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Simple Stuff You Make


Al Dente
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What is the simplest delicious dish you cook?

Some Rockwellians said they didn't care for the white bean dip at Viridian. I liked it. I asked one of the co-owners for the recipe and was surprised to find that it was nothing more than white beans, evoo, and s&p. The morning following my meal there, I put some beans on. I had about a cup of cannellinis and about 2 cups of borlottis sitting around, so in the pot they went.

They turned out great. Having used the brownish borlotti beans, it wasn't the most attractive looking thing when you put a big gloppy pile in a bowl, but everyone loved it.

Recipe

Whatever dried beans you have, cooked using whatever method you use.*

Throw them in the food processor with lots of s&p.

Drizzle in good evoo (something buttery, not grassy) in copious quantities.

* I use the "Russ Parsons" method which was discussed over there on eG. Basically, you just rinse your beans, put them in an oven safe pot, cover with salted water, bring to a boil, and then put in the oven at 250 for 75 minutes. You might want to check the water level after a 1/2 hour or so to make sure you have enough. Some beans are thirstier than others. Beans come out perfectly cooked without all that overnight soaking fuss.

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I tend to think of soup for simple weeknight meals. Escarole and white bean, butternut, avogolemono etc. all take just a few minutes to throw together.

My other favorite simple (and retro) dish is a family casserole called Drunken Chicken - involving, of course, Campbell's Cream of soups, rice, butter, parmesan, bone-in-chicken, and sherry doused over the whole thing. Slop it together and bake slowly. Definitely not gourmet, but easy and familiar.

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John Thorne's no-machine lemon ice cream

1 med lemon

1/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup cream

Juice and finely zest lemon, then combine with sugar on low heat until dissolved. Stir in cream and freeze in a metal pan without stirring.

You'll be surprised by how good this is.... it's like a magic trick. Try this out some time when you're over at someone's place in the summer.

Edited by cjsadler
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My other favorite simple (and retro) dish is a family casserole called Drunken Chicken - involving, of course, Campbell's Cream of soups, rice, butter, parmesan, bone-in-chicken, and sherry doused over the whole thing.  Slop it together and bake slowly.  Definitely not gourmet, but easy and familiar.

I've got an easy retro staple dish like that--I call it Mom's Retro Meatloaf, because I grew up eating it. My mother probably got the recipe off a soup can.

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef or ground turkey

1 large egg

1/3 cup cracker meal mixed with 1/3 cup milk to form a paste

1 can Campbell's Vegetarian Vegetable soup, undiluted

Dash Worcestershire sauce

Combine well, spread in small rectangular casserole. Sprinkle cracker crumbs on top. Bake for about 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven, or until firm in center. Drain off fat before serving.

This is surprisingly tasty. We usually have it with ketchup mixed with a little hot sauce.

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Spaghetti with Lemon Shrimp: saute shrimp with some garlic and red pepper flakes in Olive Oil for a few minutes. Add the juice of 1/2 a lemon and some lemon zest. Serve over whatever pasta you have around (alhtough I like it best with spaghetti). Garnish with some drizzled olive oil and lots of fresh parsely.

Maximum enjoyment, not too much effort.

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Very simple!-white chocolate pretzels- microwave white chocolate chips, stir in small pretzels-when packaged nicely, appropriate for mailcarriers, teachers, anyone-these are delicious!....I was invited (this evening) over to my neighbor's for an Indian dinner- I was not prepared, but I'll bring some orange-cardamom cookies from TJ's (they come in a nice birchwood box) & a small orchid...I'm not as organized as I'd like to be these days....guacamole is great! will be bringing it to my work lunch on Wed. (along with bean dip)-I like green onions, lime, salt, & a touch of salsa fresca....

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I love sauteed chicken thighs.  Flour, thighs, olive oil and 15 minutes to dinner.  Lightly salted and I try to have brown rice or couscous handy.

I noticed boneless, skinless thighs in my grocer's case the other day. Anyone try browning and braising these? Any notes?

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Stir-fry Ong Choi :o

Ong choi (clean, cut into 2" length .. approximately, of course)

garlic cloves - smashed

red chilli - cut in half length-wise

- Then pour over the vegetables with a mixture of ...

+ light soy sauce + sugar + oyster sauce

+ Chinese cooking wine (shao xing)

+ a bit of water + soy bean paste.

- Wok + oil on high heat until smoke starts to come out then throw the ong choi in.

- Stir quickly til the ong choi looks almost done and turn the heat off.

really really good with steamed jasmine rice... :)

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Quick, wonderful roast chicken (not like Palena's, though). This is roughly based on something Julia and Jacques did on their program, although they used a great big chicken.

