Version 0.2 - Unfinished. See the note in the "Acknowledgements" section for the revision history.
By Matthew Balmer aka InspectorPraline
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Copyright (c) 2002 Matthew Balmer. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with the Invariant Sections being the following Chapters as titled in the contents: 1. Acknowledgements and History, 2. Introduction, 3. Stuff You Probably Should Have, 4. Pantry Check, 5. Techniques and Terms in Common Use, 6. The Basics, and any recipes that are added by the author, InspectorPraline (aka Matthew Balmer); recipes added by third parties are copyrighted by the submitter, and should also be treated as Invariant Sections for purposes of modification by those other than the original authors.
There are currently no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. This may change in future releases.
A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License" at the end of this document. Note that in versions flagged UNFINISHED (see the title page for version flag) the license may not actually be present. If this is the case, please see the document on the Web at:
Acknowledgements and History
Stuff You Probably Should Have
Techniques and Terms in Common Use
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Acknowledgements First off, I want to thank my mother and father for giving me so many wonderful ideas to cook with - without their help, I wouldn't know a thing about how to cook short of "put it in the microwave and watch." Another thing I've learned from my parents is to experiment. From my childhood, when "cooking" meant taking hot water and pouring a bunch of spices into the water to see what you liked, to now, when I experiment with everything from steaks to soups, I've learned how to test the waters so I learn about what I like. Hopefully, this book will help you maximize not just your budget, but your palate as well. Additionally, I'd like to thank the folks at slashdot.org for the bucketloads of recipes they submitted to help beef up the size of the cookbook. You'll find nicknames for them in each recipe, and some have elected to include their email addresses in the recipes. Be sure to send them nice comments!! I also want to thank all the folks who looked at the website and decided to send me recipes - without your submissions this book would be awfully thin.
I also want to thank my good friend Rob Marshall for the numerous design and layout hints given me.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ History Revision 0.1, July 2002. Very disorganized, but at least I've got a bunch of good ideas thanks to the folks from Slashdot and the webpage viewers. This printing was rather rushed, as I've got quite a bit of recipes to try to put together. Put together from about 20 recipes along with the initial guide, this is nowhere near finished. Issued as a formatting example, with comments sought. Total length of this version: 35 pages @ Letter size. ToDo: * continue to add more recipes from emails/comments received * add the geek-kitchen-toys section to the book * add the meat purchasing guide * add the suppliers' guide * categorize recipes
Version 0.2. Revised a few sentences, and added some comments from readers based on some incorrect/misleading statements made in version 0.1. Made a bunch of design changes, including typesetting changes and the addition of color facing pages for the individual chapters. Replaced standard screen colors in Word and PDF versions with standard PANTONE(tm) colors to produce more accurate colors in printing. Re-typeset the book to look a little more interesting, and added foundational recipes. Added spice guide. 53 pgs @ letter size.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Introduction Welcome, folks, to The Open Source Cookbook. This is my first attempt at compiling an entire book of recipes and cuisine ideas from the Open Source software world - the kind of stuff that you'd cook before you sit down for a long night of coding, or the kind of stuff you prepare when you've got a LAN party in a few hours. Many of these recipes were obtained via the geek news website Slashdot (slashdot.org), where I am a proud member, and where many, many amateur cooks hide.
The whole book was created with the geek in the kitchen at heart, but with a bent toward the college geek. Suffice to say, most collegiate geeks have spent a fair chunk on their computer hardware (as I have) and may or may not have the money or resources to cook a 5-course dinner.
Now, of course, many of these recipes are much more difficult to prepare in the college dormitory, the primary reason being that city fire codes in just about every city I know of prevent you from having an open heating element in rooms that are smaller than a certain size, which means no range tops, no ovens, and not even a buffet range. Many of these recipes require a stove or oven, but there are others that can be done and can work just as well in a microwave.
There are two symbols I'll use in this book: (i): Information. This can be information that's pertinent to the particular recipe you're making, good advice, or a little bit of trivia regarding the recipe itself. (X): CAUTION. Information here usually regards your personal safety - if not that, it's the safety of the dish you're making! Heed well!
The last bit of information I'm going to include here is about abbreviations: In the recipes, I've used the standard notations of "tablespoon," "teaspoon," etc. For amounts that could have duplicate scales of measurement (considering people from all over the world could potentially read this) I've tried to convert the U.S. measurement standards to Metric where applicable. Thus, things like "1 lb ground beef" will read "0.5 kgs ground beef" as well. Here's the list of abbreviations used throughout the book, along with some equivalents: (note: all the abbreviated volumetric measurements here are U.S. format. So, a cup is a U.S. cup, not a U.K. cup.)
Common Abbreviations Equivalencies cp = Cup 3 tsp = 1 tbsp tsp = teaspoon 4 tbsp = 1/4 cp tbsp = tablespoon 5 tbsp + 1 tsp = 1/3 cp lb = pound 8 tbsp = 1/2 cp g = gram 2 cp = 1 pt oz = ounce 4 cp = 1 qt pt = pint 4 qt = 1 gal qt = quart 355mL = 12 fl. oz gal = gallon 474mL = 16 fl. oz. L = liter 16 oz = 1 lb g = gram 1 oz = about 30 g pkt = packet 1 lb = 455 g pkg = package Dash/Pinch = less than 1/8 tsp
Oh, and one more thing: HAVE FUN!
Equipment You'll Need ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This is a long list, I know, but this is a good general-utensil list. You don't necessarily have to have everything here, but it's a good idea. Most likely, you'll already have several of these items if your parents handed anything down to you. If you can't afford to fully equip your kitchen yet, don't worry - just buy utensils as you need them. For the geek in all of us, though, I've included a list of "cooking toys" at the back of the book.
Here's where we'll look at the basic foodstuffs that every kitchen should have. Note that I haven't added a lot of perishables, like meats, to this list-- largely, only things that are canned, bottled, or boxed are on the list. Also note that this list is far from exhaustive, you could literally stock your pantry full of thousands of dollars of food, with no two things being the same. This merely is a general list of things that you should probably have because they're things you'll use often.
* All-Purpose Flour. Everyone should have at least a small amount of this on hand. You'll use it frequently in gravies and soups as a thickener, and it's used in making dough, including cookie dough and bread dough. While we won't make any breads in this book, it's good to know what you can do with flour - which is almost anything. There are numerous kinds of flour, including all-purpose, cake, whole wheat, and other "flavors," but all-purpose is the good "general" variety, it can be substituted in equal amounts for most other varieties of flour except self-rising flour. Self-rising flour has a leavening agent added to it, and if you substitute all-purpose for self-rising your dough won't rise. Same is true for substituting the other direction, but your dough may not rise enough or may rise improperly because the chemical balances are off.
* Aluminum Foil. This stuff will greatly help you in cooking. One of the great campout tricks is to take food and wrap it in aluminum foil and then toss it into the fire for a short time. The foil keeps the food from being burned and also acts as a miniature broiler. If you have a toaster oven, wrapping a small piece of meat inside aluminum foil and then tossing it into the oven will broil the meat, and will let the meat cook in its own juices, as well as keeping the meat moist.
* Baking Soda. This is the Swiss-army-chainsaw of the kitchen. It's been used as everything from a leavening agent (makes dough rise) to toothpaste, a deodorizer, a mouthwash, silver polish, and even a drain clog remover. It's also one of the few raw chemicals you'll find in your kitchen - Baking soda is known as bicarbonate of soda, or sodium bicarbonate, or for the chemistry students, NaCO(2).
* Bouillon (pronounced "bull-yun"), broth, or stock. This stuff is like having instant meat stock in a convenient form. It is available in several forms, because it is sold either dehydrated as cubes, granules, or powder, or in liquid form as either a concentrate or pure broth. It is sold in several varieties, but the most commonly found are beef, chicken, and vegetable. You may find exotic versions such as shrimp, fish, or tomato, but this is rare. Stores selling kosher items will sell packages of bouillon that are either chicken or vegetable, and specially prepared according to kosher guidelines.
* Brown Sugar. Brown sugar is either sugar that is left after the refined white sugar has been extracted from the beet, or is made by mixing white sugar with molasses syrup. The darker the sugar, the more potent the flavor. Brown sugar is a good ingredient for glazes, and is a frequent member in anything involving dough.
* Canned Foods. Everything imaginable, from vegetables to meats to rolls, are all available in cans. Stock up heavily on these, because they keep for years. A story is told about how a 4-pound tin of veal that Sir William Edward Parry had on him was carried on two journeys to the Northwest Passage in the 1820s - and the can was never opened. It was found and analyzed by scientists in 1938, over 100 years after it was originally sealed, and judged nutritionally and physically sound, and the contents fed to a cat, who ate hearty, and had no ill effects. In general, a can of food is only unsafe if it bulges, is dented, or spurts or sprays when opened (like a pop can would spurt or spray). Anyway, here are some ideas on canned foods to have in your cupboard. o Vegetables. ANY kind is a good idea here. Canned veggies are not only nutritious and cheap (ranging from 30¢ to 99¢, depending on the veggie and how much you're buying) but can be paired with almost any food, or simply eaten cooked in water. o Meats. Things in this category include canned ham, chicken, fish, and beef, and even things like Spam (spam spam spam spam). Seriously though, folks, canned meats is a good way to preserve your proteins. Canned hams are excellent ways to get tasty whole hams that will last next to forever without freezing and still taste like ham. Canned tuna is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, and the canning process may actually help bring out more of these nutrients. o Pastas. Canned pasta dishes (such as SpaghettiOs) are inexpensive, quick ways to eat decent food. Often, a 15oz can of SpaghettiOs costs anywhere from 98c to about $1.50 apiece, and contains a hefty amount of fiber and carbohydrates, while being low in fats. o Sauces and Gravies. Tomato sauces, purees, juices, etc., and white and brown canned gravies are excellent ways to work with all kinds of foods. Canned tomato products are extremely high in lycopene, a cancer-preventing nutrient, and tomato puree and tomato sauce are excellent bases for many dishes. Tomato paste is also a great thickener, and imparts a slightly sharper tomato flavor to whatever dish you're working with. Canned gravies are an excellent way to liven up an otherwise bland piece of meat, especially if you buy the cheap stuff. o Juices and Other Drinks. While these are frequently sold frozen, canned juices are also sold at room-temperature. Additionally, milk products are sold canned. Evaporated milk is milk that has had about 60% of its water removed, homogenized, and is then quickly canned. This can be substituted for standard whole milk by merely adding an amount of water equivalent to the amount of evaporated milk in the can (similar to preparing condensed soups). Milk sold in this form is not necessarily cheaper than buying refrigerated milk, but it lasts infinitely longer.
