpassed the price of all the other ingredients $8-9/head!  I had no idea cauliflower was approaching beef as a delicacy, I think it had something to do with the California drought, still shocking.  Of course my dumb-ass went ahead and spent $16-18 on two heads of cauliflower instead of shifting fire and making something else.


Re: Cooking With Chefist!
« Reply #228 on: February 03, 2016, 07:00:11 PM »
I had a hankering for soft pretzels a few years back and did some intartube digging and home-test kitchen experimentation.  My recent bread/cake-making quest and recent posts here at BellGab have re-ignited my interest in soft pretzels enough that I went digging through my test-recipe archive.  Here are my notes & recipes from a time I judge to be at least ten years ago:

Quote
Soft Pretzel #1

425F oven
1 pkg     dry yeast (approx 8g, or 2 1/4 tsp)
1 1/2 cup warm water
1 Tbsp    sugar
1 tsp     salt
4-5 cup   flour (520g-650g)
2 egg whites
coarse salt

Activate dry yeast in water, sugar and 1tsp salt (10min or untill yeast mixture 'blooms')
Stir in flour untill stiff dough forms.
Knead dough smooth.
Divide dough, roll into ropes and twist into pretzel shape desired.
Place pretzels on lightly greased pan, brush with egg whites and sprinkle with salt.
Bake at 425 degrees 12-15min.

*Let the dough rise a bit after kneading smooth, then punch down and re-knead before dividing and forming into pretzels? (1st proofing)
*Let the pretzels rise a bit before egg white brush & salting? (2nd proofing)


Quote
Soft Prestzel #2

375F oven
1 3/8 cup warm water
1 pkg dry yeast (approx 8g, or 2 1/4tsp)
1/3 cup brown sugar
4-5 cup flour (520-650g)
kosher salt
simmering water (large shallow pan, very low boil)
baking soda

Mix warm water, yeast, sugar and 1tsp salt.  Allow yeast to 'bloom.'
Stir in flour gradually to form stiff dough.
Divide into 'golfballs' and roll into pretzel shapes.
Simmer the shaped pretzels in water and baking soda (2 cups water/1Tbsp baking soda) until pretzels float.
Remove pretzels from water and place on greased and salted pan (use parchment paper to keep from staining your pan, if you care about that).
Salt tops of pretzels.
Bake at 375 degrees 8-15min.

*Let dough rise a bit after mixing, then punch down(softer finished pretzel?)
*Let formed pretzels rise a bit before baking soda water bath(larger softer pretzels?)

As I recall I tried the second recipe, which apparently came from some "National Geographic for Kids" article?  It turned out okay as I recall, I chose that particular one because of the baking soda water bath, which I think is what gives store bought bagels the "chewy" outer crust.  I don't know for sure, I've never made bagels, although this may have been an initial experiment on bagel-making, the baking soda chemical action intrigued me, and I seem to recall something about this from the baking classes I took in chef's school.  I think the second recipe's brown sugar also attracted me as I thought it might lend to a nicely browned crust (think I was wrong there, white refined sugar caramelizes better?).  As I recall these pretzels while soft, weren't very brown when done.  Tasted allright, and the chewy crust was there...

I now wonder if really thin pretzels could be made and then twice-baked in the Zwiebacken(sp?) method to get your standard crunchy snack pretzel.

I believe my intent was to "Frankenstein" the two recipes together, the egg-wash in the first one seemed promising but with the 'slimy' texture of the post-waterbath pretzels I was stymied on how to keep the egg-wash(yes full egg instead of just whites) stuck to the pretzels.  So many experiments, so little time...  If anyone 'fidgets' with these two recipes I encourage them to keep detailed notes on temperatures/techniques and share them so future generations may benefit from the learning curve!  I am interested in a scaling weight on the dough balls to make yield calculations tightened up, and translating the recipe into weights instead of volume so the dough batch can properly scaled up and down as needed...  My sister bought me a digital kitchen scale for X-mas a few years back that I intend to put to good use.



Not goining to mess with pretzels tonight, but they are definitely back on my baking radar.

'pologies again for the off-topic (baking not cooking) post.


