The Cooking Thread

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The Cooking Thread

Postby WrigleyField 22 » Sun Apr 12, 2020 4:00 pm

Not sure how many here are the shared or primary meal preparers in their households, but thought it could be cool to have a thread to pass tips, share ideas, ask questions, or just rant about failures and boast about culinary success (cooking, BBQ, baking, you name it)

So growing up my moms tradition with us was "Easter Eggs Benedict" which was pretty much just a clever way to use all those hardboiled and colored Easter eggs, instead of poaching eggs. Even as an adult, when we get together on Easter my mom makes Easter Eggs Benedict with hard boiled eggs even though she's not coloring eggs.

So with all the social distancing this year my family all got together for a zoom while we ate/prepared each of our individually prepared Benedicts. I decided to mix it up this year and go with the traditional poached egg. That's the background.

Holy hell that is a tough meal to manage the timing of. Everything turned out great in the end, and I had read up on about poaching/ice bath/rewarming your poached eggs to help with the timing. That worked pretty well. But I also wanted to make real hollandaise sauce instead of the packet my mom always uses (much to my wife's chagrin). That actually started out really well until I took my eyes off the double boiler for like 30 seconds too long to attend to a child, and the sauce had just completely broke. Luckily I was able to add a little warm water and a couple fresh yolks and pull it back together, but my wife was about a minute away from "I told you so"

Anyways everything turned out awesome. I made a traditional Benedict for my wife and a smoked salmon/lox one for myself that is probably my new favorite breakfast. But now I have a pile of dirty dishes waiting for me. This is definitely a meal that dirties a lot of different pots and dishes.

And now I'm 5 hours away from having to have a ham on the table for Easter dinner with my mother on law. That's at least a low maintenance meal that won't dirty so many dishes.
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Re: The Cooking Thread

Postby Rob » Sun Apr 12, 2020 4:26 pm

Interesting decision to put this in the Other Sports forum. I'm feeling a bit like an Iron Chef after seeing that.

I've just started learning how to cook in the last six months or so. Before that, the most complex things I'd made were frozen "bake at <x> degrees for <y> minutes" items. I hadn't even made a real grilled cheese before. But after watching a bunch of youtube videos I decided it was time to learn.

So my wife and I instituted "Thursday Night Thunder" in which I'd be responsible for cooking dinner for the family once a week. It's all been pretty basic, but it's gotten me a lot more comfortable with cooking. And that's paid dividends because I'm a lot more likely to help out even when it's not Thursday night. I'll make scrambled eggs for breakfast, or mac and cheese for lunch, or pesto pasta for dinner, etc.... Starting out with just one meal a week now has me doing about 30% of meals after just six months. I think the plan worked out really well.

And yesterday for the first time I made something that was spectacularly good instead of just okay. It was just a toasted bagel sandwich with two fried eggs, ham, swiss, and spinach. But it was soooo delicious. And way better than anything I've ever gotten from a McDonalds or Dunkin Donuts.

I think I'm going to try making falafel here in a week or two. That'll be by far the most challenging thing I've attempted so far. So wish me luck!
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Re: The Cooking Thread

Postby WrigleyField 22 » Sun Apr 12, 2020 4:30 pm

Rob wrote:Interesting decision to put this in the Other Sports forum. I'm feeling a bit like an Iron Chef after seeing that.

#-o #-o
Mods? A little help lol? Meant for social.
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Re: The Cooking Thread

Postby cl smooth » Sun Apr 12, 2020 4:38 pm

i was thinking about this topic a week or so ago. kind of wild no one has started one until now!
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Re: The Cooking Thread

Postby WrigleyField 22 » Sun Apr 12, 2020 4:41 pm

Rob wrote:I've just started learning how to cook in the last six months or so. Before that, the most complex things I'd made were frozen "bake at <x> degrees for <y> minutes" items. I hadn't even made a real grilled cheese before. But after watching a bunch of youtube videos I decided it was time to learn.

