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Going Through Recipe Files
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 6:14 am    Post subject: Going Through Recipe Files Reply with quote

I've been using a truly antiquated database manager for my recipes. It requires that I keep a system that probably hasn't been in use for more than 5 years. So, I finally decided to bite the bullet and move my files to new recipe management software.

Since the original software is soooo old, there isn't any support for it and there isn't any import/export interface. So I'm doing one recipe at a time. It's an interesting proceedure, though. I'm dumping some things I've never made, making a list of things that I mean to try before I decide and I'm becoming re-acquainted with beloved things I haven't made in ages.

Here's one that has slipped my attention and I can't imagine why because it's sensational:




Bowtie Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce copy

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Recipe By:

Serving Size: 6



Ingredients:



6 shallots , peeled and chopped

1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped

2 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup chicken stock

1 15-oz. can pumpkin puree

1 cup half-and-half

1/4 cup Parmesan , freshly grated

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

fresh basil, for garnish

pine nuts, for garnish



Directions:



In a large saucepan, cook the shallots and garlic in the butter until soft. Add the stock and simmer. Stir in the pumpkin, cream, and grated Parmesan. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and add the nutmeg, mustard, pepper, and salt. Continue to cook over low heat for about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta.

Toss pasta with sauce and garnish with pine nuts and a chiffonade of basil to serve.



Notes:



Incredibly good!

---------

Not such pretty interface with C&Z but at least I didn't have to type it all out again as I would have had to do with my old software

Just as an experiment I'm going to see how much trouble it is to "pretty it up".

Bowtie Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce

Serving Size: 6

Ingredients
• 6 shallots , peeled and chopped
• 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
• 2 tablespoon butter
• 1/2 cup chicken stock
• 1 15-oz. can pumpkin puree
• 1 cup half-and-half
• 1/4 cup Parmesan , freshly grated
• 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
• 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
• salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
• fresh basil, for garnish
• pine nuts, for garnish

Directions

In a large saucepan, cook the shallots and garlic in the butter until soft. Add the stock and simmer. Stir in the pumpkin, cream, and grated Parmesan. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and add the nutmeg, mustard, pepper, and salt. Continue to cook over low heat for about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta.

Toss pasta with sauce and garnish with pine nuts and a chiffonade of basil to serve.



Notes
Incredibly good!


---------
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Mishka



Joined: 19 Apr 2005
Posts: 14
Location: Malaysia

PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I was a kid, cutting out recipes from magazines was one of my favourite things to do.. I guess I inherited this from my mum who would buy a magazine just to get one recipe inside. My collection was a scrapbook with bits and pieces of recipes pasted all over any space I could find. None of the organised filing system for me then. I would sit back and leaf through the scrapbook trying to imagine how I would cook a particular dish and how it would taste like...

Ironically, since I started learning to cook, I've never followed through a recipe proper... I guess I'm what you can call a "gut feel" cook... I open the fridge, survey the contents and put a few things together, and hey presto... something edible on the table. My sister used to be so amazed by this fact...

Nevertheless, I still have my precious collection of recipes that I hope one day will find their way into a hard disk somewhere.
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Pockymonkey



Joined: 02 Aug 2005
Posts: 63
Location: Northfield, MN

PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rainey, please do share what new software you decided to use. I don't have much of a system and would love to get more organized. Right now, I have some recipes on the computer in a Word file, some written on scraps of paper, and some that live only in my head.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like a database manager because it allows you to do a search on, say, an ingredient and also to generate a shopping list.

I use a Mac so I'm pretty limited in my choices — hence staying stuck with something that was just limping along for such a long time. I have recently found MacGourmet though I am told Connoisseur has some features that MG lacks. I chose MC because it appears to operate quite intuitively and I like the visual interface and the fact that I can choose to print my recipes out as full pages or 4x6 recipe cards. OTOH, it's lacking some pretty basic things I hope they'll add. I think that's a possibility since the company maintains a forum where you can ask for features or help from the developers and connect with other users to share recipe collections and troubleshoot difficulties.

If you're on a PC I think MasterCook is the standard.

You can find MasterCook all over the net. MacGoumet and Connoisseur both permit a trial download that gives you 20 uses before you have to make a decision to buy/register or not. MG was $25, don't know about C or MC.

