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T-day dinner scorecard

Our meal went very well. We served 20 and made a turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, roasted cauliflower, gravy and a salad.

Turkey - We got from a local farm, it was free-range and fresh. I brined the evening before. We were expecting guests at 3 and planned on eating at 6. The bird was 20 pounds so we put into the oven (unstuffed) at noon. By THREE PM it was reading at 160 degrees. We were not expecting this and removed from the oven and tented. We ended up popping back into the oven near dinner-time and it ended up slightly underdone. I still have no clue what happened, but it WAS delicious - the white meat at least!

Mashed potatoes were perfect. Made ahead and kept in a dutch oven, reheated.

Stuffing was great as well.

I made roasted cauliflower with butter/mustard sauce and even though I did just 1/3 of the butter it was STILL too heavy for my tastes, although everyone else liked it.

Salad was fabulous. Bibb lettuce, haricot verts, radicchio, candied walnuts.

Gravy was pretty meh......my boyfriend has a whole family recipe thing going on and I interjected this year, and I suppose I 'ruined' it.

Oh well!

Nov 30, 2008
chowkari in Home Cooking

Sub For Bibb Lettuce

I haven't been able to find bibb lettuce.....would butter lettuce be an acceptable substitute? Any other ideas?

Nov 26, 2008
chowkari in Home Cooking

Tues night before thxgiving - what have you made so far??

I've made NOTHING. I just got back from hitting three grocery stores and I am beat. I will go again in the morning to pick up misc. things and spend most of tomorrow preparing....

Nov 25, 2008
chowkari in Home Cooking

anyone have a salad to go with this delish vinegrette?

Sounds yummy! Maybe a sweeter lettuce (bibb?) with goat cheese. Toast some pistachios and.......I am blanking on other add-ons.....I'm thinking something tart and/or sweet, though.

Nov 25, 2008
chowkari in Home Cooking

Italian-Inspired app. suggestions please?

Bruschetta.
Pickled Vegetables.
Prosciutto Wrapped Melon.
Caprese.
Roasted Vegetables.
Marinated Olives.

Nov 25, 2008
chowkari in Home Cooking

Only one new cookbook a year

I own both and given your parameters I would say the Waters book.

Personally I like Zuni more but AOSC seems more appropriate for you right now.

Happy cooking :-)

Nov 25, 2008
chowkari in Home Cooking

Why does my veg soup taste like grass?

What were your aromatics? What I have done in the past is put onions into the food processor instead of chopping. It makes the stock a bit cloudy but more flavorful.

You might also try a chunk of fresh ginger and plenty of pepper and salt to taste. Cook the stock for longer if necessary, covered.

Try adding a parm rind to your soup as it finishes off. Not sure if you are vegan, but this also infuses it with a deep and rich flavor.

Nov 24, 2008
chowkari in Home Cooking

Pie and stuffing the day before.........?

What I usually do with stuffing is cook everything that needs to be done on the stovetop and keep it separate from the dry ingredients and stock/eggs. I mix together the afternoon of Thanksgiving or when I stuff the bird.

I would imagine, though, that it would be better to cook and reheat.

In regard to your pie, I would do as the recipe says!

Nov 24, 2008
chowkari in Home Cooking

How to make panini without a panini pan

I made them on a skillet with another heavy pan on top (I sometimes needed to press down). Then my boyfriend pointed out that he had a Forman Grill from college. Works great!

Nov 20, 2008
chowkari in Home Cooking

Cafe Chalkboard

I am after a large chalkboard, the type you see in restaurants and cafes. Finding one is proving more difficult than I anticipated. Anyone have any ideas of where I might look? I've tried Googling, Craigslist and eBay.

Nov 19, 2008
chowkari in Cookware

Need the best Tgiving stuffing recipe EVER

They are food-challenged, are they pick eaters? Nothing too "fancy" perhaps? Do you want the stuffing to have meat?

There is a feature on the Fine Cooking website that allows you to pick and choose your ingredients:

http://www.taunton.com/finecooking/ar...

Nov 18, 2008
chowkari in Home Cooking

No Knead Bread Fell Flat (Literally)

Thank you for this input. I figured it could rise for a long time as I read Bittman let's it rise for longer than the called for 18 hours. I will not do this next time.

I do have a kitchen scale and will use this (and double the recipe - I have a large pot) next time.

