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Everything posted by HungryC

  1. As Lisa says, whatever starter you receive will be repopulated by local yeasts over time. Try making your own--feed it with pineapple juice for the initial two days. The acidity will prevent nasty leuconostoc bacteria from taking hold and give the yeast a bit more time to get established. Keep feeding 1 or 2 times daily until it reliably doubles. It is exactly what a 'french bakery' would do if their own starter failed. The starter doesn't really determine the bread's flavor profile: it is more about manipulating the pre-ferment/"build" of the starter and the various things you do (or don't do) to the dough....fermentation schedules, temps, etc. Too much mystique surrounds the starter, IMHO: it is just a yeast culture.
  2. Yes, I make pasta dough in the food processor and/or KA mixer. Processor is easier for smaller amounts, and it takes less time. KA is better for bigger batches (my processor isn't very large). I usually do about 85 g flour per egg, and sometimes I'll add an extra yolk for richness. LIghtly beat the eggs, then combine with the flour in either the mixer or processor.....mix until cohesive and smooth. In the processor, this will happen VERY quickly. After mxing, I let the dough rest, covered, for about 20-30 minutes before dividing and rolling. I find that a 60 g or smaller portion is easiest to handle while rolling. Larger amounts result in too-long strips of dough. ETA photo of carbonara w/homemade noodles: http://bouillie.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/p7292336.jpg
  3. In my corner of the coastal deepest south USA, is is entirely possible to have grassfed dairy animals, year round. I can think of three different dairys who manage this, and all three are at least a hundred miles north of me. So it's working in the climate zones 8/8b, 9, and 9b. Granted, all three are fairly small, selling at farmer's markets & directly from the farm. But it is entirely feasible in the right climate. Heck, I'm mowing the winter rye in my backyard every two weeks. It was seeded in early Oct, and it will grow until mid-April. The pastures behind my house have beautiful winter rye & fat/happy Angus right now. A fall/winter calving season is preferred for beef, as the winter pasture grasses are higher in nutrients than the summer stuff.
  4. Indistinguishable. It's browned flour in fat; the degree of browning determines the flavor...it tastes the same when made in the microwave, too.
  5. Agree with the above poster--cloth is a better choice for wiping down stone tops. Paper towels seem to fall apart/fuzz up and leave lots of debris behind. Microfiber cleaning cloths work great, and soft flour-sack style cotton towels also work well.
  6. I'm reading Mollie Katzen's newish Heart of the Plate, and she uses a coconut dressing on a roasted eggplant salad. Here's the recipe on her website: http://www.molliekatzen.com/recipes/recipe.php?id=1013
  7. Try using a little in a salad dressing...nice flavor and texture.
  8. Use prefab wonton skins to make ravioli-ish filled pasta. They're a little on the chewy side, but not inedibly so.
  9. Tartine #3, which focuses on whole grains, releases in early Dec. I've got my copy preordered. Aside from that, 2013 hasn't been such a banner year for baking books. Miscovich's wood fired oven book is wonderful, but rather specialized and not just bread/baking (roasting meats, etc. and plenty on oven construction and management). Man'oushe by Masaad looks interesting, but I have it on my library list and not my purchase list. If you're looking for specifically French books, I'd get Vatinet's A Passion for Bread.
  10. I don't think it would work very well. The liquid in the detergent would use up some of the cornstarch's absorbing power, when what you want is the cornstarch to be concentrated on the oily stain. A two-step process seems necessary. Exactly--the dry, powdery nature of cornstarch allows it to absorb the oil. You can also use chalk (the soft, blackboard kind) or talcum powder to the same effect. I just happen to have cornstarch handy, and bath/talcum powders often have scents or other ingredients that aren't necessarily clothing-friendly. Cornstarch is also cheap. It will pick up lighter oils from concrete/masonry, too.
  11. Cornstarch works wonders. Sprinkle straight cornstarch liberally onto a greasy spot of cloth, rub it in with your fingers. Let it sit for a few hours (or even a few days), and the cornstarch will absorb the oil. Brush away the cornstarch and launder as usual. Works great for silk, too.
  12. My southern grandmother's table had sterling napkin rings with each family member's name engraved on them--you got your own cloth napkin and they were re-used for a couple of meals before being laundered. Each person knew which napkin was his/her own, so no worries about getting other people's crud. I like white cloth (preferably linen) napkins--wash on hot with the (white only) towels and they'll come clean. No one should be blotting their lipstick on cloth napkins, or wiping at their makeup. Food stains & organic grease are easily removed---it's the petroleum stuff in makeup that's pernicious. But the well mannered know to dab at their lips with a cloth napkin, not rub away as though polishing silver. Anyone who leaves you a big ol' wad of Max Factor can forget a return invitation to a formal event--put 'em on the "paper napkin" event list, LOL. Seriously, blowing your nose at the table? Gives me the shivers to think about it, and I live with a man allergic to his own house cat. Surely you can step into the powder room for a minute of privacy. Napkins aren't tissues. Now, if we're talking about crawfish boils, crab-peeling, eating ribs, etc: the Bounty Select-a-Size paper towels are soft, absorbent, and conveniently perforated into smaller pieces.
  13. Try cooking those "boring" red kidney beans with a smoked ham hock, smoked turkey wings or necks, or some salted pork, plus celery, bell pepper, and onion, as well as some cayenne pepper. Red beans are a south Louisiana Monday classic, with or without smoked sausage on the side (or a fried pork chop, if you prefer). Keep cooking them until they "cream" and the pot liquor is indistinguishable from the beans.
  14. HungryC

