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  1. The summer salad is often regarded as summer food's unpopular kid. Sure, potato, pasta and egg salads are the standard bearers of summer salads, yet they seem stuck in a time warp in terms of creativity. When I was growing up in the 1960's, the only "exotic" summer salad Mother served was a gelatin mold studded with shredded carrots and surrounded by heaps of Miracle Whip dotted with green olives. We dreaded seeing Mother parade that salad out of the kitchen and put it on the picnic table yet we grudgingly ate it lest we disappoint her. Yet we should not ignore the basic elements of the summer salads of yesteryear. One can easily use the concept of gelatin, fruits, vegetables and seafood into a contemporary and delicious salad that is perfect for the hot days of summer. Summer salads are well-adapted to a variety of cooking and preparation techniques, from poaching, grilling and roasting, to chilling, preserving and deep-frying. And a summer salad benefits from a bevy of garnishes, cheese, spices and fresh herbs from the garden. Let's join in the fun and present our summer salad bowls in eG Cook-Off #79: Resurrecting and Rethinking Summer Salads, Summer Food's Unpopular Kid. (See the complete Cook-Off Index here, https://forums.egullet.org/topic/143994-egullet-recipe-cook-off-index/)
  2. Today we’ve reached a milestone, the 60th edition of one of the most popular discussions that graces our forums—the eGullet Cook-Off Series. (Click http://forums.egulle...m/#entry1581324 here for the complete eG Cook-Off Index). In celebration of reaching Cook-Off #60, we’ll be discussing a sandwich that is a marriage of French and Vietnamese cultures. A sandwich that has crossed international borders and now finds itself on restaurant menus throughout the world. It’s served on fine china at white tablecloth dining rooms and it’s delivered on a paper plate out of a food truck parked in downtown Manhattan. Yes, friends, you’ve guessed the subject of Cook-Off #60-the Banh Mi sandwich, the current king of sandwichdom.
  3. Welcome to this edition of the eG Cook-Off! Click here for the eG Cook-Off index. This time around, paella is going to be on the table. I've had it but once or twice, and this eG Cook-Off now a bit about preparing it -- what to include, what to exclude, what kind of rice to use, and the appropriate cookware. There is a bit of stuff floating around here on making paella, including the Paella topic, one on fideua (a noodle paella) and a couple on paella pans (one on carbon steel vs. stainless steel and another on smooth vs. pebbley interiors). There's also a recipe in RecipeGullet for Rice with Salt Cod, Chickpeas and Red Peppers and one for a Seafood Paella. Then, there are books about paella. The first one that came to mind was one I saw at the library a few days ago: Paella!: Spectacular Rice Dishes From Spain by Penelope Casas. There's also La Paella: Deliciously Authentic Rice Dishes from Spain's Mediterranean Coast by Jeff Koehler. I know nothing about cooking paella, just that I like it! For starters, do I really need to buy a paella pan for something I won't cook very often? Are there absolutely required ingredients?
  4. Hello friends and welcome back to a time-honored tradition--the popular eG Cook-Off Series. We're in the heat of summer right now and our gardens are literally blooming with all manner of peak of the season ripe fruits and succulent vegetables. And there's no better time of year to honor a vegetable that is often maligned as not being as colorful or trendy as the chi-chi breakfast radish or the multi-hued rainbow chard. In addition to not always being recognized for it's looks, every August and September it becomes the butt of jokes at State Fair competitions across the country. If you can get past the embarassment of seeing the poor devils dressed up and carved into silly, cartoon-like farm figures or pumped-up with organic steroids, you'll find a delicious, low-calorie vegetable packed with potassium and vitamin A. Yes friends, your dreams have come true for today we kick-off eG Cook-Off #62, "Summer Squash." (Click here http://forums.egulle...cook-off-index/ for the complete eG Cook-Off Index). According to the University of Illinois Extension Office, summer squash, (also known in some circles as Italian marrow), are tender, warm-season vegetables that can be grown anytime during the warm, frost-free season. Summer squash differs from fall and winter squash, (like pumpkins, acorn and butternut squash), because it is harvested before the outer rind hardens. Some of the most popular summer squash are the Green and Yellow Zucchini, Scallop, Patty Pan, Globe, Butter Blossom and Yellow Crookneck. My personal favorite summer squash is the versatile zucchini. Slow-cooked with sliced onion and ham hock, zucchini is perfectly comfortable nestled on a plate next to juicy, fried pork chops and creamy macaroni and cheese. But the chi-chi haute crowd isn't forgotten when it comes to zucchini, or, as the sniffy French call it, the "courgette." Tiny, spring courgette blossoms stuffed with herbs and ricotta cheese then dipped in tempura batter and gently fried are a delicacy found on Michelin-Star menus across the globe. Won't you please join me in crafting some delicious masterpieces that showcase the culinary possibilities of delicious summer squash.
