"Fire burn, and cauldron bubble" MrsLee Cooks in 2021, Part 1

Questo è il seguito della conversazione "Fire burn, and cauldron bubble" MrsLee Cooks in 2019, Part 2.


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"Fire burn, and cauldron bubble" MrsLee Cooks in 2021, Part 1

Gen 11, 11:54am

Hello and welcome one and all!

I have no idea what this year will hold for cooking adventures, but I have a great cookbook collection to be inspired by and all of you for encouragement. What can't I do? :) Well, I can't do fussy for one, unless it is a new project that I really, really want to try.

I will probably be having more wine adventures, in a completely novice way. Far too lazy to be precise and the quantities I make from windfall fruits given me don't cost much, so the only cost per se is space in my home while it ferments. After that and a long, long wait, the surprise! Not being one of the more knowledgeable wine imbibers (I know when I like it, and I'm not that picky), I am easily pleased.

Fermentation is something I love to do, and I may try canning pickles (my fermented ones have met with uneven success) if I come by some gardener who has too many cukes.

Other than that I am a queen of leftover transmogrification. I cook basic stuff like roast meats. When I want to get fancy, I turn to other cuisines from around the world.

Gen 11, 1:31pm

>1 MrsLee: I was coming over to help push you over the magic 151, but I see you made it. Well done!

Modificato: Gen 11, 1:56pm

>2 Jim53: Thank you for trying! :)

You could help Hugh, he's still got quite a ways to go.

Gen 11, 10:36pm

I tried to make my mom's steamed cauliflower with cheddar cheese sauce tonight. It was okay, but not mom's. Maybe I need more cheese? Or maybe I should have added a tiny bit of mustard? More salt? Not sure, and mom isn't here to ask any more. Think I will check Joy of Cooking and some other older cookbooks for cheese sauce.

Gen 14, 8:11am

Last night I had a dream about pie. This is the third or forth dream about a new pie that I've had, and each one, when I tried them, were delicious. The pie I dreamed about last night was a lemon curd, and what was different was the crust. I had added curry powder to it, then sprinkled toasted sesame seeds on the crust before filling, and on top of the lemon curd. I'm going to have to try that this weekend.

Gen 14, 8:22am

In going through my mom's journals, I found some menus she wrote for when she was cooking for a big crowd. This one was for a Roof Raising in which my three siblings and I, along with our spouses and children, and some cousins and uncles and aunts, arrived to help my dad get the roof on the large workshop/shed my dad built.

Roof Raising which took about 4 days
French's or Betty McIntyre's or both, 24 hour omelet
French's Potato Casserole
Cinnamon Bread Toast
Lovette's Corn casserole

curry & rice
chili beans
Tamale stew
clam chowder

Fish, green beans, corn - Thurs.
Pork Chops - Sat.
Tostadas - Fri.
Tamale stew

This must be an alternate, don't remember which was used:
Fri. Tostadas
Sun. Scotch Stew
Mon. Stroganoff
Tue. Pork Chops

My mom would have filled in with potatoes, and lots of fresh vegetables from her garden. Also, her children would have helped by bringing large salads and desserts.

Gen 14, 11:20am

>6 MrsLee: Tamale stew. Hmmmm, this sounds appealing!

Gen 14, 11:15pm

I will see if I can find the recipe.

Gen 16, 1:35pm

>7 lesmel: This is the only thing I found in my recipe from mom about tamale stew. I haven't tried making it, so no guarantees, except that it was a dish frequently eaten with mom and dad's RV "gang" according to her journals.

From Jean Clark
My Mom's Tamale Stew

"One pkg. New Mexico dried red chilis. Remove stems and seeds and boil in H20 for 10 minutes, then let stand 30 min. Discard liquid (It's bitter) and puree in blender then thru sieve to remove skins. That gives you your red chili sauce or you can use Las Palmas Red Chili Sauce not enchilada sauce. (Not as good)
Boil one large stewing hen or pieces of your choice with several cloves of garlic. Remove from bone, leaving in sizeable pieces. I do this the day B-4. Refrigerate broth - Skim off chicken fat & add equal amt. flour - approx. one cup of each. To the roux add red chili sauce & chick broth to make good gravy consistency - Add one tblsp. each, cumin, oregano, coriander, then your chicken & 3 cans drained white hominy."

