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All the Time in the World

DH is on vacation the next two weeks. We don't go anywhere. We buy expensive ingredients that we don't usually buy and tackle new recipes. We basically eat, read, and work out to combat the two.

DH wants to tackle something time consuming. Something that will keep in in the kitchen for an afternoon with a glass of wine and his cooking gadgets.

If you had time to prepare something extraordinary and time consuming, what would you cook?

We love all foods---please just throw out your ideas. I'd love to hear them.

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  1. Hmmm....this is a good one. I would head to the nearest French cookbook and make some really fancy, high-falutin' dish. Something from Julia Child.
    Or try making some really elaborate Indian dishes or a Mexican mole. I've seen recipes for Indian curries that take dozens of ingredients and lots of patience.
    Sounds like so much fun. Please let us know what you end up making!

    1. I'd suggest a classic French cassoulet, but it might be a bit heavy for summer.

      1. Something with puff pastry (homemade).

        1. The duck terrine in James Peterson's Glorious French Food takes most of a day and is wonderful. I have made it 3 times and will make it again, despite the time investment.

          Many of the curries in The Great Curries of India by Camellia Panjabi are very time-consuming but each one I have made has been transcendant -- really worth the effort.

          1. The last really time consuming thing that I did was to bake croissants, and while it took about two days, the results were incredible. It may not work in the summer, though, depending on how warm your kitchen is.

            1. 2 years ago I made Thomas Keller's pork trotters with sauce gribiche out of his Bouchon cookbook. It took me the most of 2 days. I don't know if I have recovered yet. Maybe I'll make it again next summer. You have to work up to this stuff. It sure was good and very rich. I had to share it with jillp because one serving was enough to last you for awhile.

              1. momos: hand rolled and filled Nepali steamed dumplings

                1. homemade pasta

                  lots of interesting breads

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: pescatarian

                    agree with the bread idea. baking gives you so much satisfaction......baking bread is the ultimate time consuming task that yeilds great results/rewards. there are so many things you can do with the finished product and innumerable ways you can alter the recipes.

                  2. Since you said "gadgets" I am thinking a lasagne or ravioli where the ragu is first cooked (pressure cooker to start?) then fresh flavored noodles. Plus the grating of the cheese, the pre-saute of veggies, maybe a fresh yeast bread to accompany. For example short ribs or lamb shank precooked, then cooked into a ragu, and a mushroom powder or spinach fresh pasta, plus all the other elements. And biscotti to dip in vino santo or espresso for dessert, or ice cream if that is one of his gadgets..Endless possibilities.

                    1. I would get any one of Paula Wolfert's cookbooks but particularly "Mostly Mediterranean" (previously titled, "Paula Wolfert's World of Food") and take my time deciding. Warning, many of her best recipes will take much longer than an afternoon to prepare. http://www.paula-wolfert.com/books/in...

                      1. We rarely have the time to do this, but when we do, it's heavenly - A lovely meal of Ethiopian stews and injera. It can keep you in the kitchen for hours, or more likely days, as you make the spiced butter and berbere sauces, slow stew the fowl and meats, prepare the vegetable wats (stews). If you're really ambitious and have the right cookware, you can even make the injera bread yourself. (I never have, as we have a fairly significant East African population and we can buy fresh injera easily.)

                        Althought the work is significant, we always have a lot leftover to freeze and enjoy at another meal (or more)...the stews freeze very well (with the exception of the hard-cooked eggs). We generally make two meat (beef and lamb) wats, doro wat (chicken and hard-cooked egg) two lentil wats (brown and yellow) and a potato/carrot/cabbage wat. Add in some sauteed spinach and some cottage-type cheese, and it's a meal well worth all the hours in the kitchen.

                        I love your choice to stay home and cook on vacation - very much my own way of thinking. So much so that I am pencilling in an Ethiopian cook-fest for next month!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: cayjohan

                          LOVE IT!!!!

                          We both love Ethiopian food but have never attempted it at home. It will also give us an excuse to check out the African food store near by.

                          DH is going to do some prep next Friday and Saturday. Sunday we will feast. Thanks for the post. We will report back.

