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Thread: Gastronomy - The Food & Drink Thread

  1. #1
    It's good to be king bac0n's Avatar
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    Gastronomy - The Food & Drink Thread

    I know there's a "what are you eating right now?" thread, but I thought I would create a different, more general use thread for we food & drink enthusiasts to share our passion, discuss our favorite dishes, beverages, share recipes & techniques, basically anything that relates to the preparation and enjoyment of good things to eat & drink.
    When I walk across the living room from my chimney to my window, it takes me 10 seconds, but for a bird it takes one second, and for oxygen zero seconds! -- Jean-Claude Van Damme

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    It's good to be king bac0n's Avatar
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    I'll start off by sharing one of my fave weeknight recipes - what I like to call Power Pasta. It's insanely healthy, tastes dynamite, and can be made in about 40 minutes. I lifted this one out of the book Gourmet Meals in Minutes. A great book, btw.

    Orechiette* with Cannellini Beans & Spinach
    Servers 4-6 as a main course, 6-8 as a side

    Ingredients:
    1 Tbs olive oil
    2 1/2 cup onion, thinly sliced
    3 lg garlic cloves, chopped
    2 15 oz. cans cannellini beans, rinsed & drained
    1 cup broth (vegetable or chicken)
    1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
    1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
    1 lb orechiette pasta*
    2 10 oz. bags spinach, stems removed**
    1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated


    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

    heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. add the onion and saute over medium high heat until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic & cook an additional 2 minutes.

    add the cannellini beans, broth & crushed red pepper flakes, and 1/2 tsp of salt to the pan. simmer over medium high heat until the sauce thickens a bit, about 15 minutes.

    cook the pasta in the boiling water according to pasta directions, until al dente, about 8-10 minutes. just before draining, add the spinach, stirring it until it wilts. you'll need to add the spinach in several batches. drain the pasta and the spinach and return to the pot. add the cannellini bean mixture to the pasta and mix well.

    Serve in heated pasta bowls. top with the grated parmesan.

    *Orechiette is a small shell-shaped pasta, but I've used farfalle, bowtie pasta, rotini and other small pastas and they've worked just fine.

    ** I only remove the stems if they're really huge
    When I walk across the living room from my chimney to my window, it takes me 10 seconds, but for a bird it takes one second, and for oxygen zero seconds! -- Jean-Claude Van Damme

  3. #3
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
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    Anyone got a good pesto? I love a good pesto, and will not use those stupid packets anymore.

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    It's good to be king bac0n's Avatar
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    I've never made it myself, but I betcha I have a recipe or two lying around somewhere. I'll see what I can find and get back to ya.
    When I walk across the living room from my chimney to my window, it takes me 10 seconds, but for a bird it takes one second, and for oxygen zero seconds! -- Jean-Claude Van Damme

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    nightmare investigator monolith94's Avatar
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    Pesto is actually an incredibly simple sauce. I mean really, all it is is basil and pine nuts. Plus or minus whatever. I should ask my dad how he makes it. Anyways, you want the pine nuts to be uncooked or only lightly cooked, whatever you do.
    "Modern weapons can defend freedom, civilization, and life only by annihilating them. Security in military language means the ability to do away with the Earth."
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    I'm in the milk... Mara's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting monolith94 (view post)
    Pesto is actually an incredibly simple sauce. I mean really, all it is is basil and pine nuts. Plus or minus whatever. I should ask my dad how he makes it. Anyways, you want the pine nuts to be uncooked or only lightly cooked, whatever you do.
    And olive oil, salt and pepper. Within those five ingredients, it's just a matter of taste. Make up your own!

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    Director Scar's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Mara (view post)
    And olive oil, salt and pepper. Within those five ingredients, it's just a matter of taste. Make up your own!
    And a food processor!
    I have a very busy head. I have inside voices that I have learned to contain.

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    Whole Sick Crew Benny Profane's Avatar
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    Garlic, people. Garlic!
    Now reading: The Master Switch by Tim Wu

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    Director Scar's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Benny Profane (view post)
    Garlic, people. Garlic!
    D'OH!
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  10. #10
    Montage, s'il vous plait? Raiders's Avatar
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    Yeah, I usually have basil, pine nuts, olive oil, parmesan cheese and garlic and salt and pepper to taste. And really, you just kind of do a trial and error until it is where you want it.

    I think mine is kind of like 4 parts basil, 1 part cheese, 1 part olive oil, 2 parts nuts, and two garlic cloves for every cup I make. Process all dry ingredients first, then pour in olive oil while processing. Stir in a pinch of salt and pepper until it tastes right.

