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  1. I break a lot of food "rules" because who cares! It's MY kitchen, MY food and MY rules - which are No rules. I break spaghetti, linguini, etc., into lengths that I like and I use a "Pasta Boat" to cook pasta in the microwave. I've been cooking and baking for 70 years because I started when I was ten and many, many years ago I learned that some of the classic "rules" are simply BS.
  2. andiesenji


    This is my post about cornbread some years ago. I did a treatise with photos that I had on my blog but I shut the blog down as of June 1. My Cornbread Posted in 2006.
  3. For me it is a spice that has to be ON something that it compliments. Try sprinkling a tiny bit on a strawberry or on melon - especially honeydew or cantaloupe or similar. I used it last summer on a panzanella with watermelon, tomato and red onion. I baked focaccia to have a high ratio of crust. I'm on a low salt regimen so used very little. I mixed the freshly ground grains of Paradise with a pinch of salt and some finely chopped basil, tossed that with the melon, tomatoes and onions, put the bowl in the fridge to chill for half an hour. Then I added some Argan oil - you should use EVOO - and the bread and tossed again. I love the flavor of Argan oil, not everyone does. Anyway the Grains of Paradise taste entirely different when paired with certain foods. I like it on fresh pineapple, on very ripe pears, peaches. I've even added it to applesauce to go with pork chops.
  4. This is a photo I had on my Blog. It doesn't show the Wynad Pepper, Kampot, Lampong, or Malabar - which I added after the photo.
  5. I have closed down my blog but I copied all the articles I wrote for it and finally found the folder in which I filed them. (I misspelled the title) here it is. —Peppercorns from all over the World PEPPER I love pepper! And in this note, I refer to “black” pepper or peppercorns that vary in type and are sourced from tropical places around the world. Many people think (or say) that “pepper is pepper” and really don’t notice the subtle or not so subtle differences between the different types. I notice the difference and know many other people who have the save sensitivity to the varying flavors. Pepper can be sweet, sour, bitter and of course, aromatic, in addition to the normal “heat” that one senses with the first taste. Pepper enhances many foods that may not at first seem to be a candidate for peppering. Try pepper on ripe strawberries. The flavor combination is incredible. I recently got some of the Australian Mountain Black Pepper and sprinkled it on a strawberry/peach tart. Exceptional flavor and worth the premium price. I’ve always put pepper on melons because that’s the way I learned as a child. A melon tastes flat without the “bite” of a sprinkle of pepper but with just a dash of pepper, the melon flavor itself is more pronounced and sweeter. Pineapple is another fruit that marries well with pepper. Same with peaches, nectarines and apricots, and do try it on a mango or papaya. I occasionally find white sapote at the Mexican supermarkets and it is simply incredible when enhanced with freshly ground pepper. Not so much cherries, plums or apples – although a pinch of pepper in apples being prepared for baking in a pie can add an interesting kick to the apples and the other spices. In medieval times pepper was used in many desserts, far more than in modern recipes. Don’t be afraid to experiment with it, I don’t think you will be disappointed. My favorite online vendor is SIR SPICE, FORMERLY PEPPER-PASSION where you can find most of the usual and not-so-usual varieties available; see the link at the end of this section. In the photo you can see one wooden pepper mill and four battery operated mills. Three are the “Trudeau Elite Graviti Pepper Mills and the smaller one is a MIU Battery Powered Pepper Grinder, which has a slightly smaller holding chamber but operates the same way. I like these because there is no pepper falling out of the bottom, you tip the mill and it automatically begins grinding when the mill is partially inverted. Very clean and the size of the grind is easily adjusted. The folks at Pepper-Passion are very nice to deal with and the custom wood pepper mills he makes are truly works of art. I’ve purchased the “Samplers” and the “OmniPacks” both for myself and for gifts and they are great bargains. Following is a List of Peppercorns I currently have on hand: Black peppercorns Piper nigrum These are usually named after the location where they are