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Old 08-19-2005, 12:53 PM   #11
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Hmmm. Interesting topic.

Mashed potatoes must be smooth for me. If there are lumps, the kitchen goofed.

I never could climb onto the 'rustic" bandwagon-food in larger chunks rather than neatly diced. It always seemed to be a cop-out on doing the work needed to do a fine, uniform dice, mince or brunois.

I like thick soups. The kind you cannot see through (for coctails, I like those you CAN see through). I always puree half the beans in my black bean soup for the rich creamy texture that provides. I leave some beans whole so everyone knows what they're eating.

All of the above is most likely thanks to my mom, who took the time to make smooth mashed potatoes and neatly diced veggies. Maybe that's why I'm in finance, everything neat and orderly - no messes.

I grew up on mushy veggies but like them with a little 'tooth' now.

No lumps in my oatmeal, please!

"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
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Old 08-19-2005, 06:07 PM   #12
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Goodweed, I think you're talking about what Mario call's "mouth-feel".
It's why I cannot stand oatmeal or rice pudding. To me, it's slime with pieces in it.
Unlike Ironchef, I like flour based gravies as they aren't so greasy/buttery, and don't give me heartburn. They are also what I've grown up with. I'd rather use a well-seasoned white sauce than a butter/cream alfredo.
I even start my potato soup and clam chowder with a white sauce if sorts. I render out some bacon, sweat chopped onions or leaks and a little grated carrot in the grease, then add flour and half milk/half chicken broth or clam juice.
If I want crisp vegies, I eat them raw. I like my cooked ones to be tender, tho not cooked to mush.
I want my mashed potatoes CREAMY! Don't like lumps of any kind in them.
I drink skim milk with all my meals, unless I'm in a restaurant. Then I drink unsweetened iced tea with a wedge of lemon. Or sometimes a cold Bud Light.

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Old 08-19-2005, 06:11 PM   #13
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Oh Constance, a woman after my own heart! I hate lumpy things too. If it is supposed to be creamy and it has lumps...EWW! Can't eat some yogurts because of that. And rice pudding is just *shudder*.
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Old 08-19-2005, 09:00 PM   #14
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I have never been able to abide oatmeal!

Mashed potatoes at my house are riced first then beaten with milk (whole) and butter then sit quite nicely in the warming drawer for at least 20 minutes to get hot and they come out very very fluffy!

I agree that smooth dishes need to be really smooth.

You're right about combining textures though! Mouth feel is really important to a meal being excellent as opposed to very good.

One of my favorite texture tricks is Grilled Polenta to go with bbq'd chicken (I think I've posted the recipe - if not sombody kick me). Actually it goes wonderfully with any tender meat. It changes every meal. My 16 month old grandaughter eats it like candy!

I also love sauces and gravies but usually served around the veggies or meat ranther than over them.

The bite of cheese rice (properly known and prepared as rissoto though DH has a family recipe that is much more simple - I am, however, prejudiced having been raised Italian) but for a family with children it's one of the best 25 minute side dishes I can think of. It provides wonderful texture and a great flavor contrast to pork chops, chicken or any other very tender dish.

Gonna stop now as I'm beginning to drool on my keyboard yet again!
Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon or not at all. Oregon native transplanted to Chicago....
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Old 08-24-2005, 06:16 PM   #15
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Great topic,when I think of texture I think it as something that is static.....it was meant to be...... We crave the crunchiness of nuts, and extend the properties of crunching to crackers and corn chips which are served crisp. For added crunch, we add chopped nuts to ice cream, and salt to pretzels.We don't want our creme caramel or panna cotta to be lumpy nor do we want any lumps in our pomme de terre. I crave shellfish not only for the natural umami in shrimp,crab or lobster but the sensation of cutting through the multiple layers of flesh with the different resistances experienced by my insisors and if in that same bite had an accompaniment of meltingly soft wild ramps.......I would definately be looking for a liquid to round off the richness possibly in the form of a wine reduction,or maybe even a butter based vinegariette.

All the senses are no less important IMO and some much more important that others at a given time.While the taste of a good cup of Java......hopefully from somewhere in
Kenya.....tastes great,it certainly doesn't compare to the aroma of coffee waffling across the kitchen after a brew
or when extracting the freshly ground coffee to be brewed.
Smell or aroma can extract powerful emotions and memory
subtly effecting our mood.All of a sudden I want to fresh
grate parmigiano reggiano over a steaming bowl of stracciatella soup and throw a towel over both of us.

Really it all comes down to balance otherwise we are not taken advantage of our rapidly evolving neocortex and
we'll all end up thinking a big mack is good.