* Fats and Oils. There are numerous items that fall under this heading, we'll go over them individually. Any one of these will do as a cooking oil, but there are certain situations that will call for specific fats or oils. Also, fats are not evil, despite what some nutritionists would like you to believe. Fats are essential to daily life, because they provide the fuel we burn every day in our lives. It's important to regulate fat, but some fat is necessary. Additionally, fats impart an enormous amount of flavor and richness to our foods, and to be truly honest, provides some of the greatest flavors! Be selective about the fats you eat, and eat in moderation, but enjoy it! o Butter. Butter is a saturated fat that is at least 80% butterfat, by USDA standards. It is truly the "original" cooking fat. Butter is sold in sticks, in tubs as a whipped spread, and in granular form. Note that granular butter is quite hard to find, but it is a convenient form. It is sold in salted and unsalted varieties, and the salted variety has a bit of a bite to it whereas unsalted butter will taste sweet. If you're baking, don't use whipped butter - it'll change the texture of the food because of the air beaten into the butter. o Margarine. Nowadays, the term margarine means a lot of things, but the real definition of margarine is this: It's an unsaturated butter substitute - also made of at least 80% fat, except that the fat is made from vegetable oils. To make it taste like butter, some dairy flavorings are added to give it an authentic taste. This stuff works in baking as well, and is sold in stick or tub form. o Cooking Sprays. Most frequently made of canola oil, this is also called a "non-stick cooking spray." This is used most frequently to keep foods from sticking to surfaces during cooking. Some varieties are flavored, and can be used directly on food to impart a burst of other flavors. o Olive Oil. Probably the most famous of the oils (with the exception of vegetable oil) this oil is used frequently in Italian cooking. Made from pitted ripe olives, the olives are ground into a mash, spread on mats that are stacked several layers high, and then pressed to remove the oils. The first pressing is done cold, with no heat or solvents to help draw out oils. The first press yields a dark, greenish, and highly flavorful oil called "extra virgin" olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil will not stand up to high heat, and is not well-suited for deep frying. The second press involves heat and solvents to draw out additional oils, and yields "virgin olive oil." Virgin oil is the traditional golden color. Subsequent pressings yield lighter, less flavorful oils, and are often termed "light olive oil." Olive oil is a superb oil that brings a wonderful flavor to anything it is cooked with. Olive oil has polyunsaturated fats and is high in monounsaturated fats, which, along with having zero cholesterol, and its wonderful flavor, makes olive oil a better cooking oil than most. o Vegetable Oil. There are numerous varieties of this, involving anything from cottonseed oils, safflower oils, soybean oils, and numerous others, and this is the most common and one of the most inexpensive cooking oils. A pale gold in color, vegetable oil also has no cholesterol, and has very little saturated fat when compared with some other oils. o Canola Oil. Canola oil is the most health-conscious oil available. Canola oil is high in polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats, has extremely low saturated fat and no cholesterol. Canola also has a significant portion of its makeup devoted to alpha-linolenic acid, which is an Omega-3 fatty acid. This is an excellent frying oil, because canola oil will impart a similar flavor in fried foods (similar to vegetable oil), along with very little of the saturated fat. o Other Oils. Other oils and fats used in cooking include things like lard, beef tallow, palm oil, and coconut oil. Lard is solid fat rendered from pork, and is slightly soft in nature. Beef tallow is a fatty substance that is an extract from cattle's fat, and is often used in the making of candles and soap, but is also occasionally used as a cooking fat. Palm and coconut oils are just that, oils pressed from palm leaves and coconut fruit, and are two of the most flavorful oils, but also the two vegetable oils that are the highest in saturated fats. Coconut oil is the highest in saturated fat overall, with 91% of its makeup being saturated fat. o Reduced-calorie or low-fat butter and margarine. These particular products have water and air added and contain no more than 60 percent fat. These don't have enough fat in them to be suitable for baking, so only use these as table spreads. o Shortening. These are vegetable oils that are hydrogenated to change their melting point so that they remain solid at room temperature. Shortening is also another word for "grease," and the two terms are interchangeable. "Greasing" a pan involves taking a handful of shortening and rubbing it across a baking surface to prevent the baked items from sticking to the pan and to help the food remain flaky and tender. o Vegetable-Oil spreads. These are margarine-like products that have less than 80% fat. These are also frequently labeled as vegetable-oil spreads and not margarine. These products are also quite versatile, getting use as a table spread, cooking oil, and baking fat. Vegetable-oil spreads are sold in sticks, tubs, and squeeze bottles, and the sticks (if they have more than 65% fat) are suitable for use in baking applications.
* Pastas. Pastas are also of the "long-life" variety, and these are excellent starch sources. Pastas will not only fill you quickly, but keep you going long too, and, given time, will blend well with whatever flavors you choose to mix with them. Several types of pastas are available, in a wide range of prices, but most varieties are under or about $1 for a 16oz box. 16 ounces of pasta is about 8 servings (5-6 if you eat heavy) and provides a full dose of carbohydrates, in addition to whatever nutrients were added through benefit of your sauces. The only drawback to pastas is that they must be cooked in boiling water; microwaves are often ill-suited for this. It can be done, but it's messy. We'll get into how to prepare pasta in a microwave later.
* Peanut Butter. Every college student should invest in at least one jar of peanut butter. It's raw protein, practically, and when you can't afford a whole lot of meat, peanut butter is an excellent way to get protein without the prohibitively high (sometimes) cost of meat.
* Rice. Rice is another member of the grain family, which is also a great staple food. Rice is available in numerous forms and flavors, and is an excellent way to fill up. Rice blends are also good to have as well, and are frequently low in calories. Rice blends often have a little more flavor than plain rice, and are good complimentary dishes.
* Soups. Soups are another important staple food, and the condensed ones are cheap. Every college student has had experiences with ramen noodles - available for 10-15c at your local grocery. Dime noodles are not the way to for anyone to eat on a consistent basis. Good, hearty soups can be found for as little as 69c, and even the Campbell's brands can be had for as little as 85c. Soups are also good ways to get servings from other food groups. Never quite outgrew hating to eat your veggies? Eat vegetable soup. A fully prepared condensed can can have two servings of veggies.
* Vinegar. Vinegar is a good all-purpose sauce base - it's used to make everything from salad dressings to barbecue sauces, and adds a tartness to anything it's combined with. Vinegar emulsifies with oils well too, and this is how Italian dressing works.
* Wax Paper. This is an excellent way to store frozen foods and help prevent freezer burn. Freezer burn is where the moisture leaches out of food because the water in the food expands as it freezes. Wax paper can help prevent this moisture from coming out by covering the food.
* White Sugar. This one's kind of obvious. When you keep sugar stored, don't store it in its original packaging unless you haven't opened it yet. An unopened 4-lb. bag of sugar is okay, but if you've opened it to start using it, put it in a resealable container of some sort. This'll also help to keep the sugar from clumping.
* Ziploc(tm) bags, or an equivalent. Make sure that these are the freezer-type bags, because if you buy for just yourself, and you buy meat, you'll likely be freezing things.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Basic Techniques Most people don't know it, but the list of "techniques" you need to know to cook effectively is really quite short. Several techniques are really quite similar, and others are really obvious, so while we'll mention everything, not everything will have a huge explanation of what it is. The more complex or esoteric processes we'll cover in the next chapter.
* Bake. Cooking in an oven using dry heat. To have crispness in the food you bake, bake it uncovered. To retain moisture, bake things covered. * Baste. Pretty simple - spooning liquid over the top of cooking food to keep it moist. * Beat. This is different from stirring in that you use an implement like a whisk, and usually involves two or more ingredients that need to be mixed until the whole is a uniform texture. * Blanch. Dropping food into boiling water for a very short time in order to preserve color, texture, and nutritive elements, or a technique to remove skin on vegetables, fruits, or nuts. * Blend. Combining ingredients using a spoon, whisk, or similar tool until the mixture is smooth and uniform. This may also involve a blender or food processor. * Boil. This should be pretty obvious. A rolling boil is when the liquid has become so hot that the bubbles form quickly. * Braise. Cooking food (usually meat or veggies) by initially browning them in fat or oil, then adding some liquid to the pot, and cooking, covered, at a low temperature. * Broil. Cooking directly under or above an extremely hot element. * Brown. This is cooking quickly over high heat for a short time, so that the surface of the food turns brown. * Caramelize. This means one of two things: melting sugar over low heat until it turns into a golden brown syrup, or a technique for cooking vegetables, especially onions, until golden brown. When onions are caramelized, they typically turn clear. * Chop. Cutting a food into coarse, irregular pieces. * Core. Technique by which the center of a fruit is removed. A core is much more stiff and generally contains seeds. * Cut in. This is a technique to distribute solidified fats (such as shortening) into dry ingredients by crisscrossing two knives, using the side of a table fork, a wire whisk, or cutting with a pastry blender in a rolling motion. You "cut" the mixture until the pieces reach your desired size. * Cube. Chopping food into squares 1/2 inch in size or larger. * Dash. Less than Jth of a teaspoon of a particular ingredient. * Deglaze. This is a process by which fats and bits of food that are stuck to a frying pan are removed using a small amount of liquid. Popular deglazing liquids include broths or stocks, wine, and strong liquors, such as whiskey or rum. (X): Deglazing with alcohols is mildly dangerous. If you deglaze with alcohols, remove the pan from the heat first, pour the alcohol in, and then replace the pan on the burner. Stand back as you do so, because the pan will flare up. Singing off your eyebrows isn't a fun thing. * Drizzle. This involves taking a sauce or topping of some sort and pouring thin lines of that sauce all over a particular food. * Flake. This involves using the tines of a fork to break away small pieces of food, for example, cooked fish. * Flute. This involves squeezing the edge of a pastry with your fingers to make a finished, ornamental-looking edge. The resulting pattern should look like a sine-wave, which is the typical shape for the edge of a pie crust. * Fold. Folding a mixture involves taking a spatula and scooping along the bottom of the bowl, and "folding" the lower material over the top. Do this in quadrants - in other words, fold 1/4 of the mixture, turn the bowl a quarter turn, repeat. Continue just until the mixture is blended. The purpose is to combine without loss of air. * Grease, or Grease and Flour. Greasing a pan involves taking shortening and rubbing it along the surfaces of a baking pan to keep the food from sticking to the pan. Flouring it involves throwing a small amount of flour over the greased pan, shaking the pan to distribute the flour, then inverting the pan and patting off the excess flour by tapping the bottom of the inverted pan. * Hull. Similar to coring, except that your remove the stem and leaves of things like strawberries. This can also be done to tomatoes, where the leaves and vine are removed along with the hard "divot" in the center of the tomato. * Julienne. Cut into thin, match-like strips, using a knife or food processor. Good example: French fries. * Knead. Work dough on a floured surface until it becomes a smooth, elastic mass. Kneading helps develop the gluten in flour and will result in even-textured breads, biscuits, and the like. Kneading by hand can take up to 15 minutes. * Marinate. Allow a food to stand (usually refrigerated) in a highly flavorful broth or sauce to add flavor or to tenderize. Many marinades have vinegar in them to help tenderize the meat by dissolving connective tissue in the meat. * Mince. Chop into very fine pieces, almost like confetti. * Poach. Cook a food in a simmering liquid just below the boiling point. * Puree. Mash or blend food until it becomes smooth and uniform in consistency, either by using a blender or food processor to get it to the correct texture or by forcing the food through a sieve. The latter technique involves quite a bit of elbow grease depending on the food you're trying to puree. * Reduce. Boil away water in a particular liquid mixture to concentrate its flavor. Over-reduction can easily be fixed by merely adding a little water to thin the sauce out. * SautŽ. This involves cooking a piece of food in hot fat over medium-high heat, turning the food frequently to prevent burning. * Scald. Heat liquid to just below the boiling point. Tiny bubbles will form around the edge of the liquid when it is scalding. Scalded milk will develop a thin film over its top. * Score. Cut into the skin of a food about 1/4 inch deep, using a knife, to aid in cooking, flavoring, or tenderizing. * Sear. Brown meat quickly so as to lock in juices and flavors. * Simmer. Cook in liquid just below the boiling point. Usually you do this after reducing the heat from a boil. * Skim. This is a technique by which solidified fats are removed from broth, stock, or similar liquid food by using a skimmer, spoon, ladle, or spatula. * Soft or Stiff Peaks. Beaten egg whites tend to harden as they are beaten. Soft peaks is when, as the mixer is lifted from the bowl, the egg whites leave "peaks" that curl over or are rounded. Stiff peaks is when the whites stand straight up as the mixer is pulled from the bowl. * Soften. This involves taking a food that is a solid in the fridge and allowing it to come to room temperature or very lightly microwaving it, so that it is no longer stiff. * Whip. This involves beating air into a mixture so as to increase its volume; this also makes the mixture light and fluffy. * Zest. This is really two things. It is either the outer peel of a fruit, where much of the aromatic oils and flavors of the fruit are present, or using a knife or citrus zester to remove this outer layer in thin pieces.
