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Dinner! 2012


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#1 rarerollingobject

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 01:15 AM

Tonight I made tarkari rasam (spicy South Indian vegetable soup with tamarind) from my new copy of Neelam Batra's 1000 Indian Recipes.


Well, it looks pretty damn good. I like that first pic of the spices.

A nice salad here for me..greens, buffalo mozzarella, a peach, jamon serrano, balsamic and blood orange olive oil. And a glass of rosé, which was just the thing for this warm beautiful Sydney summer day.

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(NOTE FROM MANAGEMENT: This topic is a continuation from Dinner! 2011)

Edited by Chris Hennes, 08 September 2012 - 09:42 AM.
Added management note.


#2 Prawncrackers

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 04:10 AM

Shame about your dish not turning out well patrickamory. But I would be very wary of any recipe calling for those amounts of spices being measured out in cups. It's such a massive variable, that's why I think it takes years of dedicated practise to get the balance right in Indian cooking.

I love the look of the black olive monkfish dish mm84321, it's going on my dishes to try. Seems quite straightfoward, anything to look out for? I always add a little anchovy to my tapenade, do you think adding it to this dish would improve it?

scottyboy, I predict great things from you this year with your own kitchen/dining space. Might have to make my way to California!

Edited by Prawncrackers, 01 January 2012 - 04:29 AM.


#3 Paul Bacino

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 06:35 AM

I Sous Vide this 3-4 " Porterhouse with a half stick of Butter with S and P added for 24 hrs @134 F. Quick char on the Webber coal starter.

This was a Fareway ( Local chain known for good meat) grade Porterhouse





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I was worried that I would see a big textural change with that time, but the filet held well ( really tender and not dry ) and the strip ( still had a nice chew and didn't turn mealy )

For us this was a good temp,, but I might try 130 some time.
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#4 kayb

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 09:21 AM

Lovely meals, everyone; glad to see you back, RRO. dcarch, astounding knife work; I don't have the patience. mm84321, between you and dcarch, your lovely meals (both artistically and the flavors I can but imagine). mgaretz, the beef stew made me hungry for beef stew; I must make it soon. Scotty, congrats on the kitchen and dining area; please post pics soon!

Due to a frantic holiday travel schedule, I didn't cook a great deal. Here was my New Year's Eve dinner -- pepperoni and abruzze from DiBruno Brothers in South Philadelphia, with gouda, Wisconsin garlic cheddar, Parrano and some other kind of cheese, with honey and gluten-free crackers.

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Christmas dinner, as it was just myself and my 16-year-old son, was lasagna and yeast rolls (my last fling with real bread after having been diagnosed with celiac disease).

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And one in between was oven barbecued pulled pork with Southwest Potatos, recipe courtesy the New York Times.

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Happy New Year, everyone!
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#5 Shelby

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 10:36 AM

Beautiful food, as always, everyone!

KayB--I'm sorry to hear about the celiac disease....can you cheat once in a while and not have any problems? I hope so because those rolls are a thing of epic drooling for me. I've never made my own rolls and if I did, they wouldn't look like that!

Scotty! Finally out of the parents place and into your own!! Congratulations!! I'd love to see pictures of the place--'course I'd like to come and eat and see it in person, but pictures will have to do for now. :biggrin:


I haven't taken many food pictures lately--been busy--as all of us have been, but here's a few.

Last night we made a prime rib--I got a meat thermometer for Christmas (finally) so I was excited to use it. I read the looooong threads here about the best ways to do a prime rib. I settled on 500 degrees for about 20 minutes and then I shut the oven off and took it out after about an hour when the temp. reached 105. After resting for about 30 mins the temp rose to 125. The meat turned out perfect for me--I'm a RARE girl....really rare....like still mooing lol. But, the roast itself was tough. I don't think it was a great cut of meat, but it was tasty and it'll be great sliced thinly for sandwiches.

