Whats cooking?

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Joined Jul 31, 2000
It's been a while since we discussed technique and whats going on in our kitchens.

Lets talk about food, our menu's our most challenging dishes and what we find satisfying in our work?

Has anyone rolled out there Spring menu? care to share?

What are the foodies on CT doing in the kitchens? Any new creations you wish to share?
 
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The only really new item I have tried lately is a cornbread made with creamed corn and buttermilk that was smash hit at a recent party. A different twist on an old favorite. Here is the link:

Alton Brown's Cream Corn Cornbread

In other news, this year we are going full bore with a complete fresh herb garden. We have grown some selected herbs in the past, but with the price of fresh herbs in the store, we have decided it is time grow all of our own, or a least as much as possible. Shopping for plants begins this coming week.
 
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Thanks for the link Joe,

What herbs are you going to grow? and what are some of the dishes you apply them to? Or are they for genarel dishes?
 
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Basil, parsley, dill, chives, cilantro, rosemary, and thyme will be the main ones with perhaps others depending on availability of plants/seeds. Basil will certainly get top billing. Next to onions and garlic, basil is one of the true indespensable ingredients.

I do a lot of cooking with tomato and pesto sauces, infused olls, rice, and fresh veggies. Since my wife is a vegetarian, I find herbs are invaluable for perking up the flavor and adding variety to everyday dishes.

As you are probably aware, fresh herbs are expensive and don't last all that long, so it is impossible to always have them on hand. The reason for the herb harden is to have a constant supply, and of course benefit from the freshest possible product.

BTW, for anyone considering an herb garden for the first time, DO NOT PLANT MINT. It is impossible to control and will soon take over your entire garden, and then your yard.

How about you Cape? Do you use fresh herbs and/or grow your own?
 

phatch

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I've been hamming myself silly. My bro-in-law was raising some pigs. I ended up with half a pork for the slaughter and cutting fees. 94 pounds, $54.00.

I started with the ham. The slaughterhouse didn't offer a dry cured ham so I ended up with a commercial brining treated ham. And it was a big ham. After two days iin the fridge and a few hours on the counter to come to room temp, the middle was still 27 degrees fahrenhiet.

So I'm working out the last pound or so in the menu.

I did a "ham-a-strone" based on the ham bone that was tasty. Used red beans and orzo with vegies and some pesto garnish. My father was impressed. Had a bunch of ham and swiss sandwiches out of the broiler on semolina rolls for lunches and snacks.

Was very home style and made the au-gratin potatoes in the classic middle america way. I do like that dish and it sings with ham. Some salads with ham and cheese. Not a good ham for that it turns out.

Denver omelletes. Almost done with it.

Phil
 
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i can't believe I'm doing it BUT- we are developing Atkins-friendly options. Feel free to shoot me now.
 
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I am glad you mentioned it, Peach. Atkins is driving a wedge into our industry, if you ask me. :mad:
Is it here to stay? Is it a passing fancy? Most of the trade mags I read believe it is not going anywhere soon. One of the magazines (Food Arts, I believe) did an article on somebody that refused to make modifications to their menu to be more Atkins-friendly. That certainly is a sign of the times. It used to be news when you did make modifications. Yikes!
In my school, we have begun to offer Atkins salad dressings and at least one Atkins entree each day. All I can say is, it is a huge pain in my tuchas (too'kas).
Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't, but life is too short to live without bread!
 
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Phil, that's quite a ham saga! The soup sounds very, very good. I've been making something similar (not a minestra, though) and will sub ham for the turkey when I make my next pot of soup for my colleagues at work. Great excuse to buy a bone-in ham, with which I have no experience cooking! I'm up for a little adventure.

As for the Atkins stuff: I read an article today that made an interesting comment. Just as people went nuts with low fat foods and became overweight from excess carbohydrates, people will eventually see that eating too many calories of any kind (starch, fat, whatever)will finally pull people back to reason and get them to focus on reasonable eating generally. The pendulum swings....

For now though, why would it be bad to offer a reasonable number of options to customers? In some cases, it could be as simple as subbing an order of sauteed mushrooms or other veg for the starch. For low carbers who aren't savvy enough to think of these simple changes on their own, putting them on the menu will be a welcome courtesy. If you don't offer at least some options you may end up turning away diners who can't get what they need, or a ton of requests you're not provisioned for.
 
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I'm goofing off with sushi... got some yuzu in and am adding it to shtuff....gigante beans, crustades for a wedding....thinking about pickling this year, possiby try some watermelon rind.The handrolls are pretty tasty but REALLY ugly.
 
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I haven't been cooking much at all lately, which is probably one of the reasons my appetite has come back so much. :bounce:

I've been eating tons of bread and pasta, though. Doing my part to balance things out I guess.

I think the whole Adkins craze is a bit silly. Folks in the East have been thin for years and years eating a lot of rice. The US problem is that we eat too much of everything. We will have a fat culture as long as we do that.

There is no solution to being fat other than not stuffing your face with food. I, for one, will not support any concept that seems to imply that there is another way.

RF
 
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BTW, when I used the word "your", I wasn't referring to anyone on this board. I guess I meant to say "not stuffing 'one's' face with food". It wasn't meant to be specific.

