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Advanced Home Cooks--What's on Your Wishlist? (Assuming You Were Good!)

Cooking is probably my main hobby these days. And, as a late-thirties professional, I have a fully outfitted kitchen. I'm being asked for gift ideas for Christmas, and I think I'll probably limit myself to 1) whisky and 2) stuff for the kitchen. Fellow advanced home cooks with fully stocked kitchens, what's on your wishlist this holiday season? Not looking for gimmicky stuff; rather something I'd actually use for years to come. [more inside]
posted by Admiral Haddock on Nov 25, 2013 - 53 answers

My coconut flour pancakes taste like dirt and disappointment

In an attempt to embrace my gluten intolerance, I purchased some coconut flour. Things have not gone well. I've had problems with another GF flour mix I have. WTF is going on. [more inside]
posted by PuppetMcSockerson on Nov 21, 2013 - 19 answers

Smoked salmon + pasta ?

Is there a delicious way of combining sliced smoked salmon and pasta for dinner? [more inside]
posted by Chorus on Nov 21, 2013 - 22 answers

Teach me how to cook congee.

I've searched previous instances of congee showing up in comments on the Green, but very few actual recipes. None of the recipes I've found online even agree on the rice-to-water ratio or cooking time. Recipes from any nation, savory or sweet and any serving tips or suggestions most welcome!
posted by digitalprimate on Nov 21, 2013 - 8 answers

Minimalist Thanksgiving

I need help finding some really easy, uncomplicated one-pot Thanksgiving recipes! I'll be hosting an orphan's potluck for 4-8 people at my place this year and I need to provide a couple dishes. Problem is, I'm a notoriously shitty cook which means I never cook which means I have a really understocked kitchen. And I'm kinda poor. [more inside]
posted by greta simone on Nov 18, 2013 - 33 answers

In search of decadent, divisible, freezable recipes

I’m looking for a specific type of recipe that will hit that right note of yummy hearty comfort food AND that I can make a decent quantity of so I can freeze the leftovers in one-serving containers for nights when I don’t feel like cooking and really shouldn’t order/eat out. I’m looking for stuff that is decadent and enticing enough to persuade me that I’ll feel just as “treated” as if I’d gone out. [more inside]
posted by hapax_legomenon on Nov 17, 2013 - 28 answers

Days of wine and oxtails...

What's the best wine to use to cook oxtails? According to the recipe, I should"use a wine that [I'd] enjoy drinking." Ah, but I enjoy drinking a lot of different kinds of wine. I've googled and looked at previous AskMes, but all I really get are suggestions on what to pair with beefy dishes. Is that what I should be using to cook with, too?
posted by LynnDee on Nov 17, 2013 - 12 answers

Simple meals, low sodium, one skillet

What are some tasty low sodium meals I can make in a skillet? [more inside]
posted by graymouser on Nov 16, 2013 - 12 answers

I need to share this space somehow...

I like my housemates but hate sharing the kitchen with them. This is not good for housemate relationships. I can't move out. What can I do to mitigate things in the mean time? [more inside]
posted by ActionPopulated on Nov 16, 2013 - 14 answers

What do you wish you knew when you first started cooking?

I recently took the step from instant meals and dining out to to living a little more health-consciously by making my own meals. Although my creations thus far have all been edible, I get the feeling that I am making a lot of novice mistakes that I would be able to correct more quickly if I had someone more experienced guiding me. To this end I come to you, oh wise MeFites; please share with me a list of things you wish you knew or realized when you started out cooking. (Or, mistakes you used to make that made you much better when you fixed). [more inside]
posted by Kamelot123 on Nov 15, 2013 - 56 answers

Pie

What's an easy pie to make? I don't really cook or bake, but I have to make a pie for Thanksgiving because of reasons. [more inside]
posted by nooneyouknow on Nov 15, 2013 - 58 answers

soup kitchen volunteers! can you lend me your recipes, menus, & advice?

