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LorenRae's Profile

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DC Area Cookoffs?

I just finished reading Cathy Erway's Art of Eating In and was intrigued by the food cook off 'scene' she describes in Brooklyn/the greater NYC area. I know DC has the chili cook off and the barbecue cook off, but I don't think I've encountered any of the smaller sort of amateur competions she mentions. Do these exist in the DC area? What is the best place to learn about them?

Carne al disco (No Reservations Argentina)

Breaking the obvious rule of never watching food TV while hungry, I was watching a No Reservations rerun tonight and now Must. Have. This. Recipe.

Tony ate a dish he referred to as Carne al Disco at a cabin in Argentina. It looked simple enough - slices of beef, garlic, peppers, and oil in some sort of wide cast iron pan, but they didn't show the whole thing. There is undoubtedly another ingredient because the final result looked like something dairy had been added (the color had changed). They ate it on bread - it looked amazing.

Anyone eaten this before? Truly a traditional dish or just good TV? What are the mysterious missing ingredients, or is the dish really just a method?

Aug 18, 2008
LorenRae in Home Cooking

Suckling pig in Fort Worth area

Where can I get a suckling pig in the Fort Worth area, or order one online to be delivered?

After reading "Heat" I am in love with the idea of cooking pig...and lots of it. However, I'll start small and see where a barbecued smaller pig takes me. And I love the thought of having it in the freezer to scare the heck out of anyone looking for ice cubes. :)


Jun 09, 2008
LorenRae in Dallas - Fort Worth

Beef roulade - recipes?

Wow, these sound fantastic! Dinner in question is not til Thursday. Can't wait to try one, I'll have to draw straws to choose.

Jan 14, 2008
LorenRae in Home Cooking

Beef roulade - recipes?

Inspired by my mother's Christmas Eve dinner, I have a roast in the freezer that I'd like to thinly slice and use for a roulade. No particular flavor in mind, just the wish to try a new-to-me way of cooking beef. Any suggestions? Thanks!

Jan 13, 2008
LorenRae in Home Cooking

Hazelnut or Walnut Cream Sauce?

I have a vague memory of a memorable dinner of homemade pasta with one of the above sauces (it was not that Olive Garden rendition). I've searched the internets far and wide and haven't found anything that quite worked. Any suggestions before I begin experimenting? Thanks!

Jan 01, 2008
LorenRae in Home Cooking

Saffron Salt. What to do with it?

For Christmas, part of my mom's gift will be a homemade "spice of the month" club (I pick the spices and mail them to her, along with some recipes. All meant to be outside the normal range of spices and cuisines she tries).

She loves salts - flavored salts, fancy salts, etc., so for the first round I splurged on some saffron salt. Theoretically, I can just recommend recipes to her that include both saffron and salt, but I wanted to see if anyone had found some inventive and tasty use for it, or a recipe that actually includes it.

(as a bonus, feel free to recommend which spices I should choose to follow up over the next year!)

Dec 16, 2007
LorenRae in Home Cooking

Ideas for stuffed tomatoes?

With the marvelous tomato harvest, I've been using tomatoes in just about every meal. One thing I haven't attempted much is stuffed tomatoes - I stick to fairly generic parmesan/herb/breadcrumb mixtures there. What else should I try stuffed in tomatoes? Bonus points if you can help me recall a baked/stuffed tomato recipe that involves sugar and cinnamon!

Sep 15, 2007
LorenRae in Home Cooking

How to cook with less water (stocks, juices, soups)

One of my favorite books by Madeleine L'engle has a part in it in which she teaches herself to cook. A line that stuck with me was "I felt that one does not cook with water, so I kept my kitchen filled with stocks and juices."

This has always intrigued me. i am a rampant user of chicken stock in some basic pasta sauces and various forms of cooking rice; I use lemon juice, but just a taste or so. However, beyond that when liquid is required, I usually stick to plain old water. Help me move beyond my H20 ways and think creatively. What other liquids could I have handy and how could I use them creatively?

Aug 09, 2007
LorenRae in Home Cooking

Calling all cooking! Rice recipes

Champagne risotto. The champagne gives it a wonderful tangy flavor that goes great with the prosciutto. I think I got the recipe below from Giada, but I've made variations with mushrooms or peas. I've even started also tossing a little champagne in while cooking a plain white rice dish, iIve become so addicted to the flavor (not often I've got leftover champagne, but totally worth it when I do).

4 thin slices prosciutto
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
12 asparagus spears, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 shallot, finely chopped
3/4 cup Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
3/4 cup Champagne
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Place the slices of prosciutto on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake until the prosciutto slices are almost completely crisp, about 6 to 8 minutes. The slices will crisp up even more as they cool. Reserve for garnish.

