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Scrambled Eggs

You might not want to throw away pans and have to buy new ones.

Jul 28, 2012
lidia in Home Cooking

Marcella's Carbonara-add basil or not?

Maybe you have posted this response in the wrong place, but *I* wasn't "asking" anything. I was responding to the OP's request for opinions.

I think it's funny that you link to a Japanese chef to illustrate an Italian dish. I'm sure it came out all right, but I would worry about the high heat cooking the egg; I do my combining off the heat, and use little or no extra water. I didn't see much pepper, if any, in the final dish. Good fresh-ground black pepper is important.

Now that video has made me hungry… I must go make some carbonara right away!

Jun 11, 2012
lidia in Home Cooking

Garlic Bread...To Die For!

At least there is an Italian name for tarragon (dragoncello).

Jun 09, 2012
lidia in Home Cooking

How long does bacon keep?

That is a great tip. I use a similar method with both bacon and pancetta, or anything sliced, using plastic wrap.

Jun 09, 2012
lidia in General Topics

pesto bliss (per the nyt)

I will tell you something, Amy. I once used identical ingredients to make two batches of pesto: one in the FP and one lovingly ground by hand with a mortar & pestle. The hand-ground one had more irregular pieces, which I thought was fine and lent "authenticity" to the result.

My Italian husband, born in La Spezia (in Liguria, the same region as Genova, Italian pesto epicenter) declared the FP version to be superior in flavor to the hand-ground one. Take that for what it is worth…

Jun 09, 2012
lidia in Home Cooking

Marcella's Carbonara-add basil or not?

I would try to perfect a classic carbonara before throwing irrelevant herbs into the mix…

Jun 09, 2012
lidia in Home Cooking

How long does bacon keep?

P.S. Don't waste bacon fat by sopping it up with paper towels and throwing it away. If you don't want to use it for cooking, give it to a pet or to the birds, or put it in your compost (small amounts is fine).

Jun 07, 2012
lidia in General Topics

How long does bacon keep?

It can keep for months if it's kept cool and dry. (unsliced; not talking about Oscar Meyer bacon here, but I would be willing to experiment with it)

Wet, in the fridge, and/or wrapped in plastic, it gets moldy.

If there's just some superficial mold, you can scrape it off.

Jun 07, 2012
lidia in General Topics

Ramekin recipe ideas?

There are a lot of Italian recipes for vegetable-based "sformati" (artichoke, carrot, spinach, fennel; anything, really).

Jun 07, 2012
lidia in Home Cooking

What to do with 1 lb of ground chicken (besides make burgers)?

Empanadas

Jun 07, 2012
lidia in Home Cooking

Garlic Bread...To Die For!

Yowsa! I have never, ever, seen a caraway seed for sale in Italy. Maybe in Trento? Italians buy butter, IF they buy it, in quantities of 125g and it lasts them weeks if not months.

I don't think they even have a NAME for caraway seed:
http://forum.wordreference.com/showth...

They want to translate it as either "cumin" or "fennel" or "anise"…

But, if you like the OP's recipe, knock yourselves out!

Jun 07, 2012
lidia in Home Cooking

Best ways to cook/use Eggplant

I salt eggplant slices for a while, then pat dry, cut into thumb-size sticks, and fry them up in a wok for future use in Chinese-style food or for Italian pasta sauces. Alternatively, they can be a great side dish for sausages or any simple pork dish with a bit of sautéed garlic or onion and cayenne, with or without a couple spoonfuls of tomato sauce/chopped tomatoes. They can keep, cooked, for several days in the fridge.

I just made a recipe out of Madhur Jaffrey's cookbook "An Invitation to…" where you roast eggplant and mix the flesh with yogurt and spices, using it as a relish or side dish. It was quite good (I used 1/2 the yogurt/eggplant ratio as my eggplant was very mild).

Another interesting recipe is to (after washing) peel the eggplant somewhat "thickly" with a knife (i.e., leave some flesh on the skin). Salt lightly and cut the peelings, if need be, into smaller, little-finger-size strips. Fry s-l-o-w-l-y in a frying pan with olive oil to yield a somewhat crunchy snack to be served with aperitivi, I learned this recipe from a Milanese woman, but it could be a Venetian recipe.

The eggplant pulp could be used for baba ganoosh or for eggplant meatballs (one of Marcella Hazan's books has the latter recipe; it's quite good).

