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msecondo

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What do you guys prefer plastic or wooden

I started with a vintage maple board that died after almost two decades of use. I switched to plastic, I didn't like it what it did to my knives at the time. Switched again to bamboo with the color code thin plastic sheets for meat, fish and poultry. I found the bamboo and the plastic developed cut marks which when my knives ran over them dulled and bent the edge of the blades so I had to sharpen them more. Then about 10 years ago, I seriously upgraded my cutlery and invested in a 18 x 12 x 1 3/4 John Boos end grain maple board. It is the only board I use now. I can whack a big beef bone with my biggest cleaver and make a 1000 vegetable slices with my sharpest knife and it looks as good as the day I brought it home. I just clean it with a damp sponge with hot soapy water and rub some mineral oil on it when it starts to look dry. And it looks great on my limited apartment granite counter top. I do have a cut piece of rubberized shelf liner under it to keep it from moving.

Cornmeal Issue Part 2: Less smoke & folded pie

Two other thoughts: 16 in is kind of large for a home oven. Experiment with 12 in, then move up. And you really do have to let your oven rip at 550 for an hour to get your oven up to temp. You say, on the stone, the pizza cooks in about 6 min, it shouldn't burn in that amount of time. If you are making two pizza in a row in a home oven, you need to let it get back up to temp. Invest in an oven thermometer. You can't trust your stove thermometer, and put the oven thermometer on the rack not on the stone, what you want to measure is the air temperature.

Cornmeal Issue Part 2: Less smoke & folded pie

Skip the oil, that may be causing some of the burning. You want some charring on your crust. But the only way it will actually burn at 550, is if you are leaving the pizza in too long. If you say in response "if I pull in out before the crust on the end burns, then the center will be underdone," then you are over dressing your pizza. Cut back on some of the toppings.

Cornmeal Issue Part 2: Less smoke & folded pie

I will repeat my earlier advice. You flour and cornmeal a dry peel before you place the dough on it. Then once you top the dough (on the peel), you shake the peel a few times to make sure the dough moves freely and will slides off easily with a couple of shakes on to the stone.

I don't understand why you are putting flour and cornmeal on the stone in the first place.

And saucing the unadorned pizza ON THE STONE IN THE OVEN! is just crazy talk. It lacks even a smidgen of common sense. By the time you sauce it your 500 degree oven is cooking your pie at about 325--if that.

Cornmeal on stone burning

I use cornmeal on the peel to help the pizza slide off. I never put it straight on the stone. And yes, it does burn, so I have to disable the smoke alarm before I put the pizza in the oven.

Culinary land mines

You people are all weirdos!

Except for the afore mentioned gristle, hair and arteries, most of your "culinary land mines" are just yummy. Mmmmm, cilantro, marzipan, bread and butter pickles, anise "flavors," anchovies, raw onions, etc.

Moving from SoCal to New England

So you're moving to Conn to join the Village People? Are you going to be the Native American or maybe the Leatherman? Shouldn't you be moving to Greenwich Village or have they all retired to Groton--sooo many seamen, I mean, sailors!!;)--with a nightly review at Mohegan Sun?

Moving from SoCal to New England

You are going in the wrong direction. You should be moving from New England to Southern California. I'll take earthquakes and year round 70 degree sunshine over rain, humidity and blizzards any day. (At least, that is what I did--with a few detours in between--and not for one moment do I regret it.)

1. Yankee (yes, it is a cuisine), Italian, Polish, German, Portuguese, Puerto Rican, Greek, even French.(there are probably more ethnic food inroads there since I left 30 years ago.)

2. Don't know about fine dining anymore. Chains: Friendly's, Howard Johnson and A&W. In Springfield MA, there is the best Italian Pastry shop in America, in Agawam MA Pajer's makes a Italian Sub that cannot be beat and Frankie's Firehouse Pizza was my family go to in North Central Conn.

3. Go to every Farmer's Market you can. I'm in Santa Monica so I am spoiled. But the citrus and exotic warm weather produce cannot be beat. Do get me wrong N.E. has awesome Farmer's Markets and produce. Apples, corn, peas and asparagus come to mind as N.E standouts. But you won't find fresh Kaffir Lime leaves or Blood Oranges in New England. To my mine fish tacos vs. lobster rolls is an even trade.

Cook the Book: 'The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone' by Deborah Madison

Spaghetti with garlic, basil and tomatoes.

Prosciutto Knife Recommendations?

