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John S.

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  1. Could you maybe cook them on the stalk, sur la tige, and pass the whole plant around the table for service?

    SB  :unsure:

    That offers a funny mental picture!

    What I like about brussel sprouts on the stalk is that they stay fresh for so long in the fridge. The damnest part is bagging them in then produce aisle. We'll be having some today! Happy Thanksgiving, all.


  2. We were at farmer's market this morning, and we were looking at the decorative corn stalks. My bride found the cobs contained a black fungus. Each stalk had 2-3 infected cobs. I grabbed a number of them and am willing to experiment.

    Can anyone verify that this is actually Huitlacoche?

    That doesn't look like it to me. Huitlacoche just isn't any old fungus on an ear of corn. It has to be cultivated. It is sold in cans (inferior) or frozen by mail order (superior). Getting it fresh is almost impossible unless you live near a grower who does this. I recently tried to get some frozen but there is a minimum order and I would not be able to use that much ( I think it was 10 pounds) so I'm still looking. I have had it at cetain Mexican places (Bayliss, Mark Miller) and it imparts an interesting flavor. It's subtle (like putting an avocado leaf in a tamale) but prized. Good luck!

    Here is a quote from a web site I found. The link follows the quote.


    The fungus is produced by removing the tassels of sweet corn plants before they shed pollen, and then inoculating the silks of the corn with spores of the huitlacoche fungus. The procedure causes the ear to produce "corn mushrooms" instead of kernels. The mushrooms are considered a gourmet delicacy and can be sold fresh for $5 per ear at the farmers' market. It also is being sold through local Mexican groceries and restaurants.



    John S.

  3. I think I had the heat too hot and now there is a haze in my saute pan. The All-Clad site recommends a product called Bar Keeper’s Friend. Anybody use this or could tell me another method?

    BKF has oxalic acid as its mechanism and is not abrasive, so it won't scratch. I saved an All-Clad saucepan using BKF. It was almost black in some places purple in most others due to not putting water in it prior to using under a double boiler. I wondered why the chocolate wasn't melting and that's why. Almost threw it away but now is one of my favorite pans. I would not want to try anything else since I like BKF so much.

  4. Better yet, has anyone tried to eat a stuffed habenero pepper!

    Bet you can only eat just one! (probably not even one.)-Dick

    Actually a restaurant nearby (or chain..? Left at Albequerque) used to make deep-fried habs stuffed with 3 kinds of cheese. Some chile aioli adorned the plate with the word "HOT". (They discontinued them due to lack of sales and even though they were 2.50 four or five years ago and the kitchen crew probably complained.)

    A friend and I each ordered one and after my bite I was displaying all the symptoms. But after his first bite he looked at me as if I were a crybaby. Until his second bite.

    His first bite was away from the placenta. Then it was my turn to laugh!

    John S.

  5. What a lovely bunch of ideas, though I shudder at the thought of de-pithing those vicious, blistering little fellows.

    There are four flourishing plants in there, loaded with more than a hundred green little bells, some slightly yellowing in the recent cool weather.  It's just beautiful when it's all laden with the golden, peachy fruit,

    That's one of the reasons I love chiles so much - the color.

    As for de-pithing the small, hot ones, I use a tapered (serrated near the tip) grapefruit spoon.

    John S.

  6. I usually use a cream cheese mixed with herbs or a flavored cream cheese with herbs. Congratulations on your crop. Mine is terrible! I wish you were close - I would take some off your hands. I also do this with rocotos/manzanos and they are very good. Like Maher said, clean 'em out first!

    Good luck, John

  7. My main cutting board is a nice, John Boos wooden one - I use one side for stuff like onions, garlic, etc. and the other for all else.

    I'm wondering what methods you use to clean the stinky side - I've tried any number of things, and the garlic/onion side just never gets to a nice, clean smell.

    Any clues?

    I have read all the replies and most are helpful. I would encourage a dilute clorox spray to sit for awhile on both sides.

    Also, The kind of wood does matter. What wood is your Boos? My mom had a salad bowl that she alwayd rubbed garlic into prior to making a salad in it. I still have it 40 years later (she died 20 years ago). I still use it when I want a garlic flavor. But is it teakwood. Some other wooden bowls and boards are so porous that they get fungus which turns black. Clorox does not help these. I toss them just because I don't like the black color. My two cents!

    John S.

  8. These are soft tacos with two small corn tortillas steamed in a push-steamer, then filled with whatever meat you want: pollo, carnitas, al carbon, cabeza, lengua, al pastor, cesos (don't ask) etc. Never cheese, always cilantro and sauteed onions and a sauce (I always get the chile de arbol). In San Jose they are everyehere. The only tricks are: each meat has its own cooking base and herbs. Also to get the proper texture on the torillas, you need to quick-steam. They are usually 1.50 per pop. El Grullense its the local mega-copropation stand. I am also certain they exist all the way down the coast. As you noted, easy to make at home.

