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Insights, tips, and restaurant reports from CHOW editors and Chowhound.

Paneer Goes Global

Paneer, the fresh Indian cheese, which can be bought fresh or frozen or easily made at home, is great in many non-Indian guises, according to hounds.

Great ideas for using paneer:

• Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with za'atar and serve with pita as an Arab-style mezze.

• Marinate cubes in vinaigrette and add to salad, add to vegetable soup at serving time, or mash and use in a sandwich.

• Cut into thin slices, pan fry, and use in a sandwich.

• Thread cubes on skewers with vegetables, marinate, and grill.

• Use in place of Mexican queso blanco.

If you make your own paneer, "you can add all kinds of seasonings to the curds as you lift them from the whey, says fromagina, "just gently fork them into the hot curd before twisting the cloth and pressing." She adds dried onion and garlic and hot pepper flakes, and uses the cheese for Mexican dishes; or small pieces of dried fruit, cinnamon, and brown sugar, and crumbles the cheese to serve atop waffles.

Discuss: Non-Indian uses for paneer?

The Tacoshed Project

If you've ever wondered where all the component parts of your taco come from, a group of California College of the Arts architecture students have you covered. The Tacoshed Project, born from the intersection of a taco cart taco and a discussion of food and wastesheds, breaks down where all the various bits of the beloved street food come from: the cheese, the rice, the aluminum foil. The resulting chart tells a story that starts at a taco cart and stretches out into Mexico, the Midwest, Australia, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.

Graphic courtesy CCA Architecture Faculty David Fletcher (Fletcher Studio), John Bela (Rebar Group), and California College of the Arts architecture students

Don’t Lose Your Whey

If you strain yogurt to make thick Greek-style yogurt or yogurt cheese, don't toss the liquid that's left over. This whey is full of nutrients and can be incorporated into many dishes, say hounds. It is not as tart as yogurt, so makes a more neutral ingredient. Use whey as part of the liquid in bread dough, pancake or waffle batter, or other baked goods, add it to soups or smoothies, or use it to cook oatmeal or other hot cereals.

Oh, and it's a beauty product too: ipsedixit shares her mom's secret for great skin:

• Stay out of the sun
• Facials with whey mixture
• Eat plenty of almonds and walnuts

Discuss: What to do with the liquid strained off yogurt?

Overheard on the Home Cooking Boards

"[I] have a Cuisinart convection oven/toaster/broiler (that's what is says right on the glass) that I love and use for pretty much everything my big oven can do. Roasting meats, veggies, fish, heating up leftover pizza (one of the best uses, IMO!), baking small quantities of cookies, baking off par-baked breads, etc. I love, love, love it." - TorontoJo

"I freeze my basil and oregano. I blend it in the food processor with a little olive oil and then freeze it spread on a tray. When frozen, I break into chunks and store in Ziplock. The flavour is definitely still there (and the smell when you open the bag)." - Sooeygun

"If you don't season the protein first, you won't be able to season it later with the same results. The Maillard reaction (surface browning due to the presence of amino acids and sugar in the meat) will still occur, but it won't be as flavorful." - bushwickgirl, on seasoning meat before browning

The Wisdom of Young Farmers: Dina Brewster

Dina Brewster's Ridgefield, Connecticut farm, the Hickories, has been in her family since her grandparents purchased it in 1936. Brewster spent summers at the farm as a kid, but about five years ago when the person managing it unexpectedly passed away, she took at over at age 28 with a friend. Since taking charge of the farm, Brewster has made the transition to organic and built a CSA program from 20 to 200 subscribers. There are 15 acres in use on the farm, sustaining over 115 varieties of vegetables, fruit, pigs, laying hens, and meat chickens. She has also started working with other local farmers and food producers to include cheese shares, bread shares, and beef options. Here is what she has to say.

READ MORE

Cherry Juice with the Balance of a Ruby Port

R.W. Knudsen Just Tart Cherry Juice is THE juice, says antithesisofpop. It's somewhat hard to find and it's $6 for a 32-ounce bottle. So why is it worth seeking out?

"The flavor of this stuff is great on its own, but it is also incredibly versatile," says antithesisofpop. "It has this great balance of sweet, tart, and bitter that is almost reminiscent of a ruby port or a fruity-sweet balsamic vinegar." And when was the last time you bought nice port or balsamic vinegar for $6? "I'm telling you, this stuff is rich, and if you're creative, you can find ways to use this stuff to elevate your cooking to a new level," says antithesisofpop.

Discuss:: R.W. Knudsen Family Organic "Just Tart Cherry Juice"

Britain Seizes the Stupid Beer Prize

When will the idiocy end? The Telegraph reports that Pitstop Brewery of Britain has created "The Hop," a beer that registered 323 International Bittering Units (IBUs), "beating the previous record of 200 held by American beer Devil Dance Triple IPA." The essentially undrinkable beer (even the creator says he can only drink it in limited amounts) is notable for its sheer hoppiness and nothing else. Its creator is quoted as saying: ''It is always nice to beat the Americans and put a British flag on the bitterest pint."

But why? What's nice about this? Is it nice to create a cupcake with the tallest frosting? A wine with the most grapes smashed per bottle? A sandwich with the most layers of ham on it? Like the equally stupid contest for who can make the world's most alcoholic beer, this particular pissing match teaches us nothing about flavor, balance, or history—it is, instead, a tribute to The Dumb Stuff That People Do for Media Attention.

And, yes, obviously it worked. Touché.

What’s Special About Shad Roe?

Shad roe, available fresh in the spring, is different from other roe. "It's not discrete balls like caviar—it's more like a mass in a sack," says Claudette. "I've had it in a French restaurant lightly sautéed in butter with a little lemon. At home, I just steam it Chinese-style with a little peanut oil, ginger, and soy sauce to finish. I've found shad roe to be very mild-flavored compared to other fresh roe." Pata_Negra simply fries it in butter and serves it on rye bread or over warm boiled potatoes.

And if you ever get the chance to have smoked shad roe, do it, says mrbigshotno.1. "Sautéed with bacon and shallots and hit with a little sherry. Delicious!!!"

Discuss: Shad Roe What makes this a Big Deal?

Colombian Peaberries, Like Sweet Coffee Beans

HLing roasts green coffee beans to make coffee, and recently discovered Colombian peaberries. "They roasted in my skillet, and ground in my stone grinder like a dream!" says HLing. "I didn't wait the usual 4, 5 days after roasting. I ground it the next day, and waited a half hour before making it with my AeroPress. It tasted like sweet nectar. Very round, smooth, and really, strangely, sweet. "

Discuss: Columbian Peaberries – sweet!

Bake Sale Blues

Bake Sale Blues

How healthy and homemade should you be? READ MORE