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  1. Wings – who doesn’t like them*? In the past, we’ve had plenty of chicken dishes in our Cook-Offs, such as Fried Chicken (#5), Kebabs, Satays and Skewers (#24), Chicken & Dumplings (#51) and Grilled Chicken (#53), but somewhat surprisingly we’ve missed the probably most popular chicken part outside the dieter's classic “101 ways to cook a chicken breast”. With the Football collegiate national championship game just around the corner and next month's Superbowl casting its shadow already, I feel it is more than appropriate to kick off the 2022 edition of our popular Cook-Offs with a dish you all will be eating (and hopefully making) a lot in the upcoming weeks. Even if you are not a football afficionado you should chime in to run a few tests until National Chicken Wing Day in July … Now, similar to the accompanying sport, the humble wing itself can be the center of almost religious zealousness and dispute. Is it “just” a wing, a hot wing or maybe a “real” Buffalo wing – and if either SV'ed, fried, baked, smoked and then coated with which hot sauce, which butter, which ratio between the two? And what do you serve with it? If you find one recipe, you’ll find at least two guys disputing its authenticity. But this is not what this Cook-Off is about – this one is about what you like and make and what you want to share (at least virtually) with us. Hey, we will not even judge if you decide to take the bones out and make Modernist Cuisine's famous (& fancy) boneless teriyaki chicken wing … Equally wholeheartedly contested is which part of the wing makes for the better fried wing** … are you a drums or flats kind of guy/girl ? Do you cut off the wing tip? Do you skewer the whole thing ? And since we are talking merely avian body parts: does it always have to be chicken ? Or maybe duck, goose, turkey or even … ostrich ? And flavorwise, there is far more in the world of wings than the average dweller in the west might have on a regular basis: my family and I, for example, particularly enjoy Korean-style wings, baked & basted with a gochujang-based glaze. I am sure we’ll find other tasty examples from across the globe. So, I hope I’ve made a convincing pitch for the wing. All is left is me looking forward to some strong & enthusiastic participation, and really there is no excuse this time: Quick, inexpensive & tasty, with everyday to gourmet potential – let the Wing games begin! See the complete eG Cook-Off Index here: https://forums.egullet.org/topic/143994-egullet-recipe-cook-off-index/ * the ornithological variety, not Paul McCartney's venture after the Beatles … ** actually, we should all save us some time and agree it is the flat.
  2. 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?
  3. Pâtés & Terrines What can be more inviting than a slice of a carefully balanced, well spiced and rich pâté, perhaps with a fresh tart side salad and a warm crusty bread? Well, you’ll soon be in for exactly that treat: welcome to eGullet Cook-Off #89 - Pâtés & Terrines! Although at first glance* a bit more technical & complex than our previous wings topic, it offers plenty of space to explore and experiment: from a simple pâté de campagne to a foie gras-centered pâté en croute with a delectable pasty shell and a jellied Sauterne cover. There has been a longstanding topic on terrines with spectacular entries in the past, so we felt it would be more than justified to open the topic up for a spirited exchange in the course of our popular Cook-Offs. Typically something rather enjoyed in a restaurant setting (where these time-consuming, yet economical preparations have undergone a renaissance due to the nose-to-tail movement) or as a treat from your deli or traditional butcher, pâtés and terrines are surprisingly not difficult to prepare. They make – however – usually more than two servings, so maybe the upcoming Easter holidays could help to encourage you to give it a try and surprise your family and friends** … There are many definitions of what makes a pâté a pâté, and how and why terrines are different. I am happy to discuss with you the intricacies of these, but for setting a non-threatening starting point I’d like to think of both as a fancy meatloaf or maybe an oversized sausage (in a funky rectangular shape perhaps) with interesting, maybe surprising additions (such as liver, offal, nuts, dried and alcohol-soaked fruits), herbs, liquors