The more you know, the more you can create. May 17, 2016 9:37 AM   Subscribe

There's no end to imagination in the kitchen. Given that the cookbook thread petered out over a week ago and the caramel sugar thread is currently making me wish I was in my kitchen, describe the best thing you have ever made. In pornographic detail. If you wish to add the recipe here, those that are working on "Can I Eat This?" can start up the book.
posted by Sophie1 to MetaFilter-Related at 9:37 AM (94 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite

CAUTION: PRODUCT WILL BE HOT!. MICROWAVE OVEN 1100 WATT: Cook FROZEN product 1 minute 45 seconds*/REFRIGERATED product 1 minute*. MICROWAVE OVEN 700 WATT: Cook FROZEN product 2 minutes*. CONVENTIONAL OVEN 350°F: Place FROZEN product on foil or baking sheet.
Hot Pocket Pepperoni Pizza 24 x 4 ounces | Hot Pockets | Nestlé ...
posted by ND¢ at 9:44 AM on May 17, 2016 [8 favorites]

posted by Rob Rockets at 9:48 AM on May 17, 2016 [4 favorites]

(Sorry, I've had some personal stuff happening that has eaten up my organize-things-energy. This week is looking better.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:50 AM on May 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

posted by Greg_Ace at 10:04 AM on May 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

Best jam I've ever made: Gelson's market donated crates of peacherines to a fundraiser and we were left with about 300 of them. I took a bag home. I combined them with some fresh ginger and made Peacherine Ginger Jam. People are still talking about it to this day.

Also, Ernest Miller once told me I had made the perfect Orange Marmalade. Which still makes me giddy.

This cake with fresh honey from my hive was absolutely incredible. The tiny hint of cocoa is nearly imperceptible, but OH MY GOD. It doesn't even need the caramelized apples.

My chili egg casserole, has 2 pounds of cheese and a stick of butter. It's really, really good.
posted by Sophie1 at 10:09 AM on May 17, 2016 [5 favorites]

FFFM - I figured you were going to pick it up. That wasn't shaming, just my immediate need for food pron.
posted by Sophie1 at 10:10 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

My thing is ice cream. I make a ridiculous amount of it in my kitchen, and I'm always experimenting with new flavor ideas. Some end up horribly, but I've developed a few dozen recipes over the years that I'm really proud of. (What can I say? I loved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when I was a kid.) Friends can attest that I have no fewer than 9 freezer-canisters for my 3 countertop Cuisinart machines. It's an issue.

Probably my personal favorite? The peanut brittle ice cream I made last Spring. A smooth, buttery base (think butter pecan) with whole roasted peanuts and tiny crackly shards of homemade sugar candy laced throughout. Reader, I consumed half of that quart on the spot before remembering it was intended for a church potluck.
posted by duffell at 10:28 AM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

Probably my personal favorite? The peanut brittle ice cream I made last Spring. A smooth, buttery base (think butter pecan) with whole roasted peanuts and tiny crackly shards of homemade sugar candy laced throughout. Reader, I consumed half of that quart on the spot before remembering it was intended for a church potluck.

What church do you go to?
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:36 AM on May 17, 2016 [4 favorites]

Yes duffell, and is your church potluck schedule online?
posted by domo at 10:42 AM on May 17, 2016 [4 favorites]

duffell, we need to hang, ice cream is my thing too! I opened this thread to comment about the no-business-being-that-good pizza ice cream sitting in my freezer right now, next to some this-is-actual-magic spicy kale strawberry sorbet (and some totally-iced-over-we-need-to-clean-out-the-freezer mustard custard, but we don't need to talk about that).

DC ice cream meetup/exchange this summer? circle one: yes / hell yes
posted by everybody had matching towels at 10:42 AM on May 17, 2016 [6 favorites]

I still routinely make your chili egg casserole, Sophie1, and recommend it all the time.

I'm not sure what the best thing I've ever made is. I did once make a "this stuff is all about to go bad" jam with lemons, strawberries, and peaches that was pretty damn good even if it set a little too hard.

I make a pretty amazing Thanksgiving Pie, shepherd's style, from Thanksgiving leftovers. I think I'm still a few years off from reaching true greatness, but the secret ingredient is black-eyed peas. Well, black-eyed peas and Trader Joe's boxed turkey gravy.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:44 AM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

ooh! I didn't think I had any recipes to include in this, but then we cooked this very delicious steak this weekend, and I realized I could put it in there, if it counts as a recipe. It's basically a reverse sear, I think. I will need to get the instructions!
posted by needlegrrl at 10:45 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

All of my recipes are 3 ingredient, and you have to have a puppet help you in the kitchen. I suspect that's pretty limiting for a cookbook.
posted by xingcat at 10:48 AM on May 17, 2016 [6 favorites]

It's basically a reverse sear

Sear the center and leave the outside pink??
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:50 AM on May 17, 2016 [4 favorites]

Greg_Ace, I might be saying it wrong. You take a thick thick steak, marinate it, put it in the oven at a low temperature for an extended amount of time (around an hour for ours), and then let it rest for a bit, then put it into a super hot cast iron pan and sear each edge to finish it.

It winds up being almost melt in your mouth tender with a nice crust and almost always perfectly cooked.

It's amazing, very smoky though (we add butter at the end), and has pretty much ruined us on steaks out. also, you either have to get the thick ones at Costco or Sam's, or have them specially cut.
posted by needlegrrl at 10:56 AM on May 17, 2016 [8 favorites]

That's just low-temp roasting, with the searing done after. Heston Blumenthal popularized the method on an episode of In Search of Perfection.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:59 AM on May 17, 2016

needlegrrl, I think America's Test Kitchen refers to that as a reverse sear - we just did it the other night on a delicious steak
posted by brilliantine at 11:01 AM on May 17, 2016

We got a cheap sous vide for Christmas and have been making our steaks that way ever since (sous vide for a couple hours, then sear) and yeah, it's fantastic.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:01 AM on May 17, 2016 [5 favorites]

needlegrrl, I figured it was something like that, I just exaggerated my ignorance for comic purposes.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:03 AM on May 17, 2016

The best things I've ever made...

My super-special, super-secret deviled eggs. No, you cannot have the recipe. But if you ever come to my house I'll make them for you.

A dark mocha chocolate cake (made with veg oil so very not dry) with Nutella/whipped cream frosting. It's the cake all of my friends and family request for birthdays. I'm not a frosting fan in general but damn this frosting is amazing.

Cucumber sandwiches with Benedictine spread. Again, secret recipe.

This one time I apparently made some sort of spicy rice (my BIL swears it was green) with beans that was allegedly the best thing anyone in my family had ever eaten. I have no idea what any of them are talking about.
posted by cooker girl at 11:04 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

I do the bulk of the meal prep / cooking in our house, so I have a reasonable repertoire of pretty-good, if unremarkable, items. But the one thing everybody asks for on special occasions is chocolate pecan pie. I even managed to stay at the Derby party long enough to eat some this year. Major win.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:20 AM on May 17, 2016

I will share a secret for super fancy dinner that won't stress you out too much. I've done this a couple times now, and the reason I like it is because there's not a ton of active time so you can hang out with your guests.

A four course meal:
1 - salad, something simple and snooty. Fennel, radish, and mushroom sliced thin with a vinegarette. Something like that. Veg can be cut up in advance, but not too far in advance.

2 - cold fish. Crudo is great for this, super easy to make. Put it in a ring mold and jam a sprig of something in it; maybe put it on endive if you're frisky. I also make a cod and scallop mousseline for this course, which is made the day before and chilled and then sliced and served with a remoulade and maybe some lettuce.

3 - roasted everything. Something big that stays in the oven for hours. Time it to be done right before dinner starts and let it rest during the first two courses. When you pull it out of the oven, throw some potatoes and Brussels sprouts in there. A pan sauce ties this whole thing together and takes no time.

4 - dessert. Have a wife that loves to bake (hi honey!). Whatever you do, pick something that can be made ahead. Add fresh whipped cream and a mint sprig. Charge $15.

