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Posts posted by Lordof7

  1. I find the canned cheese has a sour-milk taste to it.

    That may be due to age of the can in question. I have been to friend's houses where the 4c or Kraft is really, REALLY old - maybe pre-grated doesn't age as gracefully? Or, perhaps I just can't taste that sour-ness!

    I think the parmagiano is milder than the pecorino romano because the romano is a sheep's milk cheese. The romano has more of a "bite" to it.

    That makes sense in general. As someon mentioned before, there are probably mild and sharper variations of both cow and sheep varieties.

    Well, I'm off to search for a good Parmagiano Reggiano - after hearing all the descriptions, my mouth is watering.

    (But I don't think I'll get rid of the green can....)

  2. Comfort food and childhood favorites have no logic. They just are.

    Its possible to know something is "bad" food and still enjoy eating it.

    I also agree with this! I always had Green Can Cheese on many food growing up (I won't eat broccoli without it), and still tend to have a mini blizzard on my food with it.

    I have tried various other hard cheeses, but find that the fresh Parmagiano I bought a chunck of has less flavor than the Green Can!!! Therefore, I can honestly say I do still prefer the Green Can at home. Partly due to the "childhood favorite", but something is probably amiss with my fresh grated cheese. I suspect I bought an inferior piece. I've also got some Romano on hand, which is more flavorful, and much better. Is fresh grated Parmagiano a realtively milder cheese? I also think my grating may have something to do with it - I use a wheel-crank style, which shaves very fine pieces of cheese off. Is this desired?

    I have also sliced it, and then the taste is better, but the Parmagiano I bought has crystal chunks in it (I don't know how to describe it - crunchy crystalline bits embedded in the cheese.) Well, next time I should just find a better source.

  3. Ugggh. Yesterday was the most horrible cooking day I've had since starting this whole "Wow cooking is fun!" epiphany. Well, so as not to lose my taste (ow!) for this hobby, I will proceed to do what I do best in this situation, which is bitch about it. My wife heard enough yesterday, so now its your turn!!! Muhahahaha!!

    Breakfast: Eggs Benedict

    (Disclaimer: I be a noobie. If I am "experienced" in cooking something, I've done it three times before.)

    Ok, so this one I have made a few times before. The last sticky part for me is, of course, the sauce. (I use the method from the cream sauce eGCI course.) I have learned previously that cutting the hollandaise recipe in half while forgetting to halve the amount of vinegar (distilled at that) makes for, ummm, interesting hollaindaise. Last time I made this it came out well - nice and thick, with proper flavor and bite.

    First attempt yesterday - wht wine vinegar reduced nicely, add half an egg yolk, wow its getting thick...uhhh, oh shit. Forgot to add cold water and let the pan cool. Screw it - toss and start again. Reduce vinegar, let pan cool, add cold water, add half an egg yolk. Hmm. If I added half the first time, why does this look like so little egg? Well, I'm very careful not to overcook the egg, seems like its thickening, so I start adding butter. No problem, except for the sauce doesn't seem to be thickening. Oh well, eggs are ready so lets plate. I poured the sauce on top, and it promptly ran off the eggs into a nice watery pool on the plate. I guess I didn't heat the egg enough to get the sauce thick enough (or I ran out of time and didn't add enough butter.) Ate it anyway. They tasted ok, but because the hollandaise was so runny, it didn't taste as good as previously. Screw it, I'll redeem myself at dinner...

    Dinner: Grilled Ribeye steak, Twice baked parmesan mashed potatoes, green beans.

    One thing I do feel pretty good about is my grilling skills. Although I always overcook everything by a tiny degree still (too scared to pull it early enough), I can at least get stuff pink (I like rare.) So, get the steaks to room temp (ribeye for me, filet mignons for the wife) and start the grilling. Oh, before grilling, the first bake for the potatoes should be finished. Hmmm. Why after an hour at 375 are they rock hard inside? Into the microwave for eight minutes while I sear the steaks. Ok, steaks are seared and finishing, why does one part of the ribeye feel raw by the poke test (the outside fattier part) while the inside leaner bit feels medium-well? Forget it - pull them and rest while I make the mashed potatoes. OK, after an hour in the oven and eight minutes in the microwave (enough to cook them without the oven!!!) they are STILL hard in the middle. Damn it! Well, no time now - rice and mix in ingredients. Taste - well, they TASTE ok, but the texture is bad. Kinda like mushy couscous, but you added some at the very end. Screw it - we're hungry. Top with butter, throw under the broiler. Plate everything and start eating. I didn't take any shameful pictures because it actually looked very nice. Taste on the other hand... Potatoes tasted like I described. Blech. I have been known to eat 3-4 of these at a sitting, but I could barely finish one. The part of my steak that felt medium well was medium well, and the part that felt rare was rare (and the fat wasn't well cooked). Very odd - I flipped in a fashion so that it should have cooked it evenly. Fortunately I got my wifes filets right, and she raved about the potatoes (but I'm sure it was to make me feel better - they were really bad.)

