Aravisea's Profile

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MEATLOAF - Home Cooking Dish of the Month for February 2014

I highly recommend trying the sauce recipe at least once to see if your family likes it. It's an awesome spicy gravy, and while I agree the meatloaf doesn't NEED it per se, the gravy pairs fabulously with it. DH practically eats the stuff straight up with a spoon, like a soup. If you have Prudhomme's cookbook, the gravy goes with other dishes in there like his shepherd's pie, and I've also used it in non-Cajun meals like bangers & mash with gravy.

Feb 16, 2014
Aravisea in Home Cooking

What ratios do you use for your mashed potatoes?

I've never heard of this! Interesting, must try it.

Nov 20, 2013
Aravisea in Home Cooking

Question for Bread Bakers: What do you want for Christmas?

He has this already. Otherwise I totally agree - it was the first thing I would have thought of!

Nov 18, 2013
Aravisea in General Topics

Question for Bread Bakers: What do you want for Christmas?

He has a large scale and BBA by Reinhart already, but Italian Baker looks like a great addition to the collection. Thanks for the suggestion!

Nov 18, 2013
Aravisea in General Topics

Question for Bread Bakers: What do you want for Christmas?

I had to look up what a cloche was. Looks like a great gift idea! Thanks!

Nov 18, 2013
Aravisea in General Topics

Question for Bread Bakers: What do you want for Christmas?

He has a baking stone, but the pullman pan looks cool! Thanks for the idea!

Nov 18, 2013
Aravisea in General Topics

Question for Bread Bakers: What do you want for Christmas?

I will check out sfbi.com. Thanks! He has a lot of the basics already, including the baking stone and dutch oven you mentioned.

Nov 18, 2013
Aravisea in General Topics

Question for Bread Bakers: What do you want for Christmas?

Sourdough starters, I think. He can get regular commercial yeast, so I think was looking for more unusual strains to play with. Thanks for the link, I will check these out!

Nov 18, 2013
Aravisea in General Topics

Question for Bread Bakers: What do you want for Christmas?

A family member who is a bread baking nut has requested specialty yeasts for Christmas. Does anyone have any suggestions for good suppliers for different yeast strains?

Baring that - any other bread-baking gift ideas? Bread baking is so low tech in terms of tools you really need for it that coming up with ideas is proving tricky.

TIA!

Nov 18, 2013
Aravisea in General Topics

Quick Puff Pastry - Butter Melting Everywhere?

I'm curious why you think quick puff pastry would leak more than traditional?

Nov 04, 2013
Aravisea in Home Cooking

Quick Puff Pastry - Butter Melting Everywhere?

Interesting. I'd heard good things about the recipes in the memoir, too. I'm not sure I'll undertake puff pastry again, although I am glad I tried it once.

I am happy to report that, although the pie is seriously lacking in aesthetic value, it tastes delicious and the top crust even came out with buttery crispy layers in a few places!

Nov 03, 2013
Aravisea in Home Cooking

Quick Puff Pastry - Butter Melting Everywhere?

Yes, the recipe included lots of directions for keeping things cold. Start with very cold butter. Chill the dough thoroughly. (I gave it 2 hours - it felt very cold by then.) After rolling out and fitting the bottom crust, freeze the pie pan (with bottom crust in it) in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. I did all that and also kept the top crust in the fridge until rolling it out and fitting it to the pie. I wonder if my kitchen was just too warm? I did have the oven running most of the time.

Nov 03, 2013
Aravisea in Home Cooking

Quick Puff Pastry - Butter Melting Everywhere?

I'm trying Gesine Bullock-Prado's recipe for Apple Pie, that's in her memoir. For the crust, she includes directions for quick puff pastry. I have no experience with puff pastry but the directions looked straightforward, so I went ahead and tried it. I thought I was doing things correctly until the blind-baking stage, when I lifted the foil with beans for weighting and saw that there was a pool of melted butter in the crust. I guess this makes sense, since there's a ton of butter in the dough, but is it supposed to melt out? I forged ahead and added the apples and top crust and put it in the oven inside a rimmed baking sheet. Good thing too, since butter is now melting out of the top crust all over the pie dish handles and collecting in the baking dish. I've reread the directions a bunch of times and I didn't miss a step, but apparently did something really, really wrong?

Nov 03, 2013
Aravisea in Home Cooking

What dishes would you characterize as "Midwestern" and could you give a recipe for one of these dishes, please? (If you can't give a recipe, that's okay, but it would be helpful.)

Oh? I also live on the East Coast (DC area) and have seen a version only once, on a Maggiano's specials menu.

Oct 20, 2013
Aravisea in Home Cooking

What dishes would you characterize as "Midwestern" and could you give a recipe for one of these dishes, please? (If you can't give a recipe, that's okay, but it would be helpful.)

