It's just a collective, cooperative, community service, operation outreach program project. Recipes, cocktails and culinary musings.
April 23rd
7:01 AM EST

Breaking with Tradition: Korean Mushroom Juk (죽)

Korean Mushroom Juk (죽), 500 Tasty Sandwiches

Here’s the thing about rice: basmati is my favorite variety and I use it in all my cooking, regardless of cuisine. Another thing: my global spice collection has taken up tons of kitchen real estate - I simply have no room for a dozen different kinds of rice. So Koreans, before you send me hate mail, know that I prepare my Juk (죽) fully aware of the short grain variety traditionally used in this dish. Everybody else, you’re probably thinking, what the heck is juk? Simply put, juk, known outside of Korea as congee, is rice porridge. It is a restorative dish and as such doesn’t have much flavor. Which is perfect for the very young, very old and anyone feeling under the weather. With that said, juk lends itself perfectly to add-ins like fried eggs, pickled foods (e.g., kimchi), grilled meat and nuts. In Korea juk is also made from other grains such as red beans (팥). You’ll notice that the juk photographed for this post is purple. I just happened to have purple jasmine rice on hand the day I prepared juk in the test kitchen. Folks, we’re not making an insanely delicate Iranian polow or Indian Biryani. Use what you have on hand: it may not be traditional but it will still taste great.

• 1 cup uncooked rice
• 2 tablespoons sesame oil
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 6 oz fresh mushrooms, any variety, chopped
• 6 cups liquid (any combination of water and stock/broth)
• 1 teaspoon salt

Place the uncooked rice in a bowl, cover with very hot water and let stand for 30 minutes. Separately, sauté the garlic and mushrooms in 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil. Once the garlic turns golden, transfer it and the mushrooms to a bowl, keeping any residual oil in the pan.

Drain the soaked rice of as much water as you can. Place your pan over medium heat and add the remaining sesame oil. Add the soaked rice and sauté until fragrant and somewhat dry, about 10 minutes. Return the garlic and mushrooms to the pot and add the 6 cups of liquid. Increase the heat and boil for 5 minutes. Finally, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the rice for approximately 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Prepare the juk as you would oatmeal – the ultimate consistency is up to you. Just remember that the juk will seem thinner than it is when very hot (i.e., simmering in the pot). Season with salt and serve warm.

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April 22nd
11:00 AM EST

Lime Shortage & Tamarind Paste

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As you may be aware, we’re amidst a lime shortage, the result of Mexican drug cartels obstructing the work of citrus farmers coupled with a poor growing season. The cost of limes is skyrocketing while their quality plummets. Are we to forgo margaritas, chutneys, and lime-kissed ceviches? The politics of the situation is beyond the scope of 500 Tasty Sandwiches but we can offer a culinary solution in the form of a substitution.

Tamarind paste, also known as tamarind concentrate, adds the fruity sourness essential to many of our favorite dishes. The molasses-like liquid, simply tamarind pulp processed to remove the pod and seeds, can be mixed with water and optional sugar to replace lime in most recipes. Tamarind, by the way, is a tropical fruit grown on trees that looks a bit like giant brown fava bean pods. Its flavor is quite similar to lime but with added notes of dried apricot or tart raisins. Pretty cocktails which derive their bright flavor from limes will unfortunately appear cloudy brown when tamarind is substituted. We think it’s a reasonable trade-off. 
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Tamarind paste can be found in most Latin, Indian and Southeast Asian grocery stores. Bricks of tamarind pulp are often sold as well. Tamarind pulp, however, must be soaked in boiling water and passed through a fine sieve before using.

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April 21st
6:51 AM EST

A Compendium of Canning Recipes

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It’s time to start thinking about canning your favorite fresh fruits and vegetables. Plan your gardening and seasonal produce shopping accordingly and have delicious homemade food all year long! Check out our collection of sweet and savory canning favorites: 

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And as always, if you’re curious but have never actually canned before - or if it’s been a while and you need refreshing - please visit the website for the National Center for Home Food Preservation (http://nchfp.uga.edu/) before proceeding.

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April 20th
9:46 AM EST
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Hungry for more? Follow 500 Tasty Sandwiches on Facebook and Twitter!

