What's Cooking (Take Two!)

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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Thu Nov 28, 2013 12:10 am

Cooking has been (and is) in full swing here: I have already made the cranberry sauce (with walnuts, orange, and Cointreau), two pumpkin pies (one with chocolate, one without), a batch of cinnamon-orange ice cream (thanks, Mike F!), the Smoky Pumpkin soup (this year with Austrian pumpkin seeds!), and all the rest of the ingredients are at hand.

Tomorrow sees the bird (heritage breed), stuffing (sausage, pecans, Grand Marnier, baked separately), and our "DIY" salad (mixed greens, mix-ins (chickpeas, feta, walnuts, croutons, craisins), and fresh Green Goddess).
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

Postby Jenise » Thu Nov 28, 2013 9:31 am

Jeff, sounds magnificent. Tell us about the Austrian pumpkin seeds--I've had Austrian pumpkin seed oil, but have never seen the seeds themselves.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Thu Nov 28, 2013 1:19 pm

Jenise wrote:Jeff, sounds magnificent. Tell us about the Austrian pumpkin seeds--I've had Austrian pumpkin seed oil, but have never seen the seeds themselves.

Thanks.

I was having trouble finding green pumpkin seeds (everybody has the white kind but I'd rather not eat shells). My partner went to Whole Paycheck and found this:
http://www.gohunza.com/living-foods-austrian-jumbo-pumpkin-seeds-p-168.html
They are wider and flatter and blacker than typical pumpkin seeds. Flavor is a bit stronger. I'm liking them a lot.

ETA: The bird is in the oven, I'm taking a coffee break before starting on the stuffing. :)
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

Postby Rahsaan » Thu Nov 28, 2013 3:57 pm

Jeff Grossman/NYC wrote:
Jenise wrote:Jeff, sounds magnificent. Tell us about the Austrian pumpkin seeds--I've had Austrian pumpkin seed oil, but have never seen the seeds themselves.

Thanks.

I was having trouble finding green pumpkin seeds (everybody has the white kind but I'd rather not eat shells). My partner went to Whole Paycheck and found this:
http://www.gohunza.com/living-foods-austrian-jumbo-pumpkin-seeds-p-168.html
They are wider and flatter and blacker than typical pumpkin seeds. Flavor is a bit stronger. I'm liking them a lot.

ETA: The bird is in the oven, I'm taking a coffee break before starting on the stuffing. :)


I've been buying the green ones from Whole Foods for a while now, in several different states. I never thought about the origin but for some reason was quicker to associate them with Mexico than Austria. Either way, they are very delicious and add a ton of flavor to all kinds of sauces.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

Postby Rahsaan » Thu Nov 28, 2013 4:22 pm

Speaking of pumpkin seeds, tonight's first course is crab cakes with an herb sauce (with 2012 Arnot-Roberts Watson Ranch Chardonnay - because my mother-in-law likes California chardonnay and this is one I have been very curious to try). For a while I debated adding green pumpkin seeds to the sauce, because of all the delicious flavor they bring. But in the end I decided not to, because they might overwhelm the crab.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

Postby Paul Winalski » Fri Nov 29, 2013 12:09 am

The coq au vin for Thanksgiving dinner was perfect. Aside from the brandy flambee of the chicken setting off the smoke detector (it thought it smelled gas--clearly it's keyed to ethanol as well as methane).

Turkey? I prefer to watch the wild ones live in my backyard.

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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Fri Nov 29, 2013 1:52 pm

Paul, did you say you were going to have turkey three times over the weekend?
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

Postby Jenise » Fri Nov 29, 2013 11:55 pm

Jeff, interesting re the seeds! Sounds like the dark, strong flavor of the oil is apparent in the raw state. I'll look for those next time I'm in Seattle.

