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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:50 am

I'm so mad at myself for not taking a picture of the raw pork that became the dinner, as I totally meant to. The pork was purchased in Alberta, Canada, but I didn't get around to cooking them so they've been in my freezer ever since. These boneless loin chops were small, only about 3"--about half the size of the same cut would be in American pork and overall whiter in color--and this is pretty typical of Canadian pork. The animals are either grown small or from breeds that don't get large like American pigs, and the meat is usually somewhat marbled--again, unlike American pork. These particular chops were so marbled they looked like Kobe pork, were there such a thing. And what special butcher did I buy these from? Safeway. In Alberta, this amazing quality is just regular supermarket meat.

And they tasted as good as they looked. I'd kind of forgotten that pork could taste like that.

For this dinner, early in the day I poured a bit of Dolin dry vermouth on them with a sprinkling of salt and olive oil. At dinner time, going for a Mexican thing, I sprinkled them with Gebhardt's chili powder and tossed them on the indoor gas grill and served them with a rich Spanish rice and slices of purple Daikon radish.

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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Mike Filigenzi » Sat Aug 11, 2018 12:18 pm

Very nice looking piece of pork there!
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:42 pm

It was unbelievably good. I do love my indoor grill.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Mike Filigenzi » Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:47 pm

We're going to a friend's place for a barbeque tonight, so I have a pot of barbecued beans going in the oven. I was going to do these in the Instant Pot but after reading up on them it became clear that long slow cooking is essential in getting the sauce to thicken up properly (which makes perfect sense). These go at least six hours on oven and stovetop. First time I've made them but there doesn't seem to be anything tricky to worry about.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:14 pm

Mike, glad you reasoned that out. Like cassoulet, real baked beans are as much about texture and flavor and you're right, it won't happen any other way.

We've dined with friends the last few nights, a relief because I fell on Thursday and injured my shoulder such that my mobility's limited and I need to avoid aggravating it (it's my right side, and I'm right-handed) during the initial healing phase. Today I'll braise some shortribs and make a paparadelle thing.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jeff Grossman » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:56 pm

Fish chowder tonight: potatoes, bacon, cod, shrimp, clams, and extra-special... razor clams, in shell.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:45 pm

Razor clams! Very cool. Saw some from Alaska the other day, though we do have them on the Columbia River. What a treat.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:51 pm

I'm preparing for houseguests. They'll be here five days for crabbing. I'm putting together a list of things I can prepare while they're here depending on the day's schedule. They eat virtually everything and are big into wine, so the slate's pretty open. So far: Flank Steak Vindaloo, David Leite's tomato pie to feature my home grown tomatoes which are just getting into their stride, vichysoisse with crab (I made the soup base already), green crab enchiladas, cheesey crab and artichoke bake with crusty baguette, huevos rancheros wherein the base is a thick chile verde posole (already made) instead of beans, and grilled lamb chops with mustard-fennel slather over crispy potato wedges because we need a night for red wines.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Rahsaan » Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:05 pm

Jenise wrote:They'll be here five days for crabbing...


Nice! Lucky you.

...green crab enchiladas, cheesey crab and artichoke bake with crusty baguette...


I love crab and have tried various dishes over the years, including enchiladas with fresh tortillas from a local Mexican bakery. But, not sure if it's a difference in the crab we get from our part of the Atlantic, because I am never very thrilled with the results. The only dishes that reliably get me are ones with minimal cooking.

Crab cakes of course, and I also make Asian-inspired noodle soups where the steamed/boiled crab goes into the soup bowl cold and just warms as I top it with the broth and noodles. Anything else usually lets me down.

But bravo to you for having more of a repertoire.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:12 pm

Rahsaan wrote:
Jenise wrote:They'll be here five days for crabbing...


Nice! Lucky you.

...green crab enchiladas, cheesey crab and artichoke bake with crusty baguette...


I love crab and have tried various dishes over the years, including enchiladas with fresh tortillas from a local Mexican bakery. But, not sure if it's a difference in the crab we get from our part of the Atlantic, because I am never very thrilled with the results. The only dishes that reliably get me are ones with minimal cooking.

