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Hey kel! Here's the recipe from my Thai you've got me thinking today would be the perfect day to make some Tom Kha for myself. Good luck finding the ingredients- it does say you can substitute lime zest for the lime leaves; not sure if you'd still have to use kaffir limes, though. I'm lucky to have many Asian markets to choose from around here. My cookbook also notes that the ingredients in Tom Yum are 100 times more effective at fighting cancerous tumor growths than any other food.

Tom Yum Soup (from The Everything Thai Cookbook by Jennifer Malott Kotylo)

4-5 cups water
3 shallots, finely chopped
2 stalks lemongrass, bruised and cut into 1-inch long segments
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons minced ginger
20 medium-sized shrimp, shelled but with tails left on
1 can straw mushrooms, drained
2-3 teaspoons sliced kaffir lime leaves or lime zest
3 tablespoons lime juice
2-3 Thai chili peppers, seeded and minced

1. Pour the water into a medium-sized soup pot. Add the shallots, lemongrass, fish sauce and ginger. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
2. Add the shrimp and mushrooms, and cook until the shrimp turn pink. Add the lime zest, lime juice, and chili peppers.
3. Cover and remove from heat. Let the soup steep for 5-10 minutes before serving.

ETA: Since posting this three hours ago, I've spent the last 2.5 hours at every Asian/international produce place within 10 miles (that would be 6 places)....couldn't find the kaffir lime leaves. Damn. I'm going to have to substitute with the lime zest. Poop.

ETA, again: I did find the Spanish chorizo I needed for this recipe though. Anyone have any info on sorrel? No idea where to look for that.
Polly - I've seen sorrel at Rogers Park Fruit Market (get your lemongrass there too), maybe Whole Foods would have it too, but I'd probably substitute another sturdy green in its place if its tough to find. I always get my keffir lime leaves down on Devon at one of the markets. They freeze really well, so once you get them, wrap them up in saran wrap in small one-use bundles, toss 'em in a bag and then in the freezer, and they'll keep for a very long time.

Mmmm....I love chorizo - mexican, spanish, whatever. I wish I'd picked some up at the market this morning, as I've spent the afternoon reading Rick Bayless' new cookbook and there's a chorizo vinaigrette that I'd love to whip up for a spinach salad. YUM. We had tapas last night, and had some very good spanish chorizo as well...tasty stuff.

Where'd you find the spanish chorizo? ...just for future reference.
I got it at Produce World, on Dempster & Waukegan in Morton Grove. I'll have to look at Roger's Park Fruit Market next time. There's a pretty good Chicago foodie website, and people there seemed to have a hard time finding sorrel- they said the only place they could find it was a specialty produce place in Glenview that closed about 6 months ago.

I'm in the midst of my Tom Kha, and it's not turning out right. There's no sweetness to it. I think I got some bum fish sauce, and maybe some crappy coconut milk. I've never cooked with either before, and the fish sauce looks like something that came out of a sick dog, (and doesn't smell much better.) I looked at the bottle, and I don't know if this makes a difference, but it's from the Philippines, so I wonder if it's different from Thai fish sauce. And the coconut milk is just flavorless. I wasn't expecting it to taste like a pina colada or anything, but it just made the soup kind of milky, there's not a real coconut presence. I added a little sugar, then a little Thai Sweet Chili Sauce...still not sweet. So I added some apricot jelly, since it's a sweet fruit taste, without being too overpowering. I even strained the sesame seeds out of some Soy Vay Island Teriyaki sauce. It's got 10 minutes to taste good, otherwise I'm running to my favorite Thai place before they close at 10! mad.gif
Sorrel's another plant that is easier to grow than it is to find in the market. We're talking about the french sorrel, the kind that has arrow head shaped leaves and tastes a bit lemony-tart, right? If you can find seeds for it or a starter plant from an herb store or garden store, it grows a bit like baby salad greens. I've never been able to find this green anywhere where I live, so growing it has been the only option.
Yeah, some people on that forum offered to give me some sorrel when it comes up in their gardens. I have limited gardening space, so I have to be picky about what I grow. This year, I got seeds for chives and San Marzano tomatoes (probably some basil, dill, mint and flowers, too; I just haven't gotten the seeds yet.)

