The Cooking Thread

edited October 2013 in General Discussion Posts: 3,494
Among my various hobbies is a love of good food and the various cuisines of the world, and making them at home for my son and I to enjoy. I guess I would be called a "foodie". So with mod permission, let's get the professional chefs, at home gourmet cooks like myself or just general cookers, and lovers of food together to discuss your favorite cuisines, share recipes, etc. Grab a bottle of good vino, sit at Sir Henry's table, and get ready for some good eating!

Although I cook classic American dishes, Italian, Asian, and Mexican as some of my favorites to enjoy, my personal favorite of all the different cuisines I make is the food of New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, known as "Cajun/Creole". A brief definition of the cuisine and the differences between Creole and Cajun follow.

"Louisiana Creole cuisine is a style of cooking originating in Louisiana, United States which blends French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Native American, and African influences, as well as general Southern cuisine. It is similar to Cajun cuisine in ingredients (such as the holy trinity of onions, celery, and green bell pepper), but the important distinction is that Cajun cuisine arose from the more rustic, provincial French cooking adapted by the Acadians to Louisiana ingredients, basically a class distinction here, whereas the cooking of the Louisiana Creoles tended more toward classical European styles adapted to local foodstuffs. Broadly speaking, the French influence in Cajun cuisine is descended from various French Provincial cuisines of the peasantry, while Creole cuisine evolved in the homes of well-to-do aristocrats, or those who imitated their lifestyle and could afford such things as flour for a classic roux. Although the Creole cuisine is closely identified with New Orleans culture today, much of it evolved in the country plantation estates so beloved of the pre-Civil War Creoles. Despite its aristocratic French roots, Creole cuisine does not include Garde Manger or other extremely lavish styles of the Classical Paris cuisine".

Cajun dishes are famous for their spice and use of various peppers, anything from the spicy cayenne red and jalapeno green, to the milder bell peppers which flavor but do not spice. Certain ingredients such as crawfish, spicy sausages such as the Andouille, a spiced ham called Tasso are examples of ingredients unique to the cuisine. Alligator and rattlesnake (I don't eat reptiles myself) meats are also eaten. Due to being a coastal region, fish and seafood dishes are much more common to the cuisine than beef dishes, chicken dishes however are also very popular.

I make about 10 different dishes myself, plus classic sides such as corn maque choux (pronounced "mock-shoe"). Today I'll start by talking about a classic recipe called "Dirty Rice". Dirty rice is considered a side dish, although a nice big bowl of it makes a meal all to itself and it's one that I enjoy making and eating. It's brimming with long grain white rice (the contrast of the color of the added meats gives the dish it's name although a mix of white and long grain darker rices are also traditional), Andouille sausage, ground beef (or ground chicken livers if you like it the original authentic way like I do, beef is substituted by those who don't care for the livers like my son- I always make a separate batch of livers for my brother and I to add to our bowls so my son doesn't have to have it). The above holy trinity is also added and becomes soft and translucent (as the flavors are distilled and released) while the meat browns, along with a spice mix that adds to the natural heat of the Andouille. The rice is added to a base of chicken stock along with 2 bay leaves and then the meat mixture is transferred to the stock when it comes to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, making sure to occasionally check to make sure the stock has not cooked off before the rice has cooked, or you will get a tough cleanup later of the saucepan. You can add more stock as needed to prevent rice sticking. About 20-25 minutes after you have reduced the heat, your wonderful and rustic meal should be ready to go! I like to serve my dirty rice with Cheddar Bay biscuits long only available at the Red Lobster restaurants until they recently made the mix available to the public. We're talking about some serious good eating at my table when this combo gets served up, make sure you have ample cold beverages or at least a dollop of sour cream for the rice if you need some help with the heat.

Will love to hear the responses, and will happily post my own refinement of the recipe that I use!

