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Everything posted by mcohen

  1. One thing that you'll appreciate after you eat more soup dumplings is how thin and perfect the dumpling skins are at Din Tai Fung are. After DTF, you'll notice how much thicker the dumpling skins are at other establishments to ensure that their dumplings won't break apart.
  2. I haven't read either books, but I always assumed that Bayless, with his restaurant background, wrote a more restauranty cookbook, if you know what I mean.
  3. mcohen

    Le Creuset

    I still need to follow recipes at this point, and I'm worried if that will have an effect on the performance of a LC pot as the food should ideally fit 2/3 up the pot. The more I think about it, the more I think the 4.5 quart might be a better fit for my needs than the 5.5. But, will most recipes for braising assume you'll be using a larger pot like the 5.5 and thus skew the recipes if I use a smaller pot?
  4. Which size do you think would be the most versatile for a saucepan? When I read those hints about kitchen equipment, they mention getting two different saucepans-one small one and a larger one. But, would it be possible to just buy one saucepan that could handle the duties of both the smaller and larger saucepan?
  5. Over a stovetop, it takes around 30 minutes along with constant stirring to cook steel cut oatmeal. And, so I bought a fuzzy logic Sanyo ricecooker in part to cook the steel cut oatmeal for me so I could wake up to a pipin' bowl of oatmeal in the morning without all that time over a stovetop. But, so far, I've been disappointed with the results. The oatmeal cooked in the rice cooker never gives the same delicisious oatmeal as the oatmeal cooked over a stove top. Does anybody have any hints or suggestions about how to cook oatmeal in a rice cooker that will be just as delicious?
  6. I think one of those tree diagrams would work better than a chart where you answer a set of questions, and each question gives you alternate decision pathways depending on the answer given. Although, I kinda agree with you how overwhelming this can all get. After reading all this, you settle on MC2 because it appears that will be better. But, then somebody will write something that doesn't necessairly challenge that idea but throws a wrinkle in there that makes you think about this topic all over again. Like, maybe, there are some pots and pans that are better served being MC2 while other pots and pans are better served being stainless steel. For example, somebody might decide that they need their saute pan and sauce pan to be MC2 while their fry pan should should be stainless.
  7. I always thought there was a better deal to buying 4 All-Clad pieces than just getting the same 20% off discount that you could get buying an invididual piece during Nov or March. I might be mistaken but I thought they also included an All Clad accessory for free if you bought 4 or more pieces. At the very least, I think the more pieces you buy, the less you get charged for shipping for each individual piece. And, of course, there's always the option of buying All-Clad from discounters at similar discount prices without paying for shipping. But, the trade-off is the inconvience and quality control. (I've seen such All-Clad stuff in those stores without boxes and get scratched. But, then again, I've also seen some pieces that looked flawless).
  8. In theory, I don't disagree with the point you're making. But, have you ever actually tested them side by side to verify your hypothesis where you cooked on a MC2 vs. a stainless steel? There are a lot of things that seem logical in theory but then fall apart in the real world.
  9. mcohen

    Le Creuset

    And, what do you consider the most verstaile size for a Le Creuset. Will a 5 and a half quarts be too small? I don't have a family of 4 to cook for, but I figure that even if I don't need the bigger size everyday, it'd still be better to have the option of a bigger pot when cooking for a crowd. But, would the bigger size be an issue when not cooking for a crowd?
  10. mcohen

