I love the weekend summary pix. And I've enjoyed seeing the Test Kitchen at SE Hq expand from a hotplate to what it has become. However, every time I see a partial shot of the black fridge, I think, "Why on earth don't they reverse the doors?" Virtually all of today's over-under fridges allow the user to reverse the door hinges so that the opening faces the kitchen's work space. No additional hardware is required and the instructions are included in the basic operating package. (If that has gone missing you can find it on the web.) Two lightweights, a screwdriver and twenty minutes should be enough. After a few days of use you'll wonder why you did not swap the hinged side when the fridge first came into your office. Good luck! -GC
Well gosh! The 2014 Mechelin ratings are out. With a firm grip, no one expects pizza joints to achieve Michelin stars. That said, I guess Paulie Gees made the honorable mention class in the 2014 Michelin Guide. Major congrats, Paulie!
In business for +/- three years, that Green Point 'joint' seems to have developed into one of the Go-To pizzas of NYC. I've not been there, a simple roblem of 2350 miles, but I'll get there.
Congratulations, Paulie! That hobby of yours, plus a very smart business plan and 99% perfect quality control have put you on the map. Please, don't ever compromise your standards.
Far too often I've passed up some wonderful looking braising, poaching and sauce recipes when the formula calls for more than a Tbs or so of wine. A tiny amount in a salad dressing is OK, but any more than that just does not work for me. I'm looking for substitutes for both robust reds and whites, (sweet and dry) for kitchen use. Of Note: The de-alcoholized wines like Graham Kerr (The Galloping Gourmet) used to promote are +/- OK, but nearly impossible to find and a bit expensive for what they are. I would prefer readily available substitutes or perhaps combinations of a a few of things that will work just as well. Thank you.
Is SE having server trouble today? I just posted a new topic on PIZZA (August 14, 2013, about 2045 PDT, but it seemed to register as April 30, 2013. Just thought you might like to know. -GC
All eyes are closed and no one can see your vote. Who among us has not wished for some tiny adjustment in one our favorite pizza ingredients. I did not peek, but I heard some hands go up. My go-to topper is hotish fennel sausage, but my much-loved butcher/sausage won't modify his formula for less that 10#. Here's my fix, but please realize that in this situation exact measurements are worthless. I begin with whatever quantity of "pretty good" raw sausage is needed. Using a mortar and pestle I fine grind some dried pepper flakes and then some fennel seed. I thoroughly stir some of both into the raw sausage and proceed. Again, exact measurements are worthless, but if you make your own sausage pizza often enough, you will get a feel for what sings to your soul. While probably not the world's 'best' pizza, thanks to our old friend AK, I've had more than one dream about Maria's in Milwaukee. Never been there but it is on my bucket list. Thanks for the periodic reminders, AK. And yes, I consider a light, post-bake sprinkle of raw onion essential. -CG
Is something wrong with SE's' server date stamp today? This post is registering April 30, 2013.
Does anyone know what kind of rice is most commonly served in Korea? I know there are wide variations on 'traditional,' but for the sake of conversation, Japanese cuisine usually uses a short grain rice, while Chinese rice consumers typically prefer a longer grain rice. I know... with 50+ varieties of rice commercially available, the sky is the limit. I'd just like to know what kind of rice most Korean folks prefer. Is there anything unique about Korean rice cooking methods? Thanks!
Ah! This time I HAVE enough time to plan, test and consider the options. Toward the end of summer I need to make a quantity of beef "French Dip" sandwiches for a family & friends gathering in my home. Of note: everything will occur at home and in my own kitchen, so this is not a road show and the logistics are easily under control. I have access to a 'deli-grade' commercial slicer that I've used before. **I need *more/better* ideas about the meat and how to cook it.** The end product will be warm, thinly sliced (not pulled) beef on a quality roll with generous cups of *hot* 'Au jus'(sp?)and horseradish sauce available.
