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Old 12-11-2012, 06:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Do you have any interesting food matches?

Hi!
I was just thinking about new foods that I have been trying and never knew they tasted good together. I found out that if you saute or cook cucumbers, they really really taste good with other stir fried items-yummy.
Also, nutmeg is for more than just cookies and I LOVE this spice. I am now putting it in my potatoes into a caserole.
I haven't tried chili and chocolate yet, and I don't know how to do it, but if anyone knows, please let me know.
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:21 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Since you're enjoying new and unusual flavor combinations, you might want to look at the book, The Flavor Bible. It lists lots of common basic foods, tells you what seasonings enhance their flavor and gives some recipes, too.

Get some 70% or greater cacao chocolate (the bitter-tasting stuff) and stir some of that into chili. It gives it a depth and richness that is really interesting. I'm sure there are recipes somewhere, but that's what I tried and found it very tasty. A good Mexican cookbook, not Tex-Mex but actual Mexican cookery, will tell you how to make the various sauces using bitter chocolate if you're interested in getting that adventurous. Those by Rick Bayless or Diana Kennedy are authentic although often call for ingredients that may not be easy to find if you don't live in an area with Mexican markets.

When braising meats like pot roast, instead of water or beef broth for the liquid, try leftover coffee for all or part of the liquid. That makes a pot roast taste really beefy. People who dislike coffee won't generally be able to tell you've cooked it with coffee either. Doesn't leave a definite coffee flavor.

Thyme sprinkled on canned tuna or added to tuna salad is a favorite of mine.

Guess you can tell I'm the type of cook who throws a little this-n-that into things, and then when it comes out yummy, I usually can't recall what all I tossed into it!
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Old 12-13-2012, 05:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thankyou so much for the suggestions!!! I am always one of those people that envy people like you. I cannot seem to cook without a recipe in my hand. I love love baking but I cannot deviate too much from the recipe. I can actually get so nervous when I have to cook for people (not bake) for them. You have a gift That is why I watch so many of those cooking shows on tv.

I will try your suggestions!! Thankyou so much
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Old 12-13-2012, 06:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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This is not really a recipe, but just something our family loves. We put peanut butter on pancakes and waffles, followed by syrup. My grandfather use to mix the peanut butter and syrup while my grandma cooked the pancakes and my mom started just smearing the peanut butter on the pancakes and then putting syrup on top. A lot of people think we are nuts, but it is so yummy! Of course, you have to like peanut butter. It's really good on chocolate chip pancakes.
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Old 12-14-2012, 09:35 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I always use cocoa in my chili. It makes all the difference! I got this spice mix from Dana Carpender's No-Carb Cookbook. I don't do No-/Lo-Carb anymore, but I still use her chili spice recipe.

2 tsp each of chili powder (I use Mexican chili), cumin, cocoa powder, oregano
1 tsp of paprika

You can add 1/2 to 1 tsp of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes if you like your chili hot. I used to, but then I had kids.

Another flavor combo I really like (but not for chili! ) is cinnamon & chocolate. My favorite little coffee shop in town makes a latte called The Alamo which is a mocha with cinnamon and it is my go-to treat when I need a pick-me-up.

Finally, I just tried pineapple salsa this past week. Who knew pineapple goes well in salsa?!?! I was also surprised to find a few choices of pineapple salsa at my grocery store --- I had at least 3 brands to choose from! It's a great balance of sweet & spicy.

Have fun cooking!
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Old 12-14-2012, 12:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by TuffyCO View Post
This is not really a recipe, but just something our family loves. We put peanut butter on pancakes and waffles, followed by syrup. My grandfather use to mix the peanut butter and syrup while my grandma cooked the pancakes and my mom started just smearing the peanut butter on the pancakes and then putting syrup on top. A lot of people think we are nuts, but it is so yummy! Of course, you have to like peanut butter. It's really good on chocolate chip pancakes.

I love peanut butter on my waffles too!! I love how it gets all melty in the holes on the waffle. Glad I'm not the only one!
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Old 12-14-2012, 12:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I love peanut butter on my waffles too!! I love how it gets all melty in the holes on the waffle. Glad I'm not the only one!
My son has Eggos with peanut butter and sometimes honey at least once a week for breakfast!
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Old 12-15-2012, 07:30 AM   #8 (permalink)
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To Carol with the adventurous cocoa in chili--Yep, cocoa works, but try a high-quality chocolate like Ghirardelli that is 70% cacao or higher. I think the chocolate gives a richness that you don't quite get with plain cocoa likely due to chocolate's fat content. As is so truly said, "God made fat so food would taste good." < big grin > However, Mexican cocoa which is typically mixed with cinnamon can provide a very interesting flavor burst in chili added sparingly, I've found.

