Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by ghostrider

  1. So much depends on the tea being stored. Blacks/Puerhs like a little breathing so yixing, etc works well. Reds are more forgiving so relatively air tight is good enough (for me). Greens and whites can be quite delicate and more care needs to be taken.

    For reds and high consumption greens I use the good ole Chinese double lidded tins with tin inner lid as these do a good enough job.

    For blacks and purehs most any breathable container that wont impart a taste. I like yixing and other clays, or original paper wrappers in a wooden container.

    Greens and whites are much more delicate and require more care. I tend to use "high barrier" bags and then vacuum seal them. A good source for "barrier bags" and sealing equipment is www.sorbentsystems.com Barrier bags are often a mylar composition that forms a very good barrier against light, moisture, and air, UNLIKE typical ziplock bags which air molecules will easily leach through. Again, typical baggies are very poor protection against air, moisture, and light. :angry: 

    For really delicate long term storage I also use nitrogen purging and refrigeration which I detailed in another post.

    Just my two leaves worth.....

    This is an interesting take on a perhaps ancillary issue. I also recall reading, some decades ago (I have not kept up with my tea research, it seems), that certain teas - e.g. Darjeelings & Oolongs - improve with age while others, particularly Ceylons, will deteriorate no matter how you store them & are best drunk quickly.

    I've found this to be anecdotally true - when I've found a Ceylon or Assam that I've forgotten about in the back of the cupboard, it's generally gone flat - but certainly haven't done exhaustive experiments. I'm curious to hear others' experiences in this regard.

  2. I'd read in a book decades ago that the best method for storgte was to line an airtight tin with plain white paper - the idea was that the paper absorbs excess moisture & prevents the tea from losing flavor. I did that for years, dutifully cutting out properly shaped squares & rectangles of new paper every time I bought tea, & it seemed to work well with all types of teas.

    Now in my dotage, I've gotten lazy & just use the plastic-loined ziploc foil packets in which Upton sends me their teas. They keep the teas well. I suspect that I'd get a somewhat cleaner brew by transferring the teas to other containers, leaving behind the fine sheen of tea dust that tends to cling to the liners - I'm sure some of that dust winds up in the teapot - but as I said I've become lazy.

  3. I use tap water, without exception. We have an in-line Sears filter welded into the pipes that does a pretty good job of removing the chlorine aroma, as long as I remember to change the filter regularly.

    The best bottled spring water never works as well - I've certainly tried. I think that this is because it's become de-oxygenated from sitting around. Always yields a flat cup.

    There was one tea merchant - it may have been Fortnum & Mason, don't have time to research this morn - that offered to create the optimal tea blend for your particular water. You'd send them a sample of your water & they would analyze it & send you back some tea. I never tried it; for one thing it was twice the cost of their regular teas.

  4. Were Archways not the first major packaged-brand sold-in-supermarkets-&-delis bakery to offer soft cookies? That's my recollection from the early 1970s. I had not encountered such an item before I mofved to NYC in 1971, apart from what we now term artisanal bakeries that baked their own soft cookies.

    Yep, they were full of nasty stuff, but they were soft & chewy and topped off many a night when we were much younger.

  5. These Edible folks are launching a lot of stuff, Edible NJ appeared this week as a giveaway at Whole Foods.

    My opinions on the content won't be appropriate in this particular forum.

    Still, good to see anyone trying a new venture in this economy. I wish them well.

  6. Has anyone here actually done a taste test to determine whether bags, balls, and baskets have a noticeable effect on the product?

    Yes. Not side-by-side, but sequentially - I used balls for a spell a/c convenience, decades ago when I first got into tea, after tiring of keeping two pots & two strainers handy in a cramped NYC apartment,. In the end I went back to the two-pot loose-leaf method I've employed to this day. The difference in flavor made the extra hassle a small price to pay.

    Over the summer I bought a British tea pot with a stainless steel mesh basket infuser from Bridgham & Cook which proved to be the next best thing to loose-leaf brewing. The basket is large enough to allow the leaves to circulate & expand & produces a really nice cup. (It's also similar to that finum basket, except there's no plastic, it's entirely stainless steel.) Unfortunately B&C don't list that particular item on their website, & in 10 minutes with Google I can't find it elsewhere. I left the pot behind in the cottage we'd rented as a gift to the owners & I didn't make note of the brand. Anyway it's a very good alternative.

    The infuser is similar in concept to this filter, except it's open at the top & designed to rest inside the teapot, so that you can pour the boiling water directly onto the leaves & then place the teapot top over it while it brews. There's a little handle for easy removal. The pot is a nice heavy ceramic; the whole kit is well designed in every aspect.

  7. Good advice above.

    If you want to take it to the next level, the trick is to toss the leaves loose into the pot - no tea balls, mesh baskets, etc. You'll be surprised at what it does to the quality & complexity of your cup.

