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Jujubee

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  1. Jujubee

    Grange in Ann Arbor

    Has anyone checked out Grange Kitchen and Bar in the old Bella Ciao space in Ann Arbor? They're having a 53 Mile Dinner this Wednesday that looks pretty interesting, but I've been so sorely disappointed by higher end dining in Ann Arbor that I figured I would ask around first.
  2. Jujubee

    Cooking with "Cook's Illustrated"

    I know this has been mentioned a few times already, but it's remarkable enough that it bears repeating. I finally got around to trying the Slow-Roasted Beef from Jan 2008, and wow, that is some remarkable chemistry going on there. I am never going to look down on an eye of round roast again.
  3. Jujubee

    Recipes That Rock: 2009

    I am always trying new peanut sauce recipes, but I think I may have finally found the one that has just the balance I'm looking for. It is from Entertaining for a Veggie Planet by Didi Emmons (the Peanut Dressing, not the All Purpose Peanut Sauce, which I haven't tried. yet.) The ingredients list looks pretty standard except that it contains a full cup of flavorless oil, which is drizzled in at the end using a food processor, much like making mayonnaise. I tried it before the oil was added, and it tasted like a lot of other peanut sauces I've made: that is, fine, but not *quite* what I was looking for. But adding the oil rounds out the flavor, gives a lot of body to the sauce (the volume actually increases more than a cup; again, like making mayo), and somehow makes everything come together. Strangely, despite the large quantity, it doesn't dilute the flavor at all.
  4. I also wanted to add that I feel like situations like the dog food recall and peanut recall are slightly different. In those cases I think that the problem was more that the existing rules weren't being enforced, rather than the rule itself wasn't good enough. In the peanut situation, the plant itself was highly unsanitary and had many code violations. The rules for sanitary peanut processing were already in place; one company wasn't following them. In the dog food situation, the food was contaminated with aflatoxin, something that wasn't suppose to be in it in the first place. In my mind, there is a difference between toxins that you wouldn't expect to find in a particular food (and aren't allowed anyway, though enforcement may be lax) versus something like salmonella in chicken/egg products or e coli in ground beef. In the latter case, I don't care if the company can trace every single chicken or cow in the food chain, you still need to cook that stuff through.
  5. I feel there has to be some sort of reasonableness test. (I know, that's impossible.) I remember buying a frozen meal at some point that had raw, as opposed to precooked, shrimp in it. The instructions specifically said the product had to be heated until x degrees and until the shrimp were pink. In that case the shrimp were intentionally frozen raw so they wouldn't be rubbery after heating. Similarly, things like breaded chicken strips vary by brand. The more "processed" nuggets usually say Fully Cooked on the package and give microwave and regular oven instructions, while the higher end "strips of breast meat" tenderloins don't say Fully Cooked on them, and instead say to cook to a certain internal temperature and only give regular oven instructions. Again, I'm assuming the less processed chicken tenders are frozen undercooked for quality purposes, so the won't be dry upon reheating. So with something like chicken pot pies, as long as the package doesn't say Fully Cooked on it and gives instructions to heat to a certain temperature, that would make me assume there was something uncooked in there that needed to be heated to a certain temp. I know in the real world people don't always read the instructions, etc, but really, if a package says Chicken Pot Pie on it and the instructions say to cook until 160 to make sure the chicken is fully cooked through (even if the true intention is to kill salmonella that may be lurking in, say, the crust), I don't think the manufacturer is to blame there. Of course there should be regulations, and maybe they need to be stricter than they are now. I don't know enough about the facts right now. But I don't think the manufacturer is to blame if consumers don't follow the instructions, as long as the package clearly states the products needs to be cooked through. For example, in this recent case with the Nestle Toll House raw cookie dough, while I understand why Nestle is issuing the recall, I don't really think they should be to blame. Cookie dough contains raw eggs, and that can make you sick. Even as a kid I knew that. When we swiped homemade raw cookie dough out of the mixing bowl, we weren't going to sue the egg farmers if it made us sick. We made that decision to take our chances.
