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  1. Is pair bistro still serving brunch? It used to be sundays last year. Moved away from Kits but it was my go to place for hangover sundays. Great prices and stellar (non-grease spoon) food. I recommend the crab cake eggs benedict or the french toast --quite possibly the best french toast I've had in the city. If you ask really nice they may make you a mushroom latte around noon if you are a mushroom junkie like me.
  2. I still may pay $ for a good one and tackle it. It just looks like a fun project. The misses is all over it --she loves crab, and there's no harm in keeping her happy. Maybe this weekend if I don't get bogged down with bike racing.
  3. Hola, Moved awfully close to china town a few weeks ago and I took a walk --found some good pork and lots of good braising beefs cuts. Turned a corner and WHAM giant crawling massive huge king crabs going for $5-6/lb. I kind of want one. I have no idea how I would prep the thing. Or even kill it. It's _huge_. All I can find googling is stuff about king crab legs. Has anyone ever tackled one of these before? Can anyone point me to a good reference (book or webpage)? I really want to have folks over for a king crab feast and pass out from a crab-butter-garlic induced coma. Any ideas?
  4. I'll take a peek --thanks. I think I might mosey down to the local cookbook shop tomorrow and do some flipping through. When I said the Roden middle-eastern meat dishes were simple and bland, I meant just bland. Simple is good. A nice slab of butter fried feta, lovely. A quick tabouleh, or hummus, awesome. The meat preparations in that have all been very ho-hum. Maybe my meat taste is too influenced on the simple, meat-for-meat's-sake french on side and the highly doctored indian on the other, making the above seem more of a bland middle-ground I don't care for. Not sure. That being said, the lamb koftas have spawned much experimentation and happy results. Most other meat things in that book won't be made again. Haven't dabbled with the fish much.
  5. I figure I should update --after all, I started this thread. Some of those mentioned I already have.. . The Ugly Pink Bible (aka Thai Food) - I've had this for years and I've cooked a lot from it. Thai cravings come and go, mostly go, I blame Vancouver. I used to live in Kingston (Ontario) and it was easy to find even the oddest thai ingredients. In vancouver? I have to range far from home to find thai basil. That aside, great book that I look for for inspiriation when I break out the giant mortar and pestle to do some relaxing hand ground curry pastes. Julia child (mastering the art of french cooking, etc) - Useful as a reference when I am looking for a specific, known preparation, or got a bunch of veg on the cheap that I've rarely used before. Mostly used to double-check other recipes when I think something is taking a shortcut I don't like. Les Halles - Hilarious read. Agree with the above, the writing is great. As far as it's use.. good for inspiration, but I don't find myself cooking for it very often. Often superceeded by River Cottage MEAT and others. Vijs - Upscale indian (indian-fusion?, indian-pacific-northwest?) food. Luckily Vij's is only a few minutes away so I can always compare my attempts! Some things good (cinnamon and red wine curry with beef shortribs, the house chicken curry) some meh (a rather subpar dal, actually), but still worth going through to crank up the indian to a new notch. Charcuterie - oh how I wish I had the proper equipment, most of the time. Dabbled in some of the easier things in this (bacon, salt pork, corned beef) but lack of equipment/proper storage areas/fridge with humidity controls/etc/etc have kept me away from the sausages. One day, one day. Since I started this thread I've gone out and gotten two books. 1) Cooking - Peterson. A surprisingly useful reference. I use the techniques as a springboard to try something else and I've certainly taken a closer look at many of my food preparations steps and (I think) elevated them since using this. A surprisingly good pastry/dessert section. Don't let the first few pages of "Things to learn" on pates scare you off, it gets down to the basics of technique after that. I've done a spattering of actual recipes from here, but again, it's largely technique and reference (amazing photographs of lots of things that make more sense when you see them) of fairly classic (mostly french) dishes. 2) Bouchon - Only had this one for a few weeks. I've done a whirlwind out of it cooking for the gf. The clams were good, and the rest of the garlic confit and soffrito (mhm) got used up in plenty of interesting (and sometimes, simple) ways. Best vegetable stock I've made in awhile (needed for the roast squash soup which WAS good, but I think next time I may doctor for my nothern tastes with a small handful of ground hazelnuts and maybe a bit of maple syrup). Duck confit with brussel sprouts is hands down, the current favorite. Quick quick if you happen to live blocks away from a guy selling scandalously good (and cheap!) duck confit. Adapted some of the chicken recipes to cornish hens with good success. I look forward to cooking more out of it when I get the time. Those two, which mind you are very good, are still very french. I'm enjoying it, certainly, but I think I will need to look more for a decent italian primer. Molto Mario has treated me, mostly, well over the year but I think I need to investigate some other options for theory, etc. Likewise, The New Spanish Table, good ideas and flavour combinations but a lot of the "short-cuts" the author uses for the home cook bother me and make me try to piece together the original dish from the description of how the cook does it, rather than her simplified method. I don't know if I'll find a spanish cookbook with a more professional depth. The new book of middle-eastern food continues to be somewhat of a downer. Interesting ideas but, I find, rather simple and bland preparations for the most part (the meat dishes mostly... salad/appetizer section is great). I've been eyeballing Moorish/turquoise as something more 'refined' for middle-eastern food but I'm not sure. Happy cooking folks.
