This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
  • LibraryThing
  • Book discussions
  • Your LibraryThing
  • Join to start using.

More -- continuing the food and cooking thread

This is a continuation of the topic A new food and cooking thread.

This topic was continued by More -- continuing the food and cooking thread.

The Green Dragon

Join LibraryThing to post.

Jul 16, 2015, 5:26pm Top

Here you go, hfglen! A bright and shiny new thread.

Jul 16, 2015, 5:26pm Top

Here you go, hfglen! A bright and shiny new thread.

Jul 16, 2015, 5:54pm Top

>2 jillmwo:
Now it's been used, but still has that new thread smell.

Jul 16, 2015, 5:58pm Top

*snicker* *snort* Somebody, post a menu!

Edited: Jul 16, 2015, 6:13pm Top

My wife made a family recipe book as a wedding present for a niece a couple of years. She collected favorites from a very large number of relatives. I helped with the editing and formatting so I had to add something even though I'm not a cook. (We just say I can warm up a variety of items)

Frito Pie

1 Can Hormel Chili™ (Home Style with Beans)
1 Bag of Fritos™ corn chips

Open can of chili and place in shallow bowl or deep plate. Microwave until hot. Cover with corn chips.

Note: This is a great meal for when there is no real cook around.

Jul 16, 2015, 6:44pm Top

>5 suitable1: Brilliant!

My current non-PGGB drink recipe:

-Place 3 lemon-ginger and 3 earl grey tea bags into a gallon jug of water (you'll have to remove a tiny bit and drink it to make room for six teabags).

-Add 12 packets of Stevia (more or less to taste).

-Let sit in direct sunlight for no more than a half hour, occasioally shaking it gently (letting it sit too long runs the risk of bacterial growth).

-Refrigerate for the rest of the day (say something in parenthesis).

-Pour over ice and ENJOY! (:>)

I don't add lemon slices (wash before slicing) because i like this balance of flavor, but you can vary this any way you like, from changing the tea bag ratio to addig lemon/lime, or whatever.

Twinigs now has cold-brew tea bags in various flavors, Lipton does too, but so far I haven't seen them in decaf.

Alternately, you can make the tea hot, add the Stevia, let it sit to cool a bit, add a lot of ice, and there ya go, but I like the Sun Tea method.

Jul 16, 2015, 9:08pm Top

>6 mrgrooism: I've been playing with simple syrups (which would NOT work for you if you are on a sugar-free plan). We love to use them in our sun tea. Me, I just use up any flavored tea bags we have which we don't like hot. It's almost always good cold, although I don't really like the Chai hot or cold.

Nice thing about the syrups is, they made a great additive for gin and carbonated water, too!

Jul 17, 2015, 2:04am Top

>7 MrsLee: Yeah, herbal iced teas are great, I'll mix them with an earl grey or something for a little more body. The lemon and ginger combo is just my latest obsession.

Funny thing is, if I drink any bottled iced teas, or get iced tea in a restaurant, I usually have to dilute it with water, it tends to be too strong for me.

Jul 17, 2015, 4:18am Top

>2 jillmwo: Thank you, Jill! Let me add the curry recipe from Damão for MrsLee. I think she'll find it at least as tasty as the chili pie.


1 kg chicken or kid (the goat kind) cut in pieces; 1 teaspoon fennel seeds; 1 head of garlic; a piece of ginger of 3 cm; 3 green chillies; 3 dry chillies; 10 peppercorns; 1 teaspoon "saffron-of-the-indies" (turmeric to you and me); 10 cloves; 1 large wood of cinnamon; 1 small bunch of cilantro; 3 chopped onions; 1/2 bunch of chopped cilantro; juice of 2 lemons.

All the spices, 1/2 head of garlic and 1 branch of green cilantro are ground together, all very fine.

A soffrito is made with the oil, onions and remaining garlic. When the soffrito is golden, the meat is laid on it, the pot is closed and make it to simmer on a low fire. When the meat is cooked, the lemon juice and the chopped leaves of cilantro are added and, if desired, some rounds of tomato.

The pot is closed and allowed to simmer during a few minutes.

Jul 17, 2015, 9:47am Top

>9 hfglen: Mmmmmm, I would love to try that with goat, but it is very hard to find around here. Just when is the curry/spice mixture added to the above? In my head, either the meat would be rubbed with it and marinated a bit, or it would be added to the hot oil and cooked a bit before the onions and remaining garlic are added?

Jul 17, 2015, 9:54am Top

>10 MrsLee: You have a point. I added it to the oil-and-onions with the meat, but using it as a marinade would work too. I used mutton, which worked a treat. Or would have if I'd been able to evaporate off the water I'd used to wash the spice mix out of the blender.

Jul 17, 2015, 11:07am Top

This is a favorite at our house. A Pacific Northwest dish from when I lived in Washington State.
Simple and delicious!

Toss smoked salmon and fresh snow peas with hot linguini and enough olive oil and melted butter to coat the pasta.
Add lots of fresh parmesan/romano, salt and pepper.

Use dry smoked salmon, flaked or small chunks. (not the lox type).
I just barely blanch the snow peas by placing them in the colander before I dump in the cooked linguin to drain.

My Fresh Market has really good dry smoked salmon, pricey but this doesn't require a whole lot.

Jul 18, 2015, 9:47pm Top

Made another trip to two Farmer's Markets today. The following are the dishes made today.

Peach Salsa I learned what happens when you chop tear-inducing onions, then rinse your eyes out with hands which were chopping a jalapeño without first washing said hands with soap. Do not try this at home friends. I felt like my face/eyes were on fire. Really. OUCH Salsa was very good.

Baked Pesto Fish and Rice Used leftover sorrel pesto, mixed with jasmine rice and chicken broth. Added frozen cod, baked for about 40 minutes, removed cod, simmered on stove a bit longer because broth had been slightly frozen when the dish went in the oven, so the rice hadn't cooked. This is the epitome of comfort food.

Roasted summer squash with onions, roasted mushrooms with spinach, and crookneck squash lightly cooked with butter. Yum.

Made more pesto, basil this time, enough to freeze half.

Egg Foo Young - Used pea, buckwheat and sunflower sprouts, mixed with raw eggs, cilantro, salt & pepper. Sauteed shitake mushrooms, ginger, garlic, green onions, and a little fresh cabbage. Cooled that and mixed with sprouts and eggs. Fried into patties, topped with pork gravy. Gravy was made from the drippings of a pork roast (purchased so I could roast it and get drippings for the gravy), soy sauce, gin (I don't have sake), fish sauce and corn starch.

I saved all the trimmings from the various veggies today, a bit of leftover chicken broth, the bone from the pork roast and some other stuff, made broth which is now simmering small white beans, to which I will add the one last sausage & veggies from last week (ground up) and some goat meat pepperoni (ground) which I purchased today.

I also washed a bagful of lettuce. This is no small task and I'm not sure I'm dedicated enough to buy it again at Farmer's Market. It took 3-4 washings, at which point I gave up and decided any bugs left would be added protein. All water from washing various veggies went into the garden for my parched plants.

Still have to make blue cheese dressing tonight. Tomorrow I will cut up watermelon and cucumber and fry chicken. That will get us through the next week, and probably a bit more. It all depends on whether my son decides to eat my food or eat out.

Made a gin fizzy drink with some of my blackberry syrup and I am done. So tired.

Jul 19, 2015, 3:38am Top

>13 MrsLee: Ooooh blackberry gin fizzy! *Sits up and bats puppy-eyes*

Jul 19, 2015, 7:32am Top

>13 MrsLee: , unless you''re showing up on my doorstep this morning, my dear, you'll have to share the recipe for the gin fizzes, what with Sunday brunch being the festive occasion it is and all.

Jul 19, 2015, 10:00am Top

MrsLee delivers?

Jul 19, 2015, 10:32am Top

>14 mrgrooism: & >15 jillmwo: With reservations, I will share what I did. The reservation is that I didn't love the flavor. Possibly I didn't use enough sugar? Or perhaps there is something else awry.

I made blackberry syrup using about 1-2 c. blackberries (sorry, didn't measure since some of them were only fit for the compost, I lost track), 1/4 c. sugar (I did measure that), 1/2 c. water and lemon juice from 1/2 lemon. Brought this to a boil in a saucepan, stirring a bit here and there. Simmered for about 20 minutes, until it seemed a bit thicker than water. Could have gone a bit longer I think, but I was in a hurry to get to work. Strained mixture through a sieve. Cooled the syrup.

1-2 T. blackberry syrup
gin-to your taste
carbonated water poured over, a quick mix and Bob's your uncle. Especially if you put enough gin in, then anyone is your uncle. I also tried crushing mint leaves in agave nectar, then adding the syrup. Still not very impressed. Probably lots of people would prefer vodka.

I think I may be a gin and tonic girl. Or excellent gin over ice girl. That works too. Or a dirty martini girl. Anyway, I don't seem to like fruitiness in my cocktails.

>16 suitable1: If they would ever get the cobwebs out of the old teleporter, I would deliver!

Jul 20, 2015, 12:36am Top

>17 MrsLee: I love a good gin and tonic on the rocks, it's a great summer drink!

Edited: Jul 20, 2015, 1:31am Top

>17 MrsLee: have you tried adding the blackberry syrup to the G&T?

I'm making blackcurrent juice from frozen blackcurrents with my steam juicer, mostly to get them out of the freezer so I can put more Saskatoon berries in. I tried a bit to drink, and it is tart, but tasty. I may try adding it to a gin and tonic instead of lime or lemon. If nothing else, it will be a lovely colour!

My Saskatoon berries are having a bumper crop. I've already got 4 large bags in the freezer, and there are lots more on the bushes. The birds are eating lots, and so are the neighbourhood kids. So far a few friends have come over and picked, too.

Edited to add - I realized while I was writing this that I froze all the berries I picked today, and didn't leave any for breakfast so I had to run out and pick a few more before it got too dark.

Jul 20, 2015, 1:51am Top

Anybody around here grow huckleberries?

Jul 23, 2015, 2:07pm Top

>20 Meredy: No, but somebody in the Midlands grows blueberries commercially.

Jul 23, 2015, 2:16pm Top

The Commissariat produced pork chops to be grilled this evening. Jollied up with a sauce from To the King's Taste, a modern redaction of the 14th-century Forme of Cury. I made a Bantingized variant of Sawse Galyntyne, which was apparently served with pork fillet at the coronation dinner of Henry IV in 1399. Here's how:

1/3 cup coconut flour -- Mediaeval version was crumbs of bread crust
1 teaspoon powdered galingale
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1 cup stock
2 tablespoons vinegar

If you make it with coconut flour and that much liquid you will end up with one giant lump, so throw in a cup of water as well. Simmer gently; stirring until smooth, the continue simmering till it reduces to the thickness you want. Add salt to taste.

Jul 24, 2015, 7:03am Top

>22 hfglen: Coconut flour is vastly different to bread crust or wheat flour. I'm surprised you only needed 1 extra cup of water.

Pseudo-Jambalya. Probably best though of as inspired by that sort of style. It was very tasty if not at all authentic, but given I'm on the wrong side of the pond I'm sure that's excuse enough. Easy to make. As ever with all my "recipes" the ingredients are more what I had to hand then what was specifically called for. Enough for 6

Fry off two finely diced smoked bacon rashers
Add four chopped chicken thigh fillets (my favourite chicken portion cheaper and tastier than breast)
key ingrediant: diced chorizo sausage
when they're cooked add some chopped vegetables - couple of peppers and a courgette, some mushrooms, some reconstitued sun dried tomatoes (wash the salt out!)

It should be fairly dry at this point. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes:

seasonings - chilli powder paprika, black pepper, ground cloves, thyme, ginger
good dollop of tomato puree
enough rice - I used risotto arborito rice.

Add the (previously heated stock). I didn't have any meat stock and so used: gravy cube mixed with passata, water, molasses and a dash of BBQ sauce. (this didn't resemble stock in any manner, but it worked.)

Cook on a low heat stirring occasionally until the rice is done. Stir in some cooked prawns and when they're hot it's ready to serve.

Jul 24, 2015, 9:42am Top

This is nothing but simple comfort food; I made peach cobbler using the Bisquick recipe. The peaches are just about the last of the fresh I put up last year. Very easy to make, and pretty good.

Edited: Jul 24, 2015, 11:06am Top

I have a surfeit of zucchini right now. Usually I am sensible and only have one plant, but this year I got carried away and put in FOUR! Doh! Anyway, I'm picking them small, and taking them to work to share, but there are still quite a few, and I am trying hard not to waste food so coming up with various ways to use them.

Last night I was on my own for dinner so I fried up the end of a packet of bacon (about 5 slices), sliced zucchini in half inch rounds, dipped it in egg and breaded it (coating was cornflake crumbs, oregano, and parmesan cheese), and fried them in the bacon fat - 2 minutes a side. That was pretty tasty! Of course, the bacon negated any health effects of the zucchini, but... bacon! I love bacon.

Later in the evening I shredded one of the zucchinis and made chocolate zucchini cake and also froze enough shredded zucchini for another cake later.

I have lots of other zucchini recipes, and the internet is a gold mine, but I'll take recommendations if anyone has something especially delicious. I've already done zucchini in greek salad, BBQ-grilled zucchini, and added it to stir fry, all of which were good.

Jul 24, 2015, 1:26pm Top

Coincidently we ate zucchini last night. This works on the larger ones ... sliced lengthways and deseed (to make some room). Place in oven at 350 with about a half inch of stock, until par-boiled. Stuff with a finely chopped meat (bacon perhaps!) mixed with onions, peppers etc. Cover with grated parmesan and gill until cheese melts and is nicely browned.