    So, I still don't know why the potatoes didn't cook, and my steak cooked strangely. I also realized I don't much care for ribeye - there was so much gristle it was just not a pleasant eating experience. Perhaps it was the particular cut I picked up. At the very least, the beans were ok.

    Oh yeah, the leftover spaghetti I microwaved for lunch was pretty good.

  4. Yeah, I use the stove as a counter. However, I do limit what I put on it to pots and pans and lids and stuff. Never paper or plastic, and rarely plates. I feel for heat before I put something down, but the space between the burners is always fair game (especially for lids and hot pots than should not go on the formica counter.

    Haven't yet had a disaster (knock on wood) but I did have a nifty experience with a plate once. It turns out that those strange "indestructable" plates are actually quite heat sensitive. If you put one on a hot burner it will explode. I mean literally explode into thousands of sharp fragments. My college roommates and I were all standing next to the stove, and its a miracle noone got hurt.

  5. That's a good article. I, for one, didn't know that the amount of fructose in high fructose corn syrup is about the same as that of cane sugar. On the last page of the article the authors do suggest that the increasing obesity may not be due to the biochemical nature of the sweetener, but the business aspect. Since high fructose corn syrup was initially less expensive than cane sugar (which may have been artificially so due to subsidies/tariffs and the like, but I'm not sure), more of it could be used in many different products. And lets face it - humans like sweet things! The article suggests this may have allowed the "supersizing" of everything, which must be a contributor to obesity. The industry representatives dismissed those ideas, but I think this theory of our expanding wastelines is more than valid.

    At any rate, everytime I go outside the US, I MUST have a Coke. They taste so much better in their nice bottles, and I have noticed that they are sweetened with cane sugar. After watching a show about how people will travel from all over the country to a Dr. Pepper bottling plant in Texas(?) just to get cane sugar sweetened Dr. Pepper, I wonder if cane sugar isn't what makes foreign coke taste so much better! Its definitely worth the exorbitant amounts usually charged. (I have seen MANY times that Coke is more expensive than wine or beer.)

  6. Besides Victoria and Albert's what nice places did you visit at WDW?

    It was a while ago, but I also distinctly remember eating at Artists Point and Coral Reef. Both were very good. I especially enjoyed Artists Point. (Ok, so I didn't eat at all the nice places. Have to save something for the next time we go!)

    Oh, and I have a distinct memory about that Tongo Toast at the polynesian. When I was little we went to Disney, and my mother had that french toast. To this day, I don't think she has ever had better, and she actually went back into the restaurant after eating to get the recipe! (Definitely NOT my mother's personality to do so!) So, we now have some Disney cookbook with that recipe. Didn't taste as good as it did there, though.

  7. I grew up near Six Flags Great Adventure in NJ, so spent some time there (more time working there, as most of our friends did back then.) Really bad, overpriced food. There was actually a McDonalds in the park which was roughly a little more than twice the cost of a normal McD's (and I'm sad to be able to say, of lesser quality than normal for some reason.)

    Which was why I was pleasantly surprised when we went to Disney World recently. Yeah, the food was more expensive then one would normally pay for burgers, etc., but it tasted pretty good. I definitely enjoyed eating there. Many different nice dinner options were very good as well. (Wife booked dinners at all the nice places, just for me! Includes Victoria and Albert's, which was great!)

  8. I had a somewhat similar (although on a smaller scale) upbrining, with plenty of fresh vegetables, delicious homemade meals, and open space to get to know nature. I just chimed in to add an anecdote, which my parents still laugh at. You never know how good you have it at the time, do you?

    Me: "Mom! You'll never guess what they have! Its this bread! But its really soft! And its white! And its soft!!!"

    Mom: "Do you mean Wonder Bread?"

    Me: "Yes!! And it comes in this colorful bag!!! And...."

    Well, fortunately I never really liked it, with the lone exception of a foundation for grilled cheese.

    (Okay, another anecdote.)

