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Jenise

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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Thu May 09, 2019 9:11 pm

Going to a friend's tonight for dinner, and then will spend all day in the kitchen tomorrow cooking the memorial repast for a fallen Norwegian friend. I'm making swedish meatballs, nutmeg-dill-mushroom cream gravy, red potatoes with butter and parsley, two roasted whole filets of salmon, pickled herring, gravlax/pasta/arugula salad, pea-shrimp salad, and green salad with watermelon radishes and toasted breadcrumbs. For 150!!!! (On Saturday.)
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jeff Grossman » Thu May 09, 2019 11:31 pm

You're making Swedish meatballs in honor of a Norwegian for 150+ Finns who own Great Danes?

My eyes must be deceiving me....
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Barb Downunder » Fri May 10, 2019 4:05 am

[quote="Jeff
Go, Sharks! :D[/quote]

Yay!!
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Fri May 10, 2019 12:34 pm

Jeff Grossman wrote:You're making Swedish meatballs in honor of a Norwegian for 150+ Finns who own Great Danes?

My eyes must be deceiving me....


:) Not my choice. The widow wants it, she gets it. I chose the salads.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Paul Winalski

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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Paul Winalski » Mon May 13, 2019 2:49 pm

Dinner was something I haven't made in a while--Joyce Chen's stir-fried beef with green peppers. This was the second dish I ever learned to cook, back when I was about to live on my own for the first time. Simple, but simply delicious.

-Paul W.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Mon May 13, 2019 4:15 pm

That's a classic. And straight out of my childhood. Beef with Green Peppers was the beef dish. And then along came Beef and Broccoli. Argh!

Speaking of Chinese food I made my first ever Lo Bak Go yesterday--popularly known as turnip cake even though there's no turnip in it, it's daikon radish. My flavors were great, but my bake was too dense. We ate some yesterday and more this morning (it's breakfast food, with a fried egg and drizzled with diluted Lan Chi), but I threw the rest of the cake away and will work on getting the texture right at another time.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jeff Grossman » Mon May 13, 2019 6:22 pm

Paul Winalski wrote:Dinner was something I haven't made in a while--Joyce Chen's stir-fried beef with green peppers. This was the second dish I ever learned to cook, back when I was about to live on my own for the first time.

What was the first?
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Tue May 14, 2019 10:58 am

Tonight: orrechetti with sausage and chicory OR grilled eggplant, tomatoes, garlic and olives stacked with fontina cheese and oven roasted into an oozy mess to scoop onto thick slices of grilled bread. Haven't made up my mind yet.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Paul Winalski » Wed May 15, 2019 3:51 pm

Jeff, the first dish I learned to cook was Joyce Chen's stir-fried pork with bean sprouts. My mother was a big fan of both "The French Chef" and "Joyce Chen Cooks" on public TV. JC did a show on how to grow your own bean sprouts--back in 1976 you couldn't get fresh bean sprouts in supermarkets, and the canned ones are dreadful. The show ended with a simple stir-fried pork and bean sprouts recipe. Growing one's own bean sprouts appealed to me as a Biology major, and I carefully wrote down the instructions. My mother carefully wrote down the recipe. I bought some dried mung beans at a local health food store and a week later I had several quarts of fresh bean sprouts. My mother asked, "And now what are you going to do with them?" I replied, "You're going to make that stir-fried pork and bean sprouts recipe." My mother said, "No, YOU'RE going to make it. You'll be on your own in grad school this fall, and it's high time you learned to cook." So I made the recipe, and it was a great success. I bought Joyce Chen's cookbook and there's been no looking back.

-Paul W.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Wed May 15, 2019 8:35 pm

Chinese food here tonight. Pork ribs with black bean sauce.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jeff Grossman » Thu May 16, 2019 12:03 am

Great story, Paul. Thanks for telling it.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Barb Downunder » Thu May 16, 2019 9:24 am

Indeed, that was a great story Paul, which has perhaps underpinned your lifelong enjoyment of Asian flavours.
On an Asian theme I had an absurd urge and followed it up by taking the Chinese steamed bun recipe I made recently and added squid ink to them.
Quite dramatic. Black buns filled with garlic prawns. Black bun, pink of the prawns, vibrant green just wilted Chooi sum, flecks of red chile.
Wish I could figure how to share pics from my iPad
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jeff Grossman » Thu May 16, 2019 2:49 pm

Barb Downunder wrote:Wish I could figure how to share pics from my iPad

I'm going to guess your iPad does not have internet so you can't email the pix to me. But most iPads can do wi-fi. If you can get it on wi-fi then you should be able to use this forum to upload pix here.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Robin Garr » Thu May 16, 2019 2:53 pm

Jeff Grossman wrote:If you can get it on wi-fi then you should be able to use this forum to upload pix here.

