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Jenise

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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:45 pm

Rahsaan wrote:
Jenise wrote:...a starter of Mexican salad because Dave hates avocado but loves Mexican food and will most likely be deceived by this name--for anyone else it would be Guacamole dressing)...


So let me get this straight. He he hates avocado - in theory - but enjoys eating it (without really knowing what it is) in Mexican food?


Sort of! He loves Mexican food, and there's a long list of specific foods (primarily fruit and vegetables) he won't voluntarily eat. But if they're blended into something that tastes wonderful--this salad will have a lot of garlic and oregano--then he'll eat it. We just don't tell him what he's eating.
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 » Sun Mar 11, 2018 5:00 pm

Thank you, Barb. I'd also be very happy to come spend a few dollars for sizzled sausages!
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Rahsaan » Sun Mar 11, 2018 5:35 pm

Jenise wrote: Sort of! He loves Mexican food, and there's a long list of specific foods (primarily fruit and vegetables) he won't voluntarily eat. But if they're blended into something that tastes wonderful--this salad will have a lot of garlic and oregano--then he'll eat it. We just don't tell him what he's eating.


Sounds like my son!

But he's usually vigilant enough to identify the (avocado) components.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:01 pm

Rahsaan wrote:
Jenise wrote: Sort of! He loves Mexican food, and there's a long list of specific foods (primarily fruit and vegetables) he won't voluntarily eat. But if they're blended into something that tastes wonderful--this salad will have a lot of garlic and oregano--then he'll eat it. We just don't tell him what he's eating.


Sounds like my son!

But he's usually vigilant enough to identify the (avocado) components.


In this case, it's smashed into the bottom of the salad bowl and seasoned with Lawry's garlic salt (call me a nutjob, but I love the taste for a few things, and this is one) and Mex oregano then thinned to a small extent with white vinegar and olive oil. No chunks. He wouldn't order it from a menu with the A word in the title but I'm pretty sure he won't detect it. Especially since his dislike of most of the vegetables he won't eat is texture. At home, neither really cooks and they only eat bottled dressings, so my food is always mysterious but they trust me enough to not trick them too much.

As I kid I loved every vegetable except onion. I could find it even in the most minute amounts.
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 Jenise » Wed Mar 14, 2018 3:17 pm

So my friends loved the Mexican salad and never asked what was in it.

Tonight for dinner I'm making bangers and mash, wherein the bangers are brats from Uli's in Seattle, the mash will include horseradish, and the onion sauce will be chopped onions and parsley in a seasoned/tamed vinegar.
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 » Wed Mar 14, 2018 11:45 pm

And I am in the minutiae of technique for my pan-roasted sesame-crusted wild salmon.

One of the delights of this prep is crisping up the salmon skin. The fish, of course, starts in the pan presentation side down, so I have a chance to heavily salt the skin as it is facing up. The final step of the cook puts the skin side down onto the hot pan (and, typically, into a 1/4" of hot salmon fat that has 'bled' out from under the skin earlier). After 3.5 minutes, it comes out the pan. The skin is crispy-salty, reminiscent of cooked bacon.

A typical piece of salmon cut from the middle of the slab is always thicker on one end; I believe that is the upper part of the fish. The skin behind this piece is dark while the thinner section has light silver or even white skin. When I cut up the 1# chunk I buy at the store, I do it by eye so as to give each piece the same mass; hence, the light-skinned piece is a little bigger than the dark-skinned piece because it is a little thinner. Pumpkin gets the thinner piece because it will be cooked-through more completely than the chunkier piece.

I have noticed that the two pieces of skin do not cook the same. Pumpkin's piece typically comes out as a perfect, crispy, browned sheet while mine is often crumpled, folded over, and of inconsistent chew. I have recently started to ask why this should be so.

Hypotheses:
1. The composition of meat and fat are slightly different between the top of the fish and the bottom of the fish hence they react differently in the pan.
2. Heat is conducted slightly differently between the left and right sides of the pan. Every pan has hot spots, even the flame jetting from the hob has hot spots, and I always cook the thinner piece on the left.
3. The larger area of the thinner piece has a better chance to hold the skin taut while it cooks, while the smaller (but taller) piece does not grip the skin well enough while it responds to the heat.

