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Everything posted by stevea

  1. Well, I'd have to say that the results of my latest rice noodle experiment were disappointing and frustrating. I tried running hot tap water over the noodles, but they remained brittle and stuck together. I then tried the microwave technique for one minute. I was only able to dislodge bits and pieces of the noodles. I nuked the noodle mass for another minute and the heat had its effect, as the noodles softened but were very hot. Still I was able to separate the individual noodles after much tedious work (about 15 minutes for a pound of noodles). It's worthy of a note here, though perhaps everyone else knows this. A pound of fresh noodles does not equate to a pound of dry rice noodles. Dry has no water, ergo more noodles per pound, D'oh! So with all that work, I really didn't end up with enough noodles. Anyway, I heated the peanut oil in my wok to the smoking point, and dumped in the noodles. After about four seconds, they began sticking and clumping, even with my stir-frying like crazy. To prevent the inevitable congealed mass of rice I knew I would get, I turned off the heat and poured in my already prepared sauce with stir-fried pork and vegetables. Done. The result was good, but the noodles were not what I wanted. The rice noodles themselves were too thin and silky, no better than dry rice noodles and nowhere near the chewy resistance that wide restaurant noodles have. So I remain perplexed. I presume there is some technique improvement that would improve my results, but I don't think the noodles I got were anything like the noodles that every Thai restaurant in Portland seems to be able to get. And I'm sure they don't spend 15 minutes per pound to prepare them for frying. So I still seek the secret of home made Pad Kee Mau and Pad See Ewe noodles.
  2. I bought more noodles today to give it another try. However, I asked the lady at the grocery store how to prepare them so they don't stick or clump together. She told me to microwave the entire package (noodles in a folded block, sitting on styrofoam and wrapped in plastic wrap) for one minute. Then pull apart the noodles and add directly to the already stir-fried vegetables. Anybody heard of or had experience with this technique?
  3. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I will be itching to try out both of your suggestions. Yes trillium, I meant Portland OR. I believe the fresh noodles I bought were similar to what you bought, just my description of them differs. I usually shop at Uwajimaya (if I happen to venture to the west side) or the store on SE Powell (An Dong, I think), which is closer to home. Drunken noodles, from the little I've seen and read, are similar to Pad Kee Mao. That is, wide fresh noodles, stir fried in a spicy hot sauce with a meat, often bean sprouts, red peppers, sometimes an egg at the end, and lots of thai basil. The experts will have to chime in with the specifics because I'm just learning and experimenting at this point.
  4. trillium -- thanks a lot. That could really help. The noodles I last used came from a refrigerated section (I don't know of any stores in Portland that sell them unrefrigerated, but I'll certainly look harder in the future). They were in folded into a block, but presliced, sort of. That is, one big block with serrations where you could break the sections apart. I had wide, relatively thick noodles. I tried to put the noodles in a pot of boiling water for a couple of minutes to loosen or cook them. Then I added them to the wok where the rest of my sauce was cooking. Bad idea!!! So I guess I need to figure out the best way to unstick the refrigerated noodles first. Rinse with hot running water? Cold soak? Hot soak? Then, dry and separate noodles. Next, fry in batches with lots of oil (I'm assuming a half cup or so???) Any suggestions on length of frying? Finally add back in with other ingredients for a final few stirs. Any other advice would be greatly appreciated.
  5. I love Pad Kee Mauw (sp?) and Drunken Noodles in Thai restaurants and I'd like to recreate the dish at home. But whenever I attempt to use fresh rice noodles (purchased refrigerated from the Asian grocery), I end up with a big, fat congealed mess. And dried rice noodles don't achieve the same luscious texture. Does anyone know the proper technique for preparing fresh rice noodles in a stir-fry dish?
  6. Thus my question. Why does a clothes washer remove bacteria from a dish rag when a dishwasher doesn't seem to remove bacteria from a sponge?
  7. Maybe this question was addressed indirectly in some of the earlier posts in this thread, but I don't think my washing machine gets any hotter than my dishwasher (actually, it's probably less hot because the dishwasher has a "heat" setting). So why would a washing machine kill bacteria in a dishrag better than a dishwasher would kill bacteria in a sponge? Is it that the inside of the sponge doesn't get hot enough in dishwasher? We could probably check that. The next time you put your sponge in the dishwasher, take it out just as the final cycle is over and stick it with a meat thermometer. (I haven't done this yet because I just thought of it.) Or is it that the washing machine somehow rinses out the bacteria? If so, one would think just rinsing the sponge would be enough. Just curious.
  8. stevea

    Carrot Tops

    I've seen some Indian recipes (probably Madhur Jaffrey) for greens in which carrot greens (as well as radish greens) were included along with spinach, collards, etc. But I've never tried carrot greens on their own.
  9. stevea