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Venison burgers with mac and cheese--we spent a day grinding meat for hamburger and sausage. It smelled so good that we had to have fresh burgers that night!
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#6 mm84321

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 12:26 PM

I love the look of the black olive monkfish dish mm84321, it's going on my dishes to try. Seems quite straightfoward, anything to look out for? I always add a little anchovy to my tapenade, do you think adding it to this dish would improve it?


A few things. Use the absolute freshest monkfish you can find. The poaching oil is made up of equal parts dried black olives and olive oil. You need a good amount of it. The serving oil is made of 3:1, dried olives/olive oil. When you cook the fish, you don't want to break the oil, so you are cooking it at a very low temperature, while constantly turning and basting. Bras describes it as a "poach/sauté".

I would not add any other flavors. I believe the beauty of this dish is in its simplicity. It is essentially just two components: olives and monkfish. The taste is very pure.

#7 ambra

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 01:13 PM

Prawncrackers, would mind passing along the recipe for those gorgeous bacalao fritters?

#8 Franci

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 02:27 PM

Oh, sometimes I miss that beautiful american beef. Porterhouse...haven't had that in a while. Here I eat more offals.

As I said I defrosted some desalted baccala', or better bacalhau, since I went portuguese. Got inspired by Prawncrackers and made pasteis de bacalhau and a salad my good friend from Lisbon used to make often when we both lived in NH

The bacalhau was bought at a local portuguese store and was pretty good.

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ceci, baccala.JPG .

#9 mm84321

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 07:17 PM

Bass stuffed with langoustine.
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#10 SobaAddict70

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 11:06 PM

PC wins the thread as usual, though dcarch isn't far behind. :wub:

Mostly leftovers from the depths of my freezer tonight, except for an app and a side:

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Sautéed fennel and cauliflower


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"Potato salad" -- roasted baby Yukon Gold potatoes, with scallion, parsley, salmon roe, lemon juice and olive oil

#11 djyee100

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 11:18 PM

Tonight I made tarkari rasam (spicy South Indian vegetable soup with tamarind) from my new copy of Neelam Batra's 1000 Indian Recipes.

...The dish was not a success. Somehow the soup had a gritty texture and the flavors were not quite balanced...also, she only calls for 1 tbs of oil for sauteeing the spices and vegetables


It sounds like the toor dal was underdone, if that was the cause of the gritty texture. Unfortunately cooking times are only guidelines. Sometimes you have to taste the legumes and check for their texture. I wonder if the toor dal should have been pre-soaked.

If the flavors are not quite balanced, the dish might be slightly undersalted. A little more salt will bring out more flavors and balance them. If you're concerned about oversalting (who isn't?) put some soup in a bowl and keep salting and tasting it--until it's oversalted. Then you'll know the best place to stop salting, and you can salt the rest of the pot. If the problem is more about the harsh edges to the strong spices you're using, a little sugar rounds off flavors and helps them to blend. Sometimes, a little extra butter to a dish will do that too.

The amount of oil sounds skimpy for all the Indian food that I've cooked. :wink:

As a general rule, some ingredients may not scale up or down in recipes that well. Those ingredients are: spices and seasonings, including salt; fats and oils; any sour ingredients. That's when you'll have to taste as you cook and wing it.

better luck next time!

#12 djyee100

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 11:51 PM

PC wins the thread as usual, though dcarch isn't far behind. :wub:


I'm a fan of both Prawncracker's and Dcarch's food, but I wouldn't say that either of them represents the "best" food on this thread. Everybody here cooks food that is wonderful in some way. What contest? One of the best things about this thread is the huge variety of cooking styles here.

#13 Dakki

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 12:39 AM


PC wins the thread as usual, though dcarch isn't far behind. :wub:


I'm a fan of both Prawncracker's and Dcarch's food, but I wouldn't say that either of them represents the "best" food on this thread. Everybody here cooks food that is wonderful in some way. What contest? One of the best things about this thread is the huge variety of cooking styles here.


I think some people's food photos are art in and of themselves (Prawn, dcarch and Keith_W immediately come to mind), others post good photos of some damn fine cookin' (RRO, Blether, Rico, Scotty and a whole bunch of other people), and another group post mediocre snaps of whatever food they drunkenly mangled last night. I love this thread because there's space for everyone here; that said, I think it's just natural for some posters to get more attention than others.

