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Purples - Spaghetti Bolognaise:

Little bit of background here – something my (ex) wife used to knock up in minutes, which I’ve refined over the years to my own personal taste. These days, I tend to cook one gallon at a time, and freeze the lot off – tastes so much better this way ……..

Hopefully, this recipe will give you an insight into “why” we’re cooking it this way – rather than just a list of ingredients – and some insight into how those ingredients interact with each other.

Presuming you’re being sensible and knocking this stuff up a gallon at a time – the first thing you’re going to need is Garlic Butter. Don’t worry if it’s not available locally, it freezes well – just stock up on it when you find it.

One big dollop of the stuff in a pan, and melt. About the size of two ping pong balls will do it – never been one to measure things out – lacks the personal touch. While that lots going on, start chopping up your onions, three of four of them depending on the size. No need to chop them up too fine, but no big chunks either.

Introduce the onions to the garlic butter, stir well. If you’ve got it right, the butter will be enough to “lubricate” the onions – adjust onion or garlic butter content at this point to fix this if it’s not happening. There is no other oil going into this dish, so you need to get the balance right – it will come with practice.

While the onions are cooking down in the butter, add some pepper and Italian herb seasoning to the mix. No need to over-do things at this stage, there will be plenty of opportunities to make adjustments later – just do it “by nose” – if it smells right, it probably is. Coarse ground pepper is usually best, though fine ground pepper will do just as well. Take it easy, as the pepper content is harder to adjust than the herb content later on ……

Once the onions start to go clear (you’re not trying to fry them here, just cook them), add the mincemeat (ground beef). This should be ground steak meat, typically less than 12% fat. Tried it with a higher fat content and it just spoils the whole thing – so shop around until you get “Steak mince”. It does make a difference. Once you’ve got the meat in there (about 1.5 kg for a gallon), use a fork to separate it as much as possible. Nothing worse than “chunks” of ground beef in this mix – it has to be smooth. Get it as separated as you can at this stage, but you’ll have an opportunity to improve on this later. Stir the meat and the onions into each other as you go, this will help to mix the flavours. Do not use “stock cubes – this thing will have a life of it’s own.

Keep the heat low throughout all of all this – if it’s “simmering” you’re probably too high. Tone the heat down – this isn’t a race……
Once the meat has cooked, smell what you’re doing. You should be able to smell all the ingredients added so far – if any spices are missing, chuck a bit more in there now, because the next stage is going to stifle it a bit.

Tomato puree – wonderful stuff – when you get it right. Too much and you’ve got a recipe for heart burn, too little, and you’ll feel the dish is “missing something”. I’ve heard that adding sugar can tone it down, but let’s try not to add too much in the first place – it’s easier and less fattening.

When adding tomato puree, try to add half of it at first, because once it’s in there, there’s no taking it out. Spread it out with a fork over the surface of the meat, wait a minute for it to melt into the juices, then stir it in thoroughly. Now, take a look at the colour of the meat – we don’t want it overly red (too much), but we want to able to see the difference. Use this opportunity to separate the mix as much as possible, the addition of the puree will help with this.

Once you’re happy with it at this stage – switch off the heat, and stick a lid on the pan. We don’t want the mix to dry out or over cook, but we need to give the tomato puree a chance to soak into the meat. If you have the time, I’d give it one hour – but if you’re in a hurry, 30 mins will do. But if you skip this stage, you’ll ruin the whole thing.

While the pot is “marinating”, sit back and open a bottle of half decent Claret – you deserve it at this point, and besides, (if you’ve got it right) the whole house will smell of Bolognaise to the point where neighbours from miles around will be lining up at your door plates in hand. Just sit there with a smug look on your face, and tell everybody they’re just going have to “wait”.

You can’t rush good food – (not this good anyway) ……

When you’re good and ready, it’s time for the liquid “sauce”. Store bought – Dolmios finest. Around 1250 grams should do it (one large bottle, and one medium bottle). No point in trying to improve on perfection. Start the (gentle) heat again and stir into the mix, whilst sorting out any remaining “lumps” in the meat – you can rinse out the jars with 25% water and chuck that in there too – won’t hurt as we’ll be boiling down this pot in due course.

