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Everything posted by willows

  1. willows

    Cream cheese

    I feel like you've answered this question for yourself: Buy the 4oz package. You could also just double the recipe in question, but I think it's probably better to just get over whatever urge it is that makes you buy more cream cheese than you need, since, in fact, you do not use it up as planned.
  2. We use Icoa whenever a white chocolate application comes our way. I find that the undeodorized cocoa butter gives it a much more interesting, complex flavor profile.
  3. Huh, I didn't know that meringue powder had all those additives. Teaches me to read labels! I'll keep that in mind, thanks.
  4. I was just poking around the baking aisle and came across some meringue powder. Has anyone tried using this stuff as a substitute for egg white in cocktails? It struck me as an interesting experiment, but I'm not going to have the opportunity to run any tests in the next few weeks, so I thought I'd ask.
  5. (Necroed) Anyone have tips for making fruit-based (no dairy or fatty substitutes like coconut milk) ice pops less icy and crunchy without using corn syrup or gelatin? I'm experimenting with adding some jelly to my mixture at the moment in hopes that the pectin and sugar content will help. Another possibility I've thought about is prefreezing my pop mixture into a slush, blending it to break up the larger ice crystals, and freexing in the molds, but it seems like that will add a lot of labor. I'd prefer to just pour and freeze.
  6. This year we are growing some extremely exciting mild habaneros in our garden (~800 SHU, NuMex Suave from the New Mexico Chile Institute) and if they turn out well, I'd like to preserve them without dramatically changing the flavor. I've done Fuschia Dunlop's Hunan salted chiles before, but they tend to really change the peppers they're used with. What can I do to preserve and bring out their aromatic qualities?
  7. So we made chilli crab for dinner tonight, and it was delicious. However, my paranoid girlfriend became concerned about dark black striations on the cooked meat-- mostly around the joints. The claw meat was almost uniformly black. Now, the black bit was mostly on the surface of the meat-- the interior of the flesh was all a lovely, creamy white. We bought these dungeoness crabs already cooked, and basically tossed them in the stir-fried sauce at the end. Was it cooking technique? Spoilage? Just an idiosyncrasy of this type of crab? It didn't taste spoiled, but then, we used a lot of salted thai chilis and siracha.
  8. Recently I've been experimenting with different crusts. The local Turkish market carries yufka sheets, a leaf-type pastry somewhat thicker than phyllo. About five layers of yufka, each layer brushed with olive oil, makes a sturdy crust with a mild olive oil flavor and a satisfying, shattering crunch. It seems to need a moisture barrier between it and the sauce, though, so we generally build our pizzas with crust, a thinly spread layer of seasoned ricotta (or mascarpone, if low-cost is not an issue), thin slices of fresh tomato, and torn-up mozzarella. It's relatively quick, easier than tomato sauce, and simply incredible.
  9. nakji: second heidih. I make quadruple-strength tea with hot water, dilute it to double-strength with cool water and refrigerate it, and then serve with ice and simply syrup to sweeten, or if there's no ice just watered down 1:1. Lately I've been drinking (unsweetened) iced tea mixed with ginger ale for a little bit of bite and sparkle. It's very refreshing.
  10. Fried onigiri work! But I don't have a lot of experience with cooking nori while it's in contact with something wet. I think the flavorings in sushi rice would contribute to the browning, too. That might be nice. I also know of a few places that do the aforementioned tempura maki. Yaki-maki seem like a worthy experiment, at least.
  11. So, I've been making quick-pickled red onions for immediate use, sliced into strips and marinated in a vinegar brine just until they change color. Can I keep these for longer than a couple of days? Is there another, similar red onion pickle recipe that lasts a little longer? It'd be nice to have a jar of crunchy, tart, pungent onions to put on sandwiches or what-have-you.
  12. I don't know a ton about the rice-or-bean as thickener technique, but Julia Child covers rice pretty well in a couple of her works. One other thing you could try is using velouté instead béchamel; stock will bring out your chicken flavors, whereas the cream in the béchamel is going to cover them up.
  13. I'd consider leaving out the dairy entirely and working on getting the pre-dairy bit right. Then once you're happy with those, start adding butter. I'd stay away from milk or cream, 'cause they'll not only soften the flavors of your pan sauce, but also introduce another variable into the recipe. Also, in my experience wine and milk are touchy when combined; milk might curdle if the environment is acidic enough. Cream and butter seem to be significantly more stable.
  14. I wonder if this is easier to do with a water-based bacon stock, analogous to pickled eggs or Chinese tea eggs or what have you.
  15. willows

    Edible stenciling?

