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  1. Welcome to the eGullet Cook-Off XLIII. Click here for the Cook-Off index. In the past, we've taken a look at braised brisket in a topic devoted to anything and everything about the dish. This cook-off will dive even more deeply into that most complex of cuts. Ahhh, brisket...that wondrous cut of, in this case, beef (other animals have briskets too) - from the front part of the animal...take a look and see from where it comes... The brisket is the front part of the breast, and a whole boneless brisket weighs anywhere from 10 to 20 pounds. A brisket is generally divided into two parts, called the flat and the point, with the flat cut being leaner and the point cut having (imo) more flavor due to it's extra fat cap (btw, the point is often called the deckel). It is also an inexpensive cut that requires long, slow cooking to break down the collagen in the connective muscle tissues in order to achieve tenderness. The fat helps to keep it nice and moist. Briskets can be prepared in many ways. In some places, the whole brisket is smoked - low and slow, sometimes for as long as 24 hours. Lots of brisket is corned (a wet cure), and then cooked up with potatoes and cabbage, or, sliced and piled high on a sandwich, lunchtime dreams are fulfilled...often with pickles and cole slaw, but hold the mayo, please. In Asian cooking, brisket is often used as a wonderful base for soup - think beef pho, and you'll get the picture. Pastrami, by the way, is prepared in a similar way to corned beef - but dry cured and then smoked. Now, for our purposes and this cook-off, we're going to look at braised brisket. Whether you braise it on top of the stove or in the oven, wrapped in aluminum foil or naked, with wine, beef broth, water (liquids are necessary because this is braised brisket, after all) it's time to get out those heavy duty pots and pans, prepare your mirepoix, and share with us your most wonderful braised brisket recipes.
  2. 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.
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Q8zTVlZ19c Mmmm. The sweet, spiced aroma of a freshly baked pumpkin pie wafting over the Thanksgiving table. A large bowl of chilled, sweetened cream is passed around the table, a cool dollop of cream cascading over a slice of “homemade” pumpkin pie. (In many households, removing a frozen pie from a box and putting it in a hot oven is considered “homemade.”). Americans can’t seem to get enough pumpkin pie during the Holidays. Some 50 million pumpkin pies are sold for Thanksgiving dinner and according to astute company marketing executives, 1 million of the pies are sold at Costco. And Mrs. Smith sells a few million of her oven-ready, frozen pumpkin pie. In August of 2013, we debuted the Summer Squash Cook-Off (http://forums.egullet.org/topic/145452-cook-off-63-summer-squash/) where we presented a number of tasty zucchini and patty pan dishes showcasing summer squash. But our squash adventure wasn’t over. Today we expand our squash lexicon with the debut of eG Cook-Off #71: Winter Squash. (Click here http://forums.egulle...cook-off-index/ for the complete eG Cook-Off Index). Cut into jack-o-lanterns for Halloween and crafted into cheesecake for Thanksgiving, pumpkin reigns supreme each Fall. But pumpkin is just one variety of winter squash--squash that grows throughout the summer and is harvested in fall. The acorn, butternut, spaghetti, hubbard, kabocha, red kuri, delicata, calabaza and cushaw are but a few of the many winter squash cousins of the pumpkin. Winter squash is not always the best looking vegetable in the produce section--knobby, gnarled and multi-colored, winter squash has a hard, tough skin. Peel back the unfashionable skin and sweet, rich squash meat is revealed. Winter squash cookery doesn’t end after the last slice of pumpkin pie. You can stuff it with a forcemeat of duck confit and sautéed mushrooms, purée roasted squash into a creamy soup garnished with lardons or slowly braise squash with peppers and corn in a spicy Caribbean stew. Please join us in sharing, learning and savoring winter squash.
  4. 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.
  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 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!
  6. 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.
  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.. 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!
  8. 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.)
  9. 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.)
  10. 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!
  11. 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 …
  12. 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?