So far, I'm thinking lean cuts of 'Eye of Round,' cooked, sealed-in with garlic and onion, in a sous vide type gizmo that I made a few years ago. I see the produced juices as a component of the 'Au jus,' chilling the cooked meat before slicing, warming it in broth for service etc. The typical streaks of rare meat just won't happen here and that's OK. I need tasty, very tender slices, in honor of some guests who do not chew as well as they used to. For this event, a robust flavor and gentle texture trump the visual appearance of rare meat. I see many chunks of fresh garlic inserted in the meat and some sliced onion in the sealed bag. What else? Beyond the mental image and the very rough idea about the s.v. cooking, I'm stuck. Your suggestions for additional seasoning, a different cooking method and other ad hoc enhancements are most welcome. Perhaps we can start with time & temp ideas for this cooking method? I have no clue. I'll gladly consider other methods, but.. I'll consider other cuts, I'm not making "Prime Rib on a roll." (Where is @MeatGuy when I need him?) Thank you, fellow eaters and cooks. I'll be checking back for your ideas. With *GRINS,* it is fun to post an inquiry that does NOT need results for "tomorrow's party." This time I have the time... to try other ideas. Thanks! GC
Slice, the rest of the web and our endless books include countless great dough formulas. Never any argument from me about the benefits of a long fermentation - that way IS better. Still, I need a back-pocket dough formula that will move from mixing to baking as quickly as possible. As much as I hate to impose limits on a request like this, I do care about ingredients:
It must use yeast alone as the only leavening (no baking power, please). For this use, I'm not interested in the super-high hydration formulas, the pour and spread types (they have their place, but this is not it).
If it helps your thinking, I have and use a humidified, temperature-controlled proof box (12.5" x 15") that will accommodate both bulk and stretched dough to speed the rising. While we lean toward thinner crusts, here, a thicker, 'puffier' crust would be OK. The real need is an active, half-decent dough that can move from flour, water, yeast (and?) to finished pizza **as quickly as possible.** Baking is done in a home oven of 500F max and can be done on a stone, on a flat pan, or skillet etc. (I've done them all and in this case, don't much care. Again, the point is a yeasted dough that can be stretched and baked in the least possible time. Why? Like most other pizza nuts out there, we have our fair share of 9-1-1 pizza needs. Take-out (Take-away?) and delivery are not viable options; it has to be made at home and even when reserved, frozen dough is not available. In advance, my guests and I thank you for your suggestions and any formulas & methods offered. GC.
P.S. I'm only concerned about a fast-performing dough; The pantry or fridge always has something great to put on top and we're never without tomato, a reasonable cheese and herbs. Thank you.
5) Eat it RAW when possible. Slivers or your best, most creating slices or strings are just fine. A fast blanch followed by ice water is fine. Plain ice water will help curl your decorative strips. (Hint: Use the potato peeler for the entire lower 60% of the stalk and curl the product.)
6) Cook your Asparagus gently. Steaming whole stalks does not take long. If you are a chubnker or a stir-fry person, cook your chopped chunks for about HALF the time that you would have guessed. Boiling should be a felony, but well-controlled steaming in a microwave can be ideal. (I've used a Pyrex loaf pan, plastic wrap and 2-3 Tbs white wine with superior results (add some EVOO and Rice Vinegar for serving?) Sautee if intending to use your Asparagus in another dish, but only lightly. (A favorite is Asparagus and potato frattta - both the asparagus and the potato need a little pre-cooking, but please don't over due it.
7) No matter how you use your Asparagus, it will retain more flavor and texture if you don't cook it to death. Did I mention that overcooked Asparagus is a felony in my neighborhood?
8)- and last, as noted elsewhere, the diameter of the stalk is NOT a mark of quality, representing only the general age of the perennial 'root' that supports it. The thick and think stalks are exactly the same - though your bundle should be all of the same type.
Asparagus is one of the Spring Season's greatest joys. If you are fortunate enough to have enjoy high quality Asparagus, please - don't screw it up after your precious bundle is a home!
While this 'Talk' comment is mostly rhetorical, I'll include some direct suggestions at the end.
Heavens yes! This is Asparagus Season. No matter how angry or frustrated you may be this week, please don't express your feelings toward your Asparagus. Those wonderful stalks (green, purple or even white) just won't understand. As long as your Asparagus is reasonably fresh, it does not really matter how large it is: some prefer the tiny,m pencil thin stalks, suggestive of a very young root, while others swear by the thumb-thick stalks of a more mature root. Please just be kind to your Asparagus and don't waste any. All too often, I still see folks doing the 'Natural Snap" thing. Nuts and wasteful. Here are some points that I follow:
1) Obviously, buy the freshest that you can get. If the top buds, leaves waiting to happen, look tired and dry, it is either old or has been poorly handled.
2) At home, wash it gently, CUT (not snap) a tiny portion, perhaps 1/8" and stand in clean water, with a gentle top covering. If not to be used the same day, change the water daily, just as you should with cut flowers. (Some folks add a pinch of sugar, but mine never stays around long enough to try this.)