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April 19th
11:22 AM EST

Lemon, Hops, Absinthium

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April 18th
6:46 AM EST
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Hungry for more? Follow 500 Tasty Sandwiches on Facebook and Twitter!

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April 17th
7:16 AM EST

Hominy, Hominy, Hominy!

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Hominy is a polarizing ingredient: folks are either very familiar with it or have no idea what it is. A key ingredient in Mexican and Central American kitchens, hominy is dried corn treated with an alkali solution (a process known as nixtamalization). The corn is then either prepared whole (variably termed posole, nixtamal, mote, or maíz en estilo mexicano), ground coarsely (i.e., grits) or ground into a flour (i.e., masa seca or masa harina) which forms the base to familiar foods like tamales.

Whole kernel hominy takes center stage in dishes such as the Mexican pork stew pozole where it lends a subtle sweetness and chewy texture. Preparing hominy is easy though you will need to plan ahead as it does take some time. One cup of dry hominy will yield three cups of prepared hominy.

Preparing Hominy: Soak one cup of dry whole kernel hominy in plenty of cold water (use filtered or bottled water if your tap water tastes funny) for 8-12 hours. Drain, transfer the hominy to a large pot and add enough fresh water to cover by 2 inches (5 cm). Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to its lowest setting and cover the pot. Simmer for 1½-2 hours. Hominy is ready when soft but still chewy (similar to al dente pasta).

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April 16th
1:38 PM EST
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Hungry for more? Follow 500 Tasty Sandwiches on Facebook and Twitter!

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April 15th
11:54 AM EST

Know Your Ingredients: Mace

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If all you know of mace is that it is a self defense spray, you’re missing out. Culinary mace, completely unrelated to the tear gas, is actually the lacy outer seed membrane (the botanical term is aril) of the nutmeg seed. The flavor of mace is predictably similar to nutmeg (sweet, sharp – the predominant flavor in “pumpkin pie” spice) though more pungent and with predominate notes of cinnamon, cloves and black pepper. A key reason for using mace over nutmeg is that it imparts a lovely saffron hue to dishes. Mace’s unique biting spiciness tempered with a warming sweetness has made it an interesting addition to desserts and baked goods in both Asian (mace is native to Indonesia) and European cooking traditions. In India, grated mace is added to spiced tea (masala chai), spiced milk (masala paal/ukala) and is sometimes a component in the spice mixture garam masala. Mace also finds its way into various pickles and curries throughout Southeast Asia and is even used to spice up the Scottish national dish, haggis.

When purchasing whole mace (pieces are called blades) look for a bright orange to red color. While grated mace can be added directly to dishes, whole blades of mace are plucked out before serving. An advantage of store-bought grated mace is that it will retain its pungency considerably longer than most ground spices. One teaspoon of ground mace equals approximately 1 tablespoon of mace blades.

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Mace is known as javitri (जावित्री) in Hindi, jathipattiri (சாதிப்பத்திரி) in Tamil, kembang pala in Malay and sekar pala in Indonesian.

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April 14th
7:47 AM EST

Our Favorite Egg Recipes

Easter is upon us which means many of us will have more eggs on hand than we know what to do with. Don’t worry, we have great recipes to help you turn this ubiquitous holiday ingredient into something special.
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Let’s start with preparation. Check out our method for Perfectly Fried Eggs and Perfect Hard-Cooked Eggs.
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Moving on to breakfast we have the Lebanese Muffin dressed with labneh and za’atar and a Baked Sunday Brunch Frittata, a great dish for entertaining. Our Uovo Scozzese, a play on the Scotch Egg, a sausage wrapped hard-cooked egg, is a tasty breakfast treat but also an over-the-top snack (the Scotch Egg is traditional pub fare).

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Who doesn’t love deviled eggs? We have two interesting variations: the kimchi and gochujang spiked Haechi Egg and a spicy Thai Curry Deviled Egg which gets its vibrant magenta egg from pickled beet juice.

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Heartier dishes include our Indian Egg Curry, Spicy Welsh Rarebit, toasted bread topped with a fluffy, cheesy soufflé, and our ultimate fried egg-topped Aussie Lamb Burger.

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