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I confess: my X isn't as good as Y's


Fat Guy
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...tried that on at least three occasions with different types of chocolate.  I found it too thick and pudding-like before it even went into the machine.  It is tasty and creamy, but too dense for my tastes...

Just fyi, Michael Laiskonis (pastry chef from le Bernardin) recently did a post on ice cream composition, and touches on adjustments needed to add chocolate. Might be worth a look?

My fries aren't as good as I want. Though, I don't know any place that does them consistently to a level I'd like...

Edited by gregnz (log)
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Chicken parmagiana.  Seems so easy.  Chicken cutlets, tomato sauce, cheese.  But it never comes out nearly as good as the take out italian/pizza place.

I can say that, besides the obvious advantage of time (multiple cooks working for 10+ hours a day to feed people) and expertise, the use of high quality stock, the use of fat (specifically butter), and proper seasoning are the main reasons that restaurant food tastes so much better (at great restaurants that is) than home cooked food. This is a generalization of course but fitting I think for most cases.

Clarified butter works great for chix parm...or at least 1/2 clarified and 1/2 oil. If properly fried it won't even absorb as much as you'd think. I wouldn't use whole butter as the extended time in the pan might cause it to burn and not be good. Plus whole butter has some water in it which might counter the crispy crust you would be going for. Season your bread crumbs (fresh bread crumbs, or at least panko, make a world of difference).

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Memphis BBQ.  I grew up in Memphis and may have eaten a ton (2000 pounds) of Memphis chopped (NOT "pulled") picnic pork shoulder BBQ sandwiches with coleslaw and hot sauce.  Their coleslaw was NOT thin and watery, was NOT especially acidic, was NOT especially 'creamy', and did NOT have pieces of red cabbage, bell pepper, pimento, or any other items on a very long list of what many cookbook authors try to include to make coleslaw or 'Memphis coleslaw'.  I have only a little idea how to make the BBQ and no idea how to make either the slaw or the hot sauce.  My 'oven-Q' ersatz BBQ has decent texture but too often smells awful, like pig poo (which is one of the worst smells on the planet), so I gave up on the picnic pork shoulders I can buy.  Somehow I suspect that, for the pork I can buy, the hogs were not raised on a diet of mostly clean acorns from the hills of the Pyrenees!

BBQ Beans.  There in Memphis the BBQ places also sold BBQ Beans with chunks of meat and a good sauce, and I have not a weak little hollow hint of a tiny clue what they did.  In particular the sauce tastes nothing like anything I've had outside of Memphis, from a bottle, recipe, or restaurant.

head for the Food Network site and check some of the Neely's recipes

tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

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My homemade pizza never EVER comes out as good as the pie from the local pizzeria. Even when I use fresh dough that I buy from said pizzeria, and I use my pizza stone and everything else...never comes out as good.

Then again, I don't have a giant oven cranking out 1,000,000 BTUs.

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My homemade pizza never EVER comes out as good as the pie from the local pizzeria.  Even when I use fresh dough that I buy from said pizzeria, and I use my pizza stone and everything else...never comes out as good.

Then again, I don't have a giant oven cranking out 1,000,000 BTUs.

What temperature are you baking at? How long do you preheat your stone?

Burgers.  My homemade burgers (grilled, fried, whatever) never taste half as good as a decent restaruant burger, not even as good as the burgers from the mediocre bar across the street.

What are you making your burgers out of?

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Rooftop1000,

Thanks for the suggestion of looking at the Neely's recipes.

They became famous in Memphis since the last time I was there, but I suspect that mostly Memphis BBQ sandwiches haven't much changed. So, I was hoping that after the Neely's had been on TV for a while they would have some recipes that would answer my questions.

It's time for me to take a look -- thanks.

Edited by project (log)

What would be the right food and wine to go with

R. Strauss's 'Ein Heldenleben'?

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My roast chicken is not a good as the rotisserie chicken from even the lowliest supermarket.

Next?

Fat Guy - 5 words-

Set it AND FORGET IT!

The Showtime rotisserie is truly amazing.

Thai seems to be my stumbling block.

Steve

I LOVE our set it and forget it. Does a perfect rotiss chicken every time. Mmmmmmm and the skin is sooooooo good.

