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Everything posted by carp

  1. carp

    Onion Confit

    Tightly wrapped it freezes pretty well. But I like it the best when it is still in the crock pot. Tightly wrapped I've kept it in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks with no problem.
  2. I realized that something was not right when I tried to eat the can of Wolfgang Puck's clam chowder I accidentally purchased. The stuff was terrible... even by canned soup standards. I couldn't imagine that he would just put his name on crappy soup and that something had to be wrong... so I tried the noodle soup. It's no joke... he really is selling crappy, sub-standard canned soups...
  3. I am very excited about Ziebold's success with City Zen. I saw him do a cooking demo and discussion about the French Laundry last year when he was still the CDC and he impressed the heck out of me. He has an incredible wealth of culinary knowledge and his technical ability as cook is very impressive. I also liked that he didn't just recite Keller's dictums and techniques. He had a lot of his own to say while at the same time he gave mad props to big Tom and showed obvious admiration for the man. Maybe it's time for me to visit DC...
  4. I love Sietsema’s weekly chats. I read them often (usually through a link from this board) even though I have never been to DC and don’t plan to go anytime soon. I think that it’s a great resource for the dining community in DC and I really wish we had something like that here in the SF Bay. Despite the various valid complaints about the chat, I think it’s still great that Sietsema makes himself available like that. I doubt that Bauer or anyone else on the SF Chronicle’s food staff would be willing to do something like this (although I have to thank Michael Bauer for graciously responding to my email messages on a couple of occasions). My perspective is obviously different since my focus in reading the chat is entertainment; not because I’m trying to find a great place for a last-minute reservation for a party of 30 people with various food allergies and special dietary needs who don’t like salt and pepper. I really love the complaints, I must confess. Less griping and I probably wouldn't bother reading. Of course it’s not only the scandal of the chat that draws me in. I am fascinated by people’s descriptions of their experiences with restaurants, their expectations, and what they like and dislike. It’s very interesting. I also like the many letters from chefs, owners, managers, etc., which appear regularly. I tend to feel that most harsh criticism is balanced out by the letters, posts from other diners, and they weight of the criticisms themselves. Most of the really ridiculous (and improbable) posts appear so just by the way they are written. Sietsema rocks!
  5. I have a KA with the spiral hook and I am pleased to report that it works ok (Keep in mind that I don’t have the old style with which to compare)... But unfortunately…the dough still climbs on the hook if you don’t oil it and it does have a tendency to just spin the dough around. Other than that it works just great.
  6. carp

    inexpensive recipes

    Ravioli is a miracle food. All you need are dough ingredients and a cup of filling to feed whatever size family you might have.
  7. She's kind of attractive... and she's not a he... I think that about sums up her qualifications. Other than that, I'm not really sure why they would choose Cat Cora for the job... well except that she is often featured on the Food Network and they probably have her number handy. She simply doesn't strike me as someone who has the chops for the job. Sure she did the advisor thing on Date Plate, did some competition "cooking" on Ready Set Cook, is doing the remodeling show, and I believe she does a syndicated newspaper column, but I don't think she has spent the kind of quality hours in the kitchen that a Batali has. I'm sure she's talented, a great cook, and whatnot, but she is clearly the weak deer in this herd. Her background is really in food media. Given her age, how long do you think she had been cooking before cameras came into the picture? Not long, I say. She's spent most of her career as a culinary professional playing one on TV. They were looking for a woman that fit the bill and, sadly, she's what they found.
  8. Having played baseball professionally, the difference between cooking and sports (professionally) is a chasm as wide as the Grand Canyon because there are just some things you can't teach - like hitting or throwing a 95mph fastball. In cooking, techniques can be taught, and creativity comes with time, talent and a keen mind. And these can improve over time. Maybe the difference over "better" and "creative" is just semantics. I've had meals cooked by home chefs that I would consider 4-star and also had meals that I would give a zero. If you're willing to put in the time, effort, creativity and money, I believe it can be done. Having a few connections in the food business wouldn't hurt either. You don't think that great chefs have any innate talent that we don't? I don't want to go too far out on a limb, but the closer analogy would be an artist, rather than a baseball player (I chose coach as the comparison earlier, to avoid the physical considerations, btw). Two artists can have the same technical skills and same training, and yet one be much better than the other, because they have a greater innate talent. Same with chefs. Hundreds of people graduate from excellent cooking schools every years and the world's best kitchens are full of eager stagiers, learning from the masters. But some are just better than the others -- some are 4-star and some aren't -- because they have a talent that most people, even those who have already shown superior skill in their chosen profession, do not. Add to that what gets learned from spending 10 hours a day, six days a week, for a period of years perfecting your craft, and home cooks just aren't in the same league. Not, mind you, that we can't come close. ← I completely agree with Busboy on this one. There is no way that I, or any number of other professional cooks, could do what Thomas Keller does at the French Laundry. It really can't be done. You can take a lot of lessons, be really talented, read lot's of books, go to school, cook every effin' day of your life, and maybe you'll pull off a Van Meegeren once in a while, but the masterwork still belongs to the masters.
  9. carp

    Making Tamales

    So what ingredients do I need to gather to make fresh masa? I'd really like to try making tamales using a homemade fresh masa instead of the instant masa or store-bought mixture with industrial lard. I want to try to make my own masa and use fifi's lard recipe. How do I do it?
  10. carp

