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    Amsterdam, the Netherlands

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  1. I realised that almost the minute I hit the post button on my last reply...
  2. From a book on Greek cooking, I picked up the technique of 'massaging' the shredded cabbage with a bit of salt (and an optional splash of lemon juice). There is no need to let the cabbage sit, you just rub the wole lot gently with your fingers for a couple of minutes. It reduces the volume of the cabbage by at least 1/3 (water, probably). I really like the way this takes off that 'raw' mouthfeel that makes chewing down a helping of slaw (or any other type cabbage salad) sometimes seem like too hard a job for my jaws. Because of the small amount of salt needed I don't feel it makes the cabbage overly salty, and so I never bother to rinse.
  3. Maybe, for 1 clove. How about 40? And if it tastes the same, which to me it does, what's the point? There are no awards for performing more work for no reason. There is a video currently circulating on Facebook where someone in one of Saveur's test kitchens "peels" a head of garlc in 10 seconds. No, that is not a typo. Place a head of garlic between two metal bowls, shake vigorously for 10 seconds and voila. Instant peeled cloves. That being said, I do not know when I will ever use an entire head of garlic as I do not foresee myself ever in that situation but it is good to know. The method I use is a variation of the one I once learned from my mom -- place garlic clove on cutting board, place cleaver on top of clove, whack with the heel of your hand on top of cleaver; instant peeled clove. A little smashed or bruised, but you can't make an omelette without breaking an egg. Time: I dunno, 1 or 2 seconds maybe? I don't think El Gordo is advocating to stop doing everything the right way as we each choose our own shortcuts. It's just that pre-peeled garlic cloves is something I will never be able to wrap my head around. Ever. edit: spelling you can do exactly the same thing, but use individual cloves instead of the head. works perfectly and you get a whole clove instead of a semicrushed one Or, do a whole head, take what you need right away and store (freeze?) the rest for later. Voila, your own stack of pre-peeled garlic! On the whole "if it tastes the same, then what's the point of it" issue- for me it would be money. I have never seen pre-peeled garlic (to stick with the example) on sale here, but I'm sure it would come at a significantly higher price than a whole, unpeeled head. Another question that pops in my mind: how did those cloves get out of their skins...? I once saw an interesting program (on Dutch TV) on tins of peeled and segmented mandarins- showing how they go through a chemical bath to get rid of their skins. I can imagine some similar process being applied to garlic and I'm not sure I want to include the (possible) traces of that in my pasta sauce. (Which, by the way almost always contains canned tomatoes, which I am too lazy to bother cutting up before dumping them in the pot).
  4. Cut them in half-inch cubes and sautee over high heat in a generous splash of oil for 5-7 minutes, until they start to soften and brown. Then pour in a mixture of equal parts shaoxing wine (or dry sherry) and light soy sauce, half a teaspoon of sugar, some chiliflakes and freshly grated ginger. Stir for about another minute, until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Sprinkle with scallions and serve over rice.
  5. And then of course there is the Belgian Mitraillette, a baguette filled with meat (sausage, burger), a load of french (Belgian!) fries and topped with a sauce of choice. Very commonly available in all the fry-shops. I have never been brave enough to order one myself though...
  6. amapola

    Bastard condiments?

    Intriguing combo. What do you eat it with?
  7. For lunch today: fresh whole grain bread with hummus, a few slices of a good, ripe tomato and a sprinkling of fleur de sel. At the moment one of my very favourite combinations.
  8. The 'chocoladevla' (chocolate flavoured custard) that I made us for dessert yesterday. We have a guest over from abroad and he loves vla so much, that just the pleasure of watching him savour every spoonful turned that simple pudding into the tastiest, most enjoyable vla I ever had.
  9. Same here. And cakes, I love creating elaborate sweet things, trying out new techniques or perfecting known ones. But I am always very happy when, for example after a dinner with friends, I can send most (or better: all) of the sweet leftovers off in doggy bags. Not that I dislike them, but I just find it daunting to be left with more cake than the two of us can eat in an entire week...
  10. Last week I finally managed to find a reasonably good source for vanilla (which is not at all easy, here in the Netherlands ). I am about to start my first batch but I have a very dumb question. Throughout the thread I kept on noticing that people decant whatever spirits they’re using from the original bottle into another vessel. Why? Do I need to do this (and if so, what's the reason?) or will I be fine just taking a swig or two from the bottle and stuffing my pods in?
  11. I like that. In an eerie sort of way. *off to pull two beautifull, slow braised lamb shanks from the oven*
  12. amapola

    Stupid Chef Tricks

    Not being a native-english speaker myself, I'm sort of wondering HOW exactly does one pronounce EVOO? As a single word, or as four separate letters? (and I agree, why would you WANT to pronounce it in the first place...)
  13. One of the first things I made all by myself was a bowl of oatmeal, I think I must have been about 6. My parents detested the idea of having porridge for breakfast (or any other meal) especially oatmeal, so I never had it. But kids in my class did and sometimes we got to speak about the food we had at home and what we liked and disliked and there was something in the way they spoke about porridge that always made me feel... intrigued, I guess. Also, we travelled by train a lot and often my father bought himself a cup of coffee on board, from a man that would walk up and down all the compartments with a little vending cart. With the coffee, my father got a neat little package of sugar, powdered milk, a napkin and a plastic spoon, all held toghether in a plastic wrapper. Those packages were for me: he drank his coffee black. I had saved up a whole stash. So one day the brilliant plan formed in my mind that I would make porridge for myself: I could provide for the sugar and milk from my private collection and oats were always around for baking cookies. I reasoned that since the whole experiment wouldn't cost anything, my parents couldn't have a single argument against it. And they didn't. I think my mum was even nice enough to stay around and make sure I didn't burn myself (or the house down). Boy, was I proud when I had a bowl full of steaming, grey putty in front of me. I swear, to this day I cannot stand the smell of porridge or the taste of anything containing powdered milk. (though the latter is probably purely psychological, I'm sure that I couldn't tell in most cases if I didn't know)
  14. Maybe I can comment on this. Around the time when I was born, my mother decided that, for idealistic reasons, she wanted to turn a vegetarian. As a result, I was raised as one and spent the first 25 years of my life without ever even so much as touching a piece of meat, or fish for that matter. Was I healthy? Well, yes, to a certain degree, but also highly obese. When I started eating meat, I simultaneously started losing weight, without any other changes to my diet. I lost around 40 kilo's (90 lbs...?) in the course of 18 months. On top of that, I have not suffered from head colds, flu or even migraine attacks as often as before. Now for my mother, who spent the same 25 years as a vegetarian, the last 25 years of her life. She suffered TWO types of cancer, she didn't survive. Died before she turned 60. So, does not eating meat for an extended period of time make you live longer and healthier persé? I'm not so sure.
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