Tonight: pasta in an Italian tomato-pancetta (Amatriciana) sauce that I'll finish with sour cream and a bunch of chiles for something different, plus a green salad.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

Postby Heinz Bobek » Sat Nov 30, 2013 6:54 pm

Yesterday was women meeting in our basement. 12 elderly ladies and -- just me in the kitchen-- where else.
I served for amuse bouche : Fonduta a melted mixture of different sorts of cheese.
The appetizer: Salmon timbal in leeks coat with wild herbs salad and red beets, shrimps on salicorn pesto and beaten star anis cream.
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The main dish: Herbed Veal filet sous vide with mushroom-bread-dumpling on Barolo-pepper-sauce with little vegetables.
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The dessert: Gingerbread-Mousse on punch-sauce
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The wines with the meal: 2012 Riesling Metzger Pfalz and 2010 Stra Brajas Stra Giovanni Langhe
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

Postby Paul Winalski » Sat Nov 30, 2013 9:30 pm

Heinz, I'm awe-struck. Not only a delicious meal--a work of art.

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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

Postby Paul Winalski » Sat Nov 30, 2013 9:37 pm

I used chicken thighs (skin-on and bone-in, of course) for the Coq au Vin I cooked for Thanksgiving. There was more chicken than the recipe called for. Rather than recalculate the recipe, I set the extra thighs aside for another dish. That was tonight's dinner. I smeared them with homemade harissa (left over from the last time I made merguez sausage), let them sit overnight, then grilled them. What better than Moroccan-style grilled chicken with the New England temperatures below freezing?

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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Sun Dec 01, 2013 4:46 pm

Heinz, beautiful plates and interesting matches as well. Bravo!

I notice that the three plates move from complex to simple, was that on purpose?
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

Postby Jenise » Sun Dec 01, 2013 4:54 pm

Heinz Bobek wrote: just me in the kitchen


Heinz, as usual: STUNNING.

You are truly inspiring. Get into my head today and guide me, will you? I am charged with the vegetable course in a three course small plate dinner which will be preceded by heavy apps. I am absolutely determined to use chanterelle mushrooms in it. What I don't know yet is whether I'll do layers or a more classic terrine with layers of the vegetables that show so beautifully in the cut slices, and within that I don't know know yet if I'll do a ground chanterelle layer or leave the mushrooms whole or both! I may need to go the ground route because in three weeks, I may not be able to get quality chanterelles (and even as of right now, it's dicey) so cooking/grinding/freezing for later use could be called for. I am unsure, though, how well they'll freeze. I'm thinking a truffle vinaigrette with a few whole vegetable pieces on the side. Anyway, by Tuesday I'll know all I need to know to make the decision, but yikes, this is not an easy one! So many variables!

Also cooking today: a pumpkin soup made out of the sugar pumpkin leftover from pie baking last week, and maybe a chicken and dumpling soup.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Mon Dec 02, 2013 2:16 am

Heinz - as always, your meals look phenomenal (and I can only imagine what they taste like!).

Tonight, I made milk-braised pork loin with roasted potatoes and braised endive. My wife made a butterscotch banana pudding that was more along the lines of an English pudding than American pudding - it was somewhat bready with a butterscotch sauce on the bottom.

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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

Postby Karen/NoCA » Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:03 pm

Tonight is salmon fillet cooked in Red Swiss Chard. A 13 x 9 dish is buttered, than lined with red chard, sprinkled with fresh garlic. A salmon fillet is placed on top. Salmon is moistened with a little evoo, then salt and pepper. More chard and garlic on top. Place lemon slices all over, cover tightly and bake. I made a salsa with satsuma mandarin chunks, zest, 1/2 of a chipotle in adobo, a little evoo, s & P. Also made a pasta sauce with fresh garlic, roasted red pepper, cut into chunks, a can of diced tomatoes in rich puree, the other half of the chipotle in adobo, little cumin, 2 serrano peppers for a bit of heat, and tangerine zest. This will go over Trecce dell' Orto, a pretty short, rolled pasta colored with beet, spinach, carrot, and tomato. Very colorful, the beet pieces are almost black.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

Postby Heinz Bobek » Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:26 pm

Jenise wrote:
Heinz Bobek wrote: just me in the kitchen


Heinz, as usual: STUNNING.