(btw, I belong in the third category. :raz: )

Anyway, New Year's Eve dinner was grilled beef, a bit of a tradition in our little circle. Here's some photos.


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Searing some ribs (seared ones are on the upper grill) along with bacon-wrapped, cream cheese-stuffed chiles and salsa ingredients. There's small potatoes with butter and herbs in those foil packages in the firebox.

Salsa ended up getting made in the blender, as our host does not own a molcajete. Guess what he's getting on his birthday.


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Medium rare and just salted is how I like my beef, but the ladies in our group think that's barbaric. Here's some ribs wrapped in foil with rosemary. Our host won't even tolerate the smell of garlic and one of the girls can't stand onions so... Anyway, these were cooked to barely pink in the foil pouch. Waste of good beef if you ask me, but they smelled pretty nice.

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Tri-tip/picanha is my second-favorite cut, after rib steak. Here I'm trying out a sort of Ducasse method modified for the grill, flipping often to get a good sear while keeping the inside nice and pink.

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One of the tri-tips got the foil pouch and rosemary treatment as well. :angry:

Overall, the meal was pretty decent, enough that the guests managed to destroy the meat before I could get photos of the finished products.
This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

#14 SobaAddict70

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 01:59 AM

Wasn't meant to imply a competition, only that PC's and dcarch's photography consistently blows me away. :wub:

#15 ScottyBoy

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 02:08 AM

pasteis de bacalhau.JPG


Need a plate of these in front of me NOW.

Edited by ScottyBoy, 02 January 2012 - 02:08 AM.

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#16 ambra

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 03:17 AM

I'm with Scottyboy!

#17 Franci

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 05:43 AM


pasteis de bacalhau.JPG


Need a plate of these in front of me NOW.



I wish I could offer you some. We had for lunch today what I didn't fry yesterday night and they were even better because after the resting they hold up better.

Ambra, I can tell you I made these. Then I'm also interested in Prawncrackers version for next time.

1/2 kg of floury potatoes steamed and riced, slightly less of shredded desalted cod (blanched for two minutes in boiling water), chopped coriander and parsley, one egg, a minced shallot and garlic clove gently saute' in oil, some paprika and nutmeg, salt and pepper. Made quenelles and rested in the fridge.

#18 kayb

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 06:54 AM

Shelby, my daughter, who's been diagnosed for five years, assures me I can occasionally tiptoe off the wagon once my system gets cleared out and my intestinal lining regenerates. I'm figuring 60 to 90 :days without gluten before I go exploring. Meanwhile, I'm playing with gluten-free bread -- made some rolls yesterday that were passable.

As for my rolls -- I promise you can make them. They are just about foolproof. They are also wonderful. Recipe here. My blog will also attempt to keep up with my gluten-free baking adventures.
Don't ask. Eat it.

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#19 Okanagancook

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 07:13 AM

Cheating on a gluten free diet is not recommended by health professionals due to complications that can arise...just google "can I cheat on a gluten free diet". Sorry for the bad news.

#20 dcarch

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 07:51 AM

Wasn't meant to imply a competition, only that PC's and dcarch's photography consistently blows me away. :wub:


You guys are funny. :-)

I see art in all cookings posted here by everyone. Different styles, but art just the same.

You have keith haring, Andy Warhol, Norman Rockwell, Grandma Moses, Henri Matisse --------.

If you think my pictures blew you away, You ain't seen nothin yet!--------------------------------------------------

Christmas was too much. I am glad the next one is 360 days away.

Cooking for a party is a big labor deal. It doesn't matter how efficient you are. It’s a good thing that two of the main dishes 12-lb rib roast and a duck both required no attention because of the sous vide method, and many of the other dishes were prepared ahead of time.

Still, there was no time to take pictures. I apologize for the lousy cell phone shots. Appetizers were not shown, desserts were not shown.

While the Rib Roast and the Crispy Roasted duck were spectacular, but guess what, they were not the stars of the show.

