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  1. Thanksgiving, The Day After: Leftovers!

    As usual, I overdid it for Thanksgiving. A 20 lb roasted turkey. Another 13 lb smoked turkey. 15 lbs of mashed potatoes, 10 pounds of roasted mashed sweet potatoes, 2 pounds of brussel sprouts cooked with bacon, 50 bacon wrapped boursin-stuffed jalapenos, $100 worth of fancy cheeses, a Costco "charcuterie" pack, a 3 lb olive spread from the Whole Foods olive bar, washed down with 4 quarts of local eggnog with spiked with almond tequila. There were 8 guests including me. To say I had leftovers is an understatement. Besides the standard leftover dinner plate, I've made : Sandwiches made with turkey, mayo, jellied cranberry sauce, and thin slices of Mom's excellent stuffing, on soft white bread. Paninis made with turkey, mayo, thin salami, and Boursin on sourdough bread. 2 batches of turkey stock, from the roasted and smoked birds. A copycat recipe for Amy's lentil soup with turkey stock and chopped turkey (super good with the last of the cranberry goat cheese log). I froze and vacuum sealed 1 cup portions of mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes. These make super easy side dishes on lazy nights. Used the last of the homemade spinach artichoke dip to make Veggie Patch Pizza, which is a copycat of the only thing I ever liked at Applebees. I host a monthly potluck game night and November's theme is always "Turkey Hangover." For this I make Sara Moulton's turkey nacho recipe, and it's always a huge hit. I invited some friends over to finish off the cheeses and olives with some really tasty scotch. Oh, and I've been making homemade eggnog lattes for breakfast to use up the eggnog - I love how when you steam it, it tastes like butterscotch. It's been lovely, but I'm making my husband take me out for a burger tomorrow.
  2. Sorry it took me while to notice the request for the coconut pork shoulder recipe, guys. Here it is : 3-4 lbs pork shoulder coriander cumin salt / pepper hot chili oil chopped ginger minced garlic 1 or 2 thai chilies, cut very small 2 medium onions, cut into rings 1 14-oz can coconut milk Season the pork on all sides with salt, pepper, coriander, and cumin. Put some hot chili oil in the bottom of the crockpot, and set the pork in. Scatter the garlic, ginger, chilies, and onions on top, and pour the coconut milk over the top. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
  3. The best dish you cooked in 2012

