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Posts posted by Dianabanana

  1. I live inland and buy a lot of frozen sides of wild Alaskan sockeye. Some brands are labeled with a designation of the specific area in which the salmon was caught, others are not (I forget the exact language but it's rather technical, not just "Copper River" or whatever. More like "section 18, block 42."). Are both equally legit? Why the difference?

    I'm not sure about the "section 18" thing, but branded salmon is definitely picking up steam, mostly because fishermen in other areas see the prices the Copper River guys get and want to get in on the action. A lot of this is dealt with at the processor stage, but the way these programs usually work is that the branding organization comes up with handling standards that boats that want in have to conform to. That's different than how a specific company, like Icicle or Peter Pan or whoever, might label their products.

    Well, the thing I'm talking about (and I'm sorry I can't give a specific example as I don't have any on hand) doesn't seem to be used for marketing all--it's just a bit of technical info printed on the vacuum bag, very unobtrusive, and looks like the kind of info that would be there because it's legally required--except not all brands have it. But I take it from your answer that there are no labeling requirements other than country of origin?

  2. I live inland and buy a lot of frozen sides of wild Alaskan sockeye. Some brands are labeled with a designation of the specific area in which the salmon was caught, others are not (I forget the exact language but it's rather technical, not just "Copper River" or whatever. More like "section 18, block 42."). Are both equally legit? Why the difference?

  3. This is caused by Deep Pectoral Myopathy, or Green Muscle Disease--basically, necrosis. It's a direct result of the overbreeding of meat birds for oversize breasts. When the bird tries to flap its wings like a normal chicken, this condition results. Recommended management of the condition boils down to "minimizing unnecessary wing activity." I've encountered it twice, both times in grocery store chickens. Here is a very good explanation of the condition and what causes it: http://www.zootecnicainternational.com/article-archive/veterinary/63-green-muscle-disease.html

  4. I'm sorry I missed your post until now, Linda. I made this again last night and used Arborio, which, I agree, too starchy. In fact I'm sitting here eating leftovers and it's even starchier and creamier than last night. The first time I made it--and I hope you're sitting down, because it's shocking heresy, although we've already established that I can't plan ahead so you shouldn't be too shocked--I used regular old Tamanishiki koshihikari, because I always have a huge sack of that. I liked it a lot better than Arborio, but if I have a sudden change of personality perhaps I'll buy some proper Spanish rice in time to make this the next time, and see how it's supposed to be done.

    My husband loves this dish as much as I do, specifically requested it last night, then volunteered to make a run for tomatoes in the howling blizzard when I discovered we were out. :)

  5. Huh. I've had a chest freezer in my uninsulated, unheated, detached garage for 10 years. Every year it gets down to at least 5°F, and occasionally much lower. I've never had a problem. It's from Sears but it's not any kind of fancy "garage freezer."

  6. My mom has had a poached egg for breakfast every day for as long as I can remember. After trying this, she e-mailed me her report: "I can't believe people go through all these machinations to poach eggs when a perfect poached egg is so easy!" She likes the doneness at four minutes (straight from the fridge, I suspect).

  7. I just tried this for lunch and it was brilliant. The eggs were laid not an hour ago so still pretty warm despite the winter weather. I like the yolks thickish, so I went for four minutes anyway and they came out picture perfect. There are going to be a lot more poached eggs on the menu henceforth!

  8. Regarding the recipe for Arròs amb Capetes de Totero that LindaK posted upthread: OMFG. So good. And so good with a sauvignon blanc. And did not require any forethought! I love salt cod so much but fail at planning ahead. I'm so happy to have discovered this dish. Thank you, Linda!

  9. We had an early lunch at a little Indian/Nepalese place last week. I satisfied my craving for poori, potato masala, and a cup of chai, and my husband had some kind of Nepalese vegetable curry, and a Nepalese spinach salad with roasted soybeans. Now I have questions.

    1) The spinach salad was like cooked spinach wrung very dry, with (according to the menu) roasted chopped soybeans on top. To me these tasted almost exactly like wasabi peas, except not as pungent and not lurid green (they were regular tan soybean color). Definitely a horseradish type of flavor. What was it, and is this common in Nepalese food?

    2) Both my chai and my husband's curry had a delicious, elusive smoky flavor. And please note that I have a horror of most smoke flavors added to food. These things tasted like they were prepared over a high-mountain campfire, but this restaurant was tiny and in a basement and I'm very sure that the only flames in there were from a gas range. And anyway, how would that flavor get into chai or a curry in which nothing was roasted? It had to be some ingredient they were using. I bought some Tao of Tea "Pine Smoked Black" tea and added it to chai in an effort to recreate the flavor, and it's similar, but very crude in comparison to the delicate smoke flavor at the restaurant.