3) Again, skip the "snap" routine. It is wasteful and you'll discard far more than is necessary. When ready to cook, CUT another tiny portion from the bottom end before any cutting for service.
4) If you are fortunate enough to have mature Asparagus, finger and thumb-sized stalks, PLEASE don't waste that bottom 60% of the stalk. A far better idea is to address it with your potato peeler, much as you would to peel a carrot. Yes, the first layer of the bottom 60% can include a lot of annoying fiber. Peel it off, just like a carrot. -- To be continued --
I was recently gifted a **#10 can** of Quartered Artichoke Hearts, but I've not yet opened them. (That is a LOT of quartered Artichoke Hearts!) This can is an import from Spain and a water-pack, adding only salt and citric and ascorbic acids, NOT the seasoned, oil-pack more commonly available for salad use.
My future seems to include some enhanced salads, a pizza or two and several rounds of "Pasta and Artichoke with [fill-in favorite herb]. Those won't be enough to consume this huge can within a reasonable time, once it is opened. With and Exp. date of 04-15, I don't have to open it today. Please help! I need more ideas.
I'd also welcome ideas about how to store the remaining portions once the can is opened, drained and rinsed. Thank you in advance and I'll check-back to read your suggestions. I wish that I could email some samples.
After more than a year of fighting with the display and presentation at SE and several other sites, I've tossed in the MSIE towel and migrated for Firefox. IS it perfect? No, but close enough for me. At least I can now see SE's slides - AND their captions on an over-sized screen and without having to scroll with every pic. Text is much easier to read as well. Some websites are built for MSIE and some, like SE just are not. What took me so long? Even those MSIE sites look/read better. Perhaps SE's tech folks ought to mention this more often. Regards to all.
I am delighted that you - or evolution finally caught up with the "Back Button" issue. SE's software has never been fully compliant with basic standards, but that was just too much.
There is plenty of content, but the importance and quality has slipped - a lot; most is either blather or undeclared 'sponsored' blather and it is obvious. Worse, what a few weeks ago used to be an exceptionally GREAT Slide Show with some artilces is now >50% ad junk and enough that I have to FIGHT to see titles and captions.
I understand your motive$ and the SE $ite's need to turn a profit, but you have sold your soul without your goals. SE has substituted Blather for content and it shows.
I guess you expect to cycle through readers and I'm one of the few who has spoken up. The others, from '10, '11, and early '12 are already gone. I suspect that they left for the same reasons, but did not say so. In the end, it is just not fun anymore. The humor is gone, the ad space seems to be over 50% and the content quality has dropped to Oreo tasting as the week's most important event. That is NOT good enough SE folks! Unless the content and readability improves, I've wasted enough time. Best wishes and I'm sure that you'll do just fine without me. And - Shame on you!
In December, 201 there was a brief discussion of Star Tavern's thin crust Bar Pizza, both here and on some other blogs. "Phil" shared details, passed on from his Father and apparently obtained from a former owner of Star Tavern. The rest is history.
Since this is my Pizza Cognition Theory and Go-to pizza, I saved the details. I've spent the last six months experimenting with "Phil's" formula and notes. Some results:
Early on, many folks questioned the very high percent of semolina in the dough recipe. It is high and it is correct. This dough is not wasy to work with. To make this excellent thin crust pie, yo will use a rolling pin and you will let the dough rest and rise for a long time. Get used to it. Some important notes...
The rolling pin is not an accident or a convenience, it is necessary. You cannot stretch this dough by hand. Once thin and expanded, let it rest at room temperature for several hours. It really does take that long for this stuff to relax and to expand a little bit. It is very tight and takes a LONG time to relax and grow. Those specially cut pizza pans are nothing more that a custom peel. Do it or skip it. The important part is baking on pre-heated stone and using a peel (or?) lubricated with corn meal. Skip the custon pans!
You do NOT need 550-600F temps to make this pizza! Temps more in the 400F range are betteer as they won't burn the cheese. So help me... The most important part is to bake the SOB thoroughly. It cannot be over-stressed. That high-semolina crust, when rolled very thin, works just fine, but it simply must be thoroughly baked! Again, to avoid burning the cheese, use a well-pre-heated stone, a slightly lower temperature and as much time as is necessary to thoroughly bake that thin crust. When cooked, it is wonderful. When undercooked, it is a bit gummy and is sucks. Cook the SOB!
More mores about toppings etc. if I see any interest. This is Very Fine pizza, but attention to details is necessary. Anyone?
