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Everything posted by Hombre

  1. Did anyone else see the Next Iron Chef episode where they used BGEs for high-temp grilling? I watched in horror as those who left their bottom vents open turn their grills into infernos. Why on earth did the producers pick a BGE for this type of grilling? I was once a true believer, but I’ve fallen out of love with my large 18" BGE over the past few years. It’s great for smoking and making pizzas, but regular grilling is a chore on the BGE. You can’t create a low-temp area or safety zone, so you’re either at very high temps or going low and slow (and it takes a great deal of time to changes temps on the BGE once it’s hot). The gasket will burn off if you do any high-temp grilling, and replacing it takes some effort (I eventually bought an electric sander). And you’ll probably burn the hair off your arms at least a few times until you remember to “burp” it. So I use my old Weber 22” kettle 90% of the time now. It’s just easier to start and clean, has more surface area, and allows me to create multi-zone fires for searing and then finishing things off more slowly. The good old Weber is once again my desert-island grill, but the BGE still comes in handy for certain applications (try putting a pot of beans with some chipotles on the place setter with a chili-rubbed pork shoulder over it on the grate, then smoke it for half a day. Smash up beans, serve with pork.)
  2. Another vote for Julie Sahni's Classic Indian Cooking. I own half a dozen Indian cookbooks, and this is the only one I really go to any more. Never had a dissapointment with it. That it's been in print since 1980 says a lot.
  3. Best chicken tikka masala I've ever had is from the Nov 2006 (#81) issue. They start with making tandoori chicken, then add that to the curry. I loved this recipe so much that I kept this issue out (and away from the other issues I'd filed away), and now I can't find it. Thank goodness for Google. This recipe has much more texture and flavor than the standard buffet tikka masala.
  4. I think the newer version is worth getting if you like the old version. Just comparing the chapters on Beans, there seems to be very little left untouched. The Bean chapter now has 38 recipes vs. 35, with most of the old recipes updated (at least the intros) and some removed. Simple Bean Croquettes are now The Simplest Bean Burgers. The new recipe adds rolled oats and bean cooking liquid and omits flour. Bean-and-Corn Pancakes are now Bean Griddlecakes -- cornmeal and cumin are out, flour and butter are in (but the recipe is now followed by 11 “tasty additions” and 5 sauce suggestions). An Indian fritter recipe has been removed. The section on cooking beans in a pressure cooker has been removed. The whole approach seems simpler and more focused, though still with lots of suggestions for expanding base recipes. The biggest improvement is in the introductions to ingredients and recipes, which generally offer more insight than the previous edition (Bittman appears to have rewritten almost everything). For example, for Tuscan White Beans, he now mentions that there are two valid approaches to the dish and why he prefers them “cooked to death” rather than intact. So it's a recipe you can find anywhere, but with a bit of insight that tempts you to try mushy beans.
  5. Making tamales. Smoking or braising the meat. Making salsa and masa. Sitting down at the table with family and assembling. The aroma of steaming tamales.
  6. It may be out of your way, but if you're in the area of Winslow (about 60 miles E of Flagstaff), La Posada hotel and it's restaurant are definitely worth a visit. The hotel was designed by Mary Coulter and was the last of the Harvey hotels. It used to be a favorite of Hollywood stars -- Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart, and even FDR and Truman -- and has been lovingly restored in recent years. www.laposada.org NY Times did a piece on Winslow and La Posada last year, though Winslow is not quite the place made out in the article. Probably not worth the visit unless it's on your route. http://travel.nytimes.com/2007/02/09/trave...ican.ready.html
  7. Trying to eat more veg, so Manjula's Kitchen on Youtube has been a godsend. My favorite is her . Utterly delicious, and she shows you how to make a yogurt sauce that won't break. The Food Network needs this woman.
  8. I agree with you on the recipes, and I still subscribe, too. But when I want a book, I get it from Amazon or Costco. Their content is great for people who want to learn more about cooking.
  9. I've experienced both the good and the bad things mentioned in this thread. First, the customer service comments are right on target. Order one book from them, and they just keep on coming. I called, mystified, and had a hard time getting it stopped. But I didn't start cooking until my late 20s, and NOTHING comes naturally to me in the kitchen. So I enjoy the lengthy explanations and tips that are probably trite to the pros. Their one-skillet pot pie is one of my favorites, and I check the recipe every time to get the dough right. My first attempt at Bolognese was the original "classic" version from the old Best Recipe, and it's very good. So when I got the new Best Recipe, I was dismayed by the new short version, but I did try it. It's quicker, but it's also more complicated, and nowhere near as good. Sometimes tinkering too much can ruin a thing.
