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mr drinkie

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  1. In the newest Wine Spectator (May), they also have a piece on this. Here is the link that was published online. k.
  2. I just noticed that Muji has an online store for the US now. Apparently, it has been open for about a year now, but I just noticed it. Anyhow, they have a simple and inexpensive salad spinner for $13.25. It doesn't look all that big, but it reminds me of some of the spinners I had while living in Europe. No push buttons, cords, or other fancy stuff on this product, just Muji simplicity. http://www.muji.us/store/household/kitchen/salad-spinner.html I think I might try this one out. k.
  3. Well, I am still not sure if I am going to pull the trigger on this one. I did find a couple cast-iron Griswold ebelskivers on eBay that are right now about $10, but shipping is $10+ and bidding hasn't ended yet. All others listed are about the same price as W-S. The cast-iron ones seem to have a lot of surface area. Are they even heavier than regular cast iron skillets? k.
  4. Has anyone tried the ebelskiver pancake pan from Williams-Sonoma? It gets insanely high ratings on their site, and I think my daughter would love them and enjoy helping make them. It is only $40, so I can't go that wrong, but I just hate specialized tools taking up space that might only be marginally used. Also, some reviews said the non-stick surface tended to flake. Here is the link. k.
  5. I tend to do it in a variety of ways depending upon the situation. If the bill is relatively small, I will do the 30% method of the total. If the item is something I would have ordered anyhow (such as a beverage like the wine I am already drinking) I will give a much more generous tip, sometimes adding 80% of the cost of the drink on top of the regular tip, but I usually do this when I am a regular and plan to go back. If it is something I wouldn't have normally ordered, then I tip as if the item was added to the bill. For me it also depends upon if the freebie is the idea of the server or not. If the freebie is an experimental dish from the kitchen or a mistake just being unloaded and the server is just a 'messenger' then I just bump up the tip a bit at the end. Of course I could be wrong on all of this, but for me it depends upon if I am a regular, if I would have ordered it or not and the relationship to the total cost of the bill. Chowhound did have an article on when to tip over 20% that was interesting. Here is the link. Cheers, k.
  6. It is hard not to agree with most of what has been said so far. I think regular (wine-drinking) people see a gift as a gift and the issue of making sure the bottle is opened is not a consideration. I remember reading that article in Food & Wine and thinking to myself, "I sure hope I never become a person like that or hang with a wine crowd like that." The whole article made me feel a bit ill actually. With that said, I didn't feel the article was about regular wine drinkers. Instead it seemed almost fictional like some gaudy alcohol swingers club where instead of sex, alcohol was swapped -- in a very competitive way. I hope I am never in such a competitive snobby wine environment as that. The only thing I will add is that some of the tips not directly associated with the story were sound advice (I thought). You can read them here. She still adds her 'open-my-bottle logic' but I don't think the advice for bringing wine was that bad. Too bad the tone of the article was such a turn off for most readers. k.
  7. I have a couple Cutco knives, and I don't know exactly where they came from -- maybe they were a wedding gift. I must admit though that I like the little paring knife for hulling strawberries. It fits my hand nicely and has a short stubby blade that works well for the task. Longer blades are a bit awkward for me. I can't say that I would ever buy one, but in this limited task it performs well.
  8. I didn't mean to lead anyone astray with the Nakiri. I just thought it was an inexpensive and fun knife to use. The chef's knives and gyutos are more versatile and I would usually recommend spending more for better quality cultery, but if you are trying to stay within your budget, Cutlery and More does offer a set of four Forschner Fibrox knives for $70, and it will meet most needs. Here is the link. k.
  9. I tested out the Sanelli, Dexter-Russell, Mundial, F-Dich, and Forschner (all out of the box), and the Forschner was definitely my favorite of the inexpensive knives. The Sanelli has a really nice handle and a very good feel though. It was my favorite for chopping cilantro, parsley, and other herbs, but the Forschner was still the best overall and it costs less than the Sanelli too. Just be aware that the 10-inch Forschner is really big. I like it, but some like the 8-inch size better. For $38.50 you can get a cheap Japanese vegetable knife (Nakiri). It is an amazing knife for the price and you can send it back to Japan Woodworker for them to sharpen when it needs it. You only pay for the shipping. I bought that knife as a practice blade for sharpening, but I have been really happy with it and use it quite often. It is very sharp and goes through vegetables a lot better than the chef's knives above. That's just my opinion. Just be careful because Japanese knives demand a bit more care and once tried you may become mentally sick and desire more and more sharper knives and spend too much money on sharpening materials. I'm kidding -- sort of. Here is the link. k.