Another appealing treatment is eggplant parm. either in a casserole or as a filling for sandwiches. What I learned works well is to eschew bread crumbs of any kind. What I do is dip the eggplant slices first in flour, then in beaten egg, before frying. The frying can be tedious and messy, but the result is worth it.

Jun 07, 2012
lidia in Home Cooking

My Yogurt Dilemma

I just got off of a spate of Indian-inspired meals, and I found a lot of salad-y sides made with yogurt: i.e., cucumber raita and also a recipe where grilled eggplant flesh is mixed with yogurt. They do contain spices (not sure if "bland" means you can't have cumin, for example).

May 31, 2012
lidia in Home Cooking

Artichokes!!! Any low fat alternatives to butter with garlic & lemon????

IF you have good, fresh artichokes, you can try slicing them raw (very thinly) once they are trimmed and have the choke removed, then drizzle with lemon juice and cover with flakes of parmigiano-reggiano cheese. Somehow the cheese and lemon cuts the "tannic" sort of mouth-drying effect of the raw artichoke.

May 13, 2012
lidia in Home Cooking

Molasses...

Indian pudding is a yummy old-fashioned recipe… basically a molasses-sweetened polenta dessert that's great with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream on the side.

May 12, 2012
lidia in Home Cooking

A Chicken Emergency.

The tandoori recipe I use calls for the chicken to be skinned but not boned. It marinates in yogurt and spices and is tasty without being "hot" spicy (although I guess you can ramp it up).

May 02, 2012
lidia in Home Cooking

Vietnamese Rice Paper for Fried Rolls?

I tried frying spring rolls with rice paper wrappers and sadly ended up with a mess. They sort of melted, like plastic.

Seeing as other people have done it with success, I wonder what went wrong.

Apr 04, 2012
lidia in Home Cooking

Help with Italian dessert

Don't forget about fruit. My Italian family members always finish their meals with some kind of fresh fruit.

There's even a saying, sort of like 'scraping the bottom of the barrel', or 'game over': "qui siamo alla frutta!" = "we've arrived at the fruit!".

Pineapple is popular and can be eaten with toothpicks.

Mar 28, 2012
lidia in Home Cooking

Fennel Pollen

My neighbor introduced me to the only way I have had fennel pollen: used on pan-fried (or grilled) pork liver wrapped in pancetta.

I'm not a liver fan, but the fennel taste really transforms it.

Mar 26, 2012
lidia in Home Cooking

Kale? [split from SF Bay]

Natural fats are important foods. Know Your Fats: http://www.westonaprice.org/know-your...

Feb 23, 2012
lidia in Home Cooking

What to do with leftover braised cabbage?

The ravioli/pierogies sound good. I was thinking potstickers, which are along the same lines.

Feb 23, 2012
lidia in Home Cooking

leftover beef from stock-making

oooh! I meant not to offend! I'm sure the ones with steak are ultra-delicious. It was just an idea off the top of my head as an alternative to throwing the stuff away… I guess I should have called it "a generic meat pie of your own devising". ;-)

Feb 23, 2012
lidia in Home Cooking

What do do with a lot of saffron?

For lunch, I just finished off the leftovers of a pasta dish that calls for saffron: cooked cauliflower, garlic, some tomato paste, hot pepper anchovies and saffron. Abundant olive oil. I got the recipe from "Papa Andrea's Sicilian Table". You can also do a version with raisins (I prefer currants) and pine nuts, and onion instead of garlic, as shown here: http://nerodiseppiaenglish.wordpress....

In the second version link ingredients, a "bag" of saffron is a tiny pouch of powered saffron as sold in Italian supermarkets, but would translate to a pinch of real saffron (1/4-1/8 tsp.) softened in a small amt. of warm water (add the water, too).

Feb 23, 2012
lidia in Home Cooking

How to reduce sugar in a baking recipe without wrecking the entire dish? Or, a savoury banana bread recipe?

pitterpatter, those are great tips. I, too, don't have much of a sweet tooth and appreciate barely-sweet desserts.

What do you say about honey? I've not experimented much, but I did do a chocolate cake using honey in the amount of 1/2 the weight of refined sugar, and enjoyed the result.

