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What dish do you cook that people just rave about?

For me, it's Tacos!
Friends and family can't get enough of my legendary (their words) tacos.
Have no idea what makes my tacos a stand out vs. others.

Fry up my corn tortillas so they are crispy and I use the MorningStar 'Crumbles' that resemble ground beef and I gussy that up with fresh garlic and jalapenos..
Stuff them with extra sharp cheese..red onions, lettuce, sliced avocado, scoop of sour cream and hot taqueria sauce.
I also grill up some chicken breast and fry up flour tortillas and do the same as above.

Loved to hear the dishes you cook up that make you shine with friends and family.

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  1. We are 'famous' in our and our kids crowds for smoked pork butt, ie pulled pork, and our smoked pork ribs, and our beef brisket. It gets expensive to be asked to bring the smoked butt to almost every function. We love the pork, and DH loves the accolades. And the ribs go so fast you have to be fast to get some!! Briskets are the trickiest. So much depends on the meat itself. Have done some wonderful ones, and others that just are passable.Thank goodness the pork always comes out great.

    Your tacos sound great!!

    4 Replies
    1. re: Nanzi

      Nanzi, what do you look for in a brisket? I'm a new smoker, and I've got a 9 lb brisket in the freezer. It's untrimmed - the butcher said that was "Texas style" so that's what I took. Any tips appreciated - I love love love to learn from great home cooks!

      1. re: Vetter

        Vetter, the big question is what do you have.

        A whole Brisket has two parts, a point and a flat.

        Most retailers at even teh butcher level cut the single brisket in two giving you a point cut that oftten cooks fast and can be dry vs. a flat that often cooks evenly.

        Add to that the fact that beef varies from supplier to supplier and thus the canundrum.

        A whole brisket will often yield the best results but the flat is ideal.
        Having smokedmany dozens of them, it's really a matter of sourcing , cut and fat to me.

      2. re: Nanzi

        Me too! My friends and family all love the pulled pork I cook in my Big Green Egg. That's what I usually serve when I have a party, since pork shoulder is so cheap, and I can get a lot of sanwiches from a few pounds of meat. They also love my ribs, chicken, pretty much anything I cook in the Egg. I also make my own vinegar-based Carolina style sauce that I serve with pulled pork and everyone raves about that. It's been a long time since I've done brisket (mainly because it's hard to find a whole one.) I should do one soon.

        This was supposed to be a reply to Nanzi's post from July 7.

        1. re: 4X4

          4X4, would you please share you recipe for your vinegar-based Carolina sauce? I have been searching for a good one to try with pulled pork - I much prefer vinegar-based sauce on my pork than the tomatoey bbq sauce version.

      3. Nothing fancy, that's for sure! Time and time again I'm asked to bring either chicken wings, potato salad, or baby back ribs to a gathering. I think it must be the various ways I brine and/or marinate things that does the trick.....

        1. Unfortunately, no-one raves about my dishes. Not even Mrs Harters.

          Folk do rave about her pesto rice salad which she's always asked to bring.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Harters

            Will Mrs. Harters share her recipe?

          2. Folks say my pizza is better than anything they can anywhere around........then again, I DO live in Georgia.

            1 Reply
            1. My friends and relatives clamor for 4 or 5 dishes. What is interesting is they are fairly simple to make.

              Crockpot pulled pork
              Breakfast croissants - sausage, scrambled egg and cheese in a croissant
              Chicken Marsala
              Swiss Steak
              Chocolate truffles - I have made several flavors including dark chocolate, white chocolate, peamut butter with white chocolate, cherry chocolate, pina colada and almond joy.

              Even the truffles are easy but I have a $400 chocolate tempering machine so I can dip them in chocolate. I wouldn't do them if I had to hand temper. Well, maybe I would dip them in other things like coconut, cocoa or chopped nuts.

              10 Replies
              1. re: Hank Hanover

                I am now officially jealous--tempering always seems to PUT me in a temper! ;)

                1. re: KSlink

                  Okay, so what am I missing? Any time i want to dip something in chocolate i just melt it in my homemade double boiler (ceramic cereal bowl in a little pan) and it comes out fine. I've never needed to add fat or had it scorch.

                  1. re: tinahtulsa

                    Melting the chocolate in a double boiler works fine. However, it usually loses it's temper. Tempered chocolate is shiny and snaps when you break it or in the case of something dipped snaps a little when you bite into it. Untempered chocolate is dull, doesn't snap and melts with contact from your hand (even quicker than tempered chocolate.

                2. re: Hank Hanover

                  I'd love to know how you do your crockpot pulled pork!

                  1. re: ochound

                    I'm sure it isn't as good as a pork butt that has been smoked for 12 hours but it is hard to screw up pulled pork. In short, there is no such thing as bad pulled pork... only better.

                    Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
                    3 1/2 - 4 lb. Package pork carnitas (chunks of Boston butt roast)
                    16 ounce jar of barbecue sauce
                    12 ounce bottle of beer
                    8 ounce can of pineapple juice
                    pork rub consisting of onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, smoked paprika, and black ground black pepper
                    1 large or 2 medium onions rough chopped
                    Put onions in bottom of slow cooker. Rub pork rub onto chunks of pork and put in crockpot.
                    Add barbecue sauce, dear, and pineapple juice to crockpot. Put the lid on and set too low for eight hours.
                    Remove pork to separate plate to cool. I'll pork is cooling. Strain and defat 4 cups of braising liquid. Put this liquid in a saucepan on medium heat and reduced to 2 – 3 cups. Be sure to bring liquid to boil to kill any lingering bacteria. Adjust sauce to taste. It may be necessary to add vinegar if the sauce is too sweet. It may need liquid smoke. You may want to add more barbecue sauce to thicken it. If you don't wish to use more barbecue sauce you could thicken the sauce with a teaspoon of cornstarch in a slurry.
                    Use two forks to shred pork. Discard excess fat. Add some of the braising liquid to the pork and mix. Serve on hamburger buns with a ring of sweet onion and some relish.

                    1. re: Hank Hanover

                      thanks for posting your recipe- I will give it a try! I usually use a pork shoulder roast, either bone-in or boneless. Instead of cooking it whole, I might try cutting it in chunks like you use...

                      1. re: ochound

                        As long as it fits in a crockpot, I'm sure it will be fine. I use the package called carnitas because they cost about 10 cents more per pound but they are boneless and carnitas come in 3.5 - 4 pound packages at my grocery store. Bone in Boston Butts are usually 8 pounds at my store. That makes a lot of pulled pork. The good news it easily freezes. However, it is part of the reason I use the smaller package of carnitas.

                      2. re: Hank Hanover

                        Sounds delicious - one problem for ME, I'm deathly allergic to pineapple. Have you ever tried something else in place of the pineapple juice or left it out? I'm on the hunt for a good pulled pork for an upcoming party and this sounds so delicious.

                        1. re: tiffeecanoe

                          I've often used mango juice/nectar as the fruity note. Maybe you could use it in place of the pineapple. Or you could try an apple cider vinegar, not 8 oz though, probably just a 1/4 cup (2-ish oz) will do the trick for the the quantities listed for the above recipe.

                          1. re: tiffeecanoe

                            I used pineapple juice because I knew about al pastor and was sorta heading in that direction. Before I did that, I just used beer and no juice. I'm sure you could use any of the following juices: mango, papaya, or apple. I wonder if pomeganite juice would be any good? The adventurous could find out.

                    2. Lamb in general (chops, racks, roasts) It's so easy, but I guess I don't' share how easy it is :P
                      Mac and cheese
                      Omelettes/ Scrambled Eggs

                      Pretty much the easy (and kind of boring) stuff... kinda sad when you think about it.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: kubasd

                        I hear you loud and clear on that one--seems the things I can do in my sleep are the most requested. Weird, huh?

                        1. re: KSlink

                          Yep - deviled eggs and tamale pie.

                        2. re: kubasd

                          After thinking a bit I remembered a BIG one... meatloaf! Also, I've done the whole family's thanksgiving dinner for the past 7 years. My mashed sweet potatoes with a spiced candied pecan topping are a requirement.. and I "created" it on a whim and am not the biggest fan of them, myself....

                          1. re: kubasd

                            For your thanksgiving dinners -- how many active days does it take you? TD so exhausts me but it's just about my favorite meal (if I cook it, esp. the stuffing!!) I do force my daughter to make the mashed potatoes (Yukon Golds), excellent, and creamed onions -- I may have to undelegate this. I keep wanting to make really good yeast rolls but I only have one oven.

                            My dishes: people just love the deviled eggs and Italian meatballs. I have a great recipe for corn muffins that include fresh corn, chopped serranos, grated cheddar, chopped green onions. Great, (easy) banana bread.

                        3. Dumplings


                          Ice cream

                          1. Pesto, fresh tomato and mozzarella pizza, potato salad, roasted corn and black bean salsa, Bill Granger's Carmel Chicken.


                            1. Grain salads of all kinds are my most requested item , along with a mustard chicken recipe.

                              1. loving all your simple wonderful dishes..

                                other dishes that get tons of raves..
                                Eggplant Parm
                                Roasted vegetables with garlic and EVO
                                Chicken Garam Masala
                                Patty Melt with garden burger, marble rye, grilled onions, swiss cheese and 1,000 dressing.
                                Mango, jicama mint salad.

                                1. Most everything I cook gets raves, many times -IMO- totally undeservedly, as some of our friends are much more adventurous / elaborate cooks.

                                  My caponata comes to mind, chicken piccata, calamari, salads of all kinds, roasted cauli (I know - dead simple), and my man's lamb shish kebabs. Those are, admittedly, awesomeness lambified :-)

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: linguafood

                                    Will you share your recipe for the Caponata?


                                      1. re: linguafood

                                        Awesome! Wow, party size! Thanks so much!


                                          1. re: laliz

                                            It's really great, but you can't be deep-fry phobic.

                                      2. re: linguafood

                                        I feel just the same. I have a knack for whipping up stone soup -- i.e. something from nothing -- but my culinary skills are pretty bog-standard if I'm honest. But people in my generation are so used to processed everything than something from scratch just bowls them over, even if it's ultra-simple, like roasted veg or chicken chasseur or mashed potatoes or meat pies.

                                      3. People rave about my gefilte fish
                                        chicken soup
                                        cucumber salad
                                        beet salad

                                        unfortunately my matzoh balls r golf balls

                                        24 Replies
                                        1. re: jpr54_1

                                          Oh, I sympathize on the matzoh balls: I'm a southern who can't make decent biscuits. Sacrilege. But, I do get rave on my pie crusts and sourdough bread.

                                          1. re: pine time

                                            We're opposites! I can make a mean biscuit (and fair enough; been making them for twenty five years) but my pie crust is "boughten" every time. Can't make one to save my life.

                                            1. re: LauraGrace

                                              Do you have a biscuit recipe you'll share? Bet I've tried a million (just a tiny bit of hyperbole there), with varying success. My technique is okay, but just can't get the gist right. And both my parents said "boughten"--I still smile thinking of that!

                                              1. re: pine time

                                                I think the recipe matters far less than the technique. I happen to use an all-butter recipe, but I've had success with half butter and half shortening as well.

                                                2 cups AP flour
                                                2.5 teaspoons baking powder
                                                1/2 t. salt
                                                6 T fridge-temp butter
                                                3/4 c. soured milk or buttermilk (or a bit more if you live in a drier climate)

                                                Preheat oven to 425. Mix dry ingredients. Cube butter, then RUB into the flour mixture with your fingers. Add liquid and fold with your hand until barely incorporated. Turn out onto a generously floured surface and, using floured hands, gently pat the dough out to an inch or so thick. Cut with your preferred cutter, again generously floured. Re-roll the scraps by gently patting them into a disc and cutting, repeating until all the dough is used up. Place on a cookie sheet, set it on the center rack of your oven, and bake for 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned.

                                                1. re: LauraGrace

                                                  No baking soda? For the soured/buttermilk?

                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                    Nah. I can never be bothered to measure out ANOTHER leavener. ;)

                                                  2. re: LauraGrace

                                                    Thanks, L.G. I'll give your recipe a whirl.

                                                    1. re: pine time

                                                      Funny story was Misissippi in a mansion on Mississippi river that was also a B&B. At breakfast best biscuit ever. So I said gotta ask what is the chance of getting the recipe. Nancy said not a problem sure. Pillsbury Southern style..

                                                      1. re: don515

                                                        Yep.. I use Pillsbury. Then again. I'm addicted to Monsanto products. :-)

                                                        Seriously, I use the the canned ones. Never have gotten around to deciding I should learn how to make biscuits.

                                                          1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                            Have you read the thread(s) on baking biscuits? I'm getting ready to start practicing until I get it right. I've rec'd the White Lily self rising flour I ordered.