                          1. re: nissenpa

                            I have made several North African recipes from the cookbook "Sundays at the Moosewood", and have loved all of them! There is a recipe for injera in that book, that I could share with you if you would like to make it yourself. It is not totally authentic, as it not made from teff, but it tastes wonderful and is made from readily available ingredients.

                        2. When I have a lot of time to cook, and feel like committing to the labor, I make eggplant parmesan. Not many gadgets required there, but it's so worth the effort in the end.

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: Kagey

                            Love eggplant parm- and agree- it is something I make when I have lots of time- a rainy Saturday afternoon in the Fall is perfect. The only problem with eggplant parm ( for me, at least), is I can eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner- cold, warm- any which way!

                            1. re: macca

                              I have decided to tackle eggplant parm as I have been on an eggplant kick the last few weeks. I have never actually made eggplant parm.

                              Do either of you have a recipe you would recommend?

                              1. re: nissenpa

                                No real recipe. SLice the eggplant ( I do not salt and drain it), dip in egg wash and then in breadcrumbs, Fry in olive oil. This is the part that takes some time, can be messy. But I think it is best fried, rather than baked in the oven. The eggplant will soak up all the delicious olive oil as it fries.
                                I layer it in a baking dish, with a layer of eggplant, some marinara sauce and grated parm.Lots of people put layers of mozz. in either the layers, or on top. i prefer mine without the mozz. I like to let the tomato sauce and the eggplant be the stars of this dish. THen simply bake until bubbly . So good.

                                1. re: nissenpa

                                  My recipe goes something like this:

                                  First, make tomato sauce. That is, saute two or three cloves of garlic (you can leave them whole or mince) in olive oil until they start to turn bronze. Add good canned tomatoes (about 2 or 3 400g cans), add salt and pepper, cook until thickened, maybe only a few minutes.

                                  I also don't salt and drain my eggplant, unless I'm feeling particularly masochistic. But slice into thin rounds. I probably use two medium-sized ones.

                                  In one bowl, add flour seasoned with salt and pepper. In another, beat 4 or 5 eggs with a lot of good grated parmesan cheese (thus, eggplant parm!).

                                  Heat a frying pan with about 1/4 inch of olive oil in the bottom. Dip eggplant in flour mixture and then egg mixture, then fry until golden brown on both sides. The first batch always turns out terrible, for some reason. If yours doesn't, congratulations.

                                  Once you've fried all the eggplant, the difficult work is done! Now, just slice some good mozzarella cheese into 1/4 to 1/8 inch slices, and gather up a good handful of fresh basil leaves. Layer your ingredients in a pan (I usually use a 9 x 13 inch pan) beginning with sauce, then eggplant, then mozzarella, then basil leaves. Keep layering until you run out of ingredients (extra sauce can always go on spaghetti). Try to top with a layer of mozzarella, then sprinkle a good layer of grated parmesan on top.

                                  This can now either go into the oven or the freezer, or be kept in the fridge for a day or so until you're ready to bake. Bake at 350, check after about 40 minutes. Keep baking until the cheese on top browns nicely. If you use a pyrex dish, you get to see everything bubbling.

                                  Serve with extra Parm and sauce if you like.

                                  Sorry for the vague amounts. I tend to eyeball everything. If you can get a hold of Ursula Ferrigno's Truly Italian cookbook, there's a similar recipe in there. It's the closest to the recipe I make. Please let us know if you try it!

                                  1. re: nissenpa

                                    I don't fry the eggplant because it takes too much oil. I've never used the broiler on my present (old) stove because it's down near the floor. I just got a new Cuisinart toaster oven and it comes out great using the broiler. You brush olive oil on both sides and turn over and broil each side well.

                                    1. re: walker

                                      How many minutes on each side? Would roasting the slices work? Do I peel the eggplant?

                                      1. re: nissenpa

                                        Unfortunately, it takes a while in the toaster oven, maybe 3 or 4 minutes a side -- I'm not sure. I pulled up a chair and read the paper while I kept an eye on it. If your stove has a broiler on its ceiling, that'd be faster and easier. I've tried roasting and don't like it, comes out flabby. In the broiler it browns, gets a little crispy. You can peel if you like, I don't because I like the peel. If you do peel, some recipes say to just peel off strips with vegetable peeler -- this will keep your slices more intact, helps for turning over.

