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Katie Meadow

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  1. Katie Meadow

    Shrimp and Grits

    Yep, there's nothing that spatters more than frying up a slab of leftover grits. I've taken to simply using a stainless cover, just cracked open a hair. Also taking the skillet off the heat when you flip helps a little, but I agree that being quick about is an asset. But that's my favorite breakfast, fried up very crisp and served with an extra bit of finishing salt and a puddle of Crystal Louisiana hot sauce. Never gets old.
  2. Katie Meadow

    Shrimp and Grits

    Ouch. There's so much conflicting information from what you might think are reputable sources on the differences between grits and polenta. Without claiming any expertise, here's what I know after some frustrating research some years ago: Once those clever people in Mexico figured out how to nixtamalize corn, it caught on in the south, and grits were typically made from what is called "dent" or nixtamalized corn. It can be white or yellow corn or even other colors. Polenta, which was an Italian form of cornmeal mush, was made from "field corn" and not nixtamalized. The grind, whether coarse, medium, fine or extra fine may be a matter or preference, as noted above, in northern and southern Italy, There is certainly some variety in the grind of southern grits. Maybe different stones grind differently. Maybe once upon a time you could take your corn to the mill and ask for it to be ground however you wanted. To overgeneralize, I get the sense that the polenta preferred by Italians in America is often a finer grind than southern grits. I like my grits toward the coarser end of the spectrum, which usually means that ithey need almost an hour to cook properly. I like white grits a little more and my husband prefers yellow, so I buy both and we switch off. Variety is good! I do think they taste a little different, but then lots of factors are in play there, some cultural and some psychological as with any subtle judgements. Personally I get the sense that there is a snootiness factor about white corn, which may have originated from any number of truths or half-truths. Maybe white corn was more expensive and more temperamental to grow, and therefore gained value.. Maybe it was just more white. Maybe it tastes a little more delicate or "refined." I'm not really sure, and I happily eat both. Jump in, anyone with an opinion about this. I've bought grits from a variety of mail order sources. Mostly they say nothing about what kind of corn they use or whether it has been nixtamalized, so I don't assume anything, but I simply go for whatever seems to be the freshest and best quality and tastes great. I do think the flavor and texture of stone ground grits from a reputable mill has a more dynamic taste that the Italian imported polenta that you get in a box. Much as I love many of Bob's products, their labelling can be very confusing. Their Corn Grits look yellow, so why don't they label them Yellow Corn Grits to distinguish them clearly from their White Corn Grits? And are there grits that are not made from corn? Get it together, Bob. I like Bob's cornmeal though, for making corn bread as it is kind of a medium grind and kind of toothy. Geechie Boy Mill, where I order my grits, is now selling blue grits. I haven't tried it.
  3. Katie Meadow

    Cooking with Deep Run Roots by Vivian Howard

    I wasn't thinking of those obsessive folks who bite through poultry bones and suck out the marrow, but the bones that are left after most people simply eat the meat off them have plenty of stuff left to contribute to a stock pot.
  4. Katie Meadow

    Cooking with Deep Run Roots by Vivian Howard

    So when you make stock from a turkey or chicken carcass do you save any of the bones that were gnawed on like wings or leg bones? Just asking.
  5. Katie Meadow

    eG Cook-Off 55: Shrimp & Grits

    I agree that there's a lot of sugar in that Mr B's recipe. That would make it very different from most shrimp and grits, which tend to rely more on tangy tomato based sauce, although a case could be made for adding a bit of cream to a winter sauce. I also question the bacon wrapping. Since shrimp cooks so quickly it seems like there would be no way to get the bacon cooked, let alone crisp, without the end result being very rubbery overcooked shrimp, and overcooked shrimp is the bane of any shrimp and grits recipe. I like using butter to cook the shrimp, but if you want bacon flavor why not just fry up the bacon, then cook the shrimp in bacon fat, adding back in the crumbled bacon to the sauce toward the end? And I certainly agree with Heidi that cooking shrimp sous vide seems counter-productive, but admittedly I know zero about sous vide anything. In the time it takes to get out your equipment you could cook the shrimp in a skillet in about 3 minutes. Then you could use the same skillet, without washing it, to make the sauce. Shrimp and grits is one of the most flexible meals on earth; there are a million recipes out there. When it is made in the summer with lovely ripe tomatoes (my favorite!) it is lighter and zippier than when made in winter with canned tomatoes, which would be a richer, longer cooked sauce. For sauce, winter or summer, shrimp and grits can benefit from the addition of shrimp stock, which is just summering the heads and shells for 20 minutes. I often omit this in summer, when I have great tomatoes and barely cook them. I like to simply saute the shrimp with paprika and other cajun or creole spices in butter, removing them when they are just done, then adding them back to whatever the sauce is at the very end. Some cooks are relentless when it comes to adding cheese to grits. Sometimes I like moderately cheesy grits, but not for shrimp and grits. I eat a lot of grits. My best advice is to buy the freshest stone ground grits, which typically means mail ordering them unless you live in the South. there is a thread somewhere with recommendations for various suppliers of artisanal grits, and to my taste buds it's worth it.
  6. Finally....great tomatoes and excellent corn! We usually alternate weeks at the Berkeley farmers' market with weeks at the Temescal market. Both are good; most of my favorite vendors are at the Saturday Berkeley market, but Temescal is closer and easier parking these days. Berkeley has a vendor with smoked fish. The smoked black cod is to die for and the price will also kill you. Berkeley also has more and better varieties of tomatoes. Later in the season there is one vendor there with a great selection of fresh shelling beans and fresh red espellette peppers, For some reason the pepper seeds are getting hotter every year, and last year the peppers were some of the hottest I've ever eaten, not necessarily a good thing, but remarkable. Chicken baked with tomatoes and those peppers is pretty outstanding. Sunday evening we had my very favorite summer meal: Greek salads with tomatoes, Japanese cucumbers, oil cured black olives and Fresh feta, corn on the cob and fresh baguette served with butter and paper thin slices of jambon. And for dessert? Cherries. This has been a good year for them. And this morning for breakfast? I'm looking forward to my first peach of the year. Oh, and the one last ear of corn left....
  7. Katie Meadow