Re the first hypothesis, I have asked my fishmonger. But I was talking to the son, not the father; he says he will relay the question.

Re the second hypothesis, I switched where I cook the pieces tonight, putting the thinner piece on the right this time. While one data point isn't everything, I note that the skin on the chunky piece came out perfectly while the skin on the thinner piece was OK but showed some warpage. (Clearly, this experiment deserves to be re-tried.)

Re the third hypothesis, well, I can't think of any way around it so I'd just have to live with it. As I have been.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Barb Downunder » Thu Mar 15, 2018 6:00 am

Jeff, good luck with your research project, you need to resolve this so you don’t keep stealing pumpkins crispy skin. Lol

Tonight I came over all American. Waldorfs are in season so that was the salad, and then was chicken fried steak with onions and brown gravy.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:04 pm

Jeff, so when you cut the one piece into two, you cut down the bone line vs. across it, right? Let me throw another wrench in the works: the thinner piece is the belly, which has a lot more fat/marbling than the thicker/top side. Although I find your experiment re switching the sides of the pan you cook on compelling, fat content on the thin piece and density on the thick piece could explain most of the difference. (p.s, we don't like the skin so I don't have experience cooking it. However, I like the thin side best because I love the tenderness and flavor of that fat.)
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:17 pm

Speaking of experiments, I've got three pots of beans on the stove: in quart size, 8, 16 and 20. Same recipe, just divided among three pans to make enough beans. I'm serving 1.5 c servings to 65 people.

The bean soup is my own concoction, and my favorite bean soup in the world. I have no recipe. I just make it in the pot and season until it tastes 'right', but the initial ingredients are navy beans, about a cup each tomato sauce and dry white vermouth, then a quart or two of each chicken broth and water plus slivered bacon, herbs d'Provence, bay leaves and small-diced onion. I did a test batch and recorded each item, for once, which conveniently made 12 cups. I put that into a spreadsheeet and multiplied the quantities by 8 to scale up the recipe and create a shopping list and estimate for the budget. I have $1500 to spend on this, including two flights of four wines, a Kir Royale welcome cocktail, and cheese.

Here's the experimental part: navy beans, whose small delicate size I prefer, also break down easily if overcooked. Since I have to make this today and reheat tomorrow, and since I used a previously unfamiliar-to-me rose colored bean I purchased from a Rancho Gordo competitor and was impressed by how the bean held up in repeated recooks, when offered the opportunity I switched to Great Northern from Navy. They're a little larger, but the fact that they're a recommended substitue for Cassoulet if you can't get the turbaise or whatever they're called, I went with it. All 14 pounds.

Cross your fingers.
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 Mar 15, 2018 11:56 pm

Jenise wrote:Jeff, so when you cut the one piece into two, you cut down the bone line vs. across it, right?

Basically, yes.

Let me throw another wrench in the works: the thinner piece is the belly, which has a lot more fat/marbling than the thicker/top side. Although I find your experiment re switching the sides of the pan you cook on compelling, fat content on the thin piece and density on the thick piece could explain most of the difference.

OK. This gives some substantive detail to hypothesis #1.

(p.s, we don't like the skin so I don't have experience cooking it. However, I like the thin side best because I love the tenderness and flavor of that fat.)

I would not have made a fuss over the skin, either, except for some good experiences with salmon skin salad at Japanese restaurants.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Fri Mar 16, 2018 4:58 pm

Soup results: Great Northern Beans rock!
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 Mar 17, 2018 1:20 am

Jenise wrote:Soup results: Great Northern Beans rock!

Yes, they do. In fact, I don't know that I've ever had tarbais in a cassoulet.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Sat Mar 17, 2018 8:07 pm

Jeff, I bought one of those kits from D'Artagnans one year that included the tarbais beans. It had been something of a quest to make a cassoulet like that with the authentic bean. My reaction? Would never seek out tarbais again. They're really large beans. For someone like me who finds size a texture/refinement issue and prefers smaller, like navy bean size, I wouldn't want anything larger than a Great Northern and I don't care what they do in France. Harrumph.
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Clams

by Rahsaan » Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:43 pm

Not a complicated dish, but man was it good!

