Hey good lookin', what's cookin'?

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lagatta4

Yorkshire pud is delicious. So are well-made "pies", well, of course standard meat (or meat-substitute) or salmon pies, but also those with a layer of potatoes on top and sometimes a layer of vegetables as well as protein foods.

I'm looking for a good and fairly easy flatbread recipe, to be made in a pan. I want the kind that is a bit risen, like a focaccia or the thicker type of pita, not the matzo type. I'd use just a bit of yeast and let it rise for a good long time, at least overnight, or longer.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

My go-to leavened flatbread is this one.  It's a pretty "chatty" recipe, and I'm always referencing it on my iPod and have to scroll and scroll to get to the ingredients.  But it's simple and it's awesome.  I make it all the time, with all-purpose flour and skipping the optional seeds.  If you don't have plain yogurt, use sour cream.  If you don't have sour cream, substitute some milk or cream. 

I'm at the point now where I can roll one flatbread in the time it takes to cook another (about 80 seconds, maybe) so it's become pretty efficient -- I even made 24 wee ones once and we had bbq hamburgers on them.  My one "trick" is to roll the flatbreads very thin -- thinner than you'd think, thinner than a pie crust -- because they puff up nicely when cooked.  And oil or butter the breads (after cooking) NOT the pan.  You can also prep them ahead of time and either microwave them or pop them in tinfoil into a warm-ish oven.

ed'd to add:  the last time I made them was just a few days ago.  I'd found a can of tomatoes on sale and got the idea to make Shakshouka because I love anything with an egg in it.  I didn't have any decent bread, and didn't feel like going out for some, so I cut the recipe and made four flatbreads, which I figured were probably more authentic with a Middle Eastern/North African dish anyway.  Let me know how the long rise works out for you, but when you don't have time for that, 1-1.5 hours works fine, and you don't need to plan too far ahead.

 

 

lagatta4

I'm far more likely to have plain yogourt (I don't eat sweetened yogourt) than sour cream. I rarely have milk, because for me it has to be goat's.

Thanks!

I use all-purpose, but it is organic and unbleached. I can get it for a good price when PA has it on sale. By the way, I love shakshouka, though often I add other Mediterranean vegetables such as eggplant and zucchini, and it is very nice to add some potato bits, as in a Spanish tortilla. It is especially pretty with peewee eggs.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Do you have a cast iron skillet?  Or even a cast iron Dutch oven?  It's not absolutely crucial, but cast iron makes a great "thermal flywheel" and keeps that heat from dissipating.

I have a few cast iron skillets that we paid real money for, but the one I probably use most -- the one I'm using for some roasted "smashed potatoes" right now -- cost me either $1 or $2 at Goodwill.  And like buying a second-hand baseball glove, I was even spared the need to break it in.

Aside:  I recently found (i.e. someone was throwing out) a cast iron Lodge grill pan.  It's probably 10" by 16" or thereabouts, ribbed on one side and reversible to the other, and being cast iron, suffered only from a bit of scurf and some rust.  Cast iron is forever.

lagatta4

Of course I have a cast-iron skillet. Two as a matter of fact, but the other is tiny and used for making chacshouka for one, for example. I had an even larger one, but gave it to an Argentine friend to use as a "plancha". That one cost 5o cents at a hospice bazaar, I think the smaller ones cost a dollar or two at yard sales. I can't see why on earth people would throw them out unless they have become too frail to pick them up and carry them safely. I assume that the huge one belonged to someone who became a resident in the care centre (and is doubtless dead by now), but don't know why on earth his or her children didn't keep such a treasure. The bazaar was run mostly by volunteers who were children or other younger relatives of residents, all at least well into middle age.

Do they work with induction burners? I think they should, no?

My larger one was from Carlton Place in eastern Ontario, the smaller from somewhere in Québec. Pretty damned local.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Ya, I kind of figured you'd have one or two.

