Cooking Time!

Discussion in 'The Common Room' started by Bemoliph, Oct 14, 2015.

  1. Bemoliph

    Bemoliph High Priest Staff Member

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    Everyone likes good food, but do you know how to make good food? Forget about the wide variety of expensive equipment, fancy-sounding techniques, and intimidating Pinterest posts - we're going to figure it out right here, right now. If you've ever fancied yourself as a home chef after that one awesome grilled cheese before waking up again, then this thread is for you.

    Personally, I grew up eating the same 4-6 mostly pre-packaged, poorly nourishing "meals" and came out with effectively no kitchen know-how and very limited taste. Between unreasonably picky eaters and other bad habits, my family's kitchen was reduced to a sweets factory that was afraid to try anything new and half-assed everything else just to Put A Thing In A Mouth. While cookies and brownies and fudge are great, it's time for me to learn what other foods are out there, how to be open to trying them, and how to navigate the kitchen to make a decent meal quickly and cheaply.

    Cooking is a skill to be practiced, so buying gear on top of reading recipes and infodumps is only half the battle. But since knowing is still an important half and the only half shareable online, linking to good recipes and explanations is what I'll do here. Feel free to share your own favorites, tricks, and experiences!
  2. Bemoliph

    Bemoliph High Priest Staff Member

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    I tried making these no-bake Cookie Dough Truffles last week for my birthday. If you're like me and never really knew what a truffle is, it's basically a chocolate-coated ball of something, like peanut butter or cookie dough!

    I know I'm supposed to work towards making non-goodies, but visiting with @Elf and @wolfcry means I don't have regular opportunities to cook meals for now and my birthday was a good excuse to steal their kitchen for a bit =P

    Note that the sweetened condensed milk is a substitute for the eggs usually used in cookies, meaning you won't die from salmonella by eating this particular "raw" cookie dough.

    My batch tasted ok for a first try, but a bunch of things went wrong so there's a lot of room to improve:

    Firstly, the cookie dough was extremely soft and somewhat sticky at room temperature, making it difficult to work with. I'm not sure if I messed up measuring (especially the flour) or the sweetened condensed milk does it or what, but the normal egg-based cookie dough I remember from home was much stiffer and most blogs I read about these truffles suggested theirs was similarly workable. I tried adding more flour and outright freezing the dough, but it was still a pain.

    Also, I apparently can't into 1-inch balls and ended up with nowhere near ~60 truffles, instead making maybe 15 or 20 of wildly varying sizes. Maybe using a smaller spoon than a giant ice cream scoop and having more workable cookie dough would help.

    Secondly, I used semi-sweet chocolate chips for the dipping. This gave the truffles an extremely chocolately taste that alternate recipes suggest avoiding by using baker's chocolate, so make sure you know what you're getting into.

    Finally, I didn't temper the dipping chocolate despite knowing better. We kept the truffles in a stand-alone freezer and they'd still start melting right away for lack of tempering.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2015
  3. Tigers

    Tigers High Priest Staff Member

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    glogg1-smal.png glogg0-small.png
    Glögg, also known as mulled wine, is a delightful beverage had around Christmas here in Sweden. It isn't Christmas right now, but it is at least fall and that is good enough reason for my household to have started with making our own glögg. Glögg is basically spiced, heated wine.

    We make our glögg through letting an assortment of spices (a few staple spices are: cardamom, dried cloves, peels of bitter orange, sugar, cinnamon and dried ginger) rest in a container with alcohol (in our case a relatively cheap vodka) for just under a week. After the week is up we take the spice mixture and mix it with a bottle of cheap red wine, usually adding some port wine for flavor, and store it in a bottle until use. When it's time for use, you simply measure up the amount of glögg you want and pour it into a sauce pan and heat it until it starts to simmer - after which it is ready for serving.

    Glögg is traditionally served in small glasses, similar to the size of the one in my pictures, together with raisins and chopped, blanched almonds.

    I don't have our recipe at hand, so I translated a random one from the internet

    • 2 pieces of whole cinnamon sticks
    • 12 pieces of clove
    • 2 bits of dried ginger, whole
    • 1 tsp of whole cardamom seeds
    • 3 peels of bitter orange
    • 2 dl raisins
    • 2-3 dl alcohol (~40%, preferably unspiced)
    • 2 bottles of red wine
    • 2-3 dl sugar
    For serving: raisins & blanched almonds
    1. Add all the ingredients, excepting the red wine and the sugar, together in a mason jar. Make sure that you have enough alcohol to cover the spices. Seal the jar and let it sit for 4-6 days. Shake the jar occassionally.
    2. Strain the spice mixture into a sauce pan, add the bottles of wine together with the sugar and let simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Add more sugar if the taste is too bitter, or if you have a sweet tooth. Pour into a bottle and enjoy. Glögg lasts for around 3 months, but it's usually gone before that time ever comes.
    3. Warm the glögg, but don't let it boil. Serve with raisins and blanched almonds.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2015
  4. Tigers

    Tigers High Priest Staff Member

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    PIES (aka QUICHES)
    technically everything baked is a pie though
    broccoli-tomato-pie.png spinach-sundried-tomatoes-pie.png

    (left-to-right: broccoli & tomato, spinach & sun-dried tomatoes, meat & bean pie)
    I had exams this past week and sought fit to celebrate the end of them by baking pies. Three, in fact. One broccoli & tomato, one spinach pie with chopped sun-dried tomatoes & crumbled feta cheese over it, and one meat & bean pie, consisting of both kidney and black beans.

    I made two batches of pie dough, see recipe below, and lined three aluminium pie forms. I placed the forms in the fridge for roughly 30 minutes to solidify. After the 30 minutes were up I prebaked each of them in the oven for 15 minutes at 200 °C (392 °F). I then poured the prepared pie fillings (for the spinach pie I pan-fried the spinach and two chopped garlic cloves in some rapeseed oil (yeah, that name...), and prepared the broccoli pie in a similar manner) into the prebaked pie crust. Finally I added an egg mixture consisting of milk, egg, and grated gouda cheese, though any cheese will do. The egg mixture makes the pie more filling, and prevents the rest of the filling from getting burned.

    Bake the pie at 200 °C (392 °F) for 30 minutes. Keep an eye on it the last 5 or so minutes to make sure the top doesn't get burnt - if that starts to happen either remove the pie from the oven or add a sheet of aluminium foil to the top to prevent it.

    1 batch (2 batches will yield crust for 3 medium-sized pies)
    • 125 g butter
    • 3 dl flour (I take 1.5 dl regular flour and 1.5 dl of graham flour)
    • 1-2 tbsp water
    Mix the butter and flour together to a grainy mass, then add the water and work it into the mass. Line the pie form with the dough, let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

    • 2 dl milk
    • 2 eggs
    • 1.5 dl grated cheese
    Whisk the egg and milk together and add the grated cheese. Pour over the pie fillings in the pie crust before baking in the oven.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2015
  5. wolfcry

    wolfcry High Priestess Staff Member

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    Washougal , WA
    You asked in IRC the other day what the name for the egg mixture is, it's a Custard, milk and egg mixed together. The pies would be called Quiche, which is custard, cheese,vegetables and/ or meat cooked into a pie crust.
    Tigers likes this.