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chefmurray57's Profile

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I'm in Bentonville on a short-term assignment right now. I'm staying near the W World HQ. Have been too busy to venture out much, but this weekend I'm planning to try Tusks and Trotters, for sure.

I went to the Flying Fish on the square for dinner the other night. The atmosphere and service were great (think 1950's to 60's diner style with good blues playing the whole time.) The theme is hokey, but fun. The entire staff when I was there seemed to be Latino, but the atmosphere doesn't seem like one created by the Latino culture.

Unfortunately, they serve mainly catfish, and catfish is one of the few foods to which I have an aversion. But they also have Grouper and Tilapia. I opted for a basket of fried Grouper--it came with fries and two hushpuppies. Overall, everything was good, but the breading was not at all to my liking. They use a heavy, dense cornmeal crust and by the time they finish deep-frying it, it's a bit like cornmeal concrete. The fish inside was tender and moist but lost in the outside armour. Fries were okay and the hushpuppies were yummie. I plan to give Flying Fish another try--this time I will opt for grilled fish and order more hushpuppies.

I watched a couple having quite a feast at another table. They started with a big plate of oysters on the half. Not sure I would order oysters in Bentonville at a fast-food style restaurant, but hey, to each his own.

I'm off to the wars again. Will update as this assignment plays out.

Jan 25, 2013
chefmurray57 in Central South

Tomato-Porcini Sauce

Please clarify the mushrooms for this recipe. Dried, or fresh? The ingredients list seems ambiguous. Thanks!

Sep 08, 2012
chefmurray57 in Recipes

food items that were NOT in your kitchen as a kid?!?

Sounds like most of us endured the same, boring food in childhood. I think that is one of the main reasons why I have become such a foodie. The world really opened up to me when I discovered "real food". In the past three days I have made three amazing meals for dinner: Eggplant slices grilled and then stuffed with ricotta, garlic, and parm reg then rolled and baked in a homemade tomato/garlic/caper sauce with chicken meatballs; homemade ravioli stuffed with ricotta, spinach, parm reg, and then an egg yolk, served with pan-seared salmon and a lemon cream sauce; and smoked salmon/shrimp chowder with leek, parsley, thyme, dill, potato, carrot, celery, garlic, and cream. No Chef Boyardee for me! The only "exotic" thing in our house was an occasional treat of deep-fried shrimp from the frozen food section. Everything else was per the usual 60's fare: yellow mustard, Log Cabin syrup, canned veggies, canned tuna (blech!), those dried chowmein noodle thing-ies with canned glop with beansprouts, sin sabor. But my mom outdid all-you-all: She didn't know that you are supposed to drain the fat from the ground beef BEFORE adding the jar of Ragu sauce! When I was little I thought that spaghetti was supposed to be orange.

Jul 02, 2012
chefmurray57 in General Topics

Your mom's weird cooking ... and other stories? (recipes encouraged)

The spaghetti dinner nights of your childhood sound sooo much better and tastier than they were at my house, waaahhh!! My mother's mother was an amazing cook, but my mother did not get that gene. My mother's idea of spaghetti dinner was overcooked, unsalted spaghetti noodles topped with a greasy, orange-colored, over-onioned burnt-tasting meat sauce (she didn't seem to grasp the concept of draining the ground beef prior to adding it to the sauce, blech!) We had the Wonder/garlic toast that wasn't too bad, but my tummy was ALWAYS upset after those dinners. And then I had to help clean up all of that orange grease...

Oh, and then there was the "Chinese" chicken chow-mein (La Choy?) over dried noodles, gag!

And how about the "dump cake"? Anyone's mother pull that one on them?

I think, however, that the combination of my wonderful maternal grandmother's cooking along with my mother's gross take on what should come from a kitchen is the reason that I have such a love for food and the creation of special dishes. I try to create a work of art with each meal that I prepare. And speaking of simple, anyone tried the Thomas Keller version of salmon over celery and brioche? Now there is an example of divine simplicity. I don't use real brioche, usually, but instead buy the store bakery version of unsliced hamburger rolls and slice them in half. Works great. And if I cannot get truffles it doesn't matter--the truffle oil flavors the sauce beautifully. Here is a link to that salmon recipe: And also, MUST have book: Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home. Fantastic resource for every preparation method.

Apr 21, 2012
chefmurray57 in Home Cooking

Wow! La Pita in Dearborn, MI! Good stuff!

Sorry, but we visited La Pita a while back in their newer location, anticipating that it would be over-the-top delicious the way that the old La Pita used to be, but we were very disappointed. There were three of us dining and we all ordered different entrees, and not one of us enjoyed any of the food. And what's with the decor?? Way too confused. And the prices were ridiculous for lunch. I'm not cheap, but I expect a fair price. This was mediocre, at best.

La Pita
5056 Cass Ave, Detroit, MI 48202

Mar 26, 2011
chefmurray57 in Great Lakes

Farm Fresh Eggs on the counter or in the fridge?

I live in Costa Rica and most folks don't refrigerate their eggs here, as in most of the world outside of North America. BUT--a visiting chef friend told me that eggs are refrigerated to keep them from losing moisture. Makes sense to me if you are not going to use them up quickly.