Quote:
That one cost 5o cents at a hospice bazaar, I think the smaller ones cost a dollar or two at yard sales. I can't see why on earth people would throw them out unless they have become too frail to pick them up and carry them safely.

Here's my thinking.  People tout cast iron as a great foodie thing, so people go grab one, but I think they don't realize that cast iron isn't awesome on day one.  You do need to take some time to season cast iron cookware, and I suspect that some people just don't bother.  I re-refer to my baseball glove analogy:  a new mitt is awesome, but not really for the first six months or so.  And we've all had a similar experience with new shoes.

cco
progressive17 progressive17's picture

The La Meute snack: mayonnaise sandwiches with cretons.

lagatta4

Well, that is pretty standard "lumpen" food - I guess there are regional and national variations on it.

I think people gave the HUGE skillet away simply because of its weight. It was well seasoned, as was the tiny one. The middle-sized on needed a bit of work, but not six months.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
I think people gave the HUGE skillet away simply because of its weight.

I have a sixteen inch cast iron skillet that, coincidentally, weighs sixteen pounds.

Just braggin'.

lagatta4

My huge one was about that size and weight. But I really didn't need it, and was happy to give it to a friend. After all, I paid a whole fifty cents for it!

lagatta4

Does anyone have any ideas about using a stewing hen? Old fowl? I don't like the frozen ones I could always buy at my Southeast Asian grocery as they are simply too dried out and sad, but sometimes they have "fresh" ones that just look like older chickens that couldn't be eaten fried or broiled. I'm sure they are good for stock, but I would like to recuperate at least some meat.

My local Metro supermarket often has them too, but you have to buy a pair, which comes to about $8.

WWWTT

lagatta4 wrote:

Does anyone have any ideas about using a stewing hen? Old fowl? I don't like the frozen ones I could always buy at my Southeast Asian grocery as they are simply too dried out and sad, but sometimes they have "fresh" ones that just look like older chickens that couldn't be eaten fried or broiled. I'm sure they are good for stock, but I would like to recuperate at least some meat.

My local Metro supermarket often has them too, but you have to buy a pair, which comes to about $8.

I got some good advise. But you're not going to like it. Also depends if you drive? Find someplace on the outskirts of Montreal or Laval (not sure of the local geography in Quebec) that sells chickens goats rabbits etc etc and kill the animal yourself and pluck the feathers. Maybe they will do the dirty deeds for you? Or perhaps there's a market in town where you can pick out a hen and do this?

lagatta4

I don't drive. And I don't feel like butchering animals if someone more competent can do it.  It would also mean a far more cruel demise for the fowl as an anatomically incompetent pencil-pusher stabbed away at the poor thing.

By the way, I really don't eat much meat. The last aspect of that I'd give up is stock.  And what meaty bits go into Livia's food, as she is an obligate carnivore. I'm not, but I have a lot of food allergies.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Lagatta, do you have a crock pot? Of course, even if you don't, you can adapt this on stove at a low simmer - I put chicken parts in the crock with some chicken stock, carrots (and parsnips sometimes!), celery, onion, thyme, pepper and maybe some marjoram and/or parseley and let it simmer all day. I thicken the stock into a gravy (I use a little milk in mine, but it's optional) and top with biscuit dough, which I let steam over the stew - chicken and dumplings!

WWWTT

lagatta4 wrote:

I don't drive. And I don't feel like butchering animals if someone more competent can do it.  It would also mean a far more cruel demise for the fowl as an anatomically incompetent pencil-pusher stabbed away at the poor thing.

By the way, I really don't eat much meat. The last aspect of that I'd give up is stock.  And what meaty bits go into Livia's food, as she is an obligate carnivore. I'm not, but I have a lot of food allergies.

