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Lisa Shock

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Everything posted by Lisa Shock

  1. Question about dried bean varieties

    I like the Moros and both of the black beans. For a simple, peasant type dish, IMO Ayocote Morado is good -it has a thicker skin and just seems more old fashioned to me.
  2. Pizza Tour of Italy

    I'd like to visit Pepe in Grani, Caiazzo. On a much more pedestrian note, I am fascinated by variations on pizza fritta which is apparently common street food in several places. If I had funding, I'd open a friggitoria and serve pizza fritta, salads and fried sides.
  3. Once I got my genetic data, I had some tests run (lots and lots of tests) due to having had a mystery disease (high fever, arthritis, coughing up blood) for about a year. So, I got confirmation about diet specifics and my uric acid levels. But, I figured that a lengthy explanation of my personal medical issues, and things like the Q141K gene variants wasn't very interesting or relevant to most people reading here. One of my neighbors is a PhD dietician who oversees a group of dieticians working for a dialysis clinic group. I have had long conversations with her on the topic, and done some reading, as I have helped her develop recipes for patients with specific needs. While no one has done a long term controlled study of high protein diets on young, healthy populations there are some good studies pointing to over-consumption having negative effects on the healthy. There have been studies on people who have been diagnosed with CKD, resulting in very specific dietary recommendations for those in stages 4 & 5, or on dialysis. And, since CKD is a silent disease, with 50% of sufferers being unaware they have it, getting tested is the best way to decide about a long term diet plan. I know my GFR number, do you?
  4. Coffee Ice Cream

    @Heartsurgeon, where are you getting your vanilla extract? Is it something like Nielson-Massey Mexican extract from the Mexican strain of beans? Or, just some stuff you got from Mexico? If it's the latter, you should probably read up on it and be very careful about feeding any foods you make with it to people other than yourself. " Don’t be tempted by those large, cheap bottles of vanilla available in most gift shops in border towns. They don’t contain real vanilla extract, and they may contain something that could hurt you. That “something” is coumarin, an extract of the tonka bean that imparts to synthetic vanillin an intense vanilla aroma and thus makes it smell like the real thing. Coumarin was banned as food additive in the U.S. in 1940 because of moderate toxicity to the human liver and kidneys. It is listed by that agency among “Substances Generally Prohibited from Direct Addition or Use as Human Food.” Beware, therefore, “bargain” Mexican vanilla. Double check bottles very carefully to ensure that you are purchasing pure vanilla, and if a deal on the extract strikes you as too good to be true, pass it by. "
  5. Those coolers claiming to keep ice for a week or so only do that under specific conditions and if they aren't opened. Make sure to have a plan before you open the cooler and get in and out quickly.
  6. Restaurant/bar equipment delivery

