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  1. If you actually COOK in your kitchen, not just boil water and press microwave buttons auto-opening trash cans will drive you nuts. TOO SLOW. Those are perfect for show kitchens. Skipper
  2. Until recently I have totally shared your opinion about Walmart. I've never shopped there and I am now taking "watch and see" attitude. Bbbbbut, the Atlantic (March issue) has an article suggesting that Walmart, not Whole Foods, will save the small farm and make America healthy. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/03/the-great-grocery-smackdown/7904/ Skipper
  3. After we watched & watched the demo at Costco kids twisted my arm and "made me" buy VITA mix 5200. After I used it for a week I regretted I did not take the plunge sooner. There was nothing wrong with the blender I've been using for years, just like there is nothing wrong with a steak I buy at Giant or Safeway, except that it ain't Kobe beef. Vita mix is one of the few things I use in the kitchen that actually makes food taste better. I tried most of their recipes at the beginning, it was a good starting point after which I returned to my own recipes. I still make my favorite tortilla soup on the stove top, but I have a kid who wanted to take my Vita -mix to college to make soup in her room. Pentagon City Costco in Arlington, VA has been carrying Vita Mix 5200 with a shorter (fits under the counter) container for around $375, but last week looking at the price tag I noticed an asterisk in the upper right hand corner which means that it will be discontinued. Sometimes, when Costco is in a hurry to get rid of something they lower the price, and when they do it ends in "97." So, if they lower the price to $325.97 or less I will buy one for my daughter to take with her to graduate school. I got my Vita mix several years ago, before I heard about Vita prep, Of course, now I am wondering if Vita prep will "improve" the taste of my food even more. lol...
  4. I keep hoping that someone who uses lots of potatoes on daily basis would chime in. I wonder how restaurants do it nowdays. I suppose they have potato peeling machine. One summer, when I was in HIgh School, which was hundreds of years ago, I worked at an upscale restaurant kitchen in San Francisco. They used to steam potatoes in some kind of a special oven and one of my daily jobs was to peel them. Peeling cooked potatoes was much faster than peeling raw potatoes, but you had to have asbestos fingers, because you had to do it while the potatoes were hot.
  5. Voltaggio brothers WILL be answering questions about TOP CHEF today, Wednesday, Dec 9/09 from 1pm to 2pm at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2009/12/08/DI2009120801553.html
  6. I have just logged on to Washington's Post's Food section chat and discovered that Voltaggio brothers preempted the regular WP staff and are answering questions about Top Chef. They will be there for the rest of the hour, till 1pm http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2009/12/08/DI2009120801553.html
  7. I too was disappointed by the first show I saw this week. Instead of showcasing or discussing cooking they were mostly focusing on quirky personalities. I have enough of those around me in real life. Skipper
  8. I can't help wondering WHY TC producers chose Robin out of hundreds (could it be thousands?) chefs willing to participate in the Top Chef competition 2009. After seeing the show so far I can't believe that her "test food" was close to Kevin's or either of the brothers'... It would be great if BRAVO published statistics and showed some of the test tapes on the basis of which they chose the TC participants. I would also like to know WHO are the people who choose TC contestants. What are their qualifications? What do they know about food? What is their background: TV casting, PR or Foodservice? Do they start their day with breakfast at home, dollar menu at McDonalds or do they have business breakfast at the Ritz or Four Seasons on a daily basis? Do they eat lunch? Does it come from Pizza Hut or do they go to David Chang's newest restaurant? etc. etc. etc..... To me, Robin came across as a fairly nice person who overcame personal obstacles she most probably did not create: cancer, but was completely out of her element when paired with younger/never-met-cancer cooks. Most of the negative comments on this board were about her, not about the judges or actual cooking or recipes or ingredients or appliances used. Are TC producers so stupid and incompetent that they inadvertently allowed this to happen, or are they so experienced and smart that they were searching for someone like Robin? If they needed "a Robin," it would be interesting to know WHY? In any case, including Robin in this competition was a big minus, not a plus, as it took time away from discussion of actual cooking. A lot of time, that could have been devoted to judges' discussion of dishes they tasted was wasted on Robin's interaction with younger men with bad manners. Who cares? Michael V is no gentleman. He is not trying to portray himself as a gentleman. We got that from his first interaction with Robin. Having good manners is not a prerequisite for being a good chef or a top chef. Why emphasize his rudeness over and over and over? The TC production team should understand that interactions with "Robins" will not attract non-cooks to the show, but will turn away many of us who would like to see the real competition, the real battle of imaginative use of BTUs and knife skills. I hope next year's casting is entrusted to a different team. Skipper
