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CookingWithTruffles

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  • Location: Pacific Northwest

Video: Behind the Scenes at a McDonald's Burger Shoot

"Really interesting video. Seems like a great idea on their part to come out with this video. Makes them come off as very honest and open about their process."

Ditto.

How To Tell If A Coffee Will Taste Good

Visuals aren't everything. I've had drinks that look terrible and taste awesome, and vice versa. Different types of beans, different types of milk (hemp and rice milk look nothing like cow's milk or soy) and the pour are all factors.

But you did hint at evaluating the sheen of the drink; I don't think that's a really accurate measure of quality of taste, but it usually indicates a barista who knows what they're doing. Espresso should have a little bit of body to it; 'thick' isn't the right word, but it's the word that comes to mind. Properly extracted espresso won't be watery and pale, it will have a multitude of colors and striping and it will have some heft. A properly poured cappuccino should (in my opinion) have a uniform, level head that indicates fully incorporated milk and espresso, not an airy head that looks like whipped cream. When ingredients are prepared properly, the finished product is usually pretty good (but no amount of technique is going to save a bad roast, rotten milk, etc.)

Some people do like their espresso weak, and some people like their cappuccinos with a mountain of milk froth. It's all preference, and what's 'right' and 'wrong' is subjective.

Video: Pizza Vending Machines Coming to USA

I can't tell which is more appalling; the pizza, or the lip-dubbed voice-over.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Zingerman's Praise the Lard Gift Box

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Zingerman's Praise the Lard Gift Box

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Korin Knife

The first knife I ever bought myself was an 8-inch Henkel santoku. I picked it out from a kitchen supply place and chopped up some onions and carrots with it at the store. I really wanted a Global, but they were a little too spendy for me at the time. I liked the Henkel for the way it felt in my hand, and when i moved away for college, I left it behind at my parent's house. Now it's the only knife my mom uses, and I've upgraded to that Global I had been eyeballing years earlier.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Zingerman's Praise the Lard Gift Box

Spicy Drinks: New Flavors from Prometheus Springs

I reviewed two of the original flavors: the Lemon-Ginger flavor and the Pomegranate Black Pepper. Cool idea, and I suppose the execution is well done, but I just didn't enjoy drinking them.

Maybe with liquor. Lots of liquor.

Cook the Book: 'The Mozza Cookbook'

Gnocchi at a small family-run place on Alki beach in Seattle. We got to sit on the patio with family and eat as the sun was setting.

Giveaway: Enter to Win This Panasonic Breadmaker

ZOMG: Pastrami Cheese Fries from Kenny and Zuke's in Portland, Oregon

Had them a few days ago. I thought it was pretty disappointing, actually. Something like $9.50 now for bland fries (pretty sure they come frozen in a box), really smoky but dry/crumbly pastrami, and cheese that had melted and partially re-solidified. The portion size is huge though. It's a really cool space though, and some of the other plates I saw go by looked really awesome.

ZOMG: Pastrami Cheese Fries from Kenny and Zuke's in Portland, Oregon

Had them a few days ago. I thought it was pretty disappointing, actually. Something like $9.50 now for bland fries (pretty sure they come frozen in a box), really smoky but dry/crumbly pastrami, and cheese that had melted and partially re-solidified. The portion size is huge though. It's a really cool space though, and some of the other plates I saw go by looked really awesome.

Ask me your coffee questions!

@Larikatz-
You can always have beans ground in a cafe if you buy them there. If you buy somewhere else and want to grind at home, spice grinders are a decent choice. You can tinker with your dosage and different grind settings.

Ask me your coffee questions!

@Boobird-
There are several ways to decaffeinate coffee. Some methods involve using chemicals to strip away the caffeine, but there are other methods, such as the Swiss Water method, which forgo the chemical route. In the Swiss Water method, green coffee beans are soaked in hot water to draw out the caffeine and solids. Those beans are tossed away and the water is strained to remove the caffeine while keeping the coffee solids intact. Fresh green beans are added to the water, but since the water is already full of coffee solids, only the caffeine is drawn out of the new beans. There are also methods involving super-pressurized CO2 that draws out the caffeine.

