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Everything posted by maher

  1. thanks All for your suggestions, i just got back from my trip and made best use of a lot of the suggestions, i did Chinois on Main, very much the Puck experience, but the food was quite solid. i also did Adobe which i highly recommend to anyone who hasnt. a friend roped me into a steakhouse on Ocean BOA? or something like that? the name escapes me but it was so so... i should have stuck with eGers comments. I made it also to the farmers market, small but excellent, thanks for the suggestion, i also went to Chaya Venice on main, which was decen sushi, and Catch, the restaurant at the Casa Del Mar Hotel, which was fantastic, though the service was a bit slow. Thanks for the fantastic suggestions again, Zagat has nothing on eG for local knowledge maher
  2. Swicks, Century City is not in the Westside. CC is next to Beverly Hills. And at that point, maher might as well go to all the top places around the La Cienega/Beverly Blvd. area (Sona, AOC, Lucques, La Terza, Grace, Hatfield's, Angelini Osteria, Table 8, Matsuhisa, Spago, Cut, etc.) ← Thanks RJ, yes id rather avoid the hike to century city but i have to say that Craft sounds tempting all the same. ... i guess it all depends on how busy my schedule is going to be, but im guessing im going to have to stay within the 15-20 minute zone.
  3. I will be in and around Santa Monica all next week. Id appreciate recommendations on restaurants, and places to go foodiewise. Im especially interested in recommendations for Seafood, both grill and sushi thanks
  4. tokaji sounds like a decent substitute. i would also suggest a white port if you are going to use port at all. If you have a light fino sherry that might work as well. A very light tawny might be ok, but ruby ports will overwhelm the taste, as would madiera.
  5. definitely that. there are lots of farms in SE Asia, Indonesia especially that are producing massive sized prawns. the two biggest problems with them are that they have a massive head relative to the tail, so you get proportionately less edible meat per lb, and that they tend to be blander/mushier textured than other types of shrimp or langoustines for that matter.
  6. intended use: drainpipe holder unintended use hanger for sausages? sorry im one track minded on this. if anyone saw my post in the kitchen consumer forum im trying to create the right chamber for drying sausages... ill be seeing them in my sleep next.
  7. in my experience, restaurants are quite happy to discuss terms like rare and medium rare when discussing salmon and tuna. i havent much tried it with other fish since im happy to take the chefs recommendation. When, on occasion, the server mentions that their fish is cooked 'a little underdone' and asks if i mind it that way im always sure to take the underdone option. Having said that, i think the bigger problem is that unlike with beef where we have a fairly defined convention on what constitutes each level of doneness, its much more of a guessing game with fish. i typically order tuna 'quite rare' and ive gotten everything from raw to overdone.
  8. ... with cheese garnish on top/// i totally agree
  9. does ham and cheese count? i rarely want anything more. when i go to one of the sandwich places with the prepacked varieties, i find that very few of the sandwiches are appealing, they are just getting overly clever in my book.
  10. serpentine, but i love the spontaniety of the random approach. i say she is a free spirit and a rare one at that. consider yourself lucky!!
  11. if anyone wants to buy any of the books in this post, can i suggest they read the following thread: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=103475 it shows you how to buy from amazon and give Egullet a contribution all at once.
  12. there is a good story in yesterdays LA Times on newer books. http://www.latimes.com/features/food/la-fo...-headlines-food I particularly like the sound of this one: Extreme Barbecue: Smokin' Rigs and Real Good Recipes," by Dan Hunter and Lisa Grace Lednicer
  13. 1:1 is a lot closer to the ration i use. for lower cal dressings on my perpetual series of diets, i have even gone 1:2 in favor of vinegar, but i find when i do that i have to add a pinch of sugar or a few drops of honey to temper the acidity and make the dressing palatable. 1:1 is just about right. i have in fact so gotten used to lowering the amount of ol and fats in cooking that i find a traditional vinigrette to be really heavy and greasy and i cant handle it very well at all
  14. I have ended up cooking from all sorts of different cultures. I am from Jordan, but traditional Arab cooking is less than half of what i cook. I do find, though that i end up using my favorite spices and flavorings no matter what i cook. i wonder if it is the same with other people. For example when i want to add a bit of sweet/sour tang to marinades, i am much more likely to go for pomegranate molasses than say balsamic vinegar. I am also likely to season with sumac to substitute for citrus/salt combo. I add a bit of tahini in lots of sauces instead of butter/oil... Im know this impacts the 'authenticity' of much of what i cook, but the flavor of tahini in thai cooking has to be tried to be believed. All that is a long introduction to add a question to what Carrot Top started this thread with... do you all find yourselves adding your local flavorings when cooking from other cuisines?