  10. It’s nice to see some other positive comments here. For me, this book has changed the way I cook in at least one regard -- I’m salting and tasting much more carefully. I’m prone to underseasoning so that guests can adjust at the table. Lots of passing the salt! No more of that. And I’m paying more attention at restaurants. We visited a well-regarded local restaurant and had braised lamb. Perfectly cooked, lovely-looking sauce, but just plain bland. At another place, we had a trio of soups that were salt bombs, nearly inedible. The Salt essay would be of use to the young cooks in those kitchens. I checked my local supermarket for veal bones (and breast) and can’t find them. But more than that, my wife objects to cooking with them, so I won’t be able to try the veal stock, though the debate has piqued my interest.
  11. As an enthusiastic home cook, I’m finding this book useful and entertaining. The Salt essay struck home as my wife and I too often take a first bite, look at each other, and say “more salt!” The recommendation to “salt early in the cooking process, whether seasoning meat or seasoning a soup” was a jolt, as mom taught me to season just before serving. The Stock essay’s emphasis on veal stock was also surprising (and pretty convincing to me). So how do you get veal bones? Mr. Ruhlman offered some tips upthread that would have been helpful in the book. Frankly, I would also have appreciated a sentence or two on the ethics of eating veal. It’s not something I’m informed about, and would have liked an opinion on the subject. Some of the criticisms here based on Michael Ruhlman’s comment about this book being “everything” a cook needs to know in the kitchen seem a bit harsh to me. Like The Elements of Style by Strunk, this is one guy’s take on the most important elements of a particular craft. It’s not encyclopedic. But there’s a lot to learn from this book for people like me who want to cook better. Worrying that it doesn’t measure up to the promised “everything” is like dismissing The Elements of Style for not being the Chicago Manual of Style. Which would you rather read?
  12. Kissing don't last; cookery do. - George Meredith
  13. It may be out of your way, but the La Posada Hotel in Winslow is worth a visit. La Posada Hotel From the menu: Native Cassoulet with Churro Lamb, Duck and Sausage Tohono O’odham grown tepary beans cooked with Navaho Churro Lamb, chiles, spices and duck, served with duck confit, grilled lamb, and smoked Andouille sausage. Wild – Wild – Wild - West Sampler Platter Grilled quail with apricot sauce, seared elk medallion with red currant sauce, and a cup of spicy wild boar, venison and buffalo chile served with sweet corn tamale and fresh vegetables. The New York Times mentions the restaurant in the article "Native Foods Flourish Again" -- at http://www.lakotamall.com/NANF/NANF Full Article.pdf (copy and paste the URL because of the spaces). "John Sharpe, the chef at La Posada Hotel in Winslow, Ariz., devises as much of his menu as he can from local tribal foods. About four times a year, he is lucky enough to get a delivery of Navajo Churro lambs from a small, scrappy breed that was almost extinct.... He also borrows from Hopi traditions, turning tepary beans, roasted corn, a little French mustard and some olive oil into a dip that echoes a traditional Hopi dish. He uses thin Hopi piki bread, made from ground blue corn and cooked like a crepe, for dipping."
  14. My first taste of pasta in brown butter sauce. I'd taken my date to an Italian restaurant just to impress her. Didn't care about food in the least, ordered the cheapest thing on the menu. Had to resist ordering a second course of the ethereal stuffed pasta in that gorgeous, brown, garlicky sauce. Bought my first cookbook the next day. Can hardly remember the girl.
  15. molto e, thank you for the recommendation. My wife and I just moved to Gilbert, and have been looking for good places to eat. We've been to Cyclo three times now and have thoroughly enjoyed every visit. My wife (from Thailand) orders the Papaya salad with the meal, and one to go as we're leaving. The BYOB policy is extremely civilized.
  16. One of my favorite casseroles is James Beard's turkey rice casserole with stuffing. No heavy sauces required. The recipe doesn't make this clear, but the rice should not be cooked first. Turkey Rice Casserole
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