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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:10 pm 
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YEAH!!!

Frozen spinach is an ABOMINATION!! :stamp

Fresh stuff just needs to be steamed briefy to "wilt" it.. otherwise it soon turns into green slime :doh

For Lasagne....
I wilt spinach and put a layer on top of a cottage cheese layer. The dark green on white looks "dead posh" and tastes good too :cool

Can also buy "Baby spinach" to eat raw as salad greens.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:31 pm 
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I prefer ricotta or skim milk ricotta to cottage cheese in my lasagne. :)

(You probably should move these posts.) :lol

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:34 pm 
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I don't cook much. Do you have to steam or wilt the spinach? What would happen if you added it raw?

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:38 pm 
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(I am moving this chunk of chat to food dept.)

No I don't have a steamer. I use a stainless steel colander on top of saucepan with saucepan lid over stuff in collander.

Often cook green veg that way.. over top of potatoes boiling.

I did THINK of getting bamboo steamer stack as used in Chinese cooking... never have.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:55 pm 
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You didn't answer my question about spinach. :TF I wanted to know if you HAD to wilt/steam it before putting it in lasagne OR could you just add it to the lasagne raw and then bake it. :stamp

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2015 10:04 pm 
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Sorry Mal.... I was busy carrying out your OTHER order to move posts to FOOD FORUM :95

The answer is you can do what you like :cool

I like to COOK everything before assembling the Lasagna layers.. still goes in oven (or microwave) to warm through. Oven better IMO to melt and brown cheese on top.
IF you dont cook veg like mushrooms and spinach, then hard to know how much water is released.. who wants a sloppy Lasagna? :cool

I have tried using Fresh pasta sheets.. that cook in the oven and absorb liquid.. again hard to judge how much liquid will get absorbed by pasta.

I use Dried pasta.. largest so called "lasagna"... little squares with crinkly edges. I cook them, but do UNDERCOOK them so they absorb some of the liquid from sauce etc.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2015 10:17 pm 
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Sorry! :Gslap

Thanks :86. That makes sense. I've only made cheese lasagna. I do undercook the lasagna pieces before baking.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2015 11:04 pm 
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Rumpole wrote:
I agree dip sounds nice... but... " spinach must be defrosted...." You Yanks do know about fresh stuff? Raw. Cook it yourself? :roll

I do have some spinach (in stock as it were)... gonna make my own recipe vegetarian Lasagna at some stage.

(BTW if FOOD chat carries on.. we do have a sub forum and threads for food chat.....)



Lol Rumpole I'm a huge fan of fresh but this recipe is actually better with frozen chopped spinach. Fresh has too much moisture content and can't be squeezed as easily.

I use coffee filters to literally squeeze it dry after defrosting. Coffee filters, cheesecloth and parchment paper are my best kept 'old school' pro kitchen tips.

After rinsing turkey for stuffing line cavities with cheesecloth leaving extra while stuffing, once filled to desired amount trim excess cheesecloth & close in usual manner, when bird is done & rested use a fork & tongs to pull cheesecloth out & poof like magic major time saver & no leaving bacteria thriving stuffing in the bird through a long dinner :84

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2015 11:09 pm 
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Yes... I can see frozen might be efficacious to chop up for a dip!

Who knew?

There is actually a good use for frozen spinach :)

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2015 11:25 pm 
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:Gslap I do baked ziti (penne) & stuffed shells but refuse to make lasagne since first attempt :TF

Tried to follow recipe hubby wrote down from his mom who use recipe for Italian....too much ricotta & I threw it away :doh hubby asked why I didn't pick the little meatballs out :TF :lol

Thinking some stuffed shells w FRESH (no cook or wilt ...just rinse & rip) spinach, shredded procuito & a tough of nutmeg might be nice this week thanks for idea.

Have a feeling daughter is gonna want BBQ pulled pork which is easy in crock pot & might work with immersion tool. We use pork sirloin or butt whichever is better buy (sometimes do both, cover with water & cook on high till tender. Use two meat forks & yak this way that way & add jack Daniels BBQ sauce, a bit of worcheshire, French dressing (Catalina) dry mustard & fresh garlic. Cook w lid off & pull more if needed and add rest of BBQ sauce just before serving on fresh rolls with greens and salad.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 12:37 am 
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Lasagna not hard.. else I wouldn't do it.

The layers are
Pasta
Straight cottage cheese (or Ricotta) (No egg or stuff mixed in)
Spinach sometimes
Grated cheddar cheese
Sauce

The sauce used to be Bolognaise type with meat in, but I prefer with no meat.. plenty of mushrooms. Simple tomato sauce.. sauteed onions, garlic, (celery perhaps), green capsicum, mushrooms, (copped black olives sometimes), herbs, tomato paste, can tomatoes

Layer at least twice, with some gated cheese on top. Bake with lid on.. an hour? more? play it by ear....maybe take lid off last 10 mins to brown a little. Can even be just warmed in microwave.

