"It IS all about the TASTE"
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  • Sriracha (Mongolian) Beef

    I’m still under the weather with some form of intestinal flu. I hurt, and I am tired as sleep is just not providing the rest needed, I am hungry, but almost do not have the strength / will power to prep / cook / eat.

    It’s gotta be good, it’s gotta be fast, it’s gotta be tasty… Maybe Mongolian, with beef, onions, bell peppers, and a touch of of my favorite flu fighter, Sriracha ..

    Mongolian beef is a dish served in Chinese-American restaurants consisting of sliced beef, typically flank steak, and stir-fried with vegetables in a sweet and savory brown sauce, usually made with hoisin sauce. The beef is most commonly paired with scallions or mixed vegetables and is quite spicy. Most often, the dish is served over crispy fried cellophane noodles or steamed rice.

    The name of this dish is somewhat misleading, because neither the ingredients used (besides the meat) nor the preparation methods applied have anything in common with traditional Mongolian cuisine. The term “Mongolian” is rather meant to imply a vaguely “exotic” type of food.

    Sriracha is a type of hot sauce, named after the coastal city of Si Racha, in the Chonburi Province of central Thailand, where it was possibly first produced for dishes served at local seafood restaurants. It is a paste of chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt. In Thailand the sauce is most often called sot Siracha.

    Traditional Thai Sriracha sauce tends to be tangier, sweeter, and runnier in texture than non-Thai versions. Non-Thai sauces are different in flavor, color, and texture from Thai versions.

    In Thailand, Sriracha is frequently used as a dipping sauce, particularly for seafood. In Vietnamese cuisine, Sriracha appears as a condiment for phở, fried noodles, a topping for spring rolls (Chả giò), and in sauces.

    This stuff is hot, and I’ll pile it on and when it hits the bugs in my gut, they will die… (Unless they are an Asian Flu, in which case I will be in trouble.)

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  • Hearty Food – Minestrone

    It is finally down to cool weather and rain, soon the cold / flu pandemic will be raging and some form of chicken soup / stew / broth will be needed, but a hearty dish chocked full of veggies, legumes, and meat, and pasta is required. A “BIG” soup for big people with big colds. Something to use my pressure cooker chicken broth and the meat from the cooked chicken as a base.

    The Italians seem to think so as well as this really is a cornerstone of Italian cuisine, and rivals pasta for the prime stop on the Italian dinner table.

    Minestrone (literally big soup) is a thick soup of Italian origin made with vegetables, often with the addition of pasta or rice. Common ingredients include beans, onions, celery, carrots, stock, and tomatoes.

    There is no set recipe for minestrone, since it is usually made out of whatever vegetables are in season. It can be vegetarian, contain meat, or contain a meat-based broth (such as chicken stock). Angelo Pellegrini, however, argued that the base of minestrone is bean broth, and that Roman beans (also called Borlotti beans) “are the beans to use for genuine minestrone”.

    There is no set recipe for minestrone, since it is usually made out of whatever vegetables are in season. It can be vegetarian, contain meat, or contain a meat-based broth (such as chicken stock).

    No set recipe ?, I love it, what a place to show off the rogue chef flair..

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  • A sweet dalliance – Pound Cake

    So after all that fish and vitriol, perhaps a bit of a sweet, maybe even one served in a grade school lunch room. A classic cake. From the very old definition / recipe a pound of flour, a pound of sugar, a pound of butter and a pound of eggs which were assembled via the creaming method. (Not as some say, the weight each slice adds to you…)

    “Sour cream pound cake” is a popular variation in the United States, which involves the substitution of sour cream for some of the butter, which also is intended to produce a more moist cake with a pleasantly tangy flavor.

    Pound cake refers to a type of cake traditionally made with a pound of each of four ingredients: flour, butter, eggs, and sugar. The traditional recipe makes a cake much larger than most families can consume, and so the quantity is often changed to suit the size of the cake that is desired. As long as the ratio is preserved, the resulting cake will be identical to that using the traditional recipe. Hence, any cake made with a 1:1:1:1 ratio of flour, butter, eggs, and sugar is also called a pound cake or lbs cake, even if the quantity used is smaller or larger than an actual pound.

    There are numerous variations on the traditional pound cake, with certain countries and regions having distinctive styles. These can include the addition of flavoring agents (such as vanilla extract or almond extract) or dried fruit (such as currants or craisins), as well as alterations to the original recipe to change the characteristics of the resulting pound cake.

    As the photo above shows, one can mix the batter straight up for a “white cake”, portion 1/2 of the batter to the pans and then add coco / chocolate to the remaining mix, portion and swirl for a marble cake. This works very well with fruit, (say blueberries), or nuts (say crushed walnuts.)

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  • Oh, Fish Sticks

    As previously mentioned, I have been asked to post a few methods for cooking fish, and in the same vein as prior, a visit to another grade school lunch room horror.

    Consider strips of an unidentified minced and formed fish, covered with a batter of egg and bread crumbs, deep fried, and served with yet another deep fried fat bomb, (French Fries), slathered with the same extricable sauce, with a side of that kitchen staple, HFCS laden Ketchup.

    Do read the labels of the foods you purchase, too many times several of the items in the first 10 ingredients are things only a bio-chemist could love. I know eating healthy is not really budget friendly, but as a prior rant said.. Eat Shit and Die. Seriously see the post about the Standard American Diet, (SAD)

    I speak of course, of the “Fish Friday” staple, the fish stick.

