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Everything posted by plk

  1. All excellent suggestions, thanks! Feel free to keep them coming as I check out reviews.
  2. I'm looking for a gift for a friend and am trying to find a book with just, or primarily, great pasta sauces. I'm not particularly looking for a general Italian cookbook, though if the best variety and quality is in a more general book, then that's what I'll get. A general search on amazon brings up a a ton of results, but I don't recognize the authors and would like to get something especially good. Any ideas?
  3. I was right; the car curse claims another victim.
  4. Huh, I have to say that the hosts' clothes honestly never make an impression on me. Anyway, I wonder if winning the car will jinx Richard. On Survivor, the contestant who wins the car never ever wins the whole thing.
  5. There's obviously fine dining in Mexico. I can't believe there's even a need to argue this. Here's one example, Pujol in Mexico City: http://www.pujol.com.mx/english.html
  6. Huh, I was kind of surprised to see people mention the swearing on Top Chef. I have to say that I honestly didn't notice it. I don't swear much at all myself, though I do pretty much expect it in any reality show and certainly in a busy kitchen. A reality show in a busy kitchen? Oh yeah, there's going to be tons of bleeping.
  7. Or he's a pregnant woman. Just about the fastest way to get all sorts of unwanted touching by strangers is to get preg and have it show.
  8. As a customer, I don't mind being bumped or jostled in close quarters -- that's going to happen. And I don't mind being tapped on the shoulder to get my attention. But a caress -- yeesh -- that's just creepy to me. I think I'd want to finish my meal and get out asap.
  9. Look, it's not the size of the bag. The weight of the dough itself is trivial. And of course you have to take breaks while skimming out batches of gnocchi when they float to the top. The method suggested above by papalolo sounds interesting and sufficiently easy that it might be worth making them again, but also I've made them enough now that my curiosity about the recipe has been entirely satisfied. I don't see the problem.
  10. I've made it three times. It was good, but I don't need to make it again, at least not that way, hence why I was glad for the alternate suggestion. Hold your arm up over a pot of boiling water for 20 minutes and tell me how fun it is.
  11. Now that is a great idea. Holding one arm above a pot of boiling water for however long it takes to get through the batch is why I never make them. ← Did you have shoulder surgery or something? It's not THAT hard to hold the bag and cut at the same time....you could just divide up the dough into several portions so the bag is not so heavy when you have to hold it. ← No, it was just annoying. I tend not to repeat doing tasks that are annoying and difficult unless there is a compelling reason to do so. It is not a matter of it being impossible or "that" difficult; I just don't want to do it again because it is sufficiently unpleasant. Capisce?
  12. Now that is a great idea. Holding one arm above a pot of boiling water for however long it takes to get through the batch is why I never make them.
  13. There is bad food, bad coffee, bad tea, and poorly-seasoned food in many restaurants, but come on, the solution is not to bring in outside ingredients so that you can fix it yourself. The restaurant is not your home. The socially-acceptable responses are to say something and hope that something changes (it probably won't), live with it, order around the problem items, or go somewhere else.
  14. I don't think the blanching has anything to do with it. You blanch Italian gnocchi as well.
  15. I've made gnocchi this way (used the recipe in Keller's Bouchon book) and they are great. But, it is sweaty, tiring work to pipe out those little buggers with one hand held above the boiling water and cut them off with the other. I used an ordinary steak knife. I think scissors would just gum up really fast and a bigger knife just seemed to collect goo. I used a gallon-sized freezer bag and just cut off the tip. You keep up a constant, slight pressure with one hand and lop off each one until you can't hold your arm up anymore. Then skim them out of the water and put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment so they can dry. At that point, you can use them directly or freeze them. Put the entire pan in the freezer and make sure they don't touch. When they are frozen solid, transfer them to a freezer bag. Then when you want to use them, toss them into the med-hot saute pan (browning the butter first is great here) frozen. So, yes, do it, but the easiest way is to do them ahead and freeze for later.
  16. We registered at amazon.com and a couple of other places I can't even remember. I think most of the stuff we got ended up coming from Amazon. They have a lot of good stuff, including Le Creuset and All-Clad for not-bad prices.
  17. I ordered pizza from Domino's last night in order to experience the pizza tracker and ... no go. First, my local Domino's isn't set up to accept online ordering, and then when I later plugged in my home phone number to try to track the order I placed over the phone, the system never found my order. Oh well. What pleasantly surprised me, though, was that they were faster, cheaper, and delivered a distinctly better product than Pizza Hut (none of the good pizza places here will deliver). In fact, for $9.99, the large "BRKLYN" one-topping pizza was fairly good, or at least better than a frozen pizza. The crust seemed to have been made from actual dough, and it was light, not tough or chewy, and slightly blistered on the bottom. The cheese was still completely molten when it arrived, so it didn't taste like anything but did burn the roof of my mouth. The sauce was almost candy-sweet, but was kind of a nice counterpoint to the salty pepperoni. And, the pepperonis were nice and big and not too thick. So, if I again find myself stuck at home without the car and nothing much to make, I'd consider getting it again. Not for a while, though, as I woke up in the middle of the night with an urgent need to drink about a gallon of water in order to process all that salt.
  18. Somewhat related this discussion, A good waiter can save your life.
  19. Hey, if I could get my pizza at home to cook in 5 minutes, I would consider it a triumph. Stupid oven only goes up to 500 though, so I'm stuck at 7-8 minutes. I hate Domino's pizza, but I love the gadget angle. I ordered online before from Pizza Hut (hate them too, but they and Domino's are the only pizza places that will deliver here) and had to wait about 45 minutes for it to get here. So confirmation that yes, the pizza is actually being worked on would be great.
  20. plk

