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Posts posted by SLB

  1. I don't love cold couscous, although I find it satisfying enough if it's allowed to get to room temperature (I assume we're talking about leftovers, here).  That's true with other pasta salads, too.  


    With grains like quinoa or barley or, my very favorite grain for salads, farro, I actually like to warm everything up a little bit before I eat it.  The grains dry out more quickly than the pastas, and I find dried-out grains really unpleasant.  Honestly, I like all my pasta- or grain-based salads a little warm.


    I won't go near a cold rice salad (again, I'm talking about leftovers -- I can totally deal with cooled rice that was just-cooked).  In fact, rice-based salads is the one thing that I can't handle as a leftover at all.  I have to fry it.   

  2. Thanks.  I've been using a diffuser on those burnt-bottom episodes; I may just have the flame too high.


    Meanwhile, I've since made a beef tagine using the last short ribs that had been in my freezer all winter.  There was so much fat in the pan that nothing stuck at all!  So maybe I need to use more fat all around.  


    I still haven't used the tagra, but I don't like to cook fish with a lot of fat and am worried that it's going to be a pain.  Also, the tagines.com tagras are just so small!  I finally received the largest one they have, and it's just . . .  sigh.  I don't get going to the effort to put a dish together only to end up with two bites of food.  I like to have leftovers!  But we'll see, maybe I can pack more in this pan than I think.  

  3. On the original post -- I regularly pressure cook beef short ribs and beef oxtail.  I totally would pressure-cook lamb shanks, although I have not done so.  I do the beef braise cuts for about 45 minutes; my machine is an ancient luddite Presto.  I love it; for most of my adult life,  it was my sole "gadget", and I came to view it as indispensable for me -- a person with a full-time non-cooking job, and a need for full meals at both lunch and dinner.   


    I use a comparatively small amount of liquid, and obvs any sauce is finished at the end.  I cautiously agree on the small amount of liquid, but having had the experience of too small an amount of liquid, and a near-explosion (oxtails, I don't really know what happened, but I was afraid, very afraid; it smelled like  . . . burning, or something; and then the pressure release valve blew.)  Sigh.  We all survived, and went vegetarian that night.   


    On the tenderloin -- wow.  I like the stretchy-texture too, and didn't think it came from pressure cooking.  Interesting.  

  4. Alright.  The Souss is in.  I soaked it last night, oiled-n-baked it this morning, and cooked a deliberately bland-ish potato dish in it tonight; the idea was to isolate the "earthy" flavor that is distinctive about unglazed Moroccan clay.  Re the Rifi, tagines.com notes:  "think mushrooms."   Me, I really like mushrooms, so . . . .


    I didn't taste mushrooms, but I did experience a not-exactly-pleasant metallic taste.  I could not think what else could be producing this taste other than the clay, but it's true that my potatoes were as old as the hills, as were the shallots.  Stay tuned.  


    Also, OMG was the unglazed-clay a bear to clean.  I did kind of burn up the bottom layer.  But it wasn't *that* burned . . . man!


    It is beautiful, though, no complaints there.  The tagra was also beautiful, and so satisfyingly heavy; but was just too small for anything realistic.  I'm hoping that tagines.com lets me exchange it for the largest oval one. 


    I'm doing a meat tagine next, I hope the metallic taste fades away.

    • Like 1
  5. Smithy, your food looks so, so good.  


    How did you end up liking the sweet lemons?  They look like something I once found in  NYC grocery store called "sweet limes."  They were supposed to have the same amount of acid as a regular lime, but a slightly sweeter taste.  I tried to substitute them for both lemon and lime, and found that it didn't work due to some unidentifiable additional taste.  Also, this is kind of weird, but -- they did not age well at all.  I mean, once they were cut, I had to use it within a day or the taste worsened.  

  6. Hassouni, that is a helpful report.  


    I thought I read somewhere that Paula has her lamb tagines, and kept her Rifi for chicken, etc.  My guess was that this is the tradition, which is interesting even if technically unnecessary.  I honestly don't remember where I read this, I could easily be conflating different reports (has Mourad weighed in on this???  I don't remember). 


    Anyway, it's not exactly a worry -- there is SO no room in my situation for multiple tagines, and the one I've recently ordered will make two in a household of, presently, one person [reliably].  If I'm willing to accept an occasional lead exposure, then I suppose I can continue to use the other one . . . .


    I did order a fish tagra along with the new tagine, which I admit was pure style, but the intention was to use it for a range of fish preparations -- for some reason I find those clay dishes really very beautiful, and since I was already paying for shipping and, uh, had broken the seal . . . .  However -- I don't want all my fish dishes to taste Moroccan, or even to ping charmoula when that wasn't the design; so we'll have to see how well the baking soda works with unglazed clay.  


