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PoV
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a bit random, but I decided to re-watch the movie Chef yesterday.

One of key plot points in the movie circles around the Cuban (Cubano) Sandwich. Of course, I had to try making one.

The Cuban Sandwich is basically a grilled Ham Sandwich. Traditional ingredients include

- Cuban Bread (a long loaf bread)
- Mustard
- Ham
- Roasted Pork
- Swiss Cheese (Emmental)
- Pickles
- Butter

While I'm not able to match the ingredients exactly, I came up with an interesting variant: Using Polish ingredients.

- Portuguese Bun (not polish, but they were fresh and very soft when I bought them, still warm)
- Mustard
- Honey+Maple Ham (just a sweeter ham, I guess "Canadian" because of the Maple)
- Polish Ham (which is actually a roast pork)
- Polish Emmental Cheese (which is basically Swiss Cheese, made in Poland. Possibly milder)
- Polskie Ogrki Dill Pickles (i.e. Polish Style Dill Pickles. Basically a garlic dill, possibly milder than regular dill)
- Butter



Fairly inexpensive to make, which is nice.



Before and after butter grilling in a pan (like a glorified Grilled Cheese).



And the result.

Yeah, I don't know how to fancy-plate a sandwich. ;)

In general it was good. I've never been a particular fan of Ham Sandwiches (or non-salami sandwiches for that matter), but I'm actually quite happy with the results. The pickles add a nice contrast, and the warm toasted bread a good crunch and flavour. My cooking method doesn't melt the cheese or insides that well, but I wanted to limit the mess.

Finding roast pork in a deli is actually extremely difficult. You can often get roast-everything-else, and ham, but not pork. I lucked-out finding the Polish Ham at the Italian market.

To get the true Cuban Sandwich experience, I would to marinate and roast the pork myself. The marinade is really interesting, being a heavy citrus (orange) marinade. That's something I wish I used in food more often (orange, I love orange).

My main takeaway is the method. I think I'm pretty happy with this idea of preparing a sandwich, and treating it as a "Grilled Cheese". The ingredients inside can be any meats or cheeses, but pairing it with mustard, dill pickles, on a fresh buttered bun makes a great meal.

* * *

Another Cuban Sandwich, the "Midnight":

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medianoche

Basically the same thing, but on a softer egg bread.

* * *

I did a 'scan' of Wikipedia's Sandwich page.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sandwiches

Interestingly, a ridiculous amount of sandwiches originate in the US.

I didn't really come across anything too interesting, just other sandwiches I hadn't put much thought in to.

- Philly Cheesesteak (beef and cheese on nice bread)
- French Dip (beef w/ french bread, sometimes with a cup of juices)
- Meatball (I need a meatball though)
- Steak (beef and sometimes cheese)
- Reuben (Corn Beef, Sauerkraut*, Swiss Cheese, Dressing, on Rye*... two things I'm not really not fans of)

But that said, none of the above are particularly interesting. Just "hey if I have X, Y ingredient".


The Cuban sandwich was probably the only new thing on that master list for me (I already love Shawarma's and Gyros). It took a Jon Favreau movie for me to find it though. ;)

I may put some more thought in to Sandwich Arts. I need to find a good soft+fat bread or bun though (French Bread tends to be too skinny, but I do love French).
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fasolakia is back!



After my foray in to Italian cooking, I finally decided to make this Greek favorite from last year, combining what I've learned in to a new, more refined dish.

- Olive Oil (quite a bit of it, bottom of the wok was covered)
- A finely chopped shallot, carrot, celery, and 6 cloves of garlic
- 2 small onions chopped in to larger chunks
- Added a whole bunch of cubed pancetta (it was in the fridge, just to use it up)
- 2 fresh jalepeno's, seeds removed (it was also in the fridge, just to use it up)
- lots of fresh green beans, ends removed, and cut to 2 inches in length (and smaller)
- sauteed in the (excess) oil for a bit
- added a can of tomatoes (an old one, just to use it up). Crushed them in to the mix, but some large chunks still lingered.
- added a can of tomato paste (to fill-in the tomatoey flavour, as these older cans need a boost)
- pepper, salted to taste with adobo
- some honey and maple syrup, to add sweetness (instead of just sugar)
- a bit of parsley near the end, and bit more salt (adobo)

The meal had a lot of liquids, so it took about 90 minutes to simmer off in to the nice thick concoction above.