    Le Creuset

    I scored a 5 and a half quart round Le Creuset 'second' dutch oven for about $130 total at Marshall (10% for opening up an account with them and another $10 off for every $200 spent in their store). But, I was wondering if this was the best deal I could get or could I get an even better one if I drove to an Le Creuset outlet? And, when's the best time to go to an Le Creuset outlet for the biggest saving? Its not exactly the color I wanted- its more of a light to medium blue color instead of the iconic blue color I wanted. I figured if I could buy the same Creuset pot in that iconic blue color for the same price or even less, then I'd rather buy it from their outlet channel. And, how concerned should I be with a 'second' quality from Le Creuset. There are no chips or anything like that, but in the middle of the pot there's a slight bump which is still covered by the enamel. Will that bump became an issue down the line?
  11. When we talk about a skillet, are we referring to a saute pan or a frying pan? To me, a saute pan would be a better choice since you could flip and move the food in a similar manner to the way the food gets moved around in a traditonal wok. And, what kind of material would you want for such a pan? Would something like All-Clad copper or stainless steel be better?
  12. In restaurants, its acceptable to return something to the kitchen if you're not happy with it. But, is that acceptable at a sushi bar? Sometimes, I've spent almost a hundred dollars for an omakase meal yet been given fish that I would have rejected at a grocery store. If we were talking about a inexpensive sushi joint, it would be understandable if the quality wasn't up to snuff. Also, when requesting an omakase meal, do you specify how much you are willing to spend? Are the standards for apprenticeship for sushi chefs in Japan as exacting as they were before? Do apprentices still need to wait several years before they can even touch the fish? Why don't you oder something labeled 'jika'? This question made me realize that despite how big the whole seasonal thing has become in today's western kitchens, most american diners don't even consider that when they go out to eat sushi. When I tried to google it up, I had trobule finding a website that talked about which sushi would be in season during the year.
  13. Assuming we're talking about the same dish only with varying levels of success in execution, it would be a wonderful oppurtunity to inform readers what makes one dish succesful vs. one that is mediocre. So many diners accept bad asian food because they have no frame of reference to what good asian food should taste like. Sushi in this country is an egergious example. You could put a blurb about the importance of rice-how it should fall apart in your mouth and how the rice should ideally taste like. Its been really disappointing to eat at some of the sushi bars that foodies and food critics have praised, as I have to wonder afterwards how much those people even understand about sushi. It wouldn't surprise me if they're also the same diners who use chopsticks to eat sushi. Its like the Ranch Dressing Phenomeon- the company tried to copy the original recipe of the Hidden Valley Ranch but finally gave up and released a flawed version which consumers made a best seller because they had never tasted the original, superior version.
  14. I can't wait for the book to come out, although I'm not the biggest fan of the cover or the title. (I thought 'Turning the Tables' was a wittier title, although perhaps the antagnostic sounding title was not reflective of the material inside that book). One interesting thing I found in Harper Collins' description of the book was the statement "dining expert Steven A. Shaw proves that you don't have to be Asian to enjoy a VIP experience". But, after the sturm und drang of the sushi etiquette thread, I'm curious if it will prove to readers that you don't have to be Asian to write such a book. I'm sure that there will be some readers who will believe that such a book will not be 'authentic' because Steve is not Asian, but we won't know how big of an effect it will be until the book is released.
  15. Maybe, not Wal-Mart, because things are generally more expensive at a Farmers Market than grocery stores, while Wal-Mart's focus is on reducing price. But, I'd think you'd see greater overlap for customer base between a Target super store and a Farmer's Market. As NVNGirl has pointed out, the stuff at a farmer's market oftentimes isn't even that great a lot of times. Its surprising to me all the times I've found better produce at a local grocery store at cheaper prices than at my Farmer's Market. So, if prices are higher at a Farmer's Market and the stuff isn't necessairly even better, then why do people shop at a Farmer's Market? To make them feel good about themselves when they buy at a Farmer's Market. Given Target's commitment with local communities, consumers could also feel good about themsleves if they bought from Target.
  16. Another etiquette question: When you sit down at the sushi bar and the sushi chef starts serving you, what is the proper way to extract yourself from that sushi chef and request the sushi skills of another sushi chef? The last couple of times I've gone to sit in front of the sushi bar, it seems I've gotten stuck with the B team, or in my last visit, with the C team. Is there a certain position or seat to sit at where you'll be assured of being served by the head sushi guy? Well, there can be no proper way. Some people are blunt while others are more tactful. For example, the latter people may start asking what are in season. ← After you ask what's in season, what else do you say? I tried asking what was in season, and the sushi guy started reeling off what was listed on the board which really wasn't much help.
  17. mcohen


