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chappie

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  1. chappie

    Cauliflower Rice - Ideas?

    Since May 21 of this year, I've been using the Weight Watchers app to track and plan my diet. That's another topic -- it has worked very well for me to the tune of 30 lbs. so far -- but in the process of changing the way I cook and eat and approach food in general (I still cook every night, and make things I truly enjoy), I've incorporated things like cauliflower rice with great success. Now, I buy it from Aldi in pre-riced, frozen bags, because I don't have a lot of spare time with both of us working and kids to drive here and there. But this, or a variation of this, is one of my go-to sides. Cauliflower Risotto To one tablespoon of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet, add two cloves crushed garlic and half an onion or so. Add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Once the garlic has cooked into the oil but before it browns, you can either add the frozen cauliflower (or fresh riced cauliflower if that's your method) to the pan or, first, saute a bunch of diced zucchini, then add the cauliflower. Another tangent here, but I use an Instant Pot to make chicken stock with rotisserie carcasses and any other chicken leftover bits I have. Once every several days, I intensify this stock by putting it back into the Instant Pot and adding the latest carcass. I do this several times over a few weeks and wind up with a super-rich, dark brown stock -- which I sometimes strengthen even further through reduction. See above. If you have this magic chicken demi glace, use it. If not, use the best stock you have. I add maybe a half cup of stock to the veggie/garlic/cauli pan. Add two wedges of Laughing Cow lite swiss (or a generic equivalent). I'm serious. This stuff contains negligible calories yet adds a ton of flavor and creaminess. Stir here and there with a spatula or wooden spoon, breaking up and remaining clumps of frozen cauli and dispersing the cheese product as it melts. Your veggies will have released some liquid, and if you started with a frozen ice cube of dense stock like I often do, that will have melted, too. The goal here is to reduce the liquid and smooth everything out to risotto consistency. Sometimes near the end I throw in a bunch of halved grape tomatoes or some frozen peas and let them all come up to temperature. Tinker with seasonings. I do one of these heavy on jalapeno and cumin and lots of zucchini. I do another that is very basic, creamy with peas and finished with parmesan stirred in to incorporate. We eat variations of this several times throughout the week. I haven't usually enjoyed "fake" versions of dishes, but this can be so good it really does taste like a good risotto.
  2. I was recently in a convenience store, searching for a semi-nutritious, low-"Points" snack (as I have been using the Weight Watchers app successfully for a month with dual goals of weight loss and improving my eating habits). I found a product by Krave that was a single-serve snack sausage made with both pork and black beans. This came a few months after I discovered and became slightly obsessed with Duke's smoked sausages, another snack-aisle product, made with better ingredients and methods than your Slim Jims and other junk. It all got me wondering if there was a way to make a cured, smoked sausage from beans, tofu and other non-meat ingredients, with or without any meat at all. Both options appeal to me. I like the idea of pork with other ingredients, but am also interested in the possibilities of a non-meat product with similar smoky, spicy flavor and comparable texture to a dried, smoked meat sausage. Any ideas where I can look? Most searches for black beans and sausage turn up recipes for those two items combined in a dish (which is, of course, delicious). I'm wondering about methodology and any other attempts to do this.
  3. Green beans under pressure for 1.5 hours???
  4. I've seen Alton's thin recipe and the reviews make it sound like there's still a little bit of chew to it. I'll try them, though ... but I'm not sure it's on the level of Otterbein's in terms of crunch. I haven't heard of Tate's but I'll keep an eye out.
  5. There is a Baltimore-based company called Otterbein's that sells regionally (in distinct red-and-white checkered bags) a handful of varieties of thin, super-crunchy cookies. Their chocolate chip recipe is probably the best chocolate chip cookie I've ever had -- slightly salty, not too sweet, and the chips have a slightly different taste than most. How do I make something like this at home? If I can't replicate it perfectly, what in general are methods that will help me hone in on a thin, crunchy cookie like this? Several "crispy" CCC recipes I've encountered produce just mildly crunchy edges, with the same over-cakey centers. That's not what I'm after. I want crunch through and through, and thin. Any ideas? Has anyone else had these cookies and tried to replicate them at home?
  6. chappie

    Chili

    I've done the same; but maybe we should be emptying the can into a ziplock bag and freezing?
  7. chappie

    Chili

    I recently found this article on seriouseats.com titled "The Best Chili Ever Recipe." http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2010/01/the-best-chili-recipe.html It's one of those pieces that troubleshoots and discusses every aspect of chili, from which kind of meat to use, dried chiles vs. chili powder, etc. I adopted several of the themes in a batch for Halloween and everyone raved about it. Short ribs made for amazing chili (even though my wife prefers ground beef, which I find rather boring). I think reading this through several times has given me some new ideas about chili, which I used to always just wing without any recipe or guidance (and still had some great results). One thing I never understood is why so many people outside of Texas fret about whether or not to add beans, in terms of "authenticity." No offense to Texans, but I live in Maryland. Why on earth should I care what Texas thinks belongs in my chili?! I've done it both ways. But I vastly prefer chili with beans. And if you're feeding a crowd -- and started with pricey short rib, e.g. -- it certainly helps flesh out the pot.
  8. chappie

    Homemade Sorta-Kinda Scrapple??

