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Everything posted by Harry

  1. I have a question on corned beef and pastrami: does it hurt to leave the meat in the brine a day or two longer than called for in the recipe, just to be sure the meat is cured all the way through? I've brined the corned beef for five days as called for in the book with great results. Other times I've left it in the brine a little longer and still found a streak of gray running through the center of the meat. I haven't tackled pastrami yet but I'll be nervous about removing the meat from the brine after three days, especially since running down a beef plate is going to take some legwork. Ruhlman, are you out there? If so, thanks in advance for any guidance you can give me.
  2. When I make seafood gumbo, I always first make a stock from the shrimp heads and shells and frozen crabs. If I'm making gumbo with three pounds of shrimp, I put all the heads (important) and shells in a pot with six thawed (purchased frozen) crabs. I add just enough water to cover and simmer for half an hour or so. After I add the stock to the gumbo pot, I add another six whole crabs and let them simmer in the pot until it's ready, which is usually a few hours. I add a lot of stock and cook it down for a long time, which really makes for a strong-tasting pot of gumbo. Try that and I don't think you'll be disappointed.
  3. His books are definitely padded but this one seems to have a lot of great recipes. I would recommend it to anyone who lives on the Gulf coast. It's the best seafood cookbook I've seen since The Pleasures of Seafood by Richard and Rima Collin.
  4. I got it for Christmas and have tried a few recipes. I like it a lot so far. The Encyclopedia of Cajun and Creole Cuisine doesn't do much for me but Hooks, Lies, & Alibis seems to have a lot of great recipes. I recommend it to anyone who cooks a lot of seafood and is looking to expand his repetoire.
  5. Do either of you have a favorite commercially-corned beef if you don't have time to corn your own?
  6. Thanks, David. I've never tried corning my own beef but intend to someday. I'm glad to hear it's not too complicated.
  7. This question is mainly aimed at Northeasterners. Who makes the best corned beef? I'm not talking about cooked, sliced corned beef for sandwiches. I'm talking about uncooked corned beef briskets. I live in the South and Murphy & David's seems to be the omnipresent corned beef in grocery stores down here. It's not very good. I've had better luck with Freirich corned beef briskets. Thanks in advance for any suggestions from the corned beef enthusiasts on this forum. Any tips on cooking the beef are also welcome.
  8. Somebody gave that to me and I have to say it doesn't do much for me. Too much filler and the recipes seem a little too calculated to appeal to the masses or keep up with the times.
  9. I have it. Right now I'm a little disappointed but that has more to do with my expectations than anything else. I bought it sight unseen thinking it was going to be mostly old-fashioned, rustic recipes. There are a few recipes like that but most are fancier than I expected. For example, he calls for poblano and jalapeno peppers in his etouffee and gumbo recipes. His seafood gumbo recipes calls for 3 cups of oil and 4 cups of flour, which sounds weird to me. There's no recipe for crawfish bisque. Duck gumbo and rabbit gumbo are mentioned but no recipes are provided. Come to think of it, I don't think the book contains a recipe for duck or rabbit. I was also hoping for more seafood recipes. Every recipe might be excellent, but the book is certainly not what I expected based on the title and the press.
  10. Way too expensive, especially when you can fill up on $3-$4 worth of boiled shrimp rather than $20 worth of boiled crawfish.
  11. I don't have a particularly acute sense of taste but I can't stand frozen crawfish. I don't know if it's the freezing or the thawing that causes it, but everytime I've bought frozen crawfish tails they've had a bad taste.
  12. Thanks but I am talking about uncooked corned beef briskets.
  13. for cajun and creole, i have two books to recommend: 1) the prudhomme book you listed 2) the encyclopedia of cajun and creole cuisine the encyclopedia of cajun and creole cuisine by john d. folse as for other regional books: low country cooking chesapeake bay cooking tex-mex red and green chile cookbooks (the red one is linked on this page) also, check out jasper white books for new england food. while not necessarily encyclopedic in nature, i've enjoyed a number of junior league books - namely the junior league of covington, louisiana's roux to do. hopefully that will get you started. ← Lindacakes, definitely order The New Orleans Cookbook by Richard and Rima Collin. It has a few quirks (calls for water when stock would be better) but it is full of great recipes and the instructions are very detailed. I like the the Paul Prudhomme book too, but it's not traditional at all, so I think the Collins' book is a better place to start. Another good one is La Bouche Creole by Leon Soniat. The instructions are unclear at times and I think some of his recipes are too heavy on tomatoes, but there are some great recipes in that book. I don't really like the Encyclopedia of Cajun and Creole Cuisine. It's padded with too many (bad) pictures, repeated recipes, etc. I'm sure there are good recipes in that book but a lot of them look weird to me. For example, his gumbo recipes call for a ton of roux and he calls for brandy in crawfish etouffee.
  14. I have some nice-sized (way too big to fry) Amberjack fillets and would like to smoke them on my Big Green Egg, then make dip from the meat. Does anybody have any idea what temperature is best for this purpose? Also, how do I know when it's done? I have never smoked fish so any information on this topic would be highly appreciated. Also, if you have a good recipe for fish dip you don't mind sharing I'd love that as well. My usual method is to flake the meat, then mix it with a little mayonnaise (thinned with lemon juice or vinegar), some capers, a little salt, and a lot of black pepper. Thanks in advance for any help you may be able to offer concerning smoking fish and/or fish dip. Harry
  15. What is your favorite corned beef and/or pastrami that's available in grocery stores? Lately I've taken to Freirich when it comes to buying uncooked corned beef briskets. I like their pastrami, too as long as I can get the counterman to slice it thick enough. Anyone else have opinions on this topic?
  16. I agree. I hate sweet relish. It's probably the main reason I don't like Chicago-style hot dogs. If I had to put one or the other on a hot dog, it would be ketchup.
  17. I dare you utto go to Hot Doug's and order ketchup. They do not look kindly on that in these parts. ← I don't blame them. Putting ketchup on a hot dog is a sure sign of a rube.
  18. Is there such a thing? I know there are pretty strict rules for a "Chicago hot dog." Are there similar rules for what makes a proper hot dog in New York City?
  19. I can't imagine the Camellia Grill doing well in Destin. I would think a huge number of the diners in Destin are tourists from inland towns. They're going to want seafood, not the kind of stuff they can get at just about any restaurant back at home. I can see the Camellia Grill being a big hit with tourists from New Orleans, but I don't know why anyone from non-seafood towns like Atlanta, Birmingham, Montgomery, etc. would go all the way to Destin to eat at a place that specializes in hamburgers and (subpar) omelettes.
  20. Harry

