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The Open Source Cookbook:
Fuel For Geeks

Version 0.2 - Unfinished. See the note in the 
"Acknowledgements" section for the revision history. 

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


Acknowledgements and History 


Stuff You Probably Should Have 

Pantry Check

Techniques and Terms in Common Use 

The Basics 


Spice Guide 

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 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
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. 

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.
* 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. 

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 (, 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

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
* 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
* 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
(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
* 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.
* Saut. 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. 


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. 

1 large pot, 8-qt. or more. (large pots are referred to as stockpots for a
1 large spoon

at least 1 lb. any kind of meat, bones, scraps, and trimmings. See
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

Depending on the kind of meat you use, other ingredients can be added to the
All these are general guidelines, you'll have to try it yourself to get the
flavor balance you like. 
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
parsley with stems
3 stalks celery, cut into segments
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

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!)

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

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
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.

broiler pan, frying pan, or barbecue grill, depending on how you want to
cook it, see below.

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

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.

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
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.

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.

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
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. 

1 saucepan, at least 3" deep

1 skillet


salt and pepper
1 tbsp milk or half & half for each egg (scrambled eggs only and only if
you like them creamy)

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

broiler pan, frying pan, or barbecue grill

pork chops, with or without bones

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 160F. Blade chops
should be cooked to at least 170F. 

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
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.

broiler pan, frying pan, or barbecue grill

chicken breasts, bone in or boneless
marinade of your choice (optional)

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 180F. 

How To Make a Roux (pronounced "roo")
from the roux-is-to-sauce-as-CPU-is-to-motherboard dept.

skillet or heavy pot

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.

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
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.

1 part margarine, butter, or shortening
2-3 parts all-purpose flour
stock or other flavorings, like fruit juices, milk, or cream

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


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

1 2.5 qt saucepan w/lid
1 saute pan or skillet
1 spatula
1 strainer or colander

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)

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.

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.

1 casserole dish

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)

1. Preheat oven to 350F (175C). 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
3. Bake uncovered in the 350F (175C) 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.

1 frying pan
1 wire whisk

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

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.
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
from the so-simple-a-hot-dog-could-do-it dept.
Cook Time: 5 minutes

1 2.5 qt saucepan

1 can Campbell's Condensed Beef Soup
1 can Pork & Beans
3 hot dogs, cut into segments
hot sauce to taste

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. 

1 large (4-qt.) saucepan
2 small bowls

2 eggs
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 tbsp corn starch
3 cp water
enough water to fill a 9" diameter pan one inch full

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
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, is a shop
in Seattle that will sell you kangaroo meat. For the folks in the UK, Hull
Game ( is a good supplier of kangaroo in the UK that's
located in Lincolnshire.

1 frying pan OR barbecue grill
1 medium saucepan
1 potato peeler

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

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 (175F or 80C 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 400F
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
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.

1 medium mixing bowl
1 casserole dish
1 spatula

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

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 180C (350F) 45 minutes. A sauce will form at the bottom of the
5. Serve hot, with cream or ice cream.

Add fresh or canned raspberries, blueberries, or other fruit to the pudding
mixture before baking. For that extra chocolaty flavor, try adding chocolate

Jay's Un-Fancy Chili
from the the low-heat dept.
Y I E L D: 4 - 8 servings.
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes

1 large (5-qt) pot with lid
wooden spoon for stirring
measuring teaspoon and tablespoon

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

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

1 9-10" pie plate

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

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

1 bowl, big enough to hold a can of chili with a little extra

1 15oz can of your favorite chili
1 8oz package of shredded cheddar cheese

1. Put the chili in the bowl and heat in the microwave according to package
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. 

1 small casserole dish, about 5" x 7" 
turkey baster
cutting board

1 rock cornish hen, giblets removed
2 tbsp cajun seasoning blend
1/3 cp butter or margarine
salt and pepper to taste

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 350F (175C). 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 350F 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
from the what's-a-rhubarb dept.
Y I E L D: 10-12 servings
Prep time: 10 mins.
Cook Time: 45 mins.

