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John S.

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  1. My friend Marina came by yesterday with pequin peppers out of her mother's garden in Mexico.  Mom flew in yesterday.

    I have enough to make hot sauce and something else.  Any ideas?


    That's great! Since they're from a garden I guess they're fresh, not dried? These are a bit hard to find. They look like little candies when fresh and red. Mostly they are used as a source of heat. They don't have a ton of original flavor to them, but many people, myself included, love 'em. They are good to spice up soups and stews, but usually too hot to sprinkle in salads, or as a garnish. In a sauce, they would go well with lime juice (or half lime juice, half vinegar), garlic and a touch of sugar. Have fun!

    John S.

  2. Hello Everyone,

    I am in need of some assistance.  I was wondering if anyone knew of some Fine Food Stores and upscale grocery stores in the San Francisco Bay Area?

    Thanks in advance for the help,

    Cosentino's in San Jose on Bascom

    Gene's Fine Foods on Cox in Saratoga

    Draeger's in Los Altos

    Andronico's in Los Altos (they may have other Bay area sites)

    Those are the ones near me.

    John S.

  3. At the opposite end of the spectrum, "Researchers in Texas have recently created a mild version of the habanero pepper which retains the aroma and flavor of the traditional habanero pepper. The milder version was obtained by crossing the Yucatan habanero pepper with a heatless habanero from Bolivia over several generations. These mild habaneros are expected to be widely available to consumers in the near future. " Source

    There have for a number of years, been capsicum chinense chiles that look, grow and feel like habaneros or Scotch bonnets but have no heat. One is the Trinidad perfume, which I grew successfully last year. It's amazing to look at a chile and just know it's going to kill you, but then you chomp into it and it is sweet. The Trinidad perfume has an Habanero flavor but more "perfumy" as the name implies. There are others that are like this and are great in fresh salsas for those who prefer mild heat. Google "xnipec" and you will get an excellent 4-ingredient recipe for an Habanero salsa, supposedly used by the Aztecs, that is a great dipping salsa.

    John S.

  4. I'd be interested to see what kind of flavor they have, if any.

    Has anyone tried this chile pepper?

    I have some growing in my back yard in half-barrels. They are all still green but I have tested them for flavor and heat. The heat right now is like an habanero (I hope that changes) and the flavor is like a Thai chile. The chile goes by various names depending on where it is grown. Some are Naga jolokia, bih jolokia, naga morich, etc.

    Here's a good wiki page on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naga_jolokia

    There is a company in GB that sells bags of curry spice made with this chile. It's red, and VERY tasty! It is also very hot for a curry. You'd never see this in a normal Indian restaurant. Each bag makes about 15 servings of curry after you add the chicken or vegetables. The directions come with the product. They are on eBay.

    John S.

  5. I have moved to a small town in NW Missouri from San Diego.  I have finally figured out that if I want good Chinese food, I am going to have to make it myself. 

    What I am really craving, is this dish I used to get at a take-out in El Cajon called Kip's Cafe, not exactly foodie heaven, but this chicken, I loved.  I have never seen it at any other Chinese restaurant.

    This is what I think it is.  It is like General Tao's Chicken, but without the sauce.  It is boneless chunks of chicken thighs, deep-fried, and then (I have only bought it as take out), so imagine a Chinese take-out box, full of fried chicken thigh chunks, covered with a salty mixture of chopped garlic, red chile peppers and green onions, no sauce.  I am going to try and make this tonight, but if anyone can help me with this, I would soooo appreciate it.  Thanks!  Dawn

    I have had that dish but have never created it, so this is not a recipe. However, if you use a light batter (e.g., tempura) the chicken should come out well, making sure the oil is up to heat always. I know you said it had no sauce, but the one I'm thinking of does have a sauce but it is clear, except for the onions, garlic and chiles. I would make a simple syrup adding vinegar (taste-test). When that is right, and add the diced garlic and onions and heat them up. For the chiles use whole dried chiles japones, heat it with the sauce a little bit and put the sauce on the hot thighs and fold to cover. The ratio of chopped veggies and whole chiles to the sauce should be large and the small amount of liquid won't soften the finished product.

    Let us know!

    John S.

  6. Skirt steak was on sale at the market, and I have a nice one (a generous 1.5 pounds).

    Tell me what you'd do with it, please.