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Comments

  • Posts: 6,396
    I'm waiting patiently for my partner to return home from work so I can start dinner, so reading your post does me no good at all @SirHenry. It makes me want to eat my laptop ;-)

    I've always wondered what dirty rice is and it's something i'll have to try myself. Being as my partner grew up in Canada, we'll be having a traditional Canadian Thanksgiving meal this month (my very first).
  • Posts: 1,497
    Wonderful read Sir Henry! I definitely will want to try that dirty rice recipe. Do you know if Andouille sausage is common to find in supermarkets, or is it something to make from scratch? Also, do you add any thing else to the dish other than the rice and biscuits - is there a meat or fish to go with it? Can't wait to try this one.

    One of my favorite creole/cajun dishes is seafood etoufee.
  • Andouille is common in grocery stores in Texas, but I don't remember seeing it when I Iived up north (Missouri, New Jersey).

    My favorite cuisines to prepare are Indian, Mexican (loosely defined), Italian and American. Just got back from lunch, though, and it was leftovers of the Chinese cashew pork I made night before last. As good as restaurant Chinese fare, if I do say so.
  • edited October 2013 Posts: 3,494
    I'd like to hear what Canadian Thanksgiving consists of. Interesting.

    JB, I will post the recipe after a brief discussion first to answer your questions. Now that the big Johnsonville sausage company is making Andouille, it should be readily available in the big chain supermarkets and will work fine. I personally like a Louisiana brand like Aidell's or Comeaux's when I can find it.

    Getting things like crawfish tails is considerably more difficult for a Northerner, but I'm sure Khan could get it living in Texas right next door. There are two varieties of crawfish, American and Chinese. I highly recommend the American over the Chinese having used both- I find our native mud bugs less fatty and rubbery, and richer in taste, plus they keep much longer in the freezer. Like everything, the Chinese sell cheaper so people have gotten away from the better product, but for a difference of $3 per pound I can't see why. You can get the whole crawfish easily enough here but just to get the tail meat out (very time consuming) which is the only part people want to eat (I don't suck the heads like the natives) is a waste. So I order mine online from the Louisiana Crawfish Company, a family owned farm. They come in 1 pound bags and keep nicely. I also can't get certain foods like Tasso Ham or even Creole Mustard here very easily either, so every few months I order up.

    @Khan- I do 5 different Chinese meals, I prefer Szechuan as I like spicy, I will get into some of those at another time.

    For now, enjoy my Dirty Rice and please let me know how you liked it if you made it!


    Dirty Rice


    3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 pound ground beef
    optional- chicken livers, chopped fine
    2 links of Andouille sausage, sliced into 1/2" pieces
    1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
    3/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
    1/4 cup finely chopped celery
    2 teaspoons minced garlic
    1 tablespoon Essence
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    2 1/2 cups chicken stock
    2 bay leaves
    Cajun Rice Mix


    Directions

    In a medium sized saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the beef (chicken livers can be cooked on the side for those who like them) and Andouille and cook, stirring, until the beef is browned, about 6 minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil, the onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, Essence, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Drain. During the last 5 minutes while the meat cooks, in a large saute pan add the rice, stock, bay leaves, and bring to a boil (NOTE: For extra heat, you can first season the stock with a little Cayenne or Essence before adding the rice, etc). Add the meat mixture and stir in thoroughly, then lower the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the rice is cooked. Remember my tip about making sure not to let all the liquid boil off before the rice has finished, there should be very little if any when the rice has finished. Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaves before serving.

    Here's the Essence ingredients in case you want to make your own version, although I imagine it's available most everywhere now.

