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Everything posted by takomabaker

  1. I actually have both of those books, so unless someone else wants them posted I can look them up when I go home and save you the typing. Thanks for the direction...
  2. I have looked everywhere for a recipe for salty oat cookies? I buy them at Teaism in Washington DC and I have heard that Marvelous Market sells them as well.
  3. Okay, then while I'm at it I will ask another question. I take classes at a local cooking school and we use fairly inexpensive, workhorse professional cookware in the school that I have found on restaurant supply websites really cheap. Granted, at school it gets pretty abused so it looks like hell. But at home it would be treated more gently. If this stuff is good enough for a professional kitchen or a cooking class and it is made for extreme abuse AND it costs something ridiculous like $22, then what advantage does All-clad have over it? I don't remember the exact manufacturer right off the top of my head, but I am certain that it is just the "run-of-the-mill" stuff you could pick up at any restaurant supply.
  4. takomabaker

    Mussaman curry

    As fate would have it, I was just on a British site seeking a recipe for Carrot Halwa and I found a treasure trove of curry recipes, both Indian and Thai. I still had the page open on my desktop when I read this post. http://curryhouse.co.uk/catw/thailand.htm
  5. I am a certified lurker on this site, but I just HAVE to ask... I have been aquiring All-clad LTD on an "as I can afford it" basis and agree that it totally rules. I have both read and been told that Emeril's line of cookware is "really" All-clad. I am overwhelmingly skeptical of this claim, but I am curious if this is true. Has All-clad sold out and created a cheaper line for the masses who love Emeril, or is it "real" All-clad and this is a secret I don't know about that would make it possible for me to get cheap All-clad as long as I could live with myself knowing that I actually entered a department store housewares department and purchased something called "Emerilware"? Which I might not be able to do, even if it is disguised LTD or something.
  6. You're right. I never did find any of that stuff at Ukrops. It was just better than what I have now. I used to shop at the Ukrops at end of Broad Street. It was brand new back then! The fact that they at least had Boar's Head deli meat and a take-out counter with those seasoned potato planks (my roommate and I used to chow on those) and decent baked chicken made me much happier that anything at Giant or Safeway. And the meat, seafood, and produce is still heads and tails above anything at Safeway or Giant. But anything's better than what I have now. Wegman's is only in Virginia (I live just over the DC border in Maryland)-- and very far out in the suburbs of Virginia. I've heard good things about them, but I'm not going to get onto the Beltway to go grocery shopping. Whole Foods is the best thing around here, but it depends on the store that is closest to you. The Dupont Circle Whole Foods in the city is GREAT, but the one closest to me in Silver Spring isn't anything to write home about. The quality of the products in Whole Foods really does depend on the location of the store. I work in downtown DC, so I can go to the Dupont Circle store to shop. Although what they have is high quality, the selection is very limited. Sutton Place (soon to be Balducci's) is great if you have unlimited funds. They are VERY expensive. Trader Joe's is GREAT. I love it and buy lots of stuff there. The frozen seafood at Trader Joe's is actually better than the "fresh" (actually defrosted) seafood you can get at any seafood counter. I think I saw someone post that there is a Trader Joe's opening in Short Pump. That's great for Richmond. Jeez, how Richmond has grown. Short Pump was nothing but Walmart and Capital One when I moved. When I was back a few weeks ago, I couldn't BELIEVE it. But maybe my disgust with Safeway and Giant has caused me to look back on Ukrops a bit too wistfully. But there is a lot that I miss about Richmond all the way around.
  7. Come up to Washington. Go into a Giant or a Safeway. You'll never say bad things about Ukrops again. Right after I posted my message about Ukrops, I started a new topic on the DC board asking why our grocery stores are so horrible. It's become quite prolific in less than 24 hours. Horrible meat (mostly pre-marinated convenience stuff), half-dead produce, surly customer service, dirty and poorly lit stores... Ukrops takes your groceries to your car -- it would be a miracle if Giant employees even brought the carts in from the parking lot. If it's raining or cold out, you better remember to get a cart on your way in. The take-out areas are nothing but potato salad and coleslaw with dried up rotisserie chickens. It's truly nasty. I remember my mother shopping in Piggly Wiggly when I was a kid, but I didn't pay much attention to the store. I was a kid. I did always like the little pig mascot, though.
