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Everything posted by repoman

  1. repoman

    Mongolian Beef

    There are many "top secret recipe" sites out there. I have made their lettuce wraps from a recipe from this site and found them pretty close to PF Changs. My wife loves them, however I have found that there are a ton of better ways to prepare lettuce wraps. Try this one: http://www.recipezaar.com/66121 Read through the reviews and see what other tips people have.
  2. I like to put them on skewers and grill them. Basting with olive oil and/or balsamic or sherry vinegar as they cook. The segments almost fall apart when done and then I will mix that with some baked or mashed potatoes or put them on a steak. I also use them in Salsa and Guacamole because my wife doesn't like the stronger taste of onions.
  3. I would echo the recommendation of Bistro Du Coin. They have great food, it won't bankrupt you, and it is a lot of fun. A large group of people would have a great time there. The mussels are to die for.
  4. I was in New York two weeks ago and ate at Les Halles and I went into the experience thinking I would get a good meal at a decent price in a casual fun setting. I was not expecting some kind of life-altering dining experience. Les Halles delivered just what I wanted. Anyone who thinks they are eating at an upscale French restaurant obviously hasn’t done their homework. I thought the Steak Frites was great, though I must admit the Onglet is my favorite cut of meat after the Ribeye. The shallot sauce was not barbecue sauce as an earlier poster complained about. It was the typical red wine shallot sauce likely made with butter and some demi-glace that you get with most traditional servings of Steak Frites. I thought the sauce was great and my wife did as well as she took some of the extra sauce (it comes on the side) and put it on her Flat Iron Steak instead of the béarnaise sauce. The fries were pretty good. I have had better at other French restaurants but there was nothing wrong with these. I enjoyed dipping them in the extra sauce (and the béarnaise that my wife barely used). I found the service on a Sunday night to be exceptional. Our waiter was very attentive without being intrusive and our water glass was usually filled. We struck up a conversation with some other diners and the entire experience was casual and fun. The price was right as well.
  5. As Pontormo mentioned, tuna mixed with other marinated veggies like artichokes is great. I also like tuna with cannellini beans, basil, capers, and roasted red peppers...I saw Giada DeLaurentis make it on the Food Network and it has become a lunch staple with various tweaks depending on my mood and what is in the fridge. Using the salmon (or pre-cooked shrimp) in a pouch and with black beans, cilantro, avocado, and some cumin makes another tasty salad. If I am making pork, steaks, tuna, salmon, or chicken I will prepare an extra piece or two and slice it up for use in a salad the next day. If I am feeling ambitious I will mix up some homemade dressing as well. Good bottled stuff works too. My favorite is to use leftover medium rare steak, blue cheese, pine nuts and arugula with a homemade walnut dressing. Much better than similar offerings at Quiznos or Panera.
  6. I am a hot sauce junkie as well. I love Sirhacha, not only in Asian-influenced dishes, but in burgers mixed in with ground beef to the point of saturation. I love Desert Pepper XXX Habanero Sauce mixed with melted butter for dipping artichoke leaves into. I also have a friend who has his own sauce company (www.mbfsauces.com) and he makes some really interesting mixes. This fall he made a pumpkin based sauce that is great in squash soup and on chicken. He also does many pepper-fruit blends. I am also a huge fan of Frank’s as it allows you to add some heat but never overpowers your dishes with too much spice. The local Mexican food store has some great (and very cheap) sauces including some instense chipotle sauce that runs about 1.29 a bottle.
  7. repoman

