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Posts by JonK

Splurge night for us: I marinated lamb steaks with an herb, garlic, lemon and olive oil paste and, taking advantage of a bit of unseasonally warm weather for us in the northeast, grilled 'em rare. As sides we had pan roasted lemon potatoes (from our garden) and oven roasted cauliflower (from the farmers' market). A bottle of an Alexander Valley Cabernet filled the glasses. Delicious.   Now back to fiscal reality.
I once was a food writer, so I have a shelf full of reference books that I used to consult. Among the "ingredient" books, I like Howard Hillman's "The Cook's Book", arranged alphabetically by ingredient. It also has a copy of the USDA Composition of Food table in the back. Less helpful though still useful has been Doris Townsend's "The Cook's Companion" which too often tends towards the obvious.   Though any foodie worth his/her salt owns a copy of McGee, it is not a...
We been using a slow cooker for decades--but only for those things that it can do well. Throw out any cookbook that suggests true baking or other silliness in the slow cooker. These proliferated when slow cookers first hit the market (it happens for almost any new cooking device) and some are still in print. Slow cookers are do a very good job on soups, stews and other braises and with meats that have sufficient internal fat. But with a few exceptions, don't expect to...
We've been brining our duck or goose for years now, though we tend to use Alton Brown's two-step methods for cooking it (see his recipe for Mighty Duck), which is a simplified version of Julia Child's three-step technique (and seems to work just as well). The duck comes out juicy with a nice crisp skin and with most of the fat rendered out during the steaming step. (And, yes, we save the flavorful duck fat for future use.)   I am, however, somewhat skeptical of just...
Thanks, KY. I am using white basmati in these recipes, for which 1-3/4 cups water to 1 cup rice and 17 to 20 minutes works just fine when flying solo. I usually let it rest for five minutes and fluff. And I do the saute before hand.  (Yes, I know basmati might be overkill in a spicy recipe, but it's our basic house white rice which we buy in 10 lb bags.)    My problem, as noted in the first post, is when the rice is cooking with a significant amount of other...
In recipes where I saute a significant amount of veggies in oil, then add uncooked rice (stir to coat), water (or broth), bring to a boil, cover and simmer, I very often find that the rice is not plumped and tender in anything close to the usual 17 to 20 minutes. This persists even if I put a layer of parchment paper over the rice and vegetable mix or if I bake the rice in the oven.   This occurred just yesterday when I was whipping up a jambalaya. I'm used to it by...
I really do like truffle oil as an ingredient, but I have found an extremely wide range of quality, from stuff whose truffle kinship was evident only from the label, to oils that richly tasted of this pricey fungus. I like doing a "wild" musroom pizza drizzled with truffle oil and a complementary mild cheese.   A truffle butter recipe that we've really enjoyed involved a butterflied and pounded pork loin, spread with truffle butter and mortadella, rolled,...
I never much liked catfish when I used to catch it as a boy in Illinois. As others have noted, the river stuff could often have a "muddy" flavor. But I really enjoy the farm-raised catfish I can now buy at the market.   My favorite prep comes from Mississippi's best known food writer, Craig Claiborne, and is as simple as they come. Just smear the fillets with a coating of yellow mustard (this is not a place for Dijon!) and roll them in seasoned corn meal (salt,...
I'm with the "slow cook in oil" (preferably EVO) camp, but I usually add just a little bit of fresh, pressed garlic at the end. It adds lively upper note to the flavors. A bit of red pepper flakes is a nice addition if you plan to toss the oil with pasta.
Eggplant. Yeah, eggplant.   For some reason, we often end the season with a great abundance of eggplant, even though we love the stuff and prepare it many different ways. The solution is to smoke the eggplant and freeze the resulting puree for later use as the prime ingredient in dips, pizza topping, soups, and pasta sauce. Basically, this is a version of the Arab dish of baba ghanoush (there is a similar dish that is popular in Romania.)   2 lbs eggplant, halved...
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