Author Topic: What awesome food experiences did you create today?  (Read 3596 times)

jordanread

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What awesome food experiences did you create today?
« on: June 06, 2016, 05:27:21 PM »
Welcome. While there are quite a few different food threads around these parts, I couldn't quite find one like what I envision this one will be. There are plenty of discussions regarding what diet is best for you (spoiler alert: every person is different, and there is no single diet that works for everyone 100% of the time), discussions reviewing books on food, discussions on the moral implications of being omnivorous, the moral implications of sustainability, the financial implications on eating responsibly, a giant recipe thread, and what eating responsibly actually means. There is a plethora of threads on how to reduce your grocery bill. While those discussions can be very valuable, there is something that I feel is not being addressed in those threads. For the most part, I actually don't think those particular threads are the place for a topic like this one, anyway.

I think we can all agree that cooking your food is 'more mustachian' than going to a restaurant, more delicious usually, and cheaper. It's one of those things that some people do already, other people are afraid of doing, and others suck it up and do it anyway. I initially just kind of sucked it up and started, but then something shifted. I started to be more mindful of the process. If I do say so myself, the end product is freaking amazing. After I initially posted a fun blurb (copied below) that described everything that went into the idea for a specific meal, I realized that thinking of a meal as an epic adventure is fun, and it can be inspiring. To that end, this thread is going to be a place dedicated to our own experiences when it comes to food.

Experience, by definition, is extremely subjective, and everyone is going to have a different way of expressing this. Personally, I like to include any inspiration for the idea if applicable, any sensation that I think is going to be created, a sensory description of the entire process like what smells wafted through the house/off the grill, what the weather was like, and what type of sensations or memories did any one of these things bring up. Then I like to describe the actual experience of eating it. Taking each bite, measuring expectations as they compare to reality, and use food to just 'be'. Later, one can contemplate what they would do differently next time (if anything).

The goal of this thread is twofold. To begin with, if one doesn't quite think of cooking in this manner, maybe the stories will help that perspective along. Or if you already do, maybe the idea of posting in this thread will force you to put words to some more ethereal feelings, so you can share what you've done. I'd love for people to share the experience of preparing the food, share the experience of eating it, and subconsciously (or consciously) realize that this is a thing, and this thing is good. If it something unique, the recipe that one followed is also more than applicable. In my experience, even the meals that turn out less than ideal are still fun. I was just recently introduced to Meathead Goldwyn videos, and his catch phrase at the end is something I'm going to modify to suit my needs, but this is what he says: "Cooking [for others] is an act of love. And the most important part of the meal is not what's on the plate, but who's in the chairs." How big of a part does the social aspect of eating/cooking play in your life?

jordanread

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Re: What awesome food experiences did you create today?
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2016, 05:28:16 PM »
Expansion. Maybe a TOC?

jordanread

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Re: What awesome food experiences did you create today?
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2016, 05:29:23 PM »
This is kind of what triggered the idea:

Prologue

It started with a nonchalant comment from Jon_Snow. He mentioned poblano rings in passing. It was something new to me, and it never even crossed my mind. I was intrigued, and my brain started down a path from which there was no return. To begin with, while I don't have anything against deep frying, batter and breading were things I've ignored, as they seemed to take away from the flavor of the food being fried. One of my favorite snacks/appetizers are jalapeno poppers, but after I went primal, I started making my own, and they weren't breaded, or even fried. My version of jalapeno poppers (bananas for scale):


The only other food I've fried were chile rellenos, and to make those I just dipped them in egg, and then flour. Batter was one thing I've never had any experience with. I am familiar with peppers, though, but this idea was damn near completely new ground. So might as well go all in.

Chapter 1 - The Idea

So of course I decided to go big, and recruited my lovely SO, who takes my ideas, expands them, and sends them back my way, for me to do the same. So we figured Baja would be a nice theme for a meal. When we started this, it wasn't Baja weather. Far from it.

But just because there is a little snow, doesn't mean one can't enjoy a meal inspired by places south of the border. So obviously we were doing poblano rings, but what else? We decided to keep it simple, and based strictly on sale items. Rice and beans (brown and black, respectively) as a side, the rings as an appetizer/side, and a cut of bone-in/skin-on pork shoulder. I was going to modify the batter, starting with my base recipe, and then add stuff for a few different batches.