    *Essence (Emeril Lagasse's Creole Seasoning):

    2 1/2 tablespoons paprika

    2 tablespoons salt

    2 tablespoons garlic powder

    1 tablespoon black pepper

    1 tablespoon onion powder

    1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

    1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano

    1 tablespoon dried thyme



  • Posts: 6,396
    I have been reasonably informed that Canadian Thanksgiving consists of:

    Maple glazed turkey
    Turkey jus
    Bacon, mushroom and onion mash
    Dirty rice (coincidence or what!)
    Cranberry & maple sauce
    Cheese and bacon cornbread
    Butter glazed carrotts
    Bread and Celery stuffing
    Pumpkin Pie
    Brown Sugar Pie

    How does this differ from American Thanksgiving?
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 14,958
    I have been reasonably informed that Canadian Thanksgiving consists of:

    Maple glazed turkey
    Turkey jus
    Bacon, mushroom and onion mash
    Dirty rice (coincidence or what!)
    Cranberry & maple sauce
    Cheese and bacon cornbread
    Butter glazed carrotts
    Bread and Celery stuffing
    Pumpkin Pie
    Brown Sugar Pie

    How does this differ from American Thanksgiving?

    Super Size me, then?!
  • edited October 2013 Posts: 3,494
    I think American Thanksgiving dinners can vary from region to region and culture to culture to be honest. The turkey is the key. We always had cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, corn, and spinach casserole. Our bread stuffing was made with bacon, onion, and celery. Gravy of course. Dessert was pumpkin pie at my Dad's parents, at my Mom's we'd have both pumpkin and the PA Dutch (Deutsch) shoo fly pie made with molasses and brown sugar.

    Christmas Eve was always at Dad's parents, Nana was Lithuanian and we always ate kielbasa, Lithuanian black sausage (don't remember the name), and pierogies. My wife always ate at her Ukrainian grandmothers growing up and also had much the same kielbasa and pierogies. New Year's Day though was always the traditional German pork and sauerkraut for both of us.

  • retrokittyretrokitty The Couv
    Posts: 380
    I have been reasonably informed that Canadian Thanksgiving consists of:

    Maple glazed turkey
    Turkey jus
    Bacon, mushroom and onion mash
    Dirty rice (coincidence or what!)
    Cranberry & maple sauce
    Cheese and bacon cornbread
    Butter glazed carrotts
    Bread and Celery stuffing
    Pumpkin Pie
    Brown Sugar Pie

    How does this differ from American Thanksgiving?

    That sounds like a very Eastern Canadian-styled Thanksgiving.

    In the west we don't use as much maple or glaze.

    We would have:

    Roasted turkey with veggies cooking in the drippings.
    Remove the veggies (carrots, broccoli and the like) and make the thick gravy from the drippings.
    Mashed potatoes - either whipped or rustic country style with skins and green onions chopped in.
    Tart homemade cranberry sauce - also good to have some warm stuff aside for ice cream toppings later.
    Brussel sprouts are a must
    Candied yams.
    Yorkshire puddings if you are feeling naughty.
    Yes... bread and celery stuffing... yummy.
    Yes... pumpkin pie sometimes apple...

    I have a great Cuban black bean stew recipe I'll post later.

  • edited October 2013 Posts: 12,501
    Fried eggs, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, bacon, sausages, beans, toast (or fried bread, whatever you prefer) and hash browns.
  • Fried eggs, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, bacon, sausages, beans, toast (or fried bread, whatever you prefer) and hash browns.

    As long as the turkey comes with it, that sounds delicious! Except for the mushrooms. I use cream of mushroom soup for the flavor, but generally I have always had a fear of eating a poisonous one and thus avoid eating fungus.

    @Kitty- I would love to try that Cuban stew of yours already! I love black beans with Spanish/Mexican rices and look forward to yours and finding some other recipes using them.

  • edited October 2013 Posts: 6,396
    Fried eggs, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, bacon, sausages, beans, toast (or fried bread, whatever you prefer) and hash browns.

    Ah good old full English. I'm doing that for myself on Thursday evening.