  9. I'm looking for a long term diet that doesn't involve eating like a rabbit!  I really have a strong dislike/aversion to most green vegetables and no, I can't change.  If I'm not allergic to the fruit/veggie, it's usually one that a dietitian says is high in starch or sugar and can't be eaten in larger quantities. (Peas, carrots etc..)  But I would like to find a strategy that works long-term, it only seems that portion control is the only answer but maybe someone out there knows of other diets that might work?!  Maybe something new, different I've not heard of yet.

    Hey Stacy - I'm your foodsoulmate and have tried them all. Portion control is *almost* everything. WW is NOT slow-going if I may say so. You can lose many pounds on WW in six months - say 52. But if you walk everyday (or 5 times per week) or whatever gets your heart up to an aerobic level you can get it up to 65-70 pounds lost in the same 6 months, improving your CV system to boot.

    Weight Watchers is misleading (last time I checked) in that it says you can eat anything you want, just not as much as the good-for-you stuff. You just basically have to adapt your food preferences to those with more nutrition per calorie.

    You know that when you eat fiber-laden foods, then you can tolerate more calories. When you eat fat-laden foods, then you tolerate less. There is no magic bullet. I still think WW is the best system around, especially if you become active in the online stuff and really learn about food relationships.

    One last note: I always hated tofu. But now I love it. Thanks to marination and baking, tofu is a perfect source of the macronutrients. There is a great thread here which explains how to make it so you don't have to spend a fortune at your locan health food store.....

  10. Chef Tracy Des Jardins of Jardiniere has a little outpost called Mijita in the Ferry Building that serves regional dishes of Mexico and street food. Mijita serves lunch and dinner and on the weekends breakfast as well. We went to Mijita for a "light" lunch at least that was the idea......

    I would go back again to try breakfast on the weekend because it was featured in a New York Times article.

    Good Eating,

    Molto E

    I just called them. My question since they seem to recognized by their great tortillas, was: do they use nixtamal or masteca to make them. The answer: NIXTAMAL !!!

    I'm going soon. They seem creative and authentic.


  11. Seeking any kind of advice from start up, equipment, product, pitfalls,... etc...I'm all ears....or should I say all eyes.

    Up here in the South Bay Area there is a renowned shop similar to what you are trying to do. It's called Burrito Real (Rengstorrf in Mountain View), and has multiple options for meat, beans, rice and extras. They do excellent business and have desserts, aguas frescas and fresh salsas. They had one other shop in Campbell fold because of bad location.

    Chipotle as you know is owned by McDonalds, has limited offerings and is too expensive. You can get the same prices as they if you offer more variety, and if your location is good. Good luck!

  12. After breezing through Morocco and Paris on a recent trip, I am plagued by the age of question: why do the yogurt (store bought brands) in Morocco and France (and for that matter, the rest of Europe) taste so much more creamier and luscious than the American variety? Even the yogurt that I bought from the Greenmarket does not match up to the European versions. What are they doing that we Americans are not?

    There are few American varieties with the same ingredients. They should be milk, culture and that's it. On the various ingredient lists in USA there are many other adulterants.

    Lets say you get European yogurts with only those ingredients. There still are variables in production like the fat content (like chefcrash said) - the higher fat the creamier- how long the milk was kept up to temp, at what temp was it innoculated and at what temp did they begin incubation.

    My results are best when I don't keep it at temp (around 195F) over 6-7 minutes. Then, I cool in an ice bath and innoculate as close to 95F as possible, using an organic starter with the main 4 or 5 active cultures (like Horizon). Then I start incubation immediately. Then, the longer it incubates the less creamy it is. I use a bouble boiler so as not to scorch.

    For such a simple process it sure in complicated.

  13. thanks for all the advice everyone.  let's try to keep this thread current with any new discoveries!

    i ate at "shan" an indian restaurant on stevens creek boulevard in the bed bath & beyond complex.  it is small and casual, but delicious.  rather spicy and as indian food often does, sat with me most of the day...but well worth it.

    we do have to make an effort to try all the places mentioned upthread...but don't worry, we will!

    Hey alanamoana, I'm glad this thread is reactivating. As I live so close to you and some others, and I have read the previous posts, let me chime in again?

    The BBQ place Andy's has moved as samgiovese has said, to the ECR. But the best BBQ around is in Mountain View. Uncle Franks, Old Middlefield Way just off Rengstorrf. I posted the info earlier. His web site is still under construction.

    Genny mentioned Mexico Lindo, and I'm sure I have been there but can't remember where it is! I need to look it up!