After several spoonfuls of apricot jelly, the tom kha was edible. Still not great, but edible.
Polly - did you use the Cook's Illustrated recipe for Tom Kha? That's the best one I've found, and it was dead on, when I made it, and I didn't make any substitutions from their recipe at all - a rarity for me. I did halve the quantity of the recipe, though - it made far more than turbomann and I could eat in a couple of days.

I'll let you know if the Rogers Park market has sorrel when I go there this weekend, I swear I saw it yesterday when I was there...they usually have a nice selection of hearty greens. I got some lovely mustard greens yesterday...yummm.
Polly, I have the same issue when cooking Thai at home. Coconut milk itself is pretty bland, and most savory recipes I've used it in include at least a tablespoon or two of white or brown sugar, but I always end up adding more... For myself, I blame the fact that I buy the lite coconut milk - it's the creamy part that has all the flavor, I think. Next time you're in the city, try Golden Pacific Market, on Broadway, just north of Berwyn. They have really good produce, and the place doesn't reek of fish like Thai Nam. They have kaffir leaves dirt cheap, and the owner usually has cool samples out - last time it was fresh Pad Thai & rambutans...

We've taken the plunge & are moving back to BF Nowhere, Pennsylvania... BUT. The only Thai place in town is exactly 3 blocks from our new house. (looks shocked) What? No, we didn't realize... furthest thing from our minds when we were house hunting... :blush:
No, I used the one from the cookbook below, the one I used for the Tom Yum recipe for Kelkello. What month was the Cook's Illustrated one in? I'll try that one next time.

Thanks for the store recommendation Tart- I'll definitely have to check that out. When are you moving back to PA? We're going to miss you, but I looooove that house (yes, I lurk in the mom thread!) and talk about location, location, location!! I used regular coconut milk, though. I'm still blaming the fish sauce.
I think it was the november issue of Cooks Illustrated - same issue that had the amazing green chile chile that I'm now hooked on. If you don't have it, let me know, and I'll scan it and send it to you - its really the most perfect recipe. And my fave coconum milk is the Choakoh (sp?) brand...nice coconut flavor, not too sweet. I go full fat...its mono-unsaturated, right? rolleyes.gif

*makes note to stop by Golden Pacific Market this weekend*

And I second the motion that we'll miss you here, tart, but *damn!* that house is so awesome, and gonna be great for you guys...not to mention the eager grandparents for babysitting!
Ok, I found it turbo- I think it was the issue that came in November, but it's called the January/February '07 issue- I hate how magazines date ahead. They liked Chaokoh, too. Someone on the LTH Forum recommended Three Crab Fish Sauce, and apparently, that's what Ming Tsai, likes, too.

A few years ago, Target had a line of Asian spice blends created by Ming Tsai, and they had a really great curry blend. They don't make it anymore and I don't know what was in it, but I wish I could find some.
Mmmm... lurker.... laugh.gif Not til the end of April, so we still have some time for Bustie meet-ups. And dudettes, I'll be working from home, so I'll have even more time to Bust - y'all ain't rid of me yet!

Ming irks me, for reasons I can't quite explain. I think it was that whole America's Next Top Chef show that was on PBS - he came across as kind of a prat. And don't get me started on the freakyness that is Rick Bayless... yipes.
yeah, I don't really watch his cooking show, but I did see a couple episodes of Cooking Under Fire. I like any cooking competition show (Top Chef, even Hell's Kitchen, and Iron Chef if I'm interested in the ingredient), and C.U.F. seemed to be the most serious of them (Hell's Kitchen is just a joke, a total guilty pleasure for me- I'm sure IRL those people couldn't cook their way out of a paper bag.)

