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BS: Recipes - what are we eating?

Stilly River Sage 21 Jul 19 - 03:03 PM
Steve Shaw 21 Jul 19 - 02:58 PM
Steve Shaw 21 Jul 19 - 02:25 PM
Thompson 21 Jul 19 - 02:24 PM
Thompson 21 Jul 19 - 02:22 PM
Bonzo3legs 21 Jul 19 - 12:42 PM
Steve Shaw 21 Jul 19 - 12:06 PM
Jon Freeman 21 Jul 19 - 11:22 AM
Stilly River Sage 21 Jul 19 - 11:16 AM
Steve Shaw 21 Jul 19 - 05:44 AM
Thompson 21 Jul 19 - 02:30 AM
Bonzo3legs 20 Jul 19 - 12:36 PM
Stilly River Sage 20 Jul 19 - 09:47 AM
leeneia 19 Jul 19 - 12:22 PM
Mrrzy 18 Jul 19 - 06:23 PM
Stilly River Sage 18 Jul 19 - 04:30 PM
Charmion 18 Jul 19 - 01:32 PM
Stilly River Sage 18 Jul 19 - 11:02 AM
Stilly River Sage 17 Jul 19 - 02:08 PM
Mrrzy 16 Jul 19 - 03:17 PM
Stilly River Sage 16 Jul 19 - 11:17 AM
Jon Freeman 16 Jul 19 - 11:08 AM
Mrrzy 16 Jul 19 - 10:53 AM
Charmion 16 Jul 19 - 10:33 AM
Stilly River Sage 15 Jul 19 - 09:40 PM
Charmion 13 Jul 19 - 01:56 PM
Steve Shaw 13 Jul 19 - 12:44 PM
leeneia 12 Jul 19 - 02:24 PM
Stilly River Sage 12 Jul 19 - 10:55 AM
Dave Hanson 12 Jul 19 - 10:12 AM
Charmion 12 Jul 19 - 10:03 AM
Mrrzy 12 Jul 19 - 09:03 AM
Charmion 12 Jul 19 - 07:59 AM
Big Al Whittle 10 Jul 19 - 02:31 AM
Steve Shaw 09 Jul 19 - 06:41 PM
Mrrzy 09 Jul 19 - 11:05 AM
Charmion 09 Jul 19 - 09:02 AM
Steve Shaw 08 Jul 19 - 06:20 PM
Mrrzy 08 Jul 19 - 03:29 PM
Charmion 08 Jul 19 - 11:08 AM
Steve Shaw 07 Jul 19 - 10:17 PM
Stilly River Sage 07 Jul 19 - 10:05 PM
Steve Shaw 07 Jul 19 - 09:43 PM
Stilly River Sage 07 Jul 19 - 12:41 PM
Charmion 07 Jul 19 - 12:24 PM
Charmion 07 Jul 19 - 12:15 PM
Big Al Whittle 06 Jul 19 - 11:57 AM
Stilly River Sage 06 Jul 19 - 11:19 AM
Big Al Whittle 06 Jul 19 - 02:00 AM
Stilly River Sage 05 Jul 19 - 09:47 PM
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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 21 Jul 19 - 03:03 PM

Steve, I wouldn't use that much olive oil to fry the eggplant, just like I don't use it if I'm breading and frying fish. It uses too much of it. Corn oil is cheaper for that kind of use.

If I'm frying eggs or cooking pancakes or just about anything that just requires a splash of oil, then I do cook in olive oil.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 21 Jul 19 - 02:58 PM

I'm fruity enough, a little ripe perhaps, but blue? Don't tempt me...!


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 21 Jul 19 - 02:25 PM

Bought pasta sauces are generally claggy and terrible overcooked mush. Make your own!


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Thompson
Date: 21 Jul 19 - 02:24 PM

Oh, and that church gate? Something old will be some aged cheese, something new a fruity little prosecco, something borrowed, perhaps a particularly nice traybake, and something blue…?


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Thompson
Date: 21 Jul 19 - 02:22 PM

What is wet hand dry hand?