and spices (quatre épice anyone?). What kind of meat do you prefer? The world is your oyster, and beside all types of game, domestic animals, poultry and fowl, fish & seafood (including said oyster) can be used as well. Do you like a smooth texture or a coarser product, maybe with inlays ? You can shape your loaf into animal shapes, wrap it in bacon, fatback or puff pastry perhaps and glaze it with any gelled liquid you fancy. I can already see your minds starting to get creative … Rabbit terrine from the Rabbit Cook-Off. So break out your books and magazines, peruse your favourite websites and maybe even show off tried & trusted family recipes and show us what you are capable of – if you can get ground meat and have an oven*** I’ll repeat my mantra: there is really no excuse this time 😊 See the complete eG Cook-Off Index here: https://forums.egullet.org/topic/143994-egullet-recipe-cook-off-index/ —- * well – having seen how much work can be put into a humble chicken wing, only at first glance. ** they make a terrific presents as well. *** or sous-vide setup, or …
  4. How many noodles does it take to make soup? Instant Ramen Noodles that is. As we’re about to find out, Ramen is much more than a “Cup O’Noodles.” Today, we launch a new adventure in our revered eG Cook-Off Series with eG Cook-Off #72: Ramen. The history of Ramen is somewhat sketchy, but it appears as though it was a creation of the Chinese—a bowl of fresh wheat noodles in a hot broth garnished with a few pieces of leftover meat and a sprinkling of chopped vegetables. The dish crossed the sea and Ramen stalls began to show up in Japan by 1900, often serving as a cheap, quick lunch for the working class. Ramen grew in popularity in Japan and eventually made its way to the United States, joining other quick and convenient culinary inventions gaining popularity in America like frozen TV dinners, frozen pizza, Chef Boyardee canned spaghetti and ravioli and Lipton’s dried noodle soup mixes. Today, America sates its appetite for instant ramen noodles to the tune of nearly 5 billion of the disposable cups every year. Yet, we like to play with our food these days and manipulate it into something mass-produced in a factory to the point where it has no resemblance to its namesake. When it comes to ramen, we’ve allowed convenience and 39 cent cups of noodles to satisfy our salty, contemporary tastes. And how. Americans have been slurping through instant noodles for decades without stopping to uncover the real story of ramen. I count myself, (not too proudly), as one of millions of college students who stashed cups of instant ramen noodles in dorm rooms--a quick snack after a late-night round of studying, (or partying). As I scanned the shelves of a local Asian market this morning, I counted over 200 different varieties and brands of what most of us (in other words me), associate as Ramen. There were packets and bowls of Shin Black Ramen, Japanese Shio, Bean and Jin Ramen, Shrimp, Clam and Spicy Seafood Flavor and “Fun and Yum” Ramen. But I also discovered that not all instant noodles are labeled ramen. There were Kimchi, Pad Thai and Tom Yum noodle cups. There was Japanese Curry flavor, Spicy Miso and “Sobai” dried noodles in single packs, 5 packs and the popular case size—literally a packing box full of instant noodles for just a few bucks. True Ramen is much more than dried noodles and powdered flavorings. Rooted in Japanese cuisine, Ramen embraces a deeply satisfying, herbal, mysterious, earthly-scented, steaming broth paired with silky, soft noodles, hearty meats and seafood and fresh, crisp vegetables. It is, as they say, a perfect bowl. Ramen is all the rage in restaurants and home kitchens alike right now, and while staying true to the classic foundations of the dish, all manner of delicious variations of Ramen are being crafted with beef tongue, lamb hocks, bottarga and salted broccoli. Ramen has even made its way into motion pictures, (The Ramen Girl, 2008), showcasing how this common dish in its truest form bonds people together. Please join me in exposing the delicious depths of ramen. We’ll debate the similarities and differences between “Ramen” and “Soba,” and we’ll present our own personal Ramen creations. Slurping is encouraged. See our complete Cook-Off Index here: https://forums.egullet.org/topic/143994-egullet-recipe-cook-off-index/
  5. 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.
