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Cooking with Dominus


Jun 22, 2007 @ 6:19 PM Cooking with Dominus    
Dominus


Posts: 511
A practical guide to practical cooking for practically everyone...written by a practical joker.

You can go onto food network and get all the cooking advice you need from experts who tell you about exotic dishes you'll never make. Let's face it, most people don't have the time, money or patience to put up with that kind of thing. That's why I'm offering these simple tips that, hopefully, just might save a meal.

When you go to buy spaghetti sauce in a store, everyone seems to have their favorites. Maybe it's because of what Mom served you when you were growing up, or maybe it's because of a marketing ploy. Whatever. It's your set of taste buds and I'm not going to tell you what to do with them.

But you should not buy Colonna pasta sauce. Not because they have some bad business practice like killing seals or something, but because it is almost completely devoid of flavor and texture. You might as well have waved a tomato in the general location of some pasta instead of putting Colonna sauce on it.

What's that, though? You already bought some? You got some as a gift? Tough luck for you, pal. But don't worry. Your meal's not destroyed.

If you're anything like me at all, you HATE to waste food. So you don't have to chuck the stuff. You just have to know what to do with it. You have two options as far as I can see:

Option one is to chunk it up. You can't change the fact that they have made this sauce sad and watery, but you can give your dish the illusion that you know how to make a good meal. Dump a jar of the sauce into a pot. To that, you're going to add leftovers. First start with meat. Almost any leftovers you have sitting in your fridge will do. Chicken? Fine. Roast Beef? Great. Venison? Sure. Crumble up a leftover hamburger? Yeah! Bologna? Why not? The only meat I'd stay away from is stuff that's going to break up, like fish. Using kitchen shears or a pair of clean scissors, cut the meat into small chunks. Smaller than bite-sized. Think “Campbells Soup Diced Vegetables” small. Nothing bigger than the tip of your pinky. When you have about a cup or two small handfuls of meat, toss it in the pot.

Next, time for veggies. Once again, you want to stay with something that can keep it's shape and can be diced up relatively small, if it's not small already. Corn is perfect. Peas that aren't mushy. Onions do very well. Chopped spinach or broccoli is always a plus. Whatever you like, because like I said it's a good time to use up the leftovers. You can season it with whatever your favorites are. Now heat your sauce and boil your pasta.

But boiling the pasta right is one of the tricks to making this work. The pasta you use should also be bite-size (so spaghetti won't work) and you should make sure it's “al dente”. That means it still needs to be firm when you drain it. Drain it well and put it right back in the pot you were boiling it in. Next, pour in that sauce that's been cooking and mix it well. The trick? Let it stand, covered, for about 15 minutes before serving. Since the pasta was al dente it can still stand to soak up some moisture and it will suck it out of the sauce. The sauce will now be nothing more than a binder for all of the other ingredients. Bravo. Meal saved.

But what if you want to get rid of that watery sauce but don't want to make it seem like you're serving leftovers. That is what they made no-boil lasagna noodles for. Just follow the directions on the package but make sure that you don't cover the tray of lasagna as it cooks. As the lasagna bubbles away in the oven, the steam will leave it and the sauce will concentrate, getting thicker and it's flavors getting stronger. Like I said, it's best not to buy the stuff at all, but if you're stuck with it don't feel like you have to endure a bad meal.
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Jun 22, 2007 @ 7:09 PM Cooking with Dominus    
ValentineGirl214


Posts: 4,446
Here's a quick and easy 1 pan recipe!!! Take center cut pork chops and cut into bit sized pieces, add a little oil into a 2 quart pan, salt and pepper and brown. Take out of the pan and place on the inside of the lid. Open a box of Rice A Roni Rice Pilaf, add the rice along with the butter into the pan, I also add some onion powder and pepper, once the rice in browned add the water, I add a about a 1/4 cup more than recommend, then stir in the seasoning packet. Once it comes to a slow boil add the pork chops back into the pan, cover and cook on low until all the water is absorbed. It really fast and it's tasty!
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Jun 23, 2007 @ 7:31 AM Cooking with Dominus    
Looking4ever


Posts: 9,601
Shredded squash (zucchini works very well) added to watery sauce works very well to thicken it up. And it's good for you. No flavor? That what the spice cabinet is for! Even simple black pepper & garlic can save the day.
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Jun 23, 2007 @ 12:06 PM Cooking with Dominus    
Dominus


Posts: 511
A practical guide to practical cooking for practically everyone...written by a practical joker.

