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  1. I may have damaged a pan of mine irrepairably, and I need some advice on whether it is still usable. The pan is conventional All-Clad construction, stainless steel inside and out, sandwiching a layer of aluminum that runs up the side of the pan. It's a skillet. I accidentally let it boil dry and heat that way for about two hours, which gave it a bronze hue, among other things. Slow cooling followed by soaking restored the color, at least to the inside. Boiling with salt and vinegar loosened the solids that were burnt onto the pan. What I am left with is a pan that feels smooth to the touch on the inside, but is covered with tiny black spots that seem to be part of the pan surface now. My questions are Is this pan still safe to cook in? What are the black flecks and are they removable somehow? My guess is that superheating the pan allowed something to get into the pores of the metal, much the way a cast-iron pan will absorb oil when heated. But that's just a guess. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. If you are going to use storebought pie crust, the brand that always works for me is Oronoque Orchards. The bottom is never soggy. My sister likes Pillsbury crust, which comes as a flat round of dough, folded up in a box, not shaped to fit an aluminum pie pan. Also, it is often in the same place as the biscuit dough in a tube stuff from Pillsbury, rather than in the freezer. As far as apple pie goes, you can make tarte tatin with these store-bought crusts or with any crust. It's a sort of upside down apple pie, where you only put a top crust, then you flip it out of the pan so the crust is on the bottom. No one can see whatever mishaps you had getting the crust on there to begin with.
  3. I thought it was Benriner. Not trying to be smarmy, just wanted to provide the correct spelling for anyone who wants to search the web for this thing.
  4. Does anyone know how to save a saucepan that you have let boil dry and superheat? The pan in question is consructed like All Clad tri-ply, i.e. aluminum sandwiched by stainless steel, with the sandwich running up the sides of the pan, not just the bottom. (The outside is brushed stainless steel with a shiny band at the rim). Pan was heated high enough to give the stainless steel a yellowish tinge. Numerous black scorch marks on the inside. So far I have let it cool to room temperature then immersed it room temperature water to soak. Any suggestions would be appreciated. If there is already a thread on this somewhere, please direct me. I did look, but couldn't find one.
  5. durian

    Bygone Thanksgivings

    For what it's worth, my family tradition does NOT include sawdust-like dried out turkey. My mom was a Home Ec teacher, which probably explains why. We always roasted the turkey breast-down in one of those enameled roasting pans that are speckled and come WITH A TIGHT FITTING LID, also enameled and speckled. You put a second one of those V-shaped racks, inverted, on top of the breast down turkey, so that you can flip the whole she-bang over for the last 45-60 min of cooking. If you do this quickly, no basting juice leaks out. The result is white meat that is juicy. although for that night only, and a thoroughly enjoyable turkey.
  6. Much of cookware's pricing depends on marketing, not substance, so the going price of copper is largely irrelevant. Slkinsey's eGullet course on stovetop cookware does a thorough job of explaining what matters and what doesn't. Nonetheless, most customers of All-Clad, et al. will not have read this, and many of All-Clad et al.'s customers are making purchasing decisions based on what will impress their friends or boost their own self esteem rather than what will deliver the best long term performance. That's why copper costs so much. As a practical matter, copper's extreme sensitivity to temperature changes is most important when you are focusing on French cuisine and its sauces. so you might not benefit as much from copper if most of your cooking draws from another tradition. Slkinsey has the right approach. It is a matter of priorities. If you genuinely like to cook, you will spend a fair amount of your leisure time doing it. Like high quality knives, copper cookware adds to the pleasure quotient of this time in a way few other things can. The additional cost of copper is worth it, because you will spend so much time using the tool.
  7. If memory serves, Torrico's closes after October 31. Before that, they stay open till 11 pm, though you can't "dine in" after 9 or 9:30. It's run by two brothers. The younger one, with more hair, gives more generous portions.
  8. I think lasik is very cool, and want to get it in the future. Even if it means a lifelong commitment to goggles for onion-chopping.