  6. It's quite appropriate that the Swedish Chef from The Muppet Show introduces the 75th Cook-Off in our series, eG Cook-Off 75: Meatballs. From the cafes of Stockholm, to the street stalls of Hong Kong and dinner tables across America, we love meatballs. Cooked in a thick, tangy sour cream sauce with lots of fresh dill, stewed in a spicy red sauce and served over spaghetti or my favorite, North African lamb merguez meatballs served with a cool cucumber raita sauce, meatballs span the global culinary map. Now while we often associate meatballs with large farm animals like cattle, swine and sheep--poultry, wild game and even seafood can be crafted into delicious meatballs. Elk meatballs served with huckleberry compote are a specialty of hunters throughout the wilds of Eastern Washington where I live. We might go trendy today and make French meatballs from minced duck and squab meatballs studded with pistachios and doused with cognac. So you see, meatballs open up our creativity and a hearty discussion in celebration of 75 delicious cook-offs. See our complete Cook-Off Index here: https://forums.egullet.org/topic/143994-egullet-recipe-cook-off-index/
  7. When I think of Potato Salad, I think of my mother and paternal grandmother. Summer picnics and backyard parties are the first memories that come to mind. But I came to realize that not all potato salads are the same. My grandmother kept her recipe basically the same. Usually russet potatoes off the ranch and farm she and my grandfather owned in Central Oregon. She would add mayonnaise, out West "Best Foods" was her mayonnaise of choice if she didn't make it from scratch. She would add a bit of yellow mustard, some vinegar and chopped canned pimentos. (Today we'd do something she would have called "fancy" and add fire-roasted red peppers). Sometimes Grandma would add chopped, hard-boiled eggs to her potato salad. My mother was more adventuresome with her potato salads. She usually used Russets since she grew up in Idaho potato country and my grandfather had a small business that sold burlap sacks to potato farmers. On occasion she would use "new potatoes," either red or white. We didn't have potatoes called "baby" or "fingerlings" back then. Sometimes she added chopped dill pickle, hard-boiled eggs or diced celery. If my father had his way, she would make his potato salad with Miracle Whip. I wouldn't touch the Miracle Whip potato salad. One thing my mother and grandmother always agreed upon was the potato salad had to be on ice in the metal ice chest so the mayonnaise wouldn't spoil and make us all sick at the picnic. Mother didn't limit her potato salad cookery to the summer months. In Fall and Winter she made a hot German potato salad and served it with sauerkraut and German sausage we bought from a German butcher in a small farming town. She boiled russet potatoes and cut them into thick slices. The dressing was made by frying bacon, then draining the bacon and crumbling it into bits. Into the skillet with hot bacon grease she added onions and apple cider vinegar and tossed the potatoes with the hot dressing. Instead of diced celery she seasoned the salad with celery seeds and lots of cracked black pepper. It seems as though potato salads are uniquely tied to family, yet cross borders in terms of variations and ingredients. Let's join together and share our family memories, present old favorites and create some new variations of potato salad. See the complete eG Cook-Off Index here: https://forums.egullet.org/topic/143994-egullet-recipe-cook-off-index/
  8. 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.
  9. Welcome to the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off! Click here for the Cook-Off index. It's still warm in the hemisphere in which the vast majority of our members reside, and so we turn, again, to a cool dish from down south: ceviche, the marinated seafood dish from Peru. It may be a popular item these days, having made appearances on Top Chef and prompting a Food Traditions & Culture topic here, but I've gotta say that I've never found a solid home recipe. That's too bad, because when they're good -- and the octopus ceviche I had at Ken Oringer's Toro in Boston last weekend was very, very good -- they're transcendent, balancing acid (usually citrus, with some help from vinegar in certain recipes), capiscum heat, salt, allium, and seafood flesh. We've got a topic or two in eG Forums (click here, e.g.) on the subject, but we've a dearth of recipes and techniques. Traditionalists, how do you find the balance in this world of lame limes and flabby fish? Innovators, how do you honor that balance with your yuzu, szechuan peppercorns, and lemongrass? Let's see what you've got!
  10. 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.