If I were doing it, I would brown the roux to at least the color of almonds, I think Jean took for granted that anyone would do that with a roux. As to the size of the package of red chilies, I can't tell you. Here they come in a very large bag, or a tiny bag. Personally, I would use the larger size bag, then add the chili sauce to taste and freeze the rest.

Gen 16, 2:14pm

Not quite tamale stew, more an acceptance of a challenge from MrsLee in my thread in The Green Dragon, and not properly that, either.

An early (1952) number of the Rhodesia Railways Magazine recommends livening up a stew by adding a muslin bag of pickling spice. I can sort-of imagine that working.

Gen 16, 5:43pm

>10 hfglen:, I agree. I might also give the above recipe a bit of the curry method treatment, toasting whole spices before adding them to simmer. Not everyone loves hominy, but I do. I can't believe I've never tried this.

Gen 16, 6:54pm

>9 MrsLee: That sounds delicious. It needs masa, methinks, or good homemade corn tortillas.

Gen 16, 10:37pm

>12 lesmel: Let me know if you try it!

Gen 23, 2:57pm

Getting down to the nitty-gritty in the fridge. Yesterday I had a bit of ham, some bacon, leftover scrambled eggs and about a cup of rice. So breakfast was Fried rice! To the above I added some of my pumpkin kimchi, some chopped ginger and seasonings (soy sauce, fish sauce, agave nectar, hot oil). Delicious.

Breakfast this morning was some leftover chicken and mushroom creamy pasta with eggs stirred in. I warmed the pasta in the pan on low heat, then slowly poured in the beaten eggs while stirring constantly. Had to stir for about 10-15 minutes before it set up properly, but I didn't want scrambled eggs and noodles. Added a little bacon and Flashover seasoning. Really fine food.

I don't have a menu plan per se this weekend, but will be roasting a lump of lamb and a lump of pork. Also making a bone broth so that we can have ramen soup this week. Baking a loaf of whole-wheat sourdough/sesame bread, make some waffles, and I want to try my dream pie of lemon curd with curry and sesame crust.

Gen 28, 6:38pm

An update on the lemon curd with curry crust pies. The crust is delicious. I tried a new recipe for the curd, from Joy of Cooking, and it failed! Taste was fine, but it didn't firm up. So, I used it with some frozen blackberries and cream to make an ice cream and that was wonderful!

Tonight I will make a tuna salad to serve on the curry crust and I might melt some cheese on some of them, too. The lemon curd would have tasted great on them, but it was too runny. Oh, yes, sesame seeds were tasty with the curd and crust as well. This will be tried again with a known recipe for lemon curd.

Feb 1, 2:46pm

Well now. Yesterday I made the Chicken Tamale stew from my mother's friend's mother's recipe. It is delicious! I intend to rewrite the recipe into a usable, easy-to-read format. I changed very little, although I added an additional chicken (two very small chickens vs. one large stewing hen, who can find those these days?) and a few more seasonings to the broth the chicken simmered in. Other than that, the devil is in the details the recipe leaves out. How big a package of chilies? What size cans of hominy? What color of roux? I will share the recipe here when I've written it.

Today I try a recipe for thumbprint cookies with mincemeat filling instead of jelly. I might fill some with jelly, too.

Feb 13, 12:28pm

The bamboo steamers arrived that I ordered, now I have to work up the courage to use them! Hoping to make some shrimp and pork dumplings this weekend.

Does anyone here have experience using these? I see that they need a liner if you are not using plates in them. The Chinese Cookbook I recently read recommended cheesecloth to line them. Online they want to sell me parchment paper liners. I have been trying to think of ways to use the lovely linen napkins I have so many of, besides as napkins (because they are not so lovely that they have no stains in them). I was wondering if I could use them as a liner in the bamboo steamers. Will probably give it a try and report back.

Feb 16, 4:46pm

I did make pork steamed buns and shrimp and pork filled dumplings yesterday. Cheated a bit and used won ton wrappers for the dumplings. Never again will I make 2 fussy things like this unless there is someone else around who likes to cook. The pork buns are delicious, now I want to try making a sourdough version. I had leftover filling and froze it, so that should simplify the process. The linen napkins worked a treat!