Nov 18, 2008
chowkari in Home Cooking

No Knead Bread Fell Flat (Literally)

Okay, I was arguing with him that I thought there were 4 Tbsp to a 1/4 cup. Oh well, I will remedy this next time...

Nov 18, 2008
chowkari in Home Cooking

No Knead Bread Fell Flat (Literally)

I thought maybe the conversion was the problem. I was in a rush and didn't want to think or look it up.

I did cook it a closed Le Cruset dutch oven that had been preheated.

Nov 18, 2008
chowkari in Home Cooking

No Knead Bread Fell Flat (Literally)

I made my first attempt at no-knead bread last night. I had made the dough on Sunday and I let it rise for 24 hours (I had to go to work). It was rather.....runny. I asked my boyfriend to convert the 5/8 cup of water for me and he said it should be 1/2 cup and 3 Tablespoons. If he was incorrect that would be the first clue. I used highly active yeast - same amount as called for instant in the recipe. I tried to work with a sloppy, runny ball of dough and the bread DID come out (and it tasted good) but it was very flat. Like a ciabatta.

Any ideas what went wrong?

Nov 18, 2008
chowkari in Home Cooking

Best Soup Ever!

I am a basic girl when it comes to soup - I tend to lean toward minestrone. Light, filled with vegetables, filling.

However, I am currently ADDICTED to a soup and I have to share it! It's from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook - Asparagus, Pancetta and Rice Soup w/Black Pepper. It's super easy.

Ingredients

2 cups finely chopped onion (I use yellow)
3.2 cups chicken stock (use homemade if you can!)
.25 cup water
3 oz pancetta ( I used ham last night, because we had it, but I recommend the pancetta as it's saltier)
.25 cup white rice
One bunch asparagus
Black pepper

Heat a large pot over medium/low heat and add 1/4 cup olive oil, throw in onions and cook for about 10 minutes, ensuring they do not brown, let them sweat. Add chicken stock, water and rice - bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until rice is al dente.

In the meantime, cut asparagus stalks in fine, quarter inch slices, at an angle. Remove woody stalks. Dice up pancetta. While rice is cooking, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and toss in asparagus and pancetta stir to coat. Let sit until edges brown. Give it a quick stir and let it sit again. The mass should shrink by about a 1/3. Toss into the soup and add LOTS of black pepper to taste. Serve with parm.

Deeeeeelish.

Nov 17, 2008
chowkari in Home Cooking

egg rolls?

Yummy!

I have only made basic eggrolls myself. I buy the eggroll wrapper you find in the produce section. There's directions on how to wrap them up on the packaging, I use a bit of water to ensure they stay sealed.

I usually make mine vegetarian, but adding shrimp should be easy. Just roughly chop them.

I do cabbage, bean sprouts and carrots, all chopped finely or shredded. You can add scallions or mushrooms too. If you add greens like bok choy, make sure you chop into small pieces.

Using a wok, I add a bit of olive oil (I use this for everything, but you can use vegetable oil too) and sesame oil. I stir fry everything, adding garlic and ginger, soy sauce. Keep an eye on it to ensure it stays on the drier side, especially if you are using mushrooms, which release a lot of water. In fact, if you use mushrooms, cook them first. You can either cook your shrimp separately and add or toss in while stir frying.

After making your eggrolls, fry in vegetable oil. I usually just do it this a deep skillet, turning them once.

Good luck :-)

Nov 17, 2008
chowkari in Home Cooking

Thanksgiving Menu

I'd love if you'd share it! I love radicchio.

Nov 16, 2008
chowkari in Home Cooking

Lasagna with Barilla Lasagna Noodles

I have been using these for some time (Trader's also sells these too now, although not Barilla). I've found that I like them more than cooked pasta. Although, I am willing to bet that I'd prefer fresh pasta over all. But that's not going to happen.....

Nov 16, 2008
chowkari in Home Cooking

Thanksgiving Menu

Thanks everyone for the input. I will definitely add a cranberry relish. I was leaving out green beans because I typically cook them on the stovetop and I wanted to leave that open for gravy and be able to just pop in stuffing and a roasted vegetable dish to the oven after removing the turkey. I don't really know what others are bringing so it makes it a bit tough.

I am considering adding a salad as well and will likely swap from roasted vegetables to crudites for the appetizers.

Thanks again!