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 21 Jul 19 - 12:42 PM

Sainsburys delivered a vegan pasta source last week, not ordered by us I might add, and I have never tasted anything so vile in all my life.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 21 Jul 19 - 12:06 PM

Funny you should say that about olive oil. In this weekend's Guardian Rachel Roddy, one of my very favourite writers on Italian food, blows the myth that you shouldn't cook with olive oil right out of the water (sorry, Maggie!). For years now I've kept two types of extra virgin olive oil in the house, one of them usually the bog-standard Napolina/Berio type and the other a superior Tuscan oil. The first is used for most of my cooking and the second for salad dressings and sprinkling on pizza or pasta dishes at the end. Only ever extra virgin. I won't use the over-refined non-virgin stuff. The only rule is to avoid letting the oil smoke, so stand with it and go gently. If I need really hot oil, say for frying a steak or for making my oven chips, I use groundnut oil, which has a high smoke point and a neutral flavour. Eggs and salmon are fried only in butter in my house. That's about the extent of my frying armoury. If I'm making a soffritto or if I'm sautéing sliced garlic and dried chilli flakes at the start of making a pasta sauce, for arrabbiata for example, a good trick is to put the garlic and chilli flakes, or the chopped veg, into the pan of cold oil. You can do that hours in advance if you stir it around a bit. We purists who make life tough by refusing to mince garlic save time later by doing that. Usually, you can then make your sauce in the time it takes to get the pasta al dente. An unspoken rule of Italian cooking in any case is to never leave the kitchen while the pasta is boiling. And always save a bit of pasta water when you drain, in case the sauce needs loosening.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 21 Jul 19 - 11:22 AM

I prefer our home grown aubergines when we have them. I choose a small variety called Hansel. I usually pick them at about 3 – 4 inches long.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 21 Jul 19 - 11:16 AM

I know people eat the skin, but I never do, it seems to have a bitter taste. If I'm cooking a homegrown eggplant (none in the yard this year - the garden is a hot mess) I don't bother with the salt and sit and rinse step because I don't let them grow huge, I pick them around 12 to 16 ounces.

If you're making babaghanouj, then roast them in a medium oven (350 - 375) for 45 minutes to an hour until you can see the skin starting to slip. Sometimes they'll burst (warning!) but usually once they've baked enough you can pierce it and start pulling and the skin will slip off. Do your mashing and add ingredients from there.

If you're making eggplant Parmesan, peel it, leave them in a bowl of water, and take them from there to a plate of white flour then a bowl of egg then a plate of seasoned bread crumbs, using the "wet hand, dry hand" approach. I thought I'd invented that myself, but it seems some of those cooks on TV talk about it also. :)

Use shallow corn oil (1/2 inch) and add a generous pat of butter for great flavor. As much as I love olive oil, it isn't for frying.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 21 Jul 19 - 05:44 AM

Good heavens, you really know how to charm a chap! :-). See you at the church gate...

I've got nothing against bought stuff every now and again. I cheated with some lasagne last week by using cheap jars of M&S bechamel instead of making my own, and I've just devoured three Warburtons crumpets for breakfast. I did buy some shop burgers and "chicken flatties" for an emergency barbecue last week and was very disappointed with both. Short cuts don't always do the trick. Ready meals are nearly always terrible but I make an exception for M&S moussaka, which is very nice with a bit of salad and garlic bread.

As for aubergines/egg plants, they consistently defeat me. They always look great and feel plump, but I can never seem to get the skins tender enough to eat. And there's so much conflicting advice as whether to salt or not, how to oil them... Last September we found a taverna on Kefalonia that served gorgeous wafer-thin battered aubergine slices deep-fried. I put about ten pounds on that week.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Thompson
Date: 21 Jul 19 - 02:30 AM

I want Steve Shaw for a wife. Though I'd be in trouble when he caught me sneakily crushing garlic. Wait - what am i saying? Would I ever cook with Steve for a wife? No, I'd be out gathering roses to present to him!

Leeneia, thanks so much for the handy tip about cutting meat in strips with the kitchen shears!

Do people have any tips on cooking aubergines? I imagine myself like Nero, sending the legions toiling across Africa, Palestine, Judea, Spain and Italy with amphorae of oil enough to supply me every time I cook an aubergine.

We're increasingly skipping meat on various days; Steve will flinch, but I love Aldi's vegan bangers (cauliflower- or pepper-based).


