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Everything posted by Reefpimp

  1. I made my santoku and my French knife out of Damascus blanks from Dixie gun Works. The barstocks were $100 apiece approximately, so they weren't what you call "cheap." But compared to what I'd pay if I'd had someone else do it for me, I call it a bargain. Plus they look really cool. The santoku has bird's-eye maple handle scales, the French knife has black locust handles, both from trees in my backyard. It's really fulfilling to use these tools.
  2. One of my first jobs was selling corn out of the back of a pickup truck for the Madison Farmer's market. I :heart: that thing!
  3. Well, I can't ignore the weather; I work construction. We like to say that we "build our own shade" but it wasn't much succor until I rigged up an evaporative-cooling system with a garden hose, some misting nozzles,and a 48" barn fan. It helps.I don't eat much during the day but after work, a full-cold shower (growndwater here seems to run about 68* F) followed by a bowl of gazpacho washed down with a supercooled lawnmower beer really helps. I also switch from my Sealy to a MegaLoMart brand air mattress, and that can be pretty nice. I like it best when I wake up chilly in the middle of the night. Sometimes when I come in after a day of driving screws and bangin' nails, I swear I can hear the A/C bog down as it takes on the strain.... I've noticed the same thing about garlic. Too, I reckon if I eat lots of garlic, and make sure the other guys are eating bananas, then the mosquitos will bother them and not me.
  4. "Accidentally" drop your concealed weapons carry permit on the table. I suppose it's considered bad form to just rub your crotch and leer suggestively at the most attractive people in the party from a distance of like a foot.
  5. The semi-local halaal shop in Orlando (like 75 miles from me) will sell me any amount of goat, from like a half-kilo steak to a half or whole carcass. I'd like to buy a whole goat and kill and butcher it myself, but I don't know who to go to in Florida for that. I'd like to do a mixed braise of lamb, goat, and whitetailed deer. I bet that would be damn good. In Re the the rankness of goat, one thing I learned from venison is to try to get as much as possible of the fat off, and then bard or lard if necessary. It really seems to help. I have never worked with goat before, but shall be doing so soon. Caprus credimus!
  6. How would this work with cocktails? Could you do a sphere of say olive puree and before its too firmly set inject a swallow's worth of a Maritini? Or would the alcohol interfere with the chemistry going on here?
  7. I kind of like the smell of unpasteruized milk, it brings back memories of my boyhood in Wisconsin (America's Dairyland ). But I can smell a hydrogenated oil a mile away and my joints ache just thinking about it. Margarine is far and away the worst culprit in this regard; if I were lactose-intolerant and had to revert to margarine, I would seriously consider ending it all.
  8. Reefpimp

    Pomegranate Juice

    If you are looking for another way to use it, pomegranate cheesecake is to die for. Elegant all out of proportion to what it actually is.
  9. All Hail The Great Chieftain of the Clan Pudding!!!! I've never tried making it but there's a recipe for it in Lobscouse and Spotted Dog (which it's a gastronomic companion to the Aubrey-Maturin novels) that looks interesting. I thought that haggis traditionally included thistles, though. And neeps hackit wi' Balmagowry is nae sa bad! Nac Mac Feegle!! Bring me ma kilt an' me claymore!!
  10. Any cook worth their salt has made something so perfect, so ethereal, that it will forever be the benchmark they measure everything else against and will be haunted by their inability to recapture it again. Doesn't matter if it's a soup or a sauce or an entree or a baguette. They will have glimpsed perfection, they will have manifested perfection; and like a traveller in Faerie who makes the mistake of eating or drinking there, nothing will ever be "good enough" ever again.
  11. Do not, pray, overlook the cities of Minneapolis and St Paul. They have some of the very best Viet/Hmong restaurants in the Western Hemisphere (liitle hole-in-the wall places on South Nicollet and the Frogtown district along University in St Paul where cops actually do hang out) as well as tremendously good traditional fine-dining. Also a large Somali population, with a couple of good eateries to be found. The City of Minneapolis has nicknamed Nicollet Avenue "Eat Street," with good reason. Please don't highlight the State Fair, with their deep-fried experiments onna stick. It's been done.