I served it with couscous, also cooked in veggie stock.

Jul 24, 2015, 2:44pm Top

>24 theexiledlibrarian: That sounds wonderful. I do love a good cobbler!

Jul 24, 2015, 7:38pm Top

A friend is coming to stay for a week in August, and she is bringing a booklet with her: 50 Ways to Cook Zucchini.

Jul 25, 2015, 3:16pm Top

We sometimes eat it raw: dipping sticks of it into olive oil/balsamic vinegar.

Edited: Jul 25, 2015, 4:05pm Top

It makes yummy raw pasta. I used a wide grater to make very thin flat "noodles" then mixed it with pesto, pinenuts and shredded Parmesan cheese. Of course you can add anything you would add to pasta. Also, you could go the vinegar/honey/mustard dressing route.

I think I may have over-purchased at the Farmer's Market and store today for my energy level.

Ended up buying two whole chickens, so I will rub them under the skin with butter & herbs and then roast them.

Will make some basil water/tea with some yummy variety of basil I bought at the FM. Also some to flavor a simple syrup which is very refreshing in carbonated water, tea or cocktails.

I got some bacon. Must do something special with bacon. I'm thinking cook it all, eat some, use some to flavor a goat meat stew and whatever else I end up making which needs flavor. I've been using the veggie and meat trimmings to make broth, then use the broth to cook grain, lentils or beans. Some of the bacon will go good in that. In fact, I guess I will use that as the base for my goat meat, and I'm thinking barley or quinoa with it.

Using up the last of the cabbage from last week in a slaw.

Tomorrow my husband will do the cooking. Grilled steak, sweet Texas onion, tiny summer squash and portobello mushrooms. Found some asparagus which looked good and was affordable, so I think that will go on the grill as well.

Must make some peach salsa to use up the last of the peaches, and I think banana cake, since there are three very black bananas on my counter.

I hope you all don't mind me listing this out like this. It helps me to come up with a plan.

Jul 25, 2015, 4:41pm Top

>30 MrsLee: Mind?!?! Reading your meal plans is the next best thing to actually eating the food ourselves!

Jul 25, 2015, 9:22pm Top

Anybody know what the heck to do with a jicama?

Jul 25, 2015, 10:12pm Top

>32 theexiledlibrarian: My favorite snack if you get a fresh, moist and crisp one! The skin is very thick, so you need to cut it off, be sure you cut far enough in to get rid of the fibery stuff. A thick peel. Then our favorite way is chopped and eaten raw as a snack. It will keep up to a weekish in the fridge if you seal it in plastic. You can chop it small and add it to a slaw type of salad, or anything you want some crunch in.

It can also be cooked, though IMO it loses most of it's goodness that way. I have chopped it and put it into soups or stew or stir-fry.

Sort of watery, slightly sweet on its best days, it is very refreshing. Can you tell I love it? However, if you get an old dried one, it can be fibrous, and more like eating a raw potato than the wonderfulness that is jicama.

Jul 25, 2015, 10:57pm Top

It was cool and rainy tonight so I figured it was a good time to deal with some of the zucchini. I made "Zippy Zucchini Relish" which I got off the Canadian Living website. I was short one of the two sweet peppers called for in the recipe, so I added a couple of hot peppers that I just picked from the garden, and it turned out really nicely. Spicy but not overwhelmingly so, and very tasty. Should be even better after it's had time to mellow.

Sep 5, 2015, 3:51pm Top

Trying to do a version of balsamic chicken in the crock pot today. Crossing fingers.

Sep 11, 2015, 2:33pm Top

>32 theexiledlibrarian: I cut jicama in strips like carrots or celery and enjoy it that way. Kids really like it too. It's a nice way to introduce them to something that's not too well known. (Although it is well known in my area with a large Hispanic population.)

Oct 17, 2015, 8:12pm Top

Never underestimate the power of fresh ingredients. Just sayin'

Oct 18, 2015, 9:52am Top

I made a sort of persimmon candy, which tastes fabulous, but I'm not sure what to do with it. It didn't harden into the fruit leather I was hoping it would, whether due to lack of patience or some other reason, I'm not sure. I scraped it off the waxed paper with a spatula and put it into a bowl. Too thick to spread. My mom thought it would be great between cake layers, and she's right, but I'm not eating cake right now. Oh well. I was thinking it could be nice with a good cheese, or nuts. Everyone likes it, but it is so sweet you can't eat more than a small spoonful.

Oct 18, 2015, 2:49pm Top

>38 MrsLee: Maybe it needed to be pulled like taffy?

Oct 18, 2015, 5:43pm Top

>39 Meredy: No, it is more like jelly. Too moist, but semi-solid.

Oct 18, 2015, 6:08pm Top

Just made a big bowl of apple coleslaw (cabbage, carrots, apples, raisins, celery, and peanuts). The dressing is made with sour cream, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper, sugar, and dry mustard, but I added some cumin just to see how it would work, and now I want to try a curry dressing for it.

Nov 21, 2015, 9:13pm Top

Haven't felt like cooking for some time, but I wanted chicken and dumplings today, so I got that made. Because of the "making broth" business, it took all day. I made a light broth for the dumpling dish, then put the bones and skin of the chicken back in the remaining broth, added some water and cooked it two more hours. That made enough broth to put aside for making stuffing and gravy for Thanksgiving. To the broth still in the pot after skimming Thanksgiving broth out, I added a ham bone and trimmings and some more water, then cooked it another two hours. Broth is finished, so I strained it all. I added some great northern beans which I had simmered earlier to make tender, some soup fixings, beet greens, chopped coppa and chopped chicken. That will make a nice hearty soup. Also roasted some asparagus. Tomorrow husband will grill the tri-tip which has been marinating all day today. I'll probably roast some more veggies too. Gah. I'm tired.

Nov 22, 2015, 7:49am Top

You are amazing! All I did yesterday was an itty-bitty experiment with rice pudding.

Nov 24, 2015, 7:51pm Top

Okay, I've got a question for this crowd. I've made macaroni and cheese this evening using a combination of cottage cheese, sour cream, and cheddar cheese. The cheeses did not meld together into general creaminess which was disappointing. However there was sufficient brown mustard in the mix to give it a kick. That said, the spouse announced that the "other" recipe was better.

The OTHER recipe was one from the NYTimes that also used cottage cheese, but no sour cream. Rather it was milk and cheddar (or some other combination of similar sharp cheese). It was attractive because you didn't cook the pasta before hand.

But I am disappointed because neither recipe was particularly creamy in terms of sauce. In the "sour cream" version, the sour cream and the cottage cheese never came together, never melded into a single creamy kind of sauce. The OTHER recipe was also somewhat dry but still worked.

My question really comes down to how do you make a really nice creamy cheese sauce for mac and cheese. Is it (as my husband believes) a question of using Velveeta? Is it that or the absence of any kind of butter and flour roux in these recipes that is the problem?

Help. I am coming to the conclusion that I'm rapidly approaching retirement age without having acquired any cooking skills over all those decades.

Nov 24, 2015, 8:29pm Top

>44 jillmwo: Anything to do with sauces and gravies is my husband's specialty. Nobody makes better giblet gravy, for one thing. And his mac and cheese is heavenly.

He makes "real" macaroni and cheese by starting with a white sauce and then adding in freshly grated mild cheddar. I think it's something like 3 cups of macaroni, cooked, and then 2 cups of milk added to the roux, followed by probably 2 cups of the shredded cheese. Something like that. I always intend to pay better attention and write it down, and somehow I just forget. I'll have to ask him a bit later.

He stirs and stirs and stirs and stirs. With a wire whisk. Fussing over it is the secret to what makes it so good. It's not ready until it's thickened and starts to bubble. Then he stirs it into the pot with the drained macaroni in it and turns the whole works into a casserole dish. It bakes at 350 for half an hour.

I used to say that the object of the exercise was to get cheese sauce on as many surfaces as possible.

One thing I know is that it's pretty soupy when it goes into the oven. I love it baked with the lid off so it browns a little on top, and he prefers the lid on so it's all creamy on top. We used to do this so often that we'd actually remember whose turn it was.

Nov 24, 2015, 10:02pm Top

I've made this one, which is quick and easy, and very creamy. It is better the second day, after the flavours blend together. Unfortunately, I found that cleanup took a lot of scrubbing.

3 cups medium shell pasta, uncooked
14 oz. jar Alfredo sauce (I used 3-cheese, which didn't help with the cleanup.)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup water
2.8 oz. can French Fried Onions

Preheat oven to 350˚. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish.
Cook pasta until al dente; drain and return to pot.
Add Alfredo sauce and grated cheese. Rinse out jar with the water and add to mixture. Stir until cheese is absorbed into the sauce.
Place mixture in prepared baking dish. Bake 20 minutes. Sprinkle top with FF Onions and bake additional 5 to 10 minutes.

Nov 24, 2015, 11:09pm Top

Definitely not Velveeta! A white sauce/bechamel is the base of a really creamy mac and cheese, just as Meredy describes. Alton Brown's recipe has both the mustard kick you liked (also some paprika) and a good base, if you want to try the long way of doing it. SylviaC's recipe sounds like a reasonable way to get there faster, and the french fried onions sound tasty!

Nov 25, 2015, 4:41am Top

>44 jillmwo: I do pretty much what Meredy and Lohengrin suggest - make a white sauce and add plenty of grated cheddar. I cook the pasta first and then it can be added to the pan of sauce and served without baking, for a quicker meal. I have a recipe for baked mac and cheese with added butternut squash that I'm looking forward to trying.

Nov 25, 2015, 9:43am Top

I think my best effort for stovetop mac n cheese was when I used cream cheese in the mix with lots of cheddar and some jack. Added cream/half & half to thin it into sauce instead of pizza topping. Whenever I made the roux, it had a grainy consistency, but maybe I didn't cook the roux long enough? Not sure.

Mostly what we love in this house is a baked casserole we call "macaroni and meat with cheese." Cooked noodles, layered with a sauce of cream of mushroom soup thinned with sour cream and milk, to which has been added seasoned cooked hamburger and LOTS of cheddar cheese. There are no measurements because it is a creation of the moment and ingredients on hand. The soup probably acts like the roux in recipes above. But it isn't a creamy dish.

Nov 25, 2015, 10:09am Top

I love a creamy mac and cheese, too. I cycle through a few recipes depending on the occasion:

Dinner at home for one or two -- Use the standard blue-box pasta as a base, cook the pasta a couple minutes under box specs and drain, add butter per box directions, two or three times the milk directed (I used whole), the box powder (mmmmm, yellow #5 taste), a cup or two of grated cheese, and spices per taste. Sharp cheddar, smoked Gouda, Gruyere, brie, and(/or) maybe goat are my cheeses of choice (don't bother grating the last two, just tear them to chunks); nutmeg, smoked paprika, black or white pepper, and(/or) mustard are my preferred spices; oooh, jazz it up with toasted pine nuts for crunch, lightly cooked veggies for health.

Dinner for ten, for a party -- A Martha Stewart recipe with a roux base and finished in in the oven like a casserole. I like stirring in cooked bacon pieces and(/or) sauteed mushrooms before putting in the oven, and I liked putting toasted walnut pieces on top instead of breadcrumbs.

I have a recipe for microwaving a single-serve mac at work, but it isn't quite perfected yet. Hm.

Edited: Dec 4, 2015, 8:05pm Top

MyriadBooks, the idea of a single serve mac n' cheese out of the microwave is incredibly intriguing. Please share!

Dec 4, 2015, 12:25pm Top

If the idea is to cut a little on calories, I like to substitute some of the macaroni with blanched cauliflower. It makes it a cross between mac n' cheese and cauliflower gratin both of which I really love.

Dec 4, 2015, 1:32pm Top

I am hosting a brunch open house on Sunday. Menu is a combination of prepared store-bought (mini quiches from Sam's), some semi-homemade (bacon/biscuit sliders), some do-it-yourself assemblages (yogurt parfaits with fresh fruit; and hot cocoa bar), and all-the-way homemade (French toast casserole with blueberry syrup). I have a new recipe for cranberry orange cake, if I have time to make it. Tomorrow we have a pastor's brunch to attend, and a Christmas party in the evening. In between, I need to clean house and assemble the Sunday brunch. I tell all the parishioners that I may not cook , but I can assemble really well. :)

Edited: Dec 4, 2015, 8:07pm Top

>53 theexiledlibrarian: That sounds wonderful! What do you plan on including in your Hot Cocoa Bar? Besides marshmallows or peanut butter? I'm curious.

Dec 5, 2015, 2:29am Top

I made a batch of pickled cranberries tonight, mostly because we discovered that the brine they are in makes a wonderful drink with gin. :D The cranberries are a nice bright spot on a plate, too. Refreshing.

Equal amounts of sugar and vinegar, the seasonings I used were a cinnamon stick, lemon peel, sage, whole pepper, allspice, clove, coriander and juniper berries, one small piece of star anise. The inspiration for that were the seasonings listed on the Bombay Sapphire gin bottle.

My daughter made this at Thanksgiving with fewer seasonings and rosemary added. That was lovely too.

Dec 5, 2015, 5:01pm Top

Hot cocoa bar will include whipped cream (of course!), marshmallows, chocolate sprinkles, cinnamon sugar, crushed peppermint. Also Pepperidge Farms Pirouettes and peppermint sticks.

Last year, we hosted the children's church sleepover, and it was much more elaborate. Did you know that there are several different flavors of marshmallows?--chocolate, peppermint and a couple of others that I forget. The kids really enjoyed doctoring up their cocoa and hardly ate any of the cookies I made.

Spent all afternoon in the kitchen and am finally able to sit down.

