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Signature dish - what's yours?

 
 
msolga
 
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 05:50 am
I was watching Celebrity Master Chef tonight (3 contestants: a state premier, an Olympic swimmer & an actor) & their first task was to each prepare their own "signature dish". Which resulted in a gnocchi, a roasted chicken breast dish stuffed with cheese & a steak dish with a salad (including Morton Bay bugs) on the side .... interesting. It didn't have to be a main course dish, in fact Anna Bligh (the state premier) produced 3 course in the allowed time. Quite a feat!

Anyway, this got me thinking about what I'd consider my signature dish. Hmmmm ...
I narrowed it down to either a rice or pasta dish, as I eat a lot of both.
And came up with a dead heat. These are the two dishes I prepare most often:

(1) a garlicky mushroom "sauce", cooked very quickly in olive oil with lots of chopped Italian parsley thrown in at the send, on pasta (usually penne).
(2) Chicken & rice - a sort of "paella-ish" concoction, including a chicken breast, onion, garlic, chilli, celery, capsicum, corn & peas. And rice, of course.

Both cooked so often because they're pretty tasty & also very easy & fast to prepare.

So what would you you say your "signature dish" is?
It might be a dessert dish, or a soup, etc, rather than a main course.


 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 05:59 am
@msolga,
... which made me realize how much my cooking habits have changed over the years. About 15 years ago I would have said something like a considerably more elaborate Indian vegetarian curry (possibly including pulses, which had been soaked overnight), plus a dal, plus rice & a raita. A lot simpler & faster food these days, an just one pot, when at all possible.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 06:26 am
A bit of encouragement is needed, I think!

Your signature dish doesn't have to be flash, ya know! You might make a wicked porridge, for example! Wink
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 06:38 am
I make really good chili.

There's a school of thought that if you put beans in your chili you don't know beans about chili.

I don't subscribe to that point of view.

My chili is equal amounts of vegetables, beans & lean lean meat.

it's not fancy, and is fast to make, and is very good.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 06:44 am
@chai2,
Yay, Chai breaks the posting drought! Smile

Sounds pretty good to me!

I'd ask for your recipe (not having cooked this type of dish before), but I suspect you've probably posted to a thread here already, yes? I must have a look.

chai2
 
  2  
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 06:55 am
@msolga,
nah....there's really no receipe per se. It's by the mood of the moment.

basically saute a big green pepper along with a big onion, if I have a lot of good tomatoes I'll chop up a couple of good ones and toss in there a couple of minutes before putting that mess aside. If I don't have fresh tomatoes on hand, canned will do. Either regular or spicy. Oh, and garlic and whatever else at that point.

Then in the same pot I'll brown extra lean hamburger, add in chili seasonings, even to the extent of just tossing in a pre-made packet of chili mix.

Then, I'll add in can(s) of beans....pinto, black, kidney, one or all three. Whatever

Then I put the vegs back in, add in some water, and let the bastard simmer for a while.

It's nice on a cold day.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 07:01 am
@chai2,
Thanks, Chai.
That sounds pretty straight forward. Might work well in a slow cooker, too!
Just one question, if I may: any particular variety of chili mix? Or, if you're not using a mix, what other seasonings would you suggest apart from chili?
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 07:02 am
@msolga,
When I think of the term "signature dish", I look to the things people ask me to bring to potlucks, or ask hopefully if I'll be serving them.

When I go to seders I'm often asked to bring a layered veggie dish or my decadent mashed taters. In the summer, friends and neighbours ask when I'll be making cold cherry soup again. In the days when I had gangs of people over, there were requests for my cheese-stuffed burgers. My parents' friends still ask for my banana-pecan waffles, as do the children of other friends.

The layered veggie thing is good partly because I can incorporate my decadent mash.

The mash is based on yellow-flesh potatoes (the texture is important to me), incorporates lots of roasted garlic, cream cheese, sour cream, butter and milk.

The layered veggie casserole alternates layers of the mash with layers of a faux spinach souffle and layers of squash with lots of autumn spices (nutmeg, mace etc). The whole concoction is baked under a cover of grated cheddar. It's a pretty dish - layers of white/green/orange - and it seems to be fairly irresistible.

My banana waffles (with or without pecans) are my favourite to prepare - I like to see people's faces as they try to figure out why they are sooo good. The secret? two actually - really really ripe bananas wizzed with the multipractic til they're liquid (so no chunks of banana to give clues) - and booze in the batter (usually peach schnapps or Remy Red).

I have to pick one? I'll go with the waffles - they really are awesome, and I love to make breakfasty things for people.
JPB
 
  2  
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 07:06 am
I'd have to say my jambalaya. I make a chicken/ham/shrimp/sausage version that folks have asked me to make over and over again.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 07:13 am
@ehBeth,
Yes, the dish people associate with you, I guess. The ones they hope you'll prepare for them when it's your turn to cook.