    I have inquired at a local college's student employment office and gotten groups of strong young people to come in for a very reasonable wage. They're also often glad to get maybe just one hour's work, because they have busy schedules and often cannot work a 4-8 hour shift anyway. One place I worked at, we'd feed and pay them.
  7. @Darienne I just wanted to use myself as a real-world example of what's possible. IMO, it's one thing to hear statistics and another to see it in action. And, yes, I understand that meat in moderation does help the diet for some. I think that many people aren't aware of how consuming too much protein can permanently damage their kidneys. (In the US, pretty much no one suffers from lack of protein. Doctors may never see a patient for the condition; they have to learn about it from textbooks alone.) In the US, approximately 14% of the population suffers from chronic kidney disease, although only about half of them are aware of it. Obviously, most of those people are over age 60, so the statistic is a bit scarier for certain age groups. I also got super-lucky in that testing has revealed that I have the genetic makeup for gout. But, have avoided suffering from it due to a vegetarian diet. So, I have a strong incentive, now, to stick with vegetarianism. And, you're right in that you don't have to go totally all-out vegan to see results. For most people, adding more vegetables and grains to their plate and reducing size of the meat portion will be beneficial. Of course, those with CKD have to be very careful about a lot of 'healthy' foods, but that's a different topic. One super-easy way to help the planet is to pack one vegetarian lunch a week: PB&J, hummus and raw veggies and some crackers, 3-bean chili, pasta salad with veggies & beans, lentil soup, bean burrito, etc.
  8. Old garbage. LINK. The study in question compared meats to fuel intensive crops like greenhouse lettuce and celery. They kept looking at the sorts of vegetables that we select carefully to be pretty. They also think that someone giving up meat is going to switch out the number of calories in a steak for the same number of calories in broccoli. Which is ridiculous. They totally ignored grains and beans, which are the primary staples in most vegetarian diets. And, I know for a fact that if I eat corn, soybeans, wheat, etc. instead of those items being fed to a cow or a chicken or a pig, the environmental footprint will be much smaller. One pound of beef requires an input of approximately 2500 gallons of water, whereas a pound of soy requires 250 gallons of water, a pound of wheat only 25 gallons. Vegetarians (who also don't smoke) tend to live longer, have lower BMIs, less cancer and less heart disease. LINK. They also tend to have fewer renal problems since they rarely overload their bodies with too much protein and have a better balance in the salt/potassium/phosphorous loop. One of my neighbors is a PhD dietician who works for a dialysis clinic, she has never had a vegetarian client. (at least not coming into dialysis -she helps some patients eat some vegetarian meals to have them follow an appropriate diet) It's possible, never say never, but she's never seen it. I myself am a 57 year old vegetarian, and recently had an arterial ultrasound which found that I have no cholesterol in my arteries. 'Like a baby, like the textbook on babies,' is what the technician said. A complete blood workup and some other tests showed that my internal organs overall were found to be functioning at levels more common to younger people. Sure, everyone is different, their bodies use foods slightly differently, but in the balance, a vegetarian diet can be a very sound practice.
  9. First Steps in Cooking

    How far away do your friends (from the photographs) live? If you can, I humbly suggest that at some point fairly soon, you cook an actual hamburger with Junior. -Just so he knows what a real one is supposed to taste like. (as opposed to most fast food places)
  10. First Steps in Cooking

    Mom would let me help prepare the salad for dinner. I was a tall child, and pretty well coordinated, so, just after I turned 4 she let me peel and slice carrots and cut up other salad items with a paring knife while standing on a chair. She also let me make my own toast for breakfast in exchange for teaching me how to set up the percolator so she could sleep in a little bit. Sometime in that year (I could read) I read some of her cookbooks and decided that I wanted to make potato leek soup, and she let me. That became my 'signature dish' for a couple of years. Of course, I had to clean up, too. I swept and mopped the kitchen, and did dishes more often than I was allowed to cook -at first. Then, both my mom and younger brother got really sick with strep and dad was out of town. So, I was left to my on devices in the kitchen for more than a week. I just started checking recipes against what was in the fridge and trying to make it. I made two complete dinners during that time, even though I was the only one able to eat them I tried serving mom and my brother on trays in bed. My father taught me to cook eggs later that year, and he made me a little bench to stand on in the kitchen. Of course, my dad already had me pushing a manual lawnmower around the backyard and digging up dandelions at an early age, too. We weren't allowed to watch much TV, and all of my neighbors were adult empty-nesters so I didn't have any playmates outside of pre-school.
  11. Great British Menu Season 7

    This show just appeared on Netflix in the US. It aired in 2012 in the UK. Thought I'd start a discussion about it here. I am only partway through, and enjoying the show very much. The contestants seem to have enough time to put out decent dishes, and the guidelines aren't terribly restrictive. (unlike Top Chef, where the chefs often have to use some commercial product while having limited access to tools and/or the kitchen) This season involves cooking for the UK Olympic team, and the guidelines state that the chefs need to show something groundbreaking and world class champion level. IMO, the push for radical and tasty innovation in four different dishes is a bit of a stretch. Even when the chefs use a molecular pantry or new equipment, none of them is the person who thought of it first. They are trying for unique flavor combinations, and using some interesting foraged foods. But, most of them don't seem to be the type who spends hours every week developing dishes for next year's menu. I suspect that the ask may simply be too great. I mean, you look at El Bulli, for example, and they did great work there, but it wasn't quick or easy -and they had a team of people working on ideas and then execution. Some fairly simple items took a year or two to perfect. I suspect that we all have one or two tricks up our sleeves, but a goodly number of these competitors are back from previous seasons where they also served up 4 dishes. It's a lot to expect from one person. Some competitors are doing well by playing it a bit safe with traditional dishes and flavor combinations, others are getting eliminated for it. I also think that the fourth course, dessert, is the weakest overall so far as I have seen. Only one competitor has worked in pastry before and it shows. Most of them aren't really thinking through the dessert properly. I'll write up more comments on individual episodes in a few days.
  12. Seeking guidance

    Welcome! Feel free to ask, several of us have experience cooking large quantities of foods and transporting them.
  13. Cooking wok

    The viscosity will determine if the motor is powerful enough to work for you. This is a bit like when makers of small, home-style mixers state that they are not designed for making bread dough. There's a big difference between mixing watery liquids and, say, making mashed potatoes. Be honest and decribe the types of foods you will be making.
  14. Great British Menu Season 7

    @BetD and @lindag -when you're done, SNL did a hilarious parody of it tonight. (spoilers!)
  15. Lava cake or muffins