grown: These are berries that are picked while still green and they turn black with the process of drying. Kampot – Cambodia Organic. Large and shiny peppercorns. Not very hot but these also have what is described as “fruity” flavor and are great in vegetable dishes. Lampong (AKA Lampung) – Sumatra, Indonesia Not very hot, does have a “fruity” flavor, especially good with fruits and mild flavored vegetables – exceptional with plantains. Also a smoky fragrance in these small, brown peppercorns. Madagascar Pepper is one of the largest peppercorns with a faint smoky aroma and flavor that works nicely with hearty meats. Great for grilling steaks on cracked pepper – as soon as the freshly cracked pepper hits the hot skillet, it releases a pungent aroma that causes immediate salivation. Malabar – India (Southern India) very aromatic, woody, spicy heat. Pohnpet Organic – Product of Pohnpet, Micronesia This is an interesting peppercorn, very black, excellent flavor, slightly sweet and with a surprising complexity that makes it perfect for baked goods – Ginger, cardamom and black pepper cookies from Pithy and Cleaver, turned out exceptionally well using this pepper – I used a bit more than listed in the recipe. Sarawak – Malaysia, Borneo. Considered to be milder than other peppercorns with less heat. Supposed to have a “fruity” flavor but I really haven’t noticed it. Talamanka – Ecuador – Rare and going to be rarer as the place it was grown has been turned into a pineapple plantation, according to a bulletin from Pepper-Passion. Too bad, this is a lovely pepper. This has become one of my favorite all-round peppers. It’s hot, aromatic, spicy with hints of other warm, sweet spices. I use it sparingly because a little goes a long way. Today my lunch consisted of sliced tomatoes from my garden, cottage cheese, chopped fresh basil from the garden and a generous sprinkle of this pepper with sea salt from Bali. Tellicherry – India, Mount Tellicherry. a high grade pepper with a “complex, robust flavor” Vietnamese Pepper – Medium heat with a hint of citrus flavor. These large brown peppercorns are excellent for salads and wonderful in fruit salads or just dusted on fruits and melon. I prepared a salad with mango and pineapple, generously seasoned with this pepper and the flavor was exceptional. No dressing required. Wynad Pepper – I recently purchased some Wynad Special Black Pepper from Kerala. The estate is an organic family enterprise and the annual crop is fairly small making this pepper somewhat more expensive than most. The result is worth the price. The flavor is quite pungent with a lot of spicy heat and with a long finish. This is not a pepper to be used generously. A small application to finish a dish and then tasting before adding more is certainly in order. Judicious use will give one an excellent result. White peppercorns – Muntok These are the same as Piper nigrum but they are the berries that have been allowed to ripen fully on the vine and then harvested. They are packed into containers and soaked in water to loosen the skin then washed and dried. They are naturally white. I have both Muntok and Sarawak white peppercorns. These seem to have more heat than regular black pepper and there is none of the other flavors associated with the various types – many of these aromatics are in the skin which has been discarded in the processing. I was given a small tin of white peppercorns from Africa that was much hotter than the others. I have used it sparingly as I doubt I will ever get more. It has an unusual “piney” aroma, although I don’t taste it in the food. Green peppercorns – Madagascar These are the immature berries of Piper nigrum and I have them dried and preserved in brine. I use the whole “wet” ones a lot more than I use the dried, although I have used the dried in soups and stock, and also in pickling fruits where I want a milder flavor than with black peppercorns. The last batch of honeydew melon pickles was made with green peppercorns and I really noticed the difference inflator. I have some air-dried green peppercorns from India but have yet to open the container. Need to use up the others. Pink peppercorns (AKA Rose peppercorns) Reunion Island. These aren’t related to Piper nigrum They aren’t very hot but are rather spicy and sweet. They made a pretty presentation on pale-colored foods and I have been using them in fruit salads and especially salads made with poached chicken breasts. I recently prepared a Waldorf salad with chicken and seasoned it with the pink peppercorns and it was