    Chocolate brands - What's good and bad?

    For baking I really do like Valrhona unsweetened cocoa. Admittedly it isn't cheap. However, if you want some plain bittersweet chocolate for eating--or for multipurpses-- Valrhona bars of 71 percent can be had for a very good deal from Trader Joe's, and I think it's excellent.
  8. Katie Meadow

    Trader Joe's Products (2017–)

    One, three, buckle my knees. Those croissants look pretty good. Meanwhile I've made a new discovery: TJ's dark chocolate peanut butter cups. I'm not a fan of Reeses: both the milk chocolate and the filling seem awfully plasticky, and really I just can't stand milk chocolate. The TJ's variety are thankfully quite small. The PB filling would be better if it was a bit less sweet, but the chocolate is good and dark, and I admit, I am addicted.
  9. Katie Meadow

    Dinner 2018 (Part 1)

    You and your god damned clams and lobsters. I would kill for a bucket of freshly dug littlenecks. That's my childhood summer.
  10. Can't handle negative thoughts? Check back in when you're 64!
  11. Katie Meadow

    Crawfish boils

    Being a lover of Viet food I have faith that the Vietnamese can turn something very good into something different but equally good. If enough people like it maybe it will stick and keep evolving. Lots of good sandwiches can be made with a baguette, but the Banh Mi is way up there at the top of the list. One of the most interesting sandwiches I had in NOLA was a Po' boy-Banh Mi crossover. The possibilities are endless, starting with fried oyster banh mi or maybe lemongrass shrimp po' boy. I can't remember exactly what was in the one I had, but sitting outside with a drippy sandwich and an alcoholic coffee drink was a stellar way to watch street musicians in the French Quarter. There are some great Asian soups that combine tomatoes, pineapple and prawns, so who knows, a Vietnamese crawfish boil could be really good. Hawaiian pizza isn't going away, that's for sure.
  12. There are loads of restaurants that are "institutions" and famous for a uniqueness that can't be separated from an atmosphere or a time or a neighborhood. Sometimes they hang on just out of nostalgia, if nothing else and if enough people still go. Another such institution in the Mission in SF was Roosevelt Tamale Parlor. The food was dreadful and it was always crowded; I believe it has been revamped, but when I first went there 40 years ago it was already a time warp. It isn't so different from finding the foods of our childhood still comforting. The Chinese restaurants that were our typical Sunday dinner on the Upper West Side of NY in the fifties and sixties were not places I would go out of my way to eat now, but I'm happy they were there. Sam Wo's was never known as a place for gourmet food. It was economical and accessible and may even have seemed exotic once upon a time to white people who didn't come to Chinatown very often.
  13. Katie Meadow

    Pink Himalayan Sea Salt

    I use Diamond Crystal Kosher for all cooking and use Maldon or grey salt for finishing. Recently I tasted Morton's Kosher salt and it is pretty different from Diamond. The Morton's is small grain, not as flaky and on the tongue it tastes peculiar.
  14. Katie Meadow

    Fish and Cheese Pairings

    Mostly I am not fond of fish and cheese together. Smoked fish is a bit different, as in the above mentioned lox and cream cheese. I will never turn that down; I was weaned on it. I was recently at a lunch where a smoked trout was served alongside another platter with a manchego, but they were eaten separately, not paired; both were very good, but together it would have been a salt lick. A classic example of fish and cheese would be a tuna melt, no? I used to find that unappealing, but have to admit that if I make it myself I really enjoy it. Other seafood like shrimp and lobster might be more forgiving. Lobster mac n cheese seems to be big these days. I frequent a Mexican place that serves a great crispy shrimp taco which has some melted cheese down at the fold. In Italian food I'm not so keen; I never liked shrimp / cheese risotto, and don't like grated cheese on a dish of shrimp and pasta. Clams Casino has always seemed like a terrible idea. I grew up in a household definitely biased against New England clam chowder in favor of Manhattan style. When it comes to clams, it must be a dairy-free zone.
  15. Katie Meadow