                                      2. re: walker

                                        Walker, eggplant slices: start with a bit of oil, fry a bit, turn, a bit longer and add some water instead of more oil. The water will cook out, leaving fried eggplant using just a bit of oil.

                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                          Thanks for the info; maybe I'll give that a try.

                                2. While you're in the kitchen, I would take the time to make some chicken stock and also veal stock to reduce the next day to demi glace (frozen assets of the best kind!) -- great for fall & winter dishes.

                                  I would roast a duck (amazing 4 hr roast duck -- on this board and recipe available online I believe from Best American Recipes)

                                  Since it's August, I would go to local farmers markets, and stock up on summer's bounty to cook up and freeze some -- local tomatoes made into a roasted tomato sauce, and of course pesto (frozen w/o cheese). And I'd grill anything in sight -- eggplant, zucchini, corn, etc.
                                  Have fun! and let us know your projects!

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: NYchowcook

                                    Thanks for the reminder. I need to start preppping all the chicken stock I will need for Thanksgiving. No time like now to start.

                                    1. re: nissenpa

                                      I really enjoyed making Chile Rellenos - but done in a traditinal style outlined in Rick Bayless' Mexico One Plate at a Time. Many steps to this. Deep fry the poblanos to loosen the skins and remove them. Make a pork filling including frying, soaking, and pureeing dried chiles, and roasting almonds and tomatoes for the filling (among other things). Slice, stuff, and seal up the chiles. Let cool for a couple hours. Create a light egg coating, dip chiles in coating and deep fry several minutes before service. And did I mention making the sauce? And maybe some guacamole and home made tortilla chips? Plus tortilla soup as an appetizer. That all took about a whole day.

                                      1. re: wak

                                        Great idea from a great book. I've had that book for over 2 years and I still look through it thinking I haven't even scratched the surface yet! I really like this too b/c it's much more seasonally appropriate. I couldn't see making a cassoulet in this heat!

                                        1. re: roasted138

                                          We get a bit of a Bayless overload in Chicago and a little cynical about his success, but this cookbook is an excellent introduction to Mexican cooking. The recipies are well chosen, well written, and even if some have many steps (Mole, Relleno) he leads you through them in very clear steps.I have made at least a done recipies from the book and they always turn out well.

                                  2. You could smoke/bbq....instead of being in the kitchen all day with wine and gadgets, you'll be in the yard all day with beer and fire :-)

                                    1. When I take kitchen vacation, I bake. All kinds of cookies, usually, the most time consuming being the ones made with molds.

                                      www.houseonthehill.net is a great source ...

                                      1. Who Me?

                                        I would definitely research Dim Sum and all the different ones there are. Spend a day or two in Oakland Chinatown, then SF for another 2 or 3. Eating (research) as many as I could. Shop in Chinatown to prepare myself, and then get everything (and I mean everything) that would be necessary to make the chosen Dim Sum. I would buy everything from dishes, cookware to the ingredients.

                                        Then after I conquered what I had set out to learn, I would have a Dim Sum party and invite my friends (only invite like food obsessive people) and have a wonderful time eating, drinking and talking about this wonderful experience!!

                                        1. If you like Mexican I can certainly help you create a menu that will take several days to prepare.... some authentic barbacoas, tamales, moles, homemade fermented beverages etc.,

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                            empanadas are my latest addiction. I make them w/ cream cheese in the dough, butter & veg oil instead of lard. Stuff w/ some pork product sauteed w/ onions & peppers and you're good to go. I finally managed to get some in the freezer (pre-cooked) -- that is, not eating them all.

                                            1. re: NYchowcook

                                              Sounds great... if you are looking to further expand your empanada universe I would recommend:

                                              > A Veracruz cookbook to do Plaintan based "Empanadas" (turnovers that use cooked plaintain flesh insted of dough)

                                              > An Oaxacan cookbook to do Molotes (Corn Dough Empanadas stuffed with Chorizo-Potato hash & topped with anisey avocado leaf laced Black-Bean Paste)

                                              > An Hidalgo cookbook to make their variety of regional empanadas that descend from the Cornish tradition (English miners immigrated there for work in the mid 1800s)

                                          2. Jam! Lots and lots of different jams. And a few pies that would freeze well.

                                              1. re: emilief

                                                This is the beast we have decided to tackle at the end of the month during our weeklong vacation.
                                                Boyfriend wants to do pork in corn huks, I'm opting for chicken with mole of some sort in a banana leaf-Yucatan style.
                                                Should take the better part of two days-we can't wait!