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 20 Jul 19 - 12:36 PM

Friday night desert is Vanilla Swedish Glace ice cream with a sticky toffee or blueberry muffin!


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 20 Jul 19 - 09:47 AM

I cooked ahead for breakfast this week by making a batch of buttermilk pancakes, then freezing them two at a time. They're better if they defrost on their own, then 30 seconds in the microwave. I know, for purists this is probably an abomination, but homemade warmed over is better than anything you can buy (horrors!) but it's a quick way to pamper myself. I'll make more soon to use up the rest of the buttermilk.

Often buttermilk is sold in quart or half-gallon containers that means all but a cup or two goes to waste. There is a local high-end grocery that has a pint bottle. It isn't my favorite brand, but it is package for my kind of use. (I prefer to buy cultured dairy products without gelatin, guar gum, etc. I want it cultured to reach the proper consistency and without the various additives.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: leeneia
Date: 19 Jul 19 - 12:22 PM

I have a new cooking approach that saves energy. My energy. When I bring home a package of meat, I cook it all, freeze it in portions, and finish prep on the day we eat.

Recntly I bought a package of pork steak. The DH grilled it all over a wood fire. That night, we had the pork steak, corn on the cob and cole slow. (There's a hot-weather menu for you.)

Two weeks later, we used some for Grampa's Pork and Beans. Cut the pork steak into strips. (Kitchen shears work well for this.) Flavor a jar of B&M beans with onions, ketchup and maybe brown sugar. Add the pork and heat gently.

One day I thought, why not be more natural and add real tomatoes instead of ketchup? The DH was so upset, you would have thought I had given his puppy away. Now I let him flavor the pork and beans himself.

A couple more weeks passed. We had the pork with an Indonesian flavor. Sizzled the strips with onion, made a sauce with peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, garlic, ginger root, black pepper. Served with fried sweet potato, avocado, salad.

I get tried a lot. I find that cooking meals in steps this way makes mealtime more fun.

When I cook pasta, I cook the whole package, eat some and freeze some in plastic bags. It is so much easier to pull out the package and heat it with the sauce than to cook up a small batch from scratch.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 18 Jul 19 - 06:23 PM

Hot soup (spicy hot and temperature hot) is my go-to hot weather food.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 18 Jul 19 - 04:30 PM

I like chef's salads - the combination of a lot of ingredients on top of a bed of torn or chopped lettuce. It usually involves at least one form of julienne-type cut up meat (ham and chicken are my favorites), chopped green onion, grated (using the big holes for long strips) cheese, and around the outer rim alternating segments (depending on the size of the tomato) of tomato and halved hard boiled eggs. Usually one or two tomatoes and two boiled eggs. I have a mix of sesame seed, pepitas, sunflower seeds and sliced almonds called "Tours mix" that is roasted briefly then stored in the fridge for salads. Zesty Italian goes on top. Yes, I know, store bought, but it is pretty good.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Charmion
Date: 18 Jul 19 - 01:32 PM

Pasta, with fresh tomato sauce. It involves a fair amount of boiling and simmering, but it's light and savory.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 18 Jul 19 - 11:02 AM

So what are you all eating when the weather is really hot?


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 17 Jul 19 - 02:08 PM

My first batch was in longer than needed—because this is a fairly lean salmon it dried out and is a little jerky-like. The next batch spent only about 3 hours in the smoker and is perfect and quite moist. Another batch is in now, and I have one more scheduled for the day. I smell like fish for some reason.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 16 Jul 19 - 03:17 PM

Last year at the beach I suddenly found that I had eaten the last shrimp I ever wanted to.
I got over it. Off to beach tomorrow! Yum!


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 16 Jul 19 - 11:17 AM

Jon, I found some Lean Cuisine Chile Lime Chicken with rice frozen meals at my local discount grocery (2 for $3) and loaded up as long as they had them. I figure $1.50 for a 250 calorie lunch or dinner is pretty good, and they were actually quite good. Up until this point I never bothered with frozen meals. Now I glance into that frozen food section to see if anything interesting turns up.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 16 Jul 19 - 11:08 AM

Wiltshire Farms tonight as neither mum or I (both had bad nights and a few daytime things to deal with) feel like cooking. These frozen meals aren’t brilliant but pretty acceptable all the same and I think are used a fair bit particularly amongst elderly and other groups that might find cooking difficult. We order 10 meals at a time and that stock probably lasts a month and I suppose we regard them as a useful standby.