It helps to have a lot of plates for this.
posted by backseatpilot at 11:22 AM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

The best thing I've ever made is always my awesome, unbelievably smooth melt in the mouth fudge. I was gifted it, got the recipe, and make it as an Xmas thing for special people most years. I've posted the recipe before but here it is again.
posted by bearwife at 11:22 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

I wonder if you could do an inverse sear by sewing wire through a steak and wiring it up to the mains.
posted by lucidium at 11:24 AM on May 17, 2016 [4 favorites]

Quickly, this, of all things, is the most requested, most favorited thing I make:

1 box long pasta, not much thicker than spaghetti
1 jar Classico Spicy Tomato Sauce* (the texture of the sauce is important, it's not too thick.)
1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped
zest of one lemon
Parmesan cheese (optional)

1) Make the pasta and drain.
2) Dump the jar of sauce over the pasta. Add a bit of the water
3) Toss with cilantro and lemon zest. Add cheese if desired.

Note: the tomato/cilantro/lemon zest combo is also great on pizza.

*Linked to Amazon because the link on the Classico site is 404'd :/
posted by Room 641-A at 11:28 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

I wonder if you could do an inverse sear by sewing wire through a steak and wiring it up to the mains.

Easy way to find out.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:31 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

DC ice cream meetup/exchange this summer? circle one: yes / hell yes

oh god yes
posted by duffell at 12:19 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Man, DC has ice cream and so many babies. It's just not fair.
posted by ChuraChura at 12:35 PM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

I wonder if you could do an inverse sear by sewing wire through a steak and wiring it up to the mains.

Easy way to find out.

I forgot how dangerous the stuff Mr. Wizard did on his show was. And how he clearly respects the intelligence of the kids he worked with.
posted by grumpybear69 at 12:38 PM on May 17, 2016

The best homemade thing I've ever made was Spinach Ravioli from scratch, using a hand-crank pasta machine.

It took HOURS AND HOURS and was worth every long second. The flavor was so good it nearly broke my mind. I don't even remember eating it. I think I blacked out, it was so good.

Inside the ravioli: ricotta, egg, cooked spinach, nutmeg. Served with marinara and a dollop of spinach ricotta filling on top.

Runner Up: homemade hand-cranked pasta-machine cavatelli.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 12:51 PM on May 17, 2016 [4 favorites]

Broiled miso salmon chops.

Ingredients: You need miso paste and fresh salmon steaks. Atlantic salmon works easiest. Sockeye salmon tastes great, but its leaner meat needs shorter cooking and more careful watching. Pat dry, do not rinse the skin because its residual mucus is said to help crisp it well.

Preparation: Halve and debone to get two j-shaped chops per steak. Rub with miso to cure as desired, e.g. 15 minutes. Hold it in the fridge but take it out before using. Remember to preheat broiler with rack 4-6 inches away. Squeegee off excess miso (its ok if there are a few crumbs), lightly brush each piece with oil e.g. grapeseed or canola. Arrange and space well on aluminum foil (dull side up) in a roasting tray.

Cooking: the only trick is to watch it so it doesn't char or overcook. It may take only 4 minutes, so cook and inspect as needed just like grilling at a campfire or bbq.

Serve: Immediately, squeezing a few drops of lemon juice.

Result: crispy and intensely savory on the outside, and a tender juicy fattiness especially where the salmon belly is, with that smokey grilled aroma to transport you to another place but for a brief moment.
posted by polymodus at 1:31 PM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

I wonder if you could do an inverse sear by sewing wire through a steak and wiring it up to the mains. Sure.
posted by night_train at 1:46 PM on May 17, 2016

Everybody loses their mind when I make my peanut-butter and nutella frosting. It's dead simple, was one of the first recipes I came up with myself on the fly, and people have called it "crack" frosting.

It consists of:
1 stick of softened butter,
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter,
1/2 cup nutella,
2-3 cups powdered sugar, and
2-3 tablespoons milk or water.

Cream butter, peanut butter, and nutella in mixing bowl until creamy. Add 2 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until a spoon stand up in the middle of the bowl for a few seconds. If it's too thin, add more powdered sugar (1/2 cup at a time). If it's too thick, add milk in 1 tablespoon increments until it's the right consistency. Spread on cupcakes, cakes, brownies, whatever, then eat the leftovers right out of the bowl with a spoon.
posted by PearlRose at 1:54 PM on May 17, 2016 [21 favorites]

Steak a la Grumpybear:


- Olive Oil
- Kikkoman's low sodium soy sauce
- Garlic, peeled
- Fresh rosemary
- Steak of your choosing (I prefer ribeye)


- one medium to large mixing bowl
- a broiler
- tin foil
- a baking sheet, if you have a top broiler


In the mixing bowl, mix roughly equal parts olive oil and soy sauce to a volume sufficient to coat the amount of steak you have. It is totally OK to have too much.

Use a garlic press to crush the garlic into the marinade. Use enough garlic to form a slightly viscous marinade, not as thick as a paste, but not too runny, either.

Strip the leaves off of the fresh rosemary and put them into the marinade. How much depends on the number of steaks.


You can either swirl the meat around to coat it or use a spatula, wooden spoon, whatever. Just make sure it is coated. Then cover the bowl with tin foil and let it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes or so.


Take a sheet of foil roughly 2.5' long and fold it in half. On a flat surface, fold about an inch of each side inward and press it tightly. Then turn the foil over and fold an inch of the two longer sides of the foil until they are perpendicular to the table. At each corner, pull the edge in 90 degrees, forming a right angle with the long side. Then fold the shorter sides in to form an enclosed tinfoil baking pan. (I realize this is not well-described.)


This applies only if you have a bottom broiler. If you have a top broiler, you will use the baking sheet instead. Place the broiler pan / baking sheet on a flat surface or, if unoccupied, the stove itself. Put the tinfoil contraption on the pan / sheet.


Sometimes it takes a while for broilers to start. Be patient.


Hopefully they all fit. Pour the remaining marinade over the steaks evenly.


Use hot pads!


Use a fork!


Use hot pads! Put the pan / sheet on a heat-proof surface like the stove and let the steaks rest for 4-5 minutes. Then serve!

NOTES: If you find the steaks are too rare for your tastes, just up the cooking time by one minute. For extra thick steaks you should do this by default. Also, the closer the steaks are to the broiling flame, the faster they will cook. Also beware of grease fires in that event, though I can say from experience they actually make the steak taste better. If you encounter a grease fire, just pull the broiler drawer open and let it burn out.

Oh yeah 10. EAT THE STEAKS
posted by grumpybear69 at 2:07 PM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

Use a fork!

Use a spoon! (Prevents piercing the meat, with attendant fluid loss).
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:11 PM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

Flipping steaks in the broiler is tricky, I stand by my fork recommendation. A set of tongs would also work, if one fears fluid loss.
posted by grumpybear69 at 2:32 PM on May 17, 2016

are we supposed to be following these rules?
posted by andrewcooke at 2:47 PM on May 17, 2016

We made taco meat for dinner. Then we realized there weren't any taco shells in the house, so we fried up a bunch of cottage fries and ate the taco meat right off of them. Best Meal Ever.

Especially since I was 14 and my brother was 9 and our parents never found out.
posted by Mchelly at 2:53 PM on May 17, 2016 [4 favorites]

I'm thinking of all the things I make that I like, and I'm going to go with my mom's steak tartare recipe. The only change I've made (mom-approved!) is that I use ground bison from a local farmer at the farmers market.

The original recipe called for raw egg yolks (and oil,) but at some point my mom switched to using mayonnaise, which is really just egg yolks and oil. Over the years homemade mayo turned into Best Foods, which is just as good in this recipe.*

The beef version is very rich, but the surprise of the bison is that it is still rich, but the low fat content brings a lightness to the dish that makes it more like a decadent snack or meal than a heavy dish served at a stuffy restaurant. The ingredients (or their flavor profiles, at least) aren't really uncommon, but this is probably a recipe for someone with enough cooking or eating experience to be comfortable seasoning to taste.**

The meat should be handled as little as possible to prevent it from becoming tough so I like to take the chill off before I start making it so it's easier to mix. When ready, gently mix it with the following ingredients: good homemade or store-bought mayonnaise, thinly sliced scallion, finely chopped cornichons, capers, Dijon, Worcestershire sauce, and white pepper. How much? For a pound of meat I'd start with a tablespoon of everything but pepper. I like it a little lighter on the Dijon because it's a little less vinegar-y that way. As you mix you'll see the protein strands in the meat doing whatever they're doing. Mixing up those protein strands helps hamburger patties keep their shape but you don't want that here. Mix gently. Adjust the seasoning to taste. If it needs salt add it before eating.

At this point I'd chill it a bit again, because half the pleasure of eating it is the meat and fat melting from the heat of your mouth. And don't use ketchup, no matter what Bourdain says.