  11. It's a nearly forgotten fruit, rarely thought of these days except by old-soul cooks with a farming heritage. Utter the word 'rhubarb' and watch the listener's face contort as though the poor devil had just bitten into a lemon. Some decry rhubarb as an invasive species that crowds out the dainty pansies in the flower bed. Yet their disgust of rhubarb is simply due to ignorance. Like the gooseberry, rhubarb can't be fairly judged by gossip alone -- one must savor it firsthand to discover the wondrous tastes that lie within. You can find rhubarb in commercial pies in the grocery store, but rarely in its purest form--it's often watered-down with the ubiquitous strawberry. The most talented and creative professional chefs of our day covet rhubarb for its red pastel color, floral perfume and tart flavor--the perfect accompaniment to a rich slice of sautéed foie gras. Yes, my friends, rhubarb is back in vogue and summer is the perfect time to welcome back our cherished eG Cook-Off series with rhubarb in the leading role. (Click here http://forums.egulle...cook-off-index/ for the complete eG Cook-Off Index). Rhubarb - pronounced 'roo-barb' - is known as the pie plant. It is a member of the buckwheat family and is a perennial, meaning it grows back every year. And boy does it ever! Rhubarb has a preference for warm, sunny climates, yet it is perfectly at home in the rainy environs of the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Originally from Asia, rhubarb was first used for medicinal purposes. In the 18th century, the British brought rhubarb into the kitchen. By the late 1700's, rhubarb had journeyed across the Atlantic with the British and landed in the soils of early America. By 1947, the United States Customs Court of New York had officially declared rhubarb a fruit, although to this day many scientists consider rhubarb a vegetable. Rhubarb is low in calories yet high in phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, iron and vitamins, though one should avoid the leaves which contain large amounts of poisonous oxalic acid. Because it is so tart, rhubarb does require a fair amount of added sugar. Aside from pie, rhubarb works wonderfully as a condiment for roasted meats. The tart flavor and sweet perfume of rhubarb accents duck, game, pork and lamb. Sweet or savory, rhubarb does not discriminate. Please join me in creating, crafting and sharing the wonders of rhubarb.
  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 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!!
  13. 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.
  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 twentieth Cook-Off, we're making chowdah. However, most of the world is sadly located outside of New England, and thus erroneously spells and pronounces the dish chowder. In a magnanimous gesture to promote national, even global, harmony, I'll follow suit. (In this post.) Of course, spellings and pronunciations are just the tip of the contentious iceberg, friend. Take a good working definition of the dish. I'd like to say that chowder is a milk-based soup -- but that'd be wrong (think manhattan or red clam chowder). I'd like to say that chowder must include fish or shellfish -- but that'd be wrong, too (think corn chowder). And how about this fascinating disagreement: though many would argue it's a definitively American dish, is it east coast or west coast? Here's wikipedia on chowder: However, the contentious Australians at the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Center offer this brief definition: I of course believe that wikipedia is certainly right. But who's to say? Perhaps chowder exists precisely to provoke these tiffs. Look, for example, at this snit between me, menton1, and a few others over the definition of Providence chowder. Grown men, I'm telling you, nearly coming to blows over the subject. Surely we can provoke that sort of heated debate here in the cook-off -- some real cassoulet- or gumbo-worthy arguments. Check out our own Sara Moulton's RecipeGullet recipe for oven baked chowder, lovebenton0's hearty scallop chowder, or Chef Matt's "Fat Guy" lobster chowder. And while there are eGS cooking threads here and here , but, honestly, there's not much around here. Yet. So get cookin', you chowdaheads!
  15. Welcome to Cook-off 48: Slaws! Our complete Cook-off Index is here. Summer usually means that we've dusted off our salad bowls; we've been debating pillowcases versus OXO over in the salad spinner topic. Some of us are already making plans for this year's tomato crop. But if you're sick of lettuce, and your tomatoes are still green on the vine, it might be time to get out your mandoline and start shredding. Our slaw Cook-off embraces a whole range of shredded salads. Everyone loves coleslaw - although opinions differ on whether a creamy dressing or a vinegar dressing is superior. You can have it out here, or make your case for both. Maybe you add nuts, apples, or broccoli. Maybe you only adhere to the spirit of slaw, and make yours with green papaya and chili, like they do in Thailand. Whichever way you slice or dress it, come join us in shredding your salad.
