Looking for definitive recipes
September 29, 2004 8:16 AM   Subscribe

While the foodies are reading and posting....

Your definitive [*] recipes please. By definitive I mean that the recipe is good, the food so tasty, that it seems a ridiculous idea to you now to even consider preparing [*] in any other way. Nay, you could even consider yourself fulfilled if you never even tasted [*] prepared in another way before you died....(More inside).

Mine are Marcella Hazan's for roast chicken with two lemons and Pierre Franey's for lamb chops with garlic, parsley, butter and red wine vinegar sauce. Since first making these, I am happily uninterested in any other way of roasting chicken or any other way of dishing up a lamb chop.

I am looking for your equivalent "definitive" recipes, for a pork roast, or a club sandwich, or a summer salad, or a smoothie, or whatever.

Oops. My more inside is stuck on the outside.
posted by suleikacasilda to Food & Drink (19 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I don't really see a reason not to prepare a leg of lamb by boning and butterflying it, trimming the extra fat, sticking it with garlic slivers, and putting it on top of a hell of a lot of diced potatoes with rosemary and grated romano. Stick it in the oven, turn once; sometimes the potatoes have to cook longer than the meat. The end result is good lamb and extraordinary potatoes. (This is also from Marcella Hazan, I think it's in Marcella Cucina.)
posted by kenko at 8:30 AM on September 29, 2004

Grilled cheese:

After you flip the cheese sandwich after browning the first side, pour in a little soy sauce and put a lid over it. The soy sauce will steam-melt the cheese and add nice flavor. Feed this to friends and attractive members of the opposite sex. Always tell people that Shane told you to do this. It was my idea and I'd like to seek a copyright. Maybe just Creative Commons.

Have a good day and always enjoy your cheese.
posted by Shane at 8:40 AM on September 29, 2004 [1 favorite]

Don't know if it's online or not, but Market Street Meatloaf from "The New Basics" cookbook is phenomenal.
posted by grateful at 8:49 AM on September 29, 2004

Shake together: Tanqueray, a drop of dry vermouth, a spit of olive juice, ice. Pour into frosty glass over two olives. Mmm mmm good!
posted by mimi at 9:00 AM on September 29, 2004


Description: "This is the CLASSIC version of the legendary sandwich: Nebraska's most significant contribution to the civilized world."

loaf of hearty dark rye bread
Thousand Island dressing
sliced Swiss Cheese
premium Sauerkraut

Corned Beef Brisket
couple packages of Pickling Spice
2-4 cloves Garlic (peeled and sliced)
dash Pepper


Put brisket into a deep roasting pan along with the juice and seasoning packets (usually included in the package when you buy it). Add some additional pickling spice (my mom used a tablespoon, I use 2 entire packages), along with 2-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and split. Add a dash or two or three of pepper.

Cover with water and bring it to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until it feels tender when pierceded with a fork. Depending on the size, this will take quite a long time -- 2 hours at least. (I generally cook 2 at a time and let'em stew for several hours.)

When ready, turn off the heat and let it cool in the juice. Remove it from the pot, scrape off the pickling spice and trim the fat. Wrap it in wax paper and aluminum foil and let it set up in the refrigerator. This makes the final step much easier, when it comes time to hand slice it into sandwich meat, always cutting across the grain. And make them slices hefty -- at least a quarter inch thick.


Slap a generous glop of Thousand Island dressing on two slices of coarse dark rye bread. Place the hot corned beef, hot sauerkraut and Swiss cheese on one slice of bread. Top with the second slice of bread, keeping the dressing side inside the sandwich. Butter the top slice of bread and place the sandwich on a hot griddle, butter side down. Carefully butter the second slice of bread. Griddle the sandwich, turning once when the first side is well browned. The sandwich is done when both sides are well browned, the fillings are very hot and the cheese is melted. Cut the sandwich in half diagonally and arrange as desired. Serve with a dill spear, fries and ice-cold beer.

You might also consider preparing it "Blackstone Hotel" style, by marinating the sauerkraut in Russian dressing a day in advance.

