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Cookin again

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I recently watched a couple of videos in doing chicken soup in a pressure cooker- including one from ATK- and I’m really going to have to give it a go.

Weird. I mean, ATK also tells us that a decent chicken broth only takes two hours normally. How much can you actually save with a pressure cooker.
 

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Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
I don't own a pressure cooker at this point. In principle I'm willing to be convinced, but I'm neither running into the sorts of problems it solves nor sure where I'd store it. I do stew-type soups (mostly bean stews and chilis) in the oven, simply because the oven is better at maintaining a constant low temperature. Pot roasts and baked beans, too, for the same reason.

The only chicken soup I make (and it's been a while since I've made it) is one that's a riff on a beer and onion soup recipe. The major logistical hurdle for that beer is that it requires one 12-oz. bottle of beer, and my wife and I are both beer nerds and we consume beer in twos. I suppose we could double the recipe, but that'd be a lot of soup.
Pressure cookers can do certain things much more quickly than other cooking tools, sometimes shaving hours off of a recipe. That could transform a once in a while dish to a week night fave. Low & slow can become low and reasonably quick.

For similar reasons, they‘re also good for making stocks or similar dishes when you’re using bone-in meats. They’ll extract more flavor from the meat, bones and connective tissues than conventional means- again, in less time.
 



Vael

Hero
Pressure cooking is how we now make our beans. We still do an overnight soak, but after many failures slow cooking them (getting either beans that were too mushy or too hard), the pressure cooker gives us the best consistency.

So, I lost my job in the pandemic, and have been thinking about selling baked goods on the side as a way to make a little cash, and if it takes off ...

And, I'd mentionned before I wanted to take another crack at Pâte à Choux (choux pastry) ... so I made Cream Puffs and Éclairs. Obviously, I need to work on consistent sizing and clean piping if I'm to sell these, but after the spectacular failure that was my last effort, I'm pretty darned pleased with these.
 

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Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Sorry to hear about the job.

Bright side: your pastry looks tasty! I’m from NOLA, but haven’t lived there for most of my life. And with Katrina forcing most of my family to relocate, I haven’t been back in years.

One of the things I miss most is the baked goods & pastry. NOLA was riddled with bakeries. One fave were the chocolate éclairs, and few places outside of Louisiana do them the way they were done there: with chocolate- not vanilla- filling.

I don’t know what it’s like where you are, but if you’re one of the few-or only- bakers doing a chocolate filled chocolate éclair, it could be something that makes your products stand out from the crowd!
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
A couple days ago, I cooked omelettes with a side of butter-sautéed zucchini & onions. The side dish was, unfortunately, under seasoned, so I had plenty of leftovers.

Today, I was looking to have a light lunch, and I remembered the zucch...and had an idea. I dished some into a bowl with a little more butter and zapped them in the microwave for 60-90sec. Then I shredded three pieces of the thinly sliced Genoa salami I had just gotten yesterday, and popped it all in the mic for another 30sec.

A little twist of freshly ground pepper and a quick stir...

All the issues with my veg being under seasoned disappeared. It was actually quite tasty. It wasn’t pretty, though. It looked exactly like what it is: something a bachelor threw together. But it was good.

I’ll probably do this combo again to work on finishing the leftovers, but I‘m not sure what to do with what I learned today. I mean, I don’t know if I could serve this as an intentional dish in the future, tasty though it was.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member

That’s rotisserie chicken drizzled with mesquite smoked olive oil, served with a side of diced Yukon golds baked with butter, chives, parsley, black pepper, salt, and shredded truffle gouda.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
That’s rotisserie chicken drizzled with mesquite smoked olive oil, served with a side of diced Yukon golds baked with butter, chives, parsley, black pepper, salt, and shredded truffle gouda.

Clearly you came into some truffle gouda. I can see how it would play nicely, here.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Yes, yes I did. Bought a huge freaking wedge of it and have been gluttonizing the thing all week. :D The potatoes forced me to share...some of it.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
We had a cold snap here -12, -8 type cold.

Friday night bring a plate.

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Two breads, chilli cauliflower cheese, lasagne, potato something, pasta salad, garlic bread.

What's a salad?

Our plate was an apple crumble for desert with French vanilla icecream.

And a boring breakfast

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Got sick of oats in lockdown but now it's cold hit oats not bad. Fruit salad, pear, peach, cherry, grape, pineapple on corn flakes.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Large piles of rice, pasta, cereal and milk powder to use up. Made a potato bake with left over bits and pieces.

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Very rarely eat pork or sausages but it's been sub zero here.

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Plated with pigs in blankets (sausages in bread). Grilled onions, US ketchup, sweet chilli sauce.

Carb overload.

Any suggestions for 20kg (44 pounds approx)odd of rice to use up over the next year?
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Rice?

One of the great things about rice is it is something you can store it up to 30 years, given the right containers, temp & humidity. So you’ve got that advantage working for you.

And since most rice is (relatively) mild in flavor, it’s a perfect flavor delivery system and bulk additive for all kinds of cuisines, in all kinds of dishes, from appetizers to main courses, to sides to desserts.

(Of course, not every rice works for every purpose.)

