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Everything posted by Dianabanana

  1. They were giving away the carcasses (head and spine) of troll-caught king salmon at the fish truck just now, so I got one. There's a lot of meat left on it, too. Conventional wisdom seems to be that salmon stock is too strong for anything other than, say, salmon chowder. Agree or disagree? What else could I do with this?
  2. Yes! That is exactly what I'm talking about. He is holding his upside down, but my idea would be to raise the wire to the desired height of your bowl, heat it up, then keep the feet of the leveler on the counter while dragging it across the bowl so that it would be a perfectly flat cut.
  3. Just poking my head in here where I don't belong--I know nothing about working with chocolate but enjoy admiring your beautiful work. For the rims of the bowls, would it work to use a wire cake leveler?
  4. Yeah, that's what I was afraid of. Thanks for doing the experiment!
  5. Do the chickens need tending every day? We spend about two weekends a month away from home, and I am wondering if it would be possible to leave them with a supply of food and water, or if I would have to arrange for someone to come look in on them. I have wanted chickens for years and this thread has got me thinking about it again!
  6. I was enchanted by all the aprons I saw in the department stores in Tokyo, and one of my two aprons came from there. The other is a cute 1940s pink-flowered apron. I would love to have a whole wardrobe of aprons, but my kitchen is already crammed to capacity.
  7. I agree, Jean Stapleton would have been perfect. You know who else? Assuming she can act--Susan Boyle! After I read Julie and Julia, I did some internet sleuthing and for a while was following the author's personal life, which seemed to have fallen apart after all the publicity surrounding the book died down. I suppose she will be making boatloads of money from the movie now, and thrust back in the public eye. It must be a strange life.
  8. I know that freezing tofu makes the texture crumbly, but does it do that if the tofu is fried already? Could I buy a bag of fried tofu and keep it in the freezer?
  9. I absolutely would go, especially if it were open late and welcomed the casually dressed diner. It happens all the time that we are out and about in the evening and would like to stop somewhere for a really nice dessert before heading home. At that hour, the only options are 1) a coffee shop with its mediocre desserts, or 2) a nice restaurant, which just seems kind of daunting for some reason--it takes too long, for one thing, and I feel bad spending so little, for another.
  10. Good lord, if you can't find something you like to eat in Japan, then . . . well, I don't know what. That is crazy. Japan has the best of everything, as far as I could tell! Prasantrin, you must be a saint.
  11. Dianabanana

    Dried shrimp

    Thanks, I will definitely toss these. They are shelled and in one of those thick plastic bags that is kind of like a pillow--don't know if that qualifies as vacuum sealed but am not inclined to take chances-- just reading about all the different kinds of molds has made me feel a lot less frugal! Actually maybe I'll hold on to them until I get a fresh bag and do a sniff test comparo just for fun.
  12. Dianabanana