Jan 10, 2016, 3:11pm Top

Did a really nice caraway seed cake today (having seconds with a cup of Earl Grey, even as I type)

But is it common to spread jam (marmalade or something similar) on a slice of this? Someone on the Internet (not sure about the credibility of the individual) indicated that she put whipped cream on it.


Jan 10, 2016, 3:29pm Top

Was the Internet person Viennese? They seem to put whipped cream on everything.

Jan 10, 2016, 3:29pm Top

>57 jillmwo: that sounds yummy! No idea about spreading anything on it.

First visit to this thread. I'm hoping it's appropriate to ask a question here. :) I need a Bangers and Mash recipe that doesn't include an onion gravy. All the recipes I found are with onion gravies and The Husband is allergic to onions. I'm hoping I can do some sort of mushroom gravy. Any thoughts/suggestions?

Oh, and I want this because there is a little Irish restaurant on the Oregon coast that makes the BEST bangers and mash! Such comfort food! I'd love to make something comparable at home so I don't have to drive three hours to get some. :)

Jan 10, 2016, 3:35pm Top

>59 catzteach: A long way from the heartland of B&M, but here I wouldn't hesitate to put any grave you like on it -- even piri-piri.

And I sympathise about little west coast restaurants: the best fish-and-chips in southern Africa comes from a place that's part of a winery in a disused fish factory on our west coast. The bad news is that it's a minimum 2-days drive from here. Snf. :(

Jan 10, 2016, 6:12pm Top

>57 jillmwo: I could see it with jam and clotted cream. I don't know about whipped cream, though.

Edited: Jan 11, 2016, 8:43am Top

>59 catzteach: Most UK homes actually used just "gravy" ... thick brown sauce made from a commercial stock cube or powder. For those of us who can enjoy onions (how sad for catzteach's husband!) I find Jamie Olivers B&M recipe the best.

Jan 11, 2016, 9:47am Top

>57 jillmwo: That sounds lovely! I'm not one to spread anything on a lovely flavored cake. :)

>59 catzteach: I think any brown gravy would be great, and mushrooms added could only improve it! Do you need a recipe for the gravy? Or the mashed potatoes? Or are you contemplating making your own sausages?

You need to cough up the name of that restaurant for those of us who go vacationing on the Oregon coast.

Jan 11, 2016, 10:01pm Top

To all who answered my B & M post: thanks! The only gravy I've ever made is when I make a roast. I really have no idea how to make a gravy without meat juice to use. And my own sausages? No. I doubt I'd eat them then. The first time I cut up a chicken I didn't eat it and didn't eat chicken for a couple of months after that. :) so if I could get tips on making a gravy, that'd be great.

>63 MrsLee: it's in Newport at Nye Beach, Nana's Irish Pub. It's just a couple blocks from the Sylvia Beach Hotel.

Jan 11, 2016, 10:47pm Top

>57 jillmwo: I've been working up to making some gingerbread now that we're through putting whipped cream on pumpkin pies for a while. I mean the cakey sort of gingerbread, not ginger cookies. I use my mother's old recipe, still the best, if you ask me. It's a perfect pairing with whipped cream, which mellows the bite of the ginger.

Maybe I'll do that this week, once I've finally hauled the last box of Christmas decorations downstairs.

Jan 12, 2016, 12:00am Top

>65 Meredy: I have my aunt's recipe which makes a delicious, soft, fluffy gingerbread. Unfortunately, I can't eat enough of it anymore to warrant baking a whole cake, because it contains quite a lot of oil.

Jan 12, 2016, 1:04am Top

>66 SylviaC: Hmm. No oil in this recipe, but it does start with 1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter. My mother used to use margarine, but I don't know of any margarine fit to bake with any more. The water content is too high, and when it evaporates it changes the proportions.

I've never tried to freeze cake. Have you? It's never around long enough. But if you can freeze bread . . .

Jan 12, 2016, 7:47am Top

Yes, you can freeze cake - obviously without any icing/frosting on it. It can go a bit soggy when defrosted though.

Instead of freezing, can you make a smaller cake by e.g. halving the ingredients? Or give part of it away?

Jan 12, 2016, 10:07am Top

>64 catzteach: If you fry the sausages, and poke them just a bit, that should release some juices into the pan, then you can proceed to make the gravy just as you do the roast gravy. Another way I have used, but try to avoid now because I'm not eating processed food if I can avoid it, is a packet of powder stuff for pork gravy. It's really quite tasty and can usually be found in the spice isle at the store.

You can save the juices from any roasted meat to make gravy. If it isn't dark enough, add a teaspoon of instant coffee. When I make flour gravy, I use about equal amounts of fat and flour, brown the flour to about the color of almond skins, then add the liquid (broth or meat juice or milk, depending on the type). I add liquid slowly, stirring constantly, until it it the thickness of gravy I like. Sometimes just a bit thinner than I like, then I cook it on low, tasting and adding salt/pepper/tabasco/coffee or whatever until the flavor and thickness are to my liking.

If you don't want a flour gravy, get your roasty juice bits with a bit of wine or broth all hot and loose from the pan, then add about a tablespoon of cornstarch mixed in a little water and cook until it thickens. Take it right off the heat when it thickens because if you overcook it, it will lose the texture you want.

I'm sorry I can't be more clear on proportions, for me it is just an eye thing I've done and learned over the years, but I'm sure there are some internet guides to it. Almost anything can be used as a flavorful liquid. You can roast veggies until they have brown bits all over them, then add some water or wine or both and mash, then strain to get a broth. You can do the same with meat, bones or fat. Whenever you can use broth instead of water you will be adding flavor.

Jan 12, 2016, 11:41pm Top

>69 MrsLee: Thanks for all the advice! I usually use flour. I didn't know about browning the flour before hand, though. And any thoughts on what kind of sausages? Do I look for English sausages? I am looking forward to trying this soon. Oh, and I try to avoid processed foods, but I'm not a purist. :) I wonder if I could find some of those recipes with the onion gravy and use the spices they suggest.

Jan 13, 2016, 6:02am Top

>70 catzteach: English, Boerwors ... both would be good. Russians, not so much. Steer clear of the sausages described by a butcher I once met as "the kind where you don't know whether to put mustard or marmalade on them". They should have some meat or (nods to C.M.O.T. Dibbler) meat-like products in between the fillers.

Jan 13, 2016, 9:26am Top

Yes! Cape sausages on the brick Brie. But don't use the back wall to "see Africa".

Despite being a former Brit I do not think it worth while to look for English sausages - Irish maybe - but they are readily found online. And how did we note mention the German and Italian ones?

Jan 13, 2016, 9:34am Top

>70 catzteach: On the sausages, I would experiment with those which sound good to you, probably avoiding the trendy seasoned ones and sticking with mostly meat, as >71 hfglen: says. You can't go wrong with sausages. :D

As for the onion gravy recipes, certainly you can make them with everything except the onions. I'm trying to think of a good substitute. I assume if he is allergic to onions he is also allergic to garlic? Garlic might be too strong anyway. Roasted carrots and celery are lovely in a pot roast gravy, but possibly too sweet for bangers and mash. I think mushrooms, nicely browned, and chopped small, might be your best bet for flavor. Whenever you brown things (get that nice almost burnt outside to them), it adds depth of flavor to your sauces and gravies.

Jan 13, 2016, 9:52pm Top

Thanks everyone, I'll start my search for sausages this weekend. I shall see what is available in my little town.

Mrs. Lee, yes , he is allergic to garlic. Not as bad as onions so I can use garlic in small amounts. I made some chicken Marsala a while ago and had to dramatically cut down the garlic. It didn't taste nearly as yummy as the restaurant one I had, but it was still good.

Jan 14, 2016, 12:48am Top

Sausage hot pot

One large pan
5 cans baked beans
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 packs sausage

Empty cans into pot mix and let sit over a low heat after letting it warm through add sausages.

Cook time 1hour to 1 1/2

Makes four to five bowls serve with butter roll or cornbread or garlic bread :)

Very nice warming meal

Jan 14, 2016, 5:28am Top

>75 RuneFirestar: That sounds like a recipe to note for camping expedition (though I might use seshebo instead of some of the beans).

Jan 14, 2016, 9:41am Top

I came home last night looking for dinner. The refrigerators were mostly empty. There was a bit of grilled steak left, one roasted chicken thigh, but no vegetables. In the cooler was a quarter of a cabbage, celery and ginger. In the freezer was half of a nasty bag of unappetizing frozen corn. Not sure how long it's been in there. There were also some frozen shrimp. I toyed with the idea of chopping up cabbage for a slaw and adding the corn, but my jaws didn't want to work that hard. This is what I did instead.

Chopped cabbage
some sliced onion
some minced garlic
some minced ginger
chopped cilantro

Stir-fried the garlic and ginger, added the cabbage and onion, tossed in some frozen shrimp, then some seaweed rice seasoning and cilantro. I should have stopped there, but I also added some soy sauce, fish sauce and tonic syrup mixed with cornstarch. By adding those it gave it the traditional "Chinese" flavor, but made it overcooked and too salty for my preference. Everyone else loved it. I was not in the mood to make rice.

All of the above took less than half an hour to cook and I felt like I had pulled a rabbit out of a hat.

The night before we had what I shall name the "Nick of Time" salad. Some greens-slightly wilted, a mango-only a small bad spot on it, chicken-which was fine, some roasted cauliflower-only had to cut off a bit of discoloration, and homemade salad dressing left from Christmas which had solidified, but came back to life with a bit of oil and vinegar. I asked my husband if he was game to try it with me and he said sure, we could go down together. All in all it was a lovely meal and neither of us suffered any ill consequences. :)

Jan 14, 2016, 3:19pm Top

>77 MrsLee: I'll never be in your league in the kitchen, but I do love that feeling of having pulled a dinner out of nowhere. Your feats always make me feel a little braver about experimenting.

It also sounds like many of them belong in the class we call "irreproducible results." It's a pity if everyone loves it too much because the same combination will probably never happen again. My husband ended up once with a dish that the boys dubbed "Brown," and he's volunteered to make Brown several times since, but it's never come out quite the same.

Jan 14, 2016, 4:32pm Top

>75 RuneFirestar: For the sake of clarification, what size cans did you use? Cans of beans can be really big, and 5 of the large cans would make enough for a small army. As a frame of reference, a can of petite diced tomatoes is 14.7 oz. If your cans of beans are more like 24 or 28 oz, and you have five that size, the ratio of tomatoes to beans is very different.

When I try a new recipe, I try to follow it exactly so that I know how the original source thought the dish *should* taste. Then I feel free to futz around with it.

Jan 15, 2016, 4:18am Top

>79 jillmwo: I have a recipe that I want to try but it lists such ingredients as "1 bag of grated mozzarella" "1 package of herb and garlic seasoning". Not useful at all! The author clearly assumes that everyone shops at the same supermarket as they do.

Jan 15, 2016, 7:58pm Top

>80 Sakerfalcon: Ha! Standardization in the food industry is still at a point of imperfection.

BTW, on an earlier point of discussion, at a conversation last night, a friend noted to me that the dryness of the caraway seed cake would need something of the consistency of either clotted cream and jam or else cream cheese and preserves. The whipped cream would be too light. I get it now.

Jan 16, 2016, 8:30pm Top

I don't often cook, but tonight I panfried some chicken breasts in olive oil ; added garlic, tomatoes and kalamati olives; topped them with feta cheese. Also asparagus (just canned though , fresh would have been so much better); garlic and sour cream mashed potatoes. For a totally made up meal, it was pretty good.

Jan 24, 2016, 2:29am Top

My employers gave me a large grocery bag full of frozen lamb bits! They don't care for lamb, but support the kids around here who grow them to show and sell at the fair. I don't know about your neck of the woods, but lamb is very expensive in the stores here. So I have been given a treasure. Locally grown, no bad stuff, and all that jazz. The only part of the lamb my employer likes are the chops. She couldn't believe that I wanted all the bony bits.

Tonight I am cooking lamb shanks with great northern beans. I don't have veggies in the house right now to put in it, but by using leftover roasting juices and some chili-garlic paste I made, have managed to get a nice flavor to it.

I have packets of ground lamb, riblets, stew meat and more.

Jan 24, 2016, 3:36am Top

>83 MrsLee: Aren't you the lucky one! Lamb is significantly more expensive than beef here. My crystal ball suggests that your family will in the foreseeable future enjoy some wonderful lamb curries.

Jan 24, 2016, 11:35am Top

>84 hfglen: Wow! You have a very accurate crystal ball!

Feb 4, 2016, 8:48am Top

By a curious coincidence, I too am making a lamb curry. The recipe, in Indian Delights, is called Bhuna Gosht, and I suspect MrsLee would enjoy it. But it set me thinking. The book is said to be the traditional-Indian equivalent of Joy of Cooking for newly-independent cooks -- which is why it includes a recipe for breyani to feed 800, right? Anyhoo, we have here a curry so traditional it doesn't use any made-up curry powder or masala. But it does include "4 large tomatoes". Huh? Indians have been making fine curries since one year before the Flood, but surely tomatoes only arrived there in the 16th century at the earliest. So what did the ancestral form of Bhuna Gosht use before then?

Feb 4, 2016, 9:57am Top

>86 hfglen: I don't know for sure, but since I cannot eat tomatoes anymore, I substitute slightly unripe mangos in my curry and they are lovely. In fact, my curry book Curry Cuisine I think recommended it. There is even a dried mango powder to add that bit of sweet-tart. If you add lemon juice or vinegar, that takes care of the acid tomatoes bring to the party.

I believe it said the tomatoes are more commonly used in northern India where they snuck in on the spice trail? It's been awhile since I read that, but I know that the Jesuits took tomatoes to Japan in the 1600s.

