Cooking Tips rss

Ideas, advice, and what to make now from the Chowhound community and CHOW editors.

Goat Cheese at Every Meal

Goat cheese is a natural on pizza, on crostini, and crumbled over salad, but hounds also incorporate it into dishes from breakfast to dessert.

shanagain mixes goat cheese with butter, salt, and chives or flat-leaf parsley and uses it on finger sandwiches, and Phurstluv makes it into mousse by blending it with some heavy cream and folding in finely chopped parsley, salt, and pepper. This “can be put on or in just about anything,” she says.

Goat cheese can be used in cheesecake, as well as other desserts. goodhealthgourmet calls these goat cheese custards wonderful, and bluemoon4515 recommends goat cheese ice cream.

More ideas for goat cheese:
Bread it and pan-fry it in rounds, then serve it on green salad.
Add it to mashed potatoes.
Add it to scrambled eggs, frittatas, or quiches.
Mix it with garlic and herbs and use it to stuff mushrooms.

CHOW’s Corn with Chèvre and Red Peppers is a twist on classic creamed corn.

Board Link: What to do with LOTS of goat cheese?

Coconut Milk Adds a Tropical Twist

Coconut milk is wonderful combined with many foods both savory and sweet.

“I use it for baking all the time,” says vorpal. “It makes a great substitute for milk, or mix it up and use 50 percent milk, 50 percent coconut milk. I’ve tried it in waffles, pancakes, muffins, and banana bread (YUM) with excellent results.” He also adds it to the custard base for ice cream.

4Snisl makes coconut-chocolate panna cotta by whisking sugar and cocoa powder into heated coconut milk to taste, along with a dash of salt and some vanilla, then adding 2 teaspoons of powdered gelatin per cup of coconut milk, bloomed in a bit of cold coconut milk, and chilling until set. cimui agrees that the richness of coconut milk works well for panna cotta.

bear loves this coconut milk sticky rice with mangoes, while LauraGrace replaces half the water for cooking jasmine rice with coconut milk for a savory side dish. She likes it with Caribbean-style black beans, Thai-style curries, lechon, or kalua pork.

Emmmily tosses chunks of butternut squash with coconut milk, salt, and pepper, and roasts at 375°F for an hour. Coconut milk is also great in smoothies and cocktails, and stirred into oatmeal, say hounds.

Coconut milk adds a twist to a classic dish in CHOW’s Coconut Tres Leches Cake

Board Link: what do do with leftover coconut milk

Garlic Bread for Perfectionists

Making garlic bread can be as simple as mixing garlic with softened butter, spreading it on bread and broiling, but hounds have developed their own special techniques for this treat.

chowser sautés chopped garlic in olive oil, adds butter until it melts, and brushes this mixture on a horizontally sliced loaf of French bread. She then covers the whole thing with aluminum foil and bakes until hot, then uncovers, adds Parmesan, and broils. Butterguy mixes crushed garlic, Italian dressing, shredded Parmesan, and clarified butter, and spreads it on bread before heating.

Some hounds add secret ingredients for extra flavor. shanagain sautés garlic in a mixture of butter and olive oil, before adding a bit of anchovy paste and some crushed red pepper flakes, and cooking it all a bit longer. sparkareno mixes a bit of mayo with softened butter, roasted garlic, Parmesan, and oregano or basil. “I like the little bit of tang the mayo gives,” he says.

Board Link: Garlic Bread recipes?

What to Do with All Those Apples

“Oh, please make Scandinavian sour cream apple pie,” implores kookiegoddess. “I made it last week and am still upset that I gave away the last two pieces. It tastes divine and needs no accompaniment except a big ole spoon.”

NYchowcook loves this apple cake. “It’s very moist,” she says. “There’s a caramel sauce that goes with it, which I think is gilding the lily. I make in a Bundt pan and just sprinkle confectioners’ sugar on top and call it done.”

newfoodie loves Ina Garten’s old-fashioned apple crisp. And if you like your apples in the presence of maple flavor, check out CHOW’s Spiced Apple Cupcakes.

Board Link: went apple picking, now need a way to use them up

Make the Most of Fresh Shiitakes

Fresh shiitake mushrooms take well to many preparations, but hounds favor simple recipes to show them off.

potluck tosses shiitakes with sesame oil, ginger, soy sauce, and a bit of water, and roasts them on a baking sheet at 450°F for 15 to 20 minutes. cheesecake17 roasts them with olive oil and salt, and uses them as a pizza topping. “Fabulous on whole-wheat crust with goat cheese,” she says. Chefpaulo simply crisps them in a hot wok with walnut oil and sea salt, then eats them as a treat.

BigSal braises shiitakes with onions: Bring 1 1/2 cups water, 1 tablespoon each soy sauce and toasted sesame oil, and 2 teaspoons maple syrup to a boil; add 10 to 15 halved shiitake caps, half an onion, chopped, and 5 crushed garlic cloves, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until liquid has reduced to a rich sauce.