Hope that helps.

Jan 03, 2009
chefmurray57 in General Topics

roasted eggplant salad │ khayan dhi thote

You mention fish sauce, but there is none in the ingredients list. Are you referring to the dried shrimp?

Nov 10, 2008
chefmurray57 in Recipes

OFOE w/ onions on rosemary toast

Waddya guys think about using poached eggs for this one?

Nov 09, 2008
chefmurray57 in Recipes

how long can flour keep?

For those of us who live in very humid areas (I live in Costa Rica), the only solution is to freeze flour. I keep my flour and my pasta in the freezer at all times. If I did not do this, it would quickly be infested with "weevils". Works like a charm for me and the products keep indefinitely.

That reminds me---does anyone have comments on freezing mascarpone?

Oct 30, 2008
chefmurray57 in Home Cooking

How Long Can Dried Pasta Be Stored?

Hmmm. I lived in Colorado for many years and never had weevils. What a sec--I also had a growing son who ate everything in sight, so probably pasta wasn't in the pantry long enough to get weevils...

May 22, 2008
chefmurray57 in Features

yucca help!

I live in Costa Rica and we eat yuca all of the time here. It is much better than potatoes when deep-fried. I simply boil, cool, peel, cut into french fry shapes, and deep fry it. Yum!

May 14, 2008
chefmurray57 in Home Cooking

Your favorite out-of-ordinary cheese?

Dang, Sharuf! You and I must be the same person. My dad and I used to pig out on the same stuff, but I must admit that some of the things I ate with him I only did in order to see the look on my mom's face.

And just so you can all feel extremely envious--I am now going down to my kitchen to try the fresh goat cheese with basil that I made last evening using unpasteurized goat's milk that I purchased from my neighbor yesterday. Nanner-nanner, boo, boo! I live in Costa Rica, so it's easy to get unpasteurized milk...

May 11, 2008
chefmurray57 in Cheese

Miso-Ginger Vinaigrette

This dressing is fantastic. I served it this evening over a green salad and next to seared tuna with wasabi cream and steamed rice with seaweed. We slathered the dressing over everything and now we are in a food coma,.... very happy, very sleepy, muy contentos....pura vida....

Apr 27, 2008
chefmurray57 in Recipes

Amusing menu gaffes - what's yours? [moved from Boston board]

I live in Costa Rica and nearly every menu I encounter offers Chicken Gordon Blue and one even offered a Hamburger with a slice of Fried Hand on top. I love the comment about the Italian restaurant describing the Risotto served with arborio rice. Here, the Costa Ricans often do serve a side of fries with a side of rice on the same plate...pura vida..

Apr 25, 2008
chefmurray57 in Not About Food

Cooking under the Arctic Circle

I live in the mountains of Costa Rica and am a complete foodie, so it has been a challenge to find substitutions and ideas for cooking. Some that I have found are: Substitute celery leaves for parsley, use red onions in place of shallots, cook with lots of dried beans, lentils, etc., and try your hand at making your own pasta. There are lots of delicious recipes for this. And another idea is to use tinned calamari and octopus to make rice with calamari/octopus. Whenever I travel stateside, I always leave enough room in my luggage to bring back my staples that I cannot find here. And visitors are always glad to bring me things when the come to Costa Rica.

Apr 20, 2008
chefmurray57 in Home Cooking

How Long Can Dried Pasta Be Stored?

In Costa Rica we can't keep pasta in the pantry for very long because it gets "weevils" in it, so I store my pasta in the freezer and it does fine that way. So, if you live in a humid climate, give this a try.

Pork Tenderloin with Salsa Verde

Made this last evening with pasta and salad. What a lovely treat without much work! The Salsa Verde is delicious and we drizzled it on the pasta and salad as well. I will definitely be adding this to my simple staples weekday meals list.

Apr 19, 2008
chefmurray57 in Recipes

Islamorada Restaurants

TypeA, I would like to hear about your experience in March. Hubby and I just returned from Islamorada today and, as usual, the only good meal we had were the ones that I cooked myself. This trip, we tried Bentley's (walked out without even looking at the menu), Marker 88 (too gross for words and the service was pretty bad), Pierre's (always a good bet, but nothing to spectacular), Islamorada Fish Company (rude staff, overpriced), and the Island Grill (good for lunch on the beach). The only bright spot this trip was the Ahi Tuna Poke appetizer that we enjoyed at Zane Grey's lounge upstairs at the World Wide Sportsman. It was deee-lish! I am lucky to have a kitchen when we visit Islamorada because I, too, am a total foodie and we live in the mountains of Costa Rica where I cannot get most of the ingredients that people in more developed countries take for granted. So cooking with all of the great stuff I can buy stateside is a real pleasure for me. Oh, and don't tell Costa Rica Customs about the dried chanterelles, Drunken Goat cheese, leeks, and rice wrappers that I smuggled back to Costa Rica in my luggage today....

Apr 16, 2008
chefmurray57 in Florida

The Tree Goats of Morocco

Yo, tambien!!!!!!

Apr 16, 2008
chefmurray57 in Features