  6. I think there are a few points to make here. Clearly All-Clad is not crap quality cookware. Clearly, that's where this argument should have ended. I'm not surprised that some lovers of All-Clad are taking it hard that others have said it's a "waste of money." After all, the reason we have the tradition of giving diamond engagement rings is almost entirely attributable to what has been called the "greatest promotional campaign of all time" by De Beers. On that basis, All-Clad is a horrible value on the specifications, and on that basis it's not unreasonable to say that it's a "waste of money." "Taking it hard" about one's cookware is one of life's great pleasures. Clearly, when one has to bring out arguments about De Beers diamonds vs. a saucepan that might have cost $29 15 years ago...and one which is still in perfect condition today...I grow suspect about the anti All-Clad contingent. Prices must have really gone up between 1994 and 1999, because my records indicate that a 3 quart All-Clad saucepan was selling for as much as $145 ten years ago. Today it retails for $160 and deep discount for an irregular will run you about about $108 for a one-third discount. Applying that discount to the 1999 price would make the best price you were likely to find on that pan at around 97 bucks -- a far cry from 29 dollars. You would be hard-pressed to find any piece of All-Clad that can be bought for less than about 50 bucks today (for the very smallest pieces) except for the rare loss-leader super-discount on amazon.com or someplace like that -- and it would be impossible to build a battery of cookware at those prices. All of which is to say that, even though you may have bought yours 15 years ago, I have serious doubts as to where it averaged any 29 dollars a piece. An average price of more like a hundred bucks a piece would be more like it. Or maybe yours fell off a truck? ← Well, I'm sure some people do pay retail (or almost retail) for All Clad. But if you look around, there are a lot of deals to be found. I bought mine in about 2002: I found a set at Macy's that they were discontinuing (by which I mean they were discontinuing that particular configuration of the set and replacing it with a different configuration, not discontinuing the All Clad line itself) and after bonus pieces, store sales, friends and family coupons, and whatnot, I paid $350 for 3 nonstick fry pans (8/10/12), 3 saucepans (1.5/3/4 qt), 1 stockpot (8 qt), matching lids, a bonus large steamer insert for the stockpot, a bonus 1 qt saucepan, and bonus utensils (and maybe something else from Macy's? they're always doing some sort of rewards). These were regular quality, not factory/outlet seconds. And that wasn't the only deal I found; I only bought that set because it had a lot of the particular sizes that I was looking for (8 qt stockpot instead of 6; nonstick skillets but regular stainless saucepans/pots; etc). I also own other pieces of All Clad and Le Creuset that were wedding gifts. I think a lot of people get their "nice" kitchen stuff as wedding gifts, and All Clad is readily available at the major department stores and Williams-Sonoma. Plus, guests like giving it to you because it has such a good reputation. It's just not realistic to register for high quality but lesser known brands that aren't widely distributed, especially since people are scattered so far and wide these days. We had one registry that was online only (well, they had one physical store, but none of our guests were from that area) because they offered a really substantial discount on the china we wanted, but seriously, one person bought off that registry. Everyone else bought from the department stores they had heard of, even if it was more expensive. So in that sense, it's free to me. Hard to beat that price/quality combination. And yes, I actually use all my cookware.
  7. Jujubee