    As a lifelong fan of scrapple, I bought this book on a whim last year -- it turned out to be one of the best food/food history books I've ever read. I cannot recommend it enough! Hoping to try some of the old recipes this winter.
  9. Many years ago I read an article or chapter of a book, can't recall, by a chef remembering an apprenticeship he had in (I think) Paris many years prior. His first assignment was making ice cream, and it ended up being the most grueling task available -- long hours holding a wooden paddle against the sides of a rotating drum as the mixture slowly thickened. The article talked about all the weight lost and muscle built on just this task. Does anyone have any recollection about this? It was either from a prominent chef or published in a prominent publication (maybe Saveur? N.Y. Times?). My mind is coming up blank, as are my Google searches, and I'm trying to find it for an acquaintance who is in the midst of buying an ice cream business and currently in training from the master.
  10. chappie

    Innovative chowder ideas

    Off the top of my head these are all the chowders I can remember making over the years for this competition: Classic quahog (two years)*; oyster, leek and white miso; ham hock chowder with corn and yellow eye beans; oyster and ham chowder with saffron; traditional oyster chowder; clear-broth mussel and shrimp chowder; oyster, leek and vermouth chowder; corn and crawfish chowder; scallop chowder? (my mind is starting to go blank). Out of those, I won the people's choice with the corn and crawfish and oyster-leek-vermouth. I won an "innovative" from the judges somewhere along the way (can't recall what for, and "innovative" always seems like a runner-up prize in this), and I won the (IMO most coveted) "classic" prize from the judges three times, most recently for my quahog chowders.
  11. chappie

    Innovative chowder ideas

    Well, the judges awarded my quahog chowder the top prize again this year in the Classic category. It came out very nicely, except for the fact I'm still torn on the notion of a thickener. As I think I said before, when I'm making a chowder for myself, I prefer a milky, brothy background. For this competition I pureed about a third of the potatoes; while the flavor was great, I still feel the potato starch gives the chowder a grainy mouthfeel. Now I'm starting to wonder if I should experiment with a butter roux and making the chowder base a day or two in advance (rendered pork, aromatics to soften, add butter roux and then clam broth, cook to thicken, cool, refrigerate). Then, right before service at the competition, reheat the base, add chopped quahogs and dairy to just the right texture.
  12. chappie

    Innovative chowder ideas

    There is a video on YouTube demonstrating how the Black Pearl in Newport, R.I. makes its famous chowder. Some of the techniques they use don't appeal to me (even though I have had and enjoyed their chowder on a few occasions), like the use of flour and another kind of starch, maybe modified food starch. However, they puree half of their clams and cook the puree into their "base." I did this once with oysters -- pureed half into the base and added the rest right before service -- and won that year. As usual I won't have much time to tinker between now and Saturday. I think I'll do the classic quahog I've been trying to perfect, with the addition of some pureed clams and perhaps a splash of dry vermouth. Right now the spices I use are a pinch of thyme, black pepper and smoked Spanish paprika.
  13. chappie

    Innovative chowder ideas

    Thanks for the feedback, everyone! Incidentally, this was one of my first forays back to eGullet in many years (I used to post all the time), and it's great to see that it's still going strong.
  14. chappie

    Innovative chowder ideas

    Another five-year update. My latest chowder style is to continue to work on mastering traditional techniques. I've won this contest twice in recent years with very traditional quahog chowders, and the 2016 event is coming up in two weeks. Last year I used a technique I read about on Serious Eats, where you boil the potatoes etc. in the milk and clam juice, allowing the milk to break, and then strain out the solids, re-emulsify the milk base (which now has collected potato starch) in the blender, and re-combine. That's a lot of hassle. I think this time I'll stick to heavy cream even though I prefer the flavor/texture of whole milk. Also, I'm thinking of pureeing some of the quahogs to cook in the beginning, and adding the rest at the very end. Simple seasonings, salt pork instead of bacon always, and I've gone completely away from using flour to thicken.
  15. chappie

    The Hot Sauce Topic

    Has anyone here had Dirty Dick's? http://dirtydickshotsauce.com Amazing, sweet, hot and fruity. I wish it came in a sriracha-type squeeze bottle.
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