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What's Cooking (Take Two!)

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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

by Karen/NoCA » Sat Oct 26, 2013 8:48 pm

I'm salivating just talking about it. Rarely see skirt or hangar steak up here, so it's been a long time since I've had the pleasure


Jenise, I'm curious...you live where there are so many folks of means, and near large cities. Is there not a locally owned meat shop that will cut what you want? Here, in our city, we have several locally owned places that will custom cut whatever you want. I frequent four such places, where I can get any cut I want, no matter how fancy and usually "right now". If not now, in a day or two. I often see you say you cannot get seafood, yet you live on the water. We live three hours inland from the west, and four hours from the south, and fresh fish is brought in everyday from the coast. Kinda crazy, isn't it?
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

by Drew Hall » Sun Oct 27, 2013 10:09 am

Had an abundance of apples so I sauteed chopped apple, onion and garlic and rolled up into a flatened pork tenderloin and wraped in bacon and smoked on the egg.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

by Redwinger » Sun Oct 27, 2013 11:42 am

Drew-
I could eat that!!
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

by Mike Filigenzi » Sun Oct 27, 2013 7:12 pm

We had an Oktoberfest party in the neighborhood last night. Part of it involved (strangely) a chili cookoff. Not wishing to cross Robert J., I went with a traditional bowl of red. Just beef chuck, a little onion, a little garlic, and the chili sauce. I used dried anchos and New Mexico chilis and it came out nicely. Only downside was that I started a bit late, so the meat didn't have enough simmering time to make it as tender as I'd have liked. The other entries were all over the map, including one that was mostly beans and one that was a white chili made with salmon(!) The winner was a fairly complex dish with ground beef and a number of veggies. All of the ones I tasted were quite delicious (although I didn't try the salmon version).
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

by Redwinger » Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:56 am

Mike Filigenzi wrote:We had an Oktoberfest party in the neighborhood last night.


At least you had the good sense not to call it a Halloween Party. :wink:
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

by Paul Winalski » Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:14 pm

DInner tonight will be hong shao gai (Shanghai-style red-cooked chicken).

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

by Karen/NoCA » Mon Oct 28, 2013 1:02 pm

Redwinger wrote:
Mike Filigenzi wrote:We had an Oktoberfest party in the neighborhood last night.


At least you had the good sense not to call it a Halloween Party. :wink:

They are not even comparable, are they? Octoberfest is a traditional autumn festival held in Munich, Germany, every October that features beer-drinking and merrymaking. We had good friends who went back to her native country every year for this....it has nothing to do with Halloweeen. :wink:
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

by Tom NJ » Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:00 pm

I brought home a big bunch of asparagus today, and I prepped it 3 ways for dinner:

1. Cream of onion and asparagus soup ("ah pressure cooker, is there nothing you can't mushify in 20 minutes or less?")

2. Spears simply roasted with evoo and salt and pepper.

3. Spears shaved into "fettuccine", saute with beef and capers, with an herbed beurre blanc.

The main reason I did this was to try something I saw on "America's Test Kitchen". They dry brine their asparagus before cooking (like you would eggplant). It worked pretty well, drawing out more moisture than I even knew was in there. Made them brown up more readily and quickly.

OTOH, wifey can't stop farting now. But some things are just worth the price....
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

by Karen/NoCA » Wed Oct 30, 2013 3:36 pm

Have not had a good chicken cacciatore for a long time, so tonight is the night. I have the sauce in the freezer from our summer tomatoes. I will be adding red wine, a couple of sweet Italian peppers, still producing in the garden, that have turned red, along with mushrooms. This will be served over pasta. I blanched broccoli, then will saute, in butter and evoo, with fresh garlic and lemon as a side.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

by Jenise » Wed Oct 30, 2013 6:22 pm

Karen/NoCA wrote:
I'm salivating just talking about it. Rarely see skirt or hangar steak up here, so it's been a long time since I've had the pleasure


Jenise, I'm curious...you live where there are so many folks of means, and near large cities. Is there not a locally owned meat shop that will cut what you want? Here, in our city, we have several locally owned places that will custom cut whatever you want. I frequent four such places, where I can get any cut I want, no matter how fancy and usually "right now". If not now, in a day or two. I often see you say you cannot get seafood, yet you live on the water. We live three hours inland from the west, and four hours from the south, and fresh fish is brought in everyday from the coast. Kinda crazy, isn't it?


