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  1. I am canning pickles today and would like to do some with asian flavors. I have in mind to add a few drops of sesame oil for flavor to one of my brines. Is this O.K. or will the oil throw off the preserving factor?
  2. Hoping someone here who's done this before can help me out, as I've never done this before. I pickled 20 pounds of Hungarian wax peppers yesterday. Sterilized jars and lids and all that, and the seals all seem to have taken. Here's my q: there's at least one jar (haven't checked them all yet) that, when upright, appears to be full of brine. However, when inverted, it only looks to be half full. Should I be worried?
  3. Quite often in the course of cooking, I'm left over with significant amounts of rendered animal fat, whether it's from frying off some bacon or searing some chicken thighs or roasting a pork shoulder. If it was fairly neutral, I would sometimes save it and use it as a base for a later dish but sometimes the fat would be heavily spiced or flavored and I generally never figured out what to do with it so I threw it away. Recently, I came into the possession of a cuisinart miniprep and, tonight, I came up with the idea of doing a "quick mayo" with the leftover fat from a five spice rubbed rack of ribs. The result was rich, subtly spiced and deeply meaty mayo that has me curious about the possibilities. The miniprep turns mayo making from a 10 minute affair to a 30 second one and it makes it possible to make a dazzling array of unique mayos from what I previously would have thrown away. I'm dying to try making a mayo from roast chicken fat and using it in a cold roast chicken sandwich the next day or making a potato salad with a bacon mayo. Does anyone else do this? Have you had any stunning successes or failures?
  4. I'm trying to track down stockists of Jamaican Jerk Seasoning, preferably in Sydney but generally in Oz. I'm really after the Walkerswood brand as I've tried Herbies' mix and it isn't really the same. Any info much appreciated.
  5. I decided to check on the pickles that I have fermenting away in the closet for the past 10 days. I cut one open and found it hollow! I thought this might be a fluke, so I tried another and same thing. I would assume that this might have to do with the fact that the brine is drawing fluid out of the pickle, but will this eventually correct itself? Thanks, Dan
  6. A friend posed a question on summer sausage. He said his jalapeno summer sausage did not hold its shape well, and he used fresh jalapenos. I think using pickled jalapenos would be a better solution. Any advice would be great; thanks.
  7. I especially love the jamaica flower or hibiscus tea on a hot day and decided to make some ice cream out of it today. I just steeped the dried flowers like I normally do for the tea bag ice creams (like earl grey) in the heated base. I stepped away for 2 minutes, came back and oh my gosh! The cream curdled like I squeezed a whole lemon in it. I read that there is Protocatechuic acid in the flower.. not that I know what that means except that it has the word acid in it... Has anyone tried to do this? I want to know why it happened... I think I'll just make a simple syrup, super concentrated jamaica solution and use that instead... would that work? or will it just cause a lot of crystallization? Help! I want to eat it in ice cream form!