I am off on a venture of bone broth, supposed to be very good for joint and tendon health. Also pineapples. So, there is a pot of broth simmering on the stove. It is supposed to simmer 24-48 hours. I will compromise at 32ish. Will make a soup of dark green leaves adding miso as a salty flavoring. Then I am going to try drinking a cup of hot broth with a chunk of good bread for breakfast on the mornings I have to go to work.

Feb 4, 2016, 3:04pm Top

>87 MrsLee: You're probably about right. Sounds like it might be worth a whirl sometime. For family consumption (seeing the wimps here have a total aversion to chillies) I replaced the 2 tsp chilli powder with the same of paprika. Worked a treat. And this minimal heat suggests a north-Indian origin. (The author is or was Muslim, which also points to north India.)

Feb 7, 2016, 5:33pm Top

I didn't intend to, but today turned into a cooking day. Grilled lamb with curry spices, steak with steak spices and a tri-tip which had been frozen with a marinade on it that I don't remember.

I also made pickled beets, roasted asparagus and roasted sweet potato and winter squash. No salt in any of these. I used a bit of fig balsamic on the asparagus and lemon juice on the other veggies.

From all the veggie trimmings and the bones on the meats, I am making more bone broth. This is a project I'm trying, to drink bone broth every day for my tendons and joints. So far I'm really liking it. It is the perfect breakfast with some yummy bread. I don't like to chew much in the early hours. Also used some to simmer greens in. I fried a little bacon, then added the beet greens and kale with their finely chopped stems and stir-fried them a little with a tiny bit of garlic. Added some broth and cooked until tender. They are SO good!

Feb 7, 2016, 6:03pm Top

I had a cooking day, too, but it wasn't anything as mouth-watering as you describe, MrsLee! Grilled lamb with curry. Yum! I love lamb.

I made some banana muffins and a couple of kinds of cookies to use up some mushy bananas and some of the stuff that's been sitting around since Christmas. With three of us needing bag lunches, it's always good to have a bit of variety.

Feb 7, 2016, 6:55pm Top

Guess my cooking day isn't over! My friend needs some friend time and is bringing over some exotic mushrooms to add to mine. We are going to sautee them and enjoy with all the other food I made. Might even lighten things up with a refreshing drink I made today since it was in the 70s here. About a T. orange liqueur, an orange peel, red wine and a little ice. Yum!

Feb 7, 2016, 7:24pm Top

M-mmm. Sounds good. (I have been going the route of the "plain cook". Last night and tonight, I was just doing old, reliable but dull-as-dishwater, crockpot meals. Your ideas sound much better.)

Feb 7, 2016, 7:32pm Top

I pulled a previously-made-and-put-in-the freezer taco soup for lunch. Then I made a crockpot beef-and broccoli (recommended by my daughter who said her kids loved it). It should be ready to eat in about 15 minutes. Since I rarely cook, I informed my husband that I get Points today; double Points as I took care of 2 meals today. The mood to cook doesn't hit me often.

Feb 7, 2016, 7:37pm Top

>93 theexiledlibrarian: That's why I like doing crock pot meals; it usually means two substantial meals made with minimal time investment.

Feb 18, 2016, 10:06pm Top

Two roast chickens tonight. Meat will be stripped, bones and other stuff will be boiled tomorrow to make broth. I saved the ends of the asparagus that I usually compost to cook with the bones. Not much else going on around here. I'm kind of watching my husband. He seems to be not intending to buy any more of the sugar bomb cereal for breakfast. I asked him what he will do (he gets has to be to work at 3am) and he said, "tortillas & cheese or eggs, wheat bread and peanut butter." This makes me very happy, I just hope it sticks.

I have been eating some rice cooked with pumpkin and flax seeds, mixed with scrambled eggs for breakfast. It sticks to the ribs and tastes yummy. I cook the eggs with avocado and sesame oil.

Feb 26, 2016, 11:15am Top

I love cooking in Durban with locally sourced ingredients, from a Cape Town cookbook. The book says berishap, the spice lady says soomph and the glossary says fennel seeds for both. So it takes half a day to translate the ingredients, for a start. That done, I can only wish the pub's magic carpet worked. Then I could invite @NrsLee round for a good Cape Malay giemakerrie, or kheema curry to everybody else.

Feb 27, 2016, 11:52am Top

You had me at berishap!

I'm heading to the farmer's market this morning with a friend. My plans are to cook a mess of greens with some spicy sausages today, also a rice noodle-shrimp-grapefruit salad that I have to try to make it stop niggling at my brain. Plan to make a pasta with ground lamb-pumpkin-sage sauce. That will probably be enough, if I even get it all done. Oh, and veggies, there will be veggies. I'm working on cleaning out my freezer again if you can't tell.

For any of you who are avoiding potatoes in your diet, I made the most delicious lamb stew the other day. I shook the meat in rice flour, crushed peanuts, chili powder, dry mustard and poultry herbs (Bell's Poultry seasoning has no salt or other stuff in it, just powdered green things). Browned it, added minced garlic, turmeric, onion, celery, carrot, mushrooms and jicama (to replace the potato), with a bit of chopped dried apricot. The jicama cooks very nicely, it has the texture of turnip more than potato, which is why you need some sort of flour to thicken the sauce a bit. My husband said it is the best stew I ever made!

Feb 27, 2016, 3:57pm Top

the lamb stew sounds yummy! How long did you cook it?

Feb 27, 2016, 11:11pm Top

We have a monthly "dinner and a movie" and invite 4-6 people to our house. Jim cooks and I pick the flick. Tonight he made toscano soup, chicken piccata with angel hair pasta, roasted asparagus, meatballs and Italian herb bread with bruschetta. Banana pudding for dessert.

The movie was "Friendly Persuasion" with Gary Cooper, Dorothy Maguire and Anthony Perkins.

Last month, it was steak and potatoes, and we watched "Lilies of the Field" with Sidney Poitier.

Edited: Feb 27, 2016, 11:20pm Top

Husband wanted pork tenderloin in peppercorn sauce with egg noodles for dinner. Pork tenderloin and noodles were no problem but I can't get the bottled peppercorn sauce that we like anymore. So, foraging in the cupboard I found a packet of onion and garlic dip mix that I bought rather a long time ago on a visit to Nova Scotia, made a white sauce, added the dip mix, a lot of ground pepper, and some grated cheddar cheese, and tossed the sauteed pork and noodles with it. It was very good. Would also work well with chicken or turkey. Assuming I had any more of that dip mix, that is. I guess this meal joins the list of "irreproduceable results".

Feb 28, 2016, 2:54am Top

>98 catzteach: After I browned the meat and mushrooms, and added the beef broth, I simmered it for an hour and a half.

Tonight my friend and mom joined me for dinner. We had the shrimp/noodle/grapefruit salad (the honey/grapefruitjuice/sesame oil/fish sauce dressing was terrific) and all agreed that the grapefruit didn't really add anything.

Also made a creamy seafood and leek soup which was out of this world, but as >100 tardis: says, it won't happen just like that again.

Mar 1, 2016, 6:05pm Top

The Husband and I have been trying very hard to lose weight and eat healthier. As a result, I've been playing with new recipes. I made a wonderful salad the other night with apples, oranges, whole wheat berries, and kale. The dressing was olive oil, honey, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and some cider vinegar. Oh my! It was yummy! I've been pleasantly pleased with the new tastes we've tried. Except beets. I still don't like beets. :)

>98 catzteach: I've never fixed lamb before. This might be something to try!

Mar 1, 2016, 7:07pm Top

We are trying to clean out the fridge, as we are going on vacation Saturday. So I sliced up some leftover chicken picatta, added bruschetta, a nearly full container of pesto about to expire, pasta (also leftover), some kalamata olives and feta cheese. Very tasty, and probably will never be able to make it again.

Mar 2, 2016, 9:41am Top

I'm drinking smoothies again for breakfast. Only for as long as I want to. I heard that the avocado seed holds a huge amount of goodness and is edible. Well, it won't poison you, but I don't recommend taking a bite of it like I did. Pucker city. However, blended into a smoothie it was mostly unnoticeable.

Yesterday's: the whole avocado (small one), spinach, almonds (soaked overnight in water), bee pollen, chia seeds, lemon juice from one lemon, half a pear, water as needed.

Today's: almonds, flax seed, 3/4 c. cooked yam, 1" fresh turmeric, 1/2 pear, lemon juice, cinnamon crushed, bee pollen, 1/3c. coconut milk, 5 leaves of fresh sage, water as needed.


Mar 2, 2016, 1:20pm Top

I made Beef Wellington at the weekend and was very pleased with the result.

Second helpings were had.

Mar 6, 2016, 3:07pm Top

Ugh! Major food failure here. Purchased a pork roast at the Farmer's Market yesterday and cooked it as a pot roast. I should have thrown it out as soon as I smelled it cooking, but I tried to save it instead. It had boar taint. An interesting, if disgusting thing which occurs in large un-castrated boars, but can also occur in females if conditions are met. The meat smells fine when raw, but when you start cooking it, a strong odor of cat pee comes out.

To try to save it, I added a chili-garlic mixture, onions, garlic and other things, vegetables, broth, etc. Nope. OH and I took one bite of the meat and one of the veggies and we were done. Here's the interesting thing. Twenty-five percent of the population cannot detect this taint. I gave some to my mom today to taste, she said it is delicious and wants it all. Blech.

I contacted the farmer who sold it to me, so they could be aware, because every bit of meat and bone off of that pig will be tainted. They want to come by today and taste/smell it. I don't want to heat it in my house for them because I have spent the whole morning trying to rid my house of the odor! My poor cast iron pot. I've tried vinegar, salt and baking soda. Finally gave up and oiled it, hoping that if it sits awhile the smell will go away.

The farmer offered to replace the meat with pig from another harvest, but I declined. We are off of pork for awhile. I don't blame the farmer, just don't want any more pork. :P

On another front, I am draining some of my whole milk yogurt, saving the whey and enjoying the cream cheese it leaves behind. I intend to try my hand at pineapple vinegar which uses the skin and core of the pineapple, some dried oregano, water and whey to ferment it. With this vinegar, I will make some Cortido (South American sauerkraut).

Mar 6, 2016, 3:11pm Top

>106 MrsLee: That seems a strange whey to make vinegar! I seem to recall from my misspent youth that pineapple beer sort-of made itself, given a container and some pineapples. From there it is surely but a short and often unintentional step to alegar / vinegar.

Mar 6, 2016, 3:41pm Top

>107 hfglen: Probably. I am on a fermentation bent at the moment, in small doses. Hopefully not making alcohol. :) I like fermented veggies, but have no room to do mass amounts or store 50 gazillion types.

Mar 7, 2016, 7:22am Top

MrsLee, what a dreadful experience! I'd never heard of boar-taint, but can well-imagine how it might stink up a kitchen and even worse, put the family off pork for a while.

Eee-ueu-www! Uck!

Mar 7, 2016, 11:01am Top

I've never heard of boar-taint, either. Sounds very unpleasant! Interesting that it is something that only some people can smell. Like mouse, I guess. I'm the only one in our family who can tell when there is a mouse in the house (short of more, er, obvious evidence).

Mar 7, 2016, 3:09pm Top

Thinks: imagine visiting Sylvia and asking "Is there a moose loose in the hoose?" (in faux Scots would make it too easy).

Mar 13, 2016, 2:38pm Top

>108 MrsLee: You may, then, enjoy this programme from the BBC on Fermentation.

Mar 13, 2016, 4:25pm Top

And now for something completely different.

On pgmcc's journal thread (link), the subject of crumpets keeps coming up, and I'm finding myself in the throes of a craving. Anyone here ever make them? Is it terribly difficult?

Mar 14, 2016, 12:02am Top

I have made them, and I don't recall them being terribly difficult. Similar to what is purchased in the store as English Muffins, but not as dry. The difficult part for me was finding enough tins to act as shape holders when I poured the crumpet batter in the pan. I believe I ended up using tins of some sort of green chili because it was the right size, so first I had to make a chili relleno casserole, then cut out both ends of the can, smooth down the edges and grease the insides. Now I have the molds, so it will be closer to making pancakes. Probably you can buy molds somewhere, but that's not how I roll. ;)

Mar 19, 2016, 2:14pm Top

Paella which worked really quite well this afternoon. Easy to do.

fry lardons in olive oil. Add some diced veggies and chorizo - I used whatever was ot hand, broccoli, red pepper, sugar snaps, courgette and mushrooms, when they're going soft add a cupful of long grain rice and some tomato puree, and saffron strands (apparently this is the only important ingredient). Continue frying until the rice turns transparent. Meanwhile heat some stock add white wine to it, herbs and spices. pour half the hot stock into the rice. after about 5 mins add some frozen seafood- mussels prawns scallops. Stir well and add the rest of the stock. Turn the head down and simmer without stirring until the rice starts popping at the bottom of the pan, you want a crust to form there. Serve!

Mar 20, 2016, 2:06pm Top

>115 reading_fox: I recently had my first Paella in a restaurant called Havana. The taste was lovely, but there was no crust on the bottom. This is a dish I have never tried because it sounds so tricky to get right, but you make it sound easy!

Mar 20, 2016, 4:17pm Top

>116 MrsLee: Paella! Mmmmmmm!

At the market in Amboise near our holiday home in France there is a stall where two four foot wide pans are set up and seafood Paella is made in them. It is then sold in one, two and three portion containers. We have found the three portion container serves five people easily. It is great to go off to the market early on Sunday morning, buy the bits and pieces we need, and then bring home a container full of Paella for lunch.