    Of course you need to strain it off after brewing is done. I use 2 pots, one for brewing & one for pouring, since I always brew 2-3 cups at a time. Each pot gets warmed with near-boling, & then boiling, water before use.

  8. I know we've had this discussion before w/o the geographical component. I'm particularly intrigued by Millagai's comments about Kerala.

    For everyday home consumption: Texamati brown basmati (organic or not, who really cares)? Treat it like a pilaf - sautee the grains in a little butter in an appropriately sized saucepan for a few minutes before adding boiling water & simmering per instructions. No rice cooker required. Yum. Delicious every time, straight out of the pan.

    And yes, refrigerated storage is a good thing.

  9. Wow, I grew up in St. Louis. Left there in 1971 for NYC.

    I have never, ever heard of gooey butter cakes till this moment.

    The first post here indicates that they were common enough to warrant a recipe in the StL Post-Dispatch in 1972. That would surely indicate that they'd been around the town for a while before that.

    This is all very odd.

    ETA: a little time with Google and I came across this page, which bids fair to hold the definitive story on its invention:

    In late 1942 or early 1943, Johnny Hoffman of St. Louis Pastries Bakery was working on a Saturday and made what eventually turned out to be Gooey Butter Cake....
  10. The Newark Ironbound district is directly on the way from the airport to Carlstadt. Just hop on Rt. 21 N from the airport into downtown Newark. Afterwards, continue up Rt. 21 to Rt. 3 East, then Rt. 17 N. to Paterson Plank Rd exit. A 20-minute drive unless there's heavy traffic.

    (NOTE: Rush hour traffic in the Newark / Ironbound area is NASTY. I would avoid it 4:00 - 6:00, but that's just me. I have no patience for heavy traffic.)

    Rutherford / East Rutherford is an easy hop from your hotel. Just take Paterson Plank Rd west. Cross Rt. 17. For Park & Orchard, turn left at the first stoplight (Hackensack St.) after you cross the highway.* For Fiesta Hut, make the second left after the light (Park Ave). No more than 5 minutes to either.

    Park & Orchard is OK for food. Huge portions, you'll likely have leftovers to box or toss. Doesn't stand up to repeat visits too well. Wine celler is legendary tho.

    Update: the above-mentioned After Athens is closed this week for a renovation.

    * (To get to downtown Rutherford, continue past Park & Orchard, go under the railway bridge, make a sharp right, go 3/4 way around the traffic circle in fromt of the station & you'll find yourself on Park Ave. where all the restaurants are located.)

  11. I'll be a broken record on the subject of Wondee's for possibly the best Thai food on Jersey. It's up in Hackensack, not far from Carlstadt, if you're driving.

    Google the name on eG, many references in various threads.

    I will caution you that downtown Hackensack looks pretty desolate at night. Downtown Rutherford (where I happen to live, but I'm trying to be objective) is quite pleasant & totally safe.

  12. ...we also had a dish we thought was truly fantastic--makarounas (sp?), which is a whole wheat pasta with a ton of caramelized onions, cheese, and olive oil. 

    That line certainly got my attention! I could eat caramelized onions all night. I need to try this thing.

    Googling on makarounas & the variant macarounas just yields a bunch of family names. No reference to a pasta dish that I could find.

    Since "makaronia" is pretty much what it sounds like, I wonder if that's the term they were using & this is just their particular house version of the classic Greek dish?

    I'm skeptical that, overall, the place can be better than After Athens right here in Rutherford, but I haven't encountered heaps of caramelized onions there. Looks like I need to get over to Bloomfield & do my own comparison.

    Thanks for the post!

  13. There were plenty of bagels, however.

    As there should be. Who eats those things anyway.

    Sorry to hear that I'll be a month or so late for the black trumpets. I'd have licked the good stuff off a bagel & then tossed it for a taste of that.

  14. Josh Potocki of 158 Pickett St Cafe just got a big bag of black trumpet chanterelles from an old Mainer who hunts them down in local forests.

    He made me a "Forager": lightly sauteed black chanties and chives atop a plain toasted bagel with cream cheese.

    It's not on the menu board so you'll have to ask for it.

    Better hurry!  :raz:

    (1) Does he do anything with them that doesn't involve a damn bagel? :raz:

    (2) Does "hurry" encompass the same sort of time frame in Maine that it does in, say, Missouri? If not, never mind the answer to (1) , since I'm sunk anyway.

  15. Off tomorrow for lunch in Hackensack.  I know Greek Island Grill is at 77 Main St., Hackensack but have never been...Thai, and Cuban.  Any other ideas..any good diners?

    Thank you.


    How odd, we were just at Greek Island Grill on Monday - jury duty. It was very good, but be warned that the grilled Greek sausage (which was excellent) takes FOREVER. They could see that we were getting so impatient that they comped us a plate of revithosalata, which was a very nice gesture.

    Everybody else in the place got served promptly so there was probably something special about the sausage, or we just had bad luck. Either way, they handled the delay well, I don't hold it against them, & we'll likely be back.