  13. Welcome to the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off! Click here for the Cook-Off index. This time, we're focusing on cold noodles, suggested by Society Member "Hiroyuki" as a great way to beat the Summer heat. Some version of a cold noodle dish can be found in virtually any cusine in the world. Whether you've wanted to try your hand at Somen (Japanese cold noodles), Nang Myung (Korean), or Aunt Irene's Cold Pasta Salad let's go for it! Let's talk about the various types of noodles and each one's virtues! Homemade vs. dried? Dressings and additions? Nosing around the forums brought up several topics: "Pasta Salad" the topic "Cold Noodles w/ Szechuan v. Dan Dan Mein" "Pasta Salad for Father's Day" "Pasta Salad lacking Nuance" "Nyang Mun (Naengmyun) Korean cold noodle dish" RecipeGullet offers these great looking recipes: "Cold Peanut Noodles" "Orzo Salad with Apricots" "Curried Macaroni Salad" I am not familar with anything other than cold pasta salad with ranch dressing dumped on it (I know, I know, but my kids consider it the required side dish for BBQ) - so I am looking for cookbooks that can help me out. I am considering the following: "The Noodle Cook Book: Delicious Recipes for Crispy, Stir-Fried, Boiled, Sweet, Spicy, Hot and Cold Noodles" by Hayto Kunumi "Noodle" by Terry Durack and Geoff Lung "James McNair's Cold Pasta" by James McNair "Garde Manger, The Art and Craft of the Cold Kitchen" by The Cuinary Institute of America Any other good cookbook suggestions out there? Who's up for some cold comfort in July?
  14. Welcome to the eGullet Cook-Off XLV! Click here for the Cook-Off index. After our recent braised brisket and ossobuco Cook-Offs, we thought it was time for a change. We're going from soft and succulent meat to crisp and crunchy fried potatoes. Whether you call them fries, frites or chips, it's time to get the deep fryer (or pot of oil) going. Fries are a popular topic in the eG Forums. For a seemingly simple dish, there's a lot to discuss. First, we need to know what kind of potatoes to use. The standard seems to be the Idaho potato, but I prefer a good red, while some of our members like to experiment with sweet potatoes. Next, what kind of oil do you use? Peanut, canola, soybean? Is there a difference? How about duck fat? Then there's the method - fry once? Fry twice at different temperatures? Do you peel them, soak them in water, use a deep fryer or a pot of oil? Now is the time to try the Robuchon Method if you haven't yet. Finally, what's your condiment of choice? Ketchup, mayo and vinagars (malt or white) are common, but I'm sure Society members are getting creative. Potatoes are still inexpensive so stock up, get your knife out, heat the oil and tell us how you do fries.
  15. 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.
  16. 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-
  17. Beer. How does one introduce the subject of beer into a culinary arena? Like our two previous Cook-Offs (Apples and Citrus), the genre of beer cookery is vast—so overwhelming that it's hard to know where to start. At eGullet we have the answer; welcome to eG Cook-Off #69: Cooking with Beer. (Click here http://forums.egulle...cook-off-index/ for the complete eG Cook-Off Index). My first experience with beer wasn’t of the drinking persuasion, yet rather, an agricultural education in the 60’s about those tall, creeping vines that look like overgrown marionberry bushes. As a kid growing up in the Willamette Valley in Western Oregon, I was born into the land of hops—the plant whose fragrant flowers impart beer with a floral, herbal perfume and bitter, yet sweet flavor. My father worked for the Oregon Department of Agriculture and one of his primary responsibilities was working with commodity commissions to promote Oregon products to the world. I was destined to inherit my father's love of the bounty of Oregon and the wonder of hops. During the hot, lazy days of August, Father would drive us through the lush farmlands just north of Salem that are home to some of Oregon’s finest hop farms—communities like Woodburn, Gervais and Hubbard (home of the Oregon Hop Commission). To a novice, seeing how hops grow for the first time is stunning—a high-wire act of row after row of thick vines climbing toward the sky through a vast grid system of twine, wire and towering poles. Once harvested, Oregon hops are shipped worldwide and end up flavoring a huge variety of different styles of beer—everything from Budweiser, Coors Light and Miller Genuine Draft to trendy, artisanal styles of beer like IPA’s, Pale Ales, Stouts, beers flavored with raspberries and apricots, and the rare yet coveted smoked porters. Today, Oregon is known for being home to a number of highly-praised artisanal breweries, but growing up in the 60’s, my parents' taste for beer was simple, a sign of those times: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZh66cyCCE8 Mother didn’t include much beer in her cooking, but in the summer she would braise locally-made German sausage in beer, handing them off to Father to grill on the Weber along with a mixture of sweet peppers and onions from the garden. Unlike seasonal, geographically limited ingredients, beer sees no boundaries. Yes, we’ll see seasonal beers spiked with pumpkin in the fall and apricots in the spring, but the crafting of beer, and thus cooking with beer, isn’t dependent on a seasonal growing cycle like most fruits and vegetables. And think of the storage advantages of beer. It doesn’t need a temperature-controlled environment nor does it spoil if it isn’t used within three days. Buy beer today and cook with it next month if you wish. A good starting point for cooking with beer is to consider the flavors that go into the making of beer—the grain, the water, the malt, the hops and flavoring agents, the style of the particular beer—then build your dish on those flavors. Beer-Braised Venison Stew in a rich, dark, stout beer gravy or silky Alaskan Black Cod napped with a sauce made from rare smoked porter—the possibilities of cooking with beer are endless. I'm working on a dish of braised beef cheeks, caramelized onions and puff pastry studded with English stilton. Let's get cooking with beer.