    La Caja Cooking

    Injecting is overrated, IMHO. You need to rub something flavorful into the cracks & crevices---I like a pasty blend of garlic, EVOO, and some rosemary & fennel, or to keep it in the cajun direction, use cayenne, thyme, sage, and garlic. Work it into any spaces you can find, along the ribs, near the legs...carefully cut a few pockets beneath the skin near major muscles. You don't want to leave much on the surface to burn & get acrid, though.
  15. I do this often---mainly because I buy cookbooks at the used bookstores and don't feel bad about spending $7 and under on hardbacks I might only use once or twice. I keep them 6 months to a year or so, then re-sell back to the same stores. Some books make the "keepers" cut, others are resold for bookstore credit. I've found fantastic bargains this way (first editions, signed copies, out of print treasures). I see it as "renting" the books for a while, then reselling to get a new batch to consider. I cull when the bookshelves get too full; I put the duds on specific shelves. Once the dud shelf is full, back to the bookstore I go. As of late, I've also been buying single-topic cookbooks as e-books. I needed cracker & crisp recipes to develop materials for a cooking class, and it was way cheaper to buy 7-8 cracker cookbooks in e format over paper format. I won't be using them very often, but they're a nice recipe resource.
  16. Regarding the item to be fried's temperature: results will vary radically depending on the items being fried. Tender stuff like shrimp or fish is generally chilled before coating/battering, as the "stuff" on the outside sticks better to cold food. Try battering a room temp piece of fish then frying--the coating will often slough right off, leaving a naked filet bobbing around.
  17. It's okay in the oven, but a charcoal grill and stone will give you much better results. Like this: http://bouillie.us/2010/02/08/naan-on-the-big-green-egg/ The recipe is similar to the one posted above--yeast, flour, yogurt, plus a little oil and sugar to tenderize. Naan is great because it doesn't require a long ferment, isn't fussy to shape, and is delicious even reheated (though not quite as tender). If you don't have a grill, I recommend a stone preheated for at least 30 minutes on high, set on the oven's highest rack. When you're ready to cook, switch on the broiler and let it rip for 15 minutes while you shape the breads. (This is Lahey's pizza technique, it works well on thin flatbreads too.)
  18. I imagine the sriracha folks would be welcome most anywhere in Louisiana, home to Tabasco, Crystal, Bruce, Louisiana, and a whole bunch of other hot sauces. The city is taking a dumb position on this one.
  19. I've had luck in puffing pita using a hot baking stone and oven around 500-550 (preheat the stone thoroughly), as well as using a baking stone on a charcoal grill. The pita won't puff unless rolled thinly, and the trick to rolling thinly is to allow the dough to rest a bit after it is preshaped. IOW, divide it, round into portioned balls, then wait 10 mins. Roll/stretch each portion into a disk, then cover with a damp cloth, and wait a bit more. Patience is key, and you can roll as thin as you'd like, provided you don't try to do it all at once. Someone up thread suggested adding cake flour to make the pitas roll thinner--except this won't work. Using a lower protein flour will lead to tearing and holes, not a thinner pita. You need decent gluten development in order to get a thin disk of dough.
  20. Any decent camping store can help you find a metal brazier similar to the one pictured. Another fun hearth cooking tool is a pie/pocket sandwich iron: http://www.cabelas.com/product/Camping/Outdoor-Cooking/Camp-Cookware%7C/pc/104795280/c/104754780/sc/104247180/Camp-Chef-Pie-Irons/732563.uts?destination=%2Fcatalog%2Fbrowse%2Fcamp-cookware%2F_%2FN-1100714%2FNo-48%2FNs-CATEGORY_SEQ_104247180%3FWTz_l%3DSBC%253BMMcat104795280%253Bcat104754780%26WTz_st%3DGuidedNav%26WTz_stype%3DGNP%26recordsPerPage%3D48&WTz_l=SBC%3BMMcat104795280%3Bcat104754780%3Bcat104247180
  21. A cast iron dutch oven with feet (a "spider") or a grate to elevate a non-cast-iron pot would be helpful. Lodge makes a cast iron dutch oven whose lid has a raised rim, which allows you to put coals directly atop the lid so you can get oven-like heat inside the pot. Such a pot makes it easy to bake biscuits, cornbread, etc. William Rubel's "The Magic of Fire" has many recipes and tips for hearth cooking: http://www.amazon.com/The-Magic-Fire-Fireplace-Campfire/dp/1580084532/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1382976150&sr=8-2&keywords=open+hearth+cooking One thing I would think about is your fireplace's depth: if it is a relatively shallow hearth, you want to protect nearby floor & mantle from grease and spatters. Maybe some aluminum foil tacked or taped to sensitive areas? I'd hate to scrub greasy spatters out of a lovely carved white marble mantlepiece.
  22. Calamansi are smooth skinned and very little (like key lime sized). If it's not a kaffir lime, it might be a variety of citron; those have bumpy skin and a bit of a knob on one end, and they can grow very large.
  23. I use an unglazed (but very well seasoned by use) stoneware loaf pan most often. I do grease it from time to time, depending on the sort of bread I'm making. I find it helps to even out the heat of my toaster oven--when I've baked bread in the TO in metal pans, it suffered from uneven bottom browning.
  24. HungryC

    Pimento Cheese

    Pimento cheese is a spread...soft, creamy, not chewy in the least. Not a solid hunk of cheese like the typical pepperjack. It's usually not very spicy, though some folks have a heavy hand with the cayenne. The little flecks of red roasted peppers add no heat at all.
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