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Everything posted by sheetz

  1. Has anyone ever tried this method of roasting a turkey? The turkey is first poached in stock the day before, and then then roasted at 475F for 30 minutes. I've used a similar method for a Chinese style deep fried chicken but never on a roasted turkey. http://www.dartagnan.com/recipe.asp?id=11&category=4 It sounds fairly foolproof and if the results are good would really help free up the oven for the side dishes.
  2. sheetz

    Slow cooked congee

    Sounds way too low a temperature to me. You need a higher temperature in order to break down the rice and thicken the stock. I have a conventional slow cooker that has 3 settings: high, low, and keep warm. I normally use the low setting for congee but on a couple of occasions I've accidently switched it to 'keep warm' and all I got after hours of cooking was soupy rice.
  3. sheetz

    Cooking While on Vacation

    Later this year my family (4 adults, 2 children) will be spending a week in Orlando at a vacation rental home complete with full kitchen. For the sake of both frugality and convenience we'd like to prepare as many of our meals as possible at the house. We've never done this before so I don't know what to expect, but I'll assume the kitchen is bare bones with minimal equipment and no pantry items. We'll be flying in so bringing lots of bulky items with me will be out of the question. However, I should be able to carry along a few small things such as spices. Any menu suggestions? For breakfast we'll probably just go with cold cereal and fruit, but I'd like to prepare at least half the lunches and dinners. Generally we're not too finicky and have no particular dietary restrictions.
  4. sheetz

    Lye water

    Having read a little more about lye water's uses in Chinese cooking, I found out that lye water will initially cause gluten strands to become stretchier, but then after about 30 min they completely stiffen up. In recipes for hand pulled noodles using lye water you have to work very quickly so you can be finished pulling the noodles before the dough stiffens up. In contrast, recipes for mooncakes using lye water say to let the dough rest for an hour before shaping them. Based on what I've read and my own experience, I believe this helps the skin become more plastic so that the patterns molded onto the dough will hold their shape during baking.
  5. sheetz

    Lye water

    I guess it would depend on the recipe but you can go ahead and try. The stuff you bought is food grade so it is safe to consume (in small quantities). Re: Sodium carbonate, apparently it can be used in place of lye water for some applications. As for lye water's use in Cantonese moon cakes, I think the higher pH may cause the gluten in flour to become more elastic and make it easier to stretch the dough into a thin layer around the filling. For this reason lye water is also used in making hand pulled noodles.
  6. sheetz

    Cooking for 26!

    You can also try Gordon Food Service which is opening up a store in 2 weeks. http://gfscomingsoon.com/madison.php Garbanzo beans are on their product list http://www.gfs.com/files/pdf/gms/ProductGuide.pdf
  7. sheetz

    Cooking for 26!

    I have hard water where I live so dried beans won't soften no matter how long I boil them. The only way to cook them is by using a pressure cooking or adding baking soda to the boiling water. That said, I prefer using dried garbanzo beans to canned because they are much cheaper at the Indian grocer, and I can also use them for falafel, which doesn't work so well with the canned beans.
  8. I've been to many banquets where the fried rice is more tossed than fried. I don't know if that's a function of having to prepare a large amount of fried rice at one time or rather a desire to have a more "clean" tasting rice.
  9. sheetz

    Cooking for 26!

    I think it would easier to use a firmer type of tofu if you want it crispy--soft or silken varieties have too much water. And the tofu should be pan fried or deep fried, not stir fried.
  10. sheetz

    Cooking for 26!

    Yeah, if the pantry is pretty well stocked with dairy, eggs, tofu, veggies, beans, rice, pasta and flour you don't need much else to make a decent meal. I think what this boils down to is that the menu needs to be created around the pantry items with the small amount of money reserved for "flavor enhancers" like ham, bacon, butter, spices, etc. You can make simple meals like: chili with cornbread, frittata with bean soup, mac n cheese with roasted veggies, maybe even chicken pot pie if chicken legs are cheap.
  11. sheetz

    Cooking for 26!