By far the best batch of Fasolakia I've made. It has an amazing taste. It's even good cold. :D

* * *

Wow. For all the shit of 2016, I really feel like I became a better cook this year. I'm pretty happy about that. :D
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another dish I was recommended: Surinamese Roti.

http://www.kayotic.nl/blog/tag/surinaamse-roti
http://ohmydish.com/recipe/surinamese-roti/

Seems complicated :)
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I bought a large (too large) cast iron Wok today.



The grocery store randomly had them in today, on sale (with a limit of 4 per customer) for $20, plus it was a no tax sale (saving me about another $3).



It came with a huge lid that fits it perfectly.



It's unseasoned, so it needs some work before I can use it. I started seasoning it on my stove, but it smoked pretty badly, so I've decided to wait until daytime (it would suck if I set off the fire alarm at night).

I wasn't expecting to buy a large cast-iron wok, but here we are. IT'S HUGE! It barely fits in my sink for cleaning. I have no idea where I'm going to store it.

* * *

So I picked up some nice looking stewing beef at the grocery store. It was 50% off, so I need to use it ASAP, but it's nice and red.

In my quick search for ideas (other than stew), I was reminded of Goulash.

Beef Goulash: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2016/02/hungarian-goulash-beef-paprika-stew-recipe.html

In general, it's a slow cooked beef + paprika recipe, Paprika being the key spice. I have shitty Paprika, so if I can find me some good Paprika somewhere, that might be a better way to go.

Another idea I stumbled across was Beef Stroganoff. I don't have a recipe handy, as I don't yet have a recipe I'm decided on. I have some King Oyster mushrooms in the fridge, and I bet that'd make a nice Stroganoff. Most Stroganoff recipes call for stir-fry strips though, not stewing/cubed beef.

I'm also starting to regret not grabbing the enameled cast iron pan I found when I was in the US last week. Again, I don't yet have a good Oven+Stovetop friendly pot.

Finally one other thing I could do with the beef is a Beef Curry. I think I'm set on the goulash, but I'm going to need some better Paprika.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay! Goulash is a go!

This evening I visited the various European markets in the area, on my hunt for Hungarian (or Hungarian style) Paprika. I was actually quite successful.



This is what I ended up buying. The canisters I bought from Remark, shortly before it closed. $5.69 per canister. The bag I found at Angelo's for a very reasonable $3.99 (has twice as much too).

They did have more choices at Angelos, which is good. So next time I'll stick with Angelos.



I haven't found the best reference for Paprika, but I did learn that typical store-bought paprika isn't very good.

http://www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-difference-hot-sweet-68134
http://blog.thespicehouse.com/grades-of-paprika/

So far I've only tasted the bagged and the hot Paprika. The hot is hot. :D

I compared the taste of the bagged paprika to the old paprika I had... definitely a difference. But by itself, Paprika isn't the nicest spice to taste. It's fine, but on its own it's missing something.

On to the cooking!
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I followed this recipe as reference.

http://www.seriouseats.com/2016/02/hungarian-goulash-beef-paprika-stew-recipe-food-lab.html

I didn't have exactly the same tools and ingredients though, so it was mainly a guide.

* * *

Again, I started with a random pack of stewing beef I got cheap from the grocery store. The recipe above recommends starting from steaks, which I can see why (nicer braising). I neglected to salt/season the meat before cooking, so that's one area I could have improved it.

Once the meat was ready, I removed it and added chopped carrots, as suggested. These I seasoned properly (salt + pepper).

Once they had a few minutes, chopped carrots were removed and set aside for 90 minutes.

Continuing, I added onion, a green pepper, some chopped leek, some whole carrots, large chunks of celery, and some bay leaves. Fried this a bit, deglazing with some white wine.

The mistake I made: I was supposed to add paprika so it could/smoke in the pan, but instead I immediately added Beef Broth (all I had), and stirred in the paprika.

The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of paprika, but I added 1/4 cup, since my ratios weren't exactly matching. Stirred it in to the broth. Added a touch of Fish Sauce and Soya Sauce too for an umami.

Then another mistake: I added an arbitrary amount of Hot Paprika, maybe 1/8th of a cups worth? That was way too much! It would have been better with more of a hint of the spicy one (and some pepper).