Crab cakes of course, and I also make Asian-inspired noodle soups where the steamed/boiled crab goes into the soup bowl cold and just warms as I top it with the broth and noodles. Anything else usually lets me down.

But bravo to you for having more of a repertoire.


Totally understood--I don't like the recooked crab either. I don't even like it frozen, where most of my neighbors fill their freezers to bursting (and make soupy dips with stringy crab--the natural separation of meat and moisture after freezing--all winter long). If combined well, the 'cook' on the two dishes I described are essentially heated to a melting temperature and pulled. The result is no less wonderful than the crab cake you mention. Did I list a crab ramen? We'll probably do that, and the crab is simply added on top of the hot soup. It doesn't cook, per se.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jeff Grossman » Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:51 pm

I don't grok why people bake crab with cheese (and, occasionally, stuff the mixture into wontons). To me, crabmeat is so delicious and delicate (texture) and mild (flavor) that it's a shame to do a whole lot of Kitchenery to it.

A friend delighted me, a few years ago, by stirring fresh crabmeat with a little creme fraiche and herbes de provence, and spooning it onto puff pasty shells. Crisp, cool, aromatic, oceanic.

One more thing... nowadays when I see vichysoisse, and especially when served with sea food, I can only think of a magnificent bowl of cullen skink that I ate in Pitlochry, Scotland, a few years ago. But that is a stick-to-the-ribs dish for cold weather whereas I bet it's kinda warm in your neck of the woods now, Jenise?
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Tom NJ » Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:49 am

Jeff Grossman wrote:I don't grok why people bake crab with cheese (and, occasionally, stuff the mixture into wontons).


My wife loves those "Crab Rangoon" abominations, the crab and cream cheese stuffed fried wontons which you were no doubt alluding to. But she's from Missouri. 'Nuff said.

Hey Jeff - speaking of abominable stuffed wrappers, ever had a Burgrito? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4SdZnqQEAw
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Rahsaan » Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:10 am

Jeff Grossman wrote:I don't grok why people bake crab with cheese (and, occasionally, stuff the mixture into wontons). To me, crabmeat is so delicious and delicate (texture) and mild (flavor) that it's a shame to do a whole lot of Kitchenery to it.


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

by Rahsaan » Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:11 am

Jenise wrote: Did I list a crab ramen? We'll probably do that, and the crab is simply added on top of the hot soup. It doesn't cook, per se.


Nice. Sounds like you have a solid lineup!
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Tom NJ » Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:52 am

We've had an absolute embarrassment of fresh corn this year, an overflowing bumper crop. A number of farms up here grow the stuff and sell from stalls along the road, and I've flat out wallowed in it.

So when I saw that Serious Eats posted a recipe the other day for "Pressure Cooker Corn Risotto in Four Minutes" (https://www.seriouseats.com/2018/08/pressure-cooker-corn-risotto.html) I thought I'd give it a shot. If you want to try it for yourself, I'll give you my thoughts on their method.

Since I don't have a pressure cooker, only a pressure fryer, I had to adjust the cooking time to 6 minutes. I also didn't add wine to the mix, as 1. I've found I prefer risottos made without wine, almost without exception, and 2. I didn't have any in the house. And my default risotto rice is Goya medium grain, not Arborio or Carnaroli. But other than that, I followed *most* of the instructions verbatim. Here's what I found.

Right up front I'll say it tasted very good. Of course, with the main ingredients being corn, rice, and stock, it would have been remarkable if it HADN'T tasted good, no matter what the instructions. (It also helped that the corn I was using was only picked an hour or so before I started.)

In order to give the dish a brighter hue, they have you add turmeric to the final assembly. What?! Yeah, no thanks. This is the one instruction I ignored. Turmeric is famously bitter. You're making a dish that is all about accentuating the sweetness that is fresh picked summer corn. Muting that sweetness, even one M&M's worth, is ridiculous. Screw aesthetics.

