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Thread: What's cookin' ?

  1. #361
    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    Almost started a new thread about "Cooking Luddites", but remembered my threads usually suck.

    Anyway, so I haven't had a microwave oven for almost 5 months in my new abode. My friends and family can't believe it. How do you reheat leftovers, or a cold cup of coffee? How do you cook frozen foods? I have to remind them that I do have electricity, and a cooktop/oven.

    I've already said the only thing I really miss is microwave popcorn. While it's true that some frozen foods ONLY have microwave cooking directions, the assumption that everyone has a MW, or has to have a MW is weird and kinda sad.


    edit: and while I'm at it, the plethora of designated cooking devices has reached a new level of absurdity. Pasta makers, rice cookers, egg poachers, pannini presses, waffle irons, etc. Appliances that need their own 'garage', but are rarely used. If it makes people feel like they're better cooks, they'll buy them. Crazy.
    Last edited by GGT; 05-02-2018 at 06:24 AM.

  2. #362
    queen of the universe littlelolligagged's Avatar
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    I own a microwave, and I am reasonably sure no one in my house has used it in about 5 years - some inventions are not improvements and should be avoided.
    We're stuck in a bloody snowglobe.

  3. #363
    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    Hi, Lolli! I agree that many new appliances are stupid. But weren't you raving about getting a new Keurig single cup coffee maker?

    IMO those are stupid appliances, too. And they've spawned an entire aisle of single-cup coffees in the grocery store. With all those little plastic cups thrown in the garbage or recycling bins. What a waste
    Last edited by GGT; 05-02-2018 at 06:56 AM.

  4. #364
    queen of the universe littlelolligagged's Avatar
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    Yep. And I'm pleased with that, although if it dies I won't be replacing it (because I have found an equally easy but less counter-space option). I'm also really tempted by an Insta-Pot. If something is an actual improvement, why not go for it. A microwave is not an improvement, unless you consider speed the most important thing.
    We're stuck in a bloody snowglobe.

  5. #365
    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    Yeah, my sister told me about the Insta-Pot. It's marketed as being better than a crock-pot or pressure cooker, the new 'magical' cooking appliance. But when I actually looked at it, I wasn't very impressed. But we're always tempted by the promises, huh.

  6. #366
    queen of the universe littlelolligagged's Avatar
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    I've seen some pretty rave reviews of it, and the fact that it can function as both seems pretty useful to me. I'm not quite convinced yet, though, since I don't use either with that much frequency and they are not taking up my counter-space.
    We're stuck in a bloody snowglobe.

  7. #367
    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by littlelolligagged View Post
    I've seen some pretty rave reviews of it, and the fact that it can function as both seems pretty useful to me. I'm not quite convinced yet, though, since I don't use either with that much frequency and they are not taking up my counter-space.
    That's how marketing works; convincing us to buy appliances that multi-task or reduce time spent actually cooking. As if cooking, or spending time in the kitchen is such a bad thing? Also, counter-space is overrated, probably by kitchen designers that get paid by expanding square footage.

    One of the best cooking blogs I've seen was a guy using the small space in his NYC studio apartment.

  8. #368
    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    BTW, it's obviously a 'first world' phenomenon that we have kitchen designers, and can *decorate* where we cook eat.

    When it comes to cooking, my biggest challenge is cooking for one. Buying produce, meat, recipes -- they're all designed for cooking for a group or family. Even when I cut recipes in half, I still end up with more than I can eat, and end up freezing stuff. My freezer is full but I still want to cook! Oi!
    Last edited by GGT; 05-02-2018 at 08:05 AM.

  9. #369
    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    The Guardian has some very good articles about the foods we cook and eat, and the industries surrounding food in general.

    This may not be the right thread to say this (because it was probably intended to simply share recipes), but I'm amazed at how quickly food has become political in my own lifetime. When I was young, "eating out" at restaurants was considered a special treat. Some restaurants had incentives for kids that were picky eaters (pick a toy/prize from the treasure chest if you clean your plate). The "doggie bag" was literally meant to take bones home for the pet dog.

    In my youth, long before McDonald's had served millions, let alone billions, I considered that a special treat. It was unique, and somehow different from the A&W drive-in, or the local diner, that served the same burgers and shakes. Maybe it was the french fries cooked in beef lard, perfectly salted, and served piping hot in a paper sleeve that hooked me at such a young age? I dunno. But it came at a time when "home cooking" was considered something only poor people did, because they couldn't afford to "eat out".