I don't know anyone here, so I don't know what anyone looks like or what anyone eats :)

RF
 
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cape chef said:
It's been a while since we discussed technique and whats going on in our kitchens.

Lets talk about food, our menu's our most challenging dishes and what we find satisfying in our work?

QUOTE]

One of the most rewarding projects for me at the restaurant is to come up with stuffed pastas, miniatures that we use as various garnishes. Fillings have covered the spectrum of langoustines to porcini to sunchokes. The fun part is the pasta itself. I have finally come up with my own ratios and technique, and I'm comfortable flavouring the dough with just about anything. I usually dessicate the flavouring agent, grind it to a powder, and modify the moisture content accordingly. Some of the fun ones: carrot, squid ink, porcini, and my fave, mousseron mushroom.
 
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Right now I really enjoy working with broths. Some cool ones are Smoked Leek-Parm. broth, Mustard -Madiera broth, Lemon-Thyme Broth.
I've been working with hand pulled Asian noodles, and that has been very satisfying. Also dried meats, like beef, tuna and duck.
 
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Well let us see.....In the kitchen at home, nothing fancy as of now however: in the works are a few things. I will be putting a garden in this summer, Flowers..who needs 'em ;) I will be growing the herbs Thyme, Basil, Pineapple mint for the front of the house, it makes a nice ground cover. Oregano and a few others that I don't recall but I wrote them down. Beefsteak tomatoes, Jalapeno and other peppers, jeez and again, others that I don't remember but I wrote them down :rolleyes:
I also just picked up a small nonworking refrigerator that I will be turning into a cold smoker :bounce: MMMM can't wait to get that baby rollin...
I am also working on a bunch of smoked salmon recipes. I am doing a cookbook for an online smoked salmon company and have a lot of recipes to go through. I am also doing plank cooking for them. To be honest plank cooking is new for me, but I have some planks and my first attempt with the cedar turned out very interesting. I could learn to like it :D Soon I will be redoing the kitchen walls, floor cabinets etc. Pics of all the house work will be available soon :eek:
 
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Chrose,
can you tell/explain to me how to turn a refrigerator into a cold smoker. I want to start making sausages and the only thing i don't get is the smoker.Talking about gardens and herbs, here is a tip : you know the cress stuff you can buy in tiny boxes for decoration...well it's just sprouted seeds. The basil cress is great, one box divided in 6 or 8 portons , planted in the garden gives me a adequate basil supply for the whole summer. Try it.This also goes for the shiso ect... :D
 
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Anneke said:
Not unlike bread, I find pasta making very relaxing (unless i'm prepping for 500)

I do a mini grilled artichoke,feta and kalamata olive ravioli that I float in tomato consomme as an app.

Coquille,

An old friend of mine made a cold smoker from a fridge by boring a hole on the side towards the bottom. then running dryer tubbing from the hole to the grill. When smoking he would run the piping through a iced cooler that would cool down the smoke.The stuff was pretty good, salmon mostly.

Spoonbread, what are you doing with the broths on your menu? Can you share the smoked Leek and Parm broth with us?
 

pete

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At NECI we used to use an old refrigerator as a cold smoker. It worked great. Like the one CC described it had a hole cut out towards the bottom which was fitted with a dryer hose. The other end attached near the top of our firebox containing an old, coil style hot plate, on which we would place a tin pie plate filled with soaked wood chips. To cool the smoke further we placed ice in perf pans and allowed the smoke to filter through those. At the top of the fridge there was another hole cut out to allow the smoke to escape. This was covered by a chimmey top. This set is still one of the best I have worked with. As far as I am concerned it works as well as many of the "high-tech" smokers out there.

Regular Joe as for mint, I have grown it in numerous places. I always try to find a spot where I don't mind it taking over, but if I need to put it close to other things then I surround it with buried plastic edging. This keeps it from spreading by the underground tendrils it sends out. The great thing about mint though is, I have found, that it grows many places where other plants won't or can't, making it good ground cover in places such as under decks or other shady, rocky areas. We did this at my parents house. Couldn't get anything to cover the barren ground under the deck until we planted mint. Within 3 years it had completely blanketed the area. As an added bonus, there is constantly a pitcher of mint iced tea in the fridge in summer time. Nothing is better than mint iced tea after mowing the lawn in 90 degree weather......unless, of course.....it's mint/lemon balm iced tea!!!! :lips: :lips:
 
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Coquille, the smoker I am talking about is a cold smoker, you can smoke sausages quite nicely, but remember it's cold, not hot.
The method is as Pete described it. That's where I got the method from NECI, DavidMiles to be exact. What he used (back in '87 anyway)was a "Little Chief" smoker with a dryer duct running into a hole in the side of the small refrigerator. A 100w lightbulb was added to the refrig. to keep the 80ºF or so temp that you want in there.
 
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I finally tossed out an old Nor-Lake 2 door refrigerator that I hoped someone wanted to take for free. No takers. It would have made an awesome smoker, with all the racks and brackets intact it would have held over 100 lbs. I even had the compressor removed. Sad. It cost me another $125. to get it hauled to the recycler.
 
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