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Everything posted by djyee100

  1. djyee100

    Red cooking wine?

    I was tracking down a beef stew recipe online and the blogger liked this red wine blend from Trader Joe's: http://jasonswineblog.com/2009/10/29/2007-trentatre-rosso/ ETA: more recent review of this wine here: http://scwinejoe.blogspot.com/2014/01/trader-joes-wine1-2012-33-trentatre.html
  2. Cook a rich winter vegetable stew, with wine and lots of mushrooms in it, like this: http://andreasgardencooking.com/2013/12/22/winter-vegetable-stew/ Try it served in individual casserole dishes with a pastry crust baked over it. You can roll extra pastry scraps very thin and cut out decorative shapes for the tops of the pies. A vegetarian friend made this soup for her guests, and they raved about it: https://bigsislittledish.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/tomato-cognac-soup/ I think my friend used 1.5 quarts of broth in the recipe. The soup in the blog pic looks pretty thick. ETA: Worcestershire sauce has anchovies in it, so it's not strictly vegetarian.
  3. djyee100

    Red cooking wine?

    If you're cooking coq au vin or beef bourguignon, then red burgundy/pinot noir is the traditional way to go. The person at the store was giving competent advice. Obviously it didn't work out for you. Next time, try beaujolais for either of these two dishes. The sauce might have a purplish cast in it, but it shouldn't be bright purple. Try using less wine and/or browning the meat more. I have my doubts about pinot noir at low prices (hence my warning upthread). I've had poor results buying it and cooking with it. Red burgundy/pinot noir is the darling of wine geeks, and I've wondered if high demand is the reason for poor quality at low prices. That, plus the fact that pinot noir is notoriously fussy to grow--it's hit or miss anyway. Other varietals can be good at low prices. Merlot is a dark, tannic wine. I wouldn't put it in a stew, or if I did, I'd be careful how much I added. When I saute a steak, I like to deglaze the pan with a little cabernet sauvignon or merlot. These two wines are perfect to accompany grilled or sauteed steaks. Wine is not a standard product. It can taste very different among varietals and winemakers, so it can be tricky to cook with.
  4. Kinda like eggplant parmigiana with penne, isn't it? Agree, the eggplant will be soft either way. I wouldn't expect it to be soggy or mushy, though. Other than that, if you cook it now and reheat, the flavors will meld overnight and the pasta will be softer in texture. Cook it tomorrow, the flavors will be sharper, but the texture of the pasta will be more toothsome. That's my guess. Sounds delicious either way.
  5. djyee100

    Red cooking wine?

    I wouldn't advise people to use "cooking wine" and I'm not going to start now. If you like this product, then you do--people have different tastes, right? If you want to experiment cooking with wine, I suggest -- beaujolais, which is fresh, fruity, low tannic , and reasonably priced. -- cotes de rhone wines, which are also on the fruity, moderate tannic side, and reasonably priced. I suggest that you avoid wines that are known for their tannins, like cabernet sauvignon, merlot, syrah. I also avoid pinot noir at low prices, because the quality at low prices can be poor. But if you've tasted the wine and you think it's good, then by all means cook with it. For white wine, I recommend a sauvignon blanc from the Loire Vly, France. This a fresh wine, very food friendly, reasonably priced, and of very consistent quality. This is my favorite white wine for cooking. When you complain about the bitterness of red wines, I wonder if you are simply oversensitive to tannins. If that's so, forego red wines and experiment with balsamic vinegars, which you might like better. A few drops of balsamic vinegar will enliven a dish and add some extra interest. I also like the suggestions upthread for sherry, marsala, and vermouth. I'll add madeira, which can match well with beef-y dishes, especially braised beef.
  6. Mache would be my first choice also. Purslane might be interesting to try, if you can get it. Like chickweed, it is another trendy Virtuous Weed. It is succulent like chickweed, but the flavor is more assertive. Failing to find either of these, try butter lettuce.
  7. Is shortbread the item that's giving you trouble? It can be made by cutting in butter or creaming in butter. I've done it both ways, with different textures in the result. If you try the two recipes, you'll find out. You'll find various baked goods may have different methods in different recipes. It's not as though one is right and the other is wrong. Both work for the people who wrote the recipes, and the methods may produce different results in texture and flavor. You choose among recipes according to your preference. I agree with Mjx's and JMacnaughtan's posts. They're giving you the right info, and good info.
  8. djyee100