    Ta-da.
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    nightmare investigator monolith94's Avatar
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    See, I would find the idea of parm. in the sauce to be unspeakably hideous, wrong, and possibly in violation of Alabama law. Parmesan gets grated onto the top of a finished plate of pasta + sauce! But then, it's each man to his own pesto, and all against Godard. Or something.
    "Modern weapons can defend freedom, civilization, and life only by annihilating them. Security in military language means the ability to do away with the Earth."
    -Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society

  12. #12
    Montage, s'il vous plait? Raiders's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting monolith94 (view post)
    See, I would find the idea of parm. in the sauce to be unspeakably hideous, wrong, and possibly in violation of Alabama law. Parmesan gets grated onto the top of a finished plate of pasta + sauce! But then, it's each man to his own pesto, and all against Godard. Or something.
    I have never seen a recipe for pesto that didn't have parm in it, and I am fairly certain I have never had pesto that didn't have parm in it. But as you say, to each his own.
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  13. #13
    I'm in the milk... Mara's Avatar
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    I've been having a bit of a career crisis, and I keep toying with the idea of going to culinary school. It would probably never happen, but I really think it would be interesting.

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    Director Scar's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Raiders (view post)
    I have never seen a recipe for pesto that didn't have parm in it, and I am fairly certain I have never had pesto that didn't have parm in it. But as you say, to each his own.
    I concur. All my recipes in all my books have parm in it.
    I have a very busy head. I have inside voices that I have learned to contain.

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    I pretty much funnel nothing but crap into my body. I should probably change this before I die.
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    nightmare investigator monolith94's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Scar (view post)
    I concur. All my recipes in all my books have parm in it.
    mea culpa
    "Modern weapons can defend freedom, civilization, and life only by annihilating them. Security in military language means the ability to do away with the Earth."
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  17. #17
    I'm in the milk... Mara's Avatar
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    My recent culinary pursuits have been limited because I'm trying really hard to eat healthier and less. I've been having a lot of salads and cottage cheese and things.

    However, I've gotten into a habit over the last month that is both delicious and healthy, so I've decided to share. I've been making home-made pita, and while it's rising the first time making three quick dipping sauces, and then eating them all for snacks or light lunches. They are all based on internet recipes, but I've modified them all to some point.

    Half Wheat Pita

    This is the recipe I experimented with the most. White flour pitas are good, but I like the heft of whole wheat. Using 100% whole wheat makes the pita stiff and it doesn't rise, so I've finally decided on a half-and-half version that turned out beautifully.

    Turn the oven on to 100 degrees, and then when it beeps, shut it off and keep in closed.

    2 1/4 cups warm water
    3 teaspoons sugar
    3 teaspoons yeast

    Mix in a large bowl and let sit for 3-5 minutes until a light froth begins to form on top of the water.

    Add:

    3 cups white flour
    3 cups whole wheat flour
    2 teaspoons salt
    2 Tablespoons olive oil

    Mix well, and then knead in the bowl for 5 minutes, or until well mixed. Add more (white) flour if needed. Put the bowl in the warm oven (and make sure it has room to rise.) Let rise for one hour. Punch down the dough and turn onto a greased cutting board. (The dough is sticky, so I would recommend non-stick spray on the board, the rolling pin, the knife, and the wax paper.) Cut the dough in half, and then cut each half into eighths. Roll each of the sixteen lumps of dough out on the cutting board into flat circles, and then place on (greased) wax paper. Let rise for another half hour, or until the dough poofs up slightly. (This rising is what gives the pita a "pocket," FYI.)

    Turn the oven on to 500 degrees and put in one or two cooling racks. When the oven is hot, load the pitas on to the racks without touching each other. Cook 2-3 minutes or until the dough stops looking shiny. Remove with tongs and place immediately in a large brown bag (like a grocery bag.) Close the bag and don't let the steam escape. After cooking all the pita, let it sit in the bag for 20-30 minutes until cooled.

  18. #18
    I'm in the milk... Mara's Avatar
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    Natalie's Hummus

    I've never included tahini in my hummus, so it's not very authentic. Tahini is expensive, hard to find, and doesn't really improve the taste. The garlic in the hummus is a matter of taste-- for me, less than two cloves and the hummus tastes bland, more than two cloves and it burns a little. I'd recommend one clove at a time, and then taste it and see what you think.