Hopefully I’ll do a Quorn mince “cottage pie” tomorrow.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 16 Jul 19 - 10:53 AM

You can go with a friend, Charmion. I do that every coupla years. And echalion is a great word. Makes me think of the onion knight... A shallot escutcheon. On a stallion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Charmion
Date: 16 Jul 19 - 10:33 AM

Wow, SRS. Bounty indeed. We don't have a Costco membership, mostly because I find the place profoundly intimidating, but occasionally I regret that policy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 15 Jul 19 - 09:40 PM

Copper River salmon - sockeye salmon from a particular river drainage in Alaska. They're running now, so get them while you can. A rich red meat, and usually very expensive. It came in today at Costco for a modest $12 a pound, so I bought a couple for myself, called my ex and bought a couple for him and tomorrow I'll get two for my daughter and one for a friend. They're about 2.5 - 3.0 pounds per package. I have three fillets cut into pieces and brining overnight. I'll smoke them tomorrow. And my ex will use the same brine for overnight tomorrow and I'll smoke his on Wednesday. Repeat for daughter. Friend wants to freeze what she can't eat.

The high end grocery store up the road will have the larger fish whole or in larger fillets, and it will be half again or double the price per pound. I wish Costco had the larger fillets, you really get the good fat flavor out of those.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Charmion
Date: 13 Jul 19 - 01:56 PM

Thanks, Steve. I’ll try that next week.

Echalions are unknown to me, at least by that name, but I have noticed that the shallots sold around here are much bigger and longer than shallots (échallottes) we’re back in the day. Maybe what Sobey’s Is peddling as shallots are actually the other thing.

Dave H’s point about Chinese sauces is spot on. There’s the real stuff, and then there’s the imitation made for non-Asian Americans and Canadians who want to believe they’re cooking a bit on the wild side without running any risk of an unfamiliar flavour. I find that a good way to identify the real stuff is to look for Chinese or Japanese characters on the label. Fortunately, North American cuisine has integrated enough Asian dishes that a basic range of real Chinese, Indian and Japanese ingredients is available in most supermarkets, alongside the fake sugary American version.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 13 Jul 19 - 12:44 PM

Banana shallots are also called echalions. They're bigger then typical shallots and are elongated. The traybake chicken idea comes from Nigella's book How To Eat. She puts everything in at the start. I found that if I do that the peppers and garlic cloves burn. That's why I delay putting them in for the first 15 minutes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: leeneia
Date: 12 Jul 19 - 02:24 PM

Long ago, the newspaper had a recipe for Alabama white sauce. It's delicious on chicken. Some people use lots of ingredients, including hot sauce, but I don't.

Roast, saute or grill some chicken
Mix the following:

one-half cup good mayonnaise (serves 2-3 people)
about 4 tsp apple-cider vinegar
12-15 grindings of black pepper
Stir till smooth. Consistency should be that of gravy.

Serve the chicken and spoon the Alabama white sauce over it.

Since measuring mayonnaise in a measuring cup is a pain, I just take a big spoon and eyeball approx half cup. After that, amounts are a judgment call. Cooks here can handle it.

We had this on the 4th of July with a tossed salad and carrots with butter and ginger. Watermelon for dessert.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 12 Jul 19 - 10:55 AM

The tomato plants in my yard are large but producing zero, so I bought some "vine ripe" tomatoes a while back. Didn't get around to using them all for slicing, so now they're simmering for sauce. And I realize this is a summer smell I've missed - cooking tomatoes as I prepare for canning.

