Cooking in fits and starts.

Reply Tue 18 Oct, 2005 08:58 pm
I was just funnin' ya.

The two pie thing was a bit.... ummm... disconcerting but really it turned out pretty tasty and I know what I'll do a bit different the next time I try to make it.

Of course, the next time could be a bit down the road since I have a pie in the freezer now and onion pie, while tasty, isn't a side dish you serve that often.

Honestly, I just dig science and this is my only way to play.
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Reply Tue 18 Oct, 2005 09:07 pm
boomerang wrote:
G()&&^@#43 socialist mother(^%*&& media and their "enough pastry for one pie crust" bull&*&)!

This recipe filled TWO crusts nice and easy. Picture perfect. You sorry #$$%*[email protected]

Whatever happened to fact checking you #[email protected]^%$? Huh?

Yeah. They're in the oven you morons.

Bon appitite or whatever.


That got such a loud giggle that my housemate asked from 2 rooms away what was so funny.

That recipe sounds good. If you post it, I'll try to find the gruyere pumpkin pot stew thingie (sage and gruyere, broth and milk baked in a mini pumpkin)
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Reply Tue 18 Oct, 2005 10:56 pm
Oh, I remember that... not that I did it, but it sounded so good I ...
I what?
Saved it?
Saved it where?
Hope you find it, littleK.
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Reply Tue 18 Oct, 2005 11:12 pm
maybe we can look on the site for it. The site is better organized than my house. But, that's a task for tomorrow.....
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Steve 41oo
Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 04:44 am
did you eat all the hot dog gus?
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Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 06:25 am
Not all of it, Steve. There was a small fragment left. That little twisty thing at the end. I stay away from those little twisty parts.
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Steve 41oo
Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 06:33 am
i dont like that end bit either gus

but did you know if you plant it in a herbaceous border or flower pot, you can grow your own hot dogs...
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Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 06:34 am
Lotsa pumpkin/gruyere soup/stew recipes on Google.
Some served in regular pumpkins, some in minis, some in soup bowls.

this is a big pumpkin one


and this place does all of their soups in mini gourds and pumpkins

~ Orange, carrot and ginger soup with wasabi crème fraiche

~ Pumpkin and pear soup with coriander cream and toasted pumpkin seeds

~ Spicy crab and corn chowder with roasted garlic and chevre crostini

~ Three onion soup with mushroom essence and Gruyere croutons

~ Black bean soup with crème fraiche and salsa

~ Parsnip apple bisque with curry cream and apple garnish

~ Potato leek soup with croutons, chopped parsley and crumbled bacon

~ Curried butternut squash and apple soup with chive crème fraiche

~ Orange carrot ginger bisque with wasabi cream and five spiced wontons

**soups served in mini gourds and pumpkins - subject to availability


<I'm way tooooooo hungry this morning>
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Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 07:04 am
Fits & starts - heh, if I couldn't cook that way, we wouldn't eat at home much.

Every weekend, usually Sunday, I do the chopping for the week. Tofu, celery, scallions, sausage, whatever. It all gets chopped. Then it gets put together. Tofu has to marinate, otherwise it's icky. So it and everything else for the tofu meal goes into a tupperware with the marinade (in this case, it's low sodium chicken broth). The sausage was frozen so it needs to thaw anyway. It gets its own tupperware with whatever else is going to go into that meal that night. Green beans are kept separate because they sometimes end up in one meal, sometimes another. So they can go in a baggie. Not everything works in a baggie, sometimes things go bad, hence the tupperwares. But the green beans are fine.

These end up being two separate meals. The tofu meal is just, either dump into a skillet or into a pot with more water and make soup. Instant Chinese meal. The sausage goes into a skillet while pasta cooks on the stove. Stir in a can of tomatoes (to the skillet, not the pasta) and, voila, instant Italian meal. Green beans, like I said, go as a side for either meal. They just go into a bowl and get nuked.

Monday is a frozen chicken meal but also with potatoes. Since potatoes don't sit well with either a tupperware or a baggie (they rot), they can't be made in advance, so no fits and starts on Mondays. Thursday is kind of a free space night although I try to make Mexican. I have cooked strips of chicken in the freezer, plus I add chopped whatever veggies, e. g. peppers, to a skillet, cook, take out, toss in tortilla, cook on one side, flip, fill with whatever was in the skillet, fold the tortilla, you're done. Instant Mexican meal.