                                                            Looking forward to seeing your progress.

                                                            (This was a response to Hank Hanover.)

                                                            1. re: walker

                                                              To tell you the truth, I don't think I like biscuits enough to dirty a couple of dishes, put wax paper on the counter in an effort to contain the flour and then clean the flour off the counter and floor anyway.

                                                              I think I would rather spend two minutes getting them out of the can. Especially when I consider that I only have biscuits once a month or so.

                                                              1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                HAHAHAHAHA!!! I love banging the can against the counter edge--and I don't even like biscuits !! lol

                                                                1. re: staughton

                                                                  staughton, I dunno how you can like it. I feel the same way about the exploding cans as I do about blowing up balloons - just waiting for the pop is torture. Augh. What is wrong with you!! :)

                                                                  1. re: mamachef

                                                                    You have to hit it at the exact right angle with the right amount of force--kind of like playing doctor when you were a kid and you had to "check the reflexes" and whack that soft spot just below your friend's knee... That didn't always go as planned, either! hee hee heeeeee... Yeah, what IS wrong with me?

                                                                    1. re: mamachef

                                                                      mamachef, I feel as you do. I HATE opening those cans. I think it's the difference between those who do and don't like suspense. Maybe?

                                                                      1. re: mamachef

                                                                        It's got to be a man woman thing. I like the explosion.

                                                                        It's like watching a Clint Eastwood movie... you just now there is going to be an explosion. Except for "The Bridges of Madison County".. He didn't blow one of those bridges up!

                                                                        1. re: mamachef

                                                                          The other day I was cleaning out the fridge & had the door open for quite some time & one of those little Texas biscuit cans exploded & flew all over the kitchen in little confetti shreds, even landed on the ceiling across the room. Very load noise like one of those firecracker bombs. Scared the shize out of me. Really strange.

                                                                      2. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                        Really they're super easy, Hank. And you can do it all right in one big mixing bowl.

                                                                        1. re: foiegras

                                                                          I'm certain I can do it. I can follow a recipe. I just don't wish to put the time into something I'm not that wild about and that I don't make more than once a month.

                                                                          1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                            That's understandable. My only concern here is that canned biscuits and homemade biscuits aren't even the same animal!

                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                              Yeah ... they're tolerable, kind of, but they sure do taste processed and metallic.

                                                                              A good hot homemade biscuit is really a little piece of heaven.

                                                      2. re: jpr54_1

                                                        For matzoh balls, sneak in a little baking powder into the dry ingredients.

                                                        1. Nearly everything I cook gets raves because we eat very well about 6 days of the week. Sounds snobbish, admittedly, but cooking fantastic meals is what I so love to do and my focus most days. It is what I am skilled at. Sports? Pathetic.

                                                          But then I have TONS more time than many. No job outside the home (except for some cooking classes, small catering, recipe testing) and no children. Most requested are brined roasted meats with pan sauces, risottos, condiments and preserves. People frequently tell me I know how to cook meat very well. In fact, when I go visit my family I am always asked to do all the cooking which is fine with me!

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: chefathome

                                                            chefathome - I am wondering if you would please share one of your favorite brined roasted meats. I have only brined chicken and turkey in the past. I would love to try a recommended recipe. We usually don't enjoy pork or veal.

                                                            1. re: chefathome

                                                              I hear you. I'm also not employed and don't have kids, so have all the time I want to concoct/experiment with food. The husband is quite happy as he benefits directly. :)

                                                            2. There are 2 things that stand out:

                                                              1) Roasted pig/lamb - used a pig roasting box last year to roast a total of 2 pigs and 1 lamb during 2 outings at a local state park. For the first roasting, worrying about too much leftovers I asked friends to bring their friends. Well, so many people turned up that some went home without tasting a sliver of the pig. I did a second roasting to make it up for them. To this day, people greeted me with 'Oh, you are the one who did the pig...' The roasted animals tasted very good. But that hardly was due to my cooking skills. The equipement/process guarantees good result if your butcher supplies you with a decent carcass. Rather, it's the scale and the rarity of the activity that make such roasting indelible from one's memory.

                                                              2) Scallion pancakes - I paid an expert $100 for a 2-hour private lesson on how to make scallion pancakes. It was one of the most worthy expenditaures I ever made. Since then I have taught many folks on how to make them. A good scallion pancake has many layers, crispy/crumbly on the surface but soft and fragrant on the inside. Never fried but dry-cooked in a skillet on the stove top. Eating one means it will spoil you for any restaurant-served ones. The highest compliment came when my grown sons video-taped me making them just in case...

                                                              8 Replies
                                                              1. re: borntolovefood

                                                                Sounds like that $100 lesson has paid off many times over. Yours sound much better than mine.

                                                                1. re: borntolovefood

                                                                  I'm intrigued, to say the least . . .

                                                                  Is there any chance of us getting this recipe?

                                                                      1. re: stormshadow

                                                                        It's an Chinese appetizer.....or street food. In a restaurant, it's pan fried, then cut into 8 triangle slices and served with a soy sauce based dipping sauce..


                                                                        1. re: fourunder

                                                                          There is a place in Flushing which serves them with this bbq beef rib... Oh my GOD!

                                                                      2. re: borntolovefood

                                                                        wow - that is touching.... I'm a decent cook on good days... but nobodies wanted to video me.. o I guess I got some work to do.

                                                                      3. I'm not really a fan of making things over and over, it gets dull for me so I take different things to events all the time.

                                                                        I do occasionally give in to requests for my Mojitos (I've made 5 gallons of them at a time before!) the cookies I make maybe once a year (very time consuming but unbelievably amazing,) and at holidays I'm the go-to gravy girl.

                                                                        1. Macaroni and cheese based on Paula Deen's recipe complete with cans of cheddar cheese soup. Go figure. They ask me to make that mac and cheese all the time.

                                                                          1. It is fascinating that the dishes most people are listing as most requested or most raved about are simple dishes. I noticed it when I was listing my own dishes that are very popular with friends. It seems like 90% of the other dishes posted here are still fairly simple dishes.

                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                              For many of us, "simple" is the essence of good food, whether it's home cooked or restaurant cooked. I can go to a restaurant and "ooohh" and "aahhh" over the intricate cooking and presentation and come away really satisified by a lovely evening. But the dishes I remember and want to return to are where the restaurant has taken top quality ingredients and done very little to them before they arrive on the plate. A similar thing with dishes made by relatives or friends - simple is best.

                                                                              1. re: Harters

                                                                                I'm with you there. If it isn't easy to cook, I usually don't cook it.

                                                                                Although, it seems like once you establish a reputation (that you are a good cook) among your friends and relatives, you could serve them horse meat and they would love it.

                                                                                1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                  This^^^^. Even things I consider huge flops are raved about.


                                                                                  1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                    +1. I also get RAVES for things that I barely even consider cooking, like homemade ricotta (mix milk and vinegar, how does that take any skill?), tapenade (buy decent olives, anchovies and capers and whiz them in a food processor) and frico chips (throw parmesan cheese in a skillet and cook it until it's crispy). I mean, they're all tasty, but BEYOND simple, and yet people treat me like I'm magical every time I serve them.

                                                                                    1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                      Sadly, these days either people don't have the time, or they think they don't have the time, or they are too intimidated to try. I fail all the time but I just analyze what I could change and move on.

                                                                                      1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                        I think it's their experience growing up. My mom is a plain cook, (mainly because my dad liked it plain) but it's all perfect. Friends coming to my house used to say things like"I thought I hated turkey but this is great!- not dry at all!" Because. My mom is a good cook and a great baker I know how things should taste. Now my kids' friends are in love with things like roast lamb and alfredo sauce mainly because they've never had it cooked properly before! Upbringing is key! My university aged daughter laughed herself silly recently because she schooled her East Asian boyfriend on curry making - from my hints! LOL! They now have a friendly competition they call Brown (her last name) mom versus brown mom.

                                                                                2. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                  IME, the average person is a lot more likely to be wowed and impressed by a dish they're already familiar with made markedly better than average because of good technique than they are by something they've never tried before. It's a lot easier to surpass someone's expectations when they have expectations in the first place.

                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                    This is true. A lot of 'fancier" dishes are in fact rather disposable ideas. I had a lovely dinner last night of corn fritters in chilled green tomato soup and scallops with watermelon, olives, and fennel. I will never have those dishes again and even their inventor may never cook them after this menu.

                                                                                  2. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                    i agree here. the rave reviews end up being for things nobody makes anymore. baked beans from scratch, fish cakes, brown bread, chicken fricasee (cajun style with a roux, not the french iteration), bread, tomato jam, chutney.

                                                                                    1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                      Agreed! I get the most raves from very simple food. Mostly things like roast chicken or boeuf bourguignon. I get the most compliments when I buy high quality food and cook it in season. Go figure.

                                                                                      That said, people do rave about my pie crust!

                                                                                    2. I get compliments now and then, but not a lot of raves...I'm a work in progress, more of a jack-of-all kitchen trades. My family really likes my scrambled eggs, and that I do interesting salads (not just iceburg, tomato, cukes, which I think many of my peers grew up with).

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: pinehurst

                                                                                        I smiled when I read this, b/c my husband and family always compliment my scrambled eggs - and I admit that I am very particular about them! And I too have some talent in the kitchen but am definitely a work-in-progress!
                                                                                        Lemon pound cake, blondies, and my tzatziki sauce seem to score well too.

                                                                                        1. re: ItalGreyHound

                                                                                          Thumbs up for the tzatziki. I mean it. Lots of meh versions, but if you can do a good one, that is excellent. I bribe my Greek friend to make it for me :-)

                                                                                      2. Most requested/complimented? Cheese biscuits. Although I like them and think they are pretty good (even bad homemade cheese biscuits are still pretty good, in my experience), I really don't think they're anything special. I make them because I crave warm, carb-y goodness and can't always afford to go out for Red Lobster to gorge myself on Cheddar Bay Biscuits.

                                                                                        1. deviled eggs
                                                                                          chocolate custard
                                                                                          tiramisu cheesecake
                                                                                          pink lemonade cupcakes
                                                                                          corn casserole

                                                                                            1. My minestrone soup is a hit. I've also been getting better at baking and DH gets a lot of compliments when he shares the goodies at work.

                                                                                              1. Meatloaf simple comfort food.

                                                                                                1. Two cookies - Scandinavian Almond Bars, and English Matrimonials - I get requests for those from my volunteer organizations for events that require cookies.
                                                                                                  As far as dinner type food, my family (especially DH) loves most everything I make. But then, I make what everyone will like.

                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                    Prime Rib - Yorkshire Pudding
                                                                                                    Brined Turkey
                                                                                                    Smoked Ribs
                                                                                                    Smoked Turkey Breast
                                                                                                    Green Thai Curry

                                                                                                    1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                      OMG! I forgot about those Scandinavian Almond Bar cookies. I used the recipe on Allrecipes. I couldn't BELIEVE how easy they were or how fast they disappeared! I've been baking cookies with some frequency for over 35 years and no other cookie ever went that fast. I had to hide them! Allrecipes also has a recipe for Danish pebbernodder that are really easy and good (for Xmas), too, if you like Scandinavian things.

                                                                                                      1. re: staughton

                                                                                                        Yes, those are the ones! People do go nuts (excuse the pun) for the Scandinavian Almond Bars from allrecipes. One civic group invited me to join, just so I'd bake the bars for their annual convention.
                                                                                                        I will look up the pebbernodder, too, because I love the name!

                                                                                                    2. I have an uber-chocolate cake recipe that I've been developing since I was sixteen and has become a bit of a legend among friends and family, probably mostly because the recipe is still a secret so they can't do it themselves! XD It is rather epic though, mainly due to it having a substantial proportion of its mass being real 70% dark chocolate! I was even asked to make it recently for a politician who was coming to visit a community project I work on (although he didn't try it-I don't think he wanted to look fat on camera...).

                                                                                                      1. Soups, especially pea, minestrone and cream of vegetable
                                                                                                        Bolognese - Hazan’s version with ground pork subbed for half of the beef
                                                                                                        Soda bread

                                                                                                          1. Apple pie with no bottom crust.

                                                                                                            1. At work it's curry. Red, Yellow, Chinese, Japanese, Trini, British, any kind really. But I work for a Midwest company and for many people, it's their first taste of any curry.

                                                                                                              At home, greek-style chicken, seared tuna steaks, kalbi ribs, and grilled steak (can you tell I have a man at home.)

                                                                                                                1. re: evansp60

                                                                                                                  Please share your Caesar salad recipe!