I am part of a group that regularly gets together to cook and serve meals at a soup kitchen. Our amazing group leader of many years recently passed away very, very unexpectedly, and we have been struggling somewhat in his absence -- he always just kept everything in his head: set menus, what to buy and how much, where to get the best price on stuff, etc. Can you help us put everything back together? [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Nov 14, 2013 - 18 answers

Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a...vodka cream sauce?

I am cooking dinner this weekend for an old friend who has requested Italian, preferably pasta with a creamy sauce. I am not very well acquainted at all with cream sauces, apart from this very simple one. I have many extra hours to work on this, and access to several specialty markets and a Trader Joe's. Help me find a crazy delicious recipe! Special farfalle inside... [more inside]
posted by jetlagaddict on Nov 14, 2013 - 16 answers

Where to get a gift card for cookware?

Since we are moving soon and already have tons of stuff to move, a couple of family member are considering getting us a gift card for cookware. We have a bunch of cruddy old stuff that we won't be moving, and it'd be great to replace some of these things with items of reasonable quality. However, places like Williams-Sonoma and Sur la Table are very expensive. Is there another good choice for a place to shop in person with a gift card? We live in the San Francisco Bay Area. [more inside]
posted by wintersweet on Nov 13, 2013 - 11 answers

I'm dumb. How many cups of beans?

The recipe says "2 cups dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight". Does it mean 2 cups of the beans after soaking, or before soaking? [more inside]
posted by under_petticoat_rule on Nov 13, 2013 - 13 answers

What is the best recipe for pecan pie without corn syrup?

What is the best recipe for pecan pie without corn syrup? [more inside]
posted by vincele on Nov 10, 2013 - 29 answers

How do I learn to be less squeamish about meat?

I love meat, but I hate its squishy, rubbery, gummy bits. [more inside]
posted by lollymccatburglar on Nov 9, 2013 - 19 answers

Convince me that kale can actually be tasty

We get a lot of kale from our CSA, and we pretty much know it's headed for the compost. Have tried many recipes that turn out nasty -- kale chips that won't dry, sauteed kale that's too bitter to choke down, etc. -- and have yet to find anything that gets us excited to use this vegetable, no matter how healthy. (Yes, I do make some green shakes, but one bunch in the freezer can fuel me for a year on that front! We have 3-4 bunches in the fridge right now.) I should say that the one exception was a recipe called "Carolina kale," which involves some stewed tomatoes and cumin, but our experience after making it a few times is that we love it on day 1 but then never want to touch the leftovers, so then that feels like a waste too.

So, metafites, convince me that kale is fit for human consumption! wow me with your best, genuinely delicious, kale recipes, before it's compost time again!
posted by acm on Nov 8, 2013 - 81 answers

Is there a multitasking kitchen appliance that actually works?

I have extremely limited kitchen space but consider both a food processor and a blender to be essential pieces of equipment, especially around holiday food prep time. I currently have a Cuisinart food processor I'm not unhappy with and a crappy compact blender that can barely handle making salad dressing, let alone crushing ice. I'd like to replace both with an all-in-one device, ideally a powerful base that I can put either a blender jar or food processing bowl on. But I'm wary of all-in-one devices because they tend to be not very good at any of the things they do. Are there any blender/food processor combos that are actually good at both? [more inside]
posted by rhiannonstone on Nov 5, 2013 - 16 answers

Help us up our taco game!

So the fiance (eee) and I are participating in a local food festival based around a particular brand of smoker. One of the recipes we'd like to try is detailed inside and I have a rough idea of how I'd like to present it but we need ideas for a sauce and/or slaw. [more inside]
posted by brilliantine on Nov 5, 2013 - 8 answers

Yule Be Swell! Yule Be Great!

