Hey good lookin', what's cookin'?

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Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

The other day I was feeling lazy and had proposed "melts" -- cheese on bread with stuff -- but then I got even lazier and didn't want to have to stop off somewhere for bread, so I had an idea:  what if I made up, say, a half batch of pizza dough, and then made little individual deep-dish pizzas in a muffin pan?  Worked like a charm!  Some rolled out dough in each cup (not that different from making tarts) then some pizza sauce, some topping stuff (mushrooms, onions, green pepper, bacon, all pre-fried) and then grated cheese.  Fifteen minutes in the oven, and the result:  a dozen wee pizzas! 

There's probably a hundred photos of this on Pinterest, but I swear on a stack of pancakes that I thought of it independently.  :)

lagatta4

Yes, you could also make mini-quiches in those. There are also pans for very small muffins, which make cute snacks for a party. 

lagatta4

Simple fishcakes, revisited. I tend to make them smaller, but that's just me. 

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/03/print/simple-fish-cakes-sunda...

Does anyone think a bit of chopped ham would be a good idea, or not?

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I don't think it would harm the taste any, but how small you dice the ham might affect whether it makes a discordant texture or not.  But 'nothing ventured, nothing gained', and it's just a meal, after all.  Doing it a little different is where new recipes come from.

lagatta4

I'd dice it very fine "shaved" Italian cooked ham $1 for the little package) and think it will try it. Pollock is high in protein etc but has practically no taste. At the same time I don't want to pile on ingredients. Friends liked them. 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Ah!  If it's already been shaved in one direction then you can't quite hardly fail in the other.

cco

Mr. Magoo wrote:

what if I made up, say, a half batch of pizza dough, and then made little individual deep-dish pizzas in a muffin pan?  Worked like a charm!  Some rolled out dough in each cup (not that different from making tarts) then some pizza sauce, some topping stuff (mushrooms, onions, green pepper, bacon, all pre-fried) and then grated cheese.  Fifteen minutes in the oven, and the result:  a dozen wee pizzas! 

If you like meat on your mini-pizzas on occasion, the Armenians have a version of this topped with ground beef that you might enjoy. I know it by the Lebanese name, lahm bi ajeen. Same concept, different topping and spices. There's a similar dish called sfiha, which apparently also has a bit of a fan base in South America.

lagatta4

There is a longstanding place near me where the very elderly owners (with more help from others now) have made lamadjoune (as they call it, must be a Gallicised name) very tasty and also very cheap. They also make something more similar to an Italian pizza, with spinach and some kind of cheese - feta or something similar. The lamadjoune are wonderfully garlicky!

The name is something like Lamadjoune Beyrouth-Yeravan (the owners are Lebanese Armenians) but most people in the area call it Chez Apo. Truly an institution! http://www.katerinerollet.com/boutiques-cafes/institution-dans-villeray-... Even if you don't read French, open the article for the photo. 

This has me longing for some of those - too bad it is raining hard. 

lagatta4

Well, I made the fishcake mixture (with lots of dill), rested it, formed the and shallow-fried them in olive oil. I tend to do meatballs in the oven (also brushed  with olive oil) but that makes the fishcakes too dry. They didn't have a noticeable "ham" flavour but I think the little flecks of ham enriched the bland pollock. There was also green onion, normal onion and garlic, the latter two slightly sautéed (blondi).  Mine are little; I like them nestled alongside a green salad. 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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If you like meat on your mini-pizzas on occasion, the Armenians have a version of this topped with ground beef that you might enjoy.

I expect I probably would!  There's an interesting looking ME place on Dundas that advertises their pide with some glorious photos and I've always been curious.  Plus, as I understand it, common toppings include egg and zaatar.  I love egg on things that aren't breakfast, and I love zaatar.  I don't really eat out much these days, but some day.

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Mine are little; I like them nestled alongside a green salad.

Have you ever made fish balls?  Basically they're just par-boiled fish dumplings.  Nice if you don't want something fried, and just as good a way to make fun use of bland whitefish.  You can put them in fish ball soup, if you have some fish stock (or just some dried fish from an Asian market, or some unwanted shrimp shells, to make some) but you can also stir fry them -- carefully -- with the usual vegetable suspects.

 

 

lagatta4

No, I havn't - they are so cheap at my local Sino-Vietnamese grocery, though it is true that making them would give me more control over the ingredients. 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Well, you could leave out the gills and fins, for a start.  :)

But if you ever try them, they're probably not going to be quite like the firm little fish balls you buy, in the same way that making your own gnocchi isn't like buying some from the supermarket.  And maybe you'll like one better than the other.  I'm kind of that way with Vietnamese beef balls (such as you get in a bowl of pho).  I've tried so hard to replicate that dense, rubbery, chewy texture, but mine still come out closer to meatballs.

