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My chocolate room fridge - held together by magnets of many sorts!


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My first-ever attempt at ramen was a fun, creative yet challenging adventure and I'd say for a rookie attempt the final dish was, shall we say, given a passing grade.  Like a B-. 

From a visual standpoint and the contrasting tastes and textures, it was a good dish, but the broth lacked flavor.  The noodles didn't really soak up much taste of the lipid broth.  I brushed the salmon with Chinese dark soy sauce and it was delicious, but probably would have been better as a stand alone along with some rice.  Yet it was a good starting point and along with what I've learned from you so far, I'm confident my next ramen dish will be better. 


I bought fresh, frozen and dried noodles at the Asian market earlier in the week, all teetering on the definition of "ramen noodles."  For this dish I chose these dried noodles-


Granted, they are "Japanese Style" noodles made in Taiwan, but I'm finding a lot of noodles labeled as "ramen" can be misleading-


So it's labeled as Chuka-Soba, Japanese Style Noodle, but can be used in both Ramen and Yaki Soba dishes. The noodles were made with wheat flour, cornstarch, salt,

soybean oil, potassium carbonate and yellow coloring-


I suppose you could call the garnishes I chose as spanning the globe, not exclusively Japanese.  From the upper left to right: pickled lettuce from Fujian China,

lemon zest, pea shoots from California, green onion and pickled radish, (takuwan), from Hawaii.  We haven't seen the start of the Spring salmon fishery in the Pacific Northwest, so I bought farm-raised salmon which was actually quite delicious and moist-


The noodles after boiling for about 4 minutes-


With the miso-dashi broth-


After broiling, I seasoned the salmon with Japanese togarashi spices, seasame oil, Chinese peppercorn chile oil and mustard seed oil made in Mumbai-


Miso soup is delicate in my taste view, and so I think ramen needs a more hearty broth like some of you have shown us.  I'll work on the broth next time and choose some different garnishes, probably cut way back on the portion of the meat or seafood.  It was a good, Asian noodle soup dish but I've got work to do.
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I myself am partial to the old fashioned crinkle cut fries.  They remind me of my childhood when pretty much any hamburger joint served them but only a few places in town now do so.  For years I was on a quest to find a fancy cutter for crinkle cut fries, but settled on an inexpensive hand held cutter.  I like how the crinkle fries have ripples and the higher edges get more crispy.  I do like regular French fries, curly fries not so much and thick cut, so-so.  But if you're up to it as I am on occasion, fry your potatoes in beef tallow, (like McDonald's did for years).  I guess you've all just inspired me to make some crinkle fries!
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Nice looking burgers, Nullo, Kristen, and Marlene!
We had Marlene burgers tonight. We have a birthday party this weekend, and I wanted to try these out. I used a little more S and P than called for. I eyeballed the the peanut butter, so I may have used too little, but the taste was very faint, s carcel;y detectable. I probably wouldn't have noticed it at all if I hadnt known it was in there. I skipped the pre-grill chill, but the burgers still held together just fine on the grill. Overall I think these were great burgers. Thanks for the recipe, Marlene!

