Ideas, advice, and what to make now from the Chowhound community and CHOW editors.
Smoked sea salt is a delicious condiment, and it’s super-easy to make your own if you have a smoker. When you’re firing up your smoker for a long session, just pour sea salt into a foil pan and put it on a high rack, above any meat you’re smoking. You definitely don’t want any meat drippage in your salt. The longer you smoke it, the better, says ricepad. Six hours at minimum; ten hours is even better.
Here’s a money-saving tip from Pei: Korean markets sell 2.5-lb. bags of sea salt for just a few bucks, and it tastes just as good as pricier stuff.
Smoked Sea Salt
Chowhounds share some novel ideas for using Moroccan-style preserved lemons:
Add preserved lemons to ceviche and similar seafood dishes. Mince and add to aioli. Add a little to hummus. Or, stuff large olives with a strip of preserved lemon peel each–this is particularly fabulous as a Martini garnish.
Mince preserved lemons with parsley and oil-cured black olives and sprinkle on anything fried (potatoes, fish, shrimp, etc.). Combine chopped preserved lemons, chopped red onion, and mayonnaise, and use to top fish.
La Dolce Vita makes preserved lemon relish that’s good with roast chicken, grilled fish, and vegetables: Finely chop the equivalent of one whole preserved lemon; add about 1/3 cup total of finely chopped parsley, cilantro, dill, and green onion in whatever proportion you prefer. Add 1-2 Tbs. of good olive oil and 1/4 tsp. each of sweet paprika and toasted ground cumin. Let sit for about 15 minutes to give the flavors a chance to blend before using.
Creative used for Preserved Lemons?
Boiled, salted edamame are a terrific snack. But chowhounds have a few tricks to make them truly irresistible:
Grind lapsang souchong tea leaves with a little salt, and sprinkle the mixture over the edamame for a nice smoky snack. Smoked salt achieves a similar effect. Curry-infused oil and citrus zest is an inspired combination for edamame. Also try grinding chili peppers, star anise, and garlic together for the topping.
In a different vein, Old Bay seasoning is great on edamame, says ClaireLiz.
Who knew? A lot of gelatin, a little water, and you can make homemade gummy bears! Or gummy anythings, really–for their shapes are limited only by your imagination. And by the molds you can create. As for flavor, that depends on what you find in gelatin mixes; S_K recommends looking in Asian groceries, where she finds flavors like passion fruit and blackcurrant. This recipe calls for a sugar-free gelatin mix, but any kind will work fine, S_K notes.
For the simplest of shapes, pour the mix in a thin layer onto the bottom of mini muffin tins. You’ll get little gummy coins. Or, use regular muffin tins for fatter, sassier gummy medals. You can also use any ice cube trays–the trays with decorative shapes work particularly great. The above recipe also provides instructions for making gummi worms.
For more ambitious projects, with fancy shapes, check out these sources for candy molds:
Sugarcraft has kits especially for making gummy candies in fun shapes like feet and bugs.
Candyland Crafts has candy molds in any and every shape you could imagine.
Homemade Gummy Bears?
Tossing together a bowl of coleslaw is easier than ever, thanks to bags of pre-shredded slaw veggies in the produce section. But whether you shred the cabbage yourself or not, you need a real good dressing to make a worthy slaw. Here are chowhounds’ best recipes for creamy-style slaw dressings.
Will Owen’s recipe begins with equal parts mayonnaise (preferably Hellman’s/Best Foods) and buttermilk. Then add to taste: wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice, sweet pickle relish, Tabasco, salt, and a little sugar, if you like. Toss it with the vegetables, cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours. The salt will draw moisture from the raw veggies and wilt them a bit. About a cup will dress a standard bag of slaw mix.
The key seasoning in dfrostnh’s recipe is celery seed. It dresses a big batch of slaw; if you want to cut down the recipe, just keep the ratios of sugar, vinegar, and mayo the same, he says, and add the other ingredients to taste.
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup kosher dill pickle juice
1 tsp salt
1 T celery seed
1 1/3 cups mayonnaise
Rubee makes a crowd-pleasing Caesar coleslaw, using the mayo-based dressing in this recipe and thinning it with sour cream. She tosses it with regular green cabbage and shredded carrots, or Savoy cabbage and scallions.
