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Creamy Potato and Ramp Soup

  • by PeteModerator

  Last Saturday dawned gray and rainy, so my morning plans of fishing were put on hold. Yes, I admit it, I am a fair weather fisherman. To me it is more about the act of fishing than actually catching fish, though catching them is an added plus. Since this is the case, I prefer my fishing days warm and sunny, and usually accompanied by a few beers! But since we had canceled our fishing plans I decided to head to my favorite spot to pick ramps (wild leeks). The trees would keep the worst of the drizzle from reaching me and the wet ground would make digging ramps rather... read more

Man Does Not Live By Bread Alone!

Despite a rather strong body of opinion, man does not live by bread alone. At least not this man anyway. Variety is the spice of life. All bread and no cake makes Jack a dull boy. You pick the adage. Every once in a while my sweet tooth gets the best of me and I succumb to the sugar beast that dwells within.   Every year, in December, my office feeds itself. From about the 5th of the month on, one person brings breakfast and another brings a snack. Thankfully, no one has shown up with Graham Crackers, little containers of milk and collapsible paper straws I picked a... read more

Julia Child's French Bread

This is an older piece I did after the passing of Julia Child.   Since the recent passing of Julia Child there has been much discussion of her French bread recipe. Here is my first attempt.     It's a direct method dough, but it uses long fermentation and proofing. It comes close to a preferment.       On the left is the just mixed dough. On the right is after the second rise. The blue line is where the first rise got to. The first rise was just over 3 hours. The second was about 2. As printed, the dough was 87% hydrated. I thought this a tad extreme, even... read more

Classic Cocktails- Whiskey Sour and Homemade Sour Mix

  • by PeteModerator

  I am a huge Bourbon fan. While I’ve never met a Whiskey I haven’t liked, over the years I’ve found that I prefer Bourbon to all other Whiskeys, including Scotch. I’ve always been a Bourbon fan, at least since my college days, when I drank copious amounts of Jim Beam. While in culinary school I discovered Basil Hayden and the rest of the Super Premium Bourbons and haven’t looked back since. Basil Hayden is still one of my favorites, although I can’t afford it often so my “go to” Bourbon is Maker’s Mark or Buffalo Trace.   While in college I usually drank Jim and... read more

Pi Day and a Trio of Pies

  • by PeteModerator

  It seems like nowadays there is a holiday for everyone and everything.  Of these made up holidays, March 14th is one of my favorites - Pi Day; the day we celebrate the mathematical constant, Pi, by baking and eating pie.  For those of you with no inclination towards math, Pi is the ratio between a circles diameter and circumference.  In other words, if you know a circles diameter, you multiply that by Pi and you get its circumference and thusly if you know a circle's circumference you can divide that by Pi to get its diameter.  So what is Pi exactly?  Well that is... read more

Canning-The Food Lovers Hobby.

  If you love to prepare food but haven’t learned to can yet, now is a great time to begin. Spring is here and with it the arrival of truly fresh fruits and vegetables. With farmers markets popping up everywhere, fresh produce is easier to get than ever. Canning allows you to create your own delicious recipes with all those fresh fruits and vegetables and enjoy them year round. It isn’t very complicated and can be done without a major investment of money.          Canning, despite the name, does not typically involve the use of cans. Glass jars with sealable lids are... read more

Roast Chicken

  • by PeteModerator

  Roast chicken, a dish so simple yet so difficult to master. When I was in the restaurant business roasting a simple chicken was often used as a test when hiring a new chef. At a glance roasting a chicken is one of simplest things in the world, but really think about it. How often have you had a truly great roasted chicken? So often the breast is dry or the thighs are undercooked, the skin never takes on that great crispness, or the whole thing just tastes rather bland. Yes, it’s simple to roast a chicken and yet so difficult to make it great. Roasting a chicken... read more

Cheese and Bacon Souffle

  • by PeteModerator

  Souffles have fallen out of fashion, at least in regards to home cooks. I have hundreds of cookbooks spanning back over 120 years. In many of those books, dated from the 50’s through the 70’s and even 80’s, you’d find recipes for all sorts of souffles from sweet to savory. In the 80’s their popularity started to wane and now it is rare to find a new cookbook with a souffle recipe in it. That’s too bad as I think every decent home cook should know how to make a soufflé.   There seems to be a mystique surrounding souffles and how difficult they are to make. Most of... read more

Beef & Guinness Stew

  • by PeteModerator

  I love stews and usually make them often during the cold, winter months, but I’ve been slacking in that department this year, it seems. There’s just something so comforting about a big pot of stew cooking away on the stove top when the wind is howling, the snow is blowing and the temperatures plummet. While I like all types of stews, I have to admit that I am partial to simple beef stews chock full of hunks of meat, carrots, onions, potatoes and other root vegetables.   Like so many of the recipes I offer up here, stews can easily be modified to suit your tastes.... read more

Tostones-Fried Plantain Chips

  • by PeteModerator

  I’ve kind of been on a Caribbean kick the last week or so and the other day I can across some really nice looking plantains at my local grocery store. My wife loves plantain chips so I decided that I would whip up a batch of tostones for her to try. Like plantain chips, tostones are fried, but they tend to be thicker and often are just a bit soft in the center. Personally, I prefer tostones over plantain chips any time.   You will find lots of recipes that say that the plantains must be completely green to make authentic tostones. That may be the case, but I’ve... read more

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