  6. Shelf stable kind, unfortunately.
  7. In one of those "god, that's a good deal" I picked up a bunch of cans of lump canned crab meat. I've only really used this stuff in thai soups, where it works wonderfully. Two pounds, however, makes for a lot of soup! Can anyone help me out with any suggestions for how to use this stuff up? I know plenty of recipes calling for whole/fresh crabs... but there has to be some tasty stuff to make up with this stuff. -pg
  8. For some reason I eat a lot of a simple red cabbage salad. Probably 3-4 times a week. Sure, sure there aren't any greens but hey, from what I can read red cabbage is pretty good for you. Red cabbage is cheap and lasts a long time before going snarky. Those two facts are key if you are currently writing a master's thesis and your eating habbits are going to crap. Look for smaller red cabbages, fresher the better. Don't buy cabbages cut in half unless they have been cut in half recently. I have no way of determining fresh from unfresh until they are cut open at home. A 'fresh' one has a consistent 'white' of the cabbage from core to edge.. a less-fresh (but still fine, just not as good) has the 'white' near the edge of the cabbage turned a grey-white color. If it's shallow I just peel down to that level. Smallish red cabbage will give you ~6-8 servings... below for 4 person salad: 1/2 smallish red cabbage shredded as thinly as possible (good knife skills, or go for a mandolin.. long fine strands is what you want) 1/4 (or to taste) red onion (or a large-ish shallot) sliced into thin half moons Mix together... toss in half a lemon's worth of lemon juice, and a splash of sherry vinegar (_must_ be sherry vinegar, I've experimented!), good pinch of salt, at least 1 teaspoon sugar, and then 50/50 walnut oil/olive oil to whatever you think is necessary --use a little at first, taste, etc. Add a few good grinds of black pepper. Mix. It can take a beating and I've found no taste/texture difference into making the dressing up prior. I've got it down pat by eye now and never measure, so just muck with the above until you find something that tastes good. Trust me when I say there is a sweet spot that takes time to find between "good" and "daaaaamn" Some notes: The finer you get the cabbage, the better it tastes. Try to avoid the "core" of the cabbage --a knob near the base that is pure white. the lemon juice / sherry vinegar is the best combo. I've dried pretty much every vinegar and combo of vinegar on this thing over the years it is what I prefer. As for the oil.. pure olive oil does something odd to it, it's best to cut it with another oil, preferably a nut oil, though anything honestly works --I just prefer walnut. I don't know what it is.. it has this satisfying crunch, but is light (unlike a 'slaw). Durable and cheap. My dad made it all the time as I was a kid and I revived it later in life. I've never seen it anywhere until I picked up a copy of peterson's Cooking a few weeks ago and lo-and-behold something similar is in there (with pistachios, I think). Stains like a bastard though. -pg p.s. screw grammar. I'm lazy and I've been making figures and tables all day.
  9. pickledgarlic

    Dinner! 2008

    I went on a roast chicken binge. Compared and contrasted a whack of recipes and pondered far far too long on stuffed vs unstuffed (as in, not even a lemon), trussed vs. untrussed, basted or barded, etc, etc. Went unstuffed, trussed, and basted twice with butter: Yummers. Made a pan gravy out of a bit of roux, white wine, and the end of a bit of brandy I had laying around. Downside: turning my tiny kitchen into a blazing inferno.
