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Live It Up

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  1. What do you use black mustard seeds for? I have some because I bought some for a friend, but I really don't know what they're for. I threw some in a curry once and liked their crunch. ← I don't have any really creative uses for them, they just seem to find their way into lots of vegetable dishes that I make. Nothing complicated, just sautee veggies in a little oil, with some garlic and a generous sprinkling of mustard seeds. I've also done mustard seed crusted fish before, but I don't remember if I used a recipe or just winged it.
  2. Bay leaves--I make a lot of soups and braises and it seems that every recipe calls for 2 or more bay leaves. Turkish bay leaves are so expensive around here, though, that I've gotten really stingy with them. The ones I use a lot of because I love them are black mustard seeds, poppy seeds, chili flakes, sesame seeds--anything crunchy really. Also, if we're including herbs and chiles, I always have to have dried chipotles and anchos on hand as well as cilantro. But 10 #s! That's a lot of chile powder to keep around. I probably don't have 10#s of spices, total.
  3. Hmmm...haven't really thought about this one too much. If I am following a recipe, I cook covered or not depending on what is called for. However, for everything else it depends on what I'm going for. I actually employ a partially covered technique for tomato sauce because I want the evaporation that come from simmering uncovered, but I don't want splatters all over my stove. For pasta, I boil uncovered because it boils over if you leave the lid on. But I am confused when it comes to stock--I've always cooked it uncovered, but then I have to keep adding water to keep the bones covered. Frequently my stock isn't done by the time I go to bed. If I leave it to simmer while I sleep it can boil dry (almost happened with some duck stock I made a few weeks ago). I made some stock a few nights ago and covered it before I went to sleep. When I got up to turn it off, the water level was barely reduced and the stock was done. So, why would you not want to cover a stock?
  4. I found the recipe online. Here it is: Lemon Ricotta Muffins Ingredients: 2 Cups (300g) All-purpose flour (plain white flour) 1/2 Cup (110g) Castor sugar + 2 Tbs 2 1/2 Tsp Baking powder 1/2 Tsp Salt 1 Cup (250g) Ricotta cheese 1/3 Cup (84ml) Milk 6 Tbs (90ml) Unsalted butter, melted 2 Eggs (~50g) 2 Tsp Freshly grated lemon peel Method: 200°C (400°F). Grease twelve muffin cups Stir flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder and salt Whisk ricotta, milk, melted butter, eggs and lemon peel funny--I'm just noticing that that's all I have. I mean, we can all figure out what happens next, but it just goes to show how little I actually pay attention to recipes when I make them. I never time muffins, but I'm guessing they bake for 15-20 minutes. Also, there are no poppyseeds in the recipe. I think I add about 3 tablespoons. Hope this isn't too vague. edited to add poppyseeds
  5. I bake tons of muffins because they make such a convenient breakfast. I don't like muffins that are cakey or too sweet, and my husband doesn't like fruit, so when I find ones we both like I make them over and over. Some favorites: sour cream coffee cake muffins (a combination for 2 variations on the basic muffin recipe from how to cook everything) orange muffins lemon ricotta poppyseed carrot spice zucchini cranberry vanilla (just for me, though) I'm sure there are more, but I can't think of them right now. I will have to go make a batch of the coffee cake muffins this week. yummy.
  6. I have a Shun classic 10 inch chef's knife that I have been using for about 2 years. I believe the blade construction is the same as the ken onion series. When I first got it it was amazingly sharp, but not so much anymore. I must admit that I am pretty bad about taking care of my stuff, but I don't know what I did to it to dull it so. I don't have a dishwasher, I don't store it in a drawer, I don't leave it in the sink. I did drop it last week and it now has a chip in the blade. Luckily, I think this is the push I needed to finally send it back to them for sharpening. One of the things that attracted me to Shun knives in the first place was that they don't really require any special care. Shun has a care page here, but it doesn't really contain anything surprising on it. Anyhow, I love my shun, and I am definitely having separation anxiety about sending it to be fixed, but I know it will be a good thing in the long run. Now I just have to get used to using my Wustof again while it's gone.
  7. Ok, if nobody is interested in these books, I will have to get rid of them some other way. I'll keep them around until thursday, so if anybody wants any of them PM by then. Thanks!