                                              2. I'd do a French day, and make cheese, breads, croissants, puff pastry, eclairs, souffles, then invite friends over for an hor d'oevres/cocktail party :)

                                                Definitely a day of pasta making, including ravioli with different fillings

                                                A traditional Jewish holiday meal including matzah balls, chicken soup (w/ stock from scratch), latkes, kugel, challah, sufaniyot or hamantaschen or rugelach.

                                                A variety of doughnuts

                                                Sushi... make the rice, cut the fish, etc.

                                                1. How about soup dumplings? They had a recipe + instructions in Bon Apetit last month (or the month before)...kinda tedious...also, how about Pho Tai? Lots of cooking time (9 hrs. on the stove for a good stock) but good for summer.

                                                  1. I've been thinking of tackling osso bucco.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: SweetPea914

                                                      Osso bucco is not hard at all, don't be afraid! And it is the most rewarding when you don't overcook it. I love osso bucco. I've made it both with beef and veal, and sorry to say the veal is just better. Order ahead and request a thick cut, ones that need to be tied. So good. I have a great recipe and I've served it with lemon herb rice, pasta, and with spaetzel and there all good. But make a lot!

                                                      1. re: chef chicklet

                                                        Thanks for the info. Would you be willing to share your recipe? I think I'm intimidated because I don't cook meats very often, and when I do it's a quick grilling situation. It's not weather appropriate yet, but I definitely want to make it in the fall!

                                                        1. re: SweetPea914

                                                          I have a great osso bucco recipe it's from Anthony bourdain courtesy of Epicurious. It's my hubby's favorite meal.
                                                          Whatever you do, do not omit the veal demi glace. It is vital to give the dish the right depth and flavor. We get ours from Williams-Sonoma.

                                                    2. How about Indian food? Madhur Jaffry & Julie Sahni are great sources. The food is tasty and for many of us, not a regular homemade item. You could make your own garam masala and other spices for future cooking ventures.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: ducky

                                                        Agreed wholeheartedly. There are few joys better than good homemade Indian food, but it is so time consuming to make.

                                                      2. Pate. Grind the meats and make your own aspic. Then make some crackers to spread it on.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: ginnyhw

                                                          Coq au Vin from Molly Stevens' "All About Braising". It has many, many steps, and requires a slow cooking, but is still expected to be eaten that day. I made it this past winter and, I'm telling you, it was one satisfying Sunday and one satisified family. I look forward to making it again. Also, check that book for much inspiration. Her recipes are tried and true.

                                                          1. re: onefineleo

                                                            I LOVE Molly Stevens. I have made about 10 recipes from AAB and only one was less than stellar. I have not made the Coq au Vin but it is now on my list for this weekend. Thanks!

                                                            1. re: nissenpa

                                                              That's great! Please report back and let us know what you thought.

                                                        2. How about turducken? My brother and dad did this one year for the holidays and it definitely took all day. It required a lot of effort to sew up the birds, but also to make the 3 different kinds of stuffing. I recall my brother made a shrimp/cornbread/cajun version, some kind of sausauge/sage one, and one with wild rice. Anyway, it was so interesting, fun and time-consuming; a bit like a science experiment which left enough leftovers for a year ;)

                                                          1. I suggest you do what I would like to do. Make a Thai(or Chinese or Vietnamese) feast with veggies and meats and noodles and soup and rolls and rice and dumplings and garnishes...yum. Although the Ethiopian thing does sound interesting. Have a fabulous time.

                                                            1. I'd make anything out of my Slow Food book. Osso buco with risotto, lamb tagine, fish stew...

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: victoriafoodie

                                                                I would suggest making apple butter. It takes along time.

                                                                1. re: bigjimbray

                                                                  we are going to be in the middle of an apple orchard very soon, and I'd love to tackle apple butter. Do you have a good recipe?

                                                              2. so nissenpa . . . how did your cooking go? Would love to hear about your adventurous cooking adventures!