  15. The cheapest/simplest controls (for heat and humidity) are effectively mechanically operated (rather than electronic) electricity switches. These won't be limited so much by the voltage that they can handle as by the current that they can switch. So 110 or 220 no matter. They are not electrically operated. If you are using such things to switch mains electricity inside your enclosure, do consider electrical safety in the neighbourhood of water/dampness. A safety device of the RCD (or "ELCB") type really isn't a luxury. I found a Rittal hygrostat (intended for electronic equipment enclosure dampness prevention) on eBay UK for way less than its new price from RS. Its just a changeover switch that operates at (about) the humidity level set on its dial. However, constantly changing priorities have meant that it hasn't been employed yet... Nevertheless, more-or-less integrated plug-in-and-go controller systems may well need a specific mains voltage. Some such systems are available in Europe. I've noticed that humidity controllers are principally marketed towards the home hydroponics grower, or home reptile keepers. (Reptile keepers would seem to have lower budgets!) There may well be many other markets for such products. Here is one 220v eBay terrarium (reptile) humidity controller. It seems to be usable to control either a humidifier or dehumidifier. This 220v temperature controller (from the same chinese manufacturer) looks pretty much ideal for £35. ATC-800 It seems to be principally employed for stabilising aquarium temperatures. I'd expect that it might be found at other suppliers. However do note that most reptile/fish temperature controllers are only capable of controlling *heaters* and not the coolers we mostly require... The ATC-800 can handle both, at the same time (with a nice cooler compressor start delay) - IMHO it looks ideal for a temperate climate! Fans. A touch of clarification to my previous comment. If you have an enclosure with excessive humidity, and a lower humidity in the atmosphere outside, then an extractor fan (dumping damp air, causing drier air to enter) will lower the humidity. If you can guarantee low external humidity, then an exhaust fan on your enclosure will indeed lower the enclosure's humidity, but its the air change, rather than the air movement, that's doing it. Oftentimes, the dehumidifier control terminal may just be referred to as the 'fan' terminal. ← thanks Dougal. i can [pretty much guarantee low external humidity. i have now installed an extractor fan and i am monitoring to see what that does. i have it on a timer switch that cycles on for 15 minutes every three hours. i will start with that simple setup and work my way on from there. this setup works fine for my wine collection, since it is rather more forgiving of small variances than cheese. Judging from the replies to this thread im guessing it will be ok for curing hams and such as well. I dont know whether it is good enough for cheese but at least that is the item that is cheapest/easiest to experiment with. im going to keep a temp/humidity log for a month and see what it looks like (if i can only find enough time where i am not travelling to do that it will be perfect)
  16. You could start Here - the remote probe temperature controller I use is a Ranco. As Bud notes, these are a commonplace industrial item. Where are you?. ← Im in Jordan, which makes sourcing specialist items a bit of a challenge, but i have been looking for these items in the UK mainly as it is easier to pick them up there.
  17. does anyone know of sites in Europe for all these controls? i am trying to search online but everything i have found so far is 110v, and i need 220v. also, since i am using an underground chamber, keeping a sterile environment is the most difficult challenge. i have found some antibacterial paints that are used for sterile rooms (thanks to a friend in the pharmaceutical manufacturing business) but is that enough? or is a closed fridge still a better idea?
  18. i havent monitored the humdity yet. i just got a hygrometer so i can give you the numbers soon, but i would imagine over 70% from the condensation. the summers here are fairly dry so i dont think humidity from the ambient air is a problem. Chris, maybe you are onto something, im thinking putting an old fridge in the cellar might be the solution, that way i get the more controlled environment and benefit from the starting ambient temperature of the cellar. i guess my thoughts are just leaning toward the aesthete in me who wants to walk into a cellar that has hams hanging in one corner, cheeses on a shelf in another, and wines in the middle. i doubt it is a reasonable picture that im painting so a more controlled environment makes more sense.
