new cook

Help! My rice cooker is useless! How much is 2 cup of rice?

The metric system is stupid? Whatever you want to think for yourself, but by any comparison it is a lot easier than American Standard. It isn't just England, but the rest of the entire world that uses metric, only because it makes measurements so much easier and more accurate. I have lived in the US all my life. Metrify or petrify.

Send Us Your Beer Questions!

Asheville, NC won the "Beer City" contest based on its microbreweries for the last two years in a row. And, Asheville was just selected for the new Sierra Nevada Brewery. So why is Portland, Or always profiled for its beer culture?

The Fresh Market--Anyone have one?

We have had The Fresh Market in Asheville for more than ten years. It is a nice, upscale store with a very good bakery section. It is quite a bit smaller than most mega-mart grocery stores and so is the selection. It can be a little bit pricey, but since you love to shop you are going to visit anyhow, so enjoy it.

Daytona Beach restaurants

Just thought I would follow up on my post. We decided to eat at "Down the Hatch." It is a restaurant on Ponce Inlet, right on the Halifax River. They specialize in fresh seafood. The special was Triggerfish. I have never eaten Triggerfish. It was a really good, light, firm fish. It isn't the finest restaurant I've been to, but the food was good and ther service was excellent. Thanks to everyone for their suggestions.

Time For a New Chef's Knife

I prefer a carbon steel knife over a stainless steel knife. They are much easier to maintain and can often be sharpened to a finer edge than stainless. A carbon steel knife is also less expensive than stainless steel knives They take a little more care in handling, though not much more, Look at this site:
I don't have this brand of knife, but I wouldn't hesitate to buy one.

Ending an sale early?? Is this normal?

I am not a lawyer but I think an advertised price and sale date(s) is considered a contract. Unless there is some kind of disclaimer (i.e. "until supplies runout") the sale price must be honored. It is a law in the US that anyone offering merchandise at a sale price must have a sufficient quantity on hand to meet reasonable expectations, again, unless a disclaimer is added. I see no reason why the sale dates would be any less binding.

hydrating beans

Well. I did it! I followed boobird's advice by boilng the beans for five minutes in water that was salted per Harold McGee's book, Keys to Good Cooking. (10 grams salt per liter of water) Then I emptied the water and added unsalted water for another 2 hour soak. I cooked the beans and ham, following Mark Bittman's recipe in How to Cook Everything. I still took about two hours for them to fully soften. They were pretty good. But, the best part is I think I can do better (adding Rotel is next) and I am no longer intimidated. Thanks to everyone who weighed in on this discussion.

Cutting Boards.

I use a large end grain cutting board (the Carolina Slab) made by BoardSmith. For raw meat I use a plastic board that I sanitize with double strength bleach solution after every use. For cutting up garlic I usually use a small plastic "bar board."

Cruise Ships

A couple of months ago David Lebovitz had an article on his site about cruise ship kitchens and food. It was a really fascinating look at what goes on behind the scenes. Look here:

Mods, if posting a link is verboten, please feel free to scuttle my post.

hydrating beans

Thanks for the replies. I am planning to use navy beans.

What food smell do you hate?

coffe, beer, and Doritos - alone, together, on your breath, around the corner - just bad


Thank you ESNY1077, I think you are right. Since there is no mention of cooking the eggs separately I thought that "scrambled" might actually be "beaten" eggs. The other clue was the mention of reserving the "scrambled" egg to use as a wash. But, since I am a new cook I needed a little more clarification. Thanks to gingercookiewithlime for your confirmation.


They are baked, but the recipe says to reserve 2 or 3 tablespoons for the egg wash, and calls for 2 scrambled eggs mixed in with the chicken.

Curious: Mustard Allergies

Man, a mustard allergy would be unbearable. I think you should be able to get a handicapped parking sticker for that condition!

My interesting friend Alcohol

I can't stand to drink wine or beer. Both taste awful to me. I tried, but I can't drink either, though I use wine in my cooking . However a good Scotch (I like the uber peaty Laphroaig) or a good tequila (Patron or Souza) is delightful. Having said that, I don't drink much. I usually get a 750 ml bottle of both Scotch and tequila around the holidaze and it will last me through the year. I also like a dirty martini or a gin and tonic on hot days. I guess one reason my bottles last as long as they do is because, I like to be by myself when I drink alone.

