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Everything posted by JayBassin

  1. I make congee frequently during the winter months. We usually like to give it a bit of a Japanese flavor by cooking the rice in a weak dashi (dried bonito-kelp stock), adding fried tofu, seaweeds, mushrooms, ginger & garlic, a little soy sauce, boiled soy beans (edamame), and sometimes some fish cake. Sprinkle with Japanese red pepper and 7-spice pepper---yummy!
  2. I don't think the grey was from metal: I have a KA mixer with both a white and a natural-metal beater, and I don't get metal. I think it's more likely that the dough incorporated some black grease from where the blade attaches to the machine (a greased steel rod with spring sticking down from the planetary housing). After 20 minutes, it probably got so hot that the grease dripped. I also agree with Culinary Bear that 20 minutes was way too long. It's possible that overmixing broke down the gluten to the point where it no longer had any holding power. Even using volume rather than weight, you wouldn't have gotten too far off. I would also recommend mixing for less than 5-6 minutes, using maybe a speed 3 (although a 4 would not be amiss because it's so wet). Foccacia is a wet dough, so it should still have been pretty sticky.
  3. Among other things, I couldn't find Chinese black vinegar (they only had Viet or Thai or Japanese white rice vinegars); Chinese sausage (Maxim's used to have a "deli" department); and fermented bean curd (foo yu). ← I've purchased Chinese sausage at the Thai Market on Thayer. ← Really! I shop there regularly and I never thought to ask. Is it sold frozen?
  4. Among other things, I couldn't find Chinese black vinegar (they only had Viet or Thai or Japanese white rice vinegars); Chinese sausage (Maxim's used to have a "deli" department); and fermented bean curd (foo yu).
  5. hzrt8w, I made your recipe this weekend, and it was terriffic! Thank you very much. I also used chicken breasts, and I took the skin off but left them on the bone, chopped into 1-inch pieces. I used all the ingredients. Total mushrooms and fungus about equaled the amount of chicken (by volume). I think next time I may add some black vinegar. I also made steamed pork ribs with black bean sauce and saute of pea shoot leaves with garlic and oyster sauce. Your recipe will become one of my frequent dishes. Thank you for the pictorial, and keep it up!
  6. Thanks, Ted--very generous of you. I've heard that there are good Chinese groceries in Rockville, as well as in Virginia---but I was hoping for a miracle closer to home. I live in downtown Silver Spring. I may have to trek up the Pike, though.
  7. I visited Han Ah Reum last weekend---they didn't have any of the Chinese ingredients on my list, and the "customer service" folks didn't know what I was talking about. All their stuff is now Korean, with some Japanese and Thai and Vietnamese.
  8. My go-to Chinese grocery store recently went Latino and Korean. Maxim's and the "International" grocery across University both went 100% Latino, and the Aspen Hill oriental grocery (Han Ah Reum) is now 100% Korean. Any recommendations for Chinese (Cantonese, Sichuan) groceries in the Silver Spring-Wheaton-Takoma Park areas? edited to add name of Aspen Hill store.
  9. JayBassin

    Roasting Turkey

    Jacques Pepin demonstrated a technique where he cut the entire back out of the turkey, leaving the breast (remove the wishbone prior to cooking for easier carving), wings (minus tips), and legs. He also detached the legs at the body, boned out the thighbone, and stuffed the cavity of the thigh. (Wrap the thighs with aluminium foil to keep everything together, removing the foil for the last 1/2 hour.) He used the back and wing tips for stock, made a stuffing (part of which went into the legs), and he sat the backless bird over a mound of stuffing. It cooks much faster because it's essentially spatchcocked. When serving, you can place the legs back in place, and the turkey doesn't look any different. It's easy to carve and much faster to cook, which means the breast doesn't dry out before the boneless thighs are done.
  10. According to the company's website, "Our official statement of corporate purpose says that we exist "to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A." In keeping with this, they're closed on Sundays because it's "God's day".
  11. While I agree that the bechemel won't be as "creamy," one rarely eats bechemel by itself. Once incorporated into the rest of the recipe, the lower fat of 2%, 1%, or even skim milk may not be noticible. I always use skim, myself, because there are too many other sources of fat.
  12. Absolutely--make an onion confit/marmelade, then if you still have too much (never!), freeze after it's browned.
  13. Diamond steel every other day, stone maybe once each year. Look here for eGullet's thread and demo on sharpening.
  14. I live near Washington, DC, and the best Japanese restaurant in the area is Makoto. The chef serves omakase--typically 9 or 11 courses for dinner. The first time I went, there was no gohan at all (only a couple of pieces of sushi). The server said "no rice." I got the impression that it wasn't served as part of the meal. THere is a review of the restaurant here by the Washington Post.
  15. JayBassin

    Baked Apples

    equal amounts of chopped walnuts, dates, raisins, rolled oats. Mix in some Golden Syrup (I like the caramel note), brown sugar, vanilla, and calvados to make a firm paste. The amount of sugar depends on the sweetness of the apples and your own taste. Stuff cored apples (best to leave the bottom intact). Leave off the cinnamon because everyone expects it.
  16. JayBassin

