"It IS all about the TASTE"
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  • Not so Quicken, Chicken Pot Pie

    A brief respite from the chaos, and a chance to do things well. I have chicken that was purchased for other reasons, but never used.. Time to use it or loose it.. So bone in breast is slow roasted, cooled, boned and shredded. This is then mixed with fresh and frozen vegetables, broth and a roux to form a hearty stew, which in turn is bowled and covered with a biscuit dough topping and baked.

    Background
    A pot pie is a type of baked savory pie with a bottom and top completely encased by flaky crusts and baked inside a pie tin to support its shape.

    An American pot pie typically has a filling of meat (particularly beef, chicken or turkey), gravy, and mixed vegetables (potatoes, carrots, green beans and peas).

    Some pot pies have no bottom crust and are more like a baked casserole (or chicken and dumplings) than a meat pie. Often a very thick meat and vegetable stew served over some form of roll or biscuit.

    The top crust is not required to offer any structural support, and can replaced by closely spacing small dollops of drop biscuit dough onto the stew-like filling before baking.

    In the Pennsylvania Dutch region, there is a dish called “bott boi” and is mispronounced “pot pie” by English speakers in the area. Bott Boi is a stew, usually made of a combination of chicken, ham, beef, or wild game with square-cut egg noodles, potatoes, and a stock of onion, optional celery and/or carrots, and parsley, sometimes referred to as “slippery noodle pot pie”.

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  • Asian Roast Pork

    “Char siu” is a type of siu mei, Cantonese roasted meat, and literally means “fork burn/roast”, after the traditional cooking method for the dish: long strips of seasoned boneless pork are skewered with long forks and placed in a covered oven or over a fire. The meat, typically a shoulder cut of domestic pork (although in ancient times it was also used to cook wild boar or other available meats), is seasoned with a mixture of honey, five-spice powder, dark soy sauce, hoisin sauce and sherry or rice wine.

    As a means of exceptional flavor and preparation, charsiu’s applications extend far beyond pork. A wide variety of meats are cooked charsiu style. The term “charsiu” refers to meats which have been marinated in a charsiu seasoning then roasted in an oven or over a fire.

    Ingredients in marinades for charsiu are similar to those found in China (honey, five-spice, wine, soy, hoisin, etc.), except that red food coloring is often used in place of the red bean curd for convenience. (I do not use food coloring) Charsiu is used to marinate and prepare a variety of meats which can either be cooked in a conventional or convection oven, or on a standard Barbecue. Charsiu chicken is as common as charsiu pork, and beef, mountain goat, and wild boar are also often cooked charsiu style, as are many sausages and skewers.

    As charsiu grows in popularity, innovative chefs from around the world, are using various meats prepared “charsiu” style in their cuisines and culinary creations.

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  • Fagioli

    fagioli

    I’m not overly inspired today, but have to eat. Perhaps a hearty soup, perhaps some beans and rice, or a tomato soup with a side of buttered bread…

    Actually, Pasta Fagioli, simple comfort food to help me over the downturn in excitement, and perhaps set the stage for a more inspired day tomorrow..

    Background
    Pasta fagioli or Pasta e fagioli, meaning “pasta and beans”, is a traditional meatless Italian peasant dish that is now a frequent menu item throughout the world. Like many other Italian favorites including pizza and polenta, the dish started as a peasant dish, due to cheaply available beans and pasta.

    It is made using cannellini beans or borlotti beans and some type of small pasta such as elbow macaroni. The base is generally olive oil, garlic, minced onion, and spices, along with stewed tomatoes or tomato paste, or traditionally, in home recipes, the leftover sauce from Sunday marinara. It should be noted that some variations do not include tomatoes at all, and are made from a broth.

    The consistency of the dish can vary, as some renditions fall clearly in the soup category, usually because the tomato was left out, while others are much thicker.

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  • Meatless Monday – Sweet / Sour Noodles

    In honor of Lunar New Year.. (although Tết Nguyên Đán still makes my blood run cold…)

    A classic Asian dish, simple, complex, tasty and quick…

    Chinese New Year is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. In China, it is known as “Spring Festival,” the literal translation of the Chinese name 春節 (Pinyin: Chūnjié), since the spring season in Chinese calendar starts with lichun, the first solar term in a Chinese calendar year. It marks the end of the winter season, analogous to the Western carnival. The festival begins on the first day of the first month (Chinese: 正月; pinyin: Zhēngyuè) in the traditional Chinese calendar and ends with Lantern Festival which is on the 15th day. Chinese New Year’s Eve, a day where Chinese families gather for their annual reunion dinner, is known as Chúxī (除夕) or “Eve of the Passing Year.” Because the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, the Chinese New Year is often referred to as the “Lunar New Year”.

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  • Thai Chicken Soup

    coconutsoup

    So the first snow fall from the winter that did not come. Time for soup, good soup, rich soup, with a flavor bite, and a deep rich presence. In short, comfort food.

    One of those stupid simple to prepare, but twistedly complex to prepare well, recipes. The mixture of sweet and savory, with a hint of salt and spice. As with all Thai dishes, balance is the key to an outstanding preparation.

    This recipe uses chicken, but any meat can be substituted, and can be served as part of a meal, or can be the meal itself. One MIGHT venture to use a RICH vegetable broth and marinated / frozen tofu to generate a “vegetarian” dish.

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  • Beef and Beer Stew (Carbonnade)

    stew

    Wind, Rain, Ice, not a night fit for man or beast, or wolf. All smart ones are lying up in their dens warm, dry and well fed. Time to make myself one of the smart ones…

    The most traditional, classic Belgian beef stew has to be ‘Carbonnade a la Flamande’ well known all over The Low Countries. This Belgian beef stew is made with hearty Belgian ale and plenty of onions

    There are variations as to the cuts of beef and the vegetables involved, but in general a beer and beef stew or a Carbonnade will contain: beef (generally, low-cost, high collagen, less than Gucci prime cuts that need long cooking), a good quality ale, capacious quantities of onions, mustard, and spices.

    Background
    A stew is a combination of solid food ingredients that have been cooked in liquid and served in the resultant gravy.

    Ingredients in a stew can include any combination of vegetables (such as carrots, potatoes, beans, peppers and tomatoes etc.), meat, poultry, sausages and seafood. While water can be used as the stew-cooking liquid, wine, stock, and beer are also common. Seasoning and flavorings may also be added. Stews are typically cooked at a relatively low temperature (simmered, not boiled), to allow flavors to combine.

    Stewing is suitable for the least tender cuts of meat that become tender and juicy with the slow moist heat method. This makes it popular in low-cost cooking. Cuts having a certain amount of marbling and gelatinous connective tissue give moist, juicy stews, while lean meat may easily become dry.

    Stews may be thickened by reduction or thickened with flour, either by coating pieces of meat with flour before searing, or by using a roux or beurre manié, a dough consisting of equal parts of butter and flour. Thickeners like cornstarch or arrowroot may also be used.

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