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Found 57 results

  1. Cook-Off 63: Summer Squash

    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.
  2. Lasagna -- eG Cook-Off 52

    We were wondering what a good next cook-off would be when Restaurants and Institutions posted this list of the Top 10 Most Googled Recipes of 2009. We compared it to our eG Cook-Off Index and realized that we'd hit most of those main dishes save one. So: Welcome to the latest eG Cook-Off 52, lasagna! We've had a few discussions on the dish (click here and here) but long ago. Given the poke from Restaurants and Institutions, it seemed an update was in order. I've often made both the bolognese & bechamel version as well as the Italian-American red sauce & ricotta, mozzarella, and parmiggiano version, and I love 'em both. I'm also a convert to using as many fresh ingredients as possible, most especially the pasta itself. With kids in the house, it's a fun dish to assemble, and they wolf it down. So is anyone up for some lasagna al forno?
  3. Welcome back to our popular eGullet Cook-Off Series. Our last Cook-Off, Hash, took us into a heated discussion of the meat of the matter--should it be chopped, hashed, sliced, diced, or chunked. Click here, for our Hash discussion, and the answers to all of your questions about this beloved diner staple. The complete eG Cook-Off Index can be found here. Today we’re launching eGullet Cook-Off 59: Cured, Brined, Smoked and Salted Fish. Drying fish is a method of preservation that dates back to Ancient times, but more recently, (let’s say a mere 500 years ago or so), salt mining became a major industry in Europe and salt was a fast and economical way of preserving fish. Curing agents like nitrates were introduced in the 19th century, furthering the safety and taste of preserved fish. Where I live in the Pacific Northwest, Native Americans have been preserving fish and seafood for millennia. While we are best known for our ruby-red, oily-rich, smoked salmon, other species of fish found in the Pacific and in our streams are delicious when cured and smoked including Halibut, Sablefish and Idaho Rainbow Trout. And don’t think that you can’t smoke shellfish, alder-smoked Dungeness Crab is a wondrous Pacific Northwest delicacy that evokes memories of crab roasting over a driftwood fire on the beach. Another method of preserving fish is to bath the beauties in a brine—a combination of water, sugar, salt and spices that adds flavor and moisture to fish before it is dried or smoked. And speaking of smoked fish, you can do it in a small pan on top of the stove, in a cast iron drum, a barbecue pit, an old woodshed or a fancy digital smoker. The methods and flavors produced by smoking fish are endless. Old-fashioned ways of preserving fish, (while adequate at the time), aren't always the best method today. Today's technology provides us with the tools to create cured fish that is moist, succulent, tender and with a hint of smoke. The Modernist movement has certainly played a role in bringing this age-old craft into the 21st century, so for the avant-garde in the crowd, show us your creative wizardry for preserving fish the "modern" way. Cured, Brined, Smoked or Salted, the art of preserving fish opens us up to limitless possibilities that transcend the boundaries of cuisine and culture. So let’s sew-up the holes in our fishnets, scrub the barnacles off the rowboat and set out to sea in search of some delectable fish to cure, brine, smoke and salt.
  4. eG Cook-Off #65: Pork Belly

    Welcome back to a time-honored, cherished eG tradition, the eG Cook-Off Series. Today were venturing into a new world for Cook-Off's. Member Kerry Beal came forward with a Cook-Off idea we just couldn't pass up--Pork Belly--and inspired a new idea for future Cook-Off's. Knowing we're a community of great culinary minds, we'll be inviting the Members to send us ideas for potential future Cook-Off's, (more information to come later). Take it away Kerry and let's raid the larder and start cookin.
  5. Gumbo -- Cook-Off 3