Soft Cinnamon rolls are a common treat in this house. I usually sprinkle a mixture of sugar(s) and cinnamon in the dough before rolling, the 'standard' method. I'd like to try replacing the sprinkles with a paste, probably bound and fluffed with some butter. Does anyone have any experience with this? Any idea what the butter-to-sugar ratio should be? My Baking Brain says 'whip the heck out of it,' making it much lighter than a butter cream icing, as the dough already has plenty of fat and sugar. I'm not trying to make Carmel Rolls, where a similar paste goes into the bottom of the pan, but rather substitute the paste for the sprinkled cinnamon and sugar mixture. This paste might also help to hold raisins and/or chopped nuts in a more uniform position. As always, all thoughts and ideas are welcome. Thank you.
Who among slicers has not seen endless taste tests of tomatoes in a half-dozen forms, Paulie G.'s secret tomatoes and the debate over straight canned vs. a cooked sauce? I recently had need for some red pie sauce with zing and no time to play around, usong only what was at hand. Frankly, it was far better than I had expected...
One 28 Oz. can of Hunt's no added salt PLUM tomatoes. (See notes)
FIVE peeled cloves of fresh garlic (I did say 'zing' right?)
1 Tbs. dry basil
Tomato paste to thicken, about 2/3 of 6 Oz can, so about 4 Oz.
Salt to taste
Drain tomatoes reserving juice. Remove residual skin bits and top core as necessary. Cut open and remove most seeds, tossing tomato flesh, garlic and basil into a blender. Whiz on low speed, high if necessary, to get things blended. While the juice is drained, this is still very wet. Add tomato paste, 1 Tbs. at a time and continue blending until the desired consistency is achieved. I like mine a bit on the thick side, so I used about 2/3 of the small can. Your mileage may vary. Taste and add salt if necessary. I prefer less as there is plenty in the cheese and pepperoni and/or sausage to follow. Let it sit while making the Emergency, Need it NOW Pizza Dough, to be posted at another time. While the pizza was a bit short of world-class, it served the purpose and was on the table in ~90 minutes. In my never humble opinion, the sauce was one of the tastiest in recent memory. Best wishes. Note: This posting engine demands entries, but has no place to put them. Some text duplicates between post and recipe, but they don't give me much choice. If you are interested, you'll figure it out.
SoCal has a bunch of Yoshinoya-brand fast food places that serve Gyudon (one or two in NYC?) but otherwise the USA is a wasteland for this dish. I got hooked on it many years ago, but rarely visit SoCal and I've not had great luck making it at home. (The textures are fine, but the flavor is not.) The rice, beef, onion components are no-brainers, but the umami-toting Dashi escapes me. Any suggestions for specific brands of powdered or liquid Dashi that will work - or reasonable substitutes? I note many more recipes for Gyudon on the web in recent years, some with no mention of Dashi. Is this reasonable? What are the flavor keys to this fun dish? All ideas are most welcome and thank you. -GC
Sorry folks, but the recent upgrade has done little o r noting to improve the simple Back Button function. Sometimes it may go one level, but serious reading of the site still requires multiple re-starts. If th is is a move to increase t he total hit-count, counot me out; I'm looking for better behaved sites. What have you other folks experienced. I think this is a bit sad - more fluff and more clevere ads, but no attention to the basic software. They KNOW it is clunky, but they won't change or upgrade. Why not?
Yes, in some cases, mostly those of normal reading progession, the BACK BUTTON is STILL broken. After weeks of questions and comments, it is not fixed, SE has not responded (that I know of) and it has become an avoidance item. I cannot read the site as I wish, needing to start over far too often when I want to see the next article. What happens? I cruise through the first pages of most posts and the SKIP the remainder because it is simply not worth restarting the website and scanning through the junk that I've read - or not read - to regain the former position. I'm tired of the annoyance and I'm cruising for food-related sites that have far better technical performance. Regular readers have been promised technical improvements for years, another is apparently pending, but few offer any graces to the reader. In fairness, the months-old improvement in Slide Shows, with longer individual captions and a +/- faster load, was a very nice benefit. The Slide Shows are now worth a fefw clicks. Thanks. The other glitches are seriously annoying, seem to be increasing and often make the site simply Not Worth The Trouble. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! I sure hope they get it fixed, before a lot of readers just DELETE the link - as more trouble than it is worth.