  8. Next week I will be volunteering at the James Beard house as a student chef. I figured that this will be a good opportunity to get in a little practice and learn some new techniques. I was told that the typical work will be prep and maybe some plating. My main concern is that I studied baking and pastry in culinary school. I was not taught knife skills, meat fab, etc... that I might have to do. The volunteer coordinator at the James Beard Foundation assured me that I will be able to be of use. Given that i am paying approx $35 round trip train ticket from New Haven, CT to volunteer, I want to make sure that i will be of service. What do you think? Thanks, Dan
  9. When you read that a place is a Good Food Guide “cooking 3” and does three courses for £21.50 and throws in a bottle of house wine between the two of you, then you have to get in the car and go give it a try. Unfortunately the wine offer doesn’t run on a Saturday night but that was the only real disappointment of tonight’s meal. It’s a small shop-front place with a few tables on the ground floor and a few more in the cellar. If I have a criticism, then it is that it gets damned hot in the cellar. Serving staff are young, friendly and good at their jobs, keeping a ready eye open for what’s happening on each table. The menu offers half a dozen or so choices at each course and, whilst you can certainly pick a good meal at no extra charge, a goodly number of dishes carry supplements (but usually only a couple of quid). My wife opened the evening with a very reasonably priced glass of house champagne (£5) and we nibbled on some homemade bread and aioli. Then she got stuck in to what was probably the best dish of the night. A disc of well flavoured black pudding sat on another disc of fondant potato, a Granny Smith sauce cutting through the richness. Nothing spectacular here – just good ingredients, cooked well. She followed this with a rump steak, sauté potatoes, the crispiest tastiest onion rings you’ll ever want to find and a peppercorn sauce. Yes, of course it was a bit 1980s, but it was good eating. I had a fishcake to start – good balance of potato and what I think was haddock. The surrounding sauce packed a punch – oil, capers, cornichons, samphire. I liked this. Less successful was my main – British rose veal served with pasta and a tomato sauce. Veal was fine (and I was pleased to see it on a menu); pasta was nicely al dente; sauce was mediocre. A little dish of mixed veg was also served. For dessert I had a vanilla pannacotta which sat on a shortbread. Good dish – the vanilla definitely in evidence. The other dessert was homemade ice cream – vanilla and orange, served with a chocolate sauce – which was pretty good. Espresso was served hot and strong and was a good end to the meal. It had all been worth the 50 minute drive – if it was closer to home, we’d be in there every month.
  10. Last night's balmy skies graced our cocktail hour in the garden of the James Beard House. Apparently there are a lot of Bordeaux Wine Lovers a bout since this sold out event was subscribed by a diverse age group. The only 'difficult' part of the evening was making one's way past the swarm of staff from The Highlawn Pavilion & Manor who were hard at work in the petite kitchen to make each plate picture perfect. The appetizerrs [Frogs Legs w. black garlic, Spoons of Lobster w. mango, shots of spring pea soup w. jamon froth, wagu beef w. leeks and FG torchon] lept off the plates. Perhaps it was the Perrier-Jouet that helped them slide down? As Chef Mitchell Altholz slaved away in the kitchen ad the Knowles dynasty kept a laid back but watchful eye, the rest of us enjoyed this multi-course meal that began w. a plate of assorted crudo and ended with desserts typical of Bordeaux. An oil poached halibut, pheasant w foie gras & truffle & beef w. Bordeaux & blue cheese filled the gap between first and last courses. Michael Giulini of Deutsch & Sons supplied some excellent wines from Chateau Bonnet Rose to Ch Coucheroy Blanc to a Margaux, and a St Emilion. Surely the spirit of James Beard was hovering overhead on this wonderful evening...and me, I was the luckiest, as I got to enjoy all of it!
  11. I'd like to reserve a place for an upscale business lunch somewhere near Avenue and Bloor, where holding a conversation will not be a challenge due to background noise. Has anyone visited JK at the Gardiner at lunchtime recently? How loud is the space during lunch time? Has anyone had lunch at Prime at the Windsor Arms? It looks like Prime might be a good choice for a conservative diner. http://www.windsorarmshotel.com/prime_menus/ I realize C5 is an option, but I think the lunch menu might be a little adventurous for the person I'm dining with. Sounds like Spice Room has lost Couillard, and I'm not sure the direction the kitchen has now taken. Also looked at Pangaea's lunch menu which seems steep for what it is. Think One will be too trendy, and I wasn't impressed with my last 2 meals at the Studio Cafe. Gallery Grill won't work for this lunch (want to keep the lunch off campus). Jacques Bistro du Parc's tables are too close together for the type of conversation we will be having. Is there anywhere else you'd recommend?
  12. Rhubarb is out in force at the farmers market so I picked up two big bunches today. I'd like to make a batch of jam, and I really like the idea of throwing in some candied ginger and perhaps a splash of vanilla. There doesn't seem to be any sure-bet recipe when I Google. The quantity of sugar varies wildly (I prefer not sickly-sweet jam) and some don't include any sort of jelling agent as far as I can tell. My understanding is that rhubarb contains virtually no pectin so you have to add either industrial pectin or some other fruit like lemon or apple. Anyone care to share their most favorite recipe?
