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eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Posts posted by rlibkind

  1. A nitpick about Aldi and Trader Joe's. Aldi's used to be one company family owned, based in Germany. The companies later split into Aldi Nord and Aldi Sud. In the United States Nord owns Trader Joe's and Sud owns Aldi. The same family owns both, but they are managed independently.

    Wegmans. I've shopped there for 17 years and have not noticed any deterioration. The most significant change was about a dozen or so years ago when they changed pricing strategy on regular grocery items (paper goods, canned, dry, etc.) for the better to be more competitive, I.e. cheaper.

    More on Aldi: far from my first choice, but it knows what it wants to be and does it. Shop intelligently there and you'll walk away with good deals. I've not been disappointed with what I've purchased there on my infrequent visit: yogurt, chips, cookies, etc. my greatest find there was deep discounted Peeps last year a week or so after Easter (gotta get back in the next few days).

    Although most of my food shopping is at Wegmans and a public market (Reading Terminal on Phila. Where I get almost all my meat, fish, produce, cheese, baked goods) with occasional forays to TJ's, WF and BJ's, the other supermarket I visit most frequently is Shop Rite, which varies considerably store-by-store. There are two reasons for the seeming inconsistency, which is by design.

    First, Shop Rite is a buying and marketing coop, not a single corporate entity. Different stores have different owners. At least three different families own the stores in the Phila-South Jersey market and while their prices and quality of products are pretty consistent, store design, upkeep, and stocking policy are not.

    Second, what each Shop Rite stocks also varies by neighborhood. Chains do this to some extent, but not as devotedly as the various Shop Rite owners do. For example, the SR in South Philly is bigger on Italian items than the store in Cherry Hill, which excels in Kosher products (indeed, it has an entire sub-store with an on-site Kasruth supervisor).

    While I found the CR article interesting, let your own experience be your guide. Lists like this can be a good starting point if you have no experience, but they're no more free from subjective opinion than I am.

    • Like 3
  2. I love everything about fat, but when I made these (twice) the amount of fat that rendered out was ridiculous. It was a tiny bit of greasy meat that wasn't worth the price in the end.

    Everything depends on quality oft he meat. Most supermarket versions produce what you describe.

    I'm fortunate to have access, via a vendor at Philadelphia's Reading Terminal Market, to product from Virginia's Border Springs Lamb Farm. These lamb breasts (they call them "Denver Ribs" when separated) are extraordinarily meaty, tho still with plenty of delicious fat. If you've got any farmers markets or good butchers in your area, see if they can get something similar.

    • Like 1
  3. Lamb fat is the reason I love breast of lamb, i.e. Lamb ribs. Before putting on the grill (usually with a cumin-heavy rub or cumin-marmalade glaze) I simmer for 15 minutes or so. This cooks the meat (so you don't have to burn them on the grill) and also renders just a little of the fat. But I find lamb fat tastiest of lipids. Once in Jerusalem I had a shish kebab whose translation into English on the menu board was simply "lamb fat".

  4. I concur with Deryn, tho I use a plain cast iron pan, not a grill pan. No need for any oil at all in a properly seasoned pan. Teflon is a no-no for steak: Heat too high, doesn't produce satisfactory char to my taste.

    Many of us tend to forget the usefulness of an oven broiler, assuming yours can reach a suitably high temp. Obviously not as good as charcoal, or even a gas grill, but it can produce excellent results.

    • Like 4
  5. I simmer separated ribs until tender (10-20 minutes, depending on size, animal, etc.) then put on grill, either with dry rub or, more frequently, a sweet glaze (try orange marmalade with fresh ground cumin!), cooking just til they have a nice char.

    • Like 1
  6. The longer a piece of pork, beef or lamb hangs under 190F the better, at least in the case of braises using tougher cuts. Harold McGhee recommends putting braises into a cold oven then setting thermostat to 200F. This permits the meat to remain on collagen-melting environment of about 165-195 F internal temp for an extended period, usually 3 hours from start time til you raise oven temp to 225 for last hour of cooking. Works every time for me with braised, tho I haven't done a dry roast this way, nor would I try.

  7. Any difference would be negligible, since both pans sear well and it's the oven that does the final cooking. I might have a slight preference for the All-Clad or similar stainless/aluminum core pan simply because it is more responsive than cast iron. But it's really a toss-up.

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