    Le Creuset

    Keep in mind that enameled cast iron for the stovetop is really only useful for low/slow cooking. It's not very good for browning, and it's actively bad for any applications that require temperature control. I would never want an enameled cast iron skillet, nor would I want an enameled cast iron saucepan for actually making sauces (although I do have a tall, conical Le Creuset saucepan that I use for holding sauces at temperature and other low/slow kinds of tasks). ← How do you feel about regular cast iron for browning? Is the non-reactive surface the only cooking benefit of enameling cast iron?
  11. ...well since you put the question like that... I got a slow cooker from Wal-Mart for $5 a few years ago. For the money, the thing is spectacular. It's some cheap, no brand, rival knock-off, but it works...
  12. You should be sure to check out the Ferry Building. Saturday mornings are best because outside there is a farmer's market and there are some great vendors. But it's good all week. There is a good cheese shop, the Slanted Door (which is a good restaurant but you'll want to make a reservation), ACME bread, a mushroom shop that has various truffles once in a while, some organic produce vendors, a good butcher, and other good things.
  13. Thanh Long and Crustacean in San Francisco are two musts for bay area crab lovers. Just try the crab and garlic noodles at Crustacean and you'll see what I mean.
  14. One of these days I think I might try making THAT for dinner. Whatever THAT is that I forgot to label and now have no idea what it is. I'm sure it can't be that bad... right? I mean... there had to be some reason I kept it...
  15. Yes! How about Ms. Cleo from the Psychic Friends Hotline? She can't be much worse than the dolts they rounded up the last time... I am very excited to see Flay/Tsai.
  16. I vote for Mario Batali as one of the very best teachers on TV (too bad Molto Mario was canceled). I have learned a whole lot from watching Mario. I also have to give him credit for having the most well-written recipes in the business. I can’t think of any of his recipes that I tried, which didn’t work. I was also very pleasantly surprised when I visitied Babbo that, having made so many of his recipes over the years, the results I had achieved at home were passably comparable to what he served at his restaurant. But since the question was about who is the worst… I have to say without any reservation that this honor falls on Ainsley Harriet. I lack the vocabulary to properly describe my disdain for this man’s horrifying attempts at cooking instruction.
  17. Speaking of seafood and saffron. I like to brine/defrost shrimp in a typical brine mixture that has a bit of saffron included. The shrimp absorb both the flavor and the color wonderfully…
  18. I always thought that Kitchen Confidential would work best on the small screen as a buddy comedy or as an ensemble show like Friends.
  19. I totally agree. Steingarten came off as a complete douche. Maybe he was having flashbacks of his experience with the taro leaf when he spazzed on Sakai’s laurel leaf garnish, but he struck me as a major dick head. I read his work (Vogue, two books, special to daily gullet, etc…) and I enjoy it a lot, but I’m not eager to watch him pompously cooing over Bobby Flay’s fish tacos while he chastises Sakai over a garnish. Edited to remove previously chosen adjective...
  20. I can't believe there is a Modern Drunkard magazine... I don't drink Jack Daniels... I prefer whiskeys just a little bit higher up the chain. But I keep a bottle around for cooking. Let’s be honest. The stuff isn’t very good. When you compare it to just about any whiskey north of $20 a fifth, you soon realize it’s harsh cheap liquor. It has a cool name, a black label, and an illusion of tradition behind it. Now that I know that focus groups and test marketing are part of the recipe, I won’t buy JD again. I will have to switch to Jim Beam for my meager purposes.
  21. carp

    Carne Asada

    I like the skirt steak, flank is good too, and some of my relatives swear by petite sirloin(aka ball tip).
  22. The menu doesn't look half-bad... but the price is kind of steep (£65 per person or about $116 USD). I could see myself getting very annoyed at even the slightest shortcoming for that kind of money.
  23. carp

    Perfect rice

    Reviving this old thread about rice cookers, I wondered if anybody had advice on buying rice cookers in the UK. There's a Zojirushi rice cooker here - is this the natty one Fat Guy described? It doesn't look much like any of the rice cookers on the Zojirushi website... I also have a Zojirushi rice cooker and I can wholeheartedly recommend the product. Mine is a 5.5 cup fuzzy logic model that does an amazing job of consistently turning out perfect rice. I only wish I had purchased a larger model. I purchased the Zojirushi at the recommendation of a very helpful rice enthusiast I happened to meet while shopping for a rice machine in an Asian grocery store (99 Ranch Market… they have a HUGE selection of rice cookers and decent prices). I will admit that I don’t use it to cook many different types of rice… just plain white rice. I use butterfly brand jasmine rice from Thailand, which was also recommended by the very helpful rice enthusiast and it is now the only white long-grain rice I use. It is strikingly clean, flavorful, and aromatic. As FG mentioned, these machines aren’t cheap, but I think they are worth every penny. I am completely amazed at just how perfectly every single grain of rice is cooked by these things. There is no waste whatsoever as was the case with a lesser rice machine that would always form a crust of dark crunchy rice at the bottom. If you like that sort of thing you can save yourself a lot of money and buy a $14 rice machine with Martin Yan’s endorsement.
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