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Everything posted by mizducky

  1. I just checked amazon.com -- they have a bunch of Yazawa's CD's listed, but as they're necessarily all imports, the prices of many of them are a bit steep. Plus--no clickable music clips. I'll have to come up with another way to get a sample of this artist's music, as the credit card has been taking a little too much abuse recently. I know only a very little bit about the Japanese pop/rock music scene--I've been to a couple of shows by Shonen Knife, who have a definite cult following here in the US. What has their popularity been like in their homeland? To try and drag this query vaguely on-topic: I can't help noticing that Shonen Knife, as well as the US-based Japanese alt-pop band Cibo Matto, have a number of songs about food items. Is this in any way a running theme of other Japanese pop groups, or just a coincidence with these two groups?
  2. In addition to what has already been said: if a recipe I'm working from specifies a particular type and style of ingredient, and I'm massively unfamiliar with that ingredient, I would be loathe to let any salesperson "talk me into" buying something other than that ingredient unless I had received reliable advice from that salesperson before. Having said that, developing a good relationship with a *trusted* butcher, who does prove to give reliable advice, is very helpful when you're not familiar with the product. That this butcher blithely persuaded you to buy another cut than flank steak, which has some unique qualities in terms of grain and such, doesn't sound all that promising. Now, I've noticed there is some confusion out there regarding "london broil," a label sorta-traditionally associated with flank steak, but often stuck onto a number of other thick-slab cuts of meat, even though those other cuts don't necessarily behave anything like a flank steak. By any chance did the recipe you're working from call itself "London Broil," and did you share that info with the butcher? Oh yeah--and what did your recipe say in terms of handling the steak, besides broiling it on either side for 6 minutes? Even if you had used flank steak, this could have still produced a really tough result, unless the recipe also told you to (a) tenderize or marinate the meat first, and/or (b) slice it in thin slices across the grain after broiling and resting. Could you post your recipe in its entirety? That would help in diagnosing the problem.
  3. Cold pizza, slightly flat lukewarm Coke--leftovers from a marathon rehearsal the previous evening. Breakfast of chumps?
  4. Heh. A one-pound roast being the largest available in the market is speaking volumes to me about Japan's mindset towards animal protein--more often an accent to a meal than the main event, served in smaller portions than in the US even when it is the main event, etc. Wish I could get my brain re-programmed to think that way--I'd probably be a darn sight healthier. I always thought of it as an Asian thing. I recall my parents having it in Korea even before 1975. My parents make it when it gets hot and most Koreans are familiar with it. ← Heh. Depending on what area of Florida your mom grew up in, she might have been really growing up in a "suburb" of New York anyway. (sez one whose very New Yawk parents did the "snowbird" thing for some years before settling into Florida for the duration). Meanwhile, some of the few places here in the States outside of New York that I could always count on to know from iced coffee have been Vietnamese and Thai restaurants. I adore that style of iced coffee, with that thick layer of condensed milk at the bottom of the French roast--major yum, that.
  5. I always thought of iced coffees as a very Japanese thing... 10 to 15 years ago everyone in Japan was drinking iced coffee and when I would ask for it in the US people would just stare at me and have no idea what I was talking about. Matcha lattes are quite common and they even show up at Starbucks and other similar coffee shops. ← I grew up in the suburbs of New York City, where iced coffee had long been a well-known thing ... but up until relatively recently, if I asked for an iced coffee anywhere in the U.S. outside of the New York metro area, I'd get nothing but blank looks too--or at best a glass of coffee that was tepid because they simply dumped some ice in the glass and poured hot coffee in direct from the coffeemaker. Since Starbucks has taken over the planet, now at least seemingly everyone's familiar with iced and/or frozen latte drinks. But I still can get some puzzled looks in some places in the States when I ask for straight iced coffee.
  6. mizducky

