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Old 03-18-2020, 02:30 PM
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Cooking under Quarantine: "What's in this freezer bag?!"


Cooking under Quarantine: What's in this freezer bag?

Or cooking in self-isolation and "what's in this bag at the back of the pantry?!" Post your current culinary successes, failures, hacks, and other thoughts related to foodstuffs already in the house, your meal planning strategies, and gustatory experiments resulting in triumph or fiasco.
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Old 03-18-2020, 02:39 PM
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Apparently in Germany people are stocking up on sausage and cheese. They are preparing for the wurst käse scenario.
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Old 03-18-2020, 03:21 PM
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Apparently in Germany people are stocking up on sausage and cheese. They are preparing for the wurst käse scenario.
Hey, don't knock the Wurst!
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Old 03-18-2020, 03:33 PM
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No, but seriously....

The one thing I'm running low on is milk, which I consider essential. I'm thinking of opening my stash of powdered milk that I keep for emergencies like this. I might head for Food Basics on the weekend for some dairy, if I think it's safe enough (and if they're open).

Otherwise, I'm well stocked with meat, cheese, fish, veg, et cetera. Today I opened a sealed bag of gyros patties that had been in my fridge since January, just waiting to be eaten. They were fine.
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Old 03-18-2020, 03:36 PM
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We found a chunk of corned beef that we'd cured last year and frozen with the intent of eating it later in the year. Once we trimmed off the small freezer burned area, it was good as it ever was. We ate it for dinner last night and lunch today, and there's probably enough for one of us to have it again for dinner.
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Old 03-18-2020, 04:46 PM
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I'm gonna boast here - we defrosted the chest freezer a couple of weeks ago (not because of an anticipated crisis, just coincidence - it was sorely needed) and we catalogued the contents when we put them back. So, for the first time in years, we actually know what's in the freezer. How 'bout that?

Several of the entries are just Green Stuff - spinach or some other greens. We'll find out when we get desperate.

j
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Old 03-18-2020, 04:47 PM
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Apparently in Germany people are stocking up on sausage and cheese. They are preparing for the wurst käse scenario.
Stealing.
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Old 03-18-2020, 05:22 PM
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Stealing.
It's Wurst for Hamburgers and Frankfurters.
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Old 03-18-2020, 05:44 PM
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Yesterday I started combining quinoa with ice cream.....
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Old 03-18-2020, 08:06 PM
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Based on this thread, we defrosted a big bag of frozen cherry tomatoes from last fall. I more or less followed Rachel Ray's recipe for Pasta with Cherry Tomato Marinara but with modifications, such as dumping all the herbs (dry, not fresh) in the pan at the same time, using frozen cherry tomatoes, adding chicken sausage, using chickpea "pasta," and for lovely wife, non-dairy cheese.

Wow! Easy and delicious.
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Old 03-18-2020, 08:22 PM
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We had a freezer-thaw potluck party during a major power outage last summer so nothing frozen is older. Certain spices and grains-in-jars can't predate 9/11/2001 so there's that. Our dried ancho chili peppers might go back to the first Gulf War. But frozen stuff? It's all relatively young. Some will go in the Instant Pot tonight, even if PG&E cuts juice again. Lines are down in this neighborhood because heavy snow; a PG&E truck carrying a new power pole crawled down our rugged mud road an hour ago.

The worst frozen stuff, usually brownish, hides in little unmarked bags. Freezer Roulette, anyone?
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Old 03-18-2020, 10:05 PM
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Hysterical! Just what I was about to talk about. We have a running list of crappy little jobs around the house we never get to in normal times. but we're doing now. One was taking everything out of both freezers, cleaning them, and sorting thru the stuff. (Another is removing all the refrigerator magnets and cleaning the front of both appliances. That keeps getting pushed down on the list for some reason)
We really didn't find too much weird stuff, 3 small baggies of corned beef ends, I might have mashed into a spread, but nah, they're gone. One problem now is well wrapped but getting old fast packages of lunch meat. Yes, lunch meat can be frozen, you'll probably have to squeeze the moisture out of it use, but it's normally fine, I've done it forever. But short freezer life.