  8. I grew up in Sarasota, and I go home and walk up and down the aisles of the new Publix in a daze. The stores are the size of football fields. I end up hauling stuff back in my carry-on that I have a hard time finding up here -- White Lily Flour, Duke's Mayo, Florida sweet onions, a Saffron spice that my mother uses to make Spanish Bean and chorizo soup, good chorizo.... You wouldn't want to sit next to me on the plane! I go to Harris Teeter when I am visiting friends in Arlington. It is MUCH nicer than my Giant on Arliss Road and I can find some of the items listed above. I am looking for a butcher that will sell me good bones for stock, a nice bone-in pork roast (that I wanted for Easter dinner and finally gave up on), thick-cut pork chops, good dry-aged beef, etc. Area restaurants have access to these products, so they obviously EXIST but don't seem to make it to the consumer. I have given up on fresh seafood. I have found that the quick-frozen seafood from Trader Joe's tastes fresher than anything I can get at a seafood counter (the scallops are actually quite good). And most seafood counters are selling defrosted products and passing them off as fresh, anyway. The last time Giant had a good sale on shrimp, I asked the clerk to go into the back and sell me the still frozen shrimp that hadn't been sitting in the seafood case for an unknown amount of time. Good produce can be obtained at the TPSS Coop and Whole Foods -- this is true. The selection is usually pretty sketchy, though. At this time of year, for example, I would think that I would not have a difficult time finding baby artichokes or nice asparagus. I try to support the TPSS coop, though. They bring a great deal of good to my neighborhood. And I try to make the TP Farmer's market on Sunday. There is a meat vendor0 that sells very good products but you have to get there early or pay in advance and have them hold your order. My partner of 4 years is a New Yorker who thinks that the Giant on Arliss Road is the greatest thing EVER. I suppose it's all in your perspective.
  9. Maybe this has been discussed before, but I can't find it. When I moved up here from Richmond, I went into mourning for Ukrops -- a big, clean, well-stocked supermarket with an excellent meat counter, top-quality deli and take-out department, and wide variety of non-perishable items. I went into Giant the other day looking for a pork roast. The only pork roasts that were available were pre-marinated in msg-laden sauces. If you can get someone to help you at the seafood counter (they always act as if my shopping is an inconvience), the quality of the seafood is so bad that it almost isn't worth the hassle. I bought some scallops there once, cooked them, took one bite, and put them into the trash. I started going to Safeway and it is just as bad. I dropped in to pick up three items when I had a visiting guest: a toothbrush, a small container of half-and-half, and a package of boneless chicken breasts. The only thing that wasn't rotten was the toothbrush. When I took the cellophane off of the chicken we almost ran from the house. The half-and-half had completely spoiled. Someone at work told me that the grocery stores here are so pathetic because they are all union and it is politically difficult for any other grocery stores to get zoning. So, we have to put up with mediocre products, bad service, and high prices because we have no choice? Seriously... where can I get a decent bone-in pork roast? Where can I get fresh vegetables when I missed the farmer's market on Sunday? And I don't even want to DISCUSS the take-out counters. Nasty coleslaw and chemical-tasting potato salad next to dried out bread pudding? Yech! I sometimes go to Whole Foods, and they are pretty good, but I asked the butcher a few weeks ago if they ever sold veal bones for stock and he acted as if he had never heard of such a thing. And the selection -- although better than Giant or Safeway -- is still pretty mediocre if you are looking for something special or unusual. Whole Foods offers adequate products at expensive prices. Is there any hope?