  12. I can't believe I've lived the life I have and don't have any children (no tattoos either... what kind of a line pig did I think I was, huh?)--yet--but what I'd like to leave behind are the 9" French knife and 7-1/2" santoku I made last year out of Damascus steel. Oh, and my coconut shrimp curry if I can find someone deserving of the secrets of its manufacture. And the thought that a thoughtful cook is in a way directly descended from Isaac Newton--that we are some of the last of the true alchemists. Except our conversion isn't lead into gold, but rather sunshine into wine, rainy green meadows into lamb chops, and "waste" into soup. What we are seeking isn't perfect understanding, but perfect happiness. And maybe just for the space of the enjoyment of one mouthful of something really really good, a friend or relation will think of me. That'd be nice.
  13. *re-bump* So where do we stand wih this now? Nathanm, did you ever develop your vacuum-pressed cold-molded food-grade fish plywood? (Which I'm sure St Thomas would call "planked salmon" LOL)? Has anybody worked with this in emulsion sauces? How about in consomme rafts? How well has it proven to work in charcuterie? Maybe the tasty low-fat sausage barrier is within our grasp!
  14. I'm not a huge fan of beef (the thought of a big slab of prime rib awash in myoglobin... urg. Not so much) but I will say that grass-fed beef reminds me strongly of elk. And I really likes me some elk. However, hunting, killing, quartering and packing out even a small elk is something that very closely resembles back-breaking, lung-popping agonizing labor. The fact that elk habitat equals grizzly bear habitat certainly adds a frisson of creeping terror to the situation. So if I can go down to the store and buy grass-fed beef that reminds me of elk, I'll be tempted to. I probably will, and I expect I'll enjoy it.
  15. I love the things, probably eat 2-3 weekly (I work construction and can't figure out how to rig the tablesaw to do a proper sous vide). I order the Spicy Chicken; no nacho sub shredded; sour cream on the side; with the fire sauce. It's pretty good, at least it's good enough for me to want to replicate it at home. I like the corn crunch in the middle; without that, it's just a burrito. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
  16. 'Is there an ideal diet for omnivores?' Sure there is. I like to think I'm on it. Furthermore, Nina is doing God's work here. GOD'S WORK!!
  17. This can only end badly.
  18. Fans of Terry Pratchett's Discworld books will recognize the universal salesman, Cut Me Own Throat Dibbler. He serves sausages and other meat products (often with identifiable meat from named animals) inna bun. Well, sometimes they're onna stick. Are they good? Sir, you will never wish to have another. Commander Samuel Vimes is positive that the food groups consist of tea boiled in a boot and fried food with extra burned crunchy brown bits. Of course dwarves are fond of their rat (with ketchup), trolls enjoy their calcaracious sedimentary formations, vampires are... well, vampires, and The Luggage is an indiscriminate omnivore. Rage will digest anything, apparently, if it marinates inside sapient pearwood long enough.
  19. Probably the hands-down worst meal I ever had to wrap my face around was a Meal, Ready to Eat that I received one night in Colorado when I was still in the soldierin' trade. Frozen beef stew, a John Wayne bar and an assortment of crackers (one big one, kind of like crispy lavosh and more like cardboard) and MRE cheese, which for all I know was developed for the aerospace industry and is actually some hyperadvanced plastic. But the beef stew lollipop... not so much. Growing up, I was subject to some memorably foul meals at my grandmothers'. Mouth-puckering amounts of salt, no life at all to the vegetables, and the tater-tot hot dish weeping audibly on ther sidelines. Plus then my cousins would beat the snot out of me.