It IS crazy. But it's true, all I can get here right now is frozen salmon, fresh cod, fresh rockfish and farmed tilapia. Apparently the average 'Hamster is entirely happy with this situation and has been for decades. The alternative, at $20+ per pound, isn't acceptable. I don't get it. But in general it's just not a foodie community. A significant number of long-time residents are ex-hippies, people who came here in the 60's looking for a more natural existence in a very pretty place with lots of low priced land available. And though they've grown up and prospered and outsiders (like me) have arrived, that Birkenstocky, granola-crunching, laid-back, self-sufficient commune vibe remains and is pervasive in the town's whole aesthetic. It's not an area that flaunts its wealth or is even used to the trappings of same. Fine Dining restaurants struggle, Olive Garden thrives. So, a butcher? One just opened, and I went there last week. Typical Bellingham, it's not about variety and full-service butchery, it's about noble-causes and grass-fed/organic/local. Small selection of beef and pork, high prices and they're probably not making much money. I wish the two guys who own it well but I wonder how they'll sell enough to support two households with what I saw in their meatcases. We have Costco and regular grocers, that's it.
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 Two!)

by Jenise » Wed Oct 30, 2013 6:24 pm

Karen, that sounds great. And Tom--very inventive. I've never considered dessicating asparagus--interesting thought. You shave and then salt, I take it?

Paul--I was going spicy Chinese beef in black bean sauce tonight but might end up going Thai. I have some fresh basil on hand and probably should take advantage of 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 Two!)

by Karen/NoCA » Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:38 pm

Paul--I was going spicy Chinese beef in black bean sauce tonight but might end up going Thai. I have some fresh basil on hand and probably should take advantage of that!


The fresh basil comment brought up a thought and I want to share. For the past two years, in Fall,I have either rooted fresh basil from my garden or bought a basil plant from Trader Joe's. I put the pot on my kitchen counter in front of a nice size window that gets morning sun. I have been fortunate to have fresh basil all winter long. On really nice winter days, I will put it outside in a sunny spot for the after noon and bring it in no later than 4 PM. Last year a Trader Joe's basil plant not only lived all winter but I planted it in the garden after the last front and it is still growing. I have let my basil flower because I know that soon we will get a frost and the bees are out there busy with garlic chive flowers, and rosemary flowers. Not sure if they go to the basil. I bought a nice basil plant at the Farmer's Market on Saturday and will see how it does at my window. If it fails, I can always get another at TJ's. It is great to have fresh basil all year long. I tried to root basil this year, and did cuttings from the TJ's plant. Probably a mistake, because the cut tips rotted before it sent out shoots. A few weeks before that I had taken cuttings from another basil, put them in water in my kitchen to have for the week and they rooted. I guess the TJ's plant has been around longer than most basil plants are, and is tired.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

by Tom NJ » Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:44 pm

Jenise wrote:I've never considered dessicating asparagus--interesting thought. You shave and then salt, I take it?


Actually, no. The episode of 'America's Test Kitchen' showed them leaving the stalks whole and untrimmed, and poking them with the tip of a paring knife before salting them and letting them drain on a rack over paper towels. I didn't need whole stalks, so I sliced them in half lengthwise and scored the cut side lightly before salting them. When they threw enough water I rinsed them off and dried them, and Bob's yer uncle. Ready to go. The "fettuccine" was made with a Y-peeler that I ran down those half-stalks.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

by Paul Winalski » Thu Oct 31, 2013 12:39 pm

I made Sichuan stir-fried ground pork with hot peppers last night.

Jenise, let me know how your Thai basil dish turns out.

