Profile

czken

  • Location: Seattle, WA / Liberec, Czech Rep.
  • Favorite foods: Stir-fried meals;they're all things to all moods; elegant, basic, healthy, heart attack, vegetarian or not, fiery, curried, sweet, sour, kitchen sink or leftovers. Goes with any carb, easy on the wallet; hard to beat!
  • Last bite on earth: Vacillating between seaside and landlocked, I'm always in crave mode for fresh seafood. I'm asking for a "Fisherman's Platter" the night they execute me...

Cook the Book: 'Yucatán' by David Sterling

I can't imagine a more enchanting tour than through the many facets of Greek cuisine; seafood, sheep and souvlaki..!!!

Cook the Book: 'Maximum Flavor'

I'd like to master a perfect (perfectly easy) Pate a Choux.

Cook the Book: 'The Heart of the Plate'

Tempura battered vegetables; especially the cauliflower, zucchini chips, snow peas and sliced green tomatoes.

What to make / bring for my friend in Finland

Be prepared to forfeit anything that comes from your kitchen at the Finish customs station. Most nations are very weary of allowing any foodstuffs into their country for fear of contamination of their agricultural industry. This is particularly true of produce and meat products. Cooked and canned items are not exempt. I've had canned meats and beef jerky confiscated at the border. My grandson was subject to a search of all his belongings because an officer smelled an orange that he had eaten just before he went through inspection. Remember too that GMO products are banned in all European states. Are you sure of your ingredient sources?

Taste Test: The Best Mayonnaise

I think it would have been a very good idea to include the "two-minute" mayo in your blind test. I've been using it exclusively for about a year and really love the idea of doing minor tweaks as the mode arises. Next time, for instance, I'm going with the lime juice. If you promote the homemade variety, it should have been side by side with the rest. Put Miracle Whip on the bench..!

Do you buy Honey online?

We buy ours from one of a couple of bee hobbyists in our circle of acquaintances. They package in large-mouth "mason" jars and we select both clear and "cloudy" varieties.
Doubt we'd ever go back to commercial, store-bought honey and would probably never buy via internet but may search you out looking for a local farm stand. Unless there is something extremely unique about your honey (only from orange blossoms, swamp grasses or Dixie peaches) I can't imagine too many shoppers motivated to shop for honey online.
The last honey we bought from a stranger was simply sitting on a wooden chair beside the road with a price tag and a bowl for us to leave the payment. Some of the best and, yes, we still watch for the chair when we are in the area...

What do you think makes for a great restaurant?

Honestly, you fairly well covered any list I would have made although I wouldn't require free wine (a bit too presumptuous), clean bathrooms yes but needn't be elegant, nor do I need internet while eating. I can see why a wide variety of sweeteners are not always on the table; they would disappear as purse stuffers. Better to make them available on request. The one thing that would keep me from returning to any eatery is paying a ransom and leaving hungry.

Favorite Recipes from The Joy of Cooking?

I've had two different editions and gave the third to my son as his first cookbook. Honestly I found the book very instructive as I began to cook and now use it mostly as a reference for techniques, methods, times, etc. The one recipe that I've used for decades is its pancake/waffle recipe. Easy and easily scaled to feed the number of legs under the table...

Cook the Book: 'Pati's Mexican Table'

Chiles rellenos, enchiladas suizas, rice and refried beans.

WFO Dream Job--I'm in mine finally, what's yours?

I can't imagine leaving my current vocation but I often dream about having a small shop or mobile wagon that features a variety of sandwiches (mostly hot); all made with biscuits. Either in a busy business center or on some pedestrian boardwalk in a sunny locale.

If you had to eat one nationality...

I would go with Chinese and its variety of regional cuisines and the influences of its neighbors. That's almost like taking the easy road out and saying American; You'll find just about anything in either choice...

Cook the Book: 'Every Grain of Rice'

Congee (Rice Porridge) and Yutiao (Chinese Donuts) to accompany.

Buffalo wings

I've learned something new. I'll go back into the archives and give it a try..!

Buffalo wings

I've learned something new. I'll go back into the archives and give it a try..!

Leftover Braised Red Cabbage What To Do?

Surely braised cabbage would be a good addition to a vegetable based soup or run through a blender/processor to become part of a vegetable juice/smoothie. If braised cabbage stretches too far why not cook just a half a head and use the remainder to make a slaw or add to a mixed green salad? My experience is that uncooked cabbages last a very long time in the fridge; just trim off the oxidized layer and start planning your second meal.

Removing blueberry seeds from puree

I might try a Foley Mill or a whirl in a blender. The blender would be my first choice.

Buffalo wings

I would not. I may lightly spray the bottom of the baking tray to prevent them from sticking but there is plenty of fat in the wings that will render as they bake. Drying them with baking powder is a new one for me. How would that be better than simple flour or cornstarch; if anything at all? I dry mine by scattering them on the baking sheet and leaving them in the fridge, uncovered for a number of hours.