                                                                                                                  1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                                    Gladly, very easy to make. 2 versions
                                                                                                                    For the salad:

                                                                                                                    1 large head of romaine, washed and ripped into bite size chunks
                                                                                                                    2 cups of croutons (if flavored go with garlic or parmesean flavored)
                                                                                                                    3/4 cup parmesean (as fancy as you like)

                                                                                                                    Version 1

                                                                                                                    3-4 cloves garlic
                                                                                                                    1 tsp worcestershire sauce
                                                                                                                    1/2 tsp dijon mustard
                                                                                                                    1/2 tsp ground black pepper
                                                                                                                    1 egg
                                                                                                                    1 cup oil (a light olive or canola is fine)
                                                                                                                    1/4 cup cider vinegar (very important, do not substitute)

                                                                                                                    Place garlic, worcestershire, dijon, egg, pepper, vinegar in a blender.
                                                                                                                    Run blender on high then drizzle in the oil. Dont pour quickly as the dressing
                                                                                                                    will not thicken, just a nice easy drizzle. Dressing should thicken up nicely.
                                                                                                                    Should easily dress a large head of Romaine. Double if you want more.

                                                                                                                    Version 2

                                                                                                                    as above but add to the blender:
                                                                                                                    2 anchovies
                                                                                                                    1 tsp capers
                                                                                                                    (deepens the flavor of the salad, even if you do not like these ingredients
                                                                                                                    I suggest you try them, you might be surprised)

                                                                                                                    Hope you like it!!

                                                                                                                    1. re: evansp60

                                                                                                                      I get raves on my Caesar salad too and the recipe is very similar to yours. The only difference is that my dressing has a tablespoon or two of lime juice and 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar (instead of cider). I always use anchovies, usually about 4 as I love them.

                                                                                                                      1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                        I've recently found my go-to Caesar dressing, and people love it. I could make it every day and not tire of it.

                                                                                                                        4 anchovy filets, smashed together with 3 garlic cloves & some coarse ground black pepper plus a tsp of Dijon mustard, all made into a paste
                                                                                                                        1 fresh egg
                                                                                                                        1/4 cup of lemon juice (love how the dressing instantly brightens in color when you mix in the juice)
                                                                                                                        1/3 cup of olive oil
                                                                                                                        1/4 cup of parmesan

                                                                                                                        Love. It.

                                                                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                          Thanks to Evans and Tcamp. Oh, I do love a good Caesar, especially with the anchovies. I'll be breaking out these recipes soon.

                                                                                                                2. Cheeseburgers, chimichurri, and duck liver pate. Not together, of course.

                                                                                                                  1. Roast chicken. I get the Amish birds, about 4lbs., and use Jacques Pépin's techniques all the way. Lately, I've been making a version with homemade adobo sauce, or a tarragon version from our herb garden.

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: Dansky

                                                                                                                      Jacques' method never fails. Best Roast Chicken. Ever.

                                                                                                                    2. Try as I might to achieve higher goals in the kitchen, it's my cole slaw and chili that get the rave reviews and the most requests for gatherings. Also my cucumber salad (Thai or Japanese). I do put a lot of things in chili that most people don't (around these parts, anyway), but I'd never serve it to a real, live Texan for fear of the wrath that would be brought down upon me.

                                                                                                                      There are other things I do that people (mostly family) like, and I've made them many times:

                                                                                                                      Lasagna/baked ziti
                                                                                                                      Any salad & dressing--because I DESPISE bottled dressing
                                                                                                                      Batter-frieds cymling (pattypan) squash... Bisquick is really the secret *sigh*
                                                                                                                      Turkey stuffing for Thanksgiving
                                                                                                                      Bean soup (Mom's recipe)
                                                                                                                      fruitcake for Xmas (believe it or not)

                                                                                                                      And something I invented for my Depression Era parents, which they love: Hawaiian Beaner-Weaner. Basically beanies & weanies with pineapple, onion, coffee (don't worry, no SPAM!) and the other usual stuff in b's & w's. I really wish I wasn't so adept at the white trash stuff, but I guess it's in my blood. *sigh*

                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: staughton

                                                                                                                        Would love your recipes for coleslaw and cucumber salads, staughton. :)


                                                                                                                        1. re: mcel215

                                                                                                                          I went to your blog and I know that I'll be spending time there soon. Pink lemonade cookies! wow! Can't wait. Thanks.

                                                                                                                          You're obviously a baker (a good one) and you probably want exact measurements... but, honestly, I don't really have a set recipe for cole slaw. Typically, for the basic, traditional American cole slaw (enough for about 6 ppl), I shred (don't grate) about half a large head of green cabbage (including some darker leaves) and grate one whole peeled carrot. For the "sauce" I mix about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of mayonnaise with a big splash (~ 1-2 Tbsps) of vinegar (apple cider is fine) and maybe about a Tbsp of sugar (not too much... I just keep tasting until I get it where I like it, which is not too sweet, but it does need some sugar). Then I sprinkle some salt and celery seed and black pepper--maybe a 1/2 tsp of each?.. Occasionally I'll add poppy seeds if I don't have celery seed. Sometimes I've added about a tsp of grated horseradish, too, depending on what Im serving it with.

                                                                                                                          I also make an "Asian" version w/ sliced bell peppers and radishes and the sauce has no mayo: rice wine vinegar and sugar to taste, a little salt and some red pepper flakes, a dash of sesame oil (I mean a FEW drops, really. A little goes a long way and you don't want it oily). I like cilantro/coriander leaves, but not every else does, so I add a good fistful, chopped if I'm eating with cilantro-lovers. Sometimes I add toasted sesame seeds, too.

                                                                                                                          For cucumber salad, I just use the basic recipes you can find on Thai and Japanese recipe sites.

                                                                                                                          1. re: staughton

                                                                                                                            Thank you staughton. And thanks for the compliments. I also have a hard time with measuring things. The main reason I did my blog, was for my family to have the recipes they loved. And I painstakedly had to stop and measure things I literally "eyeball", lol!

                                                                                                                            Your coleslaw recipes and cucumbers are done almost exactly how I do mine. I never thought of toasted sesame seeds though. Sounds great, thanks again.


                                                                                                                          2. re: mcel215

                                                                                                                            Yes. I LOVE cucumbers and Japanese food. Tell us more!

                                                                                                                          3. re: staughton

                                                                                                                            I don't think a Texan would be surprised by anything put in chili. Out of all recipes I've ever encountered, I'm not sure there are more recipes for one dish than chili.

                                                                                                                          4. My meats!

                                                                                                                            -- Brisket (the braised kind) which I make twice a year (Passover and Rosh Hashanah).

                                                                                                                            -- Ribs, which have now become legendary at the July 4th party that we host.

                                                                                                                            -- Marinated grilled flank steak. Easy and good!

                                                                                                                            Oh, and my s'mores bars that I bring to a friend's Superbowl party every year. People go nuts for them.

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: valerie

                                                                                                                              I want to live next door to you. I can do everything BUT meats!

                                                                                                                            2. I'd be the happiest reader ever if folks would post their recipes or links. What a treasure it'd be to have your most popular recipes!

                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. I cook a lot for large groups who always rave when I make a strata (the bread pudding of savory breakfast buffet fame) and I am always surprised that the simple stuff gets the nod. I also have gotten raves for soups, mac and cheese and recently italian meatballs. I think my success is based on following a good tried and true recipe, doing the math to triple or whatever and using best possible ingredients I can afford - real butter not margarine, whole milk, good cheese not the plastic pregrated stuff. This board has definitely honed my skills over the past few years.The thing I love most is that there are no stupid questions on the Home Cooking Board!

                                                                                                                                  1. In the fall, family and friends start clamoring for my pumpkin mac and cheese and chicory chili. In fact, I myself am pining for fall not just to escape the oppresive heatwave, but so I can have the excuse to make the mac&cheese again!

                                                                                                                                    My only highly-prized summertime standard...because I hate to cook in the summer...is chocolate-chili sherbet.

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: MinouLQ

                                                                                                                                      Agree that the simple dishes get the most raves!

                                                                                                                                      My BF loves my tacos, totally inauthentic. Ground Turkey cooked with onions, taco seasoning packet, shred lettice, pre-shredded cheese, salsa roja & pico de gallo from the mexican market & fresh corn tortillas lightly fried. I even one time made the tortillas from masa and was told the other way was better. But his absolute favorite is grilled cheese, go figure! I've made tons of labor intensive, semi gourmet-ish meals, but these are the ones he always requests.

                                                                                                                                      My mom is not much of a cook, and her requested meals are dead simple as well. Chicken and dumplings, chicken marsala, pasta carbonara, roast chicken, & totally bastardized mexican fideos.

                                                                                                                                      My co-workers are completely amazed I make ice cream. They act like it's magic instead cream, eggs and sugar.

                                                                                                                                    2. My gumbo. It has become legendary. I have people still talking about the gumbo years after they've had it. I have to admit, it rocks. It's a shrimp, andouille and chicken gumbo with shrimp and turkey stock for a base, etc. It takes two days to make, simply because a good part of the first day is about cleaning the shrimp and making two types of fresh stock. But boy is it good.

                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                                                        I've gotten rave review on my BBQ spare ribs. I season them, bake in foil at 250 degrees for 3 hours. Then I take all the juices in the pan and from the foil and boil it down to reduce and combine with lots of vinegar, catsup, hot pepper, etc. The sauce will be more vinegary/spicey/meaty tasting than sweet. Grill the ribs on a gas grill to form a carmelized crust and brush with the sauce. Once off the grill, cut up the ribs and brush the cut portions lightly with whatever sauce is remaining.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Rhee

                                                                                                                                          That sounds grand, Rhee. I've just started smoking ribs with a device called the Smokenator that you put into a 22" Weber kettle grill. It makes controlling the temp pretty easy. I do mine at 230 degrees and use a rather sweet rub, but finish it with a more vinegary/spicy sauce at the end, like yours.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Rhee

                                                                                                                                            Rhee, I know this is an old conversation, but since we chatted, I have become obsessed with low 'n' slow BBQ, smoking meats on my good ol' Weber kettle grill. You can also smoke meat on your gas grill adding wood if you choose. I think smoking your ribs for two hours, foiling for an hour & 1/2, then finishing them unfoiled for another would be fantastic, and you can still use the juices that come from the foil in your glaze. Give it a shot.

                                                                                                                                        2. I have lots of help cooking from my family, but I happen to be the person who can pull all the odd bits and leftovers together when the end of the week comes. My daughter says that when she looks in the refrigerator and can't see anything to eat, she knows that Mom can come up with a meal--and it's usually great. So--soups, stirfries, improvised dishes of whatever is there. That's what I am asked to make by friends and family, on the day after Christmas, for example.

                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                          1. re: texanfrench

                                                                                                                                            I have also gotten rave reviews on my grilled artichokes. Like the ribs, they are twice cooked, cut in half and trimmed, boiled to al dente, cut surfaces lightly brushed with balsamic vinaigrette, then grilled and finally liberally brushed with garlic butter.

                                                                                                                                          2. God, this is fun but hard to narrow down, because my friends and family love when I cook for them (and I love it, too!) I guess some that quickly come to mind are:

                                                                                                                                            Zucchini lasagna
                                                                                                                                            Slow-cooked lamb shoulder
                                                                                                                                            Mussel and chorizo soup
                                                                                                                                            Salade nicoise
                                                                                                                                            Potato gratin
                                                                                                                                            Any dessert but esp. cheesecakes, upside-down cakes and crumbs

                                                                                                                                            1. Celery salad
                                                                                                                                              Scones (especially sweet- lime scone with dark chocolate and dried cranberry; savory- duck breast and shallots with sharp cheddar)
                                                                                                                                              Rolled stuffed pasta (Marcella Hazzan's recipe to be fair) -- this is what got Mrs Hambone to join me in my sty.

                                                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: sydthekyd

                                                                                                                                                  Oma's Celery Salad

                                                                                                                                                  1 whole celery, chopped (also use interior leaves)
                                                                                                                                                  1 small sweet onion, chopped fine
                                                                                                                                                  ½ c. mayonnaise (I always whip mayonnaise before adding other
                                                                                                                                                  1/4 c. vegetable oil
                                                                                                                                                  2 T lemon juice
                                                                                                                                                  2 T sugar
                                                                                                                                                  salt and pepper

                                                                                                                                                  Combine mayo, oil, lemon, sugar, and S&P. Pour over chopped celery and
                                                                                                                                                  onion. These are approximate amounts, adjust to taste.

                                                                                                                                                  I up the lemon a little or (even better) zest the skin into the dressing too. (Truth is, lemons don't seem as tart as they used to be.)

                                                                                                                                                  And you really have to use some of those faint interior leaves. Don't ask me why but that makes the salad.

                                                                                                                                                  And if you can do it ahead of time, it is better after a day or more.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hambone

                                                                                                                                                    So making this. I happen to have, on hand, 3 (count 'em) bunches of celery. Yum.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                      If you really like it, give a shout out to my crazy Oma Maria.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                            Thanks. Glad you enjoyed it.