Chapter 2 - The Recipe

The rice and beans were exactly that, except we added a touch of cilantro as well.

The biggest deal was the batter. No frame of reference for me, and the SO's experience told her that it was primarily for texture, not flavor. So I started by looking at poblano ring recipes, and then at basic onion ring batter. Since I had the goal of starting simple, and increasing the complexity and the flavors as we continued cooking, we chose the following method of making batter:
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 2 eggs (laid by my chickens)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ~1 teaspoon black pepper

After one batch, I added some chipotle paste to add another dimension of flavor, and then I added some ghost pepper sauce on top of that after another batch. The SO also made a sauce based loosely on some recipes we found. We put a bit of horseradish paste and siracha into some greek yogurt for dipping.

The pork was based on our experiences and a recipe the SO found. We started with a very acidic marinade, described as follows:

  • 1 orange worth of juice
  • 1/2 lemon worth of juice
  • 1/2 lime worth of juice
  • ~1/8 cup apple cider vinegar

After pouring the liquid over the top of the shoulder, and letting it sit for a while, we scored the skin in a criss cross pattern, and then sliced pockets for ~3 cloves of garlic (and inserted them) all around the roast. Cutting open chipotles marinated in adobo sauce, we used them to cover the parts of the shoulder not covered in skin. And then it went into the oven at 400°F for the first 30 minutes, 300°F for ~5 hours, and 500°F for the last 30 minutes.

Note: The increased temperatures at the beginning and end are only of use if skin is on the roast, scored, and you want it to be extremely flavorful and crispy. It works best IMHO if you chop it up and add it into the pork after it's pulled.

Chapter 3 - The Process

For the poblano rings: whisk, dip, and fry. Simple, and delicious. I cut the poblanos in rings between 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick. We used basic vegetable oil for frying. Also, did you know that you can put a wooden spoon handle in the oil to check if it's hot enough? The SO showed me, and the oil is ready when the wooden stick/spoon bubbles.

Time Lapse Creation:
https://youtu.be/2mdRpluy_0I

For the rest of the meal, I just followed the above recipes.

Chapter 4 - The Review

While I will write more about this elsewhere, the preparation of the meal is usually one of my favorite parts. However, this bit is going to be all about the food.

The beans and rice were delicious. A staple the world over, there is a good reason. While it's really easy (especially with a rice cooker and a can of beans) and extremely cheap, the flavor of it is pure staple. The rice has a bit of flavor in and of itself, but really it's there to absorb the flavors of the cilantro and the beans. It's a touch heavy, but not overbearingly so. Just enough to enjoy it as a way to interrupt the bites of delicious pork and poblano rings. Want to make it a touch more interesting? Mix in a touch of the sriracha dipping sauce. The combination of cold and hot, the combination of slightly sweet and savory, create a feeling in your mouth that essentially forces one to take a step back, recognize the different flavors, and slow down enough to enjoy it.

The pork shoulder. A pretty cheap cut of meat, and one that appears to be commonly overlooked. I've eaten this often, as a base for BBQ pulled pork, cubanos, or pork soup. At it's most basic, put some liquid in a roasting pan (or a slow cooker), rub some salt on the meat, and cook it low and slow. Not only can it not help but be tender and juicy, it will always make the house smell wonderful as it cooks. You start wishing it cooked a touch faster around lunch, when the smells permeating the house makes you wish you had it now. In the winter, my SO likes making it to assist with the warming of the house. Essentially worshiping at the altar of the oven, one can't help but start getting excited. That mentality is a part of what makes it so delicious once it's done, but it's also the fact that it's been slowly cooking in it's own juices, ensuring that the flavorful juices that flow out of it are folded back on itself, again and again. Nothing is wasted. Now it's on to the cracklin'! A term the SO and I picked up from Michael Pollan's Cooked, it describes the use and the desire for the skin of a pig, but not on it's own. As part of the whole. Considering that these skinless cuts of meat actually take more work to create (and usually more expensive), and are missing an element we've come to love, makes these cheaper cuts the kind of find one can get excited for. When there is skin, we score it in a hatch pattern, to ensure that the moisture from below escapes. The high heat at both the beginning and end of the cook ensures that it gets crispy, almost burnt. And then as we pull the pork, we use a knife (since it's too tough to pull with a fork) to cut it into small bits, almost crumbs, to mix in with the actual meat.