The liquid content means it is not always firm and dry and easy to serve a "slice". But it is a disaster if too dry, so I put up with it a bit "sloppy"

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2015 6:19 pm 
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Onions... Pickles

Cooking for two means I don't need large onions for most things I cook, and so I buy and stock "pickling onions". They are regular white "long keeper" onions.. only small(ish)...sold in bags.

They are actually mostly BIGGER than I would use to make pickled onions. On the rare occasions that I make pickled onions I have to hunt down bags that do have a few genuinely small "Pickling" sized.

Recently by chance I did happen to buy a bag that had enough small ones to make a batch of pickled onions.. small batch, but a large jar or more is worth all the hoopdfaddle involved.

I bottled this batch today.. I see recipes say they wont be ready to eat for a month?

Nah... a few days or a week later they are at their best... over time they lose crispness.

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If I do say so myself.. pickles are something I do well. It is of course cheaper to make your own, but the main thing that drives me to make pickles is that brands readily available in stores are all CRAP!! In the case of onions wrong balance of sugar and spices.. and almost always soft and soggy!! (there are few exceptions)

I also make pickled red cabbage.. which there is NOTHING even close to in stores.

Store-bought gherkins are one type of pickle that is quite OK, but I used to make them too because I grew cucumbers in the garden... let a few grow full sized to use in salads.. but plenty picked small and pickled.

I have made piccalilli... mine is great.. but it its not practical to make a small batch, so I buy "Heinz" brand. All other brands are CRAP!! ( exception "HP Epicure piccalilli" but not seen that in 25 years, I suspect taken over by heinz) There was a time when Heinz was imported item here.. and not always available, so back in those days I made picallilli.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 2:13 am 
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I've been dying to make pickles. Garlic dill are my favorite. I'm getting ready to move but when I settle I will reach out for some tips! I've never tried pickled onions...they sound great!


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 2:58 am 
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My recipe from my mum is very simple. I dont recall her making pickles very often, so I have pushed the practice)
Beats me why professionals cant do it better :cool

I like "Malt vinegar" taste.. and I think it is needed for onions?

For Gherkins/dill pickles I use WHITE vinegar and just DILL as the spice. Never tried with garlic... doesn't appeal :)

Piccalilli involves adding veg to hot "sauce mix" and I do sterilize jars since a large batch lasts maybe months.

But for gherkins, red cabbage, onions there is no cooking of vegetables, and just clean jars is sterile enough.

The basic process for onions is to peel onions and soak in brine (salt water) overnight.

Then pack in cold jar and fill jar with spiced vinegar.

Leave several days, a week or so before ready to eat.

To make spiced vinegar:
Per litre (2.1 US pints) of malt vinegar.. add 1/2 cup white sugar (you can vary amount of sugar to taste but the effect is supposed to be a balance of sweet, spice and acid), and generous amount of WHOLE "pickling spice" bring to boil and simmer 10 mins. Let it cool in saucepan.. then strain through fine sieve to get rid of spice bits. I make the spice vinegar after peeling onions, and so it is cold by time the onions have been left in brine overnight, and I use the spiced vinegar next day.

Whole Pickling spice mix may vary...
Main spice is cloves. I add extra cloves if the mix looks a bit short of cloves. There is generally coriander seeds, yellow mustard seeds, black mustard seed, dried ginger, cinnamon, whole black pepper corns, allspice berries. I remove most of dried chili bits.. I don't mind chili but searing spice heat is NOT what pickled onions need.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 11:04 pm 
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Wow! pickled onions in malt vinegar sans dried chili peppers are a must try! We didn't like them in apple cider vinegar but malt vinegar sounds amazing. Have you used this recipe on pearl onions? Thinking they might make a nice addition to holiday buffets.

Will try with small white onions this fall, kinda wish it were spring time to try this with a bit less sugar on the smaller Vidalia onions we use to make relish. We like sweet onions which tend to be larger so I chop, dice or mince the whole onion and freeze leftovers for use in soups, stews and sauces out of season.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 11:25 pm 
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Now, I want to try the pickled onions also. I love onions on/in most anything ... from omelets to burgers. I crave malt vinegar on fish. Was told by a nutritionist once that craving vinegar is a symptom of low iron, and I am anemic. Never have made pickles, my mother did, and they were delicious.

