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Hey Guest! Are you any good at cooking? Got a favourite recipe that you love to cook or bring out to impress that special someone? Why not share it! A new forum called The Burrow has opened and it's all about homemaking!

Culinary Ask a Chef: Or Zombie explains Cooking

Discussion in 'The Burrow' started by Zombie, Aug 25, 2017.

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  1. Story Content: Introduction
    Zombie

    Zombie John Waynes Teeth Prestige DLP Supporter

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    So, I've been thinking about this for quite a bit. No this won't be a blog post where I share all my food I make every day. Everyone (at least on IRC) know's I've been a Chef for a large majority of my life.

    I started as a dish boy at 15, and worked up to prep-boy, and then apprenticed and became Master of the House after my teacher stepped into retirement. I trained years under a traditional italian chef from Northern Italy, somewhere in the region of Bologna, and even attended culinary school for a brief period of my educated youth.

    I specialize in Northern and Central Italian cuisine and Traditional Mexican, and some Oaxacan style fusion.

    I've owned, and operated a bakery, and two restaurants, which I'm no longer the proprietor of due to medical and health reasons. I have a great passion for food, and I mostly wanted to start this thread to share with everyone some of the techniques I find useful. Some Chef's that have made it big and some of their exemplifying recipes, and what could be done better. I also wanted to set this up as a kind of Q & A style response where if you have a question, I'll do my best to answer how I would do it, and what best practice would be.

    In the end food is all about personal taste. Good food, and even great food, is about being able to satisfy a large number of people more than once, using a recipe that can be modified to feed 1 or 100, and consistency. I want the dish I made for you to taste the same the next time you eat it whether it be 10 days or 10 years after the fact.

    I'll open this post with a video that I find exemplifies a basic principle of eating: Food is Entertainment, if it looks good, it will taste good. Everyone eats with their eyes first, and their stomachs second.


    The thing I like about the video above, which it's a short series that Mario Batali does on the youtube channel Munchies, is that the dude makes 100s of adjustments to his food as he goes along, he's able to keep running commentary and keep his guest entertained, and speak about the food and of the food like it's another person sitting at the bar with them.
    The meals he prepares for this show are made to order, they're adaptations of long standing recipes he's cooked in the past, tailored for the moment. He pairs wine and food flawlessly to create something that's a joy to watch someone else eat.

    If anything, you don't have to watch it with sound on. Watch as he cuts and dices the ingredients, how he plates the final dish, and keeps adding because he feels like its missing something. How he presents it, and how he invites his guest to cook with him and to be a part of the meal.

    A good Chef isn't someone that works the back of the house and never leaves his kitchen. A good Chef is someone that walks the floor, greets his guest, asks them how the meal is, and tastes it before it ever hits their table.

    I think the biggest mistake that most people make is they don't taste their food enough. So when you're reading a recipe off the book, ingredient by ingredient. Taste them separately, taste them with other ingredients in the dish see how they work together, because if you're just throwing shit in a pan and hoping the heat will make it taste better, you're doing it wrong.

    One thing about Italian cooking, and Mario covers this alot is finding balance in your food. You can have onion, you can have garlic without it being overpowering. Spices are supposed to compliment the food you're serving to make it taste better and to help show its best qualities. Another thing is that American Italian is different than Northern Italy Italian.

    Italian food isn't about taking the richest piece of meat, or the best vegetable. Its about compound flavors made sometimes not with the best cut of meat, or the best vegetable, and cooking with the spices you have.

    If you have anything you want to ask, please ask. Other Chef's of DLP, please feel free to contribute. Or even if you're just a food enthusiast. Share things that makes your meals better, and techniques you've learned that saves you time in your meal preparations.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2017
  2. T3t

    T3t Purple Beast of DLP Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Thanks for offering your expertise!

    Question: What's the best variety of tomato for frying? What other markers are important (i.e. ripeness, etc)? How do you slice, bread, and fry it properly after you've decided what tomato you're using? Any other pertinent information I don't know to ask?
     