Rick Bayless comes across as pretentious on his show, but I can watch it with the sound off, because, damn, his food looks good- total food porn. I haven't been to Frontera Grill or Topolobampo- I hear they've gotten too popular for their own good and the atmosphere and service sucks.
Polly - did you see Rick Tramonte and Gail Gand on Iron Chef last night? They got totally robbed on battle fennel! And I wanted to eat alllllllll of their food!

I like Rick Bayless - his new book is great too - lots of quick/easy flavorful stuff, for once! He doesn't blink much, that's what's weird about him to me watching him on TV, but I adore his food. We love Frontera Grill, but we always try to hit it between lunch and dinner, so we don't have to wait...Duck tacos....that's all I'm sayin'.
I see your duck tacos, Turbo, & raise you sweet potato & duck tacos, a la That Little Mexican Cafe on Bryn Mawr... OMFG, they're good, and rich, and spicy, and wow.

You're right - Bayless doesn't blink. He's like a gecko...

Cooking Under Fire! That's the one... I can't watch too many of those shows, either - gives me flashbacks, and I start subconsciously stressing about what I would do for the egg challenge... rolleyes.gif
No, I didn't see them. They opened 3 (!!) new restaurants about 5 minutes from my house. There's a huge new Westin Hotel just north of me and as part of the hotel complex, they opened Tramonto's Steak & Seafood, Osteria de Tramonto and Gale's Coffee Bar, that serves her pastries. People on LTH say they're all pretty good, good service, good value.

Well, I'll have to strategically go to Frontera Grill, tacos? Oh, you're killing me!

x-post with tart- is that what the place is called- "That Little Mexican Cafe"? Sounds delish.

I have some pre-cooked duck in the freezer. I may have to stop and get some sweet potatoes to have with it. Probably not in taco form, but sounds like a great combination.

Yeah, I guess working in a professional kitchen would put a damper on those shows. I've never done it (and probably never will) and I get frustrated at some of the dipshits on those shows.
*drools* Uhnnnnn.....sweet potato and duck tacos - sounds amazing!! I shall have to stop by the one in Evanston sometime just happens to be within walking distance of my office...hmmmm...

Oooh, and I would love to try some of Gale's pastries - I've been trying to get my hands on some of her microbrew root beer for ages!
OH, MY GOD--sweet potato and duck tacos? that sounds like heaven holy moly. polly, i have some sweet potatoes and now i want to go out and get duck haha! if i was in chi-town we could combine forces and take over the world!.

one of my favorite things to cook is zucchini or squash sauteed with salt and pepper in butter and olive oil, and throw in some diced garlic at the end. you only end up cooking the zukes for about 3-4 minutes. anyway, yesterday i threw in some warmed grilled chicken too and MAN, it was delicious.

i found a store down the street from my house that sells used appliances, and some of their small ovens are under $200. i'm SORELY tempted.....really the only thing holding me back is the resentment that my landlord will get to keep it when i move out. but then again, i have possibly the best deal in LA let alone my neighborhood, and an oven will only make it that much better of a deal....we'll see.
Uhm, ya, the tacos are amazing - the sweet potato is in the shells, a sort of plush tortilla fried long enough to get crisp on the edges, but pillowy inside. The filling is shredded duck, cheese, and mole, with a pile of melon & chihuahua salad on the side... Damn. I'm feeling a date night coming on...

Mouse, how come your LL would get to keep your oven, if you paid for it? (And word on the sauteed squash - I crank up the heat & let it brown a bit, and throw a handful of fresh lemon thyme in at the end... is it summer yet?)
QUOTE(tart @ Jan 29 2007, 02:15 PM) *

Mouse, how come your LL would get to keep your oven, if you paid for it?

well, technically the next tenant would get it. i don't plan to move apartments until i move out of this city for good, and i don't plan to carry a small stove with me when i do that. my landlord's policy is "if there are appliances already in the apartment when you move in, you can use them, but i will not provide them nor am i responsible for them". which isn't unusual here.

those tacos are sounding better and better. did you say melon and CHIHUAHA salad? that can't be what i'm thinking it is....... tongue.gif
QUOTE(turbojenn @ Jan 29 2007, 01:54 PM) *
I think it was the november issue of Cooks Illustrated - same issue that had the amazing green chile chile that I'm now hooked on.

