Former chef living in Las Vegas

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  • Location: Las Vegas
  • Favorite foods: Anything that doesn't involve jello, marshmallows, margarine or peanut butter. Or that cheese from Sardinia that has the live maggots in it.
  • Last bite on earth: Dry aged and perfectly grilled prime rib eye steak

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: La Quercia's Coppa Combo

with some good bread and a glass of wine

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: La Belle Farms Foie Gras

Chinese style roast duck

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Russ & Daughters Brunch Package

Scrambled eggs with salmon

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: La Quercia

With a good loaf of bread and a bottle of wine

How does one avoid making bright orange tomato sauce?

The bright orange is from the air introduced when you blended it. If you insist on a smooth sauce, blend the tomatoes and onions just briefly before you cook the sauce (just pulse a few times), cooking will reduce the amount of air somewhat and give you a better color. Also, don't add the herbs until after you blend the tomatoes to avoid darkening your sauce.

'Top Chef Masters' Finale: And The Winner Is...

Moonen should have won, but I'm glad Susar didn't. I don't care how good his dishes looked, I'm weary of foul-mouthed, mean spirited chefs on these shows. His bad sportsmanship early in the series really put me off.

Worst U.S. cities for finding good pizza restaurants

Everybody has their own opinion about what "good" pizza is...having started with that disclaimer I'm going to say Las Vegas with it's thousands of eateries is one of the most disappointing pizza towns I've ever lived in (we've been here 8 years). I'm from the east coast and my idea of "good" pizza is a pie with a good freshly made crust (thick or thin), a sauce that has no corn syrup in it, and high quality toppings....and it shouldn't cost $30 for a large pie We have yet to find all of that in the same pie here in Vegas and trust me, we have eaten our way through dozens of pizza places on all sides of town.....I'm going to go out on a limb here and say the best pizza in Las Vegas is the pizza from the snack bar at our Costco. Sad.

Hush, hush. Do I have to smuggle fresh food?

There's no way you can do anything with durian other than smuggle a whole one on a plane and risk the embarassment of getting caught. They are banned in taxis, buses and hotel lobbies in Asia for a reason. Not sure where you live, but these days durian can be found in many Asian markets around the States (even in small towns with any kind of an Asian community) both fresh, frozen, dried and prepared in items such as ice cream,canned beverages and snacks.

What is a Good Technique for Preparing Steak Under the Broiler?

If your heart is set on using your broiler, the key is it must be pre-heated and HOT and you'll want to broil your meat as close to the element as possible. The goal is to cook it as quickly as possible to avoid that tough texture that can result from broiling slowly. You'll want to purchase a thicker piece of meat. Top round sometimes called London Broil is a nice, lean and relatively inexpensive cut and if marinated for an hour or so can be very good broiled. But I rarely use my broiler for steak, I find searing it on my stove top in a hot grill pan or even a non-stick pan produces the end result we prefer.

In my experience using a marinade or seasoning that very highly seasoned with a touch of something sweet works best for indoor steaks (the sugar will caramelize quickly under the broiler creating something close to a good char), just pat the meat dry before cooking , rub with some oil (any will do), re-season with a bit of salt & pepper and broil right away to get some browning as quickly as possible.

I also don't recommend you use that broiler pan rack thing that comes with your stove. Better to use a wire rack placed on a cookie sheet. Those broiler racks tend to produce a steak that's gray and tough on one side or the other.

If your apartment fills up with smoke you'll know you're doing it right.

Cooking Channel, Anyone?

Didn't care much for the shows that felt like they were hosted by Food Network Star contestants but am looking forward to the Two Fat Ladies, Julia Child and Galloping Gourmet shows. I'll keep an open mind for now, I so want this to be something better than the other food network. I hope they listen to viewer feedback.

Grocery Self-Checkout Lanes: Way or No Way?

Those self check-out lanes give me an anxiety attack if I have more than a few items. I obviously lack the advanced skills to handle the pressure of weighing my own produce.

Super Bowl Giveaway: The Bacon Explosion

There is something dishonest about putting bacon in a salad - it’s kind of like smoking while you jog.

The stench of Lean Cuisine - HELP!

What IS that smell anyhow? I know the smell your talking about...we had a former coworker that insisted on eating those meals 2-3 times a day, nuking them in the lunchroom and eating them in her cubicle. The entire office would reek from that unnatural cardboard/garlic/chemical smell all day long.......anyhow, try a cleaner with ammonia in it. Lemon scented ammonia is my cleaner of choice for smelly/greasy situations and it's cheap.

Cook the Book: Cooking Under Pressure knife in particular

Grocery Store Brands Do Well in Taste Tests

On the west coast, Fresh & Easy (owned by U.K. food giant, Tesco) has a long list of store branded staples that are just super. We also love their juices, bakery, sauces and snack items...and their very reasonably priced yet excellent wine selection.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Two Peter Luger Steaks

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Russ & Daughters Brunch Package


Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: D'Artagnan Boneless Heritage Ham

nice hot horseradish

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: La Quercia

Just a loaf of really good bread, some cheese and a nice bottle of wine.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Two Peter Luger Steaks

anything from Luger!

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Zingerman's Praise the Lard Gift Box

A pork pie in a pub in Leicester, England.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Charles Chocolates

anything involving milk chocolate

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: D'Artagnan Boneless Heritage Ham

ham & horseradish on an onion roll

NY Strip Roast or Ribeye Roast: SE Beef Eaters, please weigh in!

