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Author Topic: Tales from the Wandering Cook  (Read 2159 times)

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Offline echoesTopic starter

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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.

Offline RedRose

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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.

Offline echoesTopic starter

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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.

Offline echoesTopic starter

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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.

Offline echoesTopic starter

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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.




Offline echoesTopic starter

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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.



Offline echoesTopic starter

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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.

Offline echoesTopic starter

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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.