I decided to make latkes, when you think latkes you think potatoes. My latkes were Mushroom and wild Rice Latkes. There are no rules that say Latkes have to be potatoes. Well, that turned out to be the star of the dinner. Everyone wanted more. I had to make some more in the middle of the dinner and was asked to make even more for the guests to take some home. (Secret, fat from the duck)

Keep Cooking! Happy New Year!

dcarch

Squash Soup
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Beet Salad
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Fresh (swimming) Tilapia
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Chestnut Stuffing
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Okinawa Sweet Potatoes
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Sous Vide Mussels
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Roasted Crispy Duck
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Wild Rice Mushroom Latkes
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Sous vide Rib Roast
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#21 Shelby

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 09:34 AM

Shelby, my daughter, who's been diagnosed for five years, assures me I can occasionally tiptoe off the wagon once my system gets cleared out and my intestinal lining regenerates. I'm figuring 60 to 90 :days without gluten before I go exploring. Meanwhile, I'm playing with gluten-free bread -- made some rolls yesterday that were passable.

As for my rolls -- I promise you can make them. They are just about foolproof. They are also wonderful. Recipe here. My blog will also attempt to keep up with my gluten-free baking adventures.



Oh good! And I bet your gluten free rolls were more than just passable.

Thank you so much for the link to your blog and recipe! I'm enjoying reading. Your granddaughter is just such a doll!

I'm going to reduce my carbs for a few months (going to try anyway) so I'll be without my favorite (pasta) for a while, too.

#22 Dakki

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 09:50 AM

dcarch takes nicer photos of that crispy duck and the latkes with a cellphone than I can get with a nice digital camera :angry:
This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

#23 menuinprogress

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 12:23 PM

An experiment that turned out really well - Smoked Bay Scallop Custard:

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#24 Prawncrackers

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 01:16 PM

Wasn't meant to imply a competition, only that PC's and dcarch's photography consistently blows me away. :wub:


Hey, thanks Soba I knew what you meant! I see the Dinner thread more for inspiration not competition. But most of all it's a damn good way to have a look at what other folk are cooking up, because I'm nosey like that. :wink:

Ambra, I can tell you I made these. Then I'm also interested in Prawncrackers version for next time.

1/2 kg of floury potatoes steamed and riced, slightly less of shredded desalted cod (blanched for two minutes in boiling water), chopped coriander and parsley, one egg, a minced shallot and garlic clove gently saute' in oil, some paprika and nutmeg, salt and pepper. Made quenelles and rested in the fridge.


My bacalao fritters are more beignet based. One large floury potato mashed, mix in equal amounts of salt cold that's been poached in water with a bay leaf. I make a roux with flour and olive oil, then stir in the cod poaching liquid to make a white sauce. When everything has cooled a little the potato and cod mixture is stirred into the white sauce along with parsley, one egg and seasoned. The mixture should be loose and just able to drop off the spoon into plenty of hot oil. If they're too loose, add a little more flour.

#25 patrickamory

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 04:54 PM

Prawncrackers and djyee100, thanks for the advice. I realize that spices and oils are not always scalable in recipes, but sometimes it's difficult to figure out how to get it right. I usually do, especially in Indian cooking, but for some reason, I haven't had much luck with Batra. I made an eggplant dish last night that tasted nice - it involves roasting and charring the eggplant, then simmering it in a fried mixture of tomato, onion and salt - somehow it just didn't do it for me. It's possible that she's Americanizing her recipes too much and I'm instinctively trying to un-Americanize them :smile:

By contrast, I made a quick pickle from the book that really did turn out well - minced ginger and chiles with ajwain seeds, lime juice and salt. It's quite bitter and really complemented the lamb dish further down:

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The rest of the meal came from Madhur Jaffrey and was a complete success. Steamed tilde rice with Kashmiri red chilli lamb:

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This is an unusual dish - no onions, garlic or fresh ginger. First, you simmer chunks of lamb shoulder for an hour with turmeric and salt, draining and reserving the broth. Meanwhile you make a paste of ground mild Kashmiri chiles for color (I used Hungarian paprika) plus hot chile powder, ground fennel seeds and ground dry ginger (sont) with water. Once the lamb is done you fry the paste with tamarind, cinnnamon stick and cardamom pods until it floats free of the oil (I used ghee), fry the lamb pieces in that, add the lamb broth and reduce. The result is absolutely exploding with lamb and cinnamon flavor. The ginger/chile pickle was a wonderful addition.

