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Marlene

Cooking with "All About Braising" by Molly Stevens (Part 1)

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I just made the tuna pot roast with tomato, capers and basil. The sauce was good (though a bit scanty, I felt) and I really like the anchovy/garlic/basil paste idea -- next time I'd make even more than she suggests because it flavors the meaty tuna really well, but I have messed up the cooking time somehow because the tuna came out really dry. Which is a bummer because a) it costs a fortune and b) dry tuna is basically inedible. First of all, it didn't form a nice crust when I sauteed it, which I did over high-ish heat probably did for too long, about 3 - 4 minutes each side to try to get that browning thing happening instead of the 2 minutes she recommends. Then, I braised it, basting at a faint simmer for the time she gave -- 20 minutes or so, but I think it would have been done in more like ten. I think it might be worth trying again, but this time I'd respect the 2 minutes searing time and be really vigilant about checking for doneness well before the recommended time.

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Greenwish, I think if you go above thread, all of that has experience with this book would agree that her temps are too high!


Edited by snowangel (log)

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patti   
This one looks really good, snowangel. It's definitely going on the short list of things to try soon. Thanks for posting the pics and your process.

Patti, I did find pounding the paste better than using the food processor (I started in the latter and moved to the former). Also, the lemon grass. I ended up using 4 pieces because by the time I removed the tough leaves and got to that tender center, there wasn't much of it. In lieu of the mortar and pestal, I spice grinder or microplaning some of this stuff might be a good idea. Also, fresh galangal is really fibrous, I can't think of a reason not to used dried.

Snowangel, I'd like to make this dish today or tomorrow, but I don't have a proper mortar and pestle (only a small wooden set and a small marble set that we used to use for meds for our son). How important is it for this dish? And how important is the kind of mortar and pestle? If I shop for one to use TODAY, it would have to come from Linens 'N Things, or Bed, Bath and Beyond, or a specialty kitchen store, which will probably have something overpriced. I've seen some online at Asian cooking/shopping sites, too. Would you soldier on without one for today and wait to buy a particular one, or would you go out and get what's available today?

Any advice welcomed.

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fifi   

Patti . . .

I can't answer your question about waiting to try the recipe.

But I can answer about the mortar and pestle. This is the one that I have. I have tried many types and this one is very much my favorite. One caution. Go for the 8 inch. Mine is the 6 inch and I really really really wish it were bigger. I bought it at my local Asian market before I knew what I was doing. Their supply is rather sporadic as are my visits but as soon as I find a bigger one, I am getting it.

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patti   
Patti . . .

I can't answer your question about waiting to try the recipe.

What? You can't make life decisions for me, too? :raz:

But I can answer about the mortar and pestle. This is the one that I have. I have tried many types and this one is very much my favorite. One caution. Go for the 8 inch. Mine is the 6 inch and I really really really wish it were bigger. I bought it at my local Asian market before I knew what I was doing. Their supply is rather sporadic as are my visits but as soon as I find a bigger one, I am getting it.

Thanks, fifi, I will order the 8" one.

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patti   

Inspired by snowangel's pictures of Molly's Beef Rendang, I decided to give it a go, even without a mortar and pestle.

I gathered my ingredients, as shown below, substituting powdered turmeric for fresh. The paste ingredients include ginger, galangal, shallots, garlic, turmeric, dried chiles and lemon grass. Other spices used in the braise include cinnamon sticks, star anise, cardamom pods, keffir lime leaves, and coarse salt:

gallery_18691_840_71518.jpg

The paste ingredients (the top half of the picture) went into the food processor.

gallery_18691_840_13861.jpg

I fried the paste in peanut oil for 8-10 minutes and then added the cinnamon sticks, star anise, cardamom pods, the meat, and a pinch of salt. Coconut milk is added to cover the meat (not pictured).

gallery_18691_840_40083.jpg

The mixture simmered for a couple of hours, and when it was reaching the next phase, I noticed that the meat was not yet tender, so I added more coconut milk and let it simmer longer. Had I realized it still needed to cook 45 minutes to an hour more in the final stage, I might not've added more milk. However, it didn't affect anything negatively, except for time. Almost done! (The meat is a couple of shades darker than it appears in the picture.)

gallery_18691_840_8732.jpg

Finally plated. As much as I love rice, I'm trying to stay away from it for now, so none for me. Yum, snowangel is right. This is a very rich and delicious dish!

Notes: I added more dried chiles than the recipe calls for because snowangel noted that she'd add more heat next time. My total was 9 peppers, and I think I could've upped it even more. Also, I added more salt during the last stages, and a bit more right at the end.


Edited by patti (log)

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Oh, patti. It looks wonderful. You are better at taking pictures and have better plates than me, as well!