So my wife and I instituted "Thursday Night Thunder" in which I'd be responsible for cooking dinner for the family once a week. It's all been pretty basic, but it's gotten me a lot more comfortable with cooking. And that's paid dividends because I'm a lot more likely to help out even when it's not Thursday night. I'll make scrambled eggs for breakfast, or mac and cheese for lunch, or pesto pasta for dinner, etc.... Starting out with just one meal a week now has me doing about 30% of meals after just six months. I think the plan worked out really well.

And yesterday for the first time I made something that was spectacularly good instead of just okay. It was just a toasted bagel sandwich with two fried eggs, ham, swiss, and spinach. But it was soooo delicious. And way better than anything I've ever gotten from a McDonalds or Dunkin Donuts.

I think I'm going to try making falafel here in a week or two. That'll be by far the most challenging thing I've attempted so far. So wish me luck!

That's awesome to hear. Obviously helping to pull weight is appreciated by your wife. And things don't have to be complex to be delicious. A simple fried egg sandwich is a perfect example of that (but damn, I've probably made hundreds of fried eggs in my life and those damn things can still be tricky to get right everytime)

Good luck with the falafel. That's one I've never made so I don't have any tips.
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Re: The Cooking Thread

Postby cl smooth » Sun Apr 12, 2020 4:43 pm

i'm the cook in the relationship; i like to joke with other couples when i say "if i don't cook, we don't eat."

i try to make a baked mac and cheese every few months. found a recipe by martha stewart years ago and it's my go-to whenever we're invited to parties or holiday gatherings. you can use gluten-free pasta if that's your thing or just use the barilla stuff at your local supermarket; either way, it's amazing.

https://food52.com/recipes/14671-martha ... oni-cheese
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Re: The Cooking Thread

Postby NOLA » Sun Apr 12, 2020 4:43 pm

I’ve probably made around 50k orders of poached eggs with hollandaise in my life. The warm water/vinegar bath for holding poached eggs is legit the best way to plate them fast. Nice rescue on the broken hollandaise. Cool liquid yolks whisked in does the trick too.
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Re: The Cooking Thread

Postby WrigleyField 22 » Sun Apr 12, 2020 5:05 pm

NOLA wrote:I’ve probably made around 50k orders of poached eggs with hollandaise in my life. The warm water/vinegar bath for holding poached eggs is legit the best way to plate them fast. Nice rescue on the broken hollandaise. Cool liquid yolks whisked in does the trick too.

Yea, i wasn't even plating many. Just my wife and I and I still found this a stressful dish to do for the first time.

As my kids grow up, I'm definitely instituting the "Easter Egg" variety of the Benedict. One less thing to cook that day, plus my wife and kids can help peel the eggs. Ends up being a fun plated dish too as you have the colored eggs. And every other day of the year were going to the diner if we want eggs Benedict.

The hollandaise I did almost freak out thinking I was a going to have to restart so I'm glad a quick google search came to the rescue.
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Re: The Cooking Thread

Postby Thurman Merman » Sun Apr 12, 2020 6:10 pm

WrigleyField 22 wrote:
NOLA wrote:I’ve probably made around 50k orders of poached eggs with hollandaise in my life. The warm water/vinegar bath for holding poached eggs is legit the best way to plate them fast. Nice rescue on the broken hollandaise. Cool liquid yolks whisked in does the trick too.

Yea, i wasn't even plating many. Just my wife and I and I still found this a stressful dish to do for the first time.

As my kids grow up, I'm definitely instituting the "Easter Egg" variety of the Benedict. One less thing to cook that day, plus my wife and kids can help peel the eggs. Ends up being a fun plated dish too as you have the colored eggs. And every other day of the year were going to the diner if we want eggs Benedict.

The hollandaise I did almost freak out thinking I was a going to have to restart so I'm glad a quick google search came to the rescue.

It's funny my wife has been rewatching top chef, and just the other day they mentioned on the show that the way to fix a broken sauce is with fat.
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Re: The Cooking Thread

Postby NonProfitCow » Sun Apr 12, 2020 6:12 pm

NOLA wrote:I’ve probably made around 50k orders of poached eggs with hollandaise in my life. The warm water/vinegar bath for holding poached eggs is legit the best way to plate them fast. Nice rescue on the broken hollandaise. Cool liquid yolks whisked in does the trick too.

