From the Archives: How to Pick and Cook a Holiday Ham

Tried curing my own ham this year. There were a few fresh hams at my local Farmers' Market in late February. Couldn't resist. Adapted Kenji's dry brine corned beef recipe. I'm opening the bag tonight to smoke it... here's hoping it's cured, not spoiled.

Open Thread: White Chocolate, Yay or Nay?

White Chocolate, yes! Sweetened hydrogenated palm kernel oil "confectionery" masquerading as chocolate, NO!

The 'Influential' Burger (That Influences You to Order Chili Dogs Instead) at The Varsity in Atlanta

Of course it was bad! You ordered it wrong. It's supposed to be topped with chili, pimento cheese, onions, slaw and a ton of mustard. Then you can't even taste the burger. No Atlantan in his right mind ever wants to actually taste a Varsity "steak". Better yet, just get two chili cheese slaw dogs, rings and a FO.

Poll: Burgers with Two Proteins: Way or No Way?

The fourth law of sandwich dynamics:

BBQ Pork Burger

Help Me Help My Vegan Friends

Thank you, everyone, for your help. You've given me some really great ideas of ingredients to try working with. I really wanted some basic ideas so I could start exercising my creativity and having fun with this.

@Siobahn and AnnieNT. Exactly. That's my issue. I don't want to just try to make a vegan-version of non-vegan dishes. But being a non-vegan, I just don't know the "spice palate" is, so to speak. It's just like when I first started cooking Chinese. I had a firm grasp of the Western pantry and what ingredients added what elements. But with a different cuisine it's like a different language. If I want to (eventually) create paragraphs, I have to start by learning the alphabet.

Help Me Help My Vegan Friends

The son of a friend of my family was recently badly injured in a car accident. To help our friends through this horrible time, my family has committed to cook for them, so that they can focus on his recovery. We're a family of Southern cooks, so comforting people with food is what we do. Except there's one problem: They are vegans.

I am decidedly not a vegan. The problem that I'm running into is that 95% of the time when I cook I'm not following a recipe. I'm usually very good at imagining a dish and making it happen. But I'm finding that too many of my go-to flavor tricks involve animal products; stock, bacon, butter, cheese.

So, when I come up with a good vegan recipe idea, e.g. quinoa roasted vegetable "lasagna" I soon realize that I don't know how to replace the salty-umami of Parmesan or the qualities that a little butter adds to tomato sauce. So the dish ends up flat. Like it's missing something. Which it is. Obviously there are vegan "versions", like vegan cheese, but they aren't great.

I feel like there are probably better complementary ingredients I could be using that aren't pretending to be something they are not.

Kevin Liu's recent series on replacing the core qualities alcohol in "mocktails", got me thinking: Are there some vegan friendly ingredients that can serve as "flavor bombs" to enhance and fine-tune vegan dishes? To add; saltiness, creaminess, smokiness, umami, and so on, when it's what a dish needs.

Any vegans out there with helpful thoughts?

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