  9. SobaAddict has it right about arable land, etc. What little milk there is in China is traditionally reserved for babies and old people who have problems eating other things. If you think how long it took for tofu and yogurt to gain widespread acceptance in the US, you will have some idea of the image problem that cheese has in Chinese places. The barrier is especially high for some extreme cases on both sides here---something called stinky tofu on the Chinese side, nowhere near as pungent as Limburger or genuine German Muenster. Westerners have figured out how to integrate the most bland and generic tofu into some dishes, but they usually have no idea of the huge variety of tofu products available in a Chinatown, or what to do with them. Dairy products are gaining more acceptance in some Chinese and Southeast Asian places, but I expect cheese to be last in line for this. Former British and French colonies already have a tradition of putting milk and cream in coffee. Ice cream is popular anywhere the weather is hot. During one five year span in Taiwan, I saw yogurt go from "revolting" to "trendy". Cheesecake is popular, and so was something called "cheese cake," meaning a cake with some cheese incorporated into the batter, lending additonal richness to the dessert. Cheese combined with sugar in a pastry is much less likely to be rejected. Think 'cheese danish' or 'cannoli'. More savory cheese will probably make its first inroads through fast food chains. People in Taiwan liked to try pizza, but routinely questioned the appeal of its rubbery mozzerella. They like going to McDonalds, but I don't know how many of them want a cheeseburger rather than a hamburger. As it stands now, cheese still seems like something that has spoiled. Cantonese people revel in the fact that the Cantonese phrase for "pig shit" sounds a lot like "chee-sz". There is another issue here too. Like some French people, some Chinese people are often smugly self-satisfied with the cuisine of their own country and aren't terribly interested in what other countries' cuisines might have to offer. Dairy products have gained more ground in pastries because China already a has a lively pastry tradition. Lack of curiousity and eclecticism will keep cheese on the fringes of Chinese cuisine for quite a while, I think.
  10. For anyone interested in correct pronounciation and literal meaning: HONG YOU CHAO SHOU hoong yo chow show RED OIL CLENCHED FIST (HAND) CHAO SHOW rhymes with "how so?" in English. YOU rhymes with the first syllable of yo-yo. The clenched fist business refers to the way the dumpling is folded. Thought this info might help people spot new sources of these dumplings. If you can come close to the pronounciation, any restaurant claiming to serve Szechuan/Sichuan food should know what you are talking about.
  11. Wow, you guys are making Wok Hey sound mysterious and dangerous, like only James Bond could do it, and maybe only if Q gave him a special piece of equipment that might cost hundreds of dollars! It doesn't need to be this intimidating. You can do it on the gas burner of a conventional stove. If you have one power burner that boils water faster than the others, that is the obvious choice--this is typically 14-15KBTU. A regular burner can also work, but you may find it helps a lot to take the burner grate off and cradle the wok in the metal collar, with the collar INVERTED (WIDE SIDE UP) so that the wok can get closer to the flame. Wok cooking needs a hotter pan than most Western cooks are used to. The major obstacle here is learning to have the patience to let the pan get hot enough before you start. The actual time for this depends on your stove, your pan, etc. but the temptation to start prematurely is always there, in part because you have probably put all the ingredients next to the stove, mise-en-place, and psychologically you're just to eager to get the show on the road. Force yourself to use a timer if you have a hard time with this. Barara Tropp describes the sensory clues to look for to know your pan is hot enough, in Modern Art of Chinese Cooking. The main thing to look for is oil vapor just beginning to smoke from your still-completely-empty wok. You have not added any oil yet--the wisps come from some of the residual oil on there from when you seasoned it/re-seasoned it the last time you used it. (Seasoning is not difficult, see excellent instructions at www.wokshop.com.). Not sure if there was a typo upthread, but the wok does not need to be "red hot". This is not blacksmithing. Only when the pan is hot enough do you add the oil--hot pan cold oil food won't stick. After swirling around wok, immediately add salt and aromatics. You may want to chop garlic, ginger, etc into larger-than usual pieces when you first start out--less likely to burn, and a nice precaution until you get the hang of how quick you have to move to cook this way. Getting the flame to leap into the pan is very theatrical, but totally unnecessary to get authentic tasting Chinese food. One thing you should know. Frying at this temperature produces a lot of airborne oil particles. Wok Hey=Wok Air. An oily film will quickly build up on everything if precautions are not taken. Open a door or window while cooking if you do not have a hood that exhausts to the outside. Cover the wall behind your stove with foil, and use disposable foil liners for your burners. While cooking, do what you can to keep the oil-laden air from the kitchen from circulating to other parts of the house.
  12. I made this discovery, but sort of in reverse. Wearing soft lenses for years, I just assumed my eyes had developed some sort of onion immunity. Recently switched back to glasses, and the tears came right back. Now I wear a cheap pair of day-glo swim goggles when it's time to chop onions. Quite ridiculous looking, but it gets the job done.
  13. For those of you who can't read Chinese, laoshu bing means "rat cookies". I kid you not. Doesn't sound appetizing to me, but that doesn't mean Laksa got the name wrong. For those of you who can read Chinese, I am intrigued that you can get these characters to print in your posts. How are you doing this? Can you reply with some appropriate links? Thanks.
  14. I can also vouch for Westpfal. Learned of this place from the teacher of a Knife Skills class I took at Peter Kump's Cooking School more than 10 years ago. (The school is now called the Institute for Culinary Education.)
  15. Damn, that sounds great! What's the closest subway stop? And if you can get me the Chinese characters, I can probably translate for you, for the Chinese-only item(s). Also, does the place have any sort of English name?
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