    I don't buy farmed fish. ← Isn't Costco's salmon farmed?
  18. Perhaps, since you already knew how to cook those dishes, you might have unconsciously made course corrections when you tried those recipes and didn't necessairly follow the recipes as laid out by Bourdain? I don't think the reviewer had an issue with it being bistro cooking vs. haute cooking. In the review, she writes: If Bourdain had followed traditional time-tested recipes that produced dishes that worked, I don't think the reviewer would have had any issue with that. Its when Bourdain deviates from those traditional recipes, with bad dishes as a result, that the reviewer takes issue with the recipes.
  19. Recently, the LA Times has allowed their archives to become available to the public for free. Before, when you clicked on these links, you couldn't read the articles without paying a fee. So, I've decided to bump up this thread in case people in the past might have skipped some of the earlier links because they didn't want to read them. But, one thing I've noticed reading through some of the older links is how much stronger the LA Times food section used to be which is a microcosm of what's happening to the Times. The newspaper industry has been hit really hard in the past few years by the loss of advertising revenue, and the newspaper industry has responded by massive layoffs which is taking a toll on the quality of these newspapers.
  20. At the beginning of salmon season, prices always start off exorbitantly high before dropping off as the season progresses. Is the salmon in the beginning of the season better? Sigh... Why does it seem Seattle has basically cornered the market on fresh, high quality CR salmon? I could understand if CR salmon was local to Seattle, but the CR salmon has to get shipped from Alaska to Seattle just like it would need to get shipped to Southern California. The real distance is from Alaska to Seattle, and its not like Southern California is not that much further from Seattle.
  21. Why? In his books, Bourdain has admitted he was never much of chef. And, Les Halles is something of a culinary joke to my french friends living in america. I'm not sure how much I'm allowed to write since Bourdain is evidently a member here, so I'll just quote the LA Times which reviewed and tested the recipes in the cookbook: http://articles.latimes.com/2004/oct/20/food/fo-watch20 According to this reviewer, only one recipe really worked as the reviewer ripped apart Bourdain's techniques and recipes: If Bourdain wasn't a member here, would people here so highly regard his cookbook?
  22. I'm surprised nobody has mentioned it, but you seem Cook's Illustrated is what you're looking for. You mention how you did all those experiments on roast chicken, and that's exactly what CI does- it does variations and different techniques until it gets the 'best' recipe. It'll stuff vs. unstuff, and explain why they chose one technique over the other- CI will say that one technique left the chicken too dry or that all that work produced neglible results.
  23. I also mentioned the author Trevor Corson as well, whom you had earlier mocked for his lack of credentials to write a book about sushi. Corson lived in Japan for three years and studied Buddhism; Barbara Tropp lived in Taiwan for two years and studied Chinese poetry. I don't really see a difference where you allow certain authors to write about a foreign cuisine because they lived in that country and studied that cuisine extensively and not Corson? Did Corson not live in Japan and learn to read and write Japanese? Did Corson not study sushi extensively?
  24. I wonder if the show has finally jumped the shark with this last competitor from The Red Pearl Kitchen; it seems the show has lost all standards by allowing a chef of that poor caliber into Kitchen Stadium. I want to see some of the best, talented chefs competing on the show, not a chef from the Asian equivalent of Les Halles. Yes, there were shows with Rachel Ray and Paula Dean, but those shows were clearly publicity stunts and not real culinary competition. I lost a lot of respect for Ruhlman, whom I previously admired for his books, when he made some rather unncessarily acrebic comments about Donatella in his blog after The Next Iron Chef show that I felt was a bit too misogynistic for my tastes.
  25. When you're buying wild salmon, how do you really know if its Copper River or not? I've been buying some sockeye salmon in SoCal that, from the color of the skin, I know that it was not farm raised. But, when I'm paying a premium not just for wild, but for Copper River, salmon, how do I know I'm not getting ripped off where the fish monger is selling me wild salmon that is not necessairly from the Copper River? It just occured to me, but isn't the season for Copper River salmon already over?
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