Fridays we go out. Smile

As for the weekend, it tends to be free space, but we sometimes cook pizza in a prepared pizza shell. Again, it's the prechopped veggies and/or sausage, plus shredded cheese. Instant pizza.

BTW, a lot of veggies (but not all) freeze. They have to be pretty sturdy, so peppers freeze well, and so do onions, but mushrooms really don't, unless you don't mind them a little soggy. Cooked (cook it lightly, because you need to reheat and you don't want to dry it out) chicken freezes very well, just portion it into baggies. It's not worth it to freeze pasta, but rice can be frozen.

I don't season any of this stuff except, perhaps, for a slight amount of salt, this is so that it can be used for whatever without worrying about whether the flavors will work. Oh, and the baggies all go into a larger ziploc bag, the kind you can write on, you just mark it with whatever is in there, that keeps the freezer neater and you don't end up taking out a bag and wondering what the heck is in there. You should also put the date on the big bag, and toss after maybe 6 months.
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Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 07:54 am

freeze your tofu .
Microwave it for 3 minutes or until it is soft ( in the package) . Cut off a corner and squeeze the f--k out of it until all the water is gone.
Then cube it, or what ever you want to do with it, then let it soak in the liquid seasonings.
it is like a sponge.
You will never eat tofu the same again. ;-)
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Bella Dea
Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 08:15 am
boomerang wrote:
That's a good idea, roger!

I keep an assortment of stocks and sauces in my freezer and that would be a good addition.

Yeah. I can do that.

Oo, yes, fabulous idea!!!!
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Bella Dea
Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 08:20 am
jespah, you can prepare potatoes beforehand! Cut them and put them in a bowl with water and some salt. Put a paper towel over top the bowl and settle it into the water so that the potatoes are compeletly covered and don't float to the top. Then pop into fridge and you can keep them like that for 24 hours.
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Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 11:01 am
Oh man! I was getting set to brine my chicken for dinner tonight when I saw "crab corn chowder" on eBeth's list. Now I'm not sure what I want to make.

Roasted chicken or soup stock? Hmmmm.

jespah you are so organized!

I'm thinking maybe I need to come up with planned meals instead of being so capricious. It would certainly simplify my life to think things out beyond one day.

Thank you for your tips and tricks!

All of these tofu eaters!

What do you marinate it with? What kind of tofu do you buy -- aren't there a million styles and varieties? My knowledge of tofu in nonexistant!
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Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 11:58 am
Ooh shewolf and Bella, good ideas, thank you very much. Smile I will try both ideas. Awesome!!!

I buy the firm tofu, the soft stuff is for shakes, the firm stuff is for stir-frying and the like. I buy whatever's on sale or low cal, I'm not really brand conscious and we don't notice a difference.

I marinate with canned low sodium chicken stock but obviously vegans don't. There is, I believe, canned veg stock. You can also make your own stock by boiling the heck outta vegetables, as in, boil them for hours and let everything just boil down so that it's darker in color. Mushrooms will produce a brownish color for the stock (not unpleasant). If you want meat in the stock, use the bones - vegetarians, cover your eyes! - it's the, er, connective tissue that's good for stock. Make up a huge batch on some chilly day, just leave it on the stove on low and let it do its thing.

Once your stock is done, separate it out and freeze it. A lot of people recommend ice cube trays, personally I find them not only weird and tough to store but there is an issue with aromas mingling, not only in the freezer but also in the fridge. You don't want your ice cream to smell like stock. So what I do is, I use the teeny tiny tupperwares, they are kind of the size of a standard salt shaker although wider. Then I just heat them up a little in water (or the microwave if the container is microwave safe) and then dump the stock into the soup I'm making. It makes a MAJOR difference in the flavor. Canned is fine, it's acceptable, fast and cheap, but homemade is even better. If you use canned, only use the low sodium, the regular will make you weep from the amount of salt in it.

One thing you can do is to skim off fat from stock (or any soup). Freeze it, the fat goes to the top. Just cut it off with a knife or dig it out with a spoon. Better that it's in the disposal or the birds are eating it, than it ends up on your hips.

Oh, yeah, I'm organized, I guess I always have been. Smile And it helps, it's less decision-making during the week when it comes to dinner. I like ad libbing as much as anyone, but during the week I'm too tired to be creative and I don't have the time to really think about it because, by the time I've cooked, we've eaten and put everything away and cleaned up and maybe watched a half an hour of TV, it's time for bed (our alarm is set for 4:30 AM, hence the early nights). So it's all preplanned. Another advantage of preplanning is we know what goes on the shopping list and so there is no agonizing over that. The only things we really agonize over are weekend meals. The thing of it is, also, is that when all of this stuff is packed and labeled and ready to rock and roll at a moment's notice, most of it is very flexible. So tacos can become chili, Chinese stir-fry can become Chinese soup, or pizza toppings can become sauce for penne, all without too much effort or thought.