Simmer for 90 minutes.

I tasted the broth at various times. Initially it wasn't great, just lightly brothy with a similar paprika taste. But after 30 minutes, it had a much nicer taste. It continued to improve over time, not as much as Bolognese, but still quite nice.

For a dish without any tomato, it certainly reminded me of tomato.

After 90 minutes, the Celery, Carrots, and Bay leaves were removed.



The carrots that have been boiling this whole time were super-tender, and actually quite tasty. But since the dish needs more time to simmer (maximizing the tenderness of the beef), they get removed according to the reference recipe. Any longer and they'd turn in to mush. ;)

I ended up snacking on the carrots. So FWIW, this dish is nice in that gives you something to eat half-way through. ;)

I added the original carrots that were cooked at the beginning, as well as some chunks of potato.



The broth, I'm pretty sure I might have reduced it too much by this time, since there wasn't much room for potato (or maybe there was, and I just eyeballed it wrong).

30 minutes later the potato were nice and tender, but I gave it an extra 20 minutes more.

I think in general my heat was too high (or my potatoes too starchy), as it reduced way too quickly.



I guess I was expecting more of a soupy goulash.



The result is pretty tasty, though it doesn't match the recipe. I'd say the result is basically a spicy stew (thanks to the hot paprika).

The meat is nice and tender (as intended). But I definitely see where starting from steaks (and properly seasoning them) would work better than stewing beef.

Anyway, I have stew. :)
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been playing around with spicing up some of my old dishes. Nothing extreme, just a little crushed red or black pepper here and there, and sometimes a pinch of turmeric. I don't have any revelations to report yet, but at least I'm experimenting.

I picked up some chicken breasts the other day in anticipation of doing some more work on ye olde friend chicken recipe. My wife had a bad-ass recipe she took with her to the grave (/me shakes fist at the skies) that I must endeavor to recreate....
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, I have some dried black beans. I've been meaning to experiment with dried beans vs canned, just to see if there was any advantage.


This isn't necessarily the case for all beans, but according to this article, Black Beans can be cooked from dried in 90-120 minutes, and can actually taste better. Huh.

http://food.unl.edu/cooking-dry-beans-scratch-can-be-quick

The recommended recipe is here, and it's interesting.

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2014/09/the-lazy-cooks-black-beans-easy-recipe.html

They suggest adding 8 crushed garlic cloves, a sliced onion, and a sliced orange (squeezed) to the same pot you're cooking the beans in. Interesting.

Digging through the comments, it seems several people had issues with cooking time due to the orange that was used: eating vs juicing oranges. Juicing oranges (Valencia, Florida, i.e. what's recommended) work better apparently. One person brought up that acids hinder a dried beans ability to re-hydrate, but I found conflicting information about the acidity of the two oranges (no easy pH level chart of the types of oranges).

I have an orange in my fridge, and up until I read this recipe, I wasn't aware there were distinct types of oranges (beyond the obvious difference of oranges vs tangerines). So I checked it and it's a California Navel orange (i.e. eating).

To avoid issues, I think what I'm going to do is tweak the recipe by adding the orange after 1 hour. Expecting a 2 hour cook time, giving the beans a good hour without the acid to do the majority of their cooking. If this turns out, I'll have to see about trying it with a juicing orange. I also read some complaints about the bitterness of the Navel Orange rind in the recipe, so I may squeeze the juice in before I add the whole orange.


The whole purpose of the beans, I'm looking to make tacos, and I want some beans to add to my taco meat. I do have a can of black beans handy, but it's always too much bean in a cans I buy. Plus I'm intrigued by this.


The next trick is to figure out how much dried bean to use. The recipe calls for 1lb of beans. Amazing, I don't have a scale (the one I had broke). And because recipes sometimes go for more than cans, I checked for some conversions.

https://www.thebalance.com/dried-bean-conversions-and-measurements-1388322

Quote:
2 cups of dried beans = 1 pound of dried beans
1 part dry beans = 3 parts cooked beans

1 pound dried beans = Up to 6 cups of cooked beans
1 cup dried beans = 3 cups of cooked beans
1/3 cup dried beans = 1 cup cooked beans
2/3 cup dried beans = 2 cups cooked beans

A heaping 1/2 cup of dried beans = one 15-ounce can of beans
1 1/2 cups of cooked beans, drained = one 15-ounce can of beans
1 1/2 pounds dried beans = one #10 can of cooked beans (109 ounces)

Thanks internet website.

