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Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member

Shrimp Creole on bed of Mediterranean rice; green bean macque choux; ham, lamb chop; Mediterranean ground meat & spinach; dolma (meat stuffed grape leaf)

Not pictured- because I couldn’t eat any more- roast beef; spanakopita; sweet potatoes; deviled eggs; bread pudding
 


Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Dolmas an aquired taste but I've only had it stuffed with rice. Don't mind a little bit but can't eat a lot.

Imported lamb?
No way of knowing for sure. I cooked the shrimp and the beans, and we decided to get everything else from local restaurants (or relatives). When I picked up the order, the owner threw them in for free!

Don’t know why he did, but we have always been on pretty friendly terms.

Going to reciprocate the gesture by giving him some of our family’s hot sausage spice mix. He‘s got access to a halal butcher in his grocery, so I bet he’ll get a kick out of it.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
No way of knowing for sure. I cooked the shrimp and the beans, and we decided to get everything else from local restaurants (or relatives). When I picked up the order, the owner threw them in for free!

Don’t know why he did, but we have always been on pretty friendly terms.

Going to reciprocate the gesture by giving him some of our family’s hot sausage spice mix. He‘s got access to a halal butcher in his grocery, so I bet he’ll get a kick out of it.

It's how I tried dolma first time. Throw in at Turkish kebab place.

Eating leftovers. Trifle with white chocolate coated black cherries.

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Sponge cake, custard, jelly/jello, cream, fruit.
 



Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
On the first day of Leftovers, I made this plate for Mom...


“Creole” roast beef & gravy and Lebanese garlic spread on toasted Ciabatta roll
Tabouli
Babaganoush
Tostitos
 

Vael

Hero
So, for Christmas, I made a Yule Log for my parents and myself. After the last attempt, over a year ago, to do a jelly roll style cake failed, I decided to try again. And this year, I succeeded.

The base cake is a chocolate sponge cake. The filling is chocolate mousse, which is why, although I managed a good, tight swirl, it didn't photograph well. And finally, I iced the cake with a chocolate swiss meringue buttercream frosting. The first time I've made such a frosting, and I was delighted by the result. The one slight mistep was I did attempt to make meringue mushrooms as decorations, but the stocks fell over and all the meringues were overbaked.
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Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
You ever make a dish you’ve made dozens if not hundreds of times before and somehow just did it somuch better than usual that you dont know what the hell you changed that made it better? I’ve done that a few times, and the latest was that shrimp creole.

Honestly, this batch came out as the best version I can remember doing, and I’m just wracking my brain. It could be as simple as getting better ingredients than usual, or a subtle change I don’t even realize I made.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
You ever make a dish you’ve made dozens if not hundreds of times before and somehow just did it somuch better than usual that you dont know what the hell you changed that made it better? I’ve done that a few times, and the latest was that shrimp creole.

Honestly, this batch came out as the best version I can remember doing, and I’m just wracking my brain. It could be as simple as getting better ingredients than usual, or a subtle change I don’t even realize I made.
It's probably not so subtle as that, but our Christmas dinner was a pot roast recipe I have using coffee as a primary ingredient in the braise. When I was picking up the meat Tuesday, the chuck roasts didn't look all that awesome, but they had boneless short ribs (effectively chuck steaks). More of the fat was on the outside of the meat, and much more of it seemed to render out--there weren't but chunks of fat the way there usually are (we usually shred our pot roasts and eat them as sandwiches). The batch on Christmas was subtly better than usual, and like you we aren't sure what the difference is.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Been thinking about my creole. I’m sure the ingredients played a big role in the differences.

For example, I added 2 containers of freshly sliced San Marzanos to the canned diced tomatoes. That’s new in all ways, and probably the biggest difference. I’ve only had access to fresh SMs for a couple years, and I don’t recall using fresh tomatoes in the dish before.

I used a different white wine, one that wasn’t as dry as I usually use. I was actually concerned that it might be too sweet, but the sauce was nicely balanced.

I used larger shrimp than in the past, a trend in much of my cooking because of the way they interact with sauces. Some were almost the thickness of my index finger. And these were “EZ Peel” style- the tail and shell were still on, but they were split and deveined. That meant the sauce benefited from the flavors in the shell without being too much of a headache for the diner.

My roux was between dark caramel and milk chocolate in color, which is darker than I usually use for this dish.

And finally, my chicken stock was essentially just the drippings from making my dog’s food. She’s on a low-fat diet, so I’m buying boneless, skinless chicken breasts* and roasting them. The drippings from 10lbs of those was perfect for this.





* at $0.92/lb, it’s a lot cheaper than the specialty dog food prescribed by the vet, and is-according to him- perfectly fine for her.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
One of the simplest morsels you can get in an Italian restaurant is a good bread dipped in seasoned olive oil. Not too many variables, and besides the bread itself, probably the biggest is the oil itself. I’ve been trying for YEARS to find a good one for use at home, with only sporadic success. Every time I found a worthy bottle, it would disappear from grocery stores when I tried to buy a replacement.