Mar 20, 2016, 7:30pm Top

>117 pgmcc: If I had that nearby, I would be doing the same thing!

I did my cooking/food prep for the week this weekend. Roasted two chickens, then took the bones out and made a big pot of bone broth. Steamed some broccoli and some zucchini (I really like those best plain), roasted some asparagus, and a pan of mixed root veggies (parsnips, carrots and sunchokes, sprinkled with fresh fennel and rosemary, salt and pepper). Cut up a pineapple and froze the trimmings for another batch of pineapple vinegar. I started my South American sauerkraut yesterday.

Final dish for today is beef shanks, pot roasted, with fennel, celery, onion, carrots and mushrooms. I feel like I should make couscous to go with it, but I don't have a lot of energy left. Haven't had one minute yet to read. Why do weekends go so fast?

Mar 20, 2016, 8:59pm Top

Made a "kitchen sink" soup today; using up leftover roasted chicken, leftover purple potatoes, carrots, celery and green onions. I didn't have any tomatoes, and didn't want to go to the store. It would have been a better with tomatoes, but still pretty tasty.

Edited: Mar 30, 2016, 2:28pm Top

OK, so I made pikelets and I have a question regarding how mine turned out. First, the recipe consists of the following made into a batter:

one cup of flour
1-1/4 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup milk (some recipes call for buttermilk; I used 2 percent)
1 tablespoon melted full-fat butter.

You put tablespoons of batter onto a hot frying pan and wait until the little holes appear (maybe 1-1/2 minutes per side.) You flip 'em over and wait til they're nicely browned.

My pikelets were a tad heavier than American pancakes, but not quite the consistency of a crumpet. They were rather without flavor which is why I suppose the photographs all recommend serving them with jam.

But I have to ask someone (where's hfglen?) what the appropriate consistency of one of these is supposed to be. Did I get a poor recipe? Or am I in the ballpark, just requiring tweaks?

Enquiring minds *need* to know. Otherwise it will become clear to me that I will never be able to emigrate to any of the far corners of the British Empire. I'll just be a whining wannabe -Englishwoman...

Mar 30, 2016, 2:41pm Top

>120 jillmwo: I rather think you got them right. In Footrot Flats, Wal's girlfriend "Cheeky" Hobson serves them (when Wal's about to get this heart broken, or when she wants something from Dog) with melted butter and some kind of syrup.

Edited: Mar 30, 2016, 7:18pm Top

Well, I don't think the pan was quite hot enough for the three batches of cooking from that single bowl of batter. I might actually invest in one of those square, single-burner griddle pans.

However, unlike pancakes, I didn't suffer from indigestion after eating too many of 'em. I think I shall do another batch at some point soon.

BTW, I am intrigued by your reference to Footrot Flats. I never encountered that comic strip/book before.

Mar 31, 2016, 2:09am Top

Not finding any crumpets in my local supermarkets, I ordered myself some from the Vermont Country Store catalog. I thought they'd be great, being New Englandy and all. Over the years I've had pretty good luck with the VCS, and I even visited their store when I was last in Vermont. There's a lot of stuff I wouldn't buy from them, but I do like the way they stock quaint items and very old favorites that you can't find anywhere else.

So I was quite chagrined when the crumpets arrived today and I found by reading the label that they were made in San Bruno, California, which is about 40 miles from where I live. They taste all right, but I have to say that the 6000-mile trip they made to get here didn't really improve them. Next time I will try harder to get hold of them locally.

Meanwhile, I might try my hand at the pikelets (#120 above), which I've never even heard of before. I think I'd be inclined to add a half teaspoon of vanilla to that recipe.

Mar 31, 2016, 7:37am Top

Give it a whirl, Meredy! They were surprisingly satisfying with strawberry jam.

Mar 31, 2016, 8:44am Top

>122 jillmwo: I first met Footrot Flats in the '70s on the back page of the local Farmers Weekly. Much later, found out that there are annual collections, and was lucky to get the forst 10 all in a batch on a friends-of-the-library sale. Hunting on e-Bay or similar might deliver the goods, and would be well worthwhile if the price is affordable.

Mar 31, 2016, 9:57am Top

>123 Meredy: Don't give up on making your crumpets just yet. I have this recipe marked as "Easy, nice to carry butter and honey on. Prepare ahead of time as cooking takes awhile."

1/2 c. warm water (105°-115°)
2 t. sugar or honey
1 T active dry yeast
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour or bread flour
1 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 c milk

In a large bowl, stir the sugar or honey into the warm water. Sprinkle the active dry yeast over the top and let it sit until it bubbles, about 5 min.

Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover and let (sorry, interrupted by a bug abruptly crawling across my recipe which necessitated throwing the book, stomping around like crazy and somehow turning the power off to the computer. The earwig now resides with his ancestors, which must have been his goal to make a dumb move like that. Thank goodness for Chrome restore.) it sit for about half an hour in a warm place.

Grease a griddle or frying pan and the crumpet rings or cookie cutters (I made crumpet rings by cutting out the top and bottom of short cans of food like tuna or chilies, be sure to clamp down any sharp bits with needle-nosed pliers). Place the rings on the cooking surface and preheat all.

Pour about 3 T of batter into each 3" ring and cook over med. low heat until set, about 10 min. Avoid cooking them too quickly. The top should be full of holes when they are ready to turn.

Remove the crumpets from the rings, turn, and brown the other side, if desired for a minute or so. Repeat until all the batter is used. Serve warm with butter and jam or clotted cream and jam. Makes 16 crumpets.

Sadly, I got this recipe from the internet somewhere, but I don't know where. It isn't mine, but it did work well.

Mar 31, 2016, 3:19pm Top

>126 MrsLee: I love the pause for the action there. It gave me a good chuckle.

Apr 1, 2016, 9:18am Top

Apr 1, 2016, 9:29am Top

Yesterday after work I wanted to get some cleaning done out in the apartment for my mom, which is almost finished. I have discovered that I have limited energy (imagine!), so I gave in on the home cooking front and asked Mark to get some Chinese food for dinner. We don't have lovely Chinese restaurants here, but in a pinch, they will do. After eating a full meal of it though, I didn't feel so good (total energy drain, headache). Maybe the food's fault, maybe not, but we now have leftovers galore. I'm thinking I don't want to do any more full meals of it any time soon. So I'm trying to think of ways to break it down into other food.

Soup, I'm aware of, and that will be the finish of it, but today for lunch I'm thinking to chop up the over-cooked-hard-as-a-rock sesame chicken and sprinkle it over salad with mangoes and a 5 spice, garlic, mustard dressing.

I had some of the spicy calamari & veggies over the last of my homemade Egg Foo Young (stir-fried cabbage, jicama, carrots, celery, garlic & onions, mixed with eggs then fried into patties, Yum!) for breakfast.

Any other clever ideas for getting rid of Chinese food bit by bit?

Apr 1, 2016, 10:18am Top

>129 MrsLee: What works in our house for getting rid of leftover Chinese food is having our eldest son in residence. He usually has it for breakfast the following morning. Don't ask!

Apr 1, 2016, 10:47am Top

>130 pgmcc: LOL, yes, in the past I've eaten it morning, noon and night. Somehow the appeal isn't as strong now. Too salty, too much sauce, etc. I've been eating pretty clean food lately and it kind of messes a person up for eating out. :/

Apr 22, 2016, 11:31am Top

Tonight's offering is a chicken chacuti (Goanese curry, also spelt xacuti, to be confusing). Recipe is by Mimi Jardim, in a mostly-Mozambican book, but it's close to the real thing in Cozinha Indo-portuguesa by the redoubtably-named Maria Fernanda Noronha da Costa e Sousa. I now have the spice mix on my hands; they sure smell good! Wish MrsLee were here to share ...

Apr 22, 2016, 8:13pm Top

Mmmmm, me too! Although my house is full of pretty good things to eat right now, roasted beef (to be chilled, sliced thin and taken this weekend for sandwiches and nibbles), roasting vegetables such as mushrooms, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.

A warm (hot?) curry sounds so good though, because we are having a rip-roaring spring thunderstorm with lots of rain and wind.

Apr 23, 2016, 10:27am Top

Last week I made a chowder from some leftover fish and whatnot from the fridge. Very tasty.

May 8, 2016, 3:13pm Top

Today I wasn't going to do anything except read, eat and sip champagne (it being Mother's Day here in the states). However, in order to eat, there must be someone to prepare the food, and in this house, tag! I'm it. I made a salad for breakfast with kale, beet greens, hard-boiled eggs, bacon bits, sweet potatoes roasted with onion and avocado. I did all the cooking bits of it yesterday, so it wasn't difficult. The dressing was interesting. Kale, lemon juice, vinegar, parsley, tiny bit of fresh ginger, garlic, oil and honey. Really good, and no salt! This was from the interwebs:

I also chopped up a pineapple and started another batch of pineapple vinegar. Added mint, rosemary, cumin seed, coriander seed and hot peppers. I love it in my smoothies for weekday breakfasts, so have to keep it on hand. Plus pineapple is supposed to be a wonder at ligament and joint health.

Then I chopped up a watermelon, which I eat a lot of since it has the same goodies in it that tomatoes do and I don't eat tomatoes. I chopped the peeled rind fine, added minced onion, ginger, star anise and cardamom, along with salt, then squeezed it until there was a brine, stuffed it into a gallon jar, added grape leaves to keep it from floating, then a quart freezer bag filled with water, pressed down until the brine was above all the goodies, covered it with cloth and put it in the pantry. Here's hoping that in a couple of weeks I have a lovely ferment to eat.

Now on to the books and champagne.

Edited: May 8, 2016, 3:35pm Top

Well, my husband will be grilling the steaks this evening for the two of us, MrsLee, but he won't be providing me with champagne today -- lucky, lucky you!! Enjoy!

May 15, 2016, 6:09pm Top

After a trip to Costco this morning, I have pork in the crockpot for carnitas, lamb stew cooking up into a curry and baked chicken thighs. Also roasted some asparagus. I believe I'm done for the day, other than the lemon and cilantro which go in the curry last minute, and perhaps a salad. Hopefully no heating up the kitchen much in the week to come, although I do have some baby squash and green beans to roast. Will probably do those in the morning before I go to work because it is supposed to be hot this week.

May 15, 2016, 9:46pm Top

I'm glad I can eat vicariously through this thread. I'm already on a low fat diet because of gallstones, and now I'm limited to soft foods for a few weeks due to a dental issue, so meals are getting pretty boring. So thank you to everyone who shares their creations here.

May 16, 2016, 3:44pm Top

>138 SylviaC: For half a flutter of an eyelash I thought of a mild kheema (mince) curry, but my recipe is a tad oily. Maybe more than a tad.

May 16, 2016, 11:44pm Top

>139 hfglen: The hardest part of the low fat thing has been cutting back on CHEESE. I eat it in slivers now, instead of hunks.

May 22, 2016, 11:45am Top

Yesterday, I discovered taro root! I haven't eaten potatoes for several years now (except mashed, a little bit, on Thanksgiving), but oh how I miss my fries. I've walked by the taro and yuca roots (not to be confused with yucca as I did yesterday) in the store for years. Not sure why, perhaps I had in the back of my mind that they were poisonous if not prepared correctly. Yesterday I took the plunge. As I was picking them out, a man came up to me and asked, "How do you cook those?" I told him I had no idea, but when I got home I was going to Google to find out.

For the taro, I wore gloves as the article said the outside can be an irritant, then sliced off the skin. I thought this would be difficult as the root looks intimidating, but it was easy. Next time I will try my peeler. Then I chopped it into "fry" size lengths, tossed it in a little oil (maybe 2 T.?), spread it on a baking sheet and baked it in a 400° oven for 20 min., turned it, baked it more until it was lightly golden (the darker bits were very hard to chew). I also added some salt, next time I think I'll make a flavored spice sprinkle for them. They were delicious! Texture of potato, as my son's GF said, they look like "party fries!" Little purple lines random in them. Can't wait to experiment more with this.

I also bought a yuca root, haven't tried it yet, and for good measure I bought some plantains, which I have cooked once long ago.

May 22, 2016, 11:22pm Top

Yesterday, I took some leftover fried chicken, jarred chicken gravy, peas, carrots, cheddar cheese, melted butter, poultry seasoning and egg noodles, and made a rather tasty-looking casserole. I say tasty-looking because I got engrossed in a book, and burned it. So now we'll never know if that made-up concoction was any good or not.

I also made a shepherd's pie from a leftover pot roast that was "meh".

May 26, 2016, 2:31pm Top

Very easy banana bread

I've made banana bread since I was a girl using my mother's old-fashioned recipe. This is one that I ran across recently and slightly adapted. It's fast, easy, and (here's where I wish we had the option of smaller-sized whisper text) I think it comes out better.

3 well-ripened bananas (or 4, if they're small)
1 box yellow cake mix
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
a little ground nutmeg--maybe 1/8 tsp.
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs, lightly beaten

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease and flour two small loaf pans, about 8" x 4".
3. Mash bananas and set aside, but not for long.
4. Combine cake mix and spices.
5. Stir in oil and eggs.
6. Stir in bananas and mix well. Be sure to scrape bottom of bowl.
7. Divide batter between loaf pans.
8. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean, and top is golden brown and splits.
9. Cool on wire racks for at least ten minutes.
10. Remove from loaf pans to finish cooling. Can be sliced while still slightly warm.