  16. We were driving through Southeast Washington when suddenly Marnie shouted, "look, there it is, stop the car!" Needless to say, we were all a bit stunned and thought there must have been some critter scooting across the highway. And then I saw it for the first time: asparagus. It was decades ago, but every spring I relive the memory of seeing asparagus growing for the first time. Our family had been at a horse show in Pasco, a town in the Columbia River basin in South-Central Washington. We decided to drive over to Walla Walla, the heart of Washington's asparagus fields, to visit Whitman College. Mother had graduated Whitman in 1946, and we were taking our family friend Marnie to visit campus where she would start her freshman year in the full. It was then that I fully understood why asparagus--seasonal, local asparagus--is a prized delicacy of spring. I had the idea it grew on a bush. Or maybe it grew in some sort of cluster, cloaked within a heavy blanket of outer leaves like cabbage or cauliflower. Yet there it was, one stalk at a time, bursting up through the rich soil fed by the Columbia River. Rows and rows of single stalks of asparagus standing in a perfect line. Given Mother's ties to Whitman College and Walla Walla, the role that asparagus would play in shaping our family's tastes for this special vegetable should have been easy to predict. (As an aside, Walla Walla is also the home of the "Walla Walla Sweet" onion. Mother used to tell us she loved a raw Walla Walla sweet sandwich on white bread with mayonnaise). Now I'm sure you've got your own culinary memories and favorite asparagus dishes to tempt us. So today we'll begin eG Cook-Off #77: Asparagus, the Spear of Spring. (See the complete eG Cook-Off Index here.)
  17. 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.
  18. Last Fall we debuted our Apple Cook-Off and we were not disappointed. From Gravensteins to Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Braeburn, Northern Spy and Pink Lady, we presented you with Apple Springrolls, Apple Butter, Apple Tartlets, Roast Pork with Apples, Apple and Chestnut Stuffing and a concoction of Apple Juice, Apple Cider and Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey. (Click here http://forums.egulle...cook-off-index/ for the complete eG Cook-Off Index). Apples are a worthy fruit no doubt, but today we enter into a more passionate and exotic realm of fruit cookery with the launch of eG Cook-Off #68: Citrus Fruits. Late January is the peak of the citrus season. At least it is up here in the Pacific Northwest, where nary a blood orange or key lime ever drops from a local tree. This time of year our markets are groaning with huge orbs of Texas grapefruit, pommelos from Mexico, oranges from Florida and exotic citrus flown in from far-flung Asian ports. Our neighbors to the South, the agri-wonderland of California, delivers mandarins, minneolas and blood oranges to Spokane within just a few days of being plucked from the tree. And I can’t get enough. I’ll never forget the huge grapefruits, larger than two fists, that Mother would serve us for breakfast. She indulged our sweet tooths by showering the cut halves of fruit with sugar. We never had to struggle with scooping out the meaty supremes. Like a fine surgeon, Mother cut the fruit precisely so we’d be able to maneuver every tangy, sweet segment using the serrated silver spoon handed down by my Grandmother. I imagine my Grandmother Edna May Pink serving freshly squeezed grapefruit juice in small, hand-cut crystal glasses as a “first-course” at her ladies' bridge club luncheons. Or maybe a simple dessert course of a broiled half grapefruit studded with a candied cherry and served in a wide crystal goblet, the little silver spoon to the side. Oh, the memories of grapefruit. One fondly dreams of the warm, boozy, classic French “Baba Au Rhum” surrounded by a center of “glace' oranges” and decorated with tiny, crisp, candied tangerine leaves to close the curtain on a grand feast at L'atelier de Joel Robuchon in Las Vegas. I long for a suckling baby pig, no more than 12 pounds, turning ever so slowly on the rotisserie spit over glowing embers of white oak, the sweet scent of a pineapple-tangerine glaze dripping onto the coals as the crackling, golden skin shines. For our Cook-Off, I’m thinking of starting with a lemon souffle recipe that was served during the reign of Edward VII. Citrus fruits were rare at the time and even the overly indulgent Edwardians considered them expensive, only to be served on important occasions. It's that time my friends. You have resolved to lose weight in the New Year. To eat better and to exercise. For a cook, that means challenging oneself to exercise creativity in the kitchen using a fruit that decidedly brings energy and good health. So off you go. Begin crafting your dish, create a shopping list and present us with "fruits" of your labors. Welcome to eG Cook-Off #68: Citrus Fruits. Broiled Grapefruit-
