Ideas, advice, and what to make now from the Chowhound community and CHOW editors.
Salt and pepper are all many Chowhounds require on a flavorful steak. If you wish to gild the lily, though, here are some delicious ways to dress your next one.
Many hounds like to finish steak with a pat of compound butter. weezycom uses sage, stone-ground mustard, parsley, and minced shallots in butter. Perilagu Khan uses salt and pepper, lemon juice zest, and a healthy amount of fresh thyme. Also good mixed into butter: smoked paprika or wasabi.
kasden sprinkles steak with garlic salt, then pats crushed peppercorns into the meat with a little olive oil and cooks in a cast iron skillet. Remove from pan, add sliced mushrooms and onions, and sauté until they begin to brown. Add some red wine and reduce, then add a pat of butter.
almansa likes a simple pan sauce of butter and Worcestershire sauce, while hannaone sautés sliced mushrooms, onions, and peppers in drippings from the steak. bitsubeats tops steak with harissa, and says, "holy crap is that good."
For steak with a sunny feel, try topping with CHOW's Chile-Lime-Tequila Compound Butter
Discuss: How Do You Top Your Steak?
Eggs are inexpensive, healthy, and cook quickly, making them a perfect centerpiece for lunch or dinner when combined with vegetables and other savory ingredients.
"I love making a composed salad with a poached egg on top," says smtucker. "Break the egg and it becomes part of the dressing."
sholli is a fan of asparagus topped with a poached egg and Parmesan, and says he puts poached or soft-boiled eggs "over anything—other hearty veggies (roasted Brussels sprouts, garlicky spinach or kale, etc.), homemade black beans with salsa, and even potatoes or a root veggie hash for a breakfast-as-dinner approach."
ziggylu loves French lentils braised in wine and topped with a poached egg.
Even if you lack the time or inclination to cook in the morning, you can have a hearty and healthful oatmeal breakfast ready to go with minimal labor the night before.
Hot old-fashioned rolled oats will cook overnight in an insulated beverage container, rworange has found. "Using Quaker rolled oats (not quick), I put 2/3 cups boiling water in a thermos and add 1/3 cup rolled oats," she says. "The next morning I open it and ... hot oatmeal." Sometimes she adds dried fruit and cinnamon when she sets it up. This works best with a stainless steel thermos, rworange notes.
What does olive oil lend to the sweet treat that is gelato? rainey thinks it gives a "hard-to-define fruity quality" that's quite delicious. HillJ says, "The back flavor is olive oil essence and the mouthfeel much smoother with the inclusion of olive oil."
This recipe is the most delicious that HillJ has tried; she makes it with an extra-light olive oil. markabauman uses a similar recipe, but infuses the milk with basil. rainey makes this Meyer lemon olive oil ice cream with lemon olive oil and limoncello.
Discuss: Olive Oil Gelato
The correct cooking techniques and ingredients rich in umami will take a basic beef stew from simply hearty to deeply flavorful.
"The biggest key for me is browning the meat well," says alanbarnes. "Not just cooking it until it loses its reddish color, but subjecting it to very high heat (skillet, broiler, gas grill, blowtorch, whatever) until it has a really good mahogany-colored crust on the outside."
Seasoning is also vital. "Don't underestimate the role of salt in your stew," advises TorontoJo. "Salt and pepper the meat before browning it. Salt the stew while it's cooking, taste it after the salt has had a chance to blend in, add more salt if you think it needs it. I also like to use soy sauce to add saltiness and an extra boost of umami."
Richly flavored braising liquid helps. Hounds like to use good beef stock, especially in combination with fruity red wine or a stout or ale. "Guinness is a magical ingredient paired with beef," says kattyeyes, while joonjoon likes Chimay in stew.
Beef stew's flavor can be punched up with umami-rich ingredients. Try minced rehydrated dried mushrooms or powdered dried mushrooms, tomato paste, or Worcestershire sauce. "A few minced anchovies sautéed with the onions after browning the meat give a nice added dimension," says King of Northern Blvd.
For a different spin on the dish, Val recommends this recipe for mahogany beef stew with red wine and hoisin sauce, which she says is "utterly awesome with horseradish mashed potatoes." karykat says the hoisin "adds a sweet-sour-spicy note that is good." Both reduce the hoisin a bit to avoid making the dish too sweet.
Discuss: How to give beef stew more punch?
Eggplant is great as the base for a dip or spread. "Eggplant roasted into submission, minced garlic, mayo, salt, pepper" is the_MU's simple recipe. "That's it," says the_MU. "Serve with warm pita, or eat with spoon." eight_inch_pestle purées roasted eggplant with Parmesan, minced parsley, and garlic, and stirs in olive oil, lemon juice, and salt to taste. Baba Ghanoush is karianne's favorite, "hands down."
Jetgirly likes eggplant-heavy Thai-style roasted vegetables (she uses yellow curry paste).
cheesemaestro loves a Northern Burmese recipe from the cookbook Hot Sour Salty Sweet titled the best eggplant dish ever (scroll down).
fearlessemily recommends Chinese eggplant with garlic sauce. gourmet wife dresses steamed eggplant with a mixture of soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil, chile sauce or oil, vinegar, and cilantro.
Many hounds love eggplant Parmesan, either made the traditional way with fried eggplant, or with roasted or grilled eggplant, and fearlessemily likes Ina Garten's rich eggplant and tomato gratin.
TorontoJo is a fan of scuzzo's method of cooking eggplant on a waffle iron.
Discuss: Your favorite recipe for eggplant
Chowhounds love lentils in a range of dishes representing cuisines from around the world. nomadchowwoman loves lentils with garlic and ginger, and says it is good served hot, room temperature, or cold (which also makes it ideal for picnics). "I always use French green lentils, which hold their shape so well," she says, "and this makes all the difference."
i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream is a fan of Ina Garten's stewed lentils and tomatoes. "It is so, so easy to whip up and really comforting on a cold night," he says. nofunlatte likes lentils with wine-glazed vegetables.
Lentils are frequently used in South Asian cooking. rainey says this red lentil curry is "quick and easy to prepare and extremely tasty." "I'm rather keen on Ottolenghi's spiced red lentils at the moment," says Channa. "It calls for a long list of ingredients, but the dish absolutely bursts with flavour."
"The one critical thing for any lentil recipe," counsels GretchenS, "is some acid—citrus juice, vinegar, what have you. Anytime lentils are sort of meh they can be lifted with a good squirt of lemon or vinegar." Aggressive spicing is often called for as well: CHOW's Red Lentil Pâté relies on smoked paprika for a savory kick.
Discuss: Best Lentil Recipe?