You can go onto food network and get all the cooking advice you need from experts who tell you about exotic dishes you'll never make. Let's face it, most people don't have the time, money or patience to put up with that kind of thing. That's why I'm offering these simple tips that, hopefully, just might save a meal.

I posted this yesterday on lunanegra's blog, but here it is again for posterity's sake.

1 - Purchase a quart of yogurt. My favorite for this is nonfat strawberry or vanilla, but just about any yogurt will do.

2 - Take a pot that you can fit a colander over. Wire-mesh colanders work best for this but once again you can use any colander and any pot just so long as they fit well.

3 - Take a clean, lint-free (that means terry-cloth won't work) dish towel of good size, or if you want a few layers of cheese cloth and line the colander with it. center it in the colander so some is hanging over the edges.

4 - Mix your yogurt so it's smooth if it isn't already. Pour the entire container into the lined colander. Save the container by rinsing it out and storing it in the fridge (waste not want not) as you'll need it for tomorrow.

5 - Taking the corners of your liner, bundle it so that what you have is essentially a cloth bag filled with yogurt sitting in a colander.

6 - Get a plate that will fit nicely on top and put it on top of your "yogurt bag" making sure it's still wrapped up nicely. Put a can of corn or peas or whatever on top of the plate to give it a little weight. Then put the whole thing in the fridge and let it sit there overnight.

7 - In the morning, you will have a bunch of water that has collected in the pot. Throw it away. Inside your "bag" the yogurt will have thickened to the consistency of cream cheese. Take it out and put it in the yogurt container you saved.

You now have a delicious spread to put on your toast, bagels, and crumpets. It's lower in fat than cream cheese, comes in whatever flavor you started with, and it has lots of live cultures for good health. Enjoy!
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Jun 23, 2007 @ 2:01 PM Cooking with Dominus    
Ewe_Wish


Posts: 6,199
Quick and Really the best Cheesecake

1 pkg of Philidelphia Cream Cheese
1 can of sweetened condensed Milk
1/3 c. real lemon juice

Take package of cream cheese and let set out until soft, put in mixer and mix until smooth slowly add sweetened condensed milk when mixture is smooth add lemon juice.

THis goes into a 9" Graham cracker crust. Put in refridgerator until firm.

Toppings:
Cherry Pie Filling
Chocolate pudding made with pie directions
Turtle cheesecake--swirl Chocolate fudge and Caramel ice cream toppings on graham cracker crust put in mixture and swirl more of each, chopped peanuts or walnuts on top of that.
Blueberry Pie Filling
Strawberry Pie Filling.

I have also taken Chocolate pudding made with pie directions and stirred it into the cream cheese mixture. That is good too

Top with Whip Cream and a quick and easy dessert is ready.

I have also made this is a 9x13 in pan making my own graham cracker crust and took to covered dish events.
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Jun 23, 2007 @ 2:03 PM Cooking with Dominus    
Ewe_Wish


Posts: 6,199
Snicker Salad

Take a bag of small snicker bars and chop up.
3 Large red Apples
Large Bowl of whip cream

Mix together and serve. Kids really love this.

Makes a nice salad to take to covered dish events.
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Jun 23, 2007 @ 3:22 PM Cooking with Dominus    
Dominus


Posts: 511
A practical guide to practical cooking for practically everyone...written by a practical joker.

You can go onto food network and get all the cooking advice you need from experts who tell you about exotic dishes you'll never make. Let's face it, most people don't have the time, money or patience to put up with that kind of thing. That's why I'm offering these simple tips that, hopefully, just might save a meal.

What could be simpler than a peanut butter sandwich? So who else could complicate it except me? Let me save everyone some time and some heartache. Literally. Do not buy reduced fat peanut butter.

