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Anna Blume
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Okay, I'll go first.

Today, for the first time, I thawed bison and made a burger: salt-mashed garlic, freshly ground black pepper, a little fish sauce w a spring onion and shitake mushrooms thrown into the pan. Trader Joe's Dijon mustard. Mayo. Arugula. Whole wheat sourdough, toasted.

Not sure why I never bought buffalo meat before. Marketing that claims it is a more healthful choice was never an incentive, though I suspect it was more likely Kevin Cosner. Survived the early trauma of Bambi quite nicely, enough to enjoy venison one Thanksgiving way out in West Virginia, but seeing that field of slaughtered buffalo in a PC college town in the company of someone who dug (archaeologically) Native American sites...

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Okay, I'll go first.

Today, for the first time, I thawed bison and made a burger: salt-mashed garlic, freshly ground black pepper, a little fish sauce w a spring onion and shitake mushrooms thrown into the pan. Trader Joe's Dijon mustard. Mayo. Arugula. Whole wheat sourdough, toasted.

Not sure why I never bought buffalo meat before. Marketing that claims it is a more healthful choice was never an incentive, though I suspect it was more likely Kevin Cosner. Survived the early trauma of Bambi quite nicely, enough to enjoy venison one Thanksgiving way out in West Virginia, but seeing that field of slaughtered buffalo in a PC college town in the company of someone who dug (archaeologically) Native American sites...

Who woulda thunk it? Anna Blume and a 450-pound Redskins offensive lineman simultaneously discovering buffalo. :D

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Mine is more ordinary, but a little while ago, I cut and cooked artichokes for the first time. In researching cooking methods, some say to steam, some say to boil, and some say to roast. I ended up steaming them.

Good for you! I blasphemize even further and pressure cook them sometimes. Typically under 12 minutes at high pressure, cuts the steaming time down immensely, and provides an outstanding intensity of flavor. I assume you are talking about the whole artichokes, which I serve with a variety of dipping sauces for the leaves.

n0m.

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Good for you! I blasphemize even further and pressure cook them sometimes. Typically under 12 minutes at high pressure, cuts the steaming time down immensely, and provides an outstanding intensity of flavor.

I don't have a pressure cooker, but if I did, that sounds like a good option.

I assume you are talking about the whole artichokes, which I serve with a variety of dipping sauces for the leaves.

Yup, whole artichokes. It's fun to pick off the leaves. We've had them a couple of times at Vaso's Kitchen (Alexandria) which serves them with lots and lots of minced garlic in between the leaves and olive oil, and I was trying to get something close to that. I don't know how they cook them, but I needed much more garlic and more olive oil drizzled on top.

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Having grown up in California, I can't remember a time when I didn't eat artichokes, whole, hot, room temp and cold, with various kinds of dipping sauces. I have cooked them in different ways, but find that the quickest/best is in the microwave. I trim off the stickers and the tip of the stem and put them stem up in a large glass bowl with a small amount of water and some sliced lemons: four small or three large, or two humongous. I cover the bowl with a glass plate or a pie plate if the stems stick up above the bowl a bit. Microwavable plastic wrap is a last resort. I microwave on high for 12-15 minutes to start, the check by seeing how easily a center-row leaf pulls out and if the meat at the tip is tender. If not, I return them to the microwave and add a few minutes, then check again, until they are done. I don't remember ever needing to add more water, but if it has evaporated, add more.

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Zora, this is exactly how I make artichokes as well. The microwave is the perfect tool for this - you absolutely can't tell the difference between a steamed artichoke and a microwaved one, and the cooking time is so much less. Almost every time my wife makes them on the stovetop, she forgets to check the water level and burns them.

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Where were you last week Zora and Daniel? :D I'll have to try the microwave next time - I went with the boiling method and it took a while, but was worth the wait. This sounds a lot easier.

Cheezepowder - A recent issue of Saveur had an article about artichokes that included several good recipes and photo essays of cleaning/prep techniques.

And to bring this back to the original topic - I remember the first time I tried steamed artichokes. I was probably 12 or 13 and was helping a friend's mom with the preparation for a church dinner of some sort. She made steamed artichokes (along with cornish hens or some other small bird) and let us try them. I felt very fancy and, looking back, think she was pretty daring in her menu for a small-town Kentucky crowd!

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I'll have to try the microwave next time

Note - don't skip the lemons, or at least hit a shot of lemon juice into the water. Doesn't affect the taste at all, but keeps them green during cooking. Artichokes cooked in the microwave seem to be far more succeptible to turning that almost black dark green than cooking them on the stovetop (though you should use lemons on the stovetop as well).

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Jackie: Congratulations.

I love them best steamed, cold, with garlicky mayonnaise for dipping. The little baby ones (actually these grow at the bottom of the stalk of the large, expensive ones) are great in dishes like vignarola (a Roman vegetable stew with peas and fava beans, best served cold, hmmm....)

Also great w tuna, garlic and capers as a pasta sauce. Back in the day when globe artichokes weren't so expensive even here, far from Zora's Californian haunts, I remember buying a large paper grocery bag full of them and tearing off all the leaves just to use the hearts for a white lasagna (Marcella Hazan).

Well, off to practice my punting...

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I just posted on the farro thread about my first attempts at making it-I'll be getting some more soon. It's very easy to work with, and has a nice toothsome texture. Next on my foodie-deflowering list is dried chickpeas, Italian lentils and dried fava chickpeas.