Last edited by DummyGladHands; 03-18-2020 at 10:06 PM.
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Old 03-19-2020, 07:59 AM
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I like playing Chopped in my own kitchen, but husband for some reason prefers real dinners made from actual recipes.
I will say that baggies of frozen chicken breast and baggies of frozen banana puree look mighty similar after a while.
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Old 03-19-2020, 08:04 AM
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My freezer’s too small for any mystery, and my post is about freezing whole chickens and why it makes even more sense under quarantine.

The butcher skins and quarters the bird, cutting four fillets from the two breasts and separating the wings from the body and the thighs from the drumsticks. All but today’s meal is frozen in a big ziplock bag, with quartered sheets of baking (parchment) paper between the pieces so that I can pry them apart later, as needed.

Here’s what I do:
  • With the carcass, I make a giant pot of stock that I use for soups, risottos, etc.
  • The frozen breast fillets are brined overnight, then cut into pieces and fried with cornflake breading (better than breadcrumbs).
  • I usually stew the thighs and drumsticks but would roast them, too, if I had an oven.
  • With the wings, I make a smaller batch of stock, and there’s enough meat for 20 or more croquettes.
That works out to 16 copious meals, which is about a month’s worth of chicken from one bird

Last edited by jerez; 03-19-2020 at 08:06 AM.
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Old 03-19-2020, 08:45 AM
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Something my wife learned in her sous-chef days is always to write the contents and the date on any container or bag you put in the freezer, with a sharpie. It saves a whole lot of uncertainty several months down the line.
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Old 03-19-2020, 09:28 AM
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Yeah, but that takes all the fun out of it.
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Old 03-19-2020, 09:40 AM
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The other day we had a delicious lamb stew made from meat my gf found in the freezer. It was really good! When I was cleaning up (my gf is a messy cook) I found the wrapping paper from the meat and saw that I had written (in sharpie) "dogs".

No, it wasn't dog meat, it was lamb scraps I collected when I helped my buddy butcher some lambs.
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Old 03-19-2020, 11:50 AM
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"It could be meat. It could be cake."

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Old 03-19-2020, 01:52 PM
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Something my wife learned in her sous-chef days is always to write the contents and the date on any container or bag you put in the freezer, with a sharpie. It saves a whole lot of uncertainty several months down the line.
Good advice. I always do this now, after many embarrassing past mishaps.

The other day I excavated a quart of frozen homemade French onion soup that must have been 18 months old. Melted it down, heated it up, made croutons out of baguette slices and dill Havarti (no Gruyere in the house). Absolutely delicious.
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Old 03-19-2020, 02:31 PM
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The New York Times is allowing free access to their recipes. This article, called Easy Recipes to Cook During Your Quarantine has some good links. I'm making one tonight.
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Old 03-19-2020, 03:14 PM
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The New York Times is allowing free access to their recipes. [URL="https://www.nytimes.com/article/easy-recipes-coronavirus.html?action=click&module=Editors%20Picks&pgtype=Homepage"]
That’s uncharacteristically nice of them! We made their Roasted Tomato and White Bean Stew last night, and it was excellent.

I needed to substitute quartered kumatoes for cherry tomatoes and I had no fresh parsley, so I added a teaspoon of dried to the tomato and thyme before roasting. I also grated some Pecorino over my serving, which perked everything up nicely. It’s a vegetarian dinner — vegan if you skip the cheese — so I roasted a sausage as a side dish.

Try it! Hell, try ALL the Times recipes, most of them are wonderful.
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Old 03-19-2020, 03:16 PM
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I’m making their Oyakodon (Japanese chicken and egg rice bowl) tonight. Also recommended, as long as you don’t mind mother-and-child reunion.
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Last edited by Ukulele Ike; 03-19-2020 at 03:19 PM. Reason: Egg
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Old 03-19-2020, 03:58 PM
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That’s uncharacteristically nice of them! We made their Roasted Tomato and White Bean Stew last night, and it was excellent.

I needed to substitute quartered kumatoes for cherry tomatoes and I had no fresh parsley, so I added a teaspoon of dried to the tomato and thyme before roasting. I also grated some Pecorino over my serving, which perked everything up nicely. It’s a vegetarian dinner — vegan if you skip the cheese — so I roasted a sausage as a side dish.