delicious. Sichuan or Szechuan peppercorns. These are not a true peppercorn, unrelated to Piper nigrum. The importation was banned for many years, until 2005, because of a possible citrus plant disease problem. Still, a lot of the pepper came into the country during the banned years but nothing serious ever happened. Now the peppercorns are treated with dry heat to kill off any canker bacteria. The peppercorns taste best if they are toasted lightly prior to grinding. They have a flavor similar to citrus zest, lemon or grapefruit and are usually not as hot as black pepper. However, there are some strains that are hotter so do taste before you go overboard with this spice. Comet’s-Tail peppercorns Java Piper Cubeba This is closely related to the true pepper plant and according to many writers, has been used since the Middle Ages and was more precious than ordinary black pepper. When freshly ground there are several aromas and spicy, citrusy flavors that are quite noticeable and complementary to many foods. It is very good with cooked fruits, compotes, puddings, fresh chutneys, etc. I’ve used it in curry. I also found it to be excellent with a stir-fry in which I used fresh pineapple with sweet peppers and pork. Some writings and recipes from medieval times mention that the “whole cubeb spice” should be soaked, candied and eaten to “increase warmth in the loins and in the heart.” Possibly this was the origin of the “red hot” candy… Long Pepper Piper Longum, which is related to but quite different from Piper nigrum. It is hot and a little goes a long way. It’s grown in Assam, India and the Long pepper I have came from Sri Lanka and I have seen it offered by one vendor whose source was Singapore. Long Pepper is an interesting spice and works well with other strong spices, especially in spice mixtures for curry, in cookies and other baked goods, with fruits and melons. I recently added a small amount to a very rich gingerbread, after reading about how it was used in a similar cake in Medieval and Elizabethan times. The result was much better than I expected. It doesn’t fit as is in pepper mills so I use a pet toenail clipper (used only for this and other food-related tasks) to cut it into small bits that will grind nicely in my pepper mills. I prefer the Trudeau Graviti Battery-Operated Pepper Mill as I have arthritis in my hands and have several of these for different peppers. I’ve also used it in a spice rub for wild game (venison and mountain goat) and it did an excellent job of mitigating the gamey flavor associated with these meats. Australian Mountain Black Pepper. (AKA Tasmanian Pepper, Dorrigo Pepper) This is a berry, Tasmannia Ianceolata, wildcrafted in Tasmania, dried and processed. It is available in the U.S. from Salt Traders. The first I tried was sent to me from Australia and when it became available I purchased some from them. It has a very unique flavor, sweet, fruity and spicy at first and then fairly hot. Hotter than most black peppers, in heat, it is similar to Long Pepper. I use it sparingly for direct seasoning because of the heat but it is excellent in stews, a little goes a very long way. An excellent place to learn more about pepper is on various online sites. I also recommend going to Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages to get more information on peppercorns and other spices
  6. It has been a few years since I wrote about my favorite vendor for peppercorns and I had a page on my blog about them. It was at the time named Pepper Passion and I was just one of the customers who was "passionate" about it. It is now SIR SPICE and they have the FRESHEST peppercorns of any vendor and I have tried almost all because I have been a long time fanatic about peppers. I do get Long pepper and Comet tail (cubeb) from another vendor because Pepper Passion did not carry them.
  7. Corning Pyroceram was made to use in the broiler, rangetop, oven and fridge to oven. Freezer to oven is okay to a cold oven. Pyrex - even the "Flameware" is NOT FOR USE UNDER A BROILER! Cold Pyrex from the fridge is problematic into a hot oven. Room temp Pyrex marked BAKEWARE is okay room temp to hot oven UNLESS THERE ARE SCRATCHES ON THE GLASS. Which is one reason not to use a sharp knife when cutting a pie or anything in a Pyrex loaf or cake pan.
  8. Those look gorgeous to me. Have you ever tried Argan oil as a dresseing/finishing oil? It has a distinctive flavor that complements so many foods. I add it to pilaf, plain rice, couscous, mushrooms, roasted eggplant/tomatoes/fingerling potatoes.