    Dinner! 2009

    That's me for ya...always keeping them wanting more. Here it is.... Ingredients: 7-up 4-5 lbs korean style short ribs (aka Flanken I think) 3 cups lite soy sauce 1/3 cup of honey 10 cloves garlic crushed 2 Tbls grated ginger (pulp and juice) 6 green onions loosely chopped 1/4 cup sesame oil 1/4 cup sesame seeds 1 large brown Asian pear, smashed 2 Kiwi's, skinned and crushed First, marinate the meat submerged in the 7-up over night. This is to tenderize the meat. Second, combine rest of the ingredients and marinate the meat again over night. Squish fruit in your hands to get the pulp and juice into the concoction. Third, cook quickly over VERY hot coals or gas grill. Eat with slivered green onions, soy bean paste, ball of rice inside a lettuce leaf like a lettuce wrap. I got tired of making the lettuce wraps and just started mackin down on the meat by itself. ← Thanks for the recipe, Octaveman! I had a question though: Is the lite soy sauce called for in the recipe asian light soy souce (regular soy sauce, as opposed to dark soy sauce which is thicker and sweeter) or american lite soy sauce (as in less sodium soy sauce)?
  8. The stuff that Costco carries varies by region. For example, when I lived in Boston they carried King Arthur AP flour, which I liked a lot. They carried other brands in Michigan and Washington, but I haven't tried any of those. Where are you/what brand do they carry there?
  9. I make a lot of breakfast burritos. It enables me to use up small bits of leftovers quickly, i.e. the next morning, and I also try to vary it a bit with condiments and herbs (usually also leftover from another recipe).
  10. Well, I think this challenge officially ended for me on Monday. I could have made it another week, especially since I hadn't spent my $15 weekly allowance yet, but I felt I had accomplished enough of what I had hoped to do, namely clear out the pantry in anticipation of our move in May. Before I went shopping on Monday, my freezer contained: 1 bag of potstickers (my standard backup dinner) tomato paste (individual tablespoons) chipotle chiles (individually frozen) yeast 2 parmesan cheese rinds 2 sticks of butter The fridge shelves were also impressively bare, but since I have a huge collection of condiments it looked less so. I did have space in the door though (and heck, all the little bottles actually fit in the door - definitely a first), so the condiment stash is reducing. I had also managed to reduce my pantry stash so much that I have one completely empty cupboard! Now onto my next project: using up all the condiments (such as the 7 types of vinegar I have, or the enormous bottles of oyster sauce and fish sauce)...
  11. I finally used up the last of that pork shoulder in a stir-fry for dinner tonight. Since there was only 1/2 lb, I sliced it to a fine julienne, along with julienned carrots (last 2), celery, napa cabbage (last bit), and the rest of the container of dried mushrooms (about a cup). I also made a sort of egg drop corn (last of a package in the freezer) soup and served everything with rice.
  12. Dinner last night was a Korean-ish pork stew made with spicy bean paste, served with rice, of course. Alongside we had some asian pears. Dinner tonight was some stir-fried pork with scallions, rice, and a subtly sweet and sour sauteed napa cabbage and carrots. And yet, I STILL have 1/2 a lb of pork shoulder left. That was the last major chunk of meat left in my freezer and I thought for sure I would be done with it by now. This challenge never ends.
  13. Change of plans yesterday: I received some good news, so we went out to grab a round of drinks at 2pm and ended up staying out and eating dinner at a place we've been meaning to try. The restaurant was overpriced and mediocre, but the company and the occasion more than made up for it. Breakfast today was my standard oatmeal; lunch was leftovers from dinner last night. For dinner I made sopa seca with chorizo and black beans. It was a CI recipe that I probably never would have tried if not for this challenge because I'm not really into casserole-y things (despite being made in a skillet, it was kind of a mexican-ish noodle casserole thing). But it ended up being quite tasty and even well liked by my 3 year old, which surprised me since it contained two minced chipotle chiles. The only substitution I made was cheddar for the jack, hardly the end of the world. Dinner was rounded out by some plums.
  14. The only company I know of that has these is Davidson's Pasteurized Eggs. You can do a search for retail locations on their web site: http://www.safeeggs.com/
  15. Alrighty, so tonight makes 2 full week's worth of dinners (i.e. 14 days) and approximately 2 1/2 calendar weeks. I'm pretty sure I can do two more weeks, so I'll join you for the month, FG. Right now, my pantry/freezer is down to the stuff that most people immediately think of when they think of no shopping meals, so I'm expecting more of a challenge. I have a goal for the end of the third week: I want my freezer to be empty. The only exceptions I'll make are for things like frozen dollops of tomato paste and yeast. And by the end of the month I want one completely empty cabinet. My husband had class tonight so dinner was quite eclectic. PB&Js in his laptop bag for him (I tried offering him fruit, vegs, crackers, etc - he declined); Kraft Mac & Cheese, a plum, and carrot sticks for my daughter; random odds and ends from the fridge for me. We had a smidge of rice leftover from making ghetto sushi yesterday so I fried that up with an egg and fish sauce for lazy fried rice (we had scallions and a bunch of other things I could have added, but I didn't want to pull out a cutting board) and grazed on some leftovers. I feel sort of like I am cheating with my fruit exemption for my daughter; on one hand we snack on it straight so it is not contributing to coming up with something for dinner, on the other hand we eat a lot of it. But my goal in these few weeks was to clear out the larder before we move. Saving money (which we are doing on the rest of the grocery list) was just a bonus. So I guess this works for my goals. I bought a few more non-milk/fruit things: eggs, a potato, cereal. My daughter didn't throw a tantrum or anything over being out of cereal for breakfast, she just looked really, really sad every morning when I told her we were still out. Somehow forcing her to eat banana bread instead of high-fiber cereal seemed weird, especially since she doesn't really like baked goods, except for cookies. Still, that's well under $15 this past week for non-milk/fruit items.
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