Not because of the taste, but because it's bad for you. Everyone who is saying "huh"?...just stay tuned.

Making basic "natural" style peanut butter is simple. Peanuts are not actually a nut, but they belong to the same group of plants as beans and peas. When you take them, hull them and grind them up with a little salt you get...peanut butter. A no brainer.

However, what most people don't realize is how healthy this stuff actually is. It's relatively high in fiber and has such a nice amount of protein several diets have been based on the Harvard research studies around the nutrition of the peanut. Don't believe me? Look here.

But the real miracle is in the fats and oils the peanut butter has. They can actually dissolve "bad" fats in your body and help in flushing them out of your system...hence saving you that heartache I mentioned before by reducing your chances of a heart attack.

But here's the problem. Some people don't like the fact that natural peanut butter separates and has that "goopy" oil in it that you have to mix up. So what do manufacturers like Skippy and Jiff do? They add other ingredients such as saturated fats, hydrogenated oils, and triglycerides to keep the separation from happening? Then, to make up for the fact they have just put some nasty crap in there they add sugar to mask the flavor. In other words, all of the healthy benefits of the natural fats of peanut oils just flew out the window, and just for good measure they tossed in some other junk you don't need.

So some geniuses got together and decided to market a "healthier" version: Low-fat peanut butters. Talk about wolves in sheep's clothing. This stuff advertises on most labels that it has 25% less fat! That's got to be good, right? Well, here's the math 25% less fat works out to be about 4 grams of fat. Four grams is about 6% of the USRDA for fat intake. You "save" more fat calories by taking the skin off your chicken before eating it. You're saving a minuscule amount of calories by switching to "low fat" peanut butter, but here's the real clue: You still get to keep all of the saturated fats, sugars, and other crap you don't need or want.

Peanuts are an amazing food on their own. People have known this for years. The less messing around with them that you do, the better off you are. Don't be fooled by the advertising hype.

And if you really hate that "oil in the jar" thing when it spills if you stir it, there's an easy way to fix it. Buy a canning jar or better yet save a mayonnaise jar (that way you don't have to buy anything" and wash the label off. Make sure the jar is a good size, that is, your knives or spoons fit into it well and that it's slightly larger than the jar of natural peanut butter. Then when you get a new jar of peanut butter, just dump the whole thing into the bigger jar and mix it there. No more mess as you struggle to stir. Sure, it might take you three minutes more effort than if you just buy a jar of the mass-market stuff, but your heart will thank you in the long run.
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Jun 23, 2007 @ 9:44 PM Cooking with Dominus    
NachoBaby


Posts: 447
And there ain't nothin finer than a tablespoon full of REAL peanut butter!
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Jun 24, 2007 @ 7:49 AM Cooking with Dominus    
lintroller


Posts: 299
The peanut butter topic is near and dear to my heart. Knowing what I know about nutrition--a staple of preventive medicine--I've tried to spite Skippy, Jif, et al. in favor of real unadulterated peanut butter minus the hydrogenated oil sorcery. I'll sheepishly admit, though, that I caved last week and bought a big jar of creamy Skippy, because I needed a break from that petrified, unspreadable nugget that develops toward the bottom of the jar in the refrigerated real thing. I'm intrigued, however, by this mayonnaise jar idea, because I've always sensed that my stirring job was inadequate.
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Jun 24, 2007 @ 10:59 AM Cooking with Dominus    
NachoBaby


Posts: 447
The little Braun hand mixer.. you know the stick one that makes good shakes? It makes creamy peanut butter too! I usually have a big plastic ice cream bucket to dump the stuff into.. then you can get in there with the hand blender. Less spatters, less hassle.
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Jun 24, 2007 @ 1:10 PM Cooking with Dominus    
Dominus


Posts: 511
A practical guide to practical cooking for practically everyone...written by a practical joker.

You can go onto food network and get all the cooking advice you need from experts who tell you about exotic dishes you'll never make. Let's face it, most people don't have the time, money or patience to put up with that kind of thing. That's why I'm offering these simple tips that, hopefully, just might save a meal.

