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Posts posted by Sony

  1. I am so disappointed to report that Duke's light mayonnaise no longer tastes like I remember it tasting. It has a distinct 'Miracle Whip' sweetness that I never detected before. The tanginess is still there, but WHY IS IT SWEET? Was it always this way and my tastebuds that have changed?

    At least the Wegman's light mayo still tastes fine to me. Sheesh.

    ETA: I have nothing against Miracle Whip. But I use it when I want to- it's not very often, but occasionally for nostalgic purposes..... :wink:

  2. Last September, I visited Reading Terminal Market for the 1st (but hopefully not last) time. I was able to haul home a freezer bag full of goodies, and thought I had exhausted the supply.....but hanging out in the back of my freezer was a hanger steak from Giunta's that I had somehow forgotten about until last night......

    Oh my.

    With simple seasoning, seared in a cast iron skillet till just shy of medium rare, it may very well be one of the best steaks I've ever had. And the credit must go to the quality of the meat. How fortunate you all are to have such a fantastic butcher shop!

  3. That's simply beautiful, mhberk! And I'm glad you revived this topic...I have a kilo of carnaroli rice that I lugged back from Italy, and I now have tons of ideas for what to do with it. Hopefully I turn out something as gorgeous and delicious as the shots on this thread!

    ET fix spelling.

  4. I'm speaking as a single gal who doesn't have to account for anyone else's needs.....I like to get special alone time to get to know my kitchen better. :raz: What I make on "my first date" with a new kitchen depends on the time of year.

    In warm weather, I buy really nice fruits, greens (to dress simply, usually with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper), cheeses, olives nuts and crackers and assemble more than anything. But I get to appreciate my neatly (newly) organized space! And I have stuff left over to nibble on while unpacking and organizing.

    In cold weather, I braise something so that the kitchen smells INSANELY good (like the scent is blessing it or something!)....and I know that at some point, everything going to be tender and melded enough so I have an excuse to stop the incessant unpacking and begin eating! Maybe braised short ribs, or coq au vin.

    Also good might be a warming pot of minestrone or lentil soup and fresh-baked bread, again for the smell factor.....

    But what can beat the smell of roasted chicken? Or a homemade pizza?

    Obviously, I'm no help. :wink: I'm just glad you're excited about your new living space, and can't wait to hear about your first dinner!

  5. I can't fry a sunny side up egg to save my life.

    Are you having trouble with the yolk leaking, or with getting the white to set? Or something else?

    I can never get the last stranghold of white around the yolk to set without cooking the whole thing to death or going over easy. I've tried water instead of oil, spooning hot oil onto the egg (this kinda worked but the egg was soooo greasy and nasty), tight lid, no lids. I just can't get the hang of it.

    This probably isn't proper, but I crack an egg into a medium heat, slightly oiled nonstick pan. Then, I just take my spatula and poke around/scoot the chalazae (the part that usually ends up as "egg snot") so that it is exposed to the pan's surface- it cooks to the same texture as the rest of the white. Finally, to warm the yolk through and keep the whites from toughening, I shut off the heat, cover the pan and let a few minutes of carryover cooking work its magic.

    Oh, and leftover bread- a lot of times, those frozen stale pieces make for great binder after pouring a little milk/stock over, letting it thaw a little and mushing up. Great for meatballs, meatloaf, fish cakes, etc.

  6. Beautiful writing- I can't believe I didn't read this till now! I could have used the inspiration ages ago, as I've never cared much about doing dishes!

    Actually, scratch that. I have recently found that a combination of 3 things that I don't like:

    1. A kitchen that isn't fully clean before I go to bed

    2. No dishwasher

    3. Bitterly cold winters

    that can come together into dishwashing time even I can appreciate.

    I like coming back to something that has had to soak overnight the next day after work during the winter. Gives me a chance to warm my hands in sudsy water right after coming in from the cold (and to think about the gameplan for the ensuing meal!)

    But after reading this, maybe I'll find more opportunities to find the chore less laborious.... :wink:

  7. This recipe by Neil Perry will blow your mind! :-) The tastes and textures work perfectly IMO.


    Thanks for the recipe! I would have never thought about putting together a yogurt sauce with eggs! I will make this recipe when my sage plant in back in action....but inspired by the elements of this recipe, I did the following:

    -Made a parsley vinaigrette by blending a bunch of parsley with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, red pepper flakes, blanched garlic cloves and black pepper.

    -Set a pool of goat yogurt on the bottom on the plate.

    -Dripped the vinaigrette over the yogurt.

    -Topped with a poached egg.

    -Bread on hand to remove all evidence from my plate. :biggrin:

    Thanks for the inspiration,and hope to try the recipe- as given- very soon....