Now what? Traditionally steak tartare is served with fries or toast points but I just eat it plain.

*And it saves the step of basically having to make fresh mayonnaise.
**You could probably use other published recipes as a guideline.

Yes, there are dangers in eating raw meat. No, no one in my family has ever gotten sick from eating homemade steak tartare, despite 50 years of changing best practices for handling raw meat. Same for the raw egg that was always used. And yes, I trust the farmer enough to buy the meat pre-ground. If this grosses you out, try cooking it and report back. I've never tried it, I bet it's good, like steak tartare meatloaf! Hmm.... Maybe skip the mayo, then.
posted by Room 641-A at 3:36 PM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

A bowl of chocolate chips.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:03 PM on May 17, 2016

This is not my recipe, but every time I have made it people have demanded the recipe, and some profess to a desire to face-plant into a bowl of it.

* take a half-pound of sun- dried tomatoes, the kind that are dry and come in a bag. Dump them into a bowl with 2 cups of water, 10 cloves of garlic, and a spoonful each of dried oregano and thyme, or two spoonfuls of "Italian seasoning" or whatever combo of dried herbs you want. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and microwave on full for 8 minutes. Uncover, stir everything up good and recover and microwave on full again another 8 minutes. Take out and uncover, stir it up again and let sit until cool, stirring it all up now and then, until all the water is soaked in. Pour in about a cup of olive oil, or a combo of olive and vegetable oils equalling one cup, cover over with plastic wrap and microwave 5 more minutes. Let cool, then dump it into a food processor, and purée until smooth, adding more olive oil for consistency's sake.

This makes a thick dip of pure tomato flavor, perfect for scooping up with bits of bread from a really good bakery that you're tearing off the loaf with your bare hands. Leftovers are a good base for tomato sauce.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:04 PM on May 17, 2016 [16 favorites]

I'm always happy when I get the soup and the steamed green beans and the grilled foccacia to all come out at about the same time. Add crackers, parmesan, hummus and maybe a sliced apple and you get some variant of what I eat nearly every night for dinner.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 6:02 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

I really like to cook, and I've pulled off some pretty tasty things, but the only one that comes to mind as the best was just a really simply butterscotch sauce. I am completely powerless to stop myself from going to extreme lengths to eat every tiny bit of it every time I make it (and just thinking about it is making me feel like I have to have it RIGHT NOW).

Melt 2 or 3 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan, add a half cup brown sugar and quarter cup cream, and stir it all together. It goes really well with bananas.
posted by teponaztli at 6:18 PM on May 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

Also, James Beard used to say that bread toasted over an open fire is the best thing ever, and I tried it on my birthday, and he was right. Nearly burned all over, but not quite. Crisp (almost sweet) outside but soft inside. Maybe that's the best thing I've ever made.
posted by teponaztli at 6:21 PM on May 17, 2016 [4 favorites]

Elizabeth David's chocolate mousse. I will give you the recipe here because it is so simple and so good. Please do not try to improve on it with candied orange peel or chocolate chips or a sponge base or any of that stuff you do to make a recipe your own. This mousse is perfect already. Just make it and spoon it directly into your mouth while making "uhhh... uhhhh... uhhh..." sounds.

Ingredients: chocolate, eggs. The original recipe calls for one ounce of bittersweet chocolate per egg, but I am here to tell you that her eggs were small compared to the ones I usually buy, and that the correct ratio by weight is 2:1 eggs:chocolate. E.g., 300 grams of egg, 150 grams of chocolate.

Optional ingredients: chocolate, a small amount of super-strong coffee if you think coffee makes chocolate more palatable.

I haven't tried making this with milk chocolate but I see no reason why it wouldn't work. If you have very very dark chocolate, like over 72% (I think she imagined 55% was bittersweet, because she created this recipe in the Dark Ages) you can add a small amount of sugar to taste, I'll tell you when.

Process: break up your chocolate and melt it gently. The traditional way to do this is in a bowl over hot water, but you can do this in the microwave in short bursts, stirring each time. Do not get water in the chocolate. You can set melted chocolate aside for a few minutes, warm it gently and stir it and it will become more liquidy again.

Separate the eggs. Make sure you don't have any yolk in the whites. Beat the yolks and add the sugar, if you're using it, and the super-strong coffee (ditto).

Tricky bit: pour a thin stream of chocolate into the yolk mixture, preferably while mixing it, stir until incorporated, keep pouring and stirring and pouring. You can go faster with the chocolate as more of it is incorporated into the yolks, just don't add it all at once or you will end up with chocolate scrambled eggs.

Beat the whites until you have stiff peaks. I whisk this by hand; if you do it with a mixer then don't go too fast or you will pass the point of stiff peakosity and end up with goo.

Take your chocolate-yolk mixture and pour about a quarter of it into the whites in ribbons. Fold it through the whites, then pour half of what's left in, then the rest, folding as you go. You don't want white spots left in the mixture, but you don't want to break down the structure by vigorous beating.

You now have chocolate mousse. It's better if you chill it for an hour or so, either in one large bowl or separate servings. Elizabeth David says that it toughens up if you leave it for more than three hours, but (a) that only seems to be the top skin, which can be removed, and (b) whyever would you do such a thing. Stick your damn face in the bowl and lick it out the way a professional cook would.

posted by Joe in Australia at 6:39 PM on May 17, 2016 [12 favorites]

Pinto beans, smoked pork shanks, onion, garlic, oregano, salt, red chilis. Cooked in the slow cooker until the beans are quite tender. When the pork was falling off the bone tender, I took them out, waited till they were cool enough to handle, removed and chopped all the meat, fat, and gristle into bite size pieces, returned them to the beans and kept cooking till the beans were simmering again. Served over white rice.
posted by Bruce H. at 6:54 PM on May 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

You had me at "smoked pork shanks".

Which is also my stripper name
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:14 PM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


I kind of think a hot hunk of meat's a bit of a cheat, but yeah, people like it... Suits me because I'm honestly too lazy to be that artful about things at this point. I start with a tenderloin (or whatever is fatty and the right kind of red), cast-iron pan, high heat, butter (good amount of butter), salt. Seared - not sure how long, depends on the thickness (until it smells right? A few minutes per side, maybe three - if the steak's not starting to release blood in the pan, needs a bit longer. Maybe a minute after that happens. Looking for dark brown with a teensy bit of blackening on the outside, should be a little pink inside). Served with crusty bread (I don't make this) to sop up the steaming blood/salt/butter. For salad, I keep it simple - spinach, red onion, maybe avocado, with olive oil and a touch of balsamic.
posted by cotton dress sock at 8:17 PM on May 17, 2016

I kind of think a hot hunk of meat's a bit of a cheat

Some think it's a bit of a cheat,
But I do love a hot hunk of meat.
I give it a sizzle
'Till it's pink in the mizzle,
Then I sit down and drool as I eat.

...what can I say, meat inspires me.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:29 PM on May 17, 2016 [7 favorites]

Nice one, Greg_Ace :) (I forgot to mention that a powerful extractor fan is helpful.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 8:44 PM on May 17, 2016

A powerful extractor fan
Keeps the kitchen as clear as it can;
Ejecting all smoke
So the chef doesn't choke,
Leaving flavor right there in the pan.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:59 PM on May 17, 2016 [5 favorites]

Papas arrugadas (Canary Islands wrinkly potatoes) with mojo sauce.

1. Boil tiny new potatoes in salt water until they are shrivelled and coated in a thin layer of sea salt.
2. Crush some pickled garlic cloves, dried chilies, and cumin seed with a big mortar and pestle.
3. Add Spanish paprika, olive oil, and red wine vinegar, mix some more, and then add some panko breadcrumbs.
4. Put the sauce on the potatoes and serve.

It's basically this recipe plus this recipe, with pickled rather than fresh garlic in the latter, and without the water or salt (because the potatoes are salty enough on their own).
posted by Paragon at 9:04 PM on May 17, 2016 [4 favorites]

1. Sous vide duck legs. Chill in fridge.

2. Lightly dress torn butter lettuce with a homemade tarragon vinaigrette.

3. Remove skin from the duck legs and bake the strips/pieces at 350 for 15 minutes to make cracklings. While that's happening, cut meat into chunks.