Okay: ON TO THE KITCHEN!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Basics When I speak of the basics, I mean something that's so simple and taken for granted, that a kid could do it, but they don't know that it even exists. I'm talking things like how to cook a steak, or how to cook eggs, or how to make a roux, or even making stocks. Much of this is so simple that once you look at it, it'll be like, "Gee, I knew how to do that, but I didn't know how to do it!"
How to make stocks from the basis-of-nearly-everything dept. Y I E L D: about a gallon of stock (i): Stock is a fancy word for "broth." You'll find that these two terms are really interchangeable. Stock is used in everything from soups to gravies to sauces to marinades. The simplest form of soup is merely stock with a little salt added.
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: 1 large pot, 8-qt. or more. (large pots are referred to as stockpots for a reason) 1 large spoon
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: at least 1 lb. any kind of meat, bones, scraps, and trimmings. See below for ingredients dependent on the kind of meat you have. water, enough to cover the meat 1 cp wine (use red for beef, veal, lamb, or pork, white for chicken, fish, or ham) 1 tsp per lb salt
OTHER INGREDIENTS: Depending on the kind of meat you use, other ingredients can be added to the stock. All these are general guidelines, you'll have to try it yourself to get the flavor balance you like. FOR CHICKEN: 1 large onion, coarsely chopped parsley with stems 3 stalks celery, cut into segments 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
FOR FISH: 2 large onions, coarsely chopped 5 stems parsley 1 small lemon or orange, quartered dill weed (optional) 1/2 tsp black pepper 1 tsp Louisiana hot sauce
FOR BEEF, VEAL, LAMB, or PORK (but not ham): 2 large onions, coarsely chopped 1/2 stalk celery, coarsely chopped 5 stems parsley 1 tsp crushed dried mint 1 whole cayenne pepper OR 1 tsp. ground cayenne 1 tbsp chopped garlic 1/4 tsp basil leaves 1 bay leaf (once the stock is done remove this leaf!)
FOR HAM: 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped 1 cp coarsely chopped celery 5 or 6 carrots, sliced 1 tbsp garlic, coarsely chopped 1 whole cayenne pepper OR 1/2 tsp. ground cayenne 2 whole cloves
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. If you're making beef stock from meat, brown the beef lightly first in the pot. Otherwise, just place the meat or bones into your pot. If you have a chicken, make sure you've removed and discarded the giblets and neck. (usually these are inside a little pouch in the cavity of the bird, if it came with giblets.) 2. Fill the pot with just enough water to cover the meat completely add the wine, cover, and bring it all to a boil. 3. Reduce heat to low, and add the rest. 4. Simmer, covered, for at least 3 hours, more if you can. You can't really overcook this stuff. The longer you cook the stock, the more concentrated it will become. If you're using bones, allow it to simmer for about 3-4 hours. As for stewing chickens, put it on for 2 hours per pound. 5. Once it's been boiled to death, take the meat or bones out of the pot (slowly - you don't want to burn yourself or spill the stock) and set it aside on a cutting board or plate or whatever. If you used a chicken, make sure that the cavity of the bird is emptied as well. Remove the stock from the heat, and place the pot in the fridge. 6. If you used soup bones, remove what meat may have been on the bones and discard the bones. If you used a chicken, remove the meat from the bones - this is a long and tedious process, so it'll be awhile. If you used boneless meat, you can cut the meat into pieces and use it in soups, stews, etc.,
(i): Beef soup bones make superb stock, because the marrow leaches out of the bones and dissolves into the water - the marrow is some of the most flavorful material. Best of all, soup bones are cheap (usually less than $2/lb.).
How To Cook a Steak from the choose-a-cow dept.
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: broiler pan, frying pan, or barbecue grill, depending on how you want to cook it, see below.
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: a steak of about 1/2" thickness (panfrying only), or 3/4-1" thick (for panfrying, broiling, or grilling) salt or meat tenderizer (not both!) if you bought a cheap or tough cut
INSTRUCTIONS FOR BROILING: 1. Set your steak out on a cutting board. If it's got fat around the edges, use a knife to cut diagonal slits in the fat layer on the meat at about 1-inch intervals. This will keep the meat from shrinking up on you. Make sure that when you do this, that you don't cut into the meat - only the fat. 2. If you have a tough cut of meat, like a blade, plate, or skirt steak, dust both sides with tenderizer liberally and pierce the meat with a fork all across the surface to push the tenderizer down into the meat. If you have to tenderize the meat, do not salt it before you cook it. Otherwise, sprinkle salt over both sides of the meat. 3. Set your oven to broil. Wait until the oven comes up to the highest temperature on the dial (check by using an oven thermometer or by turning the dial back to the highest gradation on your oven. When the "oven on" light goes out it's up to temperature). Place the meat on the broiler pan and put the pan in the oven, following the chart below. Make sure you turn the steak over on your broiler pan after about half the listed time has elapsed. To check a steak for doneness, cut a small slit in it at its center for boneless cuts, or in the center near the bone for bone-in cuts. Medium-rare is very pink and has a slightly brown edge. Medium is light pink in the center and is more brown toward the edges. Medium-well is mostly brown, and has a very dull pink center. Well-done is brown all the way through. Anything further is charcoal.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR GRILLING: 1. If you are using charcoal (recommended), arrange the briquettes in a pyramid shape. This particular shape allows air to circulate freely in and around the briquettes, and we all know that fire loves air. Either an electric coil starter or a liquid fire starter will help make starting the fire easier.
(X): BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL with liquid fire starter. You don't want to use too much, or your grill may go boom when you throw the match in. 2. The coals are ready when they're more than I covered in ash. If it's dark, look for an even red glow. If it's bright red, the fire's too hot, if there's no glow, it's too cool, and if you have a mix of red and black, it's uneven and will not cook food evenly. 3. Check the temperature of the coals by holding the palm of your hand near to the grill rack - if you can keep your hand there for two seconds, the temperature is high, three seconds is medium-high, four seconds is medium, and five seconds is low. 4. To cook the steaks, you want medium heat. This should take about 40 minutes with a charcoal grill or 10 minutes with a gas grill. 5. Score the edges of the fat as described in the Broiling instructions above. Salt or tenderize it as above. 6. Place the steak on the grill. Turn the steak and cook until it reaches the desired level of doneness. Check the steak using the same procedure as described in the Broiling instructions above.
Timetable for Broiling and Grilling BROILING: Porterhouse/T-bone: Cook 3-4 inches from heat, 10 mins for med. rare (MR), 15 for medium. Ribeye: Cook 2-4 inches from heat, 8 mins. for MR, 15 for Med. Sirloin: Cook 2-4 inches from heat, 10 mins. for MR, 21 for Med. Tenderloin: Cook 2-3 inches from heat, 10 mins. for MR, 15 mins. for Med.
GRILLING: Grill at the same distances for broiling. Porterhouse/T-Bone: 14 mins. for MR, 19 for Med. Ribeye: 7 mins. for MR, 12 for Med. Sirloin: 12 mins. for MR, 16 for Med. Tenderloin: 11 mins. for MR, 13 for med.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR PANFRYING: 1. If your steak doesn't have a whole lot of fat on it, coat your skillet with a little vegetable oil or a spritz of cooking spray. Or, use a nonstick skillet. 2. If the steak is more than 1/2 inch thick, use medium-low to medium heat. For steaks that are thinner, use medium-high. 3. Place the steak in the skillet. Do not add water or oil, and do not cover it. Cook according to the chart below. If the steak has a lot of fat on it it will render off into the pan - as it does, spoon the extra fat off into a bowl. For steaks thicker than 1/2 inch thick, turn them occasionally, for 1/2 inch or thinner steaks, turn once, until brown on both sides and until they reach the doneness desired. Check doneness using the guidelines in the Broiling section, above.
Timetable for Panfrying Porterhouse/T-Bone: Fry 1/2" thick steaks over medium heat 8-10 mins. Ribeye: Fry 1/2" thick steaks over medium-high heat 3-5 mins. Sirloin: Fry 3/4-1" thick steaks over medium-low to medium heat 10-12 mins. Tenderloin: Fry 3/4-1" thick steaks over medium heat 6-9 mins.
How to cook eggs (look below for the kind you want) from the which-came-first dept. (i): Eggshells are porous, which means that the eggs inside will absorb odors from the outside air. Keep your eggs in their carton, which protects the eggs from outside odors. Also, eggshell colors depend largely on the diet of the hen and have no effect on the flavor, nutritive value or way the egg cooks.
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: FOR COOKED EGGS: 1 saucepan, at least 3" deep
FOR FRIED OR SCRAMBLED EGGS: 1 skillet
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: FOR COOKED EGGS: water
FOR FRIED OR SCRAMBLED EGGS: margarine salt and pepper 1 tbsp milk or half & half for each egg (scrambled eggs only and only if you like them creamy)
INSTRUCTIONS FOR HARD-COOKED EGGS: 1. Place eggs in the saucepan. Add enough cold water so that its surface is at least one inch above the eggs. 2. Heat, uncovered, to boiling over high heat. 3. Remove from heat, allow to stand 18 minutes. 4. IMMEDIATELY pour off hot water, run cold water over the eggs to halt the cooking process. 5. Crack the shell on the countertop, then roll the egg between your hands to loosen the shell. Peel the shell away. If it's hard to peel off, run cold water over the egg while you peel it.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR SOFT-COOKED EGGS: 1. Cook as for hard cooked eggs, above, but after bringing to a boil, remove and let stand only 3 minutes. 2. Pour off hot water, run cold water over eggs to stop the cooking process. 3. Cut eggs lengthwise in half, scoop eggs from their shells.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR FRIED SUNNY-SIDE-UP EGGS: 1. Heat enough margarine or butter so that it forms a layer 1/8 inch deep in a heavy skillet over medium heat until it starts to sizzle. Break each egg into a small saucer, and ensure that no shell pieces are inside the egg. If there are, fish them out with a fork and discard. 2. Slip the eggs carefully into the skillet, and immediately roll the heat back to low. The eggs should continue to sizzle, if they stop, increase the heat a tad. 3. Cook, uncovered, 5 to 7 minutes, spooning the margarine over the eggs until the whites become firm, a film forms over the yolks and the yolks thicken.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR OVER-EASY EGGS: 1. Follow the directions for Sunny-Side-Up eggs as above, but after cooking 3 minutes, use a wide spatula to flip the eggs over carefully and cook another 1 to 2 minutes or until the yolks thicken.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR SCRAMBLED EGGS: 1. Beat eggs and milk together in a bowl until well mixed. Add salt and pepper, mix. Melt about 1 tbsp of margarine for every 3 eggs in a skillet until the margarine begins to sizzle. 2. Pour the mixture into the skillet. The bottom and sides will solidify quickly, as this happens, use a spatula to fold over the solid parts onto the liquid so that the liquid flows to the bottom so that it can cook. Avoid constant stirring, but continue to lift up the thicker portions so that the thin uncooked material can flow to the bottom and cook. 3. Cook about 3 to 4 minutes or until the eggs have thickened throughout but are still moist and creamy.
How to Cook Pork Chops from the oink-oink dept.
