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Everything posted by loiosh

  1. Is Baker dining not open anymore? That was the most old-school dorm-style operation. MIT does offer a variety of foodservice options including traditional hot-lunch kind of stuff, a food court (mmm, Burger King), and some other stuff. The key detail, though, is that dining is done via account -- you pre-pay for x dollars worth of food and each transaction is debited against that, or you can just pay cash for your meal. It's good because you're not paying for food you don't eat. So people often eat off-campus, order pizzas, or cook...some of the dorms have large kitchen facilities for the residents. The falafel on Mass Ave used to be really good. I'm always bummed when I get a falafel here and it doesn't come with a free soda. One of the Chinese trucks by Tech Square was good as well...everything came with steamed veggies, there was a brown rice option, and chili garlic sauce was available for generous slathering. Good times.
  2. I'm not sure whether this is a cause or an effect, but it seems to be more acceptable in the US to get leftovers boxed to go. I like the huge serves sometimes, but it can be easy to get into trouble if one dines out frequently at establishments with big portions (like most of the casual dining chains in the US). Every once in a while, it *is* great to eat a gigantic steak, bowl of pasta, or banana split. It gives a strong feeling of sensory and even physical pleasure to eat yourself silly. In Australia, pastas are commonly available in 'entree' and 'main' size. You can thus either order the entree to have before a meat dish, or choose it alone as a smaller meal. It's a good system which allows you to decide how hungry you are. I like food that comes in sizes -- it would be nice if real food came in small, medium, large, and "super size" too.
  3. Emerson's is brewed in Dunedin. I'm not sure how wide their distribution is, but it was very good drinkin' when I was visiting that city. I tried three or four different varieties, all good. It's hard to go too wrong with Australian beer. Redback and Little Creatures are two less-common favorites, but we end up with Cooper's sparkling or VB a lot of the time. VB tastes great with Asian takeaways.
  4. Two copies of "How to Cook and Eat in Chinese", both for less than $2. More people should get to know this book!
  5. And Australian. Ours has Thai peanut sauce on the label. I haven't tried Canadian PB, but ours is not as sweet as the leading American brands, so if you like a sweeter cookie you may need more sweetener than the recipe calls for. In practice I don't bother. You can make great PB cookies by substituting in other nut butters as well, alone or in combination. I made some great ones where I also included tahini as part of the amount of PB called for.
  6. loiosh

    Le Creuset

    Ha ha! No wonder I have to wash mine in my tiny, tiny sink. Hot water from the electric kettle works well for soaking most stuff off. Among other reasons, I wouldn't put it in the dishwasher because it would bend the heck out of the wire racks.
  7. loiosh

    Le Creuset

    Is it OK to scrub enameled cast iron out with salt? I did once, due to stuff getting extra-stuck on the bottom of the pot. I'm still getting used to the gas hobs.
  8. loiosh

    Roquefort Dressing

    I make this every once in a blue (heh) moon to serve with iceberg lettuce for old school flavor. I flake off chunks from the blue cheese with a fork, and stir it into some mayo (I like the premade kinds with egg. S&W is good.) Then I top it up with milk until it's the right consistency, and maybe add some Tabasco for tangy zip (not too much, though). If you make it fairly thick it also makes a killer crudite dip. Hat tip to the Better Homes and Gardens Salad Book from the glorious, green-jello-tinted sixties.
  9. The tinned crab works well in the "The Best Recipe" recipe for crab quiche. Does anyone know why the tin always has paper inside it? Is it for the cat to fish out of the rubbish and shred? :) We always keep a few tins of baked beans, spaghetti, and creamed corn around for "on toast" purposes. Some of my older veg cookbooks call for tinned vegeburger. I saw some at the market the other day and I would almost try it... :)
  10. Great thread. One man's 'weird' is another man's 'normal'. I don't know if I'd subject anyone else to these taste treats, but here they are: Slices of cheddar cheese (the person who invented this loves Cracker Barrel white cheddar), with a lashing of tomato paste and peanuts. Umamilicious! Velvet Elvises...peanut butter, bananas, and bacon, fried in butter grilled-cheese-style. Serve with Diet Dr Pepper and eat like The King. (Elvis' last meal was peach Sealtest ice cream, and in his last years he frequently enjoyed Jell-O made with Diet Shasta.) Open face sandwiches made with ham, tomato slices, cheese, and chutney, broiled (or 'grilled' as we would say) until bubbly. You have to grill each layer so it all gets nice and warm. Or Vegemite + cheddar cheese. Not terribly weird here but a lot of people overseas don't understand Vegemite, so.... :) I tried making grilled sandwiches with peanut butter and cheese, but they were just a little too greasy. Fake-o tuna casserole made with Kraft Mac & Cheese, drained tuna from a tin, and peas. Pineapple with soy sauce. (I think this is Indonesian...either that or just a weird food thing someone's Indonesian roommate liked. :) Natto with mozzarella on hot rice. (Make sure you have the natto with the little yellow packet to mix with it, and some green onions.) Earthy-crunchy salad from Moosewood Cookbook, made with wheatberries, soybeans, assorted veggies, cottage cheese, and mayo. Oddly, it's also good without the dairy or mayo, but with Nayonaise. I think the soybeans make the fakey tofu flavor of the not-mayo product OK for some reason. Avocado and Hershey's syrup not-milkshakes we had at a Vietnamese restaurant once. Fake-o vegan eggnog made with silken tofu, some other junk, and turmeric. The turmeric really made it, for some reason, even though it's not something you'd think to add to fake eggnog. Peanut butter Cap'n Crunch with soy milk. I hope it doesn't sound like I'm picking on vegans! The nutty soy milk taste and its texture go really well with the Cap'n's PB flavor. When I make hashed Brussels sprouts with bacon, ala Julia Child, I always add just a touch of maple syrup, but I don't tell anyone. Mmm.
  11. In Australia, beverages intended for the female members of the dining party are often served with straws. Most people I've asked about it here seem to believe it's to keep pesky lipstick smudges off the glasses. Wine and beer are served sans straw.
  12. loiosh

