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...tm...

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  1. I can't remember if I mentioned this here before, but I like okara blended about 1:1 with an egg and seasoned/herbs added. It produces a light-textured egg 'pancake' when griddled (and I didn't expect to like okara at all, seeing it as some sort of health-only food).
  2. Last year a couple friends and I had a limoncelloff where we pit our various limoncello methods against each other. I used Meyer lemons (alcohol portions Katie's recipe), as I have a tree, and the others were a regular Smirnoff with supermarket lemons, store bought (easily identified as the loser), and lemons grown in the Central Valley (CA) steeped in very high proof home-distilled "rum" (which I have tried straight and detect little flavor). The grocery store/Smirnoff was the winner by an edge, with the Central Valley version a close second. As others noted above the Meyer lemons didn't have enough 'lemon-ness' to pull it off. I went with all Meyers out of curiosity about the comparison I knew was upcoming, and also because I've always thought their peel was their strength. To me it has always tasted lemony plus "herbal". And if I had to name an herb, it would be rosemary, which can definitely be described as woody. I've always been disappointed in their insides, which don't have the acidity I'm looking for in a lemon, but have found the zest fantastic in lemon curds or vegetable dressings, as the herbal plus lemon character seems more interesting than pure lemon. The surprise, however, came when we mixed the supermarket lemon winner with the Meyer loser (besides the poor, commercial brand sold at Trader Joe's) and the mixture became the overall winner of the night. The Pledge-y quality of the lemony winner was toned down and enhanced by the herbal qualities of the Meyer lemon version. So maybe mixing in a few Meyers could enhance the mix, though Meyer only is not nearly lemony enough.
  3. ...tm...

    Cold pizza

    As you might imagine, Italians have come up with a couple solutions to this problem. My first thought was the real Sicialian, non-mozz sfincione which you could buy at the various bakeries listed in that article, or make with basically a heavily oiled (in the pan) focaccia with a tomato and hard cheese topping. Then, I remembered the Roman pizza al taglio. I never ate much of it when I spent a semester in Rome, since my favorite stye pizza is the Roman, slightly thinner than Neopolitan pizza, and I had plenty of time to sit and enjoy these. But the pizze al taglio are generally served lukewarm, don't have too many toppings, and if they have cheese it is often baked into the crust, forming that crispy cheese texture. Though a lot of these versions are sauceless, and while I enjoy them, if I say I want pizza I am generally thinking of something with crust, tomato sauce, and cheese. A cherry tomato and cheese on the crust version would likely suffice, especially if I topped with fresh arugula for lunch.
  4. While I have no guilt about being an omnivore, per se, I am the sort that feels wary of the way animals are currently raised. I grew up in Iowa, used to seeing hogs in fields with huts spread out in the fields. I see the current recommendation is about 15 huts/sows per acre http://www.port-a-hut.com/pasture-farrowing.cfm. And I grew up with many people who had chickens, and while I recognize that they have a tendency to peck at each other, and removing beaks might not be that cruel, certainly confinement to battery cages, with the cages stacked is both cruel and disease-prone. And that, to me, is the biggest offender in my reasoning why much of current "conventional" agriculture is not acceptable to me. Whether or not it is cruel to confine generally docile cattle, or peckish chickens, or piggish pigs to a confined space is not something I can really judge as cruel or not (and I'm a biologist, though molecular/computational in specialty). It is, however, a method much more likely to spread disease, especially when the source of feed, as it is now, is largely supplemented with biproducts from other industries rather than the animals' natural diet. While of course some of this biproduct recycling is admirable and supported by history, such as diary whey to pigs, much of it is disgusting, such as the bone/blood meal that lead to the spread of mad cow disease and the continued feeding of grain/spent grain to cattle who's stomachs are not designed to deal with such materials. Not to mention the environmental impacts of any CAFO. Overproducing meat involves feeding more than the land it is allowed to roam can produce. This is largely a waste of energy, not to mention a waste problem. When in proper balance, the manure from your farm animals can produce fertilizer for your crops from forage areas and crops that need little/no additional input. It is definitely possible and prefereable to have a system where the animal output and the vegetative output are in balance and feed each other, but this is not possible in the current environment that values cheap meat and uses government-sponsored commodity crops to feed that meat. So, in summary, what it comes down to for me is cruelty? I don't know, animal behavior generally goes through too many anthromorphic filters. But, practically, the current predominant system of raising chickens, eggs, beef, and pork is highly prone to disease outbreaks and wasteful of agricultural resources.
  5. ...tm...

    Confit jelly

    Within a month, especially at refrigerator temperatures, you should have no problems. When removing pieces from the confit, instead of "top with clean fat", just heat the entire container above 140 F and make sure there is still a fat layer covering the top completely. The whole idea behind burying your meat in fat is that very few bacteria (other than than C. bolulinum) live on food in this oxygen-starved conditions (under fat). Jelly ups the percent liquid, but if it is truly sealed under a layer of fat (without any air bubbles allowing oxygen to pass through) it is protected by confit. And keep in mind confit was meant to preserve at room temperature for months--fridge temperature for weeks is barely a preservation challenge for cooked meat. Storage temperatures below 40 F (eg refrigerator) significantly inhibit botulism growth.
  6. As a quasi environmentalist (though not as a sacrifice to flavor) I have to mention that some of the recipes that most reply upon temperature of the mixing vessel such as Carbonara, Cacio e Pepe, or Alfredo rely on warming the serving/mixing contianer, which I warm by draining the pasta over the serving/mixing bowl. It will warm the bowl and if it is necessary to reserve any "pasta water' as it often is for cacio e pepe, you can pour the water off to use as necessary.
  7. ...tm...

