Engineering and Cooking. Part 2

I had some higher priority projects require my attention, so it wasn’t until last night that I tried using a dutch oven as a panini press.

It works.  I had to fill the dutch oven with about 3 quarts (3 liters) of water to get both sandwiches compressed.   If you cook only one at a time, less water would be needed for “squash duty”.

My wife liked it.

What I did:  I put four slices of my homemade sourdough bread on the counter and lightly brushed the top side of each slice with olive oil.  I flipped the bread over and spread a thick coat of thousand island salad dressing on each slice of bread.  Then on each slice of bread, I added, in order, a thin slice of Swiss cheese, a couple of thin slices of turkey, a piece of cooked bacon that had been broken in half and a leaf of spinach.  I then put  the bread slices together to make two sandwiches.

To cook them, I put the sandwiches into a skillet that had been heating over medium heat and placed the dutch oven on top of the sandwiches.   I cooked each side for about 5 minutes.




Engineering and Cooking

Tomorrow, I’m going to find out if a skillet and a dutch oven can be combined to make a panini press.   I’m going to try cooking the panini in the skillet while using the dutch oven, maybe with some water in it, to replace the press.

Unless I find something more interesting, the recipe will use some of my home made sourdough bread, thousand island salad dressing, thin sliced turkey and swiss cheese.

Good As Is

Good as is.  That was the note written in the margin of a cookbook when the results of a recipe was good enough to serve to guests.  This was often at the bottom of a bunch of “Next time, try …………” notes that kept track of the different things that were tried to get the recipe to where it was good enough to serve to guests

Today, I can put a “good as is” on the pressure cooker chicken recipe, Pressure Cooker Chicken.  I adjusted the cooking time to 5-1/2 minutes per pound and that took care of the overcooked problem.  The meat is cooked but no longer falling off of the bones.

I have also managed to shorten the prep time, so it’s now 45 minutes from start to serve.


Another Week Closer

It’s another week closer to October 17.  What I find amusing is that between the two of us, my wife is one who is more excited.

I think one of the things she’s looking forward to is my desire to cook.  Both of us get home too late to cook so we can eat at a reasonable hour.  So, on Sunday night we cook enough for the following week.   Once I retire, I’ll be able to cook for each meal!!!!!

Tonight I made sourdough dinner rolls.  King Arthur Flour has a really good recipe here. I skip the paprika, use unsalted water and make certain I use unchlorinated water.  This is one of the most forgiving recipes I’ve found; below sea level to over 8,500 feet (3,000 meters) elevation above sea level, hot, cool, dry, humid.  No matter what, it just works…which is why this recipe is in my red notebook.

My wife made chicken & dumplings from a recipe that she found.  It’s a favorite of ours, so it gets made every couple of months.  She’s asleep already and I don’t want to bug her for the recipe, so I don’t have one.  It uses frozen vegetables, canned cream of chicken soup, “dinner roll dough from a tube” for the dumplings and is cooked in a slow cooker…that may help. 🙂

The final thing we made was a tomato-basil-garlic pasta.  Cook 1/2 pound of pasta until done and after it is drained, add olive oil to the pasta and toss.  Blanch, peel and cut 2 pounds of tomatoes into small pieces,  Saute 4-5 crushed cloves of garlic until they are almost ready to turn brown.  Then add a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste, the tomatoes, a tablespoon or two of basil paste, salt and pepper and stir.  When it’s cooked over low heat for 4-5 minutes, stir in the pasta. Serve and sprinkle grated Parmesan Cheese on the pasta.

I had planned on experimenting with cooking a whole chicken in a pressure cooker, but I forgot to thaw a frozen chicken.   I have looked through my collection of cookbooks and they all agree on cooking for about 6 minutes per pound…AFTER the pressure has reached 15psi.  None of my cookbooks mention pressure cooking frozen chicken and the various internet sites I checked were wildly inconsistent with cooking times.  So, maybe next weekend, if I remember to thaw a chicken.