    BTW, for context: the few times I ate Chinese in my youth, it was in a restaurant. And the first time I can remember eating a delivery pizza, I was in college. But I do have fond memories of going to Shakey's Pizza Parlor with my family, and singing along with the bouncing ball
    Last edited by GGT; 05-09-2018 at 07:17 AM.

  10. #370
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Noodles with spinach- & coriander sauce, confit egg-yolk & shaved tamari-cured egg yolk.



    This works better with real ramen noodles instead of these generic egg-noodles b/c the sauce coats the former much better so the noodles take on a vibrant green colour.


    Burnt sugar & toasted cream ice-cream w/ almond praline, caramelized apples & chewy meringues.




    This worked out very well although I would've preferred almond tuiles and I think it would've been better with a nice sponge soaked in something nice and also some freeze-dried raspberries.


    Leftover grilled veal loin with pickled red onion and a massive scromelet.



    The inside of the scromelet was similar to the legendary Kichi Kichi omurice omelet and is my new fave breakfast I didn't get a good shot of what it looked like when I cut it in half and all the creamy delicious goodness poured out. Needs some demi-glace.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  11. #371
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    Minxie, your nom creations are really astonishing.

    This shit easily fits on top-end menus.

    I see lesser efforts at Michelin-star establishments
    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post
    It's actually the original French billion, which is bi-million, which is a million to the power of 2. We adopted the word, and then they changed it, presumably as revenge for Crecy and Agincourt, and then the treasonous Americans adopted the new French usage and spread it all over the world. And now we have to use it.

    And that's Why I'm Voting Leave.

  12. #372
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Grilled sous vide beef cheeks with salt-baked swede:



    Didn't have time to make it pretty because the game was starting but this is one of the best grilled meats I've ever had and def my favorite way to cook beef cheeks. More traditional methods will get you that intense, beefy flavour and the gelatinous goodness, but this method will give you the same qualities in a cut that's basically like a steak.

    The salt-dough crust is a new technique for me and I think I'll use it often because the results are very, very good. The kitchen was filled with an amazing scent from the swede and the celeriac I made at the same time, combined with the scent of rosemary. It was however a pain in the ass to crack open the shell--much more difficult than cracking open a coconut. This was partly because when I tried to wrap it thoroughly some of the parts overlapped and the crust became very thick and ridiculously hard at those points.

    Quote Originally Posted by Timbuk2 View Post
    Minxie, your nom creations are really astonishing.

    This shit easily fits on top-end menus.

    I see lesser efforts at Michelin-star establishments
    Thank you, it's been a lot of fun playing around with these ideas I've been meaning to try out for ages I enjoy home-cooked food much more than the food in most western restaurants, save for high-end vegetarian & fish dishes where restaurants usually have the edge due to access to better quality (and more interesting) ingredients, better technique and the ability to compose complex dishes. It would be nice to become better at plating like they do and also to have more edible flowers and the like for garnishing.
    Last edited by Aimless; 07-08-2018 at 01:47 PM.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  13. #373
    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    Your plating is spectacular! I'll have to look up what a salt-baked swede is, but it looks delicious.

    Do you cook this way when you're the only one eating it? I find it hard to cook for one, not just for recipes in general but the whole plating/table-setting thing. I "treat" myself with cloth napkins instead of those 1/2 sheet paper towels or paper napkins. wheee

  14. #374
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GGT View Post
    In my youth, long before McDonald's had served millions, let alone billions, I considered that a special treat. It was unique, and somehow different from the A&W drive-in, or the local diner, that served the same burgers and shakes. Maybe it was the french fries cooked in beef lard, perfectly salted, and served piping hot in a paper sleeve that hooked me at such a young age? I dunno. But it came at a time when "home cooking" was considered something only poor people did, because they couldn't afford to "eat out".
    This used to (sort of) be the case here among UMC families here in Sweden long ago, and is still the case in the upper strata of Bengali society. It's so sad--you pay a lot of money for something that is typically overpriced and of mediocre quality, you miss out on a fun activity that any family can enjoy, and your cooking skills & creativity atrophy.

    That said McDonald's was always a much-loved treat when I was a kid and it still kinda is there's no other fast-food place that quite nails those flavours and textures, none that offer as much value, and, in Sweden (especially in my town), McDonald's is one of the best employers for youths (mostly highschoolers) b/c of the extreme care they put into training. It's always an enjoyable experience--swift, effective, friendly and high-quality service at a great price.