The grapes across the road survived the clear-cut by bulldozer, but they're still not ripe. It's a late year for them, mostly because of the overcast and extra rain. They're usually ready around the Fourth of July. I make mustang grape jelly, and the house smells wonderful with the steam juicer perking away.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 12 Jul 19 - 10:12 AM

I buy Pakistani/Indian ingrediants at the Halal Supermarket in Bradford and Chinese ingrediants at the Chinese Supermarket in Leed, NEVER EVER buy British supermarket oriental sauces [ Tesco etc ] I once ran out of preserved black beans so to save a trip to Leeds I got a sachet of black bean sauce from Tesco's, it tasted like it was made with 4 ounces of sugar in it, bloody awful, so sickly sweet it was unpalatable to me.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Charmion
Date: 12 Jul 19 - 10:03 AM

Why not, Mrrzy? With enough olive oil, most anything will roast nicely.

Stronger-tasting members of the cabbage family might not be so successful, however — oh, wait. Perhaps Brussels sprouts?


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 12 Jul 19 - 09:03 AM

That sounds great, with all that garlic. Would be good with cauliflower, ya think?


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Charmion
Date: 12 Jul 19 - 07:59 AM

Steve, that sheet-pan chicken thing looks like a cousin to half a dozen recipes in any given Jamie Oliver collection. I make it without the slices of red pepper; next time, I'll toss those in, too. Roasted red pepper is always good. (Except, of course, when I burn it a bit too much. But hey.)

Yes, shallots are onions, but they taste slightly different from yellow onions, and they caramelize faster -- presumably because they are sweeter. I like the combined effect, which I'm sure is lost on others. YMMV. By the way, what's a banana shallot? I have never seen anything of that name in an Ontario supermarket.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Jul 19 - 02:31 AM

The thing I never understand about Italian cooking is those sachets of pasta they sell in the supermarket. They all reputedly have things in them that I like - but I can never taste what its supposed to be.

I have a friend who lived in Italy a number of years and she eats the sachets with a bit of olive oil.

Mind you, she is a weird cook - she made me a fish pie once and I swear to God, I reckon there was maybe one fish finger in the whole bloody thing.

That lasagne thing in Goodfellas that they did in prison looked good.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 09 Jul 19 - 06:41 PM

My point was that Italian dishes rarely if ever contain both onion and garlic. Non-Italian dishes may differ. I don't see the point of using both onions and shallots in a dish. Shallots are onions. In fact, I use banana shallots instead of onions in most dishes. If you like crispy chicken skin, which I do, you'll like this one-tray dish. And it has garlic AND onion, but not as you know it.

Per person, you need either two large or three smaller free-range chicken thighs, bone-in, skin on. Not legs, which, unless part of a whole roast chicken, are cat food. You also need some best-quality salad potatoes, about 250g per person, scrubbed (not peeled) and cut into small chunks. You also need a few shallots OR onions, cut into big chunks or wedges. That'll do for now, but later you'll need one bell pepper per person cut into four large pieces, a generous amount of fresh parsley and two heads of garlic broken into unpeeled cloves.

Get one, two or three large oven trays. Your stuff needs to be spread out. Slick the chicken, onion and potatoes with extra virgin olive oil. Season. Chicken skin side up. That goes into a 200C oven for fifteen minutes. After that time, throw in the unpeeled garlic cloves and the pieces of red pepper. Slick them with the oil in the trays. You may need to loosen the spuds and onion pieces. Put the trays back in the oven for another 25-30 minutes.

Your chicken will be beautifully cooked and will have crispy skin. Sprinkle the whole lot with chopped parsley and serve up. It's gorgeous but will stink out an unventilated kitchen all the next day. Thanks to Nigella Lawson for the inspiration. Make sure everyone gets a fair share of the garlic cloves. You can suck out the incredibly sweet, soft middles with gay abandon. Now THAT'S how to eat garlic. And chicken skin, Mrrzy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 09 Jul 19 - 11:05 AM

Chick fric. A fave but the skin is never crispy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Charmion
Date: 09 Jul 19 - 09:02 AM

Chicken fricassee. The Monday night supper when imagination has hit bottom and people must still be fed.

One chicken leg or two chicken thighs per person
Olive oil
At least one onion
Garlic ad lib
Shallots if you have them
Dried thyme and oregano, if liked
Salt and black pepper
Zest and juice of one lemon, or about half to three-quarters of a cup of wine if you happen to have it lying around.

