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  1. The Serious Eats guide is a good read, thanks! I have a lot of markets near me that sell it, but I don't trust the turnover and the bottles are clear and sometimes dusty with age. Couple hits on amazon for what look like good options, but knowing amazon it could be some third party reseller who bought an old box of oil on ebay.
  2. I've cooked with mustard seed oil a little, and really like it... to an extent, or I would but my nose kicks in and tells me the oil I'm using is rancid. It seems that because some authority decided it's not for eating, it's sold as a 'massage' product and -is packaged in clear containers -has no press date -has no expiration date, or an expiration date that may have been calculated based on it not being consumed in food So I'm looking for a source that sells recently pressed mustard seed oil, preferably in oil-aware dark glass/cans. I would love to cook with it more, but it's not just for health reasons that I don't want to eat rancid oil.
  3. Going on the pinkness of Cha Siu (chinese roasted pork) I've wondered if there's curing salt in some recipes. A quick search of the web says no. A more detailed search, where I looked specifically for Curing Salt and Cha Siu says maybe. So, is this one of those ingredients like MSG, often used but expunged from the pages of cookbooks out of fear or secrecy? Or does it not really belong in Cha Siu? I do know I enjoy the pinker, more hammy cha siu more than the kind that resembles overcooked pork roast in the center. Same question applies for vietnamese bbq pork, the kind you find in your bahn mi, or the mixed ingredient rice/noodle plates. So delicious, and strangly pink internally. Anyone use it for these recipes?
  4. Oh, for examples: Regional american food that calls for spice mixes (cajon seasoning, chili seasoning). But not Old Bay, 'cause Old Bay is awesome (probably being hypocritical here) I think in indian recipes garam masala (a type of ground curry powder) should be given a pass, as it's not really an ingredient, more of a pointer to your-favorite-garam-masala-recipe.
  5. Is there a good brand of Shaoxing I can use? Because I've bought quite a few that are so horribly bad that I've stopped trying, and just use sake or vermouth in chinese recipes.
  6. Best one is the one that drills home the point- use starter cultures. Best kimchi is the one made with some of your previous batch. I'm not sure where along the line I figured that out, but once I did fermenting lost the mystery (and sort of the need for recipes, you want it to be one or more of sour, salty, sweet to various degrees, and control what grows on/in it (I think Nourishing Traditions was the best one for me, I recall it encourages expermentation which shocked me at first, as I had been reading the horror's of living-food in my blue-ball book of preserving)
  7. I just ordered the Craig Claiborne and Virginia Lee based on the recipe excerpts in the link above. I use MSG often when cooking, my rule of thumb is usually 1/4 to 1/2 as much MSG as salt, and I add it when I don't feel the recipe gets enough of that flavor from other ingredients (don't want to add it to miso soup, but a little in hamburgers along with salt and pepper is a regular thing for me).
  8. Not a bad season, but not great. Still suffers from the broken game system of sending the worst home every time, which inevitably sends home good chefs. My idea of the day: A running scoreboard (with increasing scores every episode as a catchup mechanic). Good chefs could get points to prevent them from being eliminated for a single mistake. Can still send home the lowest scorer every week. Still, it was a pretty epic ending and I enjoyed it. The kitchen stadium thing could have been great, but it sure felt like we saw nothing of the cooking.
  9. Many cooking contest shows have rules that reward safe, boring dishs. I cringe hearing judges say 'Be Creative! Push Yourself!' because I know damn well that that's exactly what gets people kicked off the show while the 'perfectly executed' grilled cheese sandwich gets passed on to the next round.
  10. Werdna

    "The Taste"

    Still having fun with this show, though I wonder if Nigella's contestant was retained out of pity? Also wondering why they are in such a hurry to end these shows, it's not like there's a lot of content on TV nowadays, why make these things a measly 9-16 episodes when they could be extended so much longer? I feel that they are in a big hurry to end The Taste (and other American cooking contest shows) with all these double/triple eliminations... why? 200 + channels, I would think they would be loving an inexpensive-to-produce show that could be extended forever.
  11. Werdna

    "The Taste"

    UK Masterchef is serious, and so very, very dull. I do get the impression that it's a serious cooking competition, but I also get the impression that the producers/directors could care less about what is happening and presentation. No dramatic music, or short bits of music played almost at random. Long shots of people staring at the camera without shifting facial expressions (why not keep the camera on the food?). No reaction from people being eliminated. Challenges where the contestant is asked to cook a dish. 10 minutes later, then next contestant same dish. Then 10 minutes later ... etc. Just like with the food, the presentation of the show is also important.
  12. Werdna

    "The Taste"