There are two varieties of basil commonly used in Thai cooking:

Horapa: Commonly known in English as "Thai basil". It is a variety of Ocimium basilicum, the same species as European sweet basil. But horapa has somewhat smaller leaves and purple stems. Horapa has a different flavor profile from sweet basil.

Krapao: Commonly known in English as "holy basil". It is a different species (Ocimium tenuiflorum) than European sweet basil. Hindus consider the plant to be sacred and it is widely planted in temples, hence the name "holy basil". The leaves are much smaller than either horapa or sweet basil, and the plant looks a lot like mint. It's very aromatic and has a more mint-like flavor profile than common basil.

Fresh horapa is pretty easy to obtain where I live. I can always get it at the local Thai-run oriental grocery store and I've even seen it at supermarkets occasionally. Krapao is a different story--it's very hard to get fresh because it has a very short shelf life. It's only available sporadically at the Thai grocery. Dried krapao is available from ImportFood.com and elsewhere. For dishes that call for krapao, I usually substitute horapa and add some dried krapao. For pad prik bai krapao (stir-fry with holy basil), I use a 50-50 mix of fresh horapa and dried krapao.

European sweet basil is a good substitute for horapa. For krapao, either sweet basil or mint is a good substitute. I prefer mint as a substitute for krapao in mahogany fire noodles.

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

by Jenise » Thu Oct 31, 2013 2:20 pm

Paul Winalski wrote:I made Sichuan stir-fried ground pork with hot peppers last night.

Jenise, let me know how your Thai basil dish turns out.

There are two varieties of basil commonly used in Thai cooking:

Horapa: Commonly known in English as "Thai basil". It is a variety of Ocimium basilicum, the same species as European sweet basil. But horapa has somewhat smaller leaves and purple stems. Horapa has a different flavor profile from sweet basil.

Krapao: Commonly known in English as "holy basil". It is a different species (Ocimium tenuiflorum) than European sweet basil. Hindus consider the plant to be sacred and it is widely planted in temples, hence the name "holy basil". The leaves are much smaller than either horapa or sweet basil, and the plant looks a lot like mint. It's very aromatic and has a more mint-like flavor profile than common basil.

Fresh horapa is pretty easy to obtain where I live. I can always get it at the local Thai-run oriental grocery store and I've even seen it at supermarkets occasionally. Krapao is a different story--it's very hard to get fresh because it has a very short shelf life. It's only available sporadically at the Thai grocery. Dried krapao is available from ImportFood.com and elsewhere. For dishes that call for krapao, I usually substitute horapa and add some dried krapao. For pad prik bai krapao (stir-fry with holy basil), I use a 50-50 mix of fresh horapa and dried krapao.

European sweet basil is a good substitute for horapa. For krapao, either sweet basil or mint is a good substitute. I prefer mint as a substitute for krapao in mahogany fire noodles.

-Paul W.


Paul, when I went to dig out vegetables for my dish, I found two red ancho/pasilla chiles. They're locally grown and fabulous at this time of year. I also had a single small conventional green bell pepper. Those ingredients sent me back to the black bean sauce, and as well I had a higher end young Washington cabernet blend in the tasting queue to try which would be (and was) a perfect pairing.

I love both basils you describe. I miss living where I can get the krapao regularly, as I used to in Huntington Beach. Thai basil isn't exactly regular, but it's easier. I've never seen dried krapao--must look for it, that would definitely fill a hole in my pantry.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

by Jenise » Thu Oct 31, 2013 10:53 pm

Tonight, a tea smoked Chinese duck (we are doing it ourselves, and a stir fry of shitake mushrooms in oyster sauce with purple savoy cabbage.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

by Karen/NoCA » Fri Nov 01, 2013 2:09 pm

Tacos tonight because it is 45° this morning. I did not know that and went to the garden to gather lettuce and peppers and got so cold by the time I came back inside. Decided to spice the tacos up a bit. I used organic, grass fed hamburger and a package of organic bison. Added fresh garlic, salt and bold black pepper. Then in went 4 roasted mild Hatch Chiles, one Serrano, tomato sauce and roasted tomato salsa.This is tasting so good, with just enough heat for the tacos. I made a salad with the garden greens, radishes, white baby turnips, cucumbers, and very small Sungold tomatoes left whole for a fun pop of juiciness, and a little avocado. This goes into the taco, with raw red onion and sharp cheddar. The topped with our favorite Lindy's Red Taco Sauce. :D
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

by Tom NJ » Sat Nov 02, 2013 7:59 am

Jenise wrote:Tonight, a tea smoked Chinese duck (we are doing it ourselves).