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: broiler pan, frying pan, or barbecue grill
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: pork chops, with or without bones
INSTRUCTIONS FOR BROILING OR GRILLING: 1. Set your oven's control to broil or preheat your grill. If you're grilling, heat the grill to medium heat, which will take about 40 minutes with a charcoal grill or 10 minutes for a gas grill. 2. For broiling, set the pork chops on your broiler pan and place them about 3 to 4 inches from the heat. If you're grilling, set them directly on the rack about 3 to 4 inches from the heat. 3. Broil or grill pork chops as directed below. Turn them once at about halfway through the listed time. 4. For loin or rib chops with bones in, broil 8 to 11 minutes, or grill 6 to 8 minutes for 3/4 inch chops. For 1 1/2 inch chops, broil 19 to 22 minutes, or grill 12 to 16 minutes. For boneless loin chops about 1 inch thick, broil 11 to 13 minutes, or grill 8 to 10 minutes. For blade chops (blade chops always have bones) that are about 3/4 inch thick, broil 13 to 15 minutes or grill 11 to 13 minutes. For 1 1/2 inch chops, broil 26 to 29 minutes or grill 19 to 22 minutes. Loin or rib chops should always be cooked to at least 160ûF. Blade chops should be cooked to at least 170ûF.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR PANFRYING: 1. If the chop doesn't have much fat on it, coat your pan with a little oil or cooking spray, or you can use a nonstick skillet. 2. Preheat the skillet over medium heat, 1 to 2 minutes. 3. Place the chop in the skillet for the time listed below. Turn the chops occasionally, and if the chop has a lot of fat on it, spoon some of it away as it renders off. Check doneness by cutting a small slit in the center of boneless cuts or near the bone with bone-in cuts. Medium pork is slightly pink in its center. Well-done pork has no pink in its center. 4. Cook bone-in or boneless rib or loin chops that are 1/2 inch thick for 7 to 8 minutes. For 1 inch thick bone-in chops, cook 12 to 14 minutes. Boneless loin chops that are 1 inch thick should be cooked for 10 to 12 minutes. Blade chops do not fry well, so you should probably grill or broil these.
How To Cook a Chicken Breast from the this-ain't-your-local-KFC dept.
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: broiler pan, frying pan, or barbecue grill
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: chicken breasts, bone in or boneless marinade of your choice (optional)
INSTRUCTIONS FOR BROILING AND GRILLING: 1. Try to choose whole breasts that weigh about 1/2 pound - you can cut these in half to make smaller 1/4 lb. patties. Trim the fat away from the breast halves, using kitchen shears or a knife. Beforehand, if you choose, you can marinate the chicken. To do this, place your chicken in a plastic bag large enough to accommodate everything. Pour enough marinade to thoroughly cover the meat into the bag, close tightly, and refrigerate for up to 2 hours. Halfway through this time, flip the bag over so that everything in the bag gets covered with the marinade. 2. If you're going to broil the chicken, move the rack so that the meat is from 4 to 6 inches from the element for boneless cuts, 7 to 9 inches for bone-in cuts. If you're going to grill, preheat the grill to medium heat, which should take about 40 minutes for a charcoal grill or 10 minutes for a gas grill. 3. Place the chicken on your broiler pan in the oven set to broil, or place it on the grill rack about 4 to 6 inches from the heat. 4. If you're broiling, cook boneless halves 15-20 minutes turning once, 25-35 minutes for bone-in cuts. 5. If you're grilling, cook 15-20 minutes for boneless halves, turning frequently, or 20-25 minutes for bone-in cuts. 6. Check doneness by cutting the center of the thickest piece of meat open. If its juices no longer run pink, the chicken's done. Another way to tell is by using a meat thermometer - cook chicken to 180ûF.
How To Make a Roux (pronounced "roo") from the roux-is-to-sauce-as-CPU-is-to-motherboard dept.
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: skillet or heavy pot
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: 1 part oil or shortening. This can be nearly anything, like bacon drippings, lard, olive oil, etc. 2 to 3 parts all-purpose flour, depending on how thick you want it. The more flour, the thicker the roux.
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Mix the flour and oil in your skillet or pot. 2. Cook on medium heat slowly as the roux changes from a cream color to a dark chocolate color. Once the roux makes it past a medium brown, you need to stir it constantly to keep it from burning. 3. If you burn the roux, toss it, clean the pot, and start over. 4. It will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour to get the roux to a very dark color, while it may take only 15 minutes or less to make a light roux. Dark roux is great for gumbos, while a light roux is perfect for many white sauces and milk-based soups. 5. Once your roux is as dark as you like it, you can add all sorts of other things to the roux, like onions, chopped vegetables, peppers, etc. Note that bell pepper and celery have a tendency to kill other flavors, so use sparingly. 6. Once the vegetables have cooked and the onions have turned clear, add things like chopped parsley and green onions. You can add freshly chopped garlic at this point too.
Variation: White Roux White roux is the base for many cream sauces and white sauces.
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: 1 part margarine, butter, or shortening 2-3 parts all-purpose flour stock or other flavorings, like fruit juices, milk, or cream
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Heat the shortening over medium heat. Add flour, stir to mix. 2. Cook, but do not allow it to get too brown. 3. Add the stock slowly to the mix, stirring all the while. Make sure that everything incorporates. 4. Bring the mixture to a boil, and stir until the mixture thickens. Season to taste.
InspectorPraline's Gastronomically Volatile Chili from the yummy-yummy-fire-in-your-tummy dept. Y I E L D: About 2-3 servings Cook Time: about 20 minutes
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: 1 2.5 qt saucepan w/lid 1 saute pan or skillet 1 spatula 1 strainer or colander
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: 1 1/2 lbs (680g) ground beef (sirloin works best) 2-3 tbsp chili mix (I use a brand called "Carroll Shelby's," that is a blend.) 4 8 oz cans tomato sauce 2 6 oz cans tomato paste 1 small whole yellow onion, finely chopped 2 tbsp olive oil or other cooking oil 2-3 tbsp creole seasoning (I like Tony Chachere's "More Spice" seasoning) 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, more if you like it hotter 1 clove fresh garlic 1/2 tsp oregano 1/2 tsp onion powder 1 green bell pepper, diced (optional) 1/2 cp shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Place ground beef in saucepan over medium heat. Break it up thoroughly until it forms a layer on the bottom of the pan. Cook, covered, until meat is browned throughout and no pink remains in meat. 2. While the meat's cooking, saute the onions and garlic over low heat, in the olive oil. Cook about five minutes or until the onions begin to turn clear. 3. Remove both meat and veggies from heat, drain away the grease on the meat. (Use the lid as a shield to stop the meat from falling down the drain if you don't have a strainer or colander.) 4. Turn heat down to low, put saucepan back on heat. Dump tomato sauce, tomato paste, and the chili seasoning into the pot. If you can't find chili seasoning that's fully blended, use about the same amount of chili powder combined with 1/2 tsp of cumin seed and 1 tsp of ground oregano. Stir vigorously until well blended. Mixture should look chunky. 5. Throw in sauteed onions and garlic, bell pepper, creole seasoning, cayenne, oregano, and onion powder until the mixture reaches desired spiciness. Taste frequently as you cook. 6. Let simmer, covered, 20 minutes. Remove from heat and enjoy.
Variation: Prepare as above, except add 1 small peeled potato, diced, and 1 12 oz. can of red kidney beans. Add about 1/4 cp of water, then let simmer 2 1/2 hours. Place in refrigerator and let it sit, covered, for 48 hours. Reheat and enjoy.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Callamon's Tuna Casserole from the yes-this-is-mom's-recipe dept.
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: 1 casserole dish
INGREDIENTS: 1 box Kraft Macaroni & Cheese 1 can Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup 1 can chunk light tuna, in spring water, drained 1/4 cp butter (more if you like it sweeter) 1/2 cp milk (more if you like it creamier) crushed potato chips (Ruffles work best)
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Preheat oven to 350ûF (175ûC). While you're waiting, boil and drain the noodles, but do not rinse them. 2. Mix in the cheese powder, milk, butter, tuna, and soup with the noodles and pour into a casserole dish. Make a layer over the top with the crushed potato chips. 3. Bake uncovered in the 350ûF (175ûC) oven 30-45 minutes.
Variation (submitted by Bobetov): 1 box Kraft Deluxe Mac & Cheese 1 can chunk light tuna 1 packet onion soup 1/2 bag frozen peas
Prepare Mac & Cheese according to box directions, but when adding cheese at final step, also add remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly, serve and eat.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ toqer's Chili Rellenos from the single-guy-food dept.
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: 1 frying pan 1 wire whisk
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: 2 tbsp all-purpose flour 1 egg white 1 can whole green chiles 1/2 lb (225g) cheddar cheese, colby cheese, or cheese of your choice, cut into sticks
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Mix flour and egg white to form a batter. 2. Open up the can of chiles, and use a knife to split one side of them open so you can pull the sides apart. Stuff a stick of cheese inside the chile. Reclose. 3. Dip the chiles in the batter, then fry in a pan until golden brown and the cheese is melted.
Tim's Beefy Beanee Weenee Microwave OK! provided by email@example.com from the so-simple-a-hot-dog-could-do-it dept. Cook Time: 5 minutes
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: 1 2.5 qt saucepan
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: 1 can Campbell's Condensed Beef Soup 1 can Pork & Beans 3 hot dogs, cut into segments hot sauce to taste
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. In the saucepan, combine all the ingredients. Do not add water to the condensed soup. 2. Heat in the pan over medium heat 5 minutes or until hot. 3. Remove from heat; enjoy.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ DrkShadow's Eggdrop Soup from the goes-good-with-laser-chicken dept.
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: 1 large (4-qt.) saucepan 2 small bowls
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: 2 eggs 2 chicken bouillon cubes 1 tbsp corn starch 3 cp water --OR-- enough water to fill a 9" diameter pan one inch full
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Fill pan with water as directed. Add the 2 bouillon cubes to the water, bring to a boil. 2. Crack open the two eggs into one of your bowls (make sure that no shell pieces get in it), and the cornstarch into another bowl. 3. Add a little bit of water to the corn starch and mix it until it looks milky. 4. Beat the eggs. The more you mix them, the smaller the "strings" of egg white will be. 5. Once the water is boiling and the bouillon cubes are dissolved, add the egg and corn starch at the same time to the water. Back the heat down to medium. 6. Stir constantly so you don't overcook the eggs. Make sure you don't splash the mixture! 7. Continue to stir over medium heat a few minutes. If it starts to froth up, lift the pot off the burner for a few seconds, and the froth will recede. 8. Once the eggs are done, remove from heat and add salt to taste.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Rev. Simon Rumble's Kangaroo w/Beetroot & Parsnip Crisps from the what-the-heck-did-I-get-myself-into dept. Y I E L D: 4 servings. (i): For our U.S. viewers, kangaroo isn't one of those meats you're likely to find in your average butcher shop. So, to help, www.exoticmeats.com is a shop in Seattle that will sell you kangaroo meat. For the folks in the UK, Hull Game (www.hullgame.co.uk) is a good supplier of kangaroo in the UK that's located in Lincolnshire.
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: 1 frying pan OR barbecue grill 1 medium saucepan 1 potato peeler
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: 4 (100g) 1/4 lb kangaroo sirloin steaks 1/2 cp beef stock 1/3 cp red wine 2 cp water 1/4 cp red wine vinegar 1 tsp garlic, crushed 2 medium beets 2 tbsp soft brown sugar 1 large parsnip vegetable oil for frying
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Bring the beetroots, vinegar, and sugar to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat; simmer 30 minutes. 2. Remove the beets, and separate about 100ml of the "stock." Keep the beets warm by setting an oven to its lowest temperature setting (175ûF or 80ûC will do; if your oven goes lower, set it to its lowest setting) 3. Peel the beets and julienne them. 4. Peel the parsnip. Using the potato peeler, slice off strips as if peeling a potato. This is going to become your garnish. 5. Heat the frying oil and fry the parsnip pieces until golden brown. (X): Be extremely careful with the hot oil! Oil will catch fire if it gets too hot. The oil is becoming too hot if you see it start to smoke and you don't have anything in it. If you have one, you might also use a candy thermometer to check the oil temperature. Don't let vegetable oil get too far above 400ûF (205ûC). 6. Heat the skillet or the barbecue up. Brush the roo steaks with olive oil. Sear the steaks on a medium-high heat until medium-rare, rare, or bleu for the blood-lovers :) (X): Kangaroo meat will turn to leather if you cook it any more than medium rare so you probably won't want your well-done friends around. 7. To serve, put the beets on the plate in an overlapping circular pattern. Place a roo steak in the center and pour over the sauce made from the beets. Scatter the parsnip crisps in a small pile on the top to create a little tower. 8. Serve with a green salad and mashed potatoes.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Rev. Simon Rumble's Chocolate Self-Saucing Pudding from the now-this-is-death-by-chocolate dept. Y I E L D: 5 servings.