Well, I finally found one I probably don’t have to worry too much about disappearing because it’s made by a local farmer. I had been buying their infused oils for uses in salads, vinaigrettes and the like, but I finally tried their “Limited Reserve”. From bite #1 of my bread, that “fruity” flavor of an olive oil meant to stand alone was present.

I also found out from our closest middle eastern restaurant/grocery that turmeric is the key ingredient in his oh-so-excellent golden rice. Pretty much what I thought, but nice to have confirmation. Now I can try some of those recipes I’ve been looking at with a bit more confidence l
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Finally got to make fried chicken again, after years of not wanting to due to my tiny kitchen, and the amount of counter space I use to make it how I want it.

Spice rubbed the chicken tenders, cayenne, turmeric, oregano, basil, salt, pepper. Did that first, so it could sit at room temp with the spice rub for a while.
Made pancake batter from a box, because it was already getting late and I didn't want to add steps that weren't needed, but I added a small half-spoonful of raw honey to the mix.
Mixed breadcrumbs with powdered ritz crackers, and the same spice mix used on the chicken.

Set up the counter at my girlfriend's place, stove (with plate for finished pieces on an unused burner)>breadcrumbs>pancake batter>buttermilk filled baking pan, deep enough to soak fully submerged and wide enough to fit several tenders at a time>cutting board full of spiced chicken tenders. Thus the need for counterspace. I've seen others do simpler systems, with fewer steps and less space needed, but nah. I'd rather friend chicken be a rare treat than change my system.

So, between the ritz and spice mix in the breadcrumbs, and the spice rub on the chicken, and the honey in the batter, this was the best batch of friend chicken I've ever made.

The final 5 pieces were just for me and my girlfriend. OUr other partners are lightweights when it comes to spice. Her other partner felt like the main batch was spicy! ANyway, the small batch, I added habenero salt to the spice rub, and used cayenne and turmeric to redden the batter, and put all extra cayenne and turmeric, and a good dash of the habenero salt, in the breadcrumbs. Still not actually hot, but damn did it sizzle nicely on the tongue.

The ladies made rice and steamed broccoli and cauliflower to go with it, and we had some ciders with the meal and watched Fiddler on The Roof. A day well spent. And I've got leftover chicken, because I made 3lbs of it for no good reason!
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
We've also had a pottage going for about 2 months, and are finally ready to stop adding things and be done with it. Thinking about baking a loaf of bread with it.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
New Year’s Day buffet, 2 views:


Deviled eggs, pork tamales with salsa & chili, fig preserves, cherry preserves, mixed nuts, pecan crackers, Ritz crackers, Finnish bread-cheese, spanakopita, Genoa salami, prosciutto, castelvetrano olives, artichoke hearts, herbed D’affinois cheese, Edam cheese, akkawi cheese, Lebanese garlic spread, Dijon mustard, BBQ sauce, cabbage, black eyed peas, collard greens

Not pictured: veggie tray, fruit tray, 7-Up cake

Also not pictured, our sole guest, who had to cancel.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
While running errands today, stopped at my local Burmese place and tried something new. I’ve eaten there a few times during the pandemic, and Trve been hyping them to all my local friends, so the whole family is always happy to see me.:D

So far, every meal I’ve had there has kicked ass, so I feel comfortable going outside of my culinary comfort zone there. I try something new every few visits. Today, it was pork & pumpkin stew. Why is that outside of my zone? Well, I eat very little pumpkin- maybe a couple slices of pie a year. I don’t HATE it, I just think almost everything else tastes better. 🤷

This stew changed my perceptions. In this dish, pumpkin isn’t tolerated, I enjoyed it! Visually, it’s mostly what you’d expect: chunks of meat & veg in a thick brownish fluid, served with rice. It was topped with a garnish of some of the finest bean sprouts I’ve ever seen. They were so tiny, I didn’t recognize them for what they were. The meat was perfectly cooked, melt in your mouth texture in bite sized chunks. The sauce was thiiiiiiiiicccck. And the pumpkin? Imagine the typical chunks of potato replaced with some slightly sweet chunks of pumpkin. I was surprised that the sweetness was subtle, contrasting but not clashing with the savory meat & gravy.

I squeegeed my damn bowl!

They make the stew with other meats or as a vegetarian dish as well, so I definitely have something else to look forward to.

Bonus: I had about a third of my rice left, so I asked if I could have a little fish sauce or something to flavor it up a bit. I was given a small (3-4oz) bowl of their coconut beef! Also tasty, also perfectly cooked.

I think they’re trying to adopt me...
 


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