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  1. #91
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    You can also buy a grocery-store roasted chicken. They're yummy! Remove the skin before stripping the meat from the bone. Save the juice/gelatin in the bottom of the container, and then boil the bones for 15-30 minutes in fresh water (with herbs if you like them) and with your saved onion-skins, carrot tops, etc... from other dishes. What, you're not keeping them in a zip-lock in the freezer? Huh!

    Edit: when the bones are boiled, add the juice/gelatin, remove all the bones, let the liquid cool, skim off the fat, and keep it for your next pot of soup.
    Last edited by Gilladian; Wednesday, 29th August, 2012 at 04:35 PM. Reason: didn't finish!

 

  • #92
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    You'll be wanting some matzo balls with that . . .

    Ok, first the soup: if you can find 'em buy chicken necks, backs, wings--they're really cheap (even kosher ones) and have loads of gelatin in them. Don't bother boiling anything with a lot of meat on it---it's the bones and skin make the soup. If you can only get a chicken in 8 parts, pull most of the meat off first and fridge it for later, and then boil the carcass.

    Anway, start in cold water, add bones and salt. Add onions, carrots, parsnip and celery. Simmer very slowly, a really long time. It's edible in about 1/2 hour, better in a whole hour, heaven after about 6. For me, easiest thing is to stick it in a slow oven abut 275 degrees for about 6 hours. Water should just barely be bubbling--hardly moving even, but warm enough not to be a breeding ground for icky. It's important that everything be submerged--drop a heat proof dish into the broth on top of the veg/bones to keep everything under water. Near the end, taste and adjust the salt, add pepper, sage, rosemary, parsley etc. to taste. Or not.
    Also, if you want more meat in your soup, cut up the meat you stripped from the bones in step 1, and then poach it lightly in the broth for about 20 minutes near the end.

    MEANWHILE (and this is the important part) make matzo balls: in a small bowl beat 2 eggs with 2 TBS oil until really well blended. Then add 1 tsp salt and 2 TBS water (or some of the cooled stock if you've got it) Beat it all smooth before adding in 1/2 cup matzo meal. Stir really well, cover, put it in the fridge and let it sit AT LEAST 15 minutes. Get a large pot full of salted water boiling and make sure you know where the lid is--you'll need it. When the 15 minutes are done, start rolling the matzo mixture into walnut sized balls. I use a small cookie scoop to measure them out, and then get my hands wet and hand roll them until they are smooth. Then drop them into the boiling water, [note--drop each one in as you roll it and move quickly so they all hit the water within a short time--don't try to roll them all out first and then put them in--the early ones will dry out too much] and reduce heat to very low simmer, and put the lid on tight and don't even think about lifting it to peek for about 20 minutes. The water must be boiling before you put them in, and it must not be allowed to get above a simmer after they go in, so use your ears to keep track of what's going on.
    When they are done, serve them floating in your soup. Or on a plate with a lot of gravy, and perhaps a sprinkle of parsley.

    If this is your first time doing this, don't be surprised if you get them too heavy or too loose--the only way to learn the exact measurements is to make a few batches, and pretty soon you'll know when the mixture "feels right" during the rolling stage. If it's too dense, it needs a little more water or they come out like lead. If it's too wet (or the water isn't boiling)they will fall apart and you'll get mush. So add some more meal. If you make them too grandiose in size, it's hard to get them to cook all the way through and you get dry bits in the middle. If the water is boiling too hard, the egg cooks hard before the matzo meal can fluff up, and you get golf balls. (Sounds like I've made all of the above mistakes, right?) There is a reason the bragging rights for perfect fluffy matzo balls exclusively belong to experienced cooks (like Grandmas). New cooks can make decent ones, however, especially with all of the above tips--and every reasonably decent matzo ball should be appreciated as a minor miracle. They are heavenly delicious, economical and filling. Serve these as a first course, and the main course will stretch a whole lot farther.
    Last edited by Sialia; Tuesday, 4th September, 2012 at 07:00 AM.

  • #93
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    Hint time: chicken & turkey are remarkably similar in taste when in complex recipes, like soups. All tht stuff about chicken bones for soup? You can substitute turkey just as well.


    In fact, when I make my turkeys, I put thŰ wing-tips- the part tht is mostly skin- aside specifically for use in the stock I make with the bones.

    In addition, turkey necks are a LOT easier to find. Not only do they come with turkeys, many meat departments will have packs of them available for sale. ESPECIALLY ethnic groceries & butchers.
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  • #94
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    I tried an experiment tonight.

    I laid a bed of onions, potatoes, and mushrooms in a pair of deep ceramic rectangular baking pans, over which were placed wings or thighs.

    The veggies had been seasoned with a bit of pepper, parsley, and some other stuff; the chicken with red & black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, etc. The chicken had been pre-brushed with a mix of butter, lemon juice & white wine.

    The chicken came out great, the veggies did not. They were OK, but there was a bit too much drippings form the bird bits, so the veggies got a bit...submerged.

    That might have worked with rice (which would absorb liquid), but not the potatoes (which have their own internal moisture). The texture was OK, but the amount of liquid washed most of the seasoning off of them.

    Next time I do this, I'll use a third pan to spread out the chicken- and liquid- a bit more. I might also use the microwave to zap some moisture out of the 'taters.
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  • #95

    Episode 19: Fettuccine Alfredo.

