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Everything posted by mizducky

  1. mizducky

    Feeding a crowd

    Ahah ... found the website I was looking for: Razzle Dazzle -- Cooking for a Crowd. Despite its name, the majority of these recipes are pretty basic, to even simplistic. And you probably won't find a specific recipe for the dishes you're planning. But I've used the quantities of ingredients given in these recipes to give me an idea of the quantities I need for whatever dish I was thinking of making. For instance, I realize of course that it's not Boston baked beans you plan to make, but this recipe that serves 32 at least gives you a ballpark for the amount of dried beans you might want to sta
  2. mizducky

    Feeding a crowd

    Hi Melissa--I think your menu choices sound great, and that you don't need to offer any additional protein choice since you have the pork and the beans (plus the shredded cheese garnish--I'd recommend having a good supply of this). A concern about the rice--while the pork and the beans are relatively forgiving about being cooked in large batches, rice can sometimes be a bit more fussy. Was this going to be just plain rice, or some sort of seasoned Mexican-style rice? I'd suggest giving the recipe a test run if you've not done it before, and cooking it in a couple of small batches instead of o
  3. mizducky

    Smoked Salmon

    Just for grins, I Googled "fried lox" and found some very peculiar things. Nothing worth reporting here, though. :-D Others have already suggested my first thought--a cream sauce over pasta; I've had that with the other type of smoked salmon (the flakeable alder-smoked stuff) and the flavors match terrifically. I bet using the salmon in a risotto would also work great. I was going to suggest making sushi rolls, seeing as how lox is one of the favorite go-to fish ingredients for people who want to try sushi but are noodgy about the "raw fish" thing. But if your husband is computing lox as "raw
  4. Great question! I think I was going for the Tweet/elevator speech/SEO mindset when I came up with the handle "The Tightwad Gourmand" that I sometimes use to describe myself. Current fiscal realities have made me even more of a tightwad than before--and recent constraints on my time have forced me to become a bit of a time-miser as well--but I still manage to have fun making fun and interesting food. In fact, it's become my favorite form of cheap recreation to go sleuthing out budget markets and meals. This frugality also intersects well with my interest in ethnic cuisines, especially the Asian
  5. I've seen those in my local Korean market. My understanding is that it's either a variety of, or a very very close relative of daikon. As a matter of fact I bought one recently and its taste and flavor were indistinguishable from daikon as far as I could tell. Which means it's rather closer to Western radishes than turnips. It'll still be great simmered in a soup, but--again in my random experience--it'll cook a bit quicker than a turnip, so take that into account.
  6. Just an interjection here: if you're getting a teflon pan so hot that you can smell the teflon "burning," that's a pretty good sign you're overheating it. Teflon-coated pans are really meant to take no more than moderate heat. If you're going to go that hot, I'd suggest using a non-teflon pan instead.
  7. Oh yeah, I'd come across Tsuji's opinion on frozen fish already. I just decided "oh well, guess I'll be ignoring that one ..." And yeah, it would have been nice, if they went to the trouble of putting together a 25th anniversary edition, that they'd at least footnoted specific changes in info, like the business about the sake grades. Even when I think a cookbook (or any reference book) is terrific, I almost always seek out second and third opinions, because every authority has their blind spots and hobby-horses. So -- many thanks for the heads-up on all those points of concern, Hiroyuki.
  8. My copy of Tsuji's "A Simple Art" arrived the other day (it's the 1980 edition, in near-perfect shape). I've only had time to read/leaf through it a little, but it's already got me excited--though a little daunted; I immediately got entranced by the process of making rice bran mash pickles, but somehow, with my load of classes plus part-time job, I fear I won't have the attention span to keep up with them (plus I wonder how my roommate would take to the frangrance of a little pickle-vat in our household ). But no worries, I see lots of other things I can tackle that I could fit into even my c
  9. I'm going to list cookies and candy separately, for the self-serving reason that it allows me to list more items. Cookies: Pepperidge Farm Milanos--I am dangerously compulsive around these things. I can inhale an entire bag of them in the blink of an eye. Fig Newtons--when they're fresh and soft, I find them really satisfying. When they're stale, forget it. Entenmann's soft chocolate chip cookies--I may be imagining it, but these seem not quite as good as they used to be. But when I first became addicted to them, they were the next best thing to scarfing raw cookie dough. Candy: Yeah, people
  10. mizducky

