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The Bay Leaf, scam or scrumptious?

Discussion in 'Food Forum' started by Mild Bill, Jun 6, 2006.

  1. Mild Bill

    Mild Bill Millennium Member

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    Funny to admit, but I've cooked every day for 20 years and I have no idea what contribution
    a Bay Leaf makes...
    I bought a beautiful bag of Turkish Bay Leaves from the online spice house I get stuff from
    and everything...

    I tried chewing on them, wet and dry--- nuthin'...
    The stuff I've made with them has been good, but it a been good anyway maybe...

    I guess I'll have to do a recipe I vaguely remember from a Cook's Illustrated magazine
    a buncha years back...

    They took a baking potato and made 5 deep slices into it and placed a bay leaf into each slice...

    Olive oil, salt and pepper-- and 'wrapped em' up in foll' (Paula Deen)...

    They said the bay leaves did something good...

    I guess I'll have to try that... We'll see...

    :beer:
     
  2. MrsKitty

    MrsKitty

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    Honestly, I can't see as it adds anything. I once grew them and picked fresh off the plant/tree (it was supposed to make a tree if I hadn't killed it) I couldn't tell a difference. Just picked fresh and sampled on it's own wasn't anything I remember.
     

  3. Glockerel

    Glockerel Got Mojo?

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    I soak them in water and alternate them on pork kabobs. They add a nice flavor, but more of a blending type flavor than a pronounced individual taste.
     
  4. Dandapani

    Dandapani

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    Blending flavor, good description!

    I drop a leaf into the water along with the cut up potatoes when I make mashed potatoes. Boil as usual. Remove leaf.
     
  5. 49hudson

    49hudson

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    Mild Bill, the only good bay leaves I know about come from the California Mountain Laurel tree and are not bagged. They are sealed in an air tight container as soon as they are dry.

    Miss Kitty, you are extremely lucky to have eaten a fresh bay leaf with out ill effects. Many people are very allergic to fresh picked bay leaves, which cause paralysis of the vocal cords and internal swelling of the trachea.

    They are usualy used to enhance the flavors of other spices and therefore the blending of flavors is very subtle.

    I did not stay at a Holiday Inn last night, but did one summer semester at UC Berkeley in forestry/botany.
     
  6. MrsKitty

    MrsKitty

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    :shocked: :shocked: :shocked:

    No way?

    I am allergic to EVERYTHING too!

    Guess I should have picked up lottery tickets that day :freak:
     
  7. 49hudson

    49hudson

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    Miss Kitty it may be because it was a small plant rather than a full grown tree.
    I don't know the size or age at which the leaves produce the alkaloids that cause the allergic reaction;however mature trees do cause this reaction.
    It was my professor who informed the class of this reaction. It seems he ate a leaf on a field trip as a grad. student and wound up in an ER and was actually speechless for three days.
    As the saying goes" don't try this at home!".
     
  8. MrsKitty

    MrsKitty

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    The poor thing never stood a chance with me. I guess it was about a foot tall when I killed it. Hopefully that was it.

    It had no taste. That suprised me! Well, sorta green but no real flavor. But I don't really get that much flavor off the dried leaves either. Could be just me?

    Would now be a good time to mention I frequently munch on basil or chocolate mint leaves? :freak:
     
  9. Wulfenite

    Wulfenite The King

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    We've got three huge bay trees in the back yard....This is the first year I bothered to pick and dry any. I just gave away the last of the batch I did in the electric dehydrator, but I've still got a bunch up in the attic that are drying up there....prolly ought to get'em down now.

    Like you said I've never been able to figure out exactly what they add, but I toss them in when the recipe calls for it.... Funny though though, last week I made the best batch of Carnitas I've ever done and I forgot to put in the bay leaf.

    If anybody wants some green bay leaves to dry on their own, speak up and I'll mail you some next time I prune.
     
  10. The Pontificator

    The Pontificator Angry Samoan

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    bay leaves: an essential ingredient in my Cuban black bean recipe.
     
  11. Egyas

    Egyas Troll Hater

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    My wife has 3 dishes that use them. When I cook those dishes, I omit them. NO ONE has ever noticed the difference. ;)
     
  12. amd4me

    amd4me Coffee Snob

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    I cook alot and my good friend is a hotel chef and he told me that they are there to remove harsh and bitter flavors from the food.
    Like a mellower.
     
  13. Dandapani

    Dandapani

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    Another interesting use of a bay leaf is in making a baked potato. Cut the raw potato in half, and put a single bay leaf between the halves. Wrap twine around the two halves to hold the whole thing together. Bake as usual. Discard the bay leaf and serve up the two halves as usual, butter/sour cream/salt/pepper. :rollsmiley:
     
  14. Mild Bill

    Mild Bill Millennium Member

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    Mi amigo, nes tine, try some 'Epazote' para autentico frijoles negros Mexicanos...

    I found a few small wild plants around here, in the brush out behind an out-of-business restaurant...
    Monica and I were doing a liitle nature walk by the pond there and I yelled "EPAZOTE'!
    She hit the dirt--- and I said; "no, it's a Mexican herb"...

    I'll go back soon and pick some since it's been raining here so much...
    Maybe they got bigger...

    Other than delivering a supposed authentic flavor, also supposedly, they magically remove
    the farts from the beans...

    :beer:
     
  15. Dandapani

    Dandapani

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    http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/epazote.htm


    :laughabove: :rollsmiley: :laughabove:
     
  16. Mild Bill

    Mild Bill Millennium Member

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    Ha... It DOES smell like 'tires' when you rub the live leaves, but not when you cook with it...
    And when you just use a little it's not too prounounced---just like anything...

    :beer: