Good Eating’s Classic Home Recipes by Chicago Tribune Staff [download free kindle books]


  • Full Title : Good Eating’s Classic Home Recipes: Traditional comfort foods and heirloom family recipes for every occasion
  • Autor: Chicago Tribune Staff
  • Print Length: 315 pages
  • Publisher: Agate Digital
  • Publication Date: September 18, 2012
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: B009CGPY5O
  • ISBN-13: 
  • Download File Format: epub

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Good Eating’s Classic Home Recipes offers a comprehensive collection of side dishes, meals, and desserts that were compiled from over 25 years of food reporting by the Chicago Tribune. It includes many heirloom family recipes submitted directly by Tribune readers, from comforting classics and gourmet twists on popular recipes, to culturally unique dishes as diverse as Chicago itself.

With helpful recipe introductions and tips from food editors, Good Eating’s Classic Home Recipes is perfect for anyone searching for old favorites and new standards alike. This book features a rich array of breakfast and brunch dishes, soups and salads, pastas, poultry, beef, breads, as well as cakes and pies—plenty of choices for any home cook looking for inspiration in the kitchen. Sweet and savory options for every meal makes Good Eating’s Classic Home Recipes a must-have resource for holiday cooking, and dishes such as “Cheesy Grits” or “Slow-Cooker Beef and Guinness Stew” are perfect to be shared with family and friends for holidays, parties, and gatherings of any kind.

 

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te a lot of rice. Daddy’s family were the Coastal Cajuns, from Thibodaux, and it was all about crab, shrimp, oysters, and whatever fish they could land. (Caught fish is a lot cheaper than bought fish—depending on the price of your boat.) And everybody does crawfish.

This book reflects both sides of my raising, and you’ll see chapters broken out by how and where we get together to eat: The Boucherie, The Community Table, The Homestead, The Fish Camp, and The Hunt Camp.

I don’t know if I have any of my grandmothers’ recipes properly written down. They just had the way they did things. If you asked questions, they’d explain, or you could watch and learn.

But traditions evolve. People come to New Orleans expecting to eat Cajun food. These days, they’re getting a melding of the last 300 years of influence: French, Spanish, Afro-Caribbean, Vietnamese, Creole—and Cajun. We borrow from everybody and make it our own. Modern Cajun food is rooted in the old ways, but incorporates ingredients and techniques brought in by our new neighbors. If we like how you cook, we’ll borrow it, and after a while we’ll call it ours—respectfully.

Sometimes I wonder how far my cooking gets away from old-school Cajun. Is it too far? I say no. “Cajun” is a lifestyle, it’s a mindset, it’s an area, and it’s a people. This isn’t the history of classic Cajun food. That’s another book. This is the story of a young wild Cajun and the experiences that made me the cook I am today. I cook unapologetically. Yes, the food is brown. But it brings that in-your-face flavor. Subtle, delicate—that’s not me. At all. And you’ll see I’ve gotten up to some dangerous antics outside of the kitchen. If you’re stupid enough to throw tomahawks, play Stump, or do anything else that might get you hurt… well, you deserve it.

Chasing the Gator isn’t about cooking alligator tails. It’s a metaphor for how I got to where I wound up, and it’s about where I’m going. It’s about leaving home, remembering where I come from, and using the dual influences of my Cajun upbringing to make my own food today. From a baby cook to a chef with my own restaurants, I’ve always chased flavor. And I’ve caught a few of my personal flavor gators. But I’m still searching. I’m always looking for more, for better. That’s how I cook, and that’s how I live.

Now get the fuck out there and make something to eat.

CAJUN 101

Boudreaux and Thibodeaux were walking through the woods the other day, when a flying saucer landed near them. A door opened, and two little green aliens climbed down out of the spacecraft.

Thibodeaux turned to Boudreaux, “Mais, look at dat. What you tink dat is?”

Boudreaux, aiming his shotgun at the little space critters, replied, “Thibodeaux, I don’ know, but you hurry back to de camp, put on de rice pot, and start makin’ a roux!”

How do you cook Cajun? First, think about what it’s like to eat the food. We Cajuns like deep, concentrated flavors. Rarely will you taste a Cajun dish and think, “Oh, that’s light and delicate.” The flavor is in your face—always intense—but it’s not necessarily going to burn your mouth with spicy chiles.

You’ll find lots of toasted black pepper, white pepper, cayenne, rich stocks, Creole mustard, hot sauce, and garlic here. Everybody uses garlic—but nobody uses as much as me. Stews are flavored deeply with the Cajun trinity (onion, bell pepper, and celery) and enriched with roux (fat and flour).

The roux is really the base of Cajun cuisine. Our food is built on making do with what you have, and a roux lets you stretch a dish for not much money. Flour is cheap. Roux thickens your gravy, gives depth of flavor, and can help you not miss the meat if all you’ve got is a poor man’s rice and gravy.