OMG - how did it turn out? That is one of my favorite dishes in the world! I used to do one once or thrice a year...until I got married. Then, "Duck is greasy." Wouldn't even try it. :evil:
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

by Jeff Grossman/NYC » Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:00 pm

Leftovers: There were two more portions (the 8th and 9th) of cassoulet, so that got reheated.

Half a cucumber... hm. Add 1 oz cider vinegar, 1/2 tbsp sugar, and a sprinkle of fennel seed. Stir every 15 minutes. New pickles!

Half a can of tomato paste, half a can of chickpeas, and half a bag of fresh spinach... hm. Add 1 tsp ginger, 1 tsp chili powder, 2 cloves garlic, and 2 oz water (to restore the paste). Saute together. Sorta half Indian and half Italian.

And room in the fridge, too!
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

by Jenise » Sat Nov 02, 2013 3:06 pm

Tom NJ wrote:
Jenise wrote:Tonight, a tea smoked Chinese duck (we are doing it ourselves).


OMG - how did it turn out? That is one of my favorite dishes in the world! I used to do one once or thrice a year...until I got married. Then, "Duck is greasy." Wouldn't even try it. :evil:


It was great. Bob underestimated the heat needed and so it took five and a half hours to finish vs. the four anticipated--can you say "late dinner"? We ended up eating the cabbage/shitake side dish as an opening hot salad. :)

And all was extremely good with a Thackrey Pleides XVI, an approximately 5-6 year old release blended from all kinds of things, including pinot noir AND zinfandel.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

by Jenise » Sat Nov 02, 2013 3:11 pm

Dinner tonight:

An Armenian/Turkish version of cabbage rolls via Athens, Georgia, thinking about the Mediterranean-influenced southern fare at Hugh Acheson's The National where I had lunch three weeks ago, wherein the meat stuffing will be lamb with bulgar wheat and lots of mint and allspice, and the 'cabbage' is actually local, organically grown collard greens, wholly inspired by the fact that shortly after I determined that I had not yet used the collard greens I bought a week ago today (and had nothing in mind for, they were just so pretty), I opened the freezer and out fell a pound of ground lamb.

I know a message when I see one. :)
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

by Karen/NoCA » Sat Nov 02, 2013 3:48 pm

Tom NJ wrote:
Jenise wrote:Tonight, a tea smoked Chinese duck (we are doing it ourselves).


OMG - how did it turn out? That is one of my favorite dishes in the world! I used to do one once or thrice a year...until I got married. Then, "Duck is greasy." Wouldn't even try it. :evil:

I have never cooked duck, but isn't there a method to getting rid of the grease? Our daughter has a rental house on her back 5 acres. That family and my daughter share Sunday dinners from the food they both grow including the animals they raise for food. Last week she had her first duck and said it was fabulous and not at all greasy.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

by Jenise » Sat Nov 02, 2013 8:30 pm

Ducks leak a lot of grease from their skin, but the meat isn't otherwise any greasier than your average turkey leg.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

by Robin Garr » Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:16 am

Jacques Aux Lanterne becomes dinner

R.I.P. Jacques. Monsieur Aux Lanterne, who gave his all for Halloween and now serves in a finer way as potiron rotie: Pumpkin, potatoes and onions tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and snipped fresh sage, then roasted 45 minutes at 450F.

A fine match with an offbeat Loire red, peppery and tart, Puzelat 2012 Touraine Pineau d'Aunis.
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