Feb 17, 9:47am

Oh, I also cobbled together from several recipes a Hoisin sauce that I like, so now I don't have to depend on having a bottle on hand.

Mar 6, 1:13pm

>4 MrsLee: I always put a little mustard in cheese sauce, and many other dishes too - not enough for them to taste of mustard, but it just seems to give the flavour a bit of a lift. Also, a pinch of cayenne (picked this up from Eliza Acton).

Mar 6, 4:20pm

Nutmeg can also lift the flavour of cheese sauce.

A similar trick if you are using strawberries that aren't full flavoured (ie out of season) is to add just a hint of ground cloves. If you can taste cloves you have used too much. But a tiny bit makes them taste more like strawberries.

Mar 6, 7:16pm

>21 MarthaJeanne: I agree with the nutmeg in cheese sauce. An old 1940's homemade mac and cheese recipe called for a scant 1/4 tsp. of nutmeg mixed in the cheese sauce. I decided to try it, hoping not to ruin the casserole. I can say that it was good--and really no taste of nutmeg.

Mar 7, 11:23am

>20 Sovay:, >21 MarthaJeanne: & >22 Tess_W:
Thank you! I forgot that my mother used to put a tiny bit of mustard in her sauce. I remembered the cayenne. Will have to try the nutmeg trick, and especially the clove on strawberries!

Not a lot of cooking going on here lately. I am trying to get the garden ready for a baby shower in April. The mamma wanted me to make tacos for the shower, so I will be cooking tons of carne asada, beans, salsa, etc. for that. Freezing the meat and beans so I can cook them ahead. All the fresh chopped things such as cabbage, jicama, radish, onions will have to be done that day or possible the day before. Yikes.

Mar 14, 9:23pm

I'm not really a fan of mustard so I usually avoid it. I can tolerate it if it is masked in something else, but it's not a taste I enjoy.

Mar 16, 12:24am

Did a sort of one things leads to another cooking blast this weekend.
Husband bought pork ribs. The recipe I wanted to try called for boiling them in Zatarain's crab boil spices (liquid). Didn't have any, so I Googled how to make my own. Then I had that lovely broth, so I cooked some frozen shrimp to make shrimp and pickled egg green salad. After boiling the shrimp the broth was even better, so I tossed in a corned beef (tis the season where they are inexpensive). Saved the broth and the next day cooked cabbage and carrots. Delicious. Now the broth is rich enough to use for Ramen soup, so that's how we will finish it, although I will water it down a little due to salt content.

Mar 21, 11:43pm

Today I made a Hungarian recipe found in a book years ago. Although I've pretty much substituted all the original ingredients out because they were nightshades. Instead of eggplant, potatoes and green peppers, I used butternut squash, cabbage and onions, with fresh ginger for good measure. Slice all very thin, toss with salt, pepper and olive oil, bake in covered casserole for 30 minutes. Add thick fish (I use frozen cod or tilapia filets) filets on top of vegetables, more salt and pepper, and parsley (I use fresh cilantro), cover and bake another 20-30 minutes, until fish is done. My husband doesn't like fish, but he loves this.

Mar 22, 1:55pm

Cleaning out the fridge a bit. Found the yeast leavings of some plum wine I made a few months back, I'm going to simmer a pork butt roast in it with some of the chicken broth I made yesterday and whatever spice I'm inspired to throw in with it.

Also made some rice so that I could do a stir-fry rice tonight using some frozen Chinese BBQ pork from the freezer, edamame, and the choppy salad remains (mostly cabbage, some peas and corn, etc.).

I am so not inspired to be cooking at this time, but one does want to eat.

Apr 5, 10:37am

Saturday I cooked enough pinto beans and carne asada to feed an army. Froze it in two large aluminum pans for the 17th, when I will be hosting a taco baby shower for my DIL. I don't know if an army will come, it will depend on the weather and whether or not we can be outside, but I wanted to be prepared, anyway.

Then yesterday I cooked for us. A pan of roasted chicken thighs, one of roasted cauliflower florets, one of roasted asparagus.
A choppy salad which this week included things like the cauliflower stem, cabbage, carrots, green onions Thai basil, ginger, fresh cilantro and peanuts. Seasoned with rice vinegar, sesame and avocado oil, agave nectar, coconut sriracha, salt, white pepper.