Six minutes in my Chicken Bucket Pressure Fryer was the perfect amount of time to produce al dente grains, but it did leave a layer of scorched rice on the bottom. The advice to cool rapidly so the rising steam would "stir" the mixture was, surprisingly enough (to me), sound.

What the hell kind of asinine way is that to cut kernels off a cob?? Two mixing bowls, one inverted in the other, the cob balanced on end and the kernels shooting out and down, hopefully to land in the outer bowl? THESE ARE SMART PEOPLE, WHAT ARE THEY DOING?! Jeez. Take if from Corn Dog here: snap each ear in half and place each half cut side down, then run your knife down in strips. At that height the kernels fall pretty much straight down in a neat pile around the cob. How do they not know this?? Sheesh....

I like Kenji a lot, so when I saw his tip here that rinsing the raw rice in the stock you're going to cook with will retain starches and make for a very creamy finish, I was all over it. I put the rice in a bowl, poured my stock over it, and gave it some good swishing action with my hand. Then I strained and reserved the stock, sauteed the rice in oil with a chopped onion, and poured the reserved starchy stock in, along with a couple of reserved cobs for extra corniness.

The result? Well first, it's hard as hell to saute damp rice kernels in a nekkid aluminum 1970's pressure fryer. But the biggest takeaway was this: THAT'S TOO MUCH STARCH! Within minutes of plating, "creamy" magically transformed into "gluey", and then "spackle-y". I've never in my life made risotto the traditional way and said at the end, "Gosh, if only this creamy risotto were actually stiff enough to be formed into a mini Corinthian column!" (which I did, just to show my wife, by the way). So yeah, next time I'm trusting generations of Italians and sauteing dry rice, then adding UN-fortified stock.

The corn cobs added to the cooker did seem to enhance things. I always save my cobs in the freezer til I have enough to make a large pot of corn stock anyway, so this was a no-brainer. I suggest following that step.

So there ya go. If you have fresh corn I do recommend this recipe...after a few modifications.

And if you make it, report back and let me know what you thought. I'm all ears :lol:
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:08 pm

Jeff Grossman wrote:I don't grok why people bake crab with cheese (and, occasionally, stuff the mixture into wontons). To me, crabmeat is so delicious and delicate (texture) and mild (flavor) that it's a shame to do a whole lot of Kitchenery to it.

A friend delighted me, a few years ago, by stirring fresh crabmeat with a little creme fraiche and herbes de provence, and spooning it onto puff pasty shells. Crisp, cool, aromatic, oceanic.

One more thing... nowadays when I see vichysoisse, and especially when served with sea food, I can only think of a magnificent bowl of cullen skink that I ate in Pitlochry, Scotland, a few years ago. But that is a stick-to-the-ribs dish for cold weather whereas I bet it's kinda warm in your neck of the woods now, Jenise?


Crab Rangoon leaves me speechless. Horrible idea. I hear you on that. Waste of crab. And hot cream cheese is a texture I despise.

The vichysoisse I'm making will be served chilled--perfect for hot weather. And the inclusion of fennel makes it cooler and lighter yet with that mysterious licorice note in the background. The crab will be a small pile of cold crab with fennel frond set in the center.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jeff Grossman » Wed Aug 15, 2018 11:21 pm

Tom NJ wrote:I like Kenji a lot, ...

We all like things that aren't always good for us. ::mama::
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by Jeff Grossman » Wed Aug 15, 2018 11:22 pm

Jenise wrote:The vichysoisse I'm making will be served chilled--perfect for hot weather. And the inclusion of fennel makes it cooler and lighter yet with that mysterious licorice note in the background. The crab will be a small pile of cold crab with fennel frond set in the center.

Sounds delightful.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:28 am

Rahsaan wrote:
Jeff Grossman wrote:I don't grok why people bake crab with cheese (and, occasionally, stuff the mixture into wontons). To me, crabmeat is so delicious and delicate (texture) and mild (flavor) that it's a shame to do a whole lot of Kitchenery to it.