  19. 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/
  20. A gargantuan haunch of beef for Christmas dinner, ca. 1957 As a child in the late 1950's, our Holiday table was graced with turkey at Thanksgiving.....and another turkey at Christmas. It wasn't until the 1970's that my Father finally made good on his Christmas promise to "give us a Christmas Goose" by actually cooking one. To this day, I remember how little meat there was and it was dark, tough and chewy. We had indeed been given a Christmas Goose! Yet in later years Father (who always coated the meat with some type of rub), and Mother (who cooked the roast), redeemed themselves and cooked regal prime ribs of beef for Christmas dinner. The Holiday roast, (as my UK friend Helen calls it), is a thing of beauty and an adventure for cooks around the globe. And while turkey and prime rib still reign supreme, I for one like to venture to the farm and forest to procure other delights for the Holiday roast. Right now I have duck (which will be slow-roasted and served with prized wild huckleberries) and a leg of lamb in the freezer, but I'll be adding some wild Scottish grouse, wood pigeon and a fresh American ham to the larder for roasts throughout the Holiday season. Please join me in celebrating the Holiday roast with a special eG Cook-Off. We place no boundaries or regulations on your cookery. Whether it's sous vide, stuffed, smoked, barbecued or braised, roasted, grilled, broiled, fried or flamed, all manner of cooking techniques are welcome into the discussion and feast. See our complete Cook-Off Index here: https://forums.egullet.org/topic/143994-egullet-recipe-cook-off-index/
  21. 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?
  22. Welcome to the latest eGullet Cook-off, Chicken and Dumplings, Number 51 in our Cook-Off Series. You’ll find the complete Cook-off Index here. The eGullet Cook-off Series has covered such far-ranging and delicious topics as Cold Soups to Ossobuco and Enchiladas. Our last Cook-Off captivated us with the earthy aromas of a slow-braised Lamb Stew wafting through the kitchen, (and down the halls of an apartment building). As the cold, windy drafts of January blow us into a new decade, there are still plenty of winter days ahead and that's the perfect weather to savor a favorite comfort dish, Chicken and Dumplings. (For more discussion on this classic dish, you can read through our Chicken and Dumplings Topic here). While I consider myself somewhat of an accomplished cook when it comes to another classic comfort dish, Chicken Pie with Biscuits, I’m a novice Chicken and Dumplings cook. As I began to contemplate the task of cooking Chicken and Dumplings, I soon discovered that while both dishes share some common cooking techniques, they also have a number of subtle yet quite distinctive differences. I also uncovered a number of subtleties within the hundreds of recipes one finds in the Chicken and Dumplings library. The 1913 edition of the Boston Cooking School Cookbook by Fannie Merritt Farmer doesn’t include a specific recipe for Chicken and Dumplings. Like other cookbooks of the day, it does have a recipe for a “Chicken Fricassee,” described in part as “a fowl, cleaned and cut-up” and then sautéed in pork fat and stewed in either water or stock and served with a white or brown sauce. Dumplings were prepared separately from the chicken, then steamed and served with gravy on the side. According to the 1945 edition of the “American Women’s Cookbook,” (Consolidated Book Publishers of Chicago), the opening instructions called for “cleaning and singeing the feathers of the bird.” Most cooks were apparently still raising chickens in their backyards in the 1940’s, (or at least buying freshly killed birds at the market). The cook was instructed to simmer the bird “in plain water for a very long time-an old fowl will require at least 3 or 4 hours slow cooking.” Folks must have liked their food plain back then as the instructions continued with these gentle words-“if desired, an onion and a stalk of celery may be