Green chile chile? *perk*
Oh, Mouse, get the oven. It's a small price to pay to enrich your life. And it ends up being a token of goodwill for your landlord, even if he doesn't really deserve such good will (it all comes back to you anyway).
Cook 4 amazing meals which include something roasted or baked and you'll have your money back just saving what you would have spent to entertain very modestly at a restaurant. And you'll be happy!
very true, chacha.

now someone please tell me that tart isn't eating puppies.
Tart is either:

a) subliminally thinking of the area from which an ingredient comes
cool.gif writing chihuahua but meaning chorizo
c) referring to a food substance, an esoteric one, which is known as "chihuahua"
d) doing what we're afraid of

I'm not much help here, am I?
IPB Image

obviously she was eating this.
Queso Chihuahua.
Mmmmm, puppies. I loves 'em. Especially deep fried.

Kidding... Polly wins the esoteric food knowledge challenge! Glad to provide a bit of excitement 'round here...
I didn't know it was especially popular in the midwest- no wonder we were the only ones who knew, tart!

*sniff, sniff* that's the smell of duck and sweet potatoes in my oven. Oooooh yeah. I don't know how you could live without one, mouse. Maybe you could sell it to another LA-apartment dweller before you leave (on the condition that they haul it out) so your LL doesn't reap the benefits of it?
Okay, it's safe, it's a cheese.

But that visual provided by Mouse will give me nightmares for a few days.
(I thank the Goddesses for the abundance of taste to be found in modern food stylists).
aw shucks.......all i did was google "chihuahua salad" tongue.gif
*warning: broccoli revelation ahead*

So, what *don't* those fine folks over at America's Test Kitchen know? I was watching this weekend, and they solved my perennial problem of over-steaming broccoli to the point of waterlogging....and I made the best broccoli ever tonight!

So you heat a non-stick pan with a little oil, then toss in your broccoli in one layer, and let it cook on high heat for 2 minutes. Toss, then add a couple Tb of water with 1/4 salt dissolved in it, add to the broccoli, and slap the lid on. Steam for 2 minutes, then turn the broccoli out into a bowl. Now add a bit of olive oil to your pan, a couple cloves of minced garlic and saute for 1minute...add the broccoli back in, and toss to coat, adding a squeeze of lemon and some pepper. - delicious and perfectly cooked!

I don't think I've ever gone back for seconds on broccoli, but tonight - I did! Of course, my guts are churning on it a bit...I do need to limit my broccoli intake just a bit. smile.gif
That sounds like what my dad does to his broccoli- I'm not sure what his timing is, i think he does it all by color...basically he sort of sears the florets. High heat and oil. It does taste really good, though, nice and browned and toasty. For frozen broccoli, I really like the stuff from Costco, but I was getting the waterlogged issue, too. After it happened a couple of times I just put it in the salad spinner and got all the water out. Some people think they're pointless, but I love my salad spinner. $5 from Ikea!

OMG, this recipe was in Gourmet this month...(((mouth-watering)))

I'm going to a Super Bowl party on Sunday (mostly to eat smile.gif ) and I'm bringing crescent roll dough stuffed with boursin and with chorizo & cheddar cheese. Yum!
Turbo, you can't eat broccoli either? I can only have it if I'm absolutely craving it (and that would be maybe 4 times over the course of my life). Otherwise, trouble. So I just have the rabe, and nothing else.

I saw that test kitchen show on the weekend too and thought they found a really great way of making the prep quick and really just simple. I finally learned how to cook asparagus so that it's sweet, bright green, and tender--not too crunchy (and therefore uncooked) or mushy (way too overdone) and it's a pretty similar "steam in a pan" method that takes minutes. Comes out perfect every time.

Yep, chacha, broccoli definitely gives me tummy trouble, but I love it so much! So long as I remember to take a beano beforehand, I'm fine - I jsut didn't remember to do that yesterday. smile.gif Good thinking on the asparagus - I'll have to try that next time I'm cooking some up!
Mmm, I love broccoli.