The point I was getting at that I did not mention is that freshly harvested animals for food taste the best. I remember being in Sao Miguel in the early 1990's. My parents when there, would go to a neighboring town (Villa Franka I think) and buy fish from the local fishermen just as they were pulling their boats ashore. Then bring the catch home and cook on an outside BBQ/kitchen setup that many homes there have. One time I thought my mother had cooked up chicken, but in fact it was tuna! I was told by her and other locals this is because in central Canada, we never taste fresh caught tuna. I've heard the same thing about chicken pork and beef. I have heard from other people make suggestions like Time Bandit in the comment above about how to dress up meat/fish/poultry in a way to mask or cover up the lack of freshness.

This goes for fruit and vegetables also. But I'm sure you are fully aware of this.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Does anyone have any ideas about using a stewing hen? Old fowl?

Ya, what TB said.  Just break it into four or eight (i.e. quarter it, or go with breast/wing/drum/thigh) with a cleaver and stew it as the name suggests.  I've bought soup hens, and the meat is actually kind of good, but as you note, it's not for a quick roast.  But it's definitely stew season now.  I wish I knew of any specific Middle Eastern or North African chicken stews -- I'm sure they know how to deal with a hen in its dotage.  Caribbean, too, I would think.  It's probably not one of those things that most cookbooks would feature, as I don't think they're as common as they once surely were, and certainly not as common as the ubiquitous boneless, skinless, joyless chicken breast portion.

Quote:
I remember being in Sao Miguel in the early 1990's. My parents when there, would go to a neighboring town (Villa Franka I think) and buy fish from the local fishermen just as they were pulling their boats ashore.

Well, like Lagatta, I don't see myself slaughtering my own lamb any time soon.  Not to mention that slaughtering it is materially easy enough, but it takes some know-how to hang and break any livestock.  I've actually watched a few fascinating YT videos where a butcher shows you how a side of livestock becomes the cuts and other stuff we're familiar with, and they make it look easy, but I doubt if it really is.  I know that a lot of hunters will, say, shoot a deer, but only field-clean it, and take it to an abbatoir for the rest.

That said, I expect many Canadians are familiar with the super-fresh taste of fish that you refer to, not because they visit the docks at 5 a.m. when the trawlers come in, but because they own a fishing rod.  :)  A pickerel is one animal that I DO know how to slaughter, break and prepare.

ed'd to add:  thanks, though, for giving me a bit of a nostalgia moment!  When I was a kid, growing up in Sarnia, we would often visit Purdy's Fish Market, in Point Edward, to pick up (typically) a bunch of yellow perch, caught in Lake Huron that day.  It was no San Francisco Fish Market -- just a wee storefront with a few varieties of freshwater fish for sale -- but I still loved going, and it always meant an "all you can eat" dinner of skillet-fried perch that night.  Evidently they've got three locations and a restaurant now.  Go Purdy's!

 

lagatta4

I actually caught a doré (think that is a pickerel - I've eaten them only in French) on a river upstream from Lac St-Jean, the first time I went fishing there with my then beau and his brother ... well, one of his brothers, they were 13 kids (I also have aunts who were much better Catholics than my mother, who had 14 and 12). It was delicious.

A friend calls those nameless chicken breast portions "meat tofu". Another acquaintance says her kids won't eat meat with bones in it ("gross").

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
I actually caught a doré (think that is a pickerel - I've eaten them only in French)

That genuinely made me laugh out loud.  Eaten them in French!  But it does seem that we're talking about the same fish.  Pickerel in most of Canada, Walleye elsewhere.  First cousin to the pike, second cousin to the muskie.  I guess I'll always have a soft spot for yellow perch, but admittedly, cleaning a dinner's worth of perch is a lot more of a hassle than a dinner's worth of pickerel/doré.  Here in downtown TO, you're looking at about $15/lb for anything you'd trust enough to eat.  Hard to abide when you're used to them being free for the luring.

Quote:
A friend calls those nameless chicken breast portions "meat tofu". Another acquaintance says her kids won't eat meat with bones in it ("gross").

Well, they're "meat tofu" in the sense that they only have whatever flavour they pick up from everything else.

As for meat without bones, here's some octopus then!  Totally boneless!  Bon(e) appetit!

