Is there really a dish you can't mess up?

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Re: Is there really a dish you can't mess up?

Postby Stuart Yaniger » Thu Oct 05, 2006 8:53 am

Spaghetti-Os, the Ur-Pasta.
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Re: Is there really a dish you can't mess up?

Postby ScottD » Thu Oct 05, 2006 10:54 am

Randy R wrote:she also took pity on me and tried to show me how to make what she called a "Pineapple Dump Cake", so-named because you just dumped all the ingredients in a pan and threw it in the oven for 30 minutes. It was delicious (maybe other factors are coloring my memory here) but I don't recall how to make it.


Whoa - 70's-80's flashback. My mom used to make this all the time.

Another "standby" recipe from back then was italian beef. Rump sliced thin, goes in the crockpot with a bottle of italian dressing, beef broth, green peppers, onions, and oregano. Cook until the meat pretty much falls apart and serve on hard rolls. (No one had ever been to Chicago, back then.) There was also beef stroganoff--round steak strips with mushrooms (canned), a packet of onion soup mix and sour cream, served on egg noodles.

Today, for me, it's probably beef "tips" and egg noodles, pretty much a no brainer. Leftovers in my lunch right now, in fact.

Meat loaf too, that's one that's pretty hard to screw up.
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Re: Is there really a dish you can't mess up?

Postby Gary Barlettano » Thu Oct 05, 2006 12:32 pm

Randy R wrote:Anyway, does anyone have, or would anyone admit to knowing recipes that are good and require little or no cuisine talent to make?


Good question. I mean there's the je ne sais quoi, creative, inspired part of cooking which, I guess, cannot be learned, and then there's technique, i.e. the mechanics. One can probably survive without the former, but without knowledge of the latter, one is dead in the water ... or at least not eating well, so I really don't think that there is any foolproof cooking. Nonetheless, my recommendation:

Easy Spaghetti Aglio Olio (Spaghetti "a-yule")

(1) Lb. long pasta (whatever you like)
(1/4) Cup extra virgin olive oil
(6) Cloves garlic (finely chopped)*
(1/2) Cup finely chopped fresh parsley**
(1/2) Cup shredded fresh basil**
Red chile flake to taste (Optional)
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste***

1. Pour olive oil into large bowl.
2. Put garlic in bowl.
3. Put chile flake in bowl (Optional).
4. Boil pasta in salted water to desired doneness.
5. Drain pasta, but DO NOT rinse.
6. Put steaming hot pasta in bowl with oil and garlic.
7. Toss with parsley, basil, salt, and pepper.
8. If dry, put in a little more olive oil.
9. Sprinkle with your favorite cheese and eat.

* To make this easier, you can buy pre-minced garlic.
** Dry parsley and basil will do for the genuinely lazy.
*** Use white pepper if you want don't like black specks.

This recipe can be modified in a plethora of ways, i.e. toss in some clams and a little clam liquor into the bowl for instant spaghetti alle vongole. Some folks have been known to include some tuna or shrimp. And then there's olives or capers etc. and so on. The point here is that the hot pasta cooks the ingredients which you'd like cooked right in the bowl with very little chance of failure ... unless you don't know how to cook pasta which brings us back to technique.
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