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Everything posted by percival

  1. My vote's on sesame oil. It's definitely got that strong smokey flavor and a little goes a very long way.
  2. The only seafood in a can here is tuna in oil and sardines in tomato or oil. Go for flash frozen shrimp and fish if you can't buy fresh. There's nothing wrong with flash frozen fish, butchered and frozen right on the fishing boat. That's "sushi grade" in marketing spiel. You can only do so much with canned seafood, and fish in a can like salmon.... /shudder.
  3. She hates and will not eat spicy food, lamb, olives, cilantro, feta, blue cheese, duck, mussels, abalone, oysters, jellyfish, any offal, any game. She hates but will eat beef, onions. And she says she is not a picky eater. Her younger brother is far, far worse -- and he's 31. My one year old can eat all of the above...
  4. I think the people at Davanni's would disagree with your assertion that chains with 20+ locations have this info in their "back pocket." They're considering closing restaurants to avoid this mandate. Administrative nightmare $150 per item for a pizza chain with 21+ locations is chump change. And he's calculating $10K per store to change signs and menus? That's some great imagination http://www.davannis.com/pdfs/LargeMenuPrintable_0510.pdf -- their entire menu. Pizza pie, salad, sammich, pasta. The only restaurants with smaller menus serve their food on trays, in cafeterias. As for closing restaurants? The legislation is for more than 20, so all he has to do is shut down one store and skirt the law. Shut down the least profitable store and problem solved. A smarter move would be to make the change, claim $200K extra in expenses for the year -- oh wait, add an extra $200K in employee training, to better answer questions from the customers regarding the complicated, expensive new signage...
  5. The legislation is reasonable. 20+ locations means you already have that information in your back pocket. You just need to print it. Smaller places don't have the money or the need to get their dishes processed. When Americans are forced to look at a wall of text, their eyes blurblur... and what was it that you were just saying? I'll have a double cheese burger, hold the pickles. Biggie fries. Extra salt. Extra crispy. Medium Coke. I'm watching my weight. Thanks. The truth? Take a KFC meal versus an Ad Hoc meal and I'll bet my eye teeth and Obama's pretty little children that the Ad Hoc meal has more fat and more Calories. "Real food," fine dining, gourmet... at the end of the day, what makes their food taste good is no different than what makes any food taste good to the human tongue. They've just got more of it -- and they charge you for it. If everyone printed their numbers, and people actually read them, few would be dining out anywhere.
  6. [blah, double post...] For photo editing, I highly recommend Adobe Lightroom 3.2 -- there's really no better tool out there for photo editing. Not only feature-wise, but simplicity as well. Far better than Photoshop. And Lightroom handles RAWs better than even OEM software.
  7. One of the prettier breakfasts -- from last week. Annatto rice, shrimp peas carrots scramble. I actually had breakfast first, then shot the photo with leftovers, so the eggs are overcooked/dry, and they don't have the nice steamy look. Annatto gives great color, though I'm not fond of the smell. Fortunately that goes away by the time it's served. The image itself is heavily cropped. It was taken with my new Sony NEX-5 and an antique Canon Serenar 50mm 1.9 lens, which arrived the night before. Wanted to try it out. Turns out it's very soft, which was expected, but it doesn't really work for macros: closest focal distance is ~3 feet.
  8. In regard to L.A. Japanese food, I'd definitely concur and say skip Little Tokyo. Real Japanese food is found in Torrance and Gardena area, where the Japanese people, especially the new immigrants and semi/permanent residents, actually live. Of note: Sanuki no Sato -- been around forever, known for their udon, though their izakaya tasting menu is amazing. Gaja Moc -- real okonomiyaki, though only for dinner. DIY if you know what you're doing. Mix modern yaki if you want the works. Santohka Ramen -- have the toroniku shoyu ramen. Wafer thin slices of succulent pork. It must be this location, not the others. Nothing comes close in SoCal.
  9. percival


    Sorry, just a comment on the plating. Is it just me, or is there waaaay too much white space on most if not all of those plates? It leaves the diner thinking something is missing. And the egg from the prior page looks a bit too unnatural with the fat lip. The Lego brick toast adds to that feeling.
  10. Grilled cheese toast. Toss bread in toaster. Toast a little less than usual. Slice the cheese paper thin, but many slices. Combine. Heat a pan on high. No oil, no butter. Nada. Nuke till melted: ~20 seconds. Grill the cheese toast till dry on both sides. Cut in half and serve gooey. Ideal for bread with character. If it's just Wonderlessbread, whateveh. If I'm lazy, I just skip the last step. Butter is messy and gets in the way.
  11. Hate to quibble about time, but quibbling about time is what I'm doing all day long. So, to that end, a trip to get a "fresh protein" takes at least an additional 15 minutes, cutting dinner prep time by half. Maybe I need to look into this pressure cooker idea. And I definitely have to check out the broiler in these new ovens. I buy boneless skinless chicken thighs in bulk and freeze them when I get home. Thaw a few pounds before dinner. If thawing takes too much time, do this: make a big vat of braised chicken on the weekend, portion, then freeze. You can thaw dinner by moving one portioned container from the freezer to the fridge and it will be ready by the time you get home. Just reheat and serve. And flash freezing your veggies works well, depending on your type. You don't really need to thaw if you're using smaller veggies, like spinach. Oh and if you really need to cook when you get home, portion and freeze, leave to thaw before work, then cook when you get home. Whatever floats your boat.
  12. Actually the banana slicer was originally aimed at families with small children. Kids can use it where one would not want to turn a child loose with a knife and unlike anything with a blade (even plastic ones) they are acceptable at schools. Really? My one year old just eats them whole. I peel and he chows down. Big giant bites for Mr. Piggy. He eats a whole banana in one sitting. It's one of the few fruit he'll actually eat, and he eats them about one every other day. Very picky in that some days are banana days and some days are not banana days. There's no telling.
  13. Do they sell konnyaku yam flour by itself at Mitsuwa/Marukai/etc? I've never looked, but I'd be interested in experimenting with the flour itself. DIY konnyaku.
  14. percival

    Short Ribs

    Actually that wasn't basic braising technique at all. Note the first step and huge difference: CI is saying to bake the ribs at 375 for 1.5 to 2 hours, then braise. That renders off a lot of fat that braising cannot do, and dries then rehydrates the meat. I imagine you end up with a stringier, leaner cut of meat than the typical braise. I sous vide mine, instead of braising. I'll have to try this bake method and compare.
  15. percival

    Enjoy New!