Balsamic Vinegar

I'll bet that was some excellent balsamic! Cook's Illustrated recommends Lucini brand.

Grill pan vs skillet

@anzee... I guess that finally settles the question of gas vs. charcoal for real grilled flavor.

What music do you cook/bake to?

I enjoy listening to some up tempo jazz or blues when I cook. I never listen to my favorite artists, like Rhasaan Roland Kirk, or Frank Zappa when I am cooking because it would be insulting to use their genius for musical wallpaper.

Are you a keeper or a giver?

As my screen name says, I am relatively new at cooking. I teach photography and I always tell my students, "If you want people to think you are a good photographer, stop showing them your bad photos." It is the same with cooking. If I want someone (wife or guests) to think I am a good cook, I would never consider giving them anything less than the best I can make. I will gladly eat the less than best and try to learn from my mistakes.

Burger Smasher?

An interesting aside, Spatula City has almost as many hits as Bobo's on DDD.

Carbon steel, 2 questioins

Thanks for the responses. I am happy to expand my original post a little bit to accept any and all tips or suggestions for using and maintaining the carbon steel. The reason I went to carbon steel is because I had a super modern Japanese steel knife that was just too brittle. The blade would chip even though I was VERY careful not to abuse it. I expect the carbon steel to be much more durable, and I know it will be easier to keep sharp. Should I clean/polish the blade with Bon Ami every time I use it?

Your most fun dish to make!

I get a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction from roasting a chicken.

Question about tbsp and tsp measuremeants..

A teaspoon is 5 ml. A tablespoon is 15 ml. Anything ifferent isn't a teaspoon or tablespoon. They are for measuring convenience when absolutely precise measurement is not necessary.

$200 kitchen spree

I agree that a LeCruset, or Staub Dutch oven would be a good purchase, especially if you want to have a reminder of your grandmother for many, many years to come. If you have some change left over a good cutting board is another essential (especially with that Henkle knife.) If you have a Tuesday Morning near by you might be able to find some LeCruset at very good prices. Congratulations on you graduation and best wishes for a successful future.

Cook's Illustrated: Yea or Nay?

I think you can learn a lot from them. But, only subscribe if you are using a credit card that will expire soon from a bank you are not going to use again. Then let he card expire. I can't read all the other comments, but you get the drift. They will abuse your credit card. I wish Christopher KImball would write one of his sappy columns about the good ol' Vermont value of charging a card without authorization. Best to ask your library to subscribe.

Daytona Beach restaurants

My wife and I are taking our grandchildren (7 and 8) to Daytona Beach after Christmas. I would appreciate any restaurant suggestions. The kids are not real picky about eating and are willing to try new foods.

Eliminating bacon odor

I am preparing a breakfast for my students as the Christmas break starts and the semester ends. I want ( and they want) to have bacon. I am using a kitchen in one of the classroom buildings and I don't want the bacon smell to linger for hours. Are there any suggestions as to how I can eliminate the bacon odor?

Tastes like chicken?

I am wondering, how many people can taste a significant difference between roasted chicken and turkey? I can tell a difference in texture of the two birds, but for me, the flavor is pretty much interchangeable. I am talking specifically about supermarket chicken and turkey.

hydrating beans

I have never cooked dried beans, but want to make a pot of ham and beans over the week end. Can you soak beans too long? Everything I read says to hydrate them overnight, But, If you aren't going to cook until he next evening, do you continue to soak them? Or, is "overnight" just short hand for soak about 8 hours? Can't I just put the beans in water in the morning and about 8 hours later, cook dinner? Thanks for your help.


I want to make chicken empanadas to use up some left over chicken. The recipe I was looking at says to use: "2 eggs, scrambled; set aside 2-3 T for wash." Does this mean the eggs are already cooked, like a stir fry, or should the eggs be added to the chicken mixture raw, to act as a binder? BTW, cook time is 30 minutes @ 350, so the eggs will surely cook through if added raw. I know the egg wash requires raw egg. Thanks for your help.