Set the oven to broil. Take a three-to-four pound chicken and cut out its backbone. Partially cut through the breast bone (from the inside, not the skin side) so the chicken will lie more or less flat. Salt and pepper the inside, and run it under the broiler, skin side down, for about ten minutes. Remove from the oven, adjust the oven shelf, and set the oven to bake at 425F. Flip the chicken over, and rub good butter all over the skin. Sprinkle the skin generously with salt and modestly with freshly ground black pepper. Put it back in the oven for about 30 to 40 minutes (depends on the size of the chicken; test for doneness with a thermometer), baste after the first 20 minutes or so if you want. Beautiful roast chicken (with wonderful skin) in less than an hour after you take it out of the fridge. Excellent pan drippings for a sauce, too.

This is going to be my dinner tonight. I do this in a big cast-iron skillet, which works very well.

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Saute Shiitakes, Sundried Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, basil chiffonades and Pine nuts in Olive Oil with some garlic. Add a bit of chicken stock (or salt free broth) and a big handful of goat cheese ( I have medium sized man-hands for those of you cooks who actually measure :) )

Simmer until cheese has melted. Toss in some farfalle, radiatore, or some other ridged pasta.

Takes 10 minutes. Eat.

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Fast tapenade--

Into a food processor put:

two cups of pitted Kalamata olives

two or three cloves of garlic

one tablespoon of capers

a few grinds of black pepper

one tablespoon of fresh thyme or, alternatively, oregano

one tablespoon of lemon juice

a two-count of good olive oil

(tradition calls for anchovies, or anchovy paste, but I find that it detracts from the olive flavor.)

Pulse until you have it to the consistency that you want.

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Two ingredient macaroons. I got this recipe from Susan Wallace, the pastry chef at BlackSalt.

Large bag of sweetened coconut shreds

Moisten with sweetened condensed milk just until it holds together (approx. 1/3 of a small can)

Pack tightly into extra small ice cream scoop to form balls, lay out on parchment-lined baking sheet

Bake in slow oven (250) for 10 or 15 minutes (or longer, until lightly browned, if you prefer toasted coconut flavor). Warning: addictive and very sweet.

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Set the oven to broil. Take a three-to-four pound chicken and cut out its backbone. Partially cut through the breast bone (from the inside, not the skin side) so the chicken will lie more or less flat.

An excuse to use one of my favorite words -- SPATCHCOCK!

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Fast tapenade--

Ah yes, reminds me of my favorite easy pasta - tapenade (I just do olives, garlic, anchovy paste and olive oil) thinned with a little pasta cooking water, with penne, buffalo mozzarella, basil, and cherry tomatoes. It's as addictive as potato chips to me.

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I noticed boneless, skinless thighs in my grocer's case the other day.  Anyone try browning and braising these?  Any notes?

I'm late, but you might like this recipe next time. It's fairly quick to prepare and flavorful. Chicken Thighs with Creole Mustard-Orange Sauce.

For most of this year, I had no kitchen while it was being renovated, and I came up with a simple preparation for microwaved skinless boneless chicken thighs. It's good enough that I'm sure I'll prepare it again even now that I have a kitchen. I think I'll wait a bit for that, though, as I was making this at least once a week :)

In short, I seasoned the chicken thighs with black pepper and cayenne, put them in a casserole dish and poured some soy sauce (tamari) over them. I put some preroasted garlic cloves and some pickled sushi ginger around the chicken pieces and cooked, covered, on high for 6 minutes. Then I turned the chicken over and cooked 6 more minutes. At that point I put several handfuls of baby spinach over top of the chicken and returned it (covered) to the microwave and cooked 2-3 more minutes. It was quite good, required hardly any prep, and the only cleanup required was for the casserole dish.

On the preroasted garlic cloves: This is an ingredient I would never have imagined buying prior to this renovation. When I saw it at the store, I was intrigued enough to try it. I found it worked better for quick preparations than did raw garlic. It's nothing that even approximates real roasted garlic, but since it's parcooked, I found it produces a better flavor than starting from raw in a quick microwaved dish.

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Ah yes, reminds me of my favorite easy pasta - tapenade (I just do olives, garlic, anchovy paste and olive oil) thinned with a little pasta cooking water, with penne, buffalo mozzarella, basil, and cherry tomatoes. It's as addictive as potato chips to me.

Thank you for the suggestion. It was wonderful. I substituted roasted red peppers for the tomatoes.

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the minestrone is hardly vegetarian, but it is worth its beans, which hold their own against the small meatballs. a lesson i am slowly learning: cook them until they break. they burst with flavor at palena because of it (at first i thought instructions in an italian recipe to simmer soaked garbanzo beans half the afternoon were mad, until i followed them.) it is no surprise by now the lengths they will go to in this kitchen.

