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A Community Culinary Diary

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Victory: French Onion Soup [30 Jan 2007|08:11am]

I had another successful experiment recently, in the form of french onion soup. In addition to being delicious, this particular soup is simple as hell. The basic recipe made 6-8 servings but I decided to cut it back a bit since only my mother and I would be eating it. Generally, it seems about right to use 1 can of broth per onion.

* 2-3 Large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
* 2-3 Cans of beef broth
* Butter

Cook the onions down in the butter in whatever big pot or pan you're using. It took me about 20 minutes. Do it slow, under lowish-medium heat, because you don't want to burn the butter. I turned the heat up at the last minute to caramelize them a bit. Now, add the broth. Hot damn. I added a tsp of worcestershire sauce, which I know sounds weird, but Better Homes and Gardens said to do it, and it really added something nice to the flavor.

I put gruyer cheese on the bottoms of the bowls, and then filled them up. Then I put slices of italian (french also works... more authenic too I guess) bread with more sliced gruyer on top of the soup, floating in the bowls. After that I broiled the bowls to melt the cheese and served. Hell of good.

Alternate ideas? It's a pretty simple process and the result is undeniably delicious. You can use swiss cheese instead of gruyer, esp. if you're on a budget. The cheese I bought cost as much as the rest of the ingredients together.
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Submitted for your approval... [29 Aug 2006|04:51pm]

Is it possible to grill brussels sprouts?

Some guy at a bar that was hitting on my best friend got really angry at me for suggesting such a thing. Then he said matter-of-factly that they would never cook all the way through on a grill. He got even angrier when I said, "Sure... you could just blanch and shock them. Then add flavor and grill." He responded with something like, "Oooooooooohhhhhhhhh! blanch and shock, I've never heard those words before." His argument was that you could only steam or boil brussels sprouts.

I know for a fact that this isn't true, since I've blanched, shocked, and then sauted them before. Now that I'm internet searching, I see that there are a number of straight-up grilled brussels sprout recipes.

I know most people don't like them, but what do you think?

PS- Just thought you'd like to know that instead of being my regular argumentative self, I just sat back, drank my beer, and laughed at him as he demeaningly explained all these 'heavy' cooking terms to Jina and threw me dirty looks. Then he had a final outburst of 'not appreciating my facial expressions' and left. (A couple of days later he came back and sat with us and said that boiling a lobster alive was the only possible way to cook it because otherwise it would poison you. He was also wrong on that)
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Inaugural Attempt: Tasty Eggs [15 Aug 2006|09:54am]

Welcome to Foodies United, my online culinary diary. The purpose of the site is to document my process as I learn me some cookin'. In each post I'll talk about what I cooked, what my goals and ideas were going into it, how it turned out, and what I think I learned from it. You, the reader, are invited to share any input you have (constructive please). Hopefully I'll get other people to share my quest, and we'll have the benefit of their experiences as well. With any luck, this could be a lot of fun!

My knowledge and ideas going into this come mostly from watching a lot of the food network. I picked up oodles of helpful info and ideas, but you can't learn just by watching. So, I set forth on this quest to hone my execution. My goal is to try making lots of new things, and try to do as much of the preparation myself as I can, rather than using prepackaged goods from the store. I can tell you now that for budget reasons, I'll have to fudge that one a bit.

With no further ado, on to this morning's adventure: herb scrambled eggs.

I started with something pretty basic, obviously. Something I was pretty confident I could put together: scrambled eggs. But, just so they wouldn't be boring, I tried it a couple times on a few different occasions with different flavorings. Our pantry has plenty of herbs around, so I figured I'd start there. The basic setup was:
  • 3 eggs
  • About a palmful of grated cheese. I chose a pre-shredded provolone and mozzarella blend because they were mild enough not to overpower the herbs and soft enough to melt readily.

I started by cracking the eggs into a small bowl and whisking them until they ran down the whisk (instead of oozing). Bubbles seem to be a good sign that you worked some air in there, ensuring fluffiness.

At this point I added herbs. The first go-round it was dill, and then the second was rosemary. In either case I sort of winged it in terms of how much I would need. I put more of the dill because rosemary's a pretty strong aromatic.

Next I put some oil in a cast iron pan and put it on low heat. I added the eggs and pushed from the edges toward the center with a spatula to bunch up the eggs as they started to cook and fluff up. Once they started to look like scrambled eggs I tossed the cheese in to let it melt and stirred them around to work the cheese in evenly. Once it melted and my eggs were more or less solid, I was ready to plate.

I'd say they turned out pretty darn good. The rosemary eggs were better than the dill eggs, which tasted not bad but a bit unusual. The rosemary had a fresh piny taste that might have gone well with some citrus fruit. Maybe cottage cheese and pineapple or orange? Or both? The great thing about modular dishes like this is once you have the master preparation down you can play with the flavors to find something that suits you. Maybe instead of herbs, a breakfast meat? Onions, garlic, other vegetables? Who knows. Omlettes offer even more avenues for personalization, but that's another story. Readers, let me know what you'd recommend. I declare the herb scrambled eggs a success, and I'll continue to search for new ways to flavor them.

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