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Cookin again

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Balsamic vinegar s tend towards the sweet side. Malt vinegars are more tangy- hence the Brits use fo them with Fish & chips.* You need to take a small taste to figure out what you have there,

Perhaps I’ll join you in spirit by making a caprese style salad for dinner tonight. Tomatoes, mozzerella, EVOO, basi, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper are the classic ingredients, and I have all of that at my disposal. And I don’t need anything heavy...

* Damn it- haven’t had that in MONTHS! Mouth...watering...
 

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Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
...amusingly, my mozzarella was nearly frozen, somehow, so I made something “in the style of” a caprese.

Instead of the mozzarella, I used raclette. I used a basil infused EVOO instead of basil, and a white balsamic instead of dark. I added a bunch of diced green onion. Came out tasty!
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Just had the wife's favorite again. Spiced chicken, rice, salad, hummus. Two nights in a row had no pita so used naan.

Looks like I'll have to try that bottle.

Nvrmind its for others.
 


Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Tried this recipe tonight:

I did have to make a couple changes- see below- but the overall result was happy people at the dinner table. Very flavorful, fairly simple, and it is flexible enough to alter for personal tastes.

The main changes I made:

1) I stretched the recipe to feed 4.

2) I used akkawi cheese instead of mozzarella. Akkawi is an Israeli cheese that is similar to mozzarella, but is firmer and saltier, with a slightly stronger flavor.

3) I had some excess spinach, so I chiffonaded it and added it to the sauce. I also added sliced portobello mushroom. Buttons might have worked better, but they definitely worked.

4) the balsamic vinegar I used was a white balsamic- not as sweet as some of the darker ones.

5) I used some HUMONGOUS boneless, skinless chicken breasts. It was what I had on hand- my aunt got them $1.40/lb at Sam’s- but THAT was almost a critical error. I understand the temptation, but smaller breasts would have been easier to cook properly- these were so big (seemingly almost turkey sized) that I was having trouble cooking them through properly. So the next time I do this or anything like it, I’m either using smaller breasts or pounding the big ones flat.

6) I didn’t add the sauce to the breasts in pan. Instead, I plated the breasts, deglazed the pan, and added that to the sauce pan. Then the sauce was spooned onto the breasts. That let the color and seasoning stay on the meat.
 

abe ray

Explorer
My take on Shepard’s pie:mash po hash!
take 1/2 pound of any kind of ground meat, 2-3 slices of any kind of cheese, 1/2 pound of mashed potatoes & 2-4 tablespoons of any kind of herbs/spices.
brown meat, drain fat into a paper towel. Add other ingredients, warm through. Serve warm in the skillet used to cook it in.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
Tried this recipe tonight:

I did have to make a couple changes- see below- but the overall result was happy people at the dinner table. Very flavorful, fairly simple, and it is flexible enough to alter for personal tastes.

I'll have to look into akkawi cheese. I don't expect it to be cheaper, but variety-spice-life and all-a-that.

Also, I'm not surprised you had issues dealing with larger than normal (or larger than the recipe expected, at least) chicken breasts. I might be more likely to cut them into smaller pieces than to flatten them, but that's partially a preference thing and partially that I don't own a meat-pounding-tool (though I could probably use a skillet if need arises).

Also-also, I'm all about making the sauce in the pan with the meat out of it. It's even how I do sawmill gravy (I gather that's at least not universal).
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
I'll have to look into akkawi cheese. I don't expect it to be cheaper, but variety-spice-life and all-a-that.

Also, I'm not surprised you had issues dealing with larger than normal (or larger than the recipe expected, at least) chicken breasts. I might be more likely to cut them into smaller pieces than to flatten them, but that's partially a preference thing and partially that I don't own a meat-pounding-tool (though I could probably use a skillet if need arises).

Also-also, I'm all about making the sauce in the pan with the meat out of it. It's even how I do sawmill gravy (I gather that's at least not universal).
It was more the thickness than anything else that caused the potential issue. As I finished pan frying one side, I could see inside the pocket where the spinach and cheese was nestled and perceive that some of the chicken was still not done cooking. I started worrying that the outside would be overcooked while the middle would still be underdone.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
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It was more the thickness than anything else that caused the potential issue. As I finished pan frying one side, I could see inside the pocket where the spinach and cheese was nestled and perceive that some of the chicken was still not done cooking. I started worrying that the outside would be overcooked while the middle would still be underdone.

