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the GF Recipie Thread

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BigDuke6 said "add more tomato or (if no one was looking) a bit of sugar".

In most dishes where I cook with tomatoes I like to add a pinch of sugar, even if someone is looking! The sugar balances out the acid in the tomatoes, and you're just left with the tomato flavour. The only exception to this rule is that sometimes I also add a touch of chilli powder, say when making tomato-based sauces for pasta. Not too much chilli, just a bit.

Whenever I used to make marinara sauce from scratch, I used to throw in a generous pinch of sweet basil. It seemed to sweeten the sauce without that distinctive "sugar" taste that didn't seem to fit. A teaspoon of allspice also helped. That may sound improbable, but it worked.

Michael

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Whenever I used to make marinara sauce from scratch, I used to throw in a generous pinch of sweet basil. It seemed to sweeten the sauce without that distinctive "sugar" taste that didn't seem to fit. A teaspoon of allspice also helped. That may sound improbable, but it worked.

Michael

If you're using fresh basil, be sure to add it at the end, as the heat of the cooking process with destroy the herb's essential oils. I often add cinnamon to my bolognese sauce; I believe it's a Greek thing.

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Another possibility in a bolognese sauce is nutmeg. Elizabeth David's recipe for the authentic ragu bolognese in her classic 1954 book 'Italian Food' had interesting and unexpected ingredients such as chicken livers, nutmeg and white wine, along with the more usual suspects of minced beef, bacon, onion, carrot, celery, tomato paste etc.

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Smoked paprika is now one of my favorite "cheat" ingredients for adding flavor...

I had an interesting experience today. I was at the Farmers' Market and there was a guy sitting in a stall selling little bottles of smoked paprika. Or at least he called it that. Actually, there were four or five varieties of hot chilies that he had grown, smoked, and ground himself. They came in the same number of degrees of hotness, the mildest of which was made from jalapeños. He urged me to taste some and I did. It was delicious and not excessively hot for use as a paprika.

So, did I buy some? Well, not yet. He was asking $20 for a tiny bottle that was maybe half full. It might have contained 10 grams of the stuff. Two bucks a gram strikes me as a lot to pay for anything less than pure Afghani hash, so I backed off to think about it. I'm still thinking about it. It did taste great, but I would burn through that much in a month or at most two and my budget just couldn't handle it.

Sure did taste good though...

Michael

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BigDuke6 said "add more tomato or (if no one was looking) a bit of sugar".

In most dishes where I cook with tomatoes I like to add a pinch of sugar, even if someone is looking! The sugar balances out the acid in the tomatoes, and you're just left with the tomato flavour. The only exception to this rule is that sometimes I also add a touch of chilli powder, say when making tomato-based sauces for pasta. Not too much chilli, just a bit.

I was experimenting today, after having bought a load of fresh veggies from farms in SW Michigan yesterday (including some onions as big as softballs) making some marinara. The tomatoes were beefsteaks, which I was a bit apprehensive about- unneccessarily as it turned out.

I took several tomatoes, threw em in a blender, and into the crockpot. Took half a head of the fresh, farm bought garlic, put the cloves (about 6 or 7) through the garlic press. Tossed that into a pan with some EVOO, low-med heat til it turned gold.

Threw that into the crockpot. It was looking a bit pink and soupy now, so I added a couple cans of tomato paste. Now it was a bit too thick, so I poured a scotch glass full of water in it. Threw a bit of red pepper powder, a swig of black pepper (not too much), some salt, a bit of oregeno, a bit of chopped basil, and a single bay leaf.

Took one of the gargantuan onions, and put it to a grater and added it. At this point, I looked at the bag of beautiful, fresh, gargantuan onions and thought to myself that I needed to put another onion in it. So I cut another giant sweet onion up, tossed into the blender, and added it to the crock pot.

Cooked it on low for 4 or 5 hours, and OMFG, it is awesome. The sweet onions add the sweet part to the sauce, without having to use sugar. I completley hit the nail on the head with this one.

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I was experimenting today, after having bought a load of fresh veggies from farms in SW Michigan yesterday (including some onions as big as softballs) making some marinara. The tomatoes were beefsteaks, which I was a bit apprehensive about- unneccessarily as it turned out.

I took several tomatoes, threw em in a blender, and into the crockpot. Took half a head of the fresh, farm bought garlic, put the cloves (about 6 or 7) through the garlic press. Tossed that into a pan with some EVOO, low-med heat til it turned gold.