    Whole Duck ideas

    I made Steven Raichlen's Duckling La'Orange from his Beer Can Chicken book and it was the best preparation of duck I have had outside of a few restaurants. The skin was crispy, the meat was juicy and had the right amount of orange flavor. The Apricot Orange Sauce was the perfect accompiament. You basically are roasting the duck upright on a beer can on a grill. If you don't have a grill or don;t like grilling in the winter you could easily use the same technique in the oven. You end up taking a "tall boy" beer can filling it with beer and orange soda. The steam from this mixture keeps the duck moist while the heat from the grill prefectly crisps the skin. You need to poke holes in the skin before you cook it and about 45 minutes into the cooking time. The result is a perfectly cooked duck with a crisy skin. I will likely try other preperations using the same technique. You could easily experiment with various rubs, marinades, and beer can ingredients. The recipe is available for free on his website: http://www.barbecuebible.com/featured/reci...ling_a_lora.php
  8. When I first decided that I wanted to learn more about how to cook instead of just following recipes I really liked CI. I learned a great deal about different cuts of meat, preperation, techniques, and ingredients. I often use the information I gained from reading CI on recipes from other sources (or my own creations) because their recipes seem boring. Now I seem to find myself in line with the CI naysayers. I think that their target audience and their actual audience are a bit off. I believe that they really are looking at the average person who just wants to know how to make a better pot roast. Unfortunatly I think that their main audience is hardcore foodies who want more information on techniques and equipment ratings but really don't have much interest in making the best pot roast. I am usually disappointed with their recipes because they are so uninspiring. They rarely do any sort of authenitc international cuisine either. I think they really could make a killing if they either shifted their focus to more upscale or international cooking or created a Cooks Illustrated gourmet cooking edition. I can see it now.... The Problem: Foie Gras is very expensive and often ends up over or under-cooked. The sauces served with it often overwhelm the taste. The Goal: A foie gras dish that balances the rich buttery taste with a fruit-based sauce that doesn't overwhelm. The solution: We purchased 43 ducks and 43 geese and force fed them diets of different mixtures of corn and other ingredients. Then we tried all kinds of preperation methods from the traditional Terrine to sauteed foie gras.
  9. I haven't been to Sanford but everyone I know who has just raves about it so hearing about these bad experiences is kind of a surprise. I would highly recommend his other restaurant, Coquette Cafe. Great bistro food at incredible prices. I believe the show you are talking about is "Always In Good Taste" which features segments with Sandy D'Amato, Jason Gorman, and other Milwaukee chefs.
  10. Sashimi lunch special with snapper, striped bass, tuna, salmon, and yellowtail. The bass and salmon were melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
  11. Count me as one who would never ask for a taste, but my hats off to those who will. It is rare that I even think about asking a restaurant to take something back to the kitchen. There is a great soup place near my work that offers taste of all of their soups. It is great because they often have some interesting items like boar chili. Any decent bar will give you a taste of a microbrew or import if you are considering ordering it. It was in a microbrewery in St. Louis and I was offered a sampling of 2 pale ales that I was considering. I ordered one and then the bartender provided me with samples of about 6 of their beers as well.
  12. I think a good substitute would be that concentrated Bacardi Pina Colada mix that you can find in the frozen orange juice section. You can also get many other kinds of coconut flavored drink mixes in liquor stores. Also, there is this Sobe or some other kind of beverage product that you find in gas stations. It is a non-alcoholic juice that tastes like a pina colada. With the exception of the frozen concentrate I would probably reduce these juices by 1/3 to 1/2 to concentrate the flavor more and not water down your cake. If you are looking to emulate the flavor of rum and not coconut, try McCormick's immitation Rum Extract.
  13. That’s too funny. My first word was num-nums, apparently I was a foodie from the get go. I guess I was always very adventurous in my eating and I am not sure where I got it because neither of my parents are very adventurous. Maybe it comes from my Grandpa on my mom’s side as he was always talking about some of the great meals he had eaten and nearby fancy restaurants. When I was a kid I always wanted to try different things on the menu. While my parents were often eating steaks, chicken, and walleye pike at the supper clubs we visited I would order the roasted duck, lamb chops or scallops (which was one of my aforementioned grandfathers favorite foods). It was my way to try foods that I would never have the chance to try at home. In college I would be ridiculed by roommates for making strange concoctions that stunk up our apartment like chicken curries, chicken mole, and fried calamari while they dined on Hamburger Helper and frozen pizza. On spring break they watched in horror as I slurped down raw oysters at a beachfront restaurant in Florida. One friend always could figure out what I was going to order when we went out to eat. He just looked for the most unusual strange thing on the menu and figured I would try it. I think the last 5 years has really solidified my obsession with food. One of the more defining moments came when I served pasta for my girlfriend (now wife). I will forever remember the the look of horror on her face when I emerged from the kitchen with a big industrial size green can of that Kraft parmesan cheese. She informed me that was not parmesean. For Christmas that year I received a huge hunk of Parmesano Reggiano and one of those cheese graters with the rotary handle. I also believe my pasta was about 5 minutes past al dente. I always grew up with mushy pasta so I assumed that was how it was supposed to be made. Another defining moment was the first time I tried sushi. I was never too squeamish about sushi, I just never had occasion to try it. It was love at first bite. Since then I have become a once a week addict. I am constantly seeking new things to try. I get excited when new restaurants open in the area. I am constantly reading cookbooks, internet sites (like eG) and magazines to improve my cooking techniques and ingredient choices. I will happily drive across town to buy seafood from a preferred fish monger instead of settling for the garbage at the grocery store down the street. I suppose using the term “fish monger” would classify me as a foodie. When I go out for Mexican food I listen to all of my friends and family order the typical chicken enchiladas, tacos, or combo plates and when its my turn I ask about the different moles that they offer. As I sit in my cube at work I think about what I will make for dinner starting at about 9 am thinking about the cooking method I will use, the ingredients, the side dishes, the starch. By the end of the day I have the dinner planned out in my head and I can’t wait to get home and try it out.
  14. I love it when restaurants have an online presence of some sort. I especially like it when I am dining with friends or family because I can match their likes and dislikes with the menu. My mom and dad are not a very adventurous eaters but my wife and I are so when we want to expose them to someplace new and exciting I have to make sure there are at least a few options for them on the menu. I also like it when searching for brunch places. In Milwaukee it seems that every other restaurant has brunch. It is very helpful to be able to check out their website and see if they serve brunch, what days they serve it, and what the hours are. I also have a food bog and I like being able to go back and look at a website to make sure I have prices and menu item descriptions correct. If you don’t want the responsibility of maintaining a site, most major cities have online menu directories. In Milwaukee we have Foodspot, where I can browse hundreds of menus for restaurants who don’t have their own websites.
  15. repoman

