IS there a dish so good u learned to cook it
For me I have four, these were to me a amazing beautiful dishes that I had to have without going out. There was some sort of self satisfaction to create something that i could eat at anytime if I went out to get the ingredients
(1) massaman curry warm luscious sweet spicy beautiful
(2) Ropa Vieja my mom used to make it and died before I got her recipe,still tweaking it
(3) handmade oriental filled dumplings I mean the like the one's I had in NY CHI TOWN once
(4) Mofongo still have not tried it yet
The long gone Dandelion Cafe in Venice, California, used to serve a hummus platter: hummus, warm pitas, and what they called a Mediterranean Slaw, which I was able to reproduce by mixing sliced red cabbage, grated carrot,chopped red onion, quartered kalamatas, chopped romas, capers,slivered basil, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and coarsely cracked black pepper.
When I first made it, I discovered I'd forgotten to buy pita, so I served it with warm flour tortillas, quartered.
kimchee - condiment? dish? This became a real obsession. I love kimchee
PIzza! That was a biggy, I knew I could make it as well or better
handmade dumplings - steamed sui mei, won ton, bbq pork steamed buns, moo shu pork and the little pancakes
tamales and salsa roja - or beef in salsa roja for chili colorado
camerones ala diabla
bbq shrimp - new orleans ( i searched pretty long and hard for this perfect recipe)
There are quite a few more, and it all began when I tasted it either at friend's homes, or at a restaurant. Being so impressed and with a somewhat obsessive personality when it comes to food, I'll really track it down, until I can mimick what I'd had before.
chili verde with pork
Rubios salsa (the dark red one, not the chipotle)
spaetzle and chicken paprikash
My list would be far, far too long... basically because I love trying new foods and I've never met a restaurant dish I couldn't replicate at home; same goes for most packaged specialty food items. I've gotten pretty good at the reverse engineering bit, often even without a printed recipe as a guide.
Some dishes do however require a bit of research and a few of them I didn't nail until the second try, but overall, I love the chase. For ethnic foods, I fortunately live in a very ethnically diverse area of Central NJ so trying new dishes and obtaining special ingredients do not usually present a problem at all, and sometimes finding that one secret ingredient can be very satisfying. For example, many of my Indian food re-creations graduated to full authenticity when I finally used some "hing" powder. Very weird smelling stuff, to be sure, but a small pinch of it in some dishes made all the difference.
For me it's not an individual dish that falls into this category but an entire cuisine: Indian food.
I didn't grow up eating Indian food, but from the moment I first tasted it, I loved everything about it: the flavors, the textures, the spices, the complexity. Every now and then I would think, "It would be nice to know how to cook this stuff," but I never actually did anything about it.
This really dates me, but for me the catalyst was the fascinating and interminable PBS drama "The Jewel in the Crown." with a tragic love story set during the last days of the British raj in India.
Partway through the show (there must have been at least a dozen hour-long episodes) I marched into Kitchen Arts & Letters, the great cookbook store in NYC, and said, to Nach Waxman, the owner, "I need to learn how to cook Indian food." He sold me Madhur Jaffrey's "Invitation to Indian Cooking." I started cooking out of that book immediately, and it launched my ongoing adventures in Indian cuisine.
Just a few things I've added after tasting them and then replicating at home:
1. Laab - after the first time eating in NE Thailand in about 1980.
2. Home made ice cream fruits after eating in Rome 15 years ago - hollow out pulp of different suitable tropical fruit, make ice creams out of each, adding food coloring as needed, then re-filling the hollowed out rinds (each fruit cut in half) and freezing. They come out looking like the original fruit cut in half.
3. Pork stuffed bitter gourd - after eating in a dirt floor no name restaurant in Canh Tho many, many years ago
4. Mondongo - after eating in a market in the mountains Vera Cruz, Mexico, a few years ago - previous versions I'd had of menudo or mondongo were not as good. Once inspred by a good one, away I went!
5. Bierocks - after eating them as school cafeteria food growing up. Had to wait until I learned to cook.
6. Emadashi - Bhutanese chile and cheese, because its chile and cheese
7. M'chuzi chicken - from Kenya, so I can amuse my guests by repeating the Royco M'chuzi mix radio advertisement (the old 50s style where some guy is telling housewives what they should do!!!!)
Much of what I cook that are not from childhood or from one of my ex-wives are things sampled and then replicated at home.
After eating at Bouchon in Napa, I bought the cookbook of the same name by Keller JUST to get the recipe for his flour based (pate a choux, I think) gnocchi...so light and yummy. My son and I now make it all the time. After spending the $60, I discovered the exact recipe on epicurious..sigh. Bit of work until you do it a few times....now it is easy.
We have been searching for about 15 years for a rice pudding to equal the one served in the long-gone coffee shop of St. Francis Hospital on LI, of all strange places! We haven't eaten any anywhere, not for lack of trying, and my own attempts have been disasters.