    Jones Sodas

    Back when I worked for Microsoft (the years just before I moved down to San Diego), the Jones soda folks showed up on campus to do some kind of marketing event for the Whoop Ass product. Those little cans were floating around various people's offices for weeks afterward. A few of us drank the stuff, and discovered that the contents were in fact a lot less pleasing than the packaging. But the cans did make entertaining computer-geek office decor.
  7. Well, I did the previous too-big thighs in the new Crisco. I did the little drumettes in the old Crisco just for that reason. I didn't see any difference. Both were fresh from the can, not recycled since that issue has come up on this thread. ← Cool. I figure my next fried chicken experiment--whenever that winds up happening--will be with the trans-free stuff. Probably with pieces of wing too. See if I too can finally achieve non-burnt chick.
  8. Heh. I did the PMS-cure-by-burger thing Monday night (bacon double cheeseburger at Hodad's, notorious for Burgers Wider Than The Normal Human Mouth). And last night I basically inhaled an entire bag of Brach's bridge mix. And today, I have one of my non-standard PMS symptoms: raging heartburn. Plus a craving for another Hodad's burger. It's not fair, I tell ya!
  9. Yikes! Is there a risk of having the rice confiscated as you come in through customs, because of the tarriff thing or some other regulation? I've gotten the impression that foodstuffs are just more expensive in Japan all across the board. Erm, not wanting to pry into your personal finances or anything ... maybe you could say something about what percentage of the average Japanese person's/household's income goes to pay for food.
  10. I have no knowledge of Corvallis-area restaurants, but on the off-chance that you're travelling by car and your route involves driving north to Corvallis on the I-5, I heartily recommend a road-food stop at Heaven on Earth in Azalea, OR. Every time I'd drive from Seattle down to Ashland or beyond, I always made sure to stop at this joint. Great country/diner food, and an on-site bakery whose terrific cinnamon buns severely violate the "never eat anything bigger than your head" rule.
  11. Having just been inspired by all this cool new stuff to become a donor, I can tell you one benefit of paid membership that, at least IMO, is worth the price of admission alone: not having to be caught by that dangfool search-flooding error message anymore! (Glyph of crazed duckling talking back to her computer screen: "Waddiya mean, give the others a chance? That was too 40 seconds already, dagnabbit!!!)
  12. IIRC, Discovery Channel did have a version of this show on before--it was a special, and now I'm not remembering if it was a one- or two-parter. Looking over the crew on the various boats, I recognize at least one man from the previous show (a greenhorn then, he survived going overboard, a rather spectacular incident; the site refers to this having happened to him last crabbing season). I'm guessing the original show must have been a pilot, and now they're going ahead with a series. When I lived in Seattle, I knew a couple of different people who would regularly go up to Alaska to work in the commercial fisheries. They weren't into the crabbing as far as I know, but to hear one of them tell it, all the work on deck hauling in sea-critters could be pretty darned dangerous.
  13. That looks, gorgeous, Susan! Totally off-topic ... my dad was a neighbor of yours (Ormond Beach) up until he passed away this past December. Lovely area you live in, there (I mean, when it's not being smished by hurricanes, I guess! ) Back on-topic: now that I've got this stock of leftover ingredients of various sorts, I've got questions about storage. I'm assuming the tamarind paste needs to be kept refrigerated, right? I've got it in the fridge wrapped in plastic wrap right now. How long does it keep? How about the open bottle of fish sauce? Fridge or cupboard?
  14. But what about my backs? ← Oy. Don't tempt me like that. I've been known to come up with really bad parodies, and I'm feeling one on "Baby Got Back" comin' on. Meanwhile ... did we ever come to any kind of conclusion about the new trans-fat free Crisco vs. the original in terms of effect on the whole frying process, taste, appearance, whatever? I recall a few folks trying it out way at the beginning of the thread, but don't recall a final verdict.
