Homebrewing: How to Get Better At It

I started entering my beers in the county fair a few years ago and found the judging sheets to be invaluable. I've made several changes based on the critiques and last year got two third place ribbons. Unfortunately I missed this last year but I can tell that I have removed some of the off flavors that I was getting.
The nearest homebrew club is pretty inactive. I'll have to search a bit further afield to find a good one.

anyone have a different version of pecan pie?

I make a chocolate chili pecan pie.
Like kakugori I often use walnuts instead

Vegas - suggestions on the strip

@Omno Where is Bagger Daves? I went to their website and only see Michigan locations. Don't think I can get to Border Grill for brunch I'll be arriving too late tomorrow and don't think it would be the best meal to eat before hopping on a plane home the next weekend, I'll be there for lunch at least once though.
@karma Thanks for the heads up. I'm not a veg/vegan but if the wait staff isn't that responsive it tells you something about the place.
@nwcajun - Todd's looks pretty fun

Thanks again for the input, on both the good and the bad.

Vegas - suggestions on the strip

I spent quite a bit at Mesa Grill last time I was there, but I have a VERY strong fondness for tequila. From what I remember of the Bourdain episode he was trying to hate on Bobby, but couldn't find real fault just not outstanding. Personally, I think the duck taco is pretty damn good

Wife and I would like one nice meal out and were thinking of RM. Olives might be a good choice too
Thanks all.

Vegas - suggestions on the strip

@Teachertalk - I well may go to Lotus twice, once with my boss and once with my wife.
@BangieB - Border Grill may be lunch for the one day we get a voucher instead of the convention serving us.
@StripeyChef - There is a Mon Ami here in the DC burbs that we go to fairly often and been to Red Square in Atlantic City a couple of times. Both good but not where I would go in vegas. The buffet may be a good option.
@Starving Studetn - Chocolate Bouchons? That is now on my list

Could you OD on your favorite food?

Tapioca pudding. It's very dangerous for me to make a big bowl as I will eat it until I get sick. My mom would only give us a small bowl for dessert and I always wanted more, now that I'm a responsible adult I can eat my full and more. Maybe taking a Lactaid pill before hand would help.

Winter squash season has arrived!

Just had one of our favorite fall meals. Acorn squash stuffed with sausage and apples. Another fave is risotto with butternut squash

Homemade sodas

there is a book called Homemade Root Beer, Soda, and Pop. It's not all that great and after getting it I haven't really bothered to open it up. I usually have a keg of ginger beer on tap, and just recently got some Zatarain's root beer extract that is fantastic.
Be careful how long you let your bottles sit out. With all of the sugar in sodas they can become bottle bombs pretty easily

Oyster Rockefeller, Crepes Suzette...Favorite retro foods?

Beef Wellington. I love it and have never had anyone complain when I have made it. Whats' not to like?

New pizza rant thread!!

Baffetto in Rome. Good thin crisp crust, and best of all it would mean I was back in Rome. It was near the apartment we were staying in so I went there twice in the 4 days we were there.

Hurricane Eats: What are you stocking up for the storm?

I have a keg of stout and one of saison. Some bean, rice, pasta and just got a propane tank for the grill which has a side burner

What would you make if you had two days off and were housebound

Bread, pizza dough, crackers, cheese, beef stock, and brew some beer. Hmmm, I don't think two days are enough, can I get three?

Salt: Not only does it make things taste good, it's good for you

Lost a kidney to cancer and now have high BP so I have to watch the sodium. My dad and grandmother both had issues with it so I we never used it a lot anyway. Most packaged foods and a lot of restaurants are overwhelmed by salt.

Calib's New Place?

Check the facebook page for Pizzicletta. Sounds like things are going well for him.

Best Thing I Ate Over July 4th Weekend

Pork belly, first time I made one myself.

Cocktails to make with ginger liqueur?

Not exactly the right time of year but my wife has made a ginger toddy in the past
1/2 oz ginger liquer
1TB honey or agave
1tsp lemon juice
1 oz bourbon
Finishing filling the mug with hot water.

True Neapolitan in Bethesda, Maryland: Pizzeria da Marco

Went there twice in the first week. It was pretty good and I'll have to go back after they have had a chance to settle in. Lunch service was slow and we had to grab another waiter to get our check. Not as much char as I would like even though I asked for it well done. I think for that reason it was way to soupy in the middle, I understand its Neapolitan style but even still it was very watery.
And there is going to be another Ferrara oven very soon in Rockville.

Building a Pizzeria: Closing in on Opening up

Best of luck. Been great following you here and on Facebook.

What Is VPN Pizza?

Well said Adam and I'm glad to see you list 2 Amy's. At other people's urgings I have given them several tries and just never found their pies at all memorable. But to talk ill of them in this area is sacriligeous. There is also a new pizzeria in the are that has VPN designation and a beautiful Farrara oven that I have tried twice, both times were dissappointing. They are new and I'll give them anothe try once they have a chance to settle in, but I'm not holding my breath. Ticking off the boxes to get your VPN designation shouldn't be the end all of your pizza development, taste first and if it fits in with the requirements then go for it.