    Dried shrimp

    Once again betrayed by my faulty memory, I have just discovered that my "recently purchased" bag of dried shrimp was in fact purchased about a year ago. It's been in the refrigerator, unopened, the whole time. There is no expiry date or mfr date on the package. Are they still good? And how exactly would this item go bad? Does the flavor change, even if it's still safe to eat? For future reference, what is the optimal shelf life?
  13. You know who the prime demographic for this is, right? I had a great conversation in Whole Foods this winter, standing in front of the Batter Blaster display with a very stoned young man who was extolling the aaaawwwwwesooommmme merits of this product at great, enthusiastic length.
  14. Thank you for the explanation. I'll try adding more next time. I have one more question. Is "jook" pronounced more like "book" or "juke"?
  15. I'm sorry, my question wasn't very clear. After the marination, the fish was just added to the congee, which is what confused me. I mean, the congee doesn't need to be thickened and it seemed that the cornstarch would have just rinsed off in the liquid so I can't see what it was doing for the fish. And such a very small amount, too. I have to say it was one of the most delicious things ever, even if I don't understand it!
  16. I suspect that what I'm about to ask is painfully basic for those knowledgeable in Chinese cooking, but here goes. I just made a fish congee, the recipe for which directed that the fish be marinated with salt, pepper, a dash of sesame oil and a pinch of cornstarch. What is the function of the cornstarch here?
  17. Reporting back: They were perfectly fine and in fact I think this was the best way I've ever prepared them! I made a batter of 3/4 c AP flour, 1 T baking powder, 5 oz water, and 1 T canola oil, then deep fried them and sprinkled them with Szechuan salt made by dry roasting 1 t ground Szechuan peppercorns with 2 t salt. Super light and crunchy and a really great combination of flavors. Great idea, Peter, this will make an excellent starter for my egomaniacal dinner! I did get the idea from Eileen Yin-Fei Lo but I bastardized her recipe (it's supposed to have five-spice powder in it) so I think that's sufficient ground to attach my name to it, don't you?
  18. Is that what a wet pig smells like? I probably would have encountered my first wet pig and gone "Ew, smells like a pastry brush!" What a gagging smell that is. I thought it was due to some nefarious chemical sorcery in a Chinese pastry brush factory.
  19. Mr. Dianabanana is on his way home from Seattle, having purchased two dozen oysters last night, and having forgotten to open the plastic bag they came in so they won't suffocate. At this point they have been in the bag (refrigerated, of course) for about 15 hours. I just talked to him and he is pulling over to open the bag now. Should I bother to go shopping for an oyster-centered meal tonight? Or will they be D.O.A.?
  20. Oh, great. I just stocked up on nuts at TJ's. First I had to throw out an unopened bag of pistachios due to the salmonella scare, and now I'm afraid to eat my pine nuts. I got the big bag of them, too!
  21. Although my first instinct is to advise you to dump him, I will say that my husband was not the most adventurous eater when I first met him, having been raised in a household where a 4-oz can of corn split between 5 people was regularly the "vegetable," when there even was one--otherwise it was just baked chicken and rice, steak and rice, ham and rice, etc.. Every time he told me he didn't like something (soup! ::roll eyes:: green beans, etc.) I said "That's ridiculous! You just haven't had it prepared well," and proceeded to make and serve it anyway. Twenty years later, he is a very adventurous eater--when we encounter something we've never heard of on a menu, he's often the first to say "well, we have to have that!" and is only too willing to spend money we don't have eating at nice restaurants. BUT--his problem was never that he didn't care about food, just that he had very limited horizons and a squeamish palate. He was willing to go along with my insistence that he should be able to enjoy almost everything the food world had to offer. I suggest you give this guy a brief trial to see if he is willing to be led. If not, then you really should think about moving on. If you are here on this site, then food is obviously very important to you, and you will bump up against this issue three times a day for the rest of your life. Why not make those three times a day a pleasure instead of a struggle? As for my pet peeve: My husband never remembers what he ate! Like, if I am reminiscing about some great meal we once had, he just has a blank look. Or if I make something once, then make it again a few months later, he has no recollection that he's ever had it before. Or if I say, "Want to have [ethnic dish] tonight?" he will have no idea what I'm talking about, even if it is something he loves. And if I ask him what he wants to have, he will usually name whatever we had at the last meal! I shouldn't complain--he happily eats anything I make and is lavish with praise, but I just wish it was as important to him as it is to me. Lately he has been having cravings for sushi and dim sum and insisting that we go out for those things, and I can't tell you how happy it makes me!
  22. Dianabanana

    [blank] Diane

    I do! Fabulous--thanks everyone! I never knew there were so many. Emilyr, how were those grapes served?
  23. I recently discovered the existence of Gateau Diane (sort of like a chocolate pavlova). And then of course we have Steak Diane. Suppose I wanted to cook an eponymous meal--what else could I make? In a fit of egocentricity, I poked around on Google but couldn't be sure if what I saw was actually a standard dish that I've just never heard of, or something that only one family happens to call ___ Diane. I'm looking only for widely recognized dishes. Can you think of any others?
  24. Dianabanana

    Freezing wine?

    I know--it's not that it's strictly verboten, it's that drinking a whole glass of it exacerbates my existing symptoms. I don't think it's the alcohol, because beer and spirits aren't nearly as bad. When used in cooking, the quantity of wine consumed is small enough that it's not a problem. But thank you, I appreciate the tip.
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