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Everything posted by Magictofu

  1. Magictofu


    Toasting grains is not easy... my simpler solution is to simply dump them in hot oil.. I tried twice with quinoa and it worked ok although the result was probably a bit too crispy for breakfast cereals.
  2. Magictofu


    Have a look at the Paper Chef 14 round up at Belly Timber My contribution is here Lots of nice uses for quinoa! More later.
  3. I spent a few hours (really) reading it at a local bookstore... what an amazing book. It's definitelly on my "to get" list. I certainly do not have all the gadgets used by Michel but I like the "play with your food" undertones.
  4. This is very true... but some municipal waters still often win international water tasting competition. There is a little city called Amos in the province of Quebec (Canada) with an amazing tap water... I would bet on that water against any of the 100 most important brands of water worldwide.
  5. Which in turn, keeps peoples' interest away from basic water sanitation issues... it is a viscious circle...
  6. There are lots of things people don't need. That doesn't mean we go banning them. ← That's my point. If a case can be made that somehow we or our children or the animals or the planet would be better off if we did ban something then there are plenty of groups out there who will take action to get that something regulated or banned. Lot's of folks who are willing to make choices for you by eliminating or reducing your options. Count on it! ← A few points: 1. There is a difference between a ban and a choice made by a restaurateur about what they serve. 2. Restricting the use of something (e.g. special tax on environmentaly damageable goods, limiting the amount of lead and other heavy metal in water, etc.) is not the same as a total ban. We have such regulations already, some controversial I admit, but most are not. 3. In the case of water, there is often a problem of perception (not always, it is true) regarding health and taste benefits. I have read a few documents discussing recent research arguing that tap water is often healthier and taste as good or better than bottled water (I'll dig them out later this weekend). In many cases anyway what's available on the market is filtrated tap water put in bottles... which is sometimes fine when needing water and a container... but still economically and environmentaly questionable.
  7. I was wondering... does this apply to wine reduction sauces? I have no doubt that wines used in braising or 'seasoning' do not need to be the fanciest ones... but does it matter in reduction sauces? My guess is not that much as long as you do not start with really bad wines and respect a few basic guidelines (varietals, tanins...)... But I have just heard the opposite! Any thought?
  8. Bottled water is a huge issue in my province these days and I find it interesting to see that the debate is taking root in the US as well. In many ways, bottled water is often tap water placed in a bottle. People pay for the bottle which in turns creates garbage and unecessary energy use for transport. This is certainly a problem... On top of that, I have read recently that bottled water is often of lesser quality than tap water. There are, of course, places where tap water is simply disgusting as many mentionned here. Public authorities in these places should provide a better service instead of simply collecting the tax revenues from bottle water sales and from the increased commerce they engender. Increase commerce of bad stuff is hardly a good thing.
  9. I have done the same thing for a while and I agree, these are great! We always had an opportunity to get a glass of wine (nothing fancy of course) without opening a bottle and to cook whatever quick sauce we wanted. I experienced one problem though: while my white wines kept well in the fridge, one of my red wine box turned bad after about a month... I kept it in a cool corner of my kitchen but not in the fridge... probably a bit too long.
  10. There are some "gourmet" cooking wines available for a selection of varietals which have a good reputation. They not dirt cheap however and compare easily with with $6-$10 bottles considering the smaller size of the bottles. According to some, they shine particularly well in sauces. I have never tried them but I can certainly imagine someone creating a wine for its culinary properties and not for its "drinkability". I remember reading about kitchen tests made using a few brands of such wines compared with drinking wines of the same varietals and, according to the author, they all outperformed the drinking wines.
  11. Magictofu


    I have read that too but being such a lazy guy, I decided to trust my plastic bags. On the happier side, I have read today that the bad smell will be neutralized when my sauerkraut is ready... there is still hope for my first batch!
  12. Magictofu