If you master the Cajun basics, you can cook anywhere in the world. Take the local meat, local vegetables, some salt, and fire, and as long as you can locate a pot to cook in, you’re good to go. That’s why you want a Cajun on your team during the zombie apocalypse. We can make do with anything. I mean, we take critters that swim in the damn mud and eat them. Know that big log in the swamp with the big teeth? We eat that too. Ever take one of those rocks that’s got a ball of snot in it and shuck it open and eat one? Exactly.

Cooking Cajun isn’t hard. Some dishes are time intensive, but nothing is beyond the realm of possibility. The techniques are pretty simple. The biggest challenge you might have is finding certain ingredients outside of south Louisiana. But a chicken and sausage gumbo? Master your roux and you can make that anywhere.

EQUIPMENT

Cajuns don’t need much by way of equipment. As a people, we are masters at making do with what’s on hand. But there are a few things every Cajun kitchen has to have.

A Dutch oven is probably the most used pot in my kitchen—and in this book. I like my Le Creuset. But my daddy’s mama, Maw Maw Toups, used a Magnalite cast aluminum pot. Down here, when you get married, your in-laws give you a Magnalite and a Crock-Pot. It’s like the Cajun dowry.

You’ll also want some cast iron pans. Cast iron should be something you inherit or pass along after you’re gone. If you don’t have one, invest in a 10- or 12-inch round pan for cornbread and several big pots that hold at least 7 quarts for stews. And always take care of them, which means cleaning them. At a boucherie or whenever you’re roasting a whole pig, throw the cast iron in the fire pit after you’re done cooking. It will get red hot. You just fetch it afterward and rub it down with a little oil. Otherwise, wash cast iron by hand (no soap), dry it well, and then rub it down with oil. I use grapeseed oil.

Cast iron is just so versatile. It heats well. It’s heavy as hell. You could use it as a weapon if you need to—it could take a couple of bullets and be just fine. You can even use it as a hammer. In fact, I’m sure I have.

To make sausage, you’ll want to get a meat grinder and a sausage stuffer. (Or start developing a deeper relationship with your butcher.) If you want to cook a big batch of my dad’s crab stew (here)—and trust me, you do—make sure you have a 13-quart stockpot. For boiled crawfish, you’ll want something bigger, like a crawfish pot, a turkey fryer, or a 32-quart boiling pot with a punched basket.

Beyond that? Some sharp knives and something to cut on, and you’ll be good. If you need anything else you don’t have, just do like a Cajun and improvise.

CAJUN ENGINEERING

Last year, I was roasting a whole pig for a friend’s birthday party. But we were up in upstate New York, and there wasn’t anything around to cook it on. So we built up a little piggy altar about four feet high with some cinder blocks and got a fire going in the center. While the wood turned to embers, we trussed the pig up real good. There was no spit, no grill top, nothing. So we made one.

I got some rabbit wire and a couple of poles of rebar. We put the rabbit wire down on a picnic table, splayed the pig across, and folded the wire over, like making an envelope. We then threaded the rebar through, with a pole on each side of the pig, making sure to keep our delicious pink friend tightly wrapped.

There you go: a grill with handles for flipping the pig, all in one. We set that over the coals until it dripped with fat. It was magical. And I looked like a goddamn genius.

INGREDIENTS

Cajun cooking is regional cooking. We eat what we eat because it grows here. Beyond that, there are a few basics, like the trinity and roux, that make up the heart of many dishes. I’ve got something of a vinegar fetish—I’m an acid freak—so I use lots of sherry vinegar and white wine vinegar throughout my recipes. You’ll learn I really like grapeseed oil because it’s got a higher smoke point than most oils and can handle the intense heat I like to use when cooking. I prefer canola oil for dressings and sauces you don’t have to cook. I prefer popcorn salt when I deep-fry because it sticks to the food better than any other salt.

The Cajun trinity is onion, bell pepper, and celery. That trio, chopped and added to roux, forms the backbone of nearly every sauce, soup, gumbo, or smothered dish in the southern Louisiana repertoire. This is the Cajun version of mirepoix, subbing in bell pepper for carrots, and gets its name from the deep Catholic roots that spread across Acadiana. It’s the heart and soul of Cajun recipes.

In the trinity, you can use any kind of bell pepper, but I always use red ones instead of green. In fact, red bell peppers are the only ones I allow in my restaurants. Why? I’m color blind. I can’t see red. Couvillion should be red. Crawfish bisque, also red. A green pepper ruins the look. So if every pepper I can pick up is red, I don’t have to worry about grabbing the wrong one.

To make trinity, I always use 2 parts onion, 1 part red bell pepper, and 1 part celery.