4. Top the salad with the duck meat and cracklings. Add a sprinkling of chopped walnuts and fresh raspberries.

5. Be prepared to experience dizziness at the deliciousness.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 5:49 AM on May 18, 2016 [3 favorites]

I'm going to get peevish if one of you doesn't post the recipe for the chili egg casserole.
posted by Bruce H. at 6:24 AM on May 18, 2016 [4 favorites]

Here is my stew recipe:


BEEF you can mess with the quantities, I generally use maybe a kilo. The first time I cooked this it was with short rib that had been smoked over shredded whisky barrels and cider glazed for about 6 hours, but it works well with any beef.
Beef Stock, maybe half a litre.

mushrooms, chopped in quarters, maybe half a kilo
Oneion (otherwise known as 1 onion, chopped small)
Garlic (I use lots, made as small as you can, microplaned ideally, grated or chopped is fine)
Potatoes (3, peeled and ccubed)
A carrot

red wine
Muscovado Sugar
Mustard powder
smoked paprika
garlic salt
) - you can substitute your favourite meat rubs for this if you like.

Optional flavours:
Mushroom ketchup
Worcester sauce

Functional Stuff
Cornflour / flour / your choice of thickener

Heat up some oil really hot and sear the beef. Salt it up too. Throw in some wine, enough to cover the beef and then turn it down low.
Leave for an hour or so. Keep an eye on it and add in more wine or stock or water as it cooks down.
After half an hour or so throw in the garlic too, Maybe a bit of the muscavado sugar.
In another pan cook up the onions and garlic, sprinkle with a bit of salt and sugar and cook slow.

After you've marinated the meat in the wine for... an hour? two? Take out any beef bones if you were using ribs or beef on the bone and then throw in the mushrooms, carrot, potato, cooked up onions.
Add in the stock, more wine and potatoes. Add a bit of water to top up if you need it.
Give it ten minutes or so and give it a taste. Now is the time to add in your salt. muscovado sugar, and various spices. Slosh in a bit of mushroom ketchup or worcester sauce, add MSG if you like (it's not bad for you, I promise, but I get that some people don't like it) play around a bit with the taste.
This is not the final taste, everything will come together and blend and deepen, but now is a good time to play about a bit.
Cook for about half an hour on low. If you like you can keep tasting and tweaking.

Now, get some water and some cornflour in a mug and stir a bit of cornflour into some water, mix it up well. Stir this into the stew (mix it well) and turn the heat up. this will thicken everything up a little.
How much you need depends a lot on the beef that went in, the type, how thick you want it and so on. You're going to have to experiment. But maybe a teaspoon of cornflower, or 2 of flour is a a good guide.
Cook it on medium for another half hour.
Eat with crusty bread.
I haveno science basis for this but it gets better the day after, so if you want make this and leave it a day.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:57 AM on May 18, 2016 [4 favorites]

1. Deep fried buttered scone (containing a triangular wedge of Double Gloucester cheese), with a lettuce leaf on the side for color and nutritional balance.

2. Three Reeses peanut butter cups inside a pitta bread, sealed with hot dark chocolate sauce, then cooled in the fridge for an hour.

3. My (in)famous fifteen cheese (edible) pizza.
posted by Wordshore at 7:46 AM on May 18, 2016

The one that comes to mind, maybe because this is the time of year for it, is below --- I made it for a big crowd, you'd want to cut the proportions down a smaller group. And you do need a mandoline or some killer knife skills

Spring Salad
1 big box Arugula
1 bulb fennel, shaved, plus fronds
1 medium white onion, shaved
1 Granny Smith Apple, thinly sliced
1 pear, thinly sliced
3 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
Simple lemon vinaigrette (lemon juice, olive oil, spoonful of honey, spoonful of Dijon, salt, plenty of pepper).

Ideally the pear should be ripe enough to be sweet but still just firm. It's got a little bit of everything -- sweet, tangy, bitter, savoury, yet fresh. Light hand on the blue cheese so it doesn't overwhelm. If you're taking it somewhere wait and cut up the apple and pear just before you serve it so they don't go brown on you.
posted by Diablevert at 8:40 AM on May 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

over the summer, I assemble an "Old Man's Jam" (also called a rumtopf). Basically:

1. buy a pint of fresh in-season fruit at the farmer's market or grocery
1a. stem, pit or seed the fruit as appropriate.
1b. halve plums, apricots and nectarines. quarter or slice in eights pears and peaches
2. place a baking tray with waxed paper and cover with half of that fruit's weight in sugar
3. let it sit and for about 10 minutes
4. pour fruit and sugar into a 5 liter jar
5. fill to cover with brandy
6. close the jar

repeat every week for 2-3 months (depending on size of fruit), until you have a jar with layers of fruit that follow the seasons -- maybe a layer of peaches, and a layer of cherries, then plums and apricots, then strawberries and raspberries, then pears. When the jar is full, seal it and put it away in a dark cool place for three months. In the winter, open it up and serve over ice cream or cake. The infused brandy is also a nice treat.

More prosaically, I make granola from scratch for my fiancee, and it's just a nice bi-weekly ritual for our Sunday nights to prepare a batch that will stretch through the next couple of weeks. This is infinitely variable but is more or less what I use.

5 cups of oats
2 cups of wheat germ
1 cup of coconut flakes
1 cup of sunflower seeds
1 cup of walnuts
1 cup of sliced almonds
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup of honey

heat oven to 350. mix everything in a really big bowl then spread out on two baking pans lined with parchment paper. toast for 30 minutes in the oven, stirring every ten minutes. lower to 300 if stuff starts burning. when done take it out of the oven and stir in 1 cup of dried cranberries or other fruit. Then let cool and seal in a jar.

also, as it's coming up on Memorial Day, my friends usually demand that I bring my molten lamb tea burgers. Spice rub of 1 cup Lapsang Souchong tea leaves, 2tbsp kosher salt, 2 tbsp chili powder, 2 tbsp garlic powder, 1 tbsp five spice. Pinch of two 1/4 lb balls of ground lamb and roll them in the spice rub. Flatten one into a patty. Tear a slice of cheese into shreds and place in the center of the patty. Then flatten other ball into a patty and then layer on top, pinching it together to form one whole patty.
posted by bl1nk at 9:54 AM on May 18, 2016 [7 favorites]

Something I've adapted from an old random SOAR recipe like 15 years ago:

Scampi (US) Pasta
  1. Boil salted (always!) water
  2. Turn on broiler
  3. Mince 5+ cloves of garlic and sautee in 2T butter & 2T olive oil (optional: pinch of chili flakes) until soft. Scale up for more people.
  4. Put however many shrimps (~20 count) per person you all want into the sautee.
  5. Sautee until almost done, orange on the outside.
  6. Put Angel Hair/Capellini (or Thin Spaghetti at the largest) in the boiling water.
  7. Sprinkle a bunch of grated parm over all of the stuff in the sautee pan (optional: some bread crumbs)
  8. Put sautee pan under broiler
  9. Pasta should be done. Drain it.
  10. Remove pan from broiler, parm should be melted, shrimp cooked through. It's OK if the cheese is a little browned.
  11. Combine pan and pasta together and toss. (add bread crumbs a little at a time if there's too much oil/butter liquid)
  12. Serve and enjoy!
For pasta this thin, make an OK circle with your thumb and forefinger: that should be like 3-4 people's worth (I use about a dime's diameter for 1 person). A little goes a long way and my mental equation is pretty much, "a forkful of pasta for each shrimp."
posted by rhizome at 11:43 AM on May 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

Roast Chicken is very easy and is a great cheap source of protein (not to mention tasty crackly skin, yum!). I make this recipe almost every week, and have leftovers for days - though it tastes so good they never sit around long enough to go bad.


1 Tbsp dried tarragon
2 tsp granulated garlic (NOT garlic salt)
2 tsp mustard powder
1-2 tsp each salt and black pepper
1 (3-5lb) roasting chicken
about 12 inches of kitchen twine or any plain uncoated cotton string
1/2 lemon, sliced lengthwise into 2-3 wedges
1 celery stalk, cleaned/trimmed (you can leave the tops on, the leaves are good too) and cut in half
pre-packaged fresh rosemary/thyme/sage "Poultry Mix" (found in the produce section of the grocery store)
3 or 4 small-medium red or gold potatoes, cut into evenly-sized chunks, about 8-12 per potato

REMINDER about raw-chicken handling safety: Assemble your tools and ingredients ahead of time. Wash your hands before handling any other food or objects you're not using to prepare the chicken (it took me many times to figure out how to get everything ready so I only had to wash my hands once when I was done with the prep, and even now I sometimes forget something and end up having to wash my hands multiple times). Keep the chicken on a large plastic prep board, a large plate, or in the roasting pan/skillet you're going to cook it in. Don't let the raw chicken or "contaminated" tools touch anything else other than the bottom of the kitchen sink. When done, wash contaminated items separately from other dishes, utensils, etc.