  20. Certainly not cartoon characters, but Captain Lucky Jack Aubrey and his particular friend, Dr Stephen Maturin, are known to enjoy their table. From Master and Commander all the way through the next twenty books to Blue at the Mizzen, they share a ship and a cook. And even if it is only salt horse or the Roast Beef Old Calabria, they eat it in style with a servant behind the chair and a glass of good wine. These books spawned a few satellite books, and the one I'm going to reference here is Lobscouse and Spotted Dog, by Grossman and Thomas and published by Norton. It's about 350 pages of recipes done the way they were in the books: A 'vulturine' sea-pie, Maids of Honour, Little Balls of Tripe A Man Might Eat Forever, a full chapter on suet puddings, another on raised pies, and even an alternative recipe for that great chieftain of the sausage clan, the Haggis. Well worth the money, and I'm glad I have it.
  21. Thanks, Y'all. I work construction during the week, so I play pretty hard on the weekends. What really sells the whole scenario is that I live in a single-wide trailer. Really. No pics b/c I didn't think to. My bad, there's always a next time.
  22. I tried them once. I like a little bite to my snacks, but with those I didn't know what to taste besides pain.
  23. Well, it has been publicly stated that classical--"difficult"-- cooking, complex though it may end up, is nothing more than a series of basic steps assembled in a given order to arrive at a specific conclusion. To that end, simple cookery gives those foundation skills a chance to really shine on their own merits. And though I've never been anything more than a line pig, I've always thought that the hallmark test of a cook was in soup. They're pretty easy to do, but they're kind of tricky to do well; and some of them can be deucedly difficult to do well consistently and repeatably.
  24. We went out shrimping Saturday night. It was a lovely evening and as we cleared Sebastian Inlet, the setting sun paved the Atlantic with gold for us to ride out to the ten-fathom line. By the time we got there, it was fully dark; we rigged the lights over the side and got our cast nets ready. I had the starboard side, Big Ernie had the port. By and bye, the water started popping with shrimp. I had had visions of the ocean turning pink with their arrival; in the event, we ended up with about fifteen pounds, all in the 12-25 count range. A couple of monsters the size of a boxing glove showed up too. On the way back in, just before sunrise, we stopped to pull one of my crab post in the Indian river. GO ME!!! Six legal blue crabs. I kept two and gave the others to Big E. Back home, I showered the worst of the salt and goo off of me and cleaned and froze my half of the scrimps, reserving a few fine fat creatures for my immediate gustatory throwdown. Pulled yesterday's two-pound pompano out of the refrigerator. Boiled the crabs in a little court-bullion, pulled them out and cleaned them (ow ow owwie HOT). Made a stuffing with the crab and the shrimps and a little of this and a dash of that. Filled the pompano and then sealed the parchment heart. Popped it into the oven and had another cup of coffee. But what sauce? I don't know if Mr Escoffier would have approved, but I took three cubes of frozen shrimp stock and flung them into my little sauteuse. Added a hearty splash of cream and a sprig of rosemary. Mild mild heat for a bit thickened it up nicely while I diced up a stone crab claw. This went in right on top of the sauce, and I pulled the pompano out. Lovely. En papillote is maybe the easiest and best way to cook a smallish white-fleshed fish. What we lose in crispy skin, we more than gain in aroma. OOH, the sauce! I pulled it off the heat and swirled in about a teaspoon and a half of truffle butter. Tiny pinch of salt and a quick grind or two of tellicheery pepper, out with the rosemary, and we were ready to go. I took the whole grotty lot out to my porch and watched the sun hoist itself well clear of the horizon and had a glass of quite cold and very nice Chablis while I forked it in. What sucks about bein' me? Nothin'.
  25. Lately I have been catching lots of pompano; they've been biting, sop who am I to say no to the Grand Scheme of the Universe? I mean, I'm gonna be fishing anyway... And last night a friend invited me to go shrimpin' with him, he said last time he went out he got almost a 5-gallon bucket full of scrimps in the 12-16 range. So I am thinking it'll be pompano stuffed with fresh Gulf Whites and a dab of truffle butter for breakfast Sunday morning. Maybe one of my crab pots will come up full of blues. Tragically, lobster season isn't for another 6 weeks, more's the pity.
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