NOTES : Originally invented by wholesale grocer Reuben Kulakofsky for his poker buddies at the Blackstone Hotel in Omaha Nebraska back in the early twenties. Charles Schimmel, owner of the Blackstone, put it on the menu there and it gravitated to the menu of Lincoln's Cornhusker Hotel. Others have tried to claim it as theirs, but their accounts lack credibility; being self-serving, several years after the fact or lacking any documentation whatsoever. There exists depression era menus which substantiate the claim for its Nebraskan birth. Later, in 1956, Fern Snider, a chef at the Blackstone, submitted the Reuben to a "National Sandwich Idea Contest" and won the grand prize. This gave the sandwich instant national prominence.

Look up "reuben sandwich" in your favorite internet search engine. It's amazing how many you'll see on light colored bread. These are not Reubens. These are merely corned beef sandwiches. A Reuben is made with coarse dark rye (preferably the hearty Russian style). Not white, not wheat, not pumpernickel. And if a restaurant tries to substitute pastrami for corned beef or (worse) cheddar for swiss cheese, there is a law on the books here in Nebraska that grants you the legal right to kick their goofy ass. And when the cops arrive, they will help you.

Two other things to note: Don't buy into the trendy practice of shaving the corned beef into damn-near transparent slices. This recent affectation works for Arby's roast beef, but gives the Reuben a completely different taste and texture than the traditional hand-sliced style. Sounds picky, but it really does upset the delicate balance. Also, many recipes will cousel you to drain the sauerkraut. Bad idea. You want to strike the ideal balance between keeping the sauerkraut as moist as possible without making the sandwich too soggy to eat. That's the magic; and you're ability to do this will govern the success and authenticity of your Reuben. Placing the sauerkraut in the middle layer goes a long way to retaining the classic taste. It *IS* a tad bit sloppy and juice *SHOULD* drip out the end. That's the whole idea. It was designed for guys playing poker ... not high tea at Windsor Castle.
posted by RavinDave at 9:19 AM on September 29, 2004

This recipe made the best salmon I've ever had.
posted by ssmith at 11:37 AM on September 29, 2004

Terribly biased slip of me: I should have said "Feed this to friends and members of the opposite or same sex you find attractive." Sorry.
posted by Shane at 12:16 PM on September 29, 2004

My failsafe mushroom recipe. I cannot remember when I last cooked mushrooms any other way. The liquid produced is so delicious I am investigating producing it and bottling it on a commercial scale.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:37 PM on September 29, 2004

I'm intrigued by the lamb chop recipe your refer to, suleikacasilda.

Would you mind fleshing out the recipe a little bit? [sorry, couldn't resist dorky pun]
posted by AwkwardPause at 1:06 PM on September 29, 2004

For Thai Curries
posted by SpaceCadet at 1:47 PM on September 29, 2004

Response by poster: Everyone: wow - many thanks for wit and enthusiasm. The martini sounds like my kind of ratio's; I am ashamed I never shook one up for myself. Interesting that Marcella Hazan has (kind of) turned up three times. I am definitely going to try the lamb; a nice Welsh leg. And I have always wanted to make meatloaf (not an English food). I think the Reuben ingredients are too much to ask for while I am in England., but next time I am over there.....

Shane: thank you. Forgiven. Especially since your post was so funny. How does the soy sauce not make the bread soggy?

AwkwardPause: my partner (who does the cooking) will post the lamb chop recipe.

ssmith: someone really used a cedar plank? It sounds wonderful. Oops - my partner just said " oh yes, the plank - that's wonderful - they do it in the Pacific NorthWest. They learnt it from the Indians, they say".... So this is tried and tested and where can I get cedar planks......?

SpaceCadet: we use this! Isn't it hot! More often, actually, we use the Panang (more garlicky) of the same brand. We get it from one of the two main supermarkets in China Town in London.

Finally, i_am_joe's_spleen: I will try this as a side dish. I once had a fantastic mushroom soup in Poland in 1990 which was idealy salted and nicely garlicked and in which (most importantly I believe) the mushrooms had been perfectly cooked. I know there's an art to this (or rather, a science?) so thank you for this link.
posted by suleikacasilda at 3:00 PM on September 29, 2004

Well, since I happen to be suleikacasilda's SO, and I do the vast majority of the cooking, allow me to post the lamb chop recipe.