Meat loaf can be horrible. All too frequently it turns into a greasy mess or a dry lump. Here's a simple, inexpensive loaf that will impress your guests.

One of my favorite places to shop is Chinatown. Now if you have a good Asian market near you then this works out even better but for a lot of this stuff you can find the ingredients in a decent supermarket or online.

When you're shopping, pick up the following. You'll thank me later. Sesame seeds (these are relatively cheap through an Asian store, DO NOT pay through the nose in the spice aisle for them), fish sauce (again, really cheap, but really useful...and you can use either the Vietnamese or Thai versions), hoisin sauce (this stuff is amazing and you can use it on almost anything you'd put ketchup, plus it's also inexpensive), and toasted sesame oil (this is the most expensive thing you'll buy, but it's worth it and it will last you a good while).

You'll also need the standard meatloaf ingredients of ground meat (your choice) and eggs. What's also good is if you have leftover rice from takeout. Otherwise, you could always just make some. A cup or two is all you'll need.

I've always found one egg for a pound or two of meat works good. Also, add about a tablespoon of fish sauce, a tablespoon of sesame oil, and 3 or 4 tablespoons of hoisin. If you really like it salty or you just like the flavor, you can add a tablespoon of soy sauce as well (the leftover packets from that previously mentioned takeout food will do fine.) Now, put on a pair of latex or nitrile gloves and mix it by hand. When it comes to meat loaf, mixing by hand is better than a machine or a spoon.

When you're done the mix will be a little “soupy”, don't worry about that. The rice will help. Mix in the rice and about two tablespoons of sesame seeds. You'll know you've put enough rice in when the mix is the consistency of ground meat once again.

Next, what most people do is press this into a loaf pan and bake it. Big mistake. When you do that, you mess two things up. The first is that the fats can't drain away so they just soak into the meat and sit there. The second is that all of that baked-on grease is hard to clean. So use the loaf pan, but only use it to shape the meatloaf.

Foil-line a roasting or broiling pan, something that lets the fat drain away, then up-end the loaf pan onto that and remove the meatloaf from it before the cooking begins. That way your loaf is healthier and your clean up is easier. You just was out the loaf pan and throw out the foil with the baked-on grease at the end.

Bake it in a 375 oven until it's done. When is it done? 160 degrees for beef, 170 for pork, 180 for poultry, taking the temperature at the thickest part of the loaf. About fifteen minutes before you take it out, you can brush some more hoisin on the top and sprinkle a few more sesame seeds for a little more flavor and decoration.

The important thing to remember is that meat loaf is more of an art than a science. Don't use exact measurements. Make the loaf to a texture and flavor you and your guests like. The thing is, people will think you made some sort of exotic fusion cuisine with this when it's nothing more than a simple meat loaf. Serve it with some edamame and some more rice on the side and the crowd will go wild.
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Jun 26, 2007 @ 6:02 AM Cooking with Dominus    
Looking4ever


Posts: 9,601
fish sauce (again, really cheap, but really useful...and you can use either the Vietnamese or Thai versions)

Aw, damn! One of my best friends is Vietnamese...frick! I love the doctored up Nuk Mum (I sure that isn't how it's spelled but that how it sounds!)! The first time I tried it, I had to practically beg to taste it. She said I was too white to like it. Ha! I loved it. When she'd cook, I was always saying it needed more. She mad me add it to just my portion. Gaw, I miss that stuff!
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Jun 27, 2007 @ 3:25 PM Cooking with Dominus    
Dominus


Posts: 511
Here, Looking: Ngoc Mam and Nam Pla are the same stuff.
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Jun 27, 2007 @ 3:59 PM Cooking with Dominus    
Dominus


Posts: 511
A practical guide to practical cooking for practically everyone...written by a practical joker.

You can go onto food network and get all the cooking advice you need from experts who tell you about exotic dishes you'll never make. Let's face it, most people don't have the time, money or patience to put up with that kind of thing. That's why I'm offering these simple tips that, hopefully, just might save a meal.

Here's a recipe that some people are going to get scared of right off the bat, but trust me. If you follow the directions it works like a charm.

