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Author Topic: Tales from the Wandering Cook  (Read 3328 times)

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Offline echoesTopic starter

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Tales from the Wandering Cook
« on: July 29, 2022, 02:06:55 pm »
Thank you Britwtich the the Amazing graphic.




Hello there, I am E and I will be your host for the evening. Before we get too far in talking about food I do need to pop out a disclaimer or two.



First off: I am not a chef; I am, however, a cook. I could go so far as to say I am not a baker either, not really, but I will occasionally put various things into ovens. I have nothing but the utmost respect for those who go to the various culinary schools around the world but I did not. Yes, I spent the better half of two decades working in various restaurants but I peaked at “manager.”  Most of the posts here will be food and drink recipes, stuff I make or have made, stuff I am trying out and so on. I had been on a big Mediterranean Kick as of late but that has stopped for now and I am just doing some fav's for the family cause everyone is sick. Much like a Big Wheel in a Cul de Sac in the 80's; I've been around. So, wait and see what pops up, Hope you try one or two of what you find here and you like it.

Second: and this can be a pain in the butt for some of you reading this, if anyone reads this at all, I don’t always include all the measurements that I will use. This is not me hiding a secret, it is because I cook by feel, and feeling, more than just following a recipe. I can follow recipes, and I really need to start writing down my own because some of them actually taste good. On top of this, I am an American and if I do use weights it will be with what I know the best. I will do my best to include metric weights, because the rest of the entire world uses them, but if I forget please leave out the pitchforks and torches. Well, at least until we get to talking about BBQ and grilling that is.

So, originally I had a recipe following up after that amazingly short (for my wordy ass) introduction. It was Chicken and Dumplings, which technically is now the fourth post here. Anyway,  I decided Monday would be a great day to test positive for covid and in addition to that, it is raining where I live. So what does this mean I am actually going to be cooking quite a bit and putting a few things up here. My goal is to get one food item a week and then one mixed drink a week.


What be Echoes cooking?




« Last Edit: December 31, 2022, 05:33:24 am by echoes »

Offline echoesTopic starter

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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2022, 06:34:31 am »
As Promised:

Chicken Marsala

Yesterday was my partner’s birthday and so I decided to make sure she had something for dinner that was one of her favorite meals. This could have been anything that she liked but I then found out that it was also a long day at work so of course I had to go all in. So here was the menu:

Chicken Marsala atop Angel Hair Pasta
Spring Mix Salad with Feta Cheese, Walnuts and a homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette
Baked bread with herb dipping oil

And all this paired with a Reisling wine which would complement the savory flavors of the dish.

Now, I did not make a cake because she had requested one from a local store so no dessert this time,

Chicken Marsala

Approx. 3lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts ( I like leftovers )
7 Tablespoons of Flour
Salt
Pepper
2 Tablespoons Oregano
4 Tablespoons EV (Extra- Virgin) Olive Oil
4 Tablespoons Butter
2 1/2 Cups of Marsala Wine
1 Medium White Onion ( Diced )
3 Cloves of Garlic
4 Ounces Chopped Mushrooms.
2 1/2 - 3 Cups Heavy Cream

Pasta equal to number of Portions of Chicken
   *Note: Traditionally Chicken Marsala and the style of sauce used in its creation tends itself to a thicken pasta like Linguini. Normally I would use Linguini but since the girlfriend had a shitday at work I used her favorite pasta which is Angel Hair. Oddly enough, this thinner pasta works because instead of more sauce on fewer noodles you now have more noodles holding more sauce. While I respect tradition, when something works then I find that to be all good in my book.

Spring Salad and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Spring salad mix, rinsed and stems plucked
2 oz. Walnuts ( crushed )
1 oz. Feta Cheese ( can use seasoned feta if wanted)
(Optional, but she doesn’t like these things: diced Sun dried tomatoes or craisins or both)

Balsamic Vinaigrette
2 Tablespoons EV Olive Oil
3 teaspoons Balsamic Vinegar
½ teaspoons Honey
2-3 teaspoons Dijon or spicy mustard
¼ clove of minced garlic
¼ diced shallot
3 dashes of Lemon juice
Salt to taste

*Note: This is one/two servings of Balsamic Vinaigrette at the most. I don't like this dressing so if you need to bump the amounts up for more guests I would double at the least for a 4 person meal.

Cooking time:

Salad first so it could chill: Spring mix was pulled and rinsed. Stems picked and was split into 2 bowls and left to chill in the fridge. Dressing is easy:

Olive oil and Balsamic Vinegar in a bowl and mixed until incorporated. Honey and Dijon then added and blending in until you have a murky looking liquid. Add in the dashes of lemon along with the garlic and shallot before adding salt. Taste and tweak until just right. Set aside, do not put in the fridge or the oil will separate and congeal and that looks nasty. Its can stay room temp and not kill you.

Kick off an oven to 350 degrees F (176C) and let it heat up. Line two different sheet trays (use half trays) with parchment paper and set aside. Get a large high walled, skillet, or other cooking vessel, atop a burner and turn heat on low. Add about two Tablespoons of the olive oil and let heat slowly.

Get out a gallon Ziplock or other style of baggie (that what we call then here in the states, what are they called elsewhere in the world? Ziplock or plastic bags for storing leftovers, someone PM me and tell me if they have other names.) and drop in your flour and oregano. Add salt and pepper; you know you here. If you want a heavier salt or pepper or both, then add to what you are used to. Do remember this: it's always easier to add more later than to take away. Once you have the flour and spices in the bag, seal and shake for a good 30 seconds or longer to mix. Wait for everything to settle, open the bag and set aside.

Grab a cutting board and your chicken and it’s time to work on your anger management. Chicken Marsala is an Italian-American dish that is based off the traditional Italian “Scaloppina” dishes. These dishes get their name by relying on an “escalope” to be the star of the meal. An escalope is simple: it’s a thinner cut of meat made by using a tool, like a mallet or rolling pin, to flatten a piece of meat. One can also use a knife to cut the meat into thin, flat portions. Given the type of chicken breasts I have, and that I am pretty decent with a knife, I went the later route. I will quickly tell you how to do both methods and you can decide which works best for you:

Pre Game:

Even if you are going to use a mallet or rolling pin to work your frustration out on this poor unsuspecting tasty treat you do need to use the knife first. Boneless, skinless, chicken breast tend to have a little white sliver of tendon that you can eat but I always remove. Usually it is quite pronounced and you do 2 cuts to get the tendon out. Lay the breast flat on your cutting board so that the tender is exposed and do one cut above and another below in a “v” shape to get the tendo without taking a bunch of chicken with you. Now, I said above and below but you can also think of it as left and right.

Hammer Time:
Either put the chicken breast in another baggie, lay flat atop the cutting board and go to town or you can lay the breast flat and then cover with plastic wrap of some kind. Hammer until the chicken is a uniform width of about a quarter of an inch (¼) or about 4-5 mm in thickness. This will fray the edges of the chicken and it might break up some while you are hammering it. Once this starts to happen, avoid hammering those areas. Once the breast is done, toss it into the flour mixture and continue on with the rest of the chicken until done.

Mac the Knife:   
I prefer using the knife here and what I do is trim the tendon and lay the breast flat on the cutting board. Whichever side is the thickest part of the chicken is where I start and I am right handed so the right hand has the knife and the left holds the chicken. Now, you can use a cutting glove if you have one but if you do not what I do is place my palm atop the chicken ( I was going to say palm atop the breast but I didn’t want you pervs getting antsy) and I keep my fingers up and away as I slice in from the thickest portion of the breast. From there I cut to my left and angle the blade up on down in an effort to keep the two pieces even in weight. Once the pieces are rendered then they go into the flour bag just like the hammer example above.


Slow stuff is slow but this is over, time to get cooking and everything speeds up from here.Get all the chicken into the bag and then wash your hands. Turn the heat up from low to a medium high and drop in two Tablespoons of butter on top of the oil. (I use a 4 quart Tramontina Braiser for things like this. They are about forty bucks American and I have used this once every other week since I got the thing. You will see it again in pictures and me talking about food but you can use any large pan with high walls.) Get the oil up to temp and while it is heating up you seal the flour bag and shake it like Outkast told you to do::

“Shake it, shake it, shake it. Shake it like a Polaroid picture. Hey-ya!”

Yes I play music while I cook and I even dance while doing so. “Shake your rump” from the Beastie Boys and Italian cooking go hand in hand if you didn’t already know this.

Back to work:

When the butter melts and just starts to brown is when you get your chicken in. Lay a few pieces in and do not crowd the pan. When it did this, and if I get pictures up here, you will see I had eight pieces of chicken and I cooked them as two sets of 4. Get 4 pieces in, and going, and then do the one thing that inexperienced cooks do not do. LEAVE THEM ALONE. Let them cook, do not lift them and look under them. They need about 4 minutes per side to get this light golden brown like. So fuck off and let the heat do its thing.

While the chicken cooks you can dice/ chop your onion and mushrooms. Mince your garlic or, if you have pre minced garlic and already chopped onion/ mushrooms then you can make your salad dressing. Once you hit about 4 minus then check the chicken. Light brown to a toasted brown and a firmness when you pick the chicken up means flip the bird and do the other side. Once the chicken is done transfer to one of the sheet trays and then cook the remaining birds. You may need to add a tablespoon more of olive oil and then remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter at this time. Get then chicken in and then add the butter in open spaces around the breasts. Cook just like you did before and then transfer these breasts to the SAME sheet tray as the others. Place the sheet tray, uncovered, into the oven.

The Marsala sauce:

The pan on the stove should be hot with old and pieces of the breading still cooking when you add your onions. These take longer to reduce than the mushrooms and the garlic so start with them first. Right in on the still hot oil/butter combination. Then the mushroom and finally the garlic. If everything seems to be browning too fast you can go ahead and get your Marsala in as well and get it reduced. Its going to take 3 -5 minutes, possibly more, for the wine to cook off but you want to get it down to a slightly thin syrup consistency. Do this and then add any remaining butter you have before adding your cream and dropping the down to simmer. Stir and incorporate everything together and if you have to pull it from the heat for a moment then that is ok. .

Remove the chicken from the oven and set beside the pan. Place the chicken directly into the mixture and submerge as best you can. Cover and put atop low heat. You are going to leave it be for about 5 minutes. Now is the time to start your pasta in a separate pot: cook pasta per directions, Linguini usually takes about 8 - 10 minutes to cook.  About 4-5 minutes into the pasta cook cycle you take the top off the Marsala chicken and flip the breast, submerging once again in the sauce. Since I did Angel hair this is when I started my pasta.

Remember that other parchment lined sheet tray. This is a great time to take bread of your choice and drop it atop that sheet tray. Throw it in the oven for 5 minutes to warm up. Get a small bowl and pour the remainder of your olive oil in there, add a bit more if you want, and then add seasoning to taste. When in a hurry I use a story mixed Mediterranean blend or Italian blend with added garlic and salt. Once you pull and drain the pasta you pull the bread and let it sit.

To Plate:

Bowls or plates is a personal choice. I did plates with these and started by creating a nest of noodles on which I set a breast atop and then ladled out sauce. Dash of Parsley and then Parmesan cheese and dinner was done. A glass of white wine, the Riesling I mentioned earlier and from start to finish I had dinner for anywhere from 3- 6 people in about 45 minutes.


Last Note: May add pictures of food in the future. Sadly, there are no pictures of me dancing.

Cheers,

E.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2022, 04:19:48 pm by echoes »

Offline echoesTopic starter

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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2022, 05:29:48 am »
Butternut Squash Soup


While I am most certainly omnivorous I don't have to have a protein in every meal I make. Well, I mean, I don't have to include one but I oftentimes do, even in this one which is vegetarian. Now, this can be tweaked a bit to be vegan but it is going to have some dairy up in this piece so for those of you who want to make it your own; have at it friends. Also, I'm doing this one lazy grocery style. By that, I am not peeling and dicing all the veggies that will go into this soup today so I will write this as if you were going shopping and needed to get this done on the quick. Now, on the quick is kind of an oxymoron considering you want this to cook for at least forty-five minutes up to an hour and a half, but this means the prep time is minimal.

Finally, you may be wondering why in the hell am I doing a soup in July/August when it is hot as balls outside. Well, as I mentioned in the first post, I had a positive Covid Test on Monday and I have been lucky in that it acted like a 4 day Summer cold. Yeah, Thursday blew pretty hard but I will take that over some of the stories I have heard from others. I got Covid from my girlfriend's eldest who had just come back from a week long summer camp (ie: petri dish) which was, as you may have guessed, a spreader event. Well, I had been around him the most and so he gave it to me. Then his younger brother pestered him on Monday and Tuesday and by Wednesday he had it as well. My girlfriend tested positive on Friday and so it is soup today. That and we have a cold spell here which means the outside is nice at the moment with the rain and whatnot. So yeah, rainy day, everyone in various stages of sick other that my Girlfriend's youngest brother ( we are his caretakers) and it is time for a savory soup sweet soup and toasted crusty bread.

Good Times.

So, the fast method :

4- 6 Tablespoons of butter ( or margarine if you want to go Vegan)
* Note, you can do this with olive oil and you can go light with the "fat" portion of this part of the recipe. I go the 6 route to add flavor.
10oz bag of soup starter Veggies ( Onion, Carrot, Celery Peppers) *Frozen
2 10 Oz. bags of Butternut Squash *Frozen
1 20 Bag of Root veggies ( carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips etc. *Frozen Edit: If the bag you get has beets then discard them. It turns the soup an eerie Pepto Bismol Pink and it can look like liquid silly putty.
1/4 cup Parsley
3 Tablespoons Minced Garlic
Salt, pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons of Basil
1 32 oz Container Vegetable Stock/broth


Optional:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
Diced Green Onions
Sour Cream

(And for the meat eater who are afraid of a meal without meat. Diced bacon)

Now , for those who want to do it all yourself:
1Large Onions
3 cloves of Garlic
All the following veggies are peeled and diced to 1/4 inch cubes:
1 large Squash
2 Potatoes ( bakers, russet or Idaho. Not golden or red)
1 Large Onion
4 Celery Stalks, leaves included
4-6 carrots
1 Sweet Potato, 2 if they are small
parsnips if you want them.
3 cups of water

Prep is easy.