  5. Street Tacos with Salsa Verde, Le Merced Market, Mexico City Mexican Salsa. It can be hot and numbing to the tongue, sweet or bitter, made with red tomatoes or green tomatillos, dried, roasted or fresh chiles, grilled pineapple, chopped, diced, chunky or blended smooth. Salsas can be raw or cooked, or use a combination of raw and cooked ingredients. And the style of the salsa, the heat and the flavor, should be matched to the dish you serve it with. The two most common types of salsa most people think of are Salsa Roja, better known as red sauce, often mild and sweet in flavor. Salsa Fresca usually takes the form of Pico de Gallo, which translates to "rooster's beak." Pico de Gallo is simple to make using just a few ingredients. But salsa is of course much more diverse. Some Mexican salsa recipes borrow from condiment recipes in Asia and use heady amounts of ginger. Pico de Gallo is good with homemade tortilla chips, but it might not be the right choice for every dish. A fresh tomatillo and Manzano chile salsa is delicious with grilled snapper, while a grilled pineapple salsa is best with butter pound cake and crema. Matching the complexity and flavor of a salsa with the dish is akin to pairing the right wine with food. The techniques used to make a Mexican salsa also vary. The Maya made salsa by hand using a molcajete or mortar and pestle type of tool. Today, a blender or food processor makes the job go by quicker, but the mortar and pestle still has its place, as does making salsa by hand with a good kitchen knife. The comal is a flat, smooth griddle used throughout Mexico, Central and South America to cook tortillas, toast spices and sear meats. It's also used to toast dried chiles to bring out their smoky flavor before blending them into a salsa. Comals are typically made of steel, flat or with a low outside rim. I use both a comal or a cast-iron skillet to toast onions and garlic to add char and bring out sweetness before adding them with other ingredients and blending into a salsa. Charred, toasted onion and garlic in a cast-iron skillet. Let's come together in our home kitchens and present and savor our favorite Mexican Salsas. In the tradition of the eG Cook-Off Series, this is eG Cook-Off #85: Mexican Salsa. See the complete eG Cook-Off Index here: https://forums.egullet.org/topic/143994-egullet-recipe-cook-off-index/
  6. Welcome to eG Cook-Off 46! Click here for the Cook-Off index. We spent the last Cook-Off perfecting french fries, delightful yet leaning toward the one-dimensional. This time we're shifting gears and making the multi-dimensional Mexican dish, enchiladas. The variations on enchiladas are endless-there doesn't seem to be one "definitive," classic, enchilada recipe. They can be filled with beef, pork, chicken, smoked duck, smoked turkey or steamed octopus. An enchilada might be slathered with melted cheese, sprinkled with queso fresco, or have no cheese at all. It seems as though the only thing that enchiladas have in common is that all versions are wrapped in some type of tortilla. There are lots of possibilities for saucing an enchilada, everything from what one finds in a can on the supermarket shelf to homemade salsas using dried chilies. And of course, the variety of dried chilies to use for the sauce -- from mild to devil hot -- is also endless. In her definitive Art of Mexican Cooking, Diana Kennedy describes the two methods for making enchiladas. In one, you lightly fry the tortilla before dipping it into sauce; the process is reversed in the other. For both versions, you then fill the sauced and fried tortilla and roll it up. Kennedy's enchiladas placeras are sauced with a garlic, serrano, and tomato salsa and then filled with shredded beef; her enchiladas de Santa Clara uses an ancho and garlic sauce and an egg and cheese filling (and sounds delicious). Enchiladas benefit from corny, lardy homemade tortillas but also can mask mediocre ones to good effect, and they are an excellent way to showcase a perfect salsa. The previous main enchilada topic can be found here. You can also find topics on making tortillas at home here and a pictorial topic on Making Mexican at home is here. I've eaten hundreds of enchiladas in restaurants, but I was never able to duplicate that "restaurant-quality" enchilada flavor at home. My tortillas were either mushy or were too cold and broke when I rolled them with the filling. I also didn't want to serve my enchiladas with the requisite mushy beans and marginal "Spanish rice." What would be a unique side dish for Enchiladas? And what tortilla recipes would best stand up to the abuse of enchilada manufacture?
