What's cooking?

DaveF

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It's become apparent that HTF needs an all-purpose "what's cooking" thread :D So let's talk cooking, simple or gourmet, fast or slow, and share some recipes and even some photos.

I was in a cooking mood today, but didn't want to get into anything too involved. I spent some time flipping through my Cooks Illustrated cookbook, did the grocery shopping, and got on with it this afternoon.

I found an easy tomato soup recipe in a cookbook, and I've wanted to try that for a while, so I gave it a go. It's too bright for my taste as is, but I added some extra brown sugar to tone it down. And I goofed and didn't let the Bay leaf cook as long as I should have, which would have also helped. I'm taking it for lunch tomorrow, so I'll know more after a better tasting.

I also made a batch of mac and cheese. It's my second try at this recipe, and I switched from basic sharp cheddar to a 16 month aged cheddar. The flavor was more interesting, but the sauce was a tiny bit grainy (as the cookbook warned). My wife and I are still arguing over whether it needs the browned breadcrumb topping.

And I had some leftover ground beef and meatloaf mix, so I grilled a couple cheeseburgers, using the extra 16mo cheddar and Monterey Jack. And I whipped up the "pub sauce" in my cookbook to try. It was a weird taste per se, but worked well on the burger.
 

Cameron Yee

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I enjoy watching America's Test Kitchen. I have their complete cookbook as well as their slow cooker book. My wife likes what I've made from them, so it's a good sign since she has a more sensitive palette and is a better cook than I. We've been pleased with everything from stew to pancakes. And they taught me how to do a perfect boiled egg!
 
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Cameron Yee

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We did a mac and cheese from a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that we liked. It uses three cheeses including the dreaded American, so the sauce is nice and creamy. I like the texture of toasted bread crumbs.
 

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The mac n cheese I made today...Individual 8 ounce ceramic crocks. Cooked on the grill over charcoal with hickory chips.Macaroni cooked roughly 1/3 before mixed with cheese...Ricotta, Gouda, Brick and topped(at the end) with fresh grated Parmesan.
 

Cameron Yee

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Boiled egg (you may laugh, but people need to know this judging by how many grey yolks I see at potlucks):

Put a single layer of eggs in a pot.
Fill with water until an inch over the eggs.
Bring water to a boil.
Cover and take off heat. Let sit for 10 minutes for hard boiled; shorter for soft boiled.

While the eggs are cooking, prep an ice water bath to put the eggs in to help with the removing the shells. Using week-old (or simply not super fresh) eggs will also help. After 10 minutes, place eggs in the ice water for 5-10 minutes.

Tips for shelling: Start with cracking and peeling at the base of the egg. There's usually an air pocket there that gives you something to start peeling. Occasionally dunking the egg into water will also help with lifting the shell from the surface of the egg.
 

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Cameron Yee said:
Boiled egg (you may laugh, but people need to know this judging by how many grey yolks I see at potlucks):

Put a single layer of eggs in a pot.
Fill with water until an inch over the eggs.
Bring water to a boil.
Cover and take off heat. Let sit for 10 minutes for hard boiled; shorter for soft boiled.

While the eggs are cooking, prep an ice water bath to put the eggs in to help with the removing the shells. Using week-old (or simply not super fresh) eggs will also help. After 10 minutes, place eggs in the ice water for 5-10 minutes.

Tips for shelling: Start with cracking and peeling at the base of the egg. There's usually an air pocket there that gives you something to start peeling. Occasionally dunking the egg into water will also help with lifting the shell from the surface of the egg.
I've always done it that way. But have been reading some recent recipes that recommend starting with boiling water (more of a high simmer), then lowering eggs in with a slotted spoon, strainer, etc. so the shells don't crack.

Some chemistry thing with the whites, being mostly protein, become to tough with the gradual heat, rather than the quick, gentle simmer.I haven't tried yet, but will report results.
Must agree with Cameron. Older eggs work better and nothing worse than those grey/green yolks, yet they're so easy to avoid.
 

Cameron Yee

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Huh. I've noticed egg whites being quite smooth and light with the gradual method.

My wife is from Malaysia and apparently there is a simple device/container her mom uses where the boiling water slowly drains out and by the time the water is gone the egg is ready. I haven't seen it in action, but will be there in February and will probably bring one back with me if it's as interesting as it sounds. Basically a water timer as egg cooker.
 

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DaveF, cheddar can be really hard to cook with. Really needs a béchamel sauce to melt into slowly. The older the cheese, the less moisture, that's what causes the graininess.
If we keep this up, someday we could surpass the Star Trek thread of 75,838,947 posts :lol:
 
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andySu

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Got some THX approved chicken cooking on oven mode 180 degrees 40 mins.