    Duck hearts

    How about preparing them yakitori style? Chicken hearts and gizzards are standard yakitori ingredients; I bet duck hearts would taste great prepared the same way.
  11. I too remember those plastic cups from community meetings in church basements rather from any home setting. As a matter of fact, I have a trace memory of my paternal grandmother drinking tea from Russian-style tea glasses ... she even owned a samovar, which fascinated me as a little squirt, but it sat on a sideboard unused; for everyday tea drinking she used Lipton tea bags.
  12. You could duck the whole issue of what color the sauce winds up by topping the dish with a gratin. (sez she who is such a huge fan of mushrooms that she doesn't much care what effect they have on sauce color )
  13. Though I second the recipe-solicitation technique of shopping for classic southern ingredients in markets whose demographics support the odds of running into a seasoned cook who might be moved to drop hints on a newbie.
  14. I think the one repurposing thing I do that I haven't seen in this topic so far is my hoarding of those soup flavoring powder packets from packages of Asian noodle soup (ramen, udon, etc.) I usually find them way too strong and salty for a single serving of soup noodles, so I just use half a packet per serving -- or one packet per two servings if I'm either famished or want leftovers. Either way, I slowly accumulate extra soup packets, which get used on noodles that come without soup packets, or for other random seasoning purposes. I also do the plastic bag hoarding thing. One of my favorite p
  15. Another vote for not being too fussy about getting every shred of pumpkin guts off the seeds before roasting. I don't bother to wash them, just rub off whatever rubs off. The remaining shreds of pumpkin guts caramelize really nicely. Okay, I knew the craving for pumpkin seeds was already starting to build, but now y'all have just put me over the edge.
  16. I've always fluffed my rice, whether white or brown, whether steamed in a pot on the stove or steamed in a rice cooker. As others have observed, it releases excess steam moisture, so the grains are more separate. In fact, I've found that fluffing brown rice, especially pot-steamed brown rice, really cuts down on the gloppy texture it can otherwise have (the mediocre hippy-brown-rice syndrome). I actually have a batch of brown rice cooling off after having been cooked (and fluffed) in the rice cooker just now, which I need to package up for the rest of the week's lunches.
  17. Hmmmm ... according to this page, there are apparently two different species that get called escolar, one of which has a more pronounced GI distress side-effect than the other. Just to make things even more confusing.
  18. I have my own self-taught celery-dicing method that goes pretty darned fast, if I do say so myself. 1. I trim the stalks, and cut them crosswise into easier-to handle lengths (4 or 5 inches). 2. I flip a chunk of stalk concave-side up, and run the tip of a small sharp knife lengthwise down the interior multiple times, slicing it into the narrowest julienne strips I can manage. 3. Then I just bunch up the julienne and slice them crosswise into tiny dice. 4. Repeat until all the chunks are chopped. I don't bother with removing the strings, as they've never bothered me, but there's no reason yo
  19. Both the smoked duck and the lop yuk sound like excellent ideas.
  20. I am experiencing a major jag of renewed/intensified interest in Japanese cookery (no doubt at least partly due to my enrolling in a college-level beginning Japanese class), so I'm finding this forum in general, and this topic in particular, very helpful. Based on the recommendations here, I went hunting on Amazon, and was able to score a used older edition of Tsuji's "A Simple Art" for less than what it'll cost for it to be shipped to me.
  21. mizducky

    Microwave Cooking

    Many many moons ago, when I was a budding foodie just out of college, my more-advanced 20-something foodie roommate discovered a technique for cooking a live lobster in a microwave. You took the crockery insert to a crockpot, put about an inch of water in it, crammed the lobster in, put the crock-pot's heavy glass lid on top, slipped the whole contraption into the microwave, and nuked the sucker. You of course had to have a crockpot lid that was 100% microwave-safe materials (i.e. no metal rim like my current one) and a microwave big enough to hold the assemblage, but it worked like a charm.
  22. What is it about frozen pizzas that make them so prone to burning the tongue? I haven't eaten a frozen pizza in many years, but I still have vivid memories of multiple tongue burns caused by them. On reflection, I think it's true that both home-made pizza and frozen pizza present tongue-burn hazards straight out of the oven--rocket-hot melted cheese is dangerous that way regardless of quality or pricetag. However, I have a couple of theories about why it may seem like burns happen more frequently with the frozen pies: 1. When it's a freshly hand-made pie, you're more likely to pause to admir
  23. I have fallen in love with karaage, and have decided that's what chicken nuggets dream of becoming when they are reincarnated with superior karma.
  24. mizducky


    Heh. If I were dining in a high-end restaurant, I guess I would be appalled if the restroom was sketchy in any way, shape, or form. Since the majority of my dining tends to be on the low-budget side, I'm willing to put up with a certain amount of funkiness, as long as some basic level of hygiene is maintained. I recall at least a couple of beloved divey ethnic restaurants in which you had to make a sometimes-harrowing passage through a part of the kitchen in order to reach an extremely, erm, rustic restroom--all of which I'm sure violated some aspect or other of the health code. As long as th
  25. Made the most ultra-simple beans the other day ... just a bunch of pintos in the pressure cooker with one smoked turkey tail. That one chunk of animal protein spread its fatty smokey salty goodness throughout the entire pot of beans--mmm mmm good. I really dig cooking with smoked turkey parts, but the tails can be the hardest to find. But IMO they're worth seeking out, because their higher fat content really gives beans that umph I was looking for (fat carries flavor). Of course, a well-placed ham hock does that too; but even though I'm usually all about the pork products, the smoked turkey is
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