A quick make-over. Piece of cake.
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Host's note: this discussion was split from the Instant Pot. Multi-function cooker (Part 5) topic.
I do make good gravy if I don't say so m'self  but I brought back Ahh Bisto gravy mix from England...just add granules to boiling water and some of the meat juices, stir and crazy delicious gravy in about 30 seconds!
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First of all - just wanted to say I am extremely jealous of some of the choices you American's get as far as booze goes.  Here in Canada - we can only get what our Liquor commission decides to sell - and we pay a hefty premium
I made a new drink for my sister "The Pink Lady"
I also really need to get some nice swizzle sticks, and cocktail cherries...haha
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Lamb shanks on polenta with carrots and peas.
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I realise that few in this international community will visit North Yorkshire but if members do find themselves in this part of England and are looking for somewhere to eat I would recommend the Crathorne Arms, website here: http://www.thecrathornearms.co.uk/
The establishment is managed by Eugene McCoy, his family have owned and or managed a number of excellent restaurants, the Tontine is perhaps the best known although the McCoys are no longer involved.  The company that now owns the Tontine has recently spent a small fortune on a refit and the place is now marketed as a boutique hotel.  I’m not sure what qualifies a hotel as ‘boutique’ but it will be interesting to see if the restaurant reflects the excellence we enjoyed when the McCoys were there.
The ambience at the Crathorne Arms is warm and welcoming.  They offer an option of fixed price menus alongside their full menu.  The seafood pancake starter has been served, I think, at all McCoy establishments.  In my view it is worth a visit to Crathorne just for that!  Last time we ate there I had beef wellington and my husband enjoyed classic steak in pepper sauce.  Service is always with a smile.  There are live music nights from time to time and in summer there are tables outside.
Crathorne is a small village but it includes Crathorne Hall, a much larger hotel/restaurant.  Web searches can result in confusion!  I haven’t eaten at the Hall in recent years but we won a luxury weekend stay there around 20 years ago.  Food was included, management hadn’t been to,d whether wine was also a part of the prize.  They kindly decided that it was.  We live less than 10 minutes from Crathorne so it was handy to go home each day to feed the cats!  It was also great that we could both enjoy a couple of glasses of wine with dinner knowing that neither of us would need to drive home.
I rarely recommend places because of course everyone’s tastes are individual to them.  I have made this exception because we have never been in any way disappointed with food eaten at the Crathorne Arms
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They don't usually change according to which zodiac sign it is this time. Chinese New Year dinners vary throughout the country in line with the regional differences, but there are some which are more or less universal.
Most of these are laden with significance and superstition. Here are a few.
Jiaozi 饺子 (jiǎo zi)
Many dumplings are considered to resemble money bags and therefore are a lucky omen for the upcoming year. Jiaozi, however are thought to resemble ancient Chinese gold or silver ingots and are by far the most common. Originally from the far north-east, they are now universal.

Fish 鱼 yú

Considered lucky as the word for fish (鱼 yú) is pronounced exactly the same as 余 yú meaning 'surplus'  or almost exactly  the same (only the tone differs) as 裕 yù, meaning 'abundance'. The fish is usually served whole to signify family unity.

Pork 猪肉 zhū ròu
Pork, as I'm sure people know is the default meat in most of China. It is usually served in some form as New Year meals. Again, it is symbolic of wealth and abundance. How it is served is highly variable.  Cured pork and pork sausages are a common New Year food.



A popular New Year pork dish here where I am is 扣肉 kòu ròu, deep fried pork belly slices placed in a bowl with sliced taro between each slice then steamed. When ready the  bowl is turned upside down to present the food like a dome.  '扣 kòu means upside down bowl'.

扣肉 kòu ròu
Chicken 鸡 jī
Again, although chicken is usually served, there are huge regional variations as to exactly how. Popular here in the south is 白切鸡 bái qiē jī - white cut chicken, which is a whole chicken poached in water, then cut for presentation. This is originally a Cantonese dish. Other regions will have their own favourites.

Noodles 面条 miàn tiáo
Noodles represent longevity, something very much to be wished for in Chinese culture more than perhaps in others. Again, what type of noodle dish is is variable. Long noodles are preferred, for obvious reasons. Never cut your noodles!

New Year Cake 年糕 nián gāo

These are made from glutinous rice with various sweet flavourings, most importantly sugar. Again they vary a lot depending on location. Here is a local version.

Finally, I ought to mention 汤圆  tāng yuán, sweet balls of glutinous rice, served in a hot, thin syrup. I don't have a picture as I can't stand them. I don't like sweet food much and I hate their texture and stickiness.

Please remember, these are only the more common dishes or ingredients served. The variation across the country is  huge.
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We also had dinner at the Flying Fish at Disney's Boardwalk Hotel.  This was my favorite meal.
Salad with figs and jamon iberico

cheese plate

Tuna with compressed watermelon

Pork belly with quail egg

Scallops with grits and romanesco sauce

Grouper with baby vegetables

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I seem to have taken on a great many baking projects lately. Today’s effort was decorated cutout cookies (Stella Parks’ recipes for both cookies and royal icing) for a colleague’s baby shower this week. This is only my second attempt at royal icing, so I am pretty happy with the result.
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That's $30/ lb.  I pay roughly $20/lb for Stumptown or Toby's Estate. And that seems like a pretty crazy price to me ... it's high enough that I really just drink it on the weekends.
But I'd be happy to come sample the Norwegian coffee any time ...