The time it would take to do down town to a KFC would be 20 mins each way and by 40 mins it would be cold, Its cheaper to do it home plus my cat gets some.







I so hungry I even ate the plate :lol:



Sooty, wants some THX approved chicken. :P Best meal he has for a month.
 

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Stan said:
DaveF, cheddar can be really hard to cook with. Really needs a béchamel sauce to melt into slowly. The older the cheese, the less moisture, that's what causes the graininess. If we keep this up, someday we could surpass the Star Trek thread of 75,838,947 posts :lol:
I think you're exactly right, and that's how my recipe goes: make a roux with flour and butter, then thicken up with a few cups of milk. Then stir in the cheese to melt. The recipe calls for sharp cheddar, not aged, to melt without graininess; it also uses Monterey Jack to melt well and smooth it out. This time I used a 24 mo cheddar to compare flavor vs creaminess. I think a 12 mo cheddar will be the right balance for me overall. When I'm back home, I'll get get the recipe for details. It's pretty easy and a great mac 'n cheese.And I can only dream of making a 75M post thread :D
 
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DaveF

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Cameron Yee said:
We did a mac and cheese from a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that we liked. It uses three cheeses including the dreaded American, so the sauce is nice and creamy. I like the texture of toasted bread crumbs.
What cheeses? This is the great American debate: what is the perfect cheese mixture for Mac 'n cheese!
 

atfree

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DaveF said:
I think you're exactly right, and that's how my recipe goes: make a roux with flour and butter, then thicken up with a few cups of milk. Then stir in the cheese to melt. The recipe calls for sharp cheddar, not aged, to melt without graininess; it also uses Monterey Jack to melt well and smooth it out. This time I used a 24 mo cheddar to compare flavor vs creaminess. I think a 12 mo cheddar will be the right balance for me overall. When I'm back home, I'll get get the recipe for details. It's pretty easy and a great mac 'n cheese.And I can only dream of making a 75M post thread :D
Exactly.....a bechamel is the way to go. Done right, as you explained, almost any cheese can make a great Mac-n-cheese....well, maybe not bleu or limberger!
 
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Cameron Yee

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Mozarella, sharp cheddar and American. The recipe calls for additional baking in the oven, but I don't actually think it's necessary and it runs the risk of curdling if baked too long. However if you are going to do breadcrumbs, baking will have to happen, but I wouldn't do it longer than it takes to brown the topping.
DaveF said:
What cheeses? This is the great American debate: what is the perfect cheese mixture for Mac 'n cheese!
I think you're fast becoming the Terry Richardson of food photography. ;)
andySu said:
Got some THX approved chicken cooking on oven mode 180 degrees 40 mins.

The time it would take to do down town to a KFC would be 20 mins each way and by 40 mins it would be cold, Its cheaper to do it home plus my cat gets some.







I so hungry I even ate the plate :lol:



Sooty, wants some THX approved chicken. :P Best meal he has for a month.
 

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Cameron Yee said:
Mozarella, sharp cheddar and American. The recipe calls for additional baking in the oven, but I don't actually think it's necessary and it runs the risk of curdling if baked too long. However if you are going to do breadcrumbs, baking will have to happen, but I wouldn't do it longer than it takes to brown the topping.


I think you're fast becoming the Terry Richardson of food photography. ;)
:rolling-smiley: I see what you mean.
 

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Another America's Test Kitchen aficionado here. I believe I have become a much better cook since I discovered them in 2005. I have always enjoyed cooking; my Mother taught me to make Hollandaise sauce when I was seven or eight and I was hooked.

Here are a few things I've made, almost all from ATK recipes.

With ATK's help, I have mastered basic roast chicken that is cooked through perfectly but still moist.

Basic roast chicken.JPG


One thing I was always intimidated by was yeast bread. Again, thanks to ATK I have gotten pretty good. Here are a sourdough boule, a dinner roll (so good!) and pizza. I never go out for pizza anymore since I've started making it at home.

WP_20140320_002.jpg


WP_20130407_004.jpg


WP_20130809_002.jpg


Since you all were talking about mac and cheese, this pic features barbecued pork ribs on the platter, but that's mac and cheese on the side. I do use the bechamel method and bake it. But, don't laugh, I have found that just a tiny bit of Velveeta works magic on the other cheeses and they don't get grainy or curdle.

WP_20130421_003.jpg


The following is from Julia Child. This is a chicken ballotine, which is a whole chicken that has been boned. I just wanted to see if I could do it. If you have seen the movie Julie and Julia, Julie's last recipe required boning a duck. Same technique (although she baked hers in pastry, instead, I stuffed the chicken with a standard bread and sausage stuffing).

Chicken ballotine.jpg


Chicken ballotine 9-23-2012.jpg


Grilled veggies and then the same veggies with bbq chicken and Greek-style potatoes (with butter, lemon and oregano).

