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Do you have a favorite quick recipe that you take to parties or potlucks? And do you share your recipes?


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In another thread, @cteavin asked us what recipe we would be remembered for. Mine was a very simple anchovy dip. And it brought back memories. Years ago I worked for a catering company in Reno and our biggest client was United Airlines. We furnished all the food that went on the airplanes. Yes, in those days they actually had real food. Just before Thanksgiving the stewardesses went on strike, the airline shut down and that cut our business by more than half. About three-quarters of the staff was laid off. The manager of the previous restaurant that I had worked for had taken a new job as manager of the Reno Hidden Valley Country Club. He called me and asked if I wouldn't help out through the holidays or at least until the strike was over. I accepted but with much trepidation because the chef had a reputation of being quite unpredictable. In fact he had a reputation of being an SBO. He had a habit of throwing cleavers at people if he got upset. I decided to try it out anyway and just keep my head down.

Imagine my surprise when I met him and Eb was a quiet, docile little Danish man who treated me like his new best friend. The one thing in the kitchen that did seem to irritate him all the time was the meat slicer. It was an old Hobart slicer about 30 years old. It was so old that it was red enamel and anyone that knows Hobarts knows that that they are all beautiful silver machines. However the board refused to buy him a new one and there was nothing he could do about it. His favorite method of washing it was to put it on a cart, roll it to the dishwashing station, and spray it down with the power hose over the drain. One night after a particularly busy night, he rolled it to the station and I looked up just as he picked up the end of the cart and dashed it on to the floor where it broke in about four pieces. He looked and saw that I had seen him. He turned bright red, and muttered something about having to buy a new one, now. At that moment, I realized that he thought that I was a spy for the new manager. When nothing was ever said about it he decided that I was okay and truly became a friend.

That wasn't the end of the story though because the board decided to see if the slicer couldn't be fixed before they bought a new one. Hobart sent a loaner that was a beautiful slicer and he immediately fell in love with it. Unfortunately, four weeks later, back came the old slicer. I think that was the first time I ever saw a grown man sit down on the floor and cry.

One of Eb's idiosyncrasies was that he jealously guarded his cooking recipes and tips. He even had a little kitchen about 8 foot square with a louvered door in front of it that he would go into to mix up his specialties. After the slicer incident, I could ask him anything and I learned more from him than any other chef that I worked for. Back then, canapes where the big thing and he had one spread that was so good and baffled everyone because they could not figure out what was in it. He told me the secret of the spread and I've used it for almost 50 years. I have shared it many times but never while I was in Reno and I never used it in any restaurant where I worked.

So, to make a long story even longer, my favorite quick recipe to take to a party is that anchovy spread or dip.

Edited by Tropicalsenior (log)
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I can make some lovely stuff, but my favorite thing to do is call ahead and see if the host needs something, and would welcome me as kitchen helper and clean-upper. Some people love parties but freak/overthink entertaining as if they will be judged.

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6 minutes ago, heidih said:

I can make some lovely stuff, but my favorite thing to do is call ahead and see if the host needs something, and would welcome me as kitchen helper and clean-upper. Some people love parties but freak/overthink entertaining as if they will be judged.

What a wonderful thing to do. And you are so right. I have a friend that is a marvelous cook, her tables are gorgeous and her house is perfection personified. However she is always a nervous wreck and can never enjoy a party because she feels that she is being judged and always wonders what she forgot.

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1 hour ago, Tropicalsenior said:

We furnished all the food that went on the airplanes. Yes, in those days they actually had real food. Just before Thanksgiving the stewardesses went on strike, the airline shut down and that cut our business by more than half.

 

I remember those, but I didn't know they offered food...