Evenly mix the herbs, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl. You can stir it with a spoon or use a cheap whirling-blade coffee grinder to quickly mix it in 3 or 4 pulses (just don't use it to grind coffee afterward, or you'll get really weird-tasting coffee!)

Remove the chicken from the wrapping, rinse it well in cold water, pat it dry with paper towels (dispose of them carefully!), then place it breast-side up on your designated work space.

Starting at the rear of the chicken, run your fingers or a small spatula underneath the skin on either side of the breast bone and around each leg and thigh to separate the skin from the meat. Do the same thing at the front of the breast, then flip the bird over and go in on either side of the tail. The idea is to get the seasoning mix UNDER the skin, which otherwise serves as a very effective barrier that prevents the seasoning from getting to the flesh where it's needed most.

Using a teaspoon, spread the seasoning mix evenly all over the chicken under the skin. I usually end up using a couple spoonfuls on each breast plus another one around each leg/thigh. The important thing is to make sure the seasoning is distributed evenly and all over.

OPTIONAL - Stuff the cavity loosely with lemon wedges, celery sticks, and/or fresh herbs.

When finished, tie the legs loosely together with a bit of kitchen twine, just to keep things tidy - especially if you put anything in the cavity. Also tuck the wingtips under to keep them from burning (you can look for roast-chicken videos on YouTube for examples of this maneuver). Put the chicken breast side up on a plate a little larger than the chicken, so it catches any juices, and let it sit uncovered in the fridge - overnight is best, but at least for an hour or two. Make sure the chicken isn't touching anything else in the fridge.

When ready to start cooking, preheat oven to 450F. Yes, 450! Make sure the oven rack is low enough to provide clearance for the chicken.

This step is optional, but if you like crispy golden skin it's worth it: Place the chicken breasts-up on a wire rack in a roasting pan or large cast iron skillet, then use a basting or pastry brush or your fingers (or an olive oil spray dispenser or - heaven forfend - Pam), to evenly coat the outside of the bird with a little bit of olive oil. Go easy, you don't want it dripping, just make the skin shiny. Turn the bird over, backbone-up, and continue coating the rest of the chicken.

Add 1/4 to 1/2 inch of water to the pan, to keep any dripping oil or fat from scorching and smoking up the kitchen. Put the pan/skillet in the oven, still backbone side up, and reduce the heat to 425.

OPTIONAL - After putting the chicken in the oven, cut some small red or golden (unpeeled!) potatoes into chunks, toss with some salt/pepper/oregano/olive oil, and set aside. You'll be adding them to the bottom of the pan/skillet when you take the bird out in the next step. When the chicken is done, they will be too...and they'll have absorbed some of the tasty tasty drippings. Yum again!

Cook for 30-45 minutes or until the skin is turning a lovely golden brown. At that point remove the pan/skillet from the oven. If you want, you can peel off the golden crispy parts of the skin along the backbone and munch on it to tide you over for the rest of the process.... Now is the time to add potatoes, if you're doing that; spread them out as evenly as possible. CAREFULLY turn the bird breast-side up using a couple of forks/utensils. (see below re: meat thermometer with remote sensor) Return the pan to the oven.

Depending on the size of the bird, you may need to roast it for another 20-40 minutes. This is the tricky part and you'll need to keep an eye on it. You're looking for three things: (1) the breast skin to turn an even golden brown, (2) the internal temperature at the thickest spot of the breast meat to reach 170-175F, and (3) the potatoes are soft and golden brown. You may need to move the meat thermometer around a bit to find where it's still the lowest temperature.

(The kind of timer/remote thermometer with a cable to connect the sensor is best; you can poke the sensor into the breast, pop the bird back in the oven with the cable running out to connect to the readout, set the temperature alarm for 170, and wait for the beep).

If you don't have a meat thermometer, you'll just have to make your best guess. In that case you want to err on the side of darker-brown skin (loosely tenting foil over the whole chicken before it gets too dark will help keep it from burning) rather than potentially underdone chicken. You don't need to worry too much about drying out the meat; at 425-450 the chicken will cook quick enough to prevent that.

Now is the time to cook any other vegetables you're planning to serve with the entree.

When the chicken is done, remove it from the oven. Peel off the crispy golden skin - careful, hot! - and stand over the stove gnawing it like a dog and growling in gustatory pleasure (that part is optional, but fun). Let the chicken rest for about 10 minutes, then serve with the potatoes and/or vegetable of your choice.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:47 PM on May 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

I forgot to mention that you can even double the seasoning amounts without the resulting flavor being too strong!

However, if you do end up munching the skin as I mentioned, you'll definitely want to scrape off the seasoning and put it back onto the bare meat first.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:07 PM on May 18, 2016

Good tip re: separating the skin, Greg! I'm going to try that the next time I roast!
posted by grumpybear69 at 1:46 PM on May 18, 2016

I make amazing homemade strawberry ice cream, with more cream than recipes usually call for, and waaaay more strawberries. Always organic cream, milk, and half and half; I can really taste the difference. I also add less sugar than recipes call for; that lets the beautiful cream flavor come through, along with the strawberries' sweetness.

What you want is to get a ton of strawberries from the farmers' market and hand-select the ripest ones.

It's probably the most expensive thing I eat, and the most delicious.

Oh, and I make a pretty incredible apple pie too: fresh organic crispy/sweet/slightly tart pink lady apples, and homemade crust (it _must_ be homemade) using the recipe from The Best Recipe cookbook with the addition of spices into the dry ingredients, then keep the crust really cold so it gets flaky. For the filling, I add less sugar than called for, more apples, a little more lemon, and lots more spices. Near the end of baking time, I brush the top crust with egg white and juuust a touch of sugar and spice.

I imagine that the pie _with_ the ice cream would be good, too, but that would probably be overkill.
posted by amtho at 2:02 PM on May 18, 2016

The best thing I can remember making recently was some crispy chilli oil, but alas it was some unmeasured quantities of shallot, home made chilli oil and I'm pretty sure some other things that I forgot on the stove until I thought I'd burnt it, so I have no recipe. It was amazingly savoury and almost sweet, gently crunchy like the best bit of skin on a roast chicken, completely mild on first taste with a heat that built to just enough of a hum to make you sweat. I ate so much of it that weekend I was still a little ill on Wednesday.

The only recipe I have that I could reasonably call "one of mine" is for these cheese and onion rolls. Which involve:
300g strong white flour
200ml water
5g each of instant yeast, sugar and salt
20ml olive oil plus extra for frying and kneading
2 medium white onions, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, crushed
50g cheddar and 10g parmesan, shredded

Mix 100g each of the flour and water together along with the yeast and sugar, then let it sit out overnight.
Add the salt, oil, and the rest of the flour the next day, knead using olive oil instead of flour to stop sticking and leave it to rise.
Fry up the onion and garlic and let it cool, then once the dough has doubled knead it in along with most of the cheese.
Divide the dough into six, roll each piece into a sausage and twist it into a knot, then pop them in a tin to prove.
Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake for 30-35 minutes at 400˚F.
posted by lucidium at 4:05 PM on May 18, 2016

I made cassoulet once, from scratch. And by "from scratch" I mean I made the sausage and the confit from scratch, and everything. It took three days. We served it with a green salad and fresh-baked homemade bread. I still have dreams about it sometimes.

A much simpler thing that I make a lot for potlucks is Rosemary Drumsticks. I hesitate to even call this a recipe, it's so simple. It takes an age to do, but that's mostly because you need to do everything in batches.

One Costco-sized package of chicken drumsticks (about eight pounds)
One stick of butter
LOADS of fresh rosemary

Mince the rosemary -- it really does have to be fresh, sorry. Melt the butter in a large skillet; I use a 12" enamel cast iron pan. Season the drumsticks with salt and rosemary, moderate on the salt (these will be eaten cold), heavy on the rosemary. Add as many to the pan with the butter as will fit at once, and cook over low-medium heat, turning once or twice, until they are golden brown and the skin is crispy. This takes about 20 or 25 minutes in my experience. Remove them to a broiler pan and put them into a 300 degree oven, and leave them there while you do the next batch; take them out and set them aside to cool when the next ones go in. You want the heat to be low enough that the drumsticks sort of semi-confit in the butter. Each batch will go through a few distinct stages, which you will soon learn to identify by sound; the juices coming out of the drumsticks blorp and bubble until all the water is evaporated, at which point the sound becomes less "boily" and more "sizzley." That's your cue to turn them. When it goes sizzley the second time, turn them again, and maybe lower the heat a little, because if you're not careful the butter can burn. This is where they usually really golden up.