Edit to add to Carol: Ever tried mango salsa? It's fantastic, too.

To Starbright--I once was fearful of cooking without a recipe myself. I think what a person must do is try leaving out some ingredients or substituting other similar ones in recipes that can stand some tinkering such as those for meats or casseroles. That's what I did to start out, messing with things like stews and soups to see what additional ingredients were tasty.

If you do, I can't emphasize enough how much you must taste, taste, TASTE as you go to see when you've tweaked the flavor just right but not too much. If you don't...well, you can guess what will happen if the dog won't even touch the results.

It's unwise to mess much with a recipe for baked goods, because baking is more a science than an art. It requires exact proportions and temperatures to get the desired result. I don't play around with such unless it's along the lines of, "Hey, I bet these scones would be better if I tossed in some coconut and chocolate chips." When I do, I add less than I think I'd like, because it's difficult to tell how much those ingredients' chemistry might alter the outcome.

But do try some creative additions to things like stews, soups and casseroles that are more forgiving, and before very long, you may find yourself becoming far less dependent upon following recipes as I did.
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Old 12-15-2012, 12:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I did a bacon peanut butter cookie with a Nutella glaze that was pretty good. Also Chili sauce (in a jar) and grape jelly make a good bbq sauce for meatballs. I also cook my pork shoulder or pork loin in the crock pot with root beer. Very good for pulled pork sliders.
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Old 12-15-2012, 04:00 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Wow, thanks for the suggestions Dot: I love baking, and it is strange but that is where I will take a bit of risk and do some small substitutions (not alot but some).

Cooking... that is where I cannot seem to improvize. I would love to be able to play with spices more. I can't seem to think past garlic. I discovered Nutmeg this yr and I actually used it in a Shephards pie potatoes and it was really really good. Friends from other countries use Collander and I have never ever used that spice but theirs taste good. I don't know how to use spices and where, so if you have some general rules, which ones taste good with some types of meats, that would be fantastic. Rosemary is one I have problems with-too flowery of a taste raw.

I am going to try the Chili sauce and the grape jelly...I can't pass that one up LOL I don't own peanut butter, but this sounds really really good.

Thankyou!!!!

Last edited by Starbright; 12-15-2012 at 04:03 PM..
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Old 12-15-2012, 04:18 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quite welcome, Starbright.

I think you meant coriander which adds a nice lemony-sort of flavor. I like to put a sprinkle of it along with some nutmeg, cinnamon and a wee bit of cloves in apple cider and nuke it till plenty warm.

A good cook's handbook will usually have a list of which herbs and spices go well with what foods. Julia Child's called Kitchen Wisdom would have a list of that sort, I bet. If you have a big general-purpose cookbook, it probably will have such a list.

DH reminded me of something that we thought was a really weird combination--the Angus burger at GF Cafe that's topped with chunks of lobster, crisscrossed asparagus spears and hollandaise sauce. But it is just plain sinful, it's so good!

Forgot to add my general suggestions for herbs and spices. Basil is good on beef. Coriander is very nice on white fish filets, not so good on salmon, I think. Herbes de Provence is good on chicken or pork either one but not a lot as the flavor is pretty intense. Brown either in oil or butter, top with hdp and finish off with a splash of a nice dry white wine--very tasty and pretty healthy. Some tarragon or thyme on chicken rather than the standard sage or poultry seasoning. Which reminded me that my favorite meatloaf recipe contains 3/4 tsp. of poultry seasoning which really adds to the flavor. I'd hesitate to use that in a meatloaf topped with bbq sauce or ketchup since I think either would overpower the effect of the poultry seasoning, but it's great for a plain ol' meatloaf.
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Exactly one year from our last trip, we're going back to Disney, for holiday season magic AND my birthday! (And if you think it looks like I had green hair when this was taken, you'd be right! )
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Old 12-15-2012, 05:01 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Coop View Post
I did a bacon peanut butter cookie with a Nutella glaze that was pretty good. Also Chili sauce (in a jar) and grape jelly make a good bbq sauce for meatballs. I also cook my pork shoulder or pork loin in the crock pot with root beer. Very good for pulled pork sliders.
That is so funny, bc I make those same meatballs and I also make a pot roast with coca cola added in it, instead of water. Makes a nice sweetness to the roast.
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Old 12-15-2012, 05:04 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Okay, I'm gonna be the wet blanket about that meatball recipe. Both DH and I think it's waaaaay too sugary for meatballs. Which is pretty weird since we love sweet and sour chicken or pork as well as other Chinese dishes like sesame chicken that have a very sweet sauce.
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