What you'll need is a nice bird...a good sized roaster or turkey works really well. Even the dry nasty turkey you got for free from the grocery store from buying $200 worth of their stuff ands it's been sitting in your freezer since Thanksgiving. This recipe will even make that turkey palatable, but I've even used this on birds as small as cornish hens with great results.

You will also need a couple of lemons, a couple of onions or garlic cloves, or shallots, or green onions...you get the idea. If you want to pick up some cheese cloth and some cooking twine you can, but if you don't want to you don't have to. Plus you will need one big ol' box of Kosher salt. You know, those big boxes that you always think “I'll never use all that salt!” Guess what: you're gonna use it.

Assuming your bird is defrosted and cleaned out, you're going to stuff it's cavity with aromatics. That's the onions and citrus. You can use whatever you like. Garlic and limes. Orange and shallots. Lemons and onions. Cut them all in half and stuff them into your bird. As much as will fit. If you bought the cheese cloth or have some lying around you can make a spice bag. Put some herbs into it you like. Basil, thyme, peppercorns, whatever. Then tie it up so it's sealed nicely (think: “big tea bag”) and stuff hat in there, too. If you bought the cooking twine then seal up the bird. It's a good idea to do this because it will make your job easier but if you just don't have it lying around you can get away without doing it. It just wont be as spectacular as if you do.

Next, use a very little bit of water and moisten the salt. Just a few tablespoons for the whole box should do nicely. Not enough to wet it, just make it a little damp. Mix it by hand to do this, not using a processor or a blender. Next, take the salt and pack it onto the outside of the bird, building up a thick, even layer of salt over the whole thing. If you didn't seal up your bird you'll have to make sure you're not dropping salt into the cavity. You have to make sure the whole bird is covered, so best o do this in the roasting pan before you pop it into the oven. You don't have to do the underside of the bird, though. In fact, as usual, it's best to have that sitting on a grill so that fat can drain away.

Once your bird is plastered and looks like it's been dropped in a snow-drift, pop it into the oven for the recommended time to roast it. Remember, poultry is done when the thickest portion of the meat reaches about 180 degrees Fahrenheit, so use your thermometer. In fact, it's best to take it out of the oven at about 176 degrees and just let heat carry-over finish the job while the bird sits. However, one very important thing: DO NOT BASTE THE BIRD. Except to take it's temperature, don't touch it at all, and even only take the temperature as few times as you have to. Leave the bird alone and let the laws of physics do their job.

Once the bird has cooled out of the oven for 15-20 minutes you can start getting ready to serve it. Carefully crack the salt and it should come away in large pieces like a shell. Throw the salt away. It's served it's purpose and you can't use it for anything else except maybe as ice-melt in the winter time. Then, if it hasn't come away with the salt, peel off all of the bird's skin. You don't want it. Trust me. Throw it away. Then snip open the cavity and take out the aromatics and pitch them, too.

This is your reward: Shortly after the bird hit the heat in the oven the moisture in the salt you added combined with the moisture the salt was sucking out of the birds skin and it baked into a shell around the bird. Because the skin is basically a fat, it kept the salt from penetrating into the meat and acted like a second shell under the first shell. As the internal temperature of the bird started to rise, all of the juices became trapped in those shells and it has kept the meat very nice and tender. When the temperature really started to climb, the internal onions and citrus started to give off their own steam, and since it had no where else to go it has infused directly into the meat itself. What you wind up with (if you did it right) is a perfectly seasoned bird with tender meat. And you didn't have to keep running to the oven every 15 minutes to baste it.

To answer the last question; no, the meat will not be very salty at all. Just enough that your guests won't even need the salt shaker at the table, but don't try to use the drippings for gravy because there will be enough salt in those to choke a goat. You can laugh at your guests, though, as they nervously ask you: “shouldn't you be checking on the turkey?” Snicker at them as they become more and more fearful they will be forced to eat dry and flavorless meat. Ha! Science triumphs again.
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Jun 29, 2007 @ 5:47 PM Cooking with Dominus    
NachoBaby


Posts: 447
Hey I do that with fish when I'm grilling them. Makes em nice and moist.
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Jul 6, 2007 @ 1:34 AM Cooking with Dominus    
Dominus


Posts: 511
A practical guide to practical cooking for practically everyone...written by a practical joker.

