Cooking thread, anyone?

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
3,608
Downeast Maine
I made a mess when I made a batch of hummus yesterday. Boiling the beans with the baking soda makes them much creamier, but I wasn't as watchful as I should have been.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
81,160
South Puget Sound, WA
My son and I made arroz con pollo last night. It's a favorite for him and making it was a first. There are many variations on this as it originated in Spain and is common throughout Latin and South America. We made it Colombian style and it came out quite tasty.
 
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DuaeGuttae

Feeling the Heat
Oct 26, 2016
493
Texas
Recently I've made two good vegetables with the assistance of homemade salad dressings. The first was an Asian dressing with tamari and ginger that I used to saute brussels sprouts on the stovetop. They turned out quite well, and using an already prepared dressing on hand in the fridge really simplified the preparation. That dressing isn't a regular for us, so I experiment from time to time with different concoctions.

Our family also enjoys Greek salad for meals on occasion, and I make an herb vinaigrette for that. I've found one that I really enjoy and mix it up often. I regularly use it when I roast a chicken in the oven, but today I had the idea to drizzle some on asparagus and grill it. I had just a little left in my cruet, but I didn't need much, and the asparagus turned out great. I usually just steam it, but it was a beautiful day, and using the grill made a nice treat. My cruet has ounce measurements on the side, and so I just topped up the empty one when I needed a fresh batch for our salad tonight.

Here's my recipe if anyone's interested.

6 oz high oleic sunflower oil
2 oz olive oil
2 oz red wine vinegar
1 scant teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 scant teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 to 2 cloves garlic, sliced
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
81,160
South Puget Sound, WA
Love homemade salad dressing. We have not bought any for over 50 yrs. It's so easy to make and healthier too.
 
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PaulOinMA

Feeling the Heat
Oct 20, 2018
447
MA
Same here. Love homemade dressing. Chart House Bleu Cheese Dressing is really good. Recipe readily available online.

Nan and I do salad, yogurt, fruit, and cheese at least five days a week for lunch. Have just been doing olive oil and vinegar lately to cut back on some calories.
 
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PaulOinMA

Feeling the Heat
Oct 20, 2018
447
MA
Homemade Ramen Beef tonight. I play with this recipe. Very easy and fast.

Cook 1-plus pounds sirloin tips cut into small pieces according to the following recipe. Boil 2 quarts no salt added beef stock and 1 quart no salt added vegetable stock. Break up a package of Chinese noodles and cook. Let sit to plump while cooking beef.

Cook beef. Add to noodles/stock. Serve with Chinese chili paste (spicy bean tea). Drizzle with sesame oil.

Beef with Noodles

Adapted from the Chinese Cooking Class Cookbook by the Editors of Consumer Guide, 1980.

8 ounces Chinese fine egg noodles
½ cup water
3 teaspoons soy sauce
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons instant chicken bullion granules
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound beef rump steak
6 green onions
1 piece fresh ginger root (about 1 inch square)
2 cloves garlic

Directions

Cook noodles until tender according to package directions. Drain well. Place a clean towel over wire cooking rack. Spread noodles over towel and dry about 3 hours.

Combine water, 2 teaspoons of the soy sauce, the salt and bullion.

Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in wok over high heat. Pour water mixture over the noodles. Toss noodles until completely coated, about 2 minutes. Transfer noodles to a serving plate. Keep warm.

Remove and discard fat from the meat. Cut meat across the grain into thin slices about 2 inches long. Cut onions into thin diagonal slices. Pare ginger root and cut into thin slices. Crush or mince garlic.

Heat remaining 2 table spoons oil in wok over high heat. Add beef onions, ginger, garlic, and remaining 1 teaspoon soy sauce. Stir fry until beef is done, about 5 minutes. Spoon meat mixture over noodles.
 
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DuaeGuttae

Feeling the Heat
Oct 26, 2016
493
Texas
I'll post some pictures from making Swedish toffee for tips.

Let me know if you want me to also post English toffee (Heath bar) and buckeyes (Reese's peanut butter cups).

I can also post the recipe I tried for honeycomb candy. Don't think I took any pictures of that, though. Didn't have it in a large enough pot, and it was like a grammar school science fair volcano demonstration gone wrong when I added the baking soda. What a disaster. :)
I would be grateful for the recipes for English toffee and buckeyes, please. It will be a while before I'm up to making candy again, I'm sure, but I didn't want to forget to ask.
 

DuaeGuttae

Feeling the Heat
Oct 26, 2016
493
Texas
Love homemade salad dressing. We have not bought any for over 50 yrs. It's so easy to make and healthier too.
I can't say we've never bought dressing, but it's a rarity. My husband occasionally buys a bottle of Asian Sesame dressing, and it's almost a scence out of a sitcom if he gets it out at dinner. The children call it an "abomination," not because of the flavor but because it is storebought with lots of yucky ingredients. (These are the same kids who would gladly eat any number of storebought abominations if I let them, but their father's salad dressing gets the condemnation.) I need to be better about making Asian dressings for him so that he doesn't have to resort to the store.