  13. Does anyone have a line on Mustard essence? I need it to make Mostarda and I have called everone.
  14. A few weeks ago we ate at a restaurant called Cafe de Lao in Bangkok (prior to moving on to Luang Prabang in Laos). Excellent meal and one of the standout dishes was a som tam with what was called 'pickled blue swimming crab' (from a menu that had a whole page of different som tams!). I am planning to try to recreate this dish this coming weekend. I have managed to source a frozen blue swimming crab from a local Thai deli. This appears uncooked (which I am sure it should be) - but what I do not know is how to go about 'pickling' it. Has anyone tried this or have any information on how to go about it? Jon
  15. With most spices I only keep the whole spice on hand: coriander, fennel, cumin, etc. But looking at my spice rack I see that I have both Colman's powdered mustard and mustard seeds. I never really gave it any thought, I just have both and use them when a recipe calls for one or the other. But is it necessary, or even desirable, to keep powdered mustard? Does it lose its potency faster than the whole seed (as with other spices)? Is it hard to grind because of the tiny, smooth spheres? Do you have both?
  16. Britain has gone into overdrive trying to impress Obama. After the gift giving debacle (Gordon Brown gives Obama fancy historical ancient pen signifying eternal friendship, he gives Brown DVDs that might not even work in a European player) and the 2007 incident where he stated that he doesn't like British food, Jamie Oliver has been brought in to cook British food only and make Obama like it, dammit. To that end the menu for the big G20 dinner is as follows: Starter: Organic Scottish salmon with samphire and sea kale, and a selection of vegetables from Sussex, Surrey and Kent. Main course: Slow-roasted shoulder of Elwy Valley lamb with Jersey Royals, wild mushrooms and mint sauce. Dessert: Bakewell tart and custard. Vegetarian option: Goat's cheese starter followed by lovage and potato dumplings for the main course. What do you all think? Obviously he had some restrictions - e.g. no pork because there are 3 leaders of Muslim countries at the table. The newspapers (well, the Guardian) is going into overdrive trying to anticipate Obama's response. Also, the charm offensive isn't limited to food - they've sat Michelle Obama next to JK Rowling in an attempt to earn the Obamas' affection. Personally, I think the vegetarian options are a bit sad and uninspired. Also that Bakewell tart better be good because if it's not, it's going to be awful.
  17. The 2009 James Beard Award nominees for cookbooks are in... Any thoughts or picks? AMERICAN COOKING Arthur Schwartz's Jewish Home Cooking: Yiddish Recipes Revisited by Arthur Schwartz (Ten Speed Press) Cooking Up a Storm: Recipes Lost and Found from The Times-Picayune of New Orleans Edited by: Marcelle Bienvenu and Judy Walker (Chronicle Books) Screen Doors and Sweet Tea: Recipes and Tales from a Southern Cook by Martha Hall Foose (Clarkson Potter) BAKING Bakewise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking by Shirley O. Corriher (Scribner) Baking for All Occasions: A Treasury of Recipes for Everyday Celebrations by Flo Braker (Chronicle Books) The Art and Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet, Sur La Table (Andrews McMeel Publishing) BEVERAGE The Harney and Sons Guide to Tea by Michael Harney (The Penguin Press) The Wines of Burgundy by Clive Coates (University of California Press) WineWise: Your Complete Guide to Understanding, Selecting, and Enjoying Wine by Steven Kolpan, Brian H. Smith, and Michael A. Weiss, The Culinary Institute of America (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.) COOKING FROM A PROFESSIONAL POINT OF VIEW Alinea by Grant Achatz (Achatz LLC/Ten Speed Press) The Big Fat Duck Cookbook by Heston Blumenthal (Bloomsbury USA) Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide by Thomas Keller (Artisan) GENERAL COOKING How to Cook Everything (Completely Revised Tenth Anniversary Edition) by Mark Bittman (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.) Martha Stewart’s Cooking School: Lessons and Recipes for the Home Cook by Martha Stewart with Sarah Carey (Clarkson Potter) The Bon Appétit Fast Easy Fresh Cookbook by Barbara Fairchild (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.) HEALTHY FOCUS Cooking with the Seasons at Rancho La Puerta: Recipes from the World-Famous Spa by Deborah Szekely and Deborah M. Schneider, with Jesús González (Stewart, Tabori & Chang) EatingWell for a Healthy Heart Cookbook by Philip A. Ades, M.D. and the Editors of EatingWell (The Countryman Press) The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life by Ellie Krieger (The Taunton Press, Inc.) INTERNATIONAL Beyond the Great Wall: Recipes and Travels in the Other China by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid (Artisan) Jewish Holiday Cooking: A Food Lover’s Treasury of Classics and Improvisations by Jayne Cohen (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.) Southeast Asian Flavors: Adventures in Cooking the Foods of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, & Singapore by Robert Danhi (Mortar & Press) PHOTOGRAPHY The Big Fat Duck Cookbook Photographer: Dominic Davies Artist: Dave McKean (Bloomsbury USA) Decadent Desserts Photographer: Thomas Dhellemmes (Flammarion) Haute Chinese Cuisine from the Kitchen of Wakiya Photographer: Masashi Kuma (Kodansha International) REFERENCE AND SCHOLARSHIP Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Ages by Anne Mendelson (Knopf) The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America’s Most Imaginative Chefs by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg (Little, Brown and Company) The Science of Good Food by David Joachim and Andrew Schloss, with A. Philip Handel, Ph.D. (Robert Rose Inc.) SINGLE SUBJECT Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes by Jennifer McLagan (Ten Speed Press) Mediterranean Fresh: A Compendium of One-Plate Salad Meals and Mix-and-Match Dressings by Joyce Goldstein (W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.) The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever by Beatrice Ojakangas (Chronicle Books) WRITING AND LITERATURE In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan (The Penguin Press) Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China by Fuchsia Dunlop (W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.) Raising Steaks: The Life and Times of American Beef by Betty Fussell (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  18. If you're in the area, head out to Yountville this Saturday, 3-21-09. The Mustard Festival, which runs for several weeks, has it's stop in town on Sat, lots of food sampling, kids activities (I was told), tours in the French Laundry garden etc. Starts 11am until I think 5pm or so. Fun, food, music, wine, kid stuff, should be great and it looks like the weather will be ok too. We plan to be there at clock strikes 11 am :-) Oliver
  19. Has anybody ever heard of Taiwanese Soy Sauce, a.k.a. "Soy Cream" or "Bottom of the Barrel Oil" - essentially, Chinese equivalent of Balsamic? If so - who makes it? How much does it cost? How do you spell it in Cantonese? Is it available in US or Europe?
  20. Everyone knows Ive been trying to find a source of UNSWEETENED Konnyaku Jelly Powder. I THINK I have FINALLY found it. I will update as soon as I get the shipment. YAY, for Lowcarbers, who wanna make yummy desserts carb and calorie free!
  21. I have a 17 ounce bottle which is at least a couple of years old which I've never opened. Is it still good?
  22. So, I've been making quick-pickled red onions for immediate use, sliced into strips and marinated in a vinegar brine just until they change color. Can I keep these for longer than a couple of days? Is there another, similar red onion pickle recipe that lasts a little longer? It'd be nice to have a jar of crunchy, tart, pungent onions to put on sandwiches or what-have-you.
  23. I really want to do this since I had it at a restaurant a long time ago, but I've never pickled...well...anything before. Anyone have a guess at how its done?