    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!
  6. Crepes--Cook-Off 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 twenty-third Cook-Off, we're making crêpes. There's been an intense push for a crepe cook-off for many months, and we've finally arrived! While usually considered to be French, crêpes have made their way into lots of other cuisines and, in some cases, were there long before the French ever showed up. A definition from wikipedia, s'il vous plait: In addition, there are banh xeo, the Vietnamese crêpe, banh chiao, the Khmer version, dosas from India -- heck, I think you could make the argument that injera is something of a crepe. So far on eG Forums, we've got a General topic devoted to crêpe fillings, a Pastry & Baking topic devoted to crêpe technique, a topic on Japanese crêpes (which are pretty eclectic, let me tell you), another on injera, and a topic and recipe devoted to mille crêpes. I also found this charming pictorial how-to, which would suggest that you need neither a fancy crêpe pan nor one of those T-thingies to push the batter around. Let's see some crêpes, folks!
  7. Cook-Off 60: Banh Mi

    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.
  8. Welcome to the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off! Click here for the Cook-Off index. It's getting cold in some parts of the Northern Hemisphere, and with the cold weather comes the craving for comfort food. So this time, we're going to try our hands at stuffed cabbage rolls. This is one of those dishes that my grandmother would say takes a lot of 'patskying' -- playing around. But it's worth the effort. RecipeGullet offers two recipes -- Russian Stuffed Cabbage and Holishkes aka Stuffed Cabbage. And there's a Stuffed Cabbage topic here. So, if you've always wanted to make stuffed cabbage rolls, now is your chance. What do you stuff it with? Lots of ground beef or pork, or just a little to season the rice? I want to know whether you steam your cabbage or do you toss it in the freezer? Are you in favour of raisins in the sauce? What about gingersnaps? Canned tomato soup or crushed tomatoes? Let's get rolling!
  9. Pickles--Cook-Off 32

    Welcome to the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off! Click here for the Cook-Off index. This time, we're focusing on pickles. Pickling is a preservation method that uses vinegar or a brine and versions of pickled vegetables, fruit, fish and meat can be found throughout the world. Whether you've wanted to try your hand at tsukemono (Japanese pickles), kimchi (Korean), Moroccan preserved lemons, pickled watermelon, good old kosher dills, or any other pickle, now is the time to do it! There are no restrictions here - let's talk about refrigerator versus 'canning' in a hot water bath. Let's argue the merits of vinegar versus salt. Whatever we do, let's help me figure out how to make my grandmother's dill pickles! There are a few topics on pickles/pickling, including a topic about half and full sours, one on pickle terminology, this topic looked for perfect pickle preparations, and this one introduced a new, quick pickling technique, and most recently, we've had some pickle chat in the Cradle of Flavor cooking topic. If that's not enough inspiration for you, reading Fruit of the Brine, a Tangy Memoir may be just the trick. And don't forget to check the 13 recipes in RecipeGullet! One last thing. If, like me, you haven't pickled anything since you were five, I've asked for and received a few book recommendations: Quick Pickles by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby Ball Blue Book of Preserving The New Preserves : Pickles, Jams, and Jellies by Anne V. Nelson Pickled: Vegetables, Fruits, Roots, More--Preserving a World of Tastes and Traditions by Lucy Norris and Elizabeth Watt Who's in?
  10. Paella--Cook-Off 31

