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  1. #41

    Episode 10: Toasted Veggie Sandwich and Pan-Fried Potato Chips

    I love me some sammiches. Love'em. Nothing quite goes goes with them like fried potatoes.

    ...But, wait? Why a veggie sandwich? 'Cause it's good, that's why. And if you're one of those types who say "I won't eat it on principle if it doesn't have meat in it," I dare you to give this one a try.

    What you will need:
    • Cooking Oil
    • Potatoes
    • A good, thick-sliced bread
    • Your choice of fresh vegetables
    • Your choice of sliced cheese
    • Italian dressing


    First, fry them taters.

    Heat a some oil in a deep skillet at medium to medium-high heat.

    (EDIT--Anytime you are dealing with a large quantity of oil, you run the risk of having some make contact with your heat source--and then--a grease-fire. In the event of a grease-fire, make sure you put it out by pouring a generous amount of salt or baking soda onto the base of the flames. They also make special fire-extinguishers for grease-fires. DO NOT try to use water (or other liquids) to put the fire out--that will just spread it around!) Of course, this assumes that the fire is still small enough to manage safely. If it is large enough to threaten your well-being, get out of the building and contact professional fire-fighters.

    When you can flick a drop of water into the pan and it immediately evaporates, it should be good to go. Cut your potatoes into medallions about a half-inch thick. Gently lay them into the oil and cook them until you see the edges start to crisp and turn golden. Then flip and cook until the medallions are golden and crisp on the other side, as well.

    Remove them from the oil and lay them out on a paper-towel-lined plate to drain the grease. While they are still hot, season them with some salt (and other seasonings, if desired--I like granulated garlic and a little black pepper).

    Next, put stuff on bread.

    Preheat your oven to about 450-500 degrees--hot enough to toast!

    Take some good, thick-sliced bread. The type left to your preference; these sandwiches are just as good on rye as on a multi-grain or a sourdough bread. Obviously, it's a different sandwich based on the bread you choose. That's a good thing! For each sandwich, place two slices on a cooking pan.

    Similarly, I've been pretty vague about the veggies you'll want on the sandwich. Obviously, this will vary according to tastes, as well, but some veggies will work better than others. In particular, look for veggies with body like carrots or bell peppers, or mushrooms. Look for veggies with flavor, like onions, olives, or banana peppers. Leafy vegetables or tomatoes (a fruit, but we'll let it slide) are good, but probably best put on after the sandwiches come out of the oven.

    Put a layer of your freshly-made potato chips on the bottom slice of bread. This will give your sandwich most of its body. Drizzle some dressing across the potatoes--not enough to drench them, but enough to moisten them. Layer your fresh vegetables on top of the potatoes and drizzle some more dressing on top of them with a slice of cheese.

    Drizzle a little more dressing over the second piece of bread and seal it with another slice of cheese. Put the pan in the oven and toast the sandwich for about five to ten minutes (depending on oven temperature, of course), long enough to lightly toast the bread, melt the cheese, and cook the veggies through.

    Pull the pan out of the oven, put the sandwiches together, serve.

    Until next week, good gaming, y'all!
    Last edited by Rune; Saturday, 14th July, 2012 at 03:24 PM.

 

  • #42
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    For us, last night, it was a pasta salad. This should serve 8 as a main dish. Halve the recipe if you wish to use it as a side.

    1 lb of medium shell pasta
    8 oz salami, cut in strips
    16 oz Mozarella cheese, cut in strips
    1 cup chopped bell pepper
    2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
    6 green onions, sliced

    Dressing:
    2/3 cup oil (olive oil is fine, but any vegetable oil will do)
    6 tbsp red wine or cider vinegar
    2 tsp salt
    2 tsp basil
    2 tsp oregano
    1/2 tsp garlic powder

    Cook pasta. Drain, and rinse pasta in cold water. Place in large bowl, add the vegetables, cheese, and salami. In a jar or container with a tight lid, combine dressing ingredients, and shake well. pour over salad and stir to coat. Chill until serving.