Anyone have any good ideas for a pot roast? I'm tired of the potatoes-onions-carrots/crock pot route. Can I cut it up and make a stew? It's an English cut, if that makes a difference. The meat guide I was looking at said it will get too tough if I cook it with a dry heat.
Look for braised beef recipes - there's so many ways to do it. Pot roast is just one combination...

braised in zin
coffee-braised beef with cinnamon & orange
chianti braised beef

I have some Mexican/southwest-flavored braise recipes at home, too... (basically, onions, poblanos, tomatoes, garlic, cumin, salt, pepper... and you shred it up and serve in tortillas)
Mmm, polly, I want to go to the SuperBowl party with you! That recipe sounds delicious!

Broccoli..yep. Beano needed.

I made some good tacos last night. They had black beans & tempeh, topped with avocado salad. Pretty tasty.

Re: Thai food..I always add extra sugar too, like someone else said. Mine never tastes as good as in restaurants. I've yet to find a really good Pad Thai recipe.
Tart & polly - just to let ya'll know, That Little Mexican Cafe in Evanston does *not* have the duck/sweet potato tacos....we were sorely disappointed yesterday when we went! But we still had a very tasty lunch, but not tasty enough to give up our favorite neighborhood joint!
Aww, well at least I know ahead of time. The duck & sweet potato combination is now Le Boy's favorite combination after having it the other night, so I'm going to work on some other formats- maybe I'll make my own tacos!
polly - tell me of cooking duck breasts...I love ordering duck at restaurants, but I've never done it at home, and now I'm dreaming of chipotle en adobo and garlic rubbed duck, with some roasted sweets....if broiling - how long would I cook on each side?
duck and sweet potato tacos? ohmycod YUM.

is there a recipe for these back in the archives???

mouse, the oven in my flat here went kablooey last may. i had to keep after the landlady for frelling EVER. i was going batso. after many months of pestering, false starts, ordering of parts to try and fix old oven, landlady going on vacay, wrong parts being delivered, oven repair guy going on the lam and way too much more to go into, i FINALLY have a brand new oven. which is a bizarre south african thing with fans. i'm still trying to figure it out. i'm pretty good at turning the baking temps from F to C, but i'm still having oven issues.

despite my crapola week at work last week, i baked twice! it soothes me and makes the house smell good

my banana bread came out perfect on top but not quite cooked on the bottom. still tasty as ever, but not as aesthically pleasing as it should have been. (this did not stop the people at work from inhaling it)

i made tollhouse cookies for a dinner party yesterday. i had trouble getting the hang of baking them right. the first try came out edible, but burned on the bottom. not badly, but, dren! i have been baking these things since i was a child. i can't tell you the last time i had them burn on the bottom!

does anyone know anything about these weird south african stoves with fans on top and on bottom? (my mind is still boggled by my south african washing machine which has a button you have to press to get it to spin dry. the default is NO spin dry, your clothes come out in a sodden heap. can anyone tell me why/when you wouldn't want to spin dry your clothes????)
tes, the sweet potato and duck tacos were from a restaurant here in Chicago, which they apparently no longer serve. From what tart described, the tortillas were sweet potato-enhanced (like how they mix spinach into them, if I understood correctly), then the duck was shredded inside with cheese and mole sauce. I'm not a huge mole fan, but I'd get it on the side at least.

turbo, the duck I made was actually pre-cooked from Costco. They're fully cooked, then vacuum-sealed. You get three halves, and it was about $15 for it. They don't come frozen, but I wasn't going to eat all of it right away, so I froze it. After thawing, you only bake it for 15-20 mins. I made the sweet potatoes with some pecans, brown sugar and butter and it was sooo good. Those flavors just go together so perfectly, I don't know why it's not done more often. The Mexican place was the first time I'd ever heard of it being served together.

ETA: Tes, it sounds like maybe it's a convection oven. They're supposed to be more efficient and cook things more evenly, but you do have to adjust the time & temp for them.
I'm going to continue spreading the love for That Little Mexican Cafe. I have not been to the one in Evanston, but I did go to the Edgewater location on Bryn Mawr in December right before the holidays. I did have the duck/sweet potato tacos (more like flautas, IMO), cuz who can pass up a menu selection like that?

