Hey good lookin', what's cookin'?

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Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

And to you!  Four hours (my time) until the last one is in the rear-view mirror, and not an hour too soon.

oldgoat

Turkey soup with grilled cheese sandwiches and some white wine that gets the job done.  In bed by 10.  This is how people on thier 60's rock New Years.  The grilled cheese were very good though, and the soup sublime.

 

Happy New Year all!!

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Happy new year to all of you, too! We're snacking on whipped feta with honey and pistachios while we wait for dinner and to ring in the new year!

Edzell Edzell's picture

I lied about the Cock-a-Leekie etc. - It's really for today Jan 1. Last night was in fact leftovers: Spaghetti sauce mixed in with Futtucine Alfredo. Not very Scottish unless you note the thrift. The fettucine bled oil when re-heated and creaminess was seriously reduced. Some careful drainage and fresh cream revived it. The Futtughetti was amazingly tasty. Long live leftovers!

No-knead bread (my first attempt) is in its last rise.

lagatta4

Spanish omelette now, with potatoes of course, and a bit of red onion. No wine until early supper. Off to bed early. I haven't partied a lot.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I'm going to make some mash up of vin chaud/gluhvien/glogg for sipping this afternoon while we revisit our 5 year plan. I've picked up a little sirloin tip roast for dinner, so there will be roast beef and Yorkshire pudding tonight. The convection oven makes for a nice, dark gravy. I have been declared the Gravy Master by Thing One. :)

Edzell Edzell's picture

No-knead bread is baked and looks excellent:

http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/11376-no-knead-bread?action=click&mod...

Timebandit, you have a 5 year menu plan???? Just kidding.

lagatta4

I thought she was referring to their five-year plan for the house, perhaps finances etc.

Thing One hasn't become a vegan yet?

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
No-knead bread is baked and looks excellent

It's a very photogenic bread.

Today I'mma take it easy, I think, and just make up (some of) that ham.  I had my choice of butt end or shank, and I picked butt in the hope that the bone wouldn't make up so much of it, but it could be some rough surgery trying to make it into two or three smaller hams.  The bone, of course, will be the star of some soup at some point.

If I get around to it, I think I might also make some marzipan today, to top a Christmas cake I baked a few days ago (currently being brandy-soaked).

I also got a can of baby clams on the cheap a few days ago, so clam chowder is in the pipeline.  I made some New England clam chowder a couple of years ago and it was hands down the best soup I've ever made.  But I've always personally preferred Manhattan, so maybe I'll take a swing at that.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Edzell and lagatta - Ha! One week on the menu plan is as far as I get! Five year plan - also broken into shorter term goals - is for both business and home life. Being self employed in the cultural industries, there's a lot of overlap. We try to revisit and revise every New Year's Day. Always interesting to look at where you thought you were headed and where you're at now. Never exactly what you think at the time, but over the long term it's surprising how you do hit the important marks. :)

Thing One loves food too much to ever go vegan! Neither of them are likely to give up meat entirely. And I'm fine with them not restricting their diets unnecessarily - so much extra work and fuss, and often not very healthy.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Found some gorgeous-looking okra at the Superstore before the weekend and some frozen shrimp on special. Been meaning to make chicken soup out of some roaster carcasses in the deep freeze, so it looks like the stars have aligned for gumbo! I even have enough bacon fat for the roux.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Am I the only one who always has a cup or more of bacon fat in the fridge?

I know it sounds like something Grandma did during the war years, but it's handy for when you want to fry up an egg for a sandwich, or saute some chicken or whatever.

Edzell Edzell's picture

Mr. Magoo wrote:
It's a very photogenic bread.

Kind of faint praiseUndecided - do you dis-prefer the no-knead breads?

Quote:
Am I the only one who always has a cup or more of bacon fat in the fridge?

NO! And if you don't have any it's easily prepared. I'm trying to think of something that isn't improved by bacon bits/bacon fat, and/or onion and/or garlic.

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
do you dis-prefer the no-knead breads?

No, I love them.  I was just sort of joking since it seems like every time I bake a loaf, I post a portrait of it. :)

So it worked for you?  The flour and yeast transformed into bread, as advertised?

Edzell Edzell's picture

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
do you dis-prefer the no-knead breads?

No, I love them.  I was just sort of joking since it seems like every time I bake a loaf, I post a portrait of it. :)

So it worked for you?  The flour and yeast transformed into bread, as advertised?