My 35-YO rice cooker died. It was a very early, very simple one - at least by American standards of the late 70s. Everything was controlled by the volume of water added: It simmered until it boiled dry (temperature increased) and then shut off. I need a new one and I think I can do a little better this time. Smaller is better as we rarely feed more than two. Ideas, including brand and model - and your personal experience if relevant - are most welcome. We're not wealthy, but function is more important than cost. Thank you.
We like chicken, especially the dark portions. Cut-up boneless thigh portions are our go-to for most chicken meat needs, from stir-fry to pot pies everything in between. A recent purchasing error has left us with a hefty quantity of **Bone-In** (skin-on) chicken thighs. We have worn out the simple, baked, fried and grilled options and we need t o expand our horizons a bit. The remaining stock still has to be used, duh. The only idea that we won't consider is skinning and boning the thighs and adding them to our stash of boneless meat, as we already have plenty. Roasting/Baking is just fine, but we want to move beyond simple poultry seasoning and have a little more fun. Braises, casseroles, baking - whatever you can think of, we will probably try. I guess we've got flavor and method block in progress. With your help, we can break through it and resume eating well. There are precious few flavors and ingredients that we do not like, so virtually everything will receive serious consideration. Complete recipes are welcome - just as are simple combination ideas. We are competent cooks and we can easily develop a method. **All** suggestions are welcome. Thank you.
As we know, most "USDA Inpected" food producers and processors issued identification numbers, the number often printed in a circle with the notation, "U.S. INEPECT AND PASSED BY DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE," Followed by "EST." and the establishment's number. After multiple web searches, I cannot find any reasonable way to identify a food producer/processor, *searching by "EST. Number."* I used to have a link - I think, but it is long gone. Search ideas are welcome and - why on earth is this information *so difficult* to find? If it matters, in this case I'm trying to learn the name and location of "EST. 2801", probably a branch of some larger meat processor. Thank you. As always, all comments are welcome.
FOr important game days, some do hot food, some do parades of cold snacks and many of us rely on platers of contents for the ultimate Dagwood sandwich. If you serve the platters of sandwich components, WHAT do you offer? What breads, what meats and cheeses, condiments, sides and whatevers? If you track the details, what is your budget or cost per head? At Cedarglen, I offer three breads (one homemade), a hefty, sourdough white, a soft whole grain and my own light, mixed grain bread - It looks white. I offer thin slices of roast beef, turkey and ham - none of it the 'boiled, packaged type' Swiss, provolone and (sorry) Amerikan cheese - becasue some like it. Trimmed leaves of lettuce are provided - I use butter lettuce when I can get it, otherwise Romaine sans stems. Mayo, mustard, butter, horseradish are on the table. Two kinds of pickle slices - to fit sandwiches (sweet and serious dills) as well as a big knife to whop the Dagwood into half or third portions. Sure, sliced tomatoes are available as well, and plenty of napkins. Sides include a sour slaw, green salad and spicy extras like Kalamata olives, onions, cured fish and tons of stick veggies to dip into two or three choices. Frankly, I'd rather cook/serve than watch the game and my friends understand my quirks. Beer is BYOB to share and we never lack. If anything, what am I missing? None of seems to like sweet desserts, so I skip it. Again, what am I missing? How could I make this annual feast better? Thanks!
Ha! For years, SE readers have complained about slow site responses at times. The SE staff usually says, "It was a server issue" or "We're looking into the problem." Ha! again! As it turns out, those S L O W speeds are probably SE's server problems - not enough capacity. How do I know?
Do you own tests. Use the site as usual and during normal hours. Try the works again at ~~0300 New York Time (EST). When I recently went crusing at ~0300 (EST) the SE server's response was so fast that it almost frightened me. No traffic at that hour, so it worked well. For SE: Of course the constant complaints about slow responses are on YOUR end. THis is not new news. Just more proof. We know that you won't buy a larger pipe, but please - stop blaming others or their systems. The SE site usually works, but it is often slow. Your pipe is too small. Access at 0300 (EST) -with no load, is far faster than expecpted. I'm thinking [fill-in].
Shortly before Thanksgiving, another SE'er asked about freezing yeasted dinner rolls (or dough) for several days before baking. Most replies were Go For It! I like to have ordinary biscuits often, but a making a tiny batch is more trouble than it is worth. And, A day-old biscuit just won't cut it. My idea is to cut all the biscuits, freeze (until sold) on an open baking sheet and then bag for short term storage. I would expect them to take a little longer to bake and I'd drop the temperature a few degrees. I cannot imagine storing them for more than a couple of weeks. Anyone have any thoughts or alternate ideas? Thank you.
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