h

hymncat's Profile

Title Last Reply

Education on smoked pork shoulder ham

I have a related question - are smoked picnics a regional thing, or have they gone out of fashion, or what? It seemed like when I lived in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, 30 years ago, they were readily available, but here in Northern Virginia in 2013, I haven't seen any in checking about 4 stores from different chains. Suggestions? I really like them much better than standard ham, particularly as an ingredient.

Oct 29, 2013
hymncat in General Topics

Kabocha: The King of Winter Squashes

Kabocha is definitely one of the top winter squashes, and I use it frequently. Note that it comes in two forms - green when ripe, and orange - but both cook the same way (and if you don't cook it before paring, you'll want a cleaver or heavy knife to cut it).

The traditional Japanese method is to scrub, cut in narrow wedges, pare the outside roughly with a vegetable peeler, then simmer in a skillet with a little water, sugar, and shoyu. Tasty at any temperature! I sometimes add syrup from candying ginger, instead of the sugar

The other thing for which kabocha has turned out to be ideal is a bisque. Often I'll actually combine kabocha and butternut, and include some sweet potato as thickener. Salt/pepper/ginger, with or without chicken broth, or salt/pepper/thymbra (herb used in the Middle East) ditto, blend, add liquid to the right texture, and it's ready to eat. Note that with the sweet potato, it's gluten-free, and can be made dairy-free as well if desired.

Jun 04, 2012
hymncat in Features

Egg nog

skip the vanilla, skip the cream, and go light on the nutmeg - my idea of eggnog is not dessert, but an adult beverage based on eggs and milk. (Note - it's much better several days after it's made, if you are using lots of liquor...)

Dec 16, 2011
hymncat in Home Cooking

Anyone have a recipe for ginger or other homemade syrups to mix with carbonated water to make soda?

Well, if you use the candied ginger recipe that has been around on the web (http://www.melindalee.com/index.php?o...), you'll have a great ginger syrup as a leftover from the candying process. We don't carbonate it, but it's a great sweetener for limeade.

Dec 16, 2011
hymncat in Home Cooking

How long is this eggnog good for?

Sounds like good Maryland eggnog - boozy, not a dessert, and minimal spicing... Yes, it keeps a LONG time (if you don't drink it) because nothing can survive in the alcohol!

Dec 16, 2011
hymncat in Home Cooking

is there any advantage to using Nigella's marmalade recipe?

Sorry I'm so far behind on this - have been dealing with sick cats and crazy schedules.

The recipe I use for 3-fruit marmalade comes from Harrod's Book of Jams, Jellies and Chutneys (single best source I've found for traditional and creative recipes out of the English tradition). With my modifications, it's as follows:

6 small oranges (Valencia, Pineapple or other juice oranges)
2 [small] red grapefruit [I use peel of only 1]
juice of 1 large lime
5 pints water
sugar

Wash fruit and cut in half; squeeze the juice (including any pulp) into a bowl or glass measure, and reserve the seeds separately. I then cut the rinds in half again for convenience, pull out the membranes, and if the peels have a lot of white pith, remove some of it. My preference is to leave the pith no more than 1/8" thick. (Save the membranes and the pith.) If you want fancy marmalade, slice the orange and grapefruit rinds into strips as thin as you can manage. If you want quick marmalade, toss the rinds in the food processor, I guess, but I don't have one. I also prefer shred to chunky.
Put the seeds, pith and membranes in a pan with water to barely cover. Simmer for maybe 15 minutes, then strain into a glass measure. [Squeeze hard - this is a good bit of your pectin!]
Put the shredded peel into a large pot and, including the liquid from simmering the seeds etc, add a total of 5 pints of water/cooking liquid.Simmer the peel partially covered until very tender, 1 hour or more. [recipe adds baking soda and cooks 1 1/2 hours]
Measure the juice and pulp, measure the peel, and for every 2 1/2 cups of that mixture, add 2 2/3 cups of granulated sugar. [I like to heat the sugar in a 350 oven first, until hot but not changing color.] Stir until sugar is dissolved, then bring to boil and simmer about 10 minutes, stirring as needed, until setting point is reached. Pack and seal.

Apr 18, 2011
hymncat in Home Cooking

What can I substitute for farmer's cheese or dry cottage cheese?

That's kind of what I thought - now to try to choose one! I have a couple of Latina coworkers, so maybe they can steer me to a couple of sorts to start with.

Apr 18, 2011
hymncat in Home Cooking

What can I substitute for farmer's cheese or dry cottage cheese?