 

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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Tostitos Kakimochi, a North American twist on a Japanese snack.  We used to teach hardshell gourd workshops in our large garage going back some years (my avatar photo is a hardshell gourd).  The most wonderful workshop we ever held was for a church group of immigrant Japanese folk...in fact we held a second one a couple of months later...and one of the ladies brought this incredible snack.  Delicious.  You can't eat just one.  The maker generously gave me the recipe and since then I've made them many times when attending gourd workshops in the USA as our contribution.  I always print out slips with the recipe on them and it's not long each time before the Tostitos are gone and so are the recipe slips.  

 

Of course, now you can find all sorts of variations of this recipe online...but this was pre-online days.   And the garage is no longer clean enough for such goings-on.  And we no longer teach.  And our traveling days are behind us. 

 

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Darienne

 

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, Darienne said:

Tostitos Kakimochi

They really sound delicious so I asked mr. Google for a recipe and lo and behold, this is what came up. Thank you!

Edited by Tropicalsenior (log)
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牙签牛肉 (yá qiān niú ròu), literally 'toothpick beef'.

 

Thinly sliced slivers of beef, approx 5cm x 3cm, marinated in soy sauce and garlic then sprinkled with threaded onto toothpicks, spiced as below, then deep fried. Can be served hot or cold.

 

Spicing

 

- Type a) Chilli flakes and cumin (illustrated)

- Type b) Cumin and sesame seeds

I usually make a batch of each: type a) for the sensible people and type b) for the chilli wimps. 😃

 

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Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, liuzhou said:

literally 'toothpick beef'.

I have a question about the beef in China. Is it all free range beef? Do they age it in any way? Does it have any fat marbling? Whenever I have had any beef stir-fry or  anyting of the type that you were talking about in a good Chinese restaurant, the beef seems to be very tender. Is it in the marinade that they use?

I could really use some advice because the beef here is terrible. It is a free range, Brahma crossbreed that has no fat whatsoever. The closest thing that they ever come to aging is if the truck on the way from the slaughterhouse to the butcher shop gets a flat tire. Thank you.

Edited by Tropicalsenior (log)
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30 minutes ago, Tropicalsenior said:

I have a question about the beef in China. Is it all free range beef? Do they age it in any way? Does it have any fat marbling? Whenever I have had any beef stir-fry or  anyting of the type that you were talking about in a good Chinese restaurant, the beef seems to be very tender. Is it in the marinade that they use?

I could really use some advice because the beef here is terrible. It is a free range, Brahma crossbreed that has no fat whatsoever. The closest thing that they ever come to aging is if the truck on the way from the slaughterhouse to the butcher shop gets a flat tire. Thank you.

 

I'd guess none of it is free range. It isn't aged. It can be lean or very fatty depending on how you want to use it.  For stir frying most people use a very lean tenderloin cut. Some marinades help tenderise it, but often it's not necessary. I stir fried very lean beef tonight and the marinade was just garlic, ginger, chilli and Shaoxing wine, none of which tenderise meat, so far as I know. It was melt-in-the-mouth tender when cooked.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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16 minutes ago, Tropicalsenior said:

How long do you usually marinate the meat?

 

10 to 15 minutes is enough. I don't really time it. Usually until I've finished cleaning and preparing all the other ingredients for my dish. For tonights meal, it couldn't have been much more than five mnutes. Short marination times are typical in Chinese cooking.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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32 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

 

10 to 15 minutes is enough. I don't really time it. Usually until I've finished cleaning and preparing all the other ingredients for my dish. For tonights meal, it couldn't have been much more than five mnutes. Short marination times are typical in Chinese cooking.

 

32 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

 

10 to 15 minutes is enough. I don't really time it. Usually until I've finished cleaning and preparing all the other ingredients for my dish. For tonights meal, it couldn't have been much more than five mnutes. Short marination times are typical in Chinese cooking.

Yes I don't buy the whole tenderizing thing. More for flavor. When the boys taught themselves to cook they learned that slicing method and quick cook in the pan were their friends. They bought the cheapest beef. Sure feed lot finished. No heavy mastication needed.

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