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  1. It was this multicooker https://www.target.com/p/cuisinart-174-7-qt-electric-multi-cooker-stainless-steel-msc-800/-/A-51222521 No pressure cooker function - mainly a really good slow cooker. Its shape is far more amenable to browning than the canister shape of the Instant Pot. In fact, I don't even try to brown in the IP because it is hopeless, and if you get any scorch, its stupid program prevents it from going to pressure. Anyway, the Cuisinart slow cooked at a slightly lower temp than your standard crockpot - I tested with a thermometer a few times - preventing that overcooked problem. And to add to this - i tested the IP's slow cooker yesterday because I miss my slow cooker so much. And I can tell you: It is definitely the worst slow cooker ever. After three hours, on the highest setting, my chili was only at 155 degrees. I ended up tossing because I was concerned about food safety.
  2. Lots of discussion here... Yes, I always reduce the liquid after if I use a slow cooker or the pressure cooker. And I always brown the meat and the aromatics first. I used to own a multicooker that let you brown everything and then turn to slow cook. It cooked at a lower temp than a traditional crockpot, which prevented the overcooking that some complain about. I loved that thing, and although I like oven braises the best, I never felt safe leaving my oven on all day while I am at work, plus 8 hours in the oven is just too much for many dishes. My multicooker broke (it was my fault, I caught the cord in something and yanked it out), and people convinced me to replace it with an Instant Pot. So I did. And while there are many things that work really well in it, especially beans, I do not like it for some of the dishes that I used to do in the slow cooker, especially things like chili where there is a lot of complex spice flavor. In the pressure cooker, the spices still taste slightly raw and unmixed by the time the meat is done. So that led me to try to understand what a pressure cooker does, exactly. It still sounds like hotter and faster to me. I read the Serious Eats article back when I was considering a pressure cooker, but it is more about taste tests than explanation. I agree with him that oven braises are best, but I think there are some dishes that just don't come out as well in a pressure cooker. I just want to know WHY so I can figure out what to cook in the pressure cooker and what to avoid, without wasting food in the process
  3. Sorry, still not getting it. Why does braising in a hotter oven bring no advantage, but it does in a pressure cooker? There is something I am just not getting... And yes, I always brown first, and I also reduce the liquid, whether it is a pressure cooker or a slow cooker. But the results seem better in a slow cooker, and better yet in an oven braise. That is why I am trying to understand what the pressure cooker does exactly beyond simply cooking faster and hotter
  4. First off, yes I do own a pressure cooker one of those trendy Instant Pots. But I have some really basic questions about how it really works. I understand the science - the fact that temperature at which water boils is raised, so that it cooks hotter and faster. But most of the recipes I see are for things that are traditionally cooked low n' slow: oven braises, slow cooker recipes converted over, etc. Isn't "hotter and faster" the opposite of "low n' slow"? How is this different from simply doing my oven braise at a higher temperature? That would take less time too. I am asking because I am trying to figure out which of my oven braise and slow cooker recipes to try in the pressure cooker. While it is great for beans, I haven't been very happy with dishes that I normally do in the slow cooker - the complexity of flavor just isn't there. I had always learned that you have to go low n' slow for complex flavor - maybe that is the issue? Can someone explain how a pressure cooker is different from simply braising hotter and faster?
  5. Oh, that sounds good. I love Greek. Is it a place where one needs a reservation?
  6. I am meeting up with my favorite college roommate, who I haven't seen since 1983. We are meeting up in the East Village on Sunday evening. She lives in FL, but works in the travel industry, so she goes out to eat often in interesting places around the world. I, on the other hand, have 3 small kids, and though they are foodie kids, we tend to eat at the ethnic, kid-friendly places. So while I might know the interesting Chinese spots in, say, Flushing, I am at a loss when it comes to a kid-free girls night out. I am looking for a place with good wine or beer, interesting but not high end food, and a relaxed quiet atmosphere where we could catch up. We need to be able to get in without a reservation because I am not sure exactly of our timeing. I am hoping that 6:30-ish on a Sunday might not be too bad. I am considering Hearth simply because I was there recently for a kiddie birthday party (the chef is a dad at my kids daycare), and it looked interesting - plus the food they fed the parents was yummy. What other options do we have?
