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Everything posted by Tess

  1. Michelle, what is that vegetable on the upper left? I think pounding makes a big difference. I used to pound them, rub them with calvados and let them sit for a while before lightly flouring and sauteeing in butter. It has to be good chicken though; the supermarket stuff has a very strange taste, to me.
  2. Tess

    Z Kitchen

    Is Duke still a hotbed of abstruse literary theory? I can't help thinking those people would love your cuisine. (Not that I think you food looks like theory without substance or anything-- to me, it looks delicious. But it is intellectual food.)
  3. Tess

    Top Chef

    Coolness! Hopefulll, Padma Lakshmi will do a good job. She's always sounded like she was amusing.
  4. I think mashed potatoes is a really good example of the idea that things need to be salted at various stages in the cooking. I seem to recall that Calvin Trillin wrote about this in an essay which appeared in the New Yorker ages ago. If you don't use salt in the water when you boil starches, you can't make it up by throwing salt into the dish later. Definitely true with pasta. As well as starches, it's true with some meats. In otherwise decent restaurants, I do occasionally encounter a sauce that seems way too salty. I suspect the culprit is some kind of commercially prepared stock or "demi-glace" that may have been thrown in out of desperation.
  5. Where I live, the alternative to the farmers markets is Whole Foods or the international markets. The prices at the farmers markets are nearly always better, as is the quality and selection. I'm not about to hasten the demise of someone like the local cherry farmer. (These people are a treasure. I can't even get sour cherries at WF or the fresh markets.) So I gladly pay full price. They will quite often knock the price down for quantity or say, "You know what, just take the rest of the squash before it wilts." I make sure to buy from that person again the next time.
  6. I think it's all about editing. You don't want to make Anthony Bourdain sound like Mr. Rogers; on the other hand a single "f***" in print has more of an effect than a fleeting f*** said with a certain lilt, and three of them in a row is going to read like an awful lot.
  7. To me, a warning would be terrible overkill if it's just a single incidence of the f-word. The rest is a matter of taste, but I think you should edit quotations according to your overall style, e.g. if "fuck" would be very jarring to the expectations the house style and/or the style of the article raises, use f*** or something. The overall goal is readability. If you are quoting someone who uses expletives in every sentence, I don't think you have to reproduce all of those faithfully any more than you have to represent regional accents by writing out words phonetically, or preserve every grammatical mistake. You should probably indicate that they speak with profanities (or whatever), but there are ways and ways of doing it.
  8. Tess

    Early Dinner

    Yes, and I think that if you do eat out fairly often, you develop a sense of when a restaurant is struggling a little because of the time or day of the week-- as opposed to when it wouldn't be better even if you came at a more opportune time. I was recently at a local place on a Saturday at 8, and the service wasn't as good as we get on a Thursday. The manager apologized for some delay and we said, "We understand it's a busy time." He replied, "If I'm no good to you on Saturday, I'm no good period," or something to that effect. If that had been my first time I would not have been too excited with the service, but I would have given them another chance because it was obvious what was happening.
  9. No slam against this author-- the book may turn out fine-- but I've yet to read a book based on a blog that didn't suffer from the transition, in my opinion. I'd love to hear of some examples that people think are really good.
  10. This time of year, I add small fresh blueberries at a late stage of cooking making sure they get hot but not too squishy. Tastes like blueberry pancakes.
  11. I buy curry-flavored HP sauce and put it on everything. It's great to dip potato chips (crisps) into.
  12. Tess


