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    Hobbiton, the Shire

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  1. $5 Meal Challenge

    Original post also assumes via implication that food costs are the same throughout the country. I suppose I could make a tasty meal for under $5 here in SF if I had the need to, given that SF is one of, if not *THE* most expensive city to live in the continental U.S. but I would have to look really hard for a store that could fit those parameters. And it would involve a real schlep to/from my house which is not something I'm remotely interested in doing.
  2. Lunch! What'd ya have? (2018)

    There was a water heater leak in the topmost flat that basically messed up our building's middle unit and our kitchen ceiling. The landlord has to open up our ceiling and make repairs in the space above us which means no cooking for the next week or so. I also haven't been cooking much, for the past several weeks due to unforeseen events - long story which is too OT for eGullet...altho if you want details, you can always PM me. On Saturday, we went to Izakaya Rintaro for lunch. Chicken gyoza Tuna, yellowtail, scallop and halibut sashimi over Japanese rice, served with shiso and wasabi Miso shiru with Manila clams Left - carrot and wasabi pickles Right - long-cooked flaked tuna with lemon zest Left - turnip and asparagus with Japanese mustard spinach Right - deep-fried anchovies with pickled onion and carrot B had the same set up except his main was a bowl of oyakodon (chicken and egg over Japanese rice)
  3. Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything"

    It's interesting how most folks made pasta. That was completely unexpected.
  4. Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything"

    The party seemed to be a success. Mac-n-cheese Sausage with broccoli rabe, grapes and walnuts Empanadas Potstickers Pork spareribs braised in tomato sauce. I know that I rag on Mark Bittman a lot, but I do find that some of his recipes can be good if they mimic Italian dishes like this one does. It's from "How to Cook Everything", pages 532-533. It's a basic rendition of Sunday sauce - the only changes I made were omitting the dried chile he calls for and reducing the amount of garlic (i.e., from three chopped garlic cloves to one crushed garlic clove). Then shredded the pork and combined them with rigatoni cooked in the same sauce. I ditched the chicken biryani in the end.
  5. Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything"

    See, JOC is really great. And if that were the book chosen, I'd be more enthusiastic. I don't feel the same way about Bittman's. I've made a few things from JOC and they've generally worked out well. I feel that one of the differences is that JOC doesn't cut corners unlike its competitor. You can clearly see it in the recipes.
  6. Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything"

    That recipe cries out for curry leaves and mustard seeds but he doesn't even use those.
  7. Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything"

    So I'll probably make the biryani b/c I'm a sucker for chicken and rice.
  8. Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything"

    I wish I could but one of the rules of the club that you don't know is I thought about "cheating" but the danger is that someone will try to replicate it and come to an altogether different conclusion.
  9. Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything"

    I'm not sure any of it meets my standards. That's the problem. Made as written, it's going to be a challenge....
  10. I belong to a cookbook club here in San Francisco. Our first dinner is in two weeks. It's kind of like a potluck and social thing: everyone cooks from the same book, then on the big day, brings the dish to someone's house for a get-together. It's about cooking, entertaining, belonging and making new friends. It's a groovy thing. What I am so not in love with is the cookbook that was chosen, sort of like an icebreaker, because not everyone attending is on the same skill level. There are some very accomplished cooks who will be attending, including at least one person who has his own catering business. And some newbies, I'm sure. So you need something that will not intimidate. I do appreciate that (and I am far from a beginner). Unfortunately, Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything" was the book that was chosen and reading it makes me rage. A recipe for chicken adobo (page 658) calls for 1 cup soy sauce and 1/2 cup vinegar - which, if you think about it - changes it from chicken braised in vinegar with soy sauce and garlic to chicken braised in soy sauce with vinegar and garlic. A recipe for chicken biryani (page 654) calls for 4 tbsp. butter instead of ghee and saffron instead of turmeric. Ghee is butter with the water removed and milk solids are caramelized - so it has a butterier and nuttier flavor than butter, plus you don't need to use that much. I had heard Bittman's book was "basic" but I hadn't considered that his recipes were nearly unworkable from a technical standpoint. Oh my god...RAGE RAGE RAGE. This guy is supposed to be an authority. On what planet? Dear me, I need a drink.
  11. Dinner 2018 (Part 1)

    Congee with pork-cilantro meatballs. Meatballs - 2 tbsp. cilantro stems, 2 garlic cloves, pinch of salt, generous pinch of white pepper - pounded into a paste in a mortar and pestle, then combined with 1 lb. ground pork, 1 tsp. mushroom soy and 1 tbsp. oyster sauce, then chilled for 6 hours in the fridge. Congee - 10 cups Chinese chicken stock, 1 cup jasmine rice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 2-3 hours uncovered, adding chicken stock or water to replenish liquid as it evaporates. Congee is done when rice begins to break down and is thickened according to your liking. Toppings - cilantro stems and leaves, sriracha, fish sauce, sesame oil, shredded ginger, minced scallion, crispy fried shallots, fried garlic, chopped peanuts. For each diner, crack an egg in a bowl, then ladle hot congee on top. Egg should be done in about 4 minutes. Scatter toppings as desired, then serve.
  12. Breakfast! 2018

    I scored some morel mushrooms. This is a little under a pound, for about $45. Scrambled eggs, with morel mushrooms, garlic and parsley
  13. California Farmers' Markets

    morel mushrooms, fava leaves, Meyer lemons, Tokyo turnips, pork, cauliflower, garlic, spring onions, cilantro
  14. Lunch! What'd ya have? (2018)

    Good BBQ is hard to find in San Francisco and it doesn't seem as if the offerings at 4505 Burgers & BBQ match up to their reputation. Beans were the best thing offered; I could make a meal of those alone. Nice balance of spice and sweetness. Brisket was just "ok" and the chicken faintly redolent of smoke. Good coleslaw is exceedingly difficult to come by, and this batch had barely any interest. I might as well have been eating rabbit food. Pozole was fine. BTW each of those plates cost about $11. Quantity isn't an issue (although B did remark "chicken looks skimpy" iirc), it has more to do with execution.
  15. Dinner 2018 (Part 1)

    We're having friends over for our annual Oscar viewing party. As for dinner, it will be Dinner menu for six for March 4, 2018: Assorted crackers Cheese plate (smoked Gouda, cheddar cheese, goat cheese) Marinated olives Deep-fried anchovies Lamb tagine with Castelvetrano olives and saffron Couscous with aromatic vegetables (celery, carrot, onion) and currants Harissa Preserved lemon Braised green beans and broccolini with anchovy, Meyer lemon and rosemary Chocolate ice cream for dessert