    Quote Originally Posted by GGT View Post
    Your plating is spectacular! I'll have to look up what a salt-baked swede is, but it looks delicious.

    Do you cook this way when you're the only one eating it? I find it hard to cook for one, not just for recipes in general but the whole plating/table-setting thing. I "treat" myself with cloth napkins instead of those 1/2 sheet paper towels or paper napkins. wheee
    I usually don't make these dishes when I'm on my own, which is, to be fair, not very often. It's partly because I don't want the ginger to miss out but also because we do all our cooking together and cleaning up is much less of a pain in the ass when you have help
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  15. #375
    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    Hard to figure out which came first, fast food or the end of home-cooked family meals. I'm old enough to remember when TV dinners were kinda considered a "treat", because it meant we (a) had a TV, and (b) our folks were going out to dinner at a restaurant! Those were also the days when TV trays became popular, and people would watch TV while eating dinner; a 'new' family event that didn't go unnoticed by marketers or producers.

    Now we have grub hub, etc. As if the drive-thru wasn't enough. Plus home delivery of complete "chef-inspired" meals, ready to cook. And portion-controlled meals for weight control are a multi-billion dollar industry....while we lose the obesity and diabetes battle. Our relationships to food - and cooking - are out of whack.

  16. #376
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Grilled goat & chicken served with baba ghanoush, muhammara, hummus, toum, sautéed pointy cabbage and flatbread. Toum is fun to make and very tasty; it turned out incredibly fluffy but I need to reduce the amount of garlic a little. The flatbread (based on a recipe for saj bread I got from a friend's mum) was a little wonky because I got distracted and let it rise for too long. I also don't have a sufficiently large griddle for making it properly. This is the first time I've grilled goat--other than eating whole-roasted goat once as a child, I've only had it in curries. Prepped sous vide it turned out to be tender, juicy and very flavourful. It's not easy to find goat meat in Swedish stores, but I've finally found a store out in the multicultural ghetto that carries it. The chicken was AWESOME. Grilled half of the marinated thighs and turned the other half into korma. Need to make the muhammara a little more fiery. I also ended up having to make pomegranate molasses for it and now have way, way too much of this delicious ingredient (good for glazing and for sauces). I prefer a roasted paprika & feta sauce for grilled meats, but this was great with bread.

    You can make muhammara, hummus and toum very quickly, and, if you have grilled or roasted aubergines, baba ghanoush can also be made very quickly. I used the toum to flavour the other three. If you marinade the chicken overnight, two people can throw together this dinner in less than an hour.









    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  17. #377
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Pointy cabbage, mushrooms & cauliflower rice sautéed in ghee. Just a little salt. Served with breaded fried cod and pickled green chili. This takes less than ten minutes to make, but the fish obv. takes a little longer.

    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  18. #378
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    Wow! If it tastes as incredible as it looks....you could go pro!
    Is that a sweet basil flower bud, and do you eat it?

  19. #379
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    Confit monkfish on bed of caramelized fennel & sautéed chanterelles, served with beets, goat cheese and carrot-top pesto.



    The lighting was poor but the eating was hella good. The fish was flavourful with a texture that was simultaneously firm and meaty and buttery. The colour is misleading here--it was white with a light golden brown coating on the ridges. I generally don't like white fish, but monkfish is one of the few exceptions. I knew the fennel would be great with this fish, but I was worried the other flavours wouldn't work well together. Turns out everything worked together very well. Will make the pesto a little less sharp and garlicky the next time, butter-fry the fish a little more instead of trying to sear it with the ridiculously small torch we have at home, and experiment a little with the consistency of the cheese because although it tastes great it looks like hell.

    Quote Originally Posted by GGT View Post
    Wow! If it tastes as incredible as it looks....you could go pro!
    Is that a sweet basil flower bud, and do you eat it?
    That's just a mint blossom I stuck in along with the sorrel leaves! I don't eat them but the ginger dries them and puts them into her mint tea sometimes.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  20. #380
    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    I'm making a meatloaf with hamburger, sausage, onions and mushrooms, served with Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, green beans sauteed in Lawry's garlic butter, and a pre-packaged cheese garlic biscuit mix, for my son's birthday meal. Plus homemade Rice Krispie treats and fudge brownies instead of a b-day cake. I might throw in some Velveeta shells and cheese for good measure, he loves that stuff.

    None of it is picture worthy, but it sure tastes great!