  7. Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index. For our third Cook-Off, we've chosen gumbo (or gumbo ya-ya), the roux-based cajun stew. Unlike char siu bao, at which I'm still a novice, I've been making gumbo since I first taught myself to cook in college, starting with Paul Prudhomme's recipe in his first book (which I was fortunate to watch the kitchen cook on a trip to K-Paul's in 1986), and working through virtually every recipe I've found. Gumbo is an astonishingly varied dish, much like cassoulet, about which there are great arguments concerning what must or must not go into the pot: gumbo file powder (ground sassafras), crawfish, andouille sausage, okra, fish, chicken, pork, hocks.... The agreed-upon basics involve a dark roux (flour and oil paste), to which diced onions, bell peppers, and celery are added, to which a hot stock is incrementally added, to which seasonings are added, absolutely including a good batch of ground chili pepper. From there, the sky's the limit. As it turns out, I made a massive batch of gumbo last night (with sides of collards, corn bread, and rice), most of which is being frozen for the arrival of Bebe, our daughter, due March 27 or thereabouts. I was able to use some wonderful fresh Maine shrimp and excellent monkfish tails, but: in my haste I didn't fry up the okra dipped in cornmeal to sprinkle on the top, the quality of the chicken turned out to be mediocre, and the "andouille" was chicken sausage from Whole Foods (please don't revoke my eGullet membership because of this -- ). But, like sex, even when homemade gumbo isn't good, it's GOOD, so I'm game for another batch real soon! So get out your digital cameras and stew pots!
  8. Welcome to eGullet Cook-Off XLIV! Click here for the Cook-Off index. We've just devoted a Cook-Off to braised brisket, and we're turning again to moist, well-cooked proteins for our next adventure: ossobuco. You will see it spelled a number of different ways out there, but Marcella Hazan refers to it as one word in her definitive Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, so I'm going with that spelling. No reason to argue with Marcella, after all. Ossobuco is braised veal shank, named after the "bone with a hole" that used to be attached to the hind shank of a calf. (Let's all agree to stick to veal, and not have, say, halibut ossobuco. ) The classic Milanese version includes vegetables, tomatoes, wine, and broth, and is served with risotto alla milanese, perfumed with saffron, and with gremolada. Some of the versions out there are a bit wacky. In particular, The Silver Spoon Cookbook simmers the 2" thick shanks for 30 minutes atop the stove. Given that Hazan has 1 1/2" shanks in a 350F oven for two hours, I'm pretty sure the SSC is a waste of good veal. Indeed, I'd think that a much lower oven for longer would work wonders. There are more things to talk about here than just braising temps and times! For example, many other versions of ossobuco depart from the Milanese approach. In her out-of-print More Classic Italian Cooking, Hazan provides the recipe for Ossobuchi in Bianco, the white referring to a sauce lacking tomato. In The Fine Art of Italian Cooking, Giuliano Bugialli offers ossobuco Florentine style, with peas and pancetta, and Lynne Rossetto Kasper's Italian Country Table offers a home-style version with mushrooms, favas or snap peas, and more intense flavors such as anchovy, sage, and rosemary. We have one short discussion of ossobuco here, and an even shorter one on wine pairings here. Indeed, as is often the case with Italian food, the best discussion is the one shepherded by Kevin72, the Cooking and Cuisine of Lombardia, which muses on on the dish's origins and execution throughout. I'm wondering a few things myself. Some folks say that braised veal cannot be reheated, unlike other dishes that benefit from a night in the fridge. I'm also wondering what other sorts of sides -- polenta, say, or the Italian mashed potatoes that Hazan suggests for the ossobuchi in bianco -- would work and/or are traditional. So who wants to welcome the new year with some bones with holes?