While that lot’s cooking in, start cutting mushrooms, not too fine – not too chunky. Pile the cut ‘shrooms into the pot, making sure they’re covered by the mix. We need to boil them down whilst trying not to overcook the sauce. This will take 30 mins at least, so let’s get the pulses going – a tin (or two) of “Petite Pois” goes on top of the lot – gives them a chance to soak in any juices that rise. After about 20 mins you can push them down into the mix as well.

Again – “smell” the pot as you go along – if you can’t smell those Italian herbs, now’s the time to add more. (This is your last chance – don’t add anymore after this stage – trust me) ……

While that lot’s bubbling down, stir constantly, making sure you’re not burning the bottom of the pot – easy to do with this mixture. Remember, you’re not trying to “simmer” it – the sauce at this point will be too thick – take it slowly, and turn off the heat when and as you need to – it won’t affect the end result in the slightest.

Now, it’s time to talk pigs. Ham to be precise. Adding Ham to the mix will lighten it up a bit, and together with the vegetable mix you already have in there, will make the whole experience better. Sliced Ham – anyway you want it – cut into small squares and in it goes. How much Ham you use depends on you – don’t go crazy – simply “add to taste”. Stir it all together and the sauce will soon keep it separated, and the tomato content of the sauce will quickly make it blend in with the other ingredients.

Now comes the “final touches”. (Starting to smell good huh ? – you ain’t smelled nothing yet) …….

Parma Ham – Prosciutto at a pinch – 4 to 6 slices. Trim the fat, slice it up into small squares, and get it in there. The flavour is incredible when you cook it like this – it infuses into the whole dish.

And the final “Piece de Resistance” – 100 grams of finely grated Parmesan cheese – it will stiffen up the mix, add that inimitable Italian flavour, and “impart a smoother texture to the tongue”. Stir in the cheese while taking the pot of the heat – put the lid in place – and you’re done.

There was a point where I’d add a small pot of single cream at that point – but in the end – this is supposed to be a low fat dish (or as low as we can get it anyway).

Let the pot cool down a bit and shove it in the fridge over-night. This gives the whole thing a chance for the flavours to soak into each other. The smell of the cooking will be driving you crazy at this point – but it’s worth waiting for.

Enjoy the next day – or freeze the portions off as you will – it’ll taste just as good (if not better) from frozen. Though, curiously enough, not quite “as good” if your appetite gets the better of you on the same day.

The good thing, is that it only takes half an hour to cook from frozen – cook up one batch and your good to go for around 10 portions ………….
 

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Gourmet El Toasted Bologna Samich.

Toast 2 pieces of the bread of your choice. (Toasting darker is better, almost burnt).

Spread Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip on one slice and peanut butter on the other slice. (Peter Pan or Jiffy Peanut Butter is best).

Add 1 thick slice of Bologna.

Add, mustard of your choice.

Yummy enjoy!
 

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Gourmet El Toasted Bologna Samich.

Toast 2 pieces of the bread of your choice. (Toasting darker is better, almost burnt).

Spread Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip on one slice and peanut butter on the other slice. (Peter Pan or Jiffy Peanut Butter is best).

Add 1 thick slice of Bologna.

Add, mustard of your choice.

Yummy enjoy!
Yuck!! And Lori let's you eat that??!! You're supposed to be getting all the good home cookin... !! :D
 

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Gosh that Bolognese sounds good Purple!
Excellent recipe and technique to make it happen. My wife would approve. Stuff does taste and smell better when reheated the next day.
We don't have ready access to the Dolmios stateside but there are substitutes. ProductFrame_Bolognese.png
The peas we can get. 13421109.jpeg
Years ago cooking Chinese I discovered the magic of blending ground pork with the ground beef at times. Not trying to improve on your perfection, just pointing out endless modifications are possible.
We freeze smaller portions for quick and easy mid week meals.
Thanks for sharing such a well written course of action to a happy tummy.
 

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Yuck!! And Lori let's you eat that??!! You're supposed to be getting all the good home cookin... !! :D
No! I think it's disgusting too. He doesn't do any cooking when I'm around, cause I bitch about what he is making and I won't eat it. Poor georgie runs from it too. Haha
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Gosh that Bolognese sounds good Purple! ......... Excellent recipe and technique to make it happen.
No worries — I was cooking it as I was writing — seemed a shame not to share (after all, it’s what we do on here).

The average “cookery book” will simply give a list of ingredients — something that I’ve tried to avoid here. But once you begin to understand how these ingredients work in harmony to create something, you can alter some of them to your personal taste.

This is what I’ve tried to do with this recipe, to explain the evolution here, not just the “parts”.

I lived for many years with my Mothers cooking — God bless her dear departed soul — but she couldn’t boil an egg.

Then I went out on the road for six years, where I had to eat out each night or starve.

I “discovered” food — proper food — where you could take your fancy on the spur of a moment.

I began to understand why A goes with B, how they complement each other — how many choices there are, and the entire concept of “creative cooking”.

Since then, I’ve had the knowledge to change recipes to my taste, simply through experience.

I finally “understood” food.

It’s that understanding that I wanted to share — the “why” of it — not just the cooking.

So — if anyone else has something they want to share — then this thread is the place to do it …….
 

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Striped Bass

Take the filet and cut it into individual sizes, about 4"x4". Brush the filet with dijon mustard and place each piece on a piece of tinfoil. Sprinkle Montreal Steak seasoning on them. Pour italian dressing on them and fold the tinfoil over the top, don't wrap tightly, kind of tent it. Put them on the grill on high for 10 minutes. (This is for 1 1/2" thick, if it's thinner go less on the time) When they are done the bottom has a nice crust and the steam in italian dressing gives it a great flavor.
 

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Fredjiyaki Beef or Chicken

I take any basic teriyaki recipe then pump up the garlic and sesame significantly, marinate the dickens out of it then BBQ quickly on high heat the next day. Extra brown sugar helps create a glaze on the chicken to lock in more flavor. While I never measure anything here is an approximate starting point. Taste marinade as you build it, modify to taste. I usually add a little extra salt after cooking

I start with two or more pounds of fairly lean 1" x1" sliced strips of top round, tri tip or New York, or boneless,skinless chicken thighs.

Marinade:
2 cups soy sauce
1 cup brown sugar
4 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons seame oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons ground ginger or equivalent fresh ginger minced finely
3 minced green onions
1/2 teaspoon chinese 5-spice (optional)
1/2 teaspoon tumeric ( optional)

Boneless chicken thighs and thin strips cook fast on high heat, I try to get a bit of surface crust but still moist inside. Maybe three minutes per side over hot hardwood coals. Grill a can of pineapple slices at same time for desert or pallet cleanser. Serve with simple white rice and a green salad generously laced with nuts, raisins, sesame sticks, sweet onion.
 

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Great idea for a thread Purple, I love to cook so this is right up my alley.

I have a few things I make that folks really like that I can share, the first will be my recipe for beef & bean chili that I make a lot. It’s always a favorite for football games when I get together with friends to watch games at my house or for tailgates when we go to Pats games on cold weather days.

Before I get into it a few thoughts.

Like Fred I don’t measure anything, when I cook its by smell, taste and feel so some of the amounts here will be approximate and will need adjusting. My not measuring drives my girlfriend batty sometimes. She is a scientist and also loves to bake, both things are generally precise. Unlike her I wing it, for instance I measure the doneness of a steak by poking it with my finger, she would want a thermometer. Ingredient’s are the same way for me, but ill do my best to describe here with measurements.

The heat of the chili is also a subjective thing depending on who eats it. What works for me may not work for you on the heat, what I consider perfect some find too hot and others not hot enough so you may need to experiment with the peppers. I like my chili hot but at the finish of a bite not the second I put it in my mouth. To get this I use only fresh jalapeno peppers. The heat of these peppers vary so it’s never the same twice. If you want a much hotter chili swap out a few of the jalapenos for some habaneros.

I also add some non traditional things to my chili from time to time. I always add corn, sometimes mushrooms or black olives. You could also add some pork if you wanted( I don’t because I’m allergic to white pork).