    She also mentioned Japanese. There is a famous Japanese restaurant in Japan named Ringer Hut. (Any help from the Japan members?) There is only one USA franchise: in San Jose on Saratoga, just south of Williams. Totally authentic, it is full usually. It is openened many hours and has super noodles. Like Nagasaki Champon. We have yet to exhaust their menu.

    Oh, and I have to update my favorite Indian: It is Flavors. Opened four months, it is on El Camino, Mountain View (but just at the Sunnyvale border) next to an Indian grocery, just south of Grape Ave. The best. Great buffet, mixing many different Indian styles. On weekends, for 2 bucks more, there is a brunch (11:30 AM) with even more selections. Check it out.


  14. However, on page two there is a covered graniteware roaster which is an excellent buy and these are a good, all round roaster for cooking all kinds of things.  Sometimes it is handy to have a covered roaster. 

    That's the exact same pan my mom has used all these years. She makes her pork roast and sauerkraut in it. It's also held the Thanksgiving turkey more than once. Thanks, andie for posting this link!

    Toliver, I have been thinking that for a long time (more since this thread appeared). My mom also did all of her turkeys (T-Giving and Christmas) in one of those. I have similar ones in my camping gear. Whay do I discount them for kitchen use ??? I have Kitchen Aid and Calphalon roasters..... Why ???

  15. I have had them frozen on a few occasions in my life, and they have ranged from lackluster to horrible.  Yet when they are "fresh", they are impeccably delicious.  What's the deal?  Nothing on the internet addresses this.

    In the seventies, I spent three winters in a row at Eilson AFB in Fairbanks. We put in our order before we flew back to Southern California and as we were loading the planes, it was delivered. They were large boxes of 20 pounds, frozen, very inexpensive. One time they brought us snow crab by mistake. But I just would boil them in the shell a little bit (the king crab was red - forget what the snow crab looked like) and we would have a party after returning, eating it with maybe just a little dipping sauce. It was so sweet. The best crab (maybe seafood) I ever ate!

  16. I'm making a recipe that calls for Meyer lemons, I'm in the UK and sadly I wouldn't know a Meyer lemon if it was squeezed over my head.  What would be the best substitute, are they on the sweet side of sour? the sour side of sour? juicy? rind-y? Please advise...

    We have a tree in the back yard. They are sweeter than the Eurekas that are common around here and have a thinner skin. A wonderful fact (for me at least) is that the skin is edible, just like a kumquat. If I were to substitue I would use, as Smith and Russ recommend, another citrus juice to bring it close to the tart lemon flavor.

  17. hahaha samgiovese!  my husband and i have driven by "by-th-bucket" and joke about the name all the time!!!  there's no letter E in their the on the sign so we always emphasize that the place is called "BY-thhhhhhhhhhhhh-BUCKET"

    we'll have to give it a try one day!

    we live on the corner of Stevens Creek and DeAnza so all of these places are really convenient!

    this is not food related but a little bit funny:

    having moved from new york where a car isn't necessary...i thought to myself, i'm going to walk to Valley Fair Mall...it only takes about ten minutes by car...it can't be that far...

    an hour and a half later!!!

    AND i walked home, no less!!!

    my friends in new york joked that if it takes ten minutes by car in new york, you've only gone about three blocks!

    my sense of distance has been completely messed up by moving here and driving again.  so i checked it on google maps and it is about 5 miles each way!

    needless to say, i was a little tired and sore the next day  :wacko:

    thanks for all the welcomes!  i'm excited to be back on the left coast!

    That's a good one! I have the reverse problem when I travel to Manhattan to visit my daughter!

    To you both, I guess the three of us (and one or two others I have heard from here) live very close together. I grew up in Santa Clara and Buy Th Bucket (I could swear it's "Buy" but maybe not anymore...) moved fifteen or so years ago about seventy feet to where it is now. This is a modern building but the old building had much more character. Back 35 years ago a friend who lived a few doors away from my family would take a few friends over there for free food. He knew the owner. Catfish was a specialty.

    I agree with you both that this place is a treasure chest of so many excellent small and medium sized ethnic restaurant. We are very lucky. I rarely go to an American place anymore (like Kirks) or to chain restaurants. The White person, like myself, is a minority here as you know, which is OK with me. For instance the guy who owns my favorite liquor store is Indian. I take him hot chiles when they ripen and his wife makes me jars of habanero pickle with some of them.

    Welcome to the neighborhood Alanamoana and enjoy!

    John S.

  18. I recently enjoyed a bag of BBQ Yucca Chips.  They weren't too bad, but it made me start to wonder about all of the varieties of chips/crisps.  My favorite is still plaintain (when done well), or homemade potato chips with sea salt.  What other great ones are out there?