  9. Welcome to the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off! Click here for the Cook-Off index. This cook-off focuses on felafel. I've enjoyed fine felafel here in the US and overseas, but I have literally no idea how to make this, the national street food of at least a handful of Middle Eastern countries. Several people who have recommended this cook-off did so because, while they felt they had some clues, they didn't really have a consistently successful recipe or method. Sounds like a good cook-off topic, eh? There are a few topics on the felafel matter, including this one on tips and tricks, an older topic that finds more woes than techniques, and this preparation topic, How Do You Like Your Falafel? I also found this recipe by Joan Nathan, which seems like it might be useful. But what do I know? Not much, I'll tell you. Time to chime in, you!
  10. Welcome to the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off! Click here for the Cook-Off index. Perhaps the most internationally well-known food from Jamaica involves the spicy dry-rub Jerk seasoning, cooked in a 55-gallon drum converted into a charcoal grill, and served screaming-hot as street food across the island. While most of us don't have 55-gallon drums in our backyards, jerk-style meats (and even tofu!) are perfect for outdoor grilling, and (in a pinch) roasting for those without access to a grill. The recipes in RecipeGullet have the common theme of Allspice and Scotch Bonnet peppers, in addition to the inclusion of scallions, garlic, nutmeg, cinnamon, etc. We have a recipe for Jerk Chicken and for Jamaican Jerk Paste which it seems can be readily adapted to nearly any protein, with pork, goat, and chicken being the best-known examples. In addition, entire cookbooks exist dedicated to the subject—Jerk from Jamaica: Barbecue Caribbean Style, for example. Here on the eGullet Forums we have topics devoted to Jerk Chicken, Jerk Sauce, Jerk Pork, a discussion on the authenticity of using Soy Sauce in Jerk, and even some advice on Oil Drum Cooking. What is your "house blend" of Jerk spices? Soy Sauce included, or sacrilege? Doin' your thing over gas, or burning Pimento Wood, or living in an apartment with no grill and winging it?
  11. Welcome to this second anniversary eGullet Recipe Cook-Off! Click here for the Cook-Off index. A click on that index shows that, while the Cook-Offs have ventured throughout the globe, but they've never stopped in Africa. One could say we've passed through -- gumbo, for example, is widely acknowledged to have roots in Africa, among other places. So, for the first Cook-Off rooted in African cuisine, we'll be cooking up mafé, otherwise known as peanut or groundnut stew. Mafé is a traditional west African dish that can be found in the kitchens of Senegal and Mali. It's often served with a starch of some sort (rice, most often) to soak up the nutty stew juices, or, alternately, the starch is part of the stew itself, resulting in a drier braise. While there are a few mentions of mafé in eG Forums, there are no discussions of actually preparing it that I can find except this brief post by yours truly. There are a few recipes elsewhere, including this stew-like one and this more braise-y one, both of which are from the Food Network. Mafé is a forgiving cold-weather dish, and one that, like most stews, benefits from reheating (read: swell as leftovers). I'm convinced that mafé is one of the great one-pot dishes in global cuisine, built on a solid base of sautéed onions, peanut-thickened stock, and hearty meat. Like other classics such as gumbo, cassoulet, and bibimbap, it affords tremendous variation within those guides; it would be hard to find very many vegetables that haven't made an appearance in a mafé pot somewhere, and there are lots of possibilities concerning herbs and spices. (I like to increase the heat quite a bit with cayenne, which I think plays off the silk of the nut oil just perfectly, for example.) Finally, it's a pleasant surprise if you've never had a savory peanut dish before, and kids in particular tend to think it is the bee's knees. The kitchen fills with a heady aroma -- browned onion, ground peanuts -- that's hard to describe and resist. So: who's up for mafé?
