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  • Thai Chicken Stock

    As the great storm stella barrels down upon us, bringing heavy snow, high winds and low temperatures, I feel a need, a need for stock, chicken stock, rich, spicy, liquid gold for the production of good soups, gravies, noodles, just about anything. This is a twist on my standard stock that adds an Asian taste to the stock. This would be a natural for the Chicken and Coconut soup, or as the broth component of a chicken curry, or as a broth for Thai noodles, or as the liquid for Dhal …

    From Wikipedia:

    Stock is a flavored liquid preparation. It forms the basis of many dishes, particularly soups and sauces. Making stocks involves simmering animal bones or meat, seafood, or vegetables in water or wine, adding mirepoix or other aromatics for more flavor.

    Traditionally, stock is made by simmering various ingredients in water. A newer approach is to use a pressure cooker. The ingredients may include some or all of the following:

    Meat
    Leftover cooked meat, such as that remaining on poultry carcasses, is often used along with the bones of the bird or joint. Fresh meat makes a superior stock, and cuts rich in connective tissue such as shin or shoulder of beef or veal are commonly recommended, either alone or added in lower proportions to the remains of cooked poultry, to provide a richer and fresher-tasting stock. Quantities recommended are in the ratio of 1 part fresh meat to 2 parts water. Pork, although a popular base for stock in Chinese cuisine, is considered unsuitable for stock in European cooking due to its greasiness[citation needed](although 19th-century recipes for consomme and traditional aspic included slices of mild ham), and mutton was traditionally avoided due to the difficulty of avoiding the strong tallowy taint imparted from the fat.
    Bones
    Veal, beef, and chicken bones are most commonly used. The flavour of the stock comes from the cartilage and connective tissue in the bones. Connective tissue has collagen in it, which gets converted into gelatin that thickens the liquid. Stock made from bones needs to be simmered for longer than stock made from meat. Pressure cooking methods shorten the time necessary to extract the flavour from the bones.
    Mirepoix
    Mirepoix is a combination of onions, carrots, celery, and sometimes other vegetables. Often, the less desirable parts of the vegetables that may not otherwise be eaten (such as carrot skins and celery cores and leaves) are used. The use of these parts is highly dependent upon the chef, as many do not appreciate the flavours that these portions impart.
    Herbs and spices
    The herbs and spices used depend on availability and local traditions. In classical cuisine, the use of a bouquet garni (or bag of herbs) consisting of parsley, bay leaves, a sprig of thyme, and possibly other herbs, is common. This is often placed in a sachet to make it easier to remove once the stock is cooked.

    I am known to reserve chicken bones from spatchcocked chickens for the purpose of reenforcing my stock. (The addition of chicken feet will also add to the gelatin content)

  • Pho for Snow

    OK, so “Winter Storm A-Hole” is bearing down on us and the entire “Winter Storm” thing is getting over bearing. Wind, Rain, Snow, Sleet, in general an absolutely miserable event. This is going to call for some serious hearty food. Beef, in a rich broth, with veggies, and noodles, and more beef and more veggies, and spices, and peppers, and even more peppers. Ja, that’s the ticket, a STEAMING HOT super beef broth, full of gelatin, and lots of Asian Trinity, (Ginger, Garlic and Chili’s), all kinds of rich meatiness from the beef and from mushrooms, maybe some bok choy.

    Take some rice noodles cooked on the side, and put them in a bowl, add our hot broth and veggies, and add garnishes, say red pepper strips, bean sprouts, scallions, chili’s, and some basil. We have a beef and noodle soup similar to Pho.

    Phở is served in a bowl with white rice noodles in beef broth, with thin cuts of beef. In this case I’ll use chuck steak, and I’ll pressure cook the beef, with veggies to extract the gelatin, and generate my stock, which I will cook with additional veggies for my soup. I’ll save the cooked meat and add back into the soup at the table.

    These dishes are typically served with lots of greens, herbs, vegetables and various other accompaniments such as dipping sauces, hot and spicy pastes, Sriracha, and flavor enhancements such as a squeeze of lime or lemon. The dish is garnished with ingredients such as green onions, white onions, coriander, Thai basil. fresh Thai chili peppers, lemon or lime wedges, bean sprouts, and cilantro.

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  • Ragù Alla Bolognese

    spag-bolo

    Snow, cold, wind, Time for REAL food. But food that can be extended and reheated. I’m thinking a pasta here, with a rich and thick Ragù Alla Bolognese. Hearty, meaty sauce, that can be made in a large batch and served over quickly cooked pasta for good hot meals that are quick.

    Add some garlic bread and a salad, and call it “Dinner. Done!”

    If all else fails I can thin it down with chicken stock, add a few more tomatoes and have a very hearty tomato soup.

    Pasta is generally served with some type of sauce; the sauce and the type of pasta are usually matched based on consistency and ease of eating. Northern Italy has fewer traditionally tomato-based pasta sauces (though tomatoes are still used in recipes) including pesto and ragù alla bolognese. In Central Italy, there are sauces such as tomato sauce, amatriciana, arrabiata and the egg based carbonara.

    Tomato sauces are also present in Southern Italian cuisine, where they originated. In Southern Italy more complex variations include pasta paired with fresh vegetables, olives, capers or seafood. A lighter, more quickly prepared version of a tomato dish dish is called pomodoro. Varieties include puttanesca, pasta alla norma (tomatoes, eggplant and fresh or baked cheese), pasta con le sarde (fresh sardines, pine nuts, fennel and olive oil), spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino (literally with garlic, olive oil and hot chili peppers).