I'm a huge fan of blue cheese, so I'll have to check out the recipe referred to above. I made a nice one recently with a lemon picked off one of our small trees. I hadn't meant to use the lemon right away, but I gave it to the three year old to take inside, and the next thing I knew, the seven year old was reporting that he was cutting it up. I needed salad dressing, so I made one with a lot of lemon. The dressing was too strong for the kids, but I loved it and got it all to myself.

I appreciate homemade dressings for the flavor, the flexibility, and the cost, but I also love not bringing home another bottle from the store. My husband and I were recently calculating how many quarts of yogurt we have likely made over the past dozen years or so. It was pretty astounding to consider the savings in money and plastic.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
81,160
South Puget Sound, WA
It's hard to eat store-bought yogurt once you get used to fresh. My wife has been making it weekly since the 70s. She also makes the basics like mayonnaise, bread, rubs, and last year we started making our own BBQ sauces. We love Asian cooking and are starting to learn some basics there too. She makes an Asian sesame oil dressing that is nice. I want to learn to make the ultimate Thai tamarind dipping sauce to keep around so that I can make fresh spring rolls.
 

PaulOinMA

Feeling the Heat
Oct 20, 2018
447
MA
Here's English toffee. It's even easier than Swedish toffee since you don't have to keep and eye on it as much. Less chance of boiling over. It's taken to a higher temperature: hard crack rather than hard ball stage.


English Toffee

http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=4064046 Adapted from: http://www.recipezaar.com/26038, http://www.recipezaar.com/10235, and http://www.cookingforengineers...offee.

Easy to make. I cut the water to ¼ cup from a recipe I found online. No sense in using what the recipe called for, as you then have to wait for it to boil off. Reducing it gave a better color toffee.

¼ cup water
1 pound unsalted butter
¼ cup light corn syrup (use less, 2 - 3 T.)
2 ½ cups sugar
A little salt (about ¼ teaspoon)
Vanilla

Chocolate chips (melt easily)
Almond slivers

10- by 15-inch cookie sheet (jelly roll pan)
Butter

Add water, butter and corn syrup, sugar, and salt to a heavy 3-quart sauce pan. Heat to the hard crack stage (300 - 310 °F). Remove from heat, stir in a little vanilla, and pour on a buttered 10- by 15-inch jelly roll pan (cookie sheet with a lip). Let cool a few minutes, cover 2/3 partially with chocolate chips. Let melt and spread gently with a spatula. Top half of the chocolate coated side with slivered almonds. Let cool to room temperature to set up chocolate. Twist the cookie sheet to release the toffee. Break into small pieces wearing disposable gloves. Store in an air-tight container. Enjoy!

Some recipes state to the lid on pot when it starts to boil to wash down any sugar on the sides of the sauce pan. I don’t.

Some recipes state to stir the heating candy occasionally. I don’t. The vigorous boiling does a nice job stirring the mixture.

There is a plateau around 230 °F as the water boils off, then the temperature rises steadily.

A lot of the toffee recipes don't have the corn syrup. Cuisine at Home and Alton Brown mention that the purpose of a small amount of corn syrup (glucose) in candy is to regulate crystal growth as the heated sugar cools. Corn syrup is a different sugar than table sugar (sucrose), the glucose gets in between sucrose molecules and prevents the table sugar crystals from getting too large as it cools, so that you don't get a grainy candy, which may occur without the corn syrup.
 

PaulOinMA

Feeling the Heat
Oct 20, 2018
447
MA
I now place chocolate chips over 2/3 of the hot toffee. Let soften/melt and spread gently with a spatula. Add almond slivers to 1/2 of the chocolate side. That gives 1/3 plain, 1/3 chocolate coated, and 1/3 with almonds.

Makes a nice gift box. Yum! :)
 

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DuaeGuttae

Feeling the Heat
Oct 26, 2016
493
Texas
Thanks for the recipe and tips. It almost makes me want to try it, but we don’t need more candy in the house right now as we still have Swedish toffee. (I had to hide it from the three year old as he was finding it hard to resist. It might have been his first introduction to candy. At least the older kids didn’t try to take it without asking. They just ask a lot.). It’s great for me to have recipes that work for our sensitivities. Previously I had only made maple sugar candy, and it’s been a couple of years since I tackled that.

I’d be grateful for the information on Buckeyes, too, when you have a chance.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
3,608
Downeast Maine
;lol A pasta extruder for our stand mixer arrived today, so expect to see lots of pasta soon
 

PaulOinMA

Feeling the Heat
Oct 20, 2018
447
MA
Buckeyes are fun. We tried a lot of different peanut butters in a buckeye peanut butter taste test challenge over 10 years ago. :)

Best was Smucker's Natural Creamy, followed closely by Stonewall Kitchen Creamy Peanut Butter, all natural. Worst flavor were store brands. Major brands (Skippy Natural Creamy, JIF Creamy) were just o.k., nothing special

Adjust amount of confectioners' sugar based on the size of the peanut butter jar.

Buckeyes

Adapted from the cookbook These Guys Are Good. The Senior Tour Wives Cookbook.