Beans around here come in 14 oz and 19 oz cans (I'm guessing they got downsized some years ago). For reference, Italian Tomato comes in 28 oz cans, or 23 oz bottles (I'm only buying Italian now, or fresh whole tomatoes).

If I was to follow the recipe, 1 lb of beans, which is 2 cups dried, I'd end up with roughly 3x 19 oz cans of beans (and I complain about 1 can being too much). Hmm.

I think I might do just 1 cup, that way I don't end up with too much.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ha, well 2 hours didn't work for me.



Beans are still super-starchy inside.



Looks like this is going to be a while.

I had some other ingredients to use up, so I tried making a Salsa.

I used a few recipes as reference, but overall just winged it.

http://www.chilipeppermadness.com/chili-pepper-recipes/sauces/salsa-roja-mexican-red-table-sauce
http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/salsa-roja
http://www.instructables.com/id/Salsa-Roja-Asada-Roasted-Red-Salsa/

I used:

- 4 roma tomatoes (all I had)
- 2 Jalepenos (seeds and cores removed)
- 1 dried Chipotle pepper (rehydrated)
- 2 small onions
- 4 cloves of garlic
- half a lime
- salt, pepper
- dried parsley (instead of cilantro)

And ended up with this.



Huh, not quite right. Flavour wasn't very good either.

I was out of fresh ingredients that could save it at this point, so I added:

- half-bottle of crushed Italian tomatoes
- more salt
- much more pepper
- honey



This actually helped *A LOT*. I don't have a photo of the result, but I gave it a good 45 minutes to reduce. The resulting flavor is surprisingly fruity, given that the only fruit is tomato.


So anyway, I'm going to give the beans another couple hours, but I think from this I've decided I wont bother with dried beans. This is too much effort.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll tell you one thing I'm not doing again: dried beans. It's just not worth the effort.

Got a tenderness I liked, after... uh... 5-6 hours. Alternatively, I could just pay ~99 cents for a can and happily throw away the beans I don't use.


As for the Salsa, it's good, but I found it too sweet when I paired it with the Tacos I made. Wasn't really looking for sweet, more salty and spicy.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 1:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just for reference, I'm putting together a menu for my "Italian Night" at the Cabin.

- Pasta with Bolognese sauce (previously covered)
- (Roast) Garlic Bread
- Caesar Salad

I don't actually have a recipe for the 2nd items yet, but I know I want to make a roast-garlic spread for the Garlic Bread.

Here's one recipe that's almost exactly what I was expecting:

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/75133/roasted-garlic-bread/

- Chop off head of garlic, pour olive oil, wrap in tinfoil* and bake
- Butter
- Fresh Parsley (ooh, didn't think of that)
- Fresh Grated Parmesan (Preferably Italian)
- Bread

Other possibilities:

- Italian Bruschetta (Thin sliced garlic, Olive oil instead of butter, salt pepper): http://www.italianfoodforever.com/2008/06/garlic-bruschetta-real-italian-garlic-bread/
- Add Basil and Oregano too (herby)
- Criss Cross Cheesy Garlic Bread (I *LOVE* how this looks): https://snapguide.com/guides/make-stuffed-italian-cheesy-garlic-bread/
- Variant: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/garlic_bread/
- Another variation (damn, I'm thinking I like this criss cross idea): http://www.recipetineats.com/cheese-garlic-crack-bread-pull-apart-bread/
- Pizza Dough Version (not a bad way to go even fresher): http://www.today.com/recipes/quick-easy-garlic-bread-recipe-t109535

So yeah, what I do will depend on what I have available to me, but I'm liking the idea of: If I find a nice good loaf, buy a couple, criss cross it, top with melted garlic butter mixture and cheese (parmesan and/or mozarella).

The goal is to try and make it classier that one would expect, and that criss cross is classy.

* * *

Now... how to fancy up Casear Salad?

I doubt I'm going to have the tools necessary to make Caesar Dressing from scratch, so I'll have to settle for a good dressing.

I can however go fancy with the ingredients.

