Atomic76's Profile

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What is the best way to prepare steak at home?

It makes a bit of a mess in your oven, plus you will get some flare ups and maybe set off your smoke alarm, but I love a good broiled steak when cooking it at home.

The cooking technique for "Steak Au Poivre" also works out nicely. You don't need to make the pan sauce as stated if you're not in the mood for it, some oil and butter would work just fine.

Jul 26, 2014
Atomic76 in Home Cooking

Picky People Coming for Dinner, What to Make?

You can certainly make pasta sauce without onions. One of my favorite "quick" pasta sauce recipes doesn't use onions at all. I think I got it off of "Smitten Kitchen", just gently saute some fresh garlic in olive oil, along with some red pepper flakes and fresh lemon zest until the flavors are released into the oil (don't brown the garlic). Then just dump in a can of crushed tomatoes and season to taste. You can add some fresh herbs at the end if you got it. This is not a long cooking sauce, it only has to simmer just until it's bubbling and warmed through.

You could make it into a baked pasta dish a number of ways. Make a ricotta filling with some ricotta, parmesan, herbs and egg. Then you can spoon dollops of it into some rigatoni tossed in your sauce, and top it all with mozzarella cheese and bake it. Or perhaps blend it with some spinach and stuff some pasta shells with it, before pouring your sauce over them and topping with more cheese and baking.

Perhaps some hand breaded panko crusted chicken parmesan to go along with the pasta? Or maybe some homemade meatballs?

Jul 26, 2014
Atomic76 in Home Cooking

Is there any real reason to eat squid or octopus?

I've never had octopus, but I love squid. I used to be completely grossed out by the thought of eating both. But once I finally tried squid, as well as saw how to prepare it fresh, I really enjoy it now. What I like about squid in particular is how "clean" it is relative to other animals/creatures. Pretty much almost the entire squid is clean white edible flesh. All you do is slide off the outer thin shell, trim off the "beak" and the ink sack, and remove the "spine" - which looks like a plastic feather. No veins, intestines, and other gross organs, no fur, scales or feathers, etc...

Jul 24, 2014
Atomic76 in General Topics

Chicken Stock - Pressing Pause?

Do you have a large slow cooker you can toss it into, and leave it on low? I would trust that over leaving it on the stove.

Jul 24, 2014
Atomic76 in Home Cooking

Seafood Main Course for 8 That Doesn't Break the Bank?

I'm surprised nobody mentioned fried fish - a simple dutch oven on your stove with a thermometer to fry it. You can keep the fried fish warm on a baking rack in your oven until everyone is ready to eat. Plus the batter stretches out the fish and makes the portions look much bigger than if they had been grilled/broiled instead. Make some fresh slaw or salad and a few other simple sides, like Corn on the cob, to go along with it, and you're done.

Jul 24, 2014
Atomic76 in Home Cooking
1

Dried Mushrooms, OMG!!

I would saute them in the morning, and put them in an omelette along with some cheese (Swiss probably).

Speaking of dried mushrooms, I read an interesting recipe recently that called for grinding dried mushrooms into a powder, and mixing it with ground beef when making burgers, for extra meaty flavor.

Jul 24, 2014
Atomic76 in Home Cooking

Help! Intimate Rooftop Dinner Party Featuring Grilled Chicken?

You could do a Chicken Paillard, which is basically chicken that's been pounded really thin before being grilled, and top it with some sort of fancy salad to pretty it up.

Jul 21, 2014
Atomic76 in Home Cooking

"thin" cooked egg yolks.. what could they be doing?

They are probably breaking the yolks because the fried egg is being put into a sandwich. It would be rather sloppy to eat a sandwich with a runny yolk. Have you tried ordering a breakfast platter there instead?

Jul 20, 2014
Atomic76 in Home Cooking

Have LOTS of produce - help!

I would chop, portion and freeze some of it right away - don't wait until it starts going bad.