  9. At the beginning of the show Nigella Lawson was identified as a "contemporary Julia Child"... Are Nigella's recipes that good? Skipper
  10. Jim Lahey's "My Bread" arrived in the mail last week. Looks very interesting and inviting. It is a rather thin volume, only 220 pages, about 100 pages are bread recipes, the rest is discussion of various techniques and recipes for sandwiches and fixings. Love the photography in the book, makes me want to bake. This is one of the few books I would have paid full price for if I had to. Can't wait to start using it. Skipper
  11. Jim Lahey's "My Bread" arrived in the mail last week. Looks very interesting and inviting. It is a rather thin volume, only 220 pages, about 100 pages are bread recipes, the rest is discussion of various techniques and recipes for sandwiches and fixings. Love the photography in the book, makes me want to bake. This is one of the few books I would have paid full price for if I had to. Can't wait to start using it. Skipper
  12. I doubt that this book will be as interesting as Bouchon to many on this website. I ordered mine for a fraction of the cost, thinking that it may be just right for my 22 year old after I read the following description" "Thomas Keller's first book for the home cook will surprise you with its fun design and 200 simple recipes! You won’t find complicated recipes, intimidating techniques and obscure ingredients in Ad Hoc at Home. What you will find are Thomas Keller’s surprisingly simple, incredibly satisfying family-style recipes. Keller rose to fame as the meticulous chef of The French Laundry (a Michelin Guide three-star-rated restaurant and serious contender for the best restaurant in America), but when he’s in his own kitchen, he takes a more relaxed approach. This, his first-ever book, written expressly for the home cook, is a pleasure to use for so many reasons, from its clever design and fun photography to 200 recipes and step-by-step photos that will help you enrich your culinary skills, as well as the lives of all for whom you cook. Color photos." Nevertheless, I will reserve my judgement until I get the book. Skipper
  13. That sounds like fun! I second the purple sweet potatoes, only in my neck of the woods they are called "Korean." You may also want to look into Thai black rice which turns purple when cooked. Thai use it for dessert only, but I discovered that Thai black rice cooked with stock, bouquet garni and other goodies makes a perfect side dish. You may want to use it as stuffing for your red cabbage rolls. Do post pictures when you are done. Skipper
  14. There is no question in my mind that I enjoyed TCM's first season's closing show more than all of the TC shows lumped together. I loooooved those chefs cooking in the nurturing environment they've created. I loved the final TCM challenge containing: the past... the present... the future of their cooking. However, I waited and waited for responses (from eGulleters) concerning the absence of sous vide in the "present or future of the Master Chefs," and now I am stuck with a question: am I the only one who noticed that not one of the three (magnificent by all accounts) TMCs used sous vide techniques or equipment? Now I also wonder: 1. Are TCM finalists, as great as they are in serving classic dishes, too old, too uncomfortable, etc. to embrace the new tends in food prep....? 2. Is Sous Vide a passing fad and is not worth TCM's valuable time because it is already gone and forgotten, but manufacturers are keeping it alive, so they can get rid of their pricey inventory? Skipper
  15. What does person's sexual preference have to do with cooking? I found yesterday's discourse into cheftestant's inability to get married totally out of place. We live in a world with lots of issues and there are multitudes of forums to discuss them. If I understand correctly, Top Chef is about food and cooking. When I eat dinner in a restaurant or take a cooking class all I want is good food or good instruction, the last thing I care about is the chef's sex life or marital status. I find laws forbidding or preventing gay marriage unfair. If there is ever a referendum on gay marriage in my state I will vote for it, but if Bravo continues to weave in unrelated subjects to cooking into Top Chef shows, and the shows are as boring as they were last year, I may decide to vote with my thumb on the flicker. In episode 2 they singled out three gay females, are they going to single out other minority groups in next episodes? What a waste of time! Whole Foods and kitchen equipment seem to have more shots than actual cooking. On Top Chef I want to see cooking. I want to hear cooking discussion. I want to hear judges talk. Those judges are probably the highest paid people in the world considering the number of seconds they appear on the air. Skipper
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