  21. #381
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Confit rose fish w/ salt-baked beetroot, lotus-root purée, steamed pickled aubergine, Bengali Malabar spinach, goat cheese cream and carrot top pesto. Autumn ain't all bad





    Celeriac, rutabaga & beetroot are delicious when baked slowly in a thick salt-dough crust. Confiting fish at low temps has been a revelation. The eggplant both looks and tastes better if it's peeled before pickling (flavoured with chili and ginger). The carrot-top pesto made w/ toasted hazelnuts packs a lot of flavor, but the consistency suffered from my sloppiness. The lotus-root purée didn't get properly puréed, but worked well wrt flavor. The Bengali Malabar spinach grows like a frickin' weed and has covered half a wall, def. our best crop this year.

    Quote Originally Posted by GGT View Post
    I'm making a meatloaf with hamburger, sausage, onions and mushrooms, served with Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, green beans sauteed in Lawry's garlic butter, and a pre-packaged cheese garlic biscuit mix, for my son's birthday meal. Plus homemade Rice Krispie treats and fudge brownies instead of a b-day cake. I might throw in some Velveeta shells and cheese for good measure, he loves that stuff.

    None of it is picture worthy, but it sure tastes great!
    I discovered meatloaf as an adult after being curious about it for a couple of decades ever since reading about it in Donald Duck comics hope y'all had a great birthday
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  22. #382
    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    I almost think you're making this up, no way a busy doctor can cook this way, and make it so beautiful, since it takes years for professional chefs to do this. But I'll take your word since you're in Sweden.

    Meatloaf is an American staple. It's a glorified ground meat baked concoction, even better when "frosted" with mashed potatoes and a tomato glaze. Didn't know it had been immortalized in comic books, but glad you've heard of it. Maybe you will make one and post pretty pictures, elevating it from a 'peasant' food to special cuisine?

  23. #383
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Weeeeelll I usually eat it like an animal straight outta the pan so... probably not but it's the ginger's second-favourite dish and she has certainly elevated it

    We have no kids and restrict fancy cooking to the weekends. Weekdays it's strictly food that can be cooked in a single dish/saucepan/skillet and eaten out of a bowl with a spoon. Think the biggest difference between us and our friends & colleagues who have kids is that we cook almost every day, and shop for groceries several times a week, both of which are probably unsustainable when you have kids or live in a big city.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  24. #384
    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    Like I said earlier, our relationship b/w food and cooking is messed up. I think cooking every day should be the norm, especially if there are kids in the house!

    It's unfortunate that so many US families think they have to buy processed microwavable foods, or load the grocery cart up once a month with frozen foods, or pay a premium for delivery meal kits.....because they think it saves time or energy, because they're busy working people. Then they have to join a gym. Etc.

    A society built around the personal automobile has created a lot of unintended negative consequences, especially in the food space. It's sad that we have fast food joints on every street corner and interstate exit ramp, with grocery stores and farmer's markets competing for market-share, amid urban food deserts, and classes to teach kids how broccoli is grown or where an egg comes from, but they don't know how to cook it!

    /rant

  25. #385
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    I dunno, time and energy are limited resources, and if you have kids who have various extracurricular activities and schoolwork they might need help with etc it's no surprise if you prioritize cooking lower. Obviously there are still ways to make it work, and perhaps if your schedule really is that tight that's a signal that you might need to forgo some things... but in general I reckon we should let people do what works for them.

    Buying semi-processed food is expensive though.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  26. #386
    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    I hear what you're saying, minx. I just don't buy the "modern" excuse that families use, to say they're too busy to cook or eat together. Sports and extra-curricular activities are mostly scheduled to NOT conflict with dinner time or homework. But there is a real issue with transportation and reliance on the car....which sadly translates to what the food industry sells.

    Parents will drive 50 miles to their kids' next game or competition, with grocery stores and farmer's markets along the way, but they consider it an 'inconvenience' to park the car and pick their own fresh foods in less than 20 minutes. They've also been (falsely) convinced that cooking takes soooooo much time that it can't be done, so they don't even try...even tho we have microwave and convection ovens to speed the process.....so they use the fast food window instead.

    One of my best childhood meal memories was having breakfast for dinner, at 9pm after an out-of-town swim meet, at the kitchen table with my parents and sisters. Cold cereal with milk, hard boiled eggs, toasted English muffins with peanut butter and jelly, and fruit for dessert.