  12. Welcome to the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off! Click here for the Cook-Off index. This cook-off: posole or pozole, the Mexican stew with hominy corn (the posole for which the dish is named). At the base of most posole is, of course, the corn itself, broth, and meat, usually pork. From there, well, the possibilities expand greatly. The pickin's on eG Forums are pretty slight: one discussion on dried vs fresh posole can be found here, there's a short topic here in the Mexico forum, and another asking questions here in Cooking. There are, however, two posole recipes in Recipe Gullet: fifi's barbeque posole and, well, my mother-in-law's fantastic recipe, which I'm calling Castañeda posole. Finally, our own rancho_gordo sells the remarkable stuff in the image above at his Rancho Gordo website. Posole is in my family's regular dinner rotation. Perhaps it is in yours -- or ought to be?
  13. Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index. For our seventh Cook-Off, due to an overwhelming campaign by a lurking group of Greek cuisine fans, we're going to be making mousssaka. And listen up: y'all have some work to do! When it comes to moussaka, it's all Greek to me! I cannot find a single solid lead on an eGullet thread concerning moussaka. In addition, I cannot find a recipe for moussaka in RecipeGullet. Finally, I've never had nor cooked this dish, and the only cookbook I have that includes it (our own Paula Wolfert's great book on The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean) is explicitly non-traditional. So, as in any decent democracy in the wake of a power-shift, the reigns must now be handed over to you, my moussaka-loving friends, to guide us through the pleasures of this fine dish. Tell us, what exactly is it? What produced your eager advocacy? How does it address the cook-off criteria? What are its classic forms? What links might guide us? What recipes do you use? What techniques can we learn? Info! Photos! Opinions! Sing, Goddesses!!
  14. Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index. For our second Cook-Off, we've chosen char siu bao, or steamed bbq/roast pork buns. You've probably had this dim sum staple many times, often a tough dough encasing a gummy, cloying clump of pork -- . But if you had a good one, you know how ethereal the dough and amazing the double-cooked pork can be. And that's what we're going to be making, pillows of porky perfection! In my two previous home attempts to make char siu bao, the three distinct steps (marinating and cooking the pork; making the dough; constructing and steaming the filled buns) were fun and compelling but rife with screw-up possibilities. Questions I know I'll have include: How does one make perfect dough? What ingredients are crucial? What sorts of tips are also crucial? (For example, I've been told by a dim sum chef that bamboo steam racks are crucial to bao, and that metal steam racks don't work well at all.) What cut of pork, marinated in what concotion (including, essentially, shaoxing wine, aka Chinese sherry), cooked in what manner and for whom long, should we use? Some links to get us started: Here is an eG thread on char siu, broadly defined. Here's a thread on evaluating roast pork buns, with a discussion of NYC restaurants. Here's one on Wow! Bao! that expands rapidly into the tao of bao. I'm not at home, so I don't have any reference recipes to use, but I know I'll be checking Eileen Yin-Fei Lo's Chinese Banquet Cookbook and The Chinese Kitchen (both of which were iffy, if I remember correctly), and Barbara Tropp's Modern Art of Chinese Cooking. Saveur also had a recipe in the back of the issue sometime in 2002 or 03 (anyone remember that?). What other recipes will people be using? So let's go bao!
  15. [This is the first cook-off; click here for the Cook-Off index. -- CA] In Culinary Bear's great thread on confit, Al_Dente mentions that he's thinking about trying Bourdain's cassoulet recipe in January. Turns out I had had the exact same dish in mind (and I finally just ordered Les Halles Cookbook from Amazon, with the eGullet link of course, to be able to use his recipe), and it made me wonder: Every couple of weeks, might it be possible for us to select some recipe, either from eGullet or a well-known cookbook, and all make it, eat it, snap photos of it, and compare notes and pix? I'm thinking of more involved dishes (like cassoulet). Like the Wine of the Week gang, different people could get tagged to facilitate, nag, and so on. I suggest this because I'm usually the only person in my non-virtual life who would be compelled to discuss the absurdly picayune points of cooking, but I can imagine a large number of similar obsessives around eGullet. If enough people are game, I think it would be a blast! So, what do you think? Any takers?