Tonight was leftover night at our house. Some leftover pot roast. Two leftover grilled chicken legs (devoured by Peter) and the leftover Beef Rendang. I resubmerged the potroast in liquid and stuck in the oven at 250 for a while. I wasn't sure what to do with the Rendang, but ended up sticking it in a bowl in a steamer, with the leftover rice in a bowl in the basket above.

Bottom line. Diana and I love this dish. We fought over the last piece. Diana asked why I didn't make twice as much. The heat was more prevelant during the reheat, but I would still up the peppers from what I did. Of everything I've made out of this dish, I think this one is the most mysterious, deepest. It really speaks to me.

As to the galangal. Most of what I can find here in the Twin Cities (a big area for this sort of stuff; I do think we have the hugest SE asian immigrant population) is pretty woody, and since I run through the powdered stuff pretty fast, would probably use that again in the future. I'm not sure where this stuff comes from, but I know the turnover is good. I just can't believe how much "woodier" it is than ginger (which has an equally high turnover).

Finally, I think this dish would work equally well with pork or chix thighs.

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fifi   
. . . . .

As to the galangal.  Most of what I can find here in the Twin Cities (a big area for this sort of stuff; I do think we have the hugest SE asian immigrant population) is pretty woody, and since I run through the powdered stuff pretty fast, would probably use that again in the future.  I'm not sure where this stuff comes from, but I know the turnover is good.  I just can't believe how much "woodier" it is than ginger (which has an equally high turnover).

Finally, I think this dish would work equally well with pork or chix thighs.

That is odd. The fresh galangal that I get here, when it shows up, is much "juicier" than even the freshest ginger. It certainly isn't ever woody. If I don't use it up in a week or so, I need to get it sliced and into rice wine vinegar and the refrigerator before it goes moldy.

Pork chunks, here I come. There have been some noteable "boneless pork country ribs" on sale here that look pretty good. (I am thinking that they are cuts of pork butt put into less intimidating portions.)

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Marlene   

Patti, that looks amazing!

You and snowangel have convinced me to try this one. Maybe my family won't notice the coconut milk. Speaking of which, I can't say I've ever seen coconut milk in a store, but I'll look!

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Kim WB   

I was less than impressed with the brussel sprouts recipe...stovetop braise in heavy cream. I think this would be a better dish for someone who did not like Brussell Sprouts, since it masks the taste of them. In fainess, she refers to to this in the intro. specifically, however, I would not describe the cream as a "rich glaze" that coats the sprouts..it really is more like , well, regular creamed food.

Today, I'm preparing the red cabbage with maple and ginger. But I covet making the Braised rabbil w/ merguez...seems like a weekend project.


Edited by Kim WB (log)

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mamster   

I haven't made the AAB brussels sprouts recipe, but I do have a brussels sprout tip, although I suspect most of you are way ahead of me here, in which case, just enjoy reading about my charming naivete.

I love brussels sprouts but I don't buy them that often, especially at the grocery store, because they're such a pain. You always have to remove some dried out leaves, cut off the base, and, because I don't generally like to cook them whole, cut them into a few slices.

Then I read the Mark Bittman article about frozen vegetables couple of weeks ago in the Times. Where have I been? I didn't even know they had frozen brussels sprouts. I guess I sort of figured there was frozen corn, spinach, and broccoli, and that was about it.

Well, as you have guessed, I got some frozen brussels sprouts, and they were the cheapest, easiest to prep, and most delicious brussels sprouts I've ever bought at the supermarket. I'll probably still buy fresh ones at the farmer's market. Maybe. But otherwise, forget it.

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...Speaking of which, I can't say I've ever seen coconut milk in a store, but I'll look!

Marlene, if your supermarket is anything like mine, you'll likely find the coconut milk in the "drinks" aisle shelved with the drink mixes.

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fifi   
. . . . .

Marlene, if your supermarket is anything like mine, you'll likely find the coconut milk in the "drinks" aisle shelved with the drink mixes.

Um. . . that is likely the Coconut Water that is sold by Goya for instance. You also need to be wary of the really sweet coconut cream products that are sold for making Pina Coladas. Coco Loco is a likely brand of that.

The product used in these recipes is coconut milk like this. You can usually find it in the "ethnic foods" aisle of your grocery. This is actually the brand I get at my Asian market but even my smallest grocery now carries Taste of Thai.

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patti   

Thanks for the kind words, Susan and Marlene.

Susan, without your pictures to refer to, I'm not sure I would've waited for the proper 'doneness'. I tasted at several points in the final stages and it seemed good to me, but thank goodness I knew what I was supposed to be looking for. It ain't 'finished' til it's finished.

