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Everything posted by Country

  1. I have both - and I still have real charcoal left from when I was using charcoal. And..... (drumbeat) - today I scored a beautiful swordfish steak caught on the Grand Banks - not Mexico, etc. So, if the weather is good tomorrow afternoon or evening, I'll split the steak in two and cook one piece on the Weber Baby Q (gas grill), and one piece on the charcoal. Only addition to the steaks before cooking will be sea salt and ground black pepper, and some Colavita evoo. Maybe Lucini, but probably Colavita. So, if the weather cooperates, which is now looking a little iffy, I'll try to do an honest test.
  2. When I've purchased good cuts of beef, at some cost, I want to taste the beef and not the charcoal flavoring. This was not always the case, until I came across the Weber Q. Really, dedicated charcoal lovers should try one. As I wrote above, I think it has something to do with the heavy cast iron grill rack - that one preheats on high for a good ten minutes or more before cooking. I know I'm sounding like a salesman for Weber, but this thing works. Something I never found in other gas grills I'd encountered at friends' and family get-togethers. I was a dedicated charcoal lover and even built my own charcoal grill (being in the steel business and having designed and built a number of woodstoves), and the charcoal cooker I built was better than most. It's now sitting, unused, in my backyard. PS. If I want smoke in my meat I'll use the Cookshack smoker.
  3. I've cooked for a long time on charcoal - decades - and I swore I'd never go to gas, but last summer I had lunch with some friends in NH who were using something I'd never seen before - a Weber Q100, or "Baby Q". When I got back to Maine I bought one at the local hardware store and have never looked back - to charcoal. These are amazing grills. I think part of it may be that they have a heavy cast iron grill rack with a U-shaped gas burner that primarily heats the cast iron. If you like grill marks, this cooker gives you the best grill marks I've seen. But, if you're cooking meat, you have to keep an eye on it. These things cook much faster than charcoal.
  4. From the Bangor (Maine) Daily. If Holly is still around, someone should pass this on to him. He was the biggest advocate for Red's lobster rolls.
  5. This is a bit off topic, but a few months ago I bought one of these Rival two burner electric hot plates to use in a hotel room where I was holed up after a hernia operation. It's great! It will cook perfect brown rice, saute, and turns down to such a low setting that it can be used as a warmer. (You can put your hand on it at the lowest setting.) For $40 it can't be beat.
  6. I'm pretty sure the original Helen's burned down years ago - maybe early 90's? Before that, their pies were famous up and down the Coast (among local folks), and were made right there. At some point, the place got new owners - either just before or after the fire.
  7. So... Which end and which side of the bag do you pull the string on, and how do you recognize it? It's easy, but I can't remember. Your laying hens would be nothin' to handle compared to some roosters I've dealt with.
  8. Chris, Don't give up. There is a way to do this without the need for scissors or a knife. I'm sorry I can't remember how to do it, but a long time ago an old farmer showed me how to do it - opening grain bags, which have the same stitch (I think) as a charcoal bag. He showed me how to look at the thread and where to pull it on one end and one side of the grain bag. It worked every time and I used it for many years when I was still feeding grain. But, that was a long time ago. As I remember, it might involve pulling one thread out of a loop. Good luck and don't give up.
  9. This sounds good. Do you use the duck fat to cook the pop corn, or use the duck fat after the corn is popped?
  10. Trust me too. I live eight minutes from Moody's Diner and had lunch there the other day. While some of the ambiance remains - the food, I'm sorry to say, is hardly worth driving six miles for. Edited to add: Twenty or thirty years ago I enjoyed both the ambience and the food at Moody's. Now I only go there when someone suggests it as a place to meet.
  11. I've been using cotton "shop rags" for years in my kitchen. They work for everything... pot holders, wiping up spills, and drying pots and pans. Here's a company that sells them I just found on the net. In poking around a little, I see that they also sell side towels, as well as bar towels and dish towels.
  12. It would be good to show a photo of what a fiddlehead looks like when it's ready for picking. Also, you could mention that the fiddlehead fern, when grown, is a good remedy for poison ivy. Gather a mess of ferns and in a kettle with water, make a strong tea. After it cools, remove the ferns, then put tea in a jar. Dab tea on poison ivy affected areas with a cloth. Poison ivy should be gone in three or four days, or less, depending on how bad it is.