  3. Story Content: Frying Tomatoes
    Zombie

    Zombie John Waynes Teeth Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Great question:
    First rule of buying a tomato is never buy a tomato from a refrigerated case. Cold will damage tomatoes and make them taste like pure garbage. Generally when I buy produce I don't go to Costco, or Walmart or whatever market chain you have in your area.

    Produce is something that is really regional. Mass Market Produce is usually shipped from out of state or from out of country. Where I live on the East Coast, "Locally Grown" is determined by a six state, surrounding area. So its a dime a dozen.

    Protip about Store bought Produce: Its all shipped cold. Most produce is shipped in on a markets refer trucks that also provide their meat products.

    So if you're going to buy it, I'd say buy from a farmers market, or some open air market. You might pay a bit more, but you're getting a better product. Don't let those hippie ass vegans sell you on the fact that it's non-gmo, organic and blessed by the pope help you determine if your tomato is good or not.

    Second Protip: If at a farmers market they don't have cross-sections of their product, or offer you a sample of their product, don't buy from them. Chances are they're second selling something they bought from someone else so they have no fucking idea about the origins of their product.

    If their tomatoes have vines on them, or they're being sold as "vine ripe" make sure the vine is still intact. Is not withered, and looks like it's just been cut from the plant. It will be a deep, green color and if you scratch it, you should smell the perfume of the tomato instantly without having to touch it to your nose.

    Make sure that the tomatoes are handled as little as possible, because oils from your hands and fingers cause the skins to bruise and deteriorate. If the stockers aren't using some form of glove, don't buy their product.

    Common varieties are Roma, Beefsteak, Heirloom, Better Boy, Big Boy, Early Girl and Juliet.

    These are full on, slicing tomatoes. Usually if you buy them in the market, they have a stick on them labeled HH, which stands for hot house. Which means they're hydroponically grown, or grown in a greenhouse. Hydroponic tomatoes are reliant on the nutrients they get fed, because there is no dirt. So that affects flavor a lot.

    Beefsteak, Heirloom, and Better Boy do well in the dirt, and depending on when they're picked have a great flavor.

    You're looking for hand filling, something like the size of a baseball, maybe a bit larger. If it's softball size, I wouldn't use it for frying, that means it's mostly water, and the internal membranes, the thing that gives it taste is going to be watery and seedy. Watery tomatoes do not make good frying tomatoes (One guess why).

    There are two ways to fry tomatoes, you can do Red Frying and Green Frying.

    If you're going to bread them, I'd do green frying. This is personal preference. They're not full of liquid, there is more surface area internally to coat the tomato, and the fact that its green makes it stay together better, red means ripe, which means soft, and soft doesn't take heavy handling and high heat that well.

    Breading, this is again personal preference. But typically if I'm frying tomatoes I take a simple bread crumb, usually make it myself, but you can get something from a can, and season it with garlic, salt, and pepper.

    Fry in vegetable oil. You want something neutral. Cook at a medium heat, to medium high heat.

    Southern Style Fried Green tomatoes have you dip in egg, and breading twice. This does make a better fried green tomato. If you want something lighter, get some unseasoned panko, season it with salt and coarse ground black pepper, and again double dip. That second coating makes things fry up evenly.

    Fried Red Tomatoes on the other hand, you're going to use Roma, or a smaller variety, again, less water, and more meat to cover. Less seeds as well. Coating I'd use one egg, v. the two eggs you'd use for frying green, all purpose flour, and cornmeal for crunch. Salt and pepper your flour to taste, not the cornmeal because otherwise the flavor will be cooked off.

    You're going to fry the red on a higher heat than the green, and instead of vegetable oil use olive oil. Not extra virgin, just olive oil. None of that shit from a jar either, get something from a can. The more light olive oil gets exposed to, the shittier the flavor.

    So, TLDR: For Green tomatoes, you'll use a bigger, green tomato, something that won't be ripe for several days. Don't buy chilled anything. Coat the green in panko or bread crumb, and the red in flour and cornmeal. Salt and pepper to taste.

