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Everything posted by chefdavid321

  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
  16. chefdavid321

    Cole Slaw

    I'm not a fan of mayo based coleslaws. Here is my recipe, which has always been a favorite. ¾ cup vegetable oil 1 cup sugar 1 cup apple cider vinegar 2 teaspoons celery seed 2 teaspoons dry mustard Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 1 large cabbage, coarsely shredded 1 large onion, sliced METHOD: 1. Combine the oil, sugar, and vinegar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, add the celery seed, mustard, salt, and pepper, lower the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes. 2. Combine the cabbage and onion with the marinade in a large glass or porcelain bowl or in a large food safe plastic bag. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Serve cold.
  17. Yeah, done that and probably will do again. Somebody should make a business out of providing custom knife luggage.
  18. I grew up knowing about the virtues of a good molcajete and I've lived in Thailand where the pounding of a mortar and pestle could be part of the local soundtrack. I've never understood the tiny marble ones in many homes but I love my super heavy granite one. How do you feel about this ancient device for mushing things up? I've never found a good molcajete, even in Mexico, but a salsa made in one is sublime. Making aioli in a mortar and pestle is something we should all experience and the results are beyond the realms of a food processor. I don't use mine as often as I should but the truth is that that I want a bigger one. I think I may be crazy but I want a huge one, I mean really big. I want one big enough to make aioli for a crowd. The biggest I've found is 5-6 cups. I think I may need something bigger. Why? I have no idea. Pound it out...
  19. I've always wanted a cool knife roll or case to transport my knives and tools. I've considered getting one made for me by a custom leather worker and I've seen the ones on jck and Korin, but most rolls that I've owned or have seen for sale are just not that great. Any ideas? What do you use?
  20. I used to put my berkies in the dishwasher (even the one at work), wash them by hand, hose them off, beg them to please stop stinking so bad but nope, they stunk. Bad.
  21. I've been working in kitchens off and on for the better part of two decades and have gone through many pairs of boots, shoes, and clogs. However, I've never found that perfect pair that offers comfort, slip resistance, ease of cleaning, etc... Here are some I've tried and some notes. What footwear do you wear? why? These are some, but not all that I've worn: Doc Martens - fashionable when I was in high school, they seemed like good work boots. WRONG. They were uncomfortable in the kitchen and the water/scum on the floor ate through them like acid. Sketchers - I've had a few pairs of these some that I loved and some not so much. The boots were comfy but took a long time to break in and the laces caught lots of food. The slip on work shoes I didn't much care for. Ecco Shoes - these were in the back of my closet one day and I put them on and went to work. Very broken in after a backpacking trip through Europe, but they weren't kitchen shoes. I loved the idea of them though. Very comfy. Dansko - Hated them. My feet are too big and too wide. I've tried them twice and no way Jose. Many chefs wear these but In my experience the women like them more than the men. Berkies - comfy, non slip, but one problem arose. They stunk! I mean I had to take them off, seal them in a trash bag and throw them in my trunk. Disgusting. My feet don't stink and the inside of the shoe didn't stink, it was the outside rubber that just smelled like a thousand asses. Apart from this, no big disappointment as far as I recall. Crocs - these are what I currently wear. I seem to skip the toe on the ground sometimes and sort of stumble. They're light and comfortable but don't have much support. Also, they're not that good on greasy, slippery floors. I like them alright though. I think that's about it. I've seen a pair of shoes here that look good, they're Seattle Chef Shoes anybody tried them? http://www.bragardusa.com/Seattle-Chef-Shoes-p/5621-4867.htm Keep the thoughts flowing....
  22. I teach cooking school (but am about to move on to a new job!) and we teach a wide variety of classes, including basic cooking techniques for adults and some for kids. I've found that people really benefit from a good knife skills class, with emphasis on knife grip, control, stance, rocking the knife, and various cuts. Using the ingredients (chopped onion, tomato concasse, basil chiffonade, etc.. and maybe a broken down chicken) to make a dish would be a good way to transition from knife skills to a basic cooking technique like sauteing, roasting, grilling, etc... I think fostering an understanding on how to cook with intuition and instinct is much more rewarding than a good recipe. Hope this helps
  23. chefdavid321

    Watermelon Rind

    Thats what I'm talking about. Thats where I want to go with this. It takes a while to get tender, so maybe add it to a braise? Too hot to braise though. Maybe blanch it first or roast it? I'm going to play with the rind I have.
  24. chefdavid321

    Watermelon Rind

    One of the most horrific food memories from my youth was eating my Aunt Florences' pickled watermelon rind. Second only to eating another one of her conconctions, called "pickled chow chow." Likely not the response you were looking for, but airing that dirty laundry with my fellow eGulleters felt pretty cathartic. ← I never really cared for it either, and chow chow I know of and similarly despise but the texture of watermelon rind and the fact that its kind of bland makes me think there's potential there.
  25. I love watermelon, and this time of year I seem to always have one in my fridge. The rind always goes in the trash and although I've had pickled watermelon rind, and have prepared it myself a couple of times, it seems as though the only way it's prepared is super sweet and sticky. Don't get me wrong, it's good, but I see more potential for this often discarded part. I could see it being prepared as a mostarda or as part of a braise. Have any of you had watermelon rind in restaurants or have you prepared it in ways different from the usual sweet pickle?
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