  8. And when they made them microwaveable............the crust went right down the tubes ← Microwaved pot pie = pure evil ← I once had a stroke of genius If I cut the top crust off the frozen pie and cooked the pie in Micro and the crust in the toaster oven all would be good I still have the scar from wedging the serrated knife through my palm trying to pry the crust off Tracey ← I thought I didn't like pot pie at all for years because all I had ever had was frozen. I don't know why because my mom actually makes great pot pie from scratch, but I don't remember her ever making it until I was 15 or so. I haven't had a frozen pot pie since before that, but I still get grossed out remembering the taste.
  9. I only have one piece (I think, but possibly 2), but the whereas the bottom is clad, the sides are very thin. I've found this with many of the cheaper pieces that I've bought over the years. I like the calphalon because the sides are almost as thick as the bottoms, so the heat is much more even.
  10. I have been tempted many times by this set of caphalon anodized cookware. I'm not getting it for myself because I don't need most of the pieces, but for someone starting from scratch I think it's a really good deal. I like the calphalon pieces that I have, and I find them very versatile. I have been disappointed in the cuisinart pieces that I have bought.
  11. I also (finally) made the dimply plum cake. I almost didn't make it though, because I bought the plums before reading through the recipe. I didn't realize at first that the cake part is made with the creaming method. I really don't like cake much, especially butter cakes, so I was worried I wouldn't like it. However, I did make it and took it to a party, but I should have just kept it for myself. It was soo good! It wasn't too cakey and the combination of the plums and the cardamom was great.
  12. I cook from Marcella's books all the time, and the key to her way of peeling is a serrated peeler. I have one from Zyliss that's supposedly made for peeling soft fruits such as tomatoes (soft skin peeler), but OXO and lots of other companies make serrated peelers. Sometimes I forgo the tomatos, but peeling peppers with a peeler really does make a difference.
  13. I recently got a box from my MIL of "cookbooks" that belonged to her mother. Most of them are little pamphlets put out by major brands. Here's what I have: The Complete Cheese Cookbook(from Kraft 1971) The Fondue Cookbook by Beth Merriman 1969 5 Great Cuisines with Planters Peanut Oil apparently they are American, Italian, Chinese, Jewish, and French A Taste of the Orient this was put out by Nisei woman's society of christian service community methodist church, Ontario, Oregon 1967 James Beard's Creative Cooking 1972--this is a tiny little pamphlet which claims to contain more than 100 exciting variations on basic recipe Spice Islands Cooks Survival Cookbook1978 Easy-To-Do Cooking: Fish 1978 New Recipes for Pasta, Rice & Beans from Pillsbury 1993 Cottage Cheese Recipe Book no year Cranberries and How to Cook Them no year, but it looks very 50's/60's The French Have a Word for it: Mayonnaise Best Foods, 1972 Sauce-iology Schilling sauces, no year Fondue 1970 these next 3 are slightly thicker mass market paper backs the Great American Buffet Cookbook1979 The International Cheese Recipe Book1981 The Unharried Hostess: Thirty gourmet Dinners, Thirty Minutes Each to Pepare by Rebecca Reis 1963 If anybody is interested PM me.
  14. I haven't actually read the roasted cauliflower topic, but I do love roasted cauliflower. Haven't tried broccoli yet, but my favorite roasted vegetable is brussel sprouts. I didn't like brussel sprouts much til I tried them roasted. I generally halve or quarter them, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 450. The crispy dark bits are the best! So far I definitely have not made enough recipes from recipe gullet, but I did make Ann_T's greek ribs and they will be getting repeat play in my kitchen.
  15. This is very similar to the fish tacos that I make, except that for the sauce I like to use sour cream with chipotles in adobo mixed in (and a little lime juice). Also, I like chopped red onion on mine, but I like that on all tacos. Oh, and I prefer red cabbage to green. But, yeah, that sounds really good right now.
  16. It looks like those are pork shoulder roasts--is that correct? If so, they should be fine braised. I always use shoulder for braising, but usually I cut it into chunks. Do you know what they were spiced with? Were they stuffed? I hope you saved the skins to make cracklings.
