The food thread

That's not paella.

I know what paneer means. We buy it up the street. It's not like we're all country bumpkins, you know. ;-)

I find it funny that many "maintream haole" chain supermarkets still have the "mexican" and "asian" aisles. I joke that when I go to a Middle Eastern, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Indian, Guatemalan, Mexican, German, etc... supermarket they don't have a "haole's food" aisle... they just have the stuff in there.

It's even funnier when we travel outside of Southern California and realize how limited their food supply is. No wonder people pay $10 on Amazon for furikake... Once, in WA state, I had to pay through the nose for "bomba rice" to make paella. I guess sometimes Amazon is a very good thing to have, even if it is expensive.

We even have a charcuterie in Long Beach where they make their own Spanish - Catalan, Castilian, Basque, Navarran...- sausages and hams. My sister will order them ( you got it... UPS took 10 days to deliver the overnight sausages.... yikes! ) whereas we just drive up, but the embutidos, cheeses, mariscos, etc.. and order a paella, a couple of Damn's Estrella Doradas and a bottle of Vichy water for lunch. And an espresso afterwards. If we were in the Mother Country we'd also have a cigarette and a cognac with it... Oh well, we can't win them all.

Oh, try the fidueada... it's easy to make... the unknown -outside of the Spanish Levant- cousin of the paella. Both are very easy to make at home.

I think I'll make Arroz Valenciano for dinner tonite... sort of a paella.. you see.... "paella" is really a class of cooking.

A Salud Amigos.

BTW, when I cook nowadays, I find myself playing the Tidal-Android-Burson-PV9-F4-Audio Notes.... it's the simpler system and I don't have to move the Maggies around, and mess with the record every 15 minutes. It sounds great from two rooms down. My mistake when laying out the house eons ago, was allowing for dual paths for the music to come from the living room past the dining room, den to the kitchen (*) but it also fills the house with wonderful music as I'm chopping tomatoes or stirring over the range.

(*) It was a mistake because the kids soon discovered they could use it as a racetrack. I put chairs as a barrier but they took it as a steeplechase. Kids.... Love them, they drive you nuts. I sort of miss them when they were kids... they're grown ups now. It's also a mistake because when my wife fires up the big TV in the den, I can hear it clearly in the living room. Thank God for the Roku's built in wireless headphones.
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The spring beckons bringing with it the observed culinary and culinary-religious traditions --

I think I have related this before, but as the thread is waist deep in conversational detritus will recall.

When my sons were in high school, wifey told the assembled group at breakfast that she was going to participate in "swienconka", aka "the blessing of the baskets" at our church. She is not of the Slavic descent like me (she 50% Napolitano, me 50% Polish) so was unaccustomed to the details.

She told the high school-aged boys "I am going to church to have dad's kielbasa blessed"

Riotous laughing ensued, and #1 son's waffles almost came out of his nose!
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Costco ground beef is low fat ground sirloin... very good quality. I crumble it into 3/4 inch chunks and brown it with the onions and the chili powders. The chunks then hold their shape through the cooking.

Sometimes, very, VERY seldom, I might put some pork or sausage.... but mostly I am very orthodox on this.

Chili Con Carne -which is what we in the US call "chili"... is all about the taste of the chiles... Anaheim, ancho (poblano), New Mexico.. a bit of smoke with the chipotles... and of course good cumin, garlic, salt and pepper.

I will add tomatoes, beans and often canned corn ( because I like it and it holds up for a three hour cook (*).. I also like a good beer in it.

Then serve it with a bunch of good cheese ( mexican soft cheeses are best ), sour cream, corn tortillas/bread and a cold medium body beer. You'll feel like a cowboy on the range. Awesome for a hot day out in the porch or inside on a cold/rainy SoCal evening... it's actually very good with a salad and some sliced Santa Maria style BBQ tri tip!

Oh, I forgot, yesterday my daughter threw in about a quarter of a handful of semi sweet baking chocolate.. that really adds a nice touch to the basic taste and combines very well with the chiles and the spicyness. On occasion I have used just a little bit of good strong coffee, drip.

The bottom line is that you want the chilis to be the star of the show. So, it calls for a rather bland but tender meat in it -when you serve it. If you are gonna cook it over five hours, then you can -must- use tougher cuts of beef but I've found that high quality -USDA Choice or Prime- just fall appart if cooked over three hours simmering. (**). My life is too short for cheaper quality meats.... we'll eat less but we'll not cut on the quality!

No mice, no rodents, no mutton, no pork, no GOAT, nothing with wings, no sausage, no tofu, no soylent green, no peas, no other legumes.. no... NO! That's no longer chili con carne...

After all, "carne" means "meat"... meaning "beef"... Don't expect "chili de rata" or "chili de cabra" to have too many takers in the USA.

I admit I've used garbanzo beans in something like chili, but then instead of chiles I use Spanish smoked paprika and some good chorizos de cantinpalo (semi hard, skinny, long, but into one inch bite sized ). At that point the cooking is the same but it is NOT a chili, it become a Spanish Cazuela.

IMHO, making chili with weird stuff would be like trying to play polycarbonate discs on your turntable: just because they are round they are not the same!

