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Challenge: Name 3 Little Things


gulfporter
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What are three little foodie things you do regularly to rather routine food items that make people say, "Why didn't I think of that?"  And, then, when you visit them, you find they've adopted your little trick.  

 

I'll start: 

 

No matter what the soup or stew recipe is, I make a fresh gremolata to spoon over it at the table.

 

I keep a can of whipped cream in the fridge expressly to top our morning coffee.  Puts an early smile on everyone's face. 

 

Whenever I serve sangria (I'm partial to white sangrias), no matter the recipe, I use frozen grapes as the 'ice cubes.'

Edited by gulfporter (log)
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It's no big deal, but toasting seeds and spices before grinding has been surprising, and a useful technique, to some people.

 

Saving Parmesan rinds to flavor soups, stocks, and stews, and to make Parmesan broth, has been adopted by a few people I know.

 

Gelatinizing wine to use in certain desserts, such as making Chardonnay jelly.

 

Adding dried coconut flakes into my homemade almond milk to make a coconut-almond milk.  Great on some cereals, and I like to drink it very cold and straight from the fridge.

Edited by Shel_B (log)

 ... Shel


 

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To make a small cream cheese or mousse type pie absolutely fabulous for special occasions, I tend to cover it with a dark chocolate ganache topping.  If you can cover it with chocolate...I do.

 

That's only one, but it's one I live by.

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Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

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In my case it is my monthly menu and its simplicity  that makes people  go,  oh why didnt I think of that.  No rotation or anything like that, only 7 main ingredients and four  recipes per ingredient  makes in theory a month  worth of food.

 

Oh and my rib stews and chilli, cheap meat and taste like it cost a fortune and my knack for making leftover into  lovely new meals,  I always  say left over is tomorrows treasures. 

Cheese is you friend, Cheese will take care of you, Cheese will never betray you, But blue mold will kill me.

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A dash of sherry in soups or anything that needs a bit of extra flavour. Stir in just before serving. Or, for lentil soup in particular, a finishing touch of sherry vinegar. Balsamic can also be used depending on the type of soup. Also, you can glam up most creamy soups with a dollop of sour cream or greek yogourt on top, along with a bit of freshly ground pepper and/or some finely cut herbs. Even canned soup can be quickly doctored up to be company fare with these little additions.


 


I like colour on my plates. White plates, colourful food. Tempts the appetite. Gets oohs and ahs even before anyone tastes the food. I just can't serve (or eat) an entire plate of solely brown food. Get out the fresh herbs and strew them liberally on top if all you have is brown stew. Even before I could cook well, years ago, I had a sense that I could improve the taste of food by improving the looks of food - and when I got those raves it certainly increased my confidence, which then encouraged me to widen my repertoire. I noticed after I did that, when I went for dinner at others houses, they began adding these little embellishments too.


 


Tarragon is an underused herb. Use it sparingly but try it with chicken (the logical choice) but also with pork, seafood (shrimp and salmon in particular), mushrooms and in salad dressings for what, for most people, is an unexpected accent.


 


A touch of cinnamon in espresso, or swizzle coffee with a cinnamon stick. You can add ground cinnamon to the grounds before brewing or sprinkle it on afterward.


 


Nothing magical or unknown about any of the above and one would think that just about anyone who cooks would know/think of these little touches but apparently they don't.


Edited by Deryn (log)
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interesting plating

 

while cooking, use enough salt, and properly

 

use fleur de sel or other finishing salt

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"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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Blanch/parboil beef and pork bones (and wash/scrub them uner the running tap) before making stock with them.  (This is an old technique, but it seems many people don't do it or are not aware of it)

Not to be beholden to using ingredients only from cuisine xxx when making a dish in the style of cuisine xxx.

Use lateral thinking when imagining a dish, cross-cultural especially.

There are many others.

 

(BTW, I gather you have only Western-type soups and stews in mind when you state that you make gremolata to spoon over them, "no matter what the soup or stew recipe is".  I think I would find myself reluctant to do it with something like this, or this, or this, etc etc, as just the most recent examples of some soups I've made and posted about on just the most recent dinner thread.  :-)  I.e. many E/SE Asian type soups and stews would, um, clash with gremolata spooned into and over it; but I imagine some may benefit, yes...it might be an idea with this - but with many other soups (and the many stews I post about) it would be an iffy combination.)