    This is a tremendously easy dish that has great potential to be easily impressive, as well.

    What you will need:
    • Fettuccine noodles
    • Water
    • All-purpose flour
    • Butter or olive oil
    • Milk
    • Salt
    • Pepper
    • Basil
    • Oregano
    • Garlic
    • Grated Parmesan cheese


    Noodles.

    Boil your noodles in a pot of water with some salt. When they are cooked through, but still somewhat firm, remove them from the water and drain well.

    Sauce.

    Heat your olive oil, or melt your oil over medium heat. Gradually blend in the flour until you have something somewhat more fluid than paste. Do not brown this roux!

    Reduce your heat to low and add milk and stir until you have a sauce slightly more fluid than what you are looking for in the final dish. The sauce will thicken as it cooks (and also as you add the cheese).

    Add your seasoning and the Parmesan cheese, stirring until it is completely worked in. Continue to cook until the sauce thickens. Then serve over the noodles.

    That's it for this week! Good gaming, y'all!
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  • #96
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    Danny, I like to do what you did with fish. Spread your veggies in the casserole, then top with seasoned meaty white fish (I like Basa). Dot with butter or brush with oil or an oil/butter blend. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave 5-7 minutes, or use foil and bake in the oven at 350 for 45mins - 1 hr.

    You do have to slice the potatoes fairly thin, or I prefer a mix of mushrooms, onions, yellow squash or zucchini (or both) and diced tomato if you like it. Dill, lemon zest, a smidge of white pepper; yum!

  • #97
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    For those who've never done white sauces before, alfredo can be tricky. Try 2 tablespoons oil or melted butter, the same amount of flour, and one cup of milk. And anywhere from 1/4 cup to 1 cup cheese, depending on taste and the quality of the cheese. This make sauce for about 4 average servings (8 oz cooked pasta).

    You can make white sauce with incredible variety. Add cheese and you have alfredo. Add egg yolks and you have bechamel. Add cream and you have heart-failure. Use bacon fat for the oil, season with salt and pepper and you have classic "white gravy" for biscuits. Add sugar and vanilla and you have a dessert.

    However, this sauce is NOT particularly beginner-friendly. It burns easily if you do not keep the heat low enough; it will get lumpy if you add your liquid too fast or if it is too cold. Plan to try this two or three times on yourself before you are ready to whip it up on game-night. Once you know your stove, your pan and the quirks of your preferred ingredients, you will be on the way to being an expert cook.

  • #98

    Episode 20: Frozen Fruit & Cream

    This is a simple, yet de-licious dessert to bring out while the party is celebrating it's long-overdue victory over the nefarious villain who has been hounding them lo these many sessions.

    What you will need:
    • Freeze-able serving glasses
    • Plastic wrap
    • Heavy whipping cream
    • Sugar
    • Fruit (Berries, banana slices, or the like)


    Whip it good.

    First, the whipped cream: If you don't have a mixer (or you just don't want to break it out), you'll be able to make this work with pre-packaged whipped cream, but if you can, you should definitely make your own--it's got a consistency that can't be beat (no pun intended).

    Anyway, whip your cream with your sugar at high speed until starts to peak. Taste it and add sugar as necessary. Continue to whip until it is wonderfully whipped.

    Wash your fruit, dry it, and gently fold it into the whipped cream. Then portion the mixture into your serving dishes, cover them with plastic wrap, and stick them in your freezer for a couple of hours.

    ...And that's it! Until next week, good gaming, y'all!
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  • #99

    Episode 21: Quick & Easy French Onion Soup.

    Before I begin, let me point you out to a far classier recipe for Bloody Feather's Classic French Onion.

    That said, maybe you just want to throw together a quick, easy, and cheap version for game night. I'm here to help with that.

    Here's what you'll need:
    • Beef broth
    • Onions
    • Slice bread
    • Softened butter or margarine
    • Garlic powder
    • Salt
    • Pepper
    • Shredded provolone cheese, or similar


    Start with the soup.

    Chop the onions and put them in a pot. Add some garlic, salt, and pepper. Cover with broth and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer until the onions are soft.

    Croutons!

    Croutons are easy enough to make on their own, but the version I'm presenting here are kind of a shortcut version. Butter several slices of bread, sprinkle garlic powder over them (and other seasonings, if desired--I recommend basil and oregano). Quarter the slices and toast them in an oven or toaster oven. Let them rest for a few minutes after removing them from the oven.

    Serve.

    Ladle some soup into bowls, put a handful of croutons over each, and top with cheese. If you have oven-safe bowls, you could put them back in the oven for a moment, but, really, you'll have a fine soup if you just let the cheese melt naturally.

    So, that's it. Good gaming, y'all!
    Last edited by Rune; Monday, 10th December, 2012 at 11:52 PM.
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  • #100
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    Did a quick veggie dish the other day:

    1) cube some golden potatoes (5-6)

    2) chop some celery (3-4 stalks)

    3) halve some baby carrots (1-2 hands full)

    4) dice some green onions (1 bunch)

    Mix in bowl with 1 1/2tbs unsalted butter, the juice of a lemon, a spash of white wine and seasonings like parsley, powdered garlic & black pepper. If you have it, add 1/4 cup of chicken broth. Otherwise, use water.

    Then microwave those bad boys in a covered dish until the potatoes are done.
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