    Place in food processor:

    2 cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas) drained and well washed.
    1/3 cup olive oil
    1/2 cup lemon juice
    1 tsp ground cumin
    2 cloves minced garlic

    Process until smooth.

    This is great with the pita, but it's also delicious and even healthier with raw carrots. Yum.

  19. #19
    I'm in the milk... Mara's Avatar
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    Tzatziki

    I became addicted to this stuff when it was offered as an appetizer at a Greek restaraunt conveniently close to my last job. It's alternately cool (with the yogurt and cucumber) and hot (with the garlic.) Again, be careful with the garlic! You might want slighly more or less. Taste as you go.

    Place in food processor:

    8 oz plain, non-fat yogurt
    2 Tablespoons olive oil
    1 Tablespoon lemon juice
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    1 Tablespoon fresh dill (to taste)
    2 cloves garlic, minced.

    Process until smooth and pour into the bowl. Add:

    1 medium cucumber, peeled and grated

    Mix. Excellent with the pita. My sister likes it with tomatoes, but I do not find tomatoes convenient for dipping.

  20. #20
    I'm in the milk... Mara's Avatar
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    Thai Tofu Spread

    Don't be put off by the word "tofu"-- I'm generally not a fan, but this is a very flavorful and delicious dip that uses the tofu for texture.

    I don't think this is very authentically Thai, but, eh.

    12 oz firm tofu
    1/4 cup carrot, grated
    1 clove garlic, minced
    2 Tablespoons minced onion (green onions are great, if you have them)
    2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped fine

    Mash the tofu with a fork. (Don't over-mash. The final product will look like... um... feta.) Combine with the carrot, garlic, onion and cilantro, and mix.

    In the food processor, process until smooth:

    1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
    Juice of one lime
    1/4 teaspoon grated lime zest (about half of the lime rind)
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    3 Tablespoons soy sauce

    Fold the processed sauce into the tofu mixture. Good on the pita, or with crackers or bread.

  21. #21
    It's good to be king bac0n's Avatar
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    wooo, dogies, that looks like some tasty stuff! The latest Fine Cooking has a recipe for grilled pita bread that looks pretty tasty too.
    When I walk across the living room from my chimney to my window, it takes me 10 seconds, but for a bird it takes one second, and for oxygen zero seconds! -- Jean-Claude Van Damme

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    It's good to be king bac0n's Avatar
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    A pal of mine has a great idea that I'd like to share, for those of you with some wholesale reseller account such as Sam's Club or CostCo, a weight scale, a meat grinder and a freezer.

    Tip: Better Hamburger

    They buy their beef boneless chuck in bulk, then run it all through the meat grinder to make hamburger out of it. They then divide it up into 1/3 pound balls using the scale and squish them down to paddies with the lid of a mayonnaise jar, wrap 'em up tight with plastic wrap and throw them in the freezer.

    Then, when they want to make burgers, they thaw them out by turning a frying pan over and letting them sit on the frying pan bottom. The conductance of the metal thaws them out in no time. Otherwise, if they need hamburger for a recipe, three paddies make a pound.

    And of course, since the hamburger is all from the same cut of beef, and not from who-knows-where like store-bought hamburger is, you run less the risk of ecoli, which means you don't need to cook the shit out of it. And plus, fresh-ground beef just plain old tastes better than the packaged stuff.
    When I walk across the living room from my chimney to my window, it takes me 10 seconds, but for a bird it takes one second, and for oxygen zero seconds! -- Jean-Claude Van Damme

  23. #23
    Stunt Man Justin's Avatar
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    Here is a nice little sandwich I have been making recently, I am sure it has been done before, but I couldn't find anything on it. It is basically an egg in a basket combined with a grilled cheese.

    Butter one side on two pieces of bread, insert cheese in the middle. Make a hole in the center of the sandwich(I use a shot glass). Put it on a frying pan and drop an egg in the hole, fry both sides, and eat.

  24. #24
    nightmare investigator monolith94's Avatar
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    A couple weeks ago, we made some tzatziki sauce with lamb kebabs – delicious! We followed this recipe, and it worked out really well (although we halved it).

    http://kalynskitchen.blogspot.com/20...ipe-greek.html
    "Modern weapons can defend freedom, civilization, and life only by annihilating them. Security in military language means the ability to do away with the Earth."
    -Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society

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    Director Scar's Avatar
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    I whipped up a braised beef brisket. Had the rub on for 36 hours, and cooked it today. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to find stretchy pants.
    I have a very busy head. I have inside voices that I have learned to contain.

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