                                                                                                                                                            Keep it in the back of your mind for Thanskgiving... Easy, better done a day ahead of time and if the white meat is a little dry... it can save a plate of food. (I'm assuming in this scenario someone else cooked the turkey...)

                                                                                                                                              1. My all-poultry version of French Cassoulet that I've been making every New Years Day for decades now.

                                                                                                                                                My warm German Potato Salad with Turkey Bacon, my Blue Cheese Potato Salad, & my Red, White, & Blue Potato Salad.

                                                                                                                                                There are a couple of others that I'm always asked to repeat, but they escape me at the moment (plus I have dinner in the oven & on the stove at the moment - lol!).

                                                                                                                                                22 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                                                                  OMG, blue cheese potato salad? Is that legal? Will you share?

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                                                    Here ya go. Enjoy!

                                                                                                                                                    "Bacardi1 Blue Cheese Potato Salad"

                                                                                                                                                    3 pounds thin-skinned waxy white potatoes (NOT baking potatoes like Russets)
                                                                                                                                                    Approx. 1/2 to 3/4 cup minced red or Vidalia onion (depending on how much you like onion) - or shallots
                                                                                                                                                    6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and quartered lengthwise
                                                                                                                                                    One 16-ounce container of sour cream
                                                                                                                                                    1/2 cup mayonnaise
                                                                                                                                                    2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
                                                                                                                                                    Approx. 1 to 2 cups crumbled blue cheese + extra for sprinkling over the top for garnish (any favorite firm blue cheese will work)
                                                                                                                                                    Approx. 1 teaspoon salt
                                                                                                                                                    Approx. 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
                                                                                                                                                    Approx. 1 teaspoon paprika
                                                                                                                                                    Chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley for garnish

                                                                                                                                                    Cook the unpeeled potatoes in boiling water until tender when pierced with a thin knife and drain. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, but still warm, cut them into bite-size chunks/slices and place in a large bowl with the onion and the hard-boiled eggs. In another bowl mix the sour cream, mayonnaise, vinegar, blue cheese, salt, pepper, and paprika. Pour over the potatoes and mix gently. Garnish with the extra crumbled blue cheese & parsley and refrigerate until ready to serve.

                                                                                                                                                    (I doubled the above recipe for a large platter I brought to a tailgate party. The above "as is" would probably serve anywhere from 6 to 8 people depending on what else you were serving and how much they like blue cheese. Simply multiply accordingly.)

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                                                                      Sending you kisses Bacardi for the Blue Cheese Potato salad..

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                                                                        oh sweet goodness, I'll be making this for sure! Thank you for sharing!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                                                                          Bacardi, this is truly a divine creation! I made it with some white new potatoes and a vidalia picked up from a farm stand and it was just outstanding. Kids have asked for a repeat soon.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                                                                          OMG...this sounds so frigging out of my mind good!
                                                                                                                                                          'My warm German Potato Salad with Turkey Bacon, my Blue Cheese Potato Salad, & my Red, White, & Blue Potato Salad.'

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                                                                                            Beach Chick - here's my infamous "Red, White, & Blue Potato Salad" (great for Memorial Day & July 4th celebrations - lol!). And I posted my Blue Cheese Potato Salad recipe above. I thought I had my turkey bacon German potato salad on my computer, but guess I neglected to transfer it from my written recipes. Will dig it up & post it for you asap. (It really is delicious, if I do say so myself (lol), & is great for folks who don't eat or are cutting down on red meat.)

                                                                                                                                                            Bacardi1 Red, White, & Blue Potato Salad
                                                                                                                                                            (adapted from a recipe by Alton Brown)
                                                                                                                                                            Makes approximately 4 servings

                                                                                                                                                            One 1-pound bag of mixed fingerling or baby potatoes (I like the “Melissa’s” brand), or, if purchased separately, approx. 1/3-pound each of white/yellow, red, & purple/blue baby or fingerling potatoes
                                                                                                                                                            2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar or cider vinegar
                                                                                                                                                            Approx. ¾ cup mayonnaise, or to taste
                                                                                                                                                            ½ teaspoon dry ground mustard
                                                                                                                                                            Approx. ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
                                                                                                                                                            Approx. 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves
                                                                                                                                                            1 garlic clove, peeled & minced
                                                                                                                                                            1 shallot “clove”, peeled & minced
                                                                                                                                                            6 Cornichon pickles, roughly chopped
                                                                                                                                                            1 small or ½ a large celery stalk, chopped
                                                                                                                                                            Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

                                                                                                                                                            Wash potatoes, place in a pot with water to cover by a couple of inches, & bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer & cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with a sharp knife – approx. 15 minutes. Drain & set aside until cool enough to handle, then cut potatoes into bite-size pieces/slices.

                                                                                                                                                            In a bowl large enough to hold finished salad, combine all remaining ingredients well. Gently fold in potatoes & serve immediately, or chill in the refrigerator as desired.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                                                                              Bacardi - so while you are at it --- how about the all poultry Cassoulet? Intriguing - and I love things for large groups!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: smilingal

                                                                                                                                                                Yet another recipe that's not on my computer yet, but at the halfway stage. Again - it's definitely worth sharing & is GREAT for groups on a cold winter's night. Will post it asap.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: smilingal

                                                                                                                                                                    No worries - I haven't forgotten that I need to post my Turkey Bacon German Potato Salad & my Cassoulet. :)

                                                                                                                                                                    The heat here has really been shaving years off my life what with my garden & all my critters to deal with. When I finally get back into the house I look like I've just been on the Bataan Death March.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                                                                                      Seems that maybe you're in NY - this torrential rain should be cooling us down a bit.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: smilingal

                                                                                                                                                                        Unfortunately, no. I'm in VA, & although they keep promising rain, all we've gotten so far is some thunder & lightning. No precipitation. Not even a sprinkle. Yesterday they predicted a 40% chance of rain. Nothing. Today they've raised the bar to 70%. I won't hold my breath. If it happens at all, it'll happen after I've spent hours watering everything. Sigh.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: smilingal

                                                                                                                                                                  Okay - sorry for the 6-month delay, but I just now put the whole recipe down in print. I've been making it for so long now (decades!), I pretty much make it by the seat of my pants these days. I've read it through several times & don't see anything I've left out, but please don't hesitate to ask if something is unclear. Here goes, & I hope you (or anyone else) enjoy it.

                                                                                                                                                                  BACARDI1 FRENCH CASSOULET

                                                                                                                                                                  This rustic, hearty, French country dish has many variations, the majority of which contain several different meats. While mine is an “all poultry” version, the one constant in cassoulet is usually leftover roast goose or duck. Anyway, here’s my personal recipe, which has been a New Year’s Day tradition for many years now. Don’t be put off by the long ingredients’ list & the fact that it has several separate steps – it really comes together very easily. Just be sure to read through the entire recipe first, as each step has its own ingredient list.

                                                                                                                                                                  Leftovers are just as delicious as the first run, and it also freezes well. In addition, it can easily be made a day or two ahead of time, refrigerated covered, and then baked until heated through (although you may want to let it warm up a little at room temp first if you’re using a somewhat fragile decorative baking vessel).

                                                                                                                                                                  Special Equipment:

                                                                                                                                                                  Large pot or Dutch Oven
                                                                                                                                                                  Large mixing bowl or another pot (to hold reserved bean broth)
                                                                                                                                                                  Large deep skillet
                                                                                                                                                                  Large deep casserole (I use a large Spanish Cazuelas (12-1/2” across; 4” deep), which is a round, handled, terracotta/earthenware casserole glazed on the interior only. This is an impressive dish, & deserves a nice, decorative baking/serving piece.)


                                                                                                                                                                  For Beans:
                                                                                                                                                                  One pound dry Cannellini (white Kidney) or Great Northern Beans
                                                                                                                                                                  4-6 slices turkey bacon, cut into 1”-2” pieces
                                                                                                                                                                  One yellow onion, peeled & roughly chopped
                                                                                                                                                                  3 cloves of garlic, peeled & crushed
                                                                                                                                                                  Several sprigs of fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
                                                                                                                                                                  Several sprigs of fresh thyme
                                                                                                                                                                  2 bay leaves – fresh or dried
                                                                                                                                                                  1 chicken bouillon cube dissolved in 1 cup of boiling water (I like Herb-Ox “Spicy Chicken” bouillon cubes)
                                                                                                                                                                  Water to cover the beans by about 2”

                                                                                                                                                                  For Meats:
                                                                                                                                                                  Leftover roast duck or goose, off the bone & cut into bite-size pieces, any amount
                                                                                                                                                                  1 package (approx. 1#) turkey kielbasa &/or pre-cooked turkey or chicken Andouille sausage (I frequently use both)
                                                                                                                                                                  1 package (between 1 & 1-1/2 pounds) boneless skinless chicken tenders or chicken breast halves
                                                                                                                                                                  1 yellow onion, peeled & chopped
                                                                                                                                                                  2 cloves of garlic, peeled & chopped
                                                                                                                                                                  1 stalk of celery (leaves included), chopped
                                                                                                                                                                  1 cup dry white wine (Pinot Grigio or Chablis work well)
                                                                                                                                                                  1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, undrained
                                                                                                                                                                  1 bay leaf
                                                                                                                                                                  Sea or Kosher Salt & freshly ground black pepper
                                                                                                                                                                  Extra-virgin olive oil

                                                                                                                                                                  For assembling:
                                                                                                                                                                  Approx. 2 cups dry breadcrumbs, seasoned or unseasoned, commercial or homemade (if homemade, toast them lightly)
                                                                                                                                                                  Rendered solid duck or goose fat, or butter
                                                                                                                                                                  Reserved bean broth (cooking liquid)


                                                                                                                                                                  Pour beans into a colander, rinse, pick through & discard any damaged beans & small stones or other foreign matter (yes, they can be in there due to the way the beans are harvested). Add to a large pot & add cold water to cover by a couple of inches & soak, covered, overnight.

                                                                                                                                                                  Drain beans, rinse with cold water, & return to pot. Pour in the dissolved chicken bouillon along with 3-4 whole parsley sprigs, 3-4 whole thyme sprigs, onion, garlic, bay leaves, turkey kielbasa (left whole), & enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, & continue cooking until beans are “just” tender, but not mushy – 1 to 1-1/2 hours, but start taste-testing after 45 minutes. You want the beans “just” firm-tender – not too firm; not too soft. Remove the turkey kielbasa after the first 30 minutes & set aside. Drain beans when done, reserving broth. Remove & discard bay leaves.

                                                                                                                                                                  Slice kielbasa (& Andouille sausage if using) & set aside. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces. Heat a couple of dollops of extra-virgin olive oil in a large deep skillet & sauté onion & celery until just tender, but not browned. Add garlic & chicken & sauté for a few minutes longer. Add undrained tomatoes, & with kitchen scissors or a knife, roughly cut into pieces in the pan. Add white wine, a pinch or two of salt, & freshly ground pepper to taste. Simmer for around 20 minutes, or until liquid reduces by about half or so. Remove & discard bay leaf.

                                                                                                                                                                  Assembly & Final Cooking:

                                                                                                                                                                  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

                                                                                                                                                                  Start with a layer of beans in the bottom of your casserole, followed by a layer of meats (your goose or duck pieces, sausage slices, & chicken mixture. Repeat layers, trying to finish with at least a thin layer of beans on top. Ladle reserved bean cooking broth into casserole, almost but not quite up to the top. (If for some reason you don’t have enough reserved bean cooking liquid, you can add chicken broth to make it up, but I’ve always had more than enough.)

                                                                                                                                                                  Evenly sprinkle breadcrumbs over top of casserole & dot liberally with goose/duck fat or butter. Bake for 1 hour, or until lightly browned on top, bubbly, & heated through. Serve with good crusty French baguettes & a large green salad. Nothing else is necessary. Enjoy. 

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                                                                                    Sounds delicious!
                                                                                                                                                                    And simple, in spite of all the different steps.
                                                                                                                                                                    Note to self: Cook a duck.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                                                                                      OH THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!
                                                                                                                                                                      Such a well detailed recipe! I have never cooked a duck or a goose. Can I purchase this in some form already cooked? I would only be buying one and researching a recipe to cook specifically for this. Similarly, the duck fat - in your recipe you indicated that butter is interchangeable. I do think I'd be interested in finding some duck fat, as it has always tweaked my interest on here with others raving about it in various other uses.
                                                                                                                                                                      This sounds perfect - especially now that the cold weather has set in.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: smilingal

                                                                                                                                                                        If you don't want to roast a duck yourself, you can buy one (or parts of one) already cooked from Maple Leaf Farms. They also carry rendered duck fat. I've dealt with them before, & the quality is excellent & prices are reasonable. Here's a link to their website:


                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                                                                                          thanks! I will check them out and come back to you if I have questions! :)

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                                                                                        Okay - I did discover while making this myself tonight, that I did leave something out. When to add the turkey bacon pieces.