    Curious as to why Aikon... And tsukimi is the only way to have a burger. ^^
  16. Clostridium botulinum on Wikipedia has useful info. To prevent the release of the deadly neurotoxin, you need an environment with either: - almost no water, - high oxygen, - high acidity, - high concentrationof dissolved sugar, and/or - temperatures below 38 Fahrenheit. To destroy the actual botulin toxin, you only need to heat your food past 140 degrees. However, the spores will continue to live and will grow and release more toxin in low acid environments like an infant's digestive system. To actually kill the spore, you need to cook your food to 250 degrees. This is why pressure canning, which cooks at ~250, is the only safe method prescribed by the USDA for the canning of low acid foods. If you're not using high acid with wet vegetables, the only safe way is by cooking and pressure canning at 250. Otherwise you need to treat them as unsafe and consume quickly/without long term storage.
  17. I vote for the banana slicers. Seriously, how hard is it to cut a banana....
  18. You really don't want want to leave food sitting out between 40-140 degrees. Among other things, even the most harmless foods like mashed potatoes or spaghetti will go bad. Bacillus cereus spores are found in dirt and practically all cereals, like rice. When starches get wet and sit around room temps, it provides an environment for the bacteria to grow. Cooking temperatures may kill the bacteria, but cannot kill the spores. B. cereus causes all the typical food poisoning symptoms. Feeling ill after that MSG-laden cheap Chinese? It's not the fault of MSG -- which has been proven to have zero negative health effects -- but more likely the fault of old rice that's been sitting around in room temp: perfect for fried rice... Fastest easiest way to bring something large down fast I find: transfer your food to a cool, unused metal pot or container and dunk in a sink that's filled with water and at least 50% ice and a bit of salt.
  19. Chickpeas. Couscous. Orzo. In my defense, I only bought the latter. There are just always better alternatives to using those...
  20. If they're over watery, why not boil down and reduce to increase the flavor. Easiest thing to do is a creamy soup. Hardthing will be to rummage up giant soup pots and a range that could cook it. Maybe contact a restaurant and work out a charity free soup thing.
  21. percival

    Dinner! 2010

    C. Sapidus: That wss mayo sriracha and yakisoba sauce with shichimi togarashi. The dusting was paprika for color only. Not the most successful combo. Yakisoba sauce is too salty and a little bitter. My usual go-to is mayo sriracha and a splash of soy. Mayo sriracha and ketch I think would be an even better combo, a little sweet and acid for the oil. And there's always the classic sweet and spicy Thai chili sauce, straight from the bottle. It's usually served with chicken I find, but I think it's great with fried anything.
  22. The audience I think is like the author: one of America's first Japanophiles. Think Sukiyaki -- which ridiculously has nothing to do with even food, let alone sukiyaki. The book starts off at length with recipes for sukiyaki and variants. When the book is published, Tora! Tora! Tora!, which will show Pearl Harbor from a Japanese point of view for the first time, is still in production with Akira Kurosawa, to come out the next year. And soon, Shogun... The book itself is maybe 25-30% personal anecdotes and cultural lessons, quite a few off-color in today's standards. The book definitely is not for Japanese Americans at the time.
  23. How about a Kyocera ceramic chef knife? They'll stay sharp longer and are extremely high quality Japanese knives. Very low (no) maintenance. They don't bend, so they can shatter. If you need to smash some garlic or bone a chicken, you can whip out the old knives. They're affordable, but not "cheap" knives -- Ming Tsai (currently on Top Chef, 8 season TV show on PBS, beat Bobby Flay on Iron Chef) uses them. I bought the Forschner's to give them a spin -- not a fan. They need a lot of sharpening.
  24. The argument against farmed imported shrimp and other seafood is that it's generally bad for the surrounding ocean. Lots of waste, etc. American farming is much cleaner, far better for the environment. Here, the pollution isn't just bad -- it's carcinogenic -- and is being added to our domestic shrimp, not as waste from feed or the shrimp itself, and the government says it's safe, wholesome, great for the skin, does a body good. Why don't they just flat out say America Good, Everyone Else Bad. I don't mind going out of my way to avoid Gulf shrimp. Let Obama eat all he wants.
  25. Real estate is the problem. We rent. There's no room for a huge dining room. $500K went a lot further back then -- now, it's a studio loft. Growing up, when we wanted to invite folks over to eat, we'd invite them to one of our restaurants. Or we'd go for dim sum. That's the thing that my parents did most often, and that's what me and most of my friends, even the non-Asian ones, do. But they're mostly "foodies" and this is the San Francisco Bay Area, so everyone is savvy to that kind of stuff. Nothing beats being able to seat thirty people (I've had larger dim sum parties) and serve them hot food literally within minutes. Doing that at home would be a controlled nightmare, and you wouldn't have time to entertain. Brunch out is the new Sunday dinner. I'd guess that has to do with the fact that we're not going to church with the rest of the community at noon anymore, as a generation. We're chowing down or out shopping.
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