Re: Cooking With Chefist!
« Reply #229 on: February 03, 2016, 07:01:40 PM »
I had a hankering for soft pretzels a few years back and did some intartube digging and home-test kitchen experimentation.  My recent bread/cake-making quest and recent posts here at BellGab have re-ignited my interest in soft pretzels enough that I went digging through my test-recipe archive.  Here are my notes & recipes from a time I judge to be at least ten years ago:


As I recall I tried the second recipe, which apparently came from some "National Geographic for Kids" article?  It turned out okay as I recall, I chose that particular one because of the baking soda water bath, which I think is what gives store bought bagels the "chewy" outer crust.  I don't know for sure, I've never made bagels, although this may have been an initial experiment on bagel-making, the baking soda chemical action intrigued me, and I seem to recall something about this from the baking classes I took in chef's school.  I think the second recipe's brown sugar also attracted me as I thought it might lend to a nicely browned crust (think I was wrong there, white refined sugar caramelizes better?).  As I recall these pretzels while soft, weren't very brown when done.  Tasted allright, and the chewy crust was there...

I now wonder if really thin pretzels could be made and then twice-baked in the Zwiebacken(sp?) method to get your standard crunchy snack pretzel.

I believe my intent was to "Frankenstein" the two recipes together, the egg-wash in the first one seemed promising but with the 'slimy' texture of the post-waterbath pretzels I was stymied on how to keep the egg-wash(yes full egg instead of just whites) stuck to the pretzels.  So many experiments, so little time...  If anyone 'fidgets' with these two recipes I encourage them to keep detailed notes on temperatures/techniques and share them so future generations may benefit from the learning curve!  I am interested in a scaling weight on the dough balls to make yield calculations tightened up, and translating the recipe into weights instead of volume so the dough batch can properly scaled up and down as needed...  My sister bought me a digital kitchen scale for X-mas a few years back that I intend to put to good use.



Not goining to mess with pretzels tonight, but they are definitely back on my baking radar.

'pologies again for the off-topic (baking not cooking) post.

send that to Shay..he was talking about pretzels last night lol

Re: Cooking With Chefist!
« Reply #230 on: February 03, 2016, 07:09:14 PM »
send that to Shay..he was talking about pretzels last night lol

Yep.

ShayPe will hopefully have received the 'completely mental' PM I sent in regards to the subject.  Ala Carlos Casteneda(sp), I suspect he will find that message when he is ready.



Re: Cooking With Chefist!
« Reply #231 on: February 12, 2016, 12:32:17 AM »
By popular demand:

http://www.spam.com/recipes/SPAM-Fried-Nice

bonus recipe material, SPAM musubi:

http://www.spam.com/recipes/Aloha-Plate


Don't thank me, thank your BellGab recruiter!


Re: Cooking With Chefist!
« Reply #232 on: February 23, 2016, 10:36:40 PM »
Tonight for dinner I made a Rib-eye with my personal custom-mix Montreal Steak seasoning, my version/test batch of Greek-style green beans, roasted herbed potatoes, and a hunk of French bread toasted in the oven until the butter inside and on top melted.

For the potatoes, I started out with some olive oil this morning that I dumped paprika, coarse ground black pepper, lots of thyme, a touch of marjoram, some dried rosemary, salt, and now that I think of it I was going to put some fresh chopped parsley in there right before coating the potatoes with the light oil infusion (I wanted the oil to soften all the dried stuff up a bit, dry rosemary is very twiggy if you don't soak it in something)...

The test-batch Greek-style green beans were a can of expired (past the "best by" date) green beans I found in the cupboard and decided needed to get used up, otherwise I would have used fresh.  I drained the liquid from the beans and put it into a pot with some frozen tomato scraps I was going to use for stock, but decided to use here instead of stewed canned tomatos, some cinnamon, a bit of onion, a bay leaf, salt and maybe some nutmeg?  I forget.  I simmered all of that without the canned beans to meld the flavors and to "stew" the frozen tomatoes.  About the time I started cooking the steak I turned the heat down really low and added the beans back in to heat up.  I find canned grocery store green beans to be already over-cooked, so I usually just heat them up or eat them cold, but here I wanted to give them a chance to absorb the cinnamon &c flavors.  What I don't eat tonight, I think I will refrigerate and eat as a cold salad later.