    Christmas 2014

    Those puddings look great. I've never tried anything quite like that, maybe the closest thing would be a dense, dark fruitcake. I'm thinking of something bitter to contrast against all the sweet, dark, boozy fruit. At first I imagined it with bitter almond or noyaux ice cream. I checked the web, noyaux ice cream is brutally laborious to make (you crack dozens of stone fruit kernels)...uh, maybe not during the holiday rush season. As an alternative, maybe creme anglaise flavored with a good almond extract (which is supposed to be bitter almonds). Or maybe walnut ice cream--or burnt caramel ice cream--or if you want to go a little sweeter with a nut, toasted almond ice cream.
  9. Gorgeous baskets. Handcrafted work around here is high-priced. There should be something given to you, as a token of appreciation for doing these baskets. I realize you're in the late stages of assembly, so this is an idea you can file away. I was reading Janet Fletcher's newsletter, Planet Cheese, and she gave a recipe for a preserve of honeyed nuts in a jar. So simple, yet not something that's crossed my radar before. Am I the last person to get the memo? I thought these nuts would be great in gift baskets, or as small presents for people I know. I emailed Janet for permission to reprint her recipe on EGullet. She graciously said yes, and gave me a link. Janet Fletcher's Planet Cheese - Honeyed Nuts http://eepurl.com/-CMI1 Janet Fletcher's website is here: http://janetfletcher.com/
  10. Without knowing what other links you've checked out....I googled "italian fish dinner for christmas eve philadelphia new jersey area" and a bunch of links came up. Open Table in Philly for this Xmas Eve. Some restaurants are offering the Seven Fishes menu. Keep reading & scrolling. http://www.opentable.com/promo.aspx?m=13&pid=5 Old ChowH thread for NJ possibilities: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/881547 There were other relevant links that came up in this google search, also.
  11. I encountered butterfly pea flower at a snack stall in Thailand. I don't recall it tastes like much. It's just purty. (Clockwise from left) White sticky rice with yam, sticky rice with butterfly pea flower, and black sticky rice with coconut.
  12. Years ago I took a holiday baking class with an Italian pastry cook. She made a chocolate chip orange brioche and a wonderful Venetian bread-cake, named pan doro. Then when I got home and baked the goodies on my own, I discovered her recipes were a bomb. Something must have been missing in the translation. I eventually recovered the brioche recipe by testing and tweaking on my own. Her pan doro recipe, alas, is still a mystery. The brioche should be mixed in a heavy-duty stand mixer, like a KitchenAid, so that the butter is well-incorporated. The orange in this recipe is fresh orange zest, no dried fruit. CHOCOLATE ORANGE BRIOCHE--MY VERSION   1 pkg (7 g) or 1 TB dry yeast 1/4 cup lukewarm water 1/2 cup sugar 3 1/2 cups (17 oz) bread flour 1/3 cup whole milk 4 large eggs 6 oz (approx 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 1/2 tsp salt zest of 1 orange 7 oz dark chocolate chips GLAZE: 1 egg 1 TB water Sprinkle yeast over warm water in a large mixer bowl; let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add 1 TB sugar and 1/3 of the total flour without stirring. Let it rest, covered with plastic wrap, for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, using the paddle, stir in the milk. Beat in the eggs one at a time, incorporating each egg before adding the next. Then stir in the rest of the flour and the sugar. Let dough rest for 10 minutes. Switch to the dough hook. Continue to mix for 5 minutes at low speed. Gradually add the soft butter little by little until fully incorporated. Add the salt. Continue beating for 5 minutes more. The dough should be smooth and satiny, but still soft and sticky. Add the zest. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand. Cover and let the dough rise overnight in a cool room (60 to 65 degrees) until doubled in bulk. Deflate. Let the dough rise for a second time at room temperature until doubled in bulk. Deflate and chill in the refrigerator before shaping. Turn the chilled dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently part the dough in the middle to make a hole and form a ring of dough. Fit the dough into a well-greased 10-inch tube pan. Let come to room temperature and rise one final time, until doubled in bulk. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Just before baking, combine egg and water, and brush dough with the mixture. Bake about 40 minutes, until the bread reaches 190 degrees on a digital thermometer. Turn out onto a rack and let cool for at least one hour.   ========================= love the owl in your icon. Where was the pic taken? --------------------------------------------- ETA: A note on my recipe says I weighed out the bread flour at 17 oz.
  13. I was visiting a farm, buying something else, and one of the owners asked if I was interested in buying some of their pork. They normally don't sell their pork, keep it for themselves, but they recently butchered a pig and had plenty to spare. I asked, Is it heritage pork? The answer was Yes. Well, I asked, what's the heritage? The owner said the mom was mostly berkshire, and the dad was a wandering pig, probably of mixed breeds, that hangs around in the woods near their farm. The owner said that the dad probably had some native wild pig in him. Wild pig. Very heritage. I bought some pork (it wasn't that expensive), and it was good. Mostly because, I think, of where and how it was grown.