    @Retrokitty, you are correct. Apparently it's what he had growing up in Montreal. I notice the inclusion of Yorkshire Puddings in your Thanksgiving menu :-)
  • Before I leave work and go home to make dinner, tonight's meal will be-

    Northern Italian Seafood Pasta
    (Shrimp and bay scallops are sauteed in butter, drained, and added to a homemade
    garlic parmesan sauce flavored with Italian seasonings before being tossed with thin spaghetti. Garnished with prosciutto and green onion tops, and served with garlic bread)

    Yum! I'm making myself hungry! See you on the flip side :)
  • SandySandy Somewhere in Europe
    Posts: 4,012
    What a delightful idea for a thread @SirHenryLeeChaChing. Your dirty rice reminded me of something. In my region it's traditional to eat roasted lamb for special occasions and with the offals of the lamb we make rice. I'm not sure if it's the common denomination or just my father who calls that rice something that translates as "dirt rice", I guess because it looks like dirt! But it is delicious, even though I usually just eat the liver and leave the rest (my dad and I trade, I give him the heart and lung, he gives me liver, hope this didn't sound strange).
  • retrokittyretrokitty The Couv
    Posts: 380
    SirHenry... the Cubans use very plain rice with their dishes. It's one of the surprises people have when visiting Cuba - the food is savory but not spicy at all. Not Cajun or Mexican. Garlic and basil are used a lot.

    That said, the bean stew can be made with a hint of heat if one needs that. It's poured over the white rice - though I've used brown a lot - and served with pressure cooker chicken legs. I have the recipe at home on a very stained recipe card. Will post it later.


    Willy, the Yorkshire puddings are in place of buns. They are a regular item with any big holiday family meal - beef, turkey or ham - and can be found in dozens of pubs around town. Probably more Yorkshire puddings in the 'Couv than in Yorkshire.
  • SandySandy Somewhere in Europe
    Posts: 4,012
    retrokitty wrote:
    SirHenry... the Cubans use very plain rice with their dishes. It's one of the surprises people have when visiting Cuba - the food is savory but not spicy at all. Not Cajun or Mexican. Garlic and basil are used a lot.

    That said, the bean stew can be made with a hint of heat if one needs that. It's poured over the white rice - though I've used brown a lot - and served with pressure cooker chicken legs. I have the recipe at home on a very stained recipe card. Will post it later.


    Willy, the Yorkshire puddings are in place of buns. They are a regular item with any big holiday family meal - beef, turkey or ham - and can be found in dozens of pubs around town. Probably more Yorkshire puddings in the 'Couv than in Yorkshire.

    Cuban beans with rice seems very similar to the Brazilian way, with the black beans poured over the white rice. It is often served with a beef on the side, yummi.
  • 4EverBonded4EverBonded Riding a white swan to Matera
    Posts: 12,363
    And I've eaten incredibly delicious black beans in Florida, sometimes served with fresh homemade cole slaw on top! Different but very good indeed.
  • Sandy wrote:
    retrokitty wrote:
    SirHenry... the Cubans use very plain rice with their dishes. It's one of the surprises people have when visiting Cuba - the food is savory but not spicy at all. Not Cajun or Mexican. Garlic and basil are used a lot.

    That said, the bean stew can be made with a hint of heat if one needs that. It's poured over the white rice - though I've used brown a lot - and served with pressure cooker chicken legs. I have the recipe at home on a very stained recipe card. Will post it later.


    Willy, the Yorkshire puddings are in place of buns. They are a regular item with any big holiday family meal - beef, turkey or ham - and can be found in dozens of pubs around town. Probably more Yorkshire puddings in the 'Couv than in Yorkshire.

    Cuban beans with rice seems very similar to the Brazilian way, with the black beans poured over the white rice. It is often served with a beef on the side, yummi.

    The Cajuns do something similar with a dish called red beans n' rice. The beans are slow simmered with ham, sausage, a ham hock or maybe some salt pork, onions, bell pepper, loads of Cajun spices, and when tender, ladled over a bowl of fluffy white rice and than doused with a hot sauce such as Tabasco, Crystal, or Louisiana Hot. It's terrific.