    Fettuccine alfredo with cream, cheese and butter, and spaghetti with tomato sauce (with or without meat) are popular Italian-style dishes in the United States.

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  • Pressure Cooker Chili

    PCChili1

    It seems to have decided to become warm / cold, sunny / cloudy, dry / snowey. In short, glorious weather for pneumonia, which really is just not my cup of tea.

    All that and my recent net exploits as CIO, CTO, CSO and CPO (Chief Paranoia Officer), have left me dry, drained, and damaged, it is time to fight back with things to build the blood, fill the gut, and add a fire to the eye, lead to the pencil and a purpose to the step ..

    From way back in my youth, these are the days my mother made chili, or Texas Red, no beans, no tomatoes, no mushrooms, no tofu, absolutely nothing fancy, just beef, stock, Allium, and capsicums, and perhaps some cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and other trace element style spices. (Alliums are the onion family, onion, garlic, etc, and capsicums are peppers.)

    To quote a description:

    Texas red if it walks the thin line just this side of indigestibility: damning the mouth that eats it and defying the stomach to digest it, the ingredients are hardly willing to lie in the same pot together.

    If one looks at all the legends of how chili was discovered, there is one thing in common…. ABJECT POVERTY, so the meat involved is not going to be the best, but since it will be close to the horn or the hoof, I am sure it will have flavor beyond compare, and collagen beyond believe. (And this is a good thing….)

    BUT I DO NOT HAVE THE TIME to simmer for hours, I need this done quickly. Enter the pressure cooker…

    Pressure cooking is the process of cooking food, using water or other cooking liquid, in a sealed vessel — known as a pressure cooker, which does not permit air or liquids to escape below a pre-set pressure. Pressure cookers are used for cooking food quicker than conventional cooking methods, which also saves energy.

    Pressure cookers heat food quickly because the internal steam pressure from the boiling liquid causes saturated steam (or “wet steam”) to bombard and permeate the food. Thus, higher temperature water vapour (i.e., increased energy), which transfers heat more rapidly compared to dry air, cooks food very quickly.

    Pressure cooking allows food to be cooked with greater humidity and higher temperatures than possible with conventional boiling or steaming methods. In an ordinary non-pressurised cooking vessel, the boiling point of water is 100 °C (212 °F) at standard pressure; the temperature of food is limited by the boiling point of water because excess heat causes boiling water to vaporize into steam. In a sealed pressure cooker, the boiling point of water increases as the pressure rises, resulting in superheated water. At a pressure of 15 psi (103 kPa) above atmospheric pressure, water in a pressure cooker can reach a temperature of up to 121 °C (250 °F).

    Pressure is created initially by boiling a liquid such as water or broth inside the closed pressure cooker. The trapped steam increases the internal pressure and temperature. After use, the pressure is slowly released so that the vessel can be safely opened.

    Pressure cooking can be used to quickly simulate the effects of long braising or simmering.

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  • Quick Chili

    It seems to have decided to become early spring / late fall again, windy, rainy, cool / cold. In short, glorious weather for pneumonia, which really is just not my cup of tea.

    All that and the current crop of high intensity engagements have left me dry, drained, and damaged, it is time to fight back with things to build the blood, fill the gut, and add a fire to the eye, lead to the pencil and a purpose to the step ..

    From way back in my youth, these are the days my mother made chili, or Texas Red, no beans, no tomatoes, no mushrooms, no tofu, absolutely nothing fancy, just beef, stock, Allium, and capsicums, and perhaps some cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and other trace element style spices. (Alliums are the onion family, onion, garlic, etc, and capsicums are peppers.)

    To quote a description:

    Texas red if it walks the thin line just this side of indigestibility: damning the mouth that eats it and defying the stomach to digest it, the ingredients are hardly willing to lie in the same pot together.

    If one looks at all the legends of how chili was discovered, there is one thing in common…. ABJECT POVERTY, so the meat involved is not going to be the best, but since it will be close to the horn or the hoof, I am sure it will have flavor beyond compare, and collagen beyond believe. (And this is a good thing….)

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  • Wild Card – Cola Joe’s

    HOT. Miserable, do not wish to move from my room, but forage for food. I want something tasty, but can not stand to stand in the kitchen cooking. I want something that will “cook itself” and do it fast so I can crawl back into the ac.

    A favorite from my youth, toppled into white trash heaven with the addition of a secret flavor ingredient..

    Yeah comfort food, and to hell with the healthy …

    A staple of Southern School systems, and a favorite from my youth, chunks of less than Gucci beef simmered until the fat and the collagen start to break down, then added to a savory tomato sauce and served over buns and topped with grated cheese. I speak of course of the Sloppy Joe.

    Sloppy joe is dish of ground beef, onions, sweetened tomato sauce or ketchup and other seasonings, served on a hamburger bun. The Original Sloppy Joe Sandwich was invented at Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Key West. The original is still available and consists of ground beef in a sweet rich tomato sauce, with onions, peppers and spices. Hence the sandwich was named for the establishment.

    There are canned sauces, to mix with ground beef, but that does not extract the true flavor of the meat, for that we need long and slow cooking, simmering for hours until the beef reaches 210F and stays there for at least an hour… But that takes T.I.M.E. and I want satisfaction now!!!… And less time cooking = less time baking in the heat…

    Wait, a pressure cooker, (one of my mothers favorite cooking utensils), will render a chuck steak in to gelatin and fibers in minutes….

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