For the eggs, you can make Omelettes, homemade Manicotti, Crepes, Profiteroles, use them in fried rice, egg drop soup, crumble hard boiled egg along with some diced ham in a stromboli or in a baked rigatoni dish.

Cucumbers, a tomato and cucumber salad, or toss the cucumbers with some sour cream and fresh dill, make some refrigerator pickles, a cucumber feta orzo pasta salad with olive oil lemon juice and mint, or make a gazpacho with them.

Dice the celery and carrots up with some onion and portion them off to freeze as a base for your soups/sauces.

Shred the squash and zucchnini up and include it in a rice casserole, or shredded zucchini is great sauteed in scrambled eggs, zucchini fritters//bread/pancakes.

The fresh corn would be great in a fresh corn salsa, like they serve at Chipotle.

Jul 20, 2014
Atomic76 in Home Cooking

Best quick meal you make with trader joes products

While I generally like Trader Joe's, I've had nothing but bad experiences with their "fresh" meats. I had to return them about three times, due to a really strong sulfur smell when I opened the package. I've heard this is sometimes due to the meat packing facility injecting gasses into the packages to make the meat look bright red, but I wasn't taking any chances.

Also, the quality of their frozen pizzas has gone way downhill. You can get a DiGiorno frozen pizza for the same price that has way more toppings, sauce and a much bigger crust. Trader Joe's pizzas are always too dry because there is so little sauce or cheese on them, and the crust is like flat cardboard.

Jul 20, 2014
Atomic76 in Home Cooking

Best quick meal you make with trader joes products

You can use their frozen mashed potatoes (which come in a bag, of mini frozen discs) to make home made Gnocchi. Just defrost some, and mix with a little egg, parmesan cheese and maybe some ricotta too if you got it, and some flour until it forms a dough. Roll into a log, and cut off chunks (you can decorate them too with the tines of a fork). Then just drop them into boiling water for a bit until they start floating and are cooked through. Serve with their jarred marinara sauce.

Their Sesame Ginger dressing is awesome on their Chopped Broccoli salad, you could also throw some almonds on there as well for extra crunch.

I really like their Turkey Meatballs and their jarred Marinara sauce, but I would also simmer them with their frozen carrot blend (yellow and orange carrots chopped into coarse chunks) and their frozen bell pepper strips for some extra veggies. Then serve it over their rigatoni and topped with a generous amount of parmesan cheese.

Also, their California garlic powder is fantastic.

Jul 20, 2014
Atomic76 in Home Cooking

Eggplant parmesan fail - what am I doing wrong?

I'm guessing the biggest culprit is the temperature of your oil. Commercial fryers are much more forgiving because they will hold their heat, but a shallow fry or a tiny counter top fryer won't. The oil needs to be about 350 degrees before you drop them in, and don't cook too many at once. You can keep the cooked ones warm on a tray in the oven with some paper towel.

Also, try melting the cheese over the eggplants first before adding the sauce, so it acts as a bit of a barrier.

Jul 20, 2014
Atomic76 in Home Cooking

Fun With Marinated Artichokes

TGI Fridays used to actually sell this when I worked there about 15 years ago. It was called "Broken Noodle Pasta" originally named because it was traditionally made with all the broken pasta scraps. It was chopped up artichokes, bell peppers, red onion and black olives sauteed in olive oil and garlic for a bit, then we would ladle marinara into the pan and simmer it some more before adding the pasta.

Jul 20, 2014
Atomic76 in Home Cooking

Meatballs - Hors d'Oeuvres - "Juicy"

The bread soaked in milk method should do the trick for you. I was surprised to read that there is actually more science to that method than I was previously aware of - something about the milk reacting to the meat protiens. It also makes the meatballs a bit lighter, and not too dense/heavy. I would be careful with the shredded onions, too many and if they are chopped too coarsely, and the meatballs won't hold together well.

Jul 20, 2014
Atomic76 in Home Cooking
1

Pot Roast meat

You could slice some of it thin and make Braciole - which is basically a steak stuffed roll up that is slow cooked in tomato sauce until it's tender.