    For red tomatoes, use a smaller variety, more dense and less water, which means a stronger tomato flavor. This makes the frying stay consistent and you won't get burned from popping oil. Buy from a farmers market. Make sure they've not been touched too much, and again, never chilled. Make sure there is minimal to no bruising. Ripeness can be determined like you would cooking a steak.

    You'll make the Ok sign with your thumb and pointer, and then progress down. So, thumb and pointer, middle finger and thumb, ring finger and thumb, and finally pinky finger and thumb. For a tomato you're looking for middle finger and thumb when frying.

    Hope that answers your question.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2017
  4. T3t

    T3t Purple Beast of DLP Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Super detailed, thanks! Neutral vegetable oil would be something like grapeseed or canola?
     
  5. Story Content: Neutral Oil
    Zombie

    Zombie John Waynes Teeth Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Yeah, with vegetable oil you're looking for something that doesn't have a strong taste so as to not overpower the flavor of the green tomato. I use grapeseed a lot. It comes in a can, and has a shorter shelf life than canola. Canola oil bought in most markets is hydrogenated to make it more stable and can come from multiple sources (The same can be said for any shelf-stable oil tbh.) so it has a peculiar taste to it that I don't like.

    I'll expand on Oil a bit since it's another question:

    Canola, Grapeseed, Peanut, Olive Oil, Extra Virgin, Safflower, are all very specific flavor profiles. Outside of your traditional lard, butter, or margarine, you use oil to add additional flavor to food in the method of charring.

    Most oils that you get in a plastic bottle are not worth the money they ask you to pay for them. You can usually find "vegetable oil" in great quantity, at a cheap price, and is a catch all term that doesn't really tell you what's in it. Vegetables don't produce oil naturally without heavy refinement. I honestly use vegetable oil very rarely, and only for certain things. It is a combination of all the oils listed above, but most commonly corn based.

    It has no flavor, and it's really only good for frying, because it has a high smoke point and can take having multiple things cooked in it.

    When I cook I use a mixture of grapeseed, olive oil, and extra virgin olive oil.

    These all have a lower smoke point that can be raised with the addition of butter or a fat of some kind. Which the base ingredient in a lot of italian cooking is Lardon (chopped pig fat, or bacon that is really fatty). Then you add your olive oil, and then your spices. Olive oil responds well to medium heat. You can use high heat with olive oil, but I would only use it for something that you've pounded really thin or intend to sear before placing it in the oven or adding other liquid's/ingredients.

    Olive oil is to most cooking like garlic, salt, and pepper is to seasoning. It adds its own unique flavor to the mix and makes a meal taste great.

    When buying olive oil or extra virgin olive oil I usually buy something that comes in a can, or in a really dark glass container. I say a can because those dark containers sometimes are very useless when it comes to protecting the oil and they limit the shelf life of the oil within. Also that dark glass usually isn't the glass that's dark itself, it's a light permeable coating they put on the container that if you heat it up a lot, will chip off and show you the clear glass underneath. They make great rolling pins though.

    Olive oil is aged like wine before it's packaged and sold. They use a cold press system that squeezes the olives down into a very fine powder, and the type of pressing they do on it greatly affects the flavor.

    Extra Virgin Olive oil is a young olive oil that goes through the same press process, but is not as refined. Olive oil has a nutty taste to it, imo, where extra virgin has a spicy taste that lingers on the back of your tongue.

    Olive oil is great for cooking meats, potatoes, and adding as a drizzle on top of things.

    Extra Virgin is great for deep frying, believe it or not, and as a drizzle on top of things, it's basically whatever your preference is.

    Grapeseed is great for frying, sauteing, and has a light flavor. I like to use grapeseed oil for making THC infusions for ice cream, or gelato. It has a high smoke point, so a lot of chinese restaurants use it for their stir fry(along with safflower), and it adopts the flavors of the other ingredients around it very well.


    I can talk about other oils if you want me to expand, just let me know. I just covered the ones I use the most.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2017
  6. Zerg_Lurker

    Zerg_Lurker Unspeakable DLP Supporter

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    What's your favorite Mexican dish? And what food do you think everyone should make at least once?

    Don't have any real questions but I always enjoy your writing and pictures of food.
     
