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Mobi_LeChef's Profile

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Mujadarah Is Middle Eastern Comfort Food

Kimib, focus on vegetables, and lots of them. The greener or darker, the better. Instead of the traditional 3 item plate, protein, startch (white stuff), and veg, go with protien and double vegetable. Understand that your hubby is probably emotionally attached to white stuff & so it will be difficult for him to accept a new style of eating. I recommend you look into Meridian Tapping (aka EFT) to help address some of those emotional issues that will help him control cravings for white stuff. There is a blog called The Confidence Diet that has some very useful info for this situation. Good luck!

Apr 16, 2013
Mobi_LeChef in Features

Can These Funky-Smelling Wooden Spoons Be Saved?

Using a utensil that has special meaning to you makes cooking even more of a joy. Whatever you do to get the smell out, remember to rub mineral oil into them to keep them from getting brittle and snapping.

Apr 12, 2013
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How to Get Really Smooth Mashed Potatoes

The article suggested baking the potatoes before mashing. I like the sound of that because I live at high altitude and boiling anything takes a good bit longer than ususal.
What experience has anyone had with making mashed potatoes from baked vs boiled potatoes?

Apr 07, 2013
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Water Stones, Oil Stones: What's Best for Knife-Sharpening?

I find that a sharpening steel works fine for my needs. There is no need to replace it either. The key is to get one that is compatible with the blade you are sharpening. This means the steel must be made of an alloy that is as hard or harder than the knife you are sharpening on it. The easiest way to ensure this is to buy both items from the same Brand (Henkels for example).

Jan 18, 2013
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What to Do with Winter Squash

Acorn squash first baked (either cut side down in water or roasted) and then stuffed with a lentil filling makes a great entree. While the wild rice looks yummy, I'd like to point out that vegetarian dosn't simply mean "no meat". A protein source of some kind will honor vegetarian preferences and make a very satisfying dish.

Nov 02, 2012
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Heat Diffusers Can Keep Things Mellow

I like your resourcefulness chefirish! Have been looking in stores with no luck and been keeping an eye out at garage sales for a cast iron skillet or griddle. Will try the can lids...

Nov 02, 2012
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Pizzeria-Style Ooze at Home

At Jimmy's Southdown Kitchen, where I worked when I was in high school, we pushed loaves of Polly-O mozz through the hobart filling bins with shredded cheese that would miraculously turn into the strechy goodness you are talking about. For an authentic pizzeria style Za, I recommend Polly-O.

Oct 26, 2012
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Ludo Lefebvre Is Fed Up with Complicated Food

I am all for simplicity. How many chef's cook food that is inacessible for the chowhound to make quickly and easily themselves? Give me sauteed Kale or give me ...!

Oct 19, 2012
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Moroccan Carrot Salads

A super simple and refreshing carrot salad can be made with carrot and fresh parsley. Moosewood Cooks at Home has a recipe that calls for 3 parts carrot to 2 parts finely chopped parsley. I use a box grater to make quick work of preparing the carrots (easier clean up than a food processor). Season with 1 part lemon juice to two parts olive oil and S&P to taste. Easy and terrific!

Oct 19, 2012
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Fluffy Scrambled Eggs

Equally important as whatever tool is used to scramble the eggs, is how they are treated in the pan. I find that a medium low heat and the less stirring the better. Letting the eggs set, then pushing them aside to allow uncooked egg hit the pan is better than constant stirring IMO.

Oct 19, 2012
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Savoury dishes using greek-style/natural yoghurt

I use it in many of the same ways too & prefer to make my own Greek yogurt by straining whole milk yogurt. Not only is it more affordable, you can control the consistancy, and also use your favorite brand of yogurt or even organic if you choose.

A Cuisinart gold toned coffee filter (center) works great

While some recipes call for layers of cheese cloth in a colander, I have found a Cuisinart coffee filter to work quite well and be easy to clean up. And bowl or container that will suspend the filter is fine. The goal is to allow space for the whey to drain out.

The yogurt will thicken considerably the longer it stands. In the first stage it will be like sour cream. At this point it is great in dips, on sandwiches instead of mayonaise or in salads. Think curried potato salad…

Scoop yogurt into strainer

… When the yogurt reaches the consistency you like, transfer it to a clean container and store it in the fridge.