Went very well thanks. I used 1/3 WW flour and a tbsp of gluten.The hardness of the outer crust made it a bit difficult to slice, especially anywhere near thinly. Resultant consumption of fat chunks was enjoyable but too rapid. Got another (double) batch going already. It's 2/3 WW & 2 spoons gluten this time (4 tbsp for the 6-cup dough.) Maybe I'll monitor the crust-formation more closely though. All hints, tips & opinions welcome.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

A fridge without a jar of bacon fat is a sad, sad thing! Dark brown roux made, stock made, sausage and veggies in. Need to sautée the okra, pick over the chicken and make a pan of corn bread. Eating on a European schedule tonight.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Sounds great.  Why is okra such a whipping boy of vegetables?  It's so often referred to as either "mucilaginous" or just "slimey", but for Gord's sake it's just a little goopier.  Jell-o is worse. 

But it's literally one of the plants that displaced slaves smuggled over, a few hundred years ago, along with peppers and other stuff we take for granted now.  Eating okra = living your anti-slavery politics!  Good enough for them, GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU.

** this message paid for by the Okra Marketing Board.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I've always liked okra, but it is sort of mucilaginous - but that helps thicken the gumbo. One thing I just can't seem to find is file powder, but we're okay without it.

6079_Smith_W

Geez. Can't find that in Winnipeg? I found a source for sassafras bark, but not the leaf. I'd ask at one of the alternative food places. I bet if it isn't on the shelf they can source it.

And of course there is a local wild substitute for okra - mallow. Grows in every back lane. Unfortunately you have to pick about 100 of them to make one okra pod.

maybe check in Chinatown. From wikipedia:

Numerous Native American tribes used the leaves of sassafras to treat wounds by rubbing the leaves directly into a wound and used different parts of the plant for many medicinal purposes such as treating acne, urinary disorders, and sicknesses that increased body temperature, such as high fevers.[22] East Asian types of sassafras such as Sassafras tzumu (chu mu) and Sassafras randaiense (chu shu) are used in Chinese medicine to treat rheumatism and trauma.[23] Some modern researchers conclude that the oil, roots and bark of sassafras have analgesic and antiseptic properties. Different parts of the sassafras plant (including the leaves and stems, the bark, and the roots) have been used to treat

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I've checked the 2 organic places in Osborne Village, numerous specialty places, too. Spotted an Indian and Caribbean market in a strip mall on south Pembina I need to check out, but so far no joy. I could probably order it online, just haven't lined it up.

6079_Smith_W

Try Dinos on Notre Dame near Colony. They are the best place for Caribbean and Indian.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I'll keep that in mind the next time I'm up that way - thanks for the tip!
The gumbo came out beautifully, I think thanks to reducing the stock until it had a strong concentration of flavour. We now have another quick meal of leftovers and 9 lunch servings in the freezer!

lagatta4

What else is in your gumbo? I do have some small frozen okra in the freezer. I usually prepare them with tomato, ground meat, lentils or both. Obviously, onions and garlic...

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Start with a bacon fat roux - flour and bacon fat, cooked on the stove until it's a dark brown. Then you add onion, garlic, green pepper and celery to the roux, add sausage - either farmer's sausage if you don't want too much spice, or andouille. I use home-made chicken stock and add the chicken meat from the bones, but you can use regular stock and skip the chicken. I put in a large can of diced tomato, too, and some cajun seasoning. Sautee the okra with some more bacon fat and a couple of tablespoons of vinegar, then add it in. I add shrimp and the chicken pickings a little before serving. Salt to taste.

6079_Smith_W

And I just discovered that one of the best stores in that neighbourhood is no more:

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/end-of-an-oasis-138251269.html

They were the best for German and Eastern European fare. There is still Deutsche Fleischerei on Portage, but Riedegers had a much wider range of stuff, and was cheaper.

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Oh, that's a shame. It's rare that I go to that part of the city, so I hadn't discovered them.

lagatta4

That is such a pity.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

In the last two years we've lost both "Zimmerman's" in Kensington Market.  They were across the street from one another, and seemed to have a longstanding feud over who was the "real" Zimmerman's and entitled to use the name.

The one on the west side of Augusta was a bona fide independent, but they suffered from dusty shelves, meagre selection, and shared the space equally with someone selling fashions from ten years ago and long underwear in faded plastic packs.  They closed up about two years ago and have been replaced by an organic/whole foods place.  They renovated, and it's gorgeous, but I rarely need six slices of sandwich meat for $8.50, so I don't really shop there.  Nice to look at, though.