  17. Live It Up

    Chicken Skin

    I have avoided reading this thread until now because it's just too tempting. Count me among the many who prefer the crispy skin to the chicken meat. Here's how I get my fix: my husband loves chicken pot pie. I roast a chicken, eat all of the skin and the wings off it, then remove and set aside the meat. Carcass makes stock. Use meat and stock to make pot pies. Everyone is happy! I'm making a roasted chicken tonight for dinner, so I get to eat skin! oh, and of course, I have to give a major drool to nonblonde007's breakfast.
  18. Nery nice, but I notice that while they're offered in red or black, they only come in a right handed model? SB ← Not to harp on this, but I don't see why you couldn't use them with your left hand--just slide the locking mechanism with your index finger instead of your thumb. I just tried it, and though I am useless with my left hand, it worked just fine.
  19. I've never had this mousse, but I was just flipping through Teresa Barrenechea's The Cuisines of Spain which I just got, and there is a recipe from Madrid for an olive oil chocolate mousse. It actually replaces dairy with olive oil and is lightened with eggwhites. I can PM it if you want.
  20. Those are indeed the exact tongs of which I speak! I find this design lots easier to use than the ubiquitous kind. I often have to use my teeth to pull the little tab out and release these when my other hand is unavailable. ← SB--Zyliss makes locking tongs that are one-handed. The locking mechanism is on the side of the tongs and it slides up and down with one finger. I love them!
  21. I have been so inspired by these regional cooking threads, that I have resolved to cook at least one meal from each region (but not within any particular time frame or anything). I ordered a couple of cookbooks that emphasize regionality (Cucina Del Sole and Lidia's Italy, but neither of them had arrived, and I wanted to do meal this past weekend. So, I decided to do Liguria, which is not covered in either of those books. Pretty much my only source was Mario Batali and this thread. There were a lot of problems. I invited some friends over for Sunday night, but I was in Buenos Aires from Wed to Sat (arrived sat at 6am). I thought I would be able to sleep on the plane, so i would have all day sat to prep. However, I got barely a wink, so I had to sleep half my day away. Also, the meal I planned was very heavy on the shopping, which further sapped my energy, leaving me only Sunday to cook. Here's the whole horrible tale-- The menu was supposed to be: stuffed zucchini blossoms Pansotti with Walnut sauce (from Molto Italiano) Capon Magro fig and almond crostata(probably not Ligurian at all, but I couldn't find a dessert that was that looked appealing) I wanted to get the vegetables from the farmer's market, the fish and bread from Chelsea market, and I knew that I could find Ligurian wine at Astor Place--well, when you're leaving the house at 4pm, that's a lot to fit in. I did manage to get to the farmer's market, but I forgot to buy the zucchini blossoms. No problem, I thought, I'll just buy them on Sunday at the farmer's market that's near my store. So I headed over to Chelsea market with Josh (my sister worked at the store for me so I could rest after my trip). I hadn't eaten anything, so we got some lunch. I then realized, with horror that by that time it was almost 7pm and all the stores in chelsea market were closing. I managed to get the largest loaf of bread ever, but then the seafood store closed in my face. Also, the kitchen supply store was closed, and I need to buy a tart pan. Well, I guess that meant that I would have to come back the next day. After that, we walked all the way to astor wines and then home (about 3 miles total) carrying all the heavy groceries. By the time I got home, I still had to cook dinner, so I was way too tired to do any prep. Josh sweetly let me have the next day off as well so that I could go back to chelsea market to get the fish and cook. I don't really know why, but nothing worked out the next day either. Somehow the only thing I managed to get done before I went shopping again was make the pasta dough. I couldn't make dessert because I didn't have the tart pan. I wanted to get to the farmer's market, but I didn't have any cash, so I stopped at the atm on the way. For some reason, all the atms at my band could not dispense cash and it was sunday, so the bank was closed. OK, no zucchini blossoms. I decided to buy some chickpea flour and make Marcella's farinata instead. Well, I didn't get back from the market until 5. Guests were coming at 9. 