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Sat, May. 15th, 2010, 10:04 am
The rat cooks

My cooking posts have by far been my most popular on LJ, so I thought I should follow up by sharing the two recipes I was so publicly puzzling over, with some personal notes.

The first recipe I tried was Texas-Style Beef Chili.

  • "1 yellow onion, chopped"--What's a yellow onion? We only have white and brown onions here. I used a brown onion, and it worked fine.
  • "3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped"--It seems to me that seeding a tomato would involve gutting it. I put them in whole and had no regrets later.
  • "2 chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped"--Two what in what?! It looks like this one I will need to order from an online Mexican specialty store, of which thankfully there are a few in Australia. I substituted green and red chiles.
  • "1 jalapeno chile"--I think I can find these in jars here, but I'm not expecting much luck finding that fresh.
  • "1 cup dark beer"--I always cook with beer--oh, you mean putting it in the cooking?! I used Guinness for this one, and I highly recommend it.

Later today I will be cooking Boston Baked Beans. I'm sure a native Bostonian (yes, I'm looking at you, perspedragon!) will rightly react with horror at what I'm doing to it, but I have to work within my limitations and I hope it will be at least a rough approximation. I will need to go to Boston some time so I can see how it's really done. The same goes for Texas Beef Chili.

  • "500g dried white beans"--I can only find tinned white beans for now. Later I can try harder to source the real thing. As a result, I will skip the soaking stage, which I know is otherwise every important for safety reasons.
  • "ketchup"--We have tomato sauce here. That will do. If I knew what the difference was, I might be more motivated to source the real thing.
  • "smoked bacon"--They were out, or have stopped stocking it. I substituted regular bacon.

Sat, May. 15th, 2010 12:17 am (UTC)

Sat, May. 15th, 2010 12:37 am (UTC)

So, are you taunting me by pointing out that I could just buy Boston Baked Beans in a tin at my nearest supermarket if I lived in the US? Gee, thanks, Harvard. I feel much better now. ;)

Sat, May. 15th, 2010 04:20 am (UTC)

I'm sure you are enjoying the journey!  You don't want a shortcut to the destination.

Sat, May. 15th, 2010 05:08 am (UTC)

Quite so. They say life is a journey, but you don't want to take any shortcuts getting to its destination!

Sat, May. 15th, 2010 01:25 am (UTC)

Yellow onions are a kind of onion with a yellow outer skin. They are stronger in flavor than white onions. What's a brown onion? Do you also not have access to red onions?

Chipotles in adobo are smoked chili peppers in a tomato-based sauce that also contains vinegar, garlic, and various spices. As long as you keep good track of the composition of your spices you should be fine.

Ketchup is a viscous, mildly sweet and sour sauce made from very finely pureed tomatoes mixed with vinegar and sugar and mild spices. What is tomato sauce?

Sat, May. 15th, 2010 04:30 am (UTC)

We have red onions too. I strongly suspect that brown onions are what you guys call yellow onions. I will not find chipotles of any kind, either in or out of adobo sauce, without ordering online. It's just not something we sell here. Tomato sauce is like ketchup, only less sweet. I found a few bottles of ketchup, so it's not unknown here after all.

Sat, May. 15th, 2010 05:21 am (UTC)

ooooo recipes! thank you :P i love trying them out and it helps having someone else's thoughts on it too ^.^

Sat, May. 15th, 2010 04:17 pm (UTC)

*drools*.. they both sound so nice

Sat, May. 22nd, 2010 09:15 am (UTC)

"You lookin' at me? You lookin' at me?"

Well, I hope your recipe turns out, though you shouldn't be using tomato sauce. Does Oz not have treacle or molasses?

The smoked bacon, however, ought to work just fine. Though, being vegetarian, I couldn't eat it!

It won't be Boston baked beans, but you may have just invested Brisbane Baked Beans, LOL!

Sun, Jun. 6th, 2010 08:42 pm (UTC)

Well, yes, we do have molasses in Australia and as you'll note the recipe does call for them. Being an American cookbook, it doesn't much care what is or isn't available here. But the recipe also wants ketchup. (I've since found another recipe for Boston Baked Beans that likewise uses ketchup as well as molsasses/treacle.) Do you think it should have molasses but no ketchup? It already felt a bit too sweet for our tastebuds; I'm scared to think what it would be like without the ketchup (which I was later able to find in the shops so I didn't have to substitute tomato sauce for it).