I am still thinking about making the easy lasagna recipe. Love pasta and usually buy the frozen meal and bake. When in Italy in the late 60s, I only ordered lasagna. Still do when going to Olive Garden, an occasional treat because pasta goes directly to my thighs. :)


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 11:30 pm 
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As far as I know Pickled onions in Malt vinegar is the norm ;)
As a child in Wales (UK) it was the norm, and even later that is what is most common in Aust and NZ stores.... just that they are often (not always) soft and soggy.. and flavors can be not nice. I can, and do, BUY pickled onions.. but mine are better.

As far as variations on the onions used goes... anything is worth a try.
When in Singapore for a year (1994) I LOVED the standard, most common local onions.. which were little red, bunching type (a bit like shallots).. Couldn't get what I would call normal small white onions.. but i grew to like the local red ones and used them in alll cooking. They were sweet and crying out to be made into pickled onions :cool

Pickled onions were NOT an item known or sold in Singapore.. you might find the odd jar somewhere for sale.. imported.
I had a LOT of trouble finding just normal malt (or white) vinegar.. Asian type rice wine vinegar etc I knew would not work. Only sold in small sizes anyway, expensive to use in bulk amounts. I did eventually find an Indian department store selling pint size malt vinegar.. so it was "game on". However... in among cultures where any spice imaginable is available... NOBODY knew what "Whole pickling spice was" :wall

I figured out the main ingredient was cloves (readily available) and threw in a few other whole spices to make my own Pickling spice mix.

It was a pain peeling millions of very small red onions.. but well worth it. The end product was without doubt the BEST damned pickled onions I have ever made.. and so best in Universe :cool

But.. wouldn't you know it.. I have NEVER been able to find same red onions here in NZ.. I even tried growing what looked like nearest thing... not the same. Shallots would be worth a try.. that is what my Father grew and my Mother pickled when I was a small child. Not seen shallots for sale, other than expensive(ish) specialist item.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 11:52 pm 
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Lurking Reader wrote:
Wow! pickled onions in malt vinegar sans dried chili peppers are a must try! We didn't like them in apple cider vinegar but malt vinegar sounds amazing. Have you used this recipe on pearl onions? Thinking they might make a nice addition to holiday buffets.

Will try with small white onions this fall, kinda wish it were spring time to try this with a bit less sugar on the smaller Vidalia onions we use to make relish. We like sweet onions which tend to be larger so I chop, dice or mince the whole onion and freeze leftovers for use in soups, stews and sauces out of season.


I have bought small pearl "cocktail onions" They are done in white vinegar.. they are nice... subject to same problems of often being soft.

If you dont mind the hassle of peeling millions of tiny onions .. you could make them. Traditionally done in white vinegar I think, but same process would work and you could try malt vinegar. The cocktail onions you buy may be blanched before salting? I dont know why I think that? probably read it somewhere :)

One of the failings of store-bought pickles is not enough sugar for my taste.. you can vary that. As I said I use half a cup of sugar per litre of vinegar. 1/3 cup if you prefer less, or add a little more to make onions sweeter.

I use the store bought cocktail onions whole in my piccalilli.( a bit of a cheat to save peeling millions of tiny onions) The rest of the vegetables are diced courgette (zucchini), small cucumber (gherkin size) diced. I have included small green tomatoes (diced) but not too much. Main veg is small cauliflower florets.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2015 12:43 am 
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Speaking of courgettes ( zucchini to most of you guys).

I do like them as a hot side vegetable, or with melted butter.. warm with salad etc.
I have all sorts of ways to include them in cooking.

I used to grow them.. a few plants give you daily supply that becomes a glut. They don't have a lot of flavor, are mostly water (baby marrow) so... I object to buying them when they are $7 or $8 per kilo in shops.. which they have been lately and so "priced themselves off the market" :roll
I saw some last Saturday.. only $2.20/kilo (I thought). They were a bit large (prefer them small) but I grabbed a few...

Luckily I did a second take at the price tag... it was $22.00/kilo :eek
( sneaky sign makers had 2 2 then two very small 0's

As I was heard to exclaim... OUTRAGEOUS!!!!!!!

As my wife walked away trying to pretend she was not with me I also said...

"No good you pretending you are not with me... they recognize us from previous weeks" :lol

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2015 5:47 pm 
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I feel for your wife, I really do. ;)

Chris says he wants to fix zucchini tonight, with porkloin in lieu of going out, so I went to look on the cash register receipt, because I have NO idea what food costs. (I am more in tune with beverage costs.) It was .98¢ per lb. Don't know what that comes out to in kilos.

So I am telling Chris about the price of zucchini there. His sister calls wishing him HB and I hear him telling her about zucchini in NZ, and talking about NZ dollars versus American dollar. :roll

Two hours later, I get a FB message from another sister, asking "Where did you see zucchini for $22.00 per lb?" ... so the conversation goes on. :)


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