    Fish fingers, known as fish sticks in North America and by translations of that name in most other languages, are a processed food made using a whitefish, such as cod, haddock or pollock, which has been battered or breaded.

    They are commonly available in the frozen food section of supermarkets, and on children’s menus in family-oriented restaurants. They can be baked in the oven, grilled, shallow fried, or deep-fried.

    The fish used may be either fillets cut to shape or minced/ground fish reformed to shape. Those made entirely from fillets are generally regarded as the higher quality products and will typically have a prominent sign on the box stating that the fish is 100% fillet. Minced fish is more commonly used in store brand economy products. They may have either batter or breadcrumbs around the outside as casing, although the coating is normally breadcrumbs.

    In addition to white fish, fish fingers are sometimes made with salmon. A commercially available variant of fish fingers is “Omega 3” fish fingers, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids.

    “Minced/ground fish reformed to shape.”, more like a way to use less than prime pieces and bits of fish that were left after the prime fillets were removed. This is just wrong.. With all the people on soap boxes about how omega-3 fatty acids are much more heart healthy and that fish are a natural source of said fatty acids, one is lead to believe that all fish render this benefit. Reality is that not all fish are equal in production of these.
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  • Salmon Cakes (Croquettes)

    As previously mentioned, I have been asked to post a few methods for cooking fish.

    Being from the south fish = catfish, and cooking = deep frying, but I have been told that fish must have “fins and scales” so that let’s catfish out, I have also been told that deep frying is “A Bad Thing.”

    So one must look back at a school lunch horror, and find a way to make it edible. I speak of course of a dry crumbly, oily, cow pie mixture of unidentifiable fish, and flour awash in a noxious cream sauce, or served with a canned tomato sauce bordering on ketchup with a overbearing dash of sugar to complete a rounded meal usually served to the garbageman’s hogs after being rejected by all but the most starving school children.

    The Croquette…

    A croquette is a small breadcrumbed fried food roll containing, usually as main ingredients, mashed potatoes and/or ground meat (veal, beef, chicken, or turkey), shellfish, fish, cheese, vegetables and mixed with béchamel or brown sauce, and soaked white bread, egg, onion, spices and herbs, wine, milk, beer or any of the combination thereof, sometimes with a filling, e.g. sauteed onions or mushrooms, boiled eggs (Scotch eggs). The croquette is usually shaped into a cylinder, disk or oval shape and then deep-fried. The croquette (from the French croquer, “to crunch”) gained worldwide popularity, both as a delicacy and as a fast food.

    “Boardwalk” fish cakes and crab cakes, eaten on the east coast of the United States, are essentially croquettes. They consist, respectively, of chopped fish or crab meat, mixed in a buttery dough which is then breaded and deep-fried.

    Another croquette dish popular across much of the American South is salmon croquettes. Any canned fish – usually salmon or mackerel, although canned tuna is also used in some recipes (although the dish is often colloquially referred to as “salmon croquettes” or “salmon patties” regardless of the actual fish used) – is mashed by hand to break up any fish bones and give the fish meat a smoother consistency, then combined with a binder and various seasonings. Seasonings typically include pepper, salt, chopped (sometimes sautéed) onions, garlic, lemon juice, and/or paprika. The binder can be any starch such as flour, cornmeal, matzo meal, ground crackers of any type, even white rice or oatmeal – although these latter variations are not as common, and are mostly limited to the northern U.S. Chopped eggs, parsley, and Parmesan cheese may also be added. The mixture is then shaped into rounded patties for pan- or deep-frying; corn or peanut oil are the most commonly used frying oils in the southern U.S., but canola, safflower, or olive oil are also used, and some recipes call specifically for pan-frying in butter or margarine.

    Most recipes call for canned salmon, (a curse upon the makers of this trash in a can), and canned bread crumbs, (more curses to the purveyors of such garbage), liberally bound together by eggs, and if one is MOST fortunate, perhaps some minced onion, and finely chopped herbs.

    We can do better.

    First of, FRESH COOKED FISH, flaked, Real bread diced, seasoned and toasted to make croutons, then crumbed in a food processor, or smashed in a bag. Mixed with chopped scallions, fresh chopped dill, seasoned liberally with fresh ground pepper, good kosher salt, a splash of fresh squeezed lemon juice to cut the oil taste of the fish and bound together with several fresh eggs. Formed into patties / cake ~ 1/2 ” thick and fried off in a butter and olive oil mix.

    Then serve with a nice tarter sauce or remoulade.
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  • Meatless Monday – Stuffed Potato

    Weather is getting cooler, so I can start thinking of baking. I am also running prepping for various projects and events so meals that can be prepared and backed are high on my list of desirables.

    While a baked potato with butter salt and pepper can be a meal, I want a bit more. But first what is a good baked potato?

    I am looking for a nice fluffy, creamy flesh, a crisp skin, with a hint of salt.

    A baked potato is the edible result of baking a potato. When well cooked, a baked potato has a fluffy interior and a crispy skin. It may be served with fillings and condiments such as butter, cheese, ham, or chicken. Potatoes can be baked in a convection oven, a microwave oven, on a barbecue grill, or on/in an open fire.
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