After all that, I combined the bottoms of the asparagus stems, the juice from the roasted chicken, garlic, ginger and the bits and pieces of fresh herbs which didn't go into the salad, topped off with water, added some whole spices, peppercorns, cardamom, fennel, coriander. Simmered until tender, then pureed in my Vitamix. Added some sour cream and had a delicious soup which we can have warm or cold depending on the weather and our mood. Very satisfying.

Apr 5, 6:03pm

"Whatever's Left in the Fridge" Soup! Glad to hear yours turned out delicious. This week's version here was Carrot and Cucumber with Lentils - not an obvious combination but not bad.

Modificato: Apr 11, 8:07pm

Inspired by excess sourdough starter, and a conversation here about using chicken fat in biscuits, I made sourdough-bacon biscuit the other morning. Used my father's biscuit recipe, added sourdough starter, and used leftover bacon fat and crispies instead of lard or butter. Oh my. These were beyond good. We've been having them for lunch with guacamolé on them.

Today I started a batch of curdito for the taco baby shower next Saturday. I used onions and carrots, with seasonings in a bag ) oregano, cumin seed, chili flakes) and a brine of salt, sugar and water. Hope it turns out well. I sort of married two recipes from Fermented Vegetables

Apr 11, 10:48pm

>30 MrsLee: I've been inspired to begin some sourdough starter....will do after my company leaves on Friday!

I love your idea for using the bottoms of the asparagus--never thought of that, but I did always cringe when I threw them away.

Apr 12, 6:13pm

>31 Tess_W: Be sure that you have a machine like a Vitamix, or put it through a sieve to take the fibers out. My Vitamix does such a good job I don't have to sieve it, makes it so easy!

Apr 14, 2:23am

>30 MrsLee: I'm scared of bacon at present - I was reading up about saltpetre and other nitrates whilst trying to pick a suitable recipe from Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery and came to the conclusion that they will kill me and I need to avoid them.

How long my resolve will last, I cannot say ... I do love the occasional bacon sandwich.

Apr 15, 6:48pm

>33 Sovay: If I ate it more frequently I might worry a bit, but I like my great-grandmother's advice, all things in moderation. Except maybe cyanide. ;)

Apr 16, 2:35am

>34 MrsLee: Are you saying I should stop eating things like good marzipan, amaretto, and not infuse a pit or two into peach or apricot jam? Even cyanide can be enjoyed in moderation.

Apr 16, 6:24pm

>35 MarthaJeanne: lol, I realized that when I finished typing but was too lazy to delete.

Apr 17, 2:53pm

>33 Sovay: LOL scared of bacon. My grandfather ate 3 pieces of bacon every single day for breakfast, along with 3 eggs for 60+ years. He died of the ripe old age of 88 and he also smoked!

Apr 20, 7:06am

>37 Tess_W: I'm probably being over-anxious, but I've had a couple of friends die of bowel cancer - not a good way to go ...

Modificato: Apr 21, 9:38pm

>38 Sovay: I would try to buy nitrate free bacon! I eat so little of it that I really haven't given it much thought; but now I will.

Apr 22, 12:16pm

It's a difficult issue - I use bacon more as a flavouring than a main ingredient, for the most part, but all the medical advice seemed to indicate that nitrates were risky even in very small amounts. Nitrate-free bacon would be the answer - the nitrates seem to be there for cosmetic rather than preservative reasons, to make it pink instead of beige - but I suspect that there's not much demand for beige bacon and until there is, not much incentive for manufacturers to produce it.

Apr 22, 6:31pm

>40 Sovay: I can easily find nitrate free bacon in the store here, a very small town in California. Good luck to you. Do the studies mention that nitrates are found naturally in many foods? Or are they only talking about processed foods?

Apr 23, 4:05am

>41 MrsLee: No sign of it here (very small town in North Yorkshire). They do mention naturally occurring nitrates in eg celery, which are used by some bacon and ham producers as a substitute for saltpetre, but say that by the end of the curing process the chemical composition of these is almost indistinguishable from (and just as harmful as) saltpetre.

I think making my own may be the answer! Hugh Fearnley-Whitingstall has recipes online, and I've made my own gammon steaks in the past using one of them - they were beige but tasted fine.