1, 16-oz. jar (1 ¾ cups) creamy peanut butter
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1½ pounds (5 ¼ cups) confectioners’ sugar
Semisweet chocolate chips, lots (Name brand is better than store brand.)
2 tablespoons shortening (optional)
2 tablespoons shredded paraffin (optional)

Mix peanut butter and butter in a mixing bowl. Blend in the confectioners’ sugar gradually. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place balls on wax paper-lined cookie sheets or sheet cake holders and place in refrigerator. Chill until firm. Combine chocolate chips, shortening, and paraffin (optional) in a double boiler and melt chocolate. Dip the balls into the chocolate mixture quickly using a cocktail fork and place on waxed paper. Refrigerate until firm.

Makes over 100 buckeyes, if using 18-oz .peanut butter and 6 cups sugar.

Notes: Very easy. Better with a brand-name peanut butter, rather than a store brand. Easy with Kitchen Aid mixer and paddle blade. Cream the peanut butter and softened butter. Add sugar and blend. If the mixture looks like coarse sand, add a little cooking oil (peanut oil, if you have it) until the mixture holds together. Place in refrigerator to firm. Use a little butter or shortening (better) on your hands, too, when you roll mixture into balls, so the mixture doesn’t stick as much. Don’t worry if the balls aren’t round with the first shaping; just get the balls roughly shaped. Picking up peanut butter for rolling with a tablespoon helps get the balls the same size. Let chill and roll again to make the balls smooth. If the balls soften while dipping, place that tray back in the refrigerator and dip some from another tray, so the ball doesn’t slip off the cocktail fork into the chocolate. Don’t dip the balls completely in chocolate, to form an “eye.” Store in the refrigerator.
 

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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
3,608
Downeast Maine
Buckeyes are fun. We tried a lot of different peanut butters in a buckeye peanut butter taste test challenge over 10 years ago. :)

Best was Smucker's Natural Creamy, followed closely by Stonewall Kitchen Creamy Peanut Butter, all natural. Worst flavor were store brands. Major brands (Skippy Natural Creamy, JIF Creamy) were just o.k., nothing special

Adjust amount of confectioners' sugar based on the size of the peanut butter jar.

Buckeyes

Adapted from the cookbook These Guys Are Good. The Senior Tour Wives Cookbook.

1, 16-oz. jar (1 ¾ cups) creamy peanut butter
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1½ pounds (5 ¼ cups) confectioners’ sugar
Semisweet chocolate chips, lots (Name brand is better than store brand.)
2 tablespoons shortening (optional)
2 tablespoons shredded paraffin (optional)

Mix peanut butter and butter in a mixing bowl. Blend in the confectioners’ sugar gradually. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place balls on wax paper-lined cookie sheets or sheet cake holders and place in refrigerator. Chill until firm. Combine chocolate chips, shortening, and paraffin (optional) in a double boiler and melt chocolate. Dip the balls into the chocolate mixture quickly using a cocktail fork and place on waxed paper. Refrigerate until firm.

Makes over 100 buckeyes, if using 18-oz .peanut butter and 6 cups sugar.

Notes: Very easy. Better with a brand-name peanut butter, rather than a store brand. Easy with Kitchen Aid mixer and paddle blade. Cream the peanut butter and softened butter. Add sugar and blend. If the mixture looks like coarse sand, add a little cooking oil (peanut oil, if you have it) until the mixture holds together. Place in refrigerator to firm. Use a little butter or shortening (better) on your hands, too, when you roll mixture into balls, so the mixture doesn’t stick as much. Don’t worry if the balls aren’t round with the first shaping; just get the balls roughly shaped. Picking up peanut butter for rolling with a tablespoon helps get the balls the same size. Let chill and roll again to make the balls smooth. If the balls soften while dipping, place that tray back in the refrigerator and dip some from another tray, so the ball doesn’t slip off the cocktail fork into the chocolate. Don’t dip the balls completely in chocolate, to form an “eye.” Store in the refrigerator.
The paraffin is weird, I must say.
 

PaulOinMA

Feeling the Heat
Oct 20, 2018
447
MA
Yes, and it's optional. I buy old cookbooks at library book sales. You see it in some old chocolate candy recipes for sheen.

 

PaulOinMA

Feeling the Heat
Oct 20, 2018
447
MA
Here's the candy cookbook that had the Swedish toffee recipe. Picked it up at a library book sale. I need to make more things in it. :) I like the old Farm Journal cookbooks. There are a lot of them.

Amazon product
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
3,608
Downeast Maine
Yes, and it's optional. I buy old cookbooks at library book sales. You see it in some old chocolate candy recipes for sheen.

The more I learn about food and cooking, the weirder it gets.
 

PaulOinMA

Feeling the Heat
Oct 20, 2018
447
MA
Oh yeah. That's one of the reasons I love old cookbooks.

A cookbook from the 1930s that has sections on countries of the world has a swastika as the symbol for Germany.

I especially love the Homemaker Creeds that are interspersed throughout Givens' Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking. :)
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
3,608
Downeast Maine

We made Seminolina pasta tonight and it was awesome. I can't believe we ever ate store bought pasta.

Full disclosure: we already had a stand mixer, so we did not have to work very hard to make this pasta.