Cooking thread

Background Pony #F0F0
English style oat porridge, for Americans:

Oats sold in the US are almost always "quick oats," which have been processed by flattening the grains between steel rollers to increase their surface area and thereby reduce the cooking time. Oat porridge made this way is wholesome and loses no nutritional value, but has a coarse texture. English style oat porridge is different.

You will need to obtain the "quick oats" and put them in a blender or food processor, and grind them until they have the consistency of coarse flour. This usually does not take long at all.

Once this has been done, cooking is simple and fast but does require more vigilance and effort than with "quick oats."

For each serving, measure out one half cup by volume (this is approximately 120ml) of oats and one cup (approximately 240ml) of water. Add the oats to the water in a small saucepan and mix completely with a wire whisk. Some people add just a pinch of salt. Heat on high until the mixture comes to a boil. You must stir the mixture continuously, vigorously, with the wire whisk until it boils. Otherwise the texture will be lumpy and it may scorch on the bottom. As soon as it begins to boil, it is fully cooked and ready to serve.

Oat porridge prepared this way has a much smoother texture than "quick oats" that some find pleasing.

Traditionally this sort of oat porridge would be served for breakfast, with a bit of milk and treacle (molasses) or brown sugar.
Background Pony #F0F0
I just put a rack of ribs in the oven. It is coated with salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and other spices, and it's going to cook slow—275 F. (135 C.) for four hours. They come out so tender this way.

It works well for beef chuck and round roasts too—IF you get one that's well marbled.
Background Pony #70FD
What's the most common traditional way to make mac & cheese from scratch? Is it a Sauce Mornay—a creamy Bechamel sauce with shredded or grated cheese stirred into it while it is hot? Is it adding cream cheese and shredded mild cheddar cheese to cooked pasta, then putting a breadcrumb topping on it and baking it? Do you just melt Velveeta in a double boiler and stir it into the cooked pasta? Something else?

I personally favor the first, but growing up, my mom only made mac & cheese from the mix that comes in a box.
Background Pony #70FD
For me, the pasta can come in a box, and the cheeses can come from the supermarket, but you must make the sauce from individual ingredients rather than opening a jar of Cheez Wiz and applying it to the hot pasta. Velveeta is pushing things. Not that I object to its existence, nor do I think it's a bad product. I just think it doesn't count as making a pasta sauce from scratch, when all you're doing with it is melting it and pouring it on.
Background Pony #70FD
…I mean, I can bake a pie from scratch with a butter crust without milking the cow and churning the butter, but pre-made frozen crusts are Right Out.
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@Background Pony #70FD
@Background Pony #70FD
The main problem with making your own macaroni and cheese at home is that the two "typical cheeses" you might find in the average US refrigerator (Cheddar and Mozzarella) are decent at melting but not at staying liquid. My attempts at making it myself have led me to conclude that:

1. "American" cheeses are the best at melting and producing a "good" texture but are so flavorless as to be completely unhelpful in making a macaroni and cheese that I'd actually eat
2. Mild cheddar cheese on its own has a decent flavor but when melted and placed in a pot produces unpleasant, stringy gobs that are hard to swallow (reminds me of sticky white stuff)
3. Velveeta seems to be an excellent balance because it has both enough flavor to not make a dish unappetizing and the right kind of meltable texture to keep the cheese from breaking when it melts

I hope that can guide you in the direction you want to go with it. I might try mixing Kraft and shredded cheddar in various quantities next to see if I can get most of the melting characteristics I want without sacrificing the flavor, but Kenji probably has me beat on that one [1] [2]

also note that I can generally tolerate that "stringy" texture in baked macaroni and cheese
Background Pony #70FD
Well, the thing about Velveeta is that it was created, to the best of my knowledge, to be cheese sauce in pre-made solid form. It was invented back in 1918 or thereabouts as a convenience food, a pre-made food service thing to be sold to restaurants. The recipe has changed somewhat over the years but generally it's mostly cream cheese by weight, with cheddar and Swiss cheeses rounding it out. It was created from the outset to melt easily and evenly in a double boiler or similar instrument to be served as a hot cheese sauce. All you have to do is melt it in the microwave, or in a double boiler, and it's ready to use.