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I just posted on the farro thread about my first attempts at making it-I'll be getting some more soon. It's very easy to work with, and has a nice toothsome texture. Next on my foodie-deflowering list is dried chickpeas, Italian lentils and dried fava chickpeas.
Be sure to soak the dried chick peas for at least 12 hours. Even after soaking they can take hours to cook.
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Be sure to soak the dried chick peas for at least 12 hours. Even after soaking they can take hours to cook.
Or use a pressure cooker and have them done in about an hour.

Thanks, that was my next question. I do have a presure cooker-perhaps this will finally be the reason I learn how to use it!

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Thanks, that was my next question. I do have a presure cooker-perhaps this will finally be the reason I learn how to use it!

When I took an Indian cooking class, the instructor advised to soak the chickpeas overnight even though she was using a pressure cooker to cook them.

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On the other hand, dried chickpeas, cooked, are twenty times (at least) superior to canned. Even better when prepped w aromatics: parsley, bay leaf, onion, sliced garlic clove and a little drop of olive oil. A little asafetida is good, too. Salt when softening, though some recent sources claim that's all a myth and you should go ahead and salt at beginning.

As for dried fava beans, they are a PITA and a half. Look for ones that are already peeled if you can find them. Some cultures claim falafel isn't falafel if it doesn't include dried fava beans...

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When I took an Indian cooking class, the instructor advised to soak the chickpeas overnight even though she was using a pressure cooker to cook them.

Ok, but why? To reduce the cooking time? I have made them without any overnight soak and they have come out very nicely.

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When I was growing up my family would drink corn husk water. It's refreshing served cold during the summer.
They are very sweet and have a very pure corn flavor. I prefer them to cobs. The best part is, you don't need to eat the corn first to get at them. :D
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Having grown up in California, I can't remember a time when I didn't eat artichokes, whole, hot, room temp and cold, with various kinds of dipping sauces. I have cooked them in different ways, but find that the quickest/best is in the microwave. I trim off the stickers and the tip of the stem and put them stem up in a large glass bowl with a small amount of water and some sliced lemons: four small or three large, or two humongous. I cover the bowl with a glass plate or a pie plate if the stems stick up above the bowl a bit. Microwavable plastic wrap is a last resort. I microwave on high for 12-15 minutes to start, the check by seeing how easily a center-row leaf pulls out and if the meat at the tip is tender. If not, I return them to the microwave and add a few minutes, then check again, until they are done. I don't remember ever needing to add more water, but if it has evaporated, add more.

I have two baby artichokes and am going to take the opportunity to try the microwave method. I only want to parboil them (I'm going to roast them afterward). Should I reduce the time? Can't decide because there are two of them. Also, how tightly covered do they need to be and is the lemon a must?
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I have two baby artichokes and am going to take the opportunity to try the microwave method. I only want to parboil them (I'm going to roast them afterward). Should I reduce the time? Can't decide because there are two of them. Also, how tightly covered do they need to be and is the lemon a must?

I can't speak for microwave method, but a little vinegar could sub for lemon if you are going to scrape out or cut the artichoke in any way since it prevents discoloration of the cut, raw vegetable.

Just keep in mind there is minimal water involved, so it's going to contribute flavor. I am guessing Zora's method draws upon the tradition of flavoring artichokes with lemon.

Why not reduce time, check, and proceed from there?

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I grew my first cabbage! I made a basic creamy coleslaw dressing to go with it (mayo, milk, vinegar, S&P, dried mustard, celery salt, garlic powder, and even some horseradish, onion and fresh basil).

When I tried my first bit, I was SHOCKED at how sweet, non-bitter and crunchy my little cabbage is. I had some more for lunch and I am still in love. I have two more in my yard and can't wait to do other stuff to them. (I'm open to suggestions).

Since the cabbage is so good, I find myself using very little dressing on it.

Finally, I love that there is a thread for first times.

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I grew my first cabbage! I made a basic creamy coleslaw dressing to go with it (mayo, milk, vinegar, S&P, dried mustard, celery salt, garlic powder, and even some horseradish, onion and fresh basil).

When I tried my first bit, I was SHOCKED at how sweet, non-bitter and crunchy my little cabbage is. I had some more for lunch and I am still in love. I have two more in my yard and can't wait to do other stuff to them. (I'm open to suggestions).

Since the cabbage is so good, I find myself using very little dressing on it.

Finally, I love that there is a thread for first times.

You know you always remember your first head.
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I made corn stock for the first time.

Husks, vidalia onions, and a little bit of pepper.

45-60 minutes.

Soooooo good.

You have got to be kidding.

Maybe Dan's not so crazy :rolleyes: after all: Corn Broth. I might have to give the accompanying Corn Poblano Soup recipe a try, but I don't think I have time (or the number of ears of corn) needed to make the broth tonight.
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Picked up a 'frog skin' melon at the Crystal City market last week. I hadn't seen or heard of this variety before - it's a dark green football-shaped and -sized melon. The flesh is similar to a honeydew, but a little firmer and slightly less sweet. I'm glad I gave it a try - I'm not a huge fan of honeydew but really enjoyed this melon. Other names are piel de sapo, camouflage, toad skin. The yellow variety is a canary melon (which I have seen before).

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I roasted a pig in my oven on Saturday. It was the first time I'd cooked a whole mammal. Plus, I managed to seat 20 people in my two-bedroom. It was a very fun night.

The pig was 24 lbs. We brined it overnight and roasted it for 8 hours in a 300-degree oven, basting with olive oil every hour or so. There are nits to pick -- the skin wasn't quite as crispy as I hoped (might blast it with high heat to start next time), the pig kinda slumped down during the cooking process (will seat the next one more firmly), and the skin split on one side of the pig (might have to cut some incisions to release some of the moisture). I would love any tips/insights/advice!

All told, great success.

post-230-124992372259_thumb.jpg

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