  7. Xepheria

    Xepheria The Benefactor

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    Any tips on good Italian meals that I could cook on a budget whilst at university? I've grown up learning the importance of eating well, and I'll be damned if I eat halls garbage when I can cook it myself.
     
  8. Skykes

    Skykes Minister of Magic DLP Supporter

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    Great thread Zombie.

    I worked as line cook for a year in Toronto. I have serious respect for everybody who sticks with the profession long term. It's one of the most physically and mentally demanding jobs.

    In Italy there are many places which sell arancini or supli, which I think are great snacks, but can also be served as a dinner course. However I seldom see them in restaurants or delis. Why do you think they never gained popularity in the same way other Italian food did?
     
  9. Story Content: Best Meal, Scholarly Diet on a Dime, and Arancini
    Zombie

    Zombie John Waynes Teeth Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I'll reply in order of questions received.
    My favorite mexican meal would be Empanadas. They can be beef, they can be spicy, they can be sweet, and they can be savory. My grandmother always cooked them for me, and it's truly what got me into cooking. My grandmother is the source of all my mexican recipes.

    There's a very thin line between what is traditional and what is tex-mex. Tex-mex isn't terrible by any means, but it's a really americanized version of what people think mexican food is.

    Mexican food, like Italian food is a balance of spice and flavor, if you over spice your meal, while it could still taste great, it will follow you for the rest of the day.

    People have this idea that mexican food is rice, and beans, and some kind of meat thrown on a plate, but it's really not. It can be as delicate and as light as any french style cuisine.

    Empanadas are a great example of this because the dough that they're wrapped in is an art form. I remember grandmother beginning in the morning and making her dough, working it, and layering it with butter, and then the smells of the chiles and the adobo sauce simmering in the pan. And then how by mid afternoon she was ready to make them, and then fry them up.

    I grew up extremely poor, and going to grandmother's house was always a treat. No matter how simple her food was, it was always filling and great.

    One dish everyone should make themselves is Oxtail soup, some chilaquiles for dipping up the broth and picking up the meat as it falls off the bone, and some tamales for after.

    Oxtail soup isn't a soup in the colloquial sense. It's a reduction of beef broth, slowly cooked for upwards of 2.5 - 3 hours (the longer you cook them the more the tendons and the ligaments and the collagen in the bones breaks down) to make the meat on the tail bones tender, and the sauce thick and rich.

    The meat itself is cheap, or at least, a non-traditional cut, and it has the very essence of what beef should taste like. Chilaquiles are basically tostadas, or tortilla chips, but made with masa that morning pressed out, and then lightly fried, with salt to taste. The beef broth has roasted poblano, garlic, green onion, and ground adobo. Adobo is a mixed of red chilies that have been dried and then heated up and ground in a molcajete y mano.

    Believe it or not, Italian food lends itself to simple/cheap cooking. And is pretty great for a scholar's diet. Most course will have some form of pasta, a simple sauce (sauce in italian cooking is like ketchup for the rest of the world, it's literally called Condiment in italian) and whatever protein you want to mix with it.

    So, I'd recommend you try Spaghetti Carbonara, or Pasta Carbonara. Its simple. Has a max of four primary ingredients and is the epitome of italian cooking. Carbonara is something that you can get in any restaurant, sure, but once you've had it cooked by your master's Aunt, it's the best thing ever.
    1. 1 Tbsp olive oil or unsalted butter.
    2. 1/2 pound pancetta or thick cut bacon, diced.
    3. 1-2 garlic cloves, minced, about 1 teaspoon
    4. 3-4 whole eggs.
    5. 1 cup grated parmesan or pecorino cheese.
    6. 1 pound spaghetti pasta
    7. Salt and black pepper to taste.

    I use fettuccine because it picks up the egg and cheese and has a great mouth feel. Italians are crazy about pasta. They don't like the shit you buy in stores at all. Its pretty much you make it yourself, or you buy it after someone's made it. They don't like the texture that machine made pasta has, they prefer the wood on wood texture of a rolling pin on a wooden board.


    This is a loaded response, and probably not the concensus of every italian chef you may talk to.