I know this sounds absolutely crazy, but a lady I worked with a few years back taught me how to make microwave hollandaise.

3-4 yolks
1/2 stick butter
lemon juice
salt
cayenne

Soften butter in microwave 20-30 seconds
mix yolks and juice
add to butter
microwave in 15-20 second intervals until the consistency is right, it'll be lumpy the first couple intervals


Nearly impossible to horsefeathers it up.
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Re: The Cooking Thread

Postby Bertz » Sun Apr 12, 2020 6:19 pm

cl smooth wrote:i'm the cook in the relationship; i like to joke with other couples when i say "if i don't cook, we don't eat."

i try to make a baked mac and cheese every few months. found a recipe by martha stewart years ago and it's my go-to whenever we're invited to parties or holiday gatherings. you can use gluten-free pasta if that's your thing or just use the barilla stuff at your local supermarket; either way, it's amazing.

https://food52.com/recipes/14671-martha ... oni-cheese


Yeah baked Mac and cheese is a go to for me as well. I've generally used Alton Brown's recipe (cut down on the roux a bit though, otherwise it's not creamy enough):

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alt ... pe-1939524

I'm also the primary cook in my house. Generally my go-to site for new recipes is Serious Eats. Specifically Kenji Lopez for cooking and Stella Parks for baking.
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Re: The Cooking Thread

Postby Thurman Merman » Sun Apr 12, 2020 6:23 pm

I do all the cooking in my family since I get home first and my wife picks the kids up from daycare. I've got about 30 minutes every night to get something on the plate, so I've got some tricks I use to make things easier. When we had less money, one of the ways I found to save money was to buy meat that was 99 cents a pound or less. That led to a lot of chicken thighs and pork shoulder that would need some low and slow cooking. I started making large quantities of those for a week and then using them in meals where I'd just need to reheat. Tacos, fried rice, poutine, Mac and cheese, etc. It's worked out well to save some time.

After a while I got into a pretty good rhythm. And then my wife decided she wanted to go low carb. So sometimes I wind up splitting things up (I make regular fried rice for the kids and myself, and my wife gets riced cauliflower). And other times I just eat low carb (spaghetti squash). I found i really like roasted veggies.

I don't cook anything spectacular. It's just about understanding what flavors you like. I like garlic and onions, and pretty much put them in every dish I make. I found basil to work well with a lot of my meals. And I make a lot of rouxs and use different things to thicken (cheese/cream, tomato based, stock based).
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Re: The Cooking Thread

Postby WrigleyField 22 » Sun Apr 12, 2020 6:24 pm

NonProfitCow wrote:
NOLA wrote:I’ve probably made around 50k orders of poached eggs with hollandaise in my life. The warm water/vinegar bath for holding poached eggs is legit the best way to plate them fast. Nice rescue on the broken hollandaise. Cool liquid yolks whisked in does the trick too.

I know this sounds absolutely crazy, but a lady I worked with a few years back taught me how to make microwave hollandaise.

3-4 yolks
1/2 stick butter
lemon juice
salt
cayenne

Soften butter in microwave 20-30 seconds
mix yolks and juice
add to butter
microwave in 15-20 second intervals until the consistency is right, it'll be lumpy the first couple intervals


Nearly impossible to horsefeathers it up.

That ratio is about half the butter I used today. The recipe I looked up called for pre melted butter which I was a little suspicious of as the cooking shows I've seen before making hollandaise add in cold butter one pad at a time, whisking the whole time. I ended up going in the middle, half cold and about half not quite melted, but softened in the mw.