The one on the east side of Augusta evidently partnered up with Loblaw's, so you could get "President's Choice" and "No Name" stuff there, but they, too, suffered from a meagre selection -- they were kind of like the sort of mid-sized grocery store you might expect to find in some northern town of 3,000.  And the whole store always smelled like a mouldy basement.  Not just a little, but a lot.  I stopped buying pretty much anything there when I went, one day, to grab some chicken thighs and found their whole meat cooler empty.  Upon closer inspection, I noticed that behind and underneath each "shelf" there was a metal flap hanging down, hiding  shelf behind it, and on each of those hidden shelves was all the meat, rotting.  Like, bigtime rotting.  Once I was within a few feet it was a total meat morgue and I walked out.  Clearly their refrigeration system conked out, but I have absolutely NO idea why they didn't just dispose of all the meat.  You cannot be a food store that smells overwhelmingly of rotten meat.  Now they're closed too.  And I'm sure some blame the new "Independent City Grocer" a block or two away on College, but frankly I think they both just forgot what they were doing.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

That's a shame. We have a family owned chain of 5 small groceries in the city, one only a few blocks from our place, nice variety, good meat counter and pretty decent prices. We're very lucky to have them.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I've recently been rediscovering the various wee Portuguese groceries along Dundas.  They're pretty small, but generally well stocked, and their prices are typically reasonable.  They also offer things that I'm not going to find at a Metro or No Frills.

One of them is maddening, but in a good way.  They have a big, long "buffet" style steam table, with about a dozen different hot Portuguese foods for sale -- shredded meat, various beans, fried fish, stew, Portuguese rice, pork crackling and so on.  It smells incredible, and it's really hard not to want to buy and eat everything when meanwhile I only stopped for a lemon.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

First world problem!

Same thing in the Asian supermarket we sometimes get out to. They have all kinds of take-out ready stuff, including barbecued duck! Sometimes I just plan on getting a duck for dinner if we have an errand there.

Our corner grocery has a certain decorator candy - Nutty Club "Silverettes" or "Carnivalettes" (the latter are the same thing, only blue, green, pink, and yellow). They look like little ball bearings and don't melt in the oven. Perfect for decorating gingerbread. I had a chef friend sourcing them for me for *years* when I was in Saskatchewan! I did a little happy dance in the aisle when I found them.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
First world problem!

Fair point.  Having too much delicious looking food in front of you probably isn't the worst thing.  But that said, I've recently been checking out videos on this YT channel and Canada is being beaten badly in terms of "street food".  Why do we not have this??  What good is being "first world" if the only thing I can buy from a sketchy cart on the street is a hot dog?

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Maybe it has to do with the cold season. I know we've had some great food truck here in the summer months, but it's hard to make a year-round living. My favourite was a Filipino food truck called "Pimp my Rice". Lumpia, adobo, some other stuff I can't remember the name of, all on rice in a cardboard dish. Soooo good! We featured them on our food show*. I think the truck has been retired and they've opened a bricks and morter restaurant.

There's also a wood-fired pizza truck that's out and about, too.

* We did 3 seasons of a food show based in SK and MB. We visited 39 restaurants a season! Learned a few things. Chefs are fun.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Toronto has some food trucks, for sure.  The legendary Caplansky's Deli has a huge blue truck named after Zane Caplansky's grandmother, "The Bubby Doris".  But you don't really see them parked somewhere and serving up all that often.  Special events, maybe, but you can't just walk down the street and get food from them.

Many years ago there used to be a food truck that would regularly park near where I worked, and they served up the very best General Tso's Chicken ever, but one day I went to get some and there they were, gone.  Never to return.

Toronto made a very poorly planned, poorly executed attempt a few years back to try to diversify the street food offerings from a cart, but they micromanaged it into failure, so cart-wise, we're stuck with hotdogs.  Or, very very occasionally, a small cart selling hot nuts and candyfloss.  Definitely not okonomiyaki (octopus pancake) on a stick.

I understand that Europe also has some kewl street foods -- honest and delicious french fries with your choice of a dozen toppings, for example.  Count me in.

lagatta4

I have the ducks close by too. Marché Oriental, Vietnamese, but as many such businesses are Sino-Vietnamese, they offer a variety of Chinese and Vietnamese dishes including the ducks (and chickens). A bbq duck costs about 15 or 16 dollars, so it really isn't more expensive than cooking it at home. I did that at Christmas - I was having only one friend over (and we were very happy about that) and didn't feel likes spending the day cooking, much as I like to cook.