This is adapted from my original 1981 edition of Pierre Franey's More New York Times 60-Minute Gourmet (obviously, the second volume in a series). The two 60-Minute Gourmet volumes are, IMO, some of the most useful cookbooks I have ever owned. They may have been republished as a single volume sometime recently.


This recipe works with loin chops or rib chops.

For the chops:

Prep--Line your broiler pan with aluminum foil before placing the chops on the rack. This will save you from a lot of nasty lamb-fat cleanup later.

1. Arrange your broiler, if possible, so that the top of the chops will be 5 inches from the heat. Preheat broiler (to highest heat if there is a choice of settings).

2. Season the chops with salt and fresh ground pepper on both sides.

3. Broil the chops until they are nicely browned, roughly 5 minutes per side. However, much depends on your broiler heat--my broiler in suburban London takes 6:30 per side.

In the meantime, make the sauce.

For the sauce:

For every 4 chops you use....

2 Tbsp salted butter, the fanciest you can afford.

1 tsp garlic, minced small. You can substitute 1 small clove crushed, if you prefer. Do not use pre-packaged minced garlic in this recipe, it will give the sauce an acrid taste.

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Melt the butter in a small pan over medium to medium-high heat. It will foam, then subside. As soon as it subsides, turn down the heat to medium low and add the garlic. Cook for 30 seconds, swirling as you go. Then add the vinegar. Cook another 10 seconds, then add the parsley.

Serve the sauce warm over the chops. Yummmmmm
posted by Tholian at 3:10 PM on September 29, 2004 [1 favorite]

What cuisine are you looking for? There are recipes that use exotic ingredients (relatively speaking) that you may not care to spend time shopping for.

(I'm Indian and I cook Asian food, so your spice tolerance is important.)
posted by madman at 3:22 PM on September 29, 2004

Response by poster: Growing up in England means I am used to spices and Indian cuisine, and I am 5 minutes walk away from great shops for "exotic" ingredients. Go ahead and post, please.
posted by suleikacasilda at 3:46 PM on September 29, 2004

Oh Good Gracious Banana Bread has taught me to look at mushy bananas in a whole new light.
Sucker Granola so named for the suckers who still insist on buying theirs from the store.
There may be a way to improve on this Saffron Risotto recipe, but I do not know it. Goes well with lamb too.
posted by jessamyn at 4:39 PM on September 29, 2004 [1 favorite]

Some good stuff here! Thanks for the veggie recipes, like the granola and 'shrooms. "The salt will make the mushrooms weep and a little steaming will take place." Ooooh, sensual poetry!

How does the soy sauce not make the bread soggy?

Hmm. Maybe something about the heat of the frying pan (I use cast iron) burning it off right away, or maybe also the butter (or soy butter) on the bread making it waterproof. Not really sure. But it works! Just don't use too much soy sauce, or it'll end up too salty. On the other hand, if you like salty, you can scrape the slightly burnt black soy sauce resin off the pan. Mmmmm.

Actually, sprinkling water or some other liquid in a hot covered pan is a generally good way to melt cheese.
posted by Shane at 6:27 PM on September 29, 2004

Well, it ain't much, but here's my red sauce: whole canned tomatoes mushed up in your hands, tomato paste, whole cloves of garlic, whole leaves of basil, salt, pepper, sugar, a little lemon juice (all to taste). Simmer for one hour. Drop undercooked linguine or fetuccine into pan for three to five minutes. Plate, and grate way too much pecorino romano on top. Drool like Homer. Eat with most of a bottle of sagrantino.
posted by nicwolff at 7:27 PM on September 29, 2004

madman - whatever it is that you want to post... DO IT. I'm interested. Thanks!

on preview - or what suleikacasilda said. :)
posted by Witty at 2:17 AM on September 30, 2004

Tholian & Suleikacasilda: Thanks! That sounds as simple as it does delicious. A+++++ Definitely will try.

I mean lamb, garlic and parsley - can't really go wrong, can it now?

[And how sweet you both have MeFi memberships. This one's shared with my SO, but at least i'll get to cook her real MeFi food soon]
posted by AwkwardPause at 4:54 AM on September 30, 2004

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