    <Obvs, I'm hungry for my new tagine, shoot.>

  7. Does anyone think it's essential to keep different tagines for different meats?  I understand the debate and thinking about using the same unglazed clay for very different spicing.  But Ms. Wolfert has noted in places using particular tagines for lamb and others for chicken.  I'm not sure I understand why this is necessary and haven't done that in general with my clay pots.  Thoughts?

  8. I have a garden variety flame tamer, a simmer mat, and an iron item that is called a flame tamer but really only just reduces the circumference on the burner-grate opening (for, say, a moka pot or the small metal cups I use to heat milk or melt butter).  


    I confess that I don't really notice a difference in function between the flame tamer and the simmer mat.  However.  If you were were going to do something VERY ILL-ADVISED like leave the house with something on the stove, I urge you to consider the possibility that the wood handle on the garden variety flame tamer might, um, miraculously manage to scorch while you are out, in direct contravention of anything you thought could be possible when you set the situation up prior to leaving the house.  I'm just sayin' . . . .  

    • Like 1
  9. I did order the Souss.  But I've got some other clay pots, which I usually use with a flame tamer.  So I was wondering if the simmer burner was the same thing.  


    I posted this query in its own thread in Kitchen Consumer, and I now think that the flame tamer will diffuse the heat in a way that just isn't going to happen with the simmer burner, which is still direct heat if little of it.  I appreciate that the Souss may not need its benefits, but I've got other clay pots and my stovetop burns quite hot.


    Either way, I hope my Souss comes soon, because I am eating through my freezer in preparation for spring, and what did I find but some short ribs!!!  Woo-HOO!  


    I think it's gonna be beef with prunes and apples, or else beef with butternut squash.  Because I really need to get through this butternut squash, even though there is so much of it from my CSA this winter that my skin is gonna turn orange.   

    • Like 1
  10. I do not notice the grass-fed taste at Shake Shack.


    What I do notice, however, is the uneven nature of the prep -- the burgers seem to vary a lot in juiciness.  This says something positive about the meat sourcing, but it can make for a soggy bun when you weren't expecting it.  Which is grosser than gross, and produces a trauma flashback to boot -- anyone here have a childhood rich in burgers on toasted wonder bread??? -- and then I want my money back so than I can redirect it to the trauma therapist.  Sigh.  


    I have had some good burgers at Shake Shack, however, for what that's worth.   I don't go there anymore, tho.

    • Like 1
  11. I see it, or a nearby cut called "lamb breast riblets".  it's quite fatty and, quite frankly, affordable.  Cheap red meat is hard to come by . . . I cook it low and slow and in a state where it can continuously drain. Acidic sauce of Mexican allusion is good.  

  12. That's interesting, Kerry; I thought the cloudiness was caused by the use of grain alcohol as a "starter".


    I topped off my rum-based extract just now, and it was even cloudier than the Stoli-topped one!  In fact, it looks a lot like Orange Julius, to the left below:



  13. Oh I tested it on just that theory.  The swab came back bad.  Sigh.  This was definitely a vessel intended for cooking, and I'll probably keep it just because my loved one hauled it back from Morocco (as in, through the straights of Gibralter, up through Spain, and then back to Maine, then down to New York . . .  I can't really toss it).   


    On the lead -- fortunately, I am not a child, and have fed no children from that vessel that I can remember.  Although, I guess memory loss is a symptom . . . .


    Just kidding.  Lead is very serious, even for adults, and I don't know if mere serving is risky.  In truth, I've ingested a whole lot of toxins over the years, and I'm otherwise undeservedly exceedingly healthy.  So I'm not gonna get crazy with the regret.  For now.


    Also, I'm kind of looking forward to tasting my favorites from Paula's original book in an unglazed clay context, which seems like it just has to taste different.  Also, I have a strict rule prohibiting the purchase of new kitchen stuff (if I don't go strict, I kinda go crazy), and while I wouldn't wish lead toxicity on anyone, I'm kind of thrilled at the excuse to Get Some New Stuff!  Seriously, I'm testing everything!  On some level, I wish the 70s CorningWare would come back bad.

    • Like 1
  14. Just following up -- for what it's worth, Vanessa at Tagines.com explained to me that mine was commonly used by Moroccans in Morocco, but that they are not rated for export to the US due to lead.  I've had it for a decade, and used it faithfully for about half that time, so hopefully I didn't kill too many brain cells.  I love this ole' girl, but . . .  


    I've ordered myself a Souss!  Yippee.  And, to save on shipping, I also ordered myself a tagra that I've been pining away for.  I keep meaning to eat more fish . . . .

    • Like 1
  15. A friend brought me the following tagine back from Morocco.  Unlike most of the tagines discussed here (or anywhere), the bowl is glazed, and about two inches of the interior of the lid is glazed.  The rest is unglazed.  The shape is like the "Beldi" on tagines.com, but that one is totally unglazed, and also has a steam hole in the cone (mine does not).  Is there any particular point to the surfaces being half-glazed?  I can't seem to find much discussion of this style of tagine anywhere.   





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