The first bite of the pork is the realization of the expectations that have been growing all day. The very slight sweetness of the citrus attacks the taste buds, putting them on notice that more is coming. After the initial eyebrow raise, the juice starts to flow, providing a mild but deep flavor to all reaches of the mouth. One can't help but inhale a bit at this point, and know that life is good. But it's about to get better. As I continue to chew, the soft texture of the meat is interrupted by something crunchy: the cracklin'. Even though I knew it was there, the flavors that explode from it and combine with the meat always catches me by surprise. I want to simultaneously smile, and continue chewing. I close my eyes, wanting all of my attention focused on my taste buds, without the overwhelming sensations provided by my eyes. This is good.

And now the poblano rings. Due to some confusion while pulling them out of the small sauce pan we fried them in, I didn't get 3 separate batches with the different additions to the batter. I got a giant crispy pile of rings. Thinking of the photos JS posted, the batter looked light enough to match what I was going for. I didn't realize that the previous discussion would color my experience as much as they did. As I lifted the first perfectly formed ring, I felt the fragile and crispy batter enveloping the ring, protecting it, but making me question how this worked. As I took the first bite, my teeth almost gently broke through the crust. The SO was right, there wasn't much flavor in the batter, but it had a bit more basic flavor, which contrasted nicely as I got into the meat of the pepper. Even though the batter was simple, it acted as a palate cleanser, preparing me for the mix of sweet, savory, and slight spice contained with the poblano. One part that really surprised me was the temperature difference in such a small piece of pepper. Piping hot with a cooler center (although still soft and cooked).

Even though it was snowy outside, the second I took the bite, I smelled the hot sand blowing across the beaches of Baja, and could almost hear the waves crashing on the beach. It transported me. I felt free, what few stresses I had evaporated with every bite. My next ring obviously had the ghost pepper batter, as the palate cleansing nature of the batter had morphed into something else. Something that added yet another layer of tastes. It wasn't overwhelming (since I only put like 4 drops in the batter), but it was there.

So obviously, I hated the damn things . These things are delicious, simple, and were cheap (I'll do a full cost breakdown in my journal, but that plate of poblanos I pictured earlier was about 1/2lb, and I got the peppers for $.99/lb). Mad props to JS for mentioning them, and apologies for missing them earlier.

Chapter 5 - The Meal

A picture is worth a thousand words.



Frugal Lizard

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Re: What awesome food experiences did you create today?
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2016, 07:28:36 PM »
How big of a part does the social aspect of eating/cooking play in your life?

It is the main part - if it was just about the calories I wouldn`t take so much time and care.  For six weeks my husband can eat dinner at work four nights a week and I miss making him dinner.  We hunt and gather at the farmer`s market, on weekend jaunts and from my garden.  We look forward to the seasons of each type of food and savour the peak flavour.

Your meal looks amazing.  I will follow along and once my kitchen restoration is complete and the fridge isn`t plugged in in the dining room and the stove sitting in the front hall I will be inspired to cook.

EngineerYogi

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Re: What awesome food experiences did you create today?
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2016, 10:28:54 AM »
Well JordanRead, I just finished breakfast and now I'm craving the flavors of Baja. Nice work. ;) I'll be sharing as I adventure back towards pleasure in the process of food.

jordanread

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Re: What awesome food experiences did you create today?
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2016, 11:41:13 AM »
Well JordanRead, I just finished breakfast and now I'm craving the flavors of Baja. Nice work. ;) I'll be sharing as I adventure back towards pleasure in the process of food.

Feel free to post the one you told me about earlier, while we are waiting on your new preparation. And yes, I got some heat for posting that originally. The interesting thing about this is that I really only cook on weekends (and cook for the whole week). I don't think I'll have something that epic every time, as sometimes it's a solid go to meal, but writing about one of those would be kind of fun too. However, at least every month I will have something epic. Starting in July, there may be something every weekend, as there is a new method of cooking I'm going to start experimenting with.

TealBlue

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Re: What awesome food experiences did you create today?
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2016, 09:40:26 AM »
I don't have anything yet, but posting to follow for sure! 