    Usually served with a loaf of interesting bread and butter (we had a rosemary/olive oil loaf, and a pumpernickel/rye swirl loaf).

  • #43

    Let's get full on a budget!

    When I was a young child I invented the hot pocket. Not the Hot Pocket that you go to the store and buy mind you, I created the exact same thing without ever having had an actual hot pocket before. I swear mine was better, here it is:

    Get out your skillet and fry enough beef to feed your party. I usually shoot for about 6 ounces per person.

    As the beef is frying add a few dashes of garlic and black pepper. Add some diced onion, about an ounce per person.

    Once the beef is done, drain and move to a bowl.

    Get a can of biscuits, it doesn't matter what kind so just get whatever you like best.

    Smash all the biscuits out flat, if you have a rolling pin use that. Try to make a broad uniform shape.

    Add the beef mix along with whatever cheese you like ( I suggest velveeta but I am also cheap and fat) to the top of one of the flattened biscuits. Cover this with another flattened biscuit and pinch the edges shut, make sure you get a good seal or the filling will come out during the baking.

    Place your raw hot pocket on a greased cookie sheet and cook them according to the directions on the can. Keep an eye on them though, sometimes the flattening process can make them cook a little faster.

    There you go, home made hot pockets! Hope you like them.

  • #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bloody Feather View Post
    When I was a young child I invented the hot pocket. Not the Hot Pocket that you go to the store and buy mind you, I created the exact same thing without ever having had an actual hot pocket before.
    The "pastie" is a device as old as dough and leftover stew.

    I swear mine was better
    Not surprising - foods with fresh ingredients will generally be better than pre-prepared, pre-processed, frozen stuff.
    Last edited by Umbran; Friday, 6th July, 2012 at 06:35 PM.

  • #45
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    Having already mentioned garlic spread, fruit dip, and subbing yogurt for mayo or sour cream, I have to bring up more condiments.

    I have a Spicy Cherry Mustard Sauce that I sometimes sub for BBQ sometimes. Chop a Jalape˝o and a Serrano pepper. Buy, pit & mash or purÚe your cherries, sauteeing them over low heat in a lightly buttered or oiled pan* with the chopped peppers, adding black and red/cayenne pepper as well. Combine the cooling cooked cherry mixture with vinegar and yellow mustard in a bowl. You may need to add a little sugar** to the mix if your cherries were on the sour side.

    Chinesee Hot oil + Honey is a recent discovery. One of my local Chinese restaurants makes, quite simply, the best hot oil I've ever had. Instead of just veggie oil & chiles, they add pan-toasted ginger, garlic and sesame seeds to the mix. (Right now I buy it, but I'm sure I can get the proportions right.) Usually in the restaurant, I combine this with duck or plum sauce, both of which are sweet.

    Well, the other night, I had to make a late night McD's run, and for myself, I got chicken nuggets. I typically have them with honey & black pepper when I dine in, or honey and Tabasco at home. This time, however, I mixed my honey with a teaspoon of the hot oil...MAGIC!

    I'm currently thinking about incorporating this into a wing recipe...***







    * use a neutral flavored veggie oil, not something like olive oil

    ** haven't tried it yet, but honey, maple syrup or agave nectar could conceivably be used if you prefer, and may mix more thoroughly.

    *** inspired by another chicken recipe of mine with butter, honey, black pepper, red pepper paprika and cinnamon
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  • #46

    Episode 11: Popcorn. Yes, Popcorn.

    If you're reading this and thinking, "Who doesn't know how to make popcorn? I've got some oil heating on the stove right now," this episode probably won't be for you.

    If, on the other hand, you're thinking, "Who doesn't know how to make popcorn? I've got a bag in the microwave, right now," this episode is definitely for you!

    What you will need:
    • Cooking Oil
    • Uncooked Popcorn Kernels
    • Seasonings


    Pop.

    First, you'll need a reasonably large pot with a lid. Coat the bottom of the pot with your cooking oil.