  14. Hamelman's math formula is supposed to combine WW flour and regular bread flour (at 70% extraction) to make high-extraction flour. Since you already have high-extraction flour, you can ignore it. It might be worth asking the vendor just what percentage that high extraction is. Once you know, you can cut the high-extraction flour with regular bread flour for a lesser extraction. You might also consider keeping this flour in a very cool place, so the WW part of it doesn't go rancid. I've never tried high extraction flour, but it sounds like just the kind of thing for sourdough breads or other artisanal breads. The breads will be chewy. Also, with whole wheat in it, I would expect a lesser rise.
  15. ???? The dropped ceiling looks like it's about 15" high. If you were to add a dropped ceiling for storage, I don't think it would be worth it. But dcarch is making use of an existing ceiling, as shown in the OP's original pic. The design does not make the ceiling higher or lower. It simply offers more storage space from what's already there.
  16. Re: bookshelves built into dropped ceiling section. I have seen this kind of design in small apts, though I've never lived in an apt with this arrangement, and it's attractive. The books add color and shapes to an otherwise bland part of the room. As for getting at the books...I have lived in small apts with high shelving storage space, and I've become fast friends with lightweight stepladders. A 3-step folding ladder can tuck into a surprisingly small space. With doors on these storage spaces, you could also use them for food storage. Or so I guess. If they're deep enough for books, they're deep enough for canned goods and medium-size canisters. This kitchen reminds me of my long-ago San Francisco kitchen, in a 800 sq ft apt. It's about the same size, same storage...a one-person kitchen. The good news is, it's very efficient. If you can arrange the cabinets well, you can turn around and everything is there. I kept food prep in bowls on the dining table. If you set the bowls on a half-sheet pan, when you're ready to cook, you can transfer the whole kaboodle to the stove.
  17. I keep extra foodstuffs in large, see-through canisters on the high shelf of a utility closet. When the jars in the kitchen are empty, I refill from the canisters. I've kept things like extra bulk spices, rice, beans, dried mushrooms, and dried fruit there. The various foodstuffs are packed well in their own plastic bags and can be combined into a single canister. My canisters are like the biggest one in this pic. These canisters have silicone gaskets for a tight seal. http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/1/1/272996-oggi-acrylic-canister.html Like ThanksFTC, I've used various non-kitchen areas for kitchen storage. If you are storing food outside cabinets, though, be careful to use sealed containers to discourage pests.
  18. I've been there, I feel your pain. I suggest a tour of The Container Store when you have time, not limiting yourself to their kitchen section. I recently had to organize the chaos in my clothes closet and office closet, and found all kinds of handy things in the garage, bath, and laundry depts also. When it comes to kitchen cabinets, I find their shelf/turntable inserts handy, and stackable bins and baskets. Like the things on this page: http://www.containerstore.com/shop/kitchen/cabinetOrganizers/viewAll The shelf inserts create extra levels in cabinets, and you can stack them above and below with stackable, see-through containers or bins. **Measure your cabinets before you go, and bring a tape measure to the store.** You can also ask if any of their Elfa storage solutions can provide a built-in system for those cabinets. After my tour at the Container Store, I then cruised through Lowe's and Home Depot for items that were similar, if not as aesthetically pleasing. I did save a few bucks that way. But more often than not I found the Container Store items to be well-made and well-designed, and worth the extra money. You can also consider if all those dry goods and spices need to be in the kitchen at your fingertips. Do you have a spare high shelf in the closet? space under the bed for a storage box? (Container Store has big shallow plastic boxes for storage underneath a bed.) You can use the outlying areas for specialty items that you would only take out once as you do prep for a particular dish. good luck, pls let us know how it goes. ETA: Container Store has an annual sale on Elfa shelving, so you can ask when that is.
  19. A very strange arrangement, and nothing I've ever encountered. Agree with Gulfporter, a mandated cocktail purchase means mandated drinking for most people, and that has serious implications for drunk driving, fights, etc. Unless patrons start a trend of bringing home doggie bags from the bar? Unlikely. I'm guessing China doesn't have laws against serving liquors to intoxicated people, and the bartenders' liability if they do. This sounds like an untenable situation in so many ways, not something I would expect to last.
  20. If the choice for California is any indication, this is a silly list. I have nothing against Pizzaiolo in Oakland, and I have recommended this place to others. But Pizzaiolo is not clearly better than a host of other pizzerias that I frequent in the Bay Area, never mind the entire state! Pizzaiolo might qualify for the categories of most trendy, most talked-about, and most overpriced. That doesn't go to the quality of their pizza, of course, which (despite these negatives) is as good as any I've tried. Pizzaiolo also has a country club side. On two occasions I've dropped by for an evening meal, only to find the restaurant closed for a charity event of some kind--sustainable agriculture and organic food issues. Yes, even their charity concerns are high-end. California has too many great pizzerias to come up with one that is "best." In the Bay Area I like the Cheese Board in Berkeley (probably my fave), Delfina in SF, and Tony Gemignani's. I've eaten some great pizza at the Gather restaurant in downtown Berkeley. I also like a little neighborhood place, Benchmark Pizzeria in Kensington. This list of Bay Area pizzerias from SF Eater is pretty good: http://sf.eater.com/maps/san-franciscos-25-most-iconic-pizzerias
  21. djyee100

