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Oyster houses in Houston

Will be in Houston next week and was looking for a place to pig out on oysters. Not looking for a
fancy spot but something like Acme in New Orleans. Suggestions?

Dec 02, 2012
LRunkle in Houston

American or Canadian breakfast ideas that might be novel/interesting to European visitors, and are more interesting that bacon & eggs or French toast...

Good grief! If you want to give them a taste of Americana give them Count Chocula, rice crispies, Froot Loops or shredded wheat etc at least once.

Sep 12, 2012
LRunkle in Home Cooking

Why do Americans like everything Chunky?

I prefer chunky because I like texture- I love crunchy, chewy etc. I also like seeing that the promised ingredients are actually there because you can see chunks of them. I also like fiber in my food. I reject the notion that smooth is " refined" and chunky is crude. It is a holdover from the days of the French aristocracy when dentition was routinely pretty ragged so smooth was easier to eat.

Aug 09, 2012
LRunkle in General Topics

preparations for phenomenal tomatoes

I love tomatoes sliced thick on toasted bagels and cream cheese for breakfast. I add chopped green onions and a touch of garlic to the cream cheese and salt the tomatoes generously. I keep a batch of the prepared cream cheese at the ready in the frig.

Aug 02, 2012
LRunkle in Home Cooking

Whole Foods "veal"

Glad to have your informed opinion, Lori. It is my understanding that calf sweetbreads disappear as the calf matures. At what age does this occur? I am referring to thymus sweetbreads as obviously the pancreas remains during the animals life.

Aug 01, 2012
LRunkle in General Topics

Wine Pairing for BBQ

How about a sangria with a little tart edge added? Could be inexpensive and presented elegantly with a little imagination.

Jul 26, 2012
LRunkle in Wine

Grilling a 3lb Sirloin steak?

Is it 3 lbs because it is so thick? How thick is it? If very thick, i.e. 2 1/2 inches you are better off grilling just enough to put a crust on it and then finishing in the oven at 200 or so, keeping track of the center with a meat thermometer. It is much easier to control the temp of an oven than a grill and you get the best of both worlds. I also let the steak cool off some and get past its carry-over cooking by resting it between the grill and the oven.

Jul 22, 2012
LRunkle in Home Cooking

Beurre Monte

Butter, as you buy it, is already emulsified although it is solid-the continuous phase of the emulsion (the part that has droplets suspended in it) is aqueous(water based) with fat droplets suspended in it. When you add more water to create beurre monte it simply expands the coninuous phase. Take lemon/butter combination for instance. If you add lemon jiuce to melted butter you get a broken mixture,i.e., it separates. If you add lemon juice (which is aqueous) to beurre monte the lemon jiuce just blends into the aqueous continuous phase and you get a beautiful lemon butter suspension. Ditto with maple syrup(pancake heaven).You can use any aqueous solution and add it to beurre monte and get a butter suspension-I have used lemon jiuce, vinegar, melted orange jiuce concentrate, hot sauce, molasses. You can add water to increase the volume and sous vide with butter poaching without using so much butter. When you melt butter the suspension breaks down and the butter separates into its lipid and aqueous component. In my experience beurre monte will also break down it you get it too hot.

Jul 02, 2012
LRunkle in Home Cooking

New site design

I do not like the new design at all. My favorite board is the General Chowhound forum and it is several mouse clicks away. I much prefer the setup where the majority of the boards are
immediately visible at the top of the page and you don't have to hunt for them. Why was such a change deemed desirable?

Jul 01, 2012
LRunkle in Site Talk

What to do with whey from ricotta?

I made some ricotta using lemon juice to coagulate the milk solids and it turned out great. I have 2/3 gallon of "whey" which I realize is not the same as from cheese making using rennin. In the past I used it as part of a soup base. What other ideas does anyone have to do with it?

May 31, 2012
LRunkle in General Topics

Clementine peels

I have a bag of clementines and the peel is so fragrant I am tempted to use it to cook with. With
ordinary oranges I skin the colored part of the peel off and leave the underlying white bitter part behind. With the clementines though I am tempted to use the entire full thickness peel as it is so thin. I have chewed on some pieces and not found them disgustingly bitter. Has anyone son advice about whether the full thickness peel works well (in this instance in a braise) or do I still need to shave off the pure orange part?

Apr 11, 2012
LRunkle in General Topics

Garlic powder & onion powder vs garlic & onion

Not using them is not elitist, turning your nose up at their use is.

Apr 09, 2012
LRunkle in Home Cooking

Garlic powder & onion powder vs garlic & onion

There is a place for both. Shunning garlic and onion powder because they are "prepared" items
is another example of CH elitist uffishness. It is almost like saying I never have raisins in my kitchen, just fresh grapes. The flavor tones from onion powder are not the same as raw (or cooked) onions. Dried garlic is much more muted than fresh and can be distributed at the last minute in the dish- say you forgot to put garlic in a soup that was already finished.

Apr 09, 2012
LRunkle in Home Cooking

Is anything ever as good as you remember it?

Who was it that said "Things aren't as good as they used to be and probably never were"?
Maybe Will Rogers.

Feb 13, 2012
LRunkle in General Topics

Dried corn, posole, chicos... Help me understand the difference & how to use them

I just buy dried feed corn down at the local feed and seed store. I boil this for 20- 25 min with pickling lime you can get in most groceries. Then I rinse the corn and simmer until tender, usually an hour or two. I like the texture this produces. Diane Kennedy describes this in one of her books.