If it gets too thick, stir a bit of the whey back into it.

As it get thicker the flavor will change until it tastes like a mild cheese.

Creamed dishes such as spinach that call for dairy will be tasty with strained yogurt.

The remaining whey can be be used for a tasty martini or simply discarded.

Sep 21, 2012
Mobi_LeChef in Home Cooking

What's the Right Thickness for Cutting Boards?

I have found bamboo to be a fantastic material for cutting boards. It protects my knives, is lightweight and easy to handle.

I Never, ever put my boards (any type) in the dishwasher. A prompt scrub with hot soapy water has kept me and my family healthy. If you really want to, keep a separate sponge for cleaning boards that have had meat on them and sterilize it occasionally with bleach or pop it in the microwave.

PS: Bravo, maybe bamboo flooring would work for your table top???

Sep 06, 2012
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Ideas for Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Hands down, the recipe from Southern Living for griled pork tenderloin is my favorite. Mix up the marinade & let is sit overnight if you have time. Gets rave reviews from friends and my clients alike.

Jul 20, 2012
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How to Get Cardamom Seeds Out of the Pod

a gentle crush using a mortor & pestle will relaease the seeds from the pods & also contain them for going into orbit around your kitchen.
At this point either toss the pos into your rice or whatever, or remove the pod and grind the seeds to powder if preffered.

Jul 13, 2012
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Using Parsley by the Handful

A quick easy salad is 1 Cup Parsely & 2 Cups shredded carrot ( i use the box grater to make short work of that task) dress with fresh lemon juice & olive oil, S&P.

Jul 13, 2012
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Taming a Salsa That's Too Spicy

In Thailand we learned to tame the heat of our food with a pinch of sugar. It absorbs the capsacian with out making the dish sweet.
A pinch directly on the tounge immediatley after a particularly spicy bite can stop you from breathing fire so you can enjoy the rest of the meal.
This is why the fruits suggested int he article are effective.

Jun 22, 2012
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Cauliflower Green Curry

Another tip to make it more authentic would be to skim some of the coconut fat(about a quater of the can) from the can (dont shake it before opening) and use that as the cooking medium instead of oil.
Add the water into the remaining coco milk in the can and stir before continuing with the recipe.
If you want to avoid Nam pla, try a combo of veg broth, soy suace and salt to taste. Pic up a copy of Nancy McDermotts "Real Vegetarian Thai"

Apr 21, 2012
Mobi_LeChef in Recipes

Chiles Rellenos

Thanks for the tips on technique. Somewhere along the way I read about using beer in the egg batter to help it rise. Any one else have experience with beer in rellenos??

Apr 21, 2012
Mobi_LeChef in Recipes

Hot Trend: Inventive Mole

Love Mole & hope it becomes more widespread.
LARA Bar used make a Coca Mole flavor bar. Evidently it has been discontinued due to lack of demand, much to my dissappointment.
If Mole is on the verge of gaining popularity, maybe they will bring back Coca Mole. At this point, if consumer demand is any indicator, it still remains a "specialty" flavor rather than a "pop hit".

Apr 15, 2012
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Should You Snap Asparagus Stalks?

I go with the "cut one as a guide" method and that works well. Then I toss the trimmed bases into the water used to steam the tips with. Makes a tasty little broth to get the most out the spears.
Broth is great too to make an "ass per grass" soup. Just use a little extra water when steaming, suatee a little shallot, add the steamed spears & broth, and use stick blender to puree the whole mess. Season with S&P and finish with a spalsh of cream... Yum!

Mar 30, 2012
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Celebrate Easter with Scotch Eggs

Nice inspiration for a make ahead, grab & go breakfast or hiking snack.
Saw a similar recipe once for Thai "Son in Law" eggs. Will give that a try for Easter too. Nice change of pace from deviled eggs, eggsalad, cobb salad, etc...

Mar 30, 2012
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Foods That Make You Feel Full

Want to feel full without eating too much? Basically it works like this. There are 5 flavors among food & when all are present in a meal,your brain gets the signal that everything is A-OK and it is satisfied (this can help in observing another healthy eating guidline, to stop eating when you feel 2/3 full).

