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Dinner: A Tasty Experience in Experiments


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Last things first, fully plated: Prime rib with creamy horseradish, turnip roots, and eggplant w/ shrimp & bacon.

 

 

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Eggplant is Mom’s favorite veggie.  So we collaborated to try something slightly different.  Here’s the eggplant, sautéed with onions, tomatoes, bacon and seasoning ( more on that later).

 

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Here it is after the shrimp were added and cooked.

 

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Diced turnips, done with EVOO, butter, salt, parsley.  They were cooked in the microwave, one of the better ways to handle starchy or watery veggies.

 

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The rib roast, resting.

 

NOTES: 

1) this was my second try with the reverse sear method, and I liked the results.  I’m a convert.  However I made one mistake- I skipped the step where you take the meat out of the oven while it heats up to full power for the sear.  This is actually the KEY to the results you want from this method, namely, maximizing your medium-rare while minimizing the well done border.

 

2) I used the essentially the same seasoning mix on the eggplant as on the rib roast because I had a bunch left over.  The mix was salt, black pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, rosemary and thyme.  Parsley & chives were added to the eggplant as well.  The eggplant was diced but not peeled.  Shrimp were added next to last: submerged in the pot’s liquid & contents, and the pot turned off to poach them perfectly.  The last step was adding a sleeve of crumbled Ritz crackers to add a buttery, salty punch AND bind & thicken the remaining liquids in the pot into something like a purée.

 

The result was surprising: the flavor was almost like an okra gumbo, despite having few ingredients in common.  If I had added chicken stock to the pot, I could have passed it off as one.  I’m not the biggest fan of eggplant- it’s THE defining line between veggies I like and those I don’t- but I’ll be making this again.

 

3) the diced turnip roots were done in the microwave with EVOO, butter, salt, pepper and parsley because the results we get that way are generally superior to other methods we’ve used in the past.  The microwave essentially steams the roots quickly from the inside out, all while dehydrating them a bit.  This results in tender, slightly sweet turnips.

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Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: âNinety percent of everything is crapâ

 

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

 

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On 4/22/2022 at 12:36 AM, Dannyalcatraz said:

 

 

The result was surprising: the flavor was almost like an okra gumbo, despite having few ingredients in common.  If I had added chicken stock to the pot, I could have passed it off as one.  I’m not the biggest fan of eggplant- it’s THE defining line between veggies I like and those I don’t- but I’ll be making this again.

 

 

Do you think the inherently slimy texture of the eggplant took the place of okra and contributed to the gumbo-like impression?

BTW, I'm with you on eggplant. I don't think I have ever had an eggplant dish that couldn't have been improved by leaving out the eggplant. It's one of the few common foods I just don't like. Odd, since I do like okra...

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

-Mark Twain

 

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15 hours ago, Dave Bryce said:

I

 :yeahthat:

 

I love the "shrimp bath" idea.

 

dB

That’s one of my standard ways of handling shrimp.  Almost every dish I make that has shrimp and a significant amount of liquid, that’s the technique that virtually ensures they’re perfectly cooked.

 

It comes from making gumbo- a recipe I intend to post later.  Adding the seafood (if any) is basically the last step, and the shrimp are the last of the seafood to go in.  Plop them into a boiling or simmering pot, cover it and turn off the heat.  10 or so minutes later (depending on the size of your shrimp), and they’re ready.

 

FWIW, it’s a technique that can also work with eggs.  If you’re making a shakshouka and certain soups I can think of, the raw egg is broken into the hot liquids of the pot or even tableside to poach in the hot liquids.

Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: âNinety percent of everything is crapâ

 

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

 

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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9 hours ago, Threadslayer said:

Do you think the inherently slimy texture of the eggplant took the place of okra and contributed to the gumbo-like impression?

BTW, I'm with you on eggplant. I don't think I have ever had an eggplant dish that couldn't have been improved by leaving out the eggplant. It's one of the few common foods I just don't like. Odd, since I do like okra...

In this case, no.  It really was the flavor, and I’m still puzzling out WHY.  There’s no paprika or rosemary in my gumbos, and there wasn’t any bay leaf in this stuff.  And yet, the results were self evident.  I was the first to say it, but everyone in the family echoed my sentiments.

 

That said, there’s probably a bit of truth in your guess about the TEXTURE.

 

There’s an actual slime that okra produces when cooked, and that slime is how it thickens stuff up.
 

Eggplant isn’t really slimy so much as waterlogged.  So as it cooks, the water leaves the eggplant as its flesh kind of breaks down.  The resultant mush can act like a thickening slurry.  That’s why a LOT of eggplant dishes start with drying it out some, or dicing it so small/slicing it so thinly that it dries out quickly while cooking.

 

Still, the amount of thickening that happens is minimized by the sheer amount of water in eggplant.  This dish- which I will DEFINITELY be making again- was pretty soupy until I added the sleeve of crushed Ritz crackers.

Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: âNinety percent of everything is crapâ

 

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

 

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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