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Everything posted by Magictofu

  1. Here's something I always wondered. Do a lot of people forage for seaweeds? Are there books or other reference on the subject?
  2. I completely missed your question about foraging. I think the best starting point are berries, but you know most of them already. For mushrooms: morels, chanterelles and ceps are easy and extremely good with wild game (which after all is the main topic here). I have heard that many hunters pick them while walking the woods for game. For wild veggies, fiddleheads are easy and abundant but the season is about to end where you live. Milkweeds are also easy and so are cattails. There are numerous books available to help you with these and I believe you should always double check every plant or fungi in one or more books before eating it. Good books will identify dangerous look alike.
  3. I made a similar trip with my Chinese partner a few years ago and the food was fantastic everywhere. My best food memories are from the night markets in smaller towns. The freshness of the vegetables was always exceptional. Fish, ducks and chicken were usually killed and cooked minutes after passing our order. Of course the cooking was always simple there but once in a while we got lucky and found amazing cooks too. Otherwise, any big city will have their top restaurants but we did not try any with a few exceptions in Beijing. Others might be able to provide better suggestions. One thing you should actively try to find are those small pubs where you can eat crayfish while drinking beer at night. Some chinese beers are surprisingly good considering that we are only exposed to Tsing Tao outside China and crayfish are so cheap it would be a shame not to enjoy them. If you find Uyghurs selling lamb kebabs in night markets, get a few dozen of them with more beer, you won't regret it. If you do go to Guizhou, try the local specialty called Kaili fish in sour soup (or something like that). I believe it is made with unripe sichuan peppers and it is mind boggling tasty. Most small restaurants with a fish tank will serve it. Guiyang is great for street food but even there I was told that it is disappearing. The only place we did not get good food was in Lijiang (I actually did not like my stay at all over there). This place is quite touristy and it seems like everyone can open restaurants there and make some money even if they are bad cooks. If you like wild mushrooms, Yunnan is a paradise however.
  4. I also own a Bradley and I am generally satisfied with it. I had problems with my first tests (very bitter taste) but found out that I was just not letting enough smoke escape de unit. You will also find that you don't need to smoke very long to get the smoky flavour you are looking for. This is good as it requires less pucks. Because you can smoke quickly and because you can't reach temperatures that are high enough to properly cook some cuts of meat, you might want/have to finishing certain dish in the oven or the BBQ. I am now thinking that a ceramic BBQ such as the Big Green Egg or the Primo is probably a better choice for all but very low temperature smoking. These are expensive toys though. However, if you smoke a lot, keep in mind that pucks are expensive too (still worth every penny considering the amount of time saved). Some people also complain that the Bradley does not produce a smoke ring but it does not affect the taste at all.
  5. The Chineses freeze tofu quite often to obtain a more open structure that can soak up broth or sauce. This is particularly good for hot pot. On the other side, you can freeze what my partner calls puffed tofu with very little effect on the texture. The fried on the outside but silky in the inside tofu would certainly be very crumbly in comparison.
  6. I did talk to my neighbors, most were quite excited about having a few fresh eggs once in a while. I still need to resolve one problem though: what to do with my chicken in the winter? I don't think they could survive the kind of winter we have here and I am convince adding a light bulb in the coop would be enough.
  7. The regulations are quite ambiguous. You can have up to three domestic animals (including birds) but no farm animals which are defined as "animal usually found on a farm". I don't think that I want to test whether chicken can be considered domestic animal in court. My great grandmother used to keep chicken in the basement of her house a few decades ago... not sure I want to go that way either.
  8. Magictofu

    Making gravlax

    It also depends on how and how long it was cured. I don't like very long cures and consequently try to eat it within one week. Edited to add that it freezes really well (unlike fresh salmon).
  9. Are there benefits from cooking on these plates instead of using a pan?
  10. Would love to hear more about the instalation. My partner and I would love to have a few chicken in our backyard but wonder about the best way to house them quietly so that neighbours don't complain to the city.
  11. Can't you get shredded chicken from the whole bird?
  12. I had shrimp po-boy only once and was blown away. I have to agree that its all about the shrimps. Those I got were fished the same day in the Gulf and were so good that I doubt I'd ever be able to copy such a sandwich here.
  13. As a disclaimer I haven't read ratio yet but did read a few of Ruhlman's book in the past. I feel that Ruhlman is probably right about the idea that food behave the same in one country or the other, at least at the basic level. To use Janet's linguistic comparison, that there are gramatical similarities even between languages as unrelated to each others as English and Mandarin at a very basic level (e.g. the subject-verb-complement structure: I love you = wo ai ni). Does he go beyond that basic level?
  14. I'd be interested in experimenting with your recipe once you are satisfied with it. Please keep us updated.
  15. There is an article in the NYTimes on Ratio today: link.
  16. Not particularly gourmet but I've seen it done and enjoyed it many times: leftover pie! The idea is simple, you place all your leftovers in a pie shell with plenty of spices and herbs if you feel like it. Potatoes, pasta, grains, meat, cold cuts, cheese and some vegetables are great... you can also add frozen peas or corn if you are short on vegetables. It is usually served with homemade ketchups or chutneys.
  17. From the rice suggestions above it is clear that people expect very different textures from rice pudding... You might want to make a taste test using very different types of rice: some sort of risotto rice vs. a long grain rice such as basmatti for instance. That said, I don't know much about desert rice; someone else might be able to provide better suggestions. There might be other avenues to explore too: Do you use eggs in your rice pudding? These can add a certain level of creamyness in small amounts. How much fat do you use? I've seen recipes calling for full fat cream.
  18. What type of rice are you using? Starch is partly what makes rice pudding creamy.
  19. A question here, how much do you expect a hot dog to taste like the meat it was made from?
  20. Magictofu

    Ramps: The Topic

    From what I have found online they are different species: Ail des ours = Allium Ursinum (link) Ramps = Allium Tricoccum (link) I see that Ail des Ours has a slightly different kind of flower. I believe that they are interchangeable in recipes.
  21. Corn is a very demanding plant. Add a lot of compost/manure and rotate your culture (corn grows well after beans or peas). Weeding is also important to ensure that competition is not too fierce. Other than that, I'm not a very strong believer in companion planting... I prefer to think in terms of rotations and plant height (the talest plants on Northern side to maximize sun exposure).
  22. I had poutine rapée on the coast not too far from Moncton and really liked it. I am surprised it is not better known outside NB.
  23. I have been thinking about buying a charcoal BBQ for a while to replace my aging gas grill. I have heard good comments about ceramic BBQs like the Big Green Egg. These are on the expensive side so I was wondering if they were worth the investment.
  24. Many spring greens will also start growing: garlic mustard, milkweed, nettle, etc. And let's not forget cat tail shoots!
  25. Magictofu

    Game Cookery

    Mallet, if you like wild vegetables to go along game fiddlehead season is about to begin, morels will sprout in a few weeks and wild leeks should also start growing soon.
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