WP_20130622_001.jpg


BBQ chicken griled veg greek pots.JPG


Homemade from scratch angel food cake. It took a whole dozen eggs! It took longer to separate them than it did to make the cake.

WP_20130825_002.jpg


BBQ beef sliders with steamed veggies and sauteed corn.

WP_20130906_001.jpg


Broiled salmon with sesame glaze and asparagus.

WP_20140402_002.jpg


Cheers!

bubbly.JPG


Today's project is ATK's barbecue baked beans - they take 5 hours, but almost no hands-on time. Mixed grill outside and asparagus tortellini salad from ATK's new "Make Ahead" book.
 

Cameron Yee

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Your angel food cake makes me think of another book: Make the Bread Buy the Butter, where the author gives her take on what to make from scratch or what to buy after making it all from scratch herself.
 

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Cameron Yee said:
Your angel food cake makes me think of another book: Make the Bread Buy the Butter, where the author gives her take on what to make from scratch or what to buy after making it all from scratch herself.
Yes, I have heard of that book. The angel food cake was an effort, I admit, but tasting a real made-from-scratch version spoiled me for a box mix, I'm afraid. And even with the dozen eggs and the small amounts of flour and sugar that was required, it still was probably less than $5 of ingredients. It's just the time it took, really.
 
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Raul Marquez

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I love this new thread!

Being an amateur chef myself I thought I'd share the following.

For the last 18 years or so I decided to have a special Xmas Dinner for family and friends. Xmas is a special day for me since besides the obvious holiday significance, it's also my birthday. I started this since here in Puerto Rico anywhere you go you get basically the same Christmas menu, (Our Christmas period is usually from the days after Thanksgiving through around mid January) which usually involves roasted pork ("lechon"), rice with pidgeon peas ("arroz con gandules"), "pasteles", marinated/pickled green bananas ("guineitos en escabeche"), blood sausage ("morcilla"), among others.

I decided to switch from this and finally came up with the following menu. I must say (modesty aside) that it has been very successful. The first time I started this I had around 10 guests. Last Xmas it was around 60! and I'm already starting to receive calls from people asking me if I'm doing it again this year.

This is not a catered affair, I cook everything myself from scratch and spend around 2-3 weeks getting the materials, and around 2-3 days cooking. I used to buy the chicken apple sausage already prepared for many years, but as of 2 years ago I'm making them myself. Since it's for a stuffing mix, I don't need to use a casing for it so it's not that difficult.

If anyone wants I can post the individual recipes for the dishes.

2013 Christmas Dinner Party
Le Menu
Escargots with Herb Butter and Mini Toasts
Imported Cheeses and Specialty Crackers
Lil' Sausages with Mustards and Sauces
Sweet and Sour Meatballs
Herb Roasted Roast Turkey Breast with Trimmings
Chicken-Apple Sausage and Chestnut StuffingGrilled Angus Beef Tenderloin with Béarnaise & Green Peppercorn SaucesBaked Black Forrest Ham with Brown Sugar and Pineapple Glaze
Grilled "Criollo-Style" Pork Tenderloin with Mango and Peach Chutney
Sautéed Wild Mushrooms with Onions and Fine HerbsGarlic Mashed Potatoes with Spinach and BaconCandied Yams with Cinnamon


Your Chef: Raúl H. Márquez-Sárraga
 

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KPmusmag

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Raul Marquez said:
I love this new thread!

Being an amateur chef myself I thought I'd share the following.

For the last 18 years or so I decided to have a special Xmas Dinner for family and friends. Xmas is a special day for me since besides the obvious holiday significance, it's also my birthday. I started this since here in Puerto Rico anywhere you you you get basically the same Christmas menu, (Our Christmas period is usually from the days after Thanksgiving through around mid January) which usually involves roasted pork ("lechon"), rice with pidgeon peas ("arroz con gandules"), "pasteles", marinated/pickled green bananas ("guineitos en escabeche"), blood sausage ("morcilla"), among others.

I decided to switch from this and finally came up with the following menu. I must say (modesty aside) that it has been very successful. The first time I started this I had around 10 guests. Last Xmas it was around 60! and I'm already starting to receive calls from people asking me if I'm doing it again this year.

This is not a catered affair, I cook everything myself from scratch and spend around 2-3 weeks getting the materials, and around 2-3 days cooking. I used to buy the chicken apple sausage already prepared for many years, but as of 2 years ago I'm making them myself. Since it's for a stuffing mix, I don't need to use a casing for it so it's not that difficult.

If anyone wants I can post the individual recipes for the dishes.
Wow! For 60? Oh my gosh. Please post a photo or two if you have them. My hat is off to you for attempting such a big celebration! What a labor of love!
 
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