                                                                                                                                                                        They go in with the beans when you're cooking them. Right along with the parsley, thyme, onion, etc., etc.

                                                                                                                                                                        Also, today for the very first time in well over a decade of making this, my beans after cooking had zero broth left!! Beans were perfectly tender, but had soaked up all the cooking liquid this time for some reason. Has never happened before. Luckily I had a carton of chicken broth on hand to add to the casserole during the assembly stage, so I've now added "chicken broth" to the recipe, just to have on hand "if".

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                                                                                  Intrigued by all-poultry cassoulet. Can you share the recipe? TIA.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                    I just posted the recipe a couple of days ago. See above. :)

                                                                                                                                                                3. Sunday Gravy
                                                                                                                                                                  Braised Short Ribs or Oxtails
                                                                                                                                                                  Osso Buco
                                                                                                                                                                  Slow Roasted Meats
                                                                                                                                                                  Eggs for Breakfast
                                                                                                                                                                  Seafood Salad

                                                                                                                                                                  1. My veal ribs. Wicked easy to prepare, but always gets HUGE reviews.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. Morning Buns, AKA Momos; croissant dough rolled jellyroll style around brown sugar and cinnamon and baked in muffin tins.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. My most-requested meal at my parents' used to be black bean and chicken quesadillas, of all things. Now it's Indian something. Probably the meal I make that gets the most compliments is my "company" three-course: tomato bisque, stuffed acorn squash (black beans, garlic, onion, cumin seed, sourdough, spicy sausage, spinach, cheese), Guinness cake with whipped ganache.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. My forte is meat cookery so the most request I receive from family and friends is smoked ribs, pulled pork, braised short ribs and grilled salmon. Also, pizza is on that list too.

                                                                                                                                                                          Sadly, the most requested recipe from strangers at potlucks is Cheesy Potatoes, which is made from processed products. My reasoning is the potato recipe is very easy while meat cookery is intimidating for most people.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. The dishes that i make that get people swooning are:

                                                                                                                                                                            Fish Tacos with Cilantro-Chipotle Slaw
                                                                                                                                                                            Crunchy Romaine Salad (this is probably number one)
                                                                                                                                                                            Outrageous Brownies
                                                                                                                                                                            Not Yo Momma's Banana Pudding (close second)
                                                                                                                                                                            I just got myself hungry :)

                                                                                                                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: maipho

                                                                                                                                                                              maipho, would you mind sharing your fish taco w/cilantro-chipotle slaw recipes?



                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mcel215

                                                                                                                                                                                Fish Tacos with Cilantro Slaw - Chipotle Mayo

                                                                                                                                                                                1 pound tilapia fillets, cut into chunks
                                                                                                                                                                                1/2 cup fresh lime juice

                                                                                                                                                                                1/3 cup fresh lime juice
                                                                                                                                                                                2 tablespoons honey
                                                                                                                                                                                1 tablespoon vegetable oil
                                                                                                                                                                                1 teaspoon ground cumin

                                                                                                                                                                                1/2 cup mayonnaise
                                                                                                                                                                                2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
                                                                                                                                                                                1 tablespoon adobo sauce from chipotle peppers
                                                                                                                                                                                1/4 teaspoon salt
                                                                                                                                                                                1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

                                                                                                                                                                                1/3 cup all-purpose flour
                                                                                                                                                                                2 eggs, lightly beaten
                                                                                                                                                                                2 cups panko crumbs
                                                                                                                                                                                salt and ground black pepper to taste
                                                                                                                                                                                1 cup vegetable oil for frying

                                                                                                                                                                                2 cups 3 color coleslaw blend
                                                                                                                                                                                1 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
                                                                                                                                                                                8 (7 inch) flour tortillas, warmed

                                                                                                                                                                                1.Place the tilapia chunks in a flat dish and pour 1/2 cup lime juice over the fish. Cover, and refrigerate at least 4 hours.
                                                                                                                                                                                2.Meanwhile, make the honey-cumin sauce by whisking together 1/3 cup lime juice, honey, vegetable oil, and ground cumin a small bowl. Set aside until needed.
                                                                                                                                                                                3.To make the chipotle mayonnaise dressing, place the mayonnaise, chilies, adobo sauce, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cayenne pepper together in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until smooth. Cover, and refrigerate until needed.
                                                                                                                                                                                4.To bread the fish, place the flour, eggs, and panko crumbs in three separate shallow dishes. Season the fish with salt and pepper to taste. Dip the fish pieces first in the four, coating evenly, and shaking off any excess. Dip next in the eggs, and last in the panko crumbs, patting the pieces to help the breadcrumbs hold. Set the fish aside on a plate.
                                                                                                                                                                                5.To cook the breaded fish, pour 1 cup vegetable oil into a skillet to 1/4 inch deep. Heat the oil to 365 degrees F (185 degrees C) over medium heat. Cook the fish, turning until all sides are golden brown, and flesh is easily flaked with a fork. Drain on paper towels. Brush the fish with the honey-cumin sauce.
                                                                                                                                                                                6.Mix the coleslaw and cilantro together in a bowl. Reserve 1/4 cup of the chipotle mayonnaise dressing, and pour the remaining dressing over the coleslaw mixture. Toss to coat evenly with the dressing.
                                                                                                                                                                                7.Place the tortillas on a flat surface, and spread each with 1 tablespoon reserved chipotle mayonnaise dressing. Divide the fish between the tortillas. Top with the cilantro coleslaw.

                                                                                                                                                                                These are worth the effort and time. Enjoy!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: maipho

                                                                                                                                                                                  This recipe looks great maipho but I wouldn't suggest tilapia if it was the last fish on earth...too muddy.
                                                                                                                                                                                  I would suggest sea bass, cod, halibut..

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                                                                                                                    I think all those types of fish would be perfect. I would love to use halibut. I usually make this for a large family, and halibut is not as budget friendly as tilapia - although I completely agree that Tilapia can have a muddy taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: maipho

                                                                                                                                                                                    This sounds wonderful, except to pour lime juice over the tilapia and marinate for four hours in the fridge? Pardon me for asking, but that seems like cerviche and yet you still cook it? Doesn't the fish turn to mush, especially one as flimsy as tilapia?

                                                                                                                                                                                    I have never made fish tacos and love them, so I am going to make these soon, thanks maipho. :)


                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mcel215

                                                                                                                                                                                      Sorry about the timing... I personally only let it marinade for an hour (sometimes even less) or so because I am usually in a rush. I don't think I have ever let it sit for 4 hours - but these were the guidelines given to me. sorry

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: maipho

                                                                                                                                                                                        That's okay, just wanted to double check with you and I think I will also let it marinate a shorter time. :) Thanks again.


                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: maipho

                                                                                                                                                                                  EVERYONE loves Not Yo Momma's Banana pudding --- gosh do I wish I had me some now - with a spoon!

                                                                                                                                                                                3. Cherrystone clams and sliced kielbasa (seared first) cooked in beer and garnished with cilantro

                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: AdamD

                                                                                                                                                                                    That sounds really good. Are there any vegs involved?

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: staughton

                                                                                                                                                                                      sear the meat, add the beer (white wine works too), then add the clams til opened and garnish with cilantro or parsley

                                                                                                                                                                                      I might add garlic if using wine, but the kielbasa adds a lot of flavor to the clams

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. My parents have always been fond of my.... tuna noodle casserole. But I'm pretty sure it's not because it's the greatest, but because it's nostalgic- the first casserole dish I ever made for them (er, ever).

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Normally, I would have said rope vieja. But lately, since cooking time is short, I've made a mix-and match casserole based on something that was in Southern Living years ago--a friend gave me the chart. For example a pasta/chicken casserole with canned soup, sour cream, milk, onions, peas and a gratin topping. I often tweak it with a little white wine, some lemon zest and herbs. It always gets raves.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Chocolate-pepper cookies. My aunt (still very much alive) some years ago insisted I make them for a second Christmas in a row because she might not be there for the next one!

                                                                                                                                                                                        They are a love-hate thing ... people either love them, or tell me the cookies were all great--"except for that black one!!!"

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Same here, people love my tacos and Mexican rice. It's probably the easiest thing on the planet to cook too.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I grind chicken thighs or chuck using my KA stand mixer. I have a secret mix of spices that I use. Sautee some onions, throw in the spices, add the meat. Cook for a few minutes then add brown sugar, red wine vinegar and some tomato paste.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Sometimes I make my own corn tortillas which my friends love too.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I rave about my Greek friend's mashed potatoes (there is a Greek word for them). Amazeballz.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I get raves on a few things:

                                                                                                                                                                                            Vietnamese-style spring rolls
                                                                                                                                                                                            Carrot cake
                                                                                                                                                                                            Lasagna (not traditional because I use a bolognese sauce)
                                                                                                                                                                                            "Nigella chops" - my fried pork chops that people adore (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ni...


                                                                                                                                                                                            But, then again, most of my friends don't really cook and are impressed by anyone who does -- and they're particularly impressed when it's something familiar with a new twist.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: evansp60

                                                                                                                                                                                                Ohhhh, need your help! Do you use coconut milk? I tried David Lebovitz's coconut tapioca pudding recipe, and I used Thai Kitchen brand milk. The final result was abysmal, cloyingly sweet (and I love coconut)--any idea why?

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes I use cococnut milk. Not aware of it being sweet. Check the label to see if they add sugar to the coconut milk (in which case get another brand) or adjust the sugar in the recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I've become known amongst friends and family of being a great cook. I like to cook but I'm far from great, I think they just don't get good stuff at home. Everybody has their requests so I'll list a few:
                                                                                                                                                                                                Roast leg of lamb
                                                                                                                                                                                                Beef rib roast
                                                                                                                                                                                                Lo Mein
                                                                                                                                                                                                Stuffed peppers
                                                                                                                                                                                                Tater thang (refrigerator Velcro)

                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: CoachF

                                                                                                                                                                                                  "Tater thang (refrigerator Velcro)... " I gotta know. Please.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: staughton

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Tater thang is a very simple dish. Take all of the leftover meats in the fridge, augment with some some andouille sausage, any fresh herbs or leftover veggies , combine with some fresh ingredients and simmer. Easy peasy.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Peel and dice a few potatoes
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Roughly chop some aromatics onion, celery, sweet peppers, carrots (anything you like)
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Add it to a large/medium stock pot with some oil and sauté for a few minutes.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Add salt and pepper plus any dries herbs that you think will be good.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Add a can of rotel tomatoes
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Add about 1.5 to 2 inches of liquid (stock, beer, wine I use stock) cover bring to a biol, then simmer for about 18-20 minutes.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Dice the leftovers into bite size chuncks (steak, chicken, pork roast, shrimp, whatever)
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Slice some sausage.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    After 20 minutes check the taters, they should be getting soft.stir them a little but don't break them.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Add the diced leftovers, sausage and any fresh herbs. Sometimes I add a can of drained and rinsed red beans at this point also.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Continue to simmer until the meats are heated through and the taters are done. You might have to remove the lid towards the end and let the liquids reduce. I like this with just a touch of liquid left in the pot.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Serve in bowls with garlic bread, my wife likes some grated cheese on top.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    And there it is "tater thang" we named it that because the only constant was potato. It's a very rustic hearty meal, especially in the winter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. People really enjoy my brined fried chicken, potato casserole, and pesto pork roast from the grill, served w/ a roasted-tomato salsa. Oh, my kugel gets raves, and my chopped liver and matzo ball soup. For my kids, it would be my taco salad, of all things. And my spaghetti sauce and Bresaola.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pesto pork roast & the salsa sounds yummy. Would you mind sharing the recipe?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: lemoncoke

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Wow, has it been awhile since I checked here? SO sorry for the delay:
                                                                                                                                                                                                      The pork roast is just a butterflied loin, spread with basil pesto (homemade or purchased), rolled, tied and bbq'd. The pesto self-bastes the meat, and it's marvelous, not to mention really pretty.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      4 nice ripe tomatoes, halved
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 basket cherry tomatoes, halved
                                                                                                                                                                                                      olive oil
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 large diced onion
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 clove minced garlic
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1/4 cup chopped cilantro
                                                                                                                                                                                                      juice one lime
                                                                                                                                                                                                      salt, pepper, any hot sauce, to taste...