I can't easily find either where I am (though there seem to be umpteen sorts of Central American fresh cheeses). What can I substitute for such things as blintzes and paskha? I've been rinsing cotttage cheese in order to get the right texture, but that gets to be both a nuisance and costly...

Apr 17, 2011
hymncat in Home Cooking

Candied Clementine Peels

I've done clementine peels also, and I think they actually need less blanching, rather than more, compared to other peels (since they're so thin). My grapefruit peels are always much more bitter (the way I like them, with 2 changes of blanching water) than the clementine peels I tried. I also simmer-rest overnight-simmer for all my peels, so they actually get less heat overall while absorbing the syrup.

Feb 21, 2011
hymncat in Home Cooking

Can someone analyize this Mochi making process?

I know this is an old thread, but having just made my first batch of mochi with ordinary household tools, I thought I'd provide an actual recipe (well, sort of) for anyone wanting to tackle it for New Years. Note - this is definitely the Japanese sort, not the firmer Korean rice cakes.

I used 2 cups of sticky rice (Sho-Chiku-Bai® Sweet Rice from Koda Farms), washed it for about 2 minutes, then covered it with cold water and soaked it for about 14 hours.
I then drained it and spread out the rice on a dish towel atop a tray, patting it dry until it was barely damp. [This actually made it TOO dry - I had to add water in the final stage, so would just drain it the next time.]
Steamer was an ordinary tall saucepan, with a mesh strainer that just fit it, and a lid that fit just inside the strainer so there was some but not too much steam leakage. I put the soaked, drained rice in the strainer, put about an inch of water in the saucepan, stacked the two parts, spread the rice up the sides of the strainer to try to even out the thickness all around, and put the lid on.
Steaming took about 20-25 minutes [less might have been needed - wasn't going to gamble on its being undercooked], and during that time, I took the lid off a couple of times and flipped the rice so that the part closest to the strainer was turned to the inside and vice versa. When it was done, all the rice was translucent, had no crunchy or powdery bits, and was just a bit chewy (not squishy like regular rice can get).
"Pounding" took about 25 minutes on the dough cycle in an old Breadman machine - I stopped the machine just short of its full 15 minute first kneading cycle because I was concerned that the motor was overheating. Everything was OK, so I restarted it from the beginning and ran it through until it stopped at the end of that first cycle. I'd say 2 cups raw rice is about optimal for a bread machine whose largest loaf is 1.5 lbs, and the prepared mochi is approximately half of a commercial sheet of mochi.
End product looked right, acted right when I tried to persuade it to flatten out (ie sticky and reluctant to settle!), had the right texture and stretch, and passed muster with my Japanese husband when we toasted some and ate it fresh. He's picky, having had it originally prepared back home in the traditional way by hand, then over here both made commercially and in a home mochi machine.

Have fun - it turned out to be much easier than I expected!

Dec 29, 2010
hymncat in Home Cooking

Cheddar and Chutney Tea Sandwiches

This works really well as a lunch sandwich with good sharp cheddar, good whole wheat bread, and a trip to the microwave to melt the cheese.

Dec 14, 2010
hymncat in Recipes

What to eat with cottage cheese?

kind of negates some of the health benefits, but I love real maple syrup on cottage cheese.

Dec 11, 2010
hymncat in General Topics

What can I do with clemantines? [moved from General Topics]

Bit late, but yes, the peel is very nice candied.

I don't try to slice it neatly as I do navel orange and grapefruit peels. Instead, I leave it in chunks as it peels off the fruit, just tidying up the edges and pulling out any obvious fibrous strings before blanching, syruping and sugaring.

Haven't used it in a lot of recipes yet, but it has the characteristic aroma of all the mandarin peels, and should be a real zing in shortbread or other plain cookie. I may put some in this year's panettone in addition to homemade candied lemon peel.

Dec 11, 2010
hymncat in Home Cooking

Behind the Scenes of the Last Kodachrome Christmas

Fascinating - I wonder if the settings on a good digital camera could be adjusted to approximate the Kodachrome (which I AM old enough to have used for many family photos).

Dec 11, 2010
hymncat in Features

Adding Quince to a slow cooker stew

Add the quince earlier rather than later. My choice would be to add it for the last couple hours of the original cooking time, and then reheat the whole lot together. Unlike apple, quince slices aren't going to mush up and disappear totally, and there's absolutely no advantage to having them "lightly cooked".

Nov 13, 2010
hymncat in Home Cooking

What is your favorite hard to find candy?

