Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Sony

  1. Sony

    Tomato Sauce for Pasta

    I too add tomato paste to my homemade pasta sauces to give it the "clingy" body. A bit of pasta water in the sauce also seems to help pasta and sauce become one, in my estimation.
  2. I'm not sure how much people appreciate tongue....it is getting more expensive, but the texture/succulence of the meat really appeals to me, especially in tacos or in a stew. I very rarely find fellow tongue-cravers in my neck of the woods, which is a shame- a whole tongue is a TON of meat for 1 person!
  3. Not sure if this has been mentioned, but buttermilk is fantastic in smoothies. I like it as an alternative to plain yogurt, and find it matches particularly well with berries and peaches.
  4. Sony

    Duck hearts

    The decent texture with shorter cooking time is good to know about....especially for those evenings I'm feeling less patient for dinner!
  5. Not really a full menu, but some ideas.... Expanding on Steven's suggestion, I'm always amazed at how much polenta a small handful of grain will produce....and in truth, I don't think it always takes a ton of butter, cheese, or other dairy to make the stuff taste good. Salt and roasted garlic are good flavorings for the background....and if your eggs are relatively affordable, a poached egg as the centerpiece in a bed of polenta sounds like a fine meal to me. Juila Child's potato soup, made with just vegetable, water, salt and a bit of butter, is great. Instead of pricier leeks, I have substituted onions before and been happy with the results. If inexpensive meat is an option for you, leg quarters are often $0.50/lb in a weekly circular in my area. You can make broth, and use meat/broth for chicken and dumplings (I'm thinking of simple rolled dumplings that are little more than flour, leavening and water.) Homemade spatzle is another option to consider, along with the usual flour-based suspects like pasta.
  6. Sony

    Duck hearts

    Have not tried this recipe, but have it bookmarked: Duck Hearts with Green Grapes. I do wonder about the texture of the hearts with such a brief cooking time. Usually, I braise for quite a while. This may probably not fancy enough, but the other day, I made chicken hearts stewed in a simple brown mushroom gravy- diced onion, mushrooms and celery sweated, then added flour (allowed to brown), minced garlic, homemade stock, salt, pepper.... all simmered until tender. Served over rice for a great rainy day supper.
  7. While I haven't been single for quite that long, I do miss the cooking part of dates/relationships (especially if the guy always volunteered to do the dishes!) Maybe I've become a cynical old fart, but gone are the days where I'd invite someone to my place (or go to his place) for home cooking unless I've met him a few times (there was a time when I'd cook on the 1st date). Case in point: there was once a guy who was insistent about cooking dinner for me at my place (knowing that I lived alone). When trying to sell the idea, he came up with the slimiest comments(e.g. "...salmon so good, it will make your clothes melt off!")....blech, it made my skin crawl just to recall the punk. That meeting over coffee was our last. Cook for the sake of good food, not to get me in bed. The process of choosing a restaurant for a date can give me a "gut feeling" about someone as well. I find it good to have a brief discussion about choices....If a guy suggests a restaurant that's one of my favorites or that I've been wanting to try, definite bonus points! Cooking dates offer fantastic insight- communication, cooperation, timing, patience....a lot can be discerned from the setting. In friendships and in romances!
  8. I do the same thing sometimes- curl up with the set and just page through, even though I've read them so many times before. When people ask about a recipe that came from one of the volumes, my instinct is to say that it came from a friend rather than a book. Nakji, sometimes she will include specific recipes in prose style....but often she talks of techniques, methods or dishes without specific measurements. I think this is part of the beauty of her writing- her tone shows an appreciation for the nebulous process and personal stories behind the end result as much as anything. Several dishes I still make that are rooted in her writing are: -sauteed zucchini nesting a poached egg on top -tomato pie -boiled beef -lentil soup -UNTRUSSED roast chicken -baked chicken with polenta and broccoli rabe -chocolate cake (I think it came from her friend Karen? One from the collection of chocolate cake recipes, it's the one with lots of cocoa...and the essay taught be about how cocoa's flavor needs to bloom with time in order to taste most chocolatey.)
  9. Instead of poaching the chicken I might first marinate it in salt, pepper and minced garlic, and brown off (can finish poaching and cook through in the broth). To the sauce, perhaps some fresh thyme and/or a scraping of fresh nutmeg would be enjoyable. Paprika can help some with color issues in gray sauces and add a nice flavor as well. Sorry about the food poisoning, and hope you're recovered.
  10. Sony