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: 1 medium mixing bowl 1 casserole dish 1 spatula
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: 1 cp self-rising flour 2 tbsp cocoa powder (not hot chocolate - find this near the chocolate chips and baking chocolates.) 1/2 cp brown sugar (i): When measuring brown sugar, pack it down until the material fills the cup completely. 1/4 cp butter (this should be half a stick in the U.S.) 3/4 cp milk 2 tsp vanilla extract (try not to use the imitation vanilla)
For the topping: 1 tbsp cocoa powder 1 cp brown sugar 1 3/4 cp boiling water
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Place all the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and make a well in the middle. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until well combined. 2. Pour into a large, greased casserole dish. 3. Mix the extra cocoa powder and brown sugar together and sprinkle evenly over the pudding mixture. Pour boiling water over evenly and gently. 4. Bake at 180ûC (350ûF) 45 minutes. A sauce will form at the bottom of the pudding. 5. Serve hot, with cream or ice cream.
Variation: Add fresh or canned raspberries, blueberries, or other fruit to the pudding mixture before baking. For that extra chocolaty flavor, try adding chocolate morsels.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Jay's Un-Fancy Chili from the the low-heat dept. Y I E L D: 4 - 8 servings. Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: 1 large (5-qt) pot with lid colander wooden spoon for stirring measuring teaspoon and tablespoon
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: 1-1 1/2 lb hamburger meat (about 1/2-3/4 kg) 1 15 oz can tomato sauce 1 8 oz can tomato sauce 3 tbsp instant minced onions 2-3 tbsp chili powder 1 tsp salt 1 tbsp garlic powder 1 or 2 #300 (13.5 oz) cans chili beans, w/o sauce or with mild sauce
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Brown hamburger meat in pot on stove set to high heat, breaking it into small chunks. Drain fat. 2. Return the meat to the pot, add remainder of ingredients. Fill the larger tomato sauce can with water and add to the pot. Stir well. Reduce heat to medium and return the pot to the stove, cover. 3. Simmer, 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. If needed you can keep it warm by setting the range top to its lowest heat setting. 4. Crank up the spice by adding more chili powder, or add more volume by adding more beans if you desire.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Deque's 7-Layer Dip from the mexican-network-hub dept. Y I E L D: serves 5-10 folks at your LAN party
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: 1 9-10" pie plate
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: 1 16 oz. can refried beans (if you want it to be a vegan dish, use lard-free beans.) 1 pkt taco seasoning 1 12-16 oz. can guacamole 1 16 oz. tub sour cream 1 4 oz can chopped green chiles, drained 2 cp shredded cheddar cheese, more if desired 1 4 oz can sliced black olives, drained 1 med. tomato, chopped
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Spread all the above ingredients in layers in the order of the list above, inside a 9-10" pie plate. Toss into the fridge, let chill. Once cold, serve it up with your favorite chips and beverage.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Deque's Quick 'n Easy Chili con Queso Microwave OK from the serious-hacking-fuel dept. Y I E L D: 1 serving as a meal, 2 if it's a snack
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: 1 bowl, big enough to hold a can of chili with a little extra
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: 1 15oz can of your favorite chili 1 8oz package of shredded cheddar cheese
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Put the chili in the bowl and heat in the microwave according to package directions. 2. Remove from the microwave, and stir in about 1/2 the cheese. Microwave on HIGH again about 30 seconds. 3. Remove, add the remaining cheese, nuke again for 30 seconds. Remove, let it cool a bit, and enjoy!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ InspectorPraline's Cajun Cornish Hen from the worth-waiting-for dept. Y I E L D: Serves 1. For the lighter eater, this may make two meals. Cook Time: 1hr 20 mins (i): Cornish hens are smaller, single-serving hens that are perfect for a single-person dinner. Most cornish hens weigh anywhere from 18 to 24 ounces, and some come with giblets. Try to get the kind with the giblets removed for this recipe, as most people just throw the giblets away.
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: 1 small casserole dish, about 5" x 7" turkey baster cutting board
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: 1 rock cornish hen, giblets removed 2 tbsp cajun seasoning blend 1/3 cp butter or margarine salt and pepper to taste
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Provided you've thawed the chicken (if you haven't, place the bird in a cold-water bath for 2-3 hrs.): Preheat the oven to 350ûF (175ûC). Unwrap the bird and ensure that the bird's had all of the feathers removed. Occasionally you may find a feather or two still on the bird, just pluck them off with your fingers. Thoroughly rinse the bird under cold running water, and pat dry with paper towels. 2. Place the bird breast-side up on your cutting board. Pat the surface with the cajun seasoning, on both sides of the bird. Make sure all exposed skin is covered. Don't worry about the cavity of the bird. 3. Melt the 1/3 cup of butter. Place the bird in the casserole dish, and slowly pour the butter over the top of the bird. If the seasoning washes off into the butter, that's okay, just sprinkle a little extra over the uncovered parts of the bird. 4. Place the bird in the oven, uncovered. Bake at 350ûF for 1 hr 20 mins, using the turkey baster to baste the bird with the butter about every 10-15 minutes. The surface of the bird should be crisp when done. 5. Upon removing the bird from the oven, set the bird on a plate and let rest five minutes. Enjoy!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Masato's Lunar Rhubarb Cake provided by firstname.lastname@example.org from the what's-a-rhubarb dept. Y I E L D: 10-12 servings Prep time: 10 mins. Cook Time: 45 mins.
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: 2 medium mixing bowls 1 9x13 (22.5cm x 32.5 cm) cake pan wire whisk
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: For the cake batter: 1/2 cp (120mL) margarine 1 1/2 cp (340mL) sugar 1 egg 1 tsp vanilla extract 2 cp (455mL) all-purpose flour 1 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt 1 cp (240mL) buttermilk 2 1/4 cp (515mL) chopped rhubarb
For the topping: 1/4 cp (60mL) margarine 2 tsp cinnamon 1 cp (240mL) brown sugar
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Cream the margarine and sugar together in a bowl until smooth. 2. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. 3. In a second bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add this to the creamed mixture along with the buttermilk. 4. Take the rhubarb and chop it into about 1/2" pieces. Toss the pieces with 1 tbsp flour, then add into the batter mix. Pour the batter into a greased 9x13 pan, spreading evenly. 5. For the topping, blend together all the ingredients, and sprinkle evenly over the batter. 6. Take the whole mess and put in in a 350ûF (175ûC) oven 45 mins, or until the cake comes away from the edge of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Newtroot's Healthy Taco Soup from the this-ain't-your-Taco-Bell-dinner dept.
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: 1 large saucepan w/lid OR crockpot
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: 3 15 oz cans diced tomatoes 3 15 oz cans beans (any variety, author prefers black beans, kidney beans, and navy beans) 1 15 oz can kernel corn 2 cp water 1 pkg taco seasoning (2 if you want it extra spicy) 1 pkg dry ranch dressing or ranch dip mix (2 pkgs if you want extra flavor) 1 lb lean ground beef or ground turkey (optional)
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. If you're adding meat, cook it throughout and drain the fat. 2. Mix everything together (don't drain the cans) and heat thoroughly on a stove or in a crock pot. On the stove, heat it to a slow boil, reduce heat, and let cook at least 30 minutes, but not more than 3-4 hrs, or else the tomatoes break down too much and you'll lose the texture. If you cook in a crockpot, put it in on low for about 3 hours, or if you want it fast, cook it on high for 1 hour and then switch to low. The longer it cooks, the better it gets - and it tastes even better the second day. This stuff also freezes well - you can make up extra and freeze it for a quick snack - just toss it in the microwave!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Newtroot's Easy Healthy Fajitas from the heavily-tweakable-food dept.
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: 1 quart-sized Ziploc bag or equivalent 1 medium skillet
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast OR chicken tenders 2 green bell peppers (less if you want it sweeter) 1 red bell pepper (more if you want it sweeter) 1 yellow pepper (more if you want it sweeter) 1 med. yellow onion 1 cp fat-free Italian dressing enough tortillas to suit you
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Cut the chicken into thin strips. Place it into the ziploc bag and pour the italian dressing over the top of the chicken. Close the bag, and as you do, squeeze out as much air as you can without spilling dressing all over the place. Toss it in the fridge for 1-2 hours. Go code for a bit. Remember to turn the meat over in the fridge about halfway through the marinating time. 2. When the chicken is about finished marinating, cut the peppers and onions into strips, set these aside. 3. Take the chicken out of the fridge and dump the whole thing into a skillet and cook thoroughly. You should have plenty of liquid to cook with. If not, add a tiny amount of olive oil to the pan to help the chicken cook. Be careful when you do. 4. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside on a plate. Put the slices of pepper and onion right into the skillet and cook until they soften up. If you added oil during the previous step, do not do so here. 5. Warm the soft tortillas up in the microwave, and pile on the chicken, peppers, and onions. Add salsa or fat-free sour cream if you so desire.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Mike's Chocolate Cream w/Peanut Butter & Banana Pie from the works-well-at-bible-study dept. Y I E L D: Two pies, 16 slices total.
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: 2 pie tins (see the ingredient list below to see if you need these) 1 medium bowl 1 spatula
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: 2 graham cracker pie crusts (premade ones are okay, if you use these, omit the 2 pie tins above) 2 large packages chocolate pudding (should produce 2 1/2-3 cp per box) 5-6 cp milk (for the pudding) 4-6 bananas, peeled and sliced 2-3 cp creamy peanut butter 1 tub cool whip grated bar chocolate or chocolate sprinkles (for a garnish, optional)
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Make the crusts if you didn't buy premade ones. If you bought the premade kind, check the label - they should tell you how to crisp them up by baking them alone for a few moments. 2. Heat the peanut butter, about 40 seconds in the microwave. 3. Pour 1 to 1 1/2 cp of the peanut butter into each pie crust. Use the back of a spoon or spatula to spread it around and coat the inside of the pie crust (this includes the side walls). 4. Prepare 1 batch of pudding according to the package directions for pie filling. Pour about 1/3 of the pudding into the crust over the peanut butter. 5. Take one banana's worth of slices and distribute them evenly in a layer across the top of the pudding. 6. Add the second third of pudding, add another layer of banana slices, then dump the remainder of the pudding on top. 7. If you want, add another layer of bananas on top of the pie. Repeat steps 4-7 for the second pie. 8. Put the whole pie in the fridge and let the pudding set up. Should take only about 5-10 minutes. Serve with whipped cream on top, and grated chocolate shavings or sprinkles. (X): The graham cracker crusts and the aluminum pans don't have a whole lot of structural strength and if you don't handle them carefully the pie will fold up on you. The easiest way to do it is to use a plate to carry the pies around.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Steff's Gimlet from the five-drink-maximum dept. (i): Steff writes: "Include a credit to Raymond Chandler - I first saw the drink described in one of his novels."
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: 1 12 oz. glass
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: about 70 ml gin (author recommends Tanqueray and Bombay Sapphire brands) about 70 ml lime juice (use a little less if desired) ice to fill the glass 3/4 full 1 slice lime (optional)
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Place the ice in the glass. Add the gin and lime juice. Agitate gently to ensure that they mix, but be careful not to mix it too much so that the ice starts to dilute the drink. (X): The author suggests that you not drink any more than 5 of these in a 24-hour period. Really.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ John's Easy Boneless Hot Wings from the type-with-one-hand-eat-with-the-other dept.