    I have seen arancini in restaurants as an appetizer. Like you said, most people would eat them as a snack. Northern American Italian cooking features them, maybe because it's a sicilian style of cooking and that's where a lot of sicilians emigrated to when they moved to america.

    Arancini take time to make. It's something you wake up early to do, make in bulk and then sell, like you said in a deli or off a food cart or a walk up restaurant. They make a great dinner course, but are a very roman style meal, something that your roman grandmother would cook you after you've been a way for a long trip.

    I imagine the complexity of making the rice ball, the filling, and the simple adornment doesn't appeal to many people's sensibilities. Most people who think italian think 12 inch white plates, swimming in noodles and sauce. Arancini are made with rice, not pasta, so it probably doesn't seem like italian food to them.

    And they are a snack item, something you can take on the go. Most italian restaurants structure themselves as a multi-course, sit down type atmosphere, so while they could make them, and people would probably love them, they just don't fit the image they're trying to create when they operate their restaurants.

    Deli's are their own little beast. I've only encountered a couple that I like, and their focus has always been on meats. So, they probably took what made them the most money and made it their focus.

    @Skykes I miss my days of being a line cook. It takes serious skill and patience to be able to plate 30 or even 300 plates the same way, it really makes you think about presentation and how the different items on the plate work together. Where in Toronto did you line cook at? I know that Toronto has a massive food scene. I keep wanting to take a trip up just to experience it all.

    Hopefully this answered everyone, if I missed anything that you would like me to detail more let me know, or if you didn't like my answer, let me know. I can talk more about it if you like.
     
  10. Poytin

    Poytin The Arby's Hipster DLP Supporter

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    It's pretty entertaining coming back from my graveyard shift as a line cook to see this. Reminds me of some of the conversations that happened about cooking in IRC.

    Although I have to ask as a chef. Are you sometimes iffy about experimentation with ingredients that you might not be able to get all the time? Like I have a couple of hunting tags this year and thinking about maybe fucking up any bit of meat I get from the (hopefully gotten) elk I'm going after makes me shiver.
     
  11. Rah

    Rah Auror

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    Ooh I like this thread. I have some light experience in Italian cooking but my mothers taught me a lot about Pakistani/Indian cooking so if anyone has questions about that I'll try to help. I'm closer to a food enthusiat than a chef but I love cooking.

    @Zombie Whats your favorite way to make risotto. The best dish I've ever had was a Salmon risotto from a town outside Rome (Viturbo). I've been chasing that flavor and taste for 3 years but haven't come close to it.
     
  12. Story Content: Game Meat and Experimentation
    Zombie

    Zombie John Waynes Teeth Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Experimentation is the soul of cooking.
    I think I said this earlier, but cooking is all about consistency. You want your meal to taste the same for the customer as it did the first time you cooked it for them, and 10 years later when the visit again. Taste, smell, sight, are all strong memory forming things, and a change in the taste of a loved dish can be noticed years after the fact.

    I throw dinner parties for hundreds of guest at a time. Since I don't own or operate as a chef in the conventional setting anymore. I invite people to my house, and I usually plan large, elaborate meals that are a fusion of multiple cooking and cultural styles.

    Ingredients are all about sourcing so I if I ran a restaurant I wouldn't put something on the menu that I didn't have the ingredients for, or a ready supply of them. When I did run a restaurant I had plenty of off the menu requests that customers would ask for, because it was a taste from home. Which because of the nature of the business I was able to accommodate by having it in supply.

    You have to be aware of FIFO, and cold holding, because if you're serving shit ingredients in your food, then you're going to have shit tasting food. Simple statement.

    Back to the dinner party. With fusion, there is a lot of tasting and experimentation. I look at the markets to see what I can get a large supply of first, and then base my meals and presentation around that.

    The guest favorite at the house is cooking a whole pig, in a pit in the ground that I dig out back. Load it with hot rocks and coals, and then make side dishes of the tripe, innards and whatever else I can turn into something that taste good. Wrap in banana leaf and cover it to cook for 8 to 12 hours.

