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Cookin again

Scott DeWar

Prof. Emeritus-Supernatural Events/Countermeasure
crawfisha tasta gouda! How's that for a name?

I am doing some bbq action. I have two whole chickens, cut to parts, soaking in brine and ale in a stock pot. I placed a lid on the pot and stacked ice packs on top to keep it from going bad.
 
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Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
I did a stracciatella soup as an appetizer/meal tonight- I doubled up on the soup, Dad's going soup & sandwich. Baking some chicken, too, but it won't be done for a while, yet.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
Did a nifty thing with chicken tonight.

I tossed some thighs & wings in a quick marinade of 14 Hands Pinot Grigio and Tabasco sauce, then sprinkled them with a little McCormick's garlic pepper mix and some paprika, plus just a tiny pat of butter. Baked at 350F for a while.

Came out quite tasty, but I DID make one technical error. I had the thighs & wings resting on a bed of sliced onions, garlic and mushrooms in casserole dishes. This was fine for the thighs, but I overcrowded my wing pan. Too much fat rendered off of them, so their undersides were more boiled/steamed than crispy baked.

Next time, I'm doing the wings on an edged cookie sheet with a small rack over it. That way, I still get the benefit of the drippings on the veggies below, but the bigger surface area and the elevation over the sheet will result in properly done wings.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
Tonight's culinary adventures:

Baked Zucchini Medallions with Italian breading and Sausage in Tomato Sauce over Rice.

The zucchini is pretty self-explanatory: a little butter, some garlic pepper and some Italian breadcrumbs, with a little shredded Parrano.

The second experimental dish was trickier. I decided to use some slightly different seasonings than I usually would. Instead of my usual creole go-to red & black peppers, I decided to use one large jalapeño, finely diced.

Its a trick I learned from a pro: sliced, that pepper still would have added its flavor to the sauce, but diners would be getting the capsaicin in pretty concentrated doses. Instead, the finely diced pepper is dispersed through the entire sauce, and no bite has a big pepper punch, just a nice little burn.

Most of the rest was relatively traditional creole cooking. 2 onions, several cloves of diced garlic, celery and the jalapeño were all sautéed for a while (I used olive oil instead of the butter favored by Creole cooks for a slightly different flavor). They were removed from the pot and replaced by @2lbs of sliced smoked sausage, which was slowly browned. When a nice fond formed, I turned the heat down and deglazed the pan with 14 Hands Pino Grigio, and put the sautéed veggies back in the pan.

Then came 2 cans of diced tomatoes, the juice of 1 lemon, some low-sodium V8, a can of beef broth, some bay leaves, and a generous sprinkle of parsley. I brought the sauce back to a boil and let it cook for a while, to thicken it.

The final twist was the addition of some diced Parrano directly to the sauce, to cream it up a bit. It melted nicely, and the overall flavor was good, but I wasn't 100% happy with the texture.

I don't know if it was the amount of cheese I used or just the particular kind, but instead of melting completely, some of it retained its distinct nature as little cheesy, rice-like bits.

I know I could rectify this by pre-melting the cheese in a heated milk & flour mix- a step in making mac & cheese from scratch- but I don't think I want that much dairy & liquid in the sauce.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
Country style ribs!



Those were the last ones on the grill.

We had a bunch of family over today, so I thawed a big container of red beans, did a pot of turnip greens, and fire-cooked ribs, sausage, and links.

The food was all good, but the ribs were a hit: marinated 24 hours in a mix of Shiner White Wing, Blue Moon, olive oil, lemon juice, bay leaf, black pepper and onion powder.

I did not baste, rub or otherwise season the ribs before placing them on the grill. The marinade imparted enough flavor that several people didn't even bother with the BBQ sauce I made.

And tender? Well, my cousin Kerry was first to the table with a plate of beans and a large rib. He took a spoonful of beans and ate it. Then he cut a chunk off the rib with the spoon...

I don't have much in the way of leftovers!
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
Tonight's culinary discovery: Remoulade sauce- usually partnered with seafood dishes like crab cakes or stuffed shrimp- works very well with smoked turkey. Probably could go with a nice ham, too.
 

Jan van Leyden

Adventurer
Yes, definitely so! Remoulade can be a nice accent for dishes without succinct spices. Try cooked potatoes with some butter, asparargus with some (not too much) Hollandaise and ham with a bit of Remoulade.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
Stop wishing and take a class somewhere! Cooking is learnable- I started @7 years old. Now I apply those lessons because of health issues.