Rib eye without a doubt...beefier, juicier and often more tender...and I also do a little aging in my refirgerator for a few days before cooking (here's how I do it )

Gordon Ramsay: Cookalong Live, Episode 1

I wonder if Ramsey's production crew received any damage reports from the flambees done under the microwaves I spotted that were mounted directly over ranges? I was horrified when I saw all those people running around their kitchens with frying pans fully engulfed in flames with no idea where to set the darn things down in fear of catching their cabinets on fire.

Eric Ripert flat top grill?

Was watching the first episode of a new cooking series on PBS today, Avec Eric with Chef Eric Ripert. He grilled a piece of salmon on what appeared to be a ceramic/glass flat top grill. Does anyone have one of those and what exactly was that? It was very cool whatever it was.

Aluminum cookware safety issues

There's been concern over the years about the possible health issues with aluminum cookware as it pertains to Alzheimers. I use my pressure cooker often and today realized it's aluminum. I haven't seen any recent stories around- does anyone have any current info or data on the safety of aluminum cookware? Have there been any reliable new studies to back up the old concerns or debunk them? Thought I'd do some research before I go out and invest in a stainless pressure cooker.

Bay Area spice plant linked to Salmonella outbreak

The state health department has issued a consumer alert warning about spices used by Asian restaurants manufactured by a Bay Area plant that have been linked to a Salmonella outbreak in Central and Northern California. So far, 42 people in the nation have gotten sick, including 33 in California, according to the California Department of Public Health. Illnesses have occurred in 15 counties in Central and Northern California, the most recent being March 13.

"Consumers should avoid eating spices manufactured by Union International Food Company," the agency's director Dr. Mark Horton said on the department's Web site.

According to the health department, health specialists have linked the Salmonella cases to the plant's white and black pepper products used in Asian restaurants.

Union International Food Company has initiated a voluntary recall of pepper and all other similar spice products repackaged in its facility in Union City in the Bay Area, the health department says.

These products do not bear lot codes and were sold primarily to distributors and restaurants in California and Oregon, the state says.

The products' brand name is Lian How using a red label, the state says. The commercial containers include 10 and 15 pound cardboard boxes with plastic liners that are tied closed; 4 and 5 pound clear semi-hard plastic wide-mouth jars; 5 pound plastic bags, and 2.2 pound foil bags, the state Web site says.

After Lian How brand name, the wording "Packed by Union International Foods" or "Union International Foods" is printed.

These products were included in the recall: white pepper, black pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, chopped onion, onion power, garlic (chopped, minced, powder and granulated), whole black pepper, whole white pepper, curry powder, mustard powder, and wasabi powder.

The state says the department will provide update its Web site,

Consumers can call Union International Food Company at (510) 471-6799.

Cooking shows

OK....Here's an idea.....what if the TV powers to be (PBS , Food Network, Travel Channel, Fine Living Network-I don't really care) re-ran the old shows from Julia Child, Jeff Smith, Justin Wilson, Marcia Adams, Graham Kerr, Earl Peyroux, Joyce Chen, Madeleine Kamman, Natalie Dupree, the Romagnoli's, Marcel Desaulnieres, Biba Caggiano, Nick Stellino, Mollie Katzen, the 'Great Chef's series', Anne Willan (cooking from LaVarenne) et al.......if for no other reason other than the newbie generation of foodies can experience the kind of cooking shows that paved the way for this current wave of cooking shows? My daughter (in her 30's) has no idea of what a cooking show on TV is other than the crap we see on these reality shows and 'most' Food Network shows.....did I just have an epiphany or will be I be flamed?

You know what? I'm tired as hell as of the new "cooking shows" and I'm not going to take it anymore. I have a remote control. And I can read books

Mayocoba/Canary Beans

Ran across this variety of dried bean today and bought them having no idea what to expect. I've never seen these before. I have them soaking right now and plan to cook them as I do white Navy Beans in a pressure cooker but I'm curious if anyone has a recipe specific to this type of bean. Do they belong to a specific regional cuisine? I can't find much about these on Google other than they were involved in some sort of trademark fight back in the 90's.

Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets... Love them or hate them?

After watching the market near my home being being built all winter I couldn't wait to storm the doors on opening day. I'd read it was owned by the UK giant Tesco's (the UK equivalent of Walmart) and was longing for a new link in my food chain. Yes I can shop at pricey Whole Foods or the Trader Joe's in a rather unsavory area of my town. Yes there are 3 major chain megamarts within a mile of my home. I was still longing for something 'different' maybe even better.

After 3 shopping trips to my new Fresh & Easy I think I'm in love. I've found some very cool items I can't readily find elsewhere- British style bacon, white Stilton, jumbo eggs for $1.97 a dozen, amazing wines at dirt cheap prices. I could go on and on. Maybe pricier than my mega mart for toilet paper----maybe not much of a selection in the prepackaged veggie department and not very photogenic interior, but with 96 cent Pellegrino water, hormone free butter under $2.00 a pound and a slew very affordable cool house brand specialty food items they have my attention for now. It was worth the wait. How do the rest of you feel about your local Fresh & Easy's? Will I be let down when the honeymoon is over?