cooked with the chicken before the dumplings are added.” The chicken was removed from the pot and the stewing liquid was thickened into a gravy with flour and milk. The dumplings were cooked in the gravy, which was then spooned over the chicken before the platter was brought to the table. I typically use 4 ½ lb. roasting chickens to make chicken stock and for the base of stews. Should I be using large roasting hens or capons instead? I’ve used frozen capons in the past for braised chicken dishes, and while they are advertised as having “fuller” flavor, I’ve found them bland and the meat stringy. I assume that’s due in part to the freezer burn they acquire by sitting for years in the back cases of supermarket freezers. I’m wondering what others have experienced with larger chickens. I’ve always been under the impression that for stewed chicken dishes one uses the chicken to make a stock enriched with vegetables and aromatics and then the meat of the chicken is put back in the finished stock. Is a true Chicken and Dumpling dish made by poaching a chicken in plain water with no seasonings? Is the flavoring of the liquid a matter of regional or family heritage? Now following on that thought, can the “stew” for Chicken and Dumplings be thickened with a roux? Does it have to stay “nude” as it were? If we use a roux, can the roux be further thickened with cream or half and half? What about those dreaded little peas and carrots that go into a Chicken Pie? Are they banned in Chicken and Dumplings? What about pearl onions, sliced mushrooms, diced potatoes, or maybe some chopped celery added to our Chicken and Dumplings? And what about these little puffs of flour and shortening that we call Dumplings? Is it a pre-requisite that dumplings be made with all-purpose white flour? What about using whole wheat flour, or semolina, or cornmeal, or even blue cornmeal? Should we add some fresh herbs or some nice Oregon Rogue River Bleu cheese to our dumplings? Is it an afront to tradition to even suggest putting an artisanal cheese in your dumplings? And does the size of the dumpling matter? Should they be the size of the end of your thumb, or the size of a big softball? At this point I seem to have more questions than answers. I know I can adapt my Chicken and Biscuit recipe by substituting beautiful little Dumplings for the Biscuits and I know my rendition will be delicious. But will I be true in creating an authentic Chicken and Dumplings dish?
  23. “Then he would peel apples from Normandy, and cut them into thin, even half-moons, and toss them in a bowl of white wine…beat eggs and cream and nutmeg into a custard, and fill the shallow crust half full. He took the apple slices from the bowl one by one, almost faster than we could see...and laid them in a great, beautiful whorl, from the outside to the center, as perfect as a snail shell. He did it as effortlessly as a spider spins a web.” MFK Fisher, 1908-1992 Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher was arguably one of the greatest food writers of the 20th century. A poet and a storyteller, Mary Frances welcomed us into her kitchen through the art of the written word. She tempted us to step into her world of food, painting a picture in our minds of a simple fruit crafted into a fragrant, sweet, apple tart. As Fall approaches, I reflect on MFK’s memories of the apple and it serves as the inspiration for another volume in our popular eG Cook-Off series: Apples. (Click here http://forums.egullet.org/topic/143994-egullet-recipe-cook-off-index/ for the complete eG Cook-Off Index). A mere two hours drive from my home, Wenatchee, Washington, is known as the “Apple Capital of the World.” We’re just now starting to see the early apples in our markets, but the peak season in Washington will run from September into October. Let’s put on our aprons, practice rolling pastry dough and pairing apples with something decadent like truffles and foie gras. It’s time for an Apple Cook-Off. Washington Pink Lady Apple-