If you are doing it with store bought frozen bags

1) Medium to large cooking vessel that can be covered.=, heat on medium high melt "fat" ( butter, marg or heat oil.) Open up all the bags of the veggies and in the root veggie mix discard any beets.
2) Add onion mix and get to cooking. Cook for 2 -3 minutes and add garlic. Cook for additional 2 minutes.
3) In goes the broth/stock  and then it is Mel Brooks from History of the World Part I. Pawn Jumps Queen, Bishop Jump Queen,  Knight Jumps Queen. Gang bang.... in goes the all the veggies, salt and pepper to taste and the parsley and then return to boil.
4) Once boiling, reduce heat to medium, cover and set timer for 30 minutes. You want the veggie to be super soft and the excess liquid to evaporate
5) this can be done as quick as 30 minutes but usually takes about 45.

If you are doing this with fresh veggies then prep begins by skinning and cutting down all the veggies first and then follow the above instructions but the cook time can be anywhere from and hour to and hour fifteen to get the butternut squash chunks to soften. The smaller the cut and the faster it will cook.

Ok, now we are caught up:
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Once everything is reduced a good portion of the liquid as evaporated you can take the soup off the heat. Add in oregano and then stir.  Now you have a couple of options but you are going to need three things. : Blender, sieve/strainer, large bowl.

Depending on your texture preference you can either blend everything as is, adding cream of water to get the viscosity that you want which will have a rougher or grainy texture. If you want something super smooth then what you do is blend the mixture with the cream or water and then pass it through a strainer into the bowl. Pour your mix in and use a wooden spoon to push it through and you will have a ridiculously smooth soup that is sweet and savory.

For serving I usually dice Green Onions as a garnish and place a generous drop of sour cream in the middle of the bowl. You can also make a crema, cutting the sour cream with milk and then you pipe the crema onto of the soup. You can also add, remember I said I would take care of the meat eaters who were worried about there being no meat in this meal, diced bacon.

One last thing regarding this version of my soup. Sometimes I will let it cook longer, burn off more of the broth, or not pour all of the liquid into the blender to make the soup thicker. I didn't and once straining is made a lovely soup that was a little thinner than I normally make. Reason for this, didn't want to agitate my partner's throat while she got the Vid. Her words were, "dis is loverly." (I have steadily destroyed her near PHD having ass and now she speaks my version of Pownerspeak. Powner = ponies=horses. I have developed a language much like the lolspeak of the early 2000's but this is how our horses talk. There are stories elsewhere in this site where I digress into pownerspeak.)

Pick a favorite style of bread, a boule or load of something that can be toasted nicely. What I usually do is just pick up a French or Italian bread, sometimes a baguette and I will take off the ends. I will do cuts and 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick depending on the meal, and slice almost all the way through. Then, a real quick drizzle of olive oil across the top. use what feel best for you, and then a little inside the cuts. Use a brush to spread the oil and then dust with salt, garlic and a shaved Parmesan cheese. Into the oven for  5- 10 ten minutes depending on what kind of crust you want and then its go-time.

Remember Kids, in most Italian and quite a bit of French cooking, Bread is the 4th major utensil.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2022, 06:31:18 pm by echoes »

Offline echoesTopic starter

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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2022, 04:26:55 pm »
Chicken and Dumplings



Now, for those outside of the states, and you heathens that live in the far Northeast and Northwest, Chickens and Dumplings is/are a Southern staple that was supposedly developed after the Civil War when some food supplies were hard to come by. It is, at its most basic form: chicken, a broth and dough balls that are meant to fill the belly in the cheapest way possible. I tend to include vegetables in my version but we will get to that in a bit. There is a French Canadian dish similar to this but for the most part this comes to you straight from the Southern United States.

Because of this history, or a time when many staples were sometimes difficult to come by, Chicken and Dumplings can be remarkably simple to prepare. You don’t need much more than the following:

Chicken ( Imagine that)
Flour
Baking Powder
Milk
Butter, margarine or some type of fat
Salt
Pepper
Water

After these basic ingredients everything else is just extra and in my case there will be basil, parsley, corn, green beans, carrots, bacon drippings and chicken stock.

It really can be that simple and then the trick becomes; at what temperature do you cook, and for how long, to get the chicken so tender that it shreds on your tongue? Now, the recipe, if you want to call it that, In all, this is simple and great for anything from a family get together to a potluck with friends. This is NOT carb friendly, rarely is Southern cooking carb friendly, but you are not eating this if you are trying to diet. You are eating this for warmth and comfort and are well within your rights to curl up and nap under a window, either in sunlight or as it rains, with no judgment from me.

Of course something this good would not last without some form of dispute and in this case it is whether to use drop balls of uncooked dough to make the dumplings or, in my case, to flatten the dough and cut into squares. I do the latter because the drop balls have a tendency to be undercooked and raw on the center if not properly handled. The flatten dumpling that I choose to do not only will cook all the way through but it can lend itself to acquiring the taste of the broth much better than its dough ball sibling. Now, that was my take on it and your mileage may vary.

Before we begin I will say that my “broth” is somewhere between a soup and a stew; I like the consistency a little thicker than just a water. I think this lends to the utilization of the dumpling just like different types of pasta get different sauces because of how they hold the sauce. I like the dumpling to have a nice layer of broth atop it and texturally this is pleasing for me. For those of you who like your broths thinner, so really more like an actual broth, I will make sure to tell you how to get your consistency while keeping the flavor of this dish intact.

Ok preamble out of the way. Wordy Echoes is wordy.

The two most important parts of Chicken and Dumplings are the broth and the dumpling. Chicken is chicken and you will either let it be, and it will be perfect, or you will overdo it and muck it up. More than the chicken, to me that is, the broth is the star of this show. The dumpling is the method of conveyance and the chicken is really, at best, the supporting actor/ress. The base of my broth is a Roux and I will use a combination of butter and bacon drippings to make what is called a “Blond” Roux. Normally a Roux is equal parts of a fat : butter, margarine, lard, shortening Etc. and flour that is used to make the base thickener for many sauces. A White roux is this combination but it doesn’t really have much in the way of flavor: its purpose is as a starch used to thicken a liquid. A Blond Roux is cooked longer and starts to slightly change color which is indicative of the flavor of the flour being brought out. This adds a nutty flavor meant to compliment any additional herbs or spices added at this time. Once the roux starts taking shape I will add chicken stock and water, in equal portions

So here we go, and I want you, don’t count calories and eat homestyle Southern cooking. That is a masochist’s hot moment right there. So to begin, I do two things at one time; i get the Roux and the chicken going in separate cooking vessels ( there is a reason I am going to use that phrase for now.) Now depending on your knife skills you can cut your chicken now or you can get it all cubed up beforehand. I cubed it earlier and I did a rough cut so that the cubes were about a half inch, a centimeter and change, cubed.

The chicken:
1.5 lbs (.68 Kg) of Boneless skinless chicken breast
2 Tablespoons of Butter/ Marg/ Fat

Note: you can use light meat, dark meat or even, in a pinch, grab a precooked rotisserie chicken and strip it down. Sometimes the rotisserie even works better because it shreds so much faster if you like a stringy textured chicken to coat the dumplings.


The Roux
6 tablespoons of Butter/ Marg/ Fat
2 tablespoons of Bacon drippings (fat)
6 tablespoons of flour
A pinch or two of salt
A pinch of two of pepper.

Start the butter melting over medium heat in a medium sized pot and this will be for the Roux. Add in the bacon fat and let those two melt, stirring occasionally just to get them to start incorporating. While you do this, get a large sauté pan, the one I have has walls that are about two and half, three inches tall and this will be important later; do not just use a traditional sauté dish. Start 2 tablespoons of butter melting on medium high heat.

32 Ounce container Chicken Stock (or broth)
2 Cups of water

Once the butter is melted in both add the chicken to the saute pan and throw in a pinch of salt and pepper. I also tend to add a bit of garlic and onion powder but you will do you. Get that cracking and then check on your medium sized pot. If the butter/fat combination is bubbling add in the flour and season. Stir the flour in and you will make a thick almost glue-like texture mixture that is your Roux. Now, here is where you go back and forth between the two pots before we add a third to the mix. Don’t worry, the third one is easy. In a third pot you pour in 4 cups of chicken stock. A standard 32 ounce container of chicken stock is 4 cups, so put half into this new pot, add 1 cup of water and turn it up to get it hot.

It will take the chicken, when cubed down to ½ inch cubes, about 4 to six minutes to cook to where you want it. This gives the Roux time to cook and brown just a bit which will bring out a nutty flavor from the flour. Keep stirring and at a medium heat the Roux should not even get close to a burn. After about 6 minutes add the chicken stock/ water combination a half cup to a cup at a time to the Roux. Don’t freak out if suddenly your beautiful butter glue combination suddenly turns into a crazy dough mixture. Just keep stirring and adding, stirring and adding until the liquid is all incorporated. Everything will return to how you think it is supposed to luck with the proper application of a whisk.Once this is done, crank the heat up to medium high and use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken directly into the base of the soup. Do not take any drippings or remaining fat from the saute pan. Leave it be because you are going to pour 2 cups, the remainder of the chicken stock, and a cup of water into the saute pan and turn the heat down to low.

Once you have the base working in the medium pot, and it is now bubbling rapidly turn the heat back down to medium low and pop a lid on that sucker. You need to stir occasionally but let the heat do its work because now it is dumpling time.

Dumplings done easy:
1 cup Flour ( I used A/P ( All Purpose)
1.5 teaspoons Baking powder
.5 teaspoon sugar
1 Tablespoon butter/Marg/ fat
¼ cup Milk ( I used 2%)
1 teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Dried Basil
1Tablespoon Dried Parsley

Mix all dried ingredients before adding the butter. Now, you want the butter soft, room temperature but in a pinch you can chop it up and add it in and it will soften fast enough. Just mix with a fork and stir everything up really well. Add in the herbs ( mine were dried but you can use fresh.) and finally you add in the milk. This is going to leave a very tacky ball of doughy goodness. If it won’t incorporate everything add in one teaspoon of water at a time until you have a nice dry ball of mess. Then let sit for 5 or 6 minutes. Go stir the base and take a teaspoon, take a sample and taste; adjust seasoning accordingly.

Ok, so the minutes pass and then make your choice . If you want to drop balls then crank up the saute pan with the stock and water and make it boil. Take a teaspoon and scoop balls of dough and drop them in. There is no special way to do this though, if you have them, you can use 1 or 2 ounce scoops that have the trigger on them to get near perfect balls. ( There, I said balls and somewhere the twelve year old inside of you laughed.) Or, you can do what I do and dust a countertop or cutting board with flour so that it looks like Tony Monatan’s coffee table and roll the dough out. What I do is transfer the dough atop the flour and knead it a few  times to get a dusting on the dough before using a rolling pin to flatten this. I try to get it around 1/8th of a inch thick or a bit thinner, 2 - 3 mm in height. Once that is done I use a pizza cutter to make a grid pattern giving me 1 inch  / 2 cm squares. From here, dump them in the now hopefully boiling stock and water. Drop em all in, use a wooden spoon to push them about, get them coated and then turn the temp of the pan down to medium low.

They cook for 10 minutes, so guess what you get to do. That’s right, you get to stir the base some more.

Canned Veg 1 each : Corn, carrots and green beans. Open and drain out, drop into base and stir in. If you are using fresh, and you didn’t read this all the way through before starting, then I suggest not doing carrots unless you cut them really thin. Basically I may have fucked you here, but you can save it, smaller cooks faster, cut small my friends. I had canned veggies and needed to use them because I was in a time crunch. Drain and drop them in and then stir.

Homestretch

Dumplings get finished and you drop everything atop the base, the chicken and the veggies. Stir in and bring back up to a boil for a bit. Give one last taste and add oregano, herbs of your choice and parsley before removing from heat. If you want this thinner add a ½ cup of water at a time until you are satisfied with the viscosity. I like the base to be a bit thick because I think it goes better with the dumplings.

This goes best with some rustic bread, toasted or not and is a great meal come fall. To go with it, to add a little light to the heavy, I also made a Bourbon Spritz so, for those of you of legal drinking age in your appropriate countries, here is one last thing before I call this first post done:

2 Oz Bourbon ( don’t look for a higher proof here, you want this to be “light” So a good 80 proof works here. You can go a little heavier, up to 90 if you must.
1 ½ Oz. Oj
½ Oz. Lemon Juice
2 Oz. Simple Syrup
2 Dashes of bitters ( I use blood orange bitters but you can change that if you wish.)
2 Oz. seltzer water
Orange peel slice 1/4inch thick
1 orange wheel for garnish.

In a shaker add ice and orange peel, muddle the peel a bit or just use the shaker and then add the Bourbon, OJ, Lemon Juice, Simple syrup and bitters. Shaker well and then pour into a glass over ice. Finally add the seltzer water atop the cocktail and give one quick stir. Garnish with the orange wheel and enjoy the summer. ( this is a breakfast drink for me and before you sit there and go, Jebus E, a Breakfast drink!? I will point out that this is like a Bourbon Mimosa.)

Cheers.

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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2022, 08:25:53 pm »
Hey everyone, so, not doing a meal tonight, just a cocktail. Once the sun goes down it is time to stop work and enjoy tiki torches and exceptionally loud music. Ok, so, maybe you want a bar or pub, a beach or a pool. Lots of after dark repasts are out there, pick your poison. Now, sometimes the nights where I live are almost as hot as the days and I know there are places on this spinning bowling ball called Earth that are even hotter so I am going to do a play on a popular drink that will hopefully help cool you down.

The Hurricane

So, despite Sazerac (Will do that drink another time when I am doing Cajun food) being the unofficial/official (Depending on who you ask) drink of  New Orleans, more than one bead goer as sucked down a Hurricane out of a plastic glass during the heights of Mardi Gras. The drink did not get its name from the storms that occasionally try to wipe out the big easy, in fact they come from miles away in the ancient and evil city known as New York and eponymously named Hurricane Bar. Now the drink is associated with the Pat O'Brien chain of bars and trust me, you can find one of these on any corner in the quarter once the sun goes down.