Here are the links:
MacGourmet http://www.macgourmet.com/
Connoisseur http://www.thelittleappfactory.com/application.php?app=Connoisseur
MasterCook http://www.valusoft.com/products/mastercook.html
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God writes a lot of comedy... the trouble is, he's stuck with so many bad actors who don't know how to play funny. -- Garrison Keillor


Last edited by Rainey on Tue Aug 23, 2005 7:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Dawna



Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 125
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Rainey - the pasta dish sounds fantastic! I have a strange Hallowe'en tradition, which is to combine pumpkin and prawns for dinner. We've had soup, Thai curry, risotto - a lot of different variations, but never a pasta. I think I will just try this recipe, and throw a few grilled or sauteed prawns on top for this coming year's meal.

Served on black plates, the colour's a real show-stopper!
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am very fond of pumpkin. It can be used in soooo many ways as you seem to realize.

Do try the recipe and let me know what you think. It makes a lot of sauce — much more than 6 pasta servings. But that's OK 'cause it seems to keep well. I heat it thoroughly, put it in hot jars, seal them and keep them in the fridge. It doesn't last long at my house!

Speaking of pumpkin, I've never had a Pumpkin Risotto recipe that's really knocked my socks off. Care to share yours?

Using black plates with pumpkin sounds lovely (though you won't get a bright,strong orange in this sauce — more of an attractive ocre). And I bet shrimp would combine with it wonderfully.
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God writes a lot of comedy... the trouble is, he's stuck with so many bad actors who don't know how to play funny. -- Garrison Keillor
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rebecca



Joined: 01 Dec 2004
Posts: 77
Location: near a pan of spanakopita

PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rainey--what is this database manager you speak of? Wink

I guess I'm old school. Mishka used to clip recipes out of magazines and I still do. Call me stone age. I have three big notebooks (lined paper spiral-bound notebooks intended for schoolchildren) filled with clippings, and I'm starting on my fourth--a three-ring binder. Pages are falling out, glue is losing its sticky-factor and old scotch tape is yellowing and curling up. There are a lot of recipes in the notebooks I've never tried, but I keep thinking life is long and someday, somehow I will get around to making them.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rebecca- Look just above at my reply to PokeyMonkey.

I hear ya! I have just such an expanding file of recipes not to mention shelves of books in two different parts of the house. Still, the computer database is what I use most.

It lets me print out a copy of the recipe to take to the market as a shopping list (can't tell you how many copies of recipes I've left with checkout clerks when they ask "what are you cooking?"). It means if I want to share a recipe online I don't have to type it out again (a BIG plus since I stink at both typing and proofreading which can have disasterous results with quantities!). It can direct me to the appropriate book and page in a cookbook if I don't want to input whole recipes. It can search on a key ingredient and give me a choice of recipes to consider or on a source if I'm interested in comparing Alton Brown's or Ina Garten's approach to something. It can scale ingredients up or down at a click so I don't have to mix my cooking and my math (guess which skills are a little inferior?). And (I LOVED this about my old program and have to see if I can still do it with this new software) it permitted me to print out a tiny purse-sized cookbook of my very favorite recipes so if I was out and about trying to figure out what to have for dinner I could consult it and shop without forgetting a critical ingredient when time was short. I also used that feature to make tiny personal cookbooks as gifts.

Check one out. There's lots out there for PC users. I think all of them (both Mac & PC) allow trials. But I, personally, highly recommend a management program built on a database.
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God writes a lot of comedy... the trouble is, he's stuck with so many bad actors who don't know how to play funny. -- Garrison Keillor
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Deste



Joined: 17 Aug 2005
Posts: 307
Location: Far, far away

PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 8:56 pm    Post subject: Pumpkin risotto: response to earlier posted request Reply with quote

Union Square Cafe in NYC makes excellent pumpkin risotto. The first cookbook produced by Danny Meyer and Michael Romano (HarperCollins, 1994) contains the recipe. It is somewhat time-consuming since you're required to make a pumpkin broth using canned puree first. The extra step is worthwhile since it adds a complexity of flavors that even homemade chicken stock would lack. The risotto itself includes cubed pumpkin flesh (advising you to sub another winter squash if desired/necessary), minced fresh sage leaves, white wine...then tiny cubes of fresh mozzarella and arugula are swirled in at the end. Mmmm. Go to epicurious.com and see if Jessica's Biscuit carries the book with its customary generous discount. What I love even more is the recipe for penne with gorgonzola, walnuts and beets.
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birgit