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: 1 gallon-size ziploc bag 1 medium pot with lid 1 medium or large frying pan OR a deep-fryer
INGREDIENTS: 4 tbsp butter 1 16 oz (0.5L) bottle of cayenne pepper sauce (author recommends Frank's Red Hot Sauce) 1 1/2 lbs boneless chicken breasts 1/2 cp all-purpose flour
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Remove the chicken from its wrapping and cut the breasts into pieces about as big as chicken McNuggets. Remember to cut the tough piece of cartilage off the end of the breast (it's a big white hunk). 2. Pour the flour into the ziploc bag, and throw the chicken in with it. Close the bag and shake like crazy to thoroughly cover the chicken. 3. In the pot, pour the entire bottle of pepper sauce into the pot, and place the 1/2 stick of butter into the pot. Melt the butter over medium-low heat into the pepper sauce. Cover it and let it cook for a moment. Keep an eye on this, though: don't let it boil. Bubbling a little bit is ok, but if it begins to boil, lower the heat. 4. While the sauce is heating, take your frying pan and start to heat 1/2 cp vegetable oil in it over medium-high heat. If you're using a deep fryer, preheat the fryer to 350ûF (175ûC). 5. If you're frying in a pan, you can test the oil by sprinkling a tiny bit of flour into it. When it sizzles, it's hot enough. Open your bag of chicken and add the pieces of chicken one at a time into the oil until your frying pan or the fryer's basket is full. If frying in a pan, place the pieces about 1/2 inch apart, and flip the pieces over after about 5 minutes. If you're deep frying, this should take about 4H minutes. Make sure you shake the basket so that none of the chicken sticks together. 6. Once the chicken has browned, cut a piece open to ensure that it is done - you should see no pink in the meat - it should be white all the way through. 7. Once it's cooked, transfer it to the pot with the sauce in it for safe-keeping. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for any remaining chicken in the bag. You can use additional oil to replenish the frying pan if you need to. If you're using a deep fryer, do not add oil. As the chicken cooks, add it to the saucepan. 8. Once all the chicken is cooked, put the cover on the pan (it should now have all the chicken, the sauce, and butter in it). Hold the cover on tight, pull the pot from the heat, and, being careful not to burn yourself or spill it, shake the pot to coat the chicken. Serve with ranch or bleu cheese dressing and celery sticks.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Andy's Lazy Bachelor Vegetable Bean Soup from the just-as-fast-as-condensed-soup dept. Y I E L D: 2-3 servings.
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: 1 medium saucepan
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: 1 15 oz can beans (any variety) 1 16 oz jar salsa (any variety)
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. In the saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients, stir well. Heat for about 5-7 minutes, or until hot. Serve.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Ace's Cheap Buzz from the caffeine-in-sucrose-milk-solution-administered-intravenously-dept.
(editor's note): No, this not your average recipe - but what geek cookbook would be complete without a heavily caffeinated breakfast?
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: 1 bowl 1 spoon
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: 2-3 cp Cocoa Crispies 1 cp milk 1 can Pepsi, or your favorite caffeinated drink
INSTRUCTIONS (as if you need it): 1. Make the cereal like normal. Devour ravenously and quickly. 2. Down the Pepsi quickly. 3. Enjoy about 1 hr of caffeine buzz followed by 2 hrs of sugar high from the sugar plug you just took.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ James' Mexican Chicken Wraps from the girlfriend's-south-of-the-border-favorite dept. Y I E L D: 8-12 wraps depending on the size of tortilla you choose
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: 1 large skillet 1 1-qt measuring cup or medium mixing bowl
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips or cubes 2 cp water 1 cp salsa (any variety) 1 pkt taco seasoning (or 1/4 cp if you have to measure it) 2 cp instant white rice tortillas, any style
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. In the skillet, brown the chicken until cooked. 2. In the bowl or measuring cup, mix the water, salsa, and taco seasonings together. 3. Add the salsa mixture to the skillet; bring to a boil. 4. Stir in the rice, so that it covers the mixture. 5. Reduce heat; simmer 10 mins. or until the rice absorbs the liquid. 6. Spoon mixture over the tortillas. Add grated cheese, sour cream, or guacamole if desired. Enjoy!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ InspectorPraline's Easy Beef Vegetable Soup from the better-than-campbell's dept. Y I E L D: About 2-3 servings
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: 1 medium (2.5-qt) saucepan measuring spoons 1 1-cp measuring cup
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: 3 cp water 3 tsp beef bouillon 4 oz beef stew meat 1 8.25 oz can mixed vegetables 1 tbsp ketchup 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce 3 oz uncooked egg noodles OR alphabet noodles 1 tsp instant minced onions, reconstituted pinch garlic powder pinch basil leaves pinch cayenne pepper pinch parsley flakes
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. In the saucepan, bring the 3 cups of water to a rolling boil. Add the bouillon to the boiling water slowly, as it will foam up greatly when it is added to the water. 2. Back the heat down to medium, and add the noodles and beef. Let cook 3 minutes to soften the noodles. 3. Add the ketchup, tomato sauce, vegetables, and spices. Stir thoroughly to incorporate all of it. 4. Add 1/4 cp additional water, and continue to boil, covered, 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 5. Remove from heat and enjoy, or refrigerate 48 hours if you want the flavors to mingle further.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ TheBrez's Pico de Gallo from the mexican-network-hub-continued dept.
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED 1 mixing bowl 1 medium (about 9x12) cutting board 1 utility or chef's knife 1 paring knife 1 citrus juicer (if you don't have bottled juice, see below)
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: 2 large tomatoes 1/2 large onion 8-10 stalks fresh cilantro (i): Fresh cilantro can usually be found in the produce section of most supermarkets. juice of one lime OR one fresh lime 2 large jalape–o peppers
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Remove the cores from the tomatoes. Do this by taking your paring knife and slicing into the top of the tomato at an angle, and cut a divot out of the tomato. This removes the tough part of the tomato where it was connected to the vine. 2. Take the cilantro stalks and pull the leaves off. Set these on your cutting board with the tomato. Discard the stalks. Get your onion and peppers and put them on the cutting board as well. 3. If you have a fresh lime, take your citrus juicer and put a bowl underneath it, if it doesn't already have one. Cut the lime in half, and press each half of the lime over the top of the juicer. Discard the pieces. 4. Dice your tomato, onions, and peppers. Mince the cilantro leaves. If you have a food processor, you can use it to shred the leaves. 5. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mix well. Serve with nacho chips.
Kristin's Poor Man's Goulash from the el-cheapo dept. Y I E L D: 4 servings
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: 1 medium saucepan 1 medium skillet
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: 1 pkg (8 oz) medium or mild sausage 1/2 lb ground beef 1 10 oz. can tomato sauce 1 fresh diced tomato (if you prefer canned tomatoes, that's okay too) 1 diced onion 1 16 oz box pasta (ziti, penne, etc.) 2 tbsp olive oil To taste: oregano salt pepper garlic (fresh or powdered, note that powdered is significantly more potent) cheese of your choice
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Prepare pasta according to package directions. 2. While pasta is boiling, brown sausage, beef, onions, and garlic. Add salt & pepper to taste here. Drain fat. 3. Add tomato sauce, diced tomato, and oregano to mixture. Simmer while pasta cooks. 4. When pasta is done, drain, toss with olive oil & oregano. 5. Spoon the sausage mixture over the top of a bed of pasta for each serving.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ InspectorPraline's Creamed Chicken with Long Grain Rice from the talk-about-a-Sunday-dinner dept. Y I E L D: About 4 servings
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: 1 3 qt. covered sautŽ pan (i): Note that this is different from a regular sautŽ pan. A covered sautŽ pan has a flat bottom but does not have curved walls like a skillet. It's kind of like a stockpot that's had half its height taken away. (X): Make sure that the handle of the pan you use to do this with is a solid steel handle - plastic handles will melt in the oven!
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat 1 stick butter, or enough butter to fill your pan about 1/8" - 1/4" deep 1/3 cp chopped onions 1 small clove garlic, minced 3/4 cp chicken broth 1 pt. heavy whipping cream 1 1/2 tsp. salt 1/8 tsp. pepper 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 1 box Uncle Ben's Original Long Grain & Wild Rice
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Cut the two breasts each into two pieces. In the skillet, melt the butter, and brown the chicken thoroughly. Salt and pepper both sides as you fry them. 2. Preheat your oven to 325ûF (160ûC). 3. Just before the chicken gets really browned, toss in the chopped onions and the garlic. Continue to cook until the onion turns clear. Don't worry about getting the chicken cooked all the way through - that happens later. 4. Add the chicken broth (if you don't have any chicken broth, you can use a heaping tablespoon of bouillon and about 1/2 cp water), then the pint of cream, and the Worcestershire sauce. Stir the mixture until the liquid becomes uniform. 5. Place a lid on the pan and carefully place it in your 325ûF oven. Allow to cook for 1 hour. 6. About 20 minutes before the chicken is ready to come out of the oven, prepare the rice according to the box directions. It should take about 25 minutes to complete. 7. Remove the pan from the oven and place on a cool burner. Using a fork, pull the individual pieces of chicken out of the sauce and set on plates. 8. Take a large measuring cup or gravy boat and fill it with the sauce from the pan. (X): The pan will be EXTREMELY hot - be very careful! 9. Pull the rice off the burner. Serve one breast half with a healthy serving of rice for each person, and serve the sauce in a measuring cup or gravy boat. Pour a goodly amount of sauce over the chicken and rice.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Peter's South Indian Lamb Saag from the halfway-round-the-world dept. Y I E L D: Serves 2 to 3
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: wok or another deep frying pan wok spoon or metal ladle rice cooker, or a saucepan for the rice
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: 250g (1/2 lb) lamb meat, diced (you can substitute chicken if you so desire) 200g (7 oz) spinach, coarsely chopped (frozen, canned or fresh, doesn't matter) 200ml (6 3/4 oz) coconut milk 1 jar Korma paste (i): Korma paste should be available in most international grocery stores or in the ethnic section of some local groceries. salt and pepper peanut oil (if you can't get peanut oil, olive oil is OK) 1 bag boil-in-bag rice, or about 2 cp dry rice
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Begin to prepare rice according to box directions. Place a wok/skillet onto a hot burner (medium-high heat) or wok ring, and put a little oil into the pan and heat it until it begins to slowly evaporate. 2. Throw your lamb pieces into the wok, and agitate frequently to sear the lamb. 3. Add about 2-3 tbsp. of your Korma paste. Stir frequently, making sure that the lamb is evenly coated. 4. Add spinach, and stir until cooked and well integrated. 5. Add coconut milk. Back the heat off to about medium-low and simmer it for about 5 minutes or until the whole mixture thickens. 6. Add about a teaspoon of salt to the mix, then pepper to taste.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Gadgetman's Chicken-noodle soup provided by email@example.com from the resource-pipelined-to-reduce-cooking-time dept. Y I E L D: 4 servings.
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: 1 medium (4-qt) saucepan 1 large cutting board
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: 1 rotisserie cooked chicken (buy from your local supermarket) 2 pkgs ramen noodles, chicken flavor 2 large red bell peppers (also known as a capsicum)
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Place about 8 cp (about 1.9 L) water into a saucepan. Put this on the stove on high heat. 2. Wash the peppers, cut in halves. Cut into pieces. Place into the water. 3. Get the chicken, and cut enough meat off to fill 4 soup bowls about half full. 4. Place both cakes of ramen noodles in water, cook about 2 minutes. Put the seasoning packets into the water, and put in your chicken pieces. Give it about 30 sec - 1 minute for the chicken to warm up. Mix well. Portion out into 4 bowls and serve.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Jeff's "Peanut-butter Halitosis" sandwich from the Ripley's-believe-it-or-not dept.
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: knife a daring palate
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: 2 slices bread peanut butter (chunky or creamy, doesn't matter) red or Vidalia onion, enough make a layer on the bread garlic salt mouthwash (choose your favorite brand) ((i): No, he's not kidding.)