I've made this with boneless skinless thighs and with bone-in skin-on cut chicken parts, and it's always delicious, but the drumsticks are best for a picnic. They're intensely flavored, they are cooked enough to be appetizing even cold, they've been cooked so thoroughly that they are likely to stay safe through a 90-minute potluck assuming good kitchen and transport practice up until that point, and you can eat them with your fingers. They disappear with a giant sucking sound.

But the BEST part of the recipe is the part you don't have to share. When you're done, you have a cast iron skillet full of delicious, salty, rosemary-y, chickeny butter, full of maillard-y brown bits from where all the juices boiled off. You can either cut up potatoes and par-cook them by sauteing them in this butter, turning frequently, and then put in the oven under high heat to roast, or else you can stand next to the stove with an entire loaf of crusty bread, tearing chunks off and scooping up the brown bits with them and eating them. Either way is good, but the bread is my favorite.
posted by KathrynT at 4:44 PM on May 18, 2016 [16 favorites]

this is not to take anything away from what I am sure is Greg_Ace's lovely chicken, but I just wanted to point out that part of what makes roast chicken so wonderful is that the preparation can be as fuss-free or as fussy as you want. On the free-est fuss end of the spectrum, this is my "Phone Recipe Roast Chicken", which gets its name because I literally just dictated it to my then live-in girlfriend when I was on my way home, it was her turn to cook, and she had just come down with a serious case of "Don't Wanna Do Anything"

"Well, we can just order in. We always let each other do that."

"But I feel bad ordering in again."

"Ok, there's a chicken in the fridge and a lemon. Preheat the oven to 400. Get a roasting pan out. Get olive oil, salt and pepper, the chicken and the lemon. Slice the lemon into, like six to eight slices and layer it at the bottom of the roasting pan. Rub the chicken with olive oil, then loosen the skin with your fingers and rub a teaspoon of salt and pepper into the breast and the thighs. Put the chicken on top of the lemon slices and then slide the roasting pan into the oven with the thighs facing to the back of the oven. Check the temperature of the thickest part of the thigh after an hour. You want it to be something like 160 or 170. I always have to look that part up on the internet. Anyway, once it gets to the cooked temperature. Take it out, let rest for 10 minutes and carve."

That's it. No turning. No stuffing. No fuss. It helps to have a kosher chicken, but if you don't have one, brining it yourself the day before is not a bad idea. This turns out a perfectly fine, tasty, weekday roast chicken with crisp skin. You can do all the other stuff to make the skin crispier or the meat juicier or the entire roast more fragrant. But I like to do this at least once every few months or so to have my baseline and decide if the other tweaks are worth it.
posted by bl1nk at 5:46 PM on May 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

bl1nk, I'd say your recipe differs from mine in detail rather than spirit, but as you point out it's very true that it doesn't take a whole lot to end up with good roast chicken - which was my original point.

For comparison purposes, it takes me about 15-20 minutes to prep the bird the way I described in my comment. Flipping it only takes a couple more minutes, and I only do that because I want maximum potential square centimeters of crispy crunchy skin nom nom gnaw growl. But if you don't care about that, the result is perfectly fine if you cook it breast-up the entire time.

(I won't swear to this, but I suspect there may be a small benefit to starting it breast-down so the juicier dark meat has a chance to "internally baste" the drier breast meat.)
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:09 PM on May 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

By the way: J. Kenji's take on wet vs. dry brining. And for once, I agree with something I read on Serious Eats! I do a lot of BBQing, and in my experience dry-brining is just as effective as wet-brining.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:13 PM on May 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

yeah, it's all good. I was just going with the thought experiment of how to make a recipe such as yours even lazier.

fwiw, I've also been on the dry brining gospel since reading the Zuni Cafe's roast chicken recipe. I sometimes do Judy Rodger's approach with a super hot first blast to get the skin blistering, but only if, say, I've got all the windows open and am confident that the smoke won't set off the fire alarms. (I do want to try your trick with using the pan of water to control smoke output!)

I tend to grill roast my turkeys, so I still tend to stick to wet brining if only because I feel like I'm still going to get a lot of flavor from the wood smoke on the grill, and I'd rather err on the side of juicyness.
posted by bl1nk at 6:50 PM on May 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yeah, the water does a fantastic job of keeping the drippy stuff from smoking at the beginning. By the time the potatoes go in, the fat/juice has reached some sort of critical mass to avoid scorching AND most of the water has evaporated, leaving a perfect medium for flavoring the potatoes...but even if you don't go with the potatoes, worst-case scenario you just need to add a bit more water.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:09 PM on May 18, 2016

My super-special, super-secret deviled eggs.

Do they contain asafoetida?
posted by aniola at 7:34 PM on May 18, 2016

Ok so I just went and read the caramel sugar thread and now I have to go make caramel sugar. And then I will have to not eat it straight.
posted by aniola at 7:46 PM on May 18, 2016

My super-special, super-secret deviled eggs.

Do they contain asafoetida?

What's brown and smells like a bell?
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:46 PM on May 18, 2016

I have a real affection for simple things made well, and with love. One of my favorite things to make is a rosemary focaccia. When it's still warm it's the most amazing thing to tear off a piece and pop in your mouth. It makes me even happier to watch others enjoy such a simple thing like that.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:14 PM on May 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yeah I'd really like to hear a bit more about the deviled eggs.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 9:52 AM on May 19, 2016

Oh! If you guys aren't eating pernil, you should be. Bone-in, skin-on pork shoulder is cheap (like, sometimes 99 cents a pound cheap) and easy and insanely delicious (and holy shit the chicharron).

Get yourself a picnic shoulder. Half or whole, but whole is usually at least 50 cents a pound cheaper. Take a big-ass knife and separate the skin from the meat, mostly. Leave it flapping. Stab some holes in the meat and in the skin with the big-ass knife.

Mix up some olive oil, crushed garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano, and spread it everywhere, especially inside the holes and between the skin and the meat. You might also want to sprinkle a little Goya adobo on there.

Wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge to hang out overnight or longer.

The next day, stick it in a deep roasting pan, skin-side-up, and roast it at 275 for at least 8 hours. The skin should turn a beautiful mahogany, and it should get crispy toward the end. If the meat is done to your liking and the skin is still floppity, crank the oven up to 450 or 500 for 15 minutes or so. Keep an eye on it, though, because the skin will burn.

Remove the bone, chop or shred the meat (it should largely fall apart), chop up the skin into crunchable chunks, and enjoy with some arroz con gandules.
posted by uncleozzy at 10:55 AM on May 19, 2016 [11 favorites]

My family's stupid-easy super-chocolatey cake recipe:

1 package dark chocolate cake
4.5 oz package instant chocolate pudding
1 cup sour cream
1.5 cups chocolate chips
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil

Combine all until smooth, put in greased bunt pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour.

Top with powered sugar, serve with vanilla ice cream (to make it less rich, as we like to say).

I'm also a fan of Rosa Parks' 'Featherlite' Peanut Butter Pancakes, served with real maple syrup (but once you've had the real stuff, you can't go back).
posted by filthy light thief at 11:51 AM on May 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Shakshuka is a tomato and egg stew, thought to be invented by Libyan Jews and popular through much of the Middle East. Shakshuka is less a recipe than a template; it’s a very straightforward dish that can be adapted in tons of ways. In Israel, it’s common to see versions that add cheese, meat, mushrooms, or all sorts of other things - basically as long as you have tomatoes and eggs, you’ve made a shakshuka.

This flexibility makes Shakshuka a great dish to have in any cook’s repertoire. A simple shakshuka can be made with two ingredients (yours truly once whipped up a stunning shakshuka entirely from ingredients that could be found in a North Philly convenience store), but it can expand well past that. Timing and measurements don’t really matter all that much; shakshuka is very much a ‘dash of this and a bit of that’ recipe - I don’t think I’ve ever made it the same way twice.

Two recipes follow: one for an absolutely bare-bones ‘emergency shakshuka’, and one for a more complicated version. Bear in mind that these are more outlines than recipes; feel free to tweak anything and everything.