    Is that cooked in a springform pan? I'm attempting deep dish pizza for the first time this weekend, and I've been trying to figure out what pan to use - the recipe says cake pan, and I was going to use a 9 inch pyrex pie plate, but if I can use my springform instead, that would be awesome!
  4. Scotch eggs are my go-to for potlucks. Mine are literally just hardboiled eggs wrapped in good breakfast, rolled in panko, baked, and cut in half. They're great at room temperature, dead simple to make, and people are always impressed!
  5. Oooh, that Indian cookbook looks promising. I have, in the past, done crockpot apple butter and then canned it. It was great, but now everyone wants more of it! Ok, I looked at my freezer inventory and there's some things in there that seem like promising crock pot candidates (these are what's left of trying to eat through my meat share from a local farm - I took a break from it because my freezer was getting full and have been trying to eat what's in there): A 3 lb bone-in leg of lamb A 4 lb whole chicken A 4 lb ham 6 big hunks of grass fed beef - 2 2.5 lb beef arm roasts, 2 3-4 lb beef chuck roasts, a 1.5 lb pikes peak roast, and a 3.5 lb sirloin tip roast Random google searches yeild crock pot recipes for any/all of these, but I trust eG's recommendations more. Like I said, I've only done hunks of pork/beef so far, so recommendations and tips for the chicken/ham/lamb leg would be awesome.
  6. I couldn't find a single topic devoted to crock pot cooking, so I figured I'd start one. I inherited mine when my best friend moved accross the country. It sat unused for a year or so, when I finally decided to try it on one of the hunks of meat lurking in my freezer. I cut some onions into thick rings, set a 4 lb chuck roast on top, covered it all with a jar of Herdez salsa verde, and walked away. The end result was some pretty great shredded beef, which we used for tacos, quesadillas, and salads. Since then, I've tried other recipes, all of which are variations of meat + seasonings - carnitas, coconut pork, and most recently, a dead easy version of kalua pork. They've all been delicious, really much better than the minimal effort would have led me to beleive (I'll share the recipes if anyone is interested). I'd love to branch out beyond just hunks of beef and pork (and I'm hoping it's not just all the pork fat that makes these recipes magical). I like these recipes because they're so easy, and produce a ton of good food that reheats great, without any compromise in ingredients or flavor. What else do you guys make in your crockpots?
  7. I pack lunch for DBF and I almost every day. I'm a big fan of making something in bulk on the weekend to use. The night before all I have to do is portion or maybe prep a few things that don't keep, like chop tomatoes, or assemble salads. Yesterday, I put a 4lb pork shoulder in my crockpot with ginger, garlic, onions, thai chilis, and a can of coconut milk. Then I roasted a couple of trays of baby bok choi and some frozen stir fry veggies, and made a pot of rice. This easily made 10 portions for us. I LOVE my crockpot for this kind of thing. (EDIT: Hah! I had just posted this, and I got a message from DBF that said "holy shit, lunch is amazing". So, if anyone wants the actual recipe, let me know. ) Previous weeks batch cooked lunches include : - A huge batch of stuffed peppers with sausage, and fixings for big Italian salads. - Crockpot chuckroast, with sliced peppers and onions, and Herdez salsa verde, to be served over a spinach salad w/ a rasberry chipotle dressing. - Tuna/salmon salads bulked with hard boiled eggs are good over salad greens. (I'll not that, although this is a pretty good volume of food for lunch, it's very low in calories and I was more hungry than normal later, so next time I'll supplement with fruit and/or crackers.) - I bought several different kinds of deli meat and cheese, and sandwich fixings, and packed it a bunch of different ways - as lettuce wraps, as a chopped salad, and as an actual sandwich. - I roasted a couple trays of purged eggplant and zucchini with garlic, and made a sort of stew with chickpeas and fire-roasted tomatoes, to eat over rice. This was good garnished with kalamata olives and capers. - Curried red lentils and rice, with roasted broccoli and cauliflower, and sliced cucumbers. Some weeks, dinners will be leftover heavy, so I just keep stuff to do fill-in lunches. This summer, I've really grooving on tinned sardineson crackers, cherry tomatoes with chunks of motzarella (or the little marinated balls), kalamata olives, and sliced cucumbers in vinegar. This sounds like an easy, interesting addition to the lunch rotation. Tell me about the dried black fungus - is it powdered? What flavor does it contribute, and is it common at Asian markets? Can you add dried shitake mushrooms, or will they not have enough time to rehydrate?
  8. Maybe people get in phases where they're excited/interested(obsessed) with their shiny new toy (diet, in this case), and since that's all that they're focused on, that's what they talk about? I mean, everyone eats, so voila, eating in front of them gives them both a commonality, and, presumably, a common intersest. DBF is like this. He lost a huge amount of weight (like, he lost almost one of me), and before he did, he spent some time figuring out that the only way to lose weight was calories in < calories out (which allowed him to lose >130 lbs eating candy, fast food, and children's breakfast cereal). This is a subject I have seen him geek out about for hours, and, given a halfway receptive audience, he will be talking about back-computed BMR and showing off his spreadsheets. Now he's moving into actual fitness, so that's where his focus is, and that's what he wants to talk about. Everyone feels that way, to an extent. When I get into a thorny theoretical database problem at work, sometimes that's all I can see in my head, so if I'm out with other techie people, that's where I'll steer the conversation. When I was obsessed with bread baking, I wanted to tell people about it, I wanted to evangelize the awesomeness I had found. With more general philosophies on what to eat or not eat, it's a conversation that always has an excuse to be had. I have Paleo friends who do it, because they're passionate about it, and they want other people to know something awesome. And sometimes they don't wait for a passerby to comment on the size of their steak in the lunchroom as an opening - sometimes they make their own opening. For the most part, people are well intentioned and just want to share. I'm not sure why food and how to eat is so fraught with shame and guilt, and not so much about pleasurable inputs for some people. It's kind of sad, really. The lectures and the criticisms are probably projections of their own unhappy relationship with food. It irritates the OP - it kind of makes me want to feed them something delicious within the rubric of their diet of choice. I'm content right now with my relationship with food, so maybe that's why, even when I feel compulsively judgemental towards what someone is eating (happens to the best of us), I would never volunteer criticism. Maybe the overweight woman eating the 3 day old sausage biscuit sandwich from the vending machine is having a rough time, with too much pressure and stress happening in her life to nourish herself properly. I would never chastise her about eating what I consider processed crap. If she sat down accross from me and asked me about my homemade muesli, I would gladly share my perspective and some recipes. Similarly, I would hope never to be preached to whilst at the bottom of a double restaurant portion of macaroni and cheese that sometimes represents comfort to me when I'm in a rough patch.
  9. I feel this way too. DBF and I went for brunch to a new gastropub in a posh shopping district. $60 and it was not terrible, but nothing to write home about. (When did chicken and waffles becomes the thing to have on a breakfast menu?) The worst was the $8 potato pancake appetizer, that sounded good good on the menu, but came with 3 little pancakes the size of silver dollars, with a smear of cream and a smidgeon of relish. We both agreed that we should have stayed home and made breakfast burritoes. There are lots of mid priced restaurants around my office, but it pains me to spend those prices on such questionable quality. But there are some places we go where dinner for 2 costs $150-400 that are very worth the money. And I'm happy to trade 4 $60 "gastropub" experiences for one of those meals. And we've got lots of burger/taco/BBQ/pizza slice places in the $6-12pp range that blow those mid-priced places out of the water, too. I can actually only think of 2-3 places in that middle price range I feel good about eating at from a value/can't make this at home/ambience perspective, and some of that may be the deep beer/whiskey menus. So yeah, "canyon of enjoyment" is a great way to put it.
  10. Recipes that Rock: 2012 and 2013

