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Everything posted by JLam

  1. Yes, Russell, I know how to get there. I actually live out in the middle of nowhere as well...this place is only a short drive from my house. I've never had sweetbreads before, so I'm going to give them a shot. I guess what I meant to say is that I've never eaten at an authentic French restaurant at all, either traditional or cutting edge, so I'm very excited. Dinner is tomorrow, so I'll report back.
  2. I've never eaten at a fancy high end French place. Here's the menu: http://www.lechene.com/main15.htm What would you eat? I also noticed the first item is sweetbreads. I've never had them. Anyone have any experience eating them?
  3. I had a good laugh while reading the following recipe. I did a search and it seems this hasn't been posted before. http://www.nanbelegorn.com/sandwich/ Basically, this young kid decided he was going to make the mother of all sandwiches. It is...well, just read it. What delighted me about it was the kid's unbridled enthusiasm, and his sense of fun. I was smiling the whole way. Enjoy!
  4. I just ran across this blog posting about a company called LesserEvil popcorn. The blog author ripped into the company pretty good, and I wonder if it's justified. What are your thoughts? Here's the blog entry (btw, the rest of the website is pretty funny and well written). http://www.stupiditytracker.com/2007/02/16...l-foods-stupid/
  5. I've got a pork loin roast I want to eat tonight. I've done this dish to death. Can anyone gimee some suggestions as to what to do with it that won't make my wife and I bored.
  6. JLam

    Mint: Uses & Storage

    Update: I broke up the mint leaves and sprinkled them over some monkfish ceviche. Verdict: Yummy!
  7. JLam

    Mint: Uses & Storage

    Good question. I have no idea. It was vegetable oil in a shallow fry pan. I didn't have a thermometer, I just kinda eyeballed it. My guess would be about 350-360, based on past experience with hot oils.
  8. JLam

    Mint: Uses & Storage

    I just had the bright idea to throw some mint leaves into some hot oil and see what happened. I was pleasantly surprised. I found, after a bit of experimentation, that a mint leaf cooked in hot oil for about 5-10 seconds becomes delicately crispy, almost flaky, and loses the "punch" of mint flavor, leaving behind a nice, mellow, minty, earthy flavor. I'm going to use them to garnish some ceviche. We'll see how that turns out.
  9. JLam

    Braising sauce question

    cornstarch works as a thickener under certain very specific situations. if you're going to be thickening it at the very end and serving it immediately, cornstarch will be fine. but if it stands or if it is re-heated, it goes gluey in a hurry. also, since cornstarch is purer starch than wheat flour, cornstarch-thickened sauces tend to be (what seems to me to be) weirdly translucent, even transparent. then again, maybe i've just eaten too much bad chinese food. ← Thanks for clearing that up, Russ.
  10. I can't remember the last time I bought salad dressing. I also have never once in my entire life bought canned spaghetti sauce (it was the first thing my dad taught me to cook as a kid.)
  11. JLam