Try it! Hell, try ALL the Times recipes, most of them are wonderful.
Yeah, no shit. I saved a large number of recipes to the "My Recipe Box" for quite some time under my subscription. Then the fuckers suddenly said "Now it's going to cost you extra on top of your subscription to access it or even see any of our precious recipes." My response to that was a hearty "fuck you". I emailed my friend who is a copy editor for the NYT and bitched at him, but he basically shrugged and said "what can you do?"

I'm making the Black Bean Bake tonight, and I'm busily copying recipes to my Word cookbook before they lock us out again.
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Old 03-19-2020, 04:36 PM
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I wanted to bake something without using any of our eggs or dairy, so I baked a wacky cake. It is quite good. The next time I make one, I will mix it in a bowl. Mixing it in the baking pan is awkward.

https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/f...te-cake-106041
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Old 03-19-2020, 05:01 PM
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Too late to edit - If you try the wacky cake recipe I posted from Epicurious, start checking for doneness at about 25 minutes. It is done when the top bounces back to the touch and doesn't look jiggly. The toothpick test doesn't work with this cake.

I used self rising flour and omitted the salt and baking soda.
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Old 03-19-2020, 09:29 PM
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Trying to figure out what to do beside the obvious with a tin of brownies (fancy $$ designer brownies) I threw in the freezer (well wrapped) but won't last much longer. We go them from a client for Xmas last year.
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Old 03-19-2020, 09:48 PM
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Go to the N.Y. Times app (free!) and look up the shortbread cookies with chocolate. They are fucking INTENSE. I’ve made them four times now, at the Ukulele Lady’s insistence.
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Old 03-20-2020, 07:11 AM
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We made a beautiful yellow curry with shrimp and served it over rice. It was delicious, except for the lack of cilantro. No cilantro in the house and none up yet in the garden. Take me now, jesus, I don't need this shit.
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Old 03-20-2020, 11:14 AM
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Powdered coriander may do in a pinch.

I think today is Napa cabbage something something and dried mung bean dal. Mrs susan was inline at the "senior hour" at our grocery for the better portion of an hour and a half. She reports no oatmeal or shelf-stable milk.
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Old 03-20-2020, 11:18 AM
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Powdered coriander may do in a pinch.
Bah!

actually, I wish I'd thought of that last night. I know we have some. Dammit
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Old 03-20-2020, 02:27 PM
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We are old folks so it's important to stay in. I've been baking bread. That turned out to be a plus. Best bread I've had in years. Had some milk that soured. No problem, it works great in bread. Also managed some coffee cake for breakfast.

The local meat counters are bare but I did find ham hocks. I had a couple of pounds of dried Lima beans to cook with them - yum.

So far so good, but I believe it will get worse.

Last edited by Crane; 03-20-2020 at 02:29 PM.
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Old 03-20-2020, 02:38 PM
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I stopped by our friends' farm market on my way home from work to pick up whatever produce looked good. When I walked in, my friend held up her hand and ran into the walk-in cooler. She had a huge box prepared for us with all sorts of produce, meat, noodles, home-canned goods, etc.

She'd made up a few box s like this for friends. When I tried to pay she refused. She'd been very busy, selling out of things like eggs and milk. I've done all sorts of things to help them over the years, she said she was happy to be able to feed us.

I don't cry. I came close today.
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Old 03-20-2020, 02:50 PM
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Since the Wal-Mart manager didn't see this coming*, the TP aisle has been empty for weeks.

But the manager of the (relatively tiny) Piggly-Wiggly ("The Pig"), 20 miles north, was smarter. He borrowed a flatbed truck and a few friends, and did a road trip to Milwaukee (about 3 hours drive one way), where he loaded 18 pallets of TP, probably from a wholesaler. He can now boast that he has better stock than the Wal-Mart store.

AFAIK, he didn't jack the sale price up. You can't do that in a small town.

