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Everything posted by Reefpimp

  1. Believe it or not, Asfoetida--just a pinch--works wonders with cauliflower. Something in that liason makes it more than the sum of its parts and ends up tasting remarkably like truffle. Don't stick your nose in the asfoetida jar at the store and take a big whiff, or you'll lose your appetite. Don't ask me how I know this.
  2. Reefpimp

    Calamari steaks

    I just picked up a pound of these (at $4.11 US per pound) at Trader Joe's and I've been wondering the same thing. I couldn't wait, took one out and dredged it in eggwash and seasoned flour and sauteed in butter about 2 mins. on each side. It was good, I guess, but about three bites more than I was really after. Kind of too much of a good thing. maybe cut up and used in a cold salad. Thai-style (BTW, I got my ass thoroughly kicked at the local Asian buffet. Turns out that what I thought were peas in the octopus salad weren't peas after all. For a while all I could taste was pain. My nose is running right now just thinking about it. Where do you get those peppers anyway? The crossroads at midnight?) I digress. I too would love to get some recipes from youse guys. How would calamari-wrapped diver scallops be, do ya think?
  3. absolutely, given a thorough cleaning. Lime-away (phosphoric acid) and Easy-off (lye) both do wonders of stripping the oxidation off aluminum. At least off aluminum wheels. How deep is the etching/pitting? Any competent TIG welder could probably fill in the pits if it's that important to you, and many machine shops can use the metal spray technique to build thickness. The Zip-Loc bag is a great idea, I wonder if it would stand up to the conditions in a safe-to-use pressure cooker? Kind of a high-temp sous-vide sort of thing. Or even just to use as a liner to keep aluminum from reacting with the food... Might try it out.
  4. pre-seasoned 15" Lodge cast-iron skillet for six bucks last Saturday. Also, I buy every full-tang meat cleaver i run across for under ten bucks; I regrind them into single-bevel (left-or right-handed, as the case may be) santokus. The steel is a bit on the soft side but they still take a good edge even if they do have to be resharpened more frequently; the Dexter russels are a good bit better than the off-brands in this regard. With a new cocobolo or birdseye maple handle and a bit of polishing (the last one I gun-blued) they make fantastic stocking stuffers. Oh and I picked up a new Escoffier at the used section of the local B&N two weeks ago for the can't-miss price of two American dollars.
  5. Reefpimp

    The American Midwest

    Eat (and drink) your view.
  6. The frozen green chickpeas at Tj's make for a very interesting take on hummus. Plus they are double extra super yummy on their own; they taste a lot like English peas; which I make no doubt will lead me into some questionable areas involving English peas, tahini, garlic, and a food processor. Pray for me.
  7. I see a rise in smoking/charcuteriebeing offered in more restaurants. It'll take years to filter down to TGI Friday's so this may be overlooked by the local news media. Edible flowers: rose water gelee, deep-fried chrysanthemums--like that. What's gonna be big this year? What was Keller doing last year, and El Bulli the year before that?
  8. Reefpimp