In addition to the eggplant, I made a Kashmiri spinach dish, also from Jaffrey. It's hot and spicy and features mustard oil and asafoetida. The dusting on the top is garam masala added at the very end.

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Point: Jaffrey. But I'm still getting started with Batra.

#26 Rico

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 06:34 PM

Did I just see smoked bay scallop custard up there? Let me check ... yeah, I did.
That just blew my mind, menuinprogress. I'd be interested in hearing a little bit more about how you went about creating it.

And Dakki ...

Here's some ribs wrapped in foil with rosemary. Our host won't even tolerate the smell of garlic and one of the girls can't stand onions so... Anyway, these were cooked to barely pink in the foil pouch. Waste of good beef if you ask me, but they smelled pretty nice.


They look pretty nice, too. Was there any wood smoke involved?

As for me, I made the Stuffed Bitter Melons from Secrets of the Red Lantern, and I have a report that will surprise nobody: Bitter Melons are bitter. Having never had them before, I expected some degree of bitterness, of course, but wow. The filling was great, with pork and black fungus and bean thread noodles, but I almost couldn't taste it over the bitterness of the melon. Could I ameliorate it by leaving it to simmer in the broth for a longer period or something like that? I'd like to make it again with an approach that would dampen the super strong presence of the melons; if anyone has any thoughts, I'd be glad to hear them.

But they do make for a neat picture.

Stuffed Bitter Melon.JPG

Edited by Rico, 02 January 2012 - 06:37 PM.


#27 heidih

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 06:46 PM

As for me, I made the Stuffed Bitter Melons from Secrets of the Red Lantern, and I have a report that will surprise nobody: Bitter Melons are bitter. Having never had them before, I expected some degree of bitterness, of course, but wow. The filling was great, with pork and black fungus and bean thread noodles, but I almost couldn't taste it over the bitterness of the melon. Could I ameliorate it by leaving it to simmer in the broth for a longer period or something like that? I'd like to make it again with an approach that would dampen the super strong presence of the melons; if anyone has any thoughts, I'd be glad to hear them.

But they do make for a neat picture.

Stuffed Bitter Melon.JPG


Some people salt them and blanch them like eggplant. I like the bitter. In a broth prep just like yours I like a larger broth to melon proportion and I cook them longer - they look more pale than yours. I also think that they benefit from being eaten in a family style multi-plate meal so that they are an element of the meal rather than a separate course.

#28 C. sapidus

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 10:31 PM

Gorgeous meals, all!

Malaccan beef and vegetable stew – This looks conventional, but the aromas of star anise, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and fried shallots give it away. The boys started wandering into the kitchen at least an hour before dinner was ready. :smile:

Stir-fried long beans with fermented black beans and garlic – A family favorite

Store-bought bread – I enquired about a particular kind of bread that I like. Baker: “Oh, all we have is fresh out of the oven.” Me: “Um, no problem.” :laugh:

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#29 SobaAddict70

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 12:34 AM

Arroz caldo (aka Filipino chicken rice porridge), adapted from this recipe at Jun-Blog:

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As a general rule, I like my congee/porridge on the thick side, with a consistency approaching risotto. The recipe uses short-grain rice, although I imagine that if you subbed in jasmine rice, it would work just as well.

This version contains Chinese chicken stock (instead of regular chicken stock), schmaltz (instead of vegetable oil) and sriracha, but is otherwise as originally posted.

#30 ambra

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 03:27 AM

Thank you Franci and Prawncrackers!!!! I'm going to try both. I've made something similar to Franci's, and they are good, but they always taste like they are missing something.