Feb 21, 2012
lidia in Home Cooking

leftover beef from stock-making

Italians often eat "bollito" with a "salsa verde" after a first course with the broth. Here's a panoply of Batali condiments:

http://labellecuisine.com/archives/su...

(I would actually prefer hash or maybe a Cornish pasty, but don't tell my husband.)

Feb 21, 2012
lidia in Home Cooking

How do you stock your Chinese kitchen?

What you didn't list:
Sweet bean paste, hot bean paste, chili paste (I like Lao Gan Ma), hoisin sauce, Szechuan vegetable, Szechuan peppercorns, dried shrimp.

I don't deal with (cannot obtain) tofu or tofu skin or chinese sausage or frozen pot stickers (I have made them). I don't know what "pork floss" is. I tend to just make stir fried main dishes and not soups or steamed items, desserts, or snacks.

I'm an American from the East Coast living in Italy. I really get in a bad way when I can't source the cooking wine and the bean pastes, esp. the hot bean paste, the most elusive ingredients I rely on. I have never seen fermented beans on their own in Italy. Fresh cilantro is non-existent.

I go to the US every couple of years and bring back as many Chinese ingredients as I can.

Feb 15, 2012
lidia in Home Cooking

What to do with two cans of cream of corn? Soup?

My mom used to make these corn fritters (pancakes w/cream of corn). I think her recipe was from an older Fannie Farmer cookbook, but I could be wrong. As kids we loved them!

Feb 15, 2012
lidia in Home Cooking

I'm being intimidated by a rabbit...

I do a really simple treatment taught me by my MIL: If it's whole, cut it into small serving pieces as you would a chicken; using shears often helps. Brown the rabbit pieces, well-seasoned with salt and pepper, in abundant olive oil in a large skillet possessing a cover, which you'll use later. This will take 5-10 minutes per "side". While the rabbit is browning, peel and bruise 4-5 cloves of garlic, more or less. Add them towards the end of the browning phase as you don't want these to burn.

When the rabbit is somewhat golden-brown, pour in a good slosh of vinegar (I use cider vinegar, about 1/3 to 1/2 cup) and lay some big sprigs of fresh rosemary into the pan, and cover. Turn heat to a low simmer and cook for at least an hour, turning and checking the meat once or twice during this period. The rabbit will throw off some water, but toward the end your goal is to have 3-4 tbsp. of a slightly thickened pan juice. Depending on your pan and other circumstances you may have to boil off some of the liquid, or add water to prevent burning.

P.S. If you have any of the organ meats (fresh rabbit comes with heart and liver where we get it) don't cook them along with this. They do better on their own just sauteed in a frypan with some fat, for the minimum time necessary to cook through, though you can serve them at the end along with the rest.

Feb 14, 2012
lidia in Home Cooking

canning question

To answer your question: it is safe if the jar doesn't break and the lids seal (they should have the same "button" action as purchased lids, which depresses as the jar cools if there is a vacuum).

Unbroken jar + vacuum + correct processing time = safe.

I have re-used lids with a success rate of about 90%. I usually don't re-use them more than a couple of times. Again, if the jars seal, they're safe; otherwise, it's just a matter of whether you want to risk the occasional non-sealing jar and having to re-process it with another lid, use up the product, or store it in another fashion such as freezing.

Mayonnaise jars are pretty large and thin-walled, it's true. I have used smaller jars from Classico sauce (Mason jars) as well as those from jarred olives, pestos and other sauces. Make sure you give your lids a bit of simmering time so the plastic can relax and expand to then (hopefully) form the seal better.

Feb 10, 2012
lidia in Home Cooking

Help! Would love to hear if anyone is familar with meals made at the Italian American Club in Ridgefield, Ct. 1960's

I don't know about the "pasta chatta", but salt pork is similar to guanciale. I've never used salt pork bought in the US, so I don't know how salty it is, but the pork fat flavor is key to an amatriciana sauce, the base of which is guanciale with tomatoes and a bit of onion, so there is certainly that precedent.

'Guanciale' is the pig's cheek/jowl fat (whereas 'pancetta' is the belly fat used for American bacon and 'lardo' is the back or other fat when cured). Seasoned 'lardo' is sliced and eaten on crostini or bruschetta, or used like bacon to protect, moisten, and flavor other foods while cooking. Fresh, rendered lard is not called 'lardo', but "strutto", just to cover all the pig fat bases.

Feb 01, 2012
lidia in Home Cooking