  7. I just got back from a banquet where Jennifer 8 Lee, the author of The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, was the featured speaker. She was hilarious. I had read her book last summer and enjoyed it. Her talk included a video of puzzled people in China trying to figure out what you do with a fortune cookie. Has anyone here read the book? What did you think?
  8. I notice this thread has not been active for a while. We visited Spicy & Tasty for the first time on Saturday, but I was a little disappointed. I think, alas, that we got the "gringo" treatment. We are a family of 5 - including 3 kids. We've been to Grand Sichuan and Szechuan Gourmet in Manhattan, and wanted to compare. We spent time 2 years ago in Chongqing China so we are not unfamiliar with real Sichuanese food (Chongqing has a reputation for the hottest food in Sichuan, in fact). I ordered Cold Jelly Chengdu Style, cold cucumbers, lamb with scallions, dry cooked string beans, Ma Po Tofu, and double cooked pork (those last two are kind of reference dishes). We also got Yang Chow fried rice for the kids. They gave me what I think were sesame noodles instead of the cold jelly noodles - nicely done sesame noodles but not what I wanted. I should have complained but didn't because my 3 year old was slurping them up. The cucumbers were pleasant but nothing like the addictive Sichuan picked vegetables at Szechuan Gourmet. The lamb with scallions was awesome. Ma Po Tofu was pleasant but not especially spicy - my corner takeout can make it spicier if I ask them. The double cooked pork was OK, but I like the fattier kind of pork. So...did we get the toned down white-people food, or is this just what Spicy & Tasty is like these days? Incidentally, we shared a table with two Taiwanese guys who said they come regularly for the noodle soup and who were not at all familiar with the Sichuanese dishes.
  9. I notice that they have a kids menu at the Upper West Side location. Although my kids would be fine with the regular menu, I always imagine that this means the restaurant welcomes kids. Do you think that is true? What are the waits like on a weekend evening, earlyish?
  10. OK, I just realized that I wasn't reading closely enough. I see that Katz's does do online. Thanks! I'll go with that option. Has anyone heard of a place called Ben's Best. They seem to also do online ordering. Thanks!
  11. We are in southern Westchester. If anyone knows of good pastrami in Westchester, let me know! I don't have time to head into the city to do this. I have 3 kids and a fulltime job. I need a place that does mailorder, the way that Murray's Cheese does.
  12. No, Boar's Head is precisely the kind of overly lean and bland pastrami that he doesn't like. He wants the kind you get at the best deli's in NYC. Maybe I should post this on the New York board?
  13. My husband is always complaining about the quality of the standard pastrami that we buy at the supermarket, saying it is too lean and bland. I want to get him pastrami that is really good for his birthday. Are there any mailorder companies that sell really good quality pastrami? We live just outside NYC, btw, but I don't have time to go into the city to buy anything. thanks!
  14. In my experience, having been there about a dozen times now between lunch and dinner visits, showing up at Szechaun Gourmet without a reservation (you can make reservations no problem) during the dinner rush has always been a recipe for a 30-60 minute wait. That's not to say Bruni's review has had no effect, but the observation you're reporting isn't uniquely post-Bruni. ← We bring out of town friends here all the time, and always, always make reservations. They have tended to be crowded on weekends for months now.
  15. We've taken our kids to Ottos a bunch of times, and even relatively late (we tend to be lateish diners). Once we took out of towners who had 2 small kids, so we had 5 kids under 7 at the table. It is a great place for kids, with tons of choices that kids will eat. They are very experienced with stashing strollers too. The only downside is that it is LOUD, so if you want to actually talk to your kids, you will have to scream.
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