6079_Smith_W

Hey TB, I know it is a bit late, but I just found out that Spice world on Marion has filé powder.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Never too late! Gumbo is something I come back to over and over. I will check them out! Thank you!!!

I was away for a week, and now home again, so I did roast beef and yorkshire pudding last night. Something about the tried and true to settle you back into at home mode!

While I was gone, the switch on the fridge that turns out the light and starts the cooling again broke. The wild girls and Uncle Bunny managed to get a repair man out right away - he figured out that it was the switch right away, which is great, but left the switch in, leaving the cooling off and the light on. This caused it to heat enough to shut down the freezer side, which had been working fine to that point. By the time they figured that out, it was a compost heap. By the time I got home, they'd cleaned out the frozen leftovers, veg stuff and threw out all my jams and sauces, curry pastes, miso, mustards, everything. It took the blond guy under 10 minutes to figure out how to remove the switch and get the machine working again, sans light.

I'm starting with an empty fridge (except for the duplicates in the downstairs pantry) for the first time in decades.

The repair guy charged us $150 for coming out and quoted a second $150 to come back with the $5 switch. The blond guy left a polite but intense message on their voice mail that the repair tech was never to darken our door.

I'm going to have to make a list of essentials to pick up and will assemble the rest as I need them. Going to cost me... Not so bad a little at a time, but buying all at once adds up.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

That's a huge loss.  It's the downside of our convenient modern life -- when one little thing goes wrong, suddenly our ability to keep healthy food available borks too.

I'm wondering, though:  why toss miso, or jams, or mustard?  Any of those should survive a few days of cool room temps.  Certainly miso wasn't invented AFTER refrigeration.

Definitely toss the shrimp, though!

6079_Smith_W

Yeah, didn't notice that. Our miso lives in the cupboard. Red will eventually turn, but it takes a long time.

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

It was gone before I got home, or I'd have tried to salvage more... But with the cooling off and the light on, the fridge became a hot box. According to the temperature guage (it's a fancy fridge, don't judge me! It has a water and ice dispenser, too!) it was 87 degrees farenheit in there, which caused the fridge to freak out and shut down the freezer side as well - it's a side-by-side model. So if there was anything bacterial going on, it would have had a nice incubator to grow in.

I did the first round of essentials shopping yesterday (salad dressing, mayo, mustard, etc) and replaced the standard veggies, and the rest I'll be replacing on an as-needed basis. It will be weird not to go "Oh, yeah, I have that" when I do my meal planning, though. The fridge is so empty!  I'm sure I'll have it up to capacity soon, though.

lagatta4

The little ceramic knife also does an ace job of slicing chicken liver - the Arab places near me (both Maghrebi and Levantine) are gearing up for Ramadan already. Funny how a month of fasting also involves feasting, special breads (mmm with Nigella seeds) special sweets etc. I bought some very nice chicken livers, and marinated them a bit in that reconstituted lemon juce (not always a good sub for fresh lemons, but useful for that sort of thing. Before the livers I had sautéed a Spanish onion with some garlic and the remains of a red sweet pepper. I sautéed the livers, being careful not to overcook them, and added the vegetables back in. This can be a sort of pasta sauce (a dish from Piemonte in northwestern Italy) or combined with rice as a sort of "dirty rice". I'm out of fresh parsley and coriander, so I'll have to go out and pick up one of those green things. 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
I did the first round of essentials shopping yesterday (salad dressing, mayo, mustard, etc) and replaced the standard veggies, and the rest I'll be replacing on an as-needed basis. It will be weird not to go "Oh, yeah, I have that" when I do my meal planning, though. The fridge is so empty!  I'm sure I'll have it up to capacity soon, though.

Of course I don't envy you, except that I *kind of* do.  I'd love to go out shopping for all those staples and odd things and bring them all home in a huge bag.  Mustard and ketchup and capers and mayo and tomato paste and hoisin sauce and salad dressing and Ortolina and salad dressing and more mustard and...

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The little ceramic knife also does an ace job of slicing chicken liver

I'm loving it for just about any raw meat.  There's a Chinese grocery that sells a 7" ceramic chef's knife for $15, and I'm really considering it, just to know.

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I'm out of fresh parsley and coriander

I think my coriander has sprouted!  I have a few pots of soil in the back yard, and so a few weeks ago I got a hankering to plant something in them.  You can buy an envelope of coriander seeds for only $2, or you can buy a whole big bag of them in the spice aisle for $2!   So of course I just went to my jar and planted a tablespoon or so.  Also some of my dill seed.  I don't usually have a lot of luck with either -- they always bolt early -- but I guess I've got some time to research how to prevent that.

In the past I've also planted fenugreek seed, and it grew!  Seriously!  Fenugreek seed looks like strange, tiny boulders and you might not think it could germinate, but it will.  If you have any place you can plop a pot of dirt, give it a try -- raid your spice drawer for "seeds" and have some free fun.

lagatta4

Yes, I'll try some of those seeds, though of course I'm impatient and by sets of the main things I grow on my balcony "farm". It is always nice to get seeds to sprout - and better still when it is spontaneous a year after. I'd be interested in that knife. I haven't seen any here at my neighbourhood's knot of Southeast Asian shops; perhaps I'll look at a shop in old Chinatown which is specialized in dishes and cookware. 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

As it happens, IKEA sells a set of three ceramic knives for $45, which pretty much works out to $15 per knife.

I tried to buy the set the last time I was at the IKEA in Don Mills, but even though I'd checked their website, when I got there they were all out.  I could have been yapping about ceramic knives three years ago!

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Oh, I enj the shopping - but it's knocking the grocery budget off kilter. Thanks for reminding me about capers!

Lagatta, your chicken liver dish sounds amazing. I had lunch with a friend last week and we were talking about eating chicken hearts and livers when we were kids. Weird comfort foods!

lagatta4

Timebandit, I think you will just have to budget that in the "household emergency" category. Often Manitoba gets hit with awful flooding; this year it was southwestern Québec and eastern Ontario - and other places. Yours just happened to be an individual "disaster". 

Yes, I do like hearts and livers. Ideally duck ones, but the Lac Brome duck operation was hit by a fire (the poor duckies...) so they don't have a supply of wee offal as of yet. But these chicken livers are very good - sometimes they look mushy and unappealing. 

Nice to have the sun emerging at 5 a.m.! You are north of us, so you must have it even earlier. 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I still miss the good ol' days, when buying a whole chicken meant a free heart, gizzard, and sometimes a liver and the neck.

I was never that big on the liver, but the heart and gizzard were always popular with me and my mom.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

My dad used to sauté up some "farts and blizzards" with some onion late at night, and we'd eat them with toast, just the two of us. 

Lagatta - we do get some flooding, but we are at a bit of a remove from the river, so we are pretty safe. They've also built some flood ways to prevent some of the city flooding. But yeah, the fridge situation was just a small disaster and easily absorbed, just a bit aggravating. It's the odd thing I don't use especially often that you just think, "of course I have that" and i now need to remember to replace. 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I highly recommend "Odd Bits", a great cookbook by Jennifer McLagen, if you're into... well, the odd bits (like hearts and gizzards).

I have two other cookbooks of hers, "Fat" and "Bones", and if you have enough cookbooks full of chicken breast recipes and crockpot stews, they're all eye openers that'll get you rethinking some dinners.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Interesting. I've heard of her but haven't read her books. :)

found a recipe for tongue in raisin sauce in a 1958 cookbook today. Judging from the expressions of my family, it's not making to short list of cool stuff to try. 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I've never bought a tongue, but I've eaten tongue as a very thinly sliced sandwich meat.  If I'm not mistaken, it's a commonplace thing in a Jewish deli.

It really does look like some kind of biology class cross-section, though.  And you can see the taste buds.

As a "working muscle", it's a bit tough, but flavourful.  :0

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

It's the idea that tongue needs raisin sauce that I find intriguing!

6079_Smith_W

If you are into smoking, you really should acquaint yourself with it. It is great. I have only made it a couple of times (corned and smoked) but both turned out delicious.

About the only way it is difficult is having to peel the "skin" (and taste buds and stuff) off before you slice and serve it.

And I did buy a cheaper ceramic knife one time. Neat, while it stayed sharp but as it was a cheaper one that only lasted so long. And even when it was new it couldn't match my sashimi knife. A chef friend pointed out that their real advantage is in cutting stuff that tends to go brown, like lettuce. They don't have the same reaction as metal knives, so that does not happen as quickly.

 

lagatta4

Yes, but this is a Dollarama find at $3 or so. It made me think I want a better one, not very big but with more of a tang and heel (like a santuko knife or small chef's knife). However I don't want to spend a fortune on something that remains fragile. Any idea where I could get one that's not over $30 or so?