  10. I used a couple simplehuman trash cans that were made to fit ordinary plastic shopping bags. They are a bit on the small side, but if you get a couple of them, they work fine -- at least they did for me. I too prefer to throw my smelly trash out more frequently so the small size wasn't an issue for me. It is also nice that you can reuse plastic grocery bags instead of buying bags. Here is the model I have. They are pretty cheap and stainless steel too. If they don't work in the kitchen, you can always use them in other spaces too as the profile is nice and narrow and they look good. k.
  11. Those Zyliss ones look interesting. I stayed away from them in the past because I didn't care for the pull cords. The push-lever is interesting but still reminds me of the OXO a bit. There are just so many parts that can eventually break. The push button on my OXO popped out once and it took me about 30 minutes to figure out how to get the spring, locking mechanism and the plastic bits back in place. I do like the colors on the Zyliss though.
  12. I have nothing against OXO, but I really have not liked my OXO salad spinner. I have one of those push-button systems but recently upgraded to a Guzzini. It is better, more stylish, but it still does not perform as good as cheap models I owned while living in Europe. I guess I am a salad spinner snob. Sorry. OK, the OXO salad spinner is well made and does its job admirably, but it seems too bulky, hard to clean, and strangely doesn't get the greens as dry as cheaper spinners. I've tried to figure out why the OXO dries greens less, and I have only anecdotal evidence to offer, but here goes my uneducated opinion: (1) The OXO seems to spin too well. It is so well balanced that if there were a bit more 'wobbling' and agitation, it might shake more water loose. It spins so well they even had to introduce a brake to prevent the spinner from spinning too long. (It would spin for a long time if left on its own.) (2) The basket has rounded 'slats' -- and a lot of them very compactly too. The spinning basket actually seems to collect water. I am not able to analyze the surface area and tension, but the rounded and very compact basket slats seem to make water adhere to the basket. When I am done spinning, if I shake the basket, it rains water down. The slats just seem too hold water and thus prevent further water from draining. I could be wrong, but if you look carefully at the basket after spinning, it often looks like a bubble maker with thin layers of water filling the gaps. Rougher edges and more space would probably let the water drain more easily. Essentially, I think the OXO is too well made. It doesn't agitate very well (it just evenly spins) the greens and the basket doesn't allow enough space for water to escape. My cheap European models were inferior and had less basket material, rougher slat edges, and spun less consistently. They also drained water better. And before you mention it, yes, I know that salad spinners will not actually completely dry greens, but they should get them mostly water-droplet free, and I can't help it that I have used cheaper European spinners that have gotten lettuce much drier than the OXO. I even gave an Italian one away some years ago, arrgggghhh. I also don't care for all the 'machinery' of the OXO. It is hard to clean as it has a bulky push mechanism with spring, brake, and lock to keep the handle down. Again, cheaper models have done a simpler and better job with a lot less manufacturing. With that said, I still like my new Guzzini, but for some reason I am still in search of the plain cheap ones that seemed to do a better job. The Guzzini is stylish and I am happy with it -- though it is hard to find it for sale in the US and I don't like how loosely the cover attaches to the bowl. If someone knows of a great salad spinner, i would be very thankful. Thanks. k.
  13. Wow. Thanks, blether, for the terrine thread link. I got through 3-4 pages and it was very good reading (and pictures). Right now I am just thinking about rabbit terrine with berries and gin. That just sounds way too good. I just made a rabbit dish a few weeks ago and it was fabulous, and I had strangely never thought about it for a terrine. Here in Minnesota rabbit is very expensive, but when I lived in DC it was one of the cheapest meats at the market. Maybe the market will determine the contents of my terrine. And yes, I will show the photos of my terrines when they pop out of the oven. k.
  14. Thanks, for the replies. I like the prices on these options a lot better, and I am not really interested in serving out of the dish, so I am ruling out the Le Creuset for now. I also see that there is a non-stick version of the same collapsible mold, are there any advantages/disadvantages to non-stick (other than it being non-stick). Will terrines brown differently around the edges? I also like the silicone option, but boy is it hard to find in the US. I can locate the stand-alone silicone bake pan, but not the terrine option with the cover and press. I may have to order it from Europe. I thought the video of the silicone pan in use from this site inspiring. Thanks again. k.