And even though garlic isn’t part of the trinity, it’s something I get almost religious about. I use it like I’m trying to keep vampires away. Hey, it’s Louisiana. Anne Rice might know what the hell she’s talking about.

Mama taught me to make coffee by putting in a scoop per person and adding one for the pot. That’s also my general approach to garlic: a clove for every person plus one extra. At our restaurants we use a gallon of garlic every day, easy, so I rely on giant canisters of pre-peeled cloves. When you’re making my boudin (here) and you get to where it calls for 100 cloves, you’ll become a believer in buying pre-peeled too. But stay away from the pre-minced stuff—that’s evil.

Blonde Roux

Dark or Caramel-Colored Roux

Brick Roux

15-Minute Dark Roux

ROUX

Roux thickens sauces, adds depth to braises, and holds Cajun dishes together. Half the recipes I know begin with “Make a roux.” If you master only one thing in this book, make it roux.

Roux almost always has a 1:1 ratio of fat to flour. Most of my recipes call for ¼ cup of each. You cook them together over medium heat, stirring almost constantly. You’ll want to use a thick-bottomed pot like a Dutch oven or a cast iron skillet because you need even heat. The biggest enemy of a roux (other than not paying attention to it) is a pan with a hot spot.

The darker a roux gets, the less power it has to thicken a sauce. I believe that’s from the denaturing of proteins in the flour as it cooks, but you’d have to ask Alton Brown about that.

Before you start making a roux, make sure you’ve chopped your trinity and that it’s ready to go once your roux hits the right color.

WHITE ROUX

White roux is just cold fat and cold flour. I don’t use it at all. Some old-school recipes call for it, but I always cook my roux. Otherwise, when the dish is done, you can still taste the raw flour—and that’s nasty. I’m only telling you what white roux is so I can tell you this: DO. NOT. MAKE. IT.

BLONDE ROUX

Makes ¼ cup

This is white roux that’s been cooked for a couple minutes. Blonde roux is made with butter and becomes a base for a béchamel sauce, white gravy, cream sauce, or any cheese sauce. Use it basically anytime you’re trying to thicken dairy. When I make a roux with butter, I typically deviate slightly from the 1:1 fat-to-flour ratio because the butter loses a little weight when water cooks out of it. In general, it’s okay to have a little more fat than flour in a roux.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

› In a Dutch oven or heavy skillet set over medium heat, heat the butter until it melts and then stops bubbling. Watch carefully; you don’t want it to brown. Once the butter’s melted, you’ll see sediment collect at the bottom of the pan. Those are the milk solids, and some people scoop them out—but you should taste them. They’re delicious. Don’t throw them away.

› Once the butter stops bubbling, dump the flour in—no need to sprinkle it like it’s precious. Stir well to combine the butter and flour. Cook the roux a minute or two, stirring often, until it darkens by one shade and starts to smell nutty.

BRICK ROUX

Makes ¾ cup

Brick roux is blonde roux cooked with tomato paste. As soon as you have blonde roux, take the paste (or even tomato puree or tomatoes crushed by hand) and caramelize it with the roux.

I use brick roux mostly for couvillion (here), a rich seafood stew Maw Maw Toups always made. I also modify it for my Crawfish Bisque (here). Daddy’s gumbo (here) uses V8 instead of tomato paste for a whole other twist—but he’s nuts.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

½ cup tomato paste

› In a Dutch oven or heavy skillet set over medium heat, make a blonde roux (see previous page) with the butter and flour. Once the roux is ready, add the tomato paste. Stir that in and let it caramelize until it starts sticking to the bottom. Cook it until it browns a little. I smash down the tomato paste evenly across the bottom of the pot to increase the surface area that is caramelized by the heat. This should take about 10 minutes total, and results in a brick red roux with a charred tomato flavor.

DARK OR CARAMEL-COLORED ROUX

Makes 6 tablespoons

Dark roux is the stuff of Cajun legend. It’s the difference between gumbo and “Holy shit, that’s a gumbo!” I like mine to be mahogany or rich milk chocolate in color. Throughout this book, you’ll occasionally see recipes that call for a caramel-colored roux. It’s the same process, but you quit cooking it a little earlier.

You can use plain-Jane vegetable oil to make a roux (in fact, my daddy usually does), but I prefer grapeseed oil when I’m making dark roux because it’s got a higher smoke point. That means you can cook it hotter for longer without burning the oil. You can also use peanut oil or even refined avocado oil (which has the highest smoke point of any oil I’ve found). Do not use butter: It will burn and taste bitter, and ruin your dish.

If this is your first dark roux, turn down the heat and go low and slow. Settle in and know it’s going to take about 45 minutes of constant stirring to get there. Invest in a long-handled wooden spoon if you want to save your knuckles from the constant heat exposure. (Or don’t. It’s your hand.) I recommend a spatula-style wooden spoon with a flat edge so you can really scrape the bottom. Be diligent about scraping around the edges to make sure none of the roux burns.