Apr 24, 10:30am

This morning I am making tiny chicken biscuits (used roasted chicken fat, cutting them into 1" or slightly bigger size). These will be filled with lightly fried quail eggs. My niece raises quail and brought me a bucketful of eggs. For the most part, they seem more fussy than they are worth. Give me an ostrich egg. ;) I intend to crack them all into a bowl, then gently slide them into the pan and put a lid on, not trying to turn them all. A whimsical breakfast.

Later today the leftover veggies, beans, etc. from last weekend's bridal shower must be dealt with. I've been trying to decide whether to make soup, a casserole, fried rice or perhaps noodles. I'm leaning toward a nice minestrone type soup. Happily, the weather from the weekend is cooling off from the 80s of last week to 50s/60s. Good soup weather.

Apr 24, 11:36pm

Made a huge pot of minestrone soup, as per >43 MrsLee:. Turned out excellent, in spite of being made of all the aged things in the fridge. I will probably freeze half of it tomorrow.

Modificato: Apr 25, 10:15am

I'm going to try to add a photo of the quail egg breakfast of yesterday. I can add a photo from my phone to LT, but I don't seem to be able to copy the address and post in a group from my phone. I'm on my laptop now, so here goes:

The hen's egg is for size comparison.

Apr 25, 11:13am

>43 MrsLee: "Give me an ostrich egg"

We could re-arrange the Green Dragon Geological Tour we discussed in my thread there a while back to do exactly that. Spend a couple of nights in or near Oudtshoorn or Calitzdorp, Western Cape, and plan to see a couple of wine farms, an ostrich farm, the Swartberg Pass (amazing Cape Fold Mountains for pgmcc), an olive farm in Prince Alfred, back via Meiringspoort (cross the same river 27 times in 18 km). Ostrich eggs in Oudtshoorn cost roughly twice as much as the equivalent volume (24 eggs) of hen's eggs.

Modificato: Apr 25, 2:22pm

>46 hfglen: Are they the equivalent of 24 hen's eggs? That's one heck of an omelet! Even for a crowd I don't usually use more than 8 eggs in an omelet.

My husband wants to know if you have ever fried one in a pan?

Apr 25, 2:46pm

>47 MrsLee: They are indeed. You need a large crowd. (Candidly, I find ostrich meat and biltong more rewarding. I've made this recommendation once before in the GD, but your son may wish to store it up for future reference. A chunk of biltong, ostrich preferably -- it's drier, with the texture of wooden roof shingles -- is the ideal thing for baby to teethe on. You will, of course, end up with a king-size mess as first by-product, then a lifelong carnivore.)

No. I've had ostrich-egg omelet (along with several other people). It was unpleasantly rich. Aged Mother and Better Half have each made ostrich-egg fruitcake once, for special occasions. There's a recipe in Mrs Beeton for a monster fruitcake that involves 24 hen's eggs. It's not bad, but you need a gi-normous oven for ages, and you end up with enough rather solid cake to feed a small army (among the other ingredients she calls for 8 lb of flour).

Modificato: Apr 25, 3:02pm

There is a poultry farm near here that has ostriches, nandus, and emus, as well as more normal birds. I have seen the eggs, but it's too much for me. I really do like the meat though.

They sell the eggs full or empty, and make all sorts of things out of them, including noodles, egg liquor, and lamps.

Maggio 15, 10:39am

This weekend I will be making chili beans, to freeze and take to the memorial gathering we are having next weekend to distribute my mother's ashes. A year late, thank you Covid. Anyway, if I can gather the energy, next Friday I will make a potato salad as well. These are the two dishes my mother was famous for at all the gatherings in her community and with family. I do a pretty good imitation, as I was trained by the best.

Also plan to take a huge cheese tray to complement the ham sandwiches we will be serving. Simple sliced cheeses such as cheddar, Pepper jack and Swiss, with a large Brie in the center decorated pinwheel style with pinenuts, chives, poppy seeds and chopped dried cranberries. All this will be served on herbs from my garden, sage, rosemary, oregano, thyme and parsley. Interspersed with pots of peach chutney, wild plum jam, pickle relish, some dates, apricots, olives, and seasoned almonds and pecans which I make. My mom would love it, I know.