You are truly inspiring. Get into my head today and guide me, will you? I am charged with the vegetable course in a three course small plate dinner which will be preceded by heavy apps. I am absolutely determined to use chanterelle mushrooms in it. What I don't know yet is whether I'll do layers or a more classic terrine with layers of the vegetables that show so beautifully in the cut slices, and within that I don't know know yet if I'll do a ground chanterelle layer or leave the mushrooms whole or both! I may need to go the ground route because in three weeks, I may not be able to get quality chanterelles (and even as of right now, it's dicey) so cooking/grinding/freezing for later use could be called for. I am unsure, though, how well they'll freeze. I'm thinking a truffle vinaigrette with a few whole vegetable pieces on the side. Anyway, by Tuesday I'll know all I need to know to make the decision, but yikes, this is not an easy one! So many variables!


Hello Jenise,
Sorry for the late reply. First I will start by saying that I've never used frozen mushrooms in any dish. But let me tackle the problem practically. Mushrooms have a high water content and probably would suffer damage in the cell structure if they are frozen as a whole in the raw state. Therefore, it seems reasonable to me to fry the mushrooms so they lose moisture. Lots of moisture is lost when the surface is increased, eg when the mushrooms are cut into as many small pieces as reasonable, which are then cooked without salt and seasoning in a fairly hot pan, thereby lots of the water is evaporated and the taste will be improved. When the mushroom pieces are cooked al dente, remove from the pan and let cool on paper towels and freeze. Thawing must be done very slowly in the refrigerator.
I suppose that it should be a pure vegetarian terrine, then I can not recommend a meat farce as binding, which I mostly do. Stay 3 options left. First, gelatin (pure or in vegetable mousse), secondly mixture of eggs and cream or gelling from molecular cuisine eg Agar agar. Another option may be a soup made of dried Mushrooms. Does this statement help or am I completely lost?
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

Postby Jenise » Mon Dec 02, 2013 10:50 pm

Heinz Bobek wrote:Hello Jenise,
Sorry for the late reply. First I will start by saying that I've never used frozen mushrooms in any dish. But let me tackle the problem practically. Mushrooms have a high water content and probably would suffer damage in the cell structure if they are frozen as a whole in the raw state. Therefore, it seems reasonable to me to fry the mushrooms so they lose moisture. Lots of moisture is lost when the surface is increased, eg when the mushrooms are cut into as many small pieces as reasonable, which are then cooked without salt and seasoning in a fairly hot pan, thereby lots of the water is evaporated and the taste will be improved. When the mushroom pieces are cooked al dente, remove from the pan and let cool on paper towels and freeze. Thawing must be done very slowly in the refrigerator.
I suppose that it should be a pure vegetarian terrine, then I can not recommend a meat farce as binding, which I mostly do. Stay 3 options left. First, gelatin (pure or in vegetable mousse), secondly mixture of eggs and cream or gelling from molecular cuisine eg Agar agar. Another option may be a soup made of dried Mushrooms. Does this statement help or am I completely lost?


Ditto here re frozen mushrooms.

My terrine doesn't have to be pure-vegetarian, but it is a "vegetable course" that will be sandwiched in between a seafood and a meat course. So where I understand and have considered using a mousseline and doing the French classic vegetable terrine (and am prepared to go there if I have to), I really wanted to go vegetarian (with all the color of fresh/unbaked) if I could. What I experimented with yesterday involved poaching the chanterelles in pure cream (to avoid any other fat that doesn't congeal well), then draining the chanterelles and pureeing them. I recombined that puree with some of the reserved cream with gelatine introduced, and put the remainder of the cream into cooked and pureed cauliflower which picked up the mushroom flavor (and pale beige color) beautifully. I alternated the layers in a tiny hotel pan about the size of an index card, and put cooked whole chanterelles in the mushroom layer and arrangements of steamed carrot batons and steamed haricot verts into the cauliflower. The result was delicious and beautiful. I froze some of the mushroom puree--I'll see how it fared tomorrow. If that works, I'll try your method for the whole mushrooms--everything you said makes perfect sense. Thanks!
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

Postby Jenise » Tue Dec 03, 2013 5:37 pm

Tonight: that German dish whose name I can't remember for the life of me right now. Charcrute, perhaps? Sauerkraut, potatoes, ham hocks, pork chops, sausage, etc. all baked for a long long time.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