Feb 11, 2012
LRunkle in General Topics

Margaritas and Sugar [split from Boston]

I like to add frozen orange juice to the tequila/lime/triple sec combination. It sweetens and adds strong orange flavor and because it is concentrated does not dilute the booziness as much as straight orange juice.

Feb 08, 2012
LRunkle in Spirits

problems with caramelized onions

Has anyone tried caramelizing onions in the oven. If you started them in a cold oven and brought it to 350-375 after tossing the onions in some oil and a speck of sugar, shouldn't the even distribution of heat alleviate the need for frequent stirring. I use this method for browning
roux for gumbo (courtesy of Alton Brown). Shouldn't it work equally as well for onions?

Jan 28, 2012
LRunkle in Home Cooking

The use of sugar in Asian dishes [moved from Manhattan board]

What this thread demonstrates well, as do so many other CH threads, is that not only do Americans have an exaggerated taste for sugar but also take a unique pleasure in self-loathing.

Jan 14, 2012
LRunkle in General Topics

Green tomatoes... need help!

Justin Wilson made a green tomato casserole with cheese, onions,olive oil, garlic hot sauce, bread crumbs layered which I often make. You can improvise with your own seasonings and additions- olives would be nice for instance and I often add eggplant. It will freeze well in the dish, so you could make multiple dishes.

Sep 30, 2011
LRunkle in Home Cooking

Chinese take out

Why would you expect something named Rangoon to be Chinese? Rangoon was the former capital of Myanmar (Burma) back in the day.

Sep 26, 2011
LRunkle in General Topics

Measuring Tahini???

You can spray your measuring cup with PAM for easy release. Works with honey too.

Sep 22, 2011
LRunkle in General Topics

Is most sushi fish frozen?

Almost all fish is frozen that is caught offshore. The reason is obvious if you think about it. There are enormous fuel costs involved in taking a large fishing vessel several hundred(or thousand) miles offshore. These ships have a large frozen cargo capacity. How could the fishermen afford to catch a few netfuls of tuna or any fish and head right back to shore from say 150 miles out in the ocean. They plan on fishing for days to fill their boats. If not frozen the fish would be in worse condition that if it they had been frozen. If you want unfrozen fish, go down to the sports fishing marina when the boats come in and see if you can bum or bribe your way into some of their day catch. By the way, having fished on a tuna boat 150 miles off the coast of Baja, I will tell you that ahi should be chilled overnight for the best sushi. The flesh firms up. It is better than eating it minutes after it has been caught.

Aug 04, 2011
LRunkle in General Topics

Uses for a salad spinner other than the obvious

I sometimes use it to remove excess grease from fried foods.

Jul 18, 2011
LRunkle in Cookware

Season for cherimoyas?

I will be visiting Peru in the next couple of weeks, will cherimoyas be in season? Anything else of special note in season now?

Jun 21, 2011
LRunkle in General Topics

Dining choices and politics!

You may be kidding about caviar from Oklahoma (I am not sure) but there actually is excellent caviar from Oklahoma in the form of paddlefish caviar- the roe goes for $180-200/lb. I have personally taken paddlefish and converted the roe to caviar by salting( I got 7 lbs from my 40 lb catch). It was fine grained, mild flavored. Anyone who likes sturgeon caviar could not help but like it. The egg size is more uniform than sturgeon. Petrosian buys this stuff from the Oklahoma Fish and Game and sells it for a king' s ransom. If you were kidding about caviar from Oklahoma that is one thing, but if not, you are simply uninformed.

Jun 20, 2011
LRunkle in General Topics

How do I "de-bump" a cast iron grill pan?

Steel wool will be the easiest or there are also coarser steel mesh abrasive pads if you can find them.

Jun 14, 2011
LRunkle in Cookware


Actually, I really like the inclusion of obscure ingredients-it is one of the main reasons I watch the show. I learn a new ingredient with virtually every episode or see how to clean or prepare something new (who knew cherimoya seeds were bad for you to eat?).

May 02, 2011
LRunkle in Food Media & News

Kaffir lime leaves

I live in Oklahoma City. We have 3-4 large Asian markets which generally have fresh lime leaves but in the last 3-4 months always seem to be out. I was told at one store the distributor stopped carrying them, in another I am always told they will be coming in on the next shipment of produce. I recall several years ago there was a stoppage of lime leaves due possible importation of some citrus disease or pest. I assume that now most of these leaves are grown domestically since you can buy Kaffir lime trees online. Could this shortage correlate with the huge increase in Persian lime prices which I assume is due some crop failure?

Mar 30, 2011
LRunkle in General Topics

Frozen cream

Dumped it in the food processor with egg yolks, sugar and vanilla. Made perfect creme brulee.
Thanks for the advice.

Mar 19, 2011
LRunkle in General Topics

Frozen cream

Quart of whipping cream froze in our garage frig. It is now no longer frozen. Looking in the top of the carton I see white solid stuff that resembles ricotta and tastes like cream but is grainy. I am assuming that there is is liquid below this and that the fat has separated from the liquid. I would guess this is the equivalent of butter but it is grainy. I hate to throw it away. Could I resuspend the fat in the liquid using a blender, or simply discard the liquid and use the fat in place of butter? Any bright ideas about what to do with this stuff?

Mar 19, 2011
LRunkle in General Topics