Care Package Suggestions? (International Shipping)

While residing in Central Europe, we always asked for chocolate chips, brown sugar, pecans, corn syrup, a variety of hot sauces (Tabasco, Frank's Red Hot...), select spices; particularly those used for Mexican cuisine (chili powder, cumin, cayenne, etc.), masa harina, peanut butter, Swiss Miss, Kraft grated Parmesan cheese, ranch dressing mix and Honey Bunches of Oats.

What is the best food in the world?

I'm not sure why but I have a mythical southern fried chicken that I've been chasing for decades. Tried a ton of differing recipes and studied the topic deeply but never have I been able to get it just right. Somewhere in the distant recesses of my experience I've eaten the perfect bird or I wouldn't be so disappointed with everything I've tried.
The most memorable meal is one I ate about three decades ago at the restaurant of a friend. It was a huge slab of med-rare prime rib with a smothered baked potato and a side of bacon wrapped green beans.

Random recipe sources

@Antilope, great resources. Thank you..!

Bake the Book: Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook

Tapioca pudding.

Bacon Fat=Lard?

Having enough bacon fat to make Carnitas would be a dream come true!!!
Methinks that your bacon fat version would be somewhat more smoky and salty than the traditional and would adjust seasoning accordingly but I would not shy away from giving it a shot.
I'd make it a point to save the accumulated fat for additional taste sensations down the road. ;~)

Can you polish off a pint of ice cream in a sitting?

I'm positive that I could eat far more than a pint but I'm not sure that at this stage in life I would want to.

Is it safe to cut mold off of cheese?

I've been cutting mold off of all types of cheeses for decades and am not always thorough. As they say, "I'm still kicking.!"

@Antilope, that is very interesting. I'd like to hear some verification on that practice. What about taste, is that affected by the vinegar?

Cook the Book: 'Stewed'

Chicken and sausage gumbo; roux and file gumbo, no okra in this one.

I know you're out there...

I am certain that, like me, there are many Serious Eaters who either spend a lot of time or live outside the States. I'm interested to hear what the traditional Christmas dinner where you live looks like. Okay, if your bound in the States but still practice the "old world" Christmas dinner traditions of your forefathers, you're included too.
Name the place and share the menu.
My second home is in the Czech Republic. Every family spends weeks preparing tons of delicate little cookies to share with guests and nibble on throughout the season. They make a braided sweet bread with almonds and raisins and whip up a homemade brew akin to our eggnog. For Christmas dinner it is breaded, fried carp steaks carved from a fish that has spent a couple of days swimming in the bathtub.The starter is a soup made from the fish's head and scraps that weren't carved into steaks. The side dish of note is a mayonnaise based potato salad. The non-fish lovers will eat a breaded pork steak with their potato salad and or a fried white, wine sausage that is curled into a tight coil.
So, what about the rest of you expats?

Name Six Herbs/Spices

In my pantry, some spices hang around for a long time, others come and go in a hurry. Disregarding salt and pepper, name six that seem to run out rapidly because they are your "go to" choices when you're winging a recipe. Mine are;
Granulated garlic
Sweet paprika
Cumin
Cayenne
Italian seasoning
and Basil

Help French Delicacies..?

We recently had guests from France who left food gifts on their departure and we don't know what, for sure, they are or how to use them. Can you help?
1. a 90gr jar of Rillettes de Canard,
2. a 150gr jar of Gesiers de Canard Confits
3. a large can, 700gr Confit de Canard (4/5 cuisses)
I'm sure these are expensive, gourmet items and I'd like to put them to their proper use and get the maximum enjoyment from them. Please, what have I got? How do I best use them?

The war is on!

Czken- 27, Fruit flies- 0
So the seasonal battle with those little fruit flies/knats has begun in my kitchen. I did some research with my search engine and came away with about twenty different battle plans with varying degrees of sophistication, hardware and where to wage the war. I didn't have any of the correct prescribed ingredients in right combination so I just winged it with this;
Put 2 TBS red wine vinegar, 2 TBS Chinese cooking wine and about 3 drops of liquid dish soap in an old tuna can and set it on the most infested corner of my kitchen counter. Over night the were 27 floaters and nothing left in the air!
Has your battle begun? How do you arm yourself? What has your success rate been? I'm pretty darn proud of myself and confident about the future...

How's Your Bacon?

There's been a lot of chatter about bacon so I've been wondering, "How's your bacon"? Crisp or a bit limp? Oven baked or skillet fried? Thin-sliced, thick or slab? Garnished with; maple, sugar, pepper, or..?
I buy slab bacon and slice it as I use it. I've baked it a couple of times when I had guests and loved the results and ease of preparation but 98% of the time mine is cooked crisp in a cast iron skillet. Invariably, I sprinkle it with fine ground pepper as soon as it leaves the skillet.
Yes, I save the drippings in a jar kept in the fridge and use it in my cooking. In my social circle, it is not at all unusual for bacon to be used raw as a lunch meat in sandwiches. That took some getting used to but now it is reasonably normal to me...
Uses? As a side to breakfast eggs and toast, garnish on baked potatoes, crumbled into a garden salad, wrapped around a grilled hot dog, draped over and under meatloaf as it cooks, ...
What about yours..?