    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?
  11. 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?
  12. Welcome to the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off! Click here for the Cook-Off index. As the first cool weather manifests itself, the quality of the ambient light changes. It stops us as we slog through the everyday world. The air we breathe takes on that crisp clarity that signals the end of Summer, and there is a mist at sunset. We find ourselves instinctively putting a pot on the fire. In France you would say it very simply: "Pot-au-feu." The simple concept of boiled meat and vegetables has probably been with us as long as people have cooked over a heat source. Each time a parent loads a crockpot with beef and vegetables before leaving for work in the morning, they are paying homage to the Pot-au-feu. The Pot-au-feu nets a wonderful meal and then generously provides a complex, but delicate, consommé (see our eGCI course, "Consomme") to be utilized for sauces and soups throughout the week. Enjoy the boiled meat and vegetables on their own -- a simple, straightforward, way of eating. Then, have a toasted slice of rustic bread, spread with the marrow robbed from the bone, and a bowl of broth. The "Pot on the Fire" is apparent no matter what point on the compass you look. In a traditional restaurant in Spain, you will find a Cocido Madriliano. In Italy, you will perhaps run across a fine Bollito. In the United Kingdom, one signature dish is surely the Scotch Broth. Then, there's the very good, old fashioned Yankee Pot Roast. Wherever you find it, the results of a pot on the fire are invariably described as "good" and "solid." Recipes are plentiful and varied. Every French cookbook dating back to the 1800's includes a variation on the Pot-au-feu. Molly Stevens features a great recipe in her book "All About Braising" that we explored here. Food writers from Escoffier to Julia Child to James Beard to Thomas Keller - all pay tribute to the Pot-au-feu. The ingredients are variable enough that you could probably find one that would be suitable for cleaning out nearly any fridge and freezer. So, let's pull out the stockpot or marmite, brush up on our braising skills in eGullet's eGCI Course and Lab on Braising and put it on the fire!
  13. Fried Chicken--Cook-Off 5

    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 fifth Cook-Off, we're moving away from gumbos, curries, and other stews (sorry, Jason, mole poblano is on the way, as is tagine, Smithy!) and, thanks to a substantial campaign, we'll be firing up the stove for fried chicken. Like gumbo, fried chicken inspires some heated debates, so we'll likely have quite a few different approaches. Bring 'em on! I'll start with a confession. Though I have figured out a fool-proof fried chicken recipe that I'll post soon, that recipe was borne not only out of convenience and family preference but also out of shame and failure. Yes, my recipe is for deep-fried chunks of skinless, boneless breast meat chicken (don't you dare call them nuggets!). I fry chicken in this manner both because we like it that way and because I have yet to figure out how to cook whole pieces of chicken to crunchy, juicy perfection. However, if I could bring one food to a desert island, it may well be fried chicken skin from a breast or thigh that's just been pulled out of the oil (I guess I'd need a Fry Baby, too, huh?). So I'm ready to come clean about my fried chicken problem and begin my reeducation pronto. Incredibly important matters to consider include: -- skillet or deep frying: Check out the debate on this thread. There are also some tips on pan frying here. -- coatings: Do you soak? Dredge? Batter? Nothin'? -- fat: What works? What doesn't? Do you have any consideration whatsoever for your arterial health, or are you a bacon fat and crisco kind of gal or guy? -- seasonings: Salt 'n' pepper purist? Lots of cayenne? A secret blend of herbs and spices, Colonel? -- regional affiliation: Where's your receipt from, exactly? -- accompaniments: Here's a consideration of "healthy" sides. (Stop sniggering.) And, last but certainly not least, Jinmyo's "perfect" fried chicken: the debate. So get our your cast iron skillets or deep fryers, digital cameras, grease splatter screens, a bird or two, flour, buttermilk, and way, way more fat, grease, and/or oil than you should consume in a month -- and start fryin'!
  14. Composed Salads--Cook-Off 12

    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 twelfth Cook-Off, we're going to continue the cool food trend with composed salads. Ok, yes, another northern-hemisphere-centric cook-off: mea culpa. But even if you've been in the hazy, hot, and humid zone the last six or eight weeks, you surely can appreciate the pleasures of a good composed salad. Which is... what exactly? Well, Dave the Cook found this definition from The New Food Lover's Companion on the FoodTV website: That'll do for now -- but if you have a working definition of your own, please share! Unfortunately and unusually, our eGulleteer forebears haven't done too much research on our behalf. Save for a few threads on Waldorf salad, potato salad, and the like, there aren't too many topics devoted to our composed salad days. Whither Cobb? Nicoise? And what about the composed salad traditions in Thailand, Russia, and elsewhere? What should one drink with them? How should one serve them? Roll up your sleeves and get to steaming, whisking, chopping, and assembling!
  15. Ratatouille--Cook-Off 42