    Pie Dishes

    I was intrigued by Lindacakes' comment that it was a tarte tatin pan, and googled "antique tarte tatin pan." Google came up with this pan on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/198697764/rare-and-unusual-french-copper-large?ref=market Really a saute pan, though, and it is slope-sided. Have you seen this cast-iron pan from Le Creuset? http://www.amazon.com/Le-Creuset-Enameled-Cast-Iron-4-Inch/dp/B00005QFN5 You can google "tarte tatin pan" for other possibilities.
  22. I think it has to be all or none for the sake of consistency. Otherwise your server(s) will be regularly explaining to some customers why the people at the next table get to taste the soup, but they themselves can't try the meat sauce, ketchup, etc. When I'm at a restaurant and I've had a chance to look at the menu, the server sometimes comes by and asks, "Can I answer any questions you may have about the menu?" I appreciate the practice. In my experience, the upscale restaurants with unusual items on their menus are more likely to do this.
  23. I've never asked for food samples at a restaurant, and it would never occur to me to do so. A couple times when dining out I was uncertain about which wine by the glass to order, and the server offered to give me samples. I declined, because I didn't want to be bothered and I was willing to wing it. Since you've already started giving free samples, and the word is out, I suggest that you back away graciously from this policy. Perhaps decide on a few items that you are willing to let people sample, e.g., the soups. Everything else can be No, because it is too difficult for you and the kitchen, and/or too costly, and you should tell customers that. Right now people are asking for these samples and they don't realize what it's like for you to dish 'em out. You can also stop giving samples altogether, and tell customers the truth: it was OK when there were only one or two requests, but the whole matter has gotten out of hand and you can no longer do this as a regular policy. When I'm uncertain or unknowledgeable about a dish at a restaurant, I ask the server. Comments like "this is absolutely delicious!" (sell, sell, sell) are unhelpful. Servers who tell me enough so I can imagine it--ingredients, cooking method, flavors, texture, even richness--are very helpful. Comparing the dish to something else I may have tried is also very helpful. Perhaps more attention from your servers so customers can rely on their descriptions and no longer ask for samples?
  24. I splurged on a couple bottles of red burgundy, 2007 Domaine Frederic Esmonin Mazy-Chambertin Grand Cru. My vendor says this wine is still drinking young, and needs at least another year to mature. So the bottles will go to the back of my wine closet for awhile. Other recent purchases, 2011 Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet Bourgogne Blanc ‘Clos du Chateau’, a white burgundy grown in a biodynamic vineyard just outside the fabled Puligny Montrachet appellation. Almost there...so-oo close. Also 2013 Matthiasson Chardonnay, Linda Vista Vineyard, Oak Knoll, Napa, another one of those reformist California chardonnays. Only neutral oak and no malo-lactic fermentation. I can hardly wait to try it. I also picked up some 2011 Kofererhof Riesling, Valle Isarco, Alto Adige that was on sale. I'm not much of a Riesling drinker, but I do love Alto Adige wines, so why not. I wish I could tell you what these wines taste like. But I've been working nonstop on project deadlines, finishing my most recent deadline at 3AM on the day the project was due. (Hence my conclusion that I deserve Grand Cru red burgundy for my efforts. ) The new wines will have to wait, since I'm working evenings these days, with no wine at dinner. Personally, I think the material would improve under the influence of alcohol, but my clients would probably disagree.
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