Nov 15, 2008
chowkari in Home Cooking

Thanksgiving Menu

I'm a sucker for almonds. Would you consider sharing this recipe?

Nov 14, 2008
chowkari in Home Cooking

Thanksgiving Menu

I have finally nailed down my menu and would love any input on what may be missing, if I have too much, not the right mix, etc. I am having 20 people and guests are bringing the following dishes along with wine:

2 Appetizers
Ham
Sweet Potatoes
2 Cold Vegetable Sides
3 Desserts

This is what I am planning on serving:

Starters

Goat Cheese w/Olive Oil, Lemon & Thyme
Assorted Nuts
Roasted Vegetable Platter
Assorted Dips (Hummus, Baba Ghanouj, Muhammara)
Italian Breadsticks & Toasted Pita

Dinner

Turkey
Hazelnut, Sage & Mushroom Stuffing
Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Cauliflower & Brussels Sprouts
Gravy
Bread

My family is not big on the cranberry thing, but I am having my boyfriend's family as well - should I perhaps serve something along these lines?

Any input would be appreciated. I feel like I've looked at it for too long and might be missing a necessary element to make the meal complete :-)

Cheers

Nov 14, 2008
chowkari in Home Cooking

All I want for Xmas is a Cookbook-which one?

Agreed, I also own that book (Barefoot Contessa Cookbook). I have looked in some of her others and not been that interested. But the BCC has some really great basic recipes.

Here's a ling.

http://www.amazon.com/Barefoot-Contes...

Nov 14, 2008
chowkari in Home Cooking

All I want for Xmas is a Cookbook-which one?

Maybe Bittman's "How To Cook Everything"?

Nov 14, 2008
chowkari in Home Cooking

Essential cookbooks

I appreciate your first recommendation. I've never been a braising person and would love to start. I will add this book to my Amazon wishlist! :-)

Nov 13, 2008
chowkari in Home Cooking

Making Stuffing on the Stove

I don't see why you couldn't cook it in a large skillet with the lid on, as long as you make sure it stays wet.

Also, you could cook it in the oven after you take your turkey out to rest.

The stuffing sounds intriguing, do you have a recipe or are you winging it?

Nov 13, 2008
chowkari in Home Cooking

Essential cookbooks

I also love to ask for cookbooks for Christmas! Last year I got The Zuni Cafe Cookbook and Gastronomique. The former I love and highly recommend, as she talks a lot about cooking techniques. The latter is great to have, but quite honestly I have not utilized it much yet.

Other cookbooks that shaped how I cook are.....

- Sunday Suppers & Lucques
- Biba's Northern Italian Cooking
- Not a cookbook, but I highly recommend a subscription to Saveur.

I also recommend The Joy of Cooking (for the basics) and The Bread Baker's Apprentice.

The most highly overrated cookbooks are, in my opinion, Donna Hay's. I actually own a ton, and I hold onto her magazines - the photography is so beautiful, but I find the recipes to be uninteresting. Again, good for basics.

Nov 13, 2008
chowkari in Home Cooking

What's for dinner tonight?

Gardenburgers!

Nov 12, 2008
chowkari in Home Cooking

Salmon Help!

My favorite way to prepare salmon is to marinate with soy sauce, sesame oil, wine, freshly crushed garlic, a dash of red pepper, ginger and a little bit of brown sugar. It's great because when you grill it, it gets nice and crispy and has a great flavor. I serve with white rice and greens.

My aunt, who is a big Italian cook, recently passed a recipe my way. Marinate salmon with wine, garlic, olive oil, chopped roasted red peppers (in oil) and freshly chopped parsley. I haven't tried it yet but it sounds good!

Nov 12, 2008
chowkari in Home Cooking

Stuffing from a box -- best brand and how to spruce up?

It's one of the easier dishes to cheat on. Usually I will buy the basic bread base from the store and add in some of my own bread (just to mix up the consistency). But really, you could buy Stovetop or TJ's cornbread stuffing and add whatever you like. Just make sure to add salt and herbs to taste as they probably already have quite a bit of salt in them (especially stovetop). Use low sodium broth or dilute with water. I'd start with celery/onions, and then add a meat (if you'd like). I don't add meat to my stuffing so I would do mushrooms and a nuts. I think I might even be doing this myself this year.....

Nov 12, 2008
chowkari in Home Cooking