The procedure and the size limits are a little quirky, but we should be able to show Barb how. I'm thinking, though, that the forum upload may not know how to find the Camera Roll in iOS. Will have to think about this.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Barb Downunder » Fri May 17, 2019 7:22 am

Jeff, my iPad frequently chats to the wifi (an Aussie invention btw) so email is not a problem, if you think you could post for me.
Tonight I used some more of the buns with sliced pork chop.
Egad, even making a half quantity there seems to be too much, big learning curve.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Fri May 17, 2019 2:11 pm

The black buns were really inventive, Barb.

Last night I had a notable winemaker and his wife to dinner. We're featuring their wines tonight at my local neighborhood wine tasting, for which I have 106 people signed up (a new record), and they travelled here from Eastern WA just to attend.

For appetizers I served artichoke and ricotta crostinis, and a tuna pate for people to help themselves to. Then a salad of butter lettuce and chives in a mustard dressing topped with grated hard boiled egg. Next, short ribs in a tomato onion sauce on mashed potatoes with enough sweet potato added to make them a beautiful pale orange color (about one sweet per six large russets, doesn't take much), and wok-fried collard greens with toasted garlic. For dessert, a black cherry upside down cake.

I'm not a baker, I only make dessert out of necessity. And this kind of dinner's a neccessity. But cherry wasn't the original plan. What I had decided to make was a cranberry upside down cake that the NYT's Amanda Hesser was served by Chez Panisse's Alice Waters at a Thanksgiving dinner once upon a time, per a book I have. I had not made it before.

This is how bad my dessert reflexes are--fresh cranberries? In May? Don't exist, but I didn't know that until I tried to buy some. The 'Thanksgiving' part of Amanda's tale wasn't a big enough clue. Would have taken a billboard.

So standing in the store, freaking out over my stupidity and with a first-class case of "WTF do I do now???", I considered, then rejected, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, then went shopping in the frozen fruit section where my choices were strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. And then I saw a few bags of frozen, pitted cherries off to one side. Well why not, would be delish with port if they didn't cook into mush, or burn, or taste weird out of the bag.

So at this point the recipe was kind of out the window--what it would take to make tart/bitter cranberries palatable and what the cherries needed were two different things. Inherent sugars vs. added for the carmelization stage, and what about liquidity? I hoped the answer would come to me overnight.

It didn't. So I pondered all this while rooting through my cabinet yesterday morning for a non-stick springform pan I'm sure I own but haven't seen in awhile, me not being much of a baker, and praying it's the 9" size I need.

And all I find is a 10" cheap, thin, aluminum one. Where the hell did that come from, I grumbled, as I put it on the stove for the first step, melting butter and adding sugar (less than the recipe called for) to create the caramel right in the pan. This, btw, is all foreign to me. I've never made an upside down cake in my life.

Then I dumped in the cherries. Fortunately I bought about twice what I expected I'd need and it was instantly clear that I was going to need a lot more than the recipe's 2.5 c of cranberries to adequately cover the bottom of a 10" pan. How much room did they need anyway? Should I crowd them and pave the cake or leave gaps? No frickin' clue. So I went with pave. Then decided a little tart would be good so I squeezed in a whole meyer lemon and then, after tasting the port which I had decanted, thought some Vietnamese cinnamon and a dash of ground cloves would enhance the match.

Did I mention that I'm not a baker? I had dumped about 75% of the cake batter onto the fruit when I realized that I had not prepared the cake pan. Not only was it NOT nonstick, I'd not done one thing to prevent the cake from cementing itself to the sides of the pan. F word! Too late for the fruit layer, all I could do was smear my index finger with butter and run it around the edge best I could. Lather, rinse, repeat for good measure, then hope for the best.

I was on the verge of tears the entire time it was in the oven. I was surely baking a failure, what was my plan B? I called the Patisserie in downtown Bellingham 30 minutes away to reserve a Belgian chocolate torte. I didn't have the hour and a half it would take for the trip, but would have to find a way.

