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  1. Wolf

    Beef tendons

    Oh, I love tendons... When my father lived in our town and had access to greater selection of meats, he'd always put few pieces of tendon in goulash- when cooked, they'd turn translucent and wonderfully succulent. They'd fill one's mouth with sweet, rich beef taste and umami, while practically melting in one's mouth- most wonderful morsels... If bones from properly cooked oxtail are indeed 'beef lollipops', these are definitely 'beef toifees'. My maternal grandmother had a way of preparing them which I've not seen anywhere else- she'd put few extra bones with bits of tendons still attached to the pot when making beef broth. As they wouldn't cook fully, she'd scrape them off the bones, saute medium diced onions, throw them on the onions and season only with salt, pepper and a bit of paprika (on rare occassions she'd throw in some tomato product- but either way it was splendid) and stewed until tender and translucent. Served with either potato puree or lyonnaise potatoes (preferably with extra pepper which paired beautifully with sweetness of tendons and sauteed onions) it was simply delicious. I mean, the dish was butt ugly, but delicious- it took me a while before I could force myself to try it (never knew what was in the dish before I tried it and delighted asked what was in it). So the beef broth started delivering more delicacies besides bone marrow from marrow bone (which I adore a bit oversalted on a piece of white bread). Inspired by this thread, I think I'm going tendon hunting tomorrow around butcher shops (I know a few that might be willing to cater to my lunatic fancies)- wish me luck...
  2. Wolf

    The ultimate tomato sauce topic

    Sorry for 'necroposting', but I've come accross what was told to be old Italian trick- adding salted anchovy to the sauce (apparently, it has sound scientific basis- something to do with glutamates from tomato flavour-wise pairing well with amino acids from anchovy), and I cannot recommend it highly enough. I was making local tomato based dish (sauteed onions, peppers and simmered in tomato sauce) called sataraš, and decided to give that tip a go- finely chopping a small anchovy fillet preserved in oil and adding it with tomatoes. It really did pick up the whole dish and made the flavour more rounded and savoury, with no hint of 'fishy' taste at all. I'd say it's definitly worth a try (I presume the only thing is that the sauce needs to simmer quite a bit for anchovy do dissolve).
  3. Wolf

    Celiac Disease

    My best friend has recently been diagnosed with it, and initially had a very stict diet (no meat, no poultry, no fish, even some vegetables were on the blacklist)... As her organism recovered most of those restrictions were relaxed and she's been only on gluten free diet since. As the prices of GF product are exhorbitant in my country, it's been a great help to her that state-run health care provides celiac disease patients with certain amounts of two types of GF flour on monthly basis. She says those quantities are about sufficient. Hang in there. 👍
  4. Wolf

    Ratatouille--Cook-Off 42

    Thanks, Smithy. Yep,of course I will; but next time I think I'll toss zucchini a bit on the grill before adding them. I think browned lines will make it look even better and should soften them a bit.
  5. Wolf

    Ratatouille--Cook-Off 42

    Thanks for the reply Heidih... I'm a big fan of comfort food, so I tried to make it like a hearthy eggplant stew of sorts and did my best to have enough sauce for subsequent reheatings (one can always reduce it when reheating, if desired). I let it get a good rest overnigt (unlike me, who turned and tossed all night long- apparenty, I've come down with a cold) and discovered my phone's camera has "Good food" filter- so I tested it.
  6. Wolf

    Ratatouille--Cook-Off 42

    I just did my very first ratatouille, and am a bit baffled... Admiteddly, it's delicious, and I almost got it to taste as I imagined it would, but my cooking times were incomparable to what I anticipated. But to get the conversation started, here's the recipe I used for my basis*: 30dag aubergines 30dag courgette (I've reduced it to a single smallish courgette) 30dag green peppers (substituted with 20dag green paeppers, and 20dag red peppers) 30 dag tomatoes (substitutted with a can of San Marzano with juice, and about half a cup of tomato puree**) 2 large onions (substituted with 4 medium ones, and 1 small) 2 garlic cloves (substituded with 4) 2 tbsp sweet paprika 1tbsp Herbes de Provence (I had none, so I omitted it) ¼tbsp Cayenne pepper (or hot paprika) salt & pepper to taste 2 tbsp Vegeta (or vegetable stock cube) 1 tablespoon finely chopped basil 2 Tsp dill (had none, so I omitted it) One sautees finely diced onions until starting to turn golden (and adds finely chopped garlic 5 mins before that). Add the rest of vegetables and spices (hold the dill and half of the basil for adding when cooked). Sautee until tender and add the tomatoes. Simmer for another 20-ish minutes before checking for seasoning and adding the rest of herbs (hald the basil and dill). What stupefied me is that (and I went with moister version- with enough sauce to keep the dish abou stew consistency- gooey, but not runny) and veggies (zucchinis being the main culprit) losing most of the bite was about 2¼ hours on the stove (as opposed to about an hour that the recipe would seem to indicate), before it started to appproach what I'd call perfect 'bite). Admittedly, I did not add all the vegetables in one go as recipe suggested- first I added pepppers some 15-20 mins before aubergines and courgettes (I like my peppers quite soft and having no 'bite' after stewing), but still... I simmered veggies in tomato sauce for over an hour. (I'd post a picture, and I have a few- but the colour balance on my phone's camera seems terribly wrong when taking food pictures, so it'd look much more unappealing than in real life) * it's from an quaint and endearing blog of a connoiseur who enjoyed his food and spared no expense in procuring the recipes he liked... He self-published his cookbook in staggering 20 copies, and allowed his friend to post them online before he passed away few years ago. ** I added it while simmeing, and once I decided the dish had enough tomaoes, I added warm water, lest the tomatoes overwhelm the dish
  7. Wolf