I am growing several types of peppers this year in my garden and look forward to trying your rings!

pbkmaine

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Re: What awesome food experiences did you create today?
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2016, 10:33:52 AM »
Made sashimi at home with tuna and salmon from our great local fish shop, a well-sharpened knife, short grain rice with vinegar, sugar and salt and nori rice seasoning. $20 for 4 large servings.

jordanread

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Re: What awesome food experiences did you create today?
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2016, 03:34:42 PM »
Why is it that I do things related to food in other threads than this one?

With everything going on in the forums, it feels weird to spend time on something as, dare I say, mundane as delicious burgers. But that is life, and a very important part of it. And since it was all about burgers, I assumed this would be a good place to celebrate the amazing experience I had. I had never heard of beer can burgers before, but watching the Rise and Smoke episode, I was introduced to them. After some additional google fu, I was intrigued, and mentioned it to prospector. I started planning an event surrounding burgers. This weekend was that event.

Making the patties the night before, I told everyone to bring their desired buns, and their toppings. We had a greek cucumber salad, and one guest decided to also make a Hawaiian slider. With a huge patty, containing a mix of italian sausage and grass-fed ground angus. Some BBQ sauce, Hawaiian bread, pineapples, jalapenos, and sharp cheddar all combined to make a spicy sweet delicious slider that we munched on while cooking the burgers. My friend brought over his small grill, and we smoked the patty over some mesquite and charcoal, infusing the ground meat with a hint of smokiness, that was almost lost in the depth of strong flavors, but still there.

Then the burgers themselves went on the barrel smoker, this time with some hickory. However, before I did that, I went with a super low heat and threw a few things on while I waited for people to show up. Tomatoes, jalapenos, onions, and poblano peppers didn't cook, but infused with wood smoke. And now it was time for the burgers to go on. Everything was so good, I didn't even remember to make video clips, even though the camera sat on the table surrounded by amazing food the entire time. The bacon started to crisp up, and the burgers were ready for toppings. For mine, I took an egg from the coop, and cracked it into the little pocket of the burger. I also added some roasted onion, smoked poblanos, and a slice of pepper jack cheese. Around 5 minutes prior to the egg setting, I buttered up a portobello mushroom cap, and roasted it over the flames. Once all the butter was melted, I took some roasted garlic mayonnaise, and slathered it on, prior to sliding the patty with a newly set egg (with a runny yolk). It was eaten, and it was delicious. Afterwards, I realized I did not take a picture. Oh well, round two. This time I used a potato bun and added some  sauteed mushrooms. Some other people also went greek based, with feta and kalamata olives. We had a mushroom and swiss burgers, jalapeno cheddar burgers, and of course every single one had bacon as well. Amazingly delicious. Drool:



There were some other amazing things, but I will just link to the entire album. With a lot of leftover burgers, I cooked them up, so I can do that oh so terrible thing of eating leftovers. Sunday, I ate more delicious stuff, but remembered to take some photos. I reheat them on the gas grill, and it was all amazing.





So what cheeseburger stuff have you done lately, prospector? :P I have to admit, I still feel like I'm carrying this whole cheeseburger thing, and I'm totally okay with it.

Kansas Terri

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Re: What awesome food experiences did you create today?
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2016, 09:56:17 AM »
I made top=your-own pizzas! I rolled out bread dough into a couple of circles, opened a jar of parmissan flavored spaghetti topping for sauce, and people made their own.

There was not much work (or cost) in THAT meal!

G-dog

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Re: What awesome food experiences did you create today?
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2016, 10:16:36 AM »
Ooh, I love food. Cooking is my main creative outlet. I care about how it tastes AND how it looks. There's a reason that restaurants spend time on plating - you eat with your eyes first.

One Thanksgiving I drove the dogs nearly INSANE as the smells of the meal, especially the turkey (breast only) filled the house. They kept pacing around the house and inevitably kept honing in on the oven. I had seasoned the breast with lemon zest and pepper in butter (I likely also put in sage as I love turkey and sage).

I think the dogs and the spouse were drooling by the time everything was ready!