• You can do this by hand with a spoon and a scraper. No need to use an electric mixer.
• I used a 15.25-oz. box of Betty Crocker yellow cake mix.
• The disposable aluminum loaf pans that are 8" x 3 7/8" x 2 15/32" work very well. I sprayed them with Pam because it was too hard to butter the wrinkles. Thought it would be hard to slip the loaves out once cooled, but it wasn't.
• I may experiment with increasing the spices slightly.
• I tried this a second time, using spice cake mix instead of yellow cake mix and without adding any spices. Everyone declared it delicious, and it was, but I think I liked the yellow-cake version a little better. Tasted a bit richer.
• 40 minutes in the oven was just the right amount of time for me, but I did check at 30 and 35.
• I've mashed and frozen some overripe bananas for future use, but I haven't tried working with them yet.

Jun 11, 2016, 1:21pm Top

Today, after I return from shopping and get the week's veggies and meat under control, I plan to taste my rhubarb ferment and my cherry vinegar. This is a scary thing for me now having had a stomach virus two weeks ago, but I must forge ahead. :P

Friend gave me some windfall apricots yesterday, so I started two gallons of apricot vinegar. Also have a large flat of apricots, so I may have to make a tart or pie, then freeze the rest.

I think the menu this week will be pot roast (trying the crockpot for this), shrimp and broccoli broiled, and some roasted chicken thighs. Salad (with some hollyhock blossoms for pretty), yellow crookneck squash (my favorite way is simmered in a tiny bit of water with salt, pepper and butter), some mashed taro, and fresh crunchy veggies.

Jun 11, 2016, 1:30pm Top

Apricot leather perhaps? Maybe mebos?

Jun 11, 2016, 11:25pm Top

Mebos sounds yummy, but our apricots almost always get made into pies or tarts. We have a very short season, and it isn't every year I find a friend willing to share!

Tasted the rhubarb ferment. A lovely sour flavor without the intense tart of fresh rhubarb. This also has dried cranberries, ginger and rosemary.

Jun 28, 2016, 5:30am Top

Got a book called Beer and Food by one Mark Dredge out of the library. This contains a recipe with the delightful name of Coq à Duvel doo -- a sort of coq-au-vin with high-potency Belgian beer instead of red wine. I'm curious to try it, especially as a craft brewery up the road produces a "Duvel lookalike" -- actually two, one at 8% and the other at 9% alcohol.

Aug 19, 2016, 6:12pm Top

I'm dealing with a surfeit of cucumbers produced by my garden. We're eating them fresh at lunch and dinner and I've made Greek salad several times. I don't want to make relish (have several jars of zucchini relish left from last year), so I'm looking for alternatives.

Pickles are the obvious use for cucumbers. Most of my past attempts at pickling have been disappointing, so this year I got a new cookbook: Foolproof preserving : a guide to small batch jams, jellies, pickles, condiments, and more from America's Test Kitchen. They don't have a lot of cucumber recipes, but the one I made on Monday (bread-and-butter) pickles turned out beautifully, so I'm going to try their dill pickle recipe, too.

I'm also going to make some tzatziki, although that will only use one cuke so won't help much. It will be yummy, though.

Aug 19, 2016, 8:24pm Top

I make a very cucumber-centric gazspacho--that's a good way to use some up.

Aug 19, 2016, 11:28pm Top

Alas, I am the only one in the family who will eat gazpacho. It's too bad because I have lots of tomatoes to use up, too.

Aug 20, 2016, 1:49pm Top

Excuse me, but are either of you going to share the relevant gazspacho recipes? Or are you going to leave me to salivate and whine?

Aug 20, 2016, 4:14pm Top

Love that you specified "the goat kind" 😂

Aug 20, 2016, 4:23pm Top

Best way to choose one off the shelf so you don't end up with fiberous potato snack

Aug 20, 2016, 4:26pm Top

Try cream cheese instead of cottage cheese

Aug 20, 2016, 5:20pm Top

Oh lordy, no recipe--I just put whatever is plentiful in the garden into a blender, along with onion (not too much), garlic (lots, but we're garlic worshippers), a little good olive oil and fresh lime juice, salt and pepper. I usually go heavier on cucumber and green bell peppers than on tomatoes, but that's my personal preference. And jalapenos, if we're in the mood. I don't add breadcrumbs as is traditional, just to keep it low-carb.

Aug 20, 2016, 5:23pm Top

Where are the potatoes? Oh, wait a minute. My problem is that I'm confusing gazpacho with vichyssoise. (wanders off into the kitchen) What was the name of that woman on SNL? Emily Litella?

*never mind*

Sep 3, 2016, 4:41pm Top

Lunch today: fresh tomato and mozarella cheese, sliced and sprinkled with fresh chopped basil and drizzles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Yum.

Sep 19, 2016, 9:55am Top

This weekend's trip to the Farmer's Market was a treat. Fresh okra picked small (I roasted it), fresh sweet corn (also roasted) tasted like ambrosia, or at least what I imagine that to taste like. Also bought an Australian butternut squash which I've yet to cook. Found lots of varieties of HOT peppers. I roasted some, and the rest I chopped and infused in oil. This will make a topping I can use when I need a boost of heat which my husband and mom don't want.

I bought some goat meat and made one of the best curries yet with it. Yum.

I've been making Golden Milk every morning which is a mixture of turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, pepper, coconut oil and milk of choice (I switch between dairy and coconut, but almond milk would also be good). I made a paste using fresh turmeric and ginger to keep in a jar. Hopefully the turmeric will help ease the pain in mom's and my joints, but even if it doesn't, this is delicious! A wonderful way to start the day.

Sep 19, 2016, 6:27pm Top

Flew to the St. Louis area to attend my 40th class reunion, and got back to Dallas around midnight. I enjoyed the evening, and also visited with my family.

Oct 2, 2016, 12:16pm Top

Yesterday I made:

Two weeks worth of Golden Paste, which can be used in Golden Milk or any other recipe which needs pizzaz.

Chili paste - chopped a ton of Thai, serrano, Fresno and (4) habanero chilies, simmered them gently in a bit of avocado oil, added a little chopped garlic, salt and a tiny bit of vinegar. After about 10-15 minutes I turned off the heat. Well, the stove heat. Nothing will turn off the heat of my chili paste! I love it.

Also perfected my stuffed poblano chili recipe. Roasted them to remove the skin, made a filling of small bay shrimp mixed with some cilantro, a fine enchilada sauce (homemade) and some bits of cotija cheese. Baked these with dollops of crema (made by mixing whole fat plain yogurt with a little cream), mixed with comino and cilantro. Served them with more sauce, crema and some of my chili paste on the side for each to mix accordingly. It was dance-worthy.

Today I poured off a half gallon of my new batch of grape vinegar. It is young, but I'm going to keep it in the fridge to mix with carbonated water because right now it tastes like a wonderful grape soda. I did put 1 quart in the cupboard to see if I could get a proper vinegar. I will be tasting it every week instead of letting it sit forever. Want to bottle it at its prime.

Oct 2, 2016, 12:31pm Top

>160 MrsLee: That chilli paste sounds like a substance made by a nearby home-industries outfit. They call it Hotazell, which is descriptive. When you come visiting here, I shall take pleasure in introducing you to a local Portuguese place's chicken piri-piri. The seasoning is bird-peppers. And more bird peppers, slathered on from time to time while the bird cooks over an open flame.

I envy you the shrimps, but not the cilantro (to me the fresh leaves taste of soap). But the stuffed poblanos sound interesting.

It seems you are well on the way to making wine, for which your home state has a worldwide reputation.

Oct 2, 2016, 12:57pm Top

>161 hfglen: I would love to make wine, just for fun in small batches, but everything I've read makes it sound complicated, and I am not complicated. So, whatever it is I put in my refrigerator today (and it may be slightly alcoholic), that may be as far as it goes. I'm not going to do piping and yeast adding and whatever else winemakers do. I don't even have the patience to read through the instructions for it. LOL

Hotazell would be a good name for the paste I made yesterday. Visiting you is on my bucket list, but it may be more like a pipe dream than a plan, I'm afraid.

Oct 3, 2016, 5:59am Top

>160 MrsLee: Your stuffed poblanos sound amazing!

Oct 3, 2016, 12:23pm Top

>160 MrsLee: How do you roast the poblanos? How can you tell when the skins are ready to come off? I've seen it done with a little torch, which blackens the skin, but it doesn't do anything for the pepper inside.

Oct 3, 2016, 5:58pm Top

I just re-read my post (159) and realized I forgot to mention food! While in Missouri, I got my fix of toasted ravioli (evidently only available in the St. Louis area). Yesterday, my husband and I went to an Italian restaurant and tried their fried ravioli. Not at all the same thing.

Oct 4, 2016, 5:10am Top

>164 Darth-Heather: Well, when you roast a bell pepper you wait until the skin blackens. I'm not fond of hot peppers therefore have never roasted any, but I imagine it's the same.

Oct 4, 2016, 9:41am Top

>164 Darth-Heather: I put mine on a baking sheet in the oven (I grease the pan very lightly, but I'm not sure it's necessary). Set the dial to "broil." Keep the oven door slightly open and set the timer for 5 minutes, but check occasionally anyway. I think in my oven, the rack keeps the peppers about 4-6" from the heating element. Usually I broil them on 3 sides, each time about 5 minutes, but less on the third. The skin should look blackened, or separated from the pepper. It sometimes pops. That might be too long, because I find they are a little difficult to handle without falling apart when I'm trying to stuff them. Still working on the technique. :)

When you remove them from the oven, put in a plastic or paper bag and close it up (I use a slightly used but clean gallon ziplock). Let sit and steam until you are ready to peel them, at least 10 minutes. This may also be an area where I overcook them, so again, experiment. By the time I get to them, the skins come right off. Slice it open, remove the seeds, but I leave the stem attached. Because mine are soft, I don't worry about closing the top, but leave the stuffing exposed. It's pretty that way, and since I don't batter and fry them it doesn't matter.

After I stuff them, I put them in a 350° oven for about 30 min.

Oct 4, 2016, 12:25pm Top

>167 MrsLee: thank you for describing it so well. I think I see what to look for now. My brother spent some time in Colorado and brought me some recipes that involve roasting the peppers like this, but my attempts at it haven't been successful so far.

Oct 4, 2016, 1:05pm Top

>161 hfglen: Oh, chicken piri-piri...yum!!! And yes, cilantro is horrid. My husband likes to tease me and our kids as we all think it tastes (and smells) like dishwashing soap.

Oct 4, 2016, 2:14pm Top

>169 Marissa_Doyle: Out of pure idle "'satiable curtiosity", where did you meet chicken piri-piri? I first met it in my teens in Lourenço Marques (now Maputo). Apparently the best chicken piri-piri in Maputo is made by Cervejaria Coimbra, just like it was 50 years ago.

Oct 4, 2016, 5:41pm Top

I'm partly of Portuguese (Azorean) ancestry so grew up with Portuguese food courtesy of my paternal grandmother, though it's not something she made. However, I had it on the Algarve when my Mom and I did a driving tour of Spain and Portugal many years ago. There's a delicious version of it in a lovely restaurant in Sarasota, Florida, which I order every year when we go there to visit my mother-in-law. But I'll bet the Maputo one is incredible.

Oct 4, 2016, 10:28pm Top

>168 Darth-Heather: People also roast them in cast iron pans on the stove top, or on the grill outside. :)

I'm going to have to get out Discovery of a Continent and see if Samuelsson added a piri-piri recipe. Pretty sure there is one.

Oct 5, 2016, 6:06am Top

>169 Marissa_Doyle: "And yes, cilantro is horrid. My husband likes to tease me and our kids as we all think it tastes (and smells) like dishwashing soap."

That's been isolated down to a genetic difference. There's a few other food based ones that are very simple differences in DNA as to whether or not you're affected.

Oct 5, 2016, 4:02pm Top

Yes, it's something about two genes being in closer proximity than usual. I had not heard of other food-based ones, though. Interesting!

Oct 8, 2016, 8:16pm Top

Pan fried some red snapper (that I caught myself this summer!). An egg wash and some panko seasoned with Italian seasonings. With some green beans and egg noodles, it was pretty tasty.
(Full disclosure: I called my son to find out how to use panko. He and my daughter are much better cooks than me.)

Oct 8, 2016, 10:32pm Top

>175 theexiledlibrarian: Sounds yummy! I love red snapper.

I shredded 5 big zucchinis today. I froze 10 bags of 2 cups each for winter baking. Now looking at other options on the internet since my cookbooks haven't provided enough inspiration.

I have a couple of limes and I found a lime-zucchini cake recipe; it doesn't really use enough zucchini but I'll make it anyway because YUM. Also, lime-zucchini marmalade, which uses a lot more zucchini, but I need to go buy more limes which won't happen until tomorrow.

Oct 9, 2016, 10:18am Top

This is also delicious with snapper (or with almost anything)
Tomato Salad: chop up several tomatoes, an onion, green pepper; add some capers. Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Chill and use as a bed for the fish.

I've used it with chicken as well. You can add/subtract vegetables as you like; generally I use whatever is on hand (Kalamati olives, feta cheese are also good additions)

Oct 9, 2016, 3:51pm Top

>175 theexiledlibrarian: Catching it yourself is almost the only way you are guaranteed to get actual red snapper, good for you! Sounds delicious.

I made some berbere spice mix today. Recipe from Ethiopia via Marcus Samuelsson. Cooking some country style spare ribs from a pig raised to be sold at the fair. My boss buys animals from the kids, then splits the meat up to share among employees. This recipe should be hot, hot, hot!

Nov 13, 2016, 1:33pm Top

Pork roast after The Roman Cookery of Apicius -- rather the opposite end of the spectrum from MrsLee's Ethiopian pork wat. Apicius marinates the pork in salt water with juniper berries, peppercorns and cumin seeds for 24 hours before roasting, and gives a sauce made of pan juices, stock, red wine, honey (!) and a whiff of pepper to go with it. Tender, delicate and something I might one day consider inflicting on unsuspecting guests. Note for those trying a nightshade-family-free diet: Roman and medieval European recipes are worth taking very seriously for this: edible members of the family only started turning up in Europe in the 16th century. So you have Apicius, Forme of Cury and Taillevent (Cuisinier du Roy) to consult, for starters.