These are stuffed (I really need to look at recipes before talking about them :unsure:)? Then I guess I probably would have tossed the breasts into an oven to finish cooking while I made the sauce in the pan. That's what I normally do with pork chops (especially thicker ones) or boneless chicken (I prefer thighs, because they're more forgiving).
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
These are stuffed (I really need to look at recipes before talking about them :unsure:)? Then I guess I probably would have tossed the breasts into an oven to finish cooking while I made the sauce in the pan. That's what I normally do with pork chops (especially thicker ones) or boneless chicken (I prefer thighs, because they're more forgiving).
Yeah, stuffed.
And sometimes, I do just as you say you do. But my oven was already full of something else, so it was absolutely not an option.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
Yeah. It's easy to suggest, but it's easy to have all the ovens full. It's one of the reasons I'm glad this house came with a double oven.
 


Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
I might also try their egg trick the next time I make avgolemono. I have usually made mine more traditionally, and like they say, adding the egg can be a time of uncertainty. Their trick looks more foolproof.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
The upside to recipes from America's Test Kitchen (or the associated magazines) is that the recipes are very likely to work. They did go through a stretch a few years ago when it seemed there wasn't any recipe they couldn't make more complicated (either by adding steps or by adding very specific ingredients) but it looks as though they're mostly past that, and I'm glad I re-started the magazines. I also tend to treat their recipes as starting points and adjust, but that's in the nature of cooking and recipes.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Yeah, I‘m mainly looking for tricks and techniques from ATK, etc., more than actual recipes. I want to improve what I do, not necessarily change what I do. ATK vids can show me what steps are tripping me up.

Their duck-fat roasted potatoes is a killer. The main things I change are:

1) I use bacon or beef fat instead of duck fat (can’t find duck fat easily). I tried veggie oils, and for whatever reason, they don’t work nearly as well.

2) I use slightly different seasoning

3) I use mini Yukon golds and don’t peel them.

 
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prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
Yeah, I‘m mainly looking for tricks and techniques from ATK, etc., more than actual recipes. I want to improve what I do, not necessarily change what I do. ATK vids can show me what steps are tripping me up.

Their duck-fat roasted potatoes is a killer. The main things I change are:

1) I use bacon or beef fat instead of duck fat (can’t find duck fat easily). I tried veggie oils, and for whatever reason, they don’t work nearly as well.

2) I use slightly different seasoning

3) I use mini Yukon golds and don’t peel them.


I roast potatoes a little differently from that, but that's a pretty solid-looking recipe. We could find duck fat in stores around here, pre-pandemic, but we're in the megalopolis, right between DC and Baltimore, so things are easy for us to find, most of the time.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
I roast potatoes a little differently from that, but that's a pretty solid-looking recipe. We could find duck fat in stores around here, pre-pandemic, but we're in the megalopolis, right between DC and Baltimore, so things are easy for us to find, most of the time.
I’m in the D/FW Metroplex- not exactly small town America. It’s here...somewhere. Just never seen it.

FWIW, I, too, have other tater recipes. But that one has repeatedly proven itself.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
I’m in the D/FW Metroplex- not exactly small town America. It’s here...somewhere. Just never seen it.

FWIW, I, too, have other tater recipes. But that one has repeatedly proven itself.

I knew you were in Texas--or I thought I did--but Texas covers a lot of ground, and I didn't want to presume you were in urban Texas.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
As the lockdown continues, I’ve been uncovering and using all kinds of treasures I’ve found in the pantry. Tonight, it was some kind of foo-foo BBQ sauces and a jar of bourbon peaches.

The BBQ sauces were very tasty, though a little thinner than I prefer. Overall, I’d consider getting them again...if I can find them. But they’re not so good they I’m going on an intense hunt.

The bourbon peaches, OTOH, were perfection. I’m not a fan of peaches- they’re OK, but nothing I seek out- and I tried them on som vanilla ice cream with pecan halves. The blend was spot on. You could taste the bourbon, but it didn’t dominate. The peaches remained the main flavor note. I would definitely buy them again for myself or as a good food gift.

Unfortunately...They’re labeled as being from a small town in TX that isn’t far from me, but I have no recollection of visiting. The “Farm Made Products” on the label doesn’t seem to actually be a brand name. IOW, I may not be able to find these things again without going on a road trip.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
So I tried my freebie garlic scapes today.

I cut off the head and 1/4in of the base, discarding them. I then sliced it into little rounds, like I’d do with green onions.

I tasted one raw- it was mildly garlicky with a finishing flavor & spiciness that reminded me of green bell pepper.

I then incorporated some into an omelette. The flavor was not much altered by cooking, and worked well in the dish. That bell pepper flavor could come in handy if you‘re cooking for people who have issues with that veg, like my parents.*

I noticed one other thing: scapes have a texture more like asparagus than green onion, so they retained a certain firm crunchiness when cooked.

I don’t think I’ll be buying lots of them in the future, but I will be buying SOME. They’re a nice change of pace. I think you could use them in place of- or along with- green onions, asparagus, or possibly even green beans for many recipes.



* It’s not the heat they can’t take, it’s something about the pepper itself that upsets their stomachs. Whatever that is thankfully passed me by.
 

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