Agreed!


Thing is, when you get it in abundance--carnage happens.

I'll be putting my traps out in about an hour.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jeff Grossman » Sun Aug 19, 2018 6:47 pm

Tom NJ wrote:So there ya go. If you have fresh corn I do recommend this recipe...after a few modifications.

And if you make it, report back and let me know what you thought. I'm all ears :lol:

You're so awful. :groan:

I don't think we have gotten corn around here this year that is so sweet and tender that it needs just a quick cook to be perfect.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jeff Grossman » Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:31 am

Coq au vin tonight. After I prepped the carrot chunks I suddenly had a flash from my childhood:
carrots.jpg
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Name that game! :lol:
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Tom NJ » Mon Aug 20, 2018 6:17 am

Jeff Grossman wrote:I don't think we have gotten corn around here this year that is so sweet and tender that it needs just a quick cook to be perfect.


I agree. Uber-fresh corn is best almost eaten out of hand. But I just had SO DAMNED MUCH of the stuff, much of it gifted, that had to be used - and quickly - that I resorted to other preparations. A friend of my wife gave us another twelve ears on Saturday! I ended up making a Cream of Corn soup that I'd had at the CIA a few years ago with half of them, and then snapped each of the other 6 in half, coated them with various concoctions, and tossing them in the sous vide to see what would happen.

Just call me Kernel Tom :lol:
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Mike Filigenzi » Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:58 pm

We also have a lot of good corn coming in right now, so I'll be trying the corn risotto out and will most certainly report back.

A couple of nights ago, I made a salad with some of that good corn, black beans, bell peppers, avocados, garlic, shallots, cilantro, and lime. It was from a Serious Eats recipe and was very good although it needed more corn. I ended up putting another ear's worth into the leftovers tonight and that helped.

For reasons I won't go into, we have had a bottle of nipa sap vinegar sitting around here for the last couple of years. I had no idea what it was when it showed up but later figured out that it is from the Phillipines and is traditionally used in adobo. I finally got around to making chicken adobo with it last night. Since I've only the dish a couple of times, I can't say I really know how it's supposed to be made so I cobbled together elements from a couple of recipes in an attempt to make something that would at least taste good. That part was a success - it was very flavorful and rich but nicely balanced by the vinegar. Whether anyone from the Phillipines would have recognized it as chicken adobo is another thing entirely.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Wed Aug 22, 2018 1:40 pm

Tom NJ wrote: Within minutes of plating, "creamy" magically transformed into "gluey", and then "spackle-y". I've never in my life made risotto the traditional way and said at the end, "Gosh, if only this creamy risotto were actually stiff enough to be formed into a mini Corinthian column!" (which I did, just to show my wife, by the way). So yeah, next time I'm trusting generations of Italians and sauteing dry rice, then adding UN-fortified stock...I'm all ears :lol:


Tom, you're hilarious. I'll bet Wifey never stops laughing.

I'm a corn-aholic too, btw. A favorite lunch? Just corn on the cob. I need nothing else. And I always make more than we'll eat because I love the leftovers--straight out of the fridge--for breakfast. Better than any traditional breakfast food! No seasoning required.

Last night I had my Dork group over for a wine tasting, theme Open White. The group includes a vegan and a vegetarian/pescatarian (I had thought the former but discovered last night he'll eat crab). I cooked Asian which I think is the most versatile cuisine for vegetarian cooking, plus we caught 38 Dungeness crab last weekend and I wanted to make a dish featuring that ingredient. One of the dishes was a corn and mushroom (fresh shitakes, oyster, and lions mane) fried rice.

I also made roasted gai lan with tons of crushed garlic and ginger, smashed cucumbers in sesame dressing, crab and cellophane noodles (a Charles Phan recipe), and my own creation: a deconstructed pork-and-shrimp gyoza, if you will, in which the seasoned meats were formed into a 2" x 2" long meat loaf that baked in just 20 minutes, and the slices were tiled over a bed of chili noodles made from wonton skins.
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