I'm not a microwave snob necessarily, so if it works and makes sauce and not scrambled eggs, maybe I'll give it a try next time.
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Re: The Cooking Thread

Postby Thurman Merman » Sun Apr 12, 2020 6:26 pm

I've also never really been a recipe guy. My wife calls me a mcguyver cook. I just rummage through our stuff and throw something together. Every once in a while I will look for a recipe as a base and change it up a bit ( found an awesome pork shoulder stew this way).
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Re: The Cooking Thread

Postby WrigleyField 22 » Sun Apr 12, 2020 6:30 pm

Thurman Merman wrote:I do all the cooking in my family since I get home first and my wife picks the kids up from daycare. I've got about 30 minutes every night to get something on the plate, so I've got some tricks I use to make things easier. When we had less money, one of the ways I found to save money was to buy meat that was 99 cents a pound or less. That led to a lot of chicken thighs and pork shoulder that would need some low and slow cooking. I started making large quantities of those for a week and then using them in meals where I'd just need to reheat. Tacos, fried rice, poutine, Mac and cheese, etc. It's worked out well to save some time.

After a while I got into a pretty good rhythm. And then my wife decided she wanted to go low carb. So sometimes I wind up splitting things up (I make regular fried rice for the kids and myself, and my wife gets riced cauliflower). And other times I just eat low carb (spaghetti squash). I found i really like roasted veggies.

I don't cook anything spectacular. It's just about understanding what flavors you like. I like garlic and onions, and pretty much put them in every dish I make. I found basil to work well with a lot of my meals. And I make a lot of rouxs and use different things to thicken (cheese/cream, tomato based, stock based).

Yea, pre cooking meat that can be added to simple caserole or pasta is definitely a trick we've leaned on as we got busier with kids. Shredded chicken from the crock pot can even freeze if you wanted and added to a casserole after a quick thaw.
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Re: The Cooking Thread

Postby WrigleyField 22 » Sun Apr 12, 2020 6:41 pm

Bertz wrote:
cl smooth wrote:i'm the cook in the relationship; i like to joke with other couples when i say "if i don't cook, we don't eat."

i try to make a baked mac and cheese every few months. found a recipe by martha stewart years ago and it's my go-to whenever we're invited to parties or holiday gatherings. you can use gluten-free pasta if that's your thing or just use the barilla stuff at your local supermarket; either way, it's amazing.

https://food52.com/recipes/14671-martha ... oni-cheese


Yeah baked Mac and cheese is a go to for me as well. I've generally used Alton Brown's recipe (cut down on the roux a bit though, otherwise it's not creamy enough):

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alt ... pe-1939524

Beyond just normal trial and error, I'd say over half my cooking knowledge comes from years of watching episodes of Good Eats. Probably seen every episode and many multiple times. Once you learn that you can ratchet down AB's particularness on certain things by like 60%, it ends up being a good basis to learn why you do certain things and then can adapt on the fly. Plus if you enjoy the quirky pop culture references and silly props, it's just an easy watching time killer.
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Re: The Cooking Thread

Postby Bertz » Sun Apr 12, 2020 7:03 pm

WrigleyField 22 wrote:
Bertz wrote:
cl smooth wrote:i'm the cook in the relationship; i like to joke with other couples when i say "if i don't cook, we don't eat."

i try to make a baked mac and cheese every few months. found a recipe by martha stewart years ago and it's my go-to whenever we're invited to parties or holiday gatherings. you can use gluten-free pasta if that's your thing or just use the barilla stuff at your local supermarket; either way, it's amazing.

https://food52.com/recipes/14671-martha ... oni-cheese


Yeah baked Mac and cheese is a go to for me as well. I've generally used Alton Brown's recipe (cut down on the roux a bit though, otherwise it's not creamy enough):

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alt ... pe-1939524

Beyond just normal trial and error, I'd say over half my cooking knowledge comes from years of watching episodes of Good Eats. Probably seen every episode and many multiple times. Once you learn that you can ratchet down AB's particularness on certain things by like 60%, it ends up being a good basis to learn why you do certain things and then can adapt on the fly. Plus if you enjoy the quirky pop culture references and silly props, it's just an easy watching time killer.


Particularness is a great way of putting it. Especially when I was a broke college kid I hated how Alton always had like a quarter teaspoon of some expensive spice I didn't have in seemingly every recipe. Now though I'm a lot more comfortable not buying like ground bay leaf or whatever for a single recipe.