  15. I've not gotten married myself, but I've officiated at a whole bunch of other people's weddings, which can give one an interesting perspective on the whole wedding biz, let me tell you. (I can still hear my internship supervisor advising me to try to keep the wedding party from drinking until *after* the ceremony. I still don't know how he expected me to stop them. ) Of all these various weddings, some had fabulous food and some had, erm, rather less so. But the one that most sticks in my mind for the food aspect, as well as for other features, occured on Vashon Island (in Puget Sound, a short ferry ride from Seattle) in the early 1990s. Vashon is a wonderful place, an entirely different vibe from the nearby city--largely rural, very laid back, with a bit of a artistic/left-over-hippy vibe--and the couple and their party, mainly long-time island residents, were very much in that mold. The wedding itself was held outdoors, in an apple orchard (I recall the groom, a bit of a character, deftly plucking an apple and taking a bite of it as he and the bride recessed out of the orchard at ceremony's end). We then all drove a little ways to a farm owned by friends of the bride and groom, where a catering company had a nice rustic pig-roast ready. They'd cooked the whole hog on a rig made from a split oil barrel. The buffet line was set up in a barn, with big platters of the pulled pork plus typical barbecue sides like cole slaw and the like. I always applaud those brides and grooms who achieve a wedding celebration that really reflects their personalities and style, and this one definitely did that. And I just have to share a funny wedding-meal story from my sister's wedding planning. She was discovering, to her mingled stress and amusement, that her mother-in-law to be was an anxious worrywart fussbudget the likes of which she'd never met before. (Her son, having had a lifetime of his mom's fussbudgetry, tended to just roll his eyes when she'd go on about things...) Anyway, one of the things MIL-to-be said to my sister during the wedding dinner planning went something like this: "Now, you should be sure to choose no dishes that involve any kind of sauce or gravy, because there will be a lot of elderly family members at the dinner, and their coordination isn't what it used to be, and they'll wind up spilling sauce on themselves, and then whenever they see that stain on their expensive outfits it'll remind them of your wedding but it'll be an unhappy memory because that outfit was ruined." My sister told me that, the first moment she and her fiance got out of earshot of his mother after this pronouncement, they both cracked up laughing and vowed that their wedding dinner was going to have sauces on *everything*.
  16. Y'know, I was wondering that very same thing myself. I've even seen kid-characters in anime making that hand gesture, so I've got the drift that it's popular, but I still dunno what it means. Non-verbal stuff like this is a whole other layer of cultural communication that can be hard to track down (like, how does one go about googling "Japanese hand signal that looks like an American peace or victory sign"? ), but can be so fascinating to learn about. Valiantly trying to steer this post back towards food ... torakris, I'm anticipating enjoying your blog too. I've already enjoyed those glimpses into everyday Japanese food and culture from your other posts, and am looking forward to more.
  17. Thanks for all the compliments, folks! Reflecting on the experiment, I now find I have some further geeky-detail questions: 1. The eggs. The eGCI/mamster/Cook's Illustrated recipe said to stir-fry the eggs for a mere 20 seconds before adding the noodles. When I did that, the eggs were still a bit liquidy by the time I added the noodles, so that when I mixed them all together the eggs wound up as a mostly-invisible (though quite tasty) coating on the noodles. Is that the effect we're going for? Or are there supposed to be discernable bits of egg as in fried rice? If the latter, I'm probably going to have to stir-fry the eggs longer, because my wimpy electric range doesn't seem to push enough juice to make the eggs solidify in that short a time even when the burner's set to high. 2. Browner noodles: chrisamirault, I note the suggestion you got from the recipe you followed, regarding pressing the noodles into the wok to get them to pick up some color. As noted above, I'm working with a wok on a wimpy electric burner, which I know is far from ideal, but it's extremely unlikely that I'll be able to get a better heating unit for under my wok for the forseeable future (at least it's a flat-bottomed wok, with some pretty decent seasoning). Any other thoughts on how I might get my noodles browner next time (without resorting to the dreaded ketchup bowdlerization)? (edited to fix a tyop )
  18. mizducky

