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Everything posted by jeniac42

  1. Oooh, drums. Mostly because it seems like the average wing joint can't produce crispy skin, and the flats end up being like little blobs of undercooked poultry fat. At the places where I know they can cook the wings right, it's a tossup. And wing tips, ooh.
  2. I saw this thread again the other day and thought, I'd like to eat some cassoulet. I haven't got the budget for the confit, but I thought I'd try to pull something together. Tonight I'm making chicken stock, so I thought I could use some of the chicken fat in place of duck fat. Not the same, I know, but could it work? I also have pork belly with a small amount of rind (no way I could line any vessel with it, but I can get it in there for texture) and a homemade venison and pork sausage, as well as chicken legs. So maybe it's not going to be cassoulet, but maybe it can be close. Opinions sought, here. I need to make and serve the "cassoulet" tomorrow. I was planning to brown some onions and the meats (sausage in patties to be crumbled in to the cassoulet) first, then add these into a slow cooker (crock pot) with the presoaked beans and some chicken stock and/or water, plus juniper, bay, garlic, tomato paste - anything else? Cook on low all day. Then, before dinner, transfer the cassoulet stuff to a doufeu (it's just cast iron; I don't have anything ceramic), add crumbs to the top, and finish it off in the oven. To be served with no-knead bread and a salad. Any thoughts? This is definitely the week of squeejawed cooking ideas. I've got a pork butt to smoke on Saturday, when it's supposed to be in the realm of 12 degrees F outside...
  3. Who does the cooking in your home? I do. Fiance has cooked for me twice; I'm better at it and enjoy it more, so I take that responsibility. Do you eat foods from take-out or restaurants or buy ready-made foods often? Not often, no. While my foot was healing (broken, couldn't bear weight for several months) I did eat a lot of delivery food and I am really over it for now. We go out maybe once a week right now; that's likely to drop to once a month soon because we will be livin' la vida broke-a. Do you cook absolutely "from-scratch" using unprocessed ingredients often? Absolutely? No. I buy frozen vegetables, sometimes canned beans, as someone else said, I don't put up my own tomatoes or most pickles; I make some of my own charcuterie but not much, yet; I'm terrible at bread-baking so I usually buy wonderful loaves from Mancini's. I love condiments like chipotle mustard and sriracha, and don't usually make my own mayonnaise. I buy crackers, and chocolate truffles, and breakfast cereal sometimes. This kind of is a where-do-you-draw-the-line question, for me. I feel like most of what I make is "from scratch", though, insofar as I can pull it off. Are you single, married or living with other(s)? Engaged; technically I live alone, but my fiance is here more nights than not. I don't mind that, because it's just as easy to cook for two and it helps with my grocery bill Plus I can get him to take out the trash for me. (Hey, I cook and do the dishes; fair's fair.) We are moving in together in May and getting married... sometime soon, so I expect some of this dynamic may change. My work situation is also changing, and it might require that we adjust and accomodate. But it is important to both of us to eat together as a family every day, and if he could make it here for lunch we would eat lunch together as well. Do you have children? None yet; one thing I am concerned about is establishing good routines and eating habits for ourselves before we do have children, so that I'm not scrambling to come up with something that could already be a habit (she said, naive and childless). What sort of work do you do? Presently, full-time technical support. When we move, this job goes away, so that future is nebulous. The plan is to take a part-time job and go to school full-time to finish up my prerequisites for a pharmacy program, which means I'm likely to have far less time. Another reason I'm striving to establish routines and habits that run on auto-pilot for me. Do you feel you have enough time to cook the sorts of foods you like to eat? I'd love to have more time to experiment with learning to bake bread and make preserves and canned goods. But there are never enough hours in the day for everything, so some things just slip through. Maybe this year, I always say.... I'm interested in the questions of time, culture, society, money and class. As they relate to food and how it fits into our lives, of course. As a question for "extra credit" , is the form of your daily cooking/eating/dining different than it was in your family when you were growing up, and if so, how is it different? Yes. My mother hates cooking, and nobody else in my immediate family, as far as I can tell, actually enjoys food. It was mostly TV dinners and canned ravioli growing up. My grandma hosted big family dinners every Sunday, which I adored, and she taught me how to cook from the time I was very young, so I frequently just prepared stuff for myself. Also, we never sat down to eat as a family except at these Sunday dinners, and that always bothered me. I just don't have a lot of good or close memories about this. That is another reason for determining that eating together at the table every day is a priority for me, and if it's home cooked six days out of seven (now, while I have the time) then that's even better.
  4. Memo to self: Must eat split pea soup from freezer soon. Easily one of my favorite soups, especially if I have Vienna bread or challah to eat with it... which I'd need to make, and I'm not sure any of the yeast I have is still viable. I did make chili in the crock pot yesterday, and I cut down on the liquid. It still turned out a wee bit soupy, but I just crumbled more cornbread in. I also broke my Cuisinart blade trying to mince the pork - it was still too frozen. Boy, do I feel dumb. (Memo to self: start topic to see if it is fixable.) Alas, I forgot to take photos of the process (aside from some onions on the cutting board). You ladies have inspired me this week. Last week I made "leftover soup" twice, and it's on the menu for lunch again tomorrow - all the bits and scraps I've saved (a chicken leg, some lentils, cooked veggies, etc.), to be eaten with bread and salad. I am not usually a big soup eater; if the soup is too liquid, I feel sloshy for hours after eating it. Susan, those potstickers look delicious. Of course, I always think dumplings of any nature look delicious. It is wicked cold here now, but not as cold as any of our bloggers' locales. Eep.