"My Drunk Kitchen" vids on youtube

Knives

@sourdough - any cooking or kitchen supply place should have a display case of knives. Just ask to handle them. Some places will even have some carrots or potatoes to chop up so you can get a feel for the knife. Always ask about discounts and specials too. I got a discount on some of my equipment because the store gives a discount to people in the restaurant industry.

Knives

I really like Shun (especially the Ken Onion line) and Global.

Campus food

The Dining and Culinary program at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma is pretty progressive. Not only is there a strong emphasis in composting and exploring global cuisine, but they actually offer a Culinary Week that celebrates food through educating students and faculty on different cultures and food traditions. The week kicks off with a cooking competition MC'd by a Certified Master Chef, and the competitors are students and faculty members. I actually competed in the event last year and got to judge the competitors this year (there's a write up on my blog if you'd like to read.) It's a lot of fun and the university is really proud of it.

Campus food

The Dining and Culinary program at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma is pretty progressive. Not only is there a strong emphasis in composting and exploring global cuisine, but they actually offer a Culinary Week that celebrates food through educating students and faculty on different cultures and food traditions. The week kicks off with a cooking competition MC'd by a Certified Master Chef, and the competitors are students and faculty members. I actually competed in the event last year and got to judge the competitors this year (there's a write up on my blog if you'd like to read.) It's a lot of fun and the university is really proud of it.

Pastry School: worth it?

There is no universal answer. I think most chefs just want to bring someone in who already has some sort of professional experience; I doubt many care where you learned how to cook as long as you have a professional background. Some will be obnoxious and demand you have formal education (honestly, this is probably more true for pastry) but most will just want someone who can come in and get the work done without having to hold their hand.

I suggest getting a blog or portfolio going with photos and documentation of your skills; it might help you get a job and/or scholarship money for pastry school.

ISO Freeze-ahead recipes for busy nights. Help!

Mac & cheese is a good one. I actually prefer to make it a few days ahead and let it chill for a few days. I use whole wheat pasta and add sriracha to the cheese sauce. I also use a lot of pepperjack in my cheese sauce, but that's just the way I like it. Mac & cheese is a dish that is almost always made differently by different people. Take the pan from the freezer, throw some new breads crumbs or parmesan on top if you want, and let it go in the oven.

18 Hours in Seattle: Dinner and Coffee?

Since you're only in town for a short time, I'd definitely recommend going downtown and seeing Pike Place Market. There are a lot of cool things to see and good things to eat, and it's about as unique to Seattle as you can get. If you want to see the Space Needle, you can walk there from the market in just a few minutes.

I'm going to echo everyone and recommend Tom Douglas. His restaurants are always great and you will definitely leave very happy. Palace Kitchen and Lola are my favorites, but Serious Pie is great and Seatown Snack Bar is really awesome too. If you hit one of his restaurants and you see Triple Coconut Cream Pie on the menu, get it. It's usually at Palace Kitchen, but his desserts seem to rotate around the restaurants. I don't care if you don't like coconut; you have to try this pie. Or stop by Dahlia Bakery and get pie bites. Do not miss this pie while you're in town.

My absolute favorite place to eat at the moment (not even just in Seattle) is Le Pichet, a small French bistro just a few minutes from the market. It's very laid back and has a small menu, and the food is knockout good. They're very generous with bringing out amuse bouche and bread. Chez Shea in the market is also a good option. Piroshky Piroshky is pretty tasty, and Beecher's hands out samples of cheese curds. Their mac & cheese is good too.

What is it and how do you eat it?

Cheetos with chopsticks.

Who do you listen to when you cook?

Showbread. Having chaotic music playing super loud is lots of fun to cook with. The louder and crazier, the better.

Confused by pans

You definitely don't need celebrity-branded or designer equipment to cook well. If you're in the market for cheap pans to get started with, you can even try secondhand/goodwill stores for pots and pans. This way, you can buy things for cheap and upgrade when you decide what it is you use frequently.