In my home cuisine (Creole/Cajun), rice is commonly paired with beans & gumbos, and sometimes, we just serve it with butter. It is also the basis for jambalaya, which itself is very similar to African jollof. (Probably evolved from it.).

The southern staple of beef pot roast in a brown gravy is most commonly served with mashed potatoes (typically with the same brown gravy), but it works just as well with rice.

Sometimes, I eat a little rice I prepare sort of sushi style (it’s not actual sushi rice), flavored with a little vinegar, sugar soy sauce and green onion as a light meal or side.

The Spanish have paella. Risottos come in all kinds of flavors. Stir fries are similarly flexible.

Rice is a common ingredient in stuffed peppers all around the world.

Rice is a perfectly acceptable substitute for noodles in many soups, especially chicken soups. Around here, you sometimes find a Mexican chicken soup with avocados and rice instead of the usual tortilla soup.

Rice puddings are tasty, if you like that kind of thing. (I do.) Rice cakes are an option.

I’m planning in learning how to make turmeric butter rice...which is almost as simple as it’s name. This also intrigues me:
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Yeah I'm a fan of Arabic)Persian rice dishes. Preaching to the converted there.

Wife's not a fan of gumbo, she didn't like it that much when I bought it from the expat shop here.

She likes Indian so thinking of doing some if those dishes. Generally she also likes Turkish/middle eastern food as long as it's not to spicy.

I'm happy eating a hot Vindaloo.

Guess who has to eat most of this?

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Pasta, rice, suger, flour etc. That's only some of the emergency supply. She'll eat it if she has to. Otherwise it can be hard lol.
 
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Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
I’ve almost never used milk powder, but I was watching something with a celebrity chef- Alton Brown, maybe- where it was crucial.

If I can find it, I’ll post it.

Remembered & found it! It’s his recipe for cocoa powder. He hasn’t changed it much over the past decade or so, but crucially, he actually toasts the milk powder these days.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
My wife uses milk powder as part of making yogurt. I think I've seen Alton Brown use it in instant cocoa mix or maybe his pre-mix pancake mix (where he mixes dry ingredients ahead of time).
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I’ve almost never used milk powder, but I was watching something with a celebrity chef- Alton Brown, maybe- where it was crucial.

If I can find it, I’ll post it.

Remembered & found it! It’s his recipe for cocoa powder. He hasn’t changed it much over the past decade or so, but crucially, he actually toasts the milk powder these days.

Made up a litre last night. Used it in the potato bake and a hot chocolate. 3 teaspoons of hot chocolate, 1 of coffee.

Wife won't drink it but oh well.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
I made a nifty casserole tonight: rotini pasta, Ground beef, Louisiana hot sausage, onions, portobello mushrooms garlic, spinach, 3 kinds of diced tomatoes (2 fresh, 1 canned), fresh parsley, oregano, chives, mozzarella, akkawi, crushed Ritz crackers and a tomato sauce from William Sonoma.

The results were pretty good, but there were things that could be improved:.

1) as commonly happens when I experiment, I under seasoned things a bit because most of the people in the house can’t handle a lot of spice. So I erred on the light side. Most of the seasoning came from the sausage and the sauce, but with a 1lb to 3lb sausage to ground beef ratio, it just wasn’t enough. Still, it was tasty, and that’s the most important part.

2) Akkawi is a lot like a firmer, stringer flavored mozzarella, but it doesn’t melt nearly as well. Instead of becoming a gooey topping embedded with crunchy crackers, it formed cheesy-armored rectangles. So next time, the akkawi will be shredded or diced instead of merely sliced. In addition, I think the addition of a good Parmesan could add some nice complexity of flavor.

3) it was VERY awkward to plate. All those ingredients combined into a dense, deep casserole that tried to disintegrate as soon as it left the confines of the pan. I could probably have better results using at least 1lb less ground beef. I might also try to combine the sauce and some other ingredients in such a way as to actually bind with the beef. And using a lasagna-style pasta might help as well.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
That sounds good. I wonder if even swapping the rotini for something like farfalle (bowties) would make for more stability, if you didn't have (or want to use) lasagna.

Also, I feel you on cooking for someone with a different sensitivity/preference for heat. I'm not a masochist about it, but I like a fair bit of heat; my wife is much more sensitive. Often, I'll be wishing for a little more zip while she's just about at her limit. I could season my own stuff at the table, but I kinda don't like seasoning at the table (which I realize is me).
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Tomorrow, I’m not so much cooking as getting some stuff to assemble food (bagels & shmears), as well as some good old Louisiana-style fried seafood from a place that does it right...so I don’t have to.

Getting the bagels because Mom asked for some lox, and where there’s LoS, there must be something to eat it on/in/with. Since a good bagel is classic AND something mom likes, the choice was simple. But everyone ate the bagels with other stuff before I got to the salmon, so I need to get more.

We’re getting the seafood to celebrate Father’s Day- Dad mentioned in passing he hadn’t had an oyster po-boy in a while. Easy enough to make happen...except the place I’m going isn’t open on Sunday. And getting it tomorrow means I‘ll avoid the Saturday lunch rush.
 

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