    I make pickled pigs feet, I make pig ear tostadas, pig tail soup, sausage made with the animal's own intestine. Sweet and savory.

    Homemade Chorizo (which I'm not really partial to) and chicharones(pork rinds) topped with lime, adobo, and sour cream (cream fresh) and some melty goat cheese.

    Banana leaf is something that can affect the end flavor. It has a particular flavor that you can tell if it's been cooked in it or not. Its also something thats really hard to get. I usually have it shipped from a large metro area, which for me is GA or TN. GA is a great place to get spices that are not commonly used in America. There are tienda's everywhere around where I live because there is a large hispanic community.

    I'm not so much iffy as I'm very conscious of what I'm doing when I'm preparing a meal that is not something I'm comfortable with. Usually when I created or put a new item on the menu, I'd have the house taste it first and tear it apart on what they thought could be better, or what they would like to see different about it.


    I wouldn't be worried about fucking up game meat.
    I would also not use traditional spices with it. Elk, I like to use rosemary, non-acidic or slightly acidic marinades like a dark beer, or a red wine. It will only compliment the flavor of the meat.

    I would say if anything, go easy on the seasoning. Try a small piece of it cooked medium rare to see how it works, and then work on your spice profile after the fact. The thing about game meat is that its rich, earthy, and you're basically eating what they're eating. It's not some corn fed, hormone fed, mutant that they keep in a dark room before slaughtering. There's a depth of flavor you're going to find there that probably needs very little seasoning at all. Use high heat, or a broil, get a nice crust on the outside. Maybe some crushed garlic.

    As a side for it, I'd suggest a green, something spicy or tart like arugula, kale, or creamed spinach.

    As a starch you could add like rough mashed potato, or potato steeped in the meat renderings and then broiled until crispy.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2017
  13. Jon

    Jon The Demon Mayor Admin DLP Supporter

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    But... will it blend?
     
  14. Story Content: Risotto
    Zombie

    Zombie John Waynes Teeth Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I'll respond first with a video :)

    Salmon Risotto is great.

    I think my favorite is Squid Ink Risotto. It's hard to approach Risotto made in Italy. Its its own thing, everything else is truly flattery in the form of imitation.

    I wish I had more to say on this honestly, but risotto is pretty cut and dry. To make a perfect risotto you need to cook it a specific way, show it love, treat the rice well, and don't try to overpower it with too many flavors.

    Some of it can blend.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2017
    Rah
  15. BTT

    BTT Order Member

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    I'm in the same situation as Xeph, except with the extra hurdle of being vegetarian. (Not for moral or dietary reasons, just was raised that way.) Most of your recipes so far seem fairly focused around meat, though.

    So my question is basically if you've got any suggestions for vegetarian pasta. Besides just tomato sauce, I know there's all'arabbiata and pesto (both of which seem fairly doable from quick searching on google and which I know I like), both of which I'll try making soon enough. Not a huge fan of the fish-based pasta I've tried so far, but I'm willing to try them out. Tips for vegetarian dishes in general are welcome, really.
     
  16. Story Content: Vegetarian Meals on a Dime
    Zombie

    Zombie John Waynes Teeth Prestige DLP Supporter

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    First I'm sorry, Vegetarian should be a choice that you make later in life. You're missing out on tons and tons of flavor. But, if that works for you, I'm not one to judge.

    There are tons of italian dishes that rely entirely on vegetable. Some ingredients and produce you might consider are mushroom, eggplant (aubergine), zucchini, yellow squash, acorn squash, spaghetti squash.

    So, I'll just give you a run down of a couple things you can make.

    Going back to my earlier comments about produce, its all about finding what's in stock and in season.