If you want to demonstrate how dishes from other cuisines evolve here in the states, you could make toasted ravioli - just beef (usually) or cheese ravioli that is breaded, fried, and served with marinara. It's almost impossible to find outside of the St. Louis area. I spent a large chunk of my childhood there and toasted ravioli is incredibly nostalgic for me.

Oct 19, 2013
Aravisea in Home Cooking

All About Braising...favorite recipes please

Have you tried the recipe for the porchetta roast? That's the one that made my eyes pop out a bit. If we weren't about to go out of town, I'd be on the hunt for a giant slab of pork belly to try it.

Oct 10, 2013
Aravisea in Home Cooking

All About Braising...favorite recipes please

I have All About Roasting out from the library and it looks fabulous! It's a tome - over 500 pages. The intro section where she goes in-depth on the technique (which she also does in All About Braising) is 50 pages by itself. I want to cook every single recipe when I flip through the book.

Oct 10, 2013
Aravisea in Home Cooking

November 2013 Cookbook of the Month Nomination Thread

In the October nominating thread, I believe someone suggested the Thai books might be nice for January as a way to recover from the excess of the holidays and dive into the new year doing something bold and fresh. I'd be on board for Thai January, if these books are nominated again in a few months.

Oct 09, 2013
Aravisea in Home Cooking
2

Have you ever been censored by Chowhound moderator? I have many times!!

That's true, although reading this thread I got the impression that censoring is something that happens fairly often. So I'd think that even my measley post count would have had one somewhere. How often do you all get the hand-slap? One post in a hundred? One in five hundred?

Oct 09, 2013
Aravisea in Site Talk

Duck fat

What LindaWhit said. Might be easier to ask what not to do with it. It may not be great with chocolate cake or ice cream, although admittedly I haven't tried duck fat with those so it could be as good there as it is everywhere else.

Duck fat is one of those ingredients, like shallots or sherry or finishing salts, that can really elevate your cooking and give it something of a "restaurant" quality.

Oct 08, 2013
Aravisea in Home Cooking
1

Have you ever been censored by Chowhound moderator? I have many times!!

I am! Or if I've been censored, I missed it. Honestly, I need to go read the FAQs to find out what merits getting censored as the only thing I can think of is listing cookbook recipes verbatim. And I suppose being over-the-top obnoxious. But I haven't run into much rudeness or issues while hanging out on this board. If I did, I'd stop posting here and go find another forum.

Oct 08, 2013
Aravisea in Site Talk

November 2013 Cookbook of the Month Nomination Thread

I can get behind ESSENTIALS OF CLASSIC ITALIAN COOKING. I have the book, but for whatever reason haven't cooked much from it.

Oct 08, 2013
Aravisea in Home Cooking

November 2013 Cookbook of the Month Nomination Thread

Yes! I grabbed this book from the library when grabbing New Portuguese Table. I've been flipping through it and it looks really delicious. So I'd also like to nominate ALL ABOUT ROASTING.

Oct 08, 2013
Aravisea in Home Cooking

Thanksgiving Throw Down - pie edition

Although I haven't yet tried it myself, Paul Prudhomme's recipe for Sweet Potato Pecan Pie gets stellar reviews everywhere, if you want to try something other than pure pumpkin. The recipe is all over the internet.

Oct 07, 2013
Aravisea in Home Cooking

October 2013 Cookbooks of the Month, THE FOOD OF PORTUGAL and THE NEW PORTUGUESE TABLE: Meats; Poultry

Ah! That makes sense then! I was quite puzzled.

Oct 07, 2013
Aravisea in Home Cooking

October 2013 Cookbooks of the Month, THE FOOD OF PORTUGAL and THE NEW PORTUGUESE TABLE: Meats; Poultry

David, Thank you so much for your feedback! I am not great at braising so your comments are very helpful. I did use double-concentrate tomato paste. It's possible I did not salt enough - I was worried about over-salting, but maybe I didn't have to be worried? And, maybe my chuck roast wasn't marbled enough. I'll look for better marbling next time. Although I forgot to mention it when I wrote my review, the broth was really good - we mopped it up with chunks of crusty bread. I could have made a whole meal just on that.

I am still confused about linguica, though. I got my linguica from a small grocery in my area that specializes in Portuguese and Brazilian products, and the sausage I got was sold to me as pork linguica. (They had chicken linquica as well.) It's definitely raw, though, and not smoked - a picture is attached. I wonder if it was mislabeled? Or if the Brazilians do linguica differently, and what I got was Brazilian linguica and not Portuguese? I plan to visit the market again, so I will ask for smoked linguica next time.

Thanks again for your help!