We will be hosting a very large Yule gathering in our home next month, and I need ideas on ways to feed people affordably but impressively with simple but very elegant dishes. We set the bar pretty high last year, so the H is O. [more inside]
posted by evilcupcakes on Nov 3, 2013 - 22 answers

Best practices: awesome brunch edition

I am hosting a brunch at my house for...a bunch? probably at least 30? people on Sunday. What are your favorite reliable recipes and tips for this situation? Assume above-average baking/cooking abilities and a desire to do as much 1-2 days ahead as possible. [more inside]
posted by charmedimsure on Oct 31, 2013 - 21 answers

Recipe ideas for people who don't enjoy cooking

About 70% of the time, I do not enjoy cooking. The prep, the process, the cleaning up (oh God, the cleaning up). I feel like I have exhausted my repertoire of minimal-prep / minimal-cleanup weekday evening meals. Can you help me come up with some new ones? And it would be great if they were actually tasty and heavy on the vegetables as I am trying to get more of those into my diet. Bonus points for food that I can make ahead in bulk and take to work for a few days. [more inside]
posted by Ziggy500 on Oct 31, 2013 - 35 answers

Fictional characters who cook

I'm looking for examples from literary fiction where characters cook something or describe a cooking process or technique within the narrated text. I'm not looking for an entire recipe detailed. Rather, which literary characters have taught you how to hold a chef's knife, how to deglaze, how to spread icing on a cake. Example below of fire-roasting a bell pepper from John Irving's "The World According to Garp." [more inside]
posted by Jason and Laszlo on Oct 30, 2013 - 43 answers

And the sailors say, "Brandy, you're a fine girl..."

Can you recommend ways for me to use up this brandy? [more inside]
posted by Dr. Wu on Oct 26, 2013 - 19 answers

Japanese (and Korean?) Home Cooking Techniques

Looking recently at home-cooked Japanese (and to some extent, Korean) meals, I notice again that they tend to be composed of several separate parts. I have trouble cooking multiple, separate pieces to a meal without creating exponential work for myself. I'm looking for videos demonstrating typical and/or efficient Japanese or Korean home cooking. Any language, with or without subtitles, is fine. [more inside]
posted by WasabiFlux on Oct 24, 2013 - 15 answers

Simple, tasty recipes for a nomad

For the next 8 months I'll be moving cities every 4 days or so and I'm doing a lot of couchsurfing. I like to prepare a meal for my hosts as a thank you and I'd like some suggestions for meal ideas. I can't travel with a fully stocked pantry, so meals that have few ingredients (preferably things readily available in South America, Europe, and Asia) are important. Advise me, culinary geniuses of mefi! [more inside]
posted by horizons on Oct 23, 2013 - 16 answers

Sort of Short Soup Recipes

I've about an hour, maybe 90 minutes worth of patience, above-average kitchen competence, and access to most ingredients. I'd like to eat soup for dinner at the end of this 60-90 minutes, and I don't like shrimp. Share your favorites?
posted by ersatzkat on Oct 22, 2013 - 26 answers

Help Me Learn to Cook!

I want to learn to cook. I'm looking for a podcast or a web series or something along those lines that will teach me the essentials of cooking, along the lines of a beginner's cooking class, but available for free online. [more inside]
posted by meesha on Oct 21, 2013 - 18 answers

Focused classes on ethnic food in bay area? (Or anywhere in US/world!)

I've taken cooking classes at some local places in the bay (tante marie, kitchen on fire), and in general I am a decently proficient cook. Definitely need to keep practicing and honing my taste and technique, but that comes with time. What I am interested in now are focused classes that dive deep into "ethnic" cuisine (I hate that term but I think it gets the point across). Cuisines I'm particularly interested in: Japanese, Argentinian, Peruvian, Vietnamese, French, Southern, Indian (all regions, esp. southern), Chinese... In the bay it'd be great to find a regular class or some weekend classes that dive deep into topics, but in general, I'd be interested if there are 1 or 2 week-long classes. For example, I'd totally be willing to go to city X for a week-long intensive course on stir-fry or something like that. Is this a thing? Does this exist, outside of culinary school?
posted by wooh on Oct 21, 2013 - 1 answer

How is an "induction interface disc" different from a magnetic fry pan?