My wife doesn't like clams, so I rarely buy them. But these were so good I may try to convert her.

I simply cooked the local NC clams in riesling, chopped fresh ginger, chopped fresh tumeric and chives. After the clams were finished, I put in some butter to reduce the sauce, poured it over the clams and the result was awesome. The special quality of the clam saltiness helped kick everything up a notch, with the fragrance and intensity of the tumeric. Perfect with more riesling!
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Sun Mar 18, 2018 4:21 pm

Rahsaan, that sounds heavenly. Ginger's so great with clams and mussels, and the chopped turmeric and chives would have put it over the top. Due to my husband's allergy I rarely make such things, but should consider it when we have company.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Paul Winalski » Sun Mar 18, 2018 4:44 pm

For last night's New Hampshire Astronomical Society Messier Marathon pot luck get-together I made Chinese 5-spice chicken wings. Traditionally these are deep-fried, but I usually grill them instead.

Tonight's dinner will be bisi bele bath.

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

by Jenise » Sun Mar 18, 2018 5:31 pm

What is bisi bele bath, Paul?
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jeff Grossman » Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:27 pm

The Pumpkins At Home cooking last night: leg of lamb roast (with lots of garlic, rosemary, and thyme), mashed Yukon Golds (with lots of butter but not too much else), and sauteed broccoli rabe. And pears poached in amarone with cinnamon, cardamom, and clove.

I'm having cold rare roast lamb while writing this. Yum.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:33 pm

That's quite a meal, including desert! But hey Sunday nights are great for that.
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 Mar 19, 2018 10:28 pm

Thanks. Indeed, Sunday afternoon gives time to work on something that takes a bit more time and, happily, generates quick-to-serve dinners for the busy weeknights.

Next up: leftover jambalaya being repurposed into filling for puff pastry turnovers. Pizza pockets, sorta. Gotta find an interesting vegetable or salad to go with.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Paul Winalski » Tue Mar 20, 2018 4:09 pm

Bisi bele bath is a rice, dal, and vegetable dish from Karnataka in southwest India. The name is in the Kannada language and translates "hot lentil rice". The main ingredients are non-basmati long grain rice (I used jasmine rice), toovar dal (hulled, split pigeon peas), and various vegetables. It's seasoned with tamarind and a rather complicated masala (dried spice mixture) containing coriander, dried chiles, curry leaves, asafoetida, dried coconut, and a bunch of other spices. It ends up being rather moist and soft, kind of like a risotto.

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

by Paul Winalski » Tue Mar 20, 2018 4:11 pm

Upcoming dinners are going to be Thai massaman chicken curry and Chinese stir-fried beef with pea pods.

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

by Jenise » Wed Mar 21, 2018 2:03 pm

Sounds great, Paul. A perfect vegan dish--I need to cook vegan for certain friends, and sounds like something to look into especially as the dal would provide protein.

Speaking of vegan, this friend had us over for a remarkable vegan dinner a few weeks ago. Her husband wanted to serve Burgundian wines and she discovered that some Burgundy chef had flown over to cook a vegan menu in Lexington, Kentucky, of all places. She called them and they sent her the entire menu and all their recipes. She served "lox" on toast, wherein the lox was carrot slices that went through a series of marinades, including liquid smoke, grilled asparagus with a white dipping sauce made from ground cashews, a very credible "beef burgundy" made from seitan, and for dessert, a chocolate mousse made from canned garbanzo juice. I forget the name for that, I've read about it but never expected it to work THAT well. It was astrounding.

Dinner for us last night was lobster scampi cooked by flashlight during a power outage. If the lobster hadn't already been thawed out (and expensive), we wouldn't have stayed home for dinner, I can promise you that.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Fri Mar 23, 2018 3:36 pm

It's National Tamale Day so guess what we're having for dinner?
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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