A lot of these things are sold commercially. Tyson, for example, sells precooked chicken strips, but if you make them at home they cost a lot less and you control the seasonings.

One more thing (dang, I'm chatty today! Smile), frozen veggies are perfectly acceptable as an alternative to doing all that chopping. Just buy separate packages, such as just spinach, rather than a spinach blend with something else. Plain stuff can usually be bought generic or store brand (so it's a lot cheaper) and then you mix it together as you like. Be aware, though, that a part of the freezing process involves the salting of food so check the sodium content and adjust your seasonings accordingly.
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Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 12:07 pm
mmmmmmmm on the ice cube tray thing
over at Taunton people seem to have dedicated ice cube trays for different purposes - chicken, beef, pesto, ...
after the ice cubes are frozen, they're decanted into baggies/sealer bags

i've done it with concentrated lemonade as well as tea for making iced tea - tried it with chicken stock. so far, so good. Now if I got serious about this, I'd have a freezer full of baggies of ingredients.
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Bella Dea
Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 12:34 pm
jespah wrote:

One more thing (dang, I'm chatty today! Smile), frozen veggies are perfectly acceptable as an alternative to doing all that chopping..

Good because I am planning on preparing frozen pea pods for dinner tonight! Very Happy
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Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 01:30 pm
I found the minipumpkin recipe I went on about last year -

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Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 02:00 pm
I cook.


I love cooking. I love the feeling you get when you're in the zone and eveything is sizzling, boiling, baking and bopping at the same time, and you've got it all under control.

I am the original GET OUT of my kitchen Queen.

I cook on Sunday afternoons, I won't say period, but, comma. Laughing I don't prepare meals for 7 days, more like 4 days, but the other 3 are leftovers or get it yourself or let's go out.

Have your husband take Mo out for a few hours and use that time.

I'll say it right out and I'm proud, I'm a very good cook, but that doesn't depend on the # of ingredients or how long it takes. It's the bottom line results.

There are very few things that suffer from being frozen, I consider if your palette is that discerning as to whether something was made yesterday, or has been in the freezer, don't eat at my house, they'll be more for those that appreciate it. Cool

To start, decide what you what to eat that week.

You'll find that there are SO many ingredients that are common among most dishes....onions, tomatos, peppers, potatos, what have you.

Do all you chopping, dicing and slicin' at one time, set out bowls for your raw goods in groups of 4, if you gonna make 4 meals. There you've got your finely chopped onions for a black bean soup base, your coarse chopped to a stew, your slices for fajitas and your rings for salads.

THEN you can send the kid and the man away, so you can turn those burners up!

Don't worry about following a receipe exactly, it's YOUR meal.
Don't use measuring spoons, a good size heap in the middle of your palm is a tablespoon

Measuring cups? Pah! Whooey!
A decent size splash of liquid it a 1/4 cup, 4 splashes and a little dribble for luck is a cup.

Don't stress over getting it exactly right, there's always next time, and I've incorporated mistakes into another receipe I improvised that very minute and everybody became good friends by their mingling.

Cooking for me is love. like love it's messy and doesn't follow a formula and doesn't care if it doesn't always look its best.
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Bella Dea
Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 02:07 pm
Steak should never be frozen, on the note that Chai brought up, did you know that? That's why many people can't cook steak at home and it turns out tough and weird no matter how you cook it.
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Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 02:09 pm
Oh I love all these pumpkin recipes. I'm going to be cutting our pumpkins up for jack-o-lanterns sometime next week and I was wondering what I would do with the pumpkin insides.

We grew white pumpkins -- will they work too?

Here's the onion pie I made last night. It was pretty tasty:

Pastry for a single pie crust

Prebake pie shell and let cool

4 Walla Walla (or other sweet onions) sliced - about six cups total
1 T olive oil
3 T butter

Saute the sliced onions in the olive oil and butter.

2 eggs
1 cup half and half
2 T flour
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of nutmeg
2 oz shredded gruyere cheese (divided - mix in half now and sprinkle remaining half on top before baking)

Add the onions
Pour into pie shell <snicker>
Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes.

I think this would have been really good with some spinach or some mushrooms mixed in
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