    Making absinthe at home

    👍 Here it goes- each column's header is type of absinthe and the recipe's source. First group of ingredients is IIRC for maceration, 2nd for 2nd distillation and third group are additions after all the distillation is done. Each column is concluded with quantity (usually, 100l) and proof of said absinthe. Hope it helps. Absinthe.pdf
  8. Hehe, the vintage ones were way cooler. I just googled one with detachable handle ti can be put away in... Never imagined they still make potato corers.
  9. I had one potato 'drill' (must have it in my utensils drawer somewhere, I guess ) that saw some heavy use when we were kids and haven't seen one in decades since. It was used to cut out a spiral piece of potato straight through the center. The hole was then filled with ground meat, and stuffed potatos were then baked in the oven, along with spirals that were cut out. Throw in a lettuce on the side and we kids enjoyed it very much... Oh, the simplicities of youth.
  10. Wolf

    Making absinthe at home

    The idea of making one's own Absinthe appealed to me for a while (I haven't ruled out the idea of tryng it out someday), and I've compiled a list of ingredients for distilling various types of Absinthe from various old books (mostly late 19th century)- I would think the list contains over 20 recipes for things like absinther ordinaire, demi-fine, fine, extra-fine, Suisse and Creme d'absinthe surfine... If it's not breaking forum rules (I'd think copyright is out of question- the newest book on the list is from 1926), and there is interest for it, I could post a pdf I've assembled for personal use.
  11. Wolf

    Food Movies: The Topic

    OK, here's an unexpected recommendation: Amaama to Inazuma. A warm and funny Japanese anime (12x20min) about high school teacher bonding and healing with his kid daughter after loss of their wife/mother through cooking her favourite food, despite never having cooked proper food... There are a number of other anime centered around food which I can dig out if anyone's interested, but this one really deserves to be nominated alongside best food movies like "Babette's feast".
  12. Sorry for 'necroposting', but my-oh-my how things have changed since this post was made... Internets and Youtubes are full of videos on eating marrowbones*, and marrow spoons and fancy smears and whatnnot. IMHO, one of best things about beef broth was an obligatory piece of marrowbone used in cooking- shake out the marrow while piping hot, eat it on white bread with nothing but copious amount of sea salt sprinkled on top. Simplicity and perfection in one bite. I'm currently preparing for cooking ossobuco and am swinging back-and-forth between three recipies- one from Hassan, and one 'local'. The third one would be 'mine'. I notice that both recipes call fro stewing or sauteeing mirepoix and adding floured shanks. The most recipes I've made call for browning the meat first (I've also seen some ossobuco recipes do it that way) to get the good sear, and the water released from sweating mirepoix does the deglazing. I think I'd prefer the better sear of the latter method (and I'd think fouring the shanks indicates it's quite desireable)- should I tamper with it at the first step??? Another concers is that I will be able to get steer shanks (haven't seen much oxshanks around, while veal shanks are 'reserved' for local speciality called peka* and are considered undersized for proper ossobuco). Bovine meat in my country comes in three grades- veal (age up to 8 months, exceptionally to 12 months), steer (12-24 months of age) and beef (latter being haredest to get of all). Rcipes call from anywhere between 1½ cm to 1½" thickness- I would lean towards 1" cuts to maximize Maillard reaction on main shank surfaces and allow a bit of unrendered fat to keep the slices moist during braising. I'd like a bit of this 'middle section' fat, as well as intermuscular fat to be flavouring agents (I'm not sure if I'm getting this accross- but I feel the beef fat absorbs the flavour of the sauce and intensifies it while eating**), so I'd go for two main surfaces of each piece to get 'Maillarded' (while the rest is more of slow cooking e.g. stewing meat, as opposed to braising effect). I think gellatin effect would overwhelm the Maillard? * peka' is aort of inverted dutch oven- wih meat and veggis being cooked under a dome billt with burning cols around the edge... regardless of the mastery of the cook, this dish replicates wonderful results, regardless if the main ingredient be the beef shank or octopuss- soehow the misture of tatters ans various mirepix vegetables find a perfect ballance with the meat And as for carbohydrate of choice... I0d have to choose beteeen the two- polenta and the rice. Properly made polenta will absurb into the sauce while cooking in the rice would make the rice absorb all of the sauce goodness into itself. I'd say- first run at the table will be polenta, while last will be the rice.... I cannot think of the better way to absorb all the flavours, and all the trouble that went into making that sauce, other than adding a cup of water... and haf a cup of rice to soak it all up. (actually, I'd think of it as third of a cup of rice, but here we go into measuring and standards, and imperial vs. metic all again....and I give up... give to it all the best, and try your best). * the perfect example would be Peposo- copious, and I mean *copious* amounts of pepper in the sauce are somewhat suspendd in the fat (esp. if the short.rib is used), producing heavenly mouthfeel despite what the 'calculus' of the mixture
  13. Wolf

