All posts filed under: Test Kitchen

Kitchen Fodder ~ Gettin’ all PC (pressure cooker) on some sauce

 Test #1 of the CooksEssentials 4.5 Qt. Microwave Pressure Cooker First of all, I’m going to do a bit of housekeeping and apologize to Jane. .. the rest of you can look at the picture for a bit. You’re absolutely right… this isn’t your exact recipe. The spice blends are there.. and basically, it’s the same.  However,  I had to make a couple of alterations in order to keep it from turning to just mush in the pot, and a couple of things had to change to cope with the shorter cooking time.  The vegetable chunks are larger, but generally, it has the same feel, taste, thickness, and richness.  And… We’re back. So, like I said yesterday, you’ve got to futz with the settings a bit to sync the temps and times up to your own microwave. For example –  I use a 1200 watt micro, so the bulk of what I do is at 60% power  and 10 less minutes on the unit for any of the recipes in the provided cookbook. Because of that, …

Goofin’ on Grandma

Oddly, I come across a recipe for Grandma Pizza about once a month. I see it… I think, “huh, all those tomatoes and oil… that can’t be good.” And I pass on to the next sexy bit of food porn that inevitably fills my inbox. Given that I’ve been craving a slice of cheesy heaven lately, my curiosity got the better of me and I drug out one of those “best damned pizza in the world” grandma pizza recipes to see what all the fuss was about. I still didn’t like the idea of just tomatoes and oil, and I wasn’t all that keen on a super thin crust. In my head, I could just see a soggy behemoth coming out of the oven… so I took the idea of it all, and made it something else entirely. So… what is a Grandma Pizza? It’s a pie that appears to be widely popular in Queens and Brooklyn. It’s a Sicilian style pizza with a super thin, square crust – Topped with cheese and scattered with seasoned, crushed …

Test Kitchen – The Fake Soy Sauce Reparation

Well, when we last left our hero and heroine – they had tracked down the source of a great many of Jane’s problems to certain food ingredients and combinations. At the time of the Train Ride  to Crazytown, we had only tested Soybean oil as a culprit. As it turned out – any food even barely kissed with any part of the soy bean does a number on her. Which means… No Tofu, No Soy Flour, No Soy…well, anything – in any amount. And that meant no soy sauce… which (if you’ve seen 99% of my recipes) is a problem. Doing my research, I came across Raw Coconut Aminos as a possible substitute. Made from fermented coconut pulp, it was supposed to be the answer. And – in all fairness – if you aren’t dealing with the issues we are, then it probably would work perfectly well for you as a “No Soy” soy sauce…. even if the after taste is a tad coconutty. (just make a lot of Polynesian dishes with it) Our problem was …

Bread Whore – The Hirohito / Mussolini Method

In another time, I might have given the dough a kinder, more compassionate name. But with that Cold War machine out there priming the pump, I’m feeling a tad evil. Generally speaking, this is the focaccia recipe from last month. – but – after making my usual weekly loaf of Hokkaido style TangZhong bread, I had 1/2 of the cooked roux left over. So… I says, “hmmm…. wonder what this would do in the focaccia recipe?” and, “What if I tweaked it and made pizza crust with it too?” So, I did. Axis Powers Pizza / Focaccia Dough Makes 1 Focaccia and 1- 20″ Pizza Ingredients 2 1/4 Cups Bread Flour 1/3 Cup TangZhong Cooked Roux (click through the linky to get the preparation on it) 1 Tablespoon Dry Yeast 1 Teaspoon Salt 1 Tablespoon Sorghum Syrup (or Barley Malt Syrup) 1 Cup Hot Water 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil 1 Tablespoon Garlic Infused Oil To make a Focaccia: Follow the focaccia procedure as you would for a  normal loaf. To make Pizza Dough: after kneading  with …

Marx Foods – Sweet to Savory

So… I was contacted by the fine folks at Marx Foods to see if I had any interest in playing in their latest contest – Sweet to Savory. They would send me four (count’em… 4) sweet things, and I was to utilize at least two of them in a savory dish. I figure it’s a no-brainer. I use  sweet ingredients in a lot of my recipes and I should be able to pull a recipe out of my .. um..hat. Unfortunately, when the box arrived, my mind went blank In the box were: A bag of Coconut Sugar A bag of Sugared Fennel Flowers A bag of Granulated Honey 2 Vanilla Pods. and looking in the box, the only thing I could hear was the demon saying Sweet Italian Sausage…. So, that’s what I made. It’s paired with a Red and Green Marcona Pepper Sauce, sweetened slightly with coconut sugar and finished with diced tomatoes and Tofu Sour Cream. I chose these two ingredients because of the anise-y flavor of the flowers, and that coconut …

