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Chili Powder

meh. and possibly "bleh" as well. Garlic powder? Onion powder? Are you freakin' kiddin' me?? Also, as commented already, the commercial preground bottled chile powders aren't such a great idea to begin with - many have additives so if you simply must use powders, visit a supermercado and buy and mix the kinds in the cello bags; fresher, better and you'll find an interesting array of ground chiles to experiment with. Also, skip the New-Mex chile - replace with guajillo and or pasillas.

If you'd like an award-winning chili mixture, buy the dried whole chiles and crunch 'em up pretty fine, seeds and all (or use a spice or coffee grinder if ya think ya must have powder). Try a blend of 2 parts ancho, 1 part each guajillo, pasilla, &chipotle, and a lesser amount of arbol (for the heat factor).

Cumin and Mex-oregano are kind of essential but better to add them separately. Skip the garlic and onion powders altogether - a good pot of chile needs fresh garlic and onion! Saute your desired amount of both in some oil, along with your chili "powder" blend above to start any good chili recipe; then add the cumin and Mex-oregano when you start to add other ingredients. (Also, I'd skip the allspice altogether). As your chili cooks, you can then add more crumbled Arbol (for more heat) and ancho & cumin(for more rich chile flavor) if you like. And if ya want really hot, consider a finely minced fresh habanero or two. This basic method will take your chili-making to a whole new level!

May 25, 2012
thitdstone in Recipes

Oh, that Eau!

we used to be able to buy in chicago an eau de vie made from celery. (really!)don't recall maker's name but remember that it was made in France. Bizarre and wondrous, I would love to be able to find it again. has anyone run across this peculiar variation?

Nov 25, 2010
thitdstone in Features

Minestrone

What is this CHOW obsession that every friggin' soup recipe has to use chicken broth?????? Basta! Enough already!! (oh, wait, I get it - must be an sponsor advertising issue??)

As for it tasting like a Pakistani sewer, I tend to doubt that....I'd venture a guess that said sewer does NOT have the pervasive flavour of chicken broth.

Why bother with all the great vegetables only to overpower their delicate blend of flavours? here's a culinary fact: Soups made with chicken broth, regardless of what they may contain, will always taste essentially the same. They'll just be "a buncha chick-broth-flavoured liquid and stuff that floats around in it".

Anyway, the really great Italian cooks I know would never "pervert" their minestrone that way. it's meant to be a vibrant celebration of the blended vegetable characteristic flavours.

Instead, try it this way... substitute simple vegetable stock or water and an extra pinch of salt (if necessary - taste first!). Oh, and skip the bay leaf; it's an unnecessary and disharmonius note with so many veggies.

Jan 12, 2009
thitdstone in Recipes

Winter Greens Soup WITHOUT GODDAMNED CHICKEN BROTH

Jan 08, 2009
thitdstone in Recipes

Winter Greens Soup

At first glance, this one looked good then dropped thru the grate into mediocrity - why the HECK would the recipe call for chicken broth???????? That's just the thing to make it taste like every other soup. And, it overpowers the delicate flavors blend that could otherwise be achieved here. ANY soup recipe using chicken broth ends up tasting like, well, um..chicken broth!! With whatever the remaining ingredients may be then becoming just "visual effects". So, why then even bother? It's like eating soup that could be made at McDonald's.

Good veg. stock is not hard to come by and it's also easy enough to make. (and save your damned chicken broth for makin' chicken soup or arterial plaque).

Jan 07, 2009
thitdstone in Recipes

It's Phaal, and You Have Been Warned

Phaal is great. Yes you have to really like "hot" to ehjoy it and certainly I'm a fan of super hot foods PROVIDED THEY TASTE GREAT! The "gratuitously spicy" comment though is way out of line. This isn't informative, the author doesn't like the dish so... why the post in the first place? Many dishes I've had and/or made can often be hotter but that's not my point. A post that tells people about what it is would be much more useful than a blanket condemnation. Let's face it folks - it wouldn't be a widely-known recipe unless LOTS of people DO like it, right?

Jan 01, 2009
thitdstone in Features

Leftover Roasted Chestnuts- Creative Uses?

A couple ideas: mashed (like taters!), sauteed (to add to various concoctions of all kinds), stuffing for winter squash, as a pizza topping (really!), as a stir fry ingredient and all kinds of other stuff. Of course, freshly roasted and peeled they're great just to eat "as is".

Also, I sometimes grind them into "flour" or meal to add to baked goods... cookies and breads are two good candidates and, I like to replace about a third or so of the corn meal in my cornbread recipe with the chestnut meal - this has gotten numerous raves.

Experiment and Enjoy... and prepare them when freshest for their full charm. After roasting and peeling, freeze what you don't use right away. Because of their limited seasonal availabiIity, I like to always have a sizable "stash" on hand in my freezer.

My forthcoming "ThirdStone Cook Book" will have a host of other interesting ways to use these little gems.

By the way, chestnuts are very low fat and healthy too. And this time of year you may still be able to find the nice large European (often from Italy) ones for a bit longer.

Dec 31, 2008
thitdstone in Home Cooking

?? Chestnuts still good ??

Hard to say because it depends on their age, storage, temperature and condition PRIOR to when you bought them. If they were pretty fresh then, you may be okay at this point; especially for using in cooking; best bet is to roast them anyway and find out. When you peel them after roasting you'll know. if they're dark and hard, they're "gone". If there's and mold on any, those are kaput as well. You may still get a decent yield of 50% or more.(size and type is a factor here as well)

Quality chestnuts are "aged" or cured a bit in a temperature-controlled environment after picking until the shell starts to pull away from the nut. You can feel this if they "give" a bit when squeezed. At that point they are generally stored refrigerated where they'll keep for a while longer. Size, time and temperature are all factors.

Then take your bounty and do a web search for chestnut recipes; you'll be astounded by all the ways you can use them. A couple examples: mashed (like taters!), sauteed (to add to various concoctions of all kinds), stuffing for winter squash, as a pizza topping (really!), as a stir fry ingredient and all kinds of other stuff. Of course, freshly roasted and peeled they're great just to eat "as is".

Also, I sometimes grind them into "flour" or meal to add to baked goods... cookies and breads are two good candidates and, I like to replace about a third or so of the corn meal in my cornbread recipe with the chestnut meal - this has gotten numerous raves.

Experiment and Enjoy... and next time, prepare them when freshest for their full charm. After roasting and peeling, freeze what you don't use right away. Because of their limited seasonal availabiIity, I like to always have a sizable "stash" on hand in my freezer.

My forthcoming "ThirdStone Cook Book" will have a host of other interesting ways to use these little gems.

By the way, chestnuts are very low fat and healthy too. And this time of year you may still be able to find the nice large European (often from Italy) ones for a bit longer.

Dec 31, 2008
thitdstone in Home Cooking