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Re: Cooking
February 10, 2010, 04:09:23 PM
Lotus Root

This is a fibrous root, not dissimilar to potato in taste. Nutritionally it provides vitamins akin to a vegetable [Vitamin C for example] and a bit of sodium because it is often grown in muddy coastal areas. You only live once, so here is a simple recipe so you can add this food to your total experience.

16-24 oz of Lotus Root

3 tbsp. White vinegar

For the sauce
2 tbsp. Rice cooking wine
2 tbsp. Soy sauce
1 tbsp. Garlic
1-2 tbsp. Honey to taste
200ml of water

Sesame oil

Scrub the sand off the root, then slice. Clean out the holes with a quick wiping action to remove various impurities.
Fill a bowl with water and add the vinegar and root. Let them set for a while as the vinegar will remove a bit of the woody
taste. The longer they sit the less they taste like lotus root, perhaps 20-30 minutes is fine for your first try.

Heat a bit of sesame oil in a pan. Remove the roots and crisp them in the oil until they are a consistently light tan.

Mix the ingredients for the sauce well, then drizzle over the cooking roots. Stir until they are coated well. When the honey
begins to caramelize, remove and plate.

Sprinkle a bit of sesame seeds on top. Eat with anything.

Re: Cooking
February 21, 2010, 08:41:05 PM
Stolen recipe, but amazing:

300mL whipping cream
apple cider vinegar (little bit)
4-5 green onions, chopped
good quality white cheddar (your choice of amount)
two chicken breasts (or whatever chicken pieces you have), cut up in manageable pieces
dried cranberries (good handful), preferably organic
two tart apples (usually granny smith) cored/sliced thinly into manageable pieces, preferably organic
nutmeg (to taste)
box of whole grain pasta (rotini or fusili) 350g
Cast iron skillet

1. boil pasta
2. while boiling pasta, cook chicken a bit in some butter.
3. add some more better and dump apples, green onion, dried cranberries into chicken, and stir it around.
4. once it simmers a bit add the apple cider vinegar (to counteract the tartness of the apples) and simmer some more
5. add cream, simmer some more. You can add pepper and nutmeg now or later, I guess.
6. Dump cheese into pot of cooked pasta
7. dump everything into pot and stir it around.
8. eat. I've eaten this once a week for four months at one point; it's very delicious, and presumably healthy.

Re: Cooking
February 21, 2010, 11:34:00 PM
This topic truly is interesting. I'm only 17 so I have yet to venture into the wonderful world of cooking (Hardly an excuse). All of these recipes sound wonderful. Seeing all of the different ways of making food is pretty inspiring. Like previous posters already stated cooking is a wonderful life skill and it is something to be proud of. I'm not really sure of any basics involving cooking (it most likely depends on the dish) but perhaps that's something better left for another thread. This whole thread really pushes one to pursue this skill.

Re: Cooking
February 22, 2010, 06:42:06 AM
Well when one wants to pursue cooking skills, in culinary school you learn all the french techniques. Knife skills, sauces, etc. Then you can expand your learning to other ethnic cuisine.

The one thing my wife loved about her culinary gastronomic course in Italy, was not only the preparation of the food, but its history and importance. Then you have regional dishes that focus on certain aspects of taste. For example the general liking of taste is bitter, north or south. In my region we do use vinegar in tomato sauce, and we use  a lot those little hot peppers.(They come from a place called Senise: http://www.gaudiarure.it/images/I%20peperoni%20di%20Senise.jpg )

Japanese cooking is one cuisine I would like to make. My wife as well. At your age, being 17 you could pursue something of this caliber. It takes 2-3 years generally to master rice making only. Knife skills, now we are taking the best masters in the world!

Re: Cooking
February 23, 2010, 06:44:06 AM
Forza Romana, do you have a good recipe for Bruschetta?

 When I make it I just mix fresh chopped tomatoes with a bit of garlic, basil and balsamic vinegar. However, it always ends up a bit soupy. I hear the acid in tomatoes strip chemicals from the lining of cans, so I hesitate to use those.

Re: Cooking
February 23, 2010, 03:48:07 PM
The noun "bruschetta" is from the verb in the Roman dialect "bruscare," meaning "to roast over coals". So it does not refer to the topping but rather to this tradition:
As olives are taken to the local mill for pressing in November and December, growers typically take some country bread with them. There is usually a small fireplace in the corner of the pressing room, and when the oil emerges from the press, the grower toasts a bit of the bread on the fire to sample the oil with. The next step is rubbing the toasted bread with garlic. Then, it is finished off with small, diced onions. This was a way of salvaging bread that was going stale.

Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil Recipe


    * 6 or 7 ripe plum tomatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs)
    * 2 cloves garlic, minced
    * 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    * 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
    * 6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped.
    * Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

    * 1 baguette French bread or similar Italian bread
    * 1/4 cup olive oil


1 Prepare the tomatoes first. Parboil the tomatoes for one minute in boiling water that has just been removed from the burner. Drain. Using a sharp small knife, remove the skins of the tomatoes. (If the tomatoes are too hot, you can protect your finger tips by rubbing them with an ice cube between tomatoes.) Once the tomatoes are peeled, cut them in halves or quarters and remove the seeds and juice from their centers. Also cut out and discard the stem area. Why use plum tomatoes instead of regular tomatoes? The skins are much thicker and there are fewer seeds and less juice.

2 Make sure there is a top rack in place in your oven. Turn on the oven to 450F to preheat.

3 While the oven is heating, chop up the tomatoes finely. Put tomatoes, garlic, 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, vinegar in a bowl and mix. Add the chopped basil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4 Slice the baguette on a diagonal about 1/2 inch thick slices. Coat one side of each slice with olive oil using a pastry brush. Place on a cooking sheet, olive oil side down. You will want to toast them in the top rack in your oven, so you may need to do these in batches depending on the size of your oven. Once the oven has reached 450F, place a tray of bread slices in the oven on the top rack. Toast for 5-6 minutes, until the bread just begins to turn golden brown.

Alternatively, you can toast the bread without coating it in olive oil first. Toast on a griddle for 1 minute on each side. Take a sharp knife and score each slice 3 times. Rub some garlic in the slices and drizzle half a teaspoon of olive oil on each slice. This is the more traditional method of making bruschetta.

5 Align the bread on a serving platter, olive oil side up. Either place the tomato topping in a bowl separately with a spoon for people to serve themselves over the bread, or place some topping on each slice of bread and serve. If you top each slice with the tomatoes, do it right before serving or the bread may get soggy.

Makes 24 small slices. Serves 6-10 as an appetizer. Or 3-4 for lunch (delicious served with cottage cheese on the side.)

The point is to make sure the tomatoes have been stripped of the juices and seeds.

Re: Cooking
February 23, 2010, 11:04:01 PM
Note to all: don't read great recipes where you can't EAT.

Re: Cooking
May 16, 2010, 10:25:30 PM
I've only recently begun cooking for myself, and I've found that the link at the bottom (as well as friends of the site) is invaluable in getting a handle for flavor and whatnot.

The combination of video and text is great, and the guy mashing and boiling has a great sense of humor.  He also has a mind for lean recipes, and while some of the videos are buggy, the general layout is well above a passing grade.

I'm still using cheap ingredients while I get a handle for  the flavors I'm after, but most of what I've seen from the site strikes me as mailable and designed for experimentation.  I'm also impressed with the chef's inclination to incorporate fresh produce in many of the recipes, and his non-bias toward regional dishes might be found as refreshing so long as you're not on a strict diet.

Seems like a good place to start for the novice - hasn't steered me wrong so far:


Replacing eggs with bananas in pancakes
May 18, 2010, 05:09:03 AM
One of the cooler things that I discovered in my recent experimentation with Veganism is that you can make incredibly delicious pancakes by substituting a mashed banana for an egg, and water for milk. One medium-sized banana should work with about a cup of flour. For 1 cup of flour, you will also need about 1 teaspoon baking powder, and a pinch of salt. Sugar is optional, but the banana provides some already and it's better to just use quality maple syrup when serving. 

 I don't remember how much this will change the ratio of liquid to flour, but if you add water gradually while stirring, stop when the mixture is almost homogeneous (some small chunks of banana are OK) and still fairly viscous, like molten chocolate. Heat olive oil to cover a skillet to medium high and pour out a circle of batter between 3.5 and 5" in diameter. You can make it  larger than this if you want, but it will become difficult to cook evenly at a point. Don't use any more oil than you need because each pancake will soak up a substantial amount. Flip the pancake when you see the edges drying and the top bubbling less - the bottom should be a fairly light golden brown (darker if it's a larger pancake), when they're just starting to brown. Check for readiness by lifting an edge with the spatula. It's better to err on the side of poking a gooey pancake with the spatula than not checking soon enough, because quality declines rapidly if you exceed the short optimum cooking time.