(*) Sounds like Gilligan's Island...
(**) I need to try beef shank one of these days... those would work good with chili... normally I make them osso bucco style.
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Speaking of mystery meat! There‘s a new Aldi grocery that just opened in the big city closest to us, as we’re filling the cart full of marginal quality (nearly expired) crap we don’t really need I see “ground wagyu beef” in one pound blocks for $5.99 !? Now having just walked through quite a few aisles of deceptive packaging (if you’ve never been to Aldi it seems as though they pride themselves on making a product label and packaging look very verrry close to name brand items……but not) I was quite skeptical that it really was anything to do with wagyu! Took the leap and bought 2 lbs for burgers on the grill……on first inspection in the store it had that pink hue of wagyu, but then on the way home I remembered the whole “pink slime” meat fiasco of not too long ago and thought wow what a way to disguise a comeback! Upon settling back home Googling resulted in your usual purist negativity, and conspiracy theories, but several people that actually tried it were in the good value camp.

Soooo…… take is it’s probably some really tough cuts of meat with some wagyu fat mixed in, im saying tough cuts because even after being ground the “meat” is still a little tough……its good, maybe a little more flavorful than your regular grocery burger, but i’m thinking the mystery more off putting than the value/quality.

Anyone else ever try this stuff?

edit……think I found what they are trying to emulate (see second pic)


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Just read this whole page, lots of brilliant anecdotal stuff - the positive side of the i/net.

tonyEE - the modern day Spanish like to claim a lot that actually belongs to the great Arab/North African civilization that was Al-Andaluz. Paella like so many dishes had it's real origins in North Africa. The Catalans will tell you they created it, they did'nt. As you travel north from Andaluz through Murcia into Valencia and beyond you can see reference to the various tribes that settled after the Arab conquest. The rice used is very specific as are the natural colourings and spices. Chorizo is an essential and for me a paella is nothing without chorizo fuerte. Being a proud heretic and fusion cook I always add my favourite Antilles chilli but only after cooking. My wife has no sympathy when my lips turn numb - chilli is very masochistic.

I had the good fortune to visit Spain in 68 before they sold out their various racial cultures for tourist dinero. Pan/Bread completely different depending on what province you were in. In Madrid you could use a barra as a deadly weapon as the crust was so hard, impossible to eat if you had bad teeth. If you had to use a public toilet there was a man who handed you 3 pieces of toilet paper, if you needed more - tough. Order a Cuba Libre in a bar and you got 3/4 of a tall tumbler of white rum and a very small shot of Coca Cola because the Coca Cola cost far more than a bottle of white rum, two of those and you were rat arsed. If you stayed in a pension and got back late you had to clap to get an old man, who was probably in a bar to come with the keys/llaves to let you in. One very cold early Spring night my friend and I were lucky, we clapped and our old man appeared almost immediately. Later we heard some people clapping and clapping, we heard American voices - they kept clapping - and clapping - it was very cold. They saw us looking out of the window - they shouted "do you speak English" - yes we replied - " how the ~uck do you get in" - we replied "keep clapping or visit all the local bars". Eventually after visiting all the local bars they found their particular old man who was rat arsed and couldn't find the right key to their pension - so it goes.

You had to be very careful who you spoke to and what you said as you might find that you were speaking to a Falangista. Prison in Fascist Spain was OK if you had family and friends to feed you, if not you went very hungry. Working as extras on Patten, Lust for Glory - pure American propaganda we encountered the Spanish army.The enlisted men were great and crazy, especially when they were inside German Panzer Mk 3 tanks - you know when a skier wants to come to an abrupt stop they turn and send a shower of snow in your direction, with a tank it's shower of big gravel.

Empanada is classically Galician, we've tried it in other parts of Spain, just not the same. It's a pie and the best is made with tuna. You can eat it hot or cold and cold actually tastes better.

Merluza a la plancha - a steak of hake served with a sweated down big red pepper and excellent Galician potatoes. This after two or three big bowls of Caldo Gallego - I've just looked up the recipes on line and I don't recognise any of them. I learnt from Manolita the abuela of the extended family that lived downstairs, she was recognised as an authentic northern Galician cook. You need the soft water of Galicia, the only part of Spain that has soft water, special grelos, white beans, a ham bone, made with the Galician potatoes etc. Very different in the south, didn't like it at all. Gazpacho, typically Arab - a wonderful cold summer soup made with very small cubes of different veg, lots of garlic and white not black pepper. Over the western border of Granada province were the Aryan invaders who made a 'Gazpacho Manchego', completely different ingredients and very fattening but nice in winter.

The Spanish as a whole may have more money now but they have lost a lot of what made them Spanish, same goes for a lot of European countries. The ordinary people were really poor but they had real identities and unique customs, I don't think the money begins to make up for this.
I will admit the pinto beans came out of a can
Sacre Bleu!
Most is buffalo, and usually from old
Excellent meat for chili
For chili I am partial to cutting up beef
Yes to slicing your own. Competition chili does not allow for ground meat, and although I like beans in mine, they are forbidden. Judges won't even look at it.
semi sweet baking chocolate..
Great addition. So is peanut butter. So is coffee.
No mice, no rodents, no mutton, no pork, no GOAT, nothing with wings, no sausage, no tofu, no soylent green, no peas, no other legumes.. no... NO!
Rookie. You were brought up on city boy chili. Rattlesnake, bear, badger and ostrich are all good starting points for a chili. There's a dozen more I could name.
IMHO, making chili with weird stuff... how chili was invented. You think they had ground beef, bell pepper and fancy canned beans out on the range when and where chili was spawned?
I need to try beef shank one of these days...
Great meat also. The beefier tasting, the better.
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Scroll down?
Too spicy? Use less as per your tastes.

The pictures tell the sequence, making it easy for unfamiliar cooks.
And if you want, don't mash the meat.

Like I said in an earlier post, it is very popular in the month of Ramzan (or Ramadhan).
Traditionally, beef or mutton are used, chicken is the 'lite' and healthy version.