Free-Form Bread Baking..?

Most of my life I've baked bread in a bread pan. Just as this year's heatwave began, I developed a new sourdough starter for myself (I'm a sourdough waffle addict). I've tried a couple of times lately to bake a loaf of bread (sourdough and other varieties) on a sheet rather than in a pan and each time the loaf tends to spread out and look more like Focaccia than the artisan-like loaf I hoped for. Any tricks, techniques or tips I could profit from? What would you say I am doing wrong and how do I correctly create a free-form loaf?

It Works..!

With great patience I awaited the message from the SE team regarding how to fix the log-in issues and re-entry to the seamless "Talk" mode.
...Followed the directions; cleared cache and cookies, and now everything is back to smooth sailing. Thanks SE.

Realistic B&B Breakfasts

I sometimes day dream about renovating an old home and running a B&B. I often try to envision what I might offer when the "breakfast" part rolls around. I'd like to think I'd be creative, generous and fancy but I usually fall to earth with the realization that putting on a daily morning performance in the kitchen would cease being fun very quickly. Tell me, first, what have you encountered as an offered breakfast in your travels and, secondly, if this were your dream, what would you realistically commit to when it was time to set the table?

Read; Top to Bottom or Bottom to Top...?

I visit SE Talk a couple of times a day and always scroll to the bottom first and read/respond working my way up. I rarely click to "Older" posts unless I'm looking for responses to something I've written. How do you approach SE Talk posts; top to bottom or bottom to top? How often do you click "Older"? Do you revisit the "talk" you've posted to?

What About Corn on the Cob?

The summer comfort thread got me to thinking about how many ways I've eaten corn on the cob. My current thrill is a quick boil (saves having to fire up the barbie) and then slathering it with sour cream (born out of a lack of Mexican fresh cheese) and then sprinkled with coarse salt and fresh cracked pepper. I've been there with lime juice and chili powder, butter and salt and even the minimalist corn-only crowd. Love em all. What is your current jag of choice as far as COC is concerned?

I Love Juevos Rancheros... "Juevos Tolucanos"

Some weeks back I asked for help using up some masa harina. Since then I've been experimenting and have developed what I think is an interesting menu item for you to try.... When I get up in the morning I often get a craving for Juevos Rancheros but just as often don't have any tortillas on hand.
This morning I grated up a medium potato, mixed it with about 1/2 tsp. each of salt, pepper and onion powder, 1 tsp. cumin and about 2-3 TBS masa horina. I heated some oil in my cast iron skillet and spred the mix to about a 9" flattened circle. Once crisped on both sides, I assembled the dish as I would the "Rancharos" with egg, salsa, cheese and any other option that might strike your fancy.
I'm going to call this "Juevos Tolucanos" after the region I've learned to be the hub of native potato production in Mexico.

What do you think?

Masa Harina

We're right at the end of a major renovation of our large pantry space and are finally putting things back into order. Much to my horror, have discovered that I have enough masa harina to start a Mexican restaurant! I know tortillas but how else can this ingredient be put to good use? I want to experiment with new recipes until I run out of present stock and have to buy more. Please help me on this odyssey.

More on Cookbooks...

Our recent examination of favored and least favored cookbooks got me thinking about my collection. I've admitted before that I love cookbooks with a regional theme. When traveling, and I've been to thirty different countries not to mention most parts of the States, I hunt down those cookbooks like others collect thimbles or silver spoon souvenirs. My prime motivation is to be able to go home and duplicate for friends and family some of the new dishes I'd encountered on the road. Am I the only one or are there others out there who behave similarly?

Leg O Lamb

For the first time is several years, I will be home in my own kitchen at Easter. I'm already getting excited about the prospect of preparing my one and only leg of lamb for the year. It's been a long time so I'm looking for help (reipes to choose from) and maybe new ways to prepare the shank half of a previously frozen leg. What would you be serving to accompany it and how would you prepare them? This is one meal I love but have very limited knowledge in the "science" of getting it right. Thanks in advance...

Plain 'Ol Coffee...

We've considered our drink & cheesecake choices. Is it reasonable we come clean about how we drink coffee? Caffeinated or, black or, sweetened, how many cups in a day, affect your sleep?
I drink about 4 cups a day with no problem sleeping. Just a little low-fat milk and a packet of Splenda. For years it was condensed milk and two sugars but no more.
By the way, let's exclude all talk about designer lattes. That can get way out of hand. I should know, being a Seattle native.

Mayo or Miracle Whip?

A question every new household has to solve. Thankfully Best Foods mayo prevailed in ours! What about yours? Does the label matter to you?