  15. Blether, thanks for the reply. After some additional research. I have decided that cast iron/enamel terrine molds probably heat more evenly -- though I can't say for sure. That is what a couple reviewers have said on Amazon at least, but there are so few reviews it is hard to say. If I felt that I would only be 'trying' terrine out, then maybe a tin pan would suffice at first, but as I have lived in France for some time and love rustic terrines, I think I will continue to make them. (I could be wrong though.) I just remember seeing all those different terrines in a row and choosing as if it were candy. It is hard to go back. I still don't know if gelatin will be greatly affected by tin versus cast iron, but I assume that the Le Creuset will do a sufficient job (at a much higher cost). Also, I will be in Chicago this weekend and maybe I will find a kitchen store that has the mold on display, and I can ask a few questions then. Anyhow...if anyone has used this pan, I would still appreciate some feedback. Thanks in advance. k.
  16. Eventually, I would like to do both, but right now I am mainly considering rustic French meat terrines like this one. The metal meat loaf pans will probably work well with that, but I also want to try this recipe from Saveur. I guess I was wondering if the cast iron will heat more evenly and handle gelatin-based terrines better. k.
  17. I am looking around for a good terrine mold and have found the Le Creuset one for about $150 and some metal ones for about half that price, but does anyone know (1) how the regular metal ones perform versus the LC enameled cast iron ones and (2) are there good terrine molds out there that I am missing? Any recommendations? It just seems that there should be cheaper ones out there somewhere? I wish I had bought one when I lived in France. k.
  18. That is interesting you say fruity because I also pick that up. Actually peppercorns are dried pepper fruit, so it makes sense. Btw, I also love putting cracked pepper on cantaloupe and watermelon. I did it once, and now I never eat melons without fresh pepper.
  19. I think black pepper also enhances the smell and that makes it more appealing. White pepper (the inner seed) just doesn't have that same aromatic 'pull' for me, though it has great flavor. When restaurants take that big pepper grinder and grind it right in front of you, I think they are also enhancing the air around your food and you get that fresh ground woodsy smell to enjoy. Then the cracked pepper (and aroma) sits on top of your food and continues to provide aromatic assistance. Outside of the aroma, once the spice is added into the food it adds 'hotness'. I think one of the problems for we in the west is that we traditionally thought of four basic tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. Then the Japanese added savory (i.e., umami) and countries within China's area of influence also have a fifth basic taste: piquance or hotness. I think your question is a good one, but I also think we just aren't culturally used to discussing 'hot' as a taste. Of course, I could be very wrong about this. I'm humble enough to just love pepper in ignorance. k.
  20. When buying saffron look for dark-red threads as these are higher quality. Dark red threads come from the top of the Crocus flower stigma, which has more flavor, and lighter threads come from the base of the stigma, which is a lower quality. I don't use that much saffron (though I did just a couple of days ago), but Cook's Illustrated in a taste test recommended Morton & Bassett and Penzeys brands. If you want to know a bit more, Penzeys has some information about where the best saffron comes from and the different qualities. k.
  21. mr drinkie


    I have seen whole Vietnamese cinnamon at Penzey's, but it was as a decoration in their display window. I don't know why they don't sell it...maybe it is too thick of a bark and most people don't know how to deal with it. Just a thought. I also like Vietnamese cinnamon, but I have all the types in my spice rack. The one people buy at the supermarkt is usually Indonesian. Vietnamese cinnamon has the highest oil content of the cinnamons, which gives it a more powerful aroma and flavor. Ceylon cinnamon is lower in oil content and, therefore, has a more subtle, delicate aroma and flavor. Both are good depending upon your taste and what you use it in. I love Ceylon cinnamon on rice pudding but use Vietnamese when I want more flavor in a dish. One good source for Ceylon White Alba cinnamon sticks is from Soloway Selections. It is run by Dan Soloway who was purchasing director for Thomas Keller's restaurant, per se. He now sources limited but high quality spices through his business Kitchen Options. You can even order mace/nutmeg whole and still in the shell. How is that for fresh spice? Soloway sells his products through gigachef.com. k.
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