A Cook's Diary

Share recipes and tips, or memorable restaurant experiences here.
Rufus
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Re: A Cook's Diary

Post by Rufus » Sun May 24, 2020 8:18 am

pausted wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 2:32 pm
My wife’s late aunt lived in Lake Charles, Louisiana. She was a skilled Cajun cook and taught me several of her recipes. Yesterday, I made a pot of her chicken and sausage gumbo.

First, dice an onion, a green bell pepper and three stalks of celery ( the “trinity” of Cajun cooking.) Place all the vegetables in a bowl to have them ready for the next step.

Next, stir equal parts flour and vegetable oil in a pot over medium heat. I use a cup of each for a big pot of gumbo. Never stop stirring this mixture or you could burn it. Initially it will foam as it burns off the moisture in the flour. Then it will begin to darken as the flour browns. Don’t ever stop stirring! When the roux is the color of chocolate milk, remove from the heat and immediately stir in the vegetables. This will cool the roux and prevent it from scorching.

Now add liquid. I used a 6 cup container of low sodium chicken broth and 1 cup of water. Remember, gumbo is a soup, not a stew. Put back on the heat while you prepare the meat. Slice two links of andouille sausage in 1/4 inch slices. Any smoked sausage will work but andouille is best. Cut into large pieces 3 or 4 pounds of boneless chicken thighs.

Add the meat to the pot along with 2 tablespoons of Cajun spices such as Tony Chachere’s. Bring to a boil and then simmer covered for two hours. You have gumbo! Serve in a big bowl over white rice. Enjoy!
Thanks for the recipe. I’m going to give it a try.
Bryan

pausted
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Re: A Cook's Diary

Post by pausted » Sun May 24, 2020 12:50 pm

I feel that I should mention that making the roux can be a dangerous proposition. It requires complete attention. Keep kids and pets away from the stove. They call it “Cajun napalm”. 😊 Just be careful.
Best regards,

Basil

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drmoss_ca
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Re: A Cook's Diary

Post by drmoss_ca » Sun May 31, 2020 8:56 am

That sounds much more exciting than a traditional roux, which is boredom personified. Yes, it does take all your attention, but there are no fireworks if your attention wanders, merely no sauce and a pan that will be hell to clean.

And talking of avoiding nasty pans, here's a cheating sauce from last night that worked out well. The Boss brought home more fresh pasta (see previous moans), and this time it was ravioli squares stuffed with tomato and some kind of cheese I've never heard of (and if it actually exists there will be the legal minimum in there for sure), and some ravioli triangles containing pumpkin. The lockdown won't make me starve, but it might make me a murderer.

Anyway, problem ravioli exists. What to do? Boss hates tomato based sauces, as she won't accept that being 60+ and obese leads to heartburn and reasonable people just swallow their proton pump inhibitor and get on with being old and fat. Here is my solution:

1. Cook weird ravioli as expected - boiling water and salt for ~seven minutes.
2. Mix one tub ricotta cheese with one large egg, some salt, some black pepper, a couple of pinches of cayenne pepper, a quick splash of lemon juice, and two generous pinches of dried parsley. Mix well, and then thin down with water - about a quarter cup. After mixing well, heat in microwave.
3. Steam some chopped asparagus.
4. Heat bowls.
5. Place hot drained pasta in bowls, then put a knob of butter on pasta.
6. Add drained asparagus.
7. Pour on sauce.
8. I haven't written this out in order. Figure it out; it isn't hard.

The result was actually pretty nice. The ravioli was as weird as it sounded, but the sauce was damn good and no flour was harmed in its making. That's a roux reference. Oh, never mind.
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace

pausted
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Re: A Cook's Diary

Post by pausted » Sun May 31, 2020 9:33 am

I came across a website that has a pretty good explanation with pictures of how to make a roux for gumbo. Also, she has two gumbo recipes, one of which is vegetarian. Go to gimmesomeoven.com and search for “gumbo” .
Best regards,

Basil

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drmoss_ca
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Re: A Cook's Diary

Post by drmoss_ca » Sun May 31, 2020 4:12 pm

gimmesomeoven.com is an actual website, too. Thanks for that, Basil. Some interesting stuff there.
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace

brothers
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Location: Oklahoma City USA

Re: A Cook's Diary

Post by brothers » Sun May 31, 2020 5:26 pm

I love gumbo.
Gary

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pausted
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Re: A Cook's Diary

Post by pausted » Sun May 31, 2020 6:14 pm

Cook up a batch, Gary. You’ll enjoy it. I’ll bet the ingredients are readily available in OK City.😀
Best regards,