Yum! I love the sound of all of yours, ehBeth. Cold cherry soup I've never tried before, but it sounds absolutely wonderful! Same with your decadent vegie thing & the banana waffles. You're making me hungry.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 07:15 am
@JPB,
um ... any chance of a recipe, JBP? (When you have the time, of course.)
So you are the jumbalaya queen? Smile
0 Replies
 
mismi
 
  2  
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 07:35 am
@ehBeth,
Oh man...if I go by that definition Beth then it is my three baked beans...not something I want to be my signature dish...though it is yummy. I was asked to bring baked beans to a picnic one time and found this recipe for three baked beans...it is lima beans, pinto beans, red kidney beans. You take onions - a whole big one and chop it up. Bacon cut up into bite size pieces...saute' together the onion and bacon and a few cloves of garlic with worcestershire and butter....then add the beans. A cup of ketchup, 2 TBSP prepared mustard. 1lb of brown sugar. and 1 cup of cubed ham. Salt and Pepper to taste. Pour it in a 9x13 inch pan - bake for 2 hours. 30 min. before it's done put in 2 TBSP. grated parmesan and 1 cup of cubed cheddar cheese. If you are on a diet, I would not touch it...but it is amazing.

I get asked to bring it every time now. So not what I wanted to be my signature dish though...

I would rather it be my chicken and artichoke pasta. It sounds kind of like what you do msolga. Olive oil, butter , flour - to make a roux...add chicken broth, garlic, lemon juice, once smooth and thickened put in mushrooms and artichoke hearts (quartered) and about a 1/4 cup of bacon pieces and a small handfull of chopped fresh parsley. I grill the chicken and cube it into fairly large chunks and put in it and toss in the fettucine when it's done.

I think I will have to make that tonight. Yum.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 07:38 am
Bed time. It's late. Back tomorrow.

This is interesting!
0 Replies
 
mismi
 
  2  
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 07:49 am
@JPB,
Yes...recipe please! I love jumbalaya!
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 08:01 am
@msolga,
msolga wrote:
So what would you you say your "signature dish" is?
It might be a dessert dish, or a soup, etc, rather than a main course.

Steak.

or

Peanut butter and jelly.
mismi
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 08:05 am
@DrewDad,
PB&J is huge...there is such a balanced ratio that must be attained between the peanut butter and the jelly. Then there are difficult culinary choices regarding bread, type of jelly and whether to do smooth or crunchy peanut butter. It's a tricky dish.
aidan
 
  2  
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 09:11 am
@mismi,
Yes - for me, it has to be on soft white bread, crunchy peanut butter and either strawberry, peach, blackberry or pear preserves.

And the ratio of peanut butter to jelly IS important. Once I worked at a daycare when I was a teenager and the lady who owned it made me scrape all the excess peanut butter off the bread - whenever she wasn't looking I'd add some more and the kids all were SO happy when they got those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for snack.

Grape jelly is not acceptable - as it seeps through the bread and makes it look absolutely disgusting. Raspberry preserves are not acceptable as they have seeds that get caught in your teeth - although that's all my son will eat.

If I'm home and it's winter - I toast the bread and then the peanut butter melts a little and oh my goodness....heaven.

Apple juice or milk is a wonderful accompanying drink - in the absence of those- in winter, hot tea is also lovely.


My signature dish is a sourcream poundcake - known in my family as 'Aunt Rebecca's poundcake'

3 sticks (or 250 grams) of butter (real butter)
3 cups of sugar (this is what the recipe calls for - I cut it to between 2 and a half and 2 and three quarters cups)
1 cup of sourcream
1 tsp. vanilla
6 eggs
3 cups of flour.

Cream together the butter and sugar. Whip in sour cream. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in vanilla. Fold in flour.

Beat with a hand mixer until you get tired of beating it. The longer you beat it - the lighter your cake will be.

Grease two loaf pans or one tube pan. I use butter because it makes a nice buttery tasting outside crust on the cake if you do this. Bake in 250 degree oven for 2 and a quarter hours (for the tube pan) or however long it takes a toothpick to emerge clean from the loaf pans.

You can eat this cake unadorned - as it is - or you can add strawberries and whipped cream- either way it's equally irresistable.
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  2  
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 10:54 am
@msolga,
If I had to go by my potluck go-to, it would probably be my focaccia bread. If you ask RP, it's the bean soup. Recipes to follow. Smile
Region Philbis
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 11:19 am
@jespah,

focaccia dunked in bean soup... oh yeahhhhhh...
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 04:30 pm
@mismi,
Quote:
Oh man...if I go by that definition Beth then it is my three baked beans...not something I want to be my signature dish...though it is yummy. I was asked to bring baked beans to a picnic one time and found this recipe for three baked beans...it is lima beans, pinto beans, red kidney beans. You take onions - a whole big one and chop it up. Bacon cut up into bite size pieces...saute' together the onion and bacon and a few cloves of garlic with worcestershire and butter....then add the beans. A cup of ketchup, 2 TBSP prepared mustard. 1lb of brown sugar. and 1 cup of cubed ham. Salt and Pepper to taste. Pour it in a 9x13 inch pan - bake for 2 hours. 30 min. before it's done put in 2 TBSP. grated parmesan and 1 cup of cubed cheddar cheese. If you are on a diet, I would not touch it...but it is amazing.


Who cares about their diet? This sounds good, mismi!

But is a whole 1lb of brown sugar absolutely necessary, though? <she asks plaintively?>
 

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