  13. You're not alone. Each pot has its own characteristics. In the case of popcorn, I was using a 2 quart All-Clad. Then I wanted more popcorn and tried an old Revere 3 quart. That light construction was a disaster. All kinds of kernals left un-popped and those that were popped didn't have as good a flavor. In my quest for more popcorn in one popping, I moved on to my All-Clad 4 quart. Better than the Revere by a longshot, but still not as good as the All-Clad 2 quart... which I've gone back to. If I want more popcorn, I'd rather do two batches in the 2 quart. Rudolf Hauschka wrote a book many years ago which, in part, delved into cooking - heat sources, pots, covers, etc. - and what I still remember from reading that was his observation that a good cook doesn't use just any pot. She (this was Europe in the 30's) would go through her whole collection of pots and pans to select just the right one for the task at hand. When we're at home we all do that, don't we? It's when you're trying to cook at someone else's home and confronted with all these strange pots (many of them useless) and then forced to use an electric range, that things can go awry very easily - at least in my case. No, you are not alone.
  14. Two small specialty shops here in Waldoboro, Maine started carrying Palacios chorizo earlier this year. It's quite good and is apparently the only Spanish chorizo allowed in the country at this point - and this because they are using Danish pork. You can find more info here. If you can't find it locally, I did a search and found that LaTienda and even Amazon carry it. I use it in cooking rather than just slicing it off and eating it. When I first got some I thought it might go well with clams and so used it following, more or less, the recipe for Manhatten clam chowder in the Pro Chef. It was excellent. This chorizo also goes well with green beans, rice, and whatever thrown together with some imagination. Cut into small pieces, a little larger than a dice, and saute lightly in EVOO. The paprika gives a beautiful coloring to the oil and chorizo fat, so use some of the oil and fat in whatever you're cooking to add color and flavor. Palacios also keeps exceptionally well in the fridge, probably because it's so dry. Good stuff.
  15. As usual, the product with the BIGGEST flavor wins the blind tasting. Nuance never fares well in such situations. ← Speaking of nuance, there's a difference between fullest and biggest flavors.
  16. Thanks for starting this thread CtznCane. Just for the hell of it I'm going to try some Kraft. Despite paying $12-$15 per pound for various Reggiano's, I haven't had anything with a good full flavor since I bought a small (unlabeled) wedge at the local coop at least ten years ago. I'm ready to try Kraft. On a side note, I like good black pepper and over the years I've tried many different black peppercorns... Tellicherry, India Tellicherry, Sarawack, etc., etc. One weekend I was up at Susie's and had brought a couple different black peppers with me - Susie had McCormick. Before we started cooking (and had had a few beers) we decided to do a pepper tasting. Each pepper was ground out on the cutting board, fingers were wetted, and the peppers tasted. Guess what? The plain old McCormick won. It was better, and with a fuller flavor, than the semi-exotic stuff I'd brought. I've never looked back. It's been McCormick ever since. I'm ready for some Kraft!
  17. Great blog! I'm really enjoying it. Thanks! Alder is better for salmon. Cherry and apple are good for other fish depending on what they are. Edit: Also, try a brine with maple syrup.
  18. My thanks too. This has been about one of the best foodblogs I can remember - the other one being Anna's. Both of you can do (as we say in Maine) some wicked good cooking. I've got to try that courtbouillon. You're some lucky living in that beautiful country and having good water to go along with it. Plus a beautiful house... and good friends. Thanks again.
  19. Veal Scallopini? Chicken Cacciatore?
  20. That "Beer n Brat Mustard" in the pic is some good mustard.
  21. Lyle, Have you enough prep space in one piece of countertop? Would it be better to set the range off-center so you have more work space on one side or the other?
  22. If you want heirloom potatoes, you will probably have to seek out individual organic growers. You'd be unlikely to find such potatoes from large commercial growers in Maine, or elsewhere. Edited to add: Just noticed your sig - "Tammy Wynette & George Jones" George Jones is an old favorite of mine, along with Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard.
  23. Homemade corn tortilla chips with some homemade refried pintos, topped with Herdez salsa and good cheese (three year old Cabot cheddar works.) Preheat to 400-450, then turn down to 300 when putting the tray in. That way beans get heated before top element melts cheese too fast.
  24. The Old Forest in the upper left corner looks like Piller's "Caliente" that I've taken a liking to.
  25. I just have to put in a word here... Morse's Sauerkraut is just up the road from me and they are open everyday of the week from 9 to 6 except Wednesday. David and his wife Jacq bought the business four or five years ago and have greatly expanded beyond making kraut. They have incredible lines of breads, mustards, sausages, deli meats, cheeses, crackers, canned fish like herring, and on and on. They have also opened a small restaurant featuring German specialities. In keeping with making kraut, much of what is available in the store has a German theme, but there is much else. They even have some excellent hard chorizo from Spain. Here's a link to their website (which is under construction) http://www.morsessauerkraut.com/
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