  24. Consider, if you will, the Schnitzel. The national treasure of Austria, the word Schnitzel is a diminutive of the word “sniz” or “slice.” A piece of meat, pounded thin, then coated in bread crumbs and fried. Traditionally served simply with slices of fresh lemon, a sprinkle of paprika and maybe a leaf or two of parsley. Dating back to about 1845, the most famous of the schnitzels is the Wienerschnitzel (the Swiss break it into two words-Wiener Schnitzel), always made with veal. But the Wienerschnitzel we are discussing must not, in any way, be confused with the fast food chain "Der Wienerschnitzel", founded in California in 1971, and to this day selling "wieners" - a.k.a. hot dogs - under a pseudo-Austrian affectation. Opened in 1905 by Johann Figlmüller in the heart of Vienna, restaurant Figlmüller Wollzeile has been known as the “Home of the Schnitzel.” Serving massive portions of schnitzel draped over plates and served with a side of Austrian potato salad. Schnitzel isn’t always made with pork. Nor is it always breaded and fried as we know it. Take the Walliser Schnitzel for example. A pork escalope with a pocket stuffed with dried apricots sautéed in white wine with ham, parsley, cheese and almonds. The Walliser schnitzel is brushed with a tangy mustard but never coated in breadcrumbs and fried in sauté pan in a shallow pool of butter. If you’ve ever trekked through the cities, towns and fairs that dot the state of Iowa, you’ve surely come across the beloved tenderloin sandwich. A large slab of thin pork, dipped, breaded and fried, then placed between a bun that covers literally a few inches of the beast. A Schnitzel sandwich if you will. Served dry, with mayonnaise, maybe a few dill pickle slices and you're tasting a slice of America's heartland. Tradition tells one that Schnitzel can also be made with mutton, chicken, pork, beef, turkey or reindeer. Today one could stretch the idea of the protein to include a “Tofu Schnitzel” perhaps topped with a spiced mixture of lentils and harissa. I happen to live in the Pacific Northwest where it is common for hunters to craft a schnitzel from venison or elk, the perfect treatment for lean wild game that doesn’t need more than a kiss of the hot skillet to get crispy. Now the dip and fry are constant points of the schnitzel debate. Dipped in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs is the primary technique. Or is that egg mixed with milk, or condensed milk? Is it a double-dip in the flour and egg? And do we use fresh bread crumbs, panko or bread crumbs with parmesan? Wouldn’t pork lard be the best fat for frying a pork schnitzel? Or do we use butter, shortening, canola, vegetable or olive oil? As you can see we have some work to do here. Welcome to eG Cook-Off #76 and Consider the Schnitzel. (See the complete eG Cook-Off Index here.)
  25. 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. I think that T. S. Eliot was wrong: July, not April, is the cruelest month, at least when it comes to food. Many of us in the northern hemisphere are struggling with hot, humid conditions (conditions many of us in the southern hemisphere, especially those near the equator, tolerate year-round), and for folks in the U.S. the food-dreary holiday of Independence Day arrives soon. Who wants to be in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove, or out back, pushing lousy franks around a grill? (Of course, if you were in on the previous cook-off, you know the solution to lousy franks....) So, for our eleventh Cook-Off, we're going to chill out with ice cream, gelato, and sherbet. How you define those things -- dairy or no? egg custard or no? -- is entirely up to you. "But frozen treats require special equipment!" you say. Well, er... yes and no. If you're game, there are ways to make ice cream et al with buckets, ice, and salt; perhaps a few intrepid members will show us the way. However, a Donvier ice cream maker does a great job, is inexpensive retail, and is widely available on eBay and at your local thrift stores, flea markets, and yard sales. There's even a thread here devoted to inexpensive ice cream makers, as well as one devoted to machines that don't have those pesky frozen canisters. As you can see, those frosty eGulleteers have been doing some homework for us. We've got a thread devoted to ice cream recipes and tips, another concerning interesting ice cream recipes, the chocolate ice cream thread, another for sorting out ice cream making problems, one about sorbets and ice creams in general, even one on ice cream made from pig brains. There are also many, many sorbet threads and a few gelato threads, all of which you can find by clicking on the "Search" button in the top right of every window. So grab your cream or milk, fruit, chocolate, herbs, spices, and/or pig brains, and... Wait. On second thought, don't grab the pig brains. I don't even wanna know about that. So grab your cream or milk, fruit, chocolate, herbs, and/or spices and have at it!
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