Tonight was the night! I tried a recipe from our local smalltown newspaper that takes recipe requests, you probably know the kind of column. This rice pudding was adapted from one at the Kings Arms Tavern in Williamsburg, VA. It actually lived up to its promise! Baked, not stirred on the stove. Creamy. Custardy. Sweet but not obnoxiously so, thanks to some lemon juice and lemon zest.
Our ship just came in! Only problem was stopping eating before the two of us finished the whole bowl (recipe is for 8 - 10!).
Next venture: okonomiyaki, something else we can't get where we live.
I took a class on making okonomiyaki two summers ago -- tons o' fun and very easy if you have all the right ingredients to hand. One thing we found: one of those flat griddly electric thingies work best for even cooking and ease of flipping, though I suspect it was more the pan style than the heat source.
* I got this recipe online originally watch the humidity it can affect the outcome I crank down the AC to combat the heat from the steamers
* 3 cups all-purpose flour
* up to 1 1/4 cups cold water
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup ground pork or beef
* 1 TB soy sauce
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 TB Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, or to taste
* 3 TB sesame oil
* 1/2 green onion, finely minced
* 1 1/2 cups finely shredded Napa cabbage
* 4 tablespoons shredded bamboo shoots
* 2 slices fresh ginger, finely minced
* 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced
Stir the salt into the flour. Slowly stir in the cold water, adding as much as is necessary to form a smooth dough. Don't add more water than is necessary. Knead the dough into a smooth ball. Cover the dough and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
While the dough is resting, prepare the filling ingredients. Add the soy sauce, salt, rice wine and white pepper to the meat, stirring in only one direction. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring in the same direction, and mix well.
To make the dumpling dough: knead the dough until it forms a smooth ball. Divide the dough into 60 pieces. Roll each piece out into a circle about 3-inches in diameter.
Place a small portion (about 1 level tablespoon) of the filling into the middle of each wrapper. Wet the edges of the dumpling with water. Fold the dough over the filling into a half moon shape and pinch the edges to seal. Continue with the remainder of the dumplings.
To cook, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Use a bamboo steamer lined with bannana leaves or parchment paper steam the dunplings for at least 12-15 min I use a triple stack bamboo steamer to get more done or you could just boil them but i think the water gets into the dumpling making it watery, tha steam method is time consuming but really worth it, also once cooked and cooled you can freeze them . Taske a sheet pan and put doun some waxpaper then single layer in the freezer once frozen bag them and take them I will amke about 120 to 180 on a weekend . I REALLY like dumplings
There are some dishes I've never been able to eat at restaurants due to food allergies but my husband would always order them. After seeing him order gumbo many times, I decided to make it (without the offending ingredient so I can enjoy too!) and have been told it is some of the best gumbo people ever had!
I'm like many others who have posted; I can deconstruct a recipe and recreate at home. When all else fails, I get good cookbooks and then tweak the recipe to our tastes. I make Thai, Indian, Italian (not pasta.....yet), cajun and many other types of ethnic cuisines.
Risotto and souffles. Both had taken on epic proportions in my mind for some reason, and both are relatively easy to make if you are patient and careful. The downside is that now I am loathe to pay restaurant prices for either (cf. fettucine alfredo) as I know how inexpensive the source ingredients are, though I do recognize you are paying for the prep time when dining out.
If there's any dish I like, and it doesn't require me to really go far out of my way to recreate it (or buy special equipment), my inner DIYer is usually willing to take up the challenge. I make most of my Thai food at home now; I know how to dessicate various foods and turn them into flavored powders à la molecular gastronomy; I started making caramel cages to decorate desserts after seeing them on an episode of Jacques Pepin. When I win the lottery, I'll have to get started on testing out my sous vide ideas.
Ditto on this.
I can normally taste ingredients on dishes I like and then go home and make them. Hubby all the time will be like "Honey, taste this." Then after I taste he looks at me optimistically and says, "Can you make it?" More often than not I can. I recently made a lavender cake I tasted at a restaurant. I also make a lot of Indian and Italian food that I eat and decide to make at home.
I did steal the recipes from my Aunt's commander's palace cookbook for bananas foster, bread pudding and bread pudding souffle because I couldn't whip those up without the recipe.
re: c oliver
Actually I have two local sources - a seriously high-end food shop that sells both goose and duck fat by the pint - it's not cheap but considerably less than d'Artagnan, usually about $5 a pint (though I doubt most 'Hounds outside major cities have access to such a shop), and the once a year or so that I roast a goose myself - I was astounded the first time I did one to see how much fat rendered off it!
You make the dumpling itself not just the filling??? I'm impressed. I did that once and it was a huge amount of work and I wasn't thrilled with the result. I use wonton/gyoza now.
To answer your question, I make creme brulee and now think mine (well, actually CI's) is better than what I have in a restaurant. Thanks to the 'hounds, I've gotten into pasta and Batali and Hazan are two of my faves. Also wontons. Again, I buy the wrappers.
the Wasabi Sesame Crusted Tuna at a local steakhouse. the county newspaper published the recipe *many* years ago, and after i got my hands on it i tweaked it a bit:
now if i could just get the recipe for the Oatmeal Frittata from Hugo's Restaurant in LA...