None of our nearby Portuguese places have such an array of food. Milano, the famed Italian grocery, does, but they have become quite pricy for those things - if not, they can be cheaper than chain supermarkets for vegetables and fruit, and certainly for pasta. Now is the time to buy panettone on sale - and toast it or make a divine bread pudding.

I'm making a pizza! Normally I dislike cherry tomatoes, but Greek PA supermarket has a kind that are miniature San Marzanos - tasty and not watery. I cut them in tiny slices. Also red onion and garlic, and some shredded green chard. Wish me Buon appetito!

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Sounds great, lagatta!

Magoo, Winnipeg has instituted a street food Wednesday thing on Broadway Avenue, next to the Legislative Building. There's a lottery for parking and there's a good variety. It's too much of a car city to just have them randomly throughout, although I think some of them do have other locations they frequent, like the farmer's markets. And the special events, of course.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Wish me Buon appetito!

Buon appetito!  If you plan to make more pizzas, might I suggest popping by a kitchen supply place for a pizza pan?

They come in three varieties:

1.  a plain, spun aluminum pan, for those who like a chewy crust

2.  a mesh pan, for those who like a crispy crust

3.  a plain, spun aluminum pan with 3/4" holes all over it for those who can't decide

... and all three typically come in a range of sizes.

I bought one (#2) originally to use in my smoker/BBQ for foods that like to fall through the usual grill, but once we started making pizza at home it got pressed into service in its original job -- pizza.  I'm lucky enough to have a gas oven, and on the bottom of a gas oven is a thick-ass plate of steel that sits above the gas burner and makes a "pizza stone" completely redundant.  10 minutes right on top of that and the pizza is done.

Quote:
It's too much of a car city to just have them randomly throughout

That's what killed Toronto's half-assed attempt at street food carts.  They issued a very limiited number of licences, then insisted that each vendor set up in this or that location throughout the GTA.  So if you lived downtown you might get to try the souvlaki cart, but you'd need to be able to drive to another place if you wanted to try the noodle cart, and so on.  Vendors couldn't just go where the hungry customers were.

lagatta4

I have two of the mesh pans. I spent practically nothing for them as a restaurant supply place was closing. What I need is something with serious heat - I only have a countertop convection oven. Of course I want a crisp crust.

None of the small "pizza maker" appliances seem very effective.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I'll have to try a different pizza pan on your advice, Magoo. I have tried making pizza, but I used one of my big, square cookie sheets and they're a double-layered construction that prevents scorching. Really good for finicky cookies, but pizza comes out limp. I have a gas stove, but I don't like the idea of cooking directly on the bottom - I'm a lazy clean-up artist.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I wish the two of you didn't live two Europes away from each other, because one has the right oven and the other the right pan!

Quote:
What I need is something with serious heat - I only have a countertop convection oven. Of course I want a crisp crust.

Do you have a cast iron skillet?  I'd be willing to bet that you could work something out in that skillet, with a lid, that would end up better than what a countertop oven could do.  See if maybe Google beat you to it.

Quote:
I have a gas stove, but I don't like the idea of cooking directly on the bottom - I'm a lazy clean-up artist.

No worries; there's no mess.  Pizza on grill, grill on metal plate -- nothing drips through.

 

lagatta4

Yes, of course I have a cast iron skillet. And very much miss having a gas stove. Hydro-Québec has made them rare...

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I think lagatta had better come here - they won't let me bring my gas range on the plane!

6079_Smith_W

lagatta4 wrote:

Yes, of course I have a cast iron skillet. And very much miss having a gas stove. Hydro-Québec has made them rare...

Why??

And can't you get tabletop versions? I know the oriental markets here sell them.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

A quick and dirty dinner tonight, 'cause I've got stuff to do: Bacon and tomato pasta, a "what's in the fridge" riff on Marcella Hazan's Rosemary Sage Pasta.

Put a pot of water on to boil. Meanwhile, I start with a chopped onion, put it in the pan with some olive oil, finely dice 5 or 6 strips of bacon and add to the onion and saute until the fat renders. I add sage and rosemary to taste (I like lots), and a large can of diced tomato and simmer. Cook one pound of short pasta (penne works great), toss with the sauce and serve with grated parmesan. 20 minutes start to finish, feeds all four of us, with several lunch servings for the freezer.

:)

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I seem to recall a cooking show, many years ago, in which some pretty high-end chefs -- one or two of the Iron Chefs once, if I recall correctly -- would visit people's homes kind of unannounced and make dinner from what was in their fridge.