* Isn't anticipating demand the job of a manager? Guess not!
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Old 03-20-2020, 03:10 PM
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AFAIK, he didn't jack the sale price up. You can't do that in a small town.
Sure you can, but it will come back and bite you in the ass. A local chain drugstore has plenty of generic paper towels, a four pack is just $14.95. A friend bought a four pack just so he'd have proof of the gouging. He is telling everybody he knows, and it seems to be working because I'm now hearing about it from people he doesn't know.
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Old 03-20-2020, 03:26 PM
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That's sorta what I meant, Kayaker. In a small town, your customer is likely to be the proprietor of another store that you frequent, and you can't hide behind anonymity.
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Old 03-21-2020, 01:05 PM
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The New York Times is allowing free access to their recipes. This article, called Easy Recipes to Cook During Your Quarantine has some good links. I'm making one tonight.
I don't know if I should bless or curse you. Just printed out (I prefer paper as it's easier
for me to make notes, especially since the first thing I have to do is put metric measurements on everything) dozens of recipes.


Quote:
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I'm making the Black Bean Bake tonight, and I'm busily copying recipes to my Word cookbook before they lock us out again.
And this is one of them. Also the white version. There are few stores where I can buy canned black beans, so I won't be able to buy them for a while. The white beans I'll be able to buy as soon as the nearest store can keep them in stock.

I figured out that my freezer only had coconut chocolate brownies, pasta e fagioli (without pasta), pumpkin flesh prepared for recipes, cranberries and cookies. Not much for meals, so I've been working on stocking my freezer.
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Old 03-21-2020, 10:57 PM
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A few days ago I made a stew out of 17 random ingredients in the fridge/pantry/freezer and it was so good I wrote down how I did it. Not that I'll ever make it again exactly the same way, but I would definitely use it as an inspiration for another turkey-chickpea dish:

Olive oil
Onions, chopped (2 med)
Zucchini, chopped (1 med)
Shishito peppers, seeded and chopped (about 4)
Vegetarian bouillon cubes - 3
Turkey, ground – 1 Kirkland package
Breadfruit, chopped (about 1/3 to ½ a medium breadfruit, steamed)
Corn (about 1 can)
Spinach, chopped (about ½ a small bag, or 1 pkg)
Celery flakes (about 1/8 cup)
Shitake mushrooms, soaked and chopped (about 8)
Pepperoncini, chopped (about 5)
Tomato, chopped (can with liquid)
Chickpeas, drained (1 can)
Adobo seasoning (1/8 cup)
Cumin( 1/8 cup)
Pesto (large spoonful – probably about 1/8 cup)
Basil (1-2 Tbs)
Thyme (1-2 Tbs)

Heat olive oil in cast iron pan. Add onions, zucchini, shishito, and bouillon cubes and saute.

While mix is sauteing, put corn through thyme in crockpot. Include the liquid from soaking the mushrooms.

Add ground turkey to cast iron pot when vegetables are translucent. Continue to cook until turkey is cooked, breaking up large chunks as needed. Add onion-turkey mix to crockpot.

Add a little more olive oil if needed to cast iron. Add breadfruit and saute, scraping up any browned bits.

When breadfruit cubes are cooked, add to crockpot with all scrapings.

Cook in crockpot on high for 3-4 hours. After an hour, taste for salt and seasonings. Add salt, adobo, cumin, basil, thyme or other seasonings if needed. Consider adding white pepper, juice from pepperoncini, and/or bacon salt if flavor needs a push. (Was fine without any added flavorings when made as written).
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Old 03-22-2020, 11:00 AM
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Somebody around here mentioned the SuperCook recipe generator - tell it what you have and it'll churn out recipes. My earlier, primitive method was to merely google on <ingredient1> <ingredient2> <ingredientX> ( instant pot) RECIPES and see what magically appeared. If <ingredientX> is mystery meat or something, just call it MEAT and behold the suggestions.
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Old 03-22-2020, 11:40 AM
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Ran low on comestibles, besides some fruit that are in limbo between fresh and spoiled, all I had on hand was a one-pound bag of Mahatma brand dry brown rice that the food pantry gave me months ago. This also gave me no more excuse to try out the Instant Pot my mother brought me. (I focus more on lentils and quinoa, and I have been too lazy to research if the former is compatible with the cooker).