- Fresh bacon (Pre-chopped, fried in pan until crispy)
- Croutons (could even bake up some extra garlic bread as fresh crouton... or just omit them outright because of the garlic bread)
- Maybe chicken? Making it a chicken caesar?

This recipe looks really nice:

http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/classic-caesar-salad

- The leaves, I like how classy the large (long) leaves look. Really only works with romaine hearts though. If leaves are too big, I may need to slice them down the middles. *shrug*
- Shaved cheese, instead of shreadded. That's super interesting.
- Torn croutons, for more definition and character. Wow.
- The dressing itself is quite encouraging. I'm somewhat afraid to cook with fresh achovy, but it's still encouraging to see.

http://www.italianfoodforever.com/2008/05/caesar-salad/

Another recipe with similar technique used on the lettuce.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Neat article on crustry breads.

http://blog.kingarthurflour.com/2015/08/09/make-crusty-bread/

Most notably the idea of introducing steam in to an oven, by using a cast iron pan, with water your pour in. Wow.

Plus that pretzel bread just looks impressive.


It seems the science of soft vs hard bread is that softer breads have fats (butter, oil) added.

http://bakingbites.com/2007/11/baking-breads-with-softer-crusts/

This has an analysis of several recipes and what the the effect is.

http://www.handletheheat.com/ultimate-dinner-roll-guide/

* * *

Caring for Wooden Spoons.

https://www.thespruce.com/are-wooden-spoons-sanitary-909328

Long story short, I did it wrong (i.e. dishwashered).

Ah well, time to start again.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I acquired a primitive steamer pot a couple of weeks ago, and I'm recommending it for vegetable creation. All I do is cut up a few vegetable things, or if it's frozen broccoli I just pour a few in, and in 10 minutes give or take I have very tender vegetables to eat. I cut them up into small pieces and marinate them in butter (after steaming completes), Personally I have found that adding either celery or onion (I am not sure which it is) enhances the flavor, whereas omitting them results merely in an adequate but not equally rousing dish.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I'm glad I decided to do a test run of the Garlic Bread.

I sort of winged the recipe based on one of the others listed, but what I should have done is followed this one (see video): http://www.recipetineats.com/cheese-garlic-crack-bread-pull-apart-bread/


I started with my favourite dinner rolls from the Italian Bakery. Two of them for this science experiment.



Gave them a criss cross, and stored them until I was ready. They are super fresh, so they can be somewhat difficult to slice.


Next I roasted 2 whole garlics. One brand new, and another I've had for an undetermined number of weeks. Wrapped in tinfoil, and drizzled some olive oil on top.

Many recipes called for salt and pepper, and removing excess papery film from the garlics beforehand. Oops! So I salted and peppered them after, and that helped a bit.

After 30'ish minutes I pulled the garlics out. The fresh garlic cooked up nicely. The old one cooked up a bit darker, and was perhaps a bit too pungent.

Gave them about 10 minutes to cool, then squeezed them in to a mixing bowl. Fresh garlic squeezed out easier.



Mixed with the some Margarine and fresh Parsley. I'm pretty sure my "butter" to garlic ratio was off, as the mix was veeery garlicy, probably too garlicly. When compared to the video in the link above, they use way more butter than I.

In the future I'll just use 1 garlic for my testing.


Next, drizzled the mixture in to the cracks of the bread, and covered with some fresh grated Parmesan.



In hindsight, topping with Parmesan was fine, but a better option would have been to fill the cracks with Mozzarella. Then topping with Parmesian (probably less) would have made a good finisher.



The final mistake: I undercooked it.

The reference recipe above recommends 15 minutes covered in tinfoil (giving internal cheeses and butter to cook and melt), plus another 5 minutes uncovered to crisp the outside. I gave it *maybe* 13 minutes in total (including broiler), and though the outsides were nice, the insides were soggy and unappetizing. Also as mentioned, the spread was too strong/garlicy, so I need to balance my garlic to butter ratios.

So yeah, I couldn't finish eating it. I ate some of the crispy outside, but the insides just didn't work.

* * *

Next time:

- more Butter-to-garlic
- wrap in tinfoil
- bake longer
- Mozzarella in cracks, a touch of Parm, treating it like a salt.
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Edited by PoV on Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:12 pm; edited 1 time
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This on the other hand turned out quite nicely.