    Yes I am kicking myself for not asking while I was there . . . I could call but thought I'd ask you guys first.

  10. I don't know what sort of bumblebee you bought but the stuff I buy for sandwich salad ain't like that. I get a can that is pretty much solid tuna. Admittedly it isn't like the good stuff from Europe but its not cat food either. I think its labelled something like "chunk" or "solid" tuna.

    Huh. Well I know it was "light" tuna. But I wonder if it was not "chunk" tuna. I wish I had taken a picture of it, it was truly astounding.

    ETA: I just checked their web site and their three categories are "solid," "chunk," and "prime filet." I'm guessing that what you buy must be the "solid" and the crap I got was the "chunk."

  11. Oh boy. I normally buy this Fishing Vessel St. Jude tuna, packed in olive oil. It's a beautiful big chunk of solid tuna. Before that I had stopped eating tuna for many years, so all in all it's been about 20 years since I bought a can of Bumble Bee/StarKist tuna.

    Then this summer we were at the beach with only a rudimentary grocery store available to us, and I picked up a couple cans of Bumble Bee. I just could not believe my eyes. It was like the scrapings off the tuna factory floor. Pulverized tuna sludge suspended in salt water. When I drained it, there were only a couple of tablespoons in each can. It was almost entirely water! And it smelled like cat food. It's incredible that both the St Jude and this stuff are ostensibly the same product. I can't believe enough people are buying this crap that it continues to find a place on the shelves.

  12. Wait. What? So there is no straining? The coffee looks like it's really super finely ground, though. Do you feel the grinds in your mouth when you drink it? Or is it more like sludge?

    ETA: Something interesting--the newish Starbucks Via instant coffee lists its ingredients as "instant and microground coffee." So I guess they are doing something similar to this, really!

  13. Hmm. I bought a new bag of popcorn and will try again and report back. I will say that the caramel popcorn that I made with the first batch (the stove-popped) got chewy really quickly, even though it was fine to begin with. So maybe it was the corn.

    Part of my motivation for buying the popper was the idea that I could crank out more popcorn all at once, rather than having to make successive batches on the stove. But once I got it home I discovered that you're supposed to let it cool for 15 minutes in between batches. Well, I made four in a row anyway and it didn't burst into flame, but I wonder if I'm going to kill it in the short run by doing that.

  14. I've been making this every year for the last . . . five years? I always make the popcorn in a pot on the stove the old-fashioned way. This year I thought perhaps the rest of the world knew something I don't, so I went out and bought an air popper.

    The popcorn that came out of it was inedibly tough and chewy. I had just used some of the same container of popcorn in a pot and it came out fine. Is this just how air poppers are?

  15. The only time I have come across non-rinsing was in a book of 'life on the ranch' tales: two cowhands were sharing quarters and one insisted on doing the cooking, but burned and ruined everything. In revenge, the other (who had to do the washing up) deliberately didn't rinse the plates the 'cook' was eating off. The cook got sick and soon changed his ways.

    As a teenager I worked in the kitchen of a ranch in Montana. One of the hands, an intimidatingly gruff Vietnam vet, was absolutely adamant that we never, ever wash his coffee mug but only rinse it well in hot water. Within days of starting I accidentally plunged it into the dishwater before I realized what I was doing. I was too afraid to confess what I'd done and secretly thought he'd never know anyway, so I rinsed it well and carried on.

    Next morning he sat at the head of the long wooden kitchen table, I handed him his mug of coffee, and watched out of the corner of my eye as he took one sip, screwed up his face in a grimace of disgust, and bellowed "WHO WASHED MY MUG?"

    Thirty years later, I'm just as sensitive as he was. It's not so much a matter of intestinal distress for me as it is the fact that most dish detergents are heavily scented and the residue ruins the food. I think people must get used to the taste of their own detergent. I was served oatmeal at the house of a friend who really is quite a good cook, but I could hardly choke it down because it tasted so strongly of Dawn. I myself will use only the unscented "eco" type dishwashing liquids.

  16. I thought we had an earlier thread on this--specifically about non-rinsers in England? I can't find it now, though. Well, regardless, I have heard somewhere that this practice is especially common in England. I find it horrifying. It's not just that the soap is left on there, but so is everything else that's dissolved in the wash water. I have to say that in my experience, most people are very lazy rinsers, doing nothing more than waving the item once under the running water. A symbolic gesture at most.

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