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

WWWTT, my suggestion had nothing to do with freshness of the chicken - age at demise is more an issue. The more elderly the hen, the tougher the meat. 

I hunted and fished growing up, so I know how to dress a bird and field dress deer. Not terribly interested in taking that on again. 

  1. Forgot to comment on the yorkies! A little bit of heaven! I use a little cooking oil in muffin tins, heated well. Also, the times I've forgotten to mix the batter early enough to let it rest hasn't made a huge difference in the finished product. I use a recipe my mother and nana used. 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

No idea how that got numbered! Not a mobile friendly site!

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Oh, and fricassee is another way to deal with tough old birds. Onion, white wine, herbs and mushrooms is nice, or wine, Rosemary, onion and finished with cherry tomatoes and kalamata olives is amazing. 

lagatta4

Yes, stewing hens refers to the age of the hens when "culled" aka slaughtered.

WWWTT

Timebandit wrote:

WWWTT, my suggestion had nothing to do with freshness of the chicken - age at demise is more an issue. The more elderly the hen, the tougher the meat. 

I hunted and fished growing up, so I know how to dress a bird and field dress deer. Not terribly interested in taking that on again. 

Thanks for clarifying. I personally when fishing will not keep bass(large or small smouth) that are too big because this means they are older and not as delicious. Same goes for musky. With the size restrictions in Ontario if your lucky enough to land one you can keep, it will taste too gamy. I tried it once and I didn't like it. But wow, you use to hunt! Never would have thought you did.

lagatta4

Many young people, both girls and boys, from rural or semi-rural areas learn to hunt and fish. All my long-ago beau's family north of Lac St-Jean did.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I grew up in a small city, but my dad was an avid outdoorsman. I have no brothers, so I got to do a lot of that sort of thing with him. 

lagatta4

I made a really good, jellied stock from turkey bones with a LOT of flesh - and also quite a bit of fat - on them. I removed the flesh from the bones before the meat was overcooked, and of course separated the jellied stock from the fat (easy now that it is cold outside). So I have a fair bit of pretty much rendered turkey fat. Ideas?

I want to make a sort-of tourtière from the meat, with vegetables and seasonings...

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Sounds wonderful. 

The xmas baking is underway at our house. Gingerbread today. Had a moment missing my dear friend and soul-sister, Dee, who always baked with me. A marathon, with wine and witty conversation. Lost her to cancer just over 5 years ago. Even years later and in another city, seems odd she isn't with us. 

lagatta4

Here is an interesting take on tourtière, with some Trini touches: https://spicetrekkers.com/recipes/tourti%C3%A8re-de-la-famille-de-vienne

Sorry about Dee...

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Thanks, lagatta. You get to a certain age and there's none of us haven't lost someone. 

Mans thanks for the link, it looks very tasty. 

lagatta4

I was probably your age when three close friends died within about three weeks.

Smoking was a key factor in all those deaths,  but of course everyone dies. I'm very worried about a friend right now, who got an all clear and then problems creeping back...

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I wouldn't normally mention this in a foodie thread, but since we're going there, and since I mentioned this guy in foodie threads about a hundred times (example:  he's the friend who, after 30+ years of vegetarianism, asked me to cook a non-vegetarian meal for his traditional holiday visit) I will.  Pretty much any time I talked about food and mentioned "a friend", it was him.

In the picture, he's the handsome fellow, top left.

A fun Christmas/foodie memory:  probably about 1991, we both lived in Hamilton.  At Xmas time we exchanged some gifts.  He got me a large aluminum stock pot, and one of those 5kg jute bags of real basmati rice.  I got him a large aluminum stock pot, and one of those 5kg jute bags of real basmati rice.  Great minds think alike.

WWWTT

I made a lasagna for the family last Friday. Used tomato sauce cottage mozzarella cheddar cheese parsley and two eggs. It was great! Whole family liked it. The leftover were even more popular with the kids. The recipes you guys come up with are good, but way over the top for my family. Young toddlers can’t eat dishes with over half a dozen different ingredients. Their tastes haven’t developed to that point I’m guessing. 