    French Onion Soup

    I'm going to go with the recipe from JC's "The French Chef" cookbook. I haven't tried the Les Halles one yet.
  13. I've been speculating that the A/NZ forum is quiet 'cause the Yanks wait until the summer to visit and get restaurant suggestions from us. Not that I blame them, I could use some sun and warmth myself. What are your favorite foods at this time of year? Braises, pies....? We have early strawberries this year, but I suspect the morning frost wasn't so good for them. I made a great pork/prune/cream/brandy/mustard stew recently, and the old favorites like coq au vin will get trotted out in the near future. Nothing warms me up on a cold afternoon better than a bacon, cheese, and steak pie, though. :)
  14. I did a salad once with cubed mango, feta chunks, diced red onion, chili flakes, and, just for fun, some red Hawaiian sea salt. At Christmas year before last, we had a similar thing with just prawns, mango, and chili (bottled chili dressing this time, mum got it from New Idea or something). Another savory thing to do with mangoes is to make 'country captain' chicken -- I tried the one from "The Best Recipe" and it was quite good. It's not really mango season here yet, though we have some from Mexico in the shops. I did have some unsweetened dried mango yesterday, which made an excellent snack with beer. :)
  15. Yep. At KFC here, chips are the primary go-with for the chicken, and most of the combo meals include both chips and a small side of mash. Chicken 'schnitzels' are often found ready-to-fry at the butcher's as well.
  16. The Mietta's site still has good brief listings for restaurants, bakeries, and more. For traveling foodies looking for good eats, my suggestion is to consider ordering the SMH or Age Good Food Guide for Sydney or Melbourne respectively, or pick one up at a bookshop once you're in town. Best bet is to order from Dymocks.
  17. 'Dish' is a NZ magazine I've just started seeing recently. http://www.maxim-group.co.nz/design/p_promotion_dish.asp (I couldn't find a good website.) Of the ones we've come up with, I think Cuisine is far and away the most worthwhile for overseas people looking to broaden their magazine-reading horizons. I used to get Delicious but it's just not very interesting to me these days, although it's quite pretty and most of the dishes are simple, quick and fresh.
  18. I agree with most of your post, but want to nitpick ever so briefly: Guilty as charged, but I'd argue that at least one of the top favorites with MIT students (and computer geeks) are Cambridge/Szechuan dishes, rather than being generic stuff like sweet-and-sour. There are certain dishes Mary Chung's serves that I have only seen at its Central Sq. competitors and not at other Szechuan joints, particularly dun dun noodles with peanut sauce. My attempt at sloppy culinary ethnology leads me to believe that Mary's originated some stuff which was then copied by others. I've also never had or seen suan la chow show anywhere but in Cambridge. I've discovered some tasty Szechuan dishes here, but suan, ravs, and noodles were a big comfort food back then and I miss them a lot. By the way, our Caesar salads in Australia come standard with bacon bits. It's pretty easy to get used to -- mm, sacrelicious.
  19. Wow, slkinsey, where do you get your cool cocktail stuff like Fee Bros. products, falernum, and the white Rhum Barbancourt? I ask because I love to make tiki drinks and have several recipes that call for ingredients I can't easily get. If you get your supplies from someplace that does mail order, I can have a mate bring back some things duty-free next time someone crosses the Pacific. :) I am so jealous!
  20. What I hate is when I'm not showing off, but my guests think I am. We usually eat well at home -- just got back from a quick holiday, but the last dinner at home was a quick-but-tasty chicken and baby asparagus pasta with a light lemon-garlic cream sauce. So, when I have the time and some folks coming, I like to bust out the coq au vin or something that takes a bit longer. Unfortunately, my dinner guests in my new city, rather than raving over the food like my old friends back home, obsess over "how much work" I've done, to the point where I feel insulted. I guess I feel this way for two reasons. One, why bother having guests if you're not prepared to make a bit of an effort to please them? If I'm going to share a meal with someone, I want it to be good. Second, it seems to imply that I'm making others feel bad by presenting a meal which they might not be capable of producing. I especially feel this