    I suspect you can use ground herbs and spices to stencil in a harmonious color & flavor... but spraying the plates with fat might be a bit much. Maybe just swipe the area to be stencilled with an oiled towel to leave a light film. (I've done this in a non-food application, but I imagine that it won't make much difference, as long as your powders are ground very finely) For extra neatness you could use the stencil to block your oil application, then dust and remove the stencil; if you oil the surface and then use the stencil to block the powder only, you'll get smudging around the edges that will be difficult to remove neatly.
  16. Hm. This is really interesting! I would consider adding some more intensely-flavored pepper ingredients—rehydrated anchos pureed, or sweet paprika, or some small, fleshy, mild-to-medium heat chiles roasted with the bell peppers. I don't usually use cayenne, as it seems to tend to add heat without adding pepperiness. I suspect the onion was involved here too; I might use roasted garlic rather than onion. Finally, maybe some raw bell pepper added near the end of cooking will help; I find that moist cooking processes will anonymise any vegetable, so if some of the pepper is just barely warm when you puree it and do whatever finishing you want with it, you might end up with a clearer flavor.
  17. willows

    Crackling stock

    This sounds delicious. What are the relative quantities you're working with here? Is it like a traditional chicken stock, or are you using a higher proportion of meat products or what...? For a soup I'm tempted to suggest something like, lentils and chunks of kabocha squash, or something else dense and starchy that'll soak up the stock nicely.
  18. At least once, go to Karavalli. It's a great restaurant; delicious South Indian seafood. Don't rent a car if you can avoid it at all...it's much easier to get around with the cabbies and rickshaws that know how to navigate local traffic. I've never been burned by a cabbie, but you might want to have a local with you when you can, just for convenience.
  19. willows


    I did one of these last year with lime leaf added, by combining chopped raw quinces and quince mash (like halfway to membrillo) with a high-proof vodka. It's got a wonderful aromatic character, but it took a lot of filtering to get it to presentable appearance. For some reason my quinces turned brown-gold instead of that elegant dusky ruby.
  20. agar? I had the impression that soup dumpling filling was stabilised with gelatin.
  21. willows

    Ancho powder

    You can toast them dry, I think it helps to grind them if you do - the leatheriness of dried peppers is moisture, and toasting them makes them brittle, as well as bringing out the nice roasty smoky flavors. When I last did it, I found that the peppers ground pretty unevenly, and large chips of pepper were left even after a long time in the grinder. For baking you might want to sift the grind before you continue!
  22. willows

    Duck Eggs

    There are some really interesting-looking, although laborious, recipes for egg yolk-based sweets in Thompson's Thai Food, maybe it's worth looking around in there. He mentions that they can be made with chicken eggs, but duck eggs give a much superior result.
  23. willows

    Dips, cold or hot

    Something I tossed together a little while ago was pretty nice; it's sort of a riff on the peanut dip that comes with satay. You gently heat equal amounts of Vietnamese shrimp paste (it looks like shredded...something...immersed in bright red chili oil) and panang curry paste in a small saucepan, until it begins to sizzle (add oil if you need but sparingly), and then stir in some ground nuts and coconut to thicken (I'd say about a tablespoon total to about a tablespoon each of the pastes, but err in favor of the dry ingredients a little), and some chicken stock to moisten. Simmer it a little while and it will start to come together, with a float of red chili oil on top, and have a thick but kinda chunky consistency. Add fish sauce for saltiness. You're aiming for salty-sweet, with chile heat and complex curry flavors in the background. It's pretty good when still hot, with ice-cold veggies dipped in. I don't know how well it woud translate to a bag-lunch environment, though, unless you have access to a microwave to gently reheat it. You do need to stir it up every now and then, as it's not a stable emulsion and it'll separate into oil and goo if you don't.
  24. willows


    Yes, ghee's shelf stable if properly made, although you should probably keep it firmly covered to prevent it picking up off flavors from the air. I make my own every few months and just keep it on the kitchen counter in a little jar with a spoon in it. It does just fine out there.
  25. willows

    Fresh fava beans

    Clotilde Dusoulier has a lovely fava-and-fresh-mint frittata that I make every time I see favas in the market. Peeling be damned, the creamy egg and nubbly favas complement each other incredibly.
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