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Making pistachio paste

I think I would go for the second recipe because it's more straightforward and simple. I have made a similar paste a couple of times for the purpose of making pistachio ice cream, and I have basically done it by simply processing pistachios in the food processor until fine (make sure to scrape down the bowl a couple of times), then adding a small amount of water and powder sugar until you have a paste-like consistency.

It's a very similar process to making almond paste (or marzipan) where the secret lies in grinding the nuts fine enough - you don't want large chunks. Pistachios take on such an intense flavor when ground (if you don't have a food processor, you could also use a mortal and pestle however it will take more time and effort) that I doubt you really need to add almond extract in order to enhance the flavor.

Jan 26, 2008
quelle4 in Home Cooking

Frugal meals

Sometimes I like to think about the lowest possible limit you could live on and still eat great food. I think as long as you keep a minimal, but well thought out supply at hand, you can use it for a variety of dishes. I especially like to make hearty soups and stews which you can cook in batches and that are both filling and cheap. For the basic supply, you need onions, carrots and celery. Add potatoes and garlic to this and you have a great basic supply. Buy lots of bulk beans and lentils as well as bags of rice and pasta. There are a variety of grains you can buy which are healthy and cheap such as wheat berries and bulgur that add variation.

When it comes to vegetables, I like to focus on cabbage and root fruits as well as frozen bags of vegetables.

If you want to add some meat to your diet, then it's a good idea to buy large packs of sausage (you can usually find good quality sausage in large packs), then freeze them individually and use them to flavor a lot of different dishes. The same can be said for Bacon - buy a large pack and then freeze 3-4 slices together and use them as you need them. Eggs are another great source of protein that are both cheap and nutritious.

For more ideas on this subject, I wrote a longer post: http://www.theculinaryreview.com/food...

I think the important aspect is to keep meals filling. There is no point in living on Ramen noodles since you're hungry 2 hours after you eat a pack. Another great idea is to bake your own bread, if you have the time and the interest. Then you can eat great food for a very cheap cost.

Jan 24, 2008
quelle4 in Home Cooking

Help - Are there any good DVD's to learn to cook?

America's Test Kitchen (Cook's Illustrated) has produced several seasons of excellent cooking shows where they brake down simple dishes and try to improve them. The show is a lot of fun, very relaxed and their solutions are always interesting. If you watch their episodes you will learn a lot about classic dishes, methods, kitchen products and more. The show usually airs on PBS on Saturdays, however you could get the seasons on dvd - check your local library, there's a good chance they might have them.

Jan 18, 2008
quelle4 in Home Cooking

best way to store fresh herbs?

I think these are excellent suggestions! I usually store the herbs like Alton recommends, in a plastic bag with a damp towel and I do think they keep very nicely that way.

Another thing I usually like to do if we have a lot of herbs on hand is to make a pesto out of it (a combination of herbs work fine, as well as different kinds of nuts), and then freeze the pesto in ice trays. Once the ice trays have frozen, empty them out and store the cubes in a sealed plastic bag. Then you can always take out a cube and mix it in your sauce or dressing or over pasta whenever you want an herb addition.

Jan 08, 2008
quelle4 in Home Cooking

Question: Is pressing garlic an acceptable substitute for mincing garlic?

I think that pressing the garlic is certainly an acceptable substitute for mincing. When you press the garlic, it will take on a stronger, slightly more bitter taste, while mincing the garlic makes it slightly more mellow. In the end though, this rarely matters.

If you are planning to cook the garlic, either in a stew, sauce, or other way, it won't make much of a difference. Only if you are eating the garlic raw in a salsa or a dressing, will it make much of a difference. Personally, I like the taste of garlic very much and I more often add additional garlic than use less then the recipe calls for. So I would not use less when pressing the garlic, however that's a matter of personal preference.

Jan 07, 2008
quelle4 in Home Cooking

Leftover Pinto Beans

I agree with Juster, pinto beans are excellent to use for a bean soup. Or you can make a hummus with pinto beans instead of chickpeas. I like to cook a large batch of beans and then freeze portions. One thing I like to do is to spread a layer of beans out on a sheet pan, put the sheet pan in the freezer (if you have the space) and freeze the beans for about 10-15 minutes. At that point, scrape them together and freeze in tupperware or plastic sealed bags. This methods ensures the beans separate in the freezer and you won't get a big block of beans when you just want to use a few.

Dec 10, 2007
quelle4 in Home Cooking

pumpkin butter recipe for gift-giving

Here is my recipe for pumpkin butter: http://www.theculinaryreview.com/food...
It's quite easy to make and it turns out delicious! Sweet, spicy with nice pumpkin flavor. I roasted my own pumpkin (then make sure to use a small pumpkin) but you could of course use canned pumpkin. I have found that these types of butters are very forgiving and they are easy to experiment with in order to achieve your desired sweetness/spiciness. I'm sure it would be fine to substitute some of the sugar for honey.