  10. There WAS a Whole Foods (Fresh Fields then) on Broad Street in the early 90's when I lived in Richmond. It only lasted a few months. I really enjoyed going there and eating free samples for dinner. I lived there right after I graduated from college and I was pretty broke most of the time. I would trade all of the Whole Foods by me in D.C. for one Ukrops close to my house. I HATE the grocery stores in the D.C. area. Giant and Safeway SUCK! I don't know why such a big city has such cruddy grocery stores. Probably something political. I was told that they are all union up here and I bet that makes it hard for other chains to get zoning. I do miss Ukrops, even if I couldn't do my grocery shopping on Sunday.
  11. The Mexican restaurant is called El Mariachi, and it still is a "little gem of a place". It is one of our favorite strip mall finds. I almost always get a wonderful sizzling shrimp in spiced butter with flan for dessert. They have great flan. My partner usually gets one of their two pork dishes -- both wonderful. We also really enjoy their appetizer tamales. It's a great, moderately-priced spot with very friendly service.
  12. First, I need to ask what you thought of Hank 4. It's one of my favourites, but I had such a life-alteringly horrible experience when I was unfortunate enough to be in the audience at the Shakespeare Theatre's "version" of Ghosts that it hurts just to walk by that theatre now. And I work right around the corner so it's hard to avoid. Secondly, try El Mariachi in Rockville for Mexican. It's in a strip mall behind an IHOP on Rockville Pike. It's really good. The margueritas are not frozen, homemade, and fabulous. The chips and salsa are quite excellent. My favourite item on their menu is a sizzling shrimp in spiced butter -- I don't remember the exact name of it. My partner loves both of their pork dishes. They have really good flan (I'm pretty sure that it's cream cheese based)! It's worth the tip into suburban hell.
  13. I'm an 8th generation Floridian who grew up on gloppy, runny key lime pies made in pastry crusts made from limes from my grandmother's key lime tree. It's a tradition. I still get limes from my grandmother's, and my parent's, key lime trees. They send them to me in boxes when they have a bumper crop, and I meticulously squeeze every last drop of juice out of each lime and freeze it in ice cube trays. I can't make key lime pies with bottled limes or persian limes. I don't care what anyone says, it's not the same. This is my updated, ancestors rolling in their grave, version of key lime pie that I make for my yankee friends in Washington D.C. It's always a hit. First, I make my pie in a graham cracker crust. It's not traditional, but I like it better. I have discovered the "secret" to making key lime that is not gloppy, but also not "cooked", is to have the key lime filling, the meringue, and the crust all ready at the same time. When you remove the crust from the oven after blind-baking at about 300 degrees (whether it is graham cracker or pastry) put the filling and meringue into the crust immediately and put it back in the oven right away for the meringue to brown on top. The heat from the hot crust firms up the filling just enough without actually cooking it to keep it from being gloppy. I also add a few extra egg yolks to the filling. This is how I make the filling: I separate 5 or 6 eggs and put the yolks into a bowl. I SLOWLY whisk in a can of sweetened, condensed millk, and then SLOWLY whisk in enough key lime to to balance the mixture of texture and flavor. (If you add either too quickly, the filling will turn to soup and you will end up with the traditional gloppy pie of my childhood memories.) Usually it's between 1/4 and a 1/3 of a cup of lime juice. The texture should be about the same as yogurt. And then, of course, make you meringue. Pour the filling into the very hot crust and top with meringue, and put it back into the hot oven to brown the meringue. My mother browns the top of the meringue under her broiler in mere minutes, resulting in the gloppy pies of my youth because the quick browning process does not assist the filling in firming up. I brown the meringue in a 300 degree oven. And once, in my early days before I had a lot of baking experience and I tried this method with the oven turned too low, I actually turned the meringue into nutless divinity sitting on top of my pie. It was pretty dreadful. I have also discovered that the process of freezing the juice must break down some enzyme in the key limes that causes the filling to firm up when I whisk it with the sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks. I use less eggs if I use unfrozen juice when I first receive my limes from my family.