  • edited October 2013 Posts: 3,494
    Yes, red beans and rice are classic and a staple of Nawlins diet, especially as a Monday meal as I've understood it. I've yet to make it because I haven't had Tasso ham (coming in this week \:D/ ), but I've eaten the real deal there and even here in Philly (that's another story), and it is delicious indeed. Here's a little bit of history on the dish below, that even includes a Bondian reference-

    Red beans and rice is an emblematic dish of Louisiana Creole cuisine (not originally of Cajun cuisine) traditionally made on Mondays with red beans, vegetables (bell pepper, onion and celery), spices (thyme, cayenne pepper, and bay leaf) and ham bones left over from Sunday dinner, cooked together slowly in a pot and served over rice. Meats such as ham, sausage (most commonly Andouille), and Tasso ham are also frequently used in the dish. The dish is customary - ham was traditionally a Sunday meal and Monday was washday. A pot of beans could sit on the stove and simmer while the women were busy scrubbing clothes. The dish is now fairly common throughout the Southeast. Similar dishes are common in Latin American cuisine, including moros y cristianos and gallo pinto.

    Red beans and rice is one of the few New Orleans style dishes to be commonly served both in people's homes and in restaurants. Many neighborhood restaurants continue to offer it as a Monday lunch special, usually with a side order of either smoked sausage or a pork chop. While Monday washdays are largely a thing of the past, red beans remain a staple for large gatherings such as Super Bowl and Mardi Gras parties. Indeed, red beans and rice is very much part of the New Orleans identity. Jazz trumpeter and New Orleanian Louis Armstrong's favorite food was red beans and rice - the musician would famously sign letters "Red Beans and Ricely Yours, Louis Armstrong”.

    The vegetarian dish Rajma chawal is very similar (which translates literally to red beans and rice), popular in North India. Red beans and rice is also a dietary staple in Central America, where it is known as "arroz con habichuelas". The dish is popular in Cuban, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Haitian and Jamaican cuisine as well.

    How it came to Louisiana? Well, when the slave rebellion in Haiti began, many of the rich white sugar planters fled to Louisiana, the other main possession of France in the New World at the time. They brought with them red beans from the Caribbean. Red beans and rice was created in the kitchens of New Orleans' French Quarter. The dish quickly gained in popularity and became a fixture of the cuisine of New Orleans.


    Last night's meal of my Northern Italian seafood pasta, by the way, was absolutely awesome. I'll explain. I used to make it with the Ragu garlic parmesan sauce but last night I decided what the hell, let me try and do it myself. After I sauteed the shrimp and scallops in garlic and butter, which is how you do a scampi dish, I removed only the seafood and left the garlic and butter in the pan. I added 1 1/2 cups of cream and the Italian seasonings and as it started to boil, I slowly added 3/4 cup of fresh parmesan to incorporate. At that point the seafood and pasta went back in along with some green onion tops and got tossed. I plated it in 2 nice sized bowls for Alex and I, stirred in some fresh prosciutto, and it was done. I was making happy grunts throughout to the point that Alex said "Dad, stop grunting already. It sounds like someone's having sex at the table!". I laughed my ass off of course. And I have to add that sometimes great food can be about as good as having sex :))
  • 4EverBonded4EverBonded Riding a white swan to Matera
    Posts: 12,363
    SirHenry, all I can say is:

    1) I have always loved red beans and rice
    2) Alex's comment is priceless! (Should be kept as part of your family lore)
    3) I will never look at them quite the same way again!
    =))
  • edited October 2013 Posts: 3,494
    Well, I am glad that at least the Originals thread is doing well, this one seems to be dying a slow death- there have to be more than just a select few that enjoy a good meal, right? What's that? You start? Well then...