    Welcome to the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off! Click here for the Cook-Off index. There was this rat, and he wanted to be a cook. When he finally made it into the kitchen of a Parisian restaurant, he needed some help coming up with a signature dish to impress the critics. So he sent his producer to stage a few days at the French Laundry, a little-known, out-of-the-way joint run by a guy named Thomas Keller. Keller had come up with a dish he called "byaldi," and with a bit of tweaking, handed over a recipe for Thomas Keller's "confit byaldi." Rat made it, critic was thrilled, everyone's happy. A little while later, this eGullet Society member, KarenM, prints out the recipe and makes this thing of beauty: Fortunately, there were many dozen grateful Heartlanders eager to devour the dish, which some of them called by its ancestral name: ratatouille. Ratatouille is the perfect late summer Cook-Off. Shockingly, we have only one topic dedicated to it, but it's a beaut. You'll find disagreements about whether ratatouille should be a jammy, stewy ratatouille or a discretely sautéed and layered dish. Advocates of Provencal authenticity face off against the fresh, clean, and bright brigade who know no region. And then there's that picky olive oil question. I'll admit that I've always hated ratatouille, which has been throughout my life the potluck dish I should avoid at all costs, so I'm game to figure out how to make something that doesn't suck. I also have no fear of the mandoline, if it comes to that. So where do you stand? Jammy goodness or definitive elements? Are you a Provencal stickler or a "what's ready in my garden" free spirit?
  16. 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!
  17. eG Cook-Off #64: Confit

    Fall is but a whisper of the recent past--at least it is where I live in the upper reaches of Eastern, Washington. We had our first fluff of snow a week ago and a reasonable November storm is predicted for this weekend with temperatures holding at a chilly 18 degrees at night. Along with the rumblings of cold winter weather and Holiday feasts, we turn our culinary musings to time-treasured, comfortable dishes. And so I invite you to join me in another kitchen adventure--the inimitable eG Cook-Off Series. In 2013, we've tackled the tricky cooking of Squid, Calamari and Octopus and we made delicious dishes out of the humble Summer Squash. (Click here http://forums.egulle...cook-off-index/ for the complete eG Cook-Off Index). But today we're shunning all manner of counting calories, salt or fat content--for what is rich in flavor is good for the soul my dear friends. Please join me in crafting, nuturing and savoring a dish of Confit.
  18. Welcome to the 2013 kick-off of our popular eG Cook-Off Series. In 2012, our Cook-Offs ran the gamut from “Hash,” to “Cured, Brined, Smoked and Salted Fish,” onto “Banh Mi” and ending the 2012 season with a discussion of “Gels, Jell-O, Aspic.” (Click here http://forums.egullet.org/topic/143994-egullet-recipe-cook-off-index/ for the complet eG Cook-Off Index). I made a personal discovery during our “Gels, Jell-O, Aspic” Cook-off. I found a little metal Jell-O mold on a dark, back shelf in a kitchen cupboard. That little mold led to a cherished family memory and became the vessel that would hold one of the most delicious dishes I’ve ever crafted. (Click here http://forums.egullet.org/topic/143597-cook-off-61-gels-jell-o-and-aspic/ to read about the delicious jiggly dishes we created). Today we’re going to venture into the depths of a discussion about a sea-dweller that is so scary looking to some they refuse to eat the delicious little devils. The horrors of being presented with a steaming bowl of soup with little appendages peeking out. Join in and let’s put forth our very best “Squid, Calamari and Octopus” dishes. Knowing your passion for cuisine, I don’t expect to see squid rings coated in gummy batter and deep-fried to the point that they bounce on the floor like a rubber ball. No, I’m guessing we’ll plate some fabulous dishes that showcase the versatility of these unique creatures.
  19. Eggs, Beaten, w/ Stuff Inside -Cook-Off 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. For our nineteenth Cook-Off, we're making eggs, beaten, with stuff in them. All right, all right, so the name sucks. Feel free to pick your own favorite from among the other suggestions: "Souffles, Frittatas, Omelettes," my best shot but too European for my tastes; "Eggs, Filled, Folded, Fluffed," snowangel's variation on the one I went with; "Eggstravaganza!" -- a name we'll have to save for the Broadway musical adaptation of this cook-off. What we're talking about here are egg dishes that require beating the eggs -- either en masse a la the omelette or yolk and white separately then combined a la the soufflé -- and then combining them with other ingredients. This is an admittedly wide berth, but you probably get the drift. Frittata? Yes. Deviled eggs? No (not beaten). It seems to me like a good cook-off idea because eggs, beaten, with stuff in them appear throughout the cuisines of the world. We've got the eGCI course on omelettes here and the Q&A here. There are at least two solid threads on Italian frittatas here and here. Check out the chawanmushi in this tamago thread. My initial attempts at searching suggest that we're still in need of a definitive Bindae-dduk recipe (the Korean omelette), and I think that we may see a few egg foo yungs before the cook-off is over. So fire up the skillets, people, and get out those whisks. This promises to be eggcellent! Ok, I couldn't resist.
  20. Cold Soups -- Cook-Off 40