Postby Christina Georgina » Tue Dec 03, 2013 11:38 pm

Choucroute garnie. Just about to make Choucroute poisson. A panfried trout fillet over kraut braised in a dry Alsatian white, star anise, thyme sauced with a shallot cream reduction. Saw it recently in a Saveur email and happen to have fresh Lake Superior trout. Did not realize that the fish variation is as classic as the pork in Alsace
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

Postby Frank Deis » Wed Dec 04, 2013 1:18 am

Choucroute garni is so popular in France that there is at least one chain of restaurants where that is the main food -- Alsatian themed. Several years ago when we first visited France we ate at one in, I think, Le Mans. They are like Mexican restaurants here… popular comfort food and independent of actual geographic context. It is a wonderful dish.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

Postby Jenise » Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:36 am

Yes, choucroute garni. And it's Alsatian, not German [she said, correcting herself]. I don't speak French, so looked up the translation just now and learned it means "dressed sauerkraut", and no I did not know that there's a fish variation or that it is also classic! Sounds wonderful. Btw, while Binging around the stratosphere just now I clicked on a few recipes. I don't know that I've ever actually followed one, I just make it based on my understanding of the concept and adding one big change that the classic doesn't have--a pound or so of green beans because I 1) love long-cooked green beans and 2) want to extend the ratio of low-carb vegetable to meat. One of the recipes I clicked on was Jacques Pepin's. He suggests three meats: kielbasa, ham and a whole package of hot dogs. And he calls them that, hot dogs, not frankfurters. One has to wonder: is that really his preference, or did he think that throwing in the lowly "tube steak" would make the dish more appealing/accessible to his audience? Either way, wouldn't do it! Kielbasa's great, but it's all the sausage I need/want unless I add something small for visual texture, like landjaeger* (as I did last night) or even Chinese sausage, and I also add country style spare ribs. (*I'm fortunate up here to have a large local Russian population for whom there are numerous small markets carrying all manner of Eastern European meats and sausages, including kielbasa, that are light years better than the standard Hillshire Farms most supermarkets carry.)

Btw, served it to friends who are French and Irish by way of Toronto, respectively. They'd never had or even heard of the dish. They LOVED it. I plated the first servings in the kitchen, then brought out a hot platter for anyone who wanted seconds. They ate it all, wasn't a drop left.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

Postby Frank Deis » Wed Dec 04, 2013 4:28 pm

Not to take us TOO far down a side path -- but IIRC Alsatian food became popular in Paris (and the rest of France) around 1870, when there was some difficulty with the Germans and Alsace/Elsaß - Lorraine/Lothringen. Not only did Alsatian restaurants start popping up, but we had the phenomenon of the brasserie, also based on Alsatian concepts. What is the difference between a bistro and a brasserie? For one thing a bistro serves wine and a brasserie serves beer, there are usually more mirrors in a brasserie -- and a menu option in any brasserie involves sauerkraut, pork, or choucroute garni. I remember QUITE a variety of meats in our C.G. in France -- small pork chops, I think ribs, sausages of various sorts, etc. It was kind of a mess with occasional bones etc. but SOO delicious.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

Postby Jenise » Wed Dec 04, 2013 5:51 pm

Frank Deis wrote: I remember QUITE a variety of meats in our C.G. in France -- small pork chops, I think ribs, sausages of various sorts, etc. It was kind of a mess with occasional bones etc. but SOO delicious.


One of the advantages of doing CG for a large dinner party is the greater variety of meats you can use than when cooking for, say, just four. Kind of like cassoulet--the bigger, the better!
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Two!)

Postby Karen/NoCA » Thu Dec 05, 2013 2:14 pm

We are getting 20° overnight with possible snow in the valley tomorrow. Today, I made a healthy turkey tortilla soup, with lots of veggies, spices and Hatch Chilis. Serving with fresh cilantro from our garden, avocado and a bit of sour cream. Very tasty stuff. Planning on a Laura Calder recipe over the weekend, with bone-in pork chops cooked on a red of red potatoes, with tweaks.
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