This makes a great gift and people will certainly appreciate this spread because it's so versatile! Works on toast, in cakes, cookies, I have even made pumpkin scones as well as pumpkin lattes with this butter.

Nov 10, 2007
quelle4 in Home Cooking

Your Favorite Soup Recipe?

Soups are great! So versatile and easy to pull together, I make several soups each week. My favorite soups include French lentil soup, beet and vegetable soup, potato and leek soup etc... I'm also very fond of "clean" soups that focus on one ingredient such as roasted red pepper soup, carrot soup, chickpea soup etc. Here is a collection of all my favorite soups with recipes: http://www.theculinaryreview.com/food...
Once you figure out the method one uses to make soups, it's so easy to expand your repertoire or adjust existing recipes.

Nov 10, 2007
quelle4 in Home Cooking

To brine or not to brine, and other turkey talk

If you feel like dealing with another step, then brining is great. We always brine our bird as it definitely makes for a juicer bird, but if you skip that step, it won't be a big deal.

What we usually do is use a very large stockpot that we fill with a brine and ice and then dump the bird in there for a couple of hours. That way the bird will stay nice and cold while brining and it won't take up any space in the fridge. Here is a more detailed encounter of our brining experience: http://www.theculinaryreview.com/food...
Good luck hosting 17 guests!

Nov 10, 2007
quelle4 in Home Cooking

Need Ideas Recipes for Sauce to Serve with Bread Pudding

I think that would probably work, as long as you give the sauce enough time to cook.

I love bread pudding and I usually make a very simple vanilla sauce that thickens as it cools: http://www.theculinaryreview.com/food...

Simple is usually the best way to go. Caramel sauce with evaporated milk sounds like it would be delicious!

Nov 10, 2007
quelle4 in Home Cooking

What can we do with pumpkins?

My favorite thing to do with pumpkin is pumpkin butter. Here is a great recipe: http://christonium.com/culinaryreview...

With pumpkin butter you can do so much. I have made pumpkin scones utilizing pumpkin butter, as well as milkshake etc... It's also great on toast or tasty next to a piece of pork.

Oct 25, 2007
quelle4 in Home Cooking

I can't cook crispy bacon

My favorite way to cook bacon is in the oven. Lay a "drying sheet" upside down on a baking sheet, then lay the bacon on top of that. Bake in a hot oven for about 10 minutes.

My other favorite treat is to sprinkle the bacon (before you put it in the oven) with plenty of brown sugar and a lot of black pepper. It's so delicious!

Oct 25, 2007
quelle4 in Home Cooking

My chili is a little to spicy

I have a good idea. When I make chili, I usually add some crushed corn chips into it. It thickens the chili as well as mellow it a little if it is too spicy. Just beware that this will add some salt and if your chili is too salty, then maybe this isn't a good idea. Otherwise, it's a perfect thickener as well as "body" for an over-spiced chili.

Oct 25, 2007
quelle4 in Home Cooking

Let the Holiday gift ideas begin!!!

This year I am giving nice jars of homemade dark hot chocolate mix and dry chai mix. Perfect for the holiday season!

Here is my recipe for dark chocolate mix: http://christonium.com/culinaryreview/ItemID=11924222001777

and my recipe for a wonderful dry chai blend - it taste just like the one you buy in the store but costs only a fraction of what you would pay!
http://christonium.com/culinaryreview...

Oct 24, 2007
quelle4 in General Topics

LEFTOVER STEAMED CABBAGE

Mmm, make beer braised cabbage with bacon. Quite good! http://christonium.com/culinaryreview...

Oct 23, 2007
quelle4 in Home Cooking

How can I save my bland pumpkin soup?

I made pumpkin soup last weekend, and I was surprised too by the fact that the pumpkin was very tasteless. I was planning to make a coconut pumpkin soup and when I had basically made the soup with roasted pumpkin, coconut milk, mirepoix, I was struck by a very bland soup.

So, the life saver was curry powder, cumin, allspice, nutmeg, sugar, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. At that point the soup was excellent, very balanced, flavorful and delicious. Here is the recipe: http://christonium.com/culinaryreview...

Oct 23, 2007
quelle4 in Home Cooking

Pumpkin puree in a can vs homemade puree

This week-end I went through a whole little experiment cooking two pumpkins two different ways. I recorded every step and my result and conclusion: http://christonium.com/culinaryreview...

It's so much more fun to cook your own pumpkin, and besides you can make other things with it as well, such as pumpkin butter...

Oct 16, 2007
quelle4 in Home Cooking

Thanksgiving dilemma

I have a perfect side dish for you that works beautifully on a Thanksgiving table: Stuffed Spicy Acorn Squash with Quinoa, Dried Fruit and Walnuts: http://christonium.com/culinaryreview...

It's completely vegan and so satisfying, perfect for both meat and non-meat eaters. Besides it's filled with nice Thanksgiving spices and you could always add more. I love the idea of stuffed squash, it's so nice when people get their own "portion" and it's just so tasty...

Oct 16, 2007
quelle4 in Home Cooking

What did you make today?