  9. I wear aprons, heavy cotton I bought at Smart & Final a couple of decades ago. Can be bleached to remove stains, oil patches painted with Dawn, blood stains treated with peroxide. They are practically indestructible and the material is heavy enough that if folded the bottom corners can be used to take hot pans out of the oven or to grasp the handle of a hot skillet or pot. I have a couple of colored ones that I used to wear when I still entertained. One is black with chile peppers all over it. One is yellow with chile peppers. Sort of a theme from when I was a "Chile-Head" subscriber and one came from another member and I won one for my goat meat chili at one of the "hot-lucks" I attended back in the days when I could still consume hot stuff with impunity.
  10. My daughter has the "neuro fuzzy" one I bought when they were first introduced. She uses it two or three times a week no problems. Still has the original pot. I use my IH Zo at least once a week since I got it. Still has the original pot. I also have the first Zo I bought 30 years ago, original pot stainless steel. I never use metal utensils. They all came with rice paddles and I use those or non metal spoons, ladles, etc.
  11. andiesenji

    Bastard condiments?

    Have you ever tried the Mae Ploy Sweet Chili Sauce? The first time I tried it I bought a small bottle - lasted 3 days. I went back and got a larger bottle and went through that rapidly so I began buying 6 bottles at a time so I always had a supply. I have mixed it with my homemade mustard to smear on pork roasts and slabs of ribs, mixed it with mayo (homemade) for a spicy salad dressing - amazing on fruit salads, mixed it with creamy horseradish sauce for dipping vegetable tempura, various fries, fish ( I am limited to freshwater because of an iodine allergy) and I apply it straight to rice, grains, beans, mixtures of same and kedgeree. Anywhere you want some spiciness. I even put it on vanilla ice cream and it was good.
  12. I review stuff for Amazon, including appliances and I recently received one of these Vestaware toasters and was very impressed with it. Very reasonable price. I have loads of toasters, having collected vintage ones for 40 years as well as a few unusual more recent models. I currently use a Magimix see-through which only has one long slot and was very expensive but I had a gift card. The Vestaware toasts more evenly than the one that cost 5 times as much. It has the BEST Defrost that I have ever found. The slots are extra wide and a fat bagel sliced in half will fit, as will double wide bread slices. I even stuck a smallish frozen croissant in it and it fit - one of the Costco 3/4 size. It's easy to clean. They have a 1 year refund or replace warranty. P.S. I also used one of the toaster bags with a grilled cheese sandwich and it worked perfectly.
  13. The Griswold ECI I had were made in the 1920s. They had been making nickel-plated skillets, griddles and some other pieces from the mid teens and discontinued those and found that the enamel was more resistant to scrubbing because the nickel plating could be worn off. I sold a couple of those a couple of years ago and those were inherited from my grandmother, as were the enameled pieces.
  14. I have had several Griswold enameled CI pieces but sold them several years ago before I retired, to a collector who was also a patient. I had 4 red skillets, 6 of the large blue "gratin/fish bakers" and a small dutch oven that was an odd greenish-gray color, inside was cream colored. I have a Prizer-ware on ebay now. Years ago I had a couple of odd ones, a chocolate brown BSR that I gave to my step-daughter in the '80s while I was preparing to move. I vaguely remember a large skillet that was blue with white speckles - like granite ware but was cast iron. I'm pretty sure I traded that one for some Griswold with the Cast Iron guy at the Rose Bowl swap meet. This is the Prizer-ware Beautiful turquoise Prizer-Ware long baker or "gratin" Difficult to read "Prizer-Ware" on the bottom, impossible to photo. 14" long x 5" wide at the widest point. There is one tiny "chip" on one upper edge. This was made in the 1950s by Prizer-Painter, Reading, PA
  15. I have several enameled cast iron cooking vessels made by Diepenbrock & Reigers of Ulft, Holland. Most are blue but I have a couple that are yellow with the "Tulip" design. They began producing these in the 1930s and continued production to about 1965. Meanwhile Descoware (Originally Bruxellesware (? spelling) made in Belgium was expanding and the experienced enamel workers migrated to Belgium and worked for Descoware after Diepenbrock & Reigers of Ulft shut down.
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