Also another Alton go-to for me is his smoked meatloaf:

http://recipeofhealth.com/recipe/smoked ... n-544857rb

My wife has a gluten allergy, so using BBQ chips instead of breadcrumbs is super clutch. And you can do it in the oven like a normal meatloaf, just add a bit of liquid smoke to the sauce.
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Re: The Cooking Thread

Postby SouthSideRyan » Sun Apr 12, 2020 7:18 pm

I made French Toast coated in crushed Cinnamon Toast Crunch this morning. It was not the worst thing I've ever eaten, and was rather proud of myself for my first ever attempt at french toast. Less nutmeg next time.
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Re: The Cooking Thread

Postby NOLA » Sun Apr 12, 2020 8:15 pm

RE: hollandaise
I really like Crystal hot sauce instead of cayenne. A little heat but more flavor and vinegar than Tobasco.
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Re: The Cooking Thread

Postby Tim » Sun Apr 12, 2020 8:19 pm

I made everyone a custom omelette this morning (along with other stuff). Tonight I'm grilling some chicken where I'll put a variety of rubs on the different pieces to suit each person's taste. Key thing is just to remember which is which. Not sure what I'll do for the sides yet.

My wife and I split the cooking fairly evenly when I'm not traveling.
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Re: The Cooking Thread

Postby WrigleyField 22 » Sun Apr 12, 2020 9:15 pm

Tim wrote:I made everyone a custom omelette this morning (along with other stuff). Tonight I'm grilling some chicken where I'll put a variety of rubs on the different pieces to suit each person's taste. Key thing is just to remember which is which. Not sure what I'll do for the sides yet.

My wife and I split the cooking fairly evenly when I'm not traveling.

Ah omlettes are one I'm super particular about. I avoid diner omlettes like the plague, but love making my own. I top them out at 2 eggs and 2 ingredients though and not these massive 3 egg omlettes with 5 ingredients. Those never are appetizing to me.

You're also very nice customizing everyone's dishes twice in one day. Major kudos.
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Re: The Cooking Thread

Postby Transmogrified Tiger » Sun Apr 12, 2020 11:18 pm

We don’t cook nearly as much as we should(a silver lining of the pandemic is it at least temporarily broke our takeout habit), and I finally tried the flank steak recipe my parents always use and it’s so simple, tasty, and good value I’m kicking myself for not doing it earlier. Get a london broil or similar, score a diamond pattern across the grain on both sides, then pour over italian dressing to marinate for at least 24 hours. When ready grill a few minutes on each side and cut into strips across the grain. Much cheaper and foolproof than most other steak options, and still delicious.
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Re: The Cooking Thread

Postby SpongeWorthy » Sun Apr 12, 2020 11:54 pm

I just made smashed burgers on cast iron under my horsefeathers vent far away from the windows

Anyway I had to call the landlord to tell them they didn’t need to call the fire department
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Re: The Cooking Thread

Postby WrigleyField 22 » Mon Apr 13, 2020 12:03 am

SpongeWorthy wrote:I just made smashed burgers on cast iron under my horsefeathers vent far away from the windows

Anyway I had to call the landlord to tell them they didn’t need to call the fire department

Ah, reminds me of having horsefeathers vents and what was more important, functioning smoke alarms or my dogs anxiety anytime I cooked anything fatty (like bacon or burgers).
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Re: The Cooking Thread

Postby Thurman Merman » Mon Apr 13, 2020 1:18 am

WrigleyField 22 wrote:
SpongeWorthy wrote:I just made smashed burgers on cast iron under my horsefeathers vent far away from the windows

Anyway I had to call the landlord to tell them they didn’t need to call the fire department

Ah, reminds me of having horsefeathers vents and what was more important, functioning smoke alarms or my dogs anxiety anytime I cooked anything fatty (like bacon or burgers).

I was tired of setting off my smoke alarm in my old apartment that I finally just opened up all my doors and windows. The mistake was opening up my front door, because it set off the main alarm for the building. I had to call the fire department to tell them it was a false alarm since they automatically respond to those alarms.
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