    (EDIT--I was talking with a friend yesterday, who told me he once started a grease-fire while trying to cook popcorn! Consequently, I feel the need to point out that you DO NOT need to put much oil in the pot--just coat the bottom! Anytime you are dealing with a large quantity of oil, you run the risk of having some make contact with your heat source--and then--a grease-fire. In the event of a grease-fire, make sure you put it out by pouring a generous amount of salt or baking soda onto the base of the flames. They also make special fire-extinguishers for grease-fires. DO NOT try to use water (or other liquids) to put the fire out--that will just spread it around!) Of course, this assumes that the fire is still small enough to manage safely. If it is large enough to threaten your well-being, get out of the building and contact professional fire-fighters.

    Different oils will produce different flavors, so feel free to experiment. I usually use olive oil because it goes well with some of the seasonings I like to use. Put the pot uncovered over a burner set slightly above medium heat. Put a single kernel in the center of the pot.

    As soon as this kernel pops, add a layer of popcorn to the pot. Make sure not to pour too many in--you should not have so much that some kernels are on top of others!

    Immediately cover the pot and begin moving it vigorously over the burner until the popping slows. Then, remove the pot from the heat, transfer the popcorn to a bowl and prepare to season it.

    Put some stuff on it.

    One of the great things about popcorn is that it has such a neutral flavor that you can do a lot of different things with it. Want butter? Melt some and drizzle it over the top. Want salt? Salt it. Pepper? Yeah, that works. Granulated garlic? Sure, throw some on.

    Grated parmesan cheese is really nice, especially if you used olive oil in the cooking process.

    The point is, you can pretty much pick a direction and go there. Obviously, if you're not very familiar with the flavors you're using, this trial-and-error process might produce some questionable results. If this is a concern, consider dividing your cooked popcorn into small batches before seasoning them.

    So, now that you've got all that together, just gently toss the popcorn and serve. It is a simple and tasty game-night snack!

    Until next week, good gaming, y'all!
    Last edited by Rune; Saturday, 14th July, 2012 at 03:22 PM.

  • #47

    Episode 12: Breakfast Burritos

    Breakfast for dinner (or lunch) is always a great choice for game-night, but I recommend something as easy to eat as it is delicious. One such meal is the good ol' breakfast burrito.

    What you will need:
    • Eggs
    • Water
    • Tortilla Shells
    • Bell Peppers
    • Onions
    • Breakfast Sausage
    • Shredded Cheese
    • Salsa
    • Salt, Black Pepper, and/or Cumin


    I am the Egg Man.

    Fry up your sausage in a skillet over medium heat. Crumble it as you go. When it is fully cooked, drain off the grease and remove sausage from the skillet. There should be a small amount of grease still in the skillet, coating the bottom.

    Chop up your onions and saute them in the skillet until they are translucent. Chop up your bell peppers, but leave them aside for the moment.

    Crack your eggs into a bowl and blend them with a whisk or fork. Add in your salt, black pepper and just a hint of cumin, if you are using it. Why cumin? Cumin is an important ingredient in tacos and a tiny bit of it in your eggs will help suggest that without being a dominant flavor. Be warned though, even this small bit of cumin will produce a flavor that might take some getting used to!

    At this point, you'll want to get a pot with some water in it boiling over medium high heat. Put a heat-safe plate over the top and place a tortilla shell on the plate. This will heat the tortilla and make it flexible. Repeat with the other tortilla shells.

    Go ahead and add the peppers into the skillet, then pour in your eggs. Gently scramble them with a spatula or spoon.

    Some people add milk to their eggs in the belief that it makes them fluffier. Doing this will do two things that you don't want. First, it will dilute the flavor of the eggs (never a good thing). Second, it will scorch--and actually make the eggs tougher.

    One trick you can do to make your eggs nice and soft is to add a little water while your cooking them. Something else you can do to make them nice and creamy is add a little cream cheese.

    At any rate, once your eggs are cooked, immediately remove them from the heat and add your shredded cheese. You can add the cheese late in the cooking process, if you're careful, but it will melt just fine if added after--and you run no risk of burning it.

    Place a little bit of the egg and sausage mixture on each tortilla and add a spoonful of salsa. Wrap them up, plate them, serve and enjoy!