  16. Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index. For our thirteenth Cook-Off, we're making fresh and stuffed Italian pastas, including gnocchi. I would take a bit here and try to say some intelligent things about pasta in general, but I'm very happy to defer to my betters in the eGullet Society's Culinary Institute! Check out Adam Balic's Pasta around the Mediterranean course here, and click here for and the associated Q&A thread. In addition, Moby Pomerance has three eGCI courses: the first on stuffed pastas in general (Q&A here), and the other two on Tortelli, Ravioli & Cappelletti and Pansotti, Tortelloni and Raviolo. Of course, there are also lots of other related threads, including several on gnocchi like this one, this one, and this one; a few fresh pasta threads here, here and here; and a thread on pasta machines. So break out your Atlas hand-cranked machine (or, if you're like me, start to justify buying that KitchenAid mixer pasta attachment!), dice up a few heirloom tomatoes, and start cooking! No machine? Then you're on tap for gnocchi, my friend!
  17. Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index. For our ninth Cook-Off, we're going to be making Mole Poblano de Guajolote. If you're like me, you can't get decent mole poblano where you live; instead, you get the "Mexican" equivalent of Hershey's chocolate syrup, which is sure to make you wonder what the fuss is all about. But if you've ever had the rich, piquant, incredibly complex sauce made from dried chiles, spices vegetables, nuts, seeds, lard, stock, and chocolate... well, you're in for a treat. You're also in for an absurdly long list of ingredients and a substantial simmering time. But it's worth it, trust me -- and what other dish might get you seriously thinking about how delicious turkey is in May? As usual, our eGulleteer forebears have done a lot of good work for us. Here's a thread on mole poblano, a great tamale thread with Abra's mole photo essay, and a more expansive, and a bit older, mole thread. Starting researching recipes and sourcing ingredients people!
  18. Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index. For our sixth Cook-Off, we're going to be making pad thai. You've surely eaten this Thai restaurant staple dozens of times, marvelling at the sweet, sour, hot, and salty marriage on your plate. There are lots of variations of pad thai floating around the internet, including one by mamster at the eGCI Thai Cooking course. While there is one ingredient -- rice noodles -- that may be hard for some to find, most ingredients or substitutes are available at your local grocer. And, if you're new to Thai cooking, isn't now a good time to get your first bottle of fish sauce or block of tamarind? In addition to the course, here are a few threads to get us started: The excellent Thai cooking at home thread discusses pad thai in several spots. A brief thread on making pad thai, and one on vegetarian pad thai. For the adventurous, here is a thread on making fresh rice noodles. Finally, a few folks mention pad thai in the "Culinary Nemesis" thread. Fifi, snowangel, and Susan in FL all mention in the fried chicken thread that pad thai is also a culinary nemesis of theirs. So, in true cook-off style, hopefully we can all share some tips, insights, recipes, and photos of the results! I'll start by asking: does anyone know any good mail-order purveyors for folks who can't purchase rice noodles at their local Asian food store?
  19. Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index.. Oh, those little dumpling pillows filled with broth! They are a favorite at dim sum places, and it's time we tried our hand at making them. There are many topics on where to get the best ones in different cities and a few on making your own (and there seem to be many different spellings on these lucious dumplings): Xiao Lun Bao/ Soup Dumpling Recipes Soup Dumplings (Xiao Long Tang Bao) Xiaolong Bao Little Steamed Juicy Buns Let's talk filling, technique, wrappers, and just how to get those perfect topnots, and then let's eat!
  20. Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index. With the weather turning cold in the northern hemispere and the Cook-Off having avoided French cuisine for a little while, it's time to dabble with daubes. There are few things as restoring as a daube, the classic French braised meat stew (usually beef, though not always) that has as many recipes as adults in France. It also helps to develop several crucial braising techniques that will come in handy over the next few months for many of us, and if you develop a lovely relationship with your butcher in preparation for same, all the better. I've found two daube recipes quite wonderful: a fairly straightforward one from Saveur Cooks Authentic French and the other, "Daube of Beef in the Style of Gascony," from our own redoubtable Paula Wolfert and her Cooking of Southwest France. That multiday recipe was the cooking highlight of my holidays last year, and the best beef that my guests had ever eaten. (click here for the link to a discussion of my experience with that recipe.) Wolfert also kindly placed this recipe for oxtail daube into RecipeGullet; you can also click here for snowangel's prep and execution of the dish. There aren't hundreds of posts on daube around here, but there are quite a few interesting topics, such as one that considers Catalan Tuna Daube and another that asks the question, "Daube with veal?" Variationson the traditional beef daube can be found here and there, including in this topic on Daube de Gardian.
