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Alcuin

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    Madison, WI
  1. I've been cooking a lot from this book lately. The Smoked fish and Green Mango salad has been a standout so far, as is the Chicken and Rau Ram salad. Last night I did the Thai grilled eggplant salad, lemongrass beef, peanut sauce, and cucumber/lettuce/herb plate with daikon pickle (and sticky rice of course). Almost every dish I make from this book I like, but I couldn't get the tapioca dough for the tapioca dumplings with pork. HSSS is a bit too succinct on how to make this dough--is there a trick to making it that's not in the book?
  2. Good observation about the basic differences between cuisines. I'd take out Sambal Olek and Sriracha from this list though. As long as you have a blender/food processor, they're both pretty easily made and far better than the bottled versions (James Oseland for the former and David Thompson for the latter). I use them from the bottle, but for different applications (the bottled versions I use more like I would ketchup). I do agree that freshly made curry paste is better than Mae Ploy (right now I'm eating some leftovers from a fresh green curry I made last night), but the Mae Ploy still has a
  3. That makes sense. From what I understand, wines can often have high calcium levels but I'm not sure how that works and why one might have a higher mineral content that another. I've read a few journal articles about it, but I'm no scientist after all. This is something I'll keep looking into though. And you're right, when people talk about wine what they say often makes no sense. There's a lot of half baked notions out there about wine, which is really too bad.
  4. No you won't. What you will taste is the impact the growing conditions have upon the vines and the fruit, and therefore the finished wine. You might perceive that as the same flavour as the soil; and, in fact, growing on this kind of soil may give certain characteristics that are not found from the same variety and clone growing on other soils. However, what you will not be able to taste is the soil itself in the finished wine. Perhaps I was being unclear. No, you won't "taste the soil," whatever that even means if taken literally. You will taste the impact of the soil on the wine. This impac
  5. Minerality is not at all a myth. If you want to taste it, get a Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio and you will clearly taste the volcanic rock that characterizes its soil. You can taste it both in the white and the red. This has nothing at all to do with confusion between sense of taste and sense of place. I've tasted lots of people on it, non-experts all, and they can clearly taste it. Some find it off-putting; I've had some red Lacryma that, for me, is undrinkable because it literally tastes way too much like rock. But minerality also affects the mouthfeel of the wine too. A Pinot grigio from Alto
  6. I've done the wok in coals. My coals where very hot and plentiful, which made my wok ridiculously hot. Hot enough to burn the seasoning off the bottom of my cast iron wok. When you do this, keep in mind that you will have to work extremely fast, likely faster than you've ever cooked before unless you've cooked over a 100000+ BTU wok burner or something similar before. I cooked three dishes in about as many minutes, and I felt like I was always behind! I would put in the oil, then the aromatics, stir once (no time for more than that), then the meat, stir until nicely brown, then the sauce, stir
  7. Talk about theoretically sophisticated! You're making a whole lot of assumptions. People don't typically appreciate being talked down to as if they are faux-sophisticates or children grossed out upon finding that they've eaten food they think they don't like. So, let me tell you my reasons for being against this stuff. I won't speak for others in these forums, but for me it has nothing to do with the term "pink slime." Would you prefer to call it "boneless lean beef trimmings"? That's a pretty outrageously misleading term. I'll just call it "stuff" from here on out. What I react against is thi
  8. It's not the topic, it's the way you use it that makes a straw man fallacy what it is. Anyway, the idea of an organic market brings up an interesting point which is that things have changed a lot since 1978. The rise of Whole Foods has taken advantage of the cache and murkiness of what organic food is and what it's benefits are, which I think is unfortunate. I think many people associate organic food with this kind of boutique experience and that really pigeon-holes organic food. It shouldn't be that way; as EatNopales says, agricultural subsidies obscure the real cost of food. There are a lo
  9. I have one of those, but I bought it for around $5 at an Asian market. I only use it for the SE Asian salads, but it's worthwhile because it's got more capacity than my granite mortar and pestle. It's also more bullet shaped, which is great because you make the dressing in the bottom of the mortar and it doesn't splash out when you're mixing the salad. If you make a lot of salads, it's worth it. You just might be able to find a cheaper one if that matters to you.
  10. Sorry, but that was definitely a straw man argument. Nobody was talking raw milk, and I don't think raw milk and organic farming practices are really analogous at all. Connecting the two really begs the question, and attacks a viewpoint nobody said they held. That's the definition of the straw man fallacy. Also, what's an "organic market"? I shop at a co-op that's probably one of the crunchiest in the country, the Willy Street Co-op, but it's not an organic market. Perhaps we're talking Whole Foods then? Count me as somebody who thinks that Whole Foods is a boutique "shopping experience" that
  11. What does raw milk have to do with organic products? I don't see the connection, and I think I see some straw peeking out of the sides of this argument... There are a lot of reasons why organic farming is important. I'm not sure of the health claims myself, but neither can anyone else here be so sure that it doesn't have benefits. It's an open question, to say the least. Skepticism is very important, but its not a substitute for deep consideration. I see a lot of skepticism in arguments against organic food, but not a lot of deep consideration of what we know and don't know, and what may be po
  12. To get back on track... I find myself drinking a gruner veltliner tonight, and noticed that the label says that it's made with organic grapes. I've seen a lot of wines that are organic or biodynamic, but it doesn't seem like most wines I drink make a big deal out of it. I certainly don't pay much attention to organic wines. I also have the sense that a lot of wines may be organic, or close to it, but don't have the certification. It seems to me that wine makers that want to produce good wine aren't using pesticides. But I actually don't know. This is just an assumption I've always made. I don
  13. I use Muir Glen and they switched to non BPA cans about a year or so ago. I realized this when I noticed a distinctly tinny taste where there wasn't one before. I still use Muir Glen, but don't like it as much. I've tried Pomi, but the only tomatoes I can get from them are pureed or diced and I like whole plum tomatoes so I'm sticking with the Muir Glen.
  14. To speak to Fat Guy's question about what we eat that's organic or not. Here goes: Vegetables: everything organic, except when I buy from the Chinese grocer (definitely not organic) or Hmong farmers at the farmer's market (may be organic, may not be). Eggs: I eat Phil's eggs which are certified humane but not organic. They are a dollar cheaper than organic eggs. I use Sassy Cow milk whenever I use milk, but I don't keep it around. For butter I use "Local Source." Interestingly they don't use rGBH but note on the package that there's no significant difference between using it or not. I eat Will
  15. There's no such thing as scientific evidence of the kind it seems you're looking for about something has never happened or will happen in the future. That's because there's no empirical data on it, since no one has tried to feed six billion people and we have no experience of the future. But that's why we have arguments to go where no man has ever gone before. Like this one. Appeals to "science" are often based much more on faith than on empirical evidence. Science is great, but there are so many questions it doesn't or can't answer, like this one. There's really no definitive way to say right
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