You can go onto food network and get all the cooking advice you need from experts who tell you about exotic dishes you'll never make. Let's face it, most people don't have the time, money or patience to put up with that kind of thing. That's why I'm offering these simple tips that, hopefully, just might save a meal.

Okay, this is a recipe from the Big Damn Book of Sheer Manliness and it's not for the faint of heart. It's a grillin' recipe, and I'll tell you right now that gas grills won't do. You're going to need charcoal or wood, and it's gonna have to be extra hot so break out the Webbers boys, we're goin' in.

You're also going to need a bunch of stuff, so this isn't a cheap recipe either. Another large batch of Kosher salt, a jar of peppercorns, 2 jars of Lawry's lemon pepper, a bottle of Worchestershire, a jar of mustard, A black and white (no color) newspaper, masking tape or cooking string, a big (and clean) bucket, and the object of all of this material...a couple juicy delicious steaks. The steaks should be about 1 ½ to 2 inches thick, and any good cut will do.

First off, this is a “showy” cook-off so you want to do it in front of a lot of people. They are going to think you're crazy, but you'll show them. First, fill your big bucket with water and start your grill. You want a big fire in it, so at least 6 inches of fuel. If you don't have the right grill to handle that much then don't even try or you'll be sorry.

Next, mix the the peppercorns, lemon pepper, and about 2 cups or more of salt depending on how big the steaks are. Just let it sit, dry, in a big bowl for now.

Third step is to open up about six sheets of newspaper and plop down one of your steaks right on the fold in the middle. About now eyebrows are going to start to raise and people will start asking what you're doing. Dismiss their inquiries and go about your business, slathering about ¼ inch of mustard on one side of the steak. Then plaster some of your spice mix on. Use enough so that when you pat it you don't get mustard on your hands. Generously sprinkle on the Worchestershire next, then carefully flip the steak and do the other side the same way. You don't want to shake off that gorgeous layer of spice.

Once you're done, people will think you're mad by now and ruining a perfectly good cut of beef. But then fold the newspaper around the steak and secure it with the masking tape or the string. I prefer the string, but if you use tape try to wrap it so you use as little tape as possible.

The reason I like tying it all with the string is because next you're going to drop it into the bucket of water. By this time they will be calling the asylum, but the only thing you have to worry about is if that “package” comes undone. Let them call you crazy. Right now, as long as that package of steak stays sealed all is well.

The next step is the most terrifying for you, because if you do this wrong then you will look like a fool. You're going to take the wet package out of the bucket, letting some of the excess water drain off, and then you're going to put it directly on the coals. Do not use the grill. Be prepared for a scream from your guests, but the only concern you should have is that your fire stays lit. I told you that you would need lots of fuel.

When the bundle looks nice and charred, pull it off the coals and put the grill over them. You're not done cooking yet. Scrape off all of the burned paper, salt, pepper, and mustard until you should have a partially cooked and pale looking steak. Return this to the grill and now cook it over the coals until it looks luscious and brown. Then remove it and cut it into ¼ inch strips and you're ready to serve.

This is such a great recipe because it proves that geeks can be show-offs, too. The heat from the coals turned the water in the paper into steam, and therefore made the bundle into a kind of disposable pressure cooker. The steam pushed the essence of that poultice of spices directly into the meat without having to marinate it. Of course, if you want to get fancy you can try other combinations of spice, but that's on you.