I am thinking of buying a portable induction burner. (A built-in or gas unit is not an option.) Several of my cookware items are not induction-compatible, and I don't want to replace them. Must I purchase an "induction interface disc" or can I just get a cheap induction-compatible frying pan and put non-magnetic pans on top of that instead? How are these items different? Why is this a specialized product? What am I missing about cooking with induction? Nobody in my household is much of a cook, so we're not looking for incredible performance-- we just want hot food. If the burner heats the interface and the interface heats the pot, I get that there will be heat loss, but why is a special interface disc a $50 product?
posted by blnkfrnk on Oct 19, 2013 - 5 answers

Soup for Dummies

I love soup but stink at making it from scratch. Hit me with your best recipes and tips for making soup! [more inside]
posted by fox problems on Oct 14, 2013 - 47 answers

Oaxacan cooking class for an expert cook?

What's a good cooking class to go to in Oaxaca, Mexico in December, for people who can already cook? Or other food-related Oaxacan suggestions? [more inside]
posted by andreapandrea on Oct 11, 2013 - 1 answer

How do I level up in Cooking?

I am a moderately skilled cook, I rarely make mistakes or destroy meals and there are few dishes I do really well ( mostly roast related). I know my around around knives, understand the basic chemistry and flavor profiles going on, and can keep a large amount of things going at different speeds and heat until everything is ready. Since I've come into some free time, I'd like to up my game, go from moderate to skilled home-cooking of weekday staples to more difficult, labor intense, fussy, and visually appealing cooking. How do I go from " Beef daub served with fresh bread" to "slices of brandy soaked pears and quince elegantly arranged around applewood smoked tenderloin in a lavender sauce."? What should I be looking at, reading, listening to, and practicing? [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Oct 11, 2013 - 25 answers

The fan above my stove broke. Is inhaling cooking smoke dangerous?

The fan above my stove broke. I cook on the stovetop often, I've heard that the smoke from cooking could cause health problems down the road - but it's all anecdotal evidence. I've tried looking up some concrete information online, but what I can find is sparse. I'm opening the windows at the moment, but it's going to be too cold to do that soon. Is a fan necessary, or is cooking smoke not as bad as it's cracked up to be? Anyone else not using fans?
posted by BuddyBoo on Oct 10, 2013 - 25 answers

What is Caribbean food and how do I cook it?

I recently moved to a neighborhood that is predominantly West Indian, and I see all sorts of new-to-me ingredients in my local grocery stores that I'd love to learn how to use. But I don't know the first thing about West Indian/Caribbean cuisine, so I'm not sure I trust myself to just pick out a cookbook and start. Can you recommend any resources like websites or cookbooks, or specific recipes, that will allow me to start investigating all these mysterious roots and jars of red-dyed lard and interesting spices?
posted by showbiz_liz on Oct 6, 2013 - 10 answers

Homemade Peppermint Ice Cream Pops?

This has been the Year Of Learning How To Make Ice Cream And Ice Pops. With certain holidays looming on the horizon, I have been searching to no avail, for a recipe for peppermint ice cream pops. I made a successful peppermint ice cream with crushed candy canes...but not sure if shoehorning the product of an ice cream maker into pop molds would really work properly. Do any MeFi Ice Cream Mavens have tips for me?
posted by dorgla on Oct 1, 2013 - 7 answers

Raita filter: what's the best way to thin a raita?

