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Food and Drink Essential to sustain life; near the top of the hierarchy of needs

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Old 07-13-2015, 11:20 AM   #496
glatt
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Arlington, VA
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I posted this over on FB because my phone makes that super easy. But I wanted to share it with my good friends here in the Cellar too.

The kids were off last week at my parents' house in Maine, and my wife and I grabbed some Thai takeout one of those evenings. For an appetizer, we always get these fresh Thai spring rolls that come with a sweet hot pepper dipping sauce, and they are absolutely delicious. As I was eating mine, I focused on the stuff inside. There was nothing terribly exotic in there. Lettuce, cilantro, cucumbers, carrots, bean sprouts, and shrimp. I commented that I bet we could make these ourselves pretty easily, and that if we had a bunch of them, it would make a nice meal instead of just our usual appetizer.

So on Sunday, we drove a mile up the road to the Eden Center. This is a shopping area that is famous in the Asian community on the East Coast. Any Asian stuff you want can be had there. Mostly Vietnamese, but really any country. Going into the large supermarket there is very much like going to a different country. Alphabets I don't recognize, most of the produce I don't recognize, meats I don't recognize. We were able to pick up all the ingredients, including the rice paper wrappers, which are the key ingredient. The sauce is also key, but we had a bottle at home already to go with the lettuce wraps we sometimes make. So if you want to make this, get the rice paper that has Tapioca as a main ingredient. It works well, and is apparently the best kind of rice paper for these. And get some hot pepper sweet sauce.

We shredded the lettuce, and julienned the carrots and cucumbers. I cleaned and steamed the shrimp and sliced them in half lengthwise.

Then I found this video, which starting at the 3:40 mark shows how to put all the ingredients in the rice paper and roll it up.


You just put a neat pile of lettuce down on the wet rice paper. Then a few sprigs of cilantro on top of that, a small spear of cucumber, a bit of carrot, and some bean sprouts. Then carefully lay the shrimp halves down next to that pile, with the pink side facing down, so it will show in the final product. By now, the hard crispy rice paper you dunked into the warm bowl of water will have become soft and sticky, and stretchy. You peel up the edge and start wrapping it all up. The rice paper sticks to itself and rolls up beautifully. You can tuck the sides in, or not. We tucked them in, but the restaurant we go to leaves them open.

We made 22 of them for 4 of us to share, and were not able to finish them. We had bought a pound of shrimp, and were running out of rice paper and other ingredients, so I started really loading the shrimp on at the end.

Pour a little of the sauce into tiny bowls and put crumbled peanuts on top of the sauce.

They were super yummy, and I gorged myself.
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Old 07-13-2015, 03:19 PM   #497
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Nice work!
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Old 07-15-2015, 04:47 PM   #498
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That is my favorite favorite favorite Asian meal (though I prefer a meat other than shrimp). When traveling for work, I'll get two orders of them as a meal, since it fills you up without weighing you down, which is unusual for restaurant food.
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Old 07-27-2015, 11:11 PM   #499
BigV
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After a recent conversation with classicman, I produced a batch of limoncello. It's fucking delicious. I loved it so much, I've made a second batch, and true to my standard MO, it's a double batch. Here's the recipe.

10 pounds of lemons
1.75 liter bottle of 195 proof Everclear
simple syrup to taste
water

******

I zested the lemons using a microplane. I put the file shaped microplane in a large steel bowl and carefully scraped the zest only, no pith (white material between yellow skin and juicy flesh of lemon) into the bowl. I love this microplane, it is absolutely sharp as fuck and will zest your fingerprints and knuckles with effortless ease. USE EXTREME CARE when dragging the fruit along the blade surface. We're not dealing with blood oranges here. After zesting all the lemons, it produced about 400 gm of zest. Reserve the now pale matte finish lemons for later juicing. I divided the zest into two equal portions and spooned each portion into a one liter wide mouth nalgene water bottle. I then topped off each bottle with the Everclear. It made two full nalgene bottles, meaning 875 mls of booze and 225 ish mls (by volume) of zest. Cap them tightly, put them on the shelf and walk away for a couple weeks. Actually, I shake the bottles when I think about them as I walk by in the kitchen, but really, you're just trying lemonize the booze.

I then halved all the lemons and juiced them using my electric juicer. What a labor-saver. My first batch I just squeezed the juice by hand, no more. This batch produced about 1.75 liters of well sieved juice, which is stored in the refrigerator for later combination with the lemonized booze. I strained the juice six or seven times. My first batch I tried running it through a coffee filter--bad idea, do not attempt. Just the fine mesh sieve is ok, scraping with the spoon as it drips into the funnel and into the bottle.

Now it is waiting time.

When it comes together, I'll prepare a liter or two or more of simple syrup. That's easy, take a saucepan, boil some water and stir in spoonsful of sugar until no more sugar can be dissolved. Let it cool, store in a capped bottle in the refrigerator. After a couple weeks, if my patience holds out that long, I'll strain the zest out of the booze. The booze will be water clear and bright yellow, like ... well like a clear bright yellow liquid that is appetizing. I'll add the lemon juice to it and it won't be clear anymore, but it will still be quite yellow, like the yolk of a hard boiled egg.

Now is the taste testing phase. It's only got 195 proof booze cut with almost half a gallon of straight lemon juice. That will pickle your pucker for sure. I'll add sugar until the tartness is drinkable, albeit STRONG LEMON. Not to mention still quite high proof. Add water until the strength is acceptable. I like to keep mine very strong because I like to have it on the rocks. The melting ice naturally dilutes the whole drink, so starting strong is good.

I expect I'll wind up with 4 to 5 liters of product.

Here are some pictures of the first batch. The second batch was all business, no camera time, sorry.

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Only two three pound bags of lemons this batch. And a very fine grater by microplane.


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Close up of the fineness of the zest.


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How much zest six pounds of lemons produces.


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What the shorn lemons look like. They remind me of newly-shorn sheep.
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Old 07-27-2015, 11:13 PM   #500
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the lemons and their zest.


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the pickling (only 151 proof this time)
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Remember:

Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. -- Marcus Aurelius, philosopher and writer (121-180)
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Old 11-05-2015, 04:16 PM   #501
Dude111
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Mostaccioli

This is about the yummiest thing I have ever had... (My mom started making this in the 80s (Recipe adjusted so it tastes the same as it did then))


Ingredients:


1/2 chopped green pepper (1/2 of a pepper chopped up)
1/2 chopped onion (1/2 of an onion chopped up)
1/2 lb ground beef
1 lb can tomatoes
6 oz can tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 lb mostaccioli noodles
3 or 4 packets of VELVETTA CHEESE from Shells and cheese original dinner ()
bay leaf
1 Jar of Speghetti Sauce (The "Flavored with Meat" Kind) (32oz Jar) from aldis



Prep:

In oil,saute onion & pepper until tender. Add meat & cook until brown. Stir in tomatoes,tomato paste,water,salt,pepper,bay leaf. Add Speghetti Sauce, Simmer.

Cook Mostaccioli noodles as directed. Pour velvetta packets in.. (In a 2qt casserolo,arrange alternate layers of noodles,sauce and cheese.)

Bake @ 350 for 30 mins



The Result:

The Best tasting dish you'll ever have!!!!!!!!!

I hope many will enjoy this as much as I do...............

Last edited by Dude111; 11-05-2015 at 04:49 PM.
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