                                                                                                                                                                                                      400 oven....place all tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet, and roast until collapsed and browned. Dump it all into the processor, and give it a few quick pulses. Taste for seasoning; serve room temp. You can vary this by adding a few T. chiles in adobo....totally delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Farfel with Mushrooms from Artie's Deli. The recipe was on Martha Stewart's a few years ago. It's good for Passover, Thanksgiving, Christmas, fall, taking food to someone sick. Good cold for breakfast. Room temp for a buffet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Gotta say my schnitzel. People go nutty for it. I'm really not sure why or what I do differently than the average... my husband and I won't even order it in German restaurants in America because we're always so disappointed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thick cut Pork Chops - I always do Alton Browns 2 hour mustard brine! So easy and delicious. Can't claim it as my own, would probably feel better if it was my own recipes when people are going on about it! lol.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      My spicy roasted red pepper and tomato soup with grilled bread (sourdough, french, whatever!). Speaking of which, I need to make soon!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      OH! And I make a killer breakfast burrito!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: tiffeecanoe

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Could you possibly post your approach to or recipe for schnitzel? Mine is decent, but I would like to make it a lot better!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: abacus2

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Certainly! For starters I do a (store bought!) plain breadcrumb and ground up saltine cracker breading. I pound out the pork and sprinkle with a bit of a homemade spice blend and let come to room temperature - basically the spice blend is my own version of this, http://www.germandeli.com/edoraspices... - this will also absolutely do! Dip in a bath of milk and egg and coat with breading and then I pan fry in nothing' but butter. A lot of people tend to do bacon grease or oil... just butter over here!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: tiffeecanoe

                                                                                                                                                                                                            That's very helpful tiffeecanoe - thank you! Some more questions:
                                                                                                                                                                                                            - what cut of pork do you use?
                                                                                                                                                                                                            - is your breading mixture roughly half and half breadcrumb to crackers?
                                                                                                                                                                                                            - how much butter do you use (roughly)? Enough to just cover the bottom of the pan, or more like enough to provide a half inch or so at the bottom of the pan?
                                                                                                                                                                                                            - Do you use medium heat? High heat?
                                                                                                                                                                                                            - What kinds of seasonings are in the spice blend? (I don't think I have seen this before, although I will check the German deli for it tomorrow)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sorry to be a nuisance, but I have great hopes for improving my schnitzel!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: abacus2

                                                                                                                                                                                                              It was late and I was a little vague, lol! I tend to pound out pork loin chops. I hate to say it but my breading tends to vary, lol - sometimes it seems more crackery, sometimes breadcrumbs, I prefer it when it has a touch more saltines than crumb. Yes, enough butter to coat the bottom of the pan well, definitley not a 1/2" of butter and of course, I only cook one schnitzel at a time and refresh the butter when need be. I use more of a medium heat and cook a bit slower. Of course, only turn once. My seasoning blend contains: pepper, onion powder, touch of celery salt, ground mustard, ground coriander, fresh ground nutmeg, thyme, small touch of curry powder, paprika - I think that's it!. I add salt each time, I don't like to mix the salt into my blend. I wish I could say that I measure, I don't.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hope that helps. I like to have everything else ready and plated and each person waits for their schnitzel to be fresh prepared!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tiffeecanoe

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks very much - I'll try all this next time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. My cheesecakes get rave reviews and are always asked for for birthdays and parties. Cheesecake is one of those things that just isn't the same unless you make it yourself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. My potato soup, and my steak chili.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Chocolate Crinkle Cookies. Lightly underbaked (take out of the oven while the cracks still look shiny) they are fudgy and taste super rich. I used to make all sorts of complicated butter cookies for the holidays. One time I threw in some crinkles for color and good grief, nobody wants the butter cookies any more. Easier for me, but exasperating too! My niece and nephews have actual arguments over them. The best thing is my recipe calls for oil instead of butter, so they're dead cheap to make though they fill the kitchen with powdered sugar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LadySaiga

                                                                                                                                                                                                              my favorite cookie of all time for the past 44 years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. There are a few easy dishes and appetizers my guests have really taken a shining to: pickled radishes, beet pickled deviled eggs, Indian pizza, pasta with yogurt, all of which makes impromptu dinners that much simpler. The more involved dishes like mussakhan, which they have taken to calling Arab burritos, crawfish etouffee or longanisa Scotch eggs, take a little more planning, though the end result is usually worth it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. OH, yeah.....Christmas cookies.....almond-hazelnut biscotti and chocolate-pecan thumbprints.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Calamari salad
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  osso buco
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  chicken cutlets
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  spinach, basil and pancetta risotto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Mine is funny because it's so friggin' simple. Hassleback potatoes. Sans any fancy toppings or fillings. I have to kind of chuckle in my head, because I'm thinking "you DO realize it's just a potato with a bunch of slices across, right?".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My most raved about dish is super simple too, Lemon Rosemary Roasted Chicken, it's just chicken with lemon, rosemary, kosher salt and olive oil, plop into a pan and bake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: samitestar

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mine are simple too. Deviled Eggs, Corn bread, and cornbread stuffing. Every single thanksgiving and deviled eggs several times a year for work functions. I can't believe how crazy people are for deviled eggs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My zucchini parmesan is really popular, but it's not simple to make - for me anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. My deep-dish lasagna. I don't even know the measurements of each ingredient anymore as I just "know" how to make it and my co-workers always request it for pot lucks at the office. My kids and their friends congregate around the table during the holidays when I pull that pan out of the oven and then they waddle away after a generous wedge. It's even better the day after. The cheesy, meaty, rich gooey-ness speaks for itself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Mutch2Do

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Can you share the recipe, even without quantities? I'll make it this fall. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: AnneMarieDear

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Please share your recipe for the lasagna!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Mutch2Do

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I just made lasagna again last night for our Christmas dinner, remembered this post and thought I'd pop back in while it's fresh in my mind. Disclaimer: I no longer am mindful of specific measurements as I've made it so many times, I now just know how to "eyeball" the quantities to fit the pan I'll be putting it all into.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Meat Sauce: 2 parts Hamburger to 1 part Italian Sausage; Tomato Paste, Tomato Sauce, Stewed Tomatoes; Finely sliced garlic; Fresh basil, oregano, thyme; Olive oil; Parmesan cheese rinds; Fennel seeds; Marjoram; White pepper and salt to taste. I combine and adjust until I have a thick sauce as opposed to watery/runny.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cheese sauce: Ricotta cheese; Cottage cheese; shredded Parmesan cheese; Fresh parsley; Egg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cheese used to layer: A combination of shredded and sliced - Mozzarella, Provolone, Swiss, Parmesan, Fontina, Asiago and Romano

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Lasagna noodles: Cooked to al dente prior to assembly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I assemble my ingredients in a roaster pan that's normally used for turkey on Thanksgiving - so it's rather large. I cook enough to provide for two layers of each, topping the final layer of noodles with more mozzarella and parmesan (shredded). It takes hours to assemble and cook from start to finish so I usually do the assembly the day before and cook the day off - perhaps that's the oomph that everybody raves about because we all know certain dishes are better the next day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In any case, here's my lasagna "recipe" as I've been doing it for the last 15 years or so. Hope you enjoy....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          **In the pic the lasagna hasn't yet gone into the oven.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. Like so many, the things my friends talk about most are dead simple:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "Tsali" salad + dressing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          fresh salsa
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          hot chocolate

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I always find it a little sad that people are such non-cooks that they can't figure out how to top some greens w/ good quality cheese and make a simple vinaigrette, or chop up some tomatoes,onion and cilantro for salsa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The only rave items that require any skill are my layer cakes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: danna

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            update: there is a downside to being know for something...I had a friend over last night, and as he was eating his salad, tossed simply with some meyer lemon juice and EVOO, he looks up and says "so, do you still make that salad dressing?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Dammit...i knew I should have made "that salad dressing".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Tacos al Pastor style or maybe chocolate raviolis stuffed with roasted butternut squash and prosciutto in a mushroom, onion, garlic heavy cream sauce...or maybe the pasta with the avocado cream sauce

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: niquejim

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Tacos al Pastor style recipe please!! :D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. 'BB' using elk shoulder. I add a twist though: When the 'BB' is done I put it in a large serving pan and gently top with a couple of inches of creamy roasted garlic mashed potatoes. Then under the broiler to just begin to brown the mashed potatoes. My serving pan has legs so I can bring it to the table. I serve. "How is your appetite tonight?" "Filler up". My guests rave about this dish. It's all they ever ask for. A few of my regular guests actually don't eat anything all day when they know I'm making 'BB' so they can "pig-out" LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                For the life of me, I can't figure out what "bb" is. Is this something I should know?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ChrisKC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Beef bourguignon only using elk instead of beef in this case. And yes you ought know what 'bb' means LOL Not really.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh, thanks, seems like I shoulda been able to figure that one out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ChrisKC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Glad you asked so that I didn't have to! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Lasagna- wild mushroom and spinach

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Chili- when we have Super Bowl parties everyone asks if "the chili" will be served

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Taco/ fajita bar- they still ask for the recipes a few years later

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Soup- I've sent guests home with containers of leftovers. Family, guests always love whatever soup I make. Husbands favorites are minestrone, winter vegetable split pea,carrot ginger miso

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Salad- I make a romaine salad with Granny Smith apple, fennel, crispy goat cheese and orange vinaigrette. It Always disappears no matter how much I make

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Pizza- I've had parties where I served several types of homemade pizza and salads. Guests are in awe that its made from scratch

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  cheesecake - would you share your wild mushroom and spinach lasagna recipe? I would love to make it next weekend for some company.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: smilingal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sure- the amounts aren't so specific, but add more of what you like, and less of what you don't.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Mushrooms (1-1.5lbs, combo of cremini, shiitake, oyster)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 box frozen spinach
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    15 oz container ricotta (I use part skim)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Few handfuls grated mozzarella
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Handful grated Parmesan
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 eggs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Fresh thyme
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Lasagna noodles

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Two ways to make it-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Add marinara sauce to the layers (I use Kirkland sauce or homemade). If you do this, add a little water to the sauce, and the noodles do not have to be precook end
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Don't add sauce, and make "white" lasagna. Noodles should be precook end if you go this route.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    For the filling-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    - slice up mushrooms. Sauté in a skillet with evoo and sprigs of thyme until mushrooms release their liquid. You want the mushrooms to be browned, maybe 15 minutes of cooking. Remove the thyme!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    - defrost the spinach, and squeeze out all the water. I use the microwave. Chop it up so its not clumpy.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    - combine ricotta, cheeses, eggs, spices, spinach, mushrooms. Layer with lasagna noodles. Bake at 400 till bubbly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks! It will be on the menu for next week!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: smilingal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Enjoy! Btw, I've found the mushrooms cheapest in the Asian market.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Trying to plan what I can make in advance - I made a big batch of tomato sauce the other day, stored in the fridge till I make your lasagna and the rest will go into the freezer - I can defrost the spinach overnight and let drain, and I can make the mushrooms a day in advance - but what do you suggest about putting the lasagna together and bake? All the day of?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: smilingal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The filling can be made a day in advance. I've assembled in the morning and left it in the fridge

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ok - that was what I was thinking! Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I make a flourless chocolate cake that my extended family really loves. Other recipes I have been asked to make repeatedly are my mother's jam squares, white sangria, broccoli salad with raisins and bacon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Baklava - I make it with almonds rather than walnuts or pistachios. I get requests for any family gathering, and also to make it for friends' families' gatherings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Baking in general - I make a mean lemon tart, and pastry in general. Cakes (though my frostings can be a bit hit and miss) and loaves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Mussels with Hard cyder, chorizo, and Saffron
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Red Pepper, basil & Feta dip
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Jerk Chicken Sliders with citrus and Jalepeono Slaw
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hot Smoked Turkey
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Turkey Meatball soup (cause of the smoked turkey stock).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Twice Baked Potatos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Cakes - any kind, any flavor. My friends and family can't get enough of them. I love seeing the look on people's faces when they taste them for the first time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Patrincia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Also my signature green beans with garlicky mushrooms. I can't tell you how many times I've been asked to share the recipe, but it's one of those non-recipe recipes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Patrincia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So beautiful and impressive! Those that get one of your cakes are lucky people!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. My dosa(i) and sambar. I learned to make authentic sambar from my grandmother.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Turmericginger

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm dying for a great sambar recipe. Please share??