We faught a war with junk food around my house several months ago and the results are fantastic! I’m down in weight a little and my children are eating more proper healthy meals. 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Magoo, sorry to hear about your friend! That's awful. 

WWWTT, my kids started eating stuff with more than six ingredients as soon as they were off purées. There have been some recent studies that found kids exposed to a wider variety of foods very young are much less picky eaters later on. Seems true in my family's case - my girls will eat pretty much anything set in front of them. We had a rule when they were small - you can't completely reject a food until you've tried it 10 times. Even if it's just one bite, most of the time they acquired the taste by the 10th try. 

That said, a lot of the food I talk about here is the fancier dinners, Sundays or special occasions. But there are a lot of everyday meals we make with More than 6 ingredients. Even a basic spaghetti sauce has 8 or 9. 

lagatta4

What I can't figure out is what eggs are doing in a lasagna, unless you actually make your own egg pasta, which would be quite a feat. I've done it, but now I simply buy it...

And yes, those murders in Toronto are terrifying. If they occurred in Forest Hill, or closer by in Rosedale, they wouldn't be "low priority".

WWWTT

Sorry yes I understand some things like tomata sauce have a whole bunch of ingredients. I think I mean to say ingredients in larger amounts? This would exclude a pinch of salt/pepper/oregano and parsley among others. We make it a serious focus that the diet is widely varied in our home! Hence the constant trying of different dishes and recipes. And I am satisfied with everyones eating habits in my home right now. Including me! My kids are slowly getting the habit but maybe I feel it's not fast enough?

As far as egg goes in the lasagna, it's there for the protein and other dietary requirements. I want to stay away from ground beef/pork. I considered ground chicken but went with the egg out of convenience because theres always some in the fridge.

WWWTT

But everything in the above comment I mentioned doesn't mean I stop reading the recipes you guys post here!!!! Please don't stop. I have to continue with new stuff. And sometimes it doesn't work out, sometimes it does. 

progressive17 progressive17's picture

I found out a technique for peeling plum tomatos for marinara sauce. You have boiling water in one pot and cold water in another. You put the tomato in a ladle, dip it in the boiling water for a few seconds and then dunk it in the cold water. You literally only have to touch it for the skin to fall off. 

The water which is inside the tomatos seems to be enough to simmer the sauce. After peeling them I put them in the cooking pot and cut them there so I don't lose any water. The other vegetables contribute water as it is simmering off. 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

WWWTT - My spaghetti sauce has onion, garlic, tomato, green pepper, mushrooms, herbs, ground beef. So that's 7. I think you need to count herbs because they significantly alter flavour! Use the sauce for lasagna, and you add ricotta cheese, noodles, and mozzarella. So that's 10! I've known few children who didn't dig my lasagna.

I once had my friend's children for a weekend while she and her hubby had a little getaway - they lived on peanut butter all weekend because they wouldn't eat my cooking. Even my mac and cheese was wrong - who doesn't love mac and cheese???!!! - because it wasn't Kraft Dinner. Although they did eat fried chicken and salad one day.

Anyway, I highly recommend the 10x rule if you want your kids to develop a wider range of tastes. Also, no making alternate meals. My kids would raise the occasional objection, and my mantra was "This is not a restaurant and I am not a short order cook." Hunger makes the best sauce. ;)

progressive17 progressive17's picture

I find basil is good enough for marinara sauce.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
What I can't figure out is what eggs are doing in a lasagna, unless you actually make your own egg pasta, which would be quite a feat. I've done it, but now I simply buy it...