    Last Friday my 3lbs of crawfish and pound of Tasso ham, along with my Creole mustard, arrived from Louisiana. Then came the big day on Saturday, which with some vague instructions (he hadn't made one in a long time and didn't have a recipe) that arrived via Facebook from the chef who made the first crawfish/andouille quesadilla I ever ate and fell in love with (he's a local guy who was trained by a Louisiana chef who had moved to the Philly area, and that guy was trained by the Louisiana legend himself, Paul Prudhomme), I attempted to make one myself. And I must say, that certain bites were exactly what I remembered as far as the taste. I should have used a half an onion and half a yellow pepper instead of whole ones, there was too much of that. What I did was chop the onion into rings, then in half. Pepper was cut in half and the seeds removed, then julienned and then I cut those strips in half. A saucepan was then heated on medium heat (I use gas, would suggest medium high for electric stoves), 2 tbsps of butter were added and then I added the onions, peppers, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and a tablespoon of Emeril's Creole Essence seasoning. I sauteed for a minute and then added 2 links of that yummy and spicy andouille sausage cut into bite sized 1/2" pieces. While the mixture was cooking, I lightly browned 2 soft flour tortillas and spread a handful of Monterey Jack cheese, starting with the edges to keep the filling from spilling out. Just as the sausage was starting to brown up and the peppers and onions were becoming soft and translucent (it was smelling really good according to my boy and I had to agree), I hit the mixture with a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce, stirred, and added a 1/2 pound of thawed crawfish tails, letting them seep in all those good juices for a minute before removing from the heat. The mixture was spooned onto the tortilla and cheese, then covered with the other and thrown into the microwave for 30 seconds to help melt the cheese. I got about 4 quesadillas out of the mixture and like Emeril says, it was happy, happy, happy and my son said this was a keeper.

    On Sunday, I made a 9lb ham. The night before, I cut a slit in the bag and let it marinade overnight in cherry flavored cola. The next day I removed the ham, and then poured the cola into the bottom of a large roast pan. I added slices of 2 Fuji apples to the cola and then rubbed the ham with dark brown sugar. It went into the roast pan and baked at 375 degrees for about 2 1/4 hours (15 minutes per pound of ham), and after resting for a few minutes, the slicing began. So each plate had slices of ham which I spooned the juice and apple slices on to, plus there was a side of mashed potatoes and corn to go with it. I had lots of ham left which we've been eating for several days now. I made ham and cheese quesadillas with it tonight. I froze the rest for future uses such as with a breakfast and for lunch sandwiches, plus the bone which I'll be using this weekend for some Louisiana red beans and rice :)

    Tomorrow I will be making a bacon cheeseburger meat loaf, and the next night it's pizza night, half cheese and half Buffalo chicken. Friday and Saturday it's blackened chicken alfredo over fusilli before the beans and rice on Sunday.

    So other than asking what did you eat this week, tell me about your local cuisine and what the locals enjoy? Philadelphia is known for our world famous cheesesteaks (which of course I do make those), I recommend as a local you visit Jim's (the very best, take my word for this) or Steve's (order the lean meat) before the much more famous Pat's, Geno's, or Tony Luke's. I will discuss the ins and outs of making a real Philly cheesesteak at home in future installments. Our delicious hoagies (they are called submarine and hero sandwiches in other places), and our big soft pretzels. Like many cities, there are many gourmet eateries like the famous French chef Georges Perrier's place LeBecFin, the famous Striped Bass seafood restaurant, and Iron Chef Jose Garces is also based here in the area. Our lone city Cajun/Creole place is called Cafe Nola (Nola is short for New Orleans, LA). I used to live right next door to the place in the late 1980's on Philly's famous South Street, plus I also had a roommate who lived in Nawlins for a year and between her and Nola, I got hooked on this cuisine. The chef I described earlier is at least an hour away and so between that and city parking, I figured it was time I learned how to cook these delicious meals in my home, and since I knew how to cook it really wasn't too difficult.





  • Posts: 13,329
    I make an unorthodox but delicious puttanesca and also a sausages pasta sauce that is to die for.
  • Ludovico wrote:
    I make an unorthodox but delicious puttanesca and also a sausages pasta sauce that is to die for.

    I would love to hear about this, please tell. I always appreciate a fellow cooker with the creative sense to tinker and experiment a little bit with an existing dish. Puttanesca was invented as a free form dish to begin with.