  27. #387
    Quote Originally Posted by GGT View Post
    I hear what you're saying, minx. I just don't buy the "modern" excuse that families use, to say they're too busy to cook or eat together. Sports and extra-curricular activities are mostly scheduled to NOT conflict with dinner time or homework. But there is a real issue with transportation and reliance on the car....which sadly translates to what the food industry sells.

    Parents will drive 50 miles to their kids' next game or competition, with grocery stores and farmer's markets along the way, but they consider it an 'inconvenience' to park the car and pick their own fresh foods in less than 20 minutes. They've also been (falsely) convinced that cooking takes soooooo much time that it can't be done, so they don't even try...even tho we have microwave and convection ovens to speed the process.....so they use the fast food window instead.

    One of my best childhood meal memories was having breakfast for dinner, at 9pm after an out-of-town swim meet, at the kitchen table with my parents and sisters. Cold cereal with milk, hard boiled eggs, toasted English muffins with peanut butter and jelly, and fruit for dessert.
    GGT, in high school I routinely got home at 9 or 10 at night - figure school was 8-6 or so, followed by one extracurricular or another almost every night of the week. Most high schoolers are similarly overscheduled; if they're old enough, they'll also have jobs. And we haven't even gotten to homework or studying yet.

    With little kids, it's not an issue of extracurriculars but bedtimes. My toddler has a 7:30 bedtime; we typically pick her up from school around 6 pm after a full day of work. If we want to fit dinner, bath, and bedtime in, that leaves precious little time for cooking, assuming both parents work full time. It's easy enough to scrounge up something for a little kid to eat for dinner - their leftover lunch food, some other odds and ends - but adults might need a bit more work to prepare a full meal, so we sometimes end up eating our 'real' meal after the kids are asleep (and, for that matter, we're pretty busy with feeding and parenting tasks to eat much anyways).

    This isn't to say that we subsist on fast food or frozen meals - we mostly do eat home-cooked food, but it's frequently leftovers from the weekend or the night before, and it's rarely fancy (though it tends to be reasonably tasty and healthy). But honestly we prioritize getting a full day's work in, having some sort of family dinner, and getting the kids to bed on time over having a freshly cooked meal every day. I worked nearly 40 hours already this week (with 40% of the week to go), coupled with a few dozen hours of parenting duties and household chores. I really don't need to add more work than I already have.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  28. #388
    Senior Member GGT's Avatar
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    But that's what I meant about the false equivalency. A family dinner and a fresh cooked meal aren't mutually exclusive or zero-sum activities! Left-overs count! Most don't really eat "full meals" let alone "fancy meals" at one sitting anyway, especially not at dinnertime or close to bedtime. Families with little kids should actually feel better by cooking and eating like small children do: small, frequent meals, with snacks in between.

    My point is that "cooking" shouldn't be considered a time-sucking chore (especially since we have so many conveniences that reduce cooking "time") but that it's a necessary part of family bonding and ritual, just like family meal time itself. I'll go a step further to include table manners, serving guests, and cleaning up afterward as important parts of the broader social food experience. These things matter. IMO being "busy" isn't a very good excuse for ignoring them.

  29. #389
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Steamed buns with spicy fried chicken, avocado, cucumber tsukemono & pickled red onion, sriracha made from this year's chili harvest.



    The buns are super easy to make (as are the sriracha & pickles), and leftover dough can be turned into a loaf of bread. Reheat leftover buns in a microwave (1 min tops) in a ziploc bag, with a few sprinkles of water—they'll be almost as good as new. Fried chicken isn't the best for this; use something fatter, juicier and more gelatinous (eg. pork-belly, duck etc). Thickness increases by a third or more during steaming, and it's better to overcook than undercook.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  30. #390
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Grilled beef cheek w/ tomato- & horseradish sauce, spicy physalis salsa, yogurt, flour tortilla. I can eat a whole jar of that sauce—it is the frickin' bomb.



    Finally got around to trying something I've been thinking of trying for a while. Toasted cream turned into toasted creme fraiche, served very cold with a very chocolatey chocolate cake (made with toasted flour--try it next time you bake a cake, it's super easy and tastes great), and then turned into butter. The butter is a rich, warm brown colour, with a deep, nutty flavour. The buttermilk looks gorgeous and tastes amazing. Haven't decided what to do with it yet but probably frosting. The cake was just shocking--it's basically a super simple mud-cake but it came out tasting very complex, with clear notes of not only chocolate but caramel and coffee, just rich enough and not at all sickly sweet as I'd feared. I left it in the oven a few minutes too long I think, but other than that I am very pleased with how all of this turned out.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

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