Basil

brothers
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Re: A Cook's Diary

Post by brothers » Sun May 31, 2020 7:30 pm

Oh yes. I've had pretty good luck with the premixed Louisiana brand gumbo base. We add sausage and chicken and serve it over rice. Quick and delicious.
Gumbo base.jpg
Gumbo base.jpg (50.17 KiB) Viewed 423 times
Gary

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pausted
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Re: A Cook's Diary

Post by pausted » Sun May 31, 2020 8:13 pm

Looks good. I’ll look for it at the store.
Best regards,

Basil

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drmoss_ca
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Re: A Cook's Diary

Post by drmoss_ca » Wed Jun 10, 2020 10:10 am

No new dishes to report here; just more of the same. Lots of curry, okara balls etc. Last night I served up some stir fry - shrimp, onion, courgettes (what do you call them...ah! Zucchini!) and green pepper on rice with home made sweet and sour sauce.

S&S Sauce
In a small saucepan, mix:
3/4 cup white sugar
1/8 - 1/4 cup white vinegar (err towards lower end)
3/4 cup water
1/8 - 1/4 cup soy sauce (again, be circumspect, you can add more, but can't take it away)
2-3 TBSP tomato ketchup (I favour French's, as it contains only Canadian tomatoes)
2 TBSP cornflour

Heat until thickened. As the cornflour cooks you will see the mix turn from red to brown over just a few seconds. Then it's ready. Can be made, cooled and reheated without harm. Experiment with more vinegar for more tanginess, sugar for sweetness or ketchup for more Canadiana. Comes out just like your local Chinese takeaway without any enormous tin cans being harmed.
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace

Rufus
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Re: A Cook's Diary

Post by Rufus » Wed Jun 10, 2020 12:29 pm

Courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen, this is our favourite recipe for Salmon Cakes:

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS
3 tablespoons plus 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (optional)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1 green onion/scallion, sliced thin
1 small shallot, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (plus or minus)
11/4-pound skinless salmon fillet, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup vegetable oil

METHOD
1. Combine 3 tablespoons panko, parsley, mayonnaise, lemon juice, green onion/shallot, mustard, salt, pepper, and cayenne in bowl. Pulse salmon in food processor until coarsely chopped into 1/4-inch pieces; may want to do this in 2 or 3 batches. Transfer to bowl with panko mixture and mix gently until uniformly combined.

2. Place remaining 3/4 cup panko in shallow dish. Using 1/3-cup measure, scoop level amount of salmon mixture and transfer to baking sheet; repeat to make 8 cakes. Coat each cake with panko, gently patting into disk measuring 23/4-inches in diameter and 1-inch thick.

3. Heat oil in 12-inch frying/sautee pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Place salmon cakes in frying/sautee pan and cook without moving until bottoms are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip cakes and cook until second side is golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer cakes to paper towel-lined plate to drain for 1 minute. Serve.

This recipe is very easy to make and is pretty well foolproof (I can make it). We have these salmon cakes once a week.

Enjoy.
Bryan

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drmoss_ca
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Re: A Cook's Diary

Post by drmoss_ca » Wed Jun 17, 2020 7:56 am

Another use for okara, and since it involves chocolate, likely to be popular! This is a chocolate cake:

150g okara
150g sugar
60g chocolate
150g milk
90ml vegetable oil
1½ tsp vanilla
½ TBSP white vinegar
150g all-purpose flour
30g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 160C/320F. Butter an 8x4-inch loaf tin and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a small pan, combine okara, sugar, chocolate and milk. Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly until the chocolate has completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in oil, vanilla and vinegar.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Pour in the wet okara mixture and use a large wooden spoon or spatula and fold gently until just combined - don't overmix but there shouldn't be any streak of dry ingredients either.
Scrape the batter into the loaf tin and spread it evenly with the spatula. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the tin on a wire rack.

Man, this one was weird to cook. Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Victoria sponge territory anymore. Heating milk, sugar, chocolate in a pan, adding oil, vinegar and vanilla, and then mixing into flour, rising agents and cocoa? Where are the eggs? The butter? Oddly, it worked:

IMG_0498.jpg
IMG_0498.jpg (89.14 KiB) Viewed 220 times
It's pretty chocolatey, but just a tiny bit dry. I'd serve it warm with custard, cold with ice cream, or best of all, bake triple quantities of the mix in a round tin, slice it up, add cherries, cream and chocolate for a Schwarzwälder kirschtorte. If you don't want to go there, some treacle, molasses or Golden Syrup instead of some of the sugar could make it moist and gooey.

Whatever I do next, it has to use more than 3/4 cup okara. I'm ordered to look into carrot cakes. Will report in due course.
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace

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