Even if only 2-3 are represented this is a step in the right direction and can reduce feelings of still being hungry in spite of eating sufficient calories.

The flavors are Sweet, Salty, Savory (spicy), Sour, & Bitter.

Representation does not require and entire dish with one of these predominate flavors. For example, a simple stir fry of brocoli & beef sesoned with garlic & soy sauce has Bitter, the brocoli, Sweet, the beef, Savory, the garlic, and Salty, the soy sauce.

A glass of water (no ice) with lemon in it would add Sour to the meal & now you have a grand slam!

When a meal that is dominated by one or two flavors, say pasta with tomato sauce, the brain keeps thinking something is missing, but may not be sure what. Often people will just have another helping of the same thing & get the crazy “i’m stuffed, but I still want something more” sensation (remember too, that it takes 20 minutes for your brain to receive the signal from your stomach that enough food has been eaten).

Repersenting all 5 flavors does not have to mean eating a bigger quanitity of food. It means being aware of what is on the plate in front of you and making adjustments to seasonings, or substituting an additional flavor for a part of one already present. In our pasta example, topping the dish with a good romano cheese can add a salty element. Reducing the serving size of the pasta, and adding in a green vegetable, especially a bitter one like escarole or broccoli, will make a huge difference.

Feb 17, 2012
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Don't Fry Bacon While Naked and Other Culinary Rules to Live By

Always use a condiment.

Sep 30, 2011
Mobi_LeChef in Features

Spice strategy?

Regardless of wether you choose a drawer, cupbaord, or wall mounted shelves,(iuse a combo of the last teo in my small kitchen) the one strategy I find most helpful is to group my spices by cuisine. (Italian=basil, marjoram, parsely, etc) Indian= Corriander, cumin, turmeric, garam masla, you get the idea.

Personally, I have a variety of old spice bottles that help me tell spices apart because the tops tend to be different colors or shapes. this works good for the ones in the cupboard that are all at eye level. The ones on the wall shelf are easy enough to locate by the name on the front.
I buy spices in bulk or at the Indian market (sold in bags) and refill the bottle from these. All the surplus spices get stored in a old cookie tin in a closet (remember to keep them cool and dry to preserve flavor)

While it may appear a bit chaotic, the botom line is I can find any of my spices quickly and easily. That's key if your an add them as you go type of cook like me.

Sep 24, 2011
Mobi_LeChef in Cookware

The Delicious Dangers of Culinary Competence

I too found the temptation to overindulge nearly overwhelming. I overcame it by having freezer containers on deck before the cooking was complete & focusing on the happiness of having a freezer full of food for the future.

Apr 29, 2011
Mobi_LeChef in Features

The Tastiest Tempeh

A basic techniquie that I use is to slice the tempeh & put it in a single layer in a skillet. Drizzle with oil (veg or peanut), then cover with water & add a seasoning agent such as worcesershire, soy sauce, or liquid smoke.
Bring to a boil and let the water cook off, the allow the tempeh to crisp up in the remaing oil (be careful to avoid sticking).
ONce this is complete, the tempeh can be used for sandwiches, fajitas, gyros, stirfrys, or whatever suits you. It will keep for a few days in the fridge too.

Mar 26, 2011
Mobi_LeChef in Features

tips for getting started with fried rice

Snax,
Thai style fried rice is far and away my favorite! As others said, using fish sauce to salt the dish gives your creation a Thai tune. Add it toward the end to prevent burning.
I start by heating oil & adding a clove of crushed garlic, a Thai chili (AKA Bird eye, available in asain grocer) and a sprinkle of crushed red pepper. Add the rice & "toss like crazy", when its hot add Green onion, cut into 1"inch lenghts, and then the fish sauce.
Toppings make a world of difference. Traditional ones include ground peanuts, fresh cilantro, Cucumber slices, bits of scrambled egg, and a wedge of Lime.
A more advanced and exotic version is Pineapple fried rice, using onion, carrot, shrimp and pineapple ( in that order) and top with crushed red pepper & fresh mint. see photo...

Dec 04, 2009
Mobi_LeChef in Home Cooking