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DaveF

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We like Hershey’s Special Dark better than Ghirardelli for choc chips. Best Choice I’ve not seen around here.

I only learned about the bourbon variant recently. It makes sense given the Kentucky origins. I have nothing against bourbon, but I prefer my pies without it - derby and pecan :)
 

BobO'Link

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There've been times I've chopped up a Lindt bar (72% or higher) for "chips" - it's expensive but good. Hershey's Special Dark is around 55%.

We like the Hershey's Special Dark powdered chocolate and use it in place of the regular Hershey's powdered in many recipes.

I have a "Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole" recipe for which we leave out the bourbon when making. Mom made it once with bourbon (wanted it "authentic" for a change - there's *never* been alcohol in my parent's house - ever, and she felt guilty going to the liquor store to get some) and no one liked it that way.

The only thing we make with alcohol is rum balls and those are rarely made (I really like dark rum - but we don't keep it around).
 

DaveF

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Definitely. Ive been cooking with high quality chocolates this year, learning new brownie recipes. Got a hot chocolate recipe I’m looking forward to trying this weekend!
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BobO'Link

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Growing up, Baker's Unsweetened Squares were a staple in our house. I always hung around the kitchen during meal prep (I liked knowing how things were made - served me well in life as I could cook for myself in college while my friends were eating out of cans and/or ramen noodles) and once asked for a piece of Baker's when mom was making a cake (I was around 8yo). She handed me a half square saying "OK... but you won't like it." Funny thing is, much to her surprise, I *did* like it and ate the entire piece - slowly. From then on I'd get a piece almost every time she made her chocolate cake - and that was the only thing she made with Baker's. It was in the cake and also used to make the frosting.
 

Dennis Nicholls

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I always hung around the kitchen during meal prep (I liked knowing how things were made - served me well in life as I could cook for myself in college while my friends were eating out of cans and/or ramen noodles)
My mom generally chased me out of the kitchen, and refused to teach me how to cook. She said I'd just get married and my wife would do all the cooking, so teaching me to cook would just be a waste of her time.

Now I'm 67 and never married. I am completely self-taught about cooking, which explains the odd mix of cooking skills I've acquired.
 

Malcolm R

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Tante Marie is a hoot! And apparently loves her pinot noir.

I do agree with her view that people make cooking a lot harder than it needs to be. Just get your hands in there and do it. Find simple recipes and just follow them.
 

Josh Steinberg

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For the things I generally cook, flavor is key. And what I’ve learned in a lifetime of cooking is that there are two approaches to enhancing flavor: either cooking for a short time and adding lots of seasoning and other ingredients like butter, or cooking for a long time to better bring out the natural flavor of the main ingredients. My dad is big into the former; I usually do the latter. Simple ingredients, not too much fuss, and just a lot of time (marinating, resting, slow cooking, simmering, roasting, etc) to bring the best out of everything.
 

DaveF

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Attempting the post-thanksgiving turkey stock. I'm not an "instinctual" cook, but this is a recipe that I've been learning the past couple years to kinda wing it.

Mire poix, some wine, leftover turkey bones and meat and drippings, some herbs and salt. Couple hours simmering. It may not be "great", but this is a combo that mostly can't go wrong.
 

DaveF

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Tante Marie is a hoot! And apparently loves her pinot noir.

I do agree with her view that people make cooking a lot harder than it needs to be. Just get your hands in there and do it. Find simple recipes and just follow them.
For the things I generally cook, flavor is key. And what I’ve learned in a lifetime of cooking is that there are two approaches to enhancing flavor: either cooking for a short time and adding lots of seasoning and other ingredients like butter, or cooking for a long time to better bring out the natural flavor of the main ingredients. My dad is big into the former; I usually do the latter. Simple ingredients, not too much fuss, and just a lot of time (marinating, resting, slow cooking, simmering, roasting, etc) to bring the best out of everything.

I'll add the adendum that there are (what I think are) modern tricks developed with more modern cooking and food science that further help, such as:
  • Boost umami with anchovy paste, tomate paste, mushrooms, etc.
  • Browned butter for desserts
  • Baking soda to boost browning of meat

These especially couple with the "fast cook" to boost flavors without the low-and-slow cook.
 

DaveF

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@Ronald Epstein
If you like homemade chicken parm and are ok with the frying, I've found this is an easy recipe for great chicken cutlets. I couldn't get a good fried cutlet until I understood this aproach. The three keys are: slice chicken breasts in half (lengthwise) and pound flat (to about ¼"); use panko (available at the grocery store); and use left over panko crumbs to see when the oil is hot enough. And you can add grated parmesan to the panko to give the chicken some extra flavor if serving with pasta. :)

Pan Fried Chicken Cutlets

Source: America's Test Kitchen TV, Season 18, Episode 15

Ingredients
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 - 2 cups panko
  • ½ to 1 cup parmesan (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Vegetable oil

Directions

Put panko into plastic bag, and crush with rolling pin to more uniform size.

Pour crumbs, and parmesan if using, into breading pan.

Whisk eggs and salt in second breading pan.

Slice chicken breasts in half then pound down to uniform thickness (1/4" thickness).

Coat cutlet in egg and then dredge in panko.

Place cutlets on baking sheet.

Pour 1/4 cup vegetable oil into sauce pan. Add some panko crumbs. Use Medium-High heat. When crumbs are golden brown, oil is ready for cooking.

Put in four cutlets in sauce pan. Keep an eye on temperature that they're not browning too fast (2-3 minutes for first side.

Flip chicken cutlets when after browned on first side. Rotate around pan to avoid hotspots affecting chicken. Cook until brown on second side, another 2-3 minutes.

Place cutlets on paper towels on wire rack to wick away excess oil and to prevent steaming.

Season lightly with salt.

Remove pan from heat, clean with paper towels, and repeat cooking for remaining cutlets.

Serve whole or slice up.
 

Ronald Epstein

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Dave,

Thank you for that.

The recipe I used actually required that I split the breasts in half. However, I have never done that -- didn't want to take the chance of screwing it up -- so I simply pounded out the breasts and baked it for double the amount of time. Came out great.

I did use Panko breadcrumbs which makes all the difference in the world. Added some garlic powder and parmesan cheese.

Very close to your recipe above without pan-frying. Went baked instead.
 

Johnny Angell

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We ordered an entire TG dinner from Whole Foods. Smoked turkey and side dishes. OMG, was the turkey wonderful. Moist and flavorful. All the sides were excellent except for the green beans. They always undercook them and I’m a guy who wants my vegetables not to be mush.
 

BobO'Link

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We ordered an entire TG dinner from Whole Foods. Smoked turkey and side dishes. OMG, was the turkey wonderful. Moist and flavorful. All the sides were excellent except for the green beans. They always undercook them and I’m a guy who wants my vegetables not to be mush.
Few people properly cook green beans the "Southern way." My wife even cooks canned green beans for a good 30 minutes to get the flavor "right" and, surprisingly, they're not mush when finished. I never order them at a restaurant as they're *always* under cooked.
 

DaveF

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I did plain marshmellows, left out the peppermint. But I’m sure that would be good, now that I’ve made the basic recipe.
 

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