    You know about Wondee's for Thai, of course, right?

  16. It's not about saving time. It's about achieving consistent, good results. The article discusses the fact that -- and I can corroborate this -- many of the methods shown on rice packages (even those on heirloom or organic, etc. varieties), don't yield a good finished product.

    Ghostrider -- What I meant is that the boiling saves time over Cooks Illustrated's baking method, when you factor in oven preheat time and such. I recognize that the boiling in lots of water doesn't save time over the more traditional cooking in just enough water to all be absorbed, but I agree with chappie that the boiling in lots of water yields a much better result -- less gluey -- between those two alternatives. I still feel the baked version gives the fluffiest, least gummy texture of all...

    Thanks both of you.

    I've never found my method to produce anything I'd call gluey or gummy, but it's possible that it could be fluffier. I'm not sure that I'd prefer it that way but I won't really know without some experimenting. I'll have to give these methods a try to see how they compare.

  17. What is the big deal with cooking brown rice? That "boil in lots of water" approach doesn't save any time. What's the point of it? Is it solely to improve the texture?

    I use the Texamati rices, 1 part rice to 2 parts water, simmer on lowest heat possible for 45 minutes. Always comes out fine. Perhaps it's not the fluffiest but the texture works for me.

    My one variation on the label instructions is to saute the rice over low heat in a little melted butter (maybe 2 tsp. per 1/2 cup rice, as little as possible) for around 5 minutes, stirring constantly, before adding the boiling water. I saw someone do that somewhere some years ago; I've forgotten who or where. (I saw Lidia B do it more recently but she wasn't my oriignal inspiration.) It seems to help keep the grains from sticking together & adds a nice bit of flavor with a minimum of fat.

    ETA: What is the purpose of rinsing your rice? What are you rinsing away? What does it accomplish? I assume that the scum wouldn't form in the boil-like-pasta approach, or perhaps not as much. Anything else to it?

    I tried it once, but sauteeing wet rice doesn't work too well, so I didn't pursue that approach further.

  18. Since they're staying near Union Sq (is it the Hotel W? - I used to work in that building before it became a hotel), if they have a certain level of interest in food, they might enjoy a stroll through the Union Square Greenmarket if they are there on a Mon, Weds, Fri &/or Sat. A great place to pick up some fresh fruit for snacks if nothing else!

  19. The Costco in my neck of the woods routinely has a 20-30 minute wait just to get into the parking lot. The cars are backed up out the parking lot drive, 2 blocks up the street through an intersection, then down the exit ramp and a good 1/4 mile out onto the local highway.

    Granted, it's not like this all day, but late afternoons/early evenings & weekends, fuggidaboudit.

    Are Costcos like this everywhere? Are they really worth that much aggravation?

    I can't speak for how many folks are in those lines solely for the cheap gas & how many for the merchandise or both. It just boggles my mind that people will put up with that kind of drain on their time for anything even once a week. Of course sitting in your motionless car amid thousands of other motionless cars is something of a ritual in this region.

  20. I don't recall them ever calling for bread in ANY of their bolognese recipes, much less Wonder Bread. I just double-checked, and no bread is listed in their weeknight bolognese (which uses dried porcini mushrooms to boost the flavor, hardly a noxious substance).

    In the recipes that do call for bread, they specify quality white sandwich bread, preferably homemade, but if not like Pepperidge Farm. I cannot find where they have ever called for Wonder Bread or similar squishy stuff.

    Sorry, the Wonder Bread reference was just me being a bit snide; I assumed that folks would realize that. The recipe in question actually did call for that "quality white sandwich bread." I don't really care if they're talking Pep Farm or Wonder; I still find either one a gross thing to put into a purported Bolognese sauce.

    This particular bread-intensive recipe may not have been published but it was definitely televised, within the last 2 weeks here in Jersey. (I've no idea of the actual episode date since they rerun a lot of older ones late at night.)

    IMHO a Bolognese sauce should be made properly or not at all. There are plenty of other delicious pasta sauces that can be prepared in 1/2 hour without adding white bread to them.

    As noted, I am a fan of the show. This was one of the few episodes where I thought the featured recipe just went totally off track.

  21. I agree that the recipes are bland & sometimes downright bizarre. Making a "Bolognese" sauce with crumbled Wonder bread so you can do it in 30 minutes? Puh-leeze! Why bother?

    However I still watch the show. It's entertaining & some of the equipment analyses are useful.

  22. I've had different experiences with M&R meats. Unless you special order, you are likely to get frozen meat (which is what I got when I went in for shanks for Osso Bucco). I also got my corned beef from here for St Paddy's Day, and it was not as good as other years. Is it new owner?

    I don't shop there often because I don't often cook on a scale where it's warranted. Whenever I've gone in for a roast or some steaks, though, they've always been fresh & very good.

    Middle-aged Irish fellow ran the place last time I was there, always pleasant to deal with. Now that I think on it, that was a year ago.

  • Create New...