A-ha!

Dried black-eyed peas or flageolets. Soak them all morning. Brown a good bit of medium-dice country jowl or bacon or just regular salt-pork if that's all you got. Use the fat to sweat and just color an onion and sweat some garlic. Add some canned tomatoes or some roasted ones if you've got 'em (not a lot). Then white wine and chix broth to cover the beans. Some pepper (if you're using even the low-sodium broth you've got enough salt between it and the pork). Some reconstituted porcini if you've got 'em. Some thyme if you've got it. A bay leaf. Whatever else you think sounds good--I'd like to try mincing some dried scallop and putting it in. Bring to a boil. Cover tightly and stick in a 220F or even lower oven. Go out and have a good time. Come back, not quite drunk, take the pot out and stick it in the fridge. Eat for the next week for something like eight bucks. Happy happy happy.

Edited by jparrott
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Here's a dish from my stoner days back in college. It stills holds up pretty well today, especially after a martini or two (which I just had). I've updated it a bit to be a little more sophisticamated.

Get yourself some tortellinis-- I find cheese or mushroom works best. Boil them up.

Smash a few cloves of garlic.

Drain your tortellinis well.

Heat up a pan and add a good bit of EVOO.

Throw the tortellinis in with the smashed garlic (you might want to undercook them slightly-- extra Al Dente, if you will)

Meanwhile, grate some parmesan onto a plate with a microplane.

Throw a little crushed red pepper onto the pasta in the pan while tossing.

Get them to the point where they're nice and toasty (Bilrus-- you have toasted ravioli in St Louis, right? Define please...)

Dump them over the cheese, add more EVOO and serve. Sprinkle a little oregano on top if you want, and maybe a little more crushed red pepper if you want some heat.

Dig in... :)

Edited by Al Dente
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The other St. Louisian chiming in since I'm online:

Toasted ravioli are deep fried.   Not sure if they are battered or not.

Good eats!

Jennifer

Fried yes, but not battered - breaded with bread crumbs. Usually served with a marinara or meat sauce for dipping. Although I've had seafood ones served with garlic butter - pretty tasty.

Here's a recipe from one of the top red-sauce Italian places in St. Louis.

Not the same concept, but Al's dish sounds pretty tasty too.

Edited by bilrus
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Waffles For Dinner Night is in full effect. These aren't my 'special occasion' waffles so I have relegated them to the B-thread here. Used the Traditional PITA Seperate The Eggs method, a mix of AP and whole wheat flour, and some Gran Gala for that tasty orange flavour. The part of the bacon was played tonight by Niman Ranch.

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Balducci's.  Not perfect quality but good enough.  Or get Tom Power to get you some Tarbais beans.  Right, JG?

Good heirloom beans are available from Rancho Gordo. For authentic, fresh and delicious red beans I order from Camellia Beans in Harahan, LA.

Edit to say that I am not sure that Camllia's mail order operation is back up and running yet. :)

Edited by Heather
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I'm really liking roasted grapes. Mix seedless black grapes with a little oil to lightly coat and roast on a pan at about 425 or so until about bursting (I'm finding that the flavor gets better the longer they go, but you gotta watch that they don't burn). Maybe serve with ice cream or panna cotta. They have a very interesting taste. You can see where the idea for artificial grape flavor comes from (grapes have never tasted much like 'grape' flavor to me)-- the skins get caramelized and the roasted grapes start to take on an almost grape candy like taste (but it's better than that sounds).

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Soy-braised chicken thighs from the Molly Hazen book are awesome and fast.  Throw some glass noodles in the braising liquid at the very end, and you're good to go.  I've turned many thigh haters into lovers with this recipe

Thighs are the best. On chickens, and otherwise...

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The Mac and Cheese thread has reminded me of a staple of mine since lo my underclassmen days (what, that was a while ago, relatively speaking....) : Matt's Heavily Added-To Box Mac And Cheese. Yeah, I said 'box'. That's why we're in the Second String Dinner Thread. This is mostly a hangover recipe. If you want to dig out the panko and Grafton and make bechamel on a hangover, that's your business.

Add to one completed preparation of Annie's Purple Boxed Mac and Cheese (Using the old-school directions that involved butter AND milk):

Some decent amount of browned ground beef

Half a sliced, and some minced garlic, sauteed

About a quarter a jar of your favourite salsa, relative to size of jar.

A good squirt of your favorite mustard. I tend to Grey Pupon for this.

Salt, pepper, hot sauce.

Boxed Macaroni and Cheese on lock down.