  8. The buttermilk soak is something that's nice when time allows, but in terms of the tenderizing effect on chicken tenders....well, I'm not sure a cut of meat can get any more tender. :wink: The chicken tenderloin is actually a section of the breast meat that is closest to the keel bone on a chicken. When I'm cutting up a whole chicken, if I'm good, I can run the knife right along that bone and come up with a whole breast. If not, that tender can get coaxed out with a little more knife work.

    I rarely fry myself either, Katie Meadow, but the best tip I know is to fry in a decent amount of oil that is hot enough. I shallow fry in a cast iron skillet and I use canola oil (I find it neutral tasting, though I know some people find heated canola oil to put out an off flavor).

    Personally, I would pre-salt/spice the chicken ahead of time to let it marinate, then do a roll in seasoned flour, a dip in hot sauce/buttermilk, and another roll in seasoned flour. (shaking off excess after each dry/wet coating).Let the chicken sit for at least 15 minutes for crust formation, then shallow fry in oil that sizzles and bubbles moderately as soon as the chicken hits the oil (with heat maintained at that level through the fry), turning once, until deeply golden on both sides. Place on a wire rack to cool and let the crust set for at least 5 minutes before eating.

    With bone-in chicken, there can be a challenge of cooking the chicken through without burning the buttermilk/flour coating (I think this has to do with the lactose in the buttermilk promoting browning?)....but the tenders should cook up quickly enough for that not to be an issue.

    There's also the oven-frying method, of course....but perhaps that would be out of place on this thread, and I'm not sure how much fat it would save. Sometimes I find that the way heat is transferred to oven-fried foods allows for more oil absorption in the crust. Maybe my methodology is off.....

    By the way, that sandwich sounds delicious!

  9. I came home early from work and turned on the tube during lunch.....there's Robin Miller cutting the fat from her vinaigrette by making it with canned chicken broth.

    There's something about unheated canned broth on a salad that gives me the willies.....maybe I shouldn't knock it till I've tried it? :unsure:

  10. I am in the city for business, but before I depart via bus on Friday, I am determined to take home some Korean food for dinner! All smell issues aside (I have a bag that's well-lined, insulated and able to contain smells that could offend anyone else :wink: ), what dishes would you take home with you? In other words, what Korean dishes make for the best leftovers, and where can I find the best version?

    I'm staying in midtown Manhattan on 32nd, among a strong concentration of Korean places, but am willing to do a little running around if necessary. :raz: My only restriction is I don't eat pork. Suggestions, please?

    ETA pork caveat.

  11. I don't have the life experience to offer any insight beyond what you have already found yourself. You have passion, focus, technical skill and will, and that combination will take you far. Good communication with your colleagues and supportive superiors will validate if you are doing right by the standards that are set or if you have to compensate somehow or push to reach standards that aren't being met.

    I guess the only advice I have is go ahead and aim for perfection, but if you do not achieve it, do not let frustration from imperfection distract you from pursuing your passion. "Perfection" is a relative term more often than not.

    If this was just any job, I imagine that life priorities reach far beyond getting a paycheck. But since this your life's passion, I say find fulfillment in your cooking and strength in your abilities, but know that you are more than your physical capabilities.

    Thank you for sharing your story. I tip my glass to you.

  12. I second the Dijon Bistro recommendation! It's in the middle of a sad looking strip of shops, but once you're inside it's warm and comfortable. I don't think I've had a bad meal yet, and some have been extraordinary. Little touches that I've seen there, like room temp butter for bread, are nice to see. I've gone there in jeans and a sweater without feeling out of place.

    Another place you may want to consider in Willow- been there once, but I remember nicely presented food and pleasant service. http://www.willowithaca.com/

    For Thai food, Taste of Thai on the Commons is my favorite place. http://www.tasteofthaiithaca.com/ They will actually make your food spicy if you ask nicely :smile: . Owne by another family member is Taste of Thai Express (http://www.tasteofthaiexpress.com/), which is still good, but I tend to prefer the food at the original on the Commons.

    Also on the Commons is Just a Taste- a tapas and wine bar. http://www.just-a-taste.com/

    Some of the items have been misses to me (a few seafood dishes have tasted less than fresh to me)- but some of them are extraordinary! I think they actually do a nice job with vegetables- 2 of my favorite dishes from the menu is their greens with blue cheese and their roasted Brussel sprouts with pecans, brown butter and Parmesan. (menu changes, though)

    My favorite places for brunch thus far have been the Carriage House Cafe ( http://www.carriagehousecafe.com/) and Cafe Dewitt (no website- phone # (607) 273-3473). Nothing mind-blowing, but very good when they're on. Just a Taste used to offer a great brunch, but they recently stopped.

    You may also find more Ithaca recommendations lumped in the Upstate NY dining thread: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=8841&st=0

    Enjoy Ithaca, and hope you have safe travels! (Bundle up- it's cold this weekend!)