    The Bayless recipe is good. But whenever I hear "skirt steak" I think of fajitas. It's simple: marinate the meat in lime juice 1/3 C, garlic 2 cloves minced, soy sauce 1/3 C, a little canola oil (2T), 1/3 C red wine and as many chiles that you can stand. That's for 2 pounds of meat. Grill some onions, get out the pico de gallo, sour cream and cheese, and go for it.

    John S.

    PS: tortillas, too!

  7. I agree. Keep doing what you're doing, but you should eat it within a couple of days any way.

    Maybe this is a new topic, but how do you make your guac? My husband considers in heresy to use anything but avocadoes, lime juice and s&p, but I have a friend who makes an awesome version with avocadoes, cilantro, tomato, onion, jalapeno and s&p. He pulverizes half of the mixture with a mortar and pestle, then mixes it into chunks of the rest. So it has a great chunky texture, but the flavors are well mixed. When I make it this way, though, I do add lime juice.

    I think your friend's way is THE way. I always roast (blacken) the roma tomatoes and let them cool first. Improves the flavor. Many restaurants make it at your table!

    John S.

  8. Has anyone been fortunate enough to be eat at the Google Cafe. I ate there recently and I was really surprised at how good it was. Anytime you have to feed thousands of people in short periods of time, quality tends to suffer. But Google seems to be the exception. I ate at the No Name Cafe, which served a variety of gourmet foods. I had stuffed quail and scallops glazed with some really good sauce. Imagine that! It was completely free too!

    They also have this Cafe 151 or something, where all the food there is grown locally within 151 miles of the Google campus.

    I would really like to hear other peoples' Google stories!  :biggrin:

    Is it at the main campus in Mountain View?

  9. I love, love, love guacamole. I have tried everything to keep it from discoloring but nothing really seems to work WELL. I have tried the "keeping the pit in it" and have not had much luck. What works best for me is putting into a seal-able container and putting plastic wrap on it so it is touching and then put the top on. Seems to work ok but in about a day or two, I get a thin layer of discoloration. Any suggestions, ideas???

    Hey KarenR65 -

    Sorry to say you are doing it the best way possible. Guac is one of those things that has to be consumed fresh. Like pico de gallo, it will suffer with time.

    John S.

  10. I'm new to making yogurt, and am wondering whether using half and half instead of milk is a good or dumb idea. Half and half at Costco is cheaper than whole milk at my local chain market. I am interested in a rich regular yogurt, and also yogurt "cheese". I'd like to hear from experienced yogurt-heads....

    I make fat free yogurt all the time. I never tasted half-n-half yogurt, but have eaten vitamin-D milk (full fat). Regular milk yogurt tastes way too rich and therefore I'd never try any richer. But maybe that's because I'm not accustomed to it. However believe it or not, my fat free tastes extremely rich when I use NDM powder. I imagine 2% would be great. They all make good cheese. Just my opinion! Good luck, John S.

  11. Has anyone tried these Indian chilis?

    Bhut Jolokia supposedly 1,001,304 Scoville Heat Units

    If so, are you able to describe the experience? Can they be grown in the Northeast?

    Quoting Tina Brooks of the C-H list, "Bih Jolokia, the Bhut Jolokia, the Naga Moresh, the raja mirchi and the Nagahari, and you can keep saying it until you are blue in the face, but it's the same pepper, grown in different areas. I have also found it under many more names. "

    I haven't gotten any seedlings yet (hope to next month) but I have tasted it in a curry spice mix I found on e-bay. It ships from Great Britain and it's the hottest curry I ever ate. However not too hot that you can't eat it.

    John S.

  12. Now. Hmm. What would be a good recipe...

    Here is a page I just found. It has a bunch of recipes, many Indian, some African tagine, Thai.