    Freezing your Anson Mills

    Yes best price so far: I added it to my list above
  16. Katie Meadow

    Hand-held citrus juicers

    I'm going to try my garlic press first and work my way up.
  17. Katie Meadow

    Freezing your Anson Mills

    Just out of curiosity I checked prices. I didn't compare shipping . Amazon prime of course is no shipping cost. Delta Grind / yellow grits only 2 lbs $8.00 Anson Mills / coarse antebellum white grits 12 oz $5.95 Geechie Boy direct ship from Edisto Is./ white grits or yellow 1.5 lbs $5.95 Geechie Boy Amazon Prime / same 1.5 lbs $13 Carolina Plantation / yellow or white 2lbs $5.95
  18. Katie Meadow

    Hand-held citrus juicers

    Actually I have a potato ricer. Right you are, I'll try that first! It so happens that I had a spinach gratin planned for tomorrow.
  19. Katie Meadow

    Hand-held citrus juicers

    Pathetic way to market a squeezer with the citrus upside down. If you didn't know better you might be pretty disgusted by the product. I have two beautiful squeezers that I bought a zillion years ago in a market in Mexico---I'd never seen that type before. They are really hard durable plastic and the colors are snappy yellow and snappy green, and best sized for smaller limes. Honestly I have never found a more effective tool for juicing a couple of lemons or oranges than an old fashioned wooden reamer.. Yeah, you do have to strain out the seeds, but the quantity of juice you get is astounding. Anna, you are brilliant. I'm going to use my Mexican squeezer for spinach, although I suspect that I will then want a bigger size. Personally I like my spinach right side up.
  20. Okay, clarify for me please: I always think of Yorkshire pudding as being made with beef drippings or tallow or some kind of meat fat. If you make it with butter is it still Yorkshire pudding? I think of that basic recipe made with butter as popovers, which I love. Dutch Baby never did much for me, but then I've always thought of it (perhaps incorrectly) as just a giant pancake, and I'm less inclined toward sweets at breakfast or pancakes for dessert. I can certainly see eating 'batter pudding"for breakfast either way, as ingredients or preference dictates. I don't cook roasts or much beef at all, so my drippings are limited, but I consider real Yorkshire pudding a treat. Although I might not want to put jam on my pudding if it was made with beef fat, but you never know. And anyone with children knows that most of them will put sugar on just about anything, given half a chance. My husband puts jam or marmalade on his popovers, but I like them just plain for breakfast. I can easily imagine that leftover Yorkshire pudding would be adapted to the use of of sugar or syrup or jam; after all you make the best of what you've got, and you dress it up however it pleases.
  21. Katie Meadow

    Freezing your Anson Mills

    I buy my grits from Geechie Boy Mill on Edisto Island. Delicious and not so pricey as Anson Mills. I freeze my grits. Geechie Boy doesn't sell the range of products that Anson Mills does, but they have added rice, sea island peas, blue popcorn and some other products. It never occurred to me to freeze popcorn, but that's interesting. We buy popcorn in smallish amounts and it doesn't sit around too long.
  22. Katie Meadow

    Cooking with Grains

    You? I would not be shocked. But then, the various ways in which people spend money--or won't spend it--rarely amazes any more.
  23. I'm not sure why I find it so funny that the ingredients include natural smoke flavoring, and then, just to reassure us, not-so-natural smoke flavoring. Not that I understand how natural smoke flavoring gets into the can. Maybe they just set fire to a pile of sodium and turn a fan in the direction of the canning room.
  24. Katie Meadow

    A Hobbit in New Orleans

    Another fan of Cochon. That was my favorite meal in NOLA. It was a late dinner, Wish I could remember what kind of fish I had, but it was the best fish ever. Redfish? One fish, two fish, redfish, bluefish. Grilled, simple. Everything else was really good too, but it's a blur three years later. Hope you got a chance to go to the Backstreet Cultural Museum in Treme. Really amazing. Also memorable, but maybe because it was so murderously hot, was Erin Rose bar in the French Quarter. They have an alcoholic coffee milkshake, sort of like an alcoholic version of Vietnamese iced coffee. But of course you have to like coffee milkshakes to begin with. Also very interesting to me were crossover sandwiches that were part po' boy and part banh mi.
  25. Katie Meadow

    Cold Noodles In Sesame Sauce

    I find the inclusion of both peanut butter and sesame to be a little strange. For making Chinese dishes I find these following two products far more satisfying than plain peanut butter and middle eastern tahini: One is Jade brand sichuan peanut sauce. It is a bit spicy, is halfway between a smooth and a chunky style and is extremely versatile. When it comes to sesame flavor in Chinese food I find that Chinese brands of sesame paste are better than tahini. The Jade brand sauces are available from most large markets that have a variety of ethnic condiments. Sesame paste is available at most Asian markets. The NYT recipe for take out noodles benefits greatly from the use of these two substitutions. Personally I like to make either a peanut sauce sauce noodles or a sesame sauce noodles instead of combining both. But I do agree with Smitten Kitchen that thinning out the sauce is a good way to go. Use a little less gloppy peanut product or sesame product and up the soy, vinegar, chicken broth or whatever.