    I absolutely loved it! As a game the rules are well defined, sneaky, allow for bluffing (have not seen it yet though? or have I?), and all sorts of fun. I love well crafted game systems and this show is forging new ground. Blind bidding, then let the contestant decide, then team building, then more blind judging? Yes Please! Who is judging it does not matter much to me in face of the above, though I like Ludo now more than after watching him on TC:Masters. Also wondering where the common sense of the contestants has gone. Servings way too large, trying to put 5+ competing flavors in a bite, ack! I'm rooting for Charlie Sheen's personal chef and am really curious if the girl who served desert can do savory.
  13. Friend of mine sent me a recording of the 2ed and third season, I watched them out of order (just finishing the second season now, watched the full third first to see if I liked it). Would be cool if they broadcast it here in the US (I'm in California). I would think with all the billions of channels our cable services provide, they could compile an around-the-world English-speaking food channel. I'd certainly watch it. Nit-picking is also my favorite thing while watching these shows, heh. Masterchef AU is simply amazing, I think season 3 of that was my favorite food-show ever. That said, I still think the TV-side of MKR is better for passing on recipe tidbits in an easy-to-digest format. But it's hard to compete with the celebrity lineup Masterchef-3 brought in. The show-format shift is great! That threw me for a real loop, and while I do not like the first-part format nearly as much, in retrospect it helps with getting to know the characters before you see them compete, more emotional investment=better for these things. My friend sent me another DVD with Masterchef NZ on it, where they alternate competition episodes with ‘teach the contestants in classroom format’ episodes. Classroom episodes bored my wife to tears, me to a lesser extent, and we ended up skipping those. It’s a format switch but not, I think, a good one. To ramble on, the cheating is subtle but noticeable. I mean, it's not really cheating, because all the contestants do it. But you can tell that something strange is going on, when people are cooking things they never have cooked before, from hidden recipes, messing them up and forgetting parts of the recipe.. anyway, I can tell some serious coaching is going on in the background. Which I have no objection at all to, makes for good TV (and I really don't want to see it, like in MC NZ). Also, I KNOW the MKR people are not decorating their own instant restaurants. So I guess all I’m saying here is that there are a lot of people working on the show who are not showing up in the credits/show who maybe deserve to be cooked for every once in a while . I had just watched the steak-instant thermo episode and was yelling ‘noooo’ at the screen with you. Lots of talk of ‘sealing’ meat, trying to braise a 5 lb uncut pork shoulder in an hour (where did they come up with that? Yikes) And a woeful lack of pressure-cookers used (especially for stock making, which they still try to do in 1 hour). I found myself skinning a chicken the other day though, grinding up the meat/liver and slapping together a roulade in just minutes which would not have occurred to me to do until I saw it on the show (wrapping in plastic-wrap/foil, cooking, unwrapping and then frying until brown). MMM. And I have a huge hankering for a duck-neck sausage.
  14. I'm of mixed opinions about who it's for. The people cooking are not nearly as skilled as those on Top Chef, but I would imagine that a 'serious foodie' would be interested in the food, whereas a casual viewer would be more interested in the drama. In that respect, MKR devotes most of the show to the food being cooked, whereas Top Chef you are lucky if you see even a glimpse of technique or ingredients. (It's kind of fun to make fun of the judges too. Pete "what Menu scored it +1" and Menu "My steak does not have enough sauce!"). No clue who the guest judges are, so they don't bug me. The third season is much more fun than the second, I'd be interested in hearing what you think of it. (Some of the contestants are fantasticly better cooks too)
  15. I've been watching this recently. It's got a format that started out off-putting and confusing: couples are traveling around to each others houses, putting on dinner parties. 6 episodes passed and not a person was eliminated, I was ready to give up on it, but my wife was enjoying it so we persisted. 12 episodes: no one eliminated. 18 episodes: first couple is eliminated. These are hour-long episodes! What the heck is going on here, is this show going to run forever? I started speculating about Stockholm syndrome, with the captives/contestants starting to empathize with their captors/judges, hanging on their every word, having it become their only reality. Then, episode 19 the show shifted gears. All of a sudden, they are all competing at the same time. Or going places and cooking. And the competitions are... fair! No one is ever sent home for something silly. In fact, you have to lose 2-3 times in a row in evenly matched battles to be sent off the show. All this makes for quite a bit of screentime (consider Top Chef is over before these people have eliminated one person, screen-time wise). Is this a good thing? I think so, I mean, why not? I'd watch 40 extra episodes of Top-Chef a year, I love this stuff. One other big thing: My Kitchen Rules in particular has absolutely mastered conveying information to the viewer. I did not even realize they were doing it. They have the contestants, and the judges, sit down with the editors and do interviews/voiceovers (often pretending that they do not know the outcome). Then they integrate these with the cooking, so you have 'kitchen drama' 'voiceover bit of recipe/technique' 'what is going wrong' 'what should they be doing instead' etc all at once. Directors of American food tv need to watch/imitate this last part, it’s very well done.
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