The rib-eye I lightly dusted with my home-brew Montreal steak and slow cooked on a medium flame on my favorite flat-cast-iron skillet to a hair over medium (I prefer mid-rare, but wanted to give the beans and potatoes time to finish)....

I put the bread in the 350 degree oven right when I flipped the steak.

I have been eating this as I type, heh.   The green beans must have been good (they are, I recommend that style if you've never had it), because I have eaten them all and still have half a steak, half the potatoes I started with and half the bread left.

Much more filling than Spam-fried rice by the way.  Although I do like Spam-fried rice...


Re: Cooking With Chefist!
« Reply #233 on: February 23, 2016, 10:57:25 PM »
Damn you Pate and your awesome looking dinner. I wish I didn't click on this thread on an empty belly.

Re: Cooking With Chefist!
« Reply #234 on: February 29, 2016, 11:09:18 PM »
Tonight I am making about two gallons of brown beef stock.  The last five pounds of beef bones are almost done browning in the oven.  I am getting low on beef-stock, in fact I think I am out.  I like to make up a batch and freeze it in 16-24oz containers that I can later thaw and use for whatever.

I also freeze some of it in the old plastic ice cube trays, and then put the "stock-cubes" in a Ziploc if I will only need a Tablespoon or two to make something.  I'd use this stock to make Demi-glace, but I still have 3 or 4 ice cube trays worth of frozen "Demi-cubes" left so it isn't necessary.

With luck it will all be done by sometime tomorrow afternoon.

Here's the bonez, almost done browning:



Re: Cooking With Chefist!
« Reply #235 on: March 01, 2016, 12:33:16 AM »
I've now added the cold water to the bones, and put together my spice "sachet."  I use one of those metal tea thing-a-ma-bobs (pic below) with about as much dry thyme as I can fit into it, while leaving room for the peppercorns and whole cloves.  I put the bay leaves and parsley stems straight into the stock, they are easy enough to fish out when the stock is done.

I also make mint tea in that thing-a-ma-bob, but have to really clean it after the stock-making... 

I freeze vegetable scraps, and when carrots or whatever are starting to get limp I chop them up and freeze them for when I have time, like tonight...  The stock-purist Nazis may be appalled, but it works for me, Ima cheap bastige.  The mirepoix is browning as I type.  I think I shall snap a pic of the browned mirepoix too, but for now here's the stock with the cold water pic and the thing-a-ma-bob pic. 

PS: Important to use cold water then bring it up to a simmer for clarity of the finished stock, and DONT STIR IT nab-daggit.  I'll turn the gas on after I add the vegetables.  This is about 2.5-3.0 gallons of H2o, it will evaporate down closer to 2 gallons over-night.

Here's the sexy pics:

ediot: I don't brown the leeks, if I have them;  too delicate a flavor to mess up by over cooking them...  So they are straight into the pot out of the freezer, I think these were the tops left over from an onion soup I made a while back (red/yellow/white/sweet onions, shallots, white part of green onions, white part of leeks and some other stuff I am forgetting in the onion family department)


Re: Cooking With Chefist!
« Reply #236 on: March 01, 2016, 12:39:19 AM »
Tonight I am making about two gallons of brown beef stock.  The last five pounds of beef bones are almost done browning in the oven.  I am getting low on beef-stock, in fact I think I am out.  I like to make up a batch and freeze it in 16-24oz containers that I can later thaw and use for whatever.

I also freeze some of it in the old plastic ice cube trays, and then put the "stock-cubes" in a Ziploc if I will only need a Tablespoon or two to make something.  I'd use this stock to make Demi-glace, but I still have 3 or 4 ice cube trays worth of frozen "Demi-cubes" left so it isn't necessary.

With luck it will all be done by sometime tomorrow afternoon.

Here's the bonez, almost done browning:
cost wise this can't be very efficient. Is the finished product that much better than store bought stock?

Re: Cooking With Chefist!
« Reply #237 on: March 01, 2016, 01:15:17 AM »
I think so, has more flavor anyway.  I use store bought stuff from time to time, but I always find them either to be too salty (the canned stuff & bullion cubes) or too watery like the stuff "Kitchen Basics" makes.  If I ever find a store-bought stock that is superior in flavor and texture (refrigerate a store-bought stock and it will not "jelly", the dissolved cartilage & gelatin just isn't there) and cheaper than using beef bones I'm buying it, but so far no dice on that front.

