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Everything posted by Avumede

  1. The issue of high-gluten flour is an interesting one with pizza. I think it is a mistake to use it, at least use it completely. Gluten does two things to your dough, it makes it resistant to tearing (good), but also hard to stretch (bad). When I say "hard to stretch", I mean it actually is easy to stretch, but because of the elasticity of the dough, it tends to spring back into shape, just like a rubber band. Just two weekends ago I made pizza with 100% high-gluten flour, and had to resort to rolling it with a rollling pin. Tossing it in the air did nothing. A few years ago I made pizza with 100% all-purpose flour, and found it incredibly easy to stretch, but I had to be very careful because it was easy to tear. Usually, I do a 50% mixture of the two flours, and it works out fine, but I never get the kind of stretchable, strong dough I regularly see pizzarias use. Perhaps I am working the dough too much, or perhaps not enough. Putting more water in, as people have suggested above, is an excellent suggestion which I will try next time.
  2. So, really, what is the deal with the different locations and the special menus described here (and on their website, http://www.thegrandsichuan.com). I often order out from the 24th & 9th location, and once asked about the diced rabbit dish I saw on the website, but was told they didn't have that. Similarly, I went to the location in St. Mark's Place, and there was no special menu, just the same menu they use for delivery. From the website, it seemed that each location shared a common menu, and either had it's own special dishes, or had no special dishes. Is this true? If so, that's unfortunate because some of the special dishes looked very good. Even if 24th and 9th had it's own special dishes, has anyone had any luck ordering them over the phone?
  3. I had a "Seinfeld" experience there, where I went to the bathroom there, and noticed there was no soap, and no place where soap could conceivably be. I'm not sure how I should feel about it. The pizza is great, and I am a slob, so maybe I can forgive it. On the other hand.... ewww!
  4. If you like Pakistani food, eat at Shalimars. There's nothing like it. It's in a sketchy neighborhood, The Tenderloin, but it is, in my opinion, the best place to eat in the city - at least for a regular non-fancy meal. It's one of those places that is so good, that I can't eat anywhere around the Tenderloin anymore, because Shalimars is so good, if you can eat there you must. It's near the corner of Jones & O'Farrel. 2 year olds are welcome. Get the Bhuna Gosht. If you are adventurous, ask if they have the Brain Masala. Get stuff from the tandoor, it's all incredible.
  5. There are so many misconceptions about knife sharpening, even among well-respected chefs I see pontificating about knife sharpening on TV. I'll try and clear up a few of them. 1) Don't use a serrated steel. Use a smooth steel. A serrated steel will chew up your edge. 2) Stainless steel is not harder to sharpen than carbon or carbon steel. 3) Sharpening by hand is fairly sub-optimal. You need to maintain precise angles. The use of guides or similar instruments can help. 4) You don't need to use oil or water on sharpening stones. You only need to use oil or water if you started out using oil or water. A new stone doesn't need any lubricant, and won't ever need any. I recommend the book "The Razor Edge Book of Sharpening" by John Juranich at http://www.razoredgesystems.com/. They have nice sharpening products too, although they aren't the only ones. Or, just go over to http://groups.google.com and read relevant articles on the rec.knives group.
  6. Good info about the corn silk tea. I'll have to try that. As to how far out I want... well, I'm not too demanding, I hope. Anything you think is interesting and unusual.
  7. From watching Iron Chef over the years, I've found out that there's a few things that I had no idea were edible... but evidently they are. I'm not talking about offal, this is beyond that. First thing I discovered was that you can deep-fry fish scales. I'm not sure of the technique, but it's possible, and you can eat it, and I suppose it must taste good. The other revelation was corn silk. I always throw mine away after husking the corn, but evidently you can eat it. I didn't catch the technique to cook it, but perhaps a light blanching or a quick saute would do. I wonder if anyone can shed more light on those techniques, or share other commonly thrown out items that evidently are edible?
  8. Avumede

    Dutch Ovens

    I have both two LC pots and a cast iron dutch-oven-like deep pot (not quite a dutch oven since you can't put coals on it) as well as several cast iron pans. I prefer the cast iron one for most tasks. First of all, with good seasoning, it's as nonstick as anything else. I can fry eggs in it, cook fish in it, whatever, and don't have a problem with sticking. Secondly, the LC's have an annoying habit of developing a "glaze" when you cook a dish that just gets progressively darker and darker. It's not a real glaze, since you can't deglaze it with liquid. You just have to scrape it off when you are finished cooking, which is hard! I've asked about this, and was told that I'm either using too high of a heat, or not using enough oil. BTW, the San Francisco Chronicle has an article on cast iron cooking today.
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