  14. OOPS! I meant The Southern Inn was down I-81 from from STAUNTON, not Richmond. My typo...
  15. Just YESTERDAY I posted that The Beverley had the best burger in the WORLD in another forum in which someone asked about restaurants in the Blue Ridge. I went to college in Staunton, and Beverley Burgers with fries still call to me in my current home near Washington D.C. I also recommended The Southern Inn in Lexington. It's further down I-81 from Richmond, right on the main drag through town. I never dined there as a student. It was a bit too expensive for my part-time minimum wage standard of living at the time. But I did go there three times in a row when I was back in the area about 2 years ago. My partner (a 6th generation New Yorker) couldn't get enough of the place. It is really good. When I lived in Richmond right after I graduated from college, my college buddies and I used to go to a Greek restaurant in the Fan called Konsta's. I don't know if it is still there -- or still good -- but we LOVED it. They used to have a sampler plate that had a little bit of everything that I lived for. Is Strawberry Street Cafe still there? They used to have a great salad bar that they served out of an old Victorian bathtub. On Strawberry Street in the Fan, of course. And, of course, there is also the 3rd Street Diner in downtown Richmond. There's no place better at 3 AM. They had such good homefries. It must have been the grease... I know there are other places that are probably more highly rated. I haven't lived in Richmond in 10 years (although I do go back to visit my old college friends every few months but they all moved from the Fan to the suburbs years ago), and my financial situation wasn't much better right after I graduated from college and lived in Richmond than it was when I was in college. So, I didn't do much fine dining in Richmond back then. But we had some great spots... And actually, I had a business lunch at Poste in Washington D.C. a few weeks ago... and frankly I probably won't ever remember it as long or as fondly as I do the Beverley Burgers in Staunton that I pulled my loose change together to eat when I was 19, or the moussaka that I had on my 25th birthday at Konsta's.
  16. I went to college in Staunton (Mary Baldwin) and although I graduated 15 years ago -- I go back for visits occassionally. I haven't been back in a few years, but here are my favorite places in that part of the Shenandoah: Rowes in Staunton -- Really good all the way around The Beverly in Staunton (the BEST burger in the world is the Beverly Burger -- with fries) Wright's Dairy in Staunton -- an old car hop with the BEST homemade milkshakes in the world. After we graduated and moved to Richmond, my old college buddies and I would get a craving and drive 2 hours on a whim for those milkshakes. I hope they are still around. I haven't been there in YEARS! White Star Mills in Staunton-- I've only been there once for a classmate's wedding rehearsal dinner, but it was excellent and very highly rated. It was a bit out of my budget range when I was a student. Belle Grae Inn in Staunton -- I went there for brunch a few times, and a classmate had a graduation dinner for her friends there. Great atmosphere. Very Victorian. The Southern Inn in Lexington -- I didn't dine there as a student. It was a bit out of my student budget range (which was pretty much limited to Wright's Dairy and Rowes), but on a trip back a few years ago we ate there over and over again. My "significant other" -- a 6th generation New Yorker-- couldn't get enough of this place. Of course, when we requested cappuccino after dinner and our waitress looked at me cock-eyed and said, "Ma'am, we have COFFEE!" I knew that I had left my small-town Southern upbringing too far behind me. The food is GREAT. We went there three nights in a row. Avoid The Depot in Staunton. When I was a student, we used to frequent a restaurant/bar called McCormick's. When I went back a few years ago, McCormick's had closed and I was told most of the staff had relocated to The Depot. It was, without a doubt, the worst meal I have ever had in my life. Spanky's in Lexington -- A total college hangout for sandwiches, chips, and beer. It's a lot of fun, though. Maybe it's just my nostalgia talking... There was a truck-stop right outside of Lexington that I THINK is called the Lee Truck stop that had incredible food. It's all a heart attack on a plate, but biscuits and gravy, fried chicken, and mashed potatoes to die for (literally, now that I've gotten older and, uhm, HEFTIER than my college days). It's right next to a landmark marking the birthplace of Sam Houston (I was surprised it wasn't Texas).
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