    We were always given the choice of several different cereals for breakfast; mostly what I still call "horse food" as well as Cheerios or something. When we stayed overnight at a friend's house, the best part was breakfast, where we could eat as much sugary, marshmellowy, colorful goodness as we could. However, that only happened a few times before I got really, REALLY sick at school. Talk about an easy cure! I cannot eat any of that stuff now. Just give me Cheerios! (Ok, Honey-nut please!)

  9. The Cuke! A seemingly interesting combo of gin or vodka with cucumber and mint, topped with sparkling water. The full recipe is here. (I don't know if I can post the full recipe here, but if the link goes down, I will.) The little story write up is here. My vote was for the classsic Gimlet (with Rose's, for ease. A summer cocktail shouldn't require much effort!) But this one sounds good. Runners up were the Gingino (sounds great!) and the L'alhambra.

    As I look a little more at the dining section, it seems to be a special on drinks and cocktails. A nice blurb on ice (yep, ice), as well as NY whiskeys and cachaca. Looks good!

  10. I believe I mentioned them earlier in this discussion but you should try Carr's Lemon Ginger Cremes which can be found at Trader Joe's. They do have a little bite to them.

    I did see that, and will have to try them. Unfortunately, there isn't a Trader Joe's near me. Next time I'm at one though....

  11. Although in general I am more a "salty" than "sweet" person, I do have my cookie favs. My top choice has to be Peek Frean's Ginger cookies. They have a spicier ginger taste, and less molasses, which I really like. Strangely, they seem to get even better as they get a little stale - they start nice and crunchy, but get a really neat chewiness to them that I really enjoy. The only downside is that they're not so easy to find, so I don't get to eat them very often.

  12. I don't like to order burgers at most places anymore because I don't like them burnt. If the quality of the meat dictates cooking it to death, then why would I eat it in the first place?

    Strangely, I don't order lasagna out anymore. Although its kind of a pain to make at home, I have never had a good lasagna out, even at better italian places. I suppose I'm spoiled from Mom's lasagna. <drool>

  13. Fried foods? Check.

    Lamb? Check. (Although lamb is something I REALLY want to make at home, the offerings at the local grocery store are, well, pathetic. I need to find a decent butcher...)

    For me, although I love salmon and eat it at home once every week or two, its invariably the fish I get when we go out for seafood. It just tastes so much better when its cooked right, and I haven't figured out how to do it yet. So it kinda counts as "I don't make it at home."

  14. Well, I don't think I can compete with many of these, but here goes. When we were in college, my wife and I toured through some of Europe after I had worked in Germany for awhile. We were in Venice, and wanted a really nice meal - really the first semi-fine dining experience together. So we get to the restaurant a bit after opening, and are greeted by the host. He smiles, and then promptly disappears, returning with a red velvet jacket. We are both horrified that I wasn't dressed appropriately, figuring that the waiter thought we were boorish uncouth tourists. As we spoke no Italian, I tried to apologize profusely, which only confused him. Finally, after some time, he shrugs and then puts the jacket on himself. Oh. D'oh! (It was his, and HE wasn't quite dressed when we arrived!) Had a fabulous dinner, of which my wife only remembers that my dinnner included a whole fried fish, which I was able to expertly (ok, passably) filet with my butter knife.

    Same trip, different restaurant. We're feeling confident now so we up the ante and go to an even nicer restaurant. The place is full, and no, we don't have a reservation. Well, no problem, they are able to get us a table front and center (Literally!!) I still don't know if this was a compliment or insult. Throughout the dinner the waiter came by to sweep up our crumbs with a cool little sweeper, and then after the main course proceeded to change the tablecloth! We were moritified that, again, the boorish uncouth tourists were so sloppy as to warrant several crumb sweepings plus a tablecloth change. Felt better after we noticed everyone got the same treatment! Of course, dinner was great (langoustines = mmmmm).

    I've been to fancy restaurants with family before, but I guess I just didn't remember that kind of service. Makes for fond memories anyway.

  15. Casa Bonita in Denver is the biggest "Restaurant" I have been in, although its been a long time since I was there. I suppose its more set up to resemble a small town, with a waterfall/cliff thingie, caves, stores, etc. To a 10 year old kid, it was the coolest! (I don't remember anything about the food, except for a guy in a gorilla suit kept trying to steal our sopapillas. I guess that says it all!) According to the website, they seat 1,100 in 52,000 ft sq. So not the biggest, but fun anyway.

  16. I'll second the vote for those "Ant hotel" cookie things. Supposedly safe for pets and kids, they can be tucked in out-of-reach places. I watched in amazement as a line of ants entered the kitchen from the stove hood, went down to the bait thing, and back out for several hours. Next day, fewer ants were making the trip, and many were dying. Haven't seen one since. I think we bought the cheapest ones at the grocery store - may have been Combat.