I was very happy with the crust on this. Used a 'premium' medium ground beef nearly as-is, just some salt and pepper on both sides. I could have probably seasoned it more actually.

A 280g pack of meat (roughly 10 oz), for $5. I nearly made a 10 oz burger, but divided it in two before putting it in the pan. I'd say that above burger was close to 5-6 oz... which I only mention to help me gauge how many oz a typical burger is (again, Canada uses grams, not oz). 450g in a pound. To be fair this was supposed to be premium ground beef (aged 30 days), but I could have got 450g (1lb) for ~$3 elsewhere... Divided in 3, I guess that makes it a "1/3rd pounder". Using all 280g seemed like too much, but a bit more volume would have been desirable (~200g, instead of ~150g thirding it).

This time I also tried buttering the bun with some of that garlic+butter spread above, and fried it like a grilled cheese in the pan. TBH, I barely tasted the garlic and butter, but the bun's texture was excellent. Again this was a super fresh dinner roll (extremely soft). When toasted in a pan like a grilled cheese, the texture was fantastic. No need for an egg glaze, but that would probably knock it out of the park.

The only downside of this is the cleanup. I used my enameled cast iron pot and not a cast iron pan, and it immeditaely stuck to the bottom, leading to a bunch of effort deglazing the burger with chicken stock. I'll probably have to scrub the pot a bit once it finishes cooling.
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sonrisu
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Add all or some of any of the following to the beef before cooking it: very small blocks of cheese, little bit of mayo, some ketchup, an egg, some (not a lot) breadcrumbs. You will get amazingly juicy burgers if you add *all* of these.

A meat patty with just some salt and pepper is not enough. :]
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sonrisu wrote:
Add all or some of any of the following to the beef before cooking it: very small blocks of cheese, little bit of mayo, some ketchup, an egg, some (not a lot) breadcrumbs. You will get amazingly juicy burgers if you add *all* of these.

A meat patty with just some salt and pepper is not enough. :]


The slug burger, as it was called during the depression-era, is close to that. I do the egg and breadcrumb thing, for sure. I haven't tried cooking cheese into a patty yet.... :D
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PoV
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sonrisu wrote:
A meat patty with just some salt and pepper is not enough. :]

You might be surprised. There's a whole school-of-thought on burgers "treat it like a steak", which IMO actually works out quite well. It's also not "some", but quite a bit. The burger itself was actually quite good, but I really like pepper. All I was suggested is I could have gone crazier with the pepper. I had a really nice beef crust (#CastIronMagic), plus a really good bread surface crust, so each bite was really quite nice. I'm just thinking more cracked pepper in the beef crust would have made it even better. ;)
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've discovered my new favourite Reddit.

https://www.reddit.com/r/GifRecipes/

and it's sick and twisted cousin.

https://www.reddit.com/r/ShittyGifRecipes/

I would have embedded this, alas the internet hates me.

http://i.imgur.com/5fFf89p.gifv
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



As you do, I saw these pork cutlets at the grocery store (6 for under $2), so I grabbed them. I had no plan going in, just an ingredient.

After a bunch of Googling I decided to make something between a Schnitzel and Tonkatsu. I discovered that Pork Tonkatsu is basically the same thing as a Pork Schnitzel, just a Schnitzel tends to be about flatness and quick frying, and Tonkatsu Pork about the dense breadcrumb.



It's was almost funny looking in to them, with Schnitzel recipes specifically calling out "don't use the big breadcrumbs", and Tonkatsu saying "don't use Italian breadcumb because it's too fine". Also most Tonkatsu recipes called for thicker pieces of pork. I had thin pork cutlets, and Italian breadcrumbs, so I ended up making these bastardizations of German and Japanese cuisine.



Both dishes call for deep frying, or very deep pans of oil. I don't like using that much oil, but I did use more than usual, adding enough for a thick coat on the base of the pan. I ended up adding a bit more oil after pair, as the cutlets would absorb the oil.



Salted and peppered both sides, dipped in flour, then egg, then breadcrumb, then in to the pan.

2-3 minutes each side, but flipped a few extra times. I don't cook much with pork, so to be on the safe side I just cooked it until the crust was a nice brown on both sides.





Not the best photos, but this is basically how it turned out.