The stocks I make turn into jello in the fridge and that translates to a "mouth-feel" that I have yet to see in mass-produced store-bought products.  I suppose you could tweak the store bought stuff (I do use the Kitchen Basics stuff from time to time when it is more convenient) by adding plain gelatin to it to get that mouthfeel, but why not just make and use the real McCoy, you know what is in it...  Once you brown everything and get it to a simmer, it really just takes care of itself until you strain it, so yeah it takes a bit of time but not that much really a six-pack of beer is more than enough for the entire operation.  You can go to sleep while it slowly simmers and extracts the flavors from the bones & vegetables.

I am a believer in making my own stock, for both home and restaurant use.  I probably make a 2-3 gallon batch 2-3 times a year, and I generally give a good portion of each of those 2-3 batches away to friends and family.  Plus I enjoy it, it is sort of therapeutic.

As to the cost, the bones I'm using were thrown in for free when my sister and I split a side of beef, I asked if we got any bones and the butcher gave us like 100-120lbs of bones or something (about 5lbs makes a gallon) for no extra cost.  And the mirepoix is mostly scraps and stuff that was getting close to going bad, so the only real cost is my time & spices, and I think it is worth it, keeps me out of the bars anyhow.  Heh.

It probably is cheaper, if you don't add in my $25/hr labor cost for my time...




Re: Cooking With Chefist!
« Reply #238 on: March 04, 2016, 01:01:33 PM »
I am a day late and a dollar short on starting my newest cooking experiment.  With St. Patrick's day coming up and a nice little beef brisket that has been languishing in the freezer for too long (last of the side of beef I split with my sister) I have been planning for some thyme to make my own Corned Beef.  I have been putting off this operation for some time, mainly because I lacked a critical ingredient Pink SaltPink Salt is used for salt-curing meats like bacon, pastrami and corned beef, there are some hippie-types that frown on it's use because Nitrates.

I am unafraid, however, of the evil Nitrate;  it has some inherent spoilage inhibitors and other properties.  The primary property of interest to me is that it keeps the meat pink/red after cooking.  I don't want to eat no grey bacon, pastrami or corned beef, nab-daggit!  There are hippy-dippy recipes that omit the dreaded Sodium Nitrate and claim to get the same flavor as the normal recipes only the meat isn't pink or red in the finished product.  Not My Bag, man.  As an added bonus, GUNPOWDER!  I believe Sodium Nitrate (or saltpeter) is a component of the old-school alchemy product of black gunpowder!  How awesome is that?  I think you need sulpher and charcoal in specific proportions as well as the Saltpeter for your DIY gunpowder.

In any case, I have managed to acquire a small amount of Saltpeter recently and with approximately two weeks left until St. Pat's Day it seems like as good a time as any to embark on my latest cooking scheme, although I will have to wait two weeks to see the fruition of the project.  I foresee Soda Bread, Colcannon, and good old Reuben Sammiches in my future!  Perhaps I will make a Rye Soda Bread on St. Pat's for the left-over corned beef Reuben Sammich?  Only thyme will tell.  Pehaps I should expand my experimentation into making some home-brew Sauerkraut/Choucroute, hmm...

Basically, you make a salt brine with kosher salt & pink salt, this being the "corned" part of the beef, "corns" referred to the small grains of the salt, not the peppercorns, pickling spice, mustard seeds &c, bit 'o history for y'all there.  Place the meat to be brined into this solution, throw it in the fridge (or on the counter-top as I suppose was done historically) and wait two weeks for it to cure.  Then you rinse the cured meat off with pure water, and place it in a tub of pure water for awhile (to osmotically draw the excess salt from the meat) to make the meat a bit less salty.  Then cook the cured meat in whatever fashion you so desire;  smoking for bacon, I think pastrami is cooked in an oven (want to try making pastrami too), and for Corned Beef you poach it in water with more of your "pickling spice" mix.

This should be fun, and way better than the store bought stuff (I hope) one usually gets this time of year.