Curb Market Crawl – Early Peaches

Peach Butter Bingo Yeah, I know it… I’m not right. The super early crop of peaches here in Georgia has got me in a spin. The unusually early warm temperatures has produced a bumper (and I mean B U M P E R) crop of peaches a whole month before we would normally see them. So I’ve been reeling on what to do with them… and not doing very much. Which means, of the ahem, bushel of peaches I bought, some have began to look rather unsightly and blemished. And that’s the problem with buying a whole heap of peaches without a plan. when I stopped in to R and A Orchards, Jessica at the orchard suggested I make peach butter with the peels. “They’ll taste just like dried peach pie.” She knows me well… I love me some dried peaches. And, while that might take care of some of the problem…I was still left with a whole lotta bruising, not-quite-ripe and over-ripeness going on. So I did the next best thing … I punted. I came …

The morel at the bottom of the bag…

I’m. Not. Happy. That’s sort of been the theme here at Turtle Creek for the past 9 months or so. Think of it as a pregnancy, only there’s no giggling little bundle of joy at the end of the turmoil…. just two people that are getting very tired of each other’s constant company. I haven’t talked a lot about it because it’s family, but generally  if you’ve been following along these months – you would have noticed the change in the tone of the posts. To bring you up to date: Back in July, Jane had a heart attack and a mild stroke as a result of the first procedure. As operations go (it was a multiple stent thingy) it was fairly easy. In for a couple of hours – slide in the tiny mesh things and out… easy peasy. Then there was the stroke, and an alarming drop in her vitals, and eight stressful days in CCU trying to get her lucid… only to go back in and repeat the whole exercise 2 months …

Chicken & Waffle Redux

This is my Third Round Entry for the Marx Foods Ridiculously Delicious Challenge. The rules for round 3 are as follows: “For Stage 3 the 15 top vote-getters will “make over” the recipe of their choice from any of the other 15 top vote-getters, except their own. In their post, they must also specify which recipe would have been their second choice for a makeover.The contestants whose recipes are the 8 most made over will advance to the next round. (to be clear, by making over someone’s dish, you are voting for them to advance to the next round).  Also, two of the contestants who did the best job making over their chosen recipe will also advance to the next round (as judged by Marx Foods). If there is a tie in the number of times a recipe is made over, or if fewer than 8 recipes are chosen to be made over, the tally of “second choice” comments will be used to determine additional contestants. If there are still fewer than 8, Marx Foods …

Test Kitchen Six – Challenge Fodder

When we last left our hero….. As you may remember, thanks to the great people that voted for me in the last round of the Marx Foods Challenge, I’ve made it through to the 3rd round. The goal was to re-create one of the other competitors entries – still using the odd basket of ingredients provided by Marx Foods. In addition, I have to say which other entry I would remake as a secondary option. I came up with 2 of the entries that I wanted to redo. The Tepin Chili Chicken and Waffles and the Creamy Coconut Coconut Bread Pudding with Cherries. Since I wasn’t able to pick one over the other in a theoretical sense, I chose to make both and decide which one I would submit based on appearance and taste. Although both turned out well in visual and technique, … based on taste, it was a no-brainer. The Chicken~Waffle Redux will be the main entry, and the Bread Pudding rework will be the alternative choice. The entry post will be coming …

I love you like a Ball and Chain

This story actually begins 12 years ago when I made my first Il Timpano. Two and a half agonizing days to produce the large, tub shaped pasta, cheese, meat and sauce filled drum. Layers of savory sauces, precision sliced meats and hand-made pastas, lovingly prepared, painstakingly cooked and sleep deprived assembly to produce that culinary masterpiece. Was it worth it…really? No, probably not. It was good, my dinner guests loved it, but did the effort and time involved weigh against the end product? I probably could have just done one of the ingredient components of the dish and they would have been equally as happy…. and, I would have had two good night’s sleep to boot. But easy isn’t really the point. I always seem to find myself elbow deep in some cooking project. It’s important to me to fully commit myself to a food project and to do it as it was originally done… at least once. Only then can you fully appreciate the effort involved in creating complex flavors, and the traditions created …