  18. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRIUbFLjtX0 Fortunately, Lloyd only got the accent wrong. “Shrimp on the Barbie” was a catch phrase that grew out of the smash-hit 1986 film “Crocodile Dundee” starring rugged Australian Paul Hogan. Yet Australians and Austrians alike, folks the world over for that matter, share a taste for shrimp grilled over an open flame. Summer is the perfect time to introduce our latest Cook-off, eG Cook-Off #70, Shellfish Grilled Over an Open Flame. (Click here http://forums.egulle...cook-off-index/ for the complete eG Cook-Off Index). Wikipedia defines shellfish as a term for “exoskeleton-bearing aquatic invertebrates including various species of molluscs, crustaceans and echinoderms.” However, biological language can often be confusing, (at least to a humble home cook like me), so I include clams, mussels, oysters, cockles, scallops, shrimp, lobster, crayfish and crabs under the umbrella of shellfish. Sea urchin, cuttlefish, octopus and squid also fall under the guise of the term “shellfish.” Culinary definitions aside, never restrain yourself when it comes to creativity during a Cook-Off. While grilled lobster with drawn butter is a classic, what about grilled lobster with smoked paprika butter and grilled pineapple salsa? A new take on grilling shellfish. I for one am stocking my grilling pantry with the fixings of a spicy Northwest seafood stew—clams, mussels, Dungeness crab, prawns, salmon and halibut—all cooked over an open flame. I’m also pondering a bowl of steaming miso broth, thick rice noodles and grilled oysters. As for the fire? In the Pacific Northwest we favor alder and fruitwoods for a flavorful yet mild smoke that allows the seafood to be the star of the dish. If briquettes or propane flames your fire, Bob’s your Uncle. http://www.pond5.com/stock-footage/11778127/man-woman-serve-barbecue-bbq-1960s-vintage-film-8mm-retro-ho.html My Father (not the poor fellow in this video), wrapped shellfish and salmon in foil and put it on the barbecue. We were having “barbecued” seafood for dinner. For years I wondered, “what’s the point?” We were simply steaming sweet, succulent Oregon shrimp in foil with lemon and butter. It was delicious for sure, but I wondered where the “barbecue” flavor was coming from. I wouldn’t think of wrapping shellfish in foil today—I want that char, those blackened, caramelized bit, that smoky flavor to come through when I grill shellfish over an open flame. Go clam digging. Trap a crab. Net some crayfish. Visit your fishmonger. Let’s grill some shellfish.
  19. 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/
  20. Raspberries, blackberries, loganberries, marionberries, gooseberries and huckleberries. Peaches, apricots, plums and pluots. And don’t forget the cherries. Pies and ice cream. In a cake, a clafouti or a cookie. Cobblers, crisps, compote’s and Betty’s. Whichever fruit you pick, whichever recipe you choose, there’s no denying the sweetness, the juiciness, the lushness of summer fruits. Yet we never limit our creativity at eGullet, so let’s go beyond the boundaries of sweet dishes and showcase the piquant notes of summer fruits in savory recipes. Blackberry jelly with grilled quail you say? Summer fruits evoke fond childhood memories—the ultimate expression of the words “farm-to-table.” And we each have our own coveted summer fruit recipes, and for me that means the huckleberry, the wild, elusive berries that grow in the high mountain reaches of my native Pacific Northwest. Summer fruits don’t need a lengthy introduction, no limitations on your creativity are necessary. I for one have a number of dishes I’ll be sharing, and I know you’ll enjoy me in tasting the bounty of summer fruits. See our complete Cook-Off Index here: https://forums.egullet.org/topic/143994-egullet-recipe-cook-off-index/
  21. 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/
  22. 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/
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. “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-
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