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Cover both slices of bread with a thick coating of peanut butter. 2. Place onions on the bread. 3. Sprinkle with garlic salt. 4. Devour the sandwich. 5. Gargle with mouthwash.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Red0x's Omelette Sandwich from the half-a-brain dept.
EQUIPMENT YOU NEED: spice grinder or mortar & pestle skillet toaster
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED: 3 eggs 2 oz sliced ham 2 oz deli style pastrami 1 hot link, cooked and cut into pieces handful shredded cheese, any style 1/2 tsp paprika 1/4 tsp coarse black pepper 1/4 tsp basil leaves 1/2 tsp cayenne 1/8 tsp salt or garlic salt 2 slices sourdough bread butter (for the bread, optional)
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Grind the paprika, black pepper, basil leaves, cayenne, and salt together in your grinder or mortar. 2. Cook the hot links, and cut into small pieces. 3. Start the omelette by first scrambling them as per the directions in "How to Cook Eggs" in Chapter 4. Pour them into the skillet and start cooking them.
4. Add the spices to the eggs as they cook, while they are still liquid. Fold the spices in. 5. As the eggs begin to stiffen, add the ham, pastrami, cheese, and hot links to the eggs and fold them into the mixture. Toast the two pieces of bread, and place the omelette between the bread and eat like a sandwich.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ SPICE GUIDE
The Kid In the Candy Store
Walking into a spice aisle can be a lot like being a kid in a candy store. You know you want something, but you don't have any earthly idea what it is. Here, I hope to give you a good idea of exactly what you would use, along with some of the more exotic things.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Allspice Allspice is, despite its name, really only a single berry. It is typically made from the extract of the bayberry tree, which grows on the island of Jamaica. Its flavor is where it inherits its name, with allspice taking on the flavors of cinnamon, cloves, and a touch of nutmeg. It has a sweet but heavy flavor to it, and is very popular because of this. Frequent uses include using the whole allspice in stocks, fruit pickles, and baking with wild game. Ground allspice is found in spice cakes, puddings, cookies, gravies, and is an absolute necessity in Caribbean jerk dishes.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Anise Anise is a frequent member in Mediterranean cooking, and is known for its powerful licorice-like flavor. In ancient times, the Romans used the spice as a digestive aid, ending their great feasts with cakes made with anise. Anise is popular in many cakes, breads, cookies, liquors, and candies.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Arrowroot Arrowroot is one of several spices that has a "true" and "less expensive" version - true arrowroot is known as maranatha root, a root that is cultivated on the small island of St. Vincent in the West Indies. Typical store-bought arrowroot is known as cassava root, which is a significantly less expensive version of a similar root, found in either Brazil or China. Arrowroot is common as a gravy or sauce thickener.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Asafoetida This particular spice is drawn from a particular species of giant fennel. Asafoetida is one of numerous "love it or hate it" spices, almost exclusively due to its exceedingly overwhelming stench before it is cooked. Once cooked however, the smell dies away and produces a rather pleasant onion/garlic flavor blend. Asafoetida is a very popular component in Indian cooking, and goes very well with vegetable dishes.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Basil Basil is an increasingly popular spice in America - primarily because basil combined with garlic and tomatoes form a trio that is unmatched. Sprinkle some basil leaves over tomato soup and you'll understand. When buying basil, you may find that some of it is sold as domestic and some sold as imported. Domestic is generally the better buy and is a bit stronger, but some like the flavor of imported basil better.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Balsamic Vinegar Balsamic vinegar is a specialty-use item. Most store-bought balsamics are really merely red wine vinegar with a little caramel added for color. Bottles of balsamic vinegar made this way tend to run about $4-6. True balsamic vinegar is something significantly rarer and is made in a very time-consuming process - balsamic vinegars are aged in barrels much like wines, and the best vinegars come out a minimum of 25 years later. Their consistency is much like molasses, being very thick and syrupy. They are slightly sweet, and often come in multiple grades. For example, Cavalli balsamics are graded Red, Silver, and Gold, with Red being aged 25 years, Silver being aged 50, and Gold being aged 75 years. They are extremely expensive, with the oldest bottles costing upwards of $200 for a 3H fl. oz. bottle. Some "young" balsamics are only aged a few years, and are significantly cheaper as a result.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Bay Leaves Again, this bay leaves are another spice that are available in two versions. California bay leaves tend to have a significantly more powerful flavor than their Turkish brethren, and are excellent in tomato dishes, stews, pickling mixtures, fish dishes and chowders, and tomato dishes. The ancient Greeks used to use bay to crown their victorious heroes. Bay adds a slight bitterness to the dish it is mixed with, and is an excellent addition to sauces and stocks. However, the plant is derived from the laurel plant, whose leaves are poisonous, so once you've cooked the flavor out of them, discard the leaves. The leaves themselves are mildly poisonous (can cause an upset stomach).
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Bouquet Garni Literally, this is French for bouquet for garnish, and can literally mean just about any group of fresh herbs tied together with string, cloaked in cheesecloth, and tossed into a boiling pot of water to act like a tea bag made of spices. However, bouquet garni tends to follow a pattern. A good pattern is basil, marjoram, rosemary, cloves, thyme, oregano, parsley, etc. Be creative. Just about any fresh herb works well in a bouquet garni.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Caraway Seeds Caraway seed is a tangy seed hailing from Holland, and is a member of the parsley family. Caraway is known for giving rye bread its distinctive bite, and is a popular addition to rolls, cakes, and cheeses. They are also good in cottage cheese, sauerkraut, and coleslaw. A variant, the black caraway seed, is sometimes known as charnushka.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Cardamom Cardamom is one of those spices where there doesn't seem to be a word in the English language that describes it. Yeah, you could be silly and say "cardamomy," but that would take all the fun out of it. Cardamom is very strong but delicate, sweet but powerful, and has a freshness about it that is indescribable. Popular uses include pickling spice mixtures, as a coffee flavoring, as a baking spice, and a savory spice for curry mixes. Other uses include poached fish, meat loaf, fish stews and sweet potatoes.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Celery Seed This spice is a popular one for use in pickling spice mixes, sauces, salads, salad dressings, coleslaw, potato salads, fish, and vegetables, and imparts a slight parsley-nutmeggy flavor to whatever it is added to. Also great sprinkled on cheese, crackers, or rolls.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Chervil Really a close relative of the parsley family, chervil is a somewhat sweeter version of the same herb. Chervil is a common component in fines herbes blends, and is also popular in soups, sauces, salads, and poultry and fish stuffings. However, unlike its more common cousin, chervil does not like heat and can not take long periods of being cooked.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Chili Powder Not to be confused with chili pepper, chili powders typically are made of ground chiles, cumin, garlic, oregano, and other spices. Level of heat depends on where you buy it.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Chile Peppers There are so many varieties of chile pepper that it would take another book to describe them all. However, in a nutshell, the most popular variety of chile pepper is the cayenne, which is a slim red colored pepper named after an area of South America known for its unbelievably hot peppers. Cayennes are quite hot (about 40,000 scovilles), but a fair number of people can stomach the punch this spice packs. The second most popular variety of pepper is the jalape–o, which at only about 20,000 scovilles, is pretty mild form of pepper, and most everyone enjoys the zip that the jalape–o brings. For those with asbestos lining their mouths, the haba–ero is the hottest legally available natural pepper in the United States. Also known as scotch bonnets or Jamaican hot peppers, these little fireballs pack anywhere from 200,000 to 300,000 scovilles inside them - and if you can get past the heat, you'll notice a fruity flavor to them. Another popular variety of chile is the chipotle, which is essentially a jalape–o that's been roasted over a fire. These particular peppers add a nice smokiness to their dishes, in addition to the heat.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Chives Chives are a member of the wild onion family and tend to grow rather freely during warm Midwestern summers. When you can smell onion in the air and you're driving by a big grass field, chances are, there's chives in that field. Chives are a true multipurpose spice; they can be used on everything from potatoes to soup to fish to cheese.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Cilantro Cilantro is one of three things: Chinese parsley, the Mexican version of coriander, or cilantro. These three terms all point to the same spice. Cilantro often "grows up" to be coriander, but they don't have quite the same flavors. Its flavor is distinctive, and is a taste where you either love it or hate it. Its flavor is quite popular in Mexican, Chinese, Indian, Egyptian, and Mediterranean cooking.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Cinnamon Cinnamon is a spice which has come into such common use, it goes into nearly everything nowadays. Virtually all the cinnamon sold in the U.S. is known as cassia bark, which has a spicier flavor than cinnamon taken from the island of Ceylon. Ceylon cinnamon has a much more delicate flavor. Cinnamon is popular for everything from pickling spice mixes to puddings to coffee, tea, and wine, to pastries, and even toast. And of course, what apple pie would be complete without cinnamon?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Cloves Cloves come from one of two places - the island of Zanzibar, or the island of Ceylon. Zanzibar cloves are a little less oil in them than the Ceylon cloves do, Cloves are perfect seasonings for hams, pickled fruits, spicy syrups, and meat gravies. Ground, they work in baked goods, chocolate pudding, stews, and vegetables.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Coriander Seed Coriander seed is what the cilantro leaf grows from, and the seed's sweet odor with a hint of lemon is one of the most essential flavors in any Mexican, Middle Eastern, or Indian dish.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Cream of Tartar Many people have this in their spice racks and have no idea what it does. Cream of tartar is derived from the crust of wine casks, which is where the tartaric acid in the grapes has precipitated out. Cream of tartar also makes good baking powder: combine 1/4 tsp. baking soda and 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar. It also helps maintain the fluffiness of meringues (whipped egg whites) and is a good copper cleaner.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Cumin Seed Also known as comino, cumin seed has its origin in Indian and Arabic cultures. Its flavor is crucial in Indian curries, and its earthy flavor lends itself well to homemade chili dishes. Mexican cultures also use cumin seed heavily, with nearly every meat dish having a dose of cumin seed in it. Swiss and Dutch countries use cumin in cheeses, and some European countries use it to flavor their breads. It's also a popular ingredient in things like deviled eggs, meat loaf. and some soups.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Creole Seasoning Creole seasoning is something that is quickly gaining popularity, due in no small part to Emeril Lagasse's "kicked-up" style of cooking. Many brands of Creole seasoning are used like salt - when it's salty enough, it's seasoned properly. Most Creole seasonings start with a blend of salt, garlic, onion, black and red pepper, oregano, and thyme, and it's all to taste from there. Creole seasoning is one of those "good on everything" spices that just seems to work well on everything.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Curry Powder Curry powders are frequently found in two varieties: hot and hotter. The lower-heat version is sometimes known as "sweet" curry, and is also called a "Western" or "Occidental" blend of curry. All curries are known for the wide palate of flavors they give, and some are made with as many as 20 spices. They're great for salt-free cooking too, and add a great depth of flavors to whatever it's combined with. Some of the best curries can be found in international groceries or groceries that specialize in ethnic foods.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Dill Seed or Dill Weed Dill is where hamburger pickle slices get their tangy zip. Their mildly pungent flavor adds a wonderful complexity to breads, soups, vegetables, and sauerkraut. German pork roasts use about 1 tsp. of dill seed per pound of meat for their characteristic flavor.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Epazote Epazote is a popular Mexican herb - it is frequently found in bean dishes, Mexican soup dishes, and molŽs. Epazote pairs well with other herbs, like cilantro and parsley.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Fennel Seed Fennel seed has a very long history, and was believed by ancient cultures to be one of 9 "sacred" herbs. The Chinese and Hindus used it to cure snake bites, and medieval cultures hung it over doorways to ward off evil spirits. Fennel's flavor is similar to anise, but more delicate, light, and sweet. It is used frequently in breads, rolls, and pastries, and is great for sweet pickles, and works well with tomato dishes, and even in curing brines for salmon or bluefish. Fennel is also a requirement for Italian sausages.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Fenugreek Fenugreek is another one of the ancient spices thought to have additional properties. Fenugreek was also a part of the ancient Egyptian embalming rituals. It is not typically found in homes, but it is a crucial component in curries and chutneys.