    Divorce Cake?

    I would think that since there's a cake, this is a celebration. So, maybe things somehow signifying freedom. Like the open road or a sunrise.
  21. It can be, but the way cane sugar is currently refined in the US is by using bone charcoal. And as it says in one of the articles I quoted above, "Since bone char is not on the National Organic Program's National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances, certified USDA organic sugar cannot be filtered through bone char." Organic cane sugar in the US simply doesn't go through the refining process. That leaves a sugar with a molasses flavor, which is a great product, but not something that works in every application. Sugar producers could develop a different refining process that is organic (and I'm sure there's a market for it), but they haven't. Beet sugar is not refined by using bone charcoal, but there is no organic beet sugar being produced in the US. So if you want to make something with refined organic white sugar, right now that means getting beet sugar made in Denmark or something. Or changing your recipe and using a different organic sweetener.
  22. Nathan, your ideas sound great! I'd certainly buy your sorbet or ice cream. I hope you can get that Danisco sugar.
  23. plk

    Using Margarine

    Is Fleishmann's now not using whey? "Allergy Alert Issued on Undeclared Whey in Fleischmann's Unsalted Stick Margarine" http://www.fda.gov/oc/po/firmrecalls/fleischmann9_01.html I know they exist, I was just talking about melting.
  24. plk

    Using Margarine

    Earth Balance is vegan. I actually don't know of any others that are vegan, though there may be a few. Most contain some sort of dairy ingredient. This is also the case when you're looking for cheese alternatives. You would think that if you're going to make a soy or almond cheese that there wouldn't be any animal products in it, but no, most contain whey or rennet or something else. In fact, Vegan Gourmet makes the only vegan cheese that even melts. I still don't like it, but I guess it's better than no cheese at all.
  25. A couple more companies to try for organic beet sugar: Danisco in Denmark and Sweden (product info here), and Suiker Unie in the Netherlands. I'm really impressed with the lengths you're going to to get an organic sugar that tastes right. I guess you're going for a USDA label of 100% organic ingredients?
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