    The "easy chicken korma" would allow you to use a whole tablespoon of your termeric! Any dish that has a yellow color to it, whether you're using sweet potatoes, yams, golden raisins, red lentils, saffron, would have an intensified color with turmeric's addition. It is also called Curcuma, haldi, haridra, gauri - I see haldi a lot in Indian recipes. Here's one that's very good (just made some) but only uses about 2 teaspoons turmeric. It's a yellow dal and it comes out looking sophisticated with the unpopped black mustard seeds distributed evenly in the final product: http://bawarchi.com/contribution/contrib5380.html

  13. I have a large handful, maybe 4 ounces of the stuff. NOW what do I do?


    Do you enjoy Indian food? You must have been in an Indian market (Punjabi. etc.) ..... Any dish (like curry) that uses tumeric, ginger, mustard seeds and other Indian spices can be fried (the initial step) with fresh as well as ground. Just would recommend doubling the dried volume using fresh. In that way, fresh vs. dried spices conversions map to ethnic cooking. Enjoy! Let us know what you create! Oh, try to use clarified butter (ghee) if you do an Indian dish.

    John S.

  14. I figured freezing it in ice cube trays was my best bet, I did this with baby food for many, many years.

    Would you say 1 T is equal to about one pepper?

    I love the idea of mixing it with a quava paste, I might have to wait until a trip back to the US to find it though. How easy is it to find?

    Canned chipotles in puree - you need a Mexican market or order online. Guava paste - don't know really, but I bet online as well. In CA The guavas are usually available from Mexico or Hawaii. Something else good is mango instead of guava in chipotle puree. Yep with chipotles or Jals, one chile is about one tsp.

    edited to add the conversion

  15. I would go with taste it and see as well.

    I have a similar question, how long do they keep after being opened and what it the best way to store them. This is one product that is almost impossible to use the entire can of in one dish. I have had half a can in a tupperware case in the refrigerator for over 6 months now and since it hasn't molded yet I am assuming it is ok.

    How does everyone store this after opening?

    These are all good. I always have a medium-large size of the puree in the fridge because I normally cook them myself and also use a lot of them in recipes. For the occasional user, the fridge is OK. I don't remember any of them going bad. The only prob with freezing would be freezer burn in which case SeanWalberg's solution is great! It's like flash freezing then repackaging in a double bag - those will keep forever since the pH is so low to begin with.

    Tora, you can use an entire can in a chili recipe, or make a chipotle-cream enchilada sauce, but I sort of cook predominently that kind of cuisine.

    Let me say that I never tried chipotle/guava in the past, Scoob. Sounds like a great addition to seared pineapple salsa.

    Also I never throw away the puree left in the can. It takes hours to make this. Chipotles are so pungent that unless I actually need the whole chile, I always use the puree. Or stronger.

    John S.

  16. What is the shelf life of unopended canned chipotles?  I found a can hiding in the back of the pantry, and I know it's about ten years old.  Open and enjoy, or toss it??

    Ten years is a long time. But, there is so much vinegar in it that I would definitely open and taste it. I have used it after say six years.

  17. Hi All,

    I have one nigh in San Jose soon, and I want to get some recomendations.  I am looking for dinner recomendations that serves good local food - nothing too fancy, but I really want to get some local cuisine.  I am willing to travel a bit, but would prefer to stay within 15 - 20 minutes of the San Jose / Milpitas area.

    Thanks in advance for your recomendations. I'll report my results when I get back home.

    When you say local cuisine, I'm not sure that San Jose has any particular style. But I would admit that we have restaurants that are landmarks. In that vein I fully agree with Octaveman. OJs is great. Try the Original Joe's Special. They have always served it. Ground beef, spinach, I forget what else. Upon looking, I don't see Joe's Special on the menu. 8(

    Paolo's is another stalwart, not too fancy but a bit more expensive that Joe's. Italian. http://www.paolosrestaurant.com/menu_dinner.html Old place too.

    Vahl's in Alviso (I thought of that when you mentioned Milpitas) is way old (60 years?) http://www.sanjose.com/underbelly/unbelly/Alviso/vahls.html

    and http://www.metroactive.com/papers/metro/12...ining-0149.html My parents used to love it (they're dead and I'm 54).

    Lastly, the oldest French place is Emile's: http://www.10best.com/San_Jose,CA/Restaura...usinessID=38929

    There are other references.

    Hope that helps!

  18. I know - I know - most just buy it in bottles --- but I wanted to make my own. I recently tried Florence Tyler's recipe and, although even my local Mexican market didn't have the called-for Anaheim and Chipotle dried chlies and I had to use what they had, it turned out pretty tasty. BUT, I think I can do better! Anyone want to share their favorite?