Taste was quite good actually. I've never really done the breadcrumb pan frying thing before. My Italian breadcrumbs are seasoned, but the salt and peppering I did to the pork shined through nicely. Crust was thin and flaky. It doesn't quite stick as well as some crusts I've tasted, and with pork prepared this way being a tougher meat (Well I didn't actually flatten/tenderize it as is typically suggested for Schnitzel), but overall I'm actually quite happy with it.

A few extra notes:

- I scrambled 2 eggs. For the amount number of small cutlets I had, I could have probably stretched 1 egg just fine.
- My flour ratio was just right... though exactly how much that was isn't something that's easy to guage
- Breadcrumbs however I had to refill the bowl every time I prepped another pair. I needed way more breadcrumb than I was expecting.

Anyways, I've cooked all 6 cutlets, ate half them and fridged the rest. Though fresh would have best (for the crispyness), my plan is to reheat and use the remaining pork for a Tonkatsu dish. Something either later tonight, or tomorrow. We'll see. That said, even just nibbling on it is quite nice. :)
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Other random advice I stumbled across:

- For better adhesion, drying your meat before flouring can improve how well it sticks.
- Try shaking off the flour instead of trying to go for a thick coat. Let the thick be the breadcrumbs.
- In Tonkatsu, they actually use corn starch instead of flour. The result is similar, but people seem to say it's crispier.
- Panko is the preferred brand for an Asian breadcrumb
- Hitting 350 F with the oil seems to be the sweet spot, as it *shouldn't* be as spitty

As for sauce, ha, I knew something was familiar about Tonkatsu. I already have a bottle of this in my fridge.



Like Heinz is the go-to ketchup, Bulldog seems to be the go-to Tonkatsu sauce.

I'm pretty sure I've talked about it here too (I was using as a stir fry sauce). Taste wise it's like a fruitier steak sauce, like HP or A1.

So ha, it looks like I might have stumbled in to a Japanese recipe by accident. Hooray for random ingredients.

* * *

Here's some science.

http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/10/the-food-lab-korean-fried-chicken.html

Turns out that flour has the downside (?) that given time, gluten starts forming. Corn starch doesn't have this issue, and this is the root of the crispyness. A more desirable piece of fried chicken lies somewhere inbetween.

Interestingly, the article makes a call-out to the Heston Fish & Chips video Gil posted about way back when we started this thread: Vodka as an alternative to water. It makes things more airy, as water + flour starts making gluten.

I'll be honest, I don't yet know where water/liquid fits in to the picture. Egg was the only wet ingredient I used, and I was flouring moments before frying, so gluten in general didn't have time to do its thing.

EDIT: Ah interesting. Seems more traditional fried chickens start with a floury dredge, then add a thick wet batter (instead of egg and breadcrumb). Just goes to reinforce the idea that 1 egg is enough, as many recipes call for adding things to the egg (milk, water, VODKA, etc).

Okay, something to consider next time I fry-up something.

* * *

Oooh ooh! Discovery!

On a whim I tried reheating the extra cutlets from earlier today in the Air Fryer: Great idea. The oily crust made them hot and crispy again, unlike a microwave. A mere 5 minutes and they were ready. Sliced them in to strips.

I tasted them with Tonkatsu sauce, and it's fine. I did use a flavorful breadcrumb (Italian), so in this case I think I liked it without the sauce. It did give it a bit of a steaky vibe, which is something I can say Pork has never done for me.


So yeah. I'm thrilled to know it can be reheated extremely well. I still don't know what to cook them with/what to use them as a topping on. But it's nice to know I can prepare a few of them, and they're ready for other dishes I make.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2017 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I need to force myself to eat more vegetables. A couple ideas I found here (http://damndelicious.net/2015/04/22/15-quick-and-easy-vegetable-side-dishes/) that caught my eye.

- http://damndelicious.net/2013/11/25/honey-glazed-baby-carrots/
Carrots with Brown Sugar and Dill. I love dill, and I've been searching for something to make with dill. Gotta try this. My mom adds Brown sugar to carrots, so I know that's something I already like.

- http://damndelicious.net/2014/12/15/baked-green-bean-fries/
Battered Green Beats. I'm not sure I'm sold on this, but the novelty is that they're basically suggesting you batter green beans exactly as I did the pork cutlets, and baking them instead of frying. Hmm.

