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Jun 5, 2010 @ 3:21 PM What I Like    

Posts: 1,478
Simple like uncomplicated?

Anyway, sounds good- looks like I'm gonna pull up my recipe "book" and keep some of these.
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Jul 16, 2010 @ 2:45 PM What I Like    

Posts: 356
This is a good time of year for...

Fresh Watermelon Salsa

2 1/2 cups watermelon
3 cups tomato
1/2 cup red onion
1 tsp. chili pepper
1 Tbsp.garlic
2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp. fresh basil
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley
1 1/2 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar or lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil (or not)
salt & pepper to taste

With this, the technique is everything. Decide how chunky you want the salsa. If you like it very chunky or mostly liquid. The tomato and the watermelon will have to be part diced and part puree to make sure you get the consistency you want. For example, if you want it more like a sauce then you will puree about 90%-95% of the tomato and watermelon. If you are looking for something more like a bruschetta then you will only finely dice the tomato and fruit.

The onion and garlic needs to be chopped finely. Not diced or sliced or pureed. If you want, you can caramelize it in a pan before adding it for some extra flavor.

The chili is going to be your call as everyone has their favorite. You want mild? Then try a nice poblano. Smoky? Then go for a chipotle. Restaurant style? Jalapeno works for that. Extra spicy? Habaneros, scotch-bonnets or thai peppers will do just fine. Just remember to chop the pepper so finely it's almost a puree. Oh, and if you don't know how to propperly handle peppers just use your favorite hot sauce. Problem solved.

Next, chop the herbs and mix it all in a big bowl. If you want the oil you can add it but you don't have to. But you will need to up the acidity of the salsa. That's where the balsamic or lime juice (NOT BOTH) comes in. If you want an earthier flavor then use the vinegar, but using lime juice will be more of an Asian/Caribbean twist. It's your choice.

Some people like to add black pepper (and some even a bit of sugar) but that's based on your tastes. Salt is a definite necessity, though, (never forget FAT TOM as this is a fresh salsa) just how much, though, is based on your preference.
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Jul 17, 2010 @ 12:29 PM What I Like    

Posts: 356
Now for something that sounds suspiciously like it would be bad for you but isn't really.

All-Purpose Deep Frying Batter

1 cup all-purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 cup Cornstarch
1 cup Water
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Sugar

Mix all of the ingredients together and blend until there are no lumps. that's not ALL of the directions. Real frying is more of an art than a science, but there is science behind doing it well. While this batter is all-purpose, it works best for vegetables and fish (more on this later). The best fish I've found for this is either cod or haddock, but a lot of people in the states prefer flounder or tilapia. Also works great for peeled and de-veined shrimp.

Next, for the best results you really need a deep fryer. A lot of people insist on pan frying, but the dynamics are totally different. The contact between the bottom of the pan and the food can cause disasters with wet batters like this, and pan-frying actually forces more oil into the food. Before you start you need to hear your oil or shortening as hot as it can be. The trouble is there's no "set" temperature for that because oil properties can vary so widely. The "hottest" means you want it just below the smoke-point. Finally, always have a chemical extinguisher on hand during any frying. You never know. Best to be safe.

Using tongs, dip a piece into the batter, then quickly ease it into the fryer. DON'T dip all the pieces before you start frying. Wet batters will just run off. DON'T drop the food into the fryer. That will make the oil splash. Keep an eye on it. You might have to manually turn it to make sure it's done on all sides. Once it's a nice golden brown, pluck it out and set it on a cooling rack, separate from other pieces.

If you did it right, you will have absorbed very little fat into the nice, crispy batter. Why? Veggies and fish are high moisture foods. They steam as they cook and as the batter is made with water (not oil) that steam forces the oil away from the food while it's cooking. Who knew. Healthy frying.

This is batter enough for about 2 pounds of fish.

Now, what I DON'T recommend:
-Cooking with beef, pork, lamb, goat, etc...These are high fat meats. Oil is repelled by water, but attracted to fat. If you cook with a high fat meat the oil will be drawn into the food, increasing the fat content.
-Cooking with chicken or other poultry...Sure, you can use white meat and remove the skin in order to remove the fat, but poultry has notoriously long cook times. You risk the center being undercooked while the batter is overcooked.
-Adding oil to your batter...A lot of people feel without there being oil in the batter it won't "stick" to the food. This is false, and once again it pulls oil into what you're cooking, increasing the fat levels again.

Now, as far as how to serve it? As soon as you made it. All the other fixin's are up to you.
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Sep 15, 2010 @ 4:13 AM What I Like    

Posts: 456
for the African Vegetarian Stew recipe. I've been trying to figure out what to do with kohlrabi. How to make them taste less like a bland tuber.
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