Nov 13, 2016, 2:00pm Top

>179 hfglen: Sounds wonderful! I love your idea for looking at ancient cuisines for inspiration. When I was reading one of the books on food through the ages, they mentioned that almost all stewed meat recipes had fruit or sweetener in them. One of my favorite pork stews has prunes in it.

I made something called Fondue Mushroom Caps last night. It was part me and part a magazine recipe. I was too lazy to do the recipe the way they said, so did my own version, which was wonderful!

Clean and destem, cutting out a little of the inside edges of about 15 large crimini mushrooms. SAVE THE STEMS AND STUFF. For level baking, also slice a bit off the top of the mushroom so it sits flat. Chop up all those stems and trimmings, press in towel to dry them as much as possible. Saute in oil until they begin to brown. Add 1 lg. clove finely minced garlic when mushrooms are almost finished, then remove pan from heat and let cool a little.

Mix about 1 c. shredded tasty cheese which melts well (Gruyere, Jarlsberg or Gouda), 1 c. finely ground breadcrumbs, 1 T. stoneground mustard, salt, pepper and spices to taste. Use 1-2 T. of Stout or Porter to moisten bread crumbs a bit and make mixture a bit sticky. Add cooked mushroom stems, mix, and squish into mushroom caps. Bake in 400° oven for 30 minutes. Yum.

Nov 13, 2016, 10:08pm Top

I made baked beans for the first time this weekend. Originally the plan was to use the slow cooker I've owned for a while but not really used, but I found it is supposed to be 1/2 to 3/4 full, and even though it is one of the smaller cookers that would be a huge amount of beans. Fortunately I had a suitable baking dish, and was able to put them in the oven instead. They turned out beautifully in looks and texture, but the taste was OK but not delicious.

I was a bit casual with the amounts in the recipe, threw in a few things that had been in the fridge a while, and substituted a few things rather than going to the store. One of the options in the recipe was to use beer for liquid, so I used a very hoppy IPA (which I didn't really care for), and I think that perhaps the bitterness of the hops did not work too well with the beans. Or maybe it was the past-their-best onions I wanted to use up. Will have to adjust the ingredients and try again.

Nov 14, 2016, 9:47am Top

>181 NorthernStar: It must be the season. I cooked some beans overnight in my crockpot last night. I'm a newbie to the crockpot mania. Mine came out tasty. I put some leftover cooking juices in from some meat or other and they are nice, simple beans to serve under the shredded pork I did in the crockpot yesterday.

Nov 18, 2016, 6:21am Top

>180 MrsLee: Those mushrooms sounds delicious! I must try that.

Nov 18, 2016, 9:18am Top

>183 Sakerfalcon: Yes, I made the mistake of doing a cost breakdown on them, and they amounted to over $1 each! But a very delicious dollar +. I will probably look for a slightly less expensive tasty cheese next time. :)

Edited: Nov 20, 2016, 11:12am Top

>182 MrsLee: I don't know how I would have survived without my two crockpots. One big when there were all four of us living in the house, and the other for a smaller family (perfect for making stuff that constitutes two meals for two people). I just started beef stroganoff in the crockpot. It's going to turn cold this evening, and it seemed right to make a winter meal.

Updated (edited) on Sunday, November 20, to add that I have thrown a loaf of pumpkin bread into the oven and will do a caraway seed cake later in the day.

Nov 25, 2016, 2:45pm Top

In the last couple of weeks I've been on a Roman binge, making each sauce for pork in sequence. They're all good. Today, made "the other" Parthian chicken for supper. (This is one of the few recipes that's in both Sally Grainger's Cooking Apicius and in John Edwards's The Roman Cookery of Apicius -- the realisations are startlingly different, but both delicious IMHO.)

Nov 25, 2016, 10:36pm Top

>186 hfglen: That sounds like a yummy cooking adventure.

I bit the bullet and purchased a Vitamax 7500 today. Ouch! It seems like it will help me in the way I am cooking, hopefully it will also enable me to get rid of some of my other counter appliances. Or it will be one of my larger purchasing mistakes.

Nov 26, 2016, 8:47pm Top

This is a split-pea and ham soup kind of a night! My crazy husband went to the Christmas parade in town. At least he will have some warm soup when he gets home.

Nov 27, 2016, 2:52pm Top

I did an 8x8 lasagna earlier in the week which usually works out to about 3 meals for the two of us. We'll have two of those this week and the third set of servings went into the freezer for later use. I think I'm doing a chicken salsa in the oven later this evening for dinner. The chocolate loaf cake went to theater for this afternoon's snack for the cast.

Dec 18, 2016, 7:29pm Top

I made another seed cake today to share with the library book group at our final meeting of 2016. Just noting here how I did it.

1-1/2 cups of flour
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 tablespoons caraway seeds
1/4 cup of butter (melted and cooled)
3/4 cup of buttermilk
1 egg
3/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Mix of cinnamon and brown sugar (about 1 tablespoon)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 6-cup loaf pan. Mix first four ingredients. Sift together and then add caraway seeds. In a separate bowl, mix together the egg, the buttermilk and the vanilla extract. Add in the melted butter until fully blended into the milk mixture.

Create a hole in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid ingredients. Mix fully together. Put into the loaf pan. Sprinkle your tablespoon of cinnamon and brown sugar over the top of the loaf. Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick entered into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let cool for ten minutes in the pan and then turn out. Serve warm.

Dec 21, 2016, 7:21am Top

Gingerbread in the oven!

Feb 4, 2017, 6:09am Top

Foodie trivia for MrsLee and anybody else who likes their stove to host an intellectual challenge.

Recently I read (don't know where) that a book called Deipnosophistae by one Athenaeus of Naucratis, a 2nd--3rd century Greek, contains, amid a vast amount of waffle, some genuine classical-Greek recipes. The sainted Google tells me that one of the recipes is quoted in full from a lost cookbook by one Mithaecus (4--5th century BC), and is the oldest recipe attributed to a named individual in any language. The translation and notes Google offers tell us
"Tainia: gut, discard the head, rinse, slice; add cheese and {olive} oil.

The ribbon-like fish here called tainia is known in Italian as cepola and in modern Greek as kordella. The addition of cheese seems to have been a controversial matter; Archestratus is quoted as warning his readers that Syracusan cooks spoil good fish by adding cheese."

So apparently you fillet it and fry it? Or is this ancient Greek sushi? Either way, I suspect that I might agree with Archestratus that the cheese adds nothing to the result. Heresy though that might be in the GD. Has anybody here ever tried what in effect would be a cheese fishburger?

Feb 4, 2017, 11:38am Top

>192 hfglen: No. Just no.

Mar 28, 2017, 9:54am Top

Sharing this recipe here, because it is so yummy. I wrote it for beginner cooks because my son wanted a copy, too!

Growler Nuggets
2 c. grated cheddar cheese
¼ c. mayonnaise
2 dried fruit (I used figs, but dates or apricots might be nice)
4 slices cooked bacon
1 T. chili paste (1 jalapeño, or whatever spice or lack thereof you wish, if you add a liquid sauce, you will probably not need the vinegar)
1 t. balsamic vinegar
¼ t. salt (to taste)
½ c. roasted nuts (I used pecans, but almonds would be better IMO)

If you have food processor or Vitamix type machine, pulse nuts until they are chopped to size of barley grains (if no machine, chop with chef knife), remove and set aside.
Pulse fruit, bacon and chili until minced fine (or use large chef knife and mince). Add cheese, mayonnaise, vinegar and salt and pulse until a paste is formed (or mix in bowl). Use spoon to scoop out 1” balls, roll in minced nuts.

Serve with beer or wine, or whatever. 

Created and named in honor of my visit to Georgetown, CA, previously named “Growlersburg” because of the large gold nuggets found there. Lee Swetnika 3-25-17

Mar 28, 2017, 1:06pm Top

Khoresh e Gormeh Sabzi from the new-to-me book I bought on Sunday. Beef and bean stew with herbs and spices; smells great.

Lee, those nuggets sound pretty good, too!

Apr 23, 2017, 5:29pm Top

Made some more Ragu sauce to go into the freezer to keep me going for a few weeks and then found an online recipe for Bobotie and have tried making that - it doesn't taste too bad even if I say so myself. I tried it a few weeks ago at an 'international event' through work and decided to try and have a go myself.

Apr 24, 2017, 4:14am Top

>196 Peace2: If you like Bobotie, then there's a whole heap of good things to explore in Cape Malay cookery. I believe The Cape Malay Cookbook by Faldela Williams is still available, though maybe only to special order in your neck of the woods. May I suggest that if you can arrange to put dinner on the stove and let it simmer for hours, you start with a tomato bredie, and then move on to any of the gazillion other flavours known in the Cape (though you may have difficulty finding the vegetable material for waterblommetjiebredie outside the Western Cape -- even here we only ever see waterblommetjies in tins, and none too often at that). Thought for participants in MrsLee's thread: if you're well-bredie, you may even get into high sosatie.

Apr 24, 2017, 10:03am Top

>196 Peace2: Yum!

>197 hfglen: Making me late for work! :) Glad Google can tell me what all those are, but on and empty stomach with no time to eat, viewer beware!

Apr 24, 2017, 2:10pm Top

>197 hfglen: The tomato bredie looks lovely - I may have to try that at some point. At the same event, I also tried melktert which I'm sure you'd be familiar with - this is also on my radar for trying to make at some point.

Apr 25, 2017, 12:17pm Top

Indeed I do know about milk tart! One or another magazine around here had a competition a month or 3 back for the best milk tart. I don't think we've turfed out the issue with the winning recipe yet; I'll keep an eye peeled for it and pass it on when / if I find it.

Edited: Apr 29, 2017, 11:38am Top

Oops, wrong thread. Need more coffee.

Apr 30, 2017, 10:11am Top

>200 hfglen: Talk to me about milk tart. I'm curious but haven't time to go Google it.

Apr 30, 2017, 11:24am Top

It's one of the things that balances the budget of every home-industry store and Dutch-Reformed Church bazaar, and I suspect if you ask 100 middle-aged Afrikaans ladies how it's made, you'll get 300 recipes. This one from Cook and Enjoy it is fairly typical and straightforward.

For the shell, use bought-in puff pastry or whatever other shell takes your fancy. For the filling you will need

" 2 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon cornflour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
3 eggs
1 stick of cinnamon or grated rind of 1 orange

1. Scald the milk to which the cinnamon has been added.
2. Combine the flour, cornflour, sugar and salt.
3. Add the hot milk gradually to this mixture, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon.
4. Cook slowly, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes, until thick and well cooked.
5. Remove from heat and add the butter. Cool slightly.
6. Stir in the well-beaten eggs.
7. Line a pastry plate with thinly rolled puff pastry and pour the mixture into it.
8. Bake in a hot oven at 220° C / 475°F for 20 minutes, reducing the heat after 10 minutes. Cool slightly and sprinkle a cinnamon-and-sugar mixture over the baked filling. Serve hot.
N.B. For a fluffy filling, beat the egg yolks and whites separately. Fold in the stiffly beaten whites just before baking."

Apparently you get brownie points in some circles for decorative patterns in the cinnamon on top. I've seldom seen it served hot; at room temperature the consistency of the filling should be semi-solid. It's easier to handle if this tends more to solid than semi. The Cape Malay Cookbook has a fearsome recipe for a milk tart designed to feed 16 people. (Which I suppose isn't quites as off-putting as Indian Delights's recipe for breyani for 800 guests...

May 9, 2017, 9:29am Top

Made my own cultured butter and buttermilk last night. First time I've ever liked buttermilk!

May 9, 2017, 1:23pm Top

>204 MrsLee: I bought buttermilk for a recipe once. Learned that it goes bad VERY quickly. When you make it at home, do you just make what you will use immediately, or is there a way to store it?

May 10, 2017, 9:45am Top

Mine is the by-product of making butter. The remaining liquid after the fats congeal. You knead the butter a lot to get the liquid out. Mine came out slightly salty, very mild sour, like a cream cheese flavor, or mascarpone. My butter not so much; guess I added the salt too early in the process, but I don't particularly need salt in my butter anyway. I didn't save the liquid that I rinsed the butter with because I was afraid it would thin the buttermilk too much. I have to look into this process more though, because I wonder if that would make a good whey for a starter culture.

From a quart of cream, I would say there was about 1/3 of a quart of buttermilk. I could drink it plain, but my husband really wants to use it for pancakes and there is just about enough to do that.

Usually, if I need buttermilk for a recipe, I simply "sour" the milk with a little lemon juice or vinegar.

May 10, 2017, 3:19pm Top

Am I right in thinking that if you boil off the excess water from buttermilk you get Ricotta cheese?

May 10, 2017, 5:08pm Top

>207 hfglen: I don't know! That would kill the cultures though. I've only ever made farm cheese/cream cheese, so pretty unclear about it.

My brother won't eat cheese to this day because my grandmother used to keep unused milk and buttermilk in a large tin tub in the garden to slop the pigs with. On the top would form a cottage cheese like substance, covered in flies.

Jul 4, 2017, 11:34pm Top

Today I made what my husband calls, "fauxtato" salad. Since I can't eat potatoes, I roasted cauliflower which had been cut to bite-size pieces, then proceeded with my potato salad recipe as usual. It is wonderful! I don't even miss the potatoes, although the texture isn't the same.