  10. Is this a real requirement? I picked up some bitters at Safeway that have an alcohol content. I always assumed they were not allowed to sell them because of this, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Though, it's probably impossible to physically ingest enough bitters to get tanked. Shudder. - pg
  11. Thai food is fantastic (if oddly organized). A thai friend is always shocked when I make good thai.
  12. I took a spin by the book shop on the way home from work (handy that there is one between me and home) and had a peek at a Cook's book. Though a good reference, particularly Charlie Trotter's sections, it isn't quite what I am looking for. It does, however, look perfect for my old man (he's just getting into cooking) and his birthday is coming up soon --so thanks for the recommendation. Still looking.. was hoping to catch a glimpse of Peterson's books, but they had none in stock. pg
  13. Looking at Peterson's Sauces and Peterson's Cooking. Anyone have experience with well, either (or both!), and like to chime in? -pg.
  14. Good questions. Five to ten years I think I would like to be much less recipe dependent, more following what I have on hand / know what to source, better at understanding conventional and unconventional pairings. More intuitive? More technique focused rather than cooking-to-the list --this is a slow process as I find myself following a lot of recipes before it finally get into my brain the why's and the how's of how that particular recipe works / comes together (or doesn't work / bothers me, etc). Cooking more has obvious benefits, but cooking more with a little more direction is what I'm looking for. I just did some fascinating experiments on a simple roast chicken (many variations of plainly roasted) that really made things come together for me on that front. Stuffed vs. unstuffed vs stuffed and trussed vs trussed and unstuffed vs brined vs temperature control (start high, finish low vs start low, finish high). A little over the top, but I had a good line on good chickens for cheap and a better idea for what I look for in a finished roast. And that experience has brought me to where I am now, really wanted to hunker down and figure out technique / the why and how, rather than just cooking an interesting recipe. So again, looking for cookbook(s) that focus on technique / process / understanding, pitched more for the determined amateur as opposed to something that may be more accessible to the general public. As for expanding the horizons with a broad spectrum of international dishes --I dabble quite in a bit in all sorts of cuisines but really want to focus more on generally European cuisine (and use those techniques in the context of the pacific northwest materials I have easy access to). While fusion cuisine is interesting, I want to be much more comfortable with the un-fused cuisines before delving into that. I have read through McGee --fascinating! I have a lot of chemistry in my background (I am an geological engineer) and it was a real treat.
  15. Hey gang, I do own a lot of cookbooks these days (as I'm sure all of you do), some classics, some oddities, some strange used-bookstore finds (the little book of big sandwiches is actually a goldmine)... but I'm always trying to notch my food up to the next level. To make my food less 'busy', simpler (does not mean quicker!), but well better at the end of the day. My tastes lie more french/italian than anything else, though I have cooked an awful lot of indian and thai when the cravings hit me. I'm more looking at technique, doing simple things well, but also 'fussy' things, plating, building a cohesive meal rather than just one thing. Maybe something simpler than The French Laundry. Some things I do own: les halles, River Cottage Meat, mastering art of french cooking I and II, the new book of middle eastern food, all about braising, molto mario, charcuterie, new spanish table, the old world kitchen, several Jamie Olivers (I know, I know, but there is a few gems to be found in there), Hazen, a CIA manual (I use mostly for diagrams of cutting up chickens, trussing things, etc). I'm not afraid of fussy, getting my hands dirty, or finding good ingredients. I'm ok with pickling, jamming, curing (bacon, hams, etc have had some success in my house), smoking (mostly fish) and I'm getting better at deboning/hacking up larger cuts of things (most of the time). I've been eyeballing reviews of things by ducasse (but which one?), waters (again, which one?), keller (maybe Bouchon?). I'm sure there are others. Is there one (or several) decent cookbooks out there for the determined amateur wanting to bring the food up to the next level, rather than "quick easy short-cut 20 minutes only" blah cookbooks. I've had several breakthroughs this year and "ah-ha!" moments which have only made me rethink what I'm cooking and how I'm doing it. Food blogs and local restaurants have made me think more about how I present it, and things that work together, rather than just 'following' a recipe. I like to know why.. how... more inspirational works rather than just a list of ingredients and directions. What was the cookbook that really solidified your cooking skills?
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