@Anna N Your Brutti ma Buoni looks quite different then the version I'm familiar with, which I guess is a good thing  Anyway, yours seems great, I'll need to make those. My to-do list is always growing faster than I can cook from it.
Glazed strawberries with pepper. Cream of almonds and bitter almonds. Ricotta with vanilla and honey. Crispy crumble with aniseed. Mint.
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kitchen shears , hands down
if you are having trouble , you've for crappy shears
this one is The One :

my unit :

its razor sharp and not expensive.  It has very good leverage .  I wash it by holding one handle while its open and use a kitchen brush and soap
then pat and air dry open in a safe place.
you have the respect its sharpness , but once you do there is nothing like it
this is not the IKEA one to get for cutting chicken :

hover its great for all around kitchen cutting.
I think the above is < 4 USD.   I have these all over the house  I can reach for one of these when ever I want !

when you are using the HeavyDuty one , top picks , on a chicken back , or anything else
Make Sure you know where all of your finger tips are.

Leek and Mushroom Tart

1/3 C Cooked leeks
1/3 C Cooked Chanterelles –cooked in butter/evoo/garlic/white wine/salt/pepper
1/3 C Imported Fontanella –grated
1/3 C Black Italian Kale- sliced thin
1t Italian seasoning
1t white pepper
Dash of salt
8 eggs –beaten
¼ Heavy Crème


Mix all together pour in a buttered glass pie pan, cook 325 convection for 25 mins, shut oven and continue to bake 8 mins. Cool and slice.  Add Franks Hot sauce

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Considering all the "fun stuff" you use in making coffee ice cream, have you ever experimented with something as simplistic as Medaglia d'Oro instant coffee as a flavor booster?
Or a coffee liqueur?
With all due respect, you understand, all these steps necessary in preparing what must be delicious coffee ice cream (my fave) wold send me rushing to the nearest ice cream shoppe for a pint of their's! Or Il Lab...

Chocolate babka.
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Here's the spread: homemade Japchae, bulgogi, salted daichon with raw oysters (I never make this except for special occasions but it's traditional), red leaf lettuce and perilla leaves. It doesn't look like much but that is the culmination of three hours of work.
You eat ssam by tearing a piece of lettuce, then adding a perilla leaf. Next you slather some dangjang or chochujang (traditional korean pastes) and layer with rice and your choice of meat. Lastly you put the whole thing in your mouth like a taco.
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I was in my local supermarket earlier, looking for a type of pickled vegetable I wanted. They didn't have it, but I spotted this which made me titter.

Definitely winner of the "Useless Information" Oscar 2018. I'm in China! Everything is eaten with rice! Even rice is eaten with rice!
Then I noticed this.

Got to be better than tasteless vegetables.
Neither of them take your fancy? Try this.

I checked out the ingredients list on the back of each pack. They are identical. Yet the one for Tasty Vegetable  is a smidgeon less expensive. It takes less ink to write  "Tasty vegetable", I suppose.

No, I didn't buy any of them.
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Platter for two.  Lobster with Ginger, Garlic and Black Bean sauce. 
I still had four lobster tails in the freezer from New Years.   
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I made the pork schnitzel from Samin Nosrat's Salt Fat Acid Heat, which she fries in clarified butter.   The crispy crust on the pork was delightful. I now want to fry all the things in clarified butter.

I served the pork with the Apple Mustard and Charred Cabbage Apple Slaw from Deep Run Roots. The Apple Mustard is a kicked up apple butter and I highly recommend it. The charred cabbage slaw has an interesting mix of flavors and textures but I'm not sure I'd make it again - certainly not for a crowd as it's a bit of a nuisance to char all that cabbage and it doesn't look all that attractive.
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I buy Broadbent ham from Kentucky fairly regularly, chiefly because I'm just buying for two (often for one, as the daughter gets really weird on eating) and they sell packages of pre-sliced ham, which is convenient for me. Yes, it should be refrigerated.
Be advised: It will be VERY salty. It should either be cooked in water, or soaked for a little while before frying. I'm of the soak first, then fry school. I think @Shelby has had success cooking hers in the Instant Pot.

This mornings breakfast will be some coffee and a piece of cheese!
My blog will be different than most, as I won't log everything I eat during the day, that'll bore you to pieces. Rather, I'll report on culinary goldmine that I live in and report of food I've eaten in the past week or so. I also enjoy making cocktails.
This is a picture of a flat white I had at Sambalatte a few days ago. Please ignore the questionable foam art. Is it soft serve ice cream? Is it a pile of poop? I don't know what she was going for?

And here's some almond croissants I had Jean-Philippe Patisserie at the Bellagio. Imho, they are the best almond croissants in the world.
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 Well you’ll get the “reality” version as I don’t have time to tidy up right now. 
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