Possible additions:
Blueberries, etc.
A drop or two of Vanilla extract
Brown sugar, Cinnamon

Re: Cooking
May 20, 2010, 01:30:17 AM
It is mushroom season!  Time for me to get truly excited.  I prefer to use mine (morels and oysters mostly) in rissoto, but if I gave you that recipe you would probably screw it up just like myself (most of the time).  Instead I will give you what is one of my favorite recipes along with simple chicken stock.  It makes an excellent sauce base for your red meat dishes and pan-roasted dishes such as blackened chicken.  

 1 pound of fresh picked mushrooms preferably the more mild flavored ones such as oysters (when cooked fresh they do have amazing properties)
4 tablespoons butter, unsalted
pinch of thyme
dash of oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 scallions
3 cloves of garlic about the size of your pinky from last knuckle to tip
pinch of black pepper
1 tablespoon of chicken stock

Dice up your mushrooms extremely fine and then dice them again.
Dice up your garlic fine
Dice up your scallions fine as well
Turn stove on to medium-low heat and throw two tablespoons of butter into a skillet on the burner.
Once the melted butter starts to glisten thrown in your diced scallions, your diced garlic, 1/8 teaspoon of salt and let fry, stirring occasionally, until slightly browned... be patient
Throw the rest of the butter in and stir it in as it melts and once glistening throw in your very, very finely chopped mushrooms
Stir for one minute and then throw the rest of your spice in
Let cook, stirring frequently, until you have created a coarse paste
Throw in your tablespoon of stock and turn off the heat while scraping the pan and stirring the scrapings in to your duxelles.  This step should add the flavor of the juices that have cooked off back into the paste.  Once the paste is reconsituted you should remove it from the pan and freeze what you aren't going to use immediately.

I freeze this mixture in my ice cube tray for use whenever I want to make a tasty and rich sauce.

Re: Cooking
May 20, 2010, 10:53:12 AM
On the Seventh Day God Created ... Majudarra
2 - 3 onions chopped
2 tbsp or more of olive oil
1 tsp Cumin seed or powder
1 tsp Black pepper
1 1/2 cups of green or brown lentils
2 cups of basmati or other non-glutinous long-grain rice

1. Cook rice and lentils.  Make sure not to cook the lentils too long, or they will get too soft.

2. Pour olive oil into pan or pot.

3. Saute onions until golden.

4. Add rice and lentils to onions.  Saute and stir to mix.  When desired texture/consistency is reached, serve.

Pair with yogurt, salad, and possibly, meat for a delicious dinner.

Re: Cooking
May 20, 2010, 01:23:50 PM
the previous recipe for duxelle is incorrectly prepared. duxelle requires the deep caramelization of the mushrooms before the shallots are even added, and you can only achieve this by slicing the mushrooms up, cooking to a deep brown colour, and then adding minced shallot, thyme and a touch of red wine which is then allowed to evaporate - by this point, the shallots have softened sufficiently. you then blend this mixture in a food processor until you hit the desired pastelike consistency. mincing the mushrooms that fine beforehand introduces far greater opportunity to burn everything, if you were to caramelize the mushrooms properly.if there's a job worth doing, it's worth dong right.

Re: Cooking
May 20, 2010, 03:02:26 PM
Chicken Curry

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp garram masala
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups finely diced onions
2 lbs chicken cut into cubes
6 or 7 red potatoes cut into cubes
2 tbsp ground tumeric (Curry spice)
2 tbsp ground cumin
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 cup tomato puree
1 cup water

Put the olive oil in a large sauce pan with the garrum masala and cinnamon stick.  Heat until the cinnamon stick starts to come apart.  Remove cinnamon stick.  Add onions.  Sautee until the onions are very soft (almost like a paste).  Take your chicken and potatoes and mix with the curry spice and cumin spices.  Add them to the pot and simmer for about ten minutes stirring occasionally. Add the yogurt mix well and let simmer for about five minutes.  Add the tomato puree and water and keep on a low simmer for about 45 minutes until the sauce thickens.  Serve with basmati rice and nan bread.