I don't have any recommendations, prosciutto ham freaks seem to prefer a hand crank rotary slicer like an antique Berkel. Jamon and Iberico ham freaks prefer a stand and a long thin knife made for slicing ham. Do a search for Iberico ham knives and you might find what you are looking. I found this this.
At its most basic, a prosciutto knife is either a long thin fillet knife or a long thin carving knife. It shouldn't be too flexible.
Good luck.

Mozzarella - salted or unsalted?

I would only eat unsalted fresh Mozzarella the day it is made. It is creamier and possibly cheesier. Unsalted Mozzarella rapidly starts to break down in texture.

Salting helps preserve fresh and all other varieties of Mozzarella and also helps it retain water rather than leech out, thus a firmer better texture as time passes. Smoked mozzarella has to last at least through the process of smoking, so it needs to be salted.

How to preserve dried New Mexico chiles in Washington state

As long as your brother lives indoors, the chiles will be fine in just about any dry storage solution. They sell cellophane bags of dried chiles in the supermarket in the Mexican aisles in the NW just like anywhere else. You are seroiusly over estimating the humidity in dwellings in the NW. It's not like the walls are dripping with moisture.

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

Kittehs and Doggies work for me. But please burn that sugar bear costume immediately ... with FIRE!

Need help finding a restaurant for high profile guests

If you're in NYC, you should definitely try Dorsia. But reservations can sometimes be difficult to get.

Need help finding a restaurant for high profile guests

I hear there is a pretty good restaurant in Grand Forks, N.D called "Olive Garden."

If this is a serious question, it would help if you specified a geographical location.

I'm quitting the site

I'm okay with this.

I'm commenting to see where this thread goes.

What is Mezcal? (Not the drink)

I don't think it is a bad idea. Think of it as a very sweet, very smokey barbecue sauce, so be careful not to over do it. Remember Agave nectar is a sugar substitute.

What is Mezcal? (Not the drink)

It is what you think it is. Smoked agave hearts that can be eaten as a sweet snack.

Yogurt Knife Recomendations?

I can't live without this one Sanelli Premana Professional. I saw Mario Batali use it once on Iron Chef and I knew I had to have it for all my yogurt needs.

Cockles in the fridge

That is not how you are supposed to store shellfish. Shellfish should be kept cold in cloth or natural bag with a wet towel covering them. If they have been sitting in fresh water, they are likely dead and inedible. They should be eaten by the next day. Under optimum conditions, they can last 2 days in the refrigerator depending on how fresh they were when you bought them. If they are open and when you squeeze them and they don't close, they are certainly dead. If they close on their own after you squeeze the shells, they are alive and edible.

Too many dried chiles!

I don't understand the problem. Dried chiles don't go bad. You can never have too many chiles.
If you have a spice grinder i.e. an old coffee grinder, just fine grind up a batch and store them in glass jar in your cupboard. You can put them in anything you would put ground chili into eggs, soups, pasta sauces, stews, on proteins, whatever.
I keep standard canning jars around filled with several different chiles on hand at all times: Guajillo Chiles, Aleppo Pepper, Chile de Arbol, Smoked Paprika, Hot Paprika, Sweet Paprika, Chipolte Chiles, Ancho Chiles, Cayenne Pepper, Calabrian pepper and a few more.
New Mexican Chiles are the mildest of the bunch, so you can add them to things just for color and a little spice.

Gadgets: Swissmar Cheese Holder

Hey, don't knock it, it has eight positive reviews on Amazon. But the page also shows a $1.97 "Acrylic Cheese Button" that does the same thing.

Recommendations for pizza joints in Rome or Naples?

You could try Gabriele Bonci's legendary pies at Pizzarium. I haven't been there, but I did win a copy of his book. More links: The Atlantic article about Gabriele Bonci. I remember Bourdain stopped by on the Rome stop of "The Layover." Bonci appeared to be drunk off his ass by the end of the show.

Where Did Belgian Endive Disappear To?

It hasn't disappeared in California virtually every supermarket here carries Endive and quite a few carry frilly chicory and flat-leaf escarole. Perhaps you are not looking in the right places.

Good ish Canned Pizza Sauce

I've switch from a home cooked marinara sauce to Cento San Marzano Whole Tomatoes straight from the can for my pizzas. Add some herbs (oregano, etc), salt, red peppers flakes and you are done. Look at some of the "My Pie Monday" slideshows and you will see a lot of people just use San Marzanos straight from the can.