    Wine in pasta sauce

    Incidentally, I would think that in stews and braises tomato and red wine go qiute well together, but local tradition (especially in parts that gravitate towards Italy, in culinary terms) says that tomato based sauces and salsas indeed should be made with dry white. Would it be wrong to say that tomato is welcome in red wine based dish, whereas in tomato based dish white wine is to be chosen?
  14. 750 g beef (relatively small cubes, I'd say 1-1½ cm) 700-750 g onions (very finely diced) 1½ tablespoon tomato puree/concentrate 2-3 teaspoon paprika ¼ teaspoon hot paprika ½ teaspoon Vegeta (or ¼ beef cube)*... this is frowned upon, but great alternative would be to add stock instead of water 1 bay leaf Sautee onions in oil (he uses sunflower oil) until they begin to turn 'mushy' (this amount should take about half an hour, requiring constant stirring towards the end to prevent sticking to the pan). Add beef and sautee until the meat stops giving off liquids (probably 10-20mins, I'd guess). Add the rest of ingredients, add 2-3dl lukewarm water and simmer covered on low heat until the meat gets tender (depends on the cut of meat, but I'd think 1¾ hours would be minimum, tougher cuts requiring upwars of 2½ hours), stirring occassionaly. With tight fitting lid, I don't think one should add liquids, but do if it gets too thick. The resulting dish should be on the thick side. * he uses his own homemade 'condiment' made from ground fresh parsley (both roots and leaves), celery (also root and leaves) and carrots (just roots), drained and adds 20% of the weight of drained puree sea salt. It's then let to drain and packed in mason jars.
  15. If I may interject- not being expert of any kind, I would think that Tafelspitz refers to a very specific cut of meat. The way I understand it, it's a part of chuck (which- I cannot tell... not that I wouldn't if I knew exactly). It comprises of two muscles separated by a sinew running right accross the cut. I woud assume that good dishes (which are those that Austrians call Tafelspitz) exploit the pecularities of this particular cut. In my country (particularly in the region where I come from, which historically has certain culinary Austrian influences) we use that cut of meat in two principal ways- one is for beef broth, and second is for stewing (e.g. goulash, but Austrian style*). The first way produces excellent boiled beef (especially if one adds beef to the brosth when it comes to the boil, as opposed to lesser cuts of meat which are added to the pot before putting it on the stove**). The best way to eat this boiled beef is entirely personal, but in my humble opinion Tafelspitz produces most splendid beef salad, which can be enjoyed both at room temperature (in winter) or refrigerated (in summer). The recipe for this is quite simple- slice boiled beef, hardboiled eggs and onions and dress with salt, pepper, oil & vinegar. But in my humble opinions, stews utilize this meat even better- with stewing and simmering the sinew in this cut (our butchers popularly know it as 'muscle with the line') turns those pieces into small 'umami bombs'. Sinew expands, turns translucent and soft- the mouthfeel is something like a beef flavoured butter. Should anyone be interested, I could post my father's recipe for such goulash which I haven't yet seen bested in terms of flavour and savouriness. * Austrian dish called goulash is much thicker than (original) hungarian dish, but both have in common that the sauce can be thickened only with sauteed onions (as opposed to paprikash and pörkölt, which can be thickened with either cream or flour as well) ** don't let this 'old wives tale' discourage you from trying to get the best of both worlds (great broth and boiled beef) by putting the Tafelspitz in cold water- it will still be boiled to perfection this way. But this 'rule of thumb' says- beef in cold water is for better broth, in boiling broth for better boiled beef (BUUUUT, always cut the onion in half and sear the half that goes into the broth on electric plate before tossing it in)