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Recently, over in the Pastry & Baking forum, @Hassouni asked a question about the best flour to use to make a traditional Lebanese bread.  I have no experience with the breads he asked about but I want to thank him for starting the thread.  Like many eGullet topics, it led me to want to learn more about something I knew absolutely nothing about.  First, I watched a number of Anthony Rahayel videos like the one he linked to (الترويقة اللبنانية الشهية : مناقيش عالصاج) and this one, MANOUSHE: Lebanese World Renowned Traditional Breakfast.  
Of course I couldn't understand them and a search took me to this cookbook,  Man'oushé, Inside the Lebanese Street Corner Bakery by Barbara Abdeni Massaad.  It's not new, I think it was originally published in 2009.  The author also wrote Mouneh: Preserving Foods for the Lebanese Pantry and Soup for Syria: Recipes to Celebrate our Shared Humanity.  I haven't tried to cook from this book so I can't speak to how well the recipes work, but I feel like I've spent time visiting many towns in Lebanon, meeting the people and learning about the breads as the author did for this project.  The soft-bound version was $16 when I ordered it, which I thought was very fair for this large, photo-filled book.  I generally hate it when people review a cookbook without cooking from it but I think this is a lovely book and I wanted to mention it here in case anyone else is interested. Instructions are provided for both traditional methods and a conventional oven or stove-top skillets so I should be able to try some of them.  I'll come back and update this when I do.
Sadly, there's no look-inside feature for this book on Amazon, so I'm sharing a couple of photos to give you an idea of the book.  
I most likely will NOT choose as my first recipe from the book this paper-thin bread that's stretched on a cushion and baked on a convex saj.

Something like these flat breads may be more within my reach:

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Today's breakfast back in the cheap seats. LA - London on American.

Everything was icy cold, as was I 
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Today's breakfast back in the cheap seats. LA - London on American.

Everything was icy cold, as was I 
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I've been on a bread making craze for a few months now.  But I have to admit, I'm a cheat, a novice and no where near all of your expertise level of making bread.  A cheat I suppose because I started by using the artisan bread no knead bake in a dutch oven derivation.  But I have made modifications along the way.  Yet I'm still searching for the proper "inner bread hole" mystery.  In any case, fresh out of the oven this afternoon....
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Cream cheese, herring, red onions and capers....and a bit of Scandinavian attitude.
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I make yoghurt every week using just a jar, a few spoons of (any) yoghurt, and a thermometer. No oven, no blanket, no yoghurt-maker, no special starter needed. Here's how I do it:
1. Bring milk to the boil, then remove from the stove as soon as it starts to rise. I use ordinary supermarket milk.

2. As milk cools, a skin will form. I skim it off when I'm ready to add the yoghurt.

3. I wait for the temperature to drop to 49 degrees Celsius (140 F).

4. I add this much yoghurt to a jar. I used to measure how many spoons, but now I just eyeball it to be about this much.

5. I skim off the skin that formed in the cooled milk.
6. I scoop/pour some of the boiled milk to mix with the starter and mix it thoroughly. Don't skip this step or your starter might not mix properly.

7. Pour the mixed starter into the pot of milk and stir gently to blend the starter into the milk. Don't stir much or vigorously or the milk will cool down too far.

8. Pour it all back into the jar. Put on the lid, store out of sunlight for 8 hours.

9. Tilt the jar. If it's formed into yoghurt, there will be no sliding. If it's runny, then something has gone wrong (usually the milk was too hot or too cold when the starter was added). Refrigerate for about 8 hours before using, because this will thicken it up further and improve the taste.

10. Yoghurt has formed for eating.
- Homemade yoghurt tastes better because it's fresher and less sour (yoghurt sours with age). But the texture isn't as creamy or firm, and after 7 days it develops an off-smell and starts tasting worse. So it makes sense only if you regularly consume it because it lacks preservatives and additives of commercial yoghurt.
- I used to use an oven to keep the jar warm to incubate it, but later realised it didn't make a difference.
- I usually make it late at night and refrigerate it when I wake up.
- Once you've done it a few times it becomes a routine and second-nature.
- A thermometer isn't essential but it makes it far more convenient than the traditional finger-in-the-pot method to guess the temperature.
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I've come to the realisation that I prefer meringue to be unbrowned and brilliant white.  Somehow, the caramel/Maillard notes just don't seem to work as well, especially with fruit.
I have a sneaking suspicion that browning meringues isn't about flavour or presentation.  I believe, deep down, that pastry cooks just really like playing with blowtorches.
So here  it is, an unashamedly white lemon meringue tart

Pâte sucrée
Lemon confit
Lemon curd
Italian meringue
Candied citron
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My Lime Bush continues to branch out!

And my Pomegranate tree also survived the winter and is looking better than ever!

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I bought this almost a year ago frozen, i had it in my deep freezer for almost a year. Did a fast ice water thaw and used my go to chicken wing breading. These were very similar to frog legs, but more tender and juicy. 
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Sunday, roasted rack of lamb with twice baked potato, cauliflower cheese, and spinach

Last night, a quick stir fry to use up all the bits of vegetables, leftover rice, and chicken I found in my fridge
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This has to be my most heart-breaking epic fail in a long time.

That is suppose to be consomme. It cost me $40 in ingredients and two days to make.
And it still doesn't taste as good as Better Than Bouillon, which I can buy for $6 a jar at Costco.
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Spinach Bhajias (p. 17)
I made two errors when making this recipe: first, I added the water too quickly when making the batter so wound up with too much of it. This meant I had to then add more chickpea flour, which made these a bit doughier than they were supposed to be. Second, I used a scoop to form them, which did not leave the edges ragged enough. They are supposed to be rough around the edges, which then get crispy when fried, but mine were too smooth and neat. That said, the taste overall was good, particularly dipped in the tamarind chutney she suggests.

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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 ...