Usually when I make raita, I just chuck some mint and cucumber in with some yogurt and let it sit overnight. Tasty, sure, but when I eat out, their raita is *much* thinner. Is it a different yogurt? Should I just use water? (Lemon juice, even a little bit, seems to add an undesired flavor). Something else? Thanks.
posted by colin_l on Sep 28, 2013 - 10 answers

Cocktail advice for gorgeous white raspberries

I have gorgeous white raspberries around which I would like to craft a cocktail to celebrate my lady-friend's return from a week abroad. What do you recommend? [more inside]
posted by jrb223 on Sep 22, 2013 - 10 answers

What are some savory vegetables that can be prepared like sweet fruit?

What are some savory vegetables that can be prepared like sweet fruit? And vice versa? [more inside]
posted by minerthreat on Sep 19, 2013 - 43 answers

Do people MacGyver Alton's cooking contraptions

I've been watching a number of old Good Eat's shows and one thing that's really struck me is how over-the-top some of the contraptions he designs seem to be. Some almost bordering on the point of unnecessarily complicated. Are these truly something that people replicate? [more inside]
posted by Carillon on Sep 18, 2013 - 14 answers

Vegetable soup without immersion blender?

I'm looking for a recipe for a seasonal or all-season (for southern Ontario, and this week) vegetable soup recipe (potato, tomato, both, other--whatever) that does not need a blender (immersion or otherwise). Do you have any recommendations? [more inside]
posted by flibbertigibbet on Sep 16, 2013 - 14 answers

Squashes, how do they work?

There has got to be a better way to deal with winter squashes than the hacking/swearing/brute-force method I'm using right now. What is it? [more inside]
posted by Kitty Stardust on Sep 13, 2013 - 36 answers

Oh my darling, oh my darling mandarin

I have a small bag full of mandarins (clementines to you yanks) that are kinda past their prime. They're not completely off (ie not mouldy) and also don't have that semi-dessicated dryness that some mandarins get. They taste more like orange juice that is a couple of days past its use-by date: slightly fermented. I do not like this taste and don't want to eat them raw, which is what I normally do with mandarins. What can I do with them besides throw them away? I've never cooked with them before and also don't know what would work well to get rid of that slightly off taste. I don't have the equipment to turn them into mandarin marmalade even if I liked marmalade (which I don't) so I would appreciate non-jammy solutions.
posted by Athanassiel on Sep 12, 2013 - 15 answers

two damn tablespoons of olive oil...

I'm going car camping next week, and I'd like to bring a small amount of oil to cook with. I currently have a giant jug of oil and no desire to spend $6 on a tiny glass bottle of the same stuff. is there a container I can decant the oil into that WILL NOT spill in my car? I'm also looking to avoid a leaky container in an oily nasty ziploc. Clearly a cheap or recycled option would be best, but I'd be willing to buy something if it could be washed and reused and would never, ever leak.
posted by genmonster on Sep 9, 2013 - 31 answers

Source for myrtle leaves and berries

Where can I order myrtle leaves and berries online for delivery to the United States? [more inside]
posted by jedicus on Sep 6, 2013 - 6 answers

What you gon' do with all that pulp? All that pulp inside your trunk?

What recipes do you have for the leftover pulp from a juicer? [more inside]
posted by karathrace on Sep 6, 2013 - 14 answers

That taste nasty

From Star Trek (original series) to this evening, I have a burning food prep question? [more inside]
posted by silsurf on Sep 3, 2013 - 10 answers

1) Hunk o meat; 2) Cook; 3) ??; 4) Profit!!

I'm a big fan of the cook-a-big-hunk-of-protein, turn-it-into-dinners-all-week thing. I need more ideas! [more inside]
posted by peachfuzz on Sep 3, 2013 - 17 answers

Your tried-and-true vegetarian Southern food recipes?

I have been tasked with cooking or baking something for the regular themed potluck at my husband's workplace tomorrow. The theme this time is (American) Southern cooking, but I don't cook or eat meat so this is a cuisine to which I have paid zero attention previously. What should I make that would come out nicely if done vegetarian? [more inside]
posted by charmedimsure on Aug 31, 2013 - 30 answers

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