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  1. How about rotating the ice in the ice machine? Ever heard of FIFO? The kid was about to do it but I just couldn't honestly spare the time or ice. Had the same kid scrambling for the chicken stretcher on a busy saturday night. The whole kitchen, although not in on it, went with it when the guy was rummaging around for it. I need the Non-Stick Salt! Squeegee sharpener! We had an outdoor walk-in and it was cold outside. The chef put some hot stock in the walk-in and told the newbie to grab a trashbag, fill it with cold air from outside, go into the walk-in and release it. Keep doing it, he said, because the cold air outside would help compensate for the hot steam coming off the stockpot. Personally, I think an ice bath would be faster and safer.
  2. wow, maybe we worked for the same DB. The stainless steel backsplash was dented and the dishwashers were petrified. I've worked with a bunch of prima donna chefs and a-holes. Taught me how NOT to behave.
  3. So, I'm going to go meet my girlfriend's parents in West Charleston Vermont then drive to New Britain Connecticut to meet the remaining family and then hopefully spend a night in Montreal before flying back to Austin. Any must-do dining adventures? I've been dying to eat at Au Pied de Cochon for quite a few years now and that's one of the reasons I want to go to Montreal. And it's a beautiful city. I only have a week. Thanks for the help.
  4. Salt, pepper, oil (and i was told butter) are all free ingredients to use. I was hoping sugar was a freebie.
  5. I love all of the ideas! Keep them coming... One of the hosts of the event doesn't eat meat so there tends to be a lot of seafood at these things. I've decided to do some chipotle shrimp based loosely around Rick Bayless' recipe. Chipotle puree Tomato, broiled Garlic, toasted Onion, broiled Shrimp The original recipe has cloves added to it but that would be another ingredients. Basically, I'm going to puree the tomato, onion and garlic, fry the sauce, add the chipotle and hten the shrimp. Done. I only have 30 minutes.
  6. Third post in like five minutes, must be a record. Anybody here living in Austin ready to spill the beans on some great finds? I'm talking anything great and wonderful under the Central Texas sun. I know of some, but c'mon my friends, what do YOU love here in the coolest city in Texas? I've found the mega Asian grocery on Burnett and had ok pho at a neighboring restaurant (I miss my local). Don't limit your recommendations to restaurants or grocery stores. We in the area all need to know! Me especially, I don't know squat about what's going on in this town and I want to!
  7. I'm going to start a blog. I upgraded my camera and moved to Austin for a new job and everything seems fresh and new. I want to document some cooking, restaurants, foodie finds, reviews, recipes, dinner parties, etc... The only problem is coming up with the name! I used to be so nerdy and creative, but now I'm getting older and I just can't seem to come up with a name I like. Help? Maybe it would be fun for some of you to help... I love some of the foodie blogs out there and the names are fantastic. Chocolate and Zuchhini is a personal favorite name. Something that conveys the idea, something quirky and memorable and nothing with my name or the the name of the city so it's not restrictive. C'mon even throw out those weird ones that pop into your head.
  8. I have some friends who have a top chef viewing party and I just moved to the area and I can attend. They choose a theme, watch the show, and cook. The theme this Wednesday is 5 ingredient dishes. I thought it would be interesting to hear what you egulleters would cook. I'm not looking for ideas per se, just thought it would be fun. The group had a write up in the paper last season and they are all just really, really cool people having fun cooking. I'm the only professional chef who will be joining the festivities but I don't think my training will guarantee a win. I'd be fine loosing to an amateur cook and some of them can cook. So, what would you cook with 5 ingredients to win the Top Chef challenge? Salt, pepper, and water I am assuming are excluded. Oh, I think I will make a caramelized onion and goat cheese tart. Or maybe I'll mess with them and make a tomato water bloody mary... or maybe potato gnocchi... I'll keep y'all informed about other themes and share what was served and won. I'll take pictures too.
  9. I've been using the leaves like grape leaves to make little tasty things filled with all sorts of stuff. they have been going over very well on the tasting menu (vegetarian) stuffed with barley, wild rice, olives, dried currants, etc..
  10. I used to work with a girl who told me about making a hollandaise out of silken tofu. I don't know how, and i'll try and track her down to ask, but maybe you can work with it.
  11. A few years ago I had a customer ask for his salmon cooked medium rare. I complied. It was just as I would have liked it, just starting to flake in the center. It was returned, overcooked. I cooked one rare. Returned, overcooked. I pulled out a cast iron skillet and heated it over some serious btu's until it was hotter than the hinges of Hades. I oiled the thickest piece of fish I had and seared it HARD, maybe 45 seconds on each side, slid it on a hot plate, garnished it properly and sent it out post haste. Customer loved it. Maybe I was a little pissed but at least he left happy. I wish he could have said black and blue or something. What I hate is when I eat at a restaurant and they want me to cut into my steak to see if it's cooked right. No, if it's not cooked right, why is it in front of me, and it probably needs to rest for a moment.
  12. There was a Bennigans downstairs from my culinary school. During breaks we would rush the bar and enjoy the only thing I ever enjoyed there, ice cold draft beer in frozen mugs for $1.00. It was fantastic, but they discontinued the dollar beer thing later and I think I went to Bennigans off and on over the years but I can't recall any food consumed, but I'm sure I ate and I'm sure it was not good.
  13. That is very interesting !I was wondering:How would this be done in a wok? ← put some foil down in a wok, if you don't you will ruin the wok. place the sugar/rice/ tea combo in the foil. Place your food in a bamboo steamer or put 2-3 chopsticks in the wok (bamboo, not plastic) and place the food on a plate. The chopsticks will hold the plate above the foil. Put the wok cover on and place over high heat. I recommend using the chopstick & plate method because the bamboo steamer will end up smelling like smoke.
  14. That sounds really easy to do - I'd love to try it, but does it require a really tough kitchen exhaust fan? I live in an apartment, and I wouldn't want to smoke the place out. I'm especially interested in tea-smoked salmon. ← I live in an apartment too and can't cook like I'd like to because of the alarm. I don't understand why the hoods in apartments are so useless....however, having used a stovetop smoker at work, they seal up pretty good and minimal smoke is released. I've used a recipe for tea smoked salmon from Ming Tsai that was really amazing. Also, ive tea smoked salmon cured for 2 days to make a very sweet and savory dish.
  15. When I was living in Thailand I knew an amazing cook from Burma who would make a fresh tea leaf dish which was amazing. I'd love to find some fresh tea leaves and try and replicate it. Tea smoking is a common practice. Line a stovetop smoker or a wok with some foil (very important) and mix together some tea leaves, sugar, and white rice. Set some salmon, chicken, duck, etc. on a rack above the mixture and smoke on high heat. It's really good
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