What to make with fresh turmeric?

While I was making my biannual trip to Whole Foods for some fresh bay leaves, I saw some beautiful fresh turmeric tubers. I bought some choice examples, now I am at a loss what to make with them. I know I can sub them for dried turmeric in various Indian recipes in my normal rotation. But I don't know of any recipes that specifically call for the fresh stuff. Any recipes you'd like to share?

Dried Porcini Powder! What can't you put it into?

I buy dried Italian Porcinis in large $35.00 bags and I can't use them often enough. So I grind a few ounces at a time in my spice grinder and seriously I have not found one thing that a judicious amount of powder doesn't make more delicious.
Breakfast cereal with milk: Check.
Orange ice cream, or any ice cream: Check.
Any egg, pasta, pan sauce, stir-fry: Check.
Baked dessert: Check.
Bloody Mary, Irish coffee, Fernet Branca, hot chocolate, wine spritzer: Check.
Cerviche: Check.
Any soup: Check.
Chile, any stew: fugetaboutit
I challenge you Serious Eaters to name one dish that Porcini powder wouldn't be tasty in.

Take Jonathan Gold's egg quiz aka Kenji gets around

In today's quiz in the LA Times, Jonathan Gold references Kenji's post on SE about getting a real egg from McDonald's. After Kenji's book comes out, it will just be matter of time before we will be seeing him on Top Chef and countless Food Network programs. He will be the new Francis Lam. NTTAWWT

Here is the link to the quiz.

http://www.latimes.com/features/food/dailydish/la-jonathan-gold-quiz-easter-dto,0,3598012.story

What is the most expensive/least used tool in your kitchen?

What is the most expensive tool in your kitchen that you have only used once (or maybe never!). I live in an apartment, so I don't have unlimited space. I don't own a full-sized food processor or a microwave oven. I do own a Kitchen-aid stand mixer and more knives than I need including the "X50" cleaver used by Mario Batali on Iron Chef. (It is really a SG175 Sanelli 112628 Premana Professional 11 Inch Heavy Knife--"Now, that's a knife" as Crocodile Dundee once said.) But while expensive, I have used these items more than once.
But I have only used my Matfer Mandoline 2000 Pro once, which makes it dollar per use the most expensive tool in my kitchen. Now what is your (relatively speaking) white elephant?

How long can you keep reusing pasta water?

I know that you can make multiple batches of pasta in the same water and because of the starch the pasta and sauces it gets added to become better and better. But can I save it from day to day? Can I let a pot of water cool down refrigerate or freeze it and use it again. How long can I save it and reuse it. Or is one night of use the limit?

TV chef's. How have they inspired you?

I'm old. I'm really old. I'm pre-food blogging, Top Chef old. I'm pre-Iron chef, Emeril old. I go way back. I'm pre-Food Network, basic cable old. I'm PBS old. I watched first-run Julia. (Well, my mother did. I was 4.) I watched Julia, Graham Kerr, Jeff Smith, Martin Yan-on purpose-for entertainment as an child, adolescent and young adult. They without a doubt inspired me to appreciate food and learn how to cook. Because of them I started reading cookbooks and checked issues Gourmet out of the town library. (Okay, as an aside, I will admit the additional motivation that being a young guy in the early '80's who knew how to cook went a long way with the ladies.) I'm a first generation TV cooking show baby. My Italian father and grandmother planted the cooking seed, but it was nurtured by TV chefs. I'm still addicted to them. My DVR has stored the last 3 years of Lidia's Italy and every day I come home and watch a night's worth of cooking programming. So do you owe some of your love for cooking to TV chefs? Who have you been and are still inspired by?

Has your pantry salt changed?

Mine has. Like most Americans, my first salt was the one with the girl with the umbrella. After reading enough cook books and watching enough cooking shows, I switched kosher salt. I began to realize that different salts taste different and can help to define what makes the food you cook taste delicious and specific to you. I started to experiment with sea salts that were easy to find: standard supermarket sea salt, usually from France or Spain, Hawaiian pink salt, Maldon sea salt. From there, I moved to online salts like Fleur de Sel and grey salt. While, I still keep some grey salt and Fleur de Sel for specific recipes, my current pantry salt is Sicilian sea salt from Trapani. I get 1000g for $2.80 at a local Italian grocery and buy 3 boxes at a time. I use it for everything from pasta water to seasoning steaks to a finishing salt. I find it reflects my Italian-American heritage and taste in cooking. So what is your salt story?

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