----

The stock turned out fair to middlin', by the way.  It tastes great, but I apparently left the heat too high when I went to bed the night it was supposed to "simmer" and I awoke to my two gallon batch madly boiling away and reduced to about one gallon.  I added more water to it and corrected the heat issue and let it actually simmer for another day until it reduced down to two gallons.  As a result of boiling for several hours it is a bit cloudy, but tastes just fine.  I have it in large containers in the fridge so that the little bit of fat I didn't skim off will harden on the surface, which makes it easy to peel off the fat and have a really fat-free stock.  I'll snap some photos of that part when I get around to it in the next day or so, and might even heat up a bit to put in my hygrometer test tube to show the cloudiness of it due to my inattention... 

I wish I could find my beer making hygrometer (need to buy a new one I guess, I seem to have lost it in a move some years ago, but I somehow inexplicably still have the test tube) so I could snap a photo of the specific gravity of this batch.  It isn't as gelatinous as I have achieved in some other batches, but refrigerated it is very thick almost syrupy, so it will do.  I could reduce it some more and get to meat jello, and perhaps I will do just that with a quart of it just to show off.

Since I promised pictures of the browned mirepoix and I actually took them here they are (I browned the Carrots & Celery separately from the Onions as I really wanted to caramelize the onions well):




Re: Cooking With Chefist!
« Reply #239 on: March 07, 2016, 10:09:42 PM »
I am a day late and a dollar short on starting my newest cooking experiment.  With St. Patrick's day coming up and a nice little beef brisket that has been languishing in the freezer for too long (last of the side of beef I split with my sister) I have been planning for some thyme to make my own Corned Beef.  I have been putting off this operation for some time, mainly because I lacked a critical ingredient Pink SaltPink Salt is used for salt-curing meats like bacon, pastrami and corned beef, there are some hippie-types that frown on it's use because Nitrates.

I am unafraid, however, of the evil Nitrate;  it has some inherent spoilage inhibitors and other properties.  The primary property of interest to me is that it keeps the meat pink/red after cooking.  I don't want to eat no grey bacon, pastrami or corned beef, nab-daggit!  There are hippy-dippy recipes that omit the dreaded Sodium Nitrate and claim to get the same flavor as the normal recipes only the meat isn't pink or red in the finished product.  Not My Bag, man.  As an added bonus, GUNPOWDER!  I believe Sodium Nitrate (or saltpeter) is a component of the old-school alchemy product of black gunpowder!  How awesome is that?  I think you need sulpher and charcoal in specific proportions as well as the Saltpeter for your DIY gunpowder.

In any case, I have managed to acquire a small amount of Saltpeter recently and with approximately two weeks left until St. Pat's Day it seems like as good a time as any to embark on my latest cooking scheme, although I will have to wait two weeks to see the fruition of the project.  I foresee Soda Bread, Colcannon, and good old Reuben Sammiches in my future!  Perhaps I will make a Rye Soda Bread on St. Pat's for the left-over corned beef Reuben Sammich?  Only thyme will tell.  Pehaps I should expand my experimentation into making some home-brew Sauerkraut/Choucroute, hmm...

Basically, you make a salt brine with kosher salt & pink salt, this being the "corned" part of the beef, "corns" referred to the small grains of the salt, not the peppercorns, pickling spice, mustard seeds &c, bit 'o history for y'all there.  Place the meat to be brined into this solution, throw it in the fridge (or on the counter-top as I suppose was done historically) and wait two weeks for it to cure.  Then you rinse the cured meat off with pure water, and place it in a tub of pure water for awhile (to osmotically draw the excess salt from the meat) to make the meat a bit less salty.  Then cook the cured meat in whatever fashion you so desire;  smoking for bacon, I think pastrami is cooked in an oven (want to try making pastrami too), and for Corned Beef you poach it in water with more of your "pickling spice" mix.


Let us know how the corned beef goes. Nothing better for the St.Pat's day hangover and for the pre-day breakfast before drinking. Interesting about the salt-peter! A way to keep the highjink 'down' traditionally for the celebration?
Ps: not for this but anyone's thoughts on Oregano vs Mexican Oregano?  Im finding I like the Mex stuff even on Italian food!