    Cooking my Goose

    If you're going to use a commercial goose rather than a wild goose, be aware that the goose will render enormous quantities of fat. Stuffing will absorb much of this fat, and may be unpalatable. You ought to consider cooking the stuffing separately.
  17. I understand it's illegal to sell in the U.S. because of the danger.
  18. That sounds like a delicious recipe Jay. I've been looking for an easy lemon cream pie filling recipe and this sounds perfect. A couple of questions for you or anyone else here: One of my favorite pies, if not the favorite is lemon meringue pie. What I was thinking of was a two-layer pie. The bottom layer would be your lemon cream recipe. On top of that would be the standard lemon curd type filling that one would find in a lemon meringue pie. Lastly, there would be the meringue on top. 1) Do you think that the bottom cream layer, once adquately chilled, would support the top two so that when cut you would see distinct layers and nothing "squished" on the bottom or have uneven layers? 2) Since this pie would have to be assembled in three stages, what would you do to ensure that the crust isn't ruined. When I say stages, I'm thinking that one would first prepare the lemon cream pie, chill, then top with the cooled lemon curd mixture and chill again, and then top with meringue and brown in a very hot oven. 3) Just for my own tastes, I would be more inclined to use regular cream cheese, sour cream, and sweetened condensed milk. Do you think proportions would need to be adjusted or more lemon juice added to cut the extra richness? Thanks. ← It's a pretty soft filling, similar to a lemon curd. If it's served cold, I don't think it would be a problem. You may need to add gelatin, but if you add too much, it might get rubbery. I use a nut-crumb crust, which stays crunchy. If you want or need to use a pastry crust, consider a chocolate or white-chocolate lining before you pour in the lemon cream. I don't think the proportions need to be changed; you may not even need the gelatin (except see my felling about question #1). Full-fat lemon custard will be rich. You could consider folding in some zest of lemon or lime for contrast with your lemon curd. Let me know how it turns out.
  19. Wouldn't pay that much for a turkey---seems like they're selling snob appeal. I buy organic free-range turkeys from a farm about 12 miles away and pay $1.75 per pound (fresh--never frozen or "deep chilled"). A 24 lb turkey cost about $42. I brine them lightly and they're great.
  20. I just saw gobo (burdock root) for sale in our local Whole Foods---cut into pieces about the size of thick asparagus spears. The pieces were slightly soft to squeeze---softer than fresh asparagus. How can you tell what is "good" gobo in the market? Should it feel soft, hard, should it be thick or thin?
  21. JayBassin

    Uses for a cleaver

    I find I don't need a cleaver to break down chickens (except capons). I use mine mainly on turkeys when I whack the back, thighbones, and drumsticks for stocks. I also use it to segment oxtails, split the chine from veal and pork racks (I don't like the saw technique because it doesn't follow the natural breaks in the skeleton), and split marrow bones for stock. I'm glad you got the 7"--much more useful than the 6". Besides, people pay attention to someone with a cleaver and a blood-spattered apron.
  22. Regardless of the dictionary definition, I think a "gourmet" is someone who combines requisite knowledge of the presented food (i.e., ingredients, cooking style, presentation) with an appreciation of it. It's possible (as Fat Guy says) to be a "hot dog gourmet" but presumably this means that the person knows enough about hot dogs to be able to tell one from another and ---most importantly---be able to discern the difference. I for one would not be able to discern all-beef franks from chicken dogs, but I admire someone who can and understands the nuances. I also think that "gourmet" should not be synonomous with "food snob," although I know quite a few who are. As with any art, it's possible to be able to appreciate fine food (and by "fine" I mean properly or innovatively prepared with appropriate consideration to the ingredients) without being able to reproduce it. Edited to add: I think what it comes to is a gourmet has certain culinary standards based on experience or training regarding how certain foods or beverages ought to taste; how certain foods or ingredients go together to bring out a particular flavor, sensation, or texture---and can discern when his/her standard is met.
  23. Julia Child went to Cordon Bleu in Paris right after WWII. I think that counts. Julia never worked in a professional kitchen, however (except after she was famous for photo-ops). Others who did not go to cooking school: Paul Bocuse, Jacque Pepin (Columbia U), Jacques Torres, Andre Soltner, Michel Richard, Craig Clairborne (does he count?), Pierre Franey, Craig Shelton (Yale), Alice Watters (UC Berkeley)...
  24. Doesnt' get any easier or better than this: Pumpkin Cake • 2 C all purpose flour • 2 tsp baking soda • 2 tsp cinnamon • 1/2 tsp clove • 1/2 tsp nutmeg • 1/4 tsp salt • 4 eggs or 3/4 C egg substitute • 2 C sugar • 3/4 C canola, safflower, or rapeseed oil • 2 tsp vanilla • 2 C packed pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) Preheat oven to 350 F. Oil and flour a bundt pan or spray with floured veg oil spray (like "Baker's Joy"). Mix together dry ingredients. Beat eggs, sugar, and oil at medium speed until thick and pale yellow. Stir in dry ingredients. Stir in pumpkin and vanilla. Pour into prepared bundt pan and level. Bake 35-40 minutes until it passes the toothpick test. Invert immediately onto rack and let cool. Drizzle with maple or lemon or vanilla glaze.
  25. My convection oven goes to 550 F in nonconvection mode, but only 525 F in convection mode. After some experimentation, I figured that preheating the quarry tiles to 550 (nonconvection) was better---the pizza gets most of its cooking from the hot tile and radiated heat from the walls and it's not in the oven long enough to benefit from the more even ambient air temp--not enough to make up for the lower temperature.
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