It wasn't exactly a sweet potato tortilla, though that's how it's described on the menu, it was duck breast sort of wrapped in mashed sweet potatoes and then deep fried (hence the flauta) - I din't get a dough-y or flour-y taste from it. It was served with this amazing sweet/spicy salsa. It was incredible. Also, they have a guacamole cart - your server brings it to the table and makes fresh guac customized to your specs and does it all with a mortar and pestle. Sooo tasty.

turbo - you mentioned you went for lunch, perhaps it's only available at dinner? Or maybe the offerings at the Evanston location are different?

BTW, it is not your typical "local taqueria" and it was not a cheap dinner - 1 app, 2 entrees, 2 beers, and 2 hot cocoas set us back $60. It was worth it smile.gif just don't know how often I'll be eating there.
huh, so it's almost more like a Jibarito, where the wrap is actually sweet potato, but mashed and fried? Wow.
You guys are killing me with the duck talk. It's my favourite food. I turned down all meat foods for 13 years, at every dinner party and festive occasion, until one day I went to a Christmas dinner where roast duck was served.

You're killing me more with the Costco duck, 3 pieces for $15. I've been driving all the way to hell to get 1 little piece of duck vacuum packed by the German grocery store at about that much for one piece duck breast. I will be skulking through the Costco mob shortly. And making the sweet potato and pecans too, thank you for the suggestion.

Lucky Tes, if that is a convection oven.
chacha! tell me how to USE it!!!

it is making me crazy!!! (ok, crazier?)
As long as we're talking about duck - have any of you tried duck and sauerkraut? I know it doesn't *sound* awesome, but it is so. good.

You sear the duck leg in a pan, then you bury it in a pot of sauerkraut. Add a little bit of stock, maybe some juniper berries and/or caraway seeds if you want. Put it in the oven for an hour or so, and VOILA! The duck is oh so tender, having been cooked in moisture for so long, and the sauerkraut is tender and yummy from being cooked in all the duck fat.

Quick question about crockpot cooking...I'm RIGHT NOW simmering some beef chunks with onion and mushrooms in some beef broth in the crockpot. I dredged the chunks with flour, browned the beef first.

I just tasted it and the beef is finally tender enough...I'd like to thicken the "juice" in the pot but I don't have tapioca.

Do you think if I made a butter/flour roux and just added it into the crockpot, would it work, or do you think it'll get lumpy?
do you have any cornstarch, tree? I generally mix a tiny bit of cornstarch with a bit of cold water, and then add it in...but beware, it gets thick fast, so do it right at the end, and be very conservative in adding it in.

I'm guessing the roux would work too....I think I've seen Jaques pepin do that - mixing cold butter and flour, and adding it in, but never done it myself, as I don't use butter or flour much these dairy/wheat-free days. smile.gif

PK - you are EVIL!!! I have 2 bags of 'kraut in the fridge, waiting for me to get inspired, and now, I *have* to find some duck legs and try that recipe...sounds soooo yummy!! Turbomann hates 'kraut, so I guess I'll have to eat it all myself!
thanks jenn....i'll try the cornstarch. there's enough fat in the beef mixture anyway! smile.gif
Tesao, it does sound like a convection oven is what you've got. They are generally just like using a radiant heat oven, but you have to keep a couple of things in mind: lower the temperature slightly; remember that food will cook more quickly and theoretically more evenly, so it should take less time that what you're used to; and make sure you keep the oven door closed so that the temperature is even everywhere in the oven.

They fans are part of the design, which is meant to circulate warm air so that it surrounds the food being cooked. The best convection ovens have a means of creating and circulating heated air directly into the oven cavity (though, usually, some often circulate air--even colder air--into it, which isn't the best case scenario).

Here's some information I found on convection oven cooking at Fine Cooking. I hope this means you'll actually love cooking with your oven even more now.
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