Emergency Shakshuka

Serves 4

-4 eggs
-1 28-oz can diced tomatoes (crushed if you can’t find diced)
-Oil (I prefer olive but any will do), salt, and pepper. Red pepper flakes (optional).

1. Heat a large saucepan on low-medium and add a teaspoon or two of oil. Once oil comes to temp, add entire can of tomatoes.
2. Let tomatoes simmer for twenty to thirty minutes. The sauce should thicken to a stew-like consistency.
3. Add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if you want and have some) to taste.
4. Scoop four small craters in the stew mixture, and crack an egg in to each crater. Cover pan, and let eggs poach for five minutes (or until the white has set but the yolks are still runny).
5. Serve with crusty toast. Make sure each person gets one egg.

Israeli Brunch Shakshuka

Serves 4 with leftovers.

-4 eggs
-1 28-oz can diced tomatoes (crushed if you can’t find diced)
-1 small onion, roughly chopped
-1 clove garlic, diced
-1 bell pepper, chopped
-1 jalapeno (optional)
-Paprika (hot or sweet or both, your choice)
-Red pepper flakes (optional)
-Salt, pepper, olive oil

1. Heat a large saucepan on low-medium and add a teaspoon or two of oil. Once oil comes to temp, add onions. Salute until golden, then add bell pepper, jalapeño if using, and garlic. Saute until peppers soften, then add entire can of tomatoes.
2-5: see Emergency Shakshuka recipe, but with cumin and paprika to taste in addition to salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. I like a teaspoon of each.

Like I said, more a template than a specific dish. Feel free to experiment and make it your own!

*A NOTE ON CANNED VS FRESH TOMATOES: some people will say that canned veggies are the devil and you should always use fresh. Honestly, I’ve done both, and in this recipe you’re stewing the tomatoes for so long that there’s no real difference, so you might as well save some chopping. If you do want to use whole tomatoes, use 8-10 whole smallish tomatoes and cut them to medium dice.
posted by Itaxpica at 12:11 PM on May 19, 2016 [9 favorites]

I don't think I have a "best thing I ever made" but I'm kinda proud of this one because it started on a "I have nothing to make for dinner" night. ("Well, I have pasta, and this and that, I guess I could just toss that all together...")

Hard to give measurements cuz I cook this for just me and I don't measure, but I'll try.

Pasta. (I tend to use linguini. Spaghetti would work. Penne would probably work. I'm not picky about pasta shapes here.)
Pancetta (OPTIONAL. Trader Joe's sells packets of finely diced Pancetta that is what I like to use here. Bacon also works, sliced into lardons. Proscuitto would work too but I would just shred some and add it at the end instead of starting with it like I do with the pancetta/bacon. Cooking just for one portion, you want an amount about half or 2/3 of a slice of bacon.)
Garlic (OPTIONAL. For one portion, one clove, minced.)
A carrot, peeled, thinly bias-sliced
Brussels sprouts, stems trimmed, tough outer leaves removed, halved if small, quartered if larger
Mushrooms, cleaned and quartered.

(The idea is you want the carrots, sprouts, and mushrooms about equally sized pieces, and around an equal amount of each. Or to your taste. )

Some bit of herbs - I tend to use a pinch of dried Italian mixed herbs, but I think either just Oregano or just Rosemary would work.
Bit of white wine or white vermouth
Parmesan cheese.

So the gist is, this is sort of like Italian stir-fry.
While the pasta is cooking, put a skillet on medium-high heat with the Pancetta or bacon in it. Let that render some fat as the pan heats. When the pancetta is just shy of starting to get brown and done, add a little bit of olive oil, (because the rendered fat shouldn't really be enough to saute the veggies by itself). And maybe crank the heat up slightly.
If you're adding garlic, put it in next and stir just for a second. Then toss in the carrots, Brussels sprouts and mushrooms. You want to cootk the veggies until they get some really nice browning going on - particularly the Brussells sprouts. So though I said this is kind of a stir-fry, you don't stir constantly. Let them sit and cook, stir, repeat until things are coloring nicely on all sides. You'll probably get some nice fond going on the pan too, if you're a using stainless steel or similar pan, (instead of non-stick. I don't use non-stick for this).
I sprinkle in the herbs somewhere part way through the cooking.
If you time it right (and I confess I don't quite get it timed right hardly ever, but close) then the veggies will be done cooking right about when the pasta is done. Drain the pasta. Optionally, splash some white wine or vermouth into the skillet and stir up to deglaze any fond. Add the drained pasta to the skillet and toss everything around so the pasta soaks up some of the wine and other pan juices and it all gets mixed together well. (If you have proscuitto instead of pancetta or bacon, I'd add it here just to mix it in at the end.)
Pour onto plate or bowl, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

It's simple, it's made with pretty basic stuff, it allows for variations according to what you have around. And it's super hearty and earthy. I make it a lot in the fall - there's just something about the mushroom/sprouts/carrot/pancetta combo that's like essence of Fall on a plate.
posted by dnash at 1:31 PM on May 19, 2016

Boil ramen, drain while fairly al dente, set aside. Then open can of Stagg's Chicken Chili, add to ramen, stir and briefly simmer. Season and garnish to taste. Voila: Bachelor Chow.
posted by y2karl at 2:40 PM on May 19, 2016

This one is so simple that I'm a bit embarrassed to admit it's the best thing I know how to make. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Cut the following up into small pieces:

* 2.5 lbs Yukon gold potatoes
* 12 - 15 sweet peppers
* one bundle of green onions
* 12 Morningstar brand vegetarian breakfast sausage patties that have been cooked

....and throw it all into a bowl. Toss with 5 - 6 ounces olive oil, 1 tablespoon of minced garlic, and more salt and pepper than you think you need. Pour into a large skillet, and cook for 50 minutes. Take it out, top it with a 16 oz. package of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, and cook 10 more minutes. Let settle for 5 minutes before serving it up.
posted by Ipsifendus at 2:44 PM on May 19, 2016

Bean and bacon soup

Longlasting ingredients for cooking fresh when weekly trips to the store aren't possible. Flexible and scalable; veggie, broth and bean quantities can be upped for bigger batches (or for health reasons...). Freezes fairly well and easy to improvise on.

1 (or 2) lb. bacon
2-3 sweet onions, diced
12 or more stalks celery, diced
12 or more young carrots, diced
Red pepper, diced (I use frozen grilled peppers)
Minced garlic
Small can tomato paste
3-4 (or more) cans cannellini or black beans, rinsed and drained
1-2 boxes chicken stock
Optional -- canned diced tomatoes
Parmesan flakes or rind
Walnut or olive oil
Black pepper
Red chili pepper flakes

Fry bacon in oil until crispy; set aside to drain and cool. Pour off some -- or none if you're like me -- but definitely not more than half of the bacon fat/oil mix. In the fat on fairly low heat, saute the onions, adding the celery and carrots once the onions have started to soften and brown. Continue to cook these veggies over low heat until the carrots start to soften, then add red pepper and lastly minced garlic. Stir in drained beans, tomato paste (and canned diced tomatoes if using), seasonings; cook together for several minutes before adding chicken broth. Chop cooked bacon and add to pot. Add Parmesan and simmer on low heat until veggies are cooked through and flavors have melded, at least 45 minutes.
posted by vers at 4:05 PM on May 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

I don't have the whole recipe on hand, but I'll try to post it this weekend: cold-smoked shrimp sautéed with chipotle, roasted garlic, and tequila.

Failing that, the best fried chicken recipe of all time.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:06 PM on May 19, 2016

"Snails" by my Mom who had too many kids and not enough money.

1 pound top round steak cut into bite- sized chunks, season, dredge in flour and brown in garlic and a little oil
Add two cans Campbell's Tomato Soup
Add 1 can of water
Simmer for 45 minutes
Add 16 oz sour cream
1 TB Worchester Sauce ( I can't spell it or pronounce it) but you know that brown stuff
Simmer while shell shaped pasta cooks.
Make cheese toast - white bread with butter and cheap parmesan cheese on top. Broil till toasty.
Drain pasta, add sauce, top with more cheese.

This is a classic 1950's meal. It's the thing everyone wants when we get together or it is some kid's birthday. I swear that sauce is so good that sometimes I just make it and the toast and skip the pasta altogether.
posted by cairnoflore at 9:25 PM on May 19, 2016 [4 favorites]

I had recently been craving a nice Reuben sandwich. Used to be able to get good Reubens all day long in the Chicago 'burbs, but here in rural Mainiac land, not so much.