    Lava mix? I have never heard of it. Can you give a brand name so we can research it? Most mixes require fairly faithful adherence to the manufacturer' instructions. In school, I learned that there were two different methods discovered to make lava cake pretty much at the same time. One is a fairly simple cake originally made by Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten which was originally a fortuitous accident of making a cake incorrectly so it retained a runny center. It's pretty easy to make. The other was simply placing a frozen ball of ganache on top of the batter for each portion before baking. (it drops to the center as the cake bakes and then melts as the cake solidifies) And then, there was the Tunnel of Fudge cake from 1966 which is related but not the same as it uses cocoa instead of chocolate.
  16. Years ago, when I visited Tokyo, I ate in a small but fascinating restaurant called 'It's Vegetable' which is now, unfortunately, closed. The chef was from Taiwan, and he made Buddhist vegetarian and vegan dishes that resembled meat. During my visit, several monks wearing robes stopped in to eat dinner. The dishes were pretty amazing. I understood some of them, like using seitan to mimic chicken in stir fry dishes, others used tofu products like yuba, but, others were complex and obviously difficult. One very notable dish we enjoyed was a large 'fish' fillet designed to serve several people. It had a 'skin' made of carefully layered 'scales' cut from nori and attached to the surface. Inside, the white 'flesh' flaked and tasted much like a mild fish. Anyway, apparently Buddhist fake meat meals are very popular in Taiwan and many places, cheap through to fine dining serve them. Yes, if I worked on it for a while, I could probably refine one or two dishes on my own, but, I am wondering if there's a Modernist Cuisine type cookbook for skillfully making these mock meats from scratch? (I have heard that some items are commercially made and available frozen there, much like soy-based burgers are in the US.) I am willing to try almost any offering, even if it's entirely in Chinese. And, I know how to use remailers to purchase regional items from the various local retailers worldwide who do not ship to the US.
  17. Do you have access to a farmer's market? When I was a kid and the garden would overflow with tomatoes, my mom would make spaghetti sauce and freeze it, and then, if there were still too many tomatoes, tomato juice canned in glass jars.
  18. @heidih, I have owned that book for years, plus a lot of other vegetarian books. (been vegetarian since 1979) I'm not looking for substitutes exactly, I am looking for this specific type of cuisine where the mock meat is painstakingly structured to look exactly like the real thing. -Like 'ribs' with 'bones' sticking out, whole roasted 'quail', whole roasted 'chicken', 'turkey' legs, a massive intact fish 'fillet', large marbled slices of 'pork' belly, etc. where someone would swear in looks just like meat. Not just random unknown chunks (of seitan strips or tempeh maybe) in a stir-fry. The closest I have ever come is making tofu 'egg' salad, where carefully cut and mixed medium-soft tofu takes the place of chopped egg whites. I am looking to possibly making a fake dish for a competition where I am supposed to produce a 'fish course' which, here in AZ, a landlocked state, IMO is ridiculous.
  19. I just saw a tv show where a professional chef was mentioning that the mark of a professional chef was knowing how to refine the sauce of a curry so there were no oil spots. (I think it was an American show, though!) One solution, depending upon the type of dish, would be to make a quick roux when starting. So, instead of, say, adding ghee to the pot, then spices, then puree of onion, then chunky vegetables, then pureed tomatoes to finish, one would add a some all-purpose wheat flour after the ghee and spices are added and let it cook for a couple of minutes until it is a bubbly paste and the flour is just starting to brown, barely. It is important for the flour to get thoroughly cooked and bubbly, so it does not form lumps in the sauce or taste like raw flour. Let the spice flavors develop then add a little less flour, by weight, than ghee. Normally, the ratio for roux-making is equal parts fat and flour by weight, however, you probably have some dry spices absorbing some fat, so you have less fat available. You're going to have to experiment a bit, but, something like 0.5 - 0.75 flour to 1 ghee by weight should fix the issue. Your pictures may be too large, or too high quality. Try reducing the image (in a Windows PC, use Paint) to 800x600 pixels and see if that helps. Good luck!
  20. Thanks! The best pan-Asian market in Phoenix is a long ways from my house, so, I tend to only visit a couple times a year. I will keep an eye out. None of the markets here are as good as they were before the economic crisis.
  21. I agree that any challenge involving limited cash will be difficult simply because most of us have stockpiles of food and didn't keep the receipts. I personally purchase some high quality specialty rice in 20lb sacks and split them with some neighbors, we wind up paying about 30 cents a pound. I've got some good stuff I purchased on last-chance markdown. (artichoke pasta from Italy, paella rice from Spain, olive oil from Sparta -all for less than 20 cents a pound) Neither of these situations is easily replicable. Some things, like the SNAP challenge, IMO would best be suited to blogging. I have seriously considered foodblogging here with a $2/day limit. The problem now is that inflation has made food a lot more expensive than when I first contemplated doing it ten years ago. (even if I allow a pass for foods available as free packets like salt, ketchup, hot sauce, mayo, mustard, etc.) There also a lot of other bloggers already doing it, and I do not know how much I would be able to contribute in terms of recipe ideas. (how interesting is it to read that I made oatmeal again and drank a cup of tea?) I like @DiggingDogFarm's list of topics. I think ultimately, I am not fond of competitions. Food shouldn't be a zero sum game. I'd like to think that all across the world, lots of people are enjoying good meals and I think it's tacky to rate/compare them.
  22. M&Ms: The Discussion

    I have seen a display of these in two Fry's (Kroger) locations here in Phoenix. I purchased some raspberry because I know I won't like the other two. Agree that the raspberry flavor could be stronger. BTW, got the strawberry nut M&Ms at Walgreens. They actually seem to stock a lot of promotional candy, at least from the big US companies. I recall getting some amazing raspberry Hershey's kisses there in 2007 -which I could not find anyplace else.
  23. I'd appreciate getting a book or two if they have them. Don't spend more than $30 plus shipping, okay? If they have a lot of books, or they are more expensive, take some photos, so I can budget for them. I had not thought to look for temples. Phoenix has MANY of them and I had no idea. I will start checking them out. Thanks!
  24. $5 Meal Challenge

    I've got a couple of posts in the meal challenge thread, with pictures.