Oct 06, 2013
Aravisea in Home Cooking

October 2013 Cookbooks of the Month, THE FOOD OF PORTUGAL and THE NEW PORTUGUESE TABLE: Meats; Poultry

I had been eyeing this recipe but was dubious about the coconut milk. However your review sounds delicious! Will definitely try this.

Oct 03, 2013
Aravisea in Home Cooking

October 2013 Cookbooks of the Month, THE FOOD OF PORTUGAL and THE NEW PORTUGUESE TABLE: Meats; Poultry

Momma Leite's Braised Beef in Wine and Garlic (New Portuguese Table p. 146)

This recipe is basically pot roast, with the addition of an overnight marinade and some linguica. I used a lovely boneless chuck roast, which is the called-for cut.

I had two beefs (ha!) with the recipe. One, the "Portuguese" additions to the basic pot roast formula didn't contribute much to the overall flavor - the end dish didn't taste much different from regular pot roast. I didn't have sweet paprika, only smoked, so used a little more smoked than was called for (the recipe calls for both types) and also was generous with the linguica. However, in the entire bottle of red wine that is called for in the marinade, the few tablespoons of paprika was totally lost. Ditto with the red pepper flakes. The linguica I was using was fresh and not cured (shopping error, I grabbed the wrong thing) so I grilled a few links first, then added them to the roast in large pieces when indicated. However, the linguica didn't contribute much to the dish. It tasted great on its own, but the flavor didn't really seep into the other ingredients. The beef ended up tasting pretty ordinary; I had been hoping for a more "Portuguese" flavor profile.

My second issue was with the braising instructions. I am, admittedly, very bad at braising, and have just recently started cooking through Molly Stevens' book. With the little bit of exposure to Stevens' method, I thought the oven temp seemed too high, for one - he calls for 325F - and there seemed to be way too much liquid in the pot. He says to use all of the marinade as the braising liquid, plus some water. I knew that would drown my roast, so I used only half of the marinade. That still came halfway up the side of the roast, which the little voice in my head said was still too high. Should have listened! It was indeed, as the roast gave off a bunch of liquid and I ended up removing a bunch mid-way through the cooking process to get the level back down.

Also, I'm not sure why the recipe calls for turning and basting every 20 minutes. I don't think Stevens' recipes require that at all, and every time you go in you lose the precious heat that's accumulated in your pot. I didn't turn as often as he wanted - I turned every 45 minutes or so. At the end, between too much liquid in the pot, too high of a temperature, and releasing the heat every time I went it to turn it - the meat didn't come out tender at all. It was very tough.

If I did this again, I'd do several things differently. One, I'd up the amounts of spices called for in the marinade. I'd try fresh oregano instead of dried - maybe that would have contributed more to the overall flavor. I'd use a much lower oven temperature, probably closer to 275. I'd only use as much of the marinade as was required to come a third of the way up the roast, and then I wouldn't touch it for at least 2 hours (when you then go in and add the linguica and veggies). Those changes might result in a more successful dish.

Oct 03, 2013
Aravisea in Home Cooking

October 2013 Cookbooks of the Month, THE FOOD OF PORTUGAL and THE NEW PORTUGUESE: Little Bites; Appetizers and Condiments; Soups; Sundries

Caldo Verde (New Portuguese Table p. 69)

We started off Portuguese Month with Portugal's national dish, Caldo Verde. This soup was a huge hit. I used homemade duck stock, which had great body, and linguica sausage. I realized about halfway through the cooking process that I'd goofed at the Portuguese market and bought fresh linguica instead of cured. Oops. So I threw a few long links of the fresh linguica on the grill and sliced it into the soup after it was fully cooked. The kale I'd bought was already mostly chopped, so I did some additional rough chopping instead of doing the careful chiffonading you see in most pictures of caldo verde. DH is dubious about kale, so I used about half as much kale as the recipe directed.

We loved this. The pureed potato base of the soup tastes familiar and homey, but it then goes off in an unexpected direction with the bitter overtones of the kale, the saltiness of the sausage and the hint of brightness from the cider vinegar (listed as optional, but I used it). Also, this soup gets better as it sits. Just a few hours after dinner, the saltiness and flavor of the sausage had worked through the rest of the soup. Really delicious. I would definitely make this again.

Oct 01, 2013
Aravisea in Home Cooking

Coxinhas

This is a few tangents off of the Oct. COTM - I found a local Portuguese market and brought home, in addition to several pounds of linguica (woohoo!), a package of chicken coxinhas. We're really enjoying them, so I went to read about them online and learned that the batter is made from a mixture of flour and chicken broth - to intensify the chicken flavor. Sure enough, on these coxinhas, if you nibble a bite of just the batter, it is chicken flavored! Totally wild. Is this method (of putting broth in the batter that matches the flavor of the filling) used in other cuisines? Or has anyone tried this on other battered foods?

Sep 29, 2013
Aravisea in Home Cooking