Chop your trinity before you start making a dark roux, so you can add it immediately when the color’s right. The difference between great dark roux and burnt garbage is only a minute. If you burn even a little bit of it, you might as well throw it all out and start over. But don’t cry about it. There’s an old saying: “If you haven’t burned a roux, you’ve never made one.” You’ll know if it’s burned by the smell. No matter how dark a roux gets, if it’s still good it won’t smell acrid at all.

¼ cup grapeseed oil

¼ cup all-purpose flour

› In a Dutch oven or heavy skillet over medium heat, stir together the oil and flour. Then stir. And stir. And stir. The darker the roux gets, the more frequently you must stir it. As it nears the color of caramel or milk chocolate, you will be stirring almost constantly.

› The second your roux hits the color you want, add your trinity. This will immediately stop the roux from getting any darker.

15-MINUTE DARK ROUX

Makes 6 tablespoons

Some people say it’s impossible, or straight-up heresy, to make a dark roux in only 15 minutes. Oh yeah? Watch.

I would never suggest that you try this 15-minute roux as your first roux. The first time you go skiing, you don’t go down the black diamond; you go down the bunny slope. The standard 45-minute method at left is safer and more traditional. But if you’ve made a roux before, give this a shot. This shit is intense, but it will save you a good half hour of cooking. You can substitute this method anywhere this book calls for a dark or caramel-colored roux.

¼ cup grapeseed oil

¼ cup all-purpose flour

› Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over high heat until it just starts to smoke. You really need a Dutch oven for this, not a heavy skillet, because you need its extra depth to protect yourself from the hot oil. And don’t forget that long-handled spoon.

› When the first little whiffs of smoke start to rise from the oil, dump in your flour and immediately start stirring. Stir like you mean it. Do not walk away. Do not answer the phone. It’s really gonna go. Just stir, scraping the bottom and edges well to keep the flour from burning. It should be the right color in about 15 minutes. As with a traditional dark roux, add your trinity the moment your roux hits the color you want.

INSTANT ROUX

I used to think instant roux was evil, but I’ve come around. If you don’t have a lot of culinary experience, just don’t have time, or the thought of spending 45 minutes cooking roux—or my 15-minute roux inferno—scares the hell out of you, instant roux is not a bad idea. I even keep some at home. If you’re making just a little batch of peas or if you want to thicken up your sauce or a stew real quick, instant roux is a wonderful little get-out.

Now, I’ve NEVER used instant roux in gumbo. But if you had to, in a pinch, well, I guess it’d work out alright. On the back of the jar, there’s usually even a recipe for gumbo. I wouldn’t take it to a competition, and I wouldn’t sell it at a restaurant, but I bet it makes the sort of gumbo where you’d be like, “I could eat this and watch Game of Thrones. Yeah, this is good.”

HOMEMADE STOCK

Homemade stock is always going to be better than store-bought. It will have more collagen (which means more body) and a richer flavor, and you can adjust it to your taste. That being said, I won’t hate you if you use store-bought. I realize most home cooks do. Just be sure to buy a low-sodium variety.

CROCK-POT CHICKEN STOCK

Makes 10 cups

Making chicken stock with a slow cooker (Crock-Pot) is the easiest method I’ve come across. Whenever I have something I need to cook low and slow overnight, my Crock-Pot is the way to go. It’s got safety features already built into it—you couldn’t bring it to a hard boil if you wanted to—and since it’s insulated and covered, you don’t have to worry about losing much liquid to evaporation. I can’t be the only one that does this. It just makes so much sense. So give it a shot. Most people say to cook stock for 8 hours. But I’ve found 12 hours to be the sweet spot.

1 roasted chicken carcass (meat removed)

1 whole chicken (remove the liver from any giblets)

1 large onion, peeled and quartered

1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped

2 ribs celery, roughly chopped

5 bay leaves

1 cup dry white wine

1 bunch fresh parsley, stems and all

2 tablespoons toasted whole black peppercorns

12 cups cold water

EQUIPMENT

4.5-quart (or larger) slow cooker

› Put everything in the slow cooker and cover with the lid. Crank it to high. As soon as it comes to a simmer, turn down to the lowest setting and cook for 12 hours.

› Carefully strain the liquid through a fine mesh colander or cheesecloth. Save the meat from the whole chicken for gumbo. The carcass and veggies go in the trash.

› The stock is ready to use immediately, refrigerate for a few days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

› If you aren’t planning to use the stock in a few days, bring it to a boil in a stockpot over high heat and boil until reduced by three-quarters to 2½ cups, about one hour. Let cool, then freeze the concentrated stock in ice cube trays. This gives you little pockets of stock that you can reconstitute with water (6 tablespoons of water to one 2-tablespoon stock cube). Som

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