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Everything posted by wnissen

  1. wnissen

    foil pack cooking

    A second on the fish. Salmon, skin down and topped with salt, pepper, aromatic herbs of your choice, and lemon slices, will steam/roast really well in foil. If you're doing this hours in advance, you might not want to use acidic liquids like wine or lemon juice, because of the reactivity of foil. Walt
  2. Looks like some great stuff from the market! I planted really late, so my tomatoes are still green as well. I'm looking forward to see what you'll do with the long beans and the rest of the blog. Any culinary background to share? Walt
  3. wnissen

    A mead brewing project

    Carolyn, Try Beer, Beer, and More Beer, they have the White Labs sweet mead yeast for sale and they ship if you can't make it down to Concord. You can't go wrong with a White Labs strain. I think your winemaker is right about the lees. That yeast is tired, having gone a long time without oxygen and nutrients. Typically when re-using yeast, you take some of the actively fermenting wort/must, which has vigorous yeast in it. The other option is to make a starter using yeast nutrient and some kind of sugar, and get those yeasties back to full strength. But by far the easiest is to just get a live commercial starter. Walt
  4. Kriss, That's great that you were able to discover it so quickly! My wife and I go on a bike ride every Sunday, and we always stop off and go out to breakfast. After roughly forty breakfasts, we finally noticed the Railroad Cafe, and tried it. Yum. Just for the record, besides the IHOP (one of the better ones), the other decent places to go are Emil Villa's and Mimi's Cafe in Pleasanton. Except for the tacquerias, which we haven't visited, we've tried every other place that serves breakfast in Livermore. Good eye Kriss!
  5. Carolyn, Pardon my off-topic comment, but you and have both put "Charles" into chefs names recently (it's Ron Siegel, and Nam Pham). I wonder if it's some kind of foodie disorder... Walt
  6. Y'all amaze me. My last three: Railroad Cafe (one of the few decent places for breakfast in Livermore) International House of Pancakes (Livermore again) Mountain Mike's Pizza (Livermore) We don't get out much.
  7. I haven't tried this, and can't vouch for the quality of the scale, but www.stamps.com is giving away free 5 lb. scales that measure in 0.1 oz. increments. See this page for a picture and brief description. Of course, the catch is you have to sign up for a free printable postage trial and pay S&H. Seems like a pretty good deal to me, but caveat emptor. Walt
  8. wnissen

    Homebrewing Question

    Hey, that's great. One tip for next time is to set aside a small plastic soda bottle and fill it with beer. Then you can tell by squeezing whether the beer has carbonated. Walt
  9. See this chart from Hormel, which shows approximate percentages. A thirty minute simmer will remove 65% of the alcohol. A reduction would probably remove 99%. This is all highly dependent on pan size, etc. But if you're simmering I wouldn't count the full value. Walt
  10. What kind are you gonna get, huh, huh, huh? I don't know! Isn't it great? Seriously, whatever two pounds Rancho Gordo will sell her is what I'm going to get. I'm just curious to try them, so I'll be happy regardless. Walt P.S. I've found that as long as I stand further from the stove, cooking in the nude is not as painful. Maybe I should start using the barbecque implements.
  11. Gaah, I read the headline "Slanted Door chef comes to Napa" and somehow put "Charles" in for "Nam." Way to give myself a heart attack. Phew. Walt
  12. What!? Does this mean he's leaving SD? My wife never got to go, and she is gonna kill me! Walt
  13. Yes, the wonderful and helpful jschyun has graciously offered to get me my bean fix. Thanks!
  14. Is anyone going to the eGullet potluck also going to be at the market? I won't be getting into town early enough to visit El Otro Gordo, but have really been jonesing to try the beans. PM or reply if anyone is willing to be a dear and pick up some beans for me. Thanks, Walt
  15. Gosh, Carolyn, when I tasted the Ladera I didn't detect any points at all. Actually, just the opposite. Very lush, ripe, and smooth. And lots and lots of fruit. Way outta my price range, but a good drop. Actually, I tried the 2000, so I bet the 2001 is very, very good. Congratulations. Walt
  16. I grew up in Maryland, which has lots of forests, but I was still blown away by Muir Woods, despite the large numbers of people. The coast to the north and south can be stunning (Point Lobos is incredible) but nothing beats the forest, and you won't be in the car all day. If you actually like being in the car, you might make it to see sequoias... Walt
  17. wnissen

    Homebrewing Question

    Yes, it will take the same amount of sugar. Depending on the yeast and temperature, it can take up to two weeks to carbonate, but a warm room temperature should reach full pressure in a week or so. More age is nice, but I know the feeling. My second batch ever (first full 5 gal batch) was intended for my best friend's bachelor party. I had to force carbonate it (only takes a few days) in order to have it ready by the party. You've got plenty of time if you prime now. Walt
  18. wnissen