In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Blanch the asparagus in the chicken stock for 2 minutes. Remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon. Set the asparagus aside and keep the chicken stock at a low simmer.

In another medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the shallot and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the Arborio rice and stir to coat in the butter. Continue toasting the rice, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes more. Add the Champagne and simmer until the liquid has almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Remove from the heat. Gently stir in the asparagus, remaining butter, Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Spoon the risotto into serving dishes and garnish by breaking the crisp prosciutto into smaller pieces over the top of the risotto. Serve immediately.

Apr 29, 2007
LorenRae in Home Cooking

New (to me) int'l cuisines and recipes?

My cooking tends to stay within the range of Thai, Indian, Italian, Mexican and "American" (whatever that means). I'm by no means a master of these cuisines, but I can throw together a tasty curry or a homemade lasagna without too many disasters. I'm an experimental cook, but I still feel like I've hit a rut. I'd like to embark on a whole new ethnic/regional cuisine that goes beyond my typical cooking comfort zone, preferably with fairly easy to find ingredients. I could pick a country of the top of my head and go, but I'd rather hear from y'all. What new cuisine should I try, and can you recommend a recipe as an example? (only limit: preferably not seafood based).

Apr 29, 2007
LorenRae in Home Cooking

Turkish food in the DC area?

Yeah, I should have clarified that the doner I miss was pretty well a Western/French affectation. but I do also greatly enjoy Iskender kebab, so I'll have to check out some of y'alls suggestions. Thanks!

Turkish food in the DC area?

And yes, gyros are very similar, but just enough different that I'm trying to hunt this down. Thanks!

Turkish food in the DC area?

Any Turkish food will do...but what I'd really love is a doner kebab like I used to eat while living in France, where they offered you red or white sauce and put amazing fries inside the sandwich, served in half a chunk of a round bread loaf. (it's a major craving, no doubt).

Lebanese Rice Recipe?

I've had a Lebanese rice dish several times that was marvelous. Definite ingredients were cinnamon and pine nuts. The web has turned up a few variations with ground lamb, something I've never cooked with before (and that I'm fairly sure was not on my plate previously). Any experience with this dish? Recipe suggestions? Is the lamb overpowering or subtle? Would ground turkey be an adequate substitute?

If this helps in any way, it was served with a grilled garlicky-lemon chicken in all instances. Garlicky-lemon chicken currently marinating away in the fridge, so I'm hoping for a good accompaniment before dinner time!

Other Lebanese side dishes or desserts also welcome. Thanks!

Mar 18, 2007
LorenRae in Home Cooking

Cheap delicious Indian chow in DC?

Naan and Beyond (there are a few locations) delivers too--the combo entrees are a huge amount of food for under $8, if i recall. The selection is somewhat limited, but everything is pretty good. Nirvana (on Farragut Square) is a hit and miss buffet that explores different regions of Indian cuisine on different days at lunch--never been there for dinner, but it was my very first introduction to Indian food and I will always remember that tikka masala as the most perfect thing I had ever eaten (how had I not had curry until age 20?).

Need ideas for post-break up distraction cooking...AKA my day tomorrow

On Happy Days, Mrs. Cunningham said that heartbreak calls for eating huge spoonfuls, and sometimes entire jars, of peanut butter. When the urge to cook passes, remember to keep this around!

Feb 19, 2007
LorenRae in Home Cooking

easy fried chicken recipes!

Two variations on the basic recipe: I occasionally use corn flakes as breading (good for just frying, but I prefer to--heart attack alert--"fry" in the oven with loads of butter); for something different, try curry powder or Cajun seasoning in the flour mix.

Feb 19, 2007
LorenRae in Home Cooking

Bacon, coconut and peanut pasta: dream or..?

Several years ago, my university cafeteria--which was actually excellent--opened a pasta bar that had a "pasta of the day." Every Thursday they'd make a glorious concoction that I remember containing bacon (definitely), coconuts (shredded? milk? condensed?) and some sort of peanut butter-esqe substance that I usually requested be left out, as well as other ingredients I have entirely forgotten. I grew tired of it sophomore year, craved it again senior year; the chefs had ceased to make it, and did not recall the recipe.

In the years since graduation I've attempted to replicate this dish with mild success, but the results still feel lacking. Have you ever encountered a recipe (I've searched far and wide) using similar ingredients (with the possibility of there being several other key additions I've forgotten)? Or, if you were going to combine these ingredients into any sort of dish, how would you do it?

In the event this rings a bell, the university catering service was Aramark.

Feb 19, 2007
LorenRae in Home Cooking