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    Oakville, Ontario and Dublin, Ireland
  1. The first time I made sauerkraut, I added only salt. The cabbage released enough water to immerse itself, so I didn't have to add more brine. Every time since then, the cabbage didn't release enough water to cover, so I added brine. All batches tasted exactly the same.
  2. I can't remember where I got this recipe, nor have I made it before, but it was sitting in my recipes directory, so here you go: 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds 1/4 cup sumac 2 tablespoons thyme 2 tablespoons marjoram 2 tablespoons oregano 1 teaspoon coarse salt Grind the sesame seeds in a food processor or with a mortar and pestle. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  3. Indeed - don't give up. I've made sauerkraut for a few years and it's always better than store-bought. I have some brining in my basement right now. It's been going for two weeks and it tastes great. I unexpectedly had to be away from home for a few days early on, so took it out to my garage to slow the fermentation (I live in a cold climate). It was still at the point where I wanted to skim the foam every day, so I figured that by slowing/stopping the fermentation, I could leave it unattended. When I returned home, I brought it back inside and it started fermenting again right away. Another poster above said that you don't need to add water. That's likely true if your cabbage is very fresh, but it the water that's released isn't enough to cover the cabbage within 24 hours, mix 1 teaspoon of koshering salt with 1 cup of water and top up the brine in your fermenting container. Sorry for not realizing you were referring to Ruhlman's book. I often serve my sauerkraut with a charcuterie plate, so that's where my brain went.
  4. IMHO what killed home cooking was home cooking. Most mothers were simply not great cooks (not trying to be sexist - I believe that up until at least the last decade the majority of home cooks were the mothers of the family, if not still). Dry meatloaf, overcooked roast beef, peas boiled beyond recognition, glutinous mashed potatoes, lumpy gravy, unrecognizable seafood, mealy pasta. Not that my mom was the worst cook out there - she was par for the course. Being completely honest about it, as a kid growing up, I didn't have one memorable meal at home, or at my grandparents' or aunts' or friends' houses. They were wonderful because they were at home (or a home away from home), but they weren't extraordinary. Even at the houses of my friends who were Italian. Swanson and Chef Boy-ar-dee provided almost the same flavors at a similar cost or less, but yet at a fraction of the time. I have no doubt that there are many of you who regularly had amazing meals at home while growing up, but I would wager that you are in the minority.
  5. They changed the recipe after my comment. Even so, but a huge pet peeve of mine is recipes that leave water off the ingredients list if water is indeed required as an ingredient. Noting the addition of water solely in the body of the recipe instruction is lazy writing. I also dislike that recipe authors regularly omit articles (e.g. "put soy sauce into pan" instead of "put the soy sauce into the pan"). That is also lazy writing, in my opinion. The same goes for using T. for tablespoon and t. for teaspoon, also in my opinion - unless you are the editor of Lucky Peach, then it doesn't matter anyway since the tablespoon/teaspoon amounts stated in the recipes in that publication seem to be interchangeable.
  6. I'm assuming you mean "for" charcuterie. At what temperature is the cabbage fermenting?
  7. Regarding the crispy skin note - just tonight I did a roast chicken, a la Ad Hoc at Home style. As soon as I removed the bird from the oven, I broke off a bit of skin and savored its wonderful crispness. As I thought back to all the birds before and how the skin got flabby while resting (I'm speaking poultry here), I sacrificed my fingertips and, with the help of a small chef's knife, removed all the skin and laid it flat, in a single layer, on a plate. It cooled very quickly, but remained crispy for ages - well at least until my wife and I finished it off after the meal. As I said to her - room temp/crispy skin is wayyy better than hot/flabby skin any day (still talking poultry). I let the skinless bird rest, uncovered, for 15 minutes - beautifully moist and still steaming.
  8. Over the last couple of years, I've had an abundance of grape, cherry and pear tomatoes, so have frozen them. Typically, I have only thawed them in order to totally cook them down into a sauce. Last week I needed to make a pasta dish quickly. I used some of my frozen tomatoes, but didn't completely cook them down to a paste. Instead, I kept a few of the tomatoes whole in the pan - albeit thawed completely. Instead of being squishy and mealy as I had expected, they were juicy and burst with great texture as I bit into them. After that, I tried popping a totally frozen cherry tomato into my mouth and let it slowly thaw before finally crunching down on it - amazing! This has totally changed my thinking (training?) about frozen tomatoes - they were extraordinary.
  9. I live in an area that does not have I+O. However, work takes me to LA on a regular basis. My first order order of business after landing is to steer (pun intended) my rental car to the I+O on Sepulveda right at the east end of the north runway at LAX and watch the big birds land as I enjoy my animal-style, extra toast.
  10. KingLear

    Pig head

    Soppressata Toscana. Very nice.
  11. Just made turkey burgers tonight - shallots, jalapeño, garlic, red bell pepper, parsley, koshering salt, cumin and chipotle hot sauce all in the mix. Irish cheddar, bacon and tomato on top. A little mayo on top - but ketchup, mustard or any other condiment wasn't required - would have gotten in the way. No fast food chain can compare. That said, I crave a QPw/C every 6 months. Almost like clockwork. BUT mostly, I crave the breakfast sausage patty. It's my dirty secret - every few months I'll order a Big Breakfast with 2 extra sausage patties, sprinkle them liberally with pepper, then keep them to the side while I eat everything else in order to save the best for last.
  12. KingLear

    chicken skin

    I keep all the extra skin and fat every time I break down a chicken. Don't forget to take the skin and fat off the backbone - that's the best part. I save it all in freezer bags. When I have lots, I thaw the skin/fat, cut it into fairly even 1"-2" pieces, then put the pieces in a skillet over low heat. I add a thinly sliced onion and keep cooking it all down (rendering) until all that's left is liquid fat and crispy cracklin'/chicharrones/gribenes (all basically the same thing). It could take a couple of hours - just don't let the skin burn. Strain the fat into a clean jar and place in the fridge. That's schmaltz and it will keep for ages. Use it to cook eggs, chicken, whatever - it has tremendous depth of flavor. Place the gribenes (crispy chicken skin and onions) on paper towels to absorb the surface fat, then sprinkle with salt. They keep for days in the fridge (although they won't last that long), while magically retaining their crunch.
  13. I've been looking for the answer as to why most dough (bread, pizza, etc.) recipes say to cover the bowl in a non-terry cloth towel while rising. I can see why you would want to use cotton as opposed to terry cloth if the dough is to sit on the towel, but if the dough is just being covered, what's the diff?
  14. But if you finish the food and the sauce at the same time - now that's bliss.
  15. Is it a beverage, a broth, a sauce, or a ... ? This is a topic making the rounds of my son's high school, as well as gamer forums. Why? I have no idea. I searched the forums here, but couldn't find a current thread, so I thought I'd ask the experts.
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