    The American Midwest

    The local winery--Wollersheim-- produces some tremendously underrated whites. I really like their Prairie Fumet, which is to my uneducated palate, stunning. Runs about nine bucks a bottle. Their winemaking master (WTF is the learned term for that person?) was just on local NPR, and it was a really good show. I learned a lot. He is predictably from France which I found heartening.
  9. One more vote for Omnivore's Dilemma. I keep rereading the second half of the book, about Polyface Farm, and then the meal he forages himself. Being a grass farmer makes so much sense. From an engineering standpoint it is so elegant; so few moving parts, and so little energy going to waste. Maybe the well-run grass farm is the closest thing we'll see to a refutation of entropy we're likely to see in our lifetimes. The whole becomes much more than the sum of its parts. I got tags for basically as many deer as I want this year; so far I have three hanging, waiting for their CWD* tests to come back (They all look very healthy, otherwise I wouldn't have shot them). I'm pulling the saddles and the hindquarters off each, and the rest are going to be used appropriately: The other book I found indispensible this year was Charcuterie by our own Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn. I love hunting, I love venny, I love sausage, and I'm awful fond of Ruhlman's philosophy on food. Match made in heaven. If I get a couple more Canada geese, I might just have to try their recipe for duck prosciutto with them. *CWD= Chronic Wasting Disease, a Mad Cow-like disease carried by prions that has infected Wisconsin's deer herd. I hunt in the Eradication Zone, so I can get tags for four deer per day and free testing of the critters once they're dead. Season closed today but late season opens for 7-10 December and there are rumblings the Eradication Zone will be open for hunting year-round starting about six months from now.
  10. I'm in love. No, really. Marry me. I may be endearing, I may be infuriating, but I'll never be dull. Plus I can throw down in the kitchen. Okay, I'll stop being creepy now. But think about it.
  11. He just stands there and takes it because in addition to being an untalented, pompous, pontificating shoemaker, he's a coward. Honestly, I can. Not. Imagine ever having the misfortune to ever have to work with this guy. I would never get tired of mocking him on the line; off the line, I would neither smoke his weed nor drink his beer. He should spend some time as a dishwasher to learn a little humility. Betty is 90% as bad. I think she resents all those late nights making her looks slip so her "let me get away with it, I'm a cute blonde with big knockers" routine doesn't work as well as it used to. My money's on Ilan, or maybe Cliff. They've both got chops and technique and integrity. They both seem to have the ability to just let the food be what it is without trying to make it into something it isn't. Tony, your "Flinstonian execution" line made me LOL, and I'm ripping that off at the first available opportunity.
  12. Reefpimp


