So I saw that my local cheese shop was having a sale on Humboldt Fog cheese, and so I decided to pick some up. I've had it before, and enjoyed it, but this piece of cheese had a nasty, sort of ammonia/chemically taste, especially near the rind. It was inedible. What's the deal? Did I get ripped off, or is that par for the course with this variety of soft cheese?
I was sort of surprised when Thomas Keller demonstrated the proper technique for roasting a chicken, and he suggested that it was important to allow the chicken to come to room temperature before starting to roast it.
I've heard doing this for beef, especially steaks, but I was always taught that poultry is absolutely crawling with bacteria, and letting it sit out on the counter to take the chill off just sort of scares the bejeezus out of me.
Am I just over reacting?
Salt or sugar cured, hickory smoked or not, Smithfield or Kentucky, peanut fed or otherwise, there ain’t nuthin’ like a country ham.
A finecountry ham from Smithfield, Virginia
I'm going on a short road trip near Nashville and Memphis in a week or two. I was wondering if you might know of any places to eat, especially bbq joints, that I should be sure to visit? No back road is too back road for me. Come on, spill the beans!
I made canned peaches this week.
I recently picked up The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating by Fergus Henderson, and was reading through it. In it, he has a recipe for a brine that you'd use to make meats like pork, chicken, shellfish taste better. I'm well aware of brining, and how it's become quite a popular technique around Thanksgiving, due mostly to the efforts of Cooks Illustrated. But here's the thing that threw me. Fergus talks about nurturing the brine like an old friend, using it over and over. "a nurtured friend, whose character should improve with time and should give delicious results." (He does take a bow to fears of bacteria by suggesting it be kept cold in the back of the fridge, as opposed to keeping it anywhere else. And he recommends using a non-corrosive bucket.) Still, I'm afraid of the perishable stuff that comes out of the meat, like blood and other stuff. So, what do you think? Do you use it once and toss your brine, or do you think it'd be ok to use and reuse it?
(His recipe contains 1 part superfine sugar to 1.25 parts sea salt, plus herbs and seasoning, like juniper berries, cloves, peppercorns, bay leaves, but not much else besides water.)
There's an interesting article on the NYT website that describes the harrows of obsessive-compulsives eating out. Have you ever suffered this way in a restaurant, and if so, how did it manifest?
I buy several jars of refrigerator pickles a month (claussen), as I love to snack on them. I end up just pouring out the brining liquid, as well as the chopped garlic, down the drain. It seems to me that there must be some practical use for it. I've already thought about using a little in potato salad, but can you guys think of any more possibilities?
So I've got a recipe I want to make for a crowd. As written, the recipe says it serves 4. I need it to serve 18. I can handle the math when it comes to increasing the quantities, but is there any formula for calculating the new cooking time, or should I just resign myself to cooking them in separate batches? (If you're curious, the recipe will be for the braised short ribs for Alton Brown's Good Eats Beef Stew.)
Sometimes cooks just do things without really thinking them through. They heard or read somewhere that such-and-such was true, but they never really checked to see if there was any basis in fact. For example, for years and years, people always said that you should remove the germ / sprout from a clove of garlic because it tends to be bitter. But when then you realize that it's not bitter, but actually kind of tasty, and all these years, you've been throwing it away.
So, what kitchen myth have you seen perpetuated that you've since found to be completely off the mark?
Based on a post made here a week or so ago, I went out of my way to buy hot dogs with natural casings. I made a couple of them for lunch and they were quite tasty. My usual method for cooking hot dogs is to put them in a frying pan with a little bit of water, and a bit of butter. I let it boil with the lid on for a few minutes, and then remove the lid to let the water evaporate so they'll start frying. (I usually like to cook em until the skin is a dark mahogany color.) So all went well until the water evaporated, and then the skins burst. As I said they were very tasty nevertheless, but what did I do wrong? My first inclination was that I didn't piece the franks with a fork, but I'm beginning to think that had I done that, it would have been even worse.
Help me, Serious Eats. You're my only hope.
A week or so ago, the Washington Post ran it's annual "Pick-Your-Own" list of VA/MD/WVA farms that let you pick your own produce. I took the time to enter the locations listed into Google Maps.
I'll be taking a road trip this July from San Francisco, up the Pacific Coast Highway to Seattle, and I need any advice and recommendations for must-see (or must-eat) on my way. Our itinerary is loose, so we're willing to go off the beaten track. One caveat, money will be tight, so high-budget restaurants are probably gonna be out of our reach this trip. Thanks in advance.
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