This recipe makes a lot of chili so if you want a smaller amount pretty much cut it in half. You can make it in a crock pot too if you want but you may need to make a half batch to fit it in. I also like to make this a day ahead of time then put it in the fridge overnight so the flavors have a chance to mingle.

Lets get started.
Here is a list of things you will need for tools.
12 quart stock pot. I like a good quality multi clad pot that heats up the sides. I own a cusinart one.
Blender
A sharp chefs Knife, must be sharp enough to cut raw beef.
Spoon for stirring
Cast iron skillet, I use my 12” (I think a well seasoned cast iron skillet is a key to this entire process because of the flavors it imparts, its all I use for everything that requires a skillet. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet go get one at walmart and use it ton. A 10” lodge is like 20 bucks and will last a lifetime if you take care of it)
Slotted spoon or tongs


What you will need from the store

2-28oz cans of crushed tomatoes.

2-28oz cans of stewed tomatoes(or 4 regular sized cans if you cant get big ones, get original recipe cans you don’t want Italian flavor or anything like that)

1-28 oz can of red kidney beans

1-28 oz can of black beans

6-10 jalapeno peppers depending on size. I ususally get a bunch no matter what so I can adjust if needed.

1 steak. I try to get one in the 16-20 oz range. I normally use NY strip and I make sure there is a nice layer of fat on the side.

Beef short ribs bone in. The packages I normally buy have 4 short ribs in it. Bone in is very important , do not substitute boneless. The bones add flavor that cant be duplicated.

3-4 lbs of ground beef. I like 85-15 for this vs the lean types.

Bell peppers. I get 2 or 3 depending on size. Use any color you like or mix and match. I like at least one green and the other two I get red or yellow or orange.

Sweet onion. I try to get a big one, or a couple regular sized ones

Head of fresh garlic

Small bag of frozen sweet corn

Chili powder, I like “dark”

Chipotle chili powder ( optional but I like the flavor it has)

Ground Cumin

2 Beef Bouillon cubes

Garlic infused olive oil

Salt and pepper( I like fresh griound)

A Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey. I like Evan Williams but others will do just fine as well. Knob Creek or Jim Beam or whatever other Kentucky straight bourbon you have those around the house. You wont need much.

Cooking…

Put the 2 cans of crushed tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of cumin, 3 tablespoons of chili powder, 1 tablespoon of chipotle chili powder, 2 beef bullion cubes in the pot, stir it and start heating it on low. If you don’t use the chipotle powder use 4 tablespoons chili powder.

Get your skillet heating on low heat so its ready to go for later….

Put the entire can of red kidney beans in the pot with the liquid

Drain the can of black beans then put the beans in the pot.

Put the entire bag of corn if you want corn

Now its blender time.
You need to do this step twice. Put half of the stewed tomatoes along with 4 jalepenos( cut the stem off, leave the seeds) and a couple cloves of garlic into the blender and blend it until the peppers and garlic are purified. After you do batch one you will want to give it a quick taste test to see the heat level of the peppers. If it’s too hot you will want to add less or no peppers on the second batch. If you want more heat add more peppers to the second batch. Pour into the pot.

Time to chop.
Chop up the onion(s) into small bits. I try for like ¼” pieces. Same with the bell peppers. Put them off to the side.
Cut the fat off the side of the steak and then cut the steak into small bite sized bits. Save the fat for use later.

Now its time to brown the steak.
Get your skillet up to med high heat and put in a little garlic oil in the skillet. Put the fat in the skillet so it will render and the rest of the steak bits. Brown the steak bits on all sides. You don’t want to cook them thru, just brown them. Salt them a little while you cook them. Once the steak is browned remove the fat and discard. Scoop the browned steak with a slotted spoon and put it in the pot. Leave the remaining grease in the skillet you will use it next.

Sautee the peppers and onions. Throw them in the skillet and sautee them in the grease leftover from the steak. Once the onions start turning translucent put the mixture in the pot.

As this point your skillet is most likely going to be a little dry. Wipe out any leftover peppers and onions and add a little more garlic oil into the skillet and spread it around. Salt the short ribs then ear the short ribs in the skillet. Sear them so they are nice and caramelized on all sides, throw them in the pot.

Cook the ground beef thoroughly in the skillet, drain it, crumble it and throw that in the pot.