Threw that into the crockpot. It was looking a bit pink and soupy now, so I added a couple cans of tomato paste. Now it was a bit too thick, so I poured a scotch glass full of water in it. Threw a bit of red pepper powder, a swig of black pepper (not too much), some salt, a bit of oregeno, a bit of chopped basil, and a single bay leaf.

Took one of the gargantuan onions, and put it to a grater and added it. At this point, I looked at the bag of beautiful, fresh, gargantuan onions and thought to myself that I needed to put another onion in it. So I cut another giant sweet onion up, tossed into the blender, and added it to the crock pot.

Cooked it on low for 4 or 5 hours, and OMFG, it is awesome. The sweet onions add the sweet part to the sauce, without having to use sugar. I completley hit the nail on the head with this one.

You can slice those onions, and cook them on a low heat with a partially-covered lid for an hour with a splash of olive oil before you use them. They'll caramelise and give you sweetness and richness.

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You're absolutely right, Soddy, but isn't it nice how 4 or 5 hours of OMFG crockpot slow cooking seems to reduce all the world's fancy cooking to a deliciously sweet mass that, as easy-v says, hits the nail on the head.

I reckon the secret ingredient in the end, with all good cooking, is real, fresh ingredients. I must admit to flinching every time I hear "I added a can of xxxx" or "a jar of XYZ sauce" to recipes. Of course that sometimes works a treat, but for all the times I read it I do think most of the time it's second best.

The more all your ingredients look like real vegetables, real fruits, real meat, real herbs, real spices, the better it will taste.

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The more all your ingredients look like real vegetables, real fruits, real meat, real herbs, real spices, the better it will taste.

For the greater part, I agree with you. However, I am occasionally reminded of the words of an old Tennesseean who was heard to say, "If you can still identify it, you didn't cook it long enough." But he was, as you will recognize, an extreme case.

Michael

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The more all your ingredients look like real vegetables, real fruits, real meat, real herbs, real spices, the better it will taste.

And be healthier. Make you have healthier, taller children. Be taller. Also, make a better meal for whatever scavangers/cannibals find you.

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I reckon the secret ingredient in the end, with all good cooking, is real, fresh ingredients. I must admit to flinching every time I hear "I added a can of xxxx" or "a jar of XYZ sauce" to recipes. Of course that sometimes works a treat, but for all the times I read it I do think most of the time it's second best.

You are, in the main, correct, but you might be surprised how many Michelin 3 star kitchens have industrial quantities of Heinz ketchup on hand.

Also, canned tomatoes are an extremely useful ingredient, especially in the colder months. I prefer to save my lusciously, drippingly ripe, farm fresh heirloom tomatoes for their deity-intended purpose: raw consumption.

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I'll have to try the carmelized onion thing. I didn't want anything identifiable as an onion in this batch, as my daughter does not like onions. If she cant see them, she won't know its in the sauce

On a food-quality related question, does anyone have any tips on buying high quality Olive Oil? How can you tell when Olive Oil is "fresh" or "rancid" before you buy it?

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An update, I made the liver with the onions as I didn't have any flour. I might have cooked it a might too long but I didn't want to take a chance with the first time I cooked it.

Made with a nice tomato and coriander salad, tasty tasty.

You are, in the main, correct, but you might be surprised how many Michelin 3 star kitchens have industrial quantities of Heinz ketchup on hand.

Also, canned tomatoes are an extremely useful ingredient, especially in the colder months. I prefer to save my lusciously, drippingly ripe, farm fresh heirloom tomatoes for their deity-intended purpose: raw consumption.

Just fresh tomato on toast with some salt and olive oil is surprisingly good.

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Just fresh tomato on toast with some salt and olive oil is surprisingly good.

A friend of mine used to slice Roma tomatoes lengthwise into sixths and then sprinkle a little olive oil and dried oregano on them. Made a nice appetizer. Fresh basil chopped fine would probably be dandy too.

Michael

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I am occasionally reminded of the words of an old Tennesseean who was heard to say, "If you can still identify it, you didn't cook it long enough."

Best cooking advice out of this entire thread.

Also, thanks for the suggestions with paprika.

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For those who like chilli, beef and asian herbs.