45 minutes later the cake came out of the oven. Ten minutes later I inverted and released it. To my surprise it plopped easily out of the pan and I discovered: a really beautiful upside down cake. The cherries, no longer round as they flat-topped during the bake, but they were so evenly distributed the tableau was like a multitude of perfectly placed maroon-black potholes. And due to the cake layer being rather thin because I really didn't have enough batter for a 10" diameter pan, it gently sloped to the edges the way a wide-angle lens changes contours and was even more attractive than a flat cake would have been. In fact it looked more like a tart than a cake. The only thing that could have improved it was brushing on a shiny finishing glaze of red currant jelly, but I hadn't anticipated that need and had nothing in the pantry to use instead. So I broke off the tiny-leafed tip of a sprig of mint, stuck that in the center, and voila.

Best of all it was just as delicious as one could have hoped, and perfect for the port. No ice cream, no whipped cream, no cloying heavy toppings, just a nice thin slice for each guest.

So, a true phoenix of the dessert kind. A near disaster several times over has become my new idea of an ideal port pairing.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jeff Grossman » Sat May 18, 2019 2:56 pm

Good story, Jenise. I'm glad to see someone else write down the moment-to-moment thinking that goes into a spontaneous dish.

Can you summarize the changes, all in all? I know frozen sweet cherries instead of fresh cranberries.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Sat May 18, 2019 6:27 pm

Jeff, not much to offer. I didn't measure but eyeballed most things as I do since I'm not trying to write a recipe but was merely intent on making the best cake I could. All decisions were pretty much on the fly. Do you have the Amanda Hesser/NYT book?

Used the amount of butter called for in the caramel) but used about two generous soup spoons of white sugar instead of the larger quantity of packed brown called for as I didn't think the cherries needed to get even darker. I dumped the first bag in a measuring cup to see how much it held--close to 3 cups with lots of air pockets, the cherries were still half frozen, and then inserted more from the second bag to create an evenly dispersed layer using close to four cups in all. I ate one to see how juicy they were. Not all that much, but still half frozen, so I squirted all the juice from one small-to-med sized meyer lemon over them. The cinnamon and cloves, which should have gone in with the butter but didn't because it was a last-minute idea, were simply sprinkled over the cherries. Maybe half a tsp of the cinnamon and three shakes of the ground clove jar.

The balance of flavors was great. If I could change one thing, though, it might have been to create even more caramel. The cake wasn't dry per se but a slightly wetter one might be even better.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jeff Grossman » Sun May 19, 2019 1:19 pm

Thanks, Jenise. When I cook like that, and it turns out well, I try to capture it later.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Sun May 19, 2019 3:58 pm

Today, pot of chicken stock on the stove. Also just cooked a pot or orrechiette to turn into a shrimp and pea salad with basil pesto vinaigrette to take to tonight's Beaujolais tasting.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Barb Downunder » Mon May 20, 2019 7:13 am

So I’ve been trying to clear stuff and found a jar of morello cherries
Made some Black Forest muffins for a morning tea
And tonight prepping for a sweet for tomorrow’s visit from dear friend. Chocolate pancakes, cherry filling and whipped cream. Bit of a theme!
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jeff Grossman » Mon May 20, 2019 10:45 am

Barb Downunder wrote:Jeff, my iPad frequently chats to the wifi (an Aussie invention btw) so email is not a problem, if you think you could post for me.
Tonight I used some more of the buns with sliced pork chop.
Egad, even making a half quantity there seems to be too much, big learning curve.

Barb, see my PM.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Rahsaan » Mon May 20, 2019 9:51 pm

Jenise wrote:Last night I had a notable winemaker and his wife to dinner. We're featuring their wines tonight at my local neighborhood wine tasting, for which I have 106 people signed up (a new record), and they travelled here from Eastern WA just to attend.


First timeb I read this story I thought the 10" cherry cake was for 106 people. I was trying to figure out how thin you were slicing the servings!

But, nice story of making things work on the fly.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Tue May 21, 2019 7:39 pm

Lunch today was a nontraditional take on chicken tacos. Shredded the leftovers of a roasted chicken and poured over them the pretty red oil/brine from a jar of Mama Lil's peppers (a PNW specialty) for good spice. Layered inside the grill-crisped corn tortilla with finely diced white onion spritzed with half a lime, romaine chiffonade, and grated black truffle fontina. SO GOOD.

Dinner tonight will be roasted duck leg/thighs that have been curing since yesterday in Chinese Five Spice, star anise, salt and sugar. I'll pan crisp the skin then slip them into the oven to bake for about 45 minutes, and those will be served on stir-fried napa cabbage with sesame oil and mac nuts.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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