For something spicy, you could also make it into a Barbacoa. I know you mentioned you were looking for something other than a roast, but this isn't your typical roast beef & gravy, it's meant to be shredded for tacos.

If you've got a meat grinder, you've obviously got more options - meatballs, salisbury steak, shepherds pie, etc ...

Something else that might be fun would be Chinese BBQ beef skewers. I don't know the recipe for these, but our local takeout place sells them, and I am almost certain they are using a cheap cut like rump roast to make these. They are heavily marinated, sliced really thin and skewered, then broiled quickly.

Jul 20, 2014
Atomic76 in Home Cooking

Boneless wing ideas

You could make your own pepper sauce, just use mild peppers instead of hot ones. That way they will look like traditional buffalo wings, but won't have all the heat.

Pressure cook the peppers in some cider vinnegar along with a few cloves of garlic for a few minutes. Then pour it all into a blender, and blend it. Lastly, run the sauce through a metal strainer to remove the skin and seeds.

Then just mix the sauce with some melted butter and toss your chicken in it.

There are also a number of recipes for sweet & sour sauces too - such as mixing apricot preserves with some spicy brown mustard and a little garlic powder.

Jul 19, 2014
Atomic76 in Home Cooking

I need advice on cooking fish

Have you tried that non-stick foil they sell these days? It's a bit pricey, but it works really well - especially for stuff that's got sugars in it, such as marinades and dry rubs. I would have suggested just broiling the fish on a baking sheet lined with the non-stick foil.

Jul 19, 2014
Atomic76 in Home Cooking

Eating Sardines

I saw an interesting breakfast recipe that called for sardines. Basically they took a ramekin, and placed the sardines in the bottom, topped with a tomato sauce, then topped with some cracked eggs. The whole thing was then baked/broiled until the egg whites were set.

Jul 15, 2014
Atomic76 in General Topics

Salad combinations for everyday...

There is a website called Chipotlefan that has copycat recipes for Chipotle's corn salsa and their vinaigrette. Both are great over fresh greens along with some slices of avocado, and perhaps some tomatoes and black olives if you have those too.

I also like to incorporate scallions into my salad mix, no matter what other types of lettuce I am using. They add a nice savory note without the harshness of raw onion.

Jul 15, 2014
Atomic76 in Home Cooking

What to do with leftover pork tenderloin

You could make a carnitas out of the rest of it. It's usually roasted in citrus and spices, then cut into large chunks and deep fried until the exterior is brown and crispy. However, when I am using leftover roasted pork, I just cut the meat into chunks, and toss it in a makeshift vinaigrette of orange and lime juice, cumin, a little oregano, vegetable oil, and maybe some chili powder. Then pop it under the broiler to brown and crisp up.

You can just serve it as is in a bowl, along with some other sides. I like mine with some Spanish rice, a bowl of guacamole and some soft flour tortillas.

You could also go Italian, and instead just shred the pork into some tomato sauce and make it into a pork ragu.

Jul 15, 2014
Atomic76 in Home Cooking

Why boil brats?

You could also invest in an electric food steamer. I used to cook turkey sausage in mine all the time, when I was trying to eat a bit healthier. But you can cook any full fat sausage in them first, then throw them on a grill for some color. If I was cooking them for a large group, I would boil or steam them first just to be safe, so you're not serving any raw ones.

Jul 14, 2014
Atomic76 in Home Cooking

OK..SO I HAVE A BAGEL...WHAT DO YOU PUT ON YOURS?

I make bagel pizzas with them from time to time, Just toast the bagel real well, then add pizza sauce, cheese and other toppings of your choice, and broil it until golden and bubbly.

For something different, try some Quince paste (sort of tastes like Apple Butter but a bit more complex in flavor, and tart/tangy) and some crumbled blue cheese or gorgonzola, and top with some chives if you got them - all on a toasted bagel of your choice of course.

Or perhaps whip up a batch of some homemade pimento cheese to spread on the bagels.