    Braising sauce question

    Sounds like cornstarch would work, no? If not, why not?
  12. I was wondering about citrus flavored marshmallows, like lemon or lime. Do you think it would be OK to add lime or lemon juice to the water and gelatin at the beginning of the recipe (in place of the vanilla)? Or would the acid screw things up?
  13. Just thought I'd chime in to say that I made nightscotsman's vanilla marshmallows and they were great! They're even better dipped in chocolate! Yum.
  14. Mrs.JLam and I ate at a place called Man-Chu Wok in the Miami airport this past June when we were on our way back from our honeymoon. We were STARVING and desperate to eat anything. I don't remember what we ate, but I do remember that I was so hungry that I didn't realize until I was halfway done eating it that I was ingesting some of the worst food ever to be put on a plate. Mushy, bland, watery, and slimy are all words that could be used to describe the dreck we were shoveling down our pie-holes. About half way through, we both kind of looked at each other in a moment of shared realization. I said "This is horrible!" Wifey agreed, and we got out of there. Thinking about that meal still makes me a little bit queasy.
  15. You know how sometimes you experiment in the kitchen and you stumble upon something wonderful? Yeah, those times are great. Then there are those times when you experiment and you can only laugh at your stupidity after the fact? I did the latter just now. I had made some Pumpkin Brulee (recipe here) and it came out great. I had a few ramekins left that hadn't had the burnt sugar treatment yet, so I decided to experiment. I really like sour stuff, and I wondered if mixing a tiny bit of citric acid (sour salt) into the sugar would give the brulee a little tangy kick. So I mixed a 1/2 tsp. citric acid into 1 tbsp. sugar and did the torch thing. I should have taken a picture. The citric acid turned black, made these horrible bubbles, and actually caught fire for a second. It crisped up nicely with the sugar, and besides the big black bubbles, it seemed OK. Then I tasted it. The only way I can describe the flavor is "Burnt Sour". Disgusting. It's been 15 minutes, I only took 2 bites, and I still can't get the taste out of the back of my mouth. Don't ever try this. Just don't.
  16. I just noticed the fried turkey thread. I did one this year and it was great...I also created an injectable marinade that I'd like to share. It was really, really flavorful. You'll have to pardon my lack of specific measurements. I rarely take measurements when I'm fooling around in the kitchen, so I'll try to guesstimate. First, I dry roasted some spices on the stovetop. I used bay leaves, sage, thyme, coriander, peppercorns and mustard seeds. I cooked them until they were fragrant, then ground them into a fine powder. Then I sauteed one white onion and 4 or 5 cloves of garlic until the onions were a bit mushy. To that I added a few tablespoons of lemon juice, a few tablespoons of cider vinegar and some salt and let that cook down a bit. I tossed that mixture into the food processor along with the powdered spices. I spun it round in the food processor until the onions and garlic had liquefied. I then strained it to remove any remaining solids. The result was a somewhat spicy, kinda tangy, generally yummy, very thin sauce that I was able to inject into my turkey. It was really good.
  17. On my honeymoon in Jamaica I was served a tomato soup topped with a couple of dollops of plain yogurt that had been mixed with lime juice. It was great. I figured I could work that into a dessert somehow, and this is what I came up with. I got a small container of plain yogurt and mixed it with the juice of 1 lime and a bit of sugar. I served it with raspberries, parfait-style, in sugar rimmed martini glasses. I was going to top it with some simple caramelized sugar, but I turned my back on the sugar for too long and ended up with blackjack (bitter, burned sugar.) So I scrapped that idea...but the result was really good nonetheless. I really liked the yogurt with the sugar and lime, and it went so well with the raspberries. Anyone ever tried anything similar?
  18. So I came across a recipe for a caramel based apricot sauce for pork in the great cookbook "Why It Works" by Kevin Ryan. I'd never considered using caramel in a savory sauce, but it came out great. I deviated from the recipe quite a bit, and since I never write anything down when I'm cooking, I'll give a rough approximation of what I used. 1/4 cup of sugar + 1 tbsp. water, cooked that until it was golden brown. Removed caramelized sugar from heat. Added 1 medium chopped red onion and 3 cloves finely chopped garlic. Returned mixture to heat and cooked for another 3 mins. or so. Added 3 tbsp. Cider Vinegar, 1 tbsp. salt, about 1/4 cup of dijon mustard and about 1/2 cup water (I didn't measure any of those...just kinda did what felt right, and I am approximating). Cooked that down until it was reduced by about half, and added about 1/4 cup of Apricot Preserves (the stuff simply labeled "spreadable fruit"...not the stuff loaded with corn syrup). I added a bit more salt to counter the sweetness of the sauce, then added the juice of 1 small lemon. I finished it by whisking in 3 tbsp. of butter. I strained the sauce to get rid of the soggy onions and garlic, and that was that. The sauce had a wonderful combination of flavors. It was a little bit sweet, a little bit salty, with a hint of mustard and an overall note of apricots. I served it over a simple pork roast, and it really complimented the meat well. I have to say I was pretty impressed with myself, and now I'm going to play around with caramel sauces and see what I come up with. Ya learn something new every day!
  19. Some of the best things I've come up with in the kitchen are the results of screwing something up. Of course, some of the worst things I've come up with are the results of screwing up, so it evens out. My humble advice would be to not be afraid of making mistakes.
  20. Add me to the folks who have drunk the Bamix Kool-Aid I love it, and it works great. Get the one with fuel injection and the turbocharger...it's worth the extra 5 grand.
  21. JLam


    I know HOW to cook risotto, but I'm curious as to WHY it's cooked the way it's cooked (adding liquid a little bit at a time, rather than all at once.) Guesses are nice, but if anyone knows the science behind it, I'd love to hear it.
  22. My dad taught me how to cook, and we watched Julia Child, Jeff Smith, and Martin Yan every Sunday on PBS. The best day of my life was getting to meet Julia Child. Coolest day ever. I was working on a pilot for a cooking show, and we were with her for a few hours in her hotel room, interviewing her and chatting about food. What a wonderful woman, and I day I'll never forget.
  23. Yeah, let's get everybody sick....as long as the shellfish are comfy before they die.
  24. JLam

    Kumquats - Any ideas?

    Can't you just give them a good washing?
  25. The fact that we are sitting around discussing the treatment of lobsters speaks volumes of the good fortune afforded every single one of us who participates here. We get to lounge around and debate whether or not lobsters are treated well. We get to choose whether or not we want to eat them. We can, in fact, eat whatever we want, whenever we want. We should stop for a moment and realize that we are part of a very small minority of the world's population who enjoys these kinds of priveleges. We are all, by virtue of nothing more than the place we were born, very very lucky. So eat the lobster, enjoy it, and remember how fortunate you are to be eating it. Sorry to derail the thread, but that thought just struck me and I wanted to get it out.
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