Marlene, I'm so glad you started this thread! Is there a section in your supermarket for Asian foods? Mine doesn't have the best selection, but it does have canned coconut milk. I've stopped buying it there, having read the Thai Cooking at Home thread and discovered that the better brands are found at Asian markets, or are available for purchase online.

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. . . . .

Marlene, if your supermarket is anything like mine, you'll likely find the coconut milk in the "drinks" aisle shelved with the drink mixes.

...Um. . . that is likely the Coconut Water that is sold by Goya for instance. ...

No, it is indeed coconut milk, I do know the difference :smile:

For some reason, many of the chain grocery stores in this part of the province shelf the coconut milk in the drinks aisle. It took me a while to A) find it and B) get used to that placement when I moved here. :rolleyes:

I do make it a point whenever I visit the supermarket to ask why they don't place it with the other coconut milk products (sauces etc.) in the ethnic food section. Apparently my pleas aren't making much of an impression on the Zehrs' product placement police! :rolleyes:

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fifi   
. . . . .

No, it is indeed coconut milk, I do know the difference  :smile:

For some reason, many of the chain grocery stores in this part of the province shelf the coconut milk in the drinks aisle. It took me a while to A) find it and B) get used to that placement when I moved here. :rolleyes:

I do make it a point whenever I visit the supermarket to ask why they don't place it with the other coconut milk products (sauces etc.) in the ethnic food section. Apparently my pleas aren't making much of an impression on the Zehrs' product placement police! :rolleyes:

That is just weird. But then, it took me the better part of a half hour to find barley at my store. It was next to the canned soup. :wacko:

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Marlene   

Now why did I have visions of it being in the milk section? Duh. It never occured to me to think canned. I will check the shelves both the Asian section and the drinks aisle next time I'm shopping.

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Anna N   
Now why did I have visions of it being in the milk section?  Duh.  It never occured to me to think canned.  I will check the shelves both the Asian section and the drinks aisle next time I'm shopping.

I know Price Chopper on 3rd Line carries as does Superstore. BUT Superstore has it in the drinks aisle! Go figure.

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I got to thinking...I wonder how would the meat and sauce turn out if I used BBQ sauce as my liquid. I'd most likely try half bbq sauce and half beef stock so it won't dry out but I was wondering if anyone has tried braising this way. Something tells me it would be awesome.


Edited by Octaveman (log)

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If you can't find coconut milk in the store, it's very simple to make at home. Get dried, unsweetened coconut. Put in saucepan with an equal amount of water and bring to boil. Let cool and steep for a bit. Then puree in blender. Strain through cheesecloth (you want to squeeze all the liquid out).

Voila! Coconut milk.

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Smithy   
I got to thinking...I wonder how would the meat and sauce turn out if I used BBQ sauce as my liquid.  I'd most likely try half bbq sauce and half beef stock so it won't dry out but I was wondering if anyone has tried braising this way.  Something tells me it would be awesome.

It is!

I've never been a fan of barbecue sauce, but my husband loves it and tends to use it in his slow-cooker recipes. I've gone from accepting it to actively liking some of it (Famous Dave's Hot 'n' Spicy is the current fave). After the eGCI braising lab I was on a roll, thoroughly sick of bottom round roast but ready to try braising ribs, and with a sudden windfall of cheap baby back ribs. (Those ribs were so cheap I keep wondering whether those cows were mad as hatters, but the deed is done now.) After browning the ribs I deglazed with beef stock or wine, depending on what was handy, and then added a bunch of the sauce from the jar. It was very, very good. Go for it!

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I probably should have searched the net first but I found lot's of way's to do Braised BBQ everything. It still would be nice to hear some tips on doing this since most of the recipes I viewed were to braise the meat then put on the grill and baste with bbq sauce. What about braising IN the bbq sauce?

Anyway, there's always this at Amazon...

What a deal on Braised Short Ribs!!

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Geez! They also have them plain and uncooked at a bargain $79.95 for 1 pound (4 whole pieces). Such a deal!!!

I probably should have searched the net first but I found lot's of way's to do Braised BBQ everything.  It still would be nice to hear some tips on doing this since most of the recipes I viewed were to braise the meat then put on the grill and baste with bbq sauce.  What about braising IN the bbq sauce?

Anyway, there's always this at Amazon...

What a deal on Braised Short Ribs!!

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Geez! They also have them plain and uncooked at a bargain $79.95 for 1 pound (4 whole pieces). Such a deal!!!

:blink:

Gotta be Wagyu or Kobe beef, right? ... still!

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I don't think so as they have 12 oz. Wagyu Ribeye Steaks (box of 2) for $99.95!

Wagyu Steaks

Geez! They also have them plain and uncooked at a bargain $79.95 for 1 pound (4 whole pieces). Such a deal!!!

:blink:

Gotta be Wagyu or Kobe beef, right? ... still!

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