  5. OK, you guys have me dying to make a loaf of bread. I am going to have another go at the no-knead, and I'm going to try to make sure the yeast is alive this time. I just threw out the last attempt this morning. It finally had bubbles all over the surface but had also separated and smelled a bit funny, and had been sitting about all week - I didn't think it was good. Watch, now someone will tell me it would've been perfect. I do intend to purchase Bread Baker's Apprentice, but probably not until after we move. Cold in my house today - nowhere near as cold outside as our bloggers, I don't think, but this is an old, uninsulated house. I've had to bread out the knitted headband and fingerless gloves.
  6. Oh, my. I've had a disastrous couple of days and missed keeping up with the lovely soup blog in real time. Susan, I salvaged the nasty potato and corn chowder by combining it with leftover kielbasa and sauerkraut (lots of juice), a little beef broth, and making a new soup. Not half bad, and certainly a lot better than its original incarnation, plus I used up even more leftovers. Also, I have lots of cotton yarn and should get to knitting potholders, because I need some. Alas, I have two other projects with Deadlines (aka Gifts) that must be finished first. I think I may have to hit you up for some information on venison; future husband will be deer hunting this year and with any luck we will end up with some meat for the freezer. I am kind of cracked up by our relationship; he works in a manly man profession (gunsmithing) and goes hunting and is very much a guy (but sensitive - huh?) and somehow as a result of my broken foot I have ended up staying home and playing the housewifely roles of cleaning and cooking and baking, and I kind of love it. Weird, but off topic. Pam, would you make soup in the crock pot again? I wonder if it would be good to start with less liquid, since all the ingredients exude their own liquid into the non-evaporating crock o'stuff. I'm going to be making chili in the crock for Super Bowl Sunday, and I've never done that before - always on the stovetop. It's not a soup, but it is kind of soupy, so I may try reducing the amount of liquid that goes in. Judith, I am sorry to hear of your ills. Soup is indeed best when you're sick, but if you have to go a-walking in freezing weather and cook it yourself, some of the magic is lost. I wish I could send you some soup from here!
  7. Does anyone have recommendations for finding a small processor? I have tried without much luck via localharvest.com - perhaps I should try phone contact rather than email?
  8. I have made this coconut and miso soup a few times and I love it; in fact, I think I need to make it again soon. Props to Maki for creating that. Thinking about it is kind of making me drool. I reckon it might be good with mussels instead of monkfish (I've subbed other meats and fish and veg in). Otherwise, for mussels, would cioppino or similar count? The failed potato-corn soup already has worcestershire and smoked paprika. I think I might throw some curry paste or powder in and puree it - maybe I'd like it better as a smooth soup. Otherwise it's sriracha, the cure-all for everything IMO.
  9. Judith, thanks for your information on the crock pot. Even if it is a necessity to go out AND you have Quinn's help, I still give you bravery points for it. My major concern with the crock pot for soup is that liquid doesn't really evaporate and so perhaps my tendencies for amount of liquid, etc. will result in a not-so-tasty soup. MarketStEl, I am wondering how you made the turkey stock in your crock pot. My potato and corn soup turned out very blah, in my opinion. I wouldn't make it again, and am hoping I can find a way to doctor the leftovers into something a little more appetizing. I hope our bloggers fare better with their soups this evening!
  10. Funny timing on the crock pot question. I hope someone has better answers than I do - all I could say is give it a try and see what happens! And I meant to second the recommendation of smoked Spanish paprika for smoky flavor. Great stuff. There's some in my soup dinner for tonight, even.
  11. Oooh, I'm excited for this blog. And I actually seem to have caught it at the beginning, for once. Does this mean my life is getting orderly enough that I have time for message boards once more? I'm not holding my breath, but we'll see. I LOVE beer cheese soup but have never made it. I'll have to remedy that. Anyone making chicken and dumplings for their blog this week? PamR, that stock looks wonderful and kind of like the method I was going to use for the chicken and dumplings on Saturday. I don't have a big stock pot, though, so I was thinking of having at in the crockpot - but I don't think it will work. snowangel - I love mafe, though I haven't made it in years. The way I made it, it always had a strong peanut flavor, though (which is what I like about it). lovebenton0 - You sure do learn a lot walking around your neighborhood. I've learned more back routes and little neighborhood stores and landmarks that way than from years of driving. I also know I kind of hate walking around in the snow. I'm terrified of falling, and even more so ever since I broke my foot. You're a braver woman than I! My dinner's already on - potato and corn chowder, a simple Monday sort of throw it all in the crock pot recipe. And I know that later in the week I'm having leftover sauerkraut and kielbasa soup. I like soup, but I don't eat it very often and am excited to see some new ideas.
  12. I just tried to make the duck and, well, wow. I'm incompetent at origami. I'll have to practice, I guess!
  13. jeniac42