    I like beets like c. bear, but also the garnet sweet potatoes. I quickly spray with Pam olive oil and sea salt, as you said. Never tried plantain, but I will now!

  19. So now I'm soliciting opinions and recommendations on restaurants in the area that serve good, tasty food for a reasonable price in the Cupertino, Santa Clara, San Jose area.

    What are some of your favorites?  I'm NOT talking about Manresa and the like...

    Thanks in advance for your contributions  :smile:

    Hi Alana - I live right here Bollinger near Lawrence Expy. I have a vast array of places I like. Here is a quick rundown of my favorites by cuisine:

    Indian (Northern): Amber (Santana Row), Bombay Oven (great lunch buffet, Cupertino, Stevens Creek Bl.), Taj India (El Camino, Sunntvale), Empress of India (back of strip mall on 3426 El Camino, Santa Clara - great spicy homemade food, small buffet - call for hours 296-0717. see reviews at http://www.jatbar.com/detail.asp?num=417), Sue's in Palo Alto (excellent)

    Indian (Southern): I like the vendor inside of Bahrat Bazaar (Reed near Lawrence Expy Santa Clara), Udupi Palace (veggie, El Camino Sunnyvale)

    Thai: Krung Thai (Winchester at Moorpark, San Jose), any of the Thai Chile Cuisines (Bascom in SJ or Halford off El Camino Sunnyvale/Santa Clara border) or Thai Peppers, Dusita (El Camino Santa Clara)

    Felafel: Did you mean Felafel's Drive in on San Carlos (becomes Stevens Creek west of 880) just East of the 880 undercrossing? If not try it - it's the best felafel around.

    Mexican: My favorite is Estrellita on San Antonio just off El Camino in Los Altos, regional (multiple daily specials for lunch AND dinner, a Chiapas family), Consuelo's (Santana Row), and Fiesta del Mar in Mountain View.

    Malaysian and Indonesian: Layang Layang (De Anza, Cupertino) and Banana Leaf (Milpitas).

    Chinese: Tao Tao (Murphy Ave., Sunnyvale), Chef Chu's (Los Altos, corner San Antonio and El Camino, two or three doors down from Estrellita), Mandarin Gourmet (De Anza Bl., Cupertino)

    Barbecue: Uncle Franks (Old Middlefield Way, Mountain View)

    Good luck!

  20. why are dutch ovens important? am i missing out or messing up (when a recipe calls for a dutch oven) by not having one?

    They are useful in the kitchen but I always find myself using a heavy stockpot. I find myself using my dutch ovens when I camp or when I go on river trips. They are NOT LC Dutch ovens, just the inexpensive 60.00 large cast iron ones. I use them for desserts like upside down cakes. You put them on coals and cover the tops with coals also, giving a consistent baking temp everywhere.

    The only expensive thing similar I use is a French oven - basically a roaster.

    John S.

  21. Melkor, thanks for the correction.

    John S, sorry I was trying to answer John L's question. :unsure:

    Carolyn, there many reported instances on the net of Aluminum pans melting, including one test conducted buy Consumer Reports Mag. of Emerilware pans which have a significantly thicker bottom.

    That's OK. Bottom line is that an aluminum/stainless clad pot or pan will melt on high over an electric burner (I did that too). You have to have food in it to avoid that. The food or liquid dissipates the heat and the thermal energy escapes in that way. Bring it on up to high, just make sure something's in there!

  22. Thanks Ladies and Gents

    Sam, I'm sorry I butchered your name, although your other half posted some photos of you and you do look rather slanky. :biggrin:

    JhonS, Aluminum melts at 663 F. A temperature easily attained by either gas or electric burners. Hope that helps.

    I understand. But the pot looked ruined in my case. My point was that you won't ruin your frying pan at the higher temps All-Clad warns against. Did you answer your own question?

  23. Okay, I'm going to throw in the towel and ask for help. 

    If I put them under the broiler, it's hard to tell what color they are.  I usually rely on the way they smell... if I don't forget them until they smell burned.

    If I put them in the oven, I never seem to time it right.  Burned nuts again: start over and do nothing but watch them until they're done.

    Last weekend I tried the saute pan method.  Obviously, the heat was too high, because they ended up with little burned black spots, before they started to smell like toasted nuts.

    Anybody have any stroke-of-genius methods for getting this right?  The most recent issue of Cook's Illustrated, in the tips section, suggests putting them in an air-type popcorn popper.  Which I finaly put into a garage sale last summer and sold for 50 cents.

    My experience is that on the stove they burn faster because the heat source is right there. In an oven you have more time to do other things because they roast slower. <It's easy to see with pine nuts.>

    The pecans and walnuts roast the same, it's just harder to see. So i put all nuts under the broiler, but place the cookie sheet low.

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