As always, my badge and gun are already in the mail. Honest. And finally.....Hammerhead powers, activate! :)

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Good heirloom beans are available from Rancho Gordo.
Thank you very much for this link! I ordered some beans from them and just got them (very promptly). They look gorgeous.

I was most happy when I saw that they had Santa Maria pinquito beans. I had years ago found packages of these (under Poquito brand) at the Giant in Greenbelt, made the recipe on the package and loved them. After a couple of batches, they stopped carrying them and I couldn't find them anywhere. I finally found an Italian store in Cal. with mail order (different brand). They required a minimum purchase of many pounds. They lasted for a long time but were not as good as the beans I first got at Giant. I had forgotten about them until I saw them at this site. I'm going to try the barbeque bean recipe again soon. I'll post it when I dig it out.

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Potato Salad: cooked potatoes (preferably new or smallish like fingerlings) cut bite sized, hard cooked eggs -- yolks removed and mashed up with good dijon mustard, then added to enough mayo to give body to salad -- egg whites sliced and added with: red onions, celery and seeded cucumber cut into chunks. After cooking soak potatos in some white wine vinegar, and if you want to kick this up, make your own mayo, otherwise Hellmans is fine.

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Last night for dinner ...

Vegetarian chili

-heat the pot, then add

a dash of vegetable oil

a chopped onion

a few cloves of grated garlic

Tbsp chili powder

Tbsp ancho chili seasoning

salt

-cook a bit, then add

TVP "cumbles" aka fake ground beef

vegetable stock

large can of crushed tomatoes

some apple cider

large can of black beans

-reduce, reduce, reduce

-serve with grated sharp cheddar and sour cream

Corn bread

box of corn bread mix

water

frozen white corn

-combine mix, water, corn

-bake, cool, slice

I bought the onion chopped (!) and the cheese grated so all I had to do was microplane the garlic--everything else came right out of a can, box, or bag. Simple enough?

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I may have already put this in a "comfort food" thread, but I do get high marks for it from hung-over people in the morning:

-Breakfast Pasta-

Fusilli or some other pasta that grips sauce well.

One egg per person

Milk or cream, depending on what you normally use in your scramble

Parmesan

Salt and Pepper

Rooster Sauce (Sriracha [sp?])

Boil pasta to about a minute past al dente

Mix eggs and dairy in your traditional scrambled egg quantity. (I do a splash of milk into a coffee mug filled with eggs and beat vigorously, but people have killed over scrambled egg ratios, so do as you please)

Grate a liberal amount of parmesan into the egg mixture, along with a squirt of rooster sauce.

Salt and pepper egg mix to taste.

In a non-stick skillet, add a small amount of olive oil and put on medium heat.

Drain pasta and add to skillet for about a minute, giving it a little fry-love.

Empty egg mixture onto pasta and stir to coat. Once eggs firm up inside the pasta crenelations, plate and salt a bit more if necessary.

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Quick salad for lunch or dinner

1 bag of butter lettuce and radicchio

1 chopped Fuji apple

21 small sweet tomatoes (grape), halved

handful of dried cranberries

handful of roasted chicken breast chunks (chunks, what an appetizing word)

season to taste

blue cheese dressing

-toss, serve, eat with a roll

-buy the chicken precooked and it's even easier

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Great little thread...

Lamb Chops ala Juan

Step one:

Warm up that broiler.... :blink:

Step two

Salt the lamb chops and also add a pinch of pepper.

Step three-

Prepare the Glaze by doing the following:

Chop up a handful of Fresh Mint (large handful) and Basil

A medium sized clove of garlic- I cut it into small squares and mash it.

Cut a sun dried to tomato in very small pieces

Mix the above ingredients very well with a 1/4 cup of honey

Step four:

Glaze the lamb chops and broil until the fat begins to pull back from bone. I usually broil them 10 minutes on each side (very meaty chops.) Make sure you use you hands to glaze and get them all sticky- its half the fun (make sure you wash them too!) :P

If anyone makes them, let me know what you think. This is a dish my friends force me to make when they come over. I did not get this from a cookbook, but just thought it would all go well together. And...I think its best lamb dish around...haha

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Yummy!! This is so simple, I learned it as a child...Take a bagel, toast it, then stick it in the toaster oven with some spaghetti sauce and mozzarella (or whatever other cheese you prefer.) This is a version of pizza that you can do even when...um...drunk. Can't go wrong, and I'm sure any schmo will have the ingredients in his fridge. And add whatever other toppings you like. Also can be done with an english muffin. Don't expect it to be as fabulous as Dan's homemade genuine pizza recipes as seen here, but tasty nonetheless.

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