  21. Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index. For our third Cook-Off, we've chosen Indian lamb curry. Yes, it's true: that's a huge category for a cook-off, and saying "Indian" is about as stupidly broad as saying "American." However, like gumbo, there are some basic elements to most of the many, many permutations of this dish, and several cook-off participants wanted to start cooking Indian at home with several options. So, instead of choosing a specific lamb curry, I thought that having a conversation about those different permutations (like the gumbo okra/roux discussion, say) would be interesting and fun. I also wanted to avoid too particular ingredients that some of our cook-off pals can't get in certain places. A few things that we can discuss, photograph, and share include: -- the spice mixture: If you've never toasted your own spices, then you have a world of aromatic wonder ahead. I'm sure many people can share their ingredients, ratios, and toasting tips for curry powders that will blow away the garbage in your grocery's "spice" aisle. We can also have the ground vs. whole debate, if there are takers! -- the paste: many curry dishes involve frying a blended paste of onion, garlic, and/or ginger, along with the spices, in oil or ghee (clarified butter). I found that learning how to cook that paste -- which requires the same sort of patience demanded by roux -- was the key to making a deep, rich curry. -- accompaniments: rice dishes or bread (I have a pretty good naan recipe that I'd be glad to try out again). Here are a couple of related eGullet threads: lamb kangari a lamb and goat thread If anyone finds more, post 'em! So: find yourself a leg of lamb to bone, sharpen your knives, and get ready to update your spice drawer!
  22. Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index. For our fourteenth Cook-Off, we're making bibimbap. Aficionados of Korean food and cooking are well aware of this famous dish, but many who have not had the pleasure might find this a surprising cook-off selection. Folks, I'm here to tell you that everyone should bring this remarkable dish into their repertoire. What is bibimbap, you ask? In a previous thread devoted to the subject, Jinmyo offered this typically inimitable explanation: True, some ingredients (the pickles known as kimchee and the red pepper paste known as gojuchang) may be a bit tricky for you to find, but we can summon up some possible substitutes. No special equipment is absolutely necessary, though if you have one of the stone or metal cook bowls known as dolsots, you'll want to use that. Like cassoulet, bibimbap inspires many debates about authenticity and regionalism, which means that the neophyte can experiment with great flexibility and still claim some amount of technical merit! Finally and as always, the eGullet Society is chock-a-block full of experts ready to share ideas and recipes for the various components of this dish, not only on the thread referenced above (click the little pink box in the quotation) but also here, here, and here, with a kimchee thread here and a kochuchang thread here. So turn on your rice cookers and get your beef a-marinating -- and if you have any soju handy, get it damned cold!
  23. Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index. For our silver anniversary Cook-Off, we're making tamales. It's true that All Saint's Day and Christmas are months away, but the weather has turned cold suddenly here in New England, and my thoughts have turned to the green corn tamales that I enjoyed a year ago on a trip to Tucson and Bisbee, Arizona. Early fall may also be the right time to start not only because high corn season approaches in the north (for those using fresh corn in their dough), but also because this may end up being a long process for some of us. You see, I've resisted this cook-off because of my futile attempts to get fresh masa (chronicled here). In the meanwhile, I've been gathering good pork fat for freshly rendered lard using Fifi's RecipeGullet method, have several good filling recipes ready to test, and even have stockpiled a few packages of excellent corn husks for the cause. What to do about this masa problem, however, is an open question. Should I give Maseca masa harina, the only brand I've seen recommended, a try? Or perhaps I should see what Rick Bayless's combination of quick-cooking grits and masa harina produces. I've even grabbed a bag of lime in case I'm forced to soak and grind my own masa from field corn. (Of course, if someone out there can find a source for mail-order fresh masa, I'm going to give that a try!) There are quite a few lively topics around here on the subject of tamales, including a general one on making tamales, one on tamales with duck fat, another on tamales without lard, even one on the proper corn husks for tamales. This ain't the composed salad cook-off; most of us can't make a quick trip to the store, grab a few things, and prep, cook, and serve the dish within an hour. So let's start talking about prep, materials, fillings -- and what to do about that masa problem!
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