Bring the heat up a little on the chili until its bubbling( not quite boiling) then lower the heat, add a couple of shots worth of bourbon, cover and simmer for three hours or so stirring it from time to time so nothing stick to the bottom of the pot. While simmering give it a taste from time to time and adjust any seasonings as needed. I will add a little salt and pepper and also more chili powder if I feel it needs it. After a few hours the short ribs will be fully cooked. Pick them out and take a peek. They should be pulled back and a lot of bone visible. The texture should be like pot roast when they are done. If they are done debone them and discard the fat and bones, chop up the rest of the meat and put it back in the pot. The steak should also be super tender when its done, trying a piece of steak is another good test.

From here it’s pretty much done. If it needs more time to simmer and thicken, let it simmer longer otherwise take it off the heat and let it cool for a while naturally before putting the pot in the fridge.

The following day when you want to eat it put the pot back on the stove and slowly reheat it until it’s at eating temp. I like to serve this in sourdough bread bowls if I can get them from Panera and also with a side of corn bread and sour cream and shreaded cheddar cheese for those that want it.
 

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For when your power is out : POKE! I got hooked on this raw delicacy while on the Big Island, would go to little hole-in-the-wall shop called "POKE-MAN " in Hilo where 70-something year old comedian/proprietor had many varieties. His banter was as entertaining as his Poke was delicious. We have assembled versions at home with salmon, baby octopus and yellowtail.

1 lb. fresh ahi steaks, cut into cubed, bite-size pieces
1/4 cup soy sauce (shoyu)
1/4 cup chopped green onions (tops included)
1/4 cup chopped Maui onion (or yellow onion)
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 chili pepper, cored, seeded and diced (optional)
Sea salt, to taste
2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
2 tsp. finely chopped toasted macadamia nuts

Mix all in a bowl and let sit refrigerated for an hour or so , helps all the flavors marry nicely.

"
The word poke (pronounced poh-keh) is Hawaiian, meaning “to slice or cut crosswise into pieces.” The poke first eaten by native Hawaiians was a simple mixture of raw fish, Hawaiian salt, seaweed and chopped kukui nuts (called inamonain Hawaiian). Post-colonial contact, that basic recipe got a bit more interesting with the introduction of onions and, sometimes, tomatoes to the mix.Go to most fish markets in Hawaii today and you’ll find a wide selection of poke—from tako (octopus) with ginger and garlic to tofu in shoyu with watercress and tomato. We’ve seen poke recipes with raw crab, cooked shrimp, clams, smoked salmon, pipi kaula (dried and smoked beef), even seared ribeye steak. There are now hundreds of poke recipes in Hawaii for every kind of taste." -copied from The Hawaiin Magazine.
 

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I gotta hand it to you guys, these recipes sound delicious. I just wish I had skills like that. Or maybe its best I don't have these skills, I'd be 500 lbs rather than 325....

Really appreciate the time you guys take to do this and the detailed instructions too. That takes a lot of time and effort.... :D
 

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Rusty Nials;

Two medium sized ice cubes in cocktail glass.

Two fingers Drambuie.

Two fingers scotch. I use Cutty Sark or J&B for mixers. It would be heresy to waste Oban or similar in a mixed drink.

Swish around a little and sit in favorite chair and sip while wife cooks up something tasty.
 

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Tom, you could deal with munchies in-house by making your own burritos....put the gas money towards a supply of tortilla shells to keep on hand and roll your own with whatever left-overs your doggie (GingerSnap?) hasn't eaten yet..:p I have made some odd but tasty burritos with some really unusual ingredients, last one was with a tuna fish salad, previous one was rice/corn/zucchini on a cheesy pan fried tortilla folded over like a quesadilla. You can do it!
 

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Come on.... where's the recipe.... what brand of paper, what kind of weed and most importantly which drive through burrito place?
Funny bro...:p

Atilano's on 3rd Ave, Downtown location. :D
Carne Asada Burrito :p
I actually use a small glass pipe, not papers, or vaporize in my Volcano. :)
Cinex or Blue Dream at the moment. Both very nice. ;)

YUM YUM (Zdiver, don't look!! Its like your favorite place near you)
 
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