Jul 14, 2014
Atomic76 in General Topics
2

Kentucky Fried Chicken's 11 Herbs and Spices Reverse Engineered

I've never understood the fascination with making fresh chicken taste like cheap processed fast food chicken. I think it's fairly obvious the main ingredient is MSG and the whole "11 herbs and spices" thing is marketing BS to distract from that.

That said, there is a chicken rub called "Pride Of Szeged" which has a surprisingly similar flavor profile to KFC chicken. It's a really coarse blend though, so I would recommend giving it a whir in a spice grinder first.

Its main ingredients are garlic, basil, paprika, oregano and salt along with other "spices" that are not listed.

Jul 13, 2014
Atomic76 in Home Cooking

Kentucky Fried Chicken's 11 Herbs and Spices Reverse Engineered

While I agree about the racist undertones to the MSG hysteria, I am an MSG hater simply because it leaves a really strong lingering aftertaste in my mouth that I cannot get rid of for hours. I don't get all kinds of crazy things like migraines or heart palpitations from it, I just find it really annoying how I continue to "taste" it for hours afterwards, no matter how many times I brush my teeth.

I'm aware similar chemicals are present in other foods such as tomatoes, mushrooms or parmesan cheese. But eating in it highly concentrated amounts is very unappetizing to me.

Jul 13, 2014
Atomic76 in Home Cooking
1

Nasty chicken legs

If you are grossed out by the unappetizing bits, I would consider slow cooking or pressure cooking them, then shredding the chicken while picking out the parts you like and discarding what you don't.

The shredded meat works perfectly as a taco filling or in soups or even pulled bbq chicken.

Jul 13, 2014
Atomic76 in Home Cooking

Nasty chicken legs

There are Youtube recipes showing how to debone the whole chicken leg - I could never do it after several failed attempts. But chicken thighs, I can knock those out super fast.

It sounds like you have the whole leg, but if it were just chicken thighs, there is really only one spot that you have to look out for for cartilage, at the top of the thigh right where the joint of the bone would have been connected. As tough as the cartilage is, it's very easy for a knife to go through it, as you are scraping along the bone to debone it. So you have to remember to go back and cut out that tough bit as well.

The drumsticks are worse than the thighs imo, in terms of veins and cartilage and other stuff. Chicken thighs are easy to clean up, you can even use some kitchen shears to snip off the unappetizing bits.

Jul 13, 2014
Atomic76 in Home Cooking

salsa gels after refrigerating

That doesn't sound right, check your tomatoes and make sure there aren't some additives like wheat flour or corn starch or something like that.

Jul 13, 2014
Atomic76 in Home Cooking

Salad ideas for the Fourth of July

True, especially black beans, they give off a lot of color. I actually reserve some of that broth when cooking them from scratch, because it adds a nice deep color to my black bean soup.

That's how I can tell when someone really made black beans from scratch, when I see that really dark color. Also, the "slow release" method will help reduce some of the beans bursting.

Jul 13, 2014
Atomic76 in Home Cooking
1

In desperate need of ideas on what to cook my Mother-in-law for dinner!

Perhaps a "Sunday sauce" that's got Italian sausage links, pork ribs, meatballs, pork chops, etc... cook up some Rigatoni and toss it in a bit of the sauce then serve the meats & sauce, and the pasta on separate platters with some garlic bread, and maybe one or two veggie side dishes, and a salad to start things off.

It's a little extra work up front, but the sauce/meats are easy to keep warm and pretty forgiving if she is running early or late. It only takes minutes to cook up the pasta and garlic bread. You can have the sauce prepared way ahead of time, along with the salad.

Jul 13, 2014
Atomic76 in Home Cooking

Does brining chicken make a big difference?

I'm not a fan of it personally. It makes a fresh chicken taste like some processed frozen chicken you got from the freezer section or chicken lunch meat. And if you over do it, it starts to give the meat a mushy texture. Plus the meat doesn't brown as well once it's been brined.

Jul 13, 2014
Atomic76 in Home Cooking