    My favorite version is hand-chopped (with a knife! not the food processor!) filet, a few chopped shallots, MAYBE a couple of capers, a little olive oil, a little lemon juice, and that's it. Believe it or not, tartare eats really well on baguette slices spread with hummus.
  14. In vague order of preference: A little salt on some duck fat fries Mayo Sriracha Mustard of some sort Gravy Cheese Curry sauce Malt vinegar HP sauce Ranch dressing Ketchup I have lately found that a little thinned-out-with-soy-sauce kochujang is nice too. Beyond this list, I will try any condiment available. I love condiments.
  15. That, and uni. ← I've never eaten foie, but now I think I have to. I agree on the uni, but you'd have to add a slight salty, sweaty component to the foie gras sex. Do you think sex is umami?
  16. jeniac42

    Dash and Dine

    Fastest of all: Buy fresh angel hair pasta. Cook ever so briefly, toss with white truffle oil and grate some parmigiano over. Narrr. I'll agree and say most of the stuff I cook is pretty fast and reasonably simple, although a lot of it relies on my pantry staples. Also, larb is superfast, easy, and awesome. See the larb laab larp thread.
  17. Just wanted to pop in and say I'm still planning to do some curing from Charcuterie. I meant to do things over the summer but I've been in and out of the hospital for the past two months and haven't been able to do so. In good news, I found a source for pork belly, so once I get back on my feet I'll be makin' bacon.
  18. When does All-Clad have their sales? I'm not too far from Canonsburg and I'd love to check that out sometime. I looked on their site and couldn't find any information.
  19. So I made a bunch of larb the other night. Minced the chicken with a knife, poached in water (no stock around, alas), dressed with fish sauce, lime juice, ground chilis, chopped spring onion (I think), chopped cilantro and mint, and homemade toasted rice powder. Good stuff, and pleased the men who ate it and the curry that followed. HOWEVER. The main point is this; last night I was hungry but lazy, and there was leftover larb, and tortilla chips. For the record, larb + tortilla chips + sriracha = mouth-burning heavenly goodness. I might have to finish it off for afternoon snack today.
  20. Marlene, the food all looks absolutely wonderful. Good on you for doing that for your friends. And I fourteenth the recommendation for paper plates!
  21. Last Saturday I did the inaugural pork butt, both for myself and my Weber (purchased about two weeks ago). I had lots of hand-holding from snowangel, whose directions to light the fire were perfect; maintenance was not terribly difficult. I kept the temperature around 220F the whole time, with a few drops below that. The bottom vents... well, they varied in position. I actually felt quite miserable so I didn't take as many notes as I should have done. There will be more pork butt in the near future, though. All told it took about 14 hours of smoking. I'd be happy to share details although I can't think what's been covered to death here already. I did use a chimney starter, which I love forever, because it's great. You can sort of see the smoke-stained oven thermometer here (from the butt and the ribs done earlier in the week), along with the drip pan (aka a foil cake pan "borrowed" from my friend). The finished butt, resting in a Pyrex dish: Partially pulled - you can see there is a smoke ring there. And the resulting mess o'pork: Sadly I don't have any photos of the sandwiches, but I'll post some later in the week. Everyone should do this. It's amazing. eta: It was raining most of the day, but I have a balcony! with high brick side walls and so I am lucky that I can use the Weber whenever I want.
  22. So Lori, if I take a drive from Pittsburgh to Biglerville this weekend, will there still be cherries available for the buying? Looking forward to reading the rest of your blog!
  23. I prefer uncooked broccoli in my pasta salad, because I like the textural contrast better that way. It's always chopped into very small bits, though.
  24. jeniac42

    Top Chef

    I didn't get to see the final episode due to some family circumstances. But I was happy when I read today that Katie Lee apparently won't be returning next season.
  25. 'Em sammiches dahn Primanni Brothers're good n'at! I prefer the pastrami. With the egg.
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