- Coleslaw (skipping the recipe link)
The first (and only) coleslaw I really liked was something I got at a Ribfest, alongside a variety of meats. I have a Caesar dressing I like, and I tried their coleslaw dressing, but did not like it. Need to research this.

Coleslaw (without any dressing) made a great alternative to plain lettuce when I made buffalo chicken wraps sometime ago.

- http://damndelicious.net/2015/01/17/garlic-roasted-carrots/
Carrots tossed in garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and herbs, then baked. Not fast, but I like the choice of ingredients.

- http://damndelicious.net/2014/09/19/garlic-parmesan-roasted-broccoli/
Broccoli tossed in oil, lemon, and Parmesan cheese, then baked. Faster (I prefer my broccoli crunchy).

* * *

I suppose the thing I was really looking for was standalone ingredients other than Carrots and Broccoli I liked. I guess Green Beans are on that list too, if prepared well.

Peppers I like, but I never think of them as standing on their own. Same goes for Onions and Mushrooms. But all of those to me tend to act as a topping or flavor enhancer. I use celery and carrot the same way, but carrot to me is good enough to stand on its own.

Corn on the cob I'll do when it's in season, but it's not really a good vegetable (just one I like).

Edamame is more of a snack, since I liked them cooked-to-shit (or steamed) and salted, so I can suck them out of the pods. Never really ate them like a pea-pod or green bean.

* * *

- http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/sauteed-green-beans-with-soy-shallots-ginger-garlic-and-chile-recipe
Green Bean Stir Fry. Pretty simple. I usually go all out with them, making Fasolakia. I need to try them simply, with garlic and chilli's. Scallion kinda makes it special too, but I'm sure an onion would work.

A lot of my recipes are slow, which means they taste great but take a lot of time. Need to explore more fast and tasty.

* * *

I never really thought about it, but I should really think of "tossing" a common part of cooking for many dishes. Vegetables end up way more interesting if you toss, as do potatoes.

I fired up the rice cooker today, and steamed some carrots in the tray above. I was thinking to myself "I wish they had that light brown-sugary taste", and had the duh-huh realization I could just toss them. Knob of butter, salt, brown sugar. And it was totally fine, and simple. Cooking them in brown sugar water is better, but adding a touch after cooking doesn't hurt either.

* * *

Frozen Peas... that's right. Actually in general, I don't keep any frozen vegetables. I never even thought to buy/have a bag of peas in my freezer.

I could have corn and green beans too. Sure, they're not as good as fresh, but hilariously that would help solve my "I don't have veg" problem, since as far as effort goes there isn't much. I could probably even throw them frozen in the steaming tray of my rice cooker. Ha!

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/90209/italian-peas/?internalSource=recipe%20hub&referringId=225&referringContentType=recipe%20hub&clickId=cardslot%2046

A frozen pea recipe I stumbled across. The key realization of this is that I don't need to think of frozen veg like how mom used to make them (i.e. boil a pot of water, add to pot, drain and serve). You can actually do stuff for a better taste (i.e. garlic, chilli's, stock).

In the comments, somebody brought up an interesting point: soaking frozen veg for 20 minutes can defrost them. Again, frozen isn't as good as fresh, but opens up the possibility of impromptu stir fry's with a wider variety of ingredients.

I'm literally itching to go to the grocery store right now to buy frozen vegetables. ;)
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a random link on Teppanyaki Fried Rice.

https://www.popsugar.com/food/Benihana-Fried-Rice-Recipe-Video-31058511

There's a video on that page. They do some silly stuff in the beginning, but get to the point soon after.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mushroom Science yo.




Parmesan Cheese Science yo.



I've been working on a rind piece of Parmigiano Reggiano for some time now, and I've been super happy with it. Didn't realize there was science to back it up being better cheese too. I just found I liked it better than the Shit™ I was buying.

I've been exploring some other cheeses to see what I like. I'm kicking myself for not taking more notes.

On that note:

- Smoked Cheddar - Pretty nice. I forget the other smoked cheese I tried, but I wasn't a fan of that. The cheddar though, that plus smoke works.
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 5:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

- Smoked Cheddar - Pretty nice. I forget the other smoked cheese I tried, but I wasn't a fan of that. The cheddar though, that plus smoke works.


I agree. This is a good combination.
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