The traditional drink comes with 4 ounces of Rum, 2 light and 2 dark before adding in an ounce of OJ and then and ounce of Lemon juices (Fresh or otherwise.) Now, to get the color , that reddish orange that is a Hurricane, you add in a 1/2 ounce to an ounce of Passion Fruit juice or puree and a tablespoon of Grenadine followed by a half ounce to an ounce of Simple Syrup ( depending on taste profile you want for your drink. Garnishes include Orange wheels and cherries.''

I, however, am not a big fan of passionfruit and it was kinda hard to find the day I was making pitchers of these drinks. So, I found an Orange Mango combo that went really well with what I was doing.

The Hurricane
2 oz White Rum
2 oz Dark Rum
1 1/2 oz Orange/mango juice ( they also have an orange, mango and bannana)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
2 oz Simple Syrup
1 (2) Tablespoons of Grenadine.

Drop everything but the Grenadine in on top of ice and shake it. Pour through a strainer into another glass full of ice ( or just say fuck it and pour the original into an actual glass like the lazy bastards we are) and add grenadine, swirling the Grenadine through the drink with a straw to add color.

Garnish with Oranges and cherries.

This is just a great summer drink but this is a very sweet drink. Sweetness, for the uneducated, turns into headaches and praying to get hit by a bus. Moderation everyone, it means something different to each of us, but be careful when you have so much sugar in one drink. `

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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2022, 02:38:45 pm »
Chicken and Dumplings

Now, for those outside of the states, and you heathens that live in the far Northeast and Northwest.....

*gasps, lives in the PNW*  ;)

Disclaimer, I am a chef, although not working in the industry currently.

Just wanted to drop in and say 'hello' and compliment the recipes. Keep up the good work! (Love all the detail you put into them!)

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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2022, 04:17:06 pm »
Quote
*gasps, lives in the PNW* 

Disclaimer, I am a chef, although not working in the industry currently.

Just wanted to drop in and say 'hello' and compliment the recipes. Keep up the good work! (Love all the detail you put into them.

Aislinn, (I typed your name 4 times..mumble mumble auto-correct)

Thanks for the nice words and I hope to soon figure out the best way to add pictures to the posts.

PacNorth is rather pretty but has a much more cosmopolitan scene when it comes to just about everything compared to where I am from. Now, that said, we have grown up quite a bit in the last 20 years so now we are only about 20 years behind.

With this in mind I was debating on doing more comfort food, a regional dish know as a "hot Brown," (open faced ham and turkey under Mornay sauce with bacon, tomatoescand all the cheese) as the next post but I may go international. I have a Moroccan Inspired chicken with chickpeas atop a toasted pistachio, pameasan pearled cous cous that is pretty much to die for.

I thought there was a way to do votes in a post, I will ask someone about that. Until then, next dish is up in the air, if anyone has 2 cents as to which one to do, send me a PM.  Won't be this weekend though, I am a groom at a horse show for the gf.

Cheers all,

E.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2022, 07:48:08 pm by echoes »

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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2022, 08:08:05 pm »
So.

 I have been good powner boyfriend (as in we have horses and this isn't a weekend of pony play you degenerates) and have unloaded a trailer and got three stalls set for horses and then a tack stall complete with cooler, chairs and most importantly...


FANS

I have a bit of time to add to the blog with non food items. Tonight we talk about old fashioneds and simple syrup.  Now, back in ye olden days of college, or uni depending on where you are from, the mixer was often as exotic as a soda, cola or pop of choice. Pre-made mixes in plastic bottle made Pina Coladas, Margaritas and any number of assorted mix drinks that you then combined with the cheapest alcohol you could find. Despite what some think before, and even some after, they college years regarding brand and quality. It wasn't about quality; it was about quantity and you know this if you drank in college like I did. I am just telling you how it is, it was and how it always wl be. Kinda like the Sisters of Mercy album titled First, Last and Always.

Now, as we age, our tastes change and most of our livers and kidneys cannot process the swill booze we used to shoot with the same gusto as we once did. Yes, now the hangovers hurt and we question our very existence after a night on the town. We learn to slow down, to enjoy a drink in more than one mouthfuls, and we expirement with whatever new trend suits our fancy. In a lot of these mixed concoctions there is an ingredient know as - Simple Syrup- that seems mysterious and strange. It is not in the syrup aisle at the local mart and even several places that peddle booze don't seem to carry it. So, what is it?

Equal parts water and sugar.

That is it 1 to 1. I do 1 cup to 1 cup and here is what you do:
Small.pot on the stove. Water in. Sugar in. Medium heat until everything dissolves.
Effin done.
The easiest drink recipe ever and used in so many cocktails it is stupid not to have in the fridge. Plus, if you don't use it. Feed hummingbirds, they will approve.

E's Dirty Old Fashioned

I will write some quirky shit later. Gotta bang this out and then go wash a horse.
2 oz. Bourbon of choice.
( Note: as. Mixed drink you don't need crazy nuances unless that is your style. A good dependable bourbon works fine)
1 oz simple.syrup
2-3 dashes of bitters (I use blood orange bitters but you can use Angostura if you want)
1 splash cherry juice
1/4 slice of orange peel
1-2 cherries for garnish

In a tumbler add ice. Put in orange peel and shake to agitate the peel (this is some boogie shit right here.) Add bourbon, syrup, bitters and splash cherry juice. Shake again. Use. Strainer and pour over 2 options.

1 fresh ice, pull.out orange peel and add it and cherries to new drink

2 no ice, or "neat" and add the garnish as above.

Sit back, sip and enjoy.




Cheers.

E.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2022, 08:19:18 pm by echoes »

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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2022, 11:30:26 am »

there is a poll there for a new dish later this week. Also, leave comments, or questions there and I can make this a more interactive type thing. I have been out of town this weekend with horses in another part of the state but I am back and will be doing some cooking, and drinking, this week. Hope you all have been enjoying, look forward to adding some more.

Cheers,

E

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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2022, 09:11:32 pm »
Hey everybody. So, back from the horse show that was last weekend and hadn't really planned to cook a lot of crazy until I found out if people wanted to hear about more Southern style comfort food or if they were interested in a little Mediterranean fare. Anyways, Monday was a shit show and I was royally irritated when I got home. So, I ended up doing some summer foods in the form of chicken salad, a rotini pasta salad with peas, fresh mozzarella and bacon and then deviled eggs with candied Bourbon bacon. So I will be sharing some of that here in the next day or so. Also, going to include what I did tonight which was not only Tortellini with chicken in a brown butter sauce. Now, the thing about the meal tonight; you could feed 4-6 people on a budget and even with a bottle of wine might be able to come in under thirty bucks America. Not only does this come in as cost effective ( maybe I ought to start pricing my stuff out, but it will also make it look like you know mad food skills even if you don't.

Finally, I and I was thinking about this on Monday, I am also going to start posting about things that I think everyone might consider having in their kitchen. No, I do not have a commercial cooktop and oven in my kitchen, and maybe.... JUST MAYBE, I get a little giddy thinking about having one, but there are a lot of inexpensive tools that really make kitchen life easier. So, going to include posts like that cause if even just one person who has been kind enough to check this thread out gets a use out of something I have written then everything here is a win.

So, yeah, thank you all for reading.

Cheers,

E.


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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2022, 12:42:00 pm »
Cooking Big on a smol Budget

Chicken Tortellini with Brown Butter sauce

Ok, so while everything is going up in price you have to find a way to save money and time. So here is something I threw together and it will look hella impressive on short notice.

Ingrediants are simple

1 Rotisserie Chicken ( I prefer Costco's for price and weight ) - <$2.00   - Average price around $5.00
2 sticks of Butter ( salted or unsalted ) <$2.00 ( $4.00 for a pound)
1 box/bag of Tortellini Pasta ( I used Ranna cheese stuffed family sized 18oz ) <$8.00
4 oz. Pancetta, Prosciutto or Ham
Note: I had Ham on hand at the time but if you want it to be bougie AF then you can either get Prosciutto or Pancetta. Honestly, you can use bacon as well if that is what you want. Anyway, 4oz will run you <$2.00 ($4.00 - $8.00 per package depending on what you buy.)
4 oz walnuts, crushed <$2.00 ( $4.00 for an 8 oz bag.)
Salt, Pepper, Garlic and Garlic dried spices
Olive Oil
Parmesan Cheese <$1.00 (A wedge of BelGioioso is $5.00 but you dont use the entire wedge. and Kraft Powdered Parm is about $3.00)

Misc
Bread of some kind $1.00-$3.00
Wine: I went with a simple Chateau Ste Michelle Sauvignon Blanc that I got for <$15.00 but your wine tastes may vary.

So all total for the actual amount needed to make the meal comes out to around $35.00 and this will feed four or 5 people and give each a glass of wine with extra bread to spare. Using the full prices and the average on the meat and cheese prices still has you feeding 4 people for under $50 and obviously you have left over ingredients to make other meals. I am not including the price for the spices or for the olive oil because I imagine someone might already have these items if they cook regularly.

So, how to make this (and this is a quick recipe so watch your time on plating at the end) and look like a boss.

First, the bread then the recipe.
Oven on at 350 degrees (176c)
Take bread and make slices 4/5ths the way through about 1 inch (2cm) apart. You want the form of the bread to stay the same so you can toast it and pull it apart later.
Drizzle olive oil over the tops of the bread and lightly between the slices. Use a brush or spatula to spread.
Dust with Salt, Garlic powder and, if you want, grate some Parmesan Cheese add it as well.
Once oven is ready the bread goes int the oven for 10 mins or longer depending on how you like your bread.

1) all but 1 Tablespoon of butter into a small pot on medium heat. Start l melting
2) second pot started with water and salt on medium high for the pasta
3) dice up whichever meat you have decided to use other than bacon. You want a small dice, almost a mince, mine were about 2mm but you can pull this off up to 4mm and it will look and taste good. The pork is a compliment to everything else, not the star.
4) Sauté pan, large one, on medium heat. In goes the last Tablespoon of butter and then a good healthy splash of olive oil. get that going and check on your butter.

The butter ought to be melted and bubbling a bit. Turn heat down and stir often. This can go from brown to burn in a heartbeat which is only just that much slower than the blink of an eye. So stir and watch often.

5) pork into the butter and grease and let cook.
6) Chicken: when I made this I only used 1/2 of the chicken breast ( so basically one side of the spine.) Pull the skin back and pull the meat off. get it on the cutting board and give it a quick chop to break it up. You are not quartering this. just one pass left to right. If you feel it need more attention then by all means, hit it again; harder, harder. but do not overwork this.

Check butter again and stir. The bubbles and the foam is natural and your butter may seem to be a pale yellow before browning. that is fine.

7) Chicken in with the pork and mix. The pork may sizzle and pop, that is fine, just don't let it burn
8) Take the walnuts and crush them up a bit before adding them to the butter. bring the temp back up to a little past medium and stir.
9) get water to boil and add pasta. You are looking for al dente so if they container has instructions, follow them.

Everything is going to come off fast so here is what you do.

Pull the pasta and drain in a colander before returning to the pot. Then you toss the chicken and pork directly in and stir. Finally, pull the browned butter and get a strainer. Strain directly atop the Pasta and meats using the strainer to catch the walnut pieces. Discard the pieces. Finally shave Parm cheese, or dust with powdered cheese and mix. Add cheese to your preference. Add salt, pepper and garlic to taste. Pull bread out and then plate up. Open wine and garnish the plates with parsley.

Done

If you read this through and plan your steps you can have this done, start to finish, in under 20 minutes and cleanup wont take an additional five. In the greater scheme of cooking you are not using many tools or many vessels and the only reason it will take longer to clean up is if you handwash your pots and pans.

Cheers,

E

Offline echoesTopic starter

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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2022, 03:00:11 pm »
Time for a bit of a step away from from cooking and talk about some of the tools that are used to make the meals I talk about here. I am also going to see if I can get some pictures up to aid in what I am talking about. if I am successful in this endeavor then I will go back and add pictures here and there to other posts. So, wish me luck because I suck at this.

First off, I do not have a commercial grade kitchen but I do have a nice set of pots and pans. Unlike all the cooking shows you may watch I do not have just one set where all the items look the same. I have a single serving saute pan that I have had for twenty years as well as a lovely set of anodized cookware that is about two years old. There are things I have picked up here and there, several cast iron skillets and weights, that are a testament to trail and error. So, for those looking to cook out there; find stuff you like and that you get results with. There is always a luck factor in cooking, something that happens that takes a meal up, or down, a notch. Unlike Baking, which is precise and is a science, cooking is about feel as much as flavor.

Outside of what you are cooking with I think the most important tool(s), for me that is, would be a one two combo of a sharp knife and good cutting board. With knives, they do not have to be Damascus steel and important from Japan unless that is what you want to use. For the longest time, just like my pans and pots, I was using a collection of knives that I had picked up over the years and were mostly, but not all, Henckles. These have been a workhorse knife for me and I like how they have felt in my hand. They take some maintenance, invest in a good sharpener, but they owe me nothing. those who do a lot of cooking, or a lot of prep-work will tell you that a dull knife is one of the most dangerous things in a kitchen. I've had one go into the side of my finger down to the bone back in my restaurant days and that sucked. So sharp knife and then something to cut on. Cutting boards are a pick your poison type tool just like the two others mentioned above. They come in a variety of materials but most common are wood and HDPE (High Density PolyEurethane.) I like wooden boards but the HDPE are much lower in maintenance. Stone looks fancy and is easy to clean but can be a pain in the ass to move around. There are also rubber and silicone mats but I have never been a fan of those.

Quick note here and this is a me thing but others may feel the same: Do not use the knife to scrape a cutting board of whatever you have cut. Use a spatula or better yet, a dough scrapper, but do not use the knife. This will dull the blade of the knife and can damage some cutting boards. Invest 3 or 4 bucks and get a pastry scrapper, its worth it and you will be able to use it for a lot of other projects as well.

So yeah, start here. Pots and pans, you don't need a crazy set unless you are going to be doing some crazy cooking. Build small and slow, get a feel for what you are using. Get a good knife, a general utility chef's knife is your most versatile knife and then you can work your way out from there. Finally, get a good cutting board; something that doesn't slip on you and that you can manage.

More later.

Cheers,

E.