    I've got 3 new new good ones (all very healthy, oddly enough) : 1. Pumpkin Cheesecake Yogurt. Mix 15 oz plain greek yogurt, 1 15 oz can plain butternut squash puree, 1/4 cup maple syrup, and 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice. Use a whisk to get it all homogenous. This makes about 5 6 oz servings, and tastes like pumpkin pie cheesecake filling. I like it with 1 oz of toasted chopped pecans on top, as a very satisfying breakfast. 2. Carrot Ginger Soup. This is so simple, clean, easy, and tasty! The coriander really adds something special. (As written, this recipe made 2 servings, starting from a pound of carrots. Next time I will double or triple it.) 3. Eggplant "Lasagna". This was a nice way to use up a glut of eggplants in my CSA. I made a few modifications - doubled the tomato sauce quanity and added Italian seasoning to it, and added chopped garlic to the ricotta mixture. I also didn't have I think next time I'll make the time to salt and purge the eggplant strips, and broil them with garlic olive oil, although it was delicious prepared as written. It's a nice lighter alternative to a more traditional vegetable lasagna, and much quicker, too.
  11. Recipes that Rock: 2012 and 2013

    I just made a batch of Olive Oil and Maple Granola, and it is so delicious. Every word of her poetic waxings about this are true. It's good warm. Good at room temperature by itself. Good on yogurt. And, in a stroke of genius on the part of the boyfriend, good with Coconut Häagen-Dazs and chunks of fresh pineapple. If you like granola, make it now.
  12. Asparagus pee

    I was just out to dinner with the new BF this week, and I talked him out of ordering a pound of asparagus at this steakhouse we were at. He said, "I like asparagus." And I said, "I do to, but I try to avoid ordering it on a date." Explaining that sucked some of the romance out of the conversation, to be sure. But, better safe than sorry, right? FWIW, I've noticed brussel sprouts, and, to a lesser extent, other cruciferous vegetables have the same effects, albeit slightly less offensively.
  13. I don't know if these are "official" (whatever that means) portion sizes, but I use : - 2 oz dry pasta per person - ~3-4 oz meat or fish - 1 oz for nuts, dried fruit, or cheese. Or ~1/4 cup if that's handier. - 1 oz for chips or pretzels - 1 oz dips, spreads, peanut butter (snacky type stuff) - 1/2 cup cooked rice I don't really measure vegetables, fats, spices, salt, or anything else with much precision.
  14. I feel exactly this way. My CSA box is like the best of both worlds - spontaneity because I don't know what I'll get week to week, and planning because organization is key to not wasting stuff.
  15. All my ex waiter/waitress friends call Ranch dressing "white girl ketchup", because of the proliferation of sorority-looking girls who order it as a side for everything dipable. It's *almost* white trash, (kind of like the trucker hats of a few years back,) but not quite. I'm definitely guilty of ordering it with chicken strips and fries. Something about the cold, creamy, savory thing contrasting with hot salty potatoes. Yum. But there's definitely a dividing line where a food becomes not ghetto enough for Ranch. I know that at Flying Saucer (a big beer bar chain), the chicken strips need it, but it wouldn't feel right with the bratzel (which is essentially a pretzel, covered in sliced brats and cheese, that comes with whole grain mustard). So it's kind of a lowbrow pleasure, I guess?