    planning backwards

    Since I usually cook for myself, I'm always thinking of different things to do with leftovers so I don't get bored....and the "next day" plans often strike me 1st. I'll usually plan something oven-oriented if I want leftover baked potatoes to make home fries. If I don't have stock frozen, and I want to make chicken soup, I'll usually roast a chicken, then make stock. (I know I could poach the whole chicken to make broth, but I usually find leftover roasted chicken easier to use than leftover poached chicken). Same thing when I want to make shrimp stock. The other day, I roasted a half turkey breast (much more than I needed) because I wanted to make turkey pot pie. Ate a turkey dinner the 1st night, then made the pot pie the next day. (Incidentally, I used to love reading the menus in Women's Day, Family Circle, etc. when I was little!)
  11. I have a habit of letting my freezer become a black hole of leftovers and "emergency meals" for those days I don't feel like cooking. (Those days don't really come around too often!) Have started transitioning some to the office freezer for the days I need to eat at my desk, but the pile-up is still notorious. Also freezer-related.....sometimes I don't label my freezer contents. Could be because Sharpie that is supposed to stay in my cutlery drawer gets misplaced. Or the plastic container immediately builds beads of condensation on it, making it impossible to write on it or have a piece of tape stick to it. Regardless, I've gotten much better ever since I mistook tamarind chutney for demi glace.
  12. What's the kitchen situation like? If there's access to one, it's nice to make homemade "mixes", like cake/cookie mixes of some of your favorite recipes, where she just had to add water, or at most the oil/eggs. Maybe good homemade hot chocolate mix. On the savory end, you could mail her "soup kits" (e.g. herb/spices in a pouch, dried bean mix) with directions (hopefully minimal additions needed, like chopped onions). On the "no additions required" end, you could send savory scones. Homemade crackers (might need to wrap these in bubble wrap). Homemade granola. Even Chex mix, or homemade trail mix would be nice. The famed "muddy buddy" peanut butter/chocolate cereal mix was always seems well-received. I like the idea of spiced nuts! Have fun creating a bit of home to send your daughter! Speaking from experience, they mean a lot.
  13. A hot oven (from baking bread), a head of savoy cabbage and a small amount of homemade stock were all in my kitchen at the same time...so I plunged into the world of braised cabbage. I LOVE this recipe, especially since the leftovers are so tasty! I browned the cabbage thoroughly in the final uncovered cooking step- the caramelized bits are my favorite. Have had it for dinner two night in a row now...topped with a poached egg, I could eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
  14. Sony

    Recipes That Rock: 2009

    Thanks Steve! I actually ended up doing home deliveries for a few friends today (made 4 mini loaves). I didn't take pictures, but they turned out golden and lovely- not quite as deep brown as the pictures have appeared here or on the KA website. Here are changes I made along the way, some accidental, some purposeful. None made for a flakier loaf, but I didn't consider the texture overly chewy. I suspect adding fat to the dough would make it less chewy, more tender, but not necessarily flaky unless it was solid fat cut into the dough coarsely and kept cold (I'm thinking about biscuits....) Not sure how this theory will translate in the real world. 1. I add gluten to AP flour to mimic bagged bread flour. 2 teaspoons per cup of flour has worked for me, but when I made the starter, I accidentally added 2 TB of gluten. Consequently added a bit more water to the starter to create a cohesive mixture, and cut back on the amount of gluten I added later. 2.The dough looked VERY wet while it was being kneaded in my breadmaker (started with the upper amount of water in the bottom of the bowl, dry ingredients have to go on top). I was very low on flour....So in the middle of the 1st mix, I started adding in toasted oat bran, 1 TB at a time, until it was a wet but vaguely manageable dough. 3. No pizza flavor or garlic oil. Added herbes de provence to the dough mixture. Instead of shredded cheese, I added 1 layer of thinly-sliced munster across the surface (leaving a small border around the edge). Topped loaves with a generous sprinkling of Parmigianno Reggiano. The loaves looked gorgeous- and the one I tried out tasted GREAT. I didn't have the extensive lava effect, probably because of the reduction and adaptation in the type of cheese. But this method of rolling flavoring into a boule is one I plan to tinker with a lot. Thanks for this recipe, cooks with love!
  15. Sony