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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2022, 07:20:35 pm »
So I kind of went all in and soon there will be posts for the following:

Ras el Hanout (blend of spices)
Naan Bread
Spicy orange marmalade
Garlic hummus
(Yeah, I did a Naan flight)
Pistachio Parmesan pearled Couscous
and finally
Moroccan chicken and chickpeas

I have left overs and lunch is gonna be food tomorrow.

Cheers,
E.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2022, 08:51:15 pm by echoes »

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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2022, 01:16:39 pm »
So, something a bit different

Ras El Hanout

Is not a spice but a spice blend popular in predominantly Arabic country on the South side of the Mediterranean. We are looking at Morocco ( go figure given what I used this for) Algeria and Tunisia. Ras el hanout translates roughly as "Head of the Shop" and is meant to represent the best spices to blend for a meal.

Now, in the very first post I mentioned that sometimes I will not include weights and this is going to be one of those posts. I'm not doing this to be a dick, I'm doing this because if you decide to make your own blend don't take what I like and try to make it work for you. Make it yours and make it for you. I don't put a lot of heat in mine but there is some heat there, you may want to bump that up; or maybe you don't want it at all. There are dozens of recipes on line so go hunt them down and you will see there is a consistency in the spices used but everyone has their own blend and their own weights. Here are some of the most common spices for the Ras El hanout and the ones I use:

Cumin
Ginger
Tumeric
Cinnamon ( Note: I actual use a stick of cinnamon and put all the spices in a bean grinder and break the cinnamon down because I think that it makes it more aromatic. I could totally be full of shit here and it does nothing fancy and I am just being bougie but that is actually what I do.)
Black Pepper
Coriander
Allspice
Nutmeg
Cloves
Paprika
Salt ( Salt is last because salt does not dominate the blend, it is an accompanying spice, not a major player.)

Other Spices as options:
Cayenne Pepper
White Pepper
Onions Powder
Cardamon


All spices are ground and dry, get a good mix, experiment and find something that suits you and your tastes. Sadly, while growing up flavor relied on: salt, salt and more salt with the occasional pepper. I have really embraced other spices in the last decade

All measurements that I use are in Tablespoons, 1/2 and 1/4 tablespoons with left over spice being stored in a jar with a lid and a date on which I made it.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2022, 01:20:24 pm by echoes »

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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2022, 01:19:55 pm »
I made my own bread and didn't totally suck and I am pretty happy about that. Every culture seems to have a table bread, or a flat bread, that is so simple that all you can do is overthink it and mess it up. Enter:

Naan bread

( My lunch is almost over so I will be back later today to put this up here.  Edit, a day later and I didn't get to posting today. Soon.... soon..
 8/17)

Ok, sorry it took me a bit to get back to writing but it has been a busy time. I did go all out on Monday and had a ball cooking. Did the Moroccan Chicken, which will be up here in a bit, garlic hummus and tried my hand at making naan for the first time. Now, the chicken and the hummus are my own but I have never made Naan myself so used a recipie from online. You can find the original here.

So Naan is a bread common throughout parts of Asian. the middle East and Africa. Its a table bread, which almost every culture I know of has a version of. That said, there a lot of cultures I don't know about but I'm learning. It does use a leavening agent ( rising agent) but it is not like European breads in that it is more flat and in the manner in which you cook it.
Ingredients ( and I picked Naan because there are not a lot of ingredients:)
1.5 Cups water ( temp between 105-110f)
2 teaspoons of active dry yeast
1 Tablespoon of Sugar
3 Cups AP Flour
2 teaspoons of salt

I wasn't lying, very few ingredients.



Ok, water in a 4 cup measuring cup and temped with a thermometer before adding yeast and stirring. NoTe: I am going to tell you all when I make mistakes because that is part of cooking. I got the temp right and in their instructions they say leave the mixture to sit for 10 minute or until you get bubbles of foam. I don't think I let it set long enough and this will be brought up later.

Mixing the dry is pretty easy and I used a stand mixer to get everything incorporated. While this was going on I start another project ( my garlic hummus) but when the timer went off it was time to add the wet to the dry. Again, i think I should have let it foam up more but I didn't and in it went.  I used the stand mixer on medium, occasionally stopping the mix to scrape the sides and eventually I had a pretty "tacky" (wet, sticky) doughball.

Here is NoTe number two and possibly mistake number two. The recipe says to knead for 3 minutes and I did. Maybe I should have gone a bit longer. maybe 5? Kneading, I forgot, is to incorporate air into the dough to not only help it rise but to keep  it from being dense. I got the kneading done ( which you have to use a bit more flour to dust your work area here. They said up to 2 tablespoons of flour but being that I did a double batch I went up to four. After the kneading was done I got a metal mixing bowl and coated it in olive oil. Unceremoniously plopped the dough ball in the middle, spread some more oil on top and covered in plastic wrap.

Oddly enough it was a really mild day for August here on Monday and the room I would normally let this rise in wasn't "warm." It was more "meh" so I used this as an excuse to run a washer clean cycle which raised the temperature in our little laundry room and helped the dough rise. The recipe said for 40-60 minutes so I took the average and left it along for 50. I made my hummus ( next recipe) and my Moroccan chicken (the one after that) and experimented with orange marmalade and Cholula with lime. A spicy orange marmalade was born which acts just like a chutney for dipping bread. +1

Ok, fast forward and just imagine a cooking montage with a banging soundtrack. The chicken was cooking, hummus got done and not only that, but I did all my dishes up to this point. The kitchen was smelling pretty damn good right now and when I checked on the bread it had doubled in size. So far so good.

Now here is where Naan really differs from European style breads in that it is grilled, or in my case pan fried, to cook it. You get your doughball out and I made 8 bebe doughballs and here is NoTe number three: I didn't make them big enough. Should have made six and I should have rolled then a bit thinner I guess. But I got them done and it was time to cook

Sauté pan, olive oil and medium high heat. Read the original if You want to grill them but I did not so into the pan they go. The Naan cooks quick but you can't rush them or they will be underdone. You want good brown and almost burn marks on your pieces. This is where the bread was supposed to rise and the heat would fill air pockets and cook the bread from the inside out.


Mine did not rise much, performance issues?

End product was 6 out of my 8 pieces had the texture and the taste and were awesome but not fluffy. 2 pieces had the taste but the texture was a leeetle bit rubbery. (boo) I finished the pieces off in the following ways:

Ghee (Clarified butter) and Paprika
Ghee and Parmeasan cheese
Olive oil and an Italian blend of spices
Plain

The bread, the 4th utensil, was great for dipping and did not take away from the meal at all. So, I give myself a B+ on this and will try it again to see if I can make them fluffy. I really wish I could get my pictures up here btu I have bene lazy on getting them to a platform I can use to upload them and I am not going to blow the wiki up here with a metric fuckton of pics, but the bread flight looked awesome. I had my hummus, the marmalade and then store bought Sweet mango Chutney and a Tamarin date spread that were where bread service is at. 

Cheers,

E.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2022, 08:54:49 am by echoes »

Offline echoesTopic starter

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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2022, 09:48:47 am »
So, next up is Hummus and this last batch I made was perfection. I was really proud of this one. Going to post it here, try to get a post on another thread and then the laptop is going to charge and the yard needs attending to. May be back on later to finish off the day with the Moroccan Chicken recipe so check back later.

Roasted Garlic Hummus

So made Naan and I needed to make stuff to dip the bread in. Unlike Italian cooking, where the bread is a respected utensil and it is expected that you would use it to clean up whatever sauce had been use in the dish, the Naan I made was dedicated to having its own flight of dips. Hummus is a Middle Eastern dish more associated with Pita bread for dipping. It is made of Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans,) olive oil, Tahini (Made from ground sesame seeds,) Lemon juice and spices. It can be topped, garnishes, with whole Chickpeas, Sesame seeds, pine nuts, Paprika and so on.


Fixens

3 Tablespoons Minced Garlic ( or three cloves of fresh Garlic cleaned and minced.)
1 Can (15oz) Garbanzo beans
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
1/4 Cup Tahini
2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Water (Water if needed)
Cumin
Salt, Pepper to taste
Spices of garnish

Pan on the stove, medium heat and that's where the minced garlic goes. If you are using whole garlic you need to peal, cut and mince before doing this part. stir often and you are waiting for it to just slightly darken and get aromatic before pulling it of.

Grab a colander and open your can of beans ( that just sounds wrong for some reason) before draining the beans in the colander. Give the beans a good rinse, stirring them up and then let drain.

In a food processor goes the olive oil, Tahini and lemon juice. Blend it for a minute and use a spatula to push all the splatter on the walls back into the mix. Add the roasted garlic, a dash or two of Cumin and the first round of your salt and pepper to taste before blending for another minute. Check taste and add salt if needed. Hit one more time for 3o seconds to a minute.

Add in half of your beans and blend it for about a minute to a minute and a half. Scrape sides and add the last bit of the beans. Blend for a minute and then check taste. Add salt if needed and depending on the texture you prefer, add water ( one tablespoon at a time)in between blending until consistency is how you like it. I like it almost like a peanut butter, so a thick consistency.

Plate and flatten Hummus using the back of a spoon. Create ridges and valleys before drizzling top with Olive Oil. Now, you can garnish however you lik. I used an Italian mixed herb seasoning but you could easily do Paprika, parsley, pine nets Etc.

This can be start to finish with clean up in about 20 minutes as is great with flour tortillas , pita, naan and so on.

Cheers,

E.

(Sooon, the much mentioned Moroccan Chicken.)

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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #16 on: August 18, 2022, 12:31:32 pm »
Wait for it....


Wait for it


Nope, Not Yet


Roasted Pistachio and Parmesan Pearled Couscous

Couscous is actually a wheat pasta and not a rice despite what many people may think when they see it. Normal Couscous is tine and while soft, often has a grainy texture. Sticking with the them of the meal, Couscous originated in Northern Africa, most likely in Algeria, which is a neighbor of Morocco. Now here is the kicker, Pearled Couscous is not from this area despite its name. We have to go further East to Israel where this was created during the early days of the country becoming an independent state. Pearled Couscous, called Ptitim, was created to offset the scarcity of rice as a staple in meals. The process used to produce the product often gave it a nutty flavor which differed from actual Couscous. I used the Pearled Couscous because I wanted a thicker starch for the heaviness of the main dish, something that would compliment and hold the meal and that is exactly what it did.


This is another one of those simple recipes that make a big impact if used properly and you can literally follow the recipe on the back to the Couscous container for the cooking aspect. Here is my take on it:

1 Cup Pistachios ( hulled)
1 1/2 cups of Pearled Couscous ( I used Rice Select)
3/4ths cup of water
1 1/2 cups of chicken stock ( You can use vegetable stock if you want to make this vegetarian.)
2 tsp butter ( or margarine)
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2- 1 cup of grated ( or powdered) Parmesan

Oven on to 350 and get a sheet tray or something bake it ready by lining it with parchment paper. Set the pistachios on the tray and pop them in for 10 minutes.

Get water, stock, butter and salt going in a medium sized pot that has a lid. get it up to boil and drop the Couscous into the liquid. Stir everything about, reduce heat to low and let it cook for 10 minutes  while occasionally stirring( times can vary based on your cooktop.)

Pistachio come out and you carefully ( cause they be hot after all) dump into a food processor and give it a quick run on the "grate" setting. You want them crumbled but not a powder. Little chucks of crunch to go with and the soon to be squishy goodness. Add to the Couscous and fluff before adding the Parm cheese/ Fluff and take off heat, cover and let sit or, if your main is already done, make a layer in the bottom fo a bowl, add the main course on top and get ready to get you monch on.

Cheers,

E.



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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2022, 06:07:14 pm »
Sorry to drag ass on this for so long, thanks for bearing with me, it has been a shitshow at work and reals has been busy. Got some stuff done about the farm this week but I am so behind and we are about to get into fall. Fall means getting ready for the winter, it is always one thing getting ready for the next, really.

Moroccan Chicken with Chickpeas

No funky preamble this time, you guys know I am wordy as all get out, but I am just goin to grind this recipe today and then make commentary on the next post or two.

what you need:

3 lbs Boneless skinless chicken cut up into cubes
( you could do 4 bone in skin on breasts should you desire that but I do not want to render a chicken down because I am , at heart, lazy.)
4 Tablespoons Minced garlic ( or 4 or 5 gloves, again, I am lazy)
2-4 tomamtoes ( romas work best here and amount of tomatoes will be to your personal taste.
1 onion ( medium- large OR 1 bag of frozen pre diced onions which would be around 10oz. again, add more to taste.)
2 Cups of warmed Chicken Stock ( or veggie stock)
2 tables spoons of parlesy
1 can of Chickpeas ( Garbanzo beans) 15oz. drained and rinsed
2 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice
4-6 Tablespoons of Ras el Hanout ( see previous recipe )
1 Tablespoon of Cilantro
1 6 0z can of tomato paste
Salt, pepper to taste

Dice chicken up into 1/4 to 1/3 inch chunks and drop into mixing bowl. pour a couple of tablespoons of Olive oil to coat add then enough Ras el Hanout to coat evenly ( option b is to toss the chicken into a large ziplock , add the olive oil and then the spice before you shake that shit till your arms hurt.) Clean up and on a seperate cutting board dice up your onion, your tomatoes and minc your garlic if that is needed ( it is not a bad idea to have dedicated cutting boards for red meat, poultry, veggie and so on if you can. If you can't then wash your shit between uses, don't be that person who just flips the board over and uses the other side. Now, if you ask if I have done just that, I will tell you yes cause I am an idiot. But I don't do it now.

Remember that tramotina braising dish I mentioned a while back. That's what I used here and started it off just over medium high heat. In goes a couple of tables spoons of olive oil ( and you can also add a tablespoon of good butter here if you wanted.) A heavy bottomed deep pan will also work at this point because you are going to drop the chicken in on tope of the oil and cook until you get a good sear going. You can let sit and then stir off and on for at least 5- 8 minutes depending on how fast you pan cooks. let the chicken render but do not burn

as soon as the chicken is done you drop the heat down to a medium-low feel and pull the chicken out to rest for a few minutes. Toss in the onions and then you let them cook until the caramelize. While this is going get your chicken or veggie stock going in a pan of medium-high heat. add olive oil if the onions start to dry or burn. after the onions start to caramelize you add the garlic and then 1 -2 more tables spoons of Ras el Hanout here. stir regularly.