4Snisl loves this pan-seared tuna with ginger-shiitake cream sauce, and has used the same sauce on chicken, as well.

Fresh shiitakes star in CHOW’s Goat Cheese Toasts with Asparagus-Mushroom Ragu. And check out this CHOW video on choosing shiitakes.

Board Link: Shiitake mushrooms $2/lb… what’s a girl to do?

Homemade Jalapeño Powder

Faced with an abundance of fresh jalapeños, JonParker created a homemade chile powder. He washed and dried the peppers, chopped them finely, and dehydrated them in a toaster oven. Once dry, he ground the pieces to powder in a spice grinder. “Now I have a jar of jalepeño powder that I can use for various dishes,” he says. “Today I’m doing red beans and rice, and I put a teaspoon into my onions/peppers/garlic when sautéeing them.”

JonParker notes that hotter chiles, such as habaneros, can give off fairly volatile fumes while dehydrating, so err on the side of caution.

Board Link: Jalapeño powder

Corn Pudding for the Harvest Months

Corn pudding, a savory casserole with a custard base and lots of corn kernels, is a favorite during the harvest months, and a Thanksgiving staple for many Chowhounds.

Ina Garten’s Sagaponack corn pudding is made with ricotta and cheddar. “Something about the fresh basil and the cheese, it always is a crowd pleaser,” says juli5122. This corn-chive pudding is “a good combination of savory and sweet,” according to lesliedm3. another_adam finds it quite sweet, so halves the sugar called for.

Querencia makes an easy version: Pulse a bag of frozen corn kernels, thawed, in a food processor. Beat 2 eggs with a cup of milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted butter, and 1/4 cup Bisquick, then stir in the corn and 9 ounces shredded sharp cheddar. Bake in a buttered casserole at 350°F until brown on top, about 45 minutes.

Board Link: Corn Pudding for Thanksgiving

Grandma’s Apple Pie, or Something New?

A well-made traditional apple pie is a thing of beauty, but variations can be equally good, say hounds.

shanagain highly recommends this apple pie by Grandma Ople for a traditional double-crust recipe. “My only tip is to follow the directions,” she says, “except feel free to add some typical pie spices—even though it honestly doesn’t need them. But cinnamon and cloves never hurt anything.” middydd calls the filling for this blue-ribbon apple pie, which uses four types of apples, the “best ever.”

Popkin tosses apples with flour and cinnamon, places them in a pie shell, sprinkles with equal amounts of raw sugar and maple syrup to taste, and covers with a top crust. valerie says this apple-cranberry crumb pie is “truly a delicious pie.”

And as an alternative to pie, amy_wong loves this French apple-almond tart. The almond custard “makes for a great flavor pairing” with the apple, she says.

Board Link: ISO Killer Apple Pie Recipe, but in which style?

A Gift from the Bay Tree

Bay leaves are good in more than just soups and braised meat dishes; they can also enliven vegetables and even drinks.

Beans and lentils are nice when cooked with a bay leaf or two, says nofunlatte, while sueatmo puts bay leaves under the skin of a chicken before roasting.

“Simple boiled potatoes with sautéed leeks are elevated to something higher when a bay leaf’s added to the boiling water,” says shaogo. Or turn on the oven: This recipe for potatoes roasted with olive oil uses 40 bay leaves. “It’s lovely!” says Ima Wurdibitsch.

dumpycactus adds bay leaves to chai, and lucygoosey likes bay leaf–infused simple syrup in cocktails, lemonade, and stirred into Greek yogurt. She uses five or more fresh leaves or two to three dried to infuse syrup, saying it gets strong fast.

CHOW’s Virgin Bramble includes bay leaf and juniper berry syrup.

Board Link: Bay leaves--anything interesting you use them for, besides meat dishes and…

Poached Pears in Formalwear

Fall is pear season, and poached pears make a wonderful dessert. They can be virtuous or decadent, depending on the recipe and what you serve it with.

“Simply add cognac, and a star anise to simple syrup—poach away,” recommends epabella, who notes that “adding a bit of unsalted butter at the very end is also good.” Chefpaulo poaches pears in ginger ale, stuffs them with a mixture of gorgonzola, heavy cream, powdered sugar, and chopped walnuts, then chills. To serve, bring to room temperature and drizzle with sherry.

Pears poached with red wine are popular. normalheightsfoodie poaches peeled, cored pears in sweet red wine and cinnamon. “The whole pear should turn red,” he says. “You can fill the middle with mascarpone.” jeniyo says this recipe for scarlet poached pears “looks festive and yummy indeed!!”

phoenikia likes poached pears with ginger and port, while CHOW’s recipe for Port Poached Pears uses cinnamon and allspice.

My favorite is poached pears with chocolate-pear sauce, served with raspberry sorbet.

Board Link: poached pear recipes?