    Our local garden center laughs at us, as our neighborhood "was built on a giant anthill!" Things the realtor doesn't tell you! (Yeah, I know - it could be worse. We looked at one place, and asked "What's behind the hedge?" Realtor didn't know, so we looked. Train tracks; main freight line through town. Dodged that bullet!)


  17. Although I am not sure I am a real "foodie" yet (reading and posting here is a step in the right direction anyway), my moment was when I first ate some Cabot cheddar. Ok, hear me out: It tasted so much better than the Kraft stuff, that it acted as a kind of epiphany - food was more than just nourishment - it could be really enjoying! And not only that, but sometimes food was crafted to actually be really enjoyable! From that moment I really began to appreciate the taste of what I ate, leading up to wanting to cook tasty things.

    This is all somewhat odd, as my family grew lots of our own vegetables, had our own eggs for a time, and raised a few cows for beef. My mom is an amazing cook, and I didn't really appreciate it all until now, after I am long out on my own. At the least, I now recognize the difference fresh ingredients make, and plan to grow as much of my own stuff as I can, once I have a place to actually do it!

    (I was so into Cabot in college, a friend and I went up to the Cabot creamery for a tour, and to this day I use my Cabot apron in the kitchen.)

  18. Ok, attempted again to do hash browns this weekend, with much more success than normal.

    Procedure: I took a slightly older raw Russet, peeled it, and grated. I pressed the grated bits between paper towels to dry them. I added about 3 tsb canola oil to a hot pan, and let the oil heat. I added the potatoes (when one little piece bubbled gently in the oil, I deemed it hot enough) and let them sit (about 1/3 cup shredded potatoes - half a big potato). They were frying nicely, bubbling and crackling etc. AFter about 6 min I flipped the whole thing - nice a brown on the bottom. Gave them 5 min more, and put them on paper towels to drain.

    Result: Pretty good. The potatoes were crispy crunchy and tasted good. I did, however, feel that they still soaked up too much oil - not much was left in the pan afterwards. They difinitely tasted "oily", which wasn't bad, but the potato taste was less than I expected. Still, better than I have ever made!

    So, if they indeed soaked up too much oil - was the oil still not hot enough when I added the taters?

  19. I also suck at fried potatoes (well anything really.) I used leftover boiled potatoes that were starting to fall apart. Threw them in the fridge, and recovered next day. I grated them, and pressed out as much liquid as I could in a paper towel. Put them in a pan with a LOT of oil (canola I think) and watched as the potatoes proceded to suck up all the oil. They never really browned, and came out a greasy disgusting mess. (And yes, I ate them all anyway!) I think my error may have been that the oil wasn't hot enough so: do I heat the pan first, then add oil and let heat, then add potatoes? heat oil in the pan and then add potatoes? And, the critical point I'm sure, how hot should the oil be?

    I agree with KitchenQueen - I WILL get this to work.

  20. Well, I don't have enough experience in the kitchen for any REALLY good stories, but here goes:

    I will never again:

    - forget to tuck my finger and thumb under when cutting things.

    <corollary> I will never again get my fingertips too close to the edge of a blade when push-sharpening. Especially on a dull knife, so that the skin gets ground off between the blade and the nice course stone.

    - use a plastic spoon to disloge chickpeas in a running blender while making hummus. I find that rubber works better, as it gets cut up, but doesn't shatter. :raz:

    - open an oven door on a hot oven, and stick my face in, especially after preheating said oven with a wet pizza stone in it. Yeah. I don't think my "EZ Sauna-at-home" kit will sell well.

    - scrape the ribs out of jalapenos with my finger nails. (Interestingly, I didn't really realize this error until the next day, when I put in my carefully-cleanesed-with-fingers-last-night contact lenses. I had to wear my glasses for three days.)

    I am currently trying to perfect my technique for sushi rice, which apparently involves listening for the rice to stop simmering and start crackling. As you might imagine, this change is very subtle if you don't know what the hell you're doing (and I clearly don't), so I have to get my ear pretty close to the pot to hear it. I may be posting again shortly...

  21. Resurrecting this to ask a follow-up safety question:

    Is flambee-ing in a non-stick pan a no-no? I have done this several times, and I always wonder if its a bad idea. I always thought its the alcohol vapors burning, so the non-stick surface shouldn't itself be on fire, but I've alway wondered.

    (To clarify, I am a bit worried about the chemical dangers of fire on or near those non-stick surfaces.)

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