Onions ands Garlic are ready so add in the tomato paste and stir before letting it sit, maybe only a minute, before you add in salt and pepper to taste. Now, in goes your diced tomatoes ( you can, if you are not happy with your knife skills, use 1 can of pre-diced tomatoes. just drain them before using.) go ahead and add the chickpeas, the lemon juice  and the chicken stock, which should be hot, and stir to mix.

I bring the temp up to medium at this point and drop the chicken back into this amazingly aromatic bubbling mess. Stir the chicken about and make sure it is as submerged as possible. once everything is at a pretty consistent low boil drop the temp down to simmer and put a lid on top of whatever you are using to cook with. leave the lid slightly off so that air can vent, but no so much that cold air can make it lose temp. set a timer, 40-50 minutes with the occasional stir while you breath deep and get really hungry.

After the cook time you add the chopped parsley and cilantro and mix it in. check the salt and pepper, add if needed. The chicken ought to be tender and you are ready to serve.  That pearled Coucous recipe above this one was my base in the bottom of a shallow bowl with this ladled ontop. If you want this to ratchet up a level you can add white pepper or more ginger.

I really wish I had the pictures of this and the bread flight. You all would dig this and yes, it tasted amazing.

More later, I need to get some laundry done and dinner going for tonight.

Cheers and thanks for reading,

E




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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #18 on: August 31, 2022, 09:57:19 am »
Hey there anyone who stops by. Don't worry, still cooking but have not been very exciting as of late. Also, been outside a lot working when the weather plays nice. Anyway, will be adding something soon, a bit of alliteration even as the next item to be discussed will be

Paprika Pork with Pierogis

Cheers,

E.

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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #19 on: September 05, 2022, 11:47:26 am »
This is another super easy recipe that I did and I will also give you a couple of variants so you can see how flexible this can be. Cue the music :

Paprika Pork and Pierogis

The alliteration is fun. I don't care what you say, its FUN@!

Ok, so really easy start to finish can be done in 20, 30 minutes tops and will feed a bunch of peebos on the cost effective side. Here thar be ingridents!  (---- THAT IS INTENTIONAL!

2# Pork Tenderloin
Olive oil
Flour
Paprika
Salt
pepper
Garlic
Butter
1 Onion ( medium either white or yellow thought red will do if needed)
2 14 oz containers of Pierogis ( I use Kasia's Cheese and Potato Pierogis from Costco.)
1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
4 Oz. Sour Cream

OPTIONAL and VARIANTS:
Egg Noodles
Mashed Potatoes
2 oz. Milk

Ok This goes fast so everybody go all in:

I start by again using a fork to commits stabby on the tenderloin. This breaks up the muscle fibers and allows it to become tender without a long marinade time. I remove excess fat ( again, a sharp knife is your friend as you want excess fat gone and not actual meat. When slow cooking fat can = flavor but this is not one of those moments.) Cube the tenderloin down to 1/2 inch or 1 1/4 cm. and place in a mixing bowl. Toss a glug ( isnt that a fun word. Say it with me, "Glug.") or two of olive oil on the meat and mix/coat well.

In a baggie put just under a 1/2 cup of flour (all purpose works fine) and then add your spices to your taste. I would suggest 1/8 of a cup of Paprika, about 11/2 tablespoons of garlic and pepper and then a tablespoon of salt. You will be tasting later and that is when you can mod up from there. Close the Ziplock and shake that shit to mix it. Add in the pork and Shake again, shake it until it is well covered and everything has a dull red coating.

In a large sauté or Braising pan (you know which one I used) get oil and a tab or two of butter in and melted. While this is melting peel and dice your onion into medium squares. This is not a mince, its a rough dice of mostly even sizes. Butter and oil melts and onion goes in. Give it a minute or two on medium high heat and then then add in the pork.

Ok, that is cooking, Open two containers of pierogis and let them sit for a moment. get a second pan going with some oil and get it up to e medium high heat. Once it is there add the pierogis and this is the only real "attention" moment. Do NOT overload the pan. lay them flat on their side and make rings. You want to get a nice brown on their exterior by frying them in the oil, but this is not a golden brown like a mozzarella stick. You are just getting a light fry so drop the temp just under medium high and fry them while the pork cooks.

so here is where you stir pork and flip Pierogis. The pork, because it is cubed small, should take about 8 minutes to cook. By then you should have the first round of Pierogis done and start pulling them off the heat. get a plate and put a layer or two of paper towels to drain excess oil off the Pierogis. get another round on the pan, add fresh oil if you need to but don't add alot. light fry remember. Once your Perogies are started then you go back to the pork. Drop the temp down to medium and add in the cream and sour cream. Stir well and the sauce mixture will turn a lovely Martian orange color. This is what is is supposed to do. get the sauce bubbling and then turn down to medium low. Cover and let cook for another 5-8 minutes. The sauce will thicken naturally due to the left of spice mixture coming off the pork and then fixings that have cooked in the oil. if you want to think the sauce when this is done you add more cream ( or milk) about 2 Tablespoons at a time. if you want it thicker cook longer but do not increase temp.

VARRIATIONS! ( Like Promotions without Boobs!)
If you dont want to do Pierogis then you can cook up some egg noodles and go that route. if you do noodles you can skip the Sour Cream from above and add just a bit more heavy cream. if you want to say "ef that" to noodles and dumplings, fine, you can do that. mashed Potatoes work and then you can do the sauce either way. The reason for the Sour cream is because that traditionally goes with Pierogis and it works but you can do what you like here.)

Check on the pork, see that the sauce has thickened and then grab a tase. No you heathen, do not just stick your finger in and burn the absolute shit out of yourself. teaspoon, let cool and taste. Here is where you season up or down to taste.

Once all pierogis are done and the excess oil is off you can plate. 4-6 Pierogis in a bowl with a generous spoon/ladle full of pork goodness right on top. You can add shaved parm cheese or chives as a garnish. You can do dried parsley if you wish. The will provide Six to Seven good sized portions for dinner or some kick ass left overs. Also, its fairly cost effective. I want to say that this worked out to about $6 per portion and you could squeeze out 6 -7 to 8 oz portions. So yeah. Not a bad deal all the way round.

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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #20 on: September 19, 2022, 09:53:59 am »
Did a lot of cooking this last week. Will share 2 different dishes and a garnish later this week. Made a play on a crab cake, made em mini's to boot as part of an amuse bouche style breakfast. To be honest they were closer to a bite and a half but they came out great. To go along with crab cakes I made a Cajun style remoulade. +1. Will share.

Don't know if any of those reading this, and some people are so thank you for that, but I don't know if any of the stateside readers ever heard of, or are at, a restaurant chain called Don Pablos. (If you have eaten at one, send me a note in the companion thread and say hi.) Anyway, the chicken for tacos, burritos and chimichangas was called chicken real (pronounced  re: Al.) And I recreated it this weekend for a Mexican inspired lunch spread.

May also do a well received drink recipe from this weekend.


More about that later this week. Hope you all had a good weekend.

Cheers,

E.

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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #21 on: September 22, 2022, 10:39:57 am »
Hey thar, how has your week been? Mine has been a cavalcade of hot messes, shitshows and dumpster fires so I've got that going for me. Oddly enough, as an aside before we get to talking about food, my coworkers and I figured out the hierarchy of how bad a situation is using those terms and It would appear that Dumpster Fire is the worst case. Shitshow is right int he middle and hot mess is the beginning of the end. How did we decide this you may wonder, or not, because  there really is no sliding scale for calamities; that is, until now. Dumpster Fire suggests potential harm, or suffer due to being a fire and the other two, well, you can always take a shower after being covered in shit or in the middle of a hot mess.

Anywho, now that's over and we we can talk about how to stuff our faces.

Good times.

This last weekend, Sunday to be exact, I was able to cook for something called a "Poker Pace." This is when people get on horses and ride across fields at whatever pace they want to find a series of checkpoints. These checkpoints are staffed with volunteers who provide food and beverage (including alcohol cause horse people like to drink) and, when it is a poker pace, you also get to draw a card from a deck. 5 checkpoints, 5 cards and now you have a poker hand. Once back at the rally point, and when everyone has made it back, the poker hands are then used to pick prizes from an assortment of goodies. One year my girlfriend's son got a ridiculously complex trailer hitch that was close to $200. So yeah, big social event for this group (called a hunt club because it is modeled after the Fox Hunting clubs in England) with prizes and awards for everything from newcomers and first timers to fastest time, best costumes and so on.

And, of course, there is enough alcohol to pickle a whale and food aplenty.

This is where I come in because my ass was not up on a horse at 8 am on a Sunday. Yes, I have a horse and she and I are both lazy when it comes to trail riding. My Belgian staid home and monched grass all day as I went and was good boyfriend and cooked for my girlfriend's hunt club. Why did I do this on my day off" Was it the lure of promised sexual activities later in the day? Nope, she got done with this, came home and passed out for 2 hours before she had to work an overnight (she's a nurse.) Was it to show off and do some crazy cooking, ok, that is not that far from the truth. Was it because she had been tapped to organize the event and I wanted her to look good? Yep, it was mostly the last one with a generous seasoning of the previous reason

So, I was mixing my bourbon spritz at 8:15 AM and people were already lining up to get their food and drink on. This post is going to be a bit long and I am not going to spam post for a count here. You are going to get a drink, an entrée and a sauce as well as an idea of the spread. So here we go

BREAKFAST!

The spread for breakfast was a good range of simple to bougie and I am not going to lie, I did it on purpose. See, the GF had been telling me about past events and how they got boxed lunches, or they got catering etc. Recently one of the other hunt members had done pulled pork on doughnuts (God, how American does that sound? I mean, I guess he could have deep fried them.) but no one had done any real cooking on site for one of these things. Did I ever mention before that I am a pretty damn good short order cook? If not, I am. And so lets set this up because I made some fucking magic on Sunday.

Two long ass wood tables, about 4 inches under good prep height for me, rough hewn and not flat at all. I have a three compartment sink, and that was nice and the only space to cook on was a single electric 4 burner stove w/ oven. So, knowing this, I even brought some things form home like a panini press and a toaster.

Ok, so here is the menu:

Fresh Fruit
Apple Turnovers (purchased)
Plain and Everythang bagels (Purchased) - several different cream cheeses and spreads
Fresh made Panini with that included a mini omelet with Havarti cheese, fried Canadian Bacon and Hollandaise sauce. (Made fresh)
Baltimore Style miniature Crab cakes with a Cajun Remoulade.

My Drink of choice:
Bourbon Sprtiz

The Drink

E's Bourbon Sprtiz

And I am well aware this prolly has a half dozen different and styles from other people but here is how I go

2 oz Bourbon (I was using Jim Bean and below is an aside about mixing bourbon and drinks)
Some people think you must find the most nuanced bourbon when they drink. I'm not one of those people. See, when I was 24 I got a birthday present that included a broken nose, an eyelid that had to be partially sewn back in place, a few other scratches, breaks, dents and dings as well as a reduced sense of smell ala broken nose. I can't smell or taste the minute details that set really fine food and drink apart from regular food and drink. I miss the fine details but I get the message if that makes sense? The reason I say this; to make a good mixed drink you do not have to go all top shelf on the ingredients but you do have to know how to portion them to attain a balance. It's more the ratio than the name brand that makes something good. Just like combining seasoning in a meal, you need to know what works well together and how much to use.
1.5 oz. OJ
.5 oz. lemon juice
1 oz. simple syrup ( as described before)
splash cherry juice
2 oz. soda water

So this is basically a bourbon mimosa. You add ingredients except for the soda water in a shaker over ice. give it a couple or three good shakes to mix. pour through a strainer over fresh ice and then add the soda water. You can garnish with orange peels or cherries if you wish but this is a hellagood breakfast drink.

Now, for perspective, I emptied half of a handle of Jim beam when I made mine so the proportions were much greater than the above single serving.


Baltimore Style Crab Cakes

So the crab cake was coined as a name for this little dish in the later 1930's. I am sure there are similar dishes anywhere crab is found but when the term "crab cake" is used here in the States most people start thinking of the Northeast part of the country specifically starting in Maryland and working their way up from there. There are tons of different ways to make these but the "cake" ( really more like a patty but leave the spongebob reference at home) is made up of lump crab meat, a filler (crushed crackers for a true Baltimore style but bread crumbs and the like can be used) and a binder which is usually an egg. After that, lemon juice, seasonings and so on to add flavor. These things can be as big as a hamburger patty or, in my case, I made then about an inch and half in diameter and about a quarter of an inch thick.

My Recipe:

1 lb lump crab meat ( check for shells and remove.
1 egg ( beaten)
1/2 sleeve of Saltine crackers ( you could also do oyster crackers iffin you wanted to )
6 oz of bread crumbs
1/2 cup Mayo ( do not use light here, go full mayor)
1 Tablespoon of Djon Mustard
1/2 Tablespoon yellow Mustard
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire
1 teaspoon Hot Sauce
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons chopped Parsley
Salt, Pepper and A dash of Garlic to taste.

Crackers and breadcrumbs into a bad and beater them till they are mashed coarsely.
In a bowl beat an egg before adding the wet items and mix.
Toss the crab meat in with the bread crumbs and mix in the bag.
Place "dry" ingredients in separate bowl and slowly combine the wet into the dry.
Mix completely and then transfer back to the bag and seal. refrigerate for at least and hour but I did this the day before.

To cook. Pan on the burner with medium to medium high heat. Add oil and coat bottom of the pan.
I placed the crab mix on a cutting board and used a measuring scoop to create "ball" of the crab mixture that I then flattened. This point is a personal choice on how big you want your crab cakes. I wanted them small to cook fast and evenly. so here you can experiment with the size you want.

Add to pan and fry until golden brown and then flip. Depending on how your burner cooks this could be anywhere from 2-3 minutes per side.

Pull off heat and set atop paper towels to absorb any excess oil


I will have to do the Remoulade on another post, I have run out of typing time right now and will get back to this later.

Thanks for reading

Cheer,

E.