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Well, there's always Oriental Harvest, on Spadina, where I saw that $15 one, but that could be quite a bike ride.  :)

I wonder if any of the pan-Asian (or similar) shops near you might have a similar one in their housewares section?  Next time you're there buying a napa, could be worth a look.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I picked up a couple more plants to plant today; there's an amazing vegetable market in Kensington with an outrageous selection of plants this time of year, and most of them are a buck and a half, all in, so it's easy to get carried away.  So far:

-  an heirloom tomato, Oxheart.  Apparently a tasty and sweet slicer.  I put it in last week and it's already getting visibly larger.  As an heirloom, it was two bucks.  They also had zebra tomatoes, pineapple tomatoes and a handful of other heirlooms whose names I can't recall.

- a tomatillo (the "sour little green tomato in a paper wrapper").  I bought this just for fun, planted it, then googled it.  I'm glad I did!  The growing instructions were "full sun, evenly moist, good drainage" -- which is to say identical to nearly every other bedding plant -- but the google page did tip me off that tomatillos, unlike tomatoes, will not self-pollinate.  The upshot is that if you raise just one you'll get some pretty flowers, but you need a second for fruits.  I now have a second.

- a strawberry, for Mrs. Magoo.  And the squirrels.

- mint, sage and Greek oregano, for obvious reasons.

- Lavender, again for Mrs. M. because she likes it, and it makes awesome iced tea.

- Thai basil, partly just to have some, and partly because this particular container also had a stow-away in the form of a purple Italian basil, so it's a two-fer.

- Rau ram, or Vietnamese coriander, because why not?  I'm not even sure if I like the stuff, but for a buck and a half, I'm willing to see where it goes.

Also, the dill seed that I planted from my spice cupboard is up and running, with some obvious dill fronds forming now.  And the coriander seed I planted looks like a chia-pet!  I had to thin it some (and I also needed a bit of coriander for a sauce) so I pulled about 15 of them and rinsed them off and they were ideal, tiny roots and all.  Makes me want to pick up a big sack of coriander seed at NoFrills and try sprouting them in a mason jar the way I sprout mung beans!  Would it work?  I aim to find out.  Could be awesome in the winter.

My planted pepper seeds have been the only fails so far.  I planted some from some dried thai bird chilis I had, but none took, so I tried again with some seeds from the bottom of a bag of generic dried chilis I bought.  Fingers crossed.

Anyone else got their foods in?

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I have four tomato plants in big ceramic pots - sweet hundreds, german striped, roma and beefsteak. I've also got an eggplant and the blond guy has assorted peppers in some other containers.

My lavendar wintered over and looks very cheerful, and the sage, thyme, oregano (Greek wintered over and the hardier stuff), and I've added Italian parsley, summer savoury and basil to the bed. We are setting aside another corner of the flower beds that gets decent sun for some spinach, chard, runner beans and carrots. I need to pick up some lettuce seed, too, and some rosemary plants. I think I'll put the rosemary in containers this year.

Strawberries are up and trying to produce, and we planted another hardy cherry and a grafted apple that will have four varieties on it. And we dug out a false spirea that was taking over the front bed and replaced it with saskatoon berries. The rhubarb is almost ready to harvest already and the raspberries are starting to get settled enough to spread. This is all mixed up in flower beds with a shitload of aggressive, if pretty, perrennials. We like the mixed use yard!

lagatta4

I like rau ram, but it is rather invasive. I planted it in a big square pot - actually a former (small) recycling bin - we have different ones now - and it took over from the other herbs there. Not quite as invasive as mint, but... Unlike mint, it won't winter over. 

It looks like Ireland here. So much rain. Will be a while before we have local tomatoes and other sun-loving veg. 

lagatta4

I just bought a whole smoked mackerel on sale at Supermarché PA. This is the product: http://www.laboucanerie.ca/fr/produits/filet-maquereau but I have the whole fish, not the fillets. What would you make with it?

Whole fish means bones and skin, as well as the little head; I guess they should go into the fish-broth bag. Just the smoked fish might be a bit much, but it should be a good addition to other bones or fish-heads.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I'd probably use half for a pasta (I'm thinking cream base, maybe some fresh peas or suchlike), a quarter for potato and beet salad (it sounds strange but it works; Russian or Estonian potato salad features fish, though usually herring) and one quarter just to eat on bread, maybe with some bitter greens, sliced gherkin and a plop of mayo or sour cream.

lagatta4

I was also thinking of a salad, this time of year, with potatoes but also green things. I'm not in the mood for beets yet. Yes, I've had such salads and this smokehouse probably has Eastern European Jewish roots. Yes, pasta, but definitely not with a tomato sauce; cream or sour cream.

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