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Granola bars. I tried to make homemade ones for my daughter's breakfast, and no matter what recipe I tried, they were (to her) vastly inferior to any box pulled at random from the supermarket shelf. And she was kind of right.

Even chocolate chips didn't help.

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My homemade pizza never EVER comes out as good as the pie from the local pizzeria.  Even when I use fresh dough that I buy from said pizzeria, and I use my pizza stone and everything else...never comes out as good.

Then again, I don't have a giant oven cranking out 1,000,000 BTUs.

What temperature are you baking at? How long do you preheat your stone?

The best pizza I made was when I put my oven on the short self-clean cycle with the stone, then baked my pizza at 500. However, it still doesn't come out as good as the pizzeria.

I'm not losing much sleep over this, though. I'm more than happy to support their business!

Edited by arosenwald (log)
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My chocolate ice cream isn't as good as Häagen-Dazs.  Hell, it's not even as good as Breyers.  I've tried several recommended recipes and never liked the results, so I've stopped trying.  I can make a decent any-other ice cream, but not chocolate.  Kills me.

I'm sure you've already tried this one, but just in case...

Everyone that's ever tried the Chocolate Ice Cream from David Leibovitz has loved it...especially my father, who now refuses to eat store-bought chocolate ice cream! I use Green & Black chocolate, 72%, which also has additional cocoa butter added.

Thanks, but I have actually tried that on at least three occasions with different types of chocolate. I found it too thick and pudding-like before it even went into the machine. It is tasty and creamy, but too dense for my tastes. I figure it's me, because everyone else seems to love this recipe.

Project, thanks for a good laugh. That was hilarious! :raz:

Yeah, for me too...when I make it for myself I cut the number of egg yolks drastically, usually to two, and use 2% milk instead of the whole milk specified. I also end up using more milk than the recipe dictates, about 1/3 c. more AT LEAST. I really dislike heavy ice creams as well, and the above changes have made it better, in my opinion. My dad disagrees :raz:

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Bread - of all types. I am working on the artisan-style breads - it is my project for 2009, and I can see it starting to get better; but, pizza dough and naan (which I made yesterday) comes out completely flat tasting - like there isn't enough salt. I know that these doughs do not develop like a more artisan-style bread that has a long proofing time, but when I get pizza from the local pizza joint the crust totally has flavor! I don't think they are using a starter, I'd be surprised if they are making their own dough - so what am I doing wrong?

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Rooftop1000,

In response to your suggestion, I looked for Neely's recipes at Food TV and via Google and found one for coleslaw and a Neely video of it. Otherwise I didn't find much, from the Neelys or otherwise, to let me to improve on my efforts to use my kitchen to recapitulate the BBQ sandwiches I grew up with. Uh, the sandwiches in Memphis were good, but I'm in up-state NY and NOT eager to revisit Memphis.

The Neely coleslaw recipe I found is at

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/down-ho...cipe/index.html

with a video at

http://www.foodnetwork.com/videos/sweet-an...slaw/32070.html

The title is

Sweet and Spicy Coleslaw

There is green cabbage, raw, yes, but also carrot, onion, two kinds of pepper, yellow mustard, mayonnaise, and sugar. A LOT of sugar.

It is not much like what I had eating BBQ sandwiches growing up in Memphis -- what I had was simpler.

Using the Internet to look at the 'scene' of Memphis BBQ sandwiches now, it seems that the Neelys are famous but not really in the center of pack which hasn't much changed over the decades. E.g., the Neelys have a long menu, with a lot of emphasis on ribs, and mention of 'pulled' pork sandwiches. When I was in Memphis, the BBQ places had short menus, ribs were secondary (most BBQ shacks didn't even sell ribs), and the pork was chopped with no mention of 'pulled'. Pulled really is different -- have to cook to a higher temperature -- and came from the Carolinas and slowly migrated across Tennessee. My brother is in Knoxpatch, noticed when the aspirational BBQ shacks there mentioned 'pulled', and was offended by the pretense. The usual BBQ sandwich shacks in Knoxpatch still just chop the meat and don't try to 'pull' it (into shreds).

Likely I could approximate the BBQ coleslaw I grew up with using just green cabbage, mayonnaise, and only a little of only a few other ingredients, and for ideas I should borrow from other coleslaw recipes. And if there is something without mayo, say, with just salad oil and vinegar, without any significant emulsification, then that might be still closer to what I ate growing up.