    Many thanks,

    Sidecar Ron

    Hey RonC I'd try ScubaDoo's recipe. It sounds perfect. Right blend of chiles - you always want two or three kinds of black ones in there like pasilla or chile negro, ancho or mulatto, then maybe a red just like he has, a gualillo. You can sub new mexico for guajillo, but guajillo is the var from which New Mexico chiles originated and are more "basic".

    (a good sauce is guajillo paste mixed with fresh grapefruit juice). Ibarra is good, but it already has almonds , sugar and cinnamon in it. You can use plain unsweetened and increase the aforementioned ingredients as needed. (try Ibarra chocolate - 1.25 giant tabs, in a blender with 24 oz. evap milk and 24 oz. lowfat milk. You don't need whipped cream). One last thing - strain and chinois the heck out of the end result. You don't want any microscopic bits of dried chile skin in the teeth of your guests!

    Here's another idea - you can order fairly small amounts of the dried chiles unavailable in your area. Any unused will last a long time. The freezer prevents moth propagation.


  19. All right, here's the first review.......

    The stewed pork with mole negro was less nice. For some reason I expected the pork to be more tender than it actually was (well, that's what 'stewed' usually means to me). I really enjoyed the way the plaintains came through as a primary flavor note in the mole, but overall, the mole tasted sort of burned to me.

    Thanks for the review! Hmmm, a mixed one for sure. Hopefully you'll have a better experience next time you go. If I can point out that black mole is super hard to find even here where there are tons of Mexican places. Only the regional (Oaxacan) or upscale ones have it. Reed Hearon opened a restaurant on Chestnut in SF a number of years ago (gone now). They specialized in black mole. One of the hallmarks of black mole is that you burn the chile seeds in the pan then add them to the mole. That causes the bitterness you noticed. So it sounds authentic... But any mole should always be as smooth as silk, unlike a pipian which is textured with chopped nuts ans such. A good source for info on Oaxacan cuisine is Chile Pepper magazine February, 1995.

  20. CHILIES & CHOCOLATE OAXACAN KITCHEN This Mexican spot specializes in moles. You can order a fried grasshopper to nibble with your tequila: 54 Seventh Avenue (Lincoln Place), Park Slope, Brooklyn, (718) 230-7700.

    If Oaxacan food isn't Mexican I don't know what is! The fried grasshoppers sound like Mexico City, where you can also get insect mole (ant to be exact).

    I think it sounds like a good reason to visit NYC (combined with visiting my daughter of course). I'm also happy that so many people replied to the thread. There are Mexican food fans there after all, albeit frustrated at the dearth of eateries...

  21. Hey:  we make this very frequently. 

    1.  Saute onions, grated ginger, and cayenne in hot oil; a

    touch of cinnamon won't go amiss.....

    2.  Add diced sweetish veggies (e.g. carrots, sweet potatoes, etc.)

    and water, and simmer till veggies are totally cooked.

    3.  Add tomato puree and simmer. 

    4.  Puree unless you're OK with veggie cubes.

    5.  Add some green peas if liked, and salt to taste.

    7.  Add hunks of creamy peanut butter and mix thoroughly

    and simmer. 

    8.  Sprinkle a fair amount of fresh chives, chopped.


    That sounds like a great recipe. I'll try it right around Chrtistmas and report back. BTW, would a few dried bird'seye chiles help for those of us who like a lot of spice? Chris thanks for creating this thread!

    John S.

  22. Truth be told, my wife and I went last evening because someone had given us a gift certificate last Christmas and it was about to expire. We hadn't been there is some 20 years (when it first opened).]

    There are no clickable smiles to convey my amusement at your story. Very funny.

    I don't know what the bad rep sneakeater was referring to (I'm only a Californian who goes to NYC alot), but it's the only Rosa's we have been to. I would always recommend it to anyone. Even though it's a chain restaurant, they have succeeded in creating menus that look unique. They are flavorful and creative. I especially enjoy their chocolate specials. I forget but I think it's around Valentine's Day. You can get all courses in at least partial chocolate. Supposedly, a DC location will open soon, which is another place I go occasionally. Can't wait to check out the locations I have missed.

    Also, you never know who you'll be sitting next to in a Manhattan restaurant. I consider those possibilities as a benefit, almost as much as I look forward to a particular restaurant. Thanks for the post!

    John S.

    San Jose, CA

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