G-dog

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Re: What awesome food experiences did you create today?
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2016, 10:20:41 AM »
I think even simple food is great food - here is a recent example. Tomato from the garden, Triscuits, and homemade chicken salad. Now, I make a mean chicken salad, if I do say so myself. Even for something like this, I think about how big, or small, to chop the various components. We eat a lot of chicken breast (Costco or bought on sale), and I always cook more than I need for the immediate meal. Grilled chicken breast, sautéed, baked, poached - it is all good for chicken salad. Each prep brings in its own characteristics. For the chicken salad I want a mix of textures and flavors and elements - crunchy vegetables and nuts, chewy dried fruit, soft chicken, smooth mayonnaise; sweet vegetables and fruit, salty chicken and seasonings, meaty chicken and nuts, bright herbs and/ or vegetables; and I like the cold wateriness of the vegetables, the fattiness of the mayo and nuts, and the like. My base recipe is chopped celery, chopped sweet bell pepper, chopped raw almonds, finely chopped craisins, chopped chicken, salt, pepper, mayo. I'll add cilantro if I have it, and Greek seasoning if I have it (Cavendish - great stuff).
Needed to eat that giant Gold Medal tomato (17.5 oz), so dinner tonight was chicken salad, sliced tomato, and rosemary and olive oil Triscuits. Quite tasty.

« Last Edit: August 20, 2016, 10:32:58 AM by G-dog »

jordanread

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Re: What awesome food experiences did you create today?
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2016, 06:14:32 PM »
I was going to go back through and find this thread, but then I got busy. Thanks for everyone posting. From prospector's journal:

With everything going on in the forums, it feels weird to spend time on something as, dare I say, mundane as delicious burgers. But that is life, and a very important part of it. And since it was all about burgers, I assumed this would be a good place to celebrate the amazing experience I had. I had never heard of beer can burgers before, but watching the Rise and Smoke episode, I was introduced to them. After some additional google fu, I was intrigued, and mentioned it to prospector. I started planning an event surrounding burgers. This weekend was that event.

Making the patties the night before, I told everyone to bring their desired buns, and their toppings. We had a greek cucumber salad, and one guest decided to also make a Hawaiian slider. With a huge patty, containing a mix of italian sausage and grass-fed ground angus. Some BBQ sauce, Hawaiian bread, pineapples, jalapenos, and sharp cheddar all combined to make a spicy sweet delicious slider that we munched on while cooking the burgers. My friend brought over his small grill, and we smoked the patty over some mesquite and charcoal, infusing the ground meat with a hint of smokiness, that was almost lost in the depth of strong flavors, but still there.

Then the burgers themselves went on the barrel smoker, this time with some hickory. However, before I did that, I went with a super low heat and threw a few things on while I waited for people to show up. Tomatoes, jalapenos, onions, and poblano peppers didn't cook, but infused with wood smoke. And now it was time for the burgers to go on. Everything was so good, I didn't even remember to make video clips, even though the camera sat on the table surrounded by amazing food the entire time. The bacon started to crisp up, and the burgers were ready for toppings. For mine, I took an egg from the coop, and cracked it into the little pocket of the burger. I also added some roasted onion, smoked poblanos, and a slice of pepper jack cheese. Around 5 minutes prior to the egg setting, I buttered up a portobello mushroom cap, and roasted it over the flames. Once all the butter was melted, I took some roasted garlic mayonnaise, and slathered it on, prior to sliding the patty with a newly set egg (with a runny yolk). It was eaten, and it was delicious. Afterwards, I realized I did not take a picture. Oh well, round two. This time I used a potato bun and added some  sauteed mushrooms. Some other people also went greek based, with feta and kalamata olives. We had a mushroom and swiss burgers, jalapeno cheddar burgers, and of course every single one had bacon as well. Amazingly delicious. Drool:



There were some other amazing things, but I will just link to the entire album. With a lot of leftover burgers, I cooked them up, so I can do that oh so terrible thing of eating leftovers. Sunday, I ate more delicious stuff, but remembered to take some photos. I reheat them on the gas grill, and it was all amazing.





G-dog

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Re: What awesome food experiences did you create today?
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2016, 01:57:38 PM »
Copied from bread making thread - CHORIZO SAUSAGE


Waitaminite... you make sausage in a bread maker??? This changes everything. Or did you buy the grinder attachment for the KitchenAid and that's what you're talking about??
[/quote]

OK, I'm about to hijack a thread so I started a new one:

see:

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/do-it-yourself-forum!/sausage-making-kitchenaid-10lbs-of-chorizo/

NOW BACK TO BREAD MAKING PLEASE.....

[/quote]