For another unconventional take, Millicent recommends using half regular mayo and half wasabi mayo (she likes Trader Joe’s version), and adding scallions.
Looking for a tasty creamy cole slaw recipe
Once you’ve tasted ice cream made with fresh mint leaves, you’ll never look at a scoop of commercial mint chocolate chip the same way again. We promise.
sugarbuzz shares her recipe:
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 cup fresh peppermint leaves, bruised or torn
1 1/4 cup sugar
5 large yolks
pinch kosher salt
Heat cream, milk, mint, and sugar over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and cover. Let steep 15 to 20 minutes. Whisk yolks and salt in medium bowl. Whisk a small amount of the hot cream into the yolks to temper them, then slowly pour the rest of the cream into the yolks, whisking constantly. Return mix to pot and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture lightly coats a spoon. Strain into a clean bowl and place into a larger bowl of ice and water. Stir until cooled. Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Pack into a container and freeze until firm enough to scoop.
Check the freshness of your mint before you begin; older mint leaves often don’t have as strong a flavor, so you may need to use more to compensate. If you like your ice cream mintier, you can add even more; sugarbuzz likes a subtle mint flavor, and warns that if you overdo it, you’ll get an overpowering mouthwashy effect. You can try out spearmint, too, for a different flavor profile.
For chocolate mint ice cream, fold in finely chopped or shaved bits of bittersweet or white chocolate as the ice cream comes out of the ice cream maker, or just shower the chocolate bits on top when you serve. Larger chocolate chunks will overpower the amazing fresh mint taste.
Mint ice cream recipe
Here are some recommendations for cookbooks that are both authoritative and accessible to those new to cooking authentic Chinese at home.
Key to Chinese Cooking, by Irene Kuo, devotes its first half to teaching technique, and the second to recipes which build on the techniques.
The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking: Techniques and Recipes, by Barbara Tropp, is strong on technique and philosophy, very thorough, and the recipes come out great.
Yan-Kit’s Classic Chinese Cookbook, by Yan-Kit So, has a comprehensive ingredient guide with pictures and detailed instructions.
Land of Plenty, by Fuschia Dunlop, is chowhounds’ new English-language bible for authentic Sichuanese cooking, with clear explanations and terrific recipes.
The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen, by Grace Young and Alan Richardson, focuses on Cantonese cuisine, with background information on techniques and ingredients, and adds some interesting history.
Suggestions on great Chinese cookbooks?
Peanut oil is used frequently in high-heat Chinese stir-frying. It has a high smoke point, so it won’t scorch in the intense heat of proper wok cooking, and it imparts a characteristic flavor. If you don’t like peanut oil’s flavor (some find it “too peanutty”) or have a peanut allergy, use an oil with a neutral flavor and a high smoke point, like grapeseed or safflower.
Chinese food cooking question…what kind of oil?
Here’s a nifty tip for tenderizing mature collard greens.
Cut out the tough center ribs, put the collards in a plastic freezer bag, and freeze them for a while (anywhere from a few hours to a week). Freezing helps break down the tough cells in older collards; you’ll still need to simmer for a good while, but the result will be more palatable and require less cooking time.
Board Links: Collards
Homemade marmalade is simple to make in your microwave, says Sherri. She makes small batches throughout citrus season, and finds that it keeps in the fridge just fine.
Here’s her technique, which works equally well for oranges, grapefruit, limes, lemons, or any combination (it’s especially good with Meyer lemons or blood oranges).
Wash and chop 8 oz of citrus fruit into 1/8-1/4” pieces, including peel and flesh, but removing ends and seeds. Place in a 2-quart microwave-safe glass bowl and add 8 oz sugar. Stir to blend. Microwave on high for about 8 minutes (depending on the power of your microwave), stirring occasionally, cooking until thickened. Pour into a clean glass jar, cool, and refrigerate. Makes about 12 oz.
NOTE: The yield of the recipe can be changed; just use equal weights of citrus and sugar.
Board Links: Citrus Marmalade for Pat Hammond & Enjilico