Carbon steel, 2 questioins

I just got a carbon steel knife. I have two very basic questions. I know that limes, lemons, and tomatoes are highly acidic. what other common foods are in the same category? Second question, is "patina" desirable or not? Thanks for your help.

Food mill vs. ricer

Could someone please explain the differences in a food mill and a ricer? I don't want a dreaded uni-tasker, but I want creamier mashed potatoes! I know you can make applesauce and that kind of stuff with a food mill. What are some of the other uses for a food mill and ricer? Thanks in advance.

Curry powder or curry paste

Can curry paste be substituted for curry powder (and vice versa?) If so, is there a ratio? Would it matter if it was red or yellow curry paste? Thanks for your help.

Open Sky, WTF?

I was tempted by an online ad to go to Open Sky. I wanted to see what they had to offer since they have some heavy hitters on the payroll giving endorsements. (I think Ruhlman is actually part owner) But, you can not even get into the site to look around without giving your email address and and creating a password! What kind of business model is that? Plenty of other good places to shop for kitchen stuff.

Asheville is Beer City

For the third year in a row, Asheville, NC has been named Beer City! Funny, I have never seen any stories here about Asheville and its craft brews, but plenty of stories about Portland, OR. But, I guess if you are content with second best, Portland is the place to go. Here's the story:|topnews|img|Living

Bamboo or maple?

I need to get a new cutting board as mine has bowed badly. I am torn between bamboo, maple, possibly cherry, and definitely end grain Could anyone help me decide which material I should go with? Thanks in advance.

Larousse Gastronomique

As my user name implies, I have a lot to learn about cooking, and I am eager to do so. I don't want a lot of cookbooks because I don't see any point in having books that merely contain variations on one recipe or another. My go-to books are Cook's Illustrated Best Recipes and Bittman's How To Cook Everything, and of course the Web. But the book Larousse Gastronomique is a book that intrigues me. As I understand it the book is about cooking techniques rather than a collection of recipes. Is this a good book to purchase? I can get it for under $20.00 used. Are all the versions the same? If not, what is the best edition?

Favorite cooking thermometer

I use and rely on a cooking thermometer. But, the one I have now is rather slow (two minutes at least) and maybe not so accurate. What to you recommend for a replacement? I know the Thermapen is highly regarded, and I am not apposed to getting one. But, are there any viable alternatives?

Help with scalloped potatoes

Last night I made scalloped potatoes. I used the recipe in Best Recipes from Cook's Illustrated. The recipe does not call for any flour or corn starch to thicken the sauce. The sauce turned out to be too thin. Is there any way I can thicken the sauce when I reheat the dish? Or should I just wait until next time? Thanks for the help.

Brine and food safety

This is kind of a follow-up to my question about pickling salt. Can I safely thaw meat on the counter if it is in a basic brine solution? I know the meat will not benefit from the brining until it thaws. But, will the salt solution, at room temperature, be strong enough to keep the germs at bay while the meat thaws and then takes on the brine? This may be a total of 4 - 6 hours on the counter.

Chef's knife or Santoku?

I am sure this question has been asked here before, but I searched and didn't find anything. I have been using a good Santoku knife for the past year and a half. Now I need to get my own knife. I really like the Santoku, but I am wondering if the traditional Chef's knife wouldn't be a better choice since my cooking is definitely western in style. Specifically, what can a Chef's knife do better than a Santoku, of vice versa. Thanks for your help.

thawing meat in aluminum foil

My wife and I have an ongoing "discussion" about thawing meat. When I freeze the meat I wrap it in plastic wrap and then wrap it in aluminum foil before it goes into the freezer. When it is time to defrost, I just take the whole package and put it in the refrigerator. My wife insists that it takes much longer for the food to thaw if it is still wrapped in the foil. I disagree, the foil is so thin, I don't see how it makes any difference. Which one of us is right?

copper pan cleaning

I bought a nice little copper sauce pan at an antique store today for $15.00. Inside, the pan was a lot of scale (or something). I soaked the inside of the pan with a 50/50 water, vinegar mix. Some stuff still remained. So, I used some very fine (600 grit) sandpaper to clean it out. Now, you can see a little bit of copper showing through on the inside of the pan. Did I ruin the pan, or can it still be used safely with some copper exposed.?

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