    Until next week, good gaming, y'all!

  • #48
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    Mmmm . . .thank youu for thread

    You can cut the saturated fat and improve the texture & flavor of grilled cheese sandwiches by switching to a light-flavored olive oil and using a sourdough or sliced french bread. Seriously. Once I tried this, the flavor and smell was so much better I will never go back. And not so soggygreasy either. SO here's what to do: heat the skillet dry. Once it's already hot, pour on a drizzle of light olive oil. Give it a moment to get hot. Then put the dry bread into the oil, and cover with a thin slice of chosen cheese and another slice of bread. Set timer, 1 minute, then flip. If desired (and you know you do) sprinkle the top of the sandwich with garlic powder and a tiny bit of finely shredded cheddar, paremesan or mozzarella. After 1 minute, flip it back over. Give it about 30 seconds--just until the bare naked shreddy cheese turns slightly toasty and you can pull the sandwich cleanly off the skillet. You should have a golden brown, crispy crust and a gooey interior without a trace of soggyness anywhere.Mmmmm. Variation: smear the inside of the sandwich with pizza sauce and use mozzarella inside and out, lotsa garlic powder. Mmm--pizza sandwiches! I would never make these for game night. I'd spend all night standing in the kitchen making sandwiches. Make a big pot of veggie chili!

    edit: not to imply that yours come out soggy--I'm sure yours are wonderful. Kidcthulhu makes 'em the way you describe and they are perfect every time. But I've had plenty of disappointng ones in diners --I think it really matters what the type of oil in the "shortening" is. Real butter works great. Canola spread makes for lousy frying.
    Last edited by Sialia; Tuesday, 17th July, 2012 at 06:07 AM. Reason: tactful backpedalling

  • #49
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    Oh. THe veggie chili.

    Dump 1 can of tomato paste into a hot skillet and smoosh it around until it almost burns (but not quite) As soon as it starts to get dark, add a little wine, vermouth or beer, and scrape the pan like mad until all the gooey bits are mooshed into the sauce. Add a teaspoon of cumin and a tablespoon of paprika and garlic and salt to taste. Add a can of chopped tomatoes and their juice. Stir, taste and adjust. When sauce is delicious, throw in veggies of choice: I like smoked corn kernels from Trader Joe's and lima beans. Add some more liquid if you need it (water is fine). If you are using something raw like onions, you probably want to saute them a bit before doing the tomato paste. When veggies are tender and sauce covered, add a cup or two of Morningstar Farms veggie crumbles, or cooked lentils, or a can of favorite beans. Serve whenever. Good recipe for leave it in the crockpot until you get around to eating it, or make ahead and leave in fridge and nuke a bowl to order when needed. Good with sourcream, cheese and hot sauce. (If everyone you're serving likes heat, go ahead and add spicy stuff to taste while cooking. I serve a lot of tendermouths, and so I make it real mellow and then dose mine up with Tabasco and Bufalo Salsa Chipotle.) Veggie chili does not need hours to slow cook--I've done a decent version in 20 minutes this way--but it's very forgiving if it has to wait a long time before getting served. The garlic tends to disappear after a while and needs to be refreshed. Apart from that, I can be in the game room and not the kitchen, and guests can self serve, if they don't mind Bandeeto turnng their characters into wererats while they are out getting seconds. ;-)

  • #50
    Quote Originally Posted by Sialia View Post
    not to imply that yours come out soggy--I'm sure yours are wonderful. Kidcthulhu makes 'em the way you describe and they are perfect every time. But I've had plenty of disappointng ones in diners --I think it really matters what the type of oil in the "shortening" is. Real butter works great. Canola spread makes for lousy frying.
    Not to worry! Your grilled cheese sandwiches look delicious. I can't wait to try them out!

    As for the shortening--yes, the type matters for flavor.

    If you're getting soggy sandwiches, though, that's more likely a result of the quantity that these diners are using, and also the temperature they're cooking at. You really only want enough shortening to give the bread a surface to sear--and then you have to have enough heat to sear it while the cheese melts!

    Anyway, welcome to the Game-Night Kitchen.

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