    This thread makes me irate that I could't go on the 12th Annual Great Northern Open and Pheasant Safari my extended family stages every year in North Dakota. I really really like pheasant. We generally only use the breasts too, although I make stock out of the rest of the bird--when you have 35-50 carcasses to work with, pheasant consomme becomes a distinct possibility--and have confitted the pheasant thighs in duck fat, which gilds the lily something fierce.
  13. That's cool, I likes me some Monte Christos. I used to do cordons bleu with Rice Krispy batter, they always went over well.
  14. just when I thought I was out of it, I got sucked back into it. I'm once again doing the Have Knife-Will Travel gig again; this time in Madison, Wi at a Tex-Mex joint in a groovy neighborhood. Hey, the pay's good, the hours are flexible, the waitstaff's gorgeous, and we got a smoker on the premises. With empty rack space. Anybody got ideas about what I could throw in there that'd benefit from smoking over hickory for 12-13 hours at 225*F? Is that too long or too hot for bacon? BTW, we're revamping the menu. We're gonna be doing some duck. All hail anyone who gives me a juxtaposition of duck and smoke.
  15. And there've been times when I've just been happy with a new box of Nilla Wafers. Don't look at me like that! No sin, no redemption, right?
  16. Yes: It can be used two ways to start a fire: 1) Short out the battery contacts with steel wool soaked in motor oil or liberally covered in cedar shavings or the ilk. 2) (Much more impressive and efficient) Remove the reflector bowl from the flashlight; put a bunch of flammable material at the bowl's focal point; aim it at the sun. Works like a bloody CHAMP!! I've actuaslly done this twice while backpacking in South America. Reading this thread, I am beginning to believe that I might be able to put almost anything to some culinary or at least cooking-related purpose as long ass we're not talking about actual toxic waste or medical HAZMATs.
  17. Oh come on. A hundred views and no one's ever tried to evolve something from something else? How are we going to advance our hobby and our craft if you don't share?
  18. I'm sure there's some kind of joke or point here, I'm just not getting it.. ← I was being trolled.O Schnap!! TIME TO UNPIMP ZEE INTERNETS!!
  19. Meh. Just go elk hunting. I've had Anderson's steaks and I've had elk, and I preferred the elk. Mind you, if you buy the grass-fed beef, you never have to worry about spending the night in the woods in grizzly bear territory.
  20. I could see using a laminate trimmer (small router) to carve designs in slab chocolate. It'd be a lot faster than carving, especially if you had a plunge or offset fitting for the trimmer and templates to follow. And I've taken the random-orbit sander to a badly scuffed flattop griddle at a restaurant i used to work at. But a disc grinder fitted with a wire wheel is the bees knees for cleaning old, caked-on grease off old pans. I also went after the bolster on my big Wusthofs with my Makita belt sander to break over the edges so I didn't end up with a big callus on the side of my right index finger. By Crom, it's all coming back to me!! I brought my welding rig and hoses in when we had a catering event with 650 Creme brulees to torch. Used my Lie-Nielsen scraper plane to get a fresh surface on the HDPE cutting boards. Have used a big pepper mill as a mallet before. Cut up deer with the bandsaw but that's pretty comon. Used plastique to cook food. Used my car engine to cook food. Opened a can with a pointy rock a couple times. And I confess I once used a butter knife as a screwdriver, but felt really bad about it. Do I win?
  21. liquid oxygen apparently works almost silently.
  22. I'm seriously considering buying a used restaurant-grade Hobart. Loud as hell, but really gets 'em clean and it only runs for about 90 sec.
  23. Mmm. No matter how convenient one central location is (and the Mifflin Street Co-Op in Madison, WI is awfully convenient and well-stocked) I enjoy driving around on my market days to the halaal butcher and chatting with Umm Mahmoud, and saying 'Hi" to Diego at the carniceria and just generally making a human connection with the people who supply my food. To me that's worth more than truffles on sale.
  24. I was toying with Menu 1.1.6 a couple weeks ago, the most recent iteration of the things I'd like to offer my customers if I can ever get the backing for my restaurant project. It's a Mediterranean-Fusion menu: Think French meets Italian, they get into a romantic triangle with Moroccan, run away to Greece, then Lebanese has to spend a year in Montenegro for political reasons and everybody ends up on Malta. I'd been talking with my friend Catherine in NYC, who is my wine consultant; it would actually be more accurate to say her old roommate is but he doesn't know it, and so we avoid consulting fees She'd mentioned that Pommes Anna might be a nice thing to have on the menu. So I started thinking about Pommes Anna, and how much I liked Pommes Anna, and what Pommes Anna actually is. Flavorful and a beautiful presentation, but also labor-intensive, and prone to scorching. SO: how to combine other flavors with potatoes but still maintain that beautiful crust, that essence of a perfectly circular presentation? What I've been doing is steeling myself to eating a lot of taters. And what I've got to so far (9 tries) is this: Boil my peeled, thinly sliced russets in a minimum of water laced with saffron and cardamom; when *almost* done, pull them out, run through a ricer and spread on a sheet tray to evaporate a little. While that's all been happening, pre-heat oven and 8-oz ramekins to 450* F. When ready to assemble, pull ramekins out of oven and spray olive oil inside to evenly coat. Immediately fill with riced, spiced potatoes; brush top with clarified butter and place back into oven;cook until top is lightly browned. First attempt was with shredded parm on top. Cheese browned too quickly, no crust on bottom or sides. Second attempt was sans cheese but used clarified butter in ramekins. Burned. Each successive step along the way has given me additional information at the price of maybe not being terribly pleasant to eat (although I rationalize it with the idea that potatoes are cheap and the dog isn't as picky as I am) or just not being exactly what I'm after. #9 as described above comes the closest. Sometimes the interior is a little gooey, and I'm not sure how to correct for it. I've thought about intentionally leaving a void in the center but that's architecturally unsound. Also, it just seems... wierd. Yet I have no fear. Half the fun of developing Pommes Catherine has been in the experimentation; and when I go visit her in NYC again, I will be able to wow her with this new contraption. So, to finally get to the point of this thread, do any of you have any stories about developing a recipe? Or updating a classic? Sometimes I wish that my neighborhood had an actual Mad Scientist I could go to. It might streamline the process.
  25. I wasn't around to see it happen but when I was in the Army, at Fort Carson, CO in the late '80s, one of the Combat Engineer units had a company picnic; and, boys being boys, used Thermit (25%Ferrous sulfate and 75% powdered aluminum) in 1-kilo bricks to get the barbecue started. Mind you, this is something that burns hot enough to cut right through a cement bridge deck; you can just imagine the results. My brother-in-law's boss SWEARS by liquid oxygen to get the coals up to temp. He claims something like thirty seconds from lighting the match to ready for the chicken thighs. I've never seen it, but I've met him and I believe him capable of it. I bought a 10" butcher's cleaver in an antique store last week, and am currently regrinding it into a single-bevel santoku. Carbon-steel custom knife for $5, plus my labor; not too shabby. Does that count as multi-tasking, or is that recycling?
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