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Everything posted by sfmiller

  1. sfmiller


    I love gratins in the winter. Various potato ones, potato and turnip, leek and cream. My favorite one is blanched shredded cabbage with bechamel sauce (sautee about 1/2 cup slivered onions with the butter before adding flour for the roux, simmer with bay leaf and a few gratings of nutmeg; sometimes add cream or cheese if I'm feeling indulgent). Pour sauce over cabbage, top with garlic-buttered breadcrumbs, bake, eat.
  2. There was a piece in the Washington Post food section some weeks back in which several chefs were given the assignment of reconstructing and re-presenting a basic roast chicken take-out meal. As I recall, at least two of them used a propane torch to crisp up the skin. I tried it on a roast chicken leg-thigh whose skin had gotten soggy, and it worked great. A broiler would work too, though with the torch there's less to clean up and you can get the heat into nooks and creases better. Plus it satisfies the Manly Power Tool Urge....
  3. sfmiller

    dried apricots

    I like them poached/stewed in white wine or orange juice with warm spices (cinn stick, cloves, peppercorns, allspice berries--choose 1 or more) and a few strips of lemon zest. Boil down the liquid to a light syrup, then adjust seasoning--I usually add a bit of lemon or lime juice, maybe a bit of honey. Nice simple dessert with ice cream or yogurt, and works for a light breakfast too. Sometimes I'll do other dried fruit with the apricots (figs, prunes, cherries). You can sub diced apricots for raisins in lots of quick breads and desserts. I particularly like them in rice or bread puddings. One of my favorite yeasted coffee cake fillings is 1/3 dried apricots, 1/3 golden raisins, and 1/3 toasted walnuts, chopped fine, with cinnamon, sugar, and butter.
  4. Yes, as long as it's not too big and woody.
  5. sfmiller

    Cole Slaw

    My German grandmother made it like that too. Cabbage (no other vegetables), white vinegar (or sometimes fresh lemon juice), sugar, salt, and pepper. That was all. It was quite sweet, but this was a household that sprinkled sugar on dead-ripe tomatoes! My recipe/method for nonsweet coleslaw involves marinating the vegetables (mostly cabbage but also carrots, onion, sometimes a bit of celery or bell pepper or apple) in: (approximate measures) 1 Tbsp dijon mustard 2 Tbsp cider vinegar 1 Tbsp sugar 1 tsp celery seed 1/4 tsp dried oregano 1 tsp salt (more than you think you need, but most gets drained off) black pepper pinch of chile flakes Leave this at room temperature for an hour or more. The salt pulls a lot of water from the cabbage and makes it more tender. Drain excess marinade and adjust seasonings. Eat as is (no fat, and good BBQ slaw that way) or enrich with mayo, sour cream, etc. There's a similar version in Julia Child's The Way to Cook. Curtido is great stuff too, especially if made with really fresh cabbage. I go to my friendly neighborhood pupusa joint mostly to eat the curtido (tho the pupusas aren't bad either).
  6. ...reheat leftovers of a hominy gratin in the microwave, on high, uncovered and walk away. Now I know that what sounded like muffled gunfire in the kitchen was the hominy doing its imitation of popcorn. If only it were as easy to clean off the microwave as popcorn.
  7. sfmiller

    The Baked Potato

    Russets, pierced with paring knife in 5 or six places, quite deep. The deep pierces promote internal flakiness, or so I delude myself. Sometimes I oil the skins if they're thick or the taters are extra-large, but usually don't. Cook right on rack at 400 F optimally, but 350-425 is okay. I don't bother turning--does it make a noticeable difference?
  8. I've done something like this. Start with a basic cornbread recipe, added a small can of creamed corn and an extra egg, a small diced onion (sweated) and a minced jalapeno. You may have to add a bit more liquid to get the consistency right. Bake at 350/375-ish (whereas I usually bake cornbread at 400/425-ish). The result is moister than standard cornbread, kinda spoonbready. Not bad at all. I can't abide the stuff straight from the can.
  9. sfmiller

    Quick Pasta

    I like Barilla sauces too, for those times when I'm too lazy or don't have the ingredients on hand to make a quick tomato sauce. A couple jars of Marinara and Putanesca in the pantry are good insurance. Work alright as a quickie pizza sauce too. As to the supposed ill effects of boiling pasta, etc. with hot tap water, I'm skeptical. Granted, it's demonstrated that there's measurably more rust and heavy metals in hot water than cold, all else being equal. But what does that mean in practical terms? How much of that is transferred to food boiled in such water? Has anybody even tried to measure it? I make coffee and reconstituted juices and such with spring water or filtered cold tap water; it's easy and as fast as using unfiltered tap water and I can often taste the difference. But for boiling potatoes or pasta, I'd like to see the evidence that hot vs cold really matters. Otherwise, I'll continue to use hot tap water (run for a while to clear out pipe debris) when I need a large amount of water for boiling.
  10. I love cooked onions on pizza. On a red-sauced one, I often go with sauteed onions and roasted peppers, with mozerella or provolone. I made a sauceless one the other day with a bed of lightly caramalized onions cooked with fresh thyme, kalamata olives, with crumbled feta tossed on near the end, just so it heated and softened rather than melted into oblivion. In the summer I'll sometimes do a smear of basil pesto, onions, kalamata or nicoise olives, and anchovies. A sprinkle of parm-reg is nice, but not necessary.
  11. sfmiller


    I toss in apples (smallish dice) once in a while, and add a bit of cinnamon and/or nutmeg and/or lemon zest. Nice change in the fall and winter. And I agree about the vanilla. A small amount makes a big difference.
  12. sfmiller

    Recipes on the web

    I can't see any copyright issues here, unless you took the recipes, claimed them as your own, and profited from them, or otherwise damaged the copyright holder. Just making a recipe that the copyright holder himself or herself made available online doesn't qualify. Fair use: no harm, no foul. Although there is definite satire potential in the image of a cookbook author suing someone for copyright infringment for <gasp!> actually making one of his or her recipes!
  13. sfmiller


    I like a tender crumb in my pancakes, so I use buttermilk (or yogurt thinned with water if I don't have buttermilk) and self-rising flour. The soft wheat in the S/R flour makes as tender a pancake as any I've ever had, and I've had a lot of them. I use S/R flour for exactly three things: biscuits, pancakes, and fruit cobblers, and it's great for all of them.
  14. sfmiller

    Roasted Cauliflower

    I kept thinking "cauliflower can't be this good, can it?" while reading this threat. I made this dish tonight, and I believe. It can. Roasted a huge (10") head along with some buttercup squash (my former favorite veg for roasting) in second pan, expecting to have abundant leftovers to play with. Nope: two of us demolished all of it and wanted more. Delicious and dead easy to make. My kind of food.
  15. I find that the worcestershire/cayenne combination does a lot to cut against the inherent blandness of starch-based casseroles. I use it in macaroni and cheese all the time, and sometimes with scalloped potatoes. And don't underestimate the power of a handful of chopped flatleaf parsley (well, more than a handful, with your quantities), by itself or with another herb.
  16. sfmiller

    Need turnip ideas

    1. Make scallopped potatoes or a potato gratin with cream, substituting turnips for 1/2 the potatoes. 2. Braise them. Lightly saute halved smallish ones or 1" chunks of larger ones in butter till they just start to color a bit, add chicken or vegetable broth to come up about 1/3 of the way, season with S & P and maybe herb of choice (bay leaf, thyme sprig is nice). Cover & barely simmer till tender. 3. Oven roast, per others' suggestion. I like them with other assertive winter vegetables like parsnips and winter squash.
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