1. Slice up the onion, shallot and garlic (note Steve Shaw, above).
2. Put a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a sauté pan and brown the chicken pieces. Salt and pepper them liberally, and scatter with herbs.
3. Add the sliced onion, shallot and garlic to the pan around the chicken pieces and scatter the lemon zest over the chicken. Put the lid on the pan and turn the gas to a low murmur. Leave it alone until the chicken is cooked.
4. Take the chicken pieces out of the pan and add the lemon juice; turn up the gas and reduce the contents of the pan (the onions etc) to a thick sauce. Spoon it over the chicken and serve.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 08 Jul 19 - 06:20 PM

Soffritto is the basis of many an Italian dish, including bolognese ragu (great for lasagne too) and some soups. It includes extra virgin olive oil, onions, celery and carrots. Maybe some pancetta, depending on the recipe. But never garlic. Never. Not in Italian dishes. Marcella's onion and butter sauce is so simple and so amazing. We have it as is on spaghetti with parmesan. The best thing is to buy a white onion. It's easier to remove at the end. I made a large batch two days ago. I'm thinking of using it in gnocchi alla sorrentina. There'll be basil in there and a ton of mozzarella (never buffalo - not worth the money). I never bake that gnocchi dish. Not worth the hassle.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 08 Jul 19 - 03:29 PM

When I was in Ireland in the 90's they hardly ever cooked with garlic, but fed it to their pigs.
You have taught me a new word: claggy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Charmion
Date: 08 Jul 19 - 11:08 AM

You get no argument from me on dried basil, Steve, or the onion-or-garlic issue with respect to pasta sauce. Most non-Italians attempting to cook Italian food are using inferior ingredients (well, inferior to Italian standards), especially tasteless tomatoes, hence the effort to boost the flavour any way they can. I like Marcella Hazan's advice to put an onion in whole and fish it out when the sauce is done, thus avoiding the claggy texture.

I made her tomato, butter and onion sauce the other day to eat with linguine. But I had only Mexican tomatoes shipped all the way to Ontario to work with (they were on special!), so I tossed in a bunch of fresh oregano from the garden to help out. The result was so good I wanted to eat it with a spoon right out of the saucepan -- but not Marcella's classic sauce. So sue me.

Sofrito, on the other hand, is not Italian, and does require both onions and garlic. I know it as the first stage of paella and a whole lot of other Spanish dishes; I have never been to Puerto Rico and never expect to go, but I'm not at all surprised to learn that PR cooking starts with sofrito.

The other cuisine I attempt that goes in for both onion and garlic in the same dish is Indian -- practically every dal dish in Madhoor Jaffrey calls for both, plus a whole whack of other stuff to add flavour to otherwise pretty well tasteless, if nourishing, legumes and grains. The function of onions in a dal dish often seems to be to thicken the sauce; you chop them so finely that they go into the pan as a mass of aromatic fibre. Garlic, on the other hand, goes in at the end, with the spices fried in oil that make up the tarka.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Jul 19 - 10:17 PM

You can mix onion with garlic in non-Italian dishes, but honest-to-goodness Italian chefs don't mix them. Feel free to check it out. The onion makes pasta sauces too claggy/gloopy. You're not disagreeing with me. You're disagreeing with Italian tradition! And no self-respecting Italian would ever use the abomination which is dried basil...


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 07 Jul 19 - 10:05 PM

We will have to agree to disagree. Not only do onion and garlic go together, they are essential parts of many dishes I make (and the Puerto Rican dishes I learned from my mother-in-law; her sofrito is based on peppers, onion, garlic, and cilantro).

I picked up ceviche (various spellings - it's a Mexican dish, raw fish marinated in citrus with onions and peppers and cilantro) for lunch with friends yesterday and had the rest for dinner tonight. Mmmmm!