    Cold Soups--Cook-Off XL eGullet Recipe Cook-Off Series Welcome to the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off! Click here for the Cook-Off index. From avocado to zucchini, cold soups know no bounds. And, with summer quickly approaching in the northern hemisphere, we thought it might be a good time to take a look at all the wonderful varieties of cold soups that work so well in the warmer months. After all, who doesn't remember that wonderful first slurp of an icy, spicy gazpacho? Or mixing your side of sour cream into a shockingly red borscht for a dish that is so much more than the sum of its parts. Perhaps yours was fancier, the potato and leek wonder known by its French name, vichyssoise...(and which, by the way, is also known as potage parmentier when served hot, according to Bernard Clayton, in his great primer The Complete Book of Soups and Stews; Clayton's book has 29 cold soup recipes - not bad). Stepping back in time, if you'll allow me to poach a couple of cold ones that I made last year, there's ample room for sweet as well as the savory. Strawberries make an awesome soup, or so I'm told. Cherries do too - just take a look below...this sour cherry soup was quite tasty, as well as a great vehicle for ice cream and sorbet ... Perhaps something a little more savory is to your liking...everyone loved cacik, a Turkish yogurt and cucumber soup, redolent with dill and garlic...though I may have served portions a bit too large - So, bring it on eG'ers - get out your blenders, hand mixers, food processors, chopping blocks, ice cubes, etc. and show us what's keeping you cool, at least in the soup department, this coming summer.
  21. eG Cook-Off 56: Savory-Filled Pastry

    Welcome back to the long-running eGullet Cook-off Series. Today we're launching Cook-Off #56: Savory-Filled Pastry. Click here for the Cook-off Index. In the UK, they call them "Pasties," in India they are referred to as "Samosa's," and in Latin countries they are called "Empanadas." Savory-Filled Pastries are the perfect little bite-combining multiple flavors and textures-crisp yet light, flaky pastry enveloping a warm cocoon of savory filling. They are the definition of street food-you eat them with your hands and just a few bites will sate your appetite. Often the simplest, most humble dishes are ones that open the cook to a myriad of creative possibilities--should the dough be made exclusively with butter or should we work in some vegetable oil or rendered pork lard for another flavor and texture element? Will the pastry hold up to the hot, juicy filling and shock of frying in oil? We talked about the best pastry for Samosa's here. Should the filling be ground beef or braised, shredded beef? What about minced lamb in a spicy chile sauce? We can make a savory filling with seafood, perhaps spicy shrimp in a peanut curry sauce? What about a vegetarian pastry filled with pickled eggplant spiced with ras el hanout? Do we deep-fry our savory-filled pastries or fry them in oil in a skillet? If we bake our little savory-filled bundles are we still being true to the intent of the dish? We've relished in Great Moments in Deep-Frying here. I'll admit I never knew how much I would fall in love with these tasty bites until I made a batch-now I'm addicted. So let's get cooking and showcase our best savory-filled pastries.
  22. 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?
  23. Chili – Cook-Off 15