I have been busy lately cooking various pumpkin recipes. The other day I created a really nice pumpkin soup: http://christonium.com/culinaryreview/ItemID=11923354043862 that I'm eager to make again because it turned out just perfect.

Earlier today I made pumpkin scones: http://christonium.com/culinaryreview/ItemID=11925775545610 and pumpkin lattes:
http://christonium.com/culinaryreview...

Oct 16, 2007
quelle4 in Home Cooking

Vegetarian Borscht

I find it difficult to make a nice borscht. Somehow the beets are a little overpowering for my taste. Instead I like to make this really nice beet and vegetable soup: http://christonium.com/culinaryreview... that is extremely tasty with an hint of orange.

I know it's not a traditional borscht, but it's one of my favorite soups and my preferred way of using beets.

Oct 16, 2007
quelle4 in Home Cooking

Your favorite pumpkin cake

I happen to really like sweet potato pie. The flavor is a little different from pumpkin pie, yet quite similar. Very nice and flavorful: http://christonium.com/manhattan/ItemID=11763604386164

But I also love different pumpkin recipes and this past weekend I created a lot of delicious pumpkin dishes including a really nice pumpkin butter: http://christonium.com/culinaryreview...

Oct 16, 2007
quelle4 in Home Cooking

Best sandwich I ever invented

That sounds like a good vegetarian sandwich! I have two absolute favorite sandwiches that do require a little work or special ingredients, but they are so tasty.

First, I love this Caesar Club Sandwich with Bacon and Sun Dried Tomatoes: http://christonium.com/culinaryreview/ItemID=11743504364655 - perfect for a nice dinner sandwich, a little something different.

Next: Basil, Garlic, Brie and Salami Baguette: http://christonium.com/culinaryreview... - this sandwich is my favorite picnic sandwich or deluxe lunch sandwich. Everybody I have served this to loves it, the basic, garlic and brie is a perfect combination.

Oct 16, 2007
quelle4 in Home Cooking

Short Ribs - Which one?

I prefer to make boneless spare ribs and cook them for quite a long time. If you put a good spice rub on them and let them fall apart, they are so tasty. Here is my experience with cooking boneless spare ribs:
http://christonium.com/culinaryreview...

Oct 15, 2007
quelle4 in Home Cooking

Another Hard Boiled Egg Problem

I never heard of anything like that. I agree that cooking the eggs by bringing them up to a boil, then cover and let set usually produces the best result: http://christonium.com/culinaryreview...

Did you actually taste the eggs? Did they have a strange taste or was it just an issue of discoloration?

Oct 15, 2007
quelle4 in Home Cooking

Curried Carrot Soup

I made a similar soup with pumpkin instead that turned out delicious: http://christonium.com/culinaryreview...

I love the combination of curry and coconut! Squash, carrots or pumpkin all compliment it really well.

Oct 15, 2007
quelle4 in Recipes

Carrot-Ginger Soup

This recipe sounds really good. I made a similar soup today with carrots, ginger and orange which turned out delicious: http://christonium.com/culinaryreview...

I like the use of fennel in this soup, I'll have to try that next time.

Oct 10, 2007
quelle4 in Recipes

Unique Dip for Veggies/Crudite

One of my favorite quick go-to's is a sun-dried tomato herb cream cheese spread. It's so easy to make, and as long as you have some sun dried tomatoes on hand, you can always mix some together in a pinch:
http://christonium.com/culinaryreview...

Oct 09, 2007
quelle4 in Home Cooking

Group Vacation Menu - Help!

I don't think it would be rude at all to make a vegetable soup for the vegetarians and serve meat as a main dish. I'm sure they won't expect that every meal will be vegetarian and if you make them a special soup - I'm sure they will be grateful.

I have been on a few ski trips myself with a lot of people eating dinner together at night. And, I'm sorry to say most skiers want some meat. Our favorite is to make a nice meat stew with pearl onions, red wine, carrots and potatoes. If you have slow cookers, that's perfect!

Another easy thing is pasta. Make one really good vegetarian sauce (or cheese sauce) and serve some sausage on the side...

Oct 09, 2007
quelle4 in Home Cooking

What did you make this past weekend? [Moved from General Topics board]

I thought it was time to make a cake, so I attempted to make a dark chocolate cake with white chocolate ganache frosting. That was an adventure in itself - as I had never before attempted to make a white ganache. Something about the white chocolate changes the consistency of the ganache. Here is a little recollection of my cake baking adventure: http://christonium.com/culinaryreview/ItemID=11918154674968

Before the cake we enjoyed a nice Eggplant Parmigiana. http://christonium.com/culinaryreview...

Oct 08, 2007
quelle4 in Home Cooking

Black Sesame and Mustard Popcorn

This sounds really interesting. I never heard of anything like it. Sesame seeds and ground mustard on popcorn? I definetely have tu try this. And the optimal way to pop popcorn is this way: http://christonium.com/culinaryreview...

Oct 08, 2007
quelle4 in Recipes