    • 9.8 ml olive oil
    • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced, you can use half of this for just yourself
    • 2 medium sized celery ribs, diced, use the entire stalk including the white. Has a nice bitter taste imo.
    • 1/2 medium onion, diced, you can cut this down to suit your taste. I wouldn't go more than 1/4.
    • sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, kosher is fine.
    • 3 garlic cloves, grated or minced, minced is easier.
    • 177 ml red wine this doesn't have to be expensive. In the US you can get 750ml for 2 bucks. That's all you need. It doesn't have to be great.
    • 1 pound of mushrooms shiitake or baby bella, chopped
    • 354 ml vegetable stock, (you can buy the bullion cubes cheap and bloom in it in some hot water, cheaper than buying premade.
    • 1 .425kg can whole tomatoes, crushed
    • 1 .425kg can tomato sauce paste, which is a kinda dry consistency. I'd splurge on this. The good shit comes in metal tubes sorta like toothpaste.
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 4 gram sugar, honestly you can use half of this. It's for acidity.
    • 8 gram dried oregano
    • 4 gram dried thyme

    Mushroom Bolognese, or for this matter Bolognese is a type of pasta adornment. Typically bolognese is meat rich, but mushroom makes a great substitute. And they're cheap.

    The recipe above is modified to suit your personal needs. You may think that's a lot of ingredients, but the thing about spices is that they will keep if you're getting them dried. Olive Oil, if you get the right kind will keep for about three months, the vegetable you can buy that day, which I would recommend, and the other spice do not need to be fresh. Dried oregano and dried thyme taste just fine. You can use fresh if you really want to. There will just be a minute flavor difference.

    Follow the recipe per bullet point. You're going to add your onion first to let it brown slightly, add your celery and carrot at the same time so that its getting soft, the onion will be translucent by the time the garlic is ready to be put in.

    Add your garlic in last because you don't want to burn it. People always put it in first and then burn the shit out of it.

    Once that's cooked a bit, you're going to start smelling the garlic. Add your wine, kick your heat up a bit because adding something room temperature will reduce the heat of your pan, you want it to get back up to cooking temperature quickly.

    That way your veg doesn't turn into limp shit. Let some of the alcohol in the wine cook off, it will start thickening up a bit. Add in your mushroom.

    When you add the wine scrape the shit out of the bottom of your pan. That will get the faun built up at the bottom. Thats flavor. When on high heat, always keep what's in the pan moving. If it's moving it won't burn.

    In this recipe it says use porcini. Porcini comes dried, you're going to want to soak that in some water, let it bloom a little, sieve it. Make sure you rinsed them first to get any dirt off them. Then take that broth that it produces from soaking them and throw that in with the rest of your veg in the pot.

    Handling your mushrooms, you're going to dice the porcini in a rough chop.
    The bellas and the shiitake you're going to slice, if they're not done so already. You can buy pre-sliced. When buying pre-sliced make sure that the mushroom are firm to the touch on the stems, you don't want no gooey shit. Make sure that the crowns aren't turning black and there is no finger damage to them.

    The most important part of all of this is timing. You'll notice I didn't give you any specific measurement of time. It's all about feel. You're going to see when the onion is ready. You're going to smell when the garlic is ready. The rest is all about adding in and stirring and mixing. I will say that after you've got everything in pot. Reduce the heat so that the liquid in the pan is simmering, and leave it uncovered for about an hour.

    It will reduce and thicken. Some people like their bolognese loose, some like it tight. With a vegetable base, I'd say keep it a little loose. Good way to judge this is when you're running your spoon through the pan, the empty space your spoon leaves behind, watch how quick the liquid is to fill this back up.

    That's one meal. I'll go quicker with the next ones.

    Acorn Squash Soup:
    If you have a food processor, great, or an emulsion blender or a hand whipping unit.

    You're going to skin the squash, it's got a thick green skin on it. Seed it with a spoon. Put some olive oil on a pan, season with salt and crushed black pepper, cook in in the oven until soft, kind of like a potato. You can cook it in a microwave if you really need to, or if your flat doesn't have an oven. Put it in the microwave for 10 minutes, turn it every 5 until when you stick a fork in it or a knife it goes in with little problem.

    Put it in your blender with some heavy cream, a bit of minced garlic, blend. Be careful of your lid on your blender. Don't cover it all the way so the steam can escape. Taste it. Salt and pepper to taste.

    You can chill this and it makes a great cold soup. When you plate it add some more heavy cream on top of it, and a bit of nutmeg if you can find any. Don't get ground. Ground is fake 100 percent of the time.