    Dinner! 2005

    I didn't snap a photo but I took some leftover chunky mashed sweet potatoes, seasoned them with Garam Masala and salt and formed them into round patties. I then coated them in Panko crumbs and pan fried. Meanwhile I made some poached eggs and some Mornay sauce with parmesean. Placed the eggs on the sweet potato cakes and poured the sauce over them. I was surprised at how great they turned out.
  16. I would echo slbunge's comments about Jalepeno Loco. It is one of the best Mexican restaurants in town. Other good ideas: Sol Fire - Latin American Cuisine, great prices. Their version of Steak Frittes is outstanding. Cubanitas - Great Cuban food downtown. Perfect for lunch.
  17. My wife likes them more done so what I will do is sear both over high heat, leaving the center very rare and set aside. Then I either simmer the marinate or make some type of a soy based sauce and reduce it in the pan. Then I add the tuna that I want more done and let it simmer with the sauce to get it to a medium well temp. It seems to retain the moisture fairly well. I then slice the tuna and pur the sauce over it, so even if the more well done tuna is dry it is moistened by the sauce. On a side note, I marinated tuna on Malibu coconut rum for about 30 minutes, seasoned with jerk, and seared them. The coconut rum worked very well with the tuna.
  18. repoman

    Dinner! 2005

    I have been a lurking around here for a year or so and finally joined and recieved participating member status. Its really great seeing what people make at home. Usually I don't feel comfortable sharing stuff I make up but in this case it actually turned out pretty well. Its Rum Soaked Jerk Ahi Tuna, which I paired with brown rice and asparagus.
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