    Since I still had collards coming out of my ears (actually, out of the ground in my garden) and they're predicting frost in Oregon in the next couple of days, I tried the Emeril recipe that mixmaster b recommended. I probably could have gotten 6 pounds of collards out of my garden, but it's amazing how big a pile 3 pounds of raw collards makes, and I just didn't want to clean any more. The recipe made tasty greens (the rice wine vinegar and molasses gave a nice sweet tartness). The beer doesn't add much. But the big problem was getting the greens tender. Cooking them uncovered, as the recipe suggests, just doesn't do it well enough. I cooked them for about two hours (adding liquid as needed) and they were still chewier than I had envisioned. They would have gotten much more tender had I covered the pot initially, cooked the greens until they were appropriately tender, then uncovered and cooked down the liquid. Yes, I could boil the greens first and then saute, but I've heard that the boiling leeches out most of the nutrients and I didn't want to do that.
  10. stevea


    I'm sure you'll get some great replies with detailed recipes, especially from southerners. I'll start off with some things I know. First, definitely remove the stems from the collards. I've found that the easiest way to do this is to hold the stem in one hand, and with the other thumb and forefinger, pull the green from the stalk. After doing a few, you'll quickly develop a technique that works well for you. I usually chop the greens roughly before cooking. There are a couple (maybe more) schools of thought about cooking collards. The traditional southern style calls for long cooking (an hour or so) to make the greens meltingly tender. The greens would be sauteed in a little oil (or bacon), some garlic, perhaps a hot pepper or two. After the greens wilt, add a bit of broth or water. A ham hock could be added during this cooking. Then cover and cook until really tender. At the end, uncover cook down the liquid. A more northern technique would be either to cook the greens in boiling water until just tender, then squeeze out moisture and saute in oil and garlic. Or saute as with southern style but cook only until just tender.
  11. Although I can't add to the authenticity discussion, I do want to thank everyone for all the fried rice info. I had leftover rice in the fridge so I fried it with peanut oil, garlic, a little ham, peas, soy sauce, and an egg at the end. Fantastic lunch! But I am curious about different soy sauces (perhaps this deserves its own thread). When I go to the oriental grocery, there are a dozen different brands, some expensive (the common brands such as Kikkomen) and others cheap. Ingredients lists are all similar (no excess chemicals). So I figured that I should get the brands I've never heard of to get a more authentic flavor. Good idea or bad? I have gotten at least one bad bottle (really oxidized, like bad beer or wine), but others seem OK. Is there a concensus on soy sauce? Do some brands do better with some dishes than others?
  12. With all the greens coming out of my garden these days, I get a lot of use out of: Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison Both have a lot of good ideas. (And you can always throw a little bacon or sausage in if you can't stand not having meat . )
  13. stevea

    Freezing Tomatoes

    Thanks for the info. I'll just leave mine in the freezer and see how they work this winter. I'll have three kinds to try, roasted and peeled, frozen raw, and peeled and heated through. tanabutler -- I'm not familiar with black krim. What kind of tomato is it? Is it a good slicer? Early or late? If you think it's the perfect tomato, it's something I should consider for next year.
  14. stevea

    Freezing Tomatoes

    I planted eight different tomatoes this year. When all had ripe fruit, I picked and labeled one from each and had a tomato tasting, which is great fun. It's very interesting how much difference there is between varieties when you taste them side by side. Of the ones I planted, here is our concensus ranking (from most appealing flavor to least). 1. Moskovich -- The sweetest tomato with a balance of tartness. Not a big producer in my garden, but even my sister-in-law, who hates tomatoes, liked this one. 2. Early Girl -- More tart than the Moskovich. Produces early and often. 3. Siletz -- Subtler but balanced flavor. This was my earliest producer, but slacked off until just the last couple of weeks. 4. Legend -- The most recent Oregon State tomato. Flavor is good, but the skin is so thin that the most of them split in this year's hot weather. Probably won't plant again. 5. Early Cascade -- Early, abundant, reliable. These are forgiving tomatoes that can stay on the vine longer without suffering damage. 6. Super Fantastic -- Good texture, but not as flavorful as others. 7. Moreton Hybrid -- Big, but sort of bland. 8. Fantastic -- Also produces large tomatoes, but bland and not as plentiful. Of course, bland is a relative term. All of these tasted better than a supermarket tomato. These were grown in the Portland, OR area, so YMMV.
  15. stevea

    Freezing Tomatoes

    I just discovered this forum and it seems to have a wealth of info. I searched but couldn't find anything on this topic, so... I have several tomato plants and at this time of year am overwhelmed with tomatoes (a good problem to have). To preserve the extras, I usually oven roast them (cut into halves or quarters, sprinkle with a bit of salt, thyme, and olive oil, and roast on a sheet for about 3 hours at 370 or so). When they cool off, I pack into bags and freeze. However, this year when the glut hit, my oven was on the fritz with parts on order. I read (somewhere?) that I could just cut the tomatoes up, and freeze without cooking first. Takes up more space in the freezer, but really easy. However, after I froze several pounds worth, I later read another article in the paper (Oregonian Foodday) noting off flavors with tomatoes stored this way. Has anyone had experience with freezing raw tomatoes? And if the experience is bad, what do you recommend I do with the tomatoes I already froze (it's only been a couple of weeks). For example, would it be better to leave them as is, or thaw now and cook down and refreeze?
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