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Jul 19 - 09:43 PM

I cook a good number of Italian dishes these days. I can't be bothered with a pasta machine so I buy dried pasta. I've found that the bronze-die pasta, especially from Gragnano in Campania, is by far the best (try Tesco!). There are some unwritten rules. First, garlic and onions shouldn't be in the same dish. Mostly, it's onion that is left out. Second, pasta dishes don't need half as much sauce as some Brits think. Third, pasta sauces from jars are invariably way too claggy. Too much onion and tomato. It's so bloody easy to make your own! Fourth, no parmesan with fish, ever. Fifth, do not use a garlic crusher. Use more garlic but slice it up. Even better, use four times as much but just smash the peeled cloves with your fist. Sixth, don't bother skinning tomatoes. If the skin bothers you, just cut the toms up first. But tinned plum tomatoes are brilliant anyway. Seventh, any dish that contains any amount of tomatoes is infinitely improved by the addition of half a teaspoon of sugar. Eighth, ignore the idiots who tell you not to cook with extra virgin olive oil. Use it but just don't let it smoke. Any other oils are simply inferior. Ninth, never use dried basil. Vile. Dried oregano is fine, especially on pizzas. Most Italians use far less herbs than you'd think. We spent a week in Puglia, eating at superb restaurants in Lecce, and hardly whiffed a herb all week. Tenth, any pasta dish is improved in the serving with a goodly drizzle of your best olive oil on top. Eleventh, parmesan absolutely must be freshly grated on top of the dish. No need to give anyone any choice here. Twelfth, there is no such dish as spaghetti bolognese. Use tagliatelle or pappardelle or fettuccini instead, and. mix the sauce with the pasta. A pile of pasta with a puddle of sauce on top is just risible. Last, always conserve a cupful of pasta water. More often then not your sauce will be too dry/thick. The pasta water is used to thin the sauce to the correct consistency.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 07 Jul 19 - 12:41 PM

Charmion is correct&mash;I live in Texas where there is "TexMex" that I'm not particularly fond of (it's a stylized mashup where everything is greasy and topped with gobs of tomato sauce and melted cheese) and then there is the closer to authentic regional food from different parts of Mexico and further south. I lived in Arizona for a couple of years, right at the border. There was a town two miles across the border that had excellent little restaurants (versus the nearest American town 35 miles away that didn't have such great restaurants). So I ate out in Mexico several times a week. And we were about an hour's drive from the northern end of the Sea of Cortez, so there was a lot of fish on the menu along with the typical chicken, beef, pork, etc.

My side of town here in North Texas has a lot of large grocery stores that serve clientele from South of the Border. Not just Mexico, but Central and South America as well, but I'd say the lion's share of customers are from Columbia northward. The grocery store a couple of miles north of me has a tortilla bakery running every day that has excellent quality flour and corn tortillas and a few other flattened breads I'm not sure what they're called.

This is in contrast to many Middle Eastern stores near the campus where I worked, where I bought a different array of spices and foods, and the flat breads are pita and tandoori (Iraqi flat bread - the size of a modest pizza).

There are plenty of American grocery stores here with all of the advertised products and brands, and they try to carry International foods, but really, if you want a better selection and fresher products, you go to the store frequented by that particular segment of the immigrant culture here.

I didn't grow up down here, I grew up in the Pacific Northwest where the International food at the time was Chinese and Japanese, and then I lived for a while in New York City where you eat just about anything that suited you, you simply needed to travel to the right neighborhood.

The fastest way to get to know people is to share your food and their food while you speak together and listen. Trump needs to stop going to McDonalds and KFC and eating those tough over-cooked steaks of his and get out into neighborhoods and eat a more International diet.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Charmion
Date: 07 Jul 19 - 12:24 PM

Big Al, your recipes remind me of my Dad, whose cooking always began with chopping up an onion. I don't honestly remember him making anything that did not have onions in it. That might be a Brit thing.

Dad made five dishes: beans out of a can with stuff added (starting with onions); omelette; curry according to a British Army recipe; lasagna from the recipe on the side of the pasta box; and coq au vin for when people came to dinner. He could also fry an egg, more or less.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Charmion
Date: 07 Jul 19 - 12:15 PM

She lives in Texas, Big Al, where that stuff is normal grub.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Jul 19 - 11:57 AM

you got Mexicans coming round, or do you eat that stuff regularly?


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 06 Jul 19 - 11:19 AM

Fish tacos today for lunch with friends; the corn tortillas are still hot from the Mexican grocery store that has a bakery inside. Cebeche appetizer and guacamole and pico de gallo to go with them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Jul 19 - 02:00 AM

I use a medium curry powder. It helps the onions caramelise.


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Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 05 Jul 19 - 09:47 PM

. . . or onions.


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