    P.S- You should look up what "puttanesca" means, I got quite the chuckle because I've known since I was a teen what "puttana" means ;) :))

  • Minted Albanian beef cutlets and a side of spinach are on the agenda tonight.
  • edited October 2013 Posts: 3,494
    Minted Albanian beef cutlets and a side of spinach are on the agenda tonight.

    Nice Khan! I just looked that up, is it "Kerala" style? You have to share the recipe, please, it sounds really good.

    I like to saute spinach with lots of garlic and some sea salt. It's good as a side and I also stuff chicken breasts with that and crawfish tails, I'll post my recipe for that dish sooner or later. I also make a spinach casserole every Thanksgiving, something of a family tradition there.
  • Posts: 1,497
    I have been working in a little Black Forest Smoked Bacon into a lot of my dishes lately, and what a revelation! My wife and I made spinach pizza with bacon, garlic, and broccolini sauteed together, served with white wine - delicious. I also incorporated the bacon with sauteed onions into a black bean side I had with a Mexican meal the other. Highly recommend smoked bacon for enhancing many a dish.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 16,612
    I can make a dozen different types of grilled cheese sandwiches, and my peanut butter cookies are second to none, but that's pretty much where my culinary expertise ends... ;)
  • edited October 2013 Posts: 3,494
    @jbfan626- the BF smoked bacon sounds really interesting, tell me what kind of flavor does it have that distinguishes it from regular bacon? I was just telling someone here in PM that I absolutely love black peppered bacon. The best I've had came from Virginia, not as easy to get in the Philly burbs except for the national brands. From a Virginia butcher, just amazing. And I agree, bacon is such a wonderful enhancer to a dish and one that I like to experiment with as well. I am making a bacon cheeseburger meatloaf tonight, and I love to infuse bacon bits and shredded mozzarella into mashed potatoes, most people think of it only as a good combo with potato skins but it isn't.

    @chrisisall- Grilled cheese, eh? It's amazing that how such a simple American staple and delight of kids everywhere has evolved. We now have a gourmet grilled cheese shop in Philly, and I've seen similar places on the Food and Cooking Channels as well. Let's hear all about all the types you make!

    Tell me also about your local cuisine, whether you make it yourself or not.
  • Minted Albanian beef cutlets and a side of spinach are on the agenda tonight.

    Nice Khan! I just looked that up, is it "Kerala" style? You have to share the recipe, please, it sounds really good.

    I like to saute spinach with lots of garlic and some sea salt. It's good as a side and I also stuff chicken breasts with that and crawfish tails, I'll post my recipe for that dish sooner or later. I also make a spinach casserole every Thanksgiving, something of a family tradition there.

    Here you go. Nothing real fancy.

    Minted Albanian Beef Cutlets


    1 lb. ground beef
    1 slice of white bread
    1 small onion minced
    2 T. minced feta cheese
    2 T. bread crumbs
    2 T. butter melted
    1 T. parsley minced
    1 ½ T. mint minced
    Salt to taste
    Pepper to taste
    Oregano to taste
    1 cup flour
    1/3 cup olive oil

    1. Submerge bread in water and squeeze to wring out. Place in large mixing bowl.
    2. Add beef, bread crumbs, melted butter, onion, parsley, salt, pepper and mint.
    3. Mix thoroughly and refrigerate for 40 minutes.
    4. Form into one-inch thick patties.
    5. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and oregano.
    6. Roll in flour and fry in olive oil until cooked through.


  • Posts: 1,497
    @jbfan626- the BF smoked bacon sounds really interesting, tell me what kind of flavor does it have that distinguishes it from regular bacon?

    The smoked flavor is the real attraction, but the "Black Forest" part of it adds a nice sweet and peppery flavor as well. So it compliments beans really well with it's sweetness the way molasses would.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 16,612
    Chrisisall's Gourmet High School Style Grilled Cheese
    Lightly toast hearty white bread, put 1 slice of cheddar and 2slices of American in between and drool melted (but not hot) butter all over the top, place wrapped in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Later, place on lightly buttered cookie sheet in oven at 300 for 7-12 minutes. Consume with apple sauce on side.
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