Tag Archives: bacon substitutes

One Ingredient, Three Ways: Parmesan Rinds

Gentle Readers, nothing is more satisfying than using an ingredient to the last drop. Especially when it’s a costly one. If you’ve been throwing away your Parmesan rinds, today is the day to stop doing so. And if you have no rinds because you’re using a certain green can, get thee to a cheesery. Ahem, as I was saying, Parmesan rinds are bursting with flavor, and you can drop them in all sorts of dishes.

Parmesan Rinds: Endless flavor possibilities!

Parmesan Rinds: Endless flavor possibilities!

To save them, just grate to your desired end point, wrap, and freeze. That’s it. Best to label them so you use oldest first. I drop them right into the dish, but if you think of it, set it out on the counter while you’re prepping. Could not be easier!

One Ingredient, Three Ways: Parmesan Rinds

1. Cooked Greens. As a bacon or pork substitute, the Parmesan rind was an outstanding performer. The Collard Greens for Haters Recipe, Vegetarian Version featured one such rind, and it added a depth of flavor even I didn’t expect. I’m so proud to say it converted one hater on the spot. This will work with other leafy greens, but works best when you cook them for a while, not just a fast saute.

Vegetarian Collards for Haters, Order Up!

Vegetarian Collards for Haters, Order Up!

2. Beans and Soups. Coming tomorrow, I’ll share a Vegetarian Down-Home Black-Eyed Peas recipe that features a Parmesan rind as a substitute for a ham hock, which I find too hoofy for my taste. I know, I just lost 2 Southern points, but hopefully my love of Fried will redeem me. Add a Parmesan rind to any pot of beans, peas, or soups for a rich, salty, cheese flavor. Minestrone would be awesome that way.

Vegetarian Down-Home Black-Eyed Peas: Delicious!

Vegetarian Down-Home Black-Eyed Peas: Delicious!

3. Risotto. I really love risotto, and I’ve done it a few ways, with red and with white wine. Regardless, I love the deep, layered flavors it provides, and the mouthfeel. I find adding a Parmesan rind to the process (the stock, the rice, either way) enriches the flavor further. This is on my to make list soon, so apologies for the lack of picture/recipe. I’ve got a LOT of cooking to do this year.

How do you use your Parmesan rinds? Do you save scraps in the freezer for future use? Confess here in the comments section, or Tweet!

Send your cheese rinds, your challenges, and your gentle reminders to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Up next, Vegetarian Down-Home Black-Eyed Peas, Or Move Over Porky.

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Gentle Reader Questions Answered: Mailbag Time!

Gentle Readers, having just attended another fabulous At-Home (veggie chili edition), The Practical Cook is inspired and ready for a slew of new posts in 2012. However, we must tend to the end of year business, so let’s close out with answers to a few lingering questions, and a share on some suggestions received.

Smile, You've Got Simplified French Toast

Smile, You've Got Simplified French Toast

Without further delay, Gentle Readers, take it away:

1. Brussels Sprouts Recipe for Haters. Lots of feedback on this one, including a great reader picture of the little veggie that could. Both RockStar and Tri-Awesome (photo credit) added a bit of chopped shallot to this recipe, an addition I’ll make the next go round. Tri-Awesome also swapped in pancetta for bacon, the recipe will flex to meet you! And they ate them, and they liked them. Resolve to try some new veggies people, give them a chance.

Brussels Sprouts for Haters, as Made by a Gentle Reader!

Brussels Sprouts for Haters, as Made by a Gentle Reader!

2. Pork Chops. My friend Blended Familia asked for guidance beyond Shake-N-Bake. A few things there, first being, you can re-create the texture with bread crumbs and dried herbs (thyme, sage, black pepper come to mind). Second, depending on the thickness of the chop, pan-fry or roast and use a fruit conserve as the topping. If you’ve got an interesting jam in your fridge, that will do it, mix it with something spicy for kick, or balsamic for balance. Simplicity and avoid overcooking: that’s the key with pork chops. Will do a full blog on chops in 2012.

Awesome preserves from my cousin (thank you). You'll see these in the test kitchen soon.

Awesome preserves from my cousin (thank you). You'll see these in the test kitchen soon.

3. Fave Ingredient of 2011. This question comes from CptCranky. The answer is bacon. A review of the tapes indicates a borderline obsession with the pig, but having just read this awesome NYT article on Southern Farming, I am justified. For the veggies out there, one can often sub Parmesan if you need salt, pecans if you need crunch, or a rich olive oil or butter if you need tasty fat.

When in doubt: bacon is the answer.

When in doubt: bacon is the answer.

Looking forward to lots more Q and A in the new year. Keep those questions and photos coming. I’ll be here cooking, researching, and chasing you down to photograph your food. What has been your favorite ingredient of 2011?

Send questions, answers, deep thoughts, and blog requests for 2012 to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Up next, New Year’s Resolutions: In the Kitchen and Beyond!

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Filed under Can this supper be saved?, Kitchen Philosophy