    ETA: Website links. Also, I forgot- I've heard nice things about the restaurant Pangea- fusion-y food, but I've heard that's not a bad thing when done by this kitchen. http://www.pangearestaurant.com/

  13. I got together with a friend and we adapted a Dooky Chase recipe- Shrimp Clemenceau- by adding a little shrimp stock in lieu of some of the butter and spicing it a little more with cayenne and hot sauce!

    Green salad on the side with toasted pecans, orange segments, crumbled soft goat cheese and a balsamic Dijon vinaigrette.

    That shrimp roe looks incredible! Along with all the other dishes on the thread that involved more preparation...... :smile:

  14. Trout is an oily fish, but to me, milder in taste than salmon, mackarel or bluefish. It's kind of like a "starter" oily fish, if that makes any sense.

    The other day, I made it with a friend and he said it was some of the best fish he ever had. I think it had to do with the freshness of the original product, but the prep we did (for skin-on fillets) was:

    Stir 3 parts grainy dijon mustard to scant 1 part honey. Add light amount of salt and pepper and a few dashes of Louisiana-style hot sauce.

    Smear this mixture on the fish, but especially on the flesh of the fish. Allow to marinade briefly (10-15 minutes).

    Heat a small amount of olive oil in a nonstick pan on high-ish medium heat till the oil starts to shimmer and it just begins to wisp smoke.

    Add fish to the pan, flesh side down. Allow to cook for about 2 minutes, till lightly brown.

    Carefully flip the fish and allow to cook through skin side down (about 5-6 minutes longer- depends on thickness of fillet). This allows the skin to crisp up (if you're into that sort of thing).

    Remove fish when it has just cooked through. Squirt on lemon juice, grate on some lemon zest and sprinkle with a little Cajun seasoning (which usually has salt, hence the light salting early on) and some fresh chopped parsley.

    I bet that trout would also work well in this recipe for bluefish (which is one of my favorite recipes period). Basically the same as Marcella Hazan's original recipe:


    Trout for $2.99?! Is it whole, fillets......?

  15. Sorry you've had offensive experiences with Indian food, phan1. I do have to say that "huge amounts" of spices does not necessarily equal "overpowering" if the end result is to come up with a dish that is balanced in flavor and texture. While we often think about balancing hot, sour, salty, sweet and umami, Indian cooking often plays spices and aromatics like onions and garlic off of each other.

    I think a lot comes down to the quality of ingredients (cheap, stale spices = blech) and, more importantly, personal taste. It sounds like you've been to places that didn't strike a good balance on your palate- which is unfortunate because Indian food can be so wonderful! I hope that in your hands, Indian food will be satisfying to cook and eat. :smile:

    Maybe this book will be up your alley- I personally haven't tried anything from it but it appears to take a unique approach to Indian cooking:

    Modern Indian Cooking by Hari Nayak and Vikas Khanna

    Hope you enjoy The Cinnamon Club- let us know what you think!

  16. Actually, I think how I feel with a particular person in the kitchen is a good barometer for how I regard them in general. I've only ever had 2 really horrible housemates, but I particularly didn't like being in the kitchen with them. Come to think of it, I think their lack of consideration in the kitchen was a big factor in disliking the living situation!

    Once, when I was living in a 2-person apartment, my apartment mate decided to move in with her boyfriend and basically sub-leased to the 1st person she could find. (Crappy situation, but I figured it couldn't be THAT bad.....)This new person was a piece of work. There were a lot of things in general that got under my skin...but the point of no return for me was when I opened up a usual cabinet to grab a can of tomatoes and I was faced with a case of her Hamburger Helper! My old apartment mate and I split cabinet space evenly, and it turns out my new roomie wanted to do the same- except she would get all the cabinet space within easy reach, and I would get the very lowest and highest shelves. She'd moved EVERYTHING without even talking with me! We managed to come to a more acceptable compromise, but after that, I really avoided her in the kitchen and ended up cooking most of the time at friends' places or where my significant other at the time lived. Even if she wasn't actively annoying me when we were in our kitchen together, that space was tainted! :laugh:

    I wonder what's worse- annoying kitchen situations where people are well-intentioned (or lack intention) or when people are somewhat malicious or passive-aggressive (as it turned out was the case with my former roomie)? I feel a little guilty when I get irritated by kitchen mannerisms that weren't intended to harm- but I'm relieved to see that I'm not alone.

    Living by myself now, I'm often cooking solo, and I do sometimes miss having others in the kitchen with me. Maybe I've got "grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side" syndrome. :rolleyes: Or maybe it's because when I have company or go to friends' places, we're invariably cooking together (vs. a cooking/lurking routine)? I just enjoy conversations that tend to come up while cooking with others...maybe because they're often about cooking. :laugh: So now that I have the luxury to choose who I'm in the kitchen with, I guess I'm pretty selective....