Edited by huiray (log)
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(BTW, I gather you have only Western-type soups and stews in mind when you state that you make gremolata to spoon over them, "no matter what the soup or stew recipe is".  I think I would find myself reluctant to do it with something like this, or this, or this, etc etc, as just the most recent examples of some soups I've made and posted about on just the most recent dinner thread.  :-)  I.e. many E/SE Asian type soups and stews would, um, clash with gremolata spooned into and over it; but I imagine some may benefit, yes...it might be an idea with this - but with many other soups (and the many stews I post about) it would be an iffy combination.)

Of course I'm including Asian soups.   Asian-style gremolatas I have made include variations of the following: lime juice, lime zest, Thai bird chiles, green onion, garlic, shallots, chives, ginger, tamarind, peanuts, coconut, sesame seeds,sesame oil, cilantro, basil, mint, in whatever combo hits me at the time of tasting the soup.  Whatever complements or is even in, the soup or stew (I'm sure I've left out some others).    

Edited by gulfporter (log)
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Of course I'm including Asian soups.   Asian-style gremolatas I have made include variations of the following: lime juice, lime zest, Thai bird chiles, green onion, garlic, shallots, chives, ginger, tamarind, peanuts, coconut, sesame seeds,sesame oil, cilantro, basil, mint, in whatever combo hits me at the time of tasting the soup.  Whatever complements or is even in, the soup or stew (I'm sure I've left out some others).    

 

OK, then we will have to disagree about spooning gremolata over ANY kind of soup, even the "Asian" (now do you mean E/SE Asian, not South Asian or West Asian?) ones, over ANY kind of "Asian" soup.  But it would seem you like it, so carry on.

 

(Bird's Nest Soup...Sharks Fin Soup...Old Cucumber Soup...Double-boiled Pigs Brain Soup...etc...adding a gremolata...personally, eh, not for me)

Edited by huiray (log)
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I skewer several different pickled items on short skewers to place alongside all sandwiches. Tomolives, Pickled Okra, pepperoncini etc.Adds value to the plate.

 

Cooked cheese ravioli in homemade chicken soup.

 

I quick pickle onions for burgers so their flavor pops

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Wawa Sizzli FTW!

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Come sit by me.  We can be boring together.

That's three of us. I'm reading this and thinking, "Now why didn't I think of that?"  :laugh:

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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Remember, gulfporter asked for not just "little foodie things" that you do, but ones that also have been adopted by those you've cooked for.

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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A small amount of hot sauce( not enough to make it "hot")to stews and soups. It brightens the flavors.

Would that be Western-type soups and stews or Asian-type soups and stews (and if so, from what specific region)? Just want to be clear on that. :raz: 

 

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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A few well received ones....

 

A touch of fish sauce.

The grating frozen butter for use in biscuits and the like trick.

Sorting out and pre-pressure cooking connective tissue when sausage making (this is a new one and it makes an amazing difference!)

Small-batch indoor cold smoking.

Using a garlic press to easily crack peppercorns and the like.

Preparing shelf stable pressure cooked stock directly in the canning jars. Saves a few steps and works great.

Steaming 'hard' eggs instead of boiling.

No sweat conserva and crystal clear tomato water.

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~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

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Sorting out and pre-pressure cooking connective tissue when sausage making (this is a new one and it makes an amazing difference!)

I'd like to hear more about that one if you're willing to share.

 

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Of course I'm including Asian soups.   Asian-style gremolatas I have made include variations of the following: lime juice, lime zest, Thai bird chiles, green onion, garlic, shallots, chives, ginger, tamarind, peanuts, coconut, sesame seeds,sesame oil, cilantro, basil, mint, in whatever combo hits me at the time of tasting the soup.  Whatever complements or is even in, the soup or stew (I'm sure I've left out some others).

But, but:

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."

I bet they're all good but are they gremolata?

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

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But, but:

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."

I bet they're all good but are they gremolata?

When I type "gremolata' at epicurious.com, I got five pages of recipes.  Ingredients included: grapes, jalapenos, onions, pinenuts, pomegranate, horseradish, tarragon, dried chilies, dill, spinach, hazelnut, rosemary, chives, grapefruit zest, pecans, fennel....it goes on and on.  

 

If Bon Appetit and the former Gourmet are comfortable calling it gremolata, so am I!  

Edited by gulfporter (log)
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1. Echoing Alex: salting sufficiently, and early enough in the cooking that the salt is absorbed into the food

 

2. Toasted ground Sichuan peppercorns are fantastic in all kinds of marinades, stews and chilis (not in ma quantities)

 

3. Anchovies. Nuff said.

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