    Okara

    I've been wanting to lose a bit of weight recently (preferably by magic) and when I saw okara (the remains from soy milking) was free at the Japanese grocery I figured I might as well give it a try. I expected some sort of awful sludge only vegans would think was edible (and googling for recipes only reinforced this opinion), but upon tasting it I found it was actually quite good. Very bland, of course, but fresh tasting with a fluffy and interesting texture. So far all I've made is an "omelet" of an egg and an equal volume of okara with salt and pepper. I really enjoyed it--the texture was great if you like fluffy egg dishes, and the flavor was also really pleasant, maybe more so than solid egg. Does anyone have any dishes they enjoy with okara? I've noticed a lot of baking suggestion on the web, but I don't bake too often.
  8. My favorite way to grill pork is Vietnamese style. This is my go to recipe http://www.vietworldkitchen.com/blog/2009/04/vietnamese-restaurantstyle-grilled-lemongrass-pork-thit-heo-nuong-xa.html I usually use pork shoulder or leg steaks, or even chicken thighs, but it is really delicious, whether served in Vietnamese surroundings like bun thit heo nuong or bahn mi, or accompanied by grilled asparagus and a slow-cooked egg.
  9. I forgot to mention, the key to me enjoying it, rather than just thinking of brown rice as healthy,is the cooking method. So far I have found the easiest way to ensure separate, non-gummy grains is to start an excess of water boiling, drop in rinsed brown rice, drain at 30 minutes and return to pan. Fluff, cover, and let sit for at least 10 minutes.
  10. I like the red cargo rice to go with Thai curries and medium grain brown rice as a more general purpose rice. I started switching over thinking I would like brown jasmine or basmati best, but medium grain just works and tastes better to me. Part of that could be because I usually get it from Massa Organics at the farmer's market, but I recently picked up a 5 lb bag of Calrose Brown rice on the cheap and still prefer it. It actually works well for fried rice.
  11. Right, having twelve bottles of vinegar in my small cabinet isn't hoarding because they're all different types of vinegar. However, now that I live by a Grocery Outlet my hoarding tendencies for dried pasta and canned tomatoes have gotten completely out of hand, as the occasional deals are more than I can pass up.
  12. As chance would have it, I just made this for the first time last night. I used the recipe quoted at the beginning of the thread, (200 g water/225 g chocolate), but first read the directions here: http://projects.washingtonpost.com/recipes/2008/02/13/chocolate-chantilly/. One of the hints from the article that I believe helped my beginners success was to whip on ice, but remove from ice while it is still a little loose, then whip off ice until it has reached the desired texture. This likely achieves the same result of not overchilling the chocolate as just whipping after refrigerating as someone upthread suggested but fits in better with my impatience/erratic refrigerator. I made it with chocolate of unknown provenance (actually, from my neighbors' basement, labelled 62% chocolate, given to me in a trade for loquats) and the texture was outstanding. Extraordinary melt-in-your mouth capabilities, and very mousse-like at Northern California room temperatures.
  13. Hmm, I have no experience with this, and am not driven to see the outcome, as I'm not that interested in sweets in general, and the only thing I ever make with graham cracker crust is key lime pie, and I don't care that some of the crust gets lost to the pan, but my general rule of thumb is that egg whites have more eggy (sulfuric) flavor and impart a springy texture, while egg yolk can bind, but provides a creamier texture and a fatty flavor more in tune with the types of filling that usually accompany such a crust, so I might try that first if I wanted a graham crust that held together on its own. Which I'm not sure I want, as to me graham crusts are something that naturally cling to custardy pies and can never be too thick or heavy, because the remainder will just fall off.
  14. ...tm...

    Tuna Salad

    One of my favorite really healthy dishes is an Italian tuna and white bean salad. It's just olive-oil cured tuna, white beans, red onion, garlic, lemon juice, and lots of parsley. It is also really flexible--I've made it with different beans, other seasonings added (sumac is great) and other herbs or arugula.
  15. These days I definitely just use coconut oil, which is readily found in supermarkets/health type store around here. But back when I was trying to make sure I'd made things by the book a couple times before I go my own way I noticed that all brands of coconut cream I could find contained stabilizers, while many brands of coconut milk do not. For example, the most recommended brand of coconut milk available in the US, Chaokoh, includes carboxymethylcellulose in its cream but not milk. After burning the cream a couple times I realized it is better to use the thick, top part of the milk for the initial cracking step, but add coconut cream later on for richness (including a trendy, swirled dollop just before serving). That being said, the oil is much easier, and David Thompson even says "if using canned, add a little oil when frying the paste: this will replicate separated coconut cream." I kind of do the opposite--start with coconut oil and add a little coconut cream after the paste starts to become fragrant, as the taste of the coconut solids cooked at frying temperature adds something. Andie makes me want to find a microwaveable fat separator, though.
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