    Homebrewing Question

    Wait, I just re-read your post. The brew show gave you a kit with no sugar in it? Unless they were assuming you would force carbonate with a draft setup, or reserve some of the malt for carbonation, they made a pretty big boo-boo. I think they should provide you with the tabs and the new caps you'll need. And tell them to lay off the product when assembling kits! You have the procedure right, just pry off the cap and put in the sugar. However you want to get 2.3 grams of sugar in there is your choice. You will probably need new caps, although maybe if you're careful you could re-use them. There's no need to stir, if you want to speed things up give the bottles a shake for a few moments after the sugar has dissolved, to mix it and promote carbonation. Good luck! Walt
  19. wnissen

    Homebrewing Question

    You might get a tiny bit of fermentation, especially if you leave it in a warm place. However, you basically have flat beer, sorry to say. At this point, since you can't mix in the sugar, I would recommend Prime Tabs, which avoid the need to carefully measure sugar in liquid or solid form. You'll have to recap everything, but it won't be nearly as big a deal as redoing the bottling. Adding corn sugar now, even carefully measured in a teaspoon, will give uneven carbonation. If you do decide to add the sugar, remember that the carbonation generated by 4 oz. of corn sugar is slightly less than that from 4 oz. cane sugar (the regular kitchen stuff). See this chart for more information. Hope this helps. Walt [Edit to add about cane sugar]
  20. I decided to make Supremes du volaille a blanc from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. I, which is chicken breasts poached in butter in the oven, topped with a sauce of port and cream. Simplicity itself. I made a half recipe, which is two breasts (one whole breast). Take a flameproof casserole dish the size of your breasts, and cut a piece of wax paper to fit it. Melt 2T butter over medium heat until it foams, then roll the salted and peppered breasts in the butter quickly. Place the wax paper on top, and stick in a 400F/200C oven for about six minutes. This six minutes is the perfect time period to fix yourself a martini, like Julia might have done: Tanqueray Ten and Noilly Prat make cooking fun! When the breasts stop being soft and begin to spring back, they are done. I think Julia's recipe is written for smaller breasts, so it usually takes about ten minutes for me. Remove them to a plate and keep warm. Add 1/8 cup (30mL) stock, 1/8 cup (30mL) port (I find a cheap California "tawny" actually works extremely well, better than genuine LBV), and boil over high heat till syrupy. Then, add 1/2 cup heavy cream (120mL). Yes, I couldn't believe that number either. Typically I double the port and stock and halve the cream, but this was for Julia, so I did it by the book. Cook for a minute or two until the cream is thickened (don't forget to incorporate any juices given off by the chicken). Spoon the now luxuriously thick and slightly pink sauce over the breast and serve: I served this with a shredded cabbage and half a chopped onion, sauteed in 2T butter and then baked uncovered at 400F/200C for twenty minutes with 2/3 cup (150mL) stock and 1 tsp. paprika. That recipe was loosely adapted from Joy of Cooking, and originally called for 1/2 cup sour cream and 1/4 tsp. paprika! The accompanying wine was 2003 Gundlach-Bundschu Estate Gewurztraminer (Sonoma Valley, California) $22, 13.5% alcohol, 0.45% residual sugar. (Hi, Carolyn!) This fresh, floral, and grassy Gewurtz is varietally correct and just a bottled ray of sunshine. The off-dry character makes it a very good match with slightly sweet sauces. I like it a lot. This meal was very satisfying, simple but using good techniques such as poaching, reducing, sauteeing, boiling cream, and butter. Well, I guess butter isn't really a technique. It's more of a lifestyle. Anyway, the ingredients were easy to find, and were made into something more than themselves. I cook plenty in the California minimalist school too, but I really felt in touch with what Julia was trying to do. If only I could have managed not to slightly overcook the chicken... :) We miss you, Julia. Walt
  21. For those of you reading along at home, the amended bill would do the following things: Bans the force feeding of animals to produce foie gras, starting in 2012. New to the bill is an immediate ban on any company not already producing foie gras from ever producing it! That's right, if I force fed a duck in my own backyard, I could be fined $1000. Bans the sale of foie gras in California. You could still bring your own foie gras non-commercially, so it looks like for me foie gras is about to become like raw-milk cheese. My representative, even though I sent him a strongly worded letter, still voted for the bill. Ass. Walt [edit to add immediate]
  22. You could mix this stuff with Blavod and have a pitch black sugar, caffeine, and alcohol mixed drink!
  23. Am I the only one to be embarrassed that the thought of insects is repulsive to me? I know that it's just a cultural thing, and that insects probably taste pretty good. I even have a worm (maggot?) in a tequila-flavored lollipop, that I'm sure would be good to eat. But I just can't bring myself to try it. I know this sounds silly, but I've never met a shrimp I wouldn't eat, so why not other arthropods?
  24. Robyn, Are you looking for long-term storage or to keep stuff at serving temperature? 40F in the winter is probably on the cool end of reasonable for cellaring, and almost no wine units include a heater. Walt
  25. I don't really have access to great French or English dictionaries, so I was wondering whether gourmet and gourmand have come to mean the same thing in French as well as in English. Specifically, would a literal translation of "L'Ecole des Trois Gourmandes" be "The School of the Three Gluttons"? Or would it be more appropriate to keep gourmand as a legitimate word in English? Any input would be appreciated. Thanks. Edit to close my dang tags.
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