    Wow, this is a great thread. I just want to add a recommendation for electrolytes and especially more salt than you would normally use. If you are having trouble keeping food down and your weight and hydration up, even a can of Campbell's soup can make you feel better for a while.
  13. Yeah, but "I hate lobster" followed by "I hate ice cream"-- what's next, "I hate hot dogs and cotton candy?" They don't call it the silly season for nothing, I guess.
  14. I think at the prices Cheesecake Factory commands, combined with the whole wait-time fiasco, they can take a little knocking. Anyway, I've eaten meals there a couple of times now, and seen numerous appetizers consumed, and I think they're awful. Miso salmon clearly had not been allowed to sit in miso for any length of time, in fact miso could barely be detected in the dish. It was not a good piece of fish either. That suggests to me that what one would fear with a menu that long-- too many different things to do them well-- is at least partly true. What CF and PF Chang's do have is a nice bar to sit in and some decent cocktails, and the people who work in the bars are usually nice and professional. If you are stuck in a mall somewhere, not a bad place to cool your heels. That may be disappearing, though, as people figure out the bar is the quickest place to eat.
  15. That tuna roll at JoJo does look good. How do they do that-- it must be an assembly job?
  16. Put them in jars, cover them with brandy, wait a few months.
  17. I find it interesting that the only things you see Olestra in are a few brands of chips. I wish I could recall what else Steingarten used it for. I have eaten Lay's chips with Olestra by accident and thought they tasted strange and they left my mouth feeling unpleasantly greasy. (Is was the off taste and texture that made me look at the label.) They didn't give me any side effects but they didn't seem worth eating. On the other hand, I don't really like the originals of those chips either. I'll stick with Stacey's Soy Chips. Sugar alcohol is just gross and it also tastes funny. I have an older relative who puts "diet" ice cream and hot fudge sauce with those alcohols out for dessert every night. I always feel like warning the other guests of what might happen if they eat a bowel-- excuse me, a bowl-- of that stuff. It's strange about diet food. Lots of people I know who diet hate most diet foods but have a small handful that they use. I will confess to Weight Watchers ice cream pops, but no other WW product. A couple of low-fat cheeses. Also, the secret-formula low-fat mayonnaise the Foodstuffs chain uses in their salads. And I don't even like mayonnaise. Sometimes you just go a little crazy when you're dieting.
  18. I'm on Weight Watchers and they give you a points count for alcoholic drinks. The only ones I avoid completely are the ones with sugary mixes or cream or both. I'm with mizducky; you should have what you enjoy. People tell me that red wine is more fattening than white or champagne; however, I can be happy with less red wine. If I just wanted the biggest alchoholic bang for my buck, though, I'd go with hard liquor. Alternatively, drink whatever, whenever, chain smoke and don't eat. Works for a lot of my relatives.
  19. Several years back, Jeffrey Steingarten had an article in (I'm pretty sure) Vogue about cooking at home with olestra. At the time, olestra was hard to procure. I don't know how useful this will be if you're actually planning to experiment but the article was fascinating at a time when olestra was very controversial.
  20. I seem to remember another discussion on here where it was suggested that hospitals don't figure on the average person being around long enough for the food to matter much. Or at least that that has been given as an excuse. I was unbelievably frustrated when a family member was being treated for cancer in various hospitals and was told to gain weight. He was a fairly big guy and I couldn't imagine him gaining a pound on the stuff they were feeding him. He had a refrigerator full of Ensure in his room but that is really gross, especially if you have to drink a lot of it. I started bringing in a meal a day from restaurants. Nice if you can afford it, or if you have a kitchen nearby and can cook. When I shared the hospital meals, I really noticed a lack of salt although we had not ordered a sodium-restricted diet. I'll definitely be bringing my own salt to any further hospital stays, although sprinkling it on is no substitute for cooking with it.
  21. To be perfectly safe, I would either hand him an envelope with cash for the tip or else stop by the restaurant and give the host or whoever the money. Probably the envelope thing is easier and it does set him an example to be sure and tip.
  22. The only surefire way I have found is to wait until bill + tip has been paid by everyone and then just throw a bit more in in cash. Which means you have to have cash on hand in various denominations. Some people will see you do that and either object or try to recalculate their share but you can say, "I wanted to throw in something extra/bring the tip to 20%/whatever." With certain family members we always have to hang behind and leave more or hand more to someone to avoid either a recalculation or an earful about overtipping.
  23. Do you mean, does it fulfill your hopes when it somes to something called "melded cuisine" or what "melded cuisine" should be? Or do you mean, does its offerings-- which they call "melded cuisine?-- fulfill your dining expectations? In terms of what "melded cuisine" should be, well, to judge from the expectations set forth in the article, in my opinion, no. They seem to think the miso salmon is some kind of affordable or user-friendly version of the real thing. The real thing is not a challenging dish for an American who likes fish anyway, and the Cheescake version was not even really miso-glazed when I had it. Plus it was awful tasteless fish. If people don't want to go to Nobu or make the recipe at home (or buy it prefab at Mitsuwa vel sim) they can get the misoyaki butterfish at Roy's. This dish is like seared tuna; it's everywhere and having a training wheels version that's inferior is just silly.
  24. Heh. And the one time I had the CF salmon, it was not really miso-glazed. In fact, if that was what I thought the dish was like, I would never want to get it again. It was this big old honking piece of salmon with maybe a bit of a miso taste to it. Maybe poor execution that day, but just a few lines down in that article they are talking about "consistency" versus "creativity."
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