    Because I have doubts about my first sauerkraut experiment, I have decided to start another batch, using a slightly different method (described by others in this post). This way, I should be able to compare the two batches. 1. The ingredients: 2. Mashing the salt into the cut cabbage: 3. Adding outside leaves on top: 4. Then a plate: 5. And finally plastic bags full of water: Now I just hope that this one won't get as stinky as the first one and that it turns sour a bit faster. I am now thinking that it is because it did not turn sour fast enough that my first batch was so stinky, could it be the case?
  13. 1. Tabasco (or similar) sauce: perfect with oysters, some soups or just as a simple condiment. 2. Harissa, great in stewed dishes such as couscous and makes a great dipping sauce when mixed with water (or wine). 3. Any of the great South-East Asian hot sauce (you have the choice here): for, you guessed it, south-east asian dishes. 4. Chinese chili oil, for the kind of heat only oil can give... great to drizle 5. One of the many mexican smoky hot pepper sauces (e.g. chipotle in adobo) for meat or whatever you fancy that day. I would also add a last one: a simple Hunanese crushed chili sauce (more like minced hot peppers) because it is just great! Oh Oh! another one: korean hot bean paste! For an easy bibimbap lunch! Does mustrad count? What about horseradish and wasabi?
  14. I just received my beans and placed a dozen of tahitian extract grade pods in a small masson jar with a good splash of vodka. Maybe I am just not in a good mood but these beans did not smell that great. I'll try to compare each type I got (regular bourbon, gourmet bourbon, grade A tahitian and grade B tahitian) over the weekend. How do they grade vanilla beans anyway? I understand that grade B are second grade... but how is it determined? I quickly search on internet but didn't find anything.
  15. I have been trying to make lamian (hand pulled noodles) for a while now without much succes. In fact I have only achieved some level of failure. I have been reying on some information found on the internet in english or chinese quickly translated by my girlfriend. The best english reference I found was this somewhere else on egullet. I am hoping to find some complementary information now and thought this forum was probably more appropriate. One of the key answers thing I am trying to find out is a proper recipe involving a good description of the technique. I have found so much contradictory information that I just do not know where to start anymore. If you have any cues on what type of North American flour I can use (or flour available in chinese grocery stores), on the water to flour ratio in the dough, on magic ingredients or technique I would really appreciate your input. Also, if you find good descriptions written in Chinese, I am also a taker. I will keep you updated about my experiments.
  16. Pig tails are amazing stewed with legumes!! It compares very well with pig trotters so almost any recipe using trotters could be adapted easily. I haven't tried the crispy pig tail from Fergus Henderson's book but that sounds amazing too... well, anything from that book sounds delicious! And by the way, there is often much more connective tissues (collagen) than fat in these... so do not worry too much...
  17. I also hope your vanilla extract gets better with time. Ðo yo think the problem came from the alcool or the beans themselves? From what I read, it seems that you assume the solvent is the culprit but it would be nice to see what kind of results people get with different kinds of vanilla pods.
  18. Magictofu


    I started my first batch of sauerkraut a few weeks ago... I can't believe how bad the smell is... it makes me think that it is not turning out ok but I have read that making sauerkraut does smell bad so I hope it's ok. How do I know that I won't poison myself by the way? Also, can you eat sauerkraut straight out of the crock or does it have to cook? The only recipes I know require some cooking... I know, I know... I am a total sauerkraut newb.
  19. Magictofu

    best maple syrup

    Growing up in Quebec (where I believe close to 90% of the world maple syrup is produced) I thought I knew about maple syrup... but that Blis bourbon barrel aged syrup is just amazing! My national pride took a hard hit when I first tried it That being said... it is true that maple syrup varies greatly in quality but contrary to what people seems to argue here there are almost no large scale producers. Most of the time you will find small familly size producers who are doing it as a hobby or for the extra source of $ in the spring... in any case, you need to be dedicated to your product and enjoy the work. The problem resides in the fact that most of the production in Quebec (and remember that this is where the vast majority of the production is done) is bought by large cooperatives where it is mixed and stored. This is done to regulate the price over time. The rationale behind it is that these small businesses are not equiped to manoeuvre in a competitive market marked by important price fluctuations due to the important variation in production year after year. This means that most of what is available on the market has been stored for a long time (sometimes well over five years I have been told). The key, as most people said, is to buy this season's harvest from a local producer. Always choose a grade B (amber) syrup for more flavour. Light grade A syrup has much less taste. Syrups are graded by their color, not their gustative quality. Too strong a color is not ideal either as it can get bitter. By the way, we are in the middle of the season now! It is time to head to "la cabane à sucre" if you can!
  20. I never ate a pet but ate a lot of animals that people keep as pet (guinea pig, dog, snake, horse, etc.). Anyway, I once served rabbit to someone who could not even imagine that people would eat rabbit. I had no idea about this of course.... and to be honest we don't have a lot of food taboos in my family so it was hard for me to understand this kind of disdain in the first place. So the woman in question eats the rabbit and said it was the best chicken she ever had. We then tell her that she was eating rabbit but she never believed us... she finished her plate and asked for second... and I bet she still believe that it was chicken no matter how many time we told her it was rabbit. This was really weird... one would think the bones and taste would help convincing such a person... but no.
  21. I personnaly think that there is a fine balance between taste and body when making stock . I find that I get better flavour with 4-5 hours and a better gelatinous body with 10-12 hours with veal/beef bones. For chicken, my standard is now 2 hours for taste and 6 hours for body. An option I only tried once is to make a double stock: using bones for a long simmer and then using bones and meat for a second shorter simmer using the same stock. This way you get the best of both world and do not have to reduce much for sauce making... but it is a long and expensive process...
  22. Did you simmer your broth long enough?
  23. In the case of salmonela, you can eat the animal alive and still get infected. That does not mean that all animal are carrier of salmonela and even among carriers, most animals could be germ free (chicken is a good example here). I still don't know if frogs can be carriers of salmonela... but they are delicious pan fried in a little butter and garlic.
  24. Sauerkraut, kimchee other salt preserves I've also heard that most fresh cheese are relatively easy to do... and what can beat the freshest mozarella? Pesto (and other pasta sauces) Fresh pasta Stock Soy milk (tofu is not that difficult either) Ice cream if you have the equipment Duck fat Confit (duck or whatever) Tortilla (always fresh.. which is rare where I live) Some people will say beer or wine but I don't have the knowledge...
  25. I am not sure about frogs, but turtles are carriers of salmonella... so frog sashimi maybe, turtle sashimi, certainly not. As for skinning the frogs, what I used to do was simply to knock them off with a stick (e.g. small rolling pin), cut the legs at waist and then the skin comes off relatively easily.
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