Joined: 31 Jan 2005
Posts: 247
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The option of scaling ingredients up and down sounds really good, I usually forget to scale one or two ingredients and, um, often the dish turns out quite funny ... Smile
Until now I've put all my "survival-recipes" into a pdf which can comfortably be read on a palm handheld after it has been converted to the palmOS pdf-reader format. Here I can look up special ingredients and browse the matching recipes. Especially for palmOS, some people recommend warmly a little (free Smile ) program called "handyshopper", which is useful not only for shopping lists and comparing prices. I've heard that it collaborates with whole recipes as well, but haven't tried it myself, because the pdf version works fine for me. As hs is a database, there might be several possibilities. Both pdf reader as well as hs don't need much memory, which is nice, too. And in general this arrangement allows spontaneous cooking for friends out there in the wilderness with neither cookbooks nor internet ...


Last edited by birgit on Tue Aug 23, 2005 11:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Madame M.



Joined: 17 Dec 2004
Posts: 34
Location: Memphis, Tennessee, USA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 11:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You want to hear about a dinosaur? I am still using MealMaster, from, gee, I don't know how long ago...it is a DOS program, which you can tweak to work in Windows, and oddly enough is still available online, which is a good thing for me, since I can download it when I get a new PC, and then export the recipes to it. I think Mastercook will let you import from it, but then, I've been using MM for years, and it does pretty much what I need (scaling up and down, shopping lists, searches in several categories). The idea of having to convert the several thousand recipes on there to another program gives me the willies.

One thing I do that might be useful for someone who collects recipes (and I bet we ALL do!!) I put a new untried recipe in like this: "Patagonian Toothfish with Wild Huckleberry Sauce" and then if I like it, change the title to all caps: PATAGONIAN TOOTHFISH WITH WILD HUCKLEBERRY SAUCE. If I don't think I would make it again, then I just delete it. So if I'm feeling adventurous, I can easily look for recipes I haven't tried yet.
Hmmm...did that make sense to you?
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Dawna



Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 125
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, you can use pumpkin or butternut squash for it - actually, there's a butternut squash risotto in the latest Cook's Illustrated that I was meaning to compare against mine.

I have a formula for risotto that I just change as needed, for the most part.

1 ½ cups arborio rice
2 shallots, finely minced (each piece no bigger than a grain of the rice)
2 - 4 cups of sliced WHATEVER
½ cup white wine or white vermouth
4 - 4.5 cups stock – I use chicken for this one
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
Juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon of olive oil
3 tablespoons of butter, divided
¾ teaspoon salt
Black pepper as needed

I would go with the two cups of finely diced pumpkin, in this case, since pumpkin doesn't lose much size from cooking (such as mushrooms do). I sautee the shallots (a small onion is also okay) and then briefly sautee the cubes of squash. Pull most of the squash out of the pan, add the rice, and proceed as usual. Add the squash (and any clingy bits of shallot) back into the pan at the end, and stir well. The bits of squash that were never really removed will mush down and add body and flavour to the overall dish, but the ones that you took out will remain tender but firm.

If you want more directions on the risotto method, check out my recipe for Wild Mushroom Risotto (which also uses this formula).
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rebecca



Joined: 01 Dec 2004
Posts: 77
Location: near a pan of spanakopita

PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2005 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rainey wrote:
rebecca- Look just above at my reply to PokeyMonkey.


Rainey, I was being a smarty-pants. Wink

I'm not organized enough in my personal life to put my hodge-podge collection of recipes on a computer.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2005 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yup! Everything's got its upside and its downside.

I'm still on the "C"s and I only have to type in the ingredients — I can copy in the directions. I'm just counting on the fact that this is the last time I'll have to do it.
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God writes a lot of comedy... the trouble is, he's stuck with so many bad actors who don't know how to play funny. -- Garrison Keillor
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varnadore



Joined: 19 Mar 2005
Posts: 26
Location: Renton, WA

PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2005 2:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Madame M-are you joking?! I have my recipes in a manila envelope! Or magnated to the fridge, being utalized as a book mark, tucked under the microwave or proped up behind the bowl of salt on top of the stove! And I swore I would never be like this when I inherited my grandmothers recipes by the handfull, stuffed in evelopes, other cookbooks, and like
cryptic spells writen on the backs of reciept and bills........
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