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  1. I had a long chat with the guy at the butcher counter and, actually, all their lamb is pre-frozen- the stuff out in the counter has just been already defrosted. I forgot to ask about the pork or the beef- but MAN did they have a lot of both. Frozen, however, was fine with me (especially at something like $2.50 a pound-). I had him snag me the still frozen shanks and I defrosted them at home since I shopped a day early. The shanks were delicious.
  2. I added a little oil to the egg wash the last time I made chicken fingers (per Cook's Illustrated- flour, egg+oil+s+p wash, followed by panko) and I was amazed at how well the breading adhered- it formed a perfect coating.
  3. Oh, that's right around the corner from me! I'll check it out (and I'll bet it's much less expensive than Whole Foods, too). Thanks so much-
  4. Any idea where (in West LA or Hollywood) I could find lamb shanks? I looked at my local Whole Foods, but they didn't carry them-
  5. It's not quite as thick as mashed potatoes but not soupy either- I've served it with roast chicken and with lamb chops.
  6. It's taken me a couple of years of steady cooking and more or less slavish recipe following, but by now I do feel free to take liberties with recipes on occasion. I think the more I cook and the more I know how ingredients interact and react to different types of cooking, the more liberties I'll take- but at the same time, I'll probably always use recipes as starting off points, because I'm not that imaginative.
  7. Not to ruin a good excuse to buy a food processor, but I've made that watercress and pea puree successfully with a blender. However, I much prefer a version from the French Chef cookbook, which is more or less the same, but with chicken stock instead of water.
  8. I can also recommend the lemon risotto with cream. I pulled out this book again this weekend after reading this thread and tried the risotto with pork chops, and it was incredible (though next time I think I'll use more lemon zest). My husband had three servings...
  9. I think my current Cookbook of the Year has got to be Jack Bishop's A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen (and I am not at all vegetarian). I haven't used a cookbook so immediately and so often with such consistently stunning results since I got A New Way To Cook.
  10. Heh. I still can't believe it. I thought the MSE was a steal, for $1- and then as I was leaving, they said, "Oh, we're giving all this away free." I walk over and there is the Time-Life series, all in a crate. I tried to pay them $20 for it but they wouldn't take it.
  11. This weekend I purchase the latest America's Test Kitchen book. Also, at a yard sale, I got Martha Stewart's Entertaining and what appears to be the entire Time Life Foods of the World series. For $1.
  12. Skooby's. Infinitely superior to Pink's or Oki Dog and just as cheap.
  13. Y'all, thanks for all your help. I dutifully wrote down all your suggestions for next weekend- except we found the perfect cake Saturday. Not at Sweet Lady Jane, which, for all the hype, looked much prettier than it tasted. And definitely not at Hansen's- we should have taken the advice to skip that! We're getting five beautiful, delicious St. Honore cakes from Susina, which I cannot recommend highly enough. Their cakes were all far and away the best we had that day, and the best we could remember having, ever- and the owner is so amazing and helpful.
  14. I'm getting married and we've set up our wedding cake tastings at Sweet Lady Jane, Susina (formerly Sugarplum, and one of our favorite lunch spots already), and Hansen's Bakery. Anywhere we're missing? We're looking for more of a really, really great chocolate cake for 110 people than a traditional wedding cake.
  15. For those of y'all with biscuit problems, I highly recommend Alton Brown's biscuit episode. My nemeses are: -ricotta gnocchi (and I think it's my own fault. I always forget to drain the ricotta first- plus, I suspect this is something I'm not going to be too inspired to master when I always pop over to Angeli Caffe for theirs) -lemon curd, for use in a pie. It never, ever, ever firms up enough. Or at all.
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