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Everything posted by ...tm...

  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...


    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.
  16. I am going to hypothesize, based solely on my own opinions, that the reason many recipes call for a combo of the two is not just the American tradition of the green canned stuff, but also because Pecorino Romano, unless sold in a high-turnover store, is often much more dried out than it would be in, say Rome. Very little Pecorino Romano, saran-wrapped, and left to dry in the US is soft enough to use for Cacio e Pepe, and comes off as super-salty, with little melting ability, and a strong sheep taste. Luckily if the Pecorino Romano at my local store is all dried up I can get other varieties of pecorino that are slightly younger, and can add some melting ability, while retaining the sheepsmilk flavor. I have no personal experience with pecorino from Amatrice, which would be traditional in this dish, but this website says it is somewhat milder than Pecorino Romano. So, as always, Italian recipes are super-regional. (And in general cows/butter north, sheep/olive oil south)
  17. I frequent Saigon Sandwich, though that is partially because I am most often in the are on Sundays, when the Civic Center Farmer's market is also going on, and most other places are closed. I certainly recommend it over Lee's, but Wrap Delight is also quite good. Or at least it was two years ago when I made it there on a weekday. Usually grilled pork is my favorite sandwich, but meatball might be my favorite there.
  18. I like to use zucchini as a simple pasta sauce--first I sautee cubes in olive oil until there is some browning, then I add salt, red pepper flakes, and lots of garlic then let cook down until zucchini has lost its integrity. The salt will release liquid from the zucchini and let everything simmer until smooth. I usually start the water boiling for pasta right after I add the salt, and then the sauce is ready at the same time as the pasta. Taste at the end of cooking for seasoning--sometimes I add a bit of lemon juice or tomato for acidity, and, of course, cheese. Something sharper like pecorino is nice here, but Parmigiano-Reggiano is also good.
  19. Burmese Kitchen is a must--it is my favorite Burmese in the city (and I have tried them all). Canteen might not be open early on weekdays, but The Sentinel, a to go breakfast/lunch counter by the same chef is. I'm not a big fan of Out the Door--I can't tell if I have just ordered poorly (I've tried the bahn mi and a special duck dish) or if they've succumbed to the genrally blander style of cooking that tends to happen when a cuisine goes upscale. I wanted to like them, since they claim to serve sustainably sourced meats. I found both dishes to be quite bland, however, and knowing that Saigon Sandwich, and the other Vietnamese-run bahn mi shops weren't that far away. But for mall food and convenience, it isn't bad, it just doesn't have the flavor I expect from Vietnamese food. The same could be said of 'witchcraft in the same mall. Pretty good for mall food, but it didn't blow me away. My favorite Thai place so far has been Lers Ros Thai. It is well into the Tenderloin, but I find it worth it to walk through the chaos (crackheads) to get there, Burmese Kitchen, and the bahn mi shops on Larkin. Though if you want to stick to Union Square for Thai I was pleasantly surprised the time I stopped by the King of Thai Noodle House next to Macy's because I was starving. The made a perfectly cooked pad kee mao. And if I were in Union Square every morning I would check out some dim sum in Chinatown, which is very close. I don't have any specific recommendations, as my dim sum scouting has taken place in the Richmond and Oakland, though I used to get the to-go dim sum from some places on Stockton street on my brief lunch breaks when I worked at a coffee shop near the Stockton tunnel. People generally recommend the upscale, cleaned-up Yank Sing. It isn't in Chinatown, but the Stevenson branch would be a reasonable walk from Union Square, or you could always take public transportation and be at the Embarcadero in 5-10 minutes. Oh, and I also like Taqueria Cancun on Market, also in a divey area, though I wouldn't call the signature San Francisco burrito a light lunch. Two tacos would be light enough, though. Have fun!!
  20. ...tm...

    Dinner! 2010

    David Chang's kimchi apple salad. It is one of my favorites--where the whole is much better than the parts (not that there is anything wrong with the parts.) And to think I though I didn't really like sweetened yogurt unitl I made the maple labne called for in this recipe.
  21. ...tm...

    Dinner! 2010

    I'm excited it's grilling season again. Vietnamese lemongrass grilled chicken, grilled asparagus, garlic fried rice and a Momofuku-style slow poached egg.
  22. I grew winter rye in Iowa a couple of winters and it was 3 feet high with seedheads by the time I turned it under in the spring. I don't, however, remember how much of the growth was in the spring as opposed to Oct-Jan. So I guess your soil is pretty poor. See if any neighbors have extra horse manure--that really helped the tomato patch.
  23. I've always used this method for chicken, especially since my first stove didn't have an adequate simmer setting. It is an hour off heat, covered.
  24. I don't know that I should be giving any advice, as I've had a tree that has gotten about an inch larger in the three years I've owned it, but it is not dead, so I have that going for me. I'm hoping to do better this year since I came upon Kasma's advice for growing a tree http://www.thaifoodandtravel.com/features/kaflime.html . Her cooking advice is great so I imagine her tree advice is similarly wise. It is somewhat Bay Area, outdoor specific but provides a lot of background knowledge along with specific advice for sites. Basically, remember it is a tropical tree used to moisture and warmth. I'm jealous of your cutting--it will probably be more sensitive to cold that commercial trees, as they are usually grafted on to a heartier citrus. Another good tip from Kasma is to prune a branch for leaves rather than just pluck them off willy-nilly. Good luck!!
  25. They were labeled as moringa. Here's a good picture.
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