What do you use your smoker for? (other than standard bbq)

I've done cheese, trout and salmon on mine. Cheese was not very successful, did it too hot.
I pop my smoker on top of a turkey fryer propane burner and crank it up to 700º to use as my pizza oven.

Nuts sounds like a great idea.

Huitlacoche, aka corn smut

Had it in Mexico and also found it canned. I like it, but love this guys write up about it

To head or not to head...

It all depends on the style. Heavy beers, barleywines, and bitters just a little. Hefeweisen and Belgians I like a good head.
Root beer, yes a good creamy head.

How many fridges and freezers do you have? Or want? Or use?

Have 2 side by sides. One in the kitchen. The other is the kegerator in the basement. Currently it has 3 taps on the front, I laid it out to have 4. Freezer section isn't used much except at holiday time.

Beer nerds

Blue Moon or Sam Adams. If those aren't available and there is nothing outside of the standard big brewery selections then its time for a cocktail

What's for dinner tonight?

Whatever they are serving for Happy Hour at the pub.

Vegas - suggestions on the strip

Going to be in Vegas all of next week, Sun-Wed with my boss, Thurs-Sun with my wife, and was wondering if anyone had suggestions for moderate priced restaurants on the strip. This is my 6 time out and I'll be staying at Mandalay Bay without a car. I do have plans to take a cab over to Lotus of Siam, loved it last time and want to hit it again. Also on my list are Burger Bar and Mesa Grill. Probably hit Pinks at some point for a late night dog. Lunches are covered by the conference I'm attending. Anyone know of any hiddent gems on the strip, any new places I should try?

DIY plans for Sous Vide and Yogurt fermenter

Make magazine this month has two projects that SEers may be interested in. One is a sous vide cooker/controller and the other is a yogurt fermenter.
Here is a link to the souse vide plans

Here is the yogurt fermenter

Tried three new recipes - 2 win, 1 loss

I was feeling pretty bummed this week and didn't make any dinners so I decided to try having some fun in the kitchen over the weekend.
Win #1 - My wife and I eat a lot of hummus for lunches and it pains me how much it costs so I decided to make some from scratch. Bought 1.5# dried chick peas and ended up with about 4 quarts of hummus. 1/2 was standard, the other I added sun dried tomatoes and chipotle chili powder. Both are pretty tasty and it only cost ~$8

Win #2 - Pretzel rolls. The sourdough starter was looking a little sad and needed to be taken out of the fridge and fed. As long as I was messing with it I might as well use it for something and I've been wanting to try making pretzels. Despite the yeast seeming to be a little lazy they rolls came out brown crispy and not too heavy. They haven't fully cooled and i've already eaten too.

Fail - Mozzarella. Our son's girlfriend sent us a cheese making kit and we had success with making ricotta. This time I tried making mozz and it turned out grainy, dry, and tough. I had some naan that I used for a quick and dirty pizza but the mozz was tasteless didn't even melt. Not sure what I did wrong but I'll try again.

What did you other serious eaters do this weekend and how did it turn out?

Day off - Who's cooking

I'm taking advantage of the holiday today to spend some quality time in the kitchen by myself.
I started some pizza dough for dinner.
Going to make some lavash crackers, kale chips, and ginger beer.
I also need to clean the pantry in preparation for Thanksgiving
What's everyone else doing?

Trip to Vegas and surrounding

I spent last week in Vegas and Death Valley. Just thought I would post my food adventures.
Pizza - Had a slice from the park service vendor in Death Valley and it was one of the best slices I have ever had. Mostly because I had just finished riding my bike 125 miles, othewise it was crap.
El Jefe in Pahrump - Only non-chain restaurant we saw along the highway. Fabulous chicken mole, a lot more cinnamon that most moles I have had but not overwhelming and had just a little heat.
Coffee Cup in Boulder City - Little diner that was on the main street, had a big poster of Guy Fieri on the wall as he had done a DDD show there. Good chili verde(and the recipe is on the Food Network website
Burger Bar at Mandalay Bay - My third time there. Had the Kobe w/Foie Gras and truffle sauce and a few Saisons. Never disappoints.
Trevi in Caesars - Decent Italian food, pretty noisy since it is right by one of the fountains. Nothing fabulous and it was weird that the waitress asked if it was OK that the puttanesca was spicy.
Mesa Grill in Ceasars - Duck tacos are fantastic, tuna tartar was great, smoky collards had too much smoke and were too salty. Great tequila selection. Chatted with the bar expeditor and she has been there 6 years, she said Bobby is a very friendly and down to earth guy and when he is there regularly stays and drinks with the staff.
Border Grill in Mandalay Bay - Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken's casual mexican restaurant. Ceviche was tasty but nothing that I would rave about. Pork tacos with pickled onion were very satisfiying, espcially after adding some habanero salsa.
Lotus of Siam - heard about this place here on SE and it was fabulous. Appetizers of fish cakes and satay were solid standard Thai fare. The northern larb I had was amazing, and their level 4 for heat was just right. Enough to make me sweat, but not so hot that I couldn't taste anything. My boss had some panang curry that was also a cut above most that I have had.

Pork Rind - What should I do with it?

Picked up some pork rind at the farmers market and I don't know what to do with it. I don't really care for the crispy fried rind snacks. I rendered some fat off and added it to some collards. Any suggestions?

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