Prep: 15mins

Cooking: 30 mins

Serves 2 oiks or four normal people

400g rump steak

1/2 onion

1 1/2 tblspn fish sauce

1 star anise

1 cinnamon stick

pinch ground white pepper

1 1/2 L beef stock (salt reduced is better imo)

300g fresh thin rice noodles

3 spring onions thinly sliced

30 (1 cup) fresh Vienamese mint leaves (or use a mix of Thai basil and normal mint, or all three)

90g bean sprouts (not essential but good to have)

1/3 chinese cabbage, thinly sliced

1 small (hot) fresh red chilli, thinly sliced

1 lime

Put the steak in the freezer for about half an hour - makes it easier to slice thinly.

Put onion, fish sauce, star anise, cinnamon, pepper, stock and 2 cups (500ml) of water in a largish saucepan. Bring to the boil then cover and simmer for 20 mins.

Follow instructions on pack to separate noodles. Divide up into large bowls. Thinly slice the steak (thinner is better, particularly if you don't like rare beef). Place spring onion, beef, 'erbs, cabbage, sprouts, chilli in bowls. Ladle hot broth over the top (strain out the solids if you like - star anise ain't so great to eat whole). A squeeze of lime juice and you're ready to go.

The beef will cook in the hot broth and the soup will get "hotter" as the chilli oils permeate, so beware.

Enjoy!

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this is chili how i make it. i have received a lot of compliments on it so i thought i would share it with you all so you may enjoy as well!

INGREDIENTS

1 12 ounce package of morningstar sausage style recipe crumbles. (or a pound of ground beef or chicken)

3 cans of Bush's chili beans /w hot or medium chili sauce.

1 can petite cut diced tomatoes with jalapeno peppers.

1 8 ounce box of cream cheese. (sliced to help melting)

1 1 pound carton of campbells roasted red pepper and tomato soup. or just a large can of tomato soup works.

1 half of a large white onion chopped into maybe dime sized chunks.

1 Bell pepper chopped into maybe dime sized pieces

roughly 2 tablespoons of chili powder. or to taste.

roughly 1 tablespoon of garlic powder. or to taste.

as much cayenne pepper powder as you dare!

PREPERATION

cook in large covered pot on medium heat until simmering and the cheese is well mixed/melted (the chili will develop a lighter color.)

i usually have cornbread on the side and something to drink to cool the palette as i like to add a good dose of cayenne...

enjoy!

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Masoor Daal

This recipe is an old one that I have been using for years and it is great comfort food as a quick, easy to reheat meal.

You will need:

2 cups of red lentils (aka Masoor Daal), 1.5 teaspoons garam masala, 1.5 teaspoons turmeric, chilli powder to taste (I use about a teaspoon), 1.5 finely chopped onions, half a head of garlic (yes it is a lot!), 1 inch ginger root and 2 chopped tomatoes.

Instructions:

Rinse the lentils, add to 1l boiling water and cook for 10-15 mins before adding ½ tsp garam masala, ½ tsp turmeric and salt to taste. Continue cooking until the lentils start to go all soft and mushy but make sure that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan, add water as necessary to stop it burning.

Meanwhile, fry the onion in lots of oil then press and add the garlic and ginger (ginger is stringy though so chop it small before pressing it) and the chilli powder. Cook further for a few mins and then add the tomatoes and let them soften before combining everything in the lentil pot and simmering, adding salt as needed until all the flavours have nicely blended!

Serve with coriander leaf and rice/roti/chapattis

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Wow, the old recipe thread. Greetings to all the old stagers, such as Mr Emrys, Hakko and all the other good recipe threaders. Hope you're all doing fine. I just dropped by here after a many-month absence to see if there was any life in the old GF village, and I noticed this good old thread dragged out, dusted off, coated with flour, egg and breadcrumbs and pan-fried till golden-brown.

So a new recipe, to kick things along - tomato rice with spinach. In the many local Vietnamese restaurants where I live here in Sydney, they all serve Tomato Rice as a side dish. This is something I cooked the other night, naturally enough, as a side dish.

Tomato rice with spinach

1 tablespoon light vegetable oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon paprika (sweet, mild)

1 cup (220g) basmati rice

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 cups (500mL) vegetable stock

50g baby (or chopped large) spinach leaves

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat, until soft. Add the paprika and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds, then stir in the rice and cook for 1 minute, until coated with the spice mixture.

Stir in the tomato paste, then the stock. Cover and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to very, very low and cook, tightly covered, for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, uncover briefly to add the spinach on top, then put the lid back on, let it all stand, still covered, for 10 minutes more. Mix through the wilted spinach, and serve.

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