2 medium mixing bowls
1 9x13 (22.5cm x 32.5 cm) cake pan
wire whisk

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

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 350F (175C) 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.

1 large saucepan w/lid OR crockpot

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
1 lb lean ground beef or ground turkey (optional)

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

Newtroot's Easy Healthy Fajitas
from the heavily-tweakable-food dept.

1 quart-sized Ziploc bag or equivalent
1 medium skillet

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

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.

2 pie tins (see the ingredient list below to see if you need these)
1 medium bowl
1 spatula

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)

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

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."

1 12 oz. glass

about 70 ml gin (author recommends Tanqueray and Bombay Sapphire
about 70 ml lime juice (use a little less if desired)
ice to fill the glass 3/4 full
1 slice lime (optional)

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.

1 gallon-size ziploc bag
1 medium pot with lid
1 medium or large frying pan OR a deep-fryer

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

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 350F (175C). 
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
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.

1 medium saucepan

1 15 oz can beans (any variety)
1 16 oz jar salsa (any variety)

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? 

1 bowl
1 spoon

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

1 large skillet
1 1-qt measuring cup or medium mixing bowl

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

grated cheese
sour cream

1. In the skillet, brown the chicken until cooked.
2. In the bowl or measuring cup, mix the water, salsa, and taco seasonings
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

1 medium (2.5-qt) saucepan
measuring spoons
1 1-cp measuring cup

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

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.

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)

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
juice of one lime OR one fresh lime
2 large jalapeo peppers

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

1 medium saucepan
1 medium skillet

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:
garlic (fresh or powdered, note that powdered is significantly more
cheese of your choice

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
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

1 3 qt. covered saut pan
(i): Note that this is different from a regular saut pan. A covered saut 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!

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

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 325F (160C).
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
5. Place a lid on the pan and carefully place it in your 325F 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

wok or another deep frying pan
wok spoon or metal ladle
rice cooker, or a saucepan for the rice

250g (1/2 lb) lamb meat, diced (you can substitute chicken if you so
200g (7 oz) spinach, coarsely chopped (frozen, canned or fresh, doesn't
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 
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

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
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
from the resource-pipelined-to-reduce-cooking-time dept.
Y I E L D: 4 servings.

1 medium (4-qt) saucepan
1 large cutting board

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)

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
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.

a daring palate

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.)

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.

spice grinder or mortar & pestle

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)

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.


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 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 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 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.

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 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 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. 

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
jalapeo, which at only about 20,000 scovilles, is pretty mild form of pepper,
and most everyone enjoys the zip that the jalapeo brings. For those with
asbestos lining their mouths, the habaero 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 jalapeo that's been roasted over a fire. These particular
peppers add a nice smokiness to their dishes, in addition to the heat. 

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 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 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 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

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 is a popular Mexican herb - it is frequently found in bean dishes,
Mexican soup dishes, and mols. 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 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. 

Fil 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. Fil has a sweet, fruity scent to it,
and has a most unusual flavor. It also acts as a thickener when added to

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

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

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 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 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 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

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 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 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

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 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 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 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 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

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 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.

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Copyright (c) YEAR YOUR NAME.
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 LIST THEIR TITLES, with the
Front-Cover Texts being LIST, and with the Back-Cover Texts being LIST.
A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU
Free Documentation License".

If you have no Invariant Sections, write "with no Invariant Sections"
instead of saying which ones are invariant. If you have no
Front-Cover Texts, write "no Front-Cover Texts" instead of
"Front-Cover Texts being LIST"; likewise for Back-Cover Texts.

If your document contains nontrivial examples of program code, we
recommend releasing these examples in parallel under your choice of
free software license, such as the GNU General Public License,
to permit their use in free software.

END (Text version 0.2)