Our local deli-style place seems to think a sandwich should be all meat and very few toppings. And bread that is 1 inch thick. That is not my idea of a good sandwich, which must have a perfect balance of ingredients.

So I pulled a corned beef out of the freezer and roasted it, with a light coating of pub-style mustard on top.

Then I made my own homemade bread, a sandwich style bread that I put a little molasses in, because that's how I like it.

The corned beef was sliced, not too thick, and not too thin. Just enough Russian dressing, and some 'kraut, and Swiss cheese, then the whole thing was lightly toasted in a cast iron pan.

That, my friends, was sammy heaven.

We did it again this week with store-bought rye, and fresh 'kraut from the fridge section.

Have also used leftover corned beef to make a Cuban-style sandwich, using a big loaf of soft Italian bread, sliced lengthwise, layered with mustard, pickles, corned beef, ham, and Swiss, then buttered on the outside and smooshed under a cast iron pan (atop a baking sheet) and baked in the oven until toasty and gooey and delicious. That doesn't last long around here.

My favorite seafood dish was seared scallops over asparagus puree. Important to peel the ends of the asparagus, and only use the tender bits. Blanch in chicken stock for extra flavor, then shock in ice water, drain, and puree with a little butter and reserved stock, if necessary. Make sure the scallops are really dry before searing them, and don't overcook them. Serve right away. It's a very simple dish, but it's truly awe-inspiring when you eat it.

Baked salmon with a pistachio crust, topped with a lemon cream sauce is also excellent (many recipes online). I generally bake a thick portion of salmon for about 13 minutes at 350, testing with a meat thermometer (we like it slightly on the rare side, ymmv).

When I make New England fish chowder, I always use a little Old Bay seasoning, little bit of onion sautéd in butter, potatoes, and sometimes corn, maybe celery. Just enough stock to cook the potatoes, then add about a cup of scalded cream (or milk, if watching your calories), stir, put in the fish, turn the heat to very low, slap on the lid and let sit just until the seafood is cooked. No thick gummy stuff with a tiny bit of fish here and there, that is gross! If using clams, make sure they are whole-belly clams and not just strips, and do not overcook them into rubberbands, or my great-grandmother will come to haunt you.

Favorite dessert has to be a simple apple galette, using Jacque Pepin's butter pie dough, made in a food processor, and left to sit in the fridge for at least an hour. Sliced apples, bake at 400 for 35-45 minutes, depending on your oven, little cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top before baking, then brushed with a mix of apricot jam and cognac (or apple brandy). Served with the best vanilla ice cream you can find, very yummy.

You can also make a mock lobster bisque by using leftover lobster shells to make a stock and adding any mild white fish to the end result. Of course you can make it with lobster, but if you happen to be doing a lobster boil, save the shells for stock.

I guess I don't have *one* favorite recipe, but I those are the things that stand out the most for me, especially the scallop dish. Sometimes the simplest things can also be the tastiest.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:25 AM on May 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

I make the best potato salad. Perhaps some will find it too piquant, but to each their own-- I find most potato salads too sweet and bland.

I should probably point out that when I say "tablespoon" I mean a tableware spoon, not a measuring spoon. I do measure cups with a measuring cup, though.


1 bunch of beets, boiled, drained, and cut into bite-size pieces.
3 pounds or so, small golden and/or pink potatoes, peeled, boiled, drained, and chopped into bite-size pieces. I don't peel them when I make this for myself, but I do peel them for a party because people don't like peels for some reason.
1 green onion chopped small and mixed in, 1 chopped larger for garnish
1/4 of a smallish purple onion, diced and mixed in
The smallest can of black olive slices, drained well.
1 small jar of pimiento-stuffed small green cocktail olives, drained-- it's OK if you get some of the brine in this.
A can of baby corns, drained and chopped (optional-- they are hard to find)
A small jar of marinated artichoke hearts, poorly drained-- you want some of the marinade in there.


1 1/2 cups of mayonnaise-- exact amount somewhat depends on the exact amount of potatoes and their individual dryness. Sometimes you get a really dry batch of potatoes.
1/4 cup of brown mustard. You can sub yellow but I think it's too weak.
1 tablespoon of dried "Italian seasoning," or, some of all the greens herbs you got
1 tablespoon of dry mustard.
A pinch of salt
Two diced cloves of garlic-- don't sub garlic salt. The prepared garlic in the jar is actually better here since it's mellowed out some.
Grind black pepper over it for a slow count of 30, or until just after it seems like too much pepper. If you're using a shaker, kind of spill some in there accidentally-on-purpose.
2-3 dashes of Tapatio or Cholula (Tabasco and Crystal are too vinegary)

Mix it all together, and let it sit in the fridge for a day. Here is where the magic happens: the beets dye the whole thing a brilliant pink. Nobody ever expects a fuschia, spicy potato salad, but when they eat it, you will be the hero of the salad course!

The other best thing I make is Scrambled Egg Sandwich. This is actually a comfort food my mom makes for me. She has a better hand with it than I do, but mine is OK because she taught me how-- if anyone wants the method, let me know.
posted by blnkfrnk at 6:52 AM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Elizabeth David's chocolate mousse.

Vegan chocolate mousse is similarly simple: Chocolate and silken tofu. I actually prefer it to David's recipe as it's a bit more bitter and less cloying to my palate.

About 200g of the best chocolate you can find, melted. Double boiler works fine, but the microwave was made for melting chocolate, imo.

About 700g of silken tofu

Blend together with the melted chocolate and put into serving dishes. A neat trick for keeping champagne flutes clean: pipe it into the glass from a zippy bag with one corner chopped off (or pastry bag if you have one).

That's it. A light finisher to any meal, for any crowd. You can trick it out with treacle crackers or fruit or nuts or whatever, but it's a very simple easy dish to do that keeps well for a day or two as well.
posted by bonehead at 9:15 AM on May 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

Elizabeth David says that the mousse toughens up if you leave it for more than three hours, but (a) that only seems to be the top skin, which can be removed

My trick: press clingfilm down onto the surface of the mousse. It prevents the dry rubbery layer from forming. After removal, you can re-smooth the suface with the back of a spoon. The tofu version also doesn't really change much with time either.
posted by bonehead at 9:21 AM on May 20, 2016

One year I made creamed onions for thanksgiving, and steamed broccoli. No one ate them. All the kids defied expectation and loved the squash. I made stock from the turkey carcass and added the creamed onions and broccoli, put it in the blender, and it was the best soup ever.
posted by theora55 at 1:39 PM on May 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

My trick: press clingfilm down onto the surface of the mousse. It prevents the dry rubbery layer from forming.

But that's the best part!
posted by Room 641-A at 1:43 PM on May 20, 2016

Really, really, really, really think I need the recipe for chili egg casserole. Please?

We made a ridiculously easy and delicious pasta and pesto last night: 50 grams of fresh basil (large handful), at least that much arugula (a bit more, actually; not sure how much, and it doesn't matter, because all this is "how much feels right"), a couple cloves of garlic, around 20 grams each of pine nuts and walnuts, around 75 grams of fresh grated parmesan, olive oil (again just drizzling and judging to get to the right texture, so I'm not sure of the amount), lots of fresh ground pepper, and salt, all buzzed in our mini food processor.

Meanwhile, we were boiling 250 grams of linguine, and when that came out to drain, we melted some butter (not sure how much, my husband was doing that part) in the bottom of the still-hot pot, mixed it with 200 ml of cream, then threw in the pasta and (most of) the pesto, and nommed delightedly, with fresh, amazingly delicious sliced tomato on the side. (You can mix that in, too, of course – my husband prefers it on the side, so we do it that way.) This was heavenly, and it all took as long as it takes to boil a pot of linguine.
posted by taz (staff) at 10:48 AM on May 24, 2016 [2 favorites]

Mouthwatering comments. I feel hungry just by reading here. *Grabs sandwich
posted by Sarah_M at 8:49 PM on May 25, 2016

My go-to salad is thin-sliced fennel and thin-sliced firm apples like Jazz tossed with a little of the fennel feathers, ouzo, olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt, a little sugar, and cracked black pepper.
posted by answergrape at 9:59 AM on May 26, 2016

Are the recipes going to be tested? Where can I sign up?
posted by cacofonie at 7:25 AM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

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