    Italian Beef

    Thanks, dls. I would imagine Gonnella's recipe is as authentic as any. It's really not much different than my regular roast beef recipe except for the seasoning, which is what I expected of Italian Beef all along. I'll sear the meat before adding the water and will probably cook it on the stove rather than the oven. If Gonnella's seasoning is anywhere near as good as whatever they use at Mr. Beef I'll be a happy man.
  21. Harry

    Italian Beef

    Can any Chicago natives or residents tell me how to cook this stuff? I know having a certain type of Chicago-baked Italian bread is crucial to a good beef, but right now I just want to know how to cook the meat. What's the best cut to use? Do I bake it or simmer it in a pot? Thanks in advance for any information on how to cook top-quality Italian Beef at home.
  22. Harry


    "I have never tried rabbit. What does it taste like?" It's good. If you can find it where you live (try a grocery store in a black neighborhood), by all means give it a try. It's cheap (at least where I live--about $5 for a cut-up rabbit) and can be cooked any way you can cook a chicken.
  23. Harry


    One of the quickest, easiest, and best-tasting ways to cook a rabbit is to fry it just like a chicken. Since the pieces aren't as thick it's a lot easier to get a good crust without the meat being undercooked at the bone. Here's how I do it: Cut up the rabbit if it's not already cut up. Season the rabbit pieces with whatever you like--I like Paul Prudhomme's Veal and Pork seasoning, but all it really needs is plenty of salt and pepper. Heat vegetable oil (enough to half-way cover the rabbit pieces) to the proper temperature--hot enough for a pinch of flour to sizzle lightly, but not burn. If you're using an electric skillet or a frying thermometer 350 degrees is probably the ideal temperature. Fry until it looks done, turning once. Drain on paper towels.
  24. I don't think gumbo is or ever has been a primarily Cajun dish. There are some dishes (like jambalaya and etouffee) that definitely started with the Cajuns, but you will find gumbo all over what used to be the Franco-Spanish colony of Louisiana, including the Mississippi and Alabama coasts. On the other hand, chicken and sausage gumbo is a distinctively Cajun dish. I think it's been fairly recently that it has traveled as far east as New Orleans and you will see very little of it in Mississippi and Alabama. The standard variety of gumbo in that area is seafood gumbo with okra.
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