Not that this is the only thing you can do with it. People have been making Velveeta grilled cheese sandwiches, Velveeta nachos, Velveeta omelets, Velveeta and cheeseburgers for a very long time now and there's nothing wrong with any of that. But when I see it on the shelf I think immediately of elbow macaroni.

Me, I prefer to make a Sauce Mornay. I use olive oil or butter and flour to make a hot roux and add milk, salt, pepper, and a little garlic powder, stirring vigorously and boiling the mixture down to thicken it. At this is a basic Bechamel sauce, or "cream gravy" in some cookbooks. Then to the sauce I add grated parmesan cheese and stir it in, which makes it into alfredo sauce. After the parmesan cheese is stirred in and brought back to a boil, I stir in shredded sharp cheddar cheese and turn off the heat, stirring until it's melted and evenly incorporated—a second cheese converts alfredo sauce to Sauce Mornay. This is what I mix in with the cooked elbow macaroni to make mac & cheese. For a lighter colored sauce with a more delicate flavor, Gruyere cheese can be substituted for the cheddar.
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A hot breakfast I like to make when I have time:

Boil a quart of salted water with a cup of milk. Stir in a cup of coarse cornmeal and simmer for about 15 minutes. Season and add some shredded cheese (colby or cheddar is good). You now have polenta AKA grits.

Heat your choice of salsa in a skillet. Drop in eggs and simmer until cooked. Serve the eggs and salsa atop the polenta.
Background Pony #A3D0
helped my mom make/test a bunch of appetizer/snack stuff for a 'Girls Night'

3 out 5 successes.
(one burnt into inedible, one that was disappointingly bland)

two were stuffed crescent rolls, one with roast beef, the other pepperoni.

the BIG hit though was the twice baked potato 'bites'
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I've been thinking of Japanese Bento combined with English breakfast meals, which include a fried egg, baked beans, slices of bacon, hot sauce, chicken nuggets, and an additional rice to preserve the Bento look. The rice is intended to be eaten with the egg — while the bacon and nuggets are side dishes
Background Pony #4F15
Mac & Cheese culinary experiment results:

Tried cooking a pound of whole wheat elbow macaroni and adding to it an 8 ounce block of softened Neufchatel cheese and 8 ounces of shredded sharp cheddar cheese. I was able to get it all mixed evenly, with some effort, and the residual heat of the cooked macaroni melted all the cheese, but the end result was a bit dry and chewy. Also, to my palate, it seemed to need some salt. Cream cheese instead of neufchatel next time, maybe?
Background Pony #4708
Even though this is called a "cooking thread," no one thus far has actually cooked any thread.

Background Pony #4708
@Background Pony #4F15
Cook whole wheat pasta 2-3 times as long as the package directions suggest to give it a texture more like ordinary pasta. If you only cook it 8-10 minutes it will be very chewy.

Also, for one pound of pasta (before cooking) try a total of two pounds of cheese—half cream or neufchatel cheese, half whatever shredded or grated cheeses you like, for mac & cheese or close analogs. Using a two pound block of Velveeta ™ or its store brand generic equivalent can also work well, and is simpler, if simplicity and ease of preparation are your aim.
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Good old' German cuisine. Wiener Schnitzel (Viennese cutlet) with French fries, broccoli and Hollandaise sauce. Simple, quickly prepared food, delicious. Just nothing for people on a diet, vegans or anyone who is lactose intolerant. ;-)

If you prefer something hearty, but healthier and better suited for cold autumn days, I recommend a lentil stew with potatoes, carrots, leek and the meat of a thick rib either from pork or beef. In Germany, the use of lamb meat in this context is rather rare. Instead of lentils you can of course also like to use peas. ;-D
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