    Recipes That Rock: 2009

    Oooh- I'm making that this weekend! Nice job! Any idea how well the bread keeps? Does it need to be refrigerated? I'll probably bring some into work, so just trying to decide what day to make it and how to store it. Also trying to figure out if I'll be able to keep my hands off of the extra loaf.
  16. My most successful, cohesive gratin involved parboiling (more like parsimmering) the potatoes (can't remember which kind- maybe yukon golds?) in the milk mixture, maybe 1/3 of the way, then pouring that into a buttered dish before baking with the cheese, herbs, etc. The extra starch in the sauce, plus ample resting time, is what did the trick, I think (guess). That might work to create something cohesive enough to be unmolded.
  17. This is something I adapted from Rachael Ray- cut jam, like apricot or seedless raspberry- with an accompanying acid. I like champagne vinegar with apricot, balsamic with raspberry..... I think her recipe uses oil to more closely match a vinaigrette, but I forgot to whisk it in one day, and haven't looked back. While the oil does temper the sharp sweet-sour contrast of acid + jam, I was surprised at how little I missed it. But I guess it does follow the old trick- when you lower the fat, the compensation might just involve raising sugar! Also, thinking along the lines of honey mustard, jam + mustard might be nice on some greens.....ought to give that a try sometime. Of course, there's the whole creamy dressing route- while they often include some fat, they don't use oil (unless you add mayonnaise). Yogurt-based dressings are often my go-to, especially if I'm trying to use up a large container of plain low-fat yogurt.
  18. Just started 2 pint jars of extract- 10 split beans in each, filled up with vodka. One jar has scraped beans, the other simply split beans. The beans smell less sweet and more smoky than I expected (ordered from Saffron and Vanilla)....I suspect it's because all extracts that I've used till now have has some sugar in the mix? Taking some beans with me when I see family next weekend to share some extra.....while I'm there will look for some food grade glycerin to make a non-alcoholic batch for a family member who abstains for religious reasons. Anyway, can't wait to see how things unfold over the next few months!
  19. Looks amazing- I hope the roast turned out well! Something to consider for the next leg of lamb might be the seven hour leg of lamb recipe- this looks pretty close to my go-to recipe: http://mzkitchen.blogspot.com/2007/02/seven-hour-leg-of-lamb.html It makes the house smell heavenly, is very low maintenance, and when serving to guests, it saves me from worrying about whether the right doneness is available to everyone. The vegetables are insanely good, too- my sister learned to ADORE turnips because of this recipe!
  20. Thanks- it's good to be reminded that sugar is OK or a person with diabetes. I certainly don't pause when passing her a dinner roll before a pasta dinner....as I said, she's got things under control and it's not my job to play food police. I said I felt weird giving sugar....but it's more because I don't think she really uses sugar (or use alternative sweeteners) very much (likely as a result of having diabetes, but I can't be sure). She doesn't bake much (which means that extract might not be the most useful gift for her anyway), make sweets, or take sugar in her coffee/tea. It might have been just as well for me to say that she doesn't care to have sweets, and leave out the issue of diabetes!
  21. Hmmm....I wonder how she would receive vanilla balsamic vinegar? She was talking this summer about liking balsamic-macerated strawberries. Maybe the infused vinegar plus a bag of strawberries I froze this summer..... You know, maybe she gets something totally different from everyone else. My hope was to give somewhat "equivalent" gifts to everyone, but that doesn't have to be the case, especially since there are so many other great ideas out there!
  22. Not sure whether you are a coffee drinker... but speaking from a personal note, most coffee people that I know would prefer their beans "straight", rather than infused. Sorry I don't have any other suggestions, though. ← Not a coffee drinker myself, unfortunately.... She does drink flavored coffees (hazelnut, vanilla, etc.)when we've gone to cafes, but you're right, she might prefer "straight" beans when she's making it herself, especially if it's high-quality stuff.
  23. Ugh, sorry to hear that... What are enzymatic odor killers....is that like Febreeze? Baking soda may not cut it for scrubbing or leaving open in the room, but might be worth a shot. May also want to try activated charcoal as an odor absorber.....there was a semester I worked in a biology lab as a student, and the specimen fridge got unplugged over a hot weekend (though there was some level of climate control). Get who got to clean up the mess? Activated charcoal helped a bit in this case....
  24. For textural creaminess without dairy, try a combination of frozen fruit plus silken (soft) tofu. Some flavor combinations I enjoy are (pretty pedestrian): strawberry and pineapple strawberry and banana I second peach and mango peach and crystallized ginger papaya and mango peanut butter and banana blueberries and almond butter Some recipes recommend adding cocoa powder straight to smoothies. Personally, the texture goes off for me when I do that, so I might add a small spoonful of Nutella or homemade (barely sweet) chocolate syrup (cocoa powder, sugar, water, cooked together....keeps pretty well in the fridge) if I'm craving a chocolate smoothie. Frozen banana, splash of milk, chocolate source, sometimes frozen strawberries.
  25. If you're into tropical flavors, frozen banana, pineapple chunks and a little coconut milk is great. Since I find myself in the position from time to time of having leftover coconut milk, this is a good way to use it up. Can alternatively use creamed coconut (stuff in blocks) plus water as your creamy element. Also, in a moment of desperation once, I added a dollop of part-skim ricotta to the blender when I found my yogurt has gotten funky. Not bad.... Have also heard about the joys of the avocado shake...wondering if the dessert-like concoction can be turned into something more breakfast-y? Are you seeking flavor combination ideas, techniques for smoothie making, or all of the above?
  • Create New...