« Last Edit: September 23, 2022, 08:11:48 am by echoes »

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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #22 on: September 23, 2022, 08:41:49 am »
Fall has finally shown up in my next of the woods and the mornings have turned crisp. This is lovely since the AC in our house has been on the fritz for the last two weeks and two days ago it hit 90 (32.2 for the rest of the world) and was a bit on the sweating side. But this morning it is a lovely 49 ( 9.4) outside and the air feels good. This also means that if you like reading this little journey about food then be on the lookout for things like: Butternut Squash, Loaded Baked Potato, Beef and Vegetable and other soups that I will be doing because of the season.

So, I need to finish up with the menu from last Sunday which concludes with a Cajun Remoulade. Lunch was a taco/Nacho/Burrito bar where I made Taco beef, Chicken Real (diced chicken in a tomato sauce with peppers and onions,) Refried Beans, Rice and all the fixings down to Guacamole. People had their choice of corn tortilla chips, taco shells, large and small flour tortillas and it was a build your own nightmare type of thing. It went over really well. I made the rice, taco meat, chicken and two sauces ( a red sauce and a sour cream sauce.)

The beans came out of a can cause I wasn't cooking them for 4 hours. Funny story here. My dumb ass forgot to bring a can opener to open the cans of beans. There are no witnesses to what happened next.

Ok, Remoulade. This is a Sauce that is a sibling to Tarter Sauce, thought I do not find it as strong or citrusy? as Tarter Sauce, and can be used on more than just seafood, thought, it really does shine on seafood. Like Tarter Sauce it is Mayonnaise based and is usually made with either finely diced pickles (not me) or Cappers.

Here is my spin on this:

Cajun Remoulade

1 cup Mayonnaise
1/4-1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 Tablespoon Cappers
1 1/2 Tablespoons Djon Mustard
1 Tablespoon Parsley
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Hot Sauce ( I used Lime Cholula)
1/2 Tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1 Minced Garlic clove





 
Ok, so, other than draining and then mincing the capper down the recipe is pretty damned simple.

MIX ALL THE THINGS!

Then I usually let this refrigerate for a while before using. But that is it, pretty simple. This can go on damn near anything that is fried if you like the taste of Mayonnaise based dips. I will admit that I sometimes give people a double take because I prefer mayo on fries over ketchup. (I am told this is a very European thing but I've not been to Europe yet so I wouldn't know. )

So for now, I am off. I owe a couple of posts and then it is another day working outside and getting the farm ready for the winter. Well, sort of, finishing my second axe throwing target is for me and does not help with getting ready for the winter. I am also setting the fire bricks atop my poured concrete slab that will eventually become a pizza oven, so I might be writing about homemade pizza next month.  If I do make it back on today I will possibly post a Beef Kielbasa and Spaetzle dish that I made last night. No, I did not make homemade Spaetzle but the dish didn't suffer because of that. Did a Parmesan Sour Cream sauce that was on point.

Anywhy, Thanks for Reading.

Cheers,

E.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2022, 08:43:49 am by echoes »

Offline echoesTopic starter

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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #23 on: September 28, 2022, 10:00:47 am »
So, A day earlier than I would normally post as, Thursday's are my day off, but I am working this Thursday because I am running out of town this weekend. I've been a true shit when it comes to taking pictures of food lately, not that it would do any good because I haven't posted a one yet, but I will try and rectify that soon. I will be posting about the Kielbasa and Spaetzle dish I did as well as an amazing Bolognese with Pappardelle noodles that was made this week. The pasta was handmade and I am rather hit or miss with my pasta and this was a hit. I think i figured out what I have always done wrong so we will see in the future if my idea is correct.

On another note Fall be here and that means I will be making several soups in the near future. Will also again remind myself why I am not a baker and try to make homemade breads. Why do I do this to myself. I think it is latent masochism from a misspent youth. That entire, "You can take x out of the Y but you can't that the Y out of the X" thingy.

Be on the look out today for new foods, all of which are great when the weather starts to turn cold. And for those of you who live farther up, where cold is just how it be, these recipes are good all the time.

Gotta charge the puter and then a couple hours from now will rock out some new eats.

Cheers,

E.

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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #24 on: September 28, 2022, 03:23:11 pm »
So lets talk Spaetzle.
Some people may be going, What in the actual ef is that? Others have already broke out that sweet Google-Fu and they know that this is a Middle European pasta, or dumpling depending on who you ask, that you see in countries like: Germany, Austria, Hungary and several others. Instead of killing tomatoes, and drowning this dish in marinara and cheese like another pasta loving country I can think of, I went a different route and used a beef Kielbasa as the star of this show and its side act was a sour cream based cream sauce. Now before we go much further, this is going to be one of those times I do not include weights on a lot of items because: 1) I didn't write them down as I was messing about, 2) this really can be left up to your individual taste. Also, this is a great meal on a budget when you want to impress and there isn't anything really complicated about the production of this meal. get yourself some hearty ass bread and a good beer and get ready to dine.


Beef Kielbasa and Sour Cream Spaetzle

So, I used 2 lbs of kielbasa, that much I remember, and one bag of pre-made Spaetzle. I did not make it by hand, but should you decide to do so you can. Oniya shared this little Trick, for those of you who want to make it by hand, And you can find this and other things over in the companion thread.

On a side note, Kielbasa is pretty much the Polish word for Sausage, Wurstchen would be the German word but I didn't have access to Wurstchen and I did have access to Kielbasa, so that is how I got these two ingredients together.

So, In a large sauté pan, or that Brazier that I have talked about before, you get butter melting and then drop in diced onion and get it about half way to translucent before added in minced garlic. I would say about 1 medium sized union and two cloves of garlic is what I used. get the Garlic to just before brown and while all this is cooking I take the Kielbasa and and basically slice the entire damn thing down the middle before slicing it up like a carrot ( so you get half wheels instead of nice round slices. Once the Garlic is about to brown I drop in the sausage and start sweating that. You want to get the residual fat to render and get a nice flavor on the meat. while this is going on cook your spaetzle by following the directions on the package ( or whatever recipe you are using, follow it please.)

I take everything out of the brazier and add a little more butter before adding a bit of flour to make a really thin roux. Add in cream  and then sour cream and let thicken a bit on medium heat before adding the meat, onions and garlic back in. Add Parsley and oregano and take down to low heat and let simmer for a bit before adding a little bit of the water from the Spaetzle to the mix. Here is where you add seasonings like salt, pepper and a pinch of Cayenne pepper to the mix. Get some nice Parmesan cheese and shred it before adding it to thicken the last bit of the sauce. if you get to thick use milk to thin.

Finally, finish the Spaetzle and drain, toss the noodles in with the Kielbasa plate up. Get nice thick rich bread and a beer and you are good to go.

Cheers,

E.

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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #25 on: October 12, 2022, 06:50:01 am »
its been a minute since I got to post and I havent done anything really crazy as of late. Well, I did make Paella and that came out awesome but that wasn't crazy. So here soon I will throw out a Beef Bolognese recipe as well as homemade pasta and then will get to the Paella. made two different batches of my Chicken and Dumplings because the first batch was so damn good a second got requested but I will tell you about that later.

Gotta deal with a nose bleed, talk food soon.

Cheers,

E.

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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #26 on: October 22, 2022, 11:20:47 am »
We had paella 🥘 last night! My husband made it.

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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #27 on: October 31, 2022, 09:51:56 am »
Henlo peeps,

So, Fall and Spring are my crazy times. There is work, and then there is farm work throughout the year but Fall and Spring is when it is overdrive. Basically Fall is the pregame for winter and Spring is the recovery and setting up for summer. Summer and Winter are just maintenance; fixing what gets broke and not starting any new projects. In the last two months I have tried to build Rome, and , for the most part, I am pretty damn satisfied with all that I have gotten done. There are a few more things to do, the gutters above our garage for example, but the big things are done.

So why tell you all this? Well, I have been cooking but I have not been posting and I am going to try and fixt hat soon. Recipes are owed from previous posts and I need to add on things like beef Stroganoff, Pizza Dough and a few other things here and there. One of the projects I completed was the homemade brick pizza in my back yard. Saturday, yesterday, that thing was fired for 5 hours and we cranked out a dozen different pizzas to order as people from work came out and socialized. We were doing 12 inch pies but the oven can handle 16. So, I will talk about cooking in it and prepping for that as a post in the future.

Also, I have been mixing and baking along with cooking. Have a few new drinks, somethings here and there.

Anywho.

I will get to posting again soon and hope to see people come back to read.

Cheers,

E.

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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #28 on: October 31, 2022, 07:45:44 pm »
HACKS!

Ok, so I don't have full on meals for you right now, those are going to be up later this week, but I am going to share a couple of things I do that other people may or may not do as well. these are ways to step up a meal, something simple or complex, and I am starting with simple. How simple?

Hot Dogs.

One of the most revered and notorious of American Cuisines; this little column of compressed turkey, pork, tofu or beef has a lineage that traces itself back to central Europe. Taken from the Frankfurter) ala Frankfurt, and even the Weenier ( from Vienna ) I will just say that this little staple of summer cookouts and Cincinnati chili has a bit of a backstory. Check out Wikipedia for more regarding that, I am being lazy and not doing all the legwork tonight.

Now, some people boil them. In fact, a very well known bigbox membership warehouse does exactly that and they still sell their dog, and accompanying 20oz pepsi product for a buck fifty. Other places grill their dogs; getting that char on the outside that some people find delectable and that I think tastes like burnt ass. However you like your dog, the next time you broil, bake, grill or otherwise prepare your somewhat penis looking dinner, try this:

Add either Beef Bullion, or beef broth, to water and boil them for 5-10 minutes before you place them in an oven or on a grill. If you are just boiling them, thn do the same and when the dogs expand that is when you get them to a bun and garnish the fuck out of them. If you are a purist and like you dog nude, that is fine as well, no judging.

Trust me on this, especially if you are throwing this doggies down on a grille. The beef broth/boullion mix will make these dogs supid juicy and will enhance their natural flavors.

HACK II:

French dips are a a simple sandwich involving sliced beeg, usually swiss cheese, onions and a Jus ( or dipping sauce.) Usually the Jus is also beef flavors so it is liek Xibit heard you liked a beef sammich and gave you some beef drippings to go with your beef. This, however, is not the hack. The hack is to get some French Onion Dip and have it handy. get the beef going and toast the bread you are using ( hoagie roll, baguette, something that toasts up nicely. ) Once you get the bread toasted and the meat going you take a spatula/knife/ your finger and you layer the bottom of the bread with French Onion dip. Meat op top, then cheese and then the sauteed onions to melt the cheese on the meat and settle everything atop the French Onion Dip.

if you are a sammich person, and I am , this will take it up a level without having to get real creative. It still works great with the Jus dipping sauce but now makes the sammich rock steady on its own.

Ok, missions accomplished. I have posted something and not been a total waste today. Ok, I worked but I have been a busy echoes this last month and even more so the month before that. I built a pizza oven and BTW it is awesome. I built a new axe and archery target for the farm. I instaled several hard points in the barn for various nefarious ( Ok, I like that alliteration: Various Nefarious) activities. Ive been seeding grass and home repairing none stop getting ready for the winter. This is going to be a lazy week but I am still going to post. Keep on the look out and I will see you around.


Cheers,

E.

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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #29 on: November 01, 2022, 08:38:27 am »
So,

While there is a backlog of various foods I should write about I'm going to get all sorts of out of order and write about this past weekend. I guess, technically, I am not out of order being that I can write about what I want , and when, but I had a list of entrees that I have had just the most amazing run of luck on and I am skipping all that to talk about an another American staple:

Pizza.

So there has always been a myth that Pizza was a Chinese creation stolen by Marco Polo and then co-opted by the Italians but almost every culture that has made bread has also thrown cheese and toppings on top of that same bread in early editions of the Pizza. The Italians named it and the Americans have loved it even before there was an America. ( What can I say, American love runs hard.) Ok, jokes aside, this is a dish that when you say Pizza everyone has the same general idea: Round dough topped with sauce, cheese and fixings. After that everyone can pick a fight on what pizza is the best and what should never be a topping on a pizza. I won't get into all that, lets get to the weekend

One of my projects this year was to finish the brick Pizza oven in my back yard. As I recently told a friend, I can do basic masonry like build a structure or a wall. Right angles and level surfaces I can do up to a degree { I would not make a high wall or do the foundation to a house but a waist high or retaining wall, sure. What I have never done before is an an arch or round piece and that is what a Pizza oven it. I built the support structure out of cinderblock a year ago and then year I poured a 3 inch thick concrete slab on top of the cinderblock stand. I want to say the slab is 40 inches by 38 inches; it was a big pour done by hand. Atop that I made a base of fire bricks that you would find inside a kiln and made a floor that was 27 inches wide and 27 inches deep. Bricks then make up the oven and the highest point of the arch is 13 1/2  inches off the firebrick floor. There is a metal chimney and it looks like an over so, +1.

After some experimentation I learned that you start the fire directly over where you plan to cook to heat the bricks up. You start and fire and you feed it until the inside of the over turns black and then keep feeding it until the bricks then turn white. push the ashes, embers, and remains of the fuel away from where you plan to cook and then you are ready. You have two options here. 1 ) got without a pizza tray and cook right on the bricks. 2) use a pizza tray and then remember to set the tray atop the embers to finish off the bottom of the pizza. We went with plan B.

I spent Saturday firing the oven for 5 - 6 hours and had friends over to hang out as an end of the fall type party. During this time two things happened: 1 ) The two front bricks and the top of the arch in the front of the over slid down 2 inches of so but remained wedged in the arch so that it did not lose all of its structural integrity. 2) We cooked a dozen pizzas or so in the course of several hours. Everyone who came over got their own personal 12 inch pizza even though the oven could accommodate a much larger pie. Cook time was around 12 minutes per pizza and there was a bit of labor in rotating the pizza to get an even cook. Over all, everything worked and I could not have been happier.

before we get to a recipe I will say this regarding this style of oven and its consumption of fuel. This thing ATE through the wood I had prepared. I designed the structure that supports the oven to be a place where I could store its fuel, IE: wood. The wood that is under there it cut down so that the "meat" is exposed and it has been drying out for a year so It is amazing firewood that fits into the over perfectly. The problem with havin such a big "mouth" on the oven is that it allows heat to escape ( which is different that dome ovens with a smaller mouth but I am not that good that I cam make one of those.) So, if you build your own over make sure you always have enough fuel. Took me about an hour to get to temp and then I was feeding the oven all day to keep it there.

