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eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by Hest88

  1. I saw that article this weekend. Thanks for posting. To be honest, although I feel for Bill Niman, I haven't sought out Niman Ranch meats in years. When it started popping up everywhere--including chain restaurants--I just felt there was no way they could sustain their quality and/or model at such volumes. Interesting to see that my gut instincts were correct to some degree.
  2. I actually just had to replace mine. I understood, though, that the current ones are more reliable? Mine was from that notorious batch of two years ago.
  3. I don't have a cooktop, but I do have a BlueStar free-standing range. It's great with a wok, because all I have to remove the grate over the 22K BTU burner and the wok nestles squarely over the flames. (I actually have my wok pretty permanently placed like that.)
  4. Well the Bosch, like all Euro DWs, doesn't use a heated drying system. I think if you're used to the heated drying with your KA you might be disappointed in the Bosch. As a note, no current DWs need pre-rinsing. You just need to scrape or wipe large pieces of food into the garbage can and load the DW. Saves water and time!
  5. As a customer, I can't think of a more uncomfortable situation than being called out on my tipping. I can guarantee that if that happened to me, no matter how gently it was phrased I'd never set foot in that restaurant again out of sheer embarrassment. Honestly, if a restaurant really wanted to know, maybe it should start including a survey with the bill instead.
  6. Hest88

    Resting fish

    I've never deliberately rested lobster either! Gee, has Harold McGee done any experiments on this?
  7. Hest88

    Resting fish

    Fascinating. I'd be interested to hear the answer too. I've never heard of resting fish.
  8. Since Nakji has pulled this thread up again, I might as well butt in. ;-) I just got a Tojiro DP gyuto 270mm--my first Japanese knife (in part because it was well-priced) and designed to be my main chef's knife. I'm terribly lazy though, but I can't justify buying an Apex right now, so now I'm trying to figure out the most economical way for routine maintenance in between trips to a professional. I'm used to sharpening my Chinese cleaver on a two-sided stone inherited from my mom, but I understand that may be too crude for this knife. From my research it looks like I should go for a HandAmerican rod but they seem to be out of stock. The only one currently listed on http://www.japaneseknifesharpeningstore.com is the Steatite Honing Rod which, I believe, is not the "glass smooth" one or the borosilicate one discussed in threads from a year ago. Is the steatite rod suitable or is there a substitute I should get (like those Idahone Ceramic Rods)?
  9. Well, I'm totally stupid. But then you knew that. My problem with trays is that in order to keep items from sliding all over the place and potentially slamming into the rim of the tray--thus spilling stuff everywhere--I have to walk very, very slowly. It ends up being more time-efficient (as well as more spill-proof) for me to make multiple trips. I guess if I learned to glide smoothly from place to place it wouldn't be a problem, but I'm too old to learn now.
  10. Do they make Kosher rock candy? It's pretty similar to the Chinese rock sugar. Slightly browner, but I don't remember it tasting really different from rock sugar. Unless the recipe is actually calling for the kind of Chinese sugar that looks like bars of brown and white layered sugar?
  11. Awwww. I'm sorry you're under so much pressure. On the practical side, if this is causing ou stress, it might not hurt to ease up on your standards. For instance, using pre-peeled garlic and the like to cut your prep time. Also, I know you hate eating pre-made food, but there are foods--such as soups and stews--that freeze or refrigerate well and just take some reheating on the stove to be as good or better than when you made them. As for your other problem...what does your BF do to relax? Does he jog or play video games or read or play tennis? Tell him that cooking is your form of stress-release, just as doing XXX is his. Equating it to something he does, enjoys, and needs to stay sane might help you draw the analogy.
  12. Hest88

    Keeping things simple

    My frequent go-to, lazy dinner is simply chopping up some leafy green vegetables (dinosaur kale, brocoli rabe, or nappa cabbage most often) and stir-frying them with olive oil and salt. I don't even bother with garlic. Or I microwave an artichoke. And I don't bother with snipping off the ends or any of the niceties. Protein? Eh, if I happen to have some salami in the frig then I'll munch on that later.
  13. The last time I was in Hong Kong they had vinegar drinks among the soft drinks. They were wonderful. The vinegar gives it the same sort of kick carbonation does and acidity is awfully refreshing when it's hot. (Sort of like lemonade, I suppose, but sweeter.) In the U.S. I was quite delighted to find them imported from Taiwan but they've not pretty much disappeared from most Asian supermarket shelves in my area and only sporadically pop up again.
  14. I throw a wad of paper towels into the trash can, to protect the plastic garbage bag from the hot grease, and pour the grease straight into the trash.
  15. Hest88

    Help! Whelks!