    Zucchini Dish:
    Halve a Zucchini lengthwise. Get a younger one so that the skins are thinner, we're leaving them on. Its all about texture.

    Get some day old bread, cube it, bake it in the oven with some olive oil, rosemary, bit of salt. Let that shit dry out, so you're going to cook it low and slow until everything is crispy and dry. Put it in a cloth and smash the shit out of it, or a food processor if you have one.

    There's your bread crumb.

    In a bowl, put some of the bread crumb to the side. This is topping.

    In a hot pan with some olive oil, ricotta, bit of minced garlic(not crushed, put it in first as well) on medium heat. Add a bit of milk to keep it soupy, you're going to be adding it to the breadcrumb to make a filling.

    Cook it until everything is warm, add to the bread crumb that you've not put aside. Seed the zucchini, it will be like a cucumber with a stripe down the middle with a spoon. Careful not to remove too much flesh.

    Scoop in some filling in each one. About a tablespoon, or 14.8 grams.

    In another pan, place your stuffed zucchini skin side down. Put some tomato sauce around it, not over top of it. Let that cook until the zucchini is soft

    Plate with a bit of the sauce and the put one half of the zucchini on a plate. Top with breadcrumb you set aside.

    There's a couple for you to try. If you have any specific questions let me know.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2017
    BTT
  17. BTT

    BTT Order Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Thanks, man. Those sound great. I'll need to do some research on where to get most of the ingredients, but it shouldn't be too much of a hassle. You mentioned something on IRC about eggplant parm?
     
  18. Story Content: Eggplant Parm
    Zombie

    Zombie John Waynes Teeth Prestige DLP Supporter

    Joined:
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    Within the Garden of Nurgle.
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    Egg Plant Parm:

    • 3 large egg whites
    • 1 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 2 medium eggplants, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
    • 1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
    • 2 1/2 cups prepared marinara sauce
    • 3/4 cup grated part-skim mozzarella cheese

    This is going to be a breaded dish.

    Slice the Eggplant (aubergine) in slices, you can peel it if you want to. Lay it out on a paper towel, salt both sides. Let it rest for about thirty minutes, change the paper towels, let it rest some more, you're going to want to remove some of the moisture from the eggplant.

    Bread crumb in one dish with parmesan cheese, egg whites in another. Salt and pepper the breadcrumb to taste. Easy on the salt since you already put some on the eggplant.

    Dip in egg, put in breadcrumb, pick up and shake. You're not going to double coat these. You can if you want to, but I think one dip is fine.

    Marinara sauce, put in in a pan, without a plastic handle, heat it up, spice to your preference. If you buy prepared that's fine. Its cheaper and time cheap as well.

    When the eggplant is golden brown from the oven, place them in the pan of sauce. Top with mozzarella cheese. You can do grated, or get a ball of it, and slice it fresh. Whatever is convenient for you.

    Top it. Put the pan in the oven, place it under the broiler. Let it set until the cheese starts to brown. That's flavor.

    Remove from oven, let it cool for a few minutes. Make sure you grab the pan with a towel on your hand. Don't want to go to the ER for a fried hand, and then plate and serve. Use some of your leftover parmesan, if you have any, to put on top of the eggplant.
     
    BTT
  19. Joe

    Joe The Reminiscent Exile Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
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    1,800
    Just chiming in to say this is a great thread idea @Zombie.

    Thanks for sharing your skills. That clip you provided is awesome.

    I'd ask your thoughts on cooking a steak, rib-eye or sirloin, about an inch thick for medium-rare. I've grown used to the pan-seared, oven-finished method with butter and rosemary. Any tips or tricks around that? I'm very much a food enthusiast, these days.
     
  20. deyas

    deyas DA Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    164
    Location:
    Farmington, New Mexico
    Thanks for the series recommendation, Zombie, Mario's banter is quite entertaining. On topic, while I don't have any questions related specifically to cooking presently, two of the sources I go to frequently for cooking advice are Alton Brown, and Kenji Lopez. Thoughts? Also, are you fond of any particular outside source for recipes/advice when working with unfamiliar cuisine?
     
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