    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 fifteenth Cook-Off, we're making chili. I'll admit that most cook-off dishes are inspired by compelling tales from eGulleteers, or particularly memorable dishes, or somesuch. This time around, it was the What is wrong with this chili thread that did it. In that thread lurks a recipe so utterly defiling that it forced me to do a cook-off to erase the Frankenchili from memory. Click, ye who dare. But chili seems a good cook-off dish for a lot of reasons. There's lots of secret tricks (peanut butter, cinnamon, baby arugula and fig jam ) to share; cuts of meat must be discussed; the great bean debate can be commenced, as can those devoted to rice, cheese, onions, sour cream, chocolate chips (I'm not kidding), and other toppings. Who knows: someone might actually post a vegetarian chili and risk ridicule from a Lone Star Stater! Finally and as always, the eGullet Society is boiling over with experts ready to share ideas and recipes for this dish. Start by clicking here,here,here,and here.We've also got RecipeGullet recipes here,here,here,here (purists beware),here (ditto),and here (double ditto). You got a beef about how chili must be made? Let's hear it! Get out the dutch ovens and crock pots, people! And if anyone wants to take a crack at the Frankenchili, we're all dying to know!
  24. Cook-Off 61: Gels, Jell-O and Aspic

    Hello and welcome once again to the ever-popular eG Cook-Off Series. So far this year, we've showcased such divergent dishes as the popular diner classic Hash and the intricate details of Cured, Brined, Smoked and Salted Fish. This summer we argued about the sanctity of the National sandwich of Vietnam-the Banh Mi. (Click here http://forums.egulle...-cooking-forum/ for the complete eG Cook-Off index). Today we start a new adventure--a discussion of Gels, Jell-O and Aspic--a subject with unlimited possibilities for the cook. Gels are at once very traditional, yet at the same time a defining aspect of modernist cooking. Molded Jell-O salads and Tomato Aspic are cherished dishes whose roots reach back over 100 years. But gels aren't simply a jiggly dish found wiggling on a cafeteria line. Joel Robuchon's haute version of "Citron Gelee with Lemon Sorbet and Fraises des Bois," is a contemporary play on the gel theme. Science and technology have entered into gel cokkery in the 21st century. "Mussels in their Juice," (a dish crafted by the renowned Spanish Chef Ferran Adria), is an example of how today's Chefs employ highly sophisticated, scientific techniques to fascinate diners with whimsical dishes literally bursting with flavor. I'm thinking of doing a contemporary version of my Grandmother Edna Pink's Tomato Aspic. Family legend tells me that Grandmother Pink served her aspic at luncheons for the Twin Falls Ladies Bridge Club back in the 1930's. Now if I can just find that old copper mold.
  25. eG Cook-Off 58: Hash

    Welcome back to our reknowned eGullet Cook-Off Series. Our last Cook-Off, Bolognese Sauce, led to a spirited discussion over the intricacies of the beloved Italian meat sauce. Click here for the complete eG Cook-Off Index. Today we’re launching eGullet Cook-Off 58: Hash, the classic American diner dish. Yet what appears as a humble, one-name dish is anything but ordinary. The difficulty in defining “Hash” is exactly why we’ve chosen it for a Cook-Off—simple definitions don’t apply when one considers that Hash is a dish that transcends regional and international boundaries. The ingredients one chooses to put into their version of Hash are limitless--we aren’t just talking cold meat and leftover potatoes folks. I for one, always thought Hash came out of a can from our friends at Hormel Foods, (as in "Mary Kitchen" Corned Beef Hash). It looks like Alpo when you scoop it out of the can, but it sure fries up nice and crispy. After a few weeks of research in the kitchen, I’ve experienced a new appreciation for Hash. So start putting together the fixins for your Hash and let’s start cooking. Hash, it’s what’s for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.
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