from women (particularly the married ones) we've had over. It's like they think their husband will start demanding better meals from them or something, so I should just slap up some Chicken Tonight and serve it with cask wine. For some, dinner seems more about being polite (g-d forbid you should help yourself to the last half-portion from a shared platter) than what's on the plate. It really disappoints me that I get these negative vibes from trying to share something good with people. I mean, the people we invite over surely must be better at something than I am and I don't mind that. Maybe it's the 'tall poppy' phenomenon. Anyway, these days we more often join others for dinner at restaurants and save the good stuff for ourselves. I can't wait to visit home for a while and cook for some folks who let themselves really appreciate my cookin' without reservations.
  21. Really? I do turn the eggs around to make sure they aren't broken. Half of the eggs we get around here seem to have poo or feathers stuck to the shell, so they're not exactly hospital clean to begin with. Your mileage may vary. At the supermarket here (Woolworths) they have bins you can chuck any yucky-looking produce into. Some days I have to restrain myself from putting half their stock into the bin, heh. (I hope they're turning it into compost or something.) In general, I think a bit of poking is OK, provided that you don't ruin the food for everyone else and that you're not touching/poking stuff that will be eaten without washing, peeling, etc. (it drives me crazy when people put their fingers in the barrels at the "olive bar", for instance).
  22. One of the best-written cookbooks out there (aside from the Joy...anyone else read Stand Facing the Stove?) is How to Cook and Eat in Chinese. I've had the book for many years, and I recently saw a writeup of it in the New York Times. It's out of print, but deserves to come back. There's a great recipe for (I think) 'Stirred Eggs' which discusses at great length the practice of breaking the eggs against one another into a bowl. Since you will always need one additional egg to break the last egg against, there is a strong possibility that the seventh egg will make it into the bowl rather than the sixth, in which case, you are advised to renumber that egg. I love cookbooks with a distinctive voice, and this one is practically bursting its covers trying to chat with you.
  23. Oh wow, I totally forgot about Gastronomica. I haven't seen a copy of that in ages -- thanks for reminding me to pick up an issue when I'm back home.
  24. I think my top three are Cook's Illustrated, Saveur, and (somewhat hesitantly) Gourmet. Even though I know how to cook, I think some of Cook's Illustrated's tips are incredibly useful, and as far as pretty pictures go, the front and back covers have beautiful paintings. Saveur is lots of fun, and I have followed the recipes in some of the issues. The green and red salsas from an issue last fall were excellent (the main secret: roast the tomatoes or tomatillos with the peppers and garlic in a hot pan, blackening them on the outside, before you process them). I'm somewhat hesitant about Gourmet of late. I've been getting it delivered here in Australia, and while I've been a fan for a long time, in recent months I've been getting bored with all the articles about family farms, etc. Don't get me wrong, I'm fully in support of sustainable, organic farming and try to buy from those producers whenever possible. However, month after month of variations on the same theme gets a bit dull. I feel like those articles are written for people in New York who don't know where their food comes from. I'm surrounded by grazing fields for cattle and sheep here, and I grew up in rural Iowa! I know where food comes from already! Am I the only one who thinks this? As far as local magazines, Cuisine is the best of the best. (They did a great near-flourless chocolate cake recipe around December that I whipped up for my fiancee's mom's birthday. Both mom and fiancee's three-year-old nephew loved it, though mom did not get it all over her face, arms, etc.) I like Delicious more for ideas than the actual recipes; most of the recipes are pretty easy, so it's better to just use them as an outline. Furthermore, the recipes seem to divide sometimes into "easy" and "don't try making this unless you live in Sydney/Melbourne and can get the 9 exotic ingredients". Australian Gourmet Traveller and Vogue are mostly food and lifestyle porn. Not that there's anything wrong with that, per se.
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