So, backstory done. Lets get on to a recipe that can work in a brick oven or in a conventional one:

Pizza Dough Done easy
6+ cups of Flour ( I used AP but you can experiment with others )
4 Tablespoons Sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons Instant Yeast ( Fast Rising )
1 Teaspoon Salt
4+ Tablespoons of Olive oil
2 Cups water ( warmed between 120 and 130 f)

I did this with a stand mixer

2 cups of flour into the stand mixer and then add yeast, sugar and salt. Start that mixing on a 1 or 2 setting, just get it nicely incorporated
2 cups of water into a measuring cup add the oil directly to water and mix.
Add liquid to mixing flour/sugar/yeast/salt combo and scrape the walls as it mixes.
Add remaining 4 cups of flour 1 at a time to mixer. Resist your to crank mixer on high ( this will make a mess if you crank it up.)
Once all flour is in you can bring mixer up to a 3 or medium setting but not blast it here.
Let mix until ball is made. Ball should be tacky. Add water, 1 teaspoon at a time, if all the four will not incorporate.

In a separate bowl toss in a layer of flour. Move dough ball into separate bowl, add another layer of flour ( Total flour added should be less than a quarter of a cup but could be more as needed.) Kneed dough ball until uniform in texture. ( Usually about 5 minutes ) Cover bowl with plastic wrap and then set in a warm room for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes bring bowl out, dough should have doubled in size. Line sheet tray with parchment paper and lightly dust with flour. Separate into 6 evenly weighed doughballs ( 8 ounce each I found ) atop said sheet tray and then cover again for 15 minutes. Dough will continue to rise.

With a pizza tray ( pan) You have 1 of 2 options here.
1 Lightly coat with olive oil, 2 make a 50/50 mix of flour and corn meal and dust the pan with the mixture. These methods are to keep the dough from sticking to a pan.

And dough ball and slowly stretch, spread, until uniform thickness is attained. It may not be a perfect circle but I dont know how to do the entire tossing the pizza dough while spinning it thing so, sorry bout that. Get even thickness and then coat the edge of the dough with a layer of olive oil. From here you can guess the rest. Sauce, cheese, toppings and more cheese or add it on in any order you seem fit.

get that into the oven and cook. Times will vary based on the oven being used. If you are using a conventional you will have to experiment with temps between 350-400 degrees f. Just keep an eye on your edges so you do not burn the F out of them.

Ok, gotta run,

Cheers.

E.




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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #30 on: November 16, 2022, 03:13:41 pm »
Going to try and crush this in the remaining few minutes of my lunch at work. I've owed a lot of posts and I have been a little lax of late. Much going on and all that jazz.

Beef  Bolognese

This is a sauce that appears complex because it is built up in layers, but what appears to be complex is actually quite easy if you take your time. So, no random echoes being random, right to the ingredients:
4-8  slices of Bacon or, if you want to be a bit more authentic, 8-12 slices of Pancetta
1 Large Onion ( yellow or white )
2 cloves of garlic
2 Carrots Pealed
2 Celery stalks.
2-4 Diced Roma tomatoes or 1 can of diced tomatoes
2+ Oz Olive Oil ( Extra Virgin is fine, regular also fine.)
1 lb Hamburger meat ( minced beef)
1/2 cup of white wine
1/2 cup of beef stock
1 teaspoon of dried oregano, 2 if fresh
1 tablespoon Parsley
Salt / pepper to taste
6 Ounces of Tomato sauce ( 3-4 if you use puree.

Start by slicing the bacon down to strips and frying. Peel and dice the Onion and add to the bacon as it cooks. Peel and mince the garlic and continue to reduce. this will take 8 -12 minutes.

Remove the bacon/onion/garlic mixture and then add the ground beef atop the remaining bacon drippings. Cook until crumbling ( 5-8 minutes) and then drain.

Keep using the same pan and add 2 oz olive oil before added peeled and diced carrots, celery and parsley cook for 10 minutes before adding the onions and garlic back to the mix.  This is called a Soffritto. Cook together for 5 minutes before adding 1hite wine and beef stock.

Add in the ground beef, tomatoes, Oregano, Parsley along with salt &pepper to taste and the tomato sauce. Mix well before reducing heat and covering. You will let this cook for an hour, stirring occasionally. This is the simmer where the sauce flavor really develops. You can let it cook longer if you wish but that is up to you.

A Note about Pasta:

Everyone has a favorite Pasta whether you know it or not. What you may not know is that pasta has a reason to be different shapes and styles and it is all about how it holds the sauce. With this kind of sauce you want a wide and flat noodle like Tagliatelle or Pappardelle but Fettucine can be used in a pinch. Every pasta has a preferred dish, a preferred sauce. May have to do a post on that later. Also, I will eventually have to do a how to make Pasta as I have been getting better as of late.

Ok, Coming up soon, Paella.

Cheers,
E.



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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #31 on: November 18, 2022, 09:00:09 am »
So,

Being that the internet is a multi-national platform that spans the globe, and Elliquiy is a website doing just the same, it means we have peebos from all over who  come here to read, write and generally try and have a good time. I'm playing Mr. Obvious here because there has been more than one instance when I watch a conversation go something like this:

"Well, you know that is how it is here."

"Uhm, no, I don't, what do you mean?"

"It's how 'x' is done, you know."

"Friend, I live in 'y'."

"Oh yeah. my bad."


I bring this up because where I live we have more than four seasons and our mother nature has been diagnosed with a bad case of dissociative identity disorder. We have Winter ( November - February,) Spring Monsoon Season (March and April,) Spring (May-June,) Summer (July-August,) Fall monsoon season (September,) Fall (October.)  And there is som over lap here and there, but, for example, the beginning of October was pretty damned cold and then the end of October and into November it warmed up. Like 70 (21 for the rest of the world.) degrees for 2 weeks after running in the mid to low 50's (10c.)

Why is all of this relevant? Well, last week it went from 70 to 30 (21/-1) in one night and has stayed there ever since. Because of this I have been in comfort food mode and my waist hates me. Well, that's not true, the waist is from beer drinking and playing Back 4 Blood and Left 4 Dead on a nightly basis.

Side Note, yesterday was Left 4 Dead's (both 1 and 2) birthday. A game released in 2008 is still fuckawesome to play with friends. There is a bit of a story behind that but it will show up somewhere else; beck to the food.

So, there has been grilled cheese sammiches with Campbell's Chicken and Star Soup. ( Hack for doing a different Grilled cheese. A lot of people say Mayo on the outside of the bread to get it super crisp. That works but if you want to change the profile up do not fry the bread in butter. Do it in bacon grease. Fry the outside of the bread and then flip it over and toast the other side before adding cheese) and I am about to start beef stew that will cook all day after I post here. Also making homemade bread, Boulles, to carve out and use as sup bowls.

There has been a lot of other comfort foods but last night I did a spin on Italian comfort by making Sausage and Gnocchi in a tomato sauce. And I realized that sometimes I am going to use words that some people may know, others may not and still others may not and are to lazy to use the internet to look them up. So, education time as I reward those with lazy behavior and fulfill the reason I got a degree to teach that I am never going to use:

Gnocchi - Little Italian dumplings made from wheat, egg, salt and potatoes ( What is not love about that.) Can be as hard as a rock so cook before eating. These are not like the dumplings that I make with my chicken soups. These are rounded ovoid shaped lumps of Italian goodness.

Soffrtto - (Sofrito) is basically what is going add to aroma and flavor of a dish. This is a mixture of veggies that have been diced down to just above a mince and then sautéed ( cooked) in oil. In this case mine is an Italian ( imagine that) more than a Spanish mix but the Soffritto is used through Mediterranean cooking. In this case it is Onion, Carrots, Celery and eventually garlic.


That is where I am going with all this, so, enjoy:

Sausage and Gnocchi

1 package of Italian Sausage ( i used Primo which runs about 16 oz)
1 Package of Gnocchi ( can make your own if you wish
2 Carrots ( peeled and chopped)
1 Large Yellow or White Onion ( Chopped )
2 Celery stalks ( chopped down and trimmed but keep the leaves)
2-3 Cloves of Garlic
1 can Diced tomatoes ( you can use 4 Roma tomatoes diced here if you want)
3 oz. Olive Oil
4 oz Sour Cream
1 small can of Tomato Paste
4 oz heavy whipping cream
2 Tablespoons Oregano
2 Tablespoons Parsley
Lemon Juice
Salt and pepper to taste.


Instructions are fairly straight forward

get oil in a large Pan on medium high. I used a Tramontina Braizer which is about 4 quarts and that is not a product drop, its so you can go look them up and see what one look like.

Add in your Sausage and start to cook. You are going to rotate these to get a little bit of a sear on all sides but you are not fulling cooking them through. These things are super fat sausages so there is actually three steps to cooking them. Get a bit of a sear on all sides and then pull them out and set them aside on a plate or something.

Add the Soffritto ( HACK: if you do not have the knife skills or the time to cut up your veggies then you can usually find a bag of pre-diced starters in the freezer section of a local supermarket. These starters are usually celery, onion and diced peppers and they work in a pinch. It wont hurt to have a few of these in the freezer because they come in so handy and onion cost about $1.68 American. This and frozen spinach are time and money savers)

While the soffritto starts to cook take your sausages and, with a sharp ass knife, you will make a lateral cut along the spine of the sausage. Your are going "butterfly" them so that you expose all the inside of the sausage, you are NOT cutting them in half to make two mini sausages. Once cut, back into the pan with the soffritto so that the insides can cook. Do this with all the sausages.

After about 2 minutes you pull the sausages out and you add the garlic in. on a clean cutting board (as the last one would have been exposed to raw pork) you just slice the sausages down to pieces about a quarter inch thick, ( think 4-6 mm) and then toss them back into the mix.

From here it goes both quick and slow. Add the diced tomatoes and give it a stir. Add in tomato paste and repeat with stirring. Then in with the sour cream and heavy whipping cream before turn the heat down to a medium low. Stir up and then add the Gnocchi. get it just above a simmer and add in the Oregano and parsely. Stir one last time before putting the lid on the braizer.

Cook for 5 minutes, open, stir and check the tenderness of the Gnocchi. Once they become soft you are done. Splash a bit of lemon juice and add salt and pepper to taste.

You can go start to finish in about 30 minutes and this will give you 4 dinner portions with left overs for the next day. To serve I would suggest shredded Parm or Asiago cheese over top but a good mozzarella will work as well.

Red wine would go with this if you need a glass of vino.

More Soon

Cheers,

E.

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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #32 on: November 28, 2022, 12:22:32 pm »
Hey all, So, its the time of year that, here in the States, is a time of increased cooking. Starting in Novembers and then plowing on through the New Year your have three of the most food heavy holidays you could have. Thanksgiving and Christmas followed by New years; as a side note, last year for New years I cooked over nine pounds of meat for the celebration and it got wiped out, So yeah, its eating time. There is a lot of cooking going on as well as everything else in the world and I will be getting some recipes up here soon. I still owe a Paella recipe and I can add a few other things but what I'm going to post today will seem kind of simple but it has merit. See, one of the side dishes I was supposed to make for Thanksgiving here was Corn Pudding. Simple Enough, Eggs, corn, creamed corn, flour, sugar butter... its pretty straight forward and usually a big hit. Funny story though, I wasn't able to find any creamed corn in the week leading up to the Holiday. So, I made my own creamed corn and now I will let you all know that, well, it worked.

Creamed Corn

2 Tablespoons of Butter
2-3 Tablespoons of Flour
3 14 oz Cans of Corn ( yellow ) ( 45oz )
1/4cup sugar
2 cups half and half ( or 1 of milk and 1 of heavy cream)
Salt and pepper to taste

Optional ( Cayenne pepper a/o Nutmeg)

Melt the butter on medium and then add in flour, salt and pepper and make a roux.
Slowly add in the Half and half and raise temp to medium high
Open canned corn, drain and add to the mix. Bring to a boil and then down to a simmer to cook.
NOTE : STIR OFTEN OR YOU WILL BURN THIS STUFF
As it cooks the mix should thicken. If you need it to thicken more make a slurry of water and additional flour or courn starch and add a little at a time.

Cook time should be 15-20 minutes. Finish with additional salt and pepper ( garlic is also optional.) If you want to add either cayenne or nutmeg now is your chance.

Now, let cool and use in other dishes. one of of which I will tell you about next time.


AN Aside: hey, so there is a companion thread : here. Tell me about your regional holidays from here in the States and abroad. Tell me about some of the traditions and meals that are associated with the holiday and who knows, I may try to cook one and report back to everyone. Make this a bit more interactive. ( That and I like trying new things.)

The experiment this week is going to be a bit Bougie. I am cooking for my partner's hunt club ( horse peebos be crazy) and I am doing a soup bar. Doing a beef stew, A vegetarian lentil soup and a loaded baked potato soup that starts with 2 pounds of bacon. That isn't the bougie part, the bougie elements are the deviled eggs with candied bacon, the mini Cordon Blue bites with parma ham and Fried Risotto with Caviar in the center and creme friache as a dip. will report on my success of failure.

Cheers.

E.

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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #33 on: December 07, 2022, 10:27:53 am »
Hey everyone,

So, for those of you who have been reading this; first, thank you. Much apprecitate. ( Apprecitate is how horses say appreciate. More on that later.) speaking of horses, remember my partner's crazy horse friends who chase foxes and drink like pirates. I got to cook for them again and, again, made something that was the star of the show. It was a rainy, windy chilly day and I had decided to do a soup bar for everyone. The menu was the right fit and we had a beef and veggie stew along with a vegetarian lentil soup. I diced up all sorts of cheese and had a variety of breads for everyone. There were deviled eggs and charcutier meats. So, the meal fit the day but what stood out is I made Risotto the night before with Prosciutto and Parmesan. I put this on sheet trays and cooled it overnight and then rolled this mix into balls, lightly floured them and coated them with an egg wash before rolling them in breadcrumbs. They fried up in about 2 minutes into a beautiful golden brown piece of awesome.

So, here we go:

Deep friend Risotto with Prosciutto and Parmesan.

