Alright, so I've been thinking about those extremely rare and extremely wonderful tricks/techniques that elevate your food to a higher level... WITHOUT ADDING CALORIES OR ANY OTHER INGREDIENTS(!!!!!). Regrettably, I can only think of a few, but I firmly believe that we here in the SE community can put together an encyclopedic list of brilliant tricks.
Now, my humble contributions:
1. Tofu-- Freeze your firm tofu overnight, thaw, and slice. It turns from a jello-like mass into a sponge that you can marinate in a matter of seconds, and becomes deliciously chewy when fried.
2. Flour tortillas-- Heat a dry pan (not non-stick!) to medium-high heat, and toss the tortilla on there. Flip and rotate every 10-20 seconds, until it gets all bubbly and crunchy and delicious. Elevates store-bought from "edible" to "actually pretty tasty".
3. Bread-- Er... Toast it. To make toast.
I have heard rumors of people turning water into some sort of frigid, crunchy solid, but remain skeptical.
After eating a super-delicious tofu hotpot at a local Chinese joint (so good that I order it every time, in spite of my heavily carnivorous leanings), I managed to beg from them the secret of how they get the tofu so crisp, spongy, and meat-like-- They drain it well, freeze it overnight, thaw, and cook.
I've tried it many times myself, and once you freeze it, the dense firm tofu ends up with a lot of small holes in it, kind of a like a soy-sponge. Once you squeeze out the moisture (again, just like a sponge), you can marinate it in a matter of seconds. Lightly dust slices in cornstarch and pan-fry; the difference between un-frozen tofu and previously-frozen is nothing short of miraculous.
Has anyone out there tried this? Have I actually come across some new information, or am I about to be link-bombed with a dozen recipes where Kenji does this? =p
Local grocery store had some elephant garlic on super-discount; dollar a head. Always found it interesting looking, but was unwilling to pay four bucks for a bulb of garlic, so I bought ten. Thus far, I've roasted half-cloves with potatoes and herbs; very tasty, though learned you have to put the garlic in about twenty minutes after you start the potatoes, or they'll end up burnt. Have also mashed roasted cloves into mashed potatoes; taste was quite mild, but I liked the added moisture (I often mash a turnip or two into my potatoes for the same reasons). Was wondering if anyone here had tried slicing it thin and making garlic chips before? Also, any other brilliant ideas of what I should do with my ridiculous amount of elephant garlic?
Thanks, SE community!
Found some microwaveable "Lowrey's Bacon Curls" at a local dollar store, and bought them as a gag. They come in a microwave popcorn style package; two minutes, and they pop and expand to fill the bag. To my great surprise, they were some of the best pork rinds I'd ever had.
Has anyone ever tried/heard of these? Also, if anyone has a recommendation for other brands of microwaveable chicharones, I'm looking to further explore my new-found addiction.
I bought a whole brisket, and my plan is to primarily cook it low and slow, with moisture, in the oven; however, I also want to get some smoke into it by smoking it on my cheap kettle-grill for an hour or so. Can I smoke it, THEN braise it, or should I do it the other way around?
Thanks, SE Community.
So, I made some mushroom catsup, and while it is fascinating and tasty, I really have no idea what to do with it.
I've used it as steak/burger sauce, and in bloody marys (AMAZING), but I can't think of any other applications. Delicious, but very strongly flavored. I've thought of using it to glaze pork loin, but i'm afraid it will burn.
Here's the recipe I used--
2 pounds of mushrooms, diced small, then heavily salted and left out for 24 hours. Dump into a pot with an onion diced small, lots of black pepper, good hit of allspice, cumin, little hot sauce, and about half a cup of white balsamic. Simmered for about two hours until, well, goo-like, and blended smooth with a stick blender. Simmer a little longer, because why not. Let mellow at least overnight, and it seems to be getting better with time (made it three days ago).
So! Any thoughts as to what to do with it? Also, anyone here ever made their own? Alternate recipes/additions would be welcome as well.
About to serve carnitas (slow-cooked pork shoulder that is then shredded, anyway) to a large group, and wondering if anyone had tips on how to speed up the crisping stage.
I normally make my carnitas by taking 5-8 pounds of pork shoulder, and simmering it in a large pot with limes, oranges, chiles, cumin, and broth/water up to half-way up the shoulder, until it shreds easily. While perfectly enjoyable at this stage, I then crisp it up by putting the shredded pork into a large baking dish, ladling the rendered fat/broth over it to almost cover, and baking at 400 degrees, stirring periodically until the meat absorbs most of the liquid, and starts to crisp/burn around the edges. Tasty and magical.
My problem is that i'm taking the braised and shredded pork to a friend's house, planning on doing the crisping stage there; however, I'm trying to avoid making everyone wait for an hour or two while it finishes. Any suggestions as to how I can speed up this part of the cooking?
While the pork is perfectly fine without that step, I'm trying to show off for some friends, so any suggestions/Mexican-grandmother-secrets would be greatly appreciated.
"Back in the day" (Highschool), whenever my group of friends wanted to have a new person hang around, they were forced to go through an initiation to prove their toughness. Namely, they were pushed into a kitchen, given a skillet, fork, and a pound of bacon, and forced to relinquish their clothes until such time as they handed out a platter of perfectly-cooked bacon.
Having cooked naked-bacon myself, I must say that it takes great strength of character. Anyone have any similar rite-of-passage cooking rituals?
Or, any suggestions for variations of cooking bacon naked? "Mean" but not "potentially fatal", preferably.
Stumbled onto this by accident, when some site or another linked to "36 Cheap Beers Ranked from Bad to Worst". I thought, "Hey, Will Gordon would be perfect for that!" Lo and behold.... http://deadspin.com/36-cheap-american-beers-ranked-638820035
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