  17. Take a glass of milk or buttermilk. Take a glass exactly like it and fill it with another food. Put all of the food into the glass of milk, and it won't overflow. What's in the second glass?

    I'm pulling on my memory of Laura Ingalls Wilder books to guess popcorn? Never tried it myself, but the next time I make popcorn.... :wink:

  18. But from my limited experience, the food also lacks finesse. All the Indian cooking I've been experienced to (books, TV shows ect.) have always been about big overpowering flavors. LOTS of garlic, LOTS of chiles ect.

    I'm wondering what you mean by Indian food and the lack of finesse. Is this assessment by appearance (watching shows, reading books, etc.)? Is it by taste of food that you've made or seen made? To me, the methods of bringing together of so many different spices and components into cohesive, nuanced dishes is what continually amazes me about Indian cooking.

    I don't mean to say that my opinion is definitive- I think I simply may be missing something in your perspective. Better understanding might help with providing a good book recommendation. What also might be helpful is if you describe Indian dishes that you enjoy and would like to make.....

  19. Oh boy.....

    I just found a unopened container of duck confit in the back of my fridge that I made at least 1 year ago. It was simply cooled, removed from the bone, packed in a plastic container, covered with fat and chucked in the fridge, no heat processing done.

    I had the courage to unscrew the lid and inhale. Without breaking the fat layer, it smells just fine and has no mold or or other funky growth. Dare I play 'crack the fat', or should it just go straight into the trash?

    (I think I know the answer- I just need some electronic persuasion...)

  20. I adore this thread.....

    What about drinking buttermilk? I remember once that a guy who grew up in upstate NY took a swig from my glass of unadulterated, tangy goodness and almost spit it out. NY is a dairy-rich state, which makes me wonder if it's a southern thing? Upon reflection, it seems like the only other people that I know who will drink buttermilk straight are from the South, but maybe it's just me.

    (And yes, it's just lovely to crumble up that cornbread in a cold glass of buttermilk! When you see an empty glass streaked with buttermilk rivulets and a few stray cornbread crumbs, you know someone ate well! )

    Though I grew up in the South, desserts were never big in my family, and so I was in my mid-twenties before I ate nanner puddin'. In, of all places, a hospital cafeteria. I was in Charlotte, NC for an internship and it was one of the side dishes for a meal. The person in front of me loved it so much, he had a double portion of the pudding count as his 2 sides. :laugh: It was also the same place where I ate the "vegetarian greens" with a suspiciously smoky taste. Upon polite inquiry of how the greens were made, the kitchen staff let me know that 'it doesn't have meat in it, hun- just some onions and a little bacon base....'

    A friend of mine from Louisiana (near Baton Rouge) was telling me that his family's version of succotash has sausage and some other meats in it. I grew up thinking it was a mix of butterbeans, corn, onions and maybe a little chopped bell pepper and cream if we're talkin' fancy. He is (allegedly) going to show me how to make his family's recipe- we'll see if he's good on his word.

    And I'm quite sure that my penchant for hot sauces was nurtured by my southern upbringing. The mass of peppers soaking in vinegar, steeping with anticipation of completing a bowl of greens? Texas Pete? Tabasco? Crystal? Frank's Red Hot? These bottles had a better chance of depleted in my childhood home than ketchup. I know most of us now have access to tons of designer hot sauces from the far reaches of the earth, but my current fridge has to have at least 2 of southern heritage on hand.....

    Last but not least- how likely it is to find Kool-Aid pickles outside of the South? :wink:

  21. I'm wondering how the flavor of the homemade sauce changes over time, and if the way it potentially changes depends on how it's stored......anyone?

    If it doesn't change much or improves, I might just go for a full batch and let it hang around (I've never tried Inner Beauty, but I'm a hot sauce fiend :biggrin: ). If not, I'll figure out hot to scale down, but I'd rather not do that if it's not necessary- handling scotch bonnets is not my favorite kitchen activity!

  22. Gizzards and hearts are incredibly delicious, inexpensive and, to me, one of the most innocuous in the offal bunch. I used to just chuck it in the roasting pan when baking a whole chicken and use it as part of my broth arsenal.....now I know that they can be the star of a main dish. There's a great eGullet thread that got me tuned into them in the first place- all kinds of tasty ideas for how to make them: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=103311

    Personally, my favorite way to make them is to stew until very tender in broth (or even salted water) with aromatics (celery, onion, carrots, bay, peppercorns, garlic) and to then smother them with an onion or mushroom gravy.....very simple and comforting (even though I didn't grow up eating them).

    Gosh, on a snowy day like today, that might just be what I make for dinner! :wink:

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