  24. ANDIE'S ABSOLUTELY ADDICTING BREAD & BUTTER PICKLES Here’s the thing about pickles: if you’ve never made them, they may seem to be an overwhelming (and possibly mysterious) project. Our listener Andie – who has offered some really valuable help to the show several times in the past – has sent this recipe which provides an opportunity to “try your hand” at pickle-making without much effort. Andie suggests that making a small batch, and storing the pickles in the refrigerator (without “processing”) can get you started painlessly. Our Producer Lisa says that the result is so delicious that you won’t be able to keep these pickles on hand - even for the 3-4 months that they’ll safely keep! The basics are slicing the cucumbers and other veggies, tossing them with salt and crushed ice and allowing them to stand for awhile to become extra-crisp. You then make a simple, sweet and spicy syrup, (Andie does this in the microwave), rinse your crisp veggies, put them in a jar, pour the syrup over, and keep them in the refrigerator until they’re “pickled” – turning the jar upside down each day. In about 2 weeks you’ll have pickles – now how much easier could that be? If you are inspired, I hope you’ll try these – and enjoy! MAKES ABOUT 1 QUART. FOR THE PICKLES: 4 to 6 pickling cucumbers (cucumbers should be not much larger than 1 inch in diameter, and 4 to 5 inches long) 1/2 to 3/4 of one, medium size onion. 1/2 red bell pepper. 1/4 cup, pickling salt (coarse kosher salt) 2 quarts, cracked ice water to cover 2 tablespoons, mustard seed. 1 heaping teaspoon, celery seed FOR THE SYRUP: 1 1/2 cups, vinegar *NOTE: Use cider or distilled white vinegar, do not use wine vinegar. 1 1/2 cups, sugar 2 heaping teaspoons, pickling spice mix. PREPARE THE PICKLES: Carefully wash the cucumbers and bell pepper. Slice all vegetables very thin, using a food processor with a narrow slicing blade, or by hand, or using a V-slicer or mandoline. Toss the sliced vegetables together in a glass or crockery bowl large enough to hold twice the volume of the vegetables. Sprinkle the salt over the vegetables, add the cracked ice, toss again to blend all ingredients and add water to just barely cover the vegetables. Place a heavy plate on top of the vegetables to keep them below the top of the liquid. *Set aside for 4 hours. PREPARE THE SYRUP: Place the vinegar, sugar and pickling spices in a 4-quart Pyrex or other microwavable container (the large Pyrex measure works very well) Microwave on high for 15 to 20 minutes. [if a microwave is not available, simmer the syrup in a narrow saucepan on the stovetop, over low heat, for the same length of time.] Allow the syrup to cool. Strain the syrup and discard the spices. ASSEMBLE THE PICKLES: Place one wide-mouth quart canning jar (or two wide-mouth pint jars) with their lids in a pot of water to cover, place over medium heat and bring the water to a simmer (180 degrees). Remove the pot from the heat and allow jar(s) and lid(s) to remain in the hot water until needed. *After the 4 hours are up (crisping the vegetables as described above) pour the vegetables into a large colander and rinse well. The cucumber slices should taste only slightly salty. Return the rinsed vegetables to the bowl, add the mustard seeds and celery seeds and toss well until evenly distributed. Set aside. Return the syrup to the microwave, microwave on high for 8 to 10 minutes [or heat the syrup on the stovetop] until an instant read thermometer shows the temperature of the syrup is 190 to 200 degrees. Place the vegetables into one wide-mouth quart jar, or in 2 wide-mouth pint jars that have been scalded as described above. Pour the syrup over the vegetables, place the lids on the jar or jars, tighten well and place in the refrigerator overnight. The following day, turn the jar upside down - then continue to turn every day for 2 weeks. (This is to insure that the pickles are evenly flavored) After 2 weeks open the jar and taste. The pickles should be ready to eat. Pickles will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 months. ( RG2154 )
  25. In my city's Chinatown, a couple of restaurants serve what they call BBC. It's broad beans (or soy beans), bean curd and pickles/chutney. It's quite salty but is delicious! I think it's vegetarian and has no meat. Is anyone familiar with how to prepare this dish or its history? It's one of my favourites!
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