Other than that, not much cooking for me lately. Just the regular roasts, sourdough bread and veggies.

Giu 9, 9:39am

Did some cooking this last weekend. I made a salad I called "Not Gazpacho" To me, gazpacho has tomatoes in it. I don't eat tomatoes these days, so this salad was made with cucumbers, fennel and celery, cilantro, along with various herbs, some oil and vinegar. It is delicious and refreshing.

Also cooked some Corona beans, which I had never seen before. They are the biggest dry beans I've ever seen. Each bean a buttery mouthful. I wanted them to be eaten cold (the thermometer has been over 100° for a week or more), so I doused them with olive oil, fresh herbs from my garden, salt and pepper. Comfort food in the hot day.

Then there was the rhubarb my sister gave me a couple of weeks ago, sitting in the refrigerator guilting me. I made a rhubarb and mango cobbler, which was interesting because the mangoes (which were not ripe enough) came out like chewy bits of dried fruit while the rhubarb is tender. Huh. Still delicious.

The rest of the mango I was going to make a chutney out of, so I scanned my Curry cookbook by Corinnne Trang, and The Mystic Seaport cookbook by Lillian Langseth-Chritensen for ideas. Then I pretty much threw in whatever sounded good to me, onion, chopped ginger, rhubarb, sugar, vinegar and various whole spices. The vinegar I used was a rather cheap red wine vinegar mixed with a rather cheap balsamic vinegar (both inherited from my mother's kitchen), then some of my homemade rhubarb vinegar. Simmered it all covered until the rhubarb was tender, then I removed the cover and simmered it about 10 more minutes to reduce the liquid. It was a deep brown color. When I tasted it, I decided it would be better as a sauce like ketchup, so I whirled it in my Vitamix and it became rhubarb ketchup. Or perhaps a bbq sauce, it is so flavorful! A bit too thick, we have to pound the bottle to get it out. Next time (oh yes, there will be a next time!) I plan to use a clear vinegar to see if it retains the delicate pink color of rhubarb. This sauce looks like dark chocolate. For a gal who doesn't eat tomatoes, it is a godsend to find a sauce with the depth of flavor this has.

Giu 9, 10:00am

One thing I have done rather than cook chutneys long enough to reduce the liquid is to start with only some of the sugar, and add sugar with added pectin towards the end. It thickens nicely. Another advantage is that it is less likely to catch and burn earlier in the process.

Giu 10, 6:17am

>51 MrsLee: If you have access to green (i.e. unripe) mangoes I think you'd probably enjoy turning them into Achar, for which there must be 10 000 recipes flying around the Durban area, in all shades of heat from mild to incendiary.

Giu 12, 11:58am

>53 hfglen: Sadly, unripe mangoes are about all I have access to here. Now and then we get lucky and get some I can use in salsa. The green/unripe ones do, however, make a decent substitute for apples when I make curry, since I am allergic to apples. When I say "curry," that particular recipe which calls for apples and shrimp or lamb, is from one of my great-aunts. It is more along the line of a British curry I believe, and uses the yellow curry powder and a couple of other powdered spices. It was always a childhood favorite, and my children love it too. I have since "spiced" up the recipe, using some whole spices I grind myself and adding a couple which were never there, except maybe in the purchased curry powder under the term "spices" in the ingredients. It is so easy, and every bit as delicious with mangoes as with apples.

The pickled mangoes would probably be a hit with me, but since my husband shuns heat/spice, it would be a lonely enjoyment.

Today I am going to make a bbq shredded pork dish. I haven't decided yet whether to look at a recipe, or simply put things in a pot for a long slow cook. Probably the latter, because I'm lazy like that. Pork, onions, garlic, bacon, a bit of liquid smoke, salt and pepper. The point of this of course is to use my rhubarb bbq sauce on it. :) My brother is coming to lunch tomorrow, so there will be homemade bread, bbq shredded pork and what I call a "choppy salad." This week's choppy salad will be cauliflower, onion, celery, herbs and whatever else I am inspired to throw in. Add a splash of vinegar, oil, a bit of salt and sugar and hot sauce and Bob's your uncle. Choppy salad. Will probably toss in some sunflower seeds, or peanuts or pine nuts. Haven't decided.