Biggest hurdle is being wiling to try new things. Last night's discovery was mere chance. I had thawed some cabbage I cooked, as well as a smoked turkey leg bought at our church fair. My mom- with whom I was dining- was having cabbage partnered with crab cakes bought at Whole Foods grocery.

She remarked on the tanginess of the remoulade sauce- another WF product- and I tried it on my turkey...because that was what I had. It was an experience akin to the first time having prime rib at a steak house served with au jus and creamy horseradish.

Would do again.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
Soooo...I now have sort of gained a cooking student.

My cousin's wife has learned to do a couple of things over time, but she really wanted to learn certain key dishes. So she has started joining in the prep & cooking of meals now and again. Well, this weekend, she kinda took point on dinner, doing a pineapple-strawberry glazed ham (the one my aunt- her MiL- does) and a pot of mustard greens, with my aunt and I doing only @40% of the work on each dish. Not just showing & telling, but explaining why we do things a certain way.

Her ham came out a little less sweet than my aunt's usually does, but still quite good. And the mustard greens were a home run.

It was the best meal we'd had in a few days, and we let her know it.

This coming weekend, we'll be steaming a turkey...
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
Well, my student couldn't make it to it due to a scheduling conflict. Still...



Pictured: a 23.5lb steamed turkey after breast reduction surgery; whole garlic cloves, baby carrots, gross chopped red onions & green onions in mix of lemon juice, chicken stock, Pino Grigio, butter and turkey drippings; oyster dressing; mustard greens, rice.

Not pictured: ravenous familial horde.

My evening's immediate future: deboning turkey for storage and using carcass to make stock.
 

Dioltach

Adventurer
Last week we had friends round, so I took the day off and spent it in the kitchen. The first serious cooking I'd done since last Christmas.

I cured and cold-smoked some salmon, and served it as a starter with char-grilled gem lettuce and a lemon and dill espuma. The main was an Italian beef stew that was on the stove from 9am, served with home-made gnocchi. Dessert was chocolate mousse with candied (and ever-so-slightly salted) mint leaves and chantilly cream.
 

Dioltach

Adventurer
The salmon was particularly good: I'd been meaning to give it a go for a while, and last week I decided to make the time. In the end it didn't require much effort, and the result was amazing.

My problem was that I have a very fancy Demeyere smoking pan, but that's for hot smoking -- you need a bigger set-up for cold-smoking, because the salmon needs to be kept separate from the smoke, and placed on a rack over a bowl of ice. In the end I decided that my largest deep roasting tray would be big enough -- but then it wasn't quite big enough for the rack I wanted to use. So I improvised a rack out of skewers, which worked OK.

Apart from that, it took maybe 10 minutes the night before to prepare the cure (salt, sugar and tea leaves) and pack the salmon in it. The smoking itself took about an hour and a half.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
The salmon got my attention, but it was the beef stew & dessert that impressed me.

Still, nice improv on the salmon!
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
Well, the local restaurant where I was getting my fried artichoke hearts has closed. Now I can't make my vegetarian po-boys without driving at least another 1/2 hour.

Anybody have a clue on D.I.Y. fried artichoke hearts? I have never bought or cleaned an artichoke, and have only purchased pickled hearts for home use.
 

Scott DeWar

Prof. Emeritus-Supernatural Events/Countermeasure
I place the hearts and other pieces in
the garbage
[edit]gah! It don't work no mo![/edit]
 

Dioltach

Adventurer
Anybody have a clue on D.I.Y. fried artichoke hearts? I have never bought or cleaned an artichoke, and have only purchased pickled hearts for home use.
Sorry, never cooked artichoke hearts, but I'd definitely parboil them (or cook them in a water bath, of you have one) before frying them. Pretty much every recipe I have for artichokes also involves soaking them in a lemon juice and water mixture before cooking, presumably to retain their colour.

I had some friends round to watch the rugby yesterday and did a bit of light cooking. I smoked some more salmon, which was very well received, particularly with the lemon and dill espuma. I also baked some crab and apple cornmeal muffins, which would have been better if I'd used a little more crab meat and remembered to add ginger, and I made some Caribbean pumpkin fritters. The plan was to make thing ones and turn them into quesadillas with goat's cheese and coriander, but I couldn't get them thin and large enough. So in the end I just served the small fat ones, and no one complained.

Tomorrow I'm going to take the leftover pumpkin mash and make ravioli, with feta and coriander, them serve with a grilled chicken breast or veal, and make an orange and Cointrea sauce (or perhaps a foam).

(My wife will be visiting her parents in the Caribbean later this month, and I need to make sure she has a reason to come back. :) )
 

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