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Everything posted by Dianabanana

  1. Beard Papa gets two thumbs down from me, too. I wish I could remember the brand of cream puff I had in Tokyo that was so awesome. It was in one of the big subway stations and by the end of the trip we were so addicted that we were taking half-hour subway rides just to get more cream puffs. WAY better than Beard Papa.
  2. I think the only reasonable way to interpret the topic of this thread is "things that YOU would be crazy not to make yourself," not "things that OTHERS would be crazy not to make for themselves." Because of course it all depends on one's skill, funds, and free time. Seen in that light, I don't think the topic is silly at all.
  3. I haven't been active on eGullet for a while, and I haven't been bentoing either, but I was on a roll there for a while. Looks like a lot more of you have started making bentos since I was here last! Mr. Dianabanana has been demanding bentos again so I'm gearing up mentally and thought I'd start by sharing some photos with you of bentos past.
  4. Pies. I have never, ever had a pie from any bakery that is anywhere near as good as one I make at home.
  5. So naive am I, when I heard that they were changing their formula, I thought "Wow, it must be because Americans have been increasingly exposed to higher-quality pizza over the last 20 years and are losing their taste for such ridiculously sweet sauce." Sigh.
  6. Holy cow. I just assumed it would be comparable to All-Clad but didn't check the specs.
  7. I just took delivery of my new induction range, and now, in my usual back-assward fashion, am shopping for cookware that will work on it. I've read all the old EG threads on induction cookware but there are a lot of new induction-capable lines out now, including this Chantal Copper Fusion. Unfortunately no nearby retailer carries it, so I wonder if any of you have seen it. The three things that particularly appeal to me are the glass lids, the handles, and the weight. The handles look a lot more comfortable than the ones on the All-Clad Stainless Steel (the main contender so far), which kill my hands and wrists. Weight is a big issue for me because I'm a bit arthritic and have a bad back and find cast iron and enameled cast iron too heavy for everyday use. Has anybody seen this in real life? What do you think?
  8. I made brandied cherries once before, but they didn't turn out the way I'd hoped. I think it was just heavy syrup with some brandy added, but it seems like it should be really heavy syrup, like the syrup in amarena cherries. Or am I wrong?
  9. I am going to have a glut of sweet cherries from our tree starting this weekend, and I need ideas on what to do with them. I've tried lots of things in the past, but so far the highest, best use for them has been 1) simply canning them in light syrup, and 2) pickling them using the recipe for Russian Pickled Cherries from the Joy of Pickling. I really wish they were sour cherries; there are so many more things you can do with those. But they're not. Do you have any especially tasty recipes or ideas for what to do with them?
  10. I have found that any kind of bread, not just lean bread, goes stale in no time in those perforated bags. Much, much prefer a paper bag.
  11. Also, I have read that all commercial vinegar is pasteurized. So where is this coming from? If it's coming from my kitchen, it seems unlikely that the same diabolical contaminant could find its way into two bottles through the tiny little shaker slots in the caps. And just to clarify, it smelled and tasted absolutely horrid. I've tasted Dr. Bronner's and although the taste isn't as clear as normal vinegar, it's nothing like this.
  12. For the second time this year, I have discovered that a bottle of red wine vinegar in my cupboard has gone bad. The first time I unfortunately discovered it by tasting; this time, luckily, I smelled it first. Rotten. Truly disgusting. Both bottles had a big glob of dark, slimy fungus floating around in them. Now this cannot possibly be the "mother," can it? It's not all cobwebby like the stuff in Dr. Bronner's apple cider vinegar--it's dark and more "silty" looking. I have never heard of vinegar going bad and never experienced it before, so I am puzzled as to how this could happen twice in just a few months. These are just cheap grocery store brands--I think the first one was Four Monks and this one is Pompeiian. What do you make of this?
  13. Just what it says--I stored a big bottle of fish sauce in the fridge, not because I think it needs to be refrigerated but because it fits in there and doesn't on the pantry shelf, and the salt precipitated out. Lesson learned. I thought it would just dissolve back in if I shook the bottle, but it's been a couple of days of fooling around with it and there are still big chunks, like rock salt, in the bottom of the bottle. Worse, I'm in the middle of a big Vietnamese cooking bender and I need my fish sauce! What to do?
  14. Maybe Chinese black vinegar will never deteriorate, but that statement is simply not true of all vinegars. I just threw out a bottle of red wine vinegar that was absolutely rotten, and which had been perfectly fine several months ago. I've never had that happen before. It smelled awful, and like an idiot I tasted it because I just couldn't believe that vinegar could go bad. But it can. It can.
  15. I agree with all of the recommendations given here. The only thing I would add is that Lee Kum Kee products are very reliable and widely available--any Asian grocery will have a large selection. Their premium oyster sauce is widely considered to be the best in its category.
  16. I was in a couple of Asian markets this weekend and am wondering if what I saw was the same as your unlaid chicken eggs. They looked exactly like the ones in your soup, and came in shrink-wrapped packages of a dozen each, but they were not refrigerated. If they weren't unlaid eggs, what were they?
  17. Yes, but the corollary of this is that sometimes I am inexplicably awesome in the kitchen. When I'm on a bad streak, it's because of PMS/the laws of chance/Mercury in retrograde, but when I'm on an awesome streak, it's because of my superior talents.
  18. I have always thought of macaroni and cheese as an inexpensive main course, probably because it is always suggested as such in so many of the old housewifery manuals I've read.
  19. I agree with Lisa--if it is a bitter, seedy eggplant, no amount of salting will help. If you take care to choose a firm, glossy eggplant, you shouldn't have a problem with bitterness. I haven't salted in probably 20 years. Another thing I've noticed--there is hardly such a thing as an underripe eggplant. I'm exaggerating a little, of course, but I have noticed from my cold-climate experiments with growing them that even the ones that are nowhere near mature when the first frost hits taste perfectly fine.
  20. Sorry my post is a little confusing--I originally had it in the wrong place and it lost some context in the move. I had found a bunch of old EG posts indicating that people were buying cartons of just double-yolk eggs that are purposely sold as such. I've never seen that and was wondering if it's something you see more in Asian markets or what. That's what I meant by "where do you buy them?" (Because obviously, duh, I buy them at my farmer's market!)
  21. Dianabanana