    Ah, brings back such lovely memories of whelks in Paris and Hong Kong. Yum.
  16. Oh I love vegetable fungus. I had no idea what it was called in English but my mom puts it in soup for me all the time.
  17. Ah, this reminds of the time I was fresh out of college and in NYC visiting friends. As a California girl I thought that on my way to a dinner I'd just pop into the nearest store to pick up a bottle of wine for our hosts. Little did I know...
  18. I don't think it has anything to do with a gas oven. I have had two gas ovens in the last few years, one a very humble one and now a higher end up, and both perform baking duties well. I wonder if your oven needs to be re-calibrated? Or, there could be something wrong with it and you may need to get a Viking repair man in to look at it. It always takes a bit to get used to a new oven, but if the temps are fluctuating enough to burn something as simple as muffins then it wouldn't hurt to get it checked out.
  19. Hest88

    Turkey Brining

    For the third year in a row I used the San Francisco Chronicle's salt and sugar proportions. In my ongoing quest to make the turkey more palatable to my Chinese relatives, though, the rest of the brine spices were radically different. In the last few years I've figured out that (other than the salt) the amount of spicing that gets infused through the brine is diluted enough so the amounts are rather forgiving and you really need a whole lot of spice to really make a difference. So, this year, I dumped (and I mean dumped--no measuring at all) a lot of cinnamon into the brine, threw in a small handful of star anise, a small handful of bay leaves, and a large handful of whole black pepper. Then I brined a 9lb heritage turkey for about 24 hours, removed it from the brine to air dry overnight, rinsed very briefly, then rubbed all over (including under the skin) with a handful of 5 spice and butter. Turkey was done in a really short amount of time--like 1.5 hours at 425 degrees--but I ended up turning up the heat to 500 and leaving it in a bit longer to crisp up some of the skin on the bottom. This was also the first year I didn't start breast down and then flip midway through, which may have accounted for the under-crisped bottom. The top and sides were nicely browned, though.
  20. Hest88

    Popcorn at home

    The key is a lower heat. Also, no shaking is necessary, seriously. If you use a lower heat, and as long as you use the same "take off stove when popping slows" method as you would with microwave popcorn, you can pretty much leave the entire thing alone. It becomes nearly as easy as microwave popcorn.
  21. Hest88

    Popcorn at home

    I'm lazy, so this is my method. Olive oil just sheeting the entire bottom of a med-sized pot. I turn the heat to medium and (without waiting for it to heat up) throw one layer of popcorn into the bottom of the pot. Then I stick on the lid. I listen for the popping and, just like with microwave popcorn, when I hear it slowing I take it off the heat. Off with the lid, throw salt into the pot (DH doesn't like butter), put the lid back on, shake the pot madly in the air to distribute the salt evenly (with one hand keeping the lid down, naturally), and then serve. I used to shake while cooking but I've since discovered that no shaking is required as long as the heat isn't too high. Plus, if this is a factor for anyone, there's never enough oil to actually taste the olive oil; the popcorn taste remains pretty neutral.
  22. Well, I tried the method this weekend and it was a dismal failure. I think in part my steak was a bit too thin, but also, even though I had the burner on something closer to low than medium, it was still too hot. I think I'll have to tweak my methods further.
  23. I just finished the book. It was certainly a fun read and I am grateful for the section on chopstick use! This is *not* a book for the serious eGulleter, but a really good book for anyone either new to Asian dining or unfamiliar with the intricacies. I can imagine it would make quite a nice gift. ;-)
  24. I ate them a lot and they're my sister's favorite childhood candy (next to Botan rice candy). It's too bad.
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