I like the idea.  It's nice to know what to do with juniper-smoked foie gras, and dry-aged tomahawk chops and scampi.  But most nights I just need to know what to do with one cooked sausage, three shallots, an old beet and some mushrooms that simply aren't ready for their close-up any more.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Sometimes using up the little stuff is tricky. Sounds like your fridge is more interesting than mine right now! I've usually got some bacon, onions and diced tomato at hand - the original recipe call for pancetta and fresh herbs.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Well, just to be clear, the business about foie gras, chops and scampi I just made up.  The sausage, shallots, beet and mushrooms were for real, until we ate the sausage tonight on some bagel melts. 

What'll I do with the other stuff?  Beets me.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Ha!

it was Thing 2's birthday last weekend, so it was cake time. I made a vanilla velvet cake - corn starch in with the flour for a velvety texture. It turned out well, and the best part about it was it was fabulous to frost. It didn't crumb up as easily as the average butter cake does. I put cherry pie filling between the layers and did a Swiss meringue buttercream frosting, flavoured with almond extract and tinted pink.

I think the frosting might be the nicest icing I've ever made. Just so light and smooth.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

The other day, while checking out a web recipe, I watched a video wherein someone made a giant, stuffed meatball.  Basically a ground meat and egg and breadcrumb mixture pressed against the sides of a bowl, then filled with spaghetti and tomato sauce, and covered with more ground meat mixture to make a giant ball, which was then baked.  Pretty cool watching it get sliced open and all that 'sketti spilling out.

I knew I wasn't going to make that exact thing, but it suddenly got me to wondering whether I could make mini stuffed meatloaves in a muffin pan.

So, same basic idea.  For the ground meat mix I used a pound of ground beef, about a half cup of breadcrumbs, an egg, some worcestershire sauce* and some tomato paste*, a bit of dried basil, and salt and pepper, all mixed up thoroughly by hand.

For my filling, I chopped up a small onion and sauteed it in sweet butter until it caramelized, then added in three finely chopped mushrooms, and fried it all up until brown.  I added some salt and pepper, some paprika and a heaping teaspoon of flour, then after some stirring, about a quarter cup of beef broth.  When everything bubbled thickly, I added a half a heel of stale rye bread, chopped up very fine, and let it all sit with the heat off.

Then I made little "cups" out of the ground meat mix by pressing it into a greased muffin pan, and filled each with some of the onion/mushroom/gravy mix, and a couple of squares of Monterey Jack, and covered each with more ground beef.  Sort of like making a little pie!  Some salt and pepper and some bullshit dried parmesan** on top, a thin slice of tomato, and they're ready for the oven.  I'm kind of making this up as I go along, so I'm thinking maybe a half hour at 400, or something like that.

We'll see what we get.  Could be a new household staple, could be a total face-plant.

Here's a pic, in various stages of construction.

[img]https://s27.postimg.org/9lp0r0u6r/meatloavess.jpg[/img]

* I actually used "Maggi Savor" sauce, which is kind of like worcestershire, but a little different.  And I used "Ortolina", not tomato paste -- it's tomato paste in a tube, but with some other veg as well, like onions and celery.  I don't think either of these is going to be the lynchpin though, and I hate giving/receiving recipes with one stupid ingredient that's nowhere to be found.  Honestly, if you don't have tomato paste in a tube, skip it, or add a small squirt of ketchup.  This is just meat-with-stuff, so substitute as needed.  Same with the cheese.

** You remember this from childhood, yes?  That dusty, flour-fine parmesan cheese that you'd get at a cheap pizza joint, or that your parents would buy in a green can?  It's no substitute for fresh-grated Parmagiana, but NoFrills has little containers of it for a buck and it's great on popcorn, or any time you want a cheap umami bomb.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

That dried, powdery parmesan had me convinced for years that I didn't much care for parmesan cheese! Well over it now.

My adventure this week was Pork Chili Verde. It's from a Food Network cookbook, but I can't find the recipe online. Anyway, pork simmered in beer with chipotles in adobo sauce and oregano; tomatillos, onions and poblanos roasted under the broiler - half the tomatillos and onions pureed in a blender with garlic, cilantro, cumin and lime, the rest chopped roughly along with the poblanos after they've been skinned and seeded. Fry some whole unblanched almond in oil and remove them, then use pan and oil for the the puree - pour into hot oil, and cook until starting to thicken. Add to the pork and beer (which will have cooked down some) and add the rest of the veg. Simmer another hour. Chop almonds roughly and sprinkle over the top to serve.

It was awesome. :)

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