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Fines Herbes Fines Herbes is a common blend of a few basic herbs. One combination is chervil, parsley, thyme, and tarragon. The flavor is light, and works well in place of parsley in dishes. Its delicate flavor won't overwhelm, either.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ FilŽ FilŽ is an important component in Creole cookery, and is typically made from powdered sassafras leaves. Many Creole seasoning blends have some of this in it, and its biggest use is in gumbos. FilŽ has a sweet, fruity scent to it, and has a most unusual flavor. It also acts as a thickener when added to liquid.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Garlic Garlic is one of those spices which everybody uses. Other than its almost universal use in cooking, garlic was used as a ward against evil spirits, and of course, everyone knows that vampires hate garlic. Garlic's pungent flavor is found in everything from soups to pastas to meat dishes, and is one of only a few truly "universal" spices. Garlic powder is a convenient form of the spice, and powdered garlic is also available as "high bulk index" garlic, which is ideal for quick-cook recipes. Garlic is also sold in "fresh minced" form, where it is bottled with some water and vacuum-sealed, in an instant minced form, and as a juice - where the flavor of garlic is desired but the texture is not.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Ginger Ginger is a spice that is one of the oldest spices in existence - it has been catalogged in manuals of science and medicine as far back as the 5th century BC. Even the Koran mentions ginger in its pages as the basis of a drink which is shared amongst those in Paradise. Hindu cultures viewed ginger as a medicinal aid, and Middle Eastern cultures used ginger in nearly everything. For the Chinese, ginger has a long history, in part because of its medicinal uses and also because of the spiritual part ginger played in early religious ceremonies. Ginger's major uses include pickling mixtures, cookies, spicecakes, and meat and poultry dishes.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Horseradish Horseradish is an excellent flavor, and is known for its exceedingly powerful heat. Horseradish is sold several ways. Prepared horseradish typically is a paste or spread, and is made with only a small amount of ground horseradish to keep the heat down. Raw horseradish can be a bit difficult to find, and is sold packed in either a vinegar brine or water-based brine.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Lemon Grass Lemon Grass is a spice that is coming into more popularity as Asian and Thai foods gain popularity here in America. It is so named because of its lemony flavor, and adds a wonderful citrus scent to everything. Thai cultures use lemon grass as Western cultures do parsley, and it is seen in nearly every kind of soup in Thailand. Unless you have ethnic Asian groceries in your hometown or you live in China or Thailand, fresh lemon grass may be hard to come by, so dried lemon grass will work well.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Mace Mace is made from the dried lacy-looking shell around the seed of a nutmeg tree. Initially a bright scarlet color, when it is dried, it fades to a light brown. Mace is a good addition to fish and meat stuffings, peach and cherry pies, fruitcakes, oyster stew, creamed eggs, whipped cream, and even barbecue sauces. Interestingly enough, most American hot dogs contain ground mace. Its flavor is similar to nutmeg, but lighter, and can be substituted for nutmeg in most recipes. This substitution also goes the other way.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Mahleb Mahleb is one of the more exotic spices in our list. Greek in nature, it is made from the pits of sour cherries and is a frequent ingredient in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes. Its common uses include breads, cakes, and pastries. The best way to buy this particular spice is whole, then grind it up as you need it. Its flavor is nutty but somewhat bitter.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Marjoram Marjoram is loosely related to oregano, and in Italy, is frequently used where Americans might use oregano, with the exception of pizzas. England's kings ordered fresh herbs to be scattered about to help prevent the clothing of noble guests from being dirtied, and marjoram's highly aromatic qualities led King James II of England to have eighteen bushels of the leafy herb to be strewn about before his coronation! Marjoram's uses include meat dishes such as lamb, mutton, sausages, meat loaf, and many processed meats, such as liverwurst, Polish sausage, head cheese, and bologna. Marjoram is also a great herb when used in stuffings for turkey and chicken. Marjoram is also delicate - it is recommended that it be added to the mixture during the last half of cooking to help preserve its flavor.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Mint Mint is an extremely popular flavor, but the only kinds of mint that we use frequently are spearmint and peppermint. Most mint is used fresh, but you can sometimes get it dried. When I was a lot younger my uncle had a mint patch out behind his house and we'd pick a few mint leaves and suck on them for a few hours. Peppermint leaves can be made into tea, and it can be used to flavor sweets, candies, or liquors. Spearmint is the mint flavor most frequently found in cooking, and is the version of mint used in mint jellies that are served with roast lamb. Mint only really combines well with lamb or duck in terms of meats, but it goes well with fruits and most vegetables, too.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Monosodium Glutamate Monosodium glutamate is by itself flavorless - but it is known for being able to boost the intensity of flavors that it is added to. It has had some bad press because of allergic reactions, but is otherwise a very useful additive. Be sure you know if you're allergic to it or not.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Mustard Mustard is typically available in three varieties: whole, ground, and prepared. Whole mustard is the entire seed, and there are three varieties: yellow, Oriental, and brown. Yellow mustard seeds are the most common variety, and are frequently used in pickling spice mixes, potato salad, and cabbage dishes. Oriental seeds add a pungent, hot flavor to dishes, and the brown (sometimes called black mustard) seeds are also hotter than their yellow brethren, and are frequent members in Italian cooking. Ground is essentially the same stuff, but brown mustard is not typically found ground. What is frequently found in stores is the yellow powder, oriental powder, and a blend, like Coleman's English mustard.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Nutmeg The scent of nutmeg often brings out memories of sitting at home during the Christmas season with a cup of eggnog with a light sprinkle of nutmeg over the top, by a warm fire. Nutmeg does have other uses, though. Ground nutmeg is really quite strong, and is used sparingly - but its list of uses is immense. Nutmeg goes extremely well with vegetable recipes, just about anything that's baked, and in cream soups. It's also a popular flavoring for pork or bratwurst sausages.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Onion Onions are about as common as it gets. They're exceedingly inexpensive, and add a ton of flavor. Onions are available in several forms - the most common of which is the yellow onion. Yellow onions are slightly sweet, and have a light yellowish covering on them. Red onions are a little more tart, and have the characteristic purplish covering. White onions are smaller than yellow onions, but are otherwise not much different. Scallions and green onions are essentially the same thing, and have a very mild onion flavor. Shallots are miniature white onions, and have a flavor that lies in between the yellow onion and the scallions.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Orange Peel Orange peel is the same thing as the zest of an orange, without the pith (the white covering around the flesh of an orange). Usually, this is added to give a citrus flavor to a dish, and is quickly becoming very popular. Orange peel is a frequent ingredient in marinades, and it has also been an ingredient in one of the most popular steak sauces around, A.1.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Oregano Oregano is yet another staple spice. Available in two varieties, Mediterranean and Mexican, each having a distinctly different flavor. Mediterranean oregano has a milder flavor which is the typical flavor included in Italian dishes. Mexican oregano has more bite and is earthier, and it blends well with spicy, south-of-the-border style dishes. The ground or dried leaves versions go well with just about anything that has tomato in it, and fresh leaves work well in vegetable dishes and salads.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Paprika Paprika is a spice which carries some confusion with it. Paprika is really a ground pepper, and it is available in two varieties - sweet, and hot. It is frequently used as a garnish with deviled eggs, potato or pasta salads, baked chickens and fish, It's a good addition to colorless foods, and the hot variety will add a great little punch to foods.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Parsley Parsley is another dual-purpose spice: a garnish, and a flavoring. Parsley's sweet flavor is a great addition to chicken dishes, and powdered soups frequently have dried parsley in the spice packet. Parsley's deep green color also adds a lovely color contrast to dishes as well, hence its use as a garnish.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Peppercorns The most common variety of peppercorn is the black peppercorn, taken from the Malabar coast of India. These peppercorns are picked from their plants just before the peppercorns turn red, and as they dry, the berries turn black. The best pepper is ground fresh from the corn as you need it. Black pepper is so popular, it has actually been nicknamed "The Master Spice." Whole peppercorns are also popular in meats, sauces, gravies, and other dishes.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Poppy Seed These tiny seeds hail from the shores of Holland, Poland, The Netherlands, and Turkey, and have a delightful nutty flavor. Poppy seeds are great as a topping on breads and pastries, and the spice works well as addition to noodles and salad greens.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Rosemary Rosemary is steeped in legend as the symbol of marital fidelity and remembrance - an old customwas for bridesmaids to present the groom with a bunch of aromatic rosemary leaves on the morning of his wedding so he would remember to be faithful. Rosemary is a popular spice in lamb and chicken dishes, as well as tomato dishes. The spice is available as whole needles, cracked needles, and ground.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Saffron Saffron has the distinction of being oldest and the most expensive spice in the world - fortunately, you only need a few threads to bring the healthy flavor and distinctive yellow color to dishes. Saffron is believed to have been harvested as early as 1700 BC! Made from the dried stigma of a plant in the crocus family, true saffron costs so much because of the intensive labor required to harvest it. It takes about one acre of land and over 75,000 flowers to harvest one pound of saffron - and what's worse, the flowers must be picked during a one-week window where the flowers bloom. Saffron threads range in color from a deep yellow to a bright rust-red, with the redder the threads, the more intense the flavor. Saffron is imported from Spain and costs over $1,100 a pound if you really felt the need to buy that much. One gram of saffron is much more economical, costing about $7-15, and has several hundred threads in a package. Try to avoid supermarket saffron if you can because it is usually marked up several times over. For example, I saw a jar of saffron selling for $15 that only had about 20 or 30 threads in the little vial inside the jar. Saffron is perfect for chicken soups, rice dishes, and even saffron breads.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Sage Sage is yet another spice steeped in history. Sage's medicinal qualities are well-known, believed to counteract the indigestion caused by such foods as sausage or fowl dressing. The flavor is pungent and just a little bitter, and its popular uses pork and poultry, and is a great spice for sausages.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Savory Savory comes in two varieties, summer and winter. Summer savory has a sweeter flavor than the winter savory, it is similar to thyme with a peppery touch. Savory is a good substitute for sage in poultry stuffing and sausages. It is imported from France and Spain.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Tarragon Tarragon has an elusive flavor, and is a spice of relatively recent origin. It came into heavy use in the 17th century in France, and it is commonly found in many French sauces. It is a good addition to herbal butters, chicken, rabbit, or veal dishes.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Thyme Thyme is an herb with a long history - long thought to be aphrodisiac in quality, hosts would cover their palaces with enough thyme so that the aromatic herb would be smelled by the ladies. Thyme was also thought to enchant faeries, and is an ingredient in a concoction thought to give humans the ability to see them. Thyme works well in any heavy dish, like soups, stews, chowders, stuffing, gumbos, and roast chicken or pork. It is also an essential ingredient in the bouquet garni, and is a good general-use spice.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Turmeric Turmeric is an ingredient essential in curry powders, and is what gives it its characteristic yellow color. In ancient times, the highly expensive saffron stigma was used as a yellow dye for clothing. It was later discovered that turmeric gave the clothing the same brilliant color and saffron was quickly placed aside for special culinary dishes. Turmeric's flavor has a light, almost musky flavor, and is an ingredient in prepared mustards and pickling mixes.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Vanilla Vanilla is available in two forms, as a bean, and as an extract. Vanilla extract is what most people are familiar with, as it is a crucial ingredient in cookies. Vanilla extract is where many cakes and pastries get their breadth of flavor. Vanilla beans on the other hand, need to be cut open to get the flavorful seeds out. Single beans can get quite expensive, being as much as $4 for a single bean.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Wasabi Wasabi is a strain of horseradish found only in Japan - the powder has a sharp flavor and is hotter than traditional white horseradish. Wasabi provides an herbal heat rather than the powerful punch packed by chiles. Wasabi powder can also be turned into mustard - mix equal parts powder and water.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ GNU Free Documentation License
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