First the Risotto:

2Tablespoons of Butter
2 Table spoons of Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
1 1/2 cup of Arborio Rice
5 cups Chicken Broth/stock
1/2 Cup White Wine
1/2 ( about 1-11/2 inch rind) Parmesan Cheese rind
3 slices of Prosciutto
Salt and pepper to Taste

The key here is to not rush, medium heat and longer time will make a better product:

Place chicken stock in a pot and warm up, do not bring to boil but it needs to simmer. this is important.
.
Butter and Oil into a pan, melt and add garlic and Cheese rind. Shred parm cheese with a grater and set aside. Roast garlic for 2 minutes or until aromatic. before it starts to brown add in rice and mix well.
Add white wine, stir and reduce, this can take between 2-5 minutes. While this is reducing shred Prosciutto.
Add prosciutto and stir well then add 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups of warm chicken stock. ( The reason you warmed the chicken stock is so that the drop in temp from cold stock would not slow the cooking process.
For the next 15-20 minutes you will continue to add chicken stock as needed. This takes some patience. Stir regularly, add stock, stir and wait. keep at medium temperature. Do not try and rush by raising the heat.
You will use up all the stock and by the end your rice will have doubled in size and will have released a lot of starch which will almost look like a sauce. Mix in the shredded parm cheese and cook for another minute before pulling off the heat. The risotto will almost be creamy and tender to the touch.

If you do not get super hungry and eat this now line a sheet tray with parchement paper and spread the risotto out in a fairly even layer and then let cool over night.

Part II: Deep Fried Risotto

Flour ( as needed )
Six eggs , scrambled
1/2 container- 3/4 of bread crumbs ( I used Italian nor panko style crumbs)

Take cooled Risotto and shape into golf ball sized portions. You can make smaller, or larger, but that will affect fry time. Leave on sheet tray and you roll all of the risotto up.
Lightly flour the risotto balls on the tray and the spread extra flour on the try before you take each golf ball portion and cover with flour. Just roll them over the flour, you don't need a heavy coating.
In a fresh bowl scramble six eggs, In another bowl pour in breadcrumbs. I used deeper bowls for this to keep a mess to a minimum.

Ok, now, I am not ambidextrous, so this will kinda suck, but you use your left hand to move the risotto from the tray to the egg wash and gently roll. then pull the risotto up, shake off the excess egg and drop it, still with the left hand, into the bread crumbs. Use the right hand to scoop breadcrumbs up and over the ball before rolling it around to cover completely. this is not a thick coat, just a complete one.

Why do this? because if you don't both your hands will be coated in egg and breadcrumbs and you will be tempted to deep fry your fingers.

DO NOT DO THIS!

Set the breaded risotto to the side and repeat with remaining orders. I got 16 or 20, I forget which, out of this recipe.

Part III: to fry

Oil at 350. Use a handled strainer to set risotto into the oil. They will be golden brown in just a few minutes, watch them and then pull from oil. Set atop paper towel to drain excess oil. 

I made an sauce to go with them but they were awesome as is. the Parm and Prosciutto were perfect and the creaminess of the risotto was a lovely play against the crush of the breading.

Hope you enjoy,

Cheers,

E.


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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #34 on: December 22, 2022, 10:41:48 am »
It'll get you drunk.

I may have said those words before, on more than one occasion. But, should you know me, or if you are going to know one thing about me; I am a speaker of truth. Yes, if I do say, "it'll get you drunk," I am not lying. How you get drunk, what type of drunk you are, and the inevitable tax you must pay for getting drunk; that's all on you my friends.

This said, here is a quick and easy Spiked Apple Cider that is great on crisp fall mornings:


E's Spiked Apple Cider

1/2 Gallon (1.9L) of Apple Cider
4 12 oz bottles of hard draft cider of choice (I used Angry Orchard)
4-6 Apples ( of Choice)
4 Cinnamon sticks
a couple dashes of Nutmeg
12-16(+) Ounces of Bourbon

Whipped cream

To Make:

Put large pot on stove, fire it up to medium heat and add in all the liquid parts of the recipe. I know you are thinking to yourself, "E, Beer in the US comes in 6 packs, why did you only use four beers?" 

The Answer to that is not a mystery; I drank the other two while I was cooking.

Another thing you might be wondering is the little "+" sign beside the bourbon numbers. You can ratchet the amount fo bourbon up if you want, just make it taste good.

Ok, all liquids in, drop in the cinnamon and dash the nutmeg. give it a stir and then what you are going to do with the apples, and what apples you use, is dealers choice. Yes, they are going into the liquid, but how they go in is up to you. I did thick slices so they could simmer slowly. You can dice them up, you can slice you can make them as thin or thick as you want. You can ladle them into the cups with your drink or leave them be. Also, what type of apple you use, that is up to you and what you want from the apple. Crisp, sweet, tart; its up to your choice so live it up.

So, back to cooking. You do not want this to boil but you want to get hot before reducing the temp down to a simmer. If you are not worried about the apples adding to the flavor you can serve this right away or you can let it slow build for a bit to enhance the flavor. your call.

When you are ready, get this into a cup and spray a layer of whipped cream on top. If you need to garnish you can add an orange wheel, apple slice and maybe even dust a little more nutmeg or cinnamon on the whipped cream ( dont be extra on the nutmeg.)

This will, indeed, get you drunk.

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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #35 on: December 22, 2022, 11:12:00 am »
Comfort Food

Doesn't that just sound nice, and doesn't it invoke memories of something that you really enjoy? Whether it is a grilled cheese sammich with chicken noodle soup, and I am talking the Campbell's Industrial condensed, no water added, shelf life of Uranium basic ass red and white labeled soup here; or it is something else from your childhood the truth remains the same. Comfort food has its name for a reason.

So, while I am not Russian, or of any Eastern European nation in ancestry, I do love me warm noodles and meat in a savory sauce so when I tell you that Beef Stroganoff is comfort food I am not lying.

Traditionally, Beef Stroganoff is Russian dish consisting of beef in a sauce that is flavors with mustard and sour cream. Note, the dish, in its truest form exists without pasta, rice, or any other carb. A Stroganoff, or Stroganov, is the meat and the sauce, not the medium it rests on. Also, many versions include mushrooms and there are variants that use potatoes and so on. Finally, a traditional dish uses cubed pieces of beef where as version can use ground chuck (hamburger/minced beef) or strips of beef. What I am about to get you is one of my takes on this dish.

Flank Steak
Butter
Olive oil
Onion
Garlic
Mushroom
Beef Stock
Cream
Sour Cream
Flour
Salt, pepper, Parsley
Egg Noodles ( medium or wide)

Use a large pan, I use my trusty Brazier I've talked about before, and get some butter melting on low. Trim excess fat or silver off of flank steak. Murderate ( stab repeatedly with a fork) one side and then flip the piece and do it again. Work out some daily frustration here before you cube the meat down into 1/4 in, 5 mm, cubes. Place the cubes into a ziploc bag (or into a mixing bowl) before you cover with flour. You are looking at dusting the meat here, don't over do it, but if you do, you will be fine. 

Once meat is in the bag turn heat up on the butter to medium high and then Shake/Mix/ coat the meat with the flour. Once coated the meat goes into the pan. Start a second pot with a cup or so of beef broth on medium and get it warm.

Dice up your onion, mince garlic and slice mushrooms here OR... and I say this without shame, Cheat the fuck out of prep and use 1/2 a bag of pre-chopped frozen onions, a full bag of sliced frozen mushrooms and 2 generous teaspoons of garlic.  Do not add these yet.

You are browning the beef, not cooking it all the way through. set a mixing bowl aside and place a colander or a strainer basket over the bowl. Using a slotted spoon, transfer beef to the colander int he bowl. let drain and whatever is draining goes back in the brazier. While the meat drains throw in another tab or two of butter and give a generous pass or two with oil. Then, in goes the onions. Cook for about 2 minutes and add mushrooms. cook for another 4 and add garlic and then go 2 more minutes on medium high. In-between adding and stirring veggies, start a pot with water and salt for the pasta. get it up to boil so hit it with high heat,

Same slotted spoon as before, strain all the onion/mushroom/garlic mix out of the brazier ( or your pan of choice ) and into the basket with the meat. let drain for just a minute and then pour all liquid back into the pan. Add flour and make a roux. its going to be a couple of tablespoon but I would stop short of a 1/4 cup. Stir and let thicken before adding beef broth a little at a time. You want the consistency to look just shy of thin past and it should have a grey/brownish color. That doesn't sound appetizing but it is a ruse. Start adding your cream and stir while still on medium heat. you want the cream and the roux to combine and smooth out. Here you start adding pepper and salt to get the base taste you want. Add the sour cream in and work the mix to the consistency you want.

Add the meat and veggie mixture back in and turn the heat up just long enough to make it bubble before turning the mixture down. Add in parsley and then lower temp to simmer. Cover and let cook for about 10 minutes. Occasionally remove lid and stir, keep the heat low so there is no burning.

pasta goes in the water and cooks for 6-7 minutes. you will drain the pasta using the same strainer/colander as before before adding it to the Stroganoff. Here you mix everything together, stir and taste. Add salt, pepper or parsley as needed. if you think it is to thick add either cream, sour cream or any remaining beef broth, a little at a time, to get the consistency you want. if you feel it is too thin, let cook longer and the starch from the pasta will help thicken the sauce.

Serve with parm cheese or nothing at all but let me tell you, toasty cheesy garlic bread goes hand in hand with this dish.

Thats all for now

Cheers,

E.


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Re: Tales from the Wandering Cook
« Reply #36 on: December 31, 2022, 06:03:42 am »
And tonight is New Years eve and for some of you on E it is already the New Year. For everyone out there who reads this: have a safe and happy New Years eve full of food, alcohol or whatever debauchery you so desire. ( This totally includes just eating popcorn and watching Netflix all night if that is what floats your boat.) My partner and I joined two other couple in a BnB a state away from home and we are going to quietly ring in the New Year away from the world and "quietly" together. For those who know of some of my other pursuits than food, well, you know that quiet is relative; but I digress.

Lets start with dinner last night. I decided I wanted to go all in and be both Bougie and Extra, and I am going to tell you the up's and downs on this, so here was the menu:

Spring mix salad with :
Feta, Walnuts, Sun Dried Tomatoes and a homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette
Stuffed Mushroom Caps:
Brie mixed with Mushroom pieces, Cayenne, cream, Beef Stock and then smoothed in Havarti
Deep Fried Risotto:
with Prosciutto and Parmesan
Beef Wellington:
With a Red Wine Ruby Port sauce
Scalloped Potatoes with Cheese
Chocolate Lava Cakes:
With Cream Anglaise

Now, do you feel slightly dirty after reading that? Can you feel the weight gain just thinking about that list? I hope so because I did when I came up with the meal. I will admit to two things here: 1) I did not make the Lava Cakes or the Potatoes tonight, they were store bought. 2) I did not make bread and we got a bag of The Cheesecake Factory rolls that I adore. Everything else, yep, that was me.

So, lets talk about the world conspiring against you shall we? I have done a Wellington before. The last time I did was Christmas about 4 or 5 years ago, and while it was not perfect, it was ok. So this time, yeah, I wanted to be perfect. Doing a Wellington, if you take your time, is not so much hard as it is exacting. For those who have watched "hell's Kitchen" you know that Gordon Ramsey loves to chew on people's asses for screwing this up. The reason it is so difficult for them is that they are working in a Kitchen environment which does not give you time to breathe. I was able to start my Wellington on Thursday and then finish it on Friday when we had dinner. So far, no problem right? Here is where fate decided to kick me in the balls. I have stated before I am not a baker, I like to cook, so I had absolutely no intention of making my own Puff Pastry. I've watched enough British Baking to go "F that."

There is absolutely no Puff Pastry to be found in 120 Miles of road, None in my home town, none on the way here. We stopped at 5 different places, different chains, and everyone was out. Did everyone else decided to do Wellingtons? As Ramsey would say, 'Aww fuck me." But, I wasn't giving up. I bought Philo dough and soldiered on. The result was not the same but I still pulled off and amazing cook on it. The Duxelles, the Prosciutto and the actual tenderloin were cooked to perfection. So, while it didn't come of perfectly it did not fail.

Other than this hiccup I was pretty happy with the meal because I pulled off the courses, while getting to eat myself with my friends, and everything came out perfectly times. We started with the salad and then went to appetizers. The mushrooms and the Risotto were on point and I have left over Risotto for tonight's shenanigans. The Wellington was perfectly medium Rare and I did have to cook two pieces up to medium (Saute pan) for my partner and one other friend. The potatoes did not explode in the microwave or the oven and the lava cakes were rich AF but the Cream Anglaise was even better. (My girlfriend would sit in a chair with a bowl of Anglaise and a straw if I let her.)

All this said, here is what I am sharing from the meal:

Red Wine and Port Sauce for Beef
Now, I am someone who likes their savory and Sweet separate ( heh, Alliteration) but I know a lot of people like to mix the two. This a sauce that really compliments beef, and not just a Wellington, and it pretty easy to pull off.

Part 1
2 Cups Red Wine ( I used Apothic Inferno for this batch)
1 Cup Ruby Port
1/3 Cup Sugar
1 Cup beef Stock or Broth
1/4 Cup Shallots or Chives
1/4 Mushrooms ( sliced)

Part 2
2 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon of Corn Starch
2 Tablespoons of Butter

Simply add all of part 1 into a pot and get it up to a boil. let it boil and reduce for about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally and keep an eye on it, do not let it boil over so use a good sized pot for this. it ought to reduce down to about a third of its original volume as it cooks.

What I do here , once it has reduced, it strain it through mess to remove the pieces of mushroom/chives/shallots and get a smooth liquid.

After it reduces and you strain out the pieces get it back on low heat. Make a slurry with the water and corn starch, Drop in the butter and melt the pieces then slowly add the corn starch slurry, a little at a time, until you get the consistency you are looking for.

This goes with beef in general whether you are doing flank or filets. It is rich, savory and sweet all at the same time. it looks impressive but it is simple to make. You make it in advance but if you reheat this I would do so in a double boiler ( a pan with sauce atop another pan with water that is over a heat source) I would not reheat using direct heat because you can burn this.

Next post will be the Cream Anglaise and that stuff will make any sweets aficionado happy. 

Happy new years everyone.

Cheers,

E.