I liberally added canola oil and curry powder. Pretty pleased with it.

It expanded much more than I though it would too, so It'll last me most of the day.
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Old 03-22-2020, 01:36 PM
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Today I'll freeze the excess of what I cooked this week (really, how may mung bean-based meals can a girl eat in a row?) and make and freeze stock from the scraps. The I'll pull out a frozen mystery stew.

To create more social distancing at home, perhaps I'll eat kimchee all day.
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Old 03-22-2020, 02:05 PM
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I resurrected my Sourdough starter, of which I had dried some and kept in the fridge for the last year or so. The good news is that the yeast is alive, so after three days of feeding I now mixed up have a doughball to start proofing. Here's hoping the right bacteria survived as well.
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Old 03-22-2020, 03:58 PM
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I read somewhere recently about farting on a flour+water mix - the expelled bacteria will produce a sourdough starter. But I'm afraid to try.
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Old 03-22-2020, 04:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dung Beetle View Post
I like playing Chopped in my own kitchen, but husband for some reason prefers real dinners made from actual recipes.
I will say that baggies of frozen chicken breast and baggies of frozen banana puree look mighty similar after a while.
Somebody posted on Facebook that cooking in the time of Coronavirus is turning us all into "Chopped" chefs. -- "You have spaghetti, cocoa powder, chicken thighs, and broccoli -- Go!"

In this spirit, Pepper Mill whipped up something using potatoes, spinach, onions, and cheese a couple of days ago. We made stir fry yesterday. We had leftover expensive buttermilk from the Irish Soda Bread for St. Patrick's Day, so I made buttermilk pancakes yesterday. I suggested we could take the leftover Irish Soda Bread, top it with leftover pizza sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese, and melt it together to make Irish Soda Pizza. But then Pepper Mill finished the Soda Bread (possibly to prevent this culinary abomination). We'll probably have relatively normal pizza tonight, but tomorrow it will probably be home-made Fake Indian Food.


Dinner -- it's not just a meal, it's an adventure!
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Last edited by CalMeacham; 03-22-2020 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 03-22-2020, 05:06 PM
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I've got a couple dozen flour and corn tortillas from the local taqueria in the freezer, so when it gets down to the nitty, everything but soup becomes a burrito or a taco!
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Old 03-22-2020, 06:18 PM
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We found a freezer bag of tomatillos in the freezer, had onions and jalapeños, bought cilantro, and made a tomatillo salsa, mmmmmmmm.
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Old 03-22-2020, 06:23 PM
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I'm going to finally attempt trying (and making) chocolate hummus.
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Old 03-22-2020, 06:39 PM
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We have an abundance of chicken-chicken-CHICKEN in the freezer. COTU#1 and COTU#2 have been known to gripe long and loud about "Chicken AGAIN?"

To accommodate Mr VOW's next-to-zero sodium diet, I made a no-sodium BBQ sauce. It was difficult to find a recipe that (1) didn't have any amount of liquid smoke--bleah, and (2) didn't start with "two cups of no-salt ketchup.

I came up with something, and it tasted pretty doggone good!

B/S chicken thighs and the newly-created BBQ sauce are in the InstaPot. If I don't blow up the kitchen, it should be pretty good!


~VOW

(Note: COTU#1 and COTU#2 are the grandkids. COTU=Center of the Universe)
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Old 03-22-2020, 07:20 PM
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Uttered today chez moi: "When the psyllium husk powder for the cats gets here, can I have 4 teaspoons to make this New York Times gluten-free bread recipe?"
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Old 03-22-2020, 09:55 PM
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I had the foresight to grab a chunk of Gruyere on my last trip out, so I dug into my pile of potatoes and made a fine Gratin Savoyard tonight.

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gratin_savoyard
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Old 03-22-2020, 11:00 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2019
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Quote:
Originally Posted by needscoffee View Post
I'm going to finally attempt trying (and making) chocolate hummus.
We shall pray for you, my child. Just keep that away from decent people. I mean, have you ever tasted the stuff? And survived? Only fast reactions saved me, but the squirrel I hit when spoon-flinging it was not so lucky. Oh well. We have more squirrels.
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