The biggest pleasure I get out of cooking other than the
opportunity to express myself through food is to watch
the body language of people I'm cooking for.Facial expressions and non verbal mannerisms.... never lie.
A quick blinking of someone wide eyed after placing a plate in front of them is the best compliment I could ever recieve.
I used a microwave once.....just once!
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Old 08-24-2005, 06:40 PM   #16
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This is a great discussion! Several things come to mind when I think of texture. Not food dishes, but rather ingredients. These may gross people out, but I like them.

Beef tendon in Vietnamese beef noodle soup (pho)
wood ear (fungus)
duck feet
dried bean curd
Are a few things that come to mind.
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Old 09-04-2005, 11:13 AM   #17
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Next part of the discussion;
Prepare a meal with sides that will give a variety of textures that will complement each other, and fill the senses with flavor, sight appeal, and texture.

I'll start.
Meat, hmmm, pork chops, butterflied and stuffed
Veggies - Asparugus spears, sweet potatoes
Starch - Brown & wild rice pilaf
Desert- Apple pie with vanilla ice cream

Stuffing is to be a bread stuffing flavored with chicken broth, sage, thyme, egg, and onion. It is pre cooked outside the chops before stuffing is done.

Pork chops - loin chops seasoned with salt and pepper, and with a pocket cut into side. Stuff the chops with 2 tbs. of the bread dressing, broil for four minutes per side.

Veggies, Steam asparagus spears until a slight crunch remains. They shouldn't be mushy. Cover with a light cheese sauce made from a roux based Bechemel, with sharp cheddar cheese finely grated, then blended in until silky smooth.

Peel, then cut sweet potatoes into "french fry" shape and then pan-fry in oil until tender on the inside. Dust with nutmeg and powdered sugar or Splenda

Cook the rices acording to directions, in chicken broth. Flavor with thyme and a hint of basil.

Make or purchase your favorite apple pie, with a lattice top crust brushed with egg wash and granulated sugar. Serve hot with the ice cream. And change up the flavor. Try something like strawberry cheesecake ice cream.

And there you have my menu for a meal with many textures and flavors, all of which are healthy, except for the desert. And for that part, eat small pieces.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 09-05-2005, 05:56 PM   #18
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I hate the texture of whole cherry tomatoes hard on the outside and squishi on the inside but I dont have a problem with regular tomatoes.
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Old 09-06-2005, 04:14 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Goodweed of the North
Next part of the discussion;
Prepare a meal with sides that will give a variety of textures that will complement each other, and fill the senses with flavor, sight appeal, and texture.
Does it have to be over the course of several meals or can I do it in one dish?

Butter Poached Lobster Ravioli with Shaved Green and White Asparagus, Truffled-Edamame Puree, Hearts of Palm, and Microgreens

Lobster Tail and Claw meat - poached in a mixture of unsalted butter, extra virgin olive oil, shallots, black peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme, and lemon; tail sliced into 1/2" medallions on a bias, claw is left whole; all meat is de-shelled

Hearts of Palm - Lightly drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, lemon, kosher salt, and fresh cracked pepper, then lightly grilled, then sliced into 1/2" medallions

White and Green Aspargus - Quickly blanched in salted water then shocked in an ice water bath. Sliced paper thin using a mandolin. Tossed with truffle oil, kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper, and a hint of fresh lemon juice.

Edamame Puree - Blanched soybeans pureed with chicken stock, shallots, flat leaf parsley, kosher salt, and truffle oil, and a touch of heavy cream and unsalted butter.

Ravioli - One large, fresh piece of pasta dough, roughly 6-7" square.

Microgreens - Simply tossed with extra virgin olive oil and kosher salt.

Assembly - Using a square or wavy-squared dinner plate, ladle the edamame puree until a thin coat covers the entire plate until the inside edge of the rim. Place the sheet of raviloli down so that the corners of the ravioli are adjacent to the sides of the plate. Layer a little of the asparagus mixture in the middle of the ravioli. Layer the hearts of palm and the lobster tail medalions on top of that. Layer the remainder of the asparagus on top next. Then place the lobster claw on top, with the microgreens on top of that. Shave fresh black truffle on and around the dish.

Flavor and Texture - You get the fresh crunch and flavor from the aspargus and hearts of palm. The sweet and savory flavor from the lobster. Velvety texture and savory flavor from the edamame-truffle puree. Slight citrus flavors from the lemon incorporated in the various components of the dish. Fresh and peppery flavor and texture with the microgreens. Plus the texture of the perfectly al dente cooked pasta dough, and the visual and flavor contribution from the shaved black truffle.
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Old 09-06-2005, 08:18 PM   #20
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I've never known just why I didn't like rice pudding til now. The texture is the reason - I knew I didn't like the slimy feel of oatmeal, but as much as I enjoy rice couldn't stand rice pudding. I like my rice to fall apart and oatmeal in really good cookies. I don't mind lumpy mashed potatoes if they have the skins left on. I really enjoy a variety of color, texture and tastes on my plate.

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