And when all of your guests have to admit that you weren't crazy after all, that will be the sweetest part of the meal.
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Jul 6, 2007 @ 4:07 PM Cooking with Dominus    
Argit01


Posts: 239
Peach and ginger marinade for chicken.
Ingredients:
6 Fresh Peaches (preferably just ripened)
2 Chicken Breasts
1" root ginger
1 heaped teaspoon of ground ginger (add more of required)

Peel the root ginger and de-stone the peaches (these can also be peeled if required).
Add these ingredients to a blender and blend into a smooth paste. Add the ground ginger powder to the mix and blend until all of the powder has dissolved into the paste Dice the chicken breasts (after first removing any skin) and place in a baking tray. Pour the peach mixture over the chicken making sure all of the meat is covered. Cover with foil and place in a cool place for at least an hour.
I suggest cooking this in a wok (no oil required) for approximately 15 minutes on a low to moderate heat adding any variety of vegetables as required (I usually add bean shoots, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts)
Depending on appetite this will serve 3 people.
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Jul 15, 2007 @ 1:59 PM Cooking with Dominus    
Dominus


Posts: 511
A practical guide to practical cooking for practically everyone...written by a practical joker.

You can go onto food network and get all the cooking advice you need from experts who tell you about exotic dishes you'll never make. Let's face it, most people don't have the time, money or patience to put up with that kind of thing. That's why I'm offering these simple tips that, hopefully, just might save a meal.

This is one of those "Why the hell are you buying that?" entries. I don't like buying anything I don't have to. And you shouldn't have to buy it either.

Today's topic is "bread".

Few people like to make their own, but this is about store bought varieties because that impacts more people.

Some love the crusts and some don't, but with sliced bread there is always that end piece that's nothing but all crust. Some people open the package of bread, and out of crust-loathing, throw it right away. Don't.

First of all, that crust helps protect the next slice in the stack from getting stale. By always keeping the crust on the end of the stack inside the bag, your slices will stay fresher longer. No kidding. Anyone who opens a bag of bread that's been sitting a while and finds that the top slice is slightly stale on one side knows what I mean. Saving the end piece in the bag eliminates this.

But, by the time you reach the bottom of the bag you are left with...two end pieces and maybe a stray slice that doesn't have a mate you can make a sandwich out of. You feel bad about wasting it, so you don't want to throw it away. You might even be feeling obligated to make a "half sandwich", an open faced sandwich, or use one of the end-pieces and just drink a lot of milk with it. Don't bother. Go ahead and open the new bag of bread. The old crusts won't go to waste.

Just pop them in the freezer until you have about six or eight of them. Then break out your toaster. Toast them lightly, repeating as necessary until they are dry and stale. You want them to be dry...not brown, so use a low setting.

Once you have a bunch of dry bread, tear it up and put it into your chopper or food processor. Use short, quick pulses. After a few zaps, you have the final product. Bread crumbs. Why people go to the store and buy bread crumbs when they can just do this is beyond me. You'll have a never-ending supply of end crusts to keep replenishing your stock, so why bother buying something you already had in the first place?

"Oh yeah, smarty, well what about those seasoned bread crumbs?" I heard someone in the back say just now. "You can't make those! You have to buy 'em." Oh yeah? Add a hefty pinch of oregano, a hefty pinch of basil, a nice dash of garlic, and a sprinkle of powdered chicken boullion. Shake. Viola. Instant seasoned breadcrumbs. In fact, these are better because you can season them however you want. Want a more peppery flavor? How about some "Old Bay" bread crumbs. Whatever you like the sound of. You are in control.

"But spices are so expensive." No they are not. You just have to know where to go.

Store the bread crumbs in a plastic container in your freezer. The cold air will keep them fresh and dry for a good long time.

Oh, and one last thing...don't pay a lot of cash for croutons, either. Every supermarket has those expensive gourmet salad croutons that are infused with luxurious flavor and...blah, blah, blah. Don't bother. They are an expense you don't need. Go a few aisles over and find yourself some stuffing. That's right, stuffing. Most stores have their own inexpensive store brand they sell in big bags. The big-cube pre-seasoned stuff is best in my opinion, but you can buy what you like. It's indistinguishable from croutons in a salad, and if you compare what you just paid per pound to the croutons, you'll find you just saved a bunch.
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Jul 19, 2007 @ 8:44 PM Cooking with Dominus    
swyeter


Posts: 20,839
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Sep 3, 2007 @ 12:34 AM Cooking with Dominus    
lunanegra


Posts: 1,478
Wow,I'm super late to this,but all I wanted to say was that you're giving Alton Brown a run for his money,Dom.
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