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The Cooking/Recipe Thread

Black Mage

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Someone in the sandwich thread suggested that we could use a general cooking thread. And I though said idea was, indeed, a good one. Thus arises the plainly, though aptly, named Cooking/Recipe Thread (cue trumpets).

I guess I'll start it off by posting one of the simplest bar cookie recipes in my repertoire, which is also one of my favorites.


1 can sweetened condensed milk

2 cups graham cracker drumbs

1 cup flaked/shredded coconut

1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with *parchment paper.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Pour the batter into the lined baking pan and gently press into an even layer (the batter will be thick and sticky, so I'd suggest spraying your spatula with non-stick spray).

Bake the cookies for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit until cooled. Life the sheet out of the pan and cut into desired sized pieces (I usually get between 36 and 48 bars). Enjoy!

*It is important that you use parchment paper and not wax paper. I made that mistake once. Once the cookies cooled, the paper had glued itself to the cookies. It took my half an hour to peel it all off, and I lost ¼ of the cookies in the process.

The thing I love about these cookies is that there are endless possibilities for customization. The recipe above is just the basic one. Here are a few suggestions.

- Replace the plain graham crackers with chocolate ones, and replace the chocolate chips with Andes Peppermint Baking Chips, or original Andes Baking Chips.

- Try them with chocolate graham crackers and white chocolate chips, or raspberry or cherry or orange baking chips?

- Maybe use toffee bits, or peanut butter chips

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i personally propose having 2 or 3 separate cooking threads. 1 for entrees, 1 for snacks, and 1 for desserts. my $0.02

It's all food to me IMO. If I'm anywhere near internet tomorrow I'd be happy to contribute, plus this thread will give me more ammo on my roommates who don't know how to cook anything that doesn't say "instant" on the box.

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Rather than talk about locking threads, I'll post my own favorite dish. This is mostly just an appetizer, but it can be its own meal (and lunch the next morning) if you want.

It's called a Ham and Cheese bread pot fondue. (The Ham is totally optional--in fact, it's almost better without it. I just got it from a meat company. Hah.)

But it's basically a nice loaf of bread with the innards cut out and some nice cheese mix placed inside. Then it is toasted, and you can dip the innards and the top of the bread into it, until eventually you are tearing up the pot itself.

Ham and Cheese Bread Pot Fondue

1 round, firm loaf of bread (about 8 to 10 inches in diameter, about 1 1/2 pounds)

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

2 (3-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 cups sour cream

2 cups diced ham

1/2 cup chopped green onion

1 (3-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained and chopped

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1.Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.Slice off top of bread; reserve top. Hollow out inside with small paring knife, leaving 1/2-inch shell Cut removed bread into 1-inch cubes (there will be 3 to 4 cups); reserve for toasting.

3.Combine cheddar, cream cheese and sour cream in large bowl; stir in ham, green onion, chiles and Worcestershire. Spoon cheese filling into bread shell; replace top of bread. Tightly wrap loaf with several layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil; set on cookie sheet. Bake for 1 hour, 10 minutes until cheese filling is melted and heated through.

4.Meanwhile, in large bowl toss together bread cubes, oil and melted butter. Arrange on cookie sheet; bake at 350 degrees F., turning occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and reserve to serve with fondue.

5.Remove bread pot from oven; unwrap; transfer to platter. Remove top of bread. Stir filling before serving.

6.Serve with toasted bread cubes and assorted vegetables as dippers for fondue.

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Evilhead's Okonomiyaki

One of my favorite Japanese foods in okonomiyaki. It's especially popular out here in Kansai and down in Hiroshima. It's basically a big cabbage/batter pancake filled with whatever ingredients you want. The standard is squid or pork, but you can use whatever you feel like once you make the basic batter.

The great thing is that it's really easy to make, tastes great, is filling, and is very cheap!

Here's how to make the okonomiyaki base batter:

1 cup of all purpose flour

1 egg

1/2 cup of water

About 1/3 of a head of cabbage

Mix the egg, water, and flour in a large bowl until it's smooth. Then chop the cabbage up into thin slices. And average piece should be about 1/2cm to 1cm thick and about 3cm long, but basically just chop it up. You can add more or less cabbage depending on your tastes, but I like about 1/3 to 1/2 of a head, which is kind of a lot. Mix the cabbage into the batter WELL.

Now you can add whatever incredients you want to customize your 'Japanese pizza.' This is what I usually use:

1/2 onion, diced

2/3 cup of shredded white cheese

1 can of tuna, drained

sliced ham or pork

Mix the onion, cheese, and tuna into the cabbage/batter mix. Mix it WELL. Then add a little cooking oil to a large frying pan over med-low heat, and throw down a few thin slices of ham or pork. Then add ONE HALF of the batter you made to the pan and squash it down with a spatula into a pancake shape. It should be about and inch thick and ten inches or so across. The cabbage batter will be kind of loose at first, so pack it down, squish in the edges, pack it down, squish in the edges, until you get a nice dense circular shape. Then cover the pan and let it cook for 5 minutes or so. When the bottom is browned and the okonomiyaki holds together a bit, throw some slices of ham or pork on top and flip it over. It's a little tricky to flip, so try using two spatulas. Cook the other side for 5 minutes or so, then place it on a plate. If you are making two, repeat the process with the rest of the batter.

Another aspect of customization involves the toppings. Most people put Okonomiyaki sauce on the top. It's easy to find in most supermarkets with an Asian food isle/section, and definitely if there is an Asian market in town, although it's probably the only thing that's not sitting around your house. The sauce looks like this and is very tasty:


Another often used topping is mayonaise. BUT, I'd definitely recommend getting some Japanese mayo while you're at it. It's much better than American mayo in my opinion, and I couldn't imagine not using it on okonomiyaki. You won't regret buying it! It's much smoother and has a great flavor. Japanese people put it on everything, even vegetables. It kind of looks like a big tube of glue:


Often people put bonito flakes and seaweed flakes on top as well, but they are completely optional. I usually sprinkle some chili power on there for a spicy kick.

Your end product should look something like this:


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Here's a simple recipe for what really is my favorite breakfast of all time

Banana-Maple Oat Bran

1/3 cup oat bran

1 cup soy milk

1/3 cup water

1 banana

2 tbsp real maple syrup

pinch of salt

Add the oat bran, soy milk and water to a small pan, over medium heat. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally.

While oat bran heats, cut the banana into slices, then use a fork to coarsely mash it. I like a coarse mash because that gives a good mix of smooth banana mash along with a good amount of chunks. (Just a personal note, I like to reserve three slices of banana, cut on the bias, for garnish).

By the time you're done with the banana, the oat bran should be about done. If it evenly and smoothly coats your spatula, you're good to go. Now just add in the banana mash, maple syrup and salt. Give 'er a stir, transfer to a bowl. Give an extra drizzle of syrup on top, and enjoy!

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