I did learn something from the Neely's video: For their cabbage, they just pass big chunks of the raw cabbage and the other vegetables through a food processor, add the dressing, mix, cover, and chill. So, there is no prior processing of the cabbage with salt to remove moisture, heating, etc. Good to know. I am sure that what the BBQ shacks I went to did with the cabbage was SIMPLE -- fast, cheap, easy.

I found a BBQ rub from Memphis but not much on sauces such as I had in Memphis. When I was in Memphis, the BBQ shacks did baste the meat while it cooked, slowly, in a big iron contraption, with a LOT of smoke. I suspect that in most parts of the country, a restaurant putting out so much smoke would be shut down by the local Air Quality Board!

For my 'oven-Q' ersatz BBQ smelling like pig poo, the 'bouquet' might be better if I bought pork butt instead of whole picnic pork shoulder because the aroma (stench) might be coming from the skin on the shoulder (do NOT want to know what was next to that skin when the critter was alive) while the butt, much the same piece of meat, will have the skin already removed. But when I was in Memphis, they cooked the whole picnic shoulder with the skin.

As bad as the pig poo smells, maybe when meat is chopped, the skin discarded, the kitchen aired out, etc., the meat itself will not smell like pig poo. Maybe. We are a very long way from the Pyrenees where they seek really good pork by having the critters eating clean acorns in clean conditions!

What would be the right food and wine to go with

R. Strauss's 'Ein Heldenleben'?

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My rice isn't even as good as the Sodexho run cafeteria at work.

Mine is always sticky. It's never cleany sperated individual grains. I've tried varying the 2:1 ratio of water to rice. more water. less water. Nothing changes. Of course, I really don't want t obuy a rice maker. I just don't cook enough rice on a regular basis to justify it.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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My rice isn't even as good as the Sodexho run cafeteria at work. 

Mine is always sticky. It's never cleany sperated individual grains. 

Just boil it in a lot of water, like you would spaghetti. Then strain it when it's almost done, put it back in the pot with the lid on, and wait a few minutes. Easy!

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Bread - of all types.  I am working on the artisan-style breads - it is my project for 2009, and I can see it starting to get better; but, pizza dough and naan (which I made yesterday) comes out completely flat tasting - like there isn't enough salt.  I know that these doughs do not develop like a more artisan-style bread that has a long proofing time, but when I get pizza from the local pizza joint the crust totally has flavor!  I don't think they are using a starter, I'd be surprised if they are making their own dough - so what am I doing wrong?

Liz-

Almost all bread doughs benefit from a "retard" - a cold ferment. Check out http://www.pizzamaking.com

for more pizza info than you could imagine.

Check out Peter Reinhart's "The Breadbaker's Apprentice". That single book took my breadmaking to levels unknown before.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_b_0_11?u...fix=breadmakers

Good luck - making bread ROCKS!!!

Steve

Edited by steverino (log)

"Tell your friends all around the world, ain't no companion like a blue - eyed merle" Robert Plant

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My mom's rolls. It's her mother's mother's recipe for yeast rolls, made with the usual stuff plus mashed potatoes. And, preferably, part lard. :shock: Tasted like heaven, which, if one believes such things, is where my mom is now, and I still can't make her rolls. :sad: The last batch I made came out like little rocks. So, it's Sister Schubert for my family holidays. :raz:

I may be in Nashville but my heart's in Cornwall

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My best poached eggs make IHOP look like Per Se.

Roger that.

My bao dough isn't remotely comparable to... well, to any of the thousands of people making infinitely better bao dough in my hometown.

My dilly beans and pickled beets get wedgies from my mother-in-law's dilly beans and pickled beets.

My wildly imbalanced mustard is mocked by all commercial mustards.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Almost anybody in any venue beats my cooking but; who will complain when you are home with your family and friends.

I can well feed a bunch of us with, at least, 'ok' wines too, here for a third to a half of what we'd pay at a restaurant downtown. Additionally, I'm still not sure whether it is or would be better there even though I know any of those Pros can out cook me at least on any one dish.

What is the pleasure of our dining experience; is it the finest dish or the finest experience?

I love food done well but; I will chose the experiential quality above the food. That said, there is a huge list of cooks whose food I want to eat, I guess, without company.

Darn.

Edited by RobertCollins (log)

Robert

Seattle

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