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I am almost embarrassed to admit that it is my deviled eggs. And they are always the first to go. But so cheap and easy for me - I don't complain.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Most of my family, friends and co-workers knows that I’m a great cook and whenever there is an event, I am always asked to bring something or if my family is visiting, they would always put in their requests. Here are some of the most requested items:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Chicken Wings with Oyster Sauce - (always a favorite with my kids, nieces and nephews. In fact, my pregnant daughter had such a craving, she made a special request last week so I made a triple batch and took it took her house – 130 miles away).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Chicken with Mushroom in Oyster Sauce - (another favorite with my kids, nieces and nephews)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Chinese Style Spaghetti - (more nostalgia with the family – another one of my family requests)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        “Cracklin” Pork Belly – (labor intensive – about three days, before it is baked in the oven. The cracklin pork skin will melt in your mouth. No one in the family turns this down. Even my father-in-law, who can’t eat this type of food anymore will not hesitate to eat some and take some with him. My father, who critiques everything I make, grudgingly told me this is some of the best pork belly he has ever had and it spoils him to the point he won’t buy the Chinese restaurants BBQ Roast Pork anymore).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Char Sui Sauce – (My mother’s recipe. The Char Sui Sauce is so good that everybody clamors for the recipe).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Braised Oxtails in Red Bean Paste – (kids not so much, rest of the adult family – they love it)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Braised Pork Belly with Taro in Red Bean Paste – (again, kids not so much, rest of the adult family – the love it).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Devil Eggs – (Another favorite with my family and co-workers)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Bruchetta – (Always a favorite my family and co-workers. A special request for this dish for my daughter’s upcoming baby shower).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sticky Rice – (labor intensive but well worth it. Generally make this during the holidays)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Cream of Asparagus & Leek Soup – (wonderful soup to make when the weather is chilly).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Osso Bucco – (great recipe)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Banana Bread – (many of my friends put in this request).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I use to make many types of Cheese Cakes and was really good at it and my co-workers loved it (don’t make them anymore. No one in the family is really that fond of cheesecake). In fact, I had made cheesecake cupcakes and shared them at my daughter’s school (that was a long time ago) and one parent asked around who made these cupcakes and when he found it was me, he raved how great they were and that he is a French Baker at a local French Restaurant. That made me felt good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rinkatink888

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Great list....I'm very weak on cooking Chinese or other Asian Styles.....I'd pester you for some recipes, but how about just starting with....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          “Cracklin” Pork Belly


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That would make my day too to have a share of the "cracklin" pork belly. I wonder if it is on Weight Watchers data base ; - ).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: docfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I made a stuffed pork belly a couple weeks ago on the grill. Yowza!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hi fourunder:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Recipe follows below.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              As I said earlier, the “crackling” pork belly is labor intensive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A background to this recipe. My husband’s cousin came for a visit a couple of years ago and her husband brought with him a slab of pork belly. She claimed his version of the pork belly is better than any BBQ Roast pork than you can buy at any Chinese BBQ place. I tried it and was so good that I had to have the recipe, but the recipe was in his head and he didn’t speak any English and although I spoke his language, I couldn’t write Chinese. So I was trying to convert and wrote down what he was saying from Chinese into English with the proper measurements and after some trial and errors, I believe I finally came up with this great version.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A slab of pork belly – roughly about 8-10 inches square and about 1½ to 2 inches thick.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sharp object to poke holes into the skin, i.e., sharp knife, fork, etc. (I finally invested in a meat tenderizer blade)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Baking Soda
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              6 Tbs Sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Tbs Salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Char Sui BBQ Sauce (I make my own (but that’s another recipe) – but you can purchase a store bought version)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Chinese Five-Spice
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Half-Size Baking Sheet with cooling rack
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Chef torch (crème brulee torch)


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Combined the sugar and salt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Rinse and dry the pork belly thoroughly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Take the pork belly and poke holes evenly throughout the entire surface on both sides (meat tenderizer works the best).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Layer the baking sheet with towels (or cloth) and put the cooling rack on top of the sheet (moisture from the pork belly will drench the towels). Lay the pork belly, skin side down on the rack.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Spread the sugar/salt mixture evenly onto the meat side of the belly, cover loosely with plastic wrap (Glad Press n’ Seal works best) and put in the “coldest” part of the refrigerator for 48 hours.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Take the pork belly out of the refrigerator and rinse thoroughly with hot water for at least ten minutes, pressing the pork belly constantly during the rinse (if you don’t the belly will be too salty).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Lay the pork belly back on the rack, this time skin side up (leave it wet). Spread a good portion of baking soda on the skin until it is thoroughly coated and put back in the coldest part of the refrigerator for another 24 hours.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              After 24 hours, take out and rinse again thoroughly. Pat dry, put belly back on rack, skin side down and brush with the char sui sauce with a sprinkle of 5-spice sauce stirred into the char-sui sauce. Put back in refrigerator for at least a minimum of another 4 hours to marinate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Turn oven to 350⁰.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Take pork belly out, set aside, remove and clean baking sheet and cooling rack and line with aluminum foil (if you don’t want to spend your time scrubbing the stuff off the sheet afterwards) and put the pork belly back on rack, skin side up and bake in oven for about an hour (until skin become brown, crispy and tiny bubbles starts to form.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Most of the time I can’t get all the skin to form the bubbles, so, I have invested in a chef torch to finish it off after I take it out of the oven.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Cut into small bit size pieces and enjoy!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hope you enjoy the fruits of your labor. We do, and if you have any questions, let me know.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Good luck!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rinkatink888

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Wow....thanks for the great tutorial and detailed instructions....it is greatly appreciated....and it surely looks like a winning recipe which I will certainly try to duplicate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I've been using the Saveur Recipe for Crispy Pork. The only difference I can see is that after coating the skin with Baking Soda, their recipe calls for scalding the skin with boiling water and brushing with rice wine vinegar to neutralize the Baking Soda.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have also tried looking at various YouTube videos posted From Chinese families detailing their methods....unfortunately, I do not speak Mandarin, so I can just watch. Many videos also show boiling the meat (Shoulder) for 20 minutes before placing in the oven.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I know others have their favorite ethic version...but mine is the Chinese style...the absolute best crispy, and edible skin, not like hard candy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                For the record, Chinese Suckling Pig Skin is Food heaven for me.....it would be my last meal in a perfect world...not being condemned in prison, of course.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I like the idea of using rice wine vinegar. Yes you are suppose to use boiling water to scald the skin, and generally the meat is hung for this process. I tried it, without a meat hook and ended up burning myself, so I just use really hot water and take extra time in pushing the salt out.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Let me know how it works out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Good luck

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: rinkatink888

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Will do...as for the hanging part, I don't mind if the meat gets cooked a little while scalding the skin. I suspend the meat on a V-Rack...the same one used for Turkeys.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As for my piercing tool.....I use a Stainless Steel Dental Pick and try not to hurt myself and make pricks during roasting to release some fat to aid in crisping.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I agree to that its' difficult to get the skin to bubble...so I love the idea of your torch method..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Read the word made with the 1st 5 letters of my user name. Everybody except my wife is wild about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. I cook comfort food for a fraternity; the guys enjoy home cooking because otherwise they eat local fast food or university caf guck. Their fave of my specialties? It's my potato gratin with meats.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Very simple: (the quantities are for 30 young men, so adjust accordingly!) and btw I don't bother to peel the potatoes - I do wash them and cut out the eyes and the ends. The ingredients fill three hotel pans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              15 lbs yellow or white potatoes sliced as thin as you can without being obsessive about it
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3 lbs bacon fried crisp and chopped lightly in food processor
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, salted and peppered, fat trimmed off, seared, cooked through on flat top, cooled, then cut into chunks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3 lbs ham on the bone, sliced, slated and peppered, seared on the flat top, cooled and then cut into mini-chunks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 large onions chopped in food processor
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              6 cloves garlic ditto
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              9 cups whipping cream
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3 lbs sharp cheddar cheese, grated

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Grease the pans. Follow the steps below for each pan:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Layer each as follows: potato, sprinkling of garlic and onion, scattering of ham, chicken, bacon and cheese (except for the lowest layer where I omit the meats)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Repeat 7-8 times - I throw some salt and pepper at it midway. If I had a mandoline probably I could do 10 layers. But hey this isn't lasagne and the boys ain't wanting the Ritz.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              End with a potato layer when again I throw some seasoning, and top with all the remaining cheese (so about 1/2 lb)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Then I drizzle/pour/infuse with 3 cups whipping cream
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Cover with greased foil (you wouldn't want all that good cheese to stick would you?)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Bake at 325 covered for 45 mins then 350 uncovered for 15 mins.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Let sit at least 15 mins before slicing and serving.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Combined with a caesar salad the lads are in pig heaven.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bigtigger

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sounds yummy - but I am wondering --- ingredients have 9 cups of whipping cream but the directions instruct to pour 3 cups in - what about the other 6 cups?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: smilingal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Maybe that's the "pig heaven" part--all for the chef!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: smilingal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Seems like it's three cups for each of the three hotel pans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gildeddawn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      thanks - I forgot about this recipe and it's question! And your explanation sounds like a good one!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Bigtigger

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I LOVE au gratin potatos...especially with some smoked ham and chives thrown in or crumbled bacon and scallions on top.I bet those boys LOVE you for cooking like that for them!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. Thick dry aged NY steaks Med Rare, cooked over lump charcoal at 1000 degrees in a big green egg. Simple but spectacular.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. My deviled eggs always get inhaled regardless of the amount I prepare.People like my chicken and dumplings...I bread and brown the chicken pieces and add the celery carrots onion herbs simmer for awhile and thicken the broth into a gravy and I make actual drop bisquit/dumplings with chives.....parsley or whatever compatible herb I have on hand. It is a very savory satisfying dish especially served with spinach and tangerine salad with blue cheese vinaigrette.Today I am going to attempt two types of crepes....one will be savory with mushrooms herbs garlic and scallions and a cream sauce..the other will be sweet with Meyer lemon from my tree... butter and powdered sugar:):)That excites me!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Chocolate cake. Brownies. Spicy deep fried squid (nephew wh hates squid devours this). Onion rings (same nephew, same hate for onions, still devours). Fried chicken. Brigadeiros. Cream puffs. Chocolate mousse.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sri Lankan dishes:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        chilli potatoes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        curried chicken
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        curried goat
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Well, no, just about everything. My mother in law, who is a fantastic cook (my husband is Sri Lankan), taught me her recipes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. So far it's my spaghetti carbonara. Tonight I'm making it with bucatini pasta...


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Smoked pork butt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Smoked baby back ribs & BBQ sauce
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Bread, Biscuits, Scones, Brownies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Steamed Chinese Pork buns

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I NEED your Bao recipe, if you'll share....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                These are in no way authentic. They are my copycat recipe for what I get from a Chinese takeout. I steam these in an Oster electric steamer.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Works for me - I'm all about things that taste good, authentic or no.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thank you!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I am almost too embarrassed to write this, but, baked beans made from canned pork & beans juiced up with a lot of ketchup and dark brown sugar (pour off some of the bean liquid) and topped with sliced onions and strips of bacon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sounds good to me. I like doctoring up beans like that....and there's that thing....you could start from scratch, and elevate it six ways to forever, and it wouldn't be the same, and it just wouldn't be "right." Try a shot of molasses next time....just a shot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I also add a shot of molasses into one of my chili versions...adds a nice note that others like but can't identify!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I can totally see that adding a depth-charge. Need to try. Sounds especially good for a butternut squash/bean chili.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That's how my husband makes his too, except he uses BBQ sauce and beer along with the brown sugar. I don't care for baked beans in general but people hoover these down like it's their last meal, so I assume they must be awesome!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. An update for me: I have mastered chile verde. I used to do really good chile verde, but now it's demanded by those who know about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Would love to have your chile verde recipe....I have searched & searched for just the right one, but have not come across anything that reminds me of the west side of San Antonio's taco joints. Please share.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cstout

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 lbs tomatillos, cut in half, papery husks discarded
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Pasilla or Anaheim chiles, stem removed, cut in half lengthwise, seeds intact
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 large handful cilantro
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 jalapeno peppers, stems removed, unseeded (remove seeds if you want less heat)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Juice of 1 lime

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      5 lb pork shoulder, trimmed of excessive fat, cut into 2” – 3” chunks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Kosher salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Fresh cracked black pepper
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      New Mexican green chile powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Dried oregano
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ground cumin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Vegetable oil

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 large onions, chopped
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      6 – 8 cloves garlic, minced

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Approximately 3 cups turkey or chicken broth, preferably homemade