    50 cents a person is tough. How about something like pho? Use whatever cheap scraps of meat you can find for the broth and whatever vegetables on sale for topping. The noodles should be pretty cheap at the Asian grocer.
  12. I've looked at other recipes online and a lot of them also say to simmer the eggs in the soy sauce mixture for a couple of hours. The Saveur recipe just says to simmer for 5 min and then add ice and I wonder if that could be the difference. And as others have said I think you should try adding some Chinese dark soy sauce to the mix. Kikkoman just isn't the same. If you can't find dark soy sauce you could try added a spoon of molasses.
  13. I wonder if the low sodium soy sauce is the problem. As Carolyn says the solution should be quite salty, and I think the saltiness may help the osmotic transfer of the marinade through the egg membrane.
  14. I've never tried making these but am tempted to do so just out of curiosity. If your technique is fine then I wonder if has to do with your ingredients, like your eggs or soy sauce, for instance.
  15. sheetz

    But the recipe SAYS!

    That's funny, I don't trust the vast majority of recipes on the internet. So much wrong "information" and how do you know whether you can trust peoples' taste? I only trust epicurious and egullet. There's a difference between recipe sites and cooking blogs/forums. I don't generally trust recipe sites, including epicurious, but I do have more trust in actual cooking blogs and forums, of which egullet is merely one. Other good forums/blogs would include The Fresh Loaf and Real Baking with Rose. I also like a lot of the articles on Serious Eats. As for trusting other people's tastes, that's always going to be an issue no matter where you go.
  16. sheetz

    But the recipe SAYS!

    I don't trust cookbooks much anymore. The great thing about the internet is the explosion of cooking forums and blogs where I can almost always find a recipe that somebody has tried and that actually works. Plus it's often the case that someone is available to answer questions should any problems arise.
  17. I'm trying to plan a dinner menu and a lot of recipes require the use of egg whites while on the other hand there are very few which require the use of egg yolks. Normally I would just use the yolks in a custard or lemon curd but I was hoping to maybe incorporate the yolks somewhere into the menu this time. I know they could be added to fried rice and I've seen one recipe where yolks are used in a dessert soup, but beyond that I'm sort of at a loss. What do those huge Cantonese restaurants who use gallons of egg whites every day in soups and marinades do with all the yolks?
  18. Thanks for the suggestions! Right now I'm learning towards the steamed custard. It hadn't occurred to me because my mom always used salted duck eggs instead of chicken eggs. I even did a search and found hzrt8w's pictorial.
  19. If that is others' reaction to your eating sensibly, it could be the biggest favor you have ever done them. Unfortunately, what usually happens is that those who wish to indulge themselves will try to pressure the lone dissenter into conforming to their ways. As for the idea of "splurging just for Thanksgiving," it all sounds good in theory but I've never found that to work for me because it's *NOT* just Thanksgiving we're talking about. For my friends and family that whole period of Thanksgiving to New Year's is just one mega food bonanza of rich foods and dining out, and trying to make up for almost two months of gluttony in January can be overwhelming to say the least.
  20. Patrick, Your ingredients look OK so I'd definitely try it again using the suggestions I gave.
  21. sheetz

    Eggplant and Black Bean Sauce

    Traditionally the Chinese will deep fry the sliced eggplant before incorporating in the sauce ingredients. It soaks up more oil this way, but that's almost certainly how restaurants make it. Edit: This youtube video perfectly illustrates how to cook Sichuan-style spicy eggplant. It's in Chinese but it should be pretty easy to get the gist of what's happening. A black bean sauce version would be almost identical except for the different sauce.
  22. I usually serve red cooked dishes the following day so the fat can solidify and be easily removed after a day in the fridge. Also, if the dish tastes underseasoned you can boil down the sauce until it's reduced enough for your tastes. I haven't tried that recipe but usually Ms Dunlop's recipes are spot on. Could it be that you bought the wrong kind of soy sauce? Could you list the ingredients here for us to see?
  23. Clever! Thanks for the tip!
  24. I agree that it's best to include a variety of foods to satisfy the preferences of both you and your guests. And if somebody bugs you for not eating enough mashed potatoes, you can say, "You know, lately I've been completely obsessed with this brussels sprouts recipe--I could just live off of them!" In other words, don't make it appear like you're depriving yourself. People generally don't like to pig out when it seems that someone else in their group is depriving themselves.
  25. Gorgeous banquet, Prawn! I need you to become my food stylist--I've never been able to chop chicken as beautifully as that.