  19. i just posted a topic asking for help in what makes a good curing room, and id really appreciate the help of all the brilliant folks on this thread. http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=103398
  20. I am trying to figure out how to build a cellar for curing assorted charcuterie. I have a wine cellar that is below ground, its temperature is fairly stable but not 100% stable. It goes to a low of about 8 degrees C in the winter (46 degrees F) to about a maximum of 17 degrees in the summer (63 degrees F). The humidity is fairly high to where the wine labels are getting a bit wet. i am trying to rig some circulation fans to reduce this and bring it down to a somewhat drier clime since i would like to use the cellar to cure meats. Does anyone know what the optimal temperature range/humidity is for this? what are the outside limits? if i start something in the winter will it spoil due to high temp. in the summer? I am concerned that by circulating the air and putting in an extraction fan to lower the humidity i will raise the cellar temperature. Any help from those of you with expertise is much appreciated. also if anyone knows of good books on building the right type of curing room/ sourcing the equipment that would be great. Finally, i am wondering if the cellar would be a good place to age cheese? so the same questions that apply to curing meats apply to aging cheese. Any guidance is really welcome.
  21. from the NY Times today: " Fighting the Tide, a Few Restaurants Tilt to Tap Water " http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/30/dining/3...?pagewanted=all A welcome move by restaurants and one we should all participate in encouraging. I have been dismayed over the last several years as more restaurants have climbed on board the chichi designer water train in an effort to gouge consumers out of an extra $5 or so. I have also been very disturbed at the environmental impact of packaging water and shipping it a million miles in the name of fashion. It is great to see a countertrend emerging. When i was in London last i was happy to see one of the food critics from the Times newspaper on a one man crusade for tap water. Giles Coren actually docks restaurants a point (basically out of 30, but still...) if he is not offered tap water when he visits to review. The tap water trend is beginning to take off there as well, i hope it takes off everywhere else.
  22. there is a link on the site to view the TV ad. it is well worth it!!
  23. it is truly charming, but a bit basic on the recipe front. i was hoping for rather more discussion of charcuterie technique rather than an assumption that you can just go and buy each and every item. the folksy narrative thread is well worth the price, and the photography is stellar also
  24. Adria has been invited to the Documenta art show in Germany so is his work science... or art.... from the Independent today: Is food art? El Bulli chef creates a stir By Graham Keeley in Barcelona Published: 16 May 2007 Better known for his almost Surrealist creations in the kitchen rather than on canvas, Spain's best known chef, Ferran Adria, has created a stir after being invited to one of Europe's most influential art jamborees. The five-yearly Documenta art show in Kassel, Germany, is one of the biggest events in the contemporary art calendar. And Adria, whose artistic output so far has extended to dishes such as codfish foam and spherical potato gnocchi with consommé of roasted potatoes, is one of only two Spaniards invited to show off his talents this year. The chef, whose restaurant near Barcelona, El Bulli, was recently voted the best in the world for the second time, will rub shoulders with the likes of Britain's Tracey Emin. The invitation, however, has stuck in the throat of the Spanish art establishment, which condemned it as the "banalisation of art". One critic, Jose de la Sota, writing in the daily El Pais, said: "Adria is not Picasso. Picasso did not know how to cook but he was better than Adria [at art]. What is art now? Is it something or nothing?" The chef was unapologetic: "True, I am no Picasso, but what is art in times like these? Many people act as if I should apologise for participating. I am not going to. "I understand there might be people who are annoyed. It's tough to see a cook get invited to this. But what is art? If they want to call what I do art, fine. If not, that's fine too," the chef said. Roger Buergel, director of Documenta, shrugged off the controversy: "Why not? I almost always select things which seem strange to me," he said.
  25. on my last trip to Cyprus i came across the most innovative use of halloumi cheese ive seen, and it was quite delicious. the chef at a restaurant i ate at stuff halloumi in squid bodies that had been marinated in olive oil and lemon and grilled them over very hot charcoal for a really short period so the squid got charred and the cheese inside melted without overcooking the squid. he then drizzled them with olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. they were quite magnificent.
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