De Beukalaer (sp?) dark chocolate-hazelnut wafer bars - think KitKat for grownups. Used to get them all the time in Rochester in the 60's, but haven't seen them in years. Also, there is an Italian coffee hard candy which shows up sometimes at those seminars held in hotels, but I can't find anything with near as clean a coffee flavor. (Maybe if i could find Hopjes again...)

Nov 13, 2010
hymncat in General Topics

What discontinued products do you miss?

Actually, if you find Holland Rusks, you've got zwieback/ch - it's the same stuff. Just watch out, if you're in an international market, that you don't get the "cake rusks" which are a twice-baked cake slice and much richer and sweeter.

Nov 13, 2010
hymncat in General Topics

using stevia in mango chutney?

Wow - didn't expect so much response, so fast. Yes, I know that stevia tastes funny to some people, and I gather that there are a bunch of different preparations with more or less 'stevia' taste to them. Thank you all for the suggestions - I think I'll ask my friend's wife how his tolerance is for coconut sugar and agave (separately).
Goodhealthgourmet, I know that any major reduction in sugar will tend to change texture, tho' possibly not as much here as in some recipes, since in addition to mango, the recipe also includes significant quantities of chopped apple and onion, also raisins and sliced limes, and it's cooked down so the vinegar doesn't leave it soupy. Someone commented on the relative keeping quality, and I'd guess that this might need longer processing in the jar, as well as definite refrigeration after opening.

Nov 12, 2010
hymncat in Home Cooking

using stevia in mango chutney?

I've been making a classic mango chutney for several years, and while I know it's always going to be heavy in sugars because of the fruit, I'm wondering if I can reduce the load somewhat (particularly for a diabetic friend who will eat the stuff anyway!) by substituting stevia for the additional sugar called for in the recipe. Has anyone out there experimented with stevia in such a context?

Nov 10, 2010
hymncat in Home Cooking

Zucchini

Young zucchini, about 5 inches long. Take off the stem, and any hard disc at the blossom end, and split in half lengthwise. Parboil or steam just until they get a little floppy, but the squash is still pretty crunchy. Lay them in a dish, cover generously with thin-sliced onion (preferably red), and drown them in a homemade vinaigrette (add some thyme if it isn't already in the dressing). Keeps for days (gets better, in fact), but only needs to rest for a couple of hours in the fridge before eating.

Aug 07, 2010
hymncat in Home Cooking

In dire need of help making YELLOW SQUASH palatable

Bitter usually means that it's been kept too long at room temp, but could also come from a bad (too dry) growing season.
I've done grilled squash with rosemary, usually using the calabacitas (fat, gray-green squashes found in Hispanic and Asian markets).

Aug 07, 2010
hymncat in Home Cooking

In dire need of help making YELLOW SQUASH palatable

The real solution (not applicable here, since the original poster had little choice but to accept what the farm grew) is to switch to Zephyr - it's the only 'yellow' squash I've found that has a significant amount of taste. (it also doesn't get hard on the outside while still at slicing size!) Maybe you can convince your grower for next year?

Aug 07, 2010
hymncat in Home Cooking

Decadent-but-Fluffy Cheesecake

I'd second the ChefJune approach, having done it (accidentally) with a perfectly conventional cheesecake recipe on my first attempt. The recipe said "mix only until combined"; I with my KitchenAid got carried away, and ended up with cheesecake which tasted great but overflowed the pan!

Feb 05, 2010
hymncat in Features

Hard lime rinds in my marmalade

FWIW, I've made marmalade with Rangpur limes and am getting ready for another round. If I recall, I separated the peel and cooked it by itself until very soft, before recombining with the pulp and sugar, and didn't have the hard rind problem. Will check on it when I make this batch - seedling Rangpur lime is sitting in my VA kitchen with 15 nice fruit on it, almost ready to go!

Feb 03, 2010
hymncat in Home Cooking

is there any advantage to using Nigella's marmalade recipe?

Actually, this is the classic method for making marmalade from Seville oranges - I have it in a couple of different cookbooks, plus it was taught me by a Brit expat who introduced me to making marmalade at home. The main advantage is actually for non-juicy fruit like Seville (sour) oranges, where it's not really practical to do as advised in many modern recipes - squeeze the juice/scrape any remaining pulp and set aside, remove, shred and blanch the peel, then recombine the parts with sugar and cook. I make a 3-citrus marmalade by the second method because I can't get sour oranges easily, and can't imagine using Nigella's technique, but it does work well for what it was designed for.

Feb 03, 2010
hymncat in Home Cooking