4 hours should have been enough, but it just wasn't. I've made fresh pasta several times, but for some reason it just would not cooperate. Maybe it was too humid, I don't know. At 9pm with the guests on their way and nothing done, I gave up on the fresh pasta. Of course, I had already made the filling (including the egg), so I wasn't sure about using it on top of boxed pasta, but it turned out ok. I was particularly disappointed, because I have been wanting to make the pansotti recipe since I got Molto Italiano, and I was so happy to see from others making it on this thread that they were Ligurian. Luckily I had thought to throw some cheese into my shopping basket at the store, so at least I had something to put out for the hours it would take for me to get the meal on the table. I put the farinata in the oven when the guests arrived, so it was another 45 minutes or so til that was done, but it was pretty good. I was unconvinced that it would turn into a bread like product, because the batter is just chickpea flour, water, and olive oil, and it is very, very soupy before it is baked. But, this is what it looked like when it came out of the oven. We also started with this Ligurian Rose. It was really nice--not too sweet or too dry. Decently priced at $17, I think. Just a tip for those of you in NYC--Astor wines website allows you to search for wines by region, and they have at least 2 wines from every region in Italy. I also got 2 bottles of this white wine there. It was $13 a bottle. (I find wine bottles to be the hardest thing to photograph.) This is what the final product of all my pasta pain looked like. I added some of the pasta water to the ricotta and zucchini filling, mostly to insure that the egg wouldn't curdle when I mixed it in to the hot pasta. Then, I also put the walnut and bread crumb sauce on, so it was double sauced. A very tasty dish, even though it was merely an attempt to salvage a disaster. By the time we were done with the pasta, it was after midnight. However, I think it was worth the wait, because the capon magro was so impressive. Here's another photo with empty pasta bowls for perspective. This thing is huge! Mario Batali has crazy ideas about serving size. He calls for 2lbs of cod and 2 lobsters for 4 people, in addition to all the other ingredients. I only did 1.5 lbs of cod and one lobster, and it was still way too much food--I served 5 people. I used head on shrimp, since I couldn't get langoustines, but I used more than he calls for. I also left out the celery and hard boiled eggs, because no one in attendance likes them (myself, especially). This dish was exactly the kind of thing I should never attempt to make in my kitchen because though it is not difficult, it uses every bowl I own creating a huge mess. Which would be fine if I had a dining room or any counter space other than my cutting board and kitchen table. After then main course, it was 1am, and my dessert was not done. I did manage to make the tart shell before everyone arrived, but I still needed to fill it and bake the filling. Which I did, but none of my guests stayed to eat it. That was a good thing, in the end because even though it was only supposed to bake for 25 minutes, it took almost an hour. Here's what it looked like when it was done. I ate some of it the next day with coffee, and it was really, really good, but most of it is sitting in my fridge. Whew! that's my tale of Ligurian woe. I'm so sorry this post was so long and rambly, but I was really overwhelmed by this whole thing. Oh, I also bought 2 different bottles of Ligurian olive oil, but that is for another post since i forgot to photograph them. So, if you're not sick of me yet (already!) I'll stay tuned for that report.
  22. So, I ordered my copy of this book weeks ago, but I just got it a couple of days ago. I wanted to start my regional tour with a meal from this book, but I got impatient and planned a meal before I received it. So, I haven't cooked anything from it yet, but I just wanted to post an update for others considering buying it. You do have to do a bit of intro reading, because the recipes are not all listed in the index according to region. For example, there are only 2 recipes from Basilicata listed in the index, but there are at least 2 others that are attributed to Basilicata when you read the intros. That being said, the majority of the recipes are from Puglia, Campagnia, and Sicily. I am looking forward to cooking from this book, and I will report on the appropriate threads.
  23. I read this thread when it popped up last year and subsequently made gumbo, but this time around this shrimp and artichoke bisque has me intrigued. Mayhaw Man, any idea how they do it?
  24. I am so with you! True, my business is not in a foreign country, but it might as well be for as much as I see my friends. I'm glad to hear that you can recover from BITTP years--I hope to someday. Been loving the blog, natch.
  25. I have not had this particular salad either, but I just wanted to comment on the goat cheese truffles. They are probably just small ball of fresh goat cheese rolled in some savory toppings. Here's and example. I would toss the greens with dressing, then arrange the other ingredients on top and drizzle with a little more dressing just on the beets. 3 goat cheese truffles would be plenty for 1 cup of green.
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