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The Comfort Food Diaries: Movie Theater Popcorn, A New Hope

There are two strategies when hitting the do it yourself buttering station. The first, is I ask the counter server if they could fill up my box/bag just half way. I then go and lather on the goo, bring it back and they load up the second serving of corn. Then it's back to the liquid sunshine dispensers where I top off my treat. Second option may get you odd looks but can be somewhat effective. If the straws that they offer are of good circumference you can use them to tunnel the buttery concoction down to various levels of your bag or box by simply attaching the straw to the nozzle of the dispenser and then poking the straw into your popcorn container. Seems kind of silly, but in the end, makes for a much more enjoyable popcorn munching experience.

Creamy Cauliflower and Bacon Soup

I just made this, and followed the recipe to a T using good broth. For some reason, it turned out bland without those "layers" of flavor eluded to in your write-up. After blending the soup, I added granulated garlic, onion, more coarsely ground black pepper and finally parmigiano reggiano. This seemed to work bringing needed dimension, nuttiness and richness to the soup.

best pancake recipe please

This recipe from Epicurious is excellent. Just use the liquids to thin it out if you need to.

Re-purposing French Fries

We heat a pizza stone and then put the spuds on it for 5-10 minutes depending on the size of the fries. Works wonders

Butter Crust recipe for Pizza

Forgot - because the crusts can be yellowish (food coloring and turmeric) and crunchy, home cooks will often add corn meal thinking that is one of the ingredients. This has been discussed ad nauseam on every pizza related site and the verdict was and still is: NO cornmeal is used in the making of the Chicago style buttery biscuit dough.

Butter Crust recipe for Pizza

This has been discussed oh so many times on so many sites and unfortunately the same recipes tend to circulate even though they are quite inaccurate. Just the other day I followed this recipe I found on Chow Hound. It is for a deep dish, but the author says you can roll the dough out very thin, par bake briefly in a 500 degree oven and then put your toppings on and continue to bake. This crust is said to resemble "Home Run Inn", "Gino's East" thin, or Pizano's thin. Here it goes-

The basic recipe is this (I will use 1 cup of flour as a base and you can multiply it as you like):

1 cup all-purpose flour
6-7 Tablespoons water ( the amount of hydration depends on the age of the flour, humidity, etc.)--I usually use 6 1/2 TBS. You can add more flour or water as necessary.
3 Tablespoons oil (most of these places use cheap corn oil--I prefer extra light olive oil--Gino's east uses 95% corn oil and 5% extra virgin olive oil--canola is good, too)
3/4 teaspoon yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt (I use Kosher salt)
Gino's east also uses cream of tartar, which i don't

Mix for 1 minute, then knead for no more than 2. Let rise for about 6 hours or so. Punch down, then cover and let the gluten relax for 10-15 minutes or so. Then either roll it out (as Giordano's does) or press into a pan. Add cheese, toppings, sauce. bake a 450 for around 30 minutes--you'll have to experiment with time and rack placement because home ovens act in very different ways!

For the sauce, I prefer 6-in-1 ground tomatoes (which Giordano's uses), but get some good quality whole peeled tomatoes and crush them by hand (drain the juice), if you like that better. Add garlic, oregano, basil, etc. I add sugar to mine.

I like Stella mozzarella, but Frigo and Sorrento are good, too. Sorrento seems richer and creamier.

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By stevel6 on Sep 26, 2011 04:01 PM
re: stevel6

Now I tweaked this recipe, using about 3 1/2 cups flour and increased the water ratio to get the right consistancy. I also proofed the yeast in the water and ended up using 9 tablsp of light olive oil as that is all I had. I usually mix doughs with my Kitchen Aid but there was absolutely no reason here as the trick is to work the dough a little as possible. Just enough to get it into a smooth ball. (not unlike biscuit dough which this crust mimics).

I then put the dough in the fridge and took it out the next day, it continued to rise (not supposed to double in size). When it came time to roll, it was a very easy dough to work with. Anyway, for deep dish, we do use whole tomatoes San Marzano's, put them in a strainer for several hours to remove the liquid. Then I squish and season. No cooking the sauce. Many thin crust purveyors and Giardano's use 6-1 ground tomatoes which can often be found at local Italian markets. This is an exceptional product that can't be replicated by any other canned tomato. They usually don't cook this product ahead of time either.

One thing I will change the next time I make this crust as I will add Malted Barley Flour. (1/2 cup of Barley, 3 cups all purpose). This is an ingredient often used in commercial pizza operations like Gino's but overlooked by home cooks who are trying to recreate the buttery crust. This will add some nuttiness, crunch, and the sugars in the flour will help the yeast ferment better. Hope this helps with your quest to make the perfect Chicago pie.

Food culture in Annapolis, MD? Where to eat?!

Oh boy, I feel your pain. We've been here about 8 years, and I have yet to see some really great places evolve here. It's as if everyone is scared to NOT cater to the tourist with the same old offerings mostly manipulations of the poor blue crab and rock fish. Alas, I have some suggestions for you that could hold you over until your next visit to DC and its environs.

Jalapenos - In a strip mall on Forest Drive (across from target). Authentic Spanish and Mexican cuisine with numerous small plates and main entrees. A great variety and selection and one of the more consistent eateries.

Lewnes - (in Eastport). If you are hankering for beef, pass up Morton's and go here. It is locally owned (80+ years), It's cozy, clubby with a great wine list. It's the basics but what they do with it is amazing. Prime steaks sizzle at 1200 + degrees and then are doused with a healthy serving of butter. Their sides are great and so is the Oysters Rockefeller.

Osteria 177- (Main St. Annapolis). This gets mixed reviews, but we haven't had a bad meal here. It's Mediterranean with a focus on Italian dishes. It's kind of a funky interior, and a nice menu.

Lemongrass - (West St)- Haven't been since I am not a huge Thai food fan, but locals love it.

Sin Fronteras Cafe -(off Forest, next to liquor store) Very local and casual serving authentic Latin American cuisine.

Vin 909 (Eastport) Out of the way, but great local wine bar with food.

Clock Tower Place (off Forest Drive) This is more of a gourmet shopping place than a restaurant but Grapes Wine bar which is connected to the awesome wine shop next door, does serve food. There is also a butcher, a French bakery, and a gourmet cheese shop selling everything from chocolates and pasta to duck fat and truffle salt.

Sadly, every thing else is mediocre or below. You might get a great meal at other establishments, but rarely will you get two in a row at the same place. Some of the ones I recommended before, disappointed on my last visit. Maybe just an off day? Those include, Level (fun cocktails though!), Harry Browne's, Les Folies Brasserie, and O'Leary's Seafood.

Sadly, Annapolis is a better town for drinking than eating.

Need menu help for make-ahead veg/dairy/fish dinner party

This is a very elegant dish that can be ahead of time. Restaurant worthy and voted one of the top dishes on epicurious. The crespelle can be made way ahead of time and frozen. Just make sure to separate with parchment paper.


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