I've certainly seen (and used) recipes which call for beating an egg or two into the ricotta.  Mind you, I've gone all "Church dinner" with my lasagna recently and substituted full-fat cottage cheese for the ricotta.  Half the price, 95% of the taste, 0% of the rustic authenticity.  :)

What I can't shake, when I make lasagna, is using regular lasagna noodles.  I have this perpetual fear that if I use the "no boil" noodles, they'll stay crunchy and I'll be screwed.  Or, they'll suck up all the moisture and I'll have lasagna jerky.

lagatta4

Cottage cheese is fine - that is NOT a problem. But I have cow milk allergies so I'm best advised to use goat or ewe's milk ricotta - and I can get those at PA supermarché (Greek) here for a reasonable price, though cottage cheese on sale remains cheaper.

I never put meat in lasagna - for me it is white cheese and greens - but the egg seems very strange in terms of texture.

WWWTT

I placed 500ml cottage cheese in large bowl with teaspoon of dry parsley and beat two eggs in. Just as Mr Magoo suggestion. Used ready to use lasagna noodles and layered everything. Next time I’ll use more spinach. It came out a little runny but still very delicious! The leftovers was a little firmer so I’m thinking I didn’t let it stand long enough after pulling out of oven?

lagatta4

I've never heard of adding eggs to the cheese, but do as you please! Why dry parsley? Real parsley is cheap if you know where to look and EXTREMELY nutritious. A lifesaver in the winter and in times when hard up. Chard (swiss chard) can be cheaper in the winter and just as nutritious, and not as much of a chewing challenge as kale.

lagatta4

I've never heard of adding eggs to the cheese, but do as you please! Why dry parsley? Real parsley is cheap if you know where to look and EXTREMELY nutritious. A lifesaver in the winter and in times when hard up. Chard (swiss chard) can be cheaper in the winter and just as nutritious, and not as much of a chewing challenge as kale.

WWWTT

lagatta4 wrote:

I've never heard of adding eggs to the cheese, but do as you please! Why dry parsley? Real parsley is cheap if you know where to look and EXTREMELY nutritious. A lifesaver in the winter and in times when hard up. Chard (swiss chard) can be cheaper in the winter and just as nutritious, and not as much of a chewing challenge as kale.

Dry parsley is more convenient. Around my house we have a hard enough time finding room in our fridge/freezer as it is right now and until we upsize(which we'll have to do no matter what) we have to economize on fridge room. So fresh parsley is a luxury. I'll try the chard in my next lasagna, thanks for the suggestion!

lagatta4

I use so much parsley that if I didn't have room in my (very small) fridge, I'd set it in a glass jar with water (like a bouquet) and put it in a cool corner. It is so cold here today that it would probably keep as well as in the fridge.

I buy flatleaf parsley and use it in salads as well as other dishes. Remember that you can also make a salad with bulghur, parsely and tomatoes (taboulé). Bulghur is traditional, but you could use couscous or perhaps even quinoa (cooked) if you don't have any.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Another way to deal with fresh parsley (which is, admittedly, 99% healthier and 95% tastier than dried) is:

1.  buy a bunch

2.  use some of it in a recipe right now

3. use the rest for this

I do have some dried parsley in my spice collection, but TBH I mostly use it for the sprinkle of colour.

ed'd to add:  I don't necessarily mean make that pasta.  Just make the pesto and jar or freeze it.  It should be about the volume of an extra large egg.

WWWTT

I tried a dish with fresh parsley before and the kids didn’t like it and neither did my wife. I liked it. It was that dish that my wife suggested that I should try dishes instead with less overpowering ingredients and less exotic tastes. So I made the compromise of slowly introducing new tastes. So far so good. A few months back I was eating imported peanuts and my kids were bugging me to have some to eat to. I told them they wouldn’t like them and gave my daughter one. As soon as she put it in her mouth she spat it out! I laughed and told her that she wouldn’t like wasabi flavoured peanuts. I gave my other kids one and they reacted the same way and I laughed and kept eating them. One of my sons still wanted another so I gave him another but he still immediately spat it out. I offered him one a third time and he shook his head side to side and said uh uh. This was really funny. 

lagatta4

Parsley is exotic????

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