    The Tater Tot Topic

    "Napoleon, give me some of your tots!" I would dearly love to know if sales of Tater Tots showed any kind of a spike when that movie came out. I know I found myself wandering into the frozen-food aisle shortly after seeing it. The power of suggestion? P.S. Those things really are pretty damn good. Especially for late-night munchies.
  19. Oops. Oh well--that's what comes of me posting when I should be heading for bed. I am right now consuming the fruits of my pad thai experiment. As I mentioned before, I used the eGCI/Cook's Illustrated recipe. This produced some darn good-tasting pad thai. None of that gloppy orange-sauced dumbed-down-for-America restaurant pad thai--the noodles are pale, but the flavor is great. A couple pictures: Most of the raw and/or packaged ingredients: Most of the mise en place: No shots of the actual cooking--too busy stir-frying for dear life! The finished product: Notes and observations: 1. Like other asian dishes I have done, this was a whole lotta mise en place (counting peeling the damfool shrimp, I spent almost two hours mise-ing), followed by a short frenzied period of actual cooking. Knowing that now, I could now see throwing together a quick-and-dirty pad thai by using various short-cuts to make the mise more manageable (i.e. pre-cooked shrimp, prepared tamarind concentrate, etc.) 2. As I have become a wimp about hot spices in my old age, I decreased the amount of cayenne from 3/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp. That turned out to be just right for my tastes--just enough hot to let me know the cayenne is in there. 3. Damn, there's gotta be a more efficient way of peeling shrimp than what I was doing. It would have helped if I hadn't been feeling like such a cheapskate and had spring for bigger shrimp. 4. I'm very happy about how the noodles came out--just the right texture, neither too springy nor too limp. 5. Only fault I could find was that the (fresh) shrimp were a bit too salty. I brined them for something like 25 minutes (the recipe said up to 30); maybe next time I'll only go for 15, or maybe not even brine them at all if I'm also including dried shrimp as I did today. 6. Damn, that made a whole lot of pad thai. I know what I'm going to be eating for the next couple of days. Not that I'm complaining, mind you.
  20. Okay, since that sounds something like the pickled radish I just got (big whole daikon, with ingredients including both salt and sugar), I'm just gonna use it and see what happens. Although in truth I think what I've got is Japanese pickled daikon ... Meanwhile, some googling has convinced me that I got the right tamarind paste, even though the English on the label reads "fruit candy." In Thai it's labeled "me vat khong hot" -- I'm leaving out a host of diacritical marks, which may mean I've butchered it into nonsense. Still, Google did fetch up this page when I searched on that phrase even without the punctuation. So I think I'm good on that. Oh, while I'm at it ... I'm too weary at this time of night to see if this URL's been posted by somebody else already, but I stumbled upon this online "supermarket" for Thai foods and cookware which looks pretty spiffy, and has some helpful descriptions of products ... although this listing and picture for salted radish is now adding further to my own preserved radish confusion.
  21. I went to the local 99 Ranch and picked up all the ingredients I was missing in order to do the eGCI/Cook's Illustrated pad thai--but as 99 Ranch does not have one of those electric carts for disabled folks, and I basically had to wander all over the store to find all the little bits and pieces, my bod is now officially shot for the evening. So I guess I'm pad-thai-ing tomorrow. Like a couple of other folks, I had some interesting moments trying to identify whether I had the correct items--specifically the tamarind paste and the preserved radish. With the first, the sign by the display clearly said "tamarind paste," and the stuff in the package looked right, but the English label on the package itself read something like "fruit candy." (!) No other English, no list of ingredients. Hmmm. Meanwhile, I thought I was a little more up to speed on preserved radish/pickled daikon, but it seemed like all the packages of same that I found all contained sugar, or even artificial sweetener. (!) I finally settled on the one with the sweet stuff furthest down on the list of ingredients. (Edited to fix typo--"spead"?!? Geez, I musta been tired! )
  22. Dang! Just got back from the store, and too weary to run out again, even if it's for ice cream. I'm really more of a Ben and Jerry's fan, but I have to say that HD's pineapple-coconut is pretty tasty stuff.
  23. mizducky

    Dinner! 2005

    I picked up some absolutely gorgeous dinosaur kale at the local food co-op the other day, so that was basically my dinner tonight, saute/braised with shallots in a bit of olive oil, with a glug of balsamic added at the end, and served over spaghetti with a generous sprinkling of Parmesan. No photos, 'cause I've already wolfed that sucka down.
  24. I would love a "reducing" machine that automagically caused my weight to reduce by whatever amount the food I was cooking would cause my weight to rise. (Somewhat) more seriously, I could really get into an Automatic Risotto Stirrer ... especially if it also had a setting for Automatic Roux Stirring.
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