"It IS all about the TASTE"
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  • Why Sourdough Bread

    A comment from an associate sparks this missive. In a simple question of, “What is it about you and sourdough? Next thing you’ll be posting about is Sourdough donuts.”

    Close, but not quite.. I’ll get to the donuts later, but first I’ll answer “What is it about you and sourdough?”.

    Why am I on about sourdough, let me count the ways.

    1. Better Nutrition
      1. During the slow rise / autolyse phases more minerals become available
      2. The gluten breaks down, making it more palatable to the gluten intolerant
      3. The long rise pre-digests starches, making the bread more easily digestible
      4. The starter / rise process also lowers insulin response
    2. The long rise allows me to include whole grains for better taste
    3. Acetic acid–which inhibits the growth of mold, is produced in the making of sourdough. So, sourdough naturally preserves itself.
    4. FLAVOR!!
    5. Sourdough improves the texture of whole-grain and fiber-rich products.
    6. The starter imparts a unique flavor to the bread, based on the wild yeast and bacteria that inhabit the starter.
    7. Sourdough preparation is more lengthy (soaking, rising, etc.) “Less time looking for a cigarette”

    Now all that rise time, kneading and stater, seems to put a few people off. But I find it is well worth the time invested..

  • Baigan Bhatra

    baigan

    So it is late spring / early summer, all the aubergines are soon to take full bloom. (One reason the people in my town upstate lock their car doors is to keep other folks from putting zucchini on the car seat.)

    But it was rather telling the local farm stand had a bumper crop of eggplant at most affordable prices.

    Since I am at home, and tomorrow will be smoked meat day, (I always smoke chicken, brisket, and ribs on the 4th), I’ll do something a bit less meat based today.

    Background
    In Indian cuisine, an eggplant dish, by the name of Baingan Bartha, is popular especially in the states of Maharashtra, Bihar, Orissa, and West Bengal.The dish has many names, depending on the local language. In the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the Tamils prepare a similar dish called kathrikai thayir kothsu, in which the eggplant is cooked and mashed and sautéed with mustard, red chilis, and sesame oil, after which curd is added to the mixture and dressed with coriander leaves. It involves smoked eggplant, mashed with fresh cilantro, chili pepper, onion and mustard oil. It is often eaten with an Indian flatbread (specifically roti or paratha), and is also served with rice, and/or raita (a yoghurt salad).

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  • Izzze Cream!!!! MUST HAVE IZZZZEEE CREAM!!!!!

    ice-cream-zombie

    Ok, Mary Audet over at Baking Delights, has managed to capture my imagination.. It may be I am still a Central Texas boy at heart, or it maybe the heart burn that makes me crave any form of cold dairy, but the Triple French Vanilla Ice Cream, literally has me fantasizing, (about the ice cream!)…

    How bad? I express ordered an ice cream machine so that I can have it for the weekend…

    Now, let me see, what would make this a truly rogue chef dish…

    Her Ice cream is a custard based “french style”, and those like it tend to be sooo rich and smooth, I don’t think I can improve with the base recipe…

    Maybe a fold in of something to extend the luxury, perhaps an add in of really good bourbon, or perhaps some way to intensify the vanilla taste….

    Background

    Ice cream can be made with just cream, sugar, and a flavoring (usually fruit) is sometimes referred to as “Philadelphia style” ice cream. Ice creams made with eggs, in the form of a cooked custard, are “French” ice creams. This mixture is stirred while cooling to prevent large ice crystals from forming; the result is a smoothly textured ice cream.

    An overview of this operation:

    1. Prepare Vanilla Sugar
    2. Make Custard
    3. Turn Ice Cream
    4. Prepare Mix in’s
    5. Fold Mixin’s into Ice cream
    6. Harden Ice Cream in freezer for an hour
    7. Eat, and die of pleasure

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  • Bacon

    bacon

    In a recent post about mac n cheese, I mentioned using bacon drippings to flavor onions and garlic. This technique has lead several folk to ask me, how I cook bacon to preserve the drippings. One person who joins for weekend breakfasts on a regular basis also wanted to know how I managed to provide crispy, snappy bacon in perfectly flat strips. One guess was I used a bacon stretcher in the microwave. Another said I got the drippings during the smoking process.

    How wrong they are ..

    Background

    Bacon is a cut of meat taken from the sides, belly, or back of a pig, then cured, and smoked. Meat from other animals, such as beef, lamb, chicken, goat, or turkey, may also be cut, cured, or otherwise prepared to resemble bacon. Bacon may be eaten fried, baked, or grilled, or used as a minor ingredient to flavor dishes. Bacon is also used for barding and larding roasts, especially game birds.

    The United States have seen a rash of bacon recipes recently, with such dishes as bacon explosion, chicken fried bacon, and chocolate covered bacon. Others include candied bacon in various applications. Restaurants are organizing bacon and beer tasting nights, the New York Times reported on bacon infused with Irish whiskey used for Saint Patrick’s Day cocktails,and celebrity chefs have endorsed a “Bacon of the Month” club online.

    Commentators explain this surging interest in bacon by reference to what they deem American cultural characteristics. Sarah Hepola, on Salon.com, suggests a number of reasons, one of them that eating bacon in the modern, health-conscious world is an act of rebellion: “Loving bacon is like shoving a middle finger in the face of all that is healthy and holy while an unfiltered cigarette smolders between your lips.” She also suggests bacon is sexy (with a reference to Sarah Katherine Lewis’ book Sex and Bacon), kitsch, and funny. Hepola concludes by saying that “Bacon is American“.

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  • Eggplant

    eggplant

    Eggplant, “the poor man’s meat” is one of the staple foods of the Middle East, valued for it’s great versatility.

    Eggplant is a vegetable with a dark purple peel which was likely first cultivated in Southern Asia, now popular in many different cuisines, and is especially used in the cuisines of Mediterranean countries. This veggie has also found favor in the American South, but won’t need to look far to find lots of places that feature at least one good eggplant dish.

    There are numerous ways to prepare eggplants. They can be used as a meat substitute and fare the basis for many excellent vegetarian Italian dishes. Breaded and fried versions quickly become eggplant Parmesan with the addition of tomato sauce and some cheese, or add layers of eggplant in between pasta layers for delicious lasagna.

    Other people prefer to use this vegetable in cold salads. Chopped, quickly fried eggplant will absorb vinaigrette and produce a wonderfully fresh veggie salad. Combining fried slices of the veggie with garlic, pepper and lemon juice can make the popular arabic dish salatat bathinjan, which is served chilled. or baba ghannouj, a combination of cooked mashed eggplants, oil, lemon juice, red pepper and garlic. Baba ghannouj is a terrific dip that can be served with many different elements.
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