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christine

All Clad Pots and Pans - are they worth it?

I'm fanatical about my Anolon (the top of their line) cookware - I have others too (Calphalon, Farberware, Reverware, Le Creuset) but the Anolon was what I filled out the whole line of. Everything comes out better. EVERYTHING.

Nobody's going to agree on with my opinion on tipping.

In the US, the IRS assumes that a server is tipped 8% of the value of the food that the person sold. The restaurant reports to tax authorities how much each server sold, and tax withholding is based on an 8% tip rate. So if you don't tip, it actually costs the server to wait on your table as they must pay the IRS as if you did.

Question of the Day: What's your favorite dish to cook when you're trying to impress?

Ridiculously easy starter - just a few slices of the knife for prep. Bake halved red peppers w/garlic/salt/pepp and olive oil for 40 min at 350, then put a halved scallop into each pepper half and bake 10 min more. Put on top of greens, and dab a dollop of pesto from a jar on top. No dressing needed, just serve it up - and it's visually striking to boot!

Question of the Day: What's your most annoying food habit?

I can't eat bananas with any brown in them -- and so I make my husband eat them.

Ratatouille leftovers.

Stir fry with chicken, then stir into noodles with some extra olive oil - delicious.

Question of the Day: What's your desert-island cookbook?

1950s Betty Crocker cookbook - though I love Joy of Cooking, old-school Betty is way more practical.

One pot meals?

- Beef potato-barley stew
- Mac cheese with broccoli (toss in raw broccoli with noodles at 4 minutes, turn off heat and drain water at 7 minutes)
- Risotto of any stripe
- Pot roast w/potatoes, onions, carrots, etc

How often do you sharpen your knives?

First of all, there is a difference between sharpening and honing; second, you do them at different intervals. :)

1. Sharpening = grinding a sharp "v" where the two sides of the blade meet. Over the time, this point gets worn down to a nub. Sharpening makes the knife thinner and should only be done 1x/year or so, assuming you use the knives regularly. Go to a professional for this.
2. Honing = creating micro-serrations along the blade of your knife. This makes the blade "feel sharp" and you should do this every time you use the knife. If you are cooking a huge meal, you may even want to hone multiple times during prep. You can hone yourself at home, using the steel that came with the knife set. Just make sure to hold the knife at a 20 degree angle away from the steel, and pull it towards you in a smooth sweeping motion. It's easy to tell you are at a 20 degree angle with the knife by holding the steel so it stabs straight down into your cutting board - hard to screw up this way. :)

Favorite burger joint in NYC???

Jackson Hole! Big thick pickles on the table, cooked just how you ordered, and unabashedly sloppy with your toppings.

Question of the Day: How Do You Like Your Fries?

1. Mickey D's, Mickey D's. I could care less about how good the cheeseburger is, or whether or not there is beef tallow or trans fats. YUM.

2. Cheese gravy fries at Tom's Restaurant on Broadway in NYC. Yes, cheese gravy fries. After the initial wary bite, it's all good.

On Tagging Yourself a 'Foodie'

Nix on the vanity tag, OK on the foodie label. I use "foodie" for someone to whom food is more than nutrition and calories; that being said, I definitely draw a distinction between a "foodie" and an "epicure" - I'm happy being a foodie but definitely don't consider myself an epicure. Maybe it's just a bias, but I see epicures as only going to spendy five-star places, while the foodie would drool over the perfect beer-steamed shrimp served on newspapers at a harbor dive bar.

Amount of food to make for 10 guests?

I think that my Thanksgiving calculator may serve as a proxy for whatever meals you have in mind. (I also posted it at Instructables, so it was reposted several times.) The formulas take into account leftovers, if leftovers are desired. :)

Where can I find a knife skills class in San Francisco?

I just took an excellent (and fun!) class at Sur La Table on Maiden Lane. I also had been looking for such a class...finally found it at Sur La Table for $65. Instructor Mike is 30ish, fun, high-energy, and very good at conveying concepts. Class started with a lecture at 6PM, went to hands-on at 7:15 or so, and lasted until 9:30. Discount for purchases made that week, and the store stayed open until 11PM for us. They appear to provide the class every 2 months. I took it in November, and the next one is on January 3rd. This provided exactly the how-to that I wanted, bonus inclusion of how to hone knives, and free knife sharpening if you bring in your own.

Food inspired by Juice Fast - delicious!

I'm a reasonably solid experimenter (e.g., nothing is ever Bad), but I was totally surprised by how terrific this came out. As most folks know, the Juice Fast is a drink comprising water, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup. This strange concoction is somehow satisfying. Here's how I subverted the juice fast:

- Thick pork loin chops with lemon juice, cayenne pepper, maple syrup, and sea salt judiciously applied; baked at 350 and reapplied seasoning after a midway flip.
- Sauteed onion, sweet bell pepper, and green beans in a dab of butter. Mixed with maybe 2 cups of steamed rice (chinese food leftovers).
- Boiled one can of coconut milk with maybe 1/3 cup maple syrup (this was eyeballed) and then stirred into the vegetable rice mix.

Yum, yum. Anyone else with strange dinner inspirations that would be fun to try?

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