I'm going to try this with my macaroni salad recipe too, since I'm avoiding pasta. Not sure I can put that one over on my husband, but he loves the fauxtato one.

Jul 5, 2017, 7:49am Top

>209 MrsLee: Roasted cauliflower is so delicious! I think using it would be an improvement on potato salad!

Jul 5, 2017, 11:10am Top

I agree with Sakerfalcon!

Jul 22, 2017, 3:29pm Top

It must be summertime. I'm doing a cold pasta salad for dinner (enhanced with ham, green pepper, tomato, onion). What're the rest of you eating this week?

Jul 22, 2017, 4:15pm Top

I made a clean-out-the-fridge frittata from leftover tempura onions, minced mushroom stems cooked with garlic, spinach, frozen grated cheddar cheese and feta cheese. Added bacon, eggs, whipping cream, jalapeno whisked with salt, pepper, dry mustard and minced oregano. Pretty darned good.

For the most part, we are eating salads though. I made a huge pork roast last weekend that we have carved off of all week, tomorrow I will roast a chicken, although I know it won't last a week in this household. I prepare whatever veggies are given to us by gardeners in the simplest way possible.

I have a lot of summer squash (see paragraph above), so I'm going to grate it in thin strips and make a veggie-noodle salad of that.

Aug 19, 2017, 11:29am Top

Made Hericoq de Mouton last night, from a realization in an elderly (almost 50 years) number of Gourmet magazine of a recipe first written down in the 14th century. (Taillevent, Le Viandier). Interesting. Almost an ultra-mild, but still tasty, curry.

Oct 28, 2017, 12:38am Top

I'm after some advice. I've been developing my repertoire of recipes that I can eat and then freeze the rest for later and this is working well towards cutting costs, eating healthier foods (I'm controlling what goes in rather than relying on the word of some supermarket retailer that it's good for me) and I'm enjoying what I'm eating - this is good too.

I've been freezing food in single foil trays which can come out of the freezer and go into the oven, but these are one use only - too flimsy to be washed and reused. The other option of course is the 'tupperware' style packs. I have two problems with using these (and it's not that I don't have enough, because I'd go get some more). The first is that they're not suitable for putting in the oven, so certain recipes where I want the ingredients to stay in the order they are (eg. chicken pie or shepherd's pie) couldn't be 'upended' into an oven proof dish without the wrong part ending up at the bottom but also that some of my recipes are tomato based and the plastic containers seem to rapidly stain and discolour and while it mightn't effect the cooking or the taste, it always leaves me feeling like I haven't cleaned them properly.

Can anyone think of a reasonable low cost freezer suitable container that's reuseable and environmentally and health consciously safe and ideally oven proof into the bargain? I'm sure I'm missing something obvious.

Also has anyone ever tried making their own frozen mashed potato - not as part of a recipe like shepherd's pie but just as something that can be grabbed and put with whatever you're having at the last minute. I love mash in winter with warm gravy and whatever I'm having, but making it just for myself for a single portion seems like to much mess/hard work. I figure it shouldn't be too hard to make big batches and then to split them into single portions for later use - but just wondered if anyone had experience and did anything special to get the nice fluffy mash without it becoming gritty and grainy?

Oct 28, 2017, 3:50am Top

>215 Peace2: Hmmmz. Plastic 'tupperware' packs would, of course, be microwaveable, which would save on electricity and time. We also have some small glass containers that are supposed to be ovenproof (though the plastic lids aren't) that could possibly be made to answer with a bit of "bush engineering".

In our family, when we want a small quantity of mashed potato quickly we use "Smash" -- instant mashed potato just add boiling water; the alleged contents are mostly potato flour and herbs.

Further than that, I'll ask Better Half when she gets back later today.

Oct 28, 2017, 11:16am Top

>215 Peace2: As to the freezing of potatoes, I'm not sure, but I would imagine that butter and cream would make it better. :)

I invested in a set of rectangular/square glass storage containers because those shapes store more efficiently than round ones. I LOVE them. They can go from freezer to oven to microwave, but I usually use them in the refrigerator and microwave right now. They are expensive, so I am purchasing them gradually. I found mine on Amazon. Look up "glass meal prep conainers" or "glass food storage set." Read the description carefully to make sure they are freezer to oven safe. Of course, the plastic lids are not oven-safe. Pyrex used to make storage containers which had glass lids, not sure whether they still do or not, but I've seen more glass options lately because people are avoiding plastics. You might find some in thrift stores?

At some point, I hope to be rid of my cheapo plastic storage containers for the reasons of staining/nuisance/melting/yuck factor.

Oct 28, 2017, 11:24am Top

>217 MrsLee: I’d like something like that. I’m constantly emptying plastic storage containers into microwaveable bowls to avoid microwaving plastic.

Oct 28, 2017, 11:37am Top

I should add, that the tabs on the plastic lids are less than exceptional. One set came with a tab broken off, I would have had to send the whole set back and wait for a replacement, so I didn't worry about it. Another one or two cracked, possibly because we had the lid slightly askew, or perhaps because they aren't sturdy. It doesn't really bother the food storage though. The lids still fit tightly due to the rubber(?) gaskets. I wouldn't put soup in them and tip it on its side, but good enough for most things.

Oct 28, 2017, 1:27pm Top

>218 stellarexplorer: said, "I’m constantly emptying plastic storage containers into microwaveable bowls to avoid microwaving plastic."

^ This.

It's best to avoid cooking in plastic whenever possible. Heating plastic releases toxins into the contents. Ever notice that bitter, acrid taste in bottled water? That's because it got warm somewhere between the bottling plant and the grocer's cooler. I will use a plastic bottle for hydration on the go but I always drain it out and refill with water from home, (we have our own well with a triple-filtration system that includes UV treatment so I know it's as pure as possible).

Also, microwaving food, even in ceramic or glass containers, degrades the molecular structure of the food - but I still do it because it's convenient. My wife, OTOH, avoids it as much as she can.

Oct 28, 2017, 2:32pm Top

>216 hfglen: Thanks for the thoughts. I actually had a conversation with someone this morning who said that the pie problem could be solved by cooking and freezing the pastry lids separately and that this is what some food outlets do, only putting the pastry on at the final heating stage - so that would solve the 'upending' issue. They also suggested lining 'tupperware' with clingfilm to stop things like the tomato staining it. It's still resulting in throwaway plastic which is something I'd wanted to try and avoid but it's much less, so worth considering for some dishes.

Any further suggestions to consider would be appreciated.

Oct 28, 2017, 6:02pm Top

I have a few old Corningware casseroles (the white ones with little blue flowers), with lids, in various sizes. When I want to freeze them, I put the lid on, then wrap the whole thing with plastic wrap, and write the re-heating instructions on the outside. I mostly got them from thrift stores and rummage sales, so they're cheap, and I think they're pretty, too.

Oct 28, 2017, 7:27pm Top

>217 MrsLee: That's a great idea - it might mean building a set slowly - I've had a quick look on Amazon and seen some - I need to figure out the dimensions. They've got plastic lids, but look microwave, oven, freezer and dishwasher safe apart from the lids. This is a good starting point. I will go and look on Monday in the local cookshop and see what they have.

Oct 29, 2017, 4:40am Top

>223 Peace2: The lids on ours are microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe (-ish).

Oct 29, 2017, 4:56am Top

>224 hfglen: I'll have a bit more of a look at options - because quite a lot come in sets anyway but they're not sets where all the containers are the same size which is what I need - I don't need any where they're huge and I'm saving portions for families of six as that's not what I'm feeding and there isn't that much space in the freezer!

I don't have a problem with lids needing to come off to go in the microwave and oven - I have a splatter lid for the microwave and I can manage in the oven. To be fair the lids can probably go in the dishwasher on the top rack.

Thank you to everyone for the suggestions.

Nov 11, 2017, 8:57pm Top

Making some "smoked" trout for dinner. Cast iron skillet, 1/2" kosher salt, get pan so hot the salt starts smoking, lay in trout which you have filled with aromatic herbs, I used sage and lemon verbena, put on tight lid and let smoke for 10-20 Min., depending on how big your trout are. I believe the guide says 10 min. for every inch of thickness. This is a wonderful way to cook salmon with skin on also. Delicate smoked flavor.

I'm also cooking chickpeas, or garbanzo beans. Will combine them with rice and pesto sauce. I was going to do a curry style, but had a parmesan cheese rind and pesto sauce that needed using, so will see what happens.

Tomorrow I make pork stew with fruit (persimmon) and veggies (cabbage, carrot, onion, garlic)

Nov 22, 2017, 1:23pm Top

Something I suspect few of us other than MrsLee would have the skill to do, but somehow I doubt if even she would have the patience.

Annie Hawes describes in Handful of Honey watching a local -- near the beginning of the story, I forget whether it was in (or near) Oujda in Morocco or Tlemcen in Algeria -- making a sort of wafer. She heated a griddle (I would imagine seriously hot), and made a ball of rather wet dough. When all was ready she took the dough in her hand, pressed it briefly on to the griddle and withdrw, leaving a very thin layer cooking there. Remove wafer and repeat many times. According to Ms Hawes, the best millefeuilles ever. Has anybody seen, heard of or perhaps maybe even tried a similar technique?

Nov 22, 2017, 10:32pm Top

>227 hfglen:, I think I've heard of that, but you are right, I have not the patience for it.

I am thinking hard about attempting a mead though.

Nov 23, 2017, 3:37am Top

>228 MrsLee: I made a batch of mead once. Eejit that I am, I drank it before it was properly ready. It needs to mature for at least six months after it drops clear and you bottle it.

Nov 23, 2017, 2:37pm Top

Yes, patience it the thing! We will be enjoying the persimmon flavored brandy which I started two years ago with our desserts tonight. It has only improved in taste over the last year.

Edited: Nov 25, 2017, 4:42pm Top

So, the consensus was, that I need to start a batch of persimmon brandy every six months because it is the best thing ever to sip with pies at Thanksgiving. Now if I could only remember how I did it! I think the discussion was in one of these cooking threads...

Anyway, smells like baking bread in my house right now because SHOCK! REVELATION! I'm baking bread. :) Thought I would try out the Vitamix recipe for Spelt bread since I had some spelt. It was certainly easy enough to make my own flour! Took all of 1 minute max. The whole process took less than 15 min. to get it ready to put in the pan to rise, which it does for about 20 min., then bakes for 35-40 min.

Also, making broth from the turkey carcass. The house smells pretty darn good right now, the doors are open because it is in the upper 60s outside, the sun is shining through the fall leaves on the trees casting golden light everywhere. I call this a nice day.

ETA: Hmmm, bread didn't rise anymore in the oven. Think I will use one of my reliable recipes next time, but use the Vitamix to put it together and see what happens.

Nov 27, 2017, 8:47pm Top

Perhaps there was an issue with your yeast? Or does Spelt bread not require it?

Nov 28, 2017, 12:02am Top

>232 jillmwo: The yeast proofed fine. Possibly oven was too hot when I put loaf in? I'm not sure how much gluten spelt has, perhaps it is a heavier grain?

Nov 28, 2017, 8:41am Top

My big Black Friday purchase (online, because I do not go shopping on that Friday) was an oyster shucker knife-now to find some good oysters, a ramen noodle strainer made to cook the noodles in it while it is in the pot, and some citric acid- purchased for its cleansing abilities, although I would like to find out more about its food potential.

Nov 28, 2017, 9:41am Top

>234 MrsLee: Add a pinch of (food-grade) citric acid to anything and it will come out tasting deliciously of lemon. We have a huge pasta pot -- it must be about 10 litres / 2 Imperial gallons capacity -- with a strainer that fits inside, and a steamer basket that sits in that, just under the lid. If that will answer, try an Italian cookware shop / deli.

Dec 1, 2017, 1:53pm Top

Made Agneau a la stretta from Come to the Table. As the starting material was mutton rather than lamb, the strategy of simmering it in wine for ages worked a treat. But why o why, when the recipe says "it will concentrate, don't let it dry out", do I always end up with a pot full of very watery liquid? Allowing this to boil fiercely at least reduced it to 1/3 of a pot, but thick it was not.

Dec 1, 2017, 9:20pm Top

>236 hfglen: I have that problem too. The recipes for curry I have tried all call for too much liquid IMO. I never could get them to reduce like the recipe said it would in the time, before everything else was ruined.

I wonder if those recipe writers have especially hot stoves like restaurants do?

Dec 2, 2017, 1:17pm Top

I just made candied pecans and the whole house smells amazing. Sort of a praline-y taste without all the hassle of making candy.

Dec 2, 2017, 1:26pm Top

I'm about to make an apple crisp. I made one for Thanksgiving and it was all gone before I got a taste. Besides, its the kind of thing one can have both for dessert and for breakfast...

Dec 2, 2017, 2:12pm Top

My house smells good too! But not with sweets. I was up at 5am today, so cooked 2 beef pot roasts with gravy, roasted rutabaga, parsnips and turnips (combined), then roasted beets. I had a few too many rutabaga, parsnip and turnips, so I made a casserole sort of thing which my grandmother used to make with parsnips (almost like a dessert). Layers of the vegs, with bits of butter, salt, pepper and a smidge of brown sugar, ending with butter. Then pour in milk until about half full, then whipping cream until liquid is 3/4 up the casserole dish. Bake covered for 1 hour, then uncover, press veggies down, and bake until golden brown on the top. Not sure how it will turn out with the turnips and rutabagas, might be a disaster, but one can only try! It smells wonderful.

Dec 3, 2017, 11:48am Top

Started a new thread.

Group: The Green Dragon

3,940 members

382,306 messages


This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 129,660,473 books! | Top bar: Always visible