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      4 cups cooked rice


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Heat oven to 450.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      To make the sauce, place the tomatillos and Pasilla (or Anaheim) chiles cut side down on a baking sheet, and roast until very soft, and the skins are well browned, about 15 – 20 minutes. Transfer roasted tomatillos and chile to a blender or food processor, including any liquid that has come out onto the pan. Add the cilantro, jalapenos and lime juice, and blend into very smooth liquid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Reduce oven heat to 250.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Cut the pork into 2 – 3 inch chunks, trimming and discarding large pieces of fat and silver skin. Put them in a bowl and dust them with the salt, pepper, chile powder, oregano and cumin.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Place a Dutch oven on the stove, add enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom, and turn burner to medium heat. When oil is hot, sear the meat in small batches, turning regularly, and transfer to a bowl.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft and golden, stirring regularly and adding more oil as needed so as not to burn. Add the seared meat, sauce, and enough broth to the pot to submerge the meat, and stir.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Cover, turn heat to high, and bring to a boil very briefly. Once it comes to a boil, stir, cover and put in the oven to simmer for two hours.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      One hour into cooking, take out of the oven, stir, adjust seasonings if necessary, cover and return to oven for the remaining hour.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The meat should be extremly tender after two hours. Serve with plenty of sauce next to rice. Ideally served with beans and tortillas and cold beer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        OMG - your chile verde recipe is delicious. Please forgive me for taking so long to thank you for it - I honestly thought I did, but from the looks of it, I dropped the ball.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Tex Mex flavor all the way!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. People love love love my chewy, gooey, White Chocolate, Pecan, and Bourbon Blondie recipe. It's so tasty and they get demolished fast, especially when there's vanilla ice cream melting into the warm blondie.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pretty much I have my base blondie recipe and can add ANYTHING you want to the base. I've done cashews, pine-nuts, dark chocolate, peanut butter chips, toffee, toasted almonds, marshmallows, Hershey's Kisses, chopped Snickers bars, a little cinnamon and nutmeg or allspice, Fleur de Sel on top, smoked crispy bacon, you name it you can add it to it. But the favorite that people always always rave about is the original white chocolate, pecan, and bourbon recipe. So gooey and moist, and they get better the longer they sit. I've had them a week later after they sat in a zip lock bag and they were SO moist after a stint in the microwave. Amazingly good!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: rcbaughn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Well, don't hold back and share the recipe already!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hahahahaha!!!! Okay here it is!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Blondie Base Recipe
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -1.5 cups brown sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -1.25 cups flour
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -2 eggs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -1 stick butter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -1/2 tsp baking powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -1 teaspoon salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -1/2 teaspoon great quality vanilla flavoring, don't skimp!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        *********Additions for the White Chocolate, Bourbon, and Pecan version***********
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -3/4 cup good quality white chocolate chips
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -1 tablespoon good quality bourbon (I use Knob Creek when I feel special!!)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Toasted pecans to taste (I use about 1/2 to 3/4 cup, but I like mine with lots of nuts)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Secret Ingredients are a VERY SMALL dash of cinnamon and instant coffee (And I mean minuscule, not much at all, maybe 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of each)


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Preheat oven to 350 degrees
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Butter and flour a 9x9 pan
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Place small nonstick pot on medium low heat and melt butter. Add brown sugar and instant coffee and allow to melt into a homogenous mixture. Not a liquid, more like a thin paste. If it looks dry, add a touch of water to get it to a thin smooth paste consistency. This will depend on your brown sugar moisture content. It should easy slide around the pot and not stick anywhere.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a separate bowl.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Crack eggs into a cup and whisk with the bourbon and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture and stir till it is incorporated. It will be very dry at this point. Don't worry.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Add in toasted pecans and after allowing the butter/sugar mixture to cool a bit, add to the flour mixture and stir vigorously. It will take a good bit of stirring to get the mixture to be a smooth batter with NO lumps, and giving it a rest if it is too tough to stir helps to hydrate the flour. You can also add a touch of water if it needs a little more moisture. A tablespoon at most. This will be a pretty thick mixture and not like a thin and slightly runny brownie or cake batter. It will not "pour" into the 9x9 at all although it will spread smooth on it's own in the pan.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -If the batter is now cool enough to not melt the white chocolate, add them to the mixture and pour into the 9x9 pan. Bake on the middle rack for 35 minutes. I have had to bake for up to 42 minutes, but that will depend on the oven you bake in. You DO NOT want these to bake into a cake texture. They remain very moist and gooey right out of the oven. They should have a good solid crust on top and crispy edges and corners.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ****These will never set up like a brownie and they stay very gooey when fresh out of oven. It is best to let them cool a good bit before slicing and they will hold together beautifully. I have found that I actually prefer to make them well ahead of time, cool down completely, then slice and warm in the microwave. They are just as moist and much easier to handle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Elk 'BB' with garlic mashed potatoes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sydthekyd

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          BB = "boeuf" bourguignon. 'cept for, ya know, with elk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. In my early twenties (over sixty now) my girlfriend and I invited her parents for diner. I was making Chinese food. Of course I had picked up all the dishes etc from a local Chinese restaurant then simply heated them up in the oven. I was so great a Chinese cook I even had 'fortune cookies' after the meal.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh yeah. Her parents were REALLY impressed. LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. My daughter and son(adults now) are both great cooks and much more adventurous that I will ever be in the culinary arena. I cook the old school standards that taste good but they cook everything.Having said... that my daughter makes a banana cake in a quarter sheet cake sized pan with a whipped cream frosting fresh banana slices and roasted chopped candied walnuts on the top that is earth shattering in deliciousness. The brat has yet to give me her recipe:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. My carnitas and salsa verde. I make big batches of th carnitas and freeze and love being able to whip it out of the freezer for a salad, tacos, what have you.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sarabz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Please share your carnitas & salsa recipes. I have been searching for so long to get that tex mex flavor at home, but after many tries, I have yet to make the real thing.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cstout

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  +1 on the NEED for a good carnitas recipe (either here on on the home cooking board). I've tried various iterations, all to no avail, alas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. People want to buy my habernero pepper jelly, my salsa and my turkey chili.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Deviled eggs and jambalaya close seconds.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  c, i love pepper jelly w/ cream cheese. how else do you like to use it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pepper jelly is very versatile....mix it in with other sauces or marinades that will be used on beef, pork or chicken for a sweet/savory combination.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Of course, on jalapeno poppers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's great on fried chicken and biscuit sandwiches.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. PPL also like my traditional Eastern European Jewish dish called petcha(jellied calves/beef feet)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    the more garlic the better
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    served with cider vinegar, s/p or lemon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I also add curly parsley in liquid b4 jelling
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    and add it as garnish

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Peruvian beans
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And embarassingly the BLT dip that im sick of eating and making
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Chicken wings

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Goatjunky

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Would you like to share the recipe for your BLT dip?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. My pasta sauce. There's really nothing unusual that I do with it, it's just olive oil, fresh garlic, red pepper flakes, sea salt, black pepper, sugar, dried italian herb blend, and some fresh parsley. Oh, and I boil half an onion in it too, like the Marcela Hazan recipe, but I don't put all that butter in there like she does.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The only two "secrets" about it I guess are the brand of crushed tomatoes I use, and this particular California garlic they sell at a local farmers market.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The crushed tomatoes are actually a local discount grocery store's own store brand. They're incredible, as in better than those $5 cans of San Marzano tomatoes, and they're only $1 for a 28 ounce can. I think word is getting around though how good they are, because the store is always out of them these days.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Real trick is, just make your guests wait a long time & then they will devour everything & think you are a great cook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Seriously, I don't do this on purpose, sometimes it just happens.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Cooking a big pot of something with a bunch of fixings is always a hit. Folks love to help themselves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I usually make carne guisada, pinto beans, guacamole, pico de gallo, bowls of shredded cheese, marinated onion slices & lots of flour tortillas along with some corn tortillas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh yes, a little bowl of pickled jalapeno slices & some sour cream. Sounds like a lot, but there isn't much actual cooking involved & it is inexpensive to fix. Beans & meat can be made the day before & guests can help with putting the fixings in bowls & placing on the table.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A big pitcher of margaritas or sangria is good. Ask folks to bring their own beer. Bottled water is good to have for those who don't drink.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Buttermilk fried chicken
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          fudge (especially my chocolate cherry chili fudge)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          black walnut cookies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          chicken salad
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          potato salad
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          deviled eggs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Love love love reading all your fab food dishes. .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My latest off the chain meals that have bringing down the house.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Kale/brussel sprout mix from Costco with poppy seed dressing, dried cranberries, pepitas with fresh shrimp and mango, tossed with sesame oil and Asian dressing/poppy seed..little red onion too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Trifle dish of grilled fresh pineapple layered with pound cake, vanilla pudding and fresh whip cream..
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Layered and stacked several times.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Eggplant Parm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Banana cream pie and blueberry pie

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              that salad sounds fabulous, beach chick!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks sista. . it's Captain approved!


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Beach chick - Please elaborate on the kale/brussel dish. Is it a different dish from the shrimp and mango?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Where do you find that mix at Costco?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. My (literally 5 ingredient) amazing pot roast. So delicious. Been making it for 20+ years this way.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nsgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Are you willing to share the recipe? I have yet to find my tried and true pot roast recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sure! It originally came from an article in Food and Wine Magazine around 20 years ago (which I have lost) but I think it was called something like "The only ten recipes you will ever need".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    All you will need is the beef, olive oil, S&P, and several onions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I usually use round. Liberally season with S&P and brown it in olive oil over medium heat in an oven proof pan. Towards the end of this, add in four big-ish roughly chopped onions and season them too. You don't need to really cook them. Just stir them around and put some of them under and over the beef. Cover tightly and cook at 300 for around three hours. (More is fine). When done, take the beef out and let it sit for around 20 minutes before slicing about 1/4" thick. Meanwhile, add a splash or two of WHITE wine to the onions and juice in the pan and puree with a stick blender (or a regular blender is fine. Just watch out for the heat). My advice is to serve over the widest Pennsylvania egg noodles you can find. It is fine to prepare the whole meat part two days in advance. Just slice, store and reheat in the sauce. The key with this is to not skimp with the onions. Throw in extra in you have them. The sauce is SO good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I guess that is technically seven ingredients. But if you are reading this, you probably have most of them on hand!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Depending on your day, and frame of mind, this can be the foundation of an actual dinner party, or something you mash up for your kids and/or in-laws.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I wish I could find that original article!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. An adapted version of Brazilian pao-de-queijo, made in the blender with sweet yucca flour and a blend of cheeses. Comes out like gougeres, but better! Slightly crunchy outside, slightly chewy inside, and melty and cheesy.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kmanihot

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm not really a bread girl but load me up on these crack bombs whenever I'm at a Brazilian steakhouse. What's your recipe?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I follow this one:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I add a little more cheese than this recipe calls for--about one full cup--because I think it makes the bread more delicious! I usually mix Cheddar, Gouda, and Parmesan.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sometimes I also add dried chives, or onion powder, or paprika for flavor. It's also good if you chop little pieces of ham or bacon.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Tapioca flour is also called polvilho doce or yucca flour. I've seen it in the Hispanic food section at my local Giant as yucca flour or flour for pan de queso/pan de bono. I usually get mine online from Brazilian food shops.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You can use mini-muffin tins or regular-size muffin tins. I prefer the minis. And I like to bake mine on the golden brown side of done.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      These are best right out of the oven. It's best if you bake what you think you'll eat, and keep the rest of the batter in a container in the fridge. It gets thicker in the fridge but it doesn't change the final breads. If you have some breads leftover after baking, keep them in a ziplock in the fridge (or, for a day or two, on the counter), and revive them in the oven for a little bit. They'll crunch up a little, but still will be good!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      (PS. This recipe turns out a little different than the traditional one, which you probably find at the Brazilian steakhouses, which is made my hand with sour tapioca flour. The blender recipe is lighter, airier, less chewy, and I actually prefer it!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Red Chili Dark Chocolate wined whole chicken with sautéed veggies and my multi-cheese mac and cheese with bacon and crushed cheese cracker crumbs on top.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. asigh. Panera Bread mac n cheese from their website; guacamole; Birthday Lasagna (from Food52); chocolate chip cookies (from the brown sugar bag recipe);

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. usually the good old 1960's items - tho it must be that the 1960s canned soup was far better than today - i hope ; )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        or the clean fresh items from our local farm stands - which ironically, were considered poor-people food in our day in the Pac NW. (ie fresh salmon or real oysters from the beach - no fancy preparation - with home grown vegetables = can soup dinner would have been considered more fancy - hard to explain by typing.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. A little humblebrag. .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Had a dinner party last night and served a baseball cut of seared rare Ahi on a bed of Casaba melon slices, mango, green and red onion, avocado, heirloom cherry tomt's and yellow ones too, halved with sambal, sesame with fresh Meyer lemon juice, dressed well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Everyone said it was probably the best meal they have ever have had (probably jerking the chain) but dang, was I so flattered but have to say that I hit it out of the park and was so refreshing and clean.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I highly recommend making this dish for the summer months and I served a ramekin of lite soy sauce with wasabi.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This dish kicked serious ass and my friends are still raving about it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Fried speckled trout I catch, scaled, filets, skin on dipped in egg, milk, and a little Cajun seasoning. Roll in 80/20 corn meal/flour mixture, fry no more than 5-6 minutes total, depending on the size of the fish.