    Lemon Balm

    Make a bunch of lemon balm-flavored simple syrup with it and you will find all kinds of uses for it--to flavor iced teas, fruit salads, paletas, etc. It's also very nice chiffonaded and added to green salads along with other herbs.
  22. New guy showed up at my farmer's market this week with a table full of eggs from pastured hens, so I bought some. So far I've eaten two, and both had double yolks. Which got me thinking . . . 1. Where do you buy them? 2. How are they produced? By identifying hens that only lay double eggs (which the EG Egg FAQ says some hens do) and packaging their eggs separately, or by candling bazillions of eggs and sorting out the doubles? or . . . 3. Is there some way to induce a hen to lay double-yolked eggs? 4. Is there any folklore surrounding double-yolk eggs? You know, like you crack open your egg for breakfast, find a double yolk, and say to yourself "Company's coming!" or some such. (Which actually would be the perfect thing, wouldn't it!)
  23. My f*****g GE gas range, which is such a source of agita to me that I can't even bring myself to expound on it here.
  24. Ha! I just read through this thread, the whole while thinking "I have a bottle of Chiangkang vinegar in the cupboard from a few years ago, I'm going to ask if it's still good." Get to the end and you beat me to it! Can't wait to hear the answer. If it makes any difference, mine has been opened but only a tiny bit used.
  25. WOW. I made a huge pot of salmon chowder with it, chock full of salmon. Fantastic, and it cost nothing! I can't get over it. There was as much salmon on that frame as there was in the fillet that I paid $21 for! I'm going to swing by there every week and try to get one of these. Why should I pay for food when I can get it for free? Edited to say no, there was actually a lot more salmon on that frame than in the fillet.
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