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Greyghost's Profile

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The Name Is Bond, JB Down Home Cajun Cooking Bond That Is

You can have your cable TV food programs with celebrity chefs and gimmicks galore complete with their own line of products to sell, but not one of them can compete with the You Tube sensation known as J B.

J B documents his own version of Cajun cooking from his home deep down in Cajun country and posts his Cajun creations on You Tube with utterly delightful results. This is a cooking show, but done with a good ol' boy abandon that puts him in a class by himself.

This is not fancy New Orleans restaurant cooking, it is raw and raucous, totally down home and a delight to watch. Why he is not on a network food program is beyond me, but it is their loss and our gain. It is hard to describe him exactly, but watch a few videos and I think you will be as addicted as I am.

Here is a link:

http://www.youtube.com/results?search...

You can also go to You Tube and look up 007bondjb and have over 600 videos to enjoy.

Sep 01, 2009
Greyghost in Food Media & News

Is It Better to Salt Intermittently While Cooking or Just Once?

I don't salt anything before or during cooking. Salt can be added during cooking, but never taken away. It really adds very little. It is part of the myth of salt.

How many people believe a good dose of salt is required to cook a pot of pasta? A great many I believe because the salt industry has said so for years as well as the pasta industry. It it just not true. It is also not true the pasta has to "swim" in a huge amount of water. Pasta is not a form of fish. It has never learned how to swim in either salt or fresh water.

Of course, some dishes do need salt, but this is best added at the end of cooking or at the table to taste.

I seldom salt during cooking, with the exception of quality salt bearing ingredients such as smokehouse cured meats, country ham and the like. This is the way I would like to spend my salt budget during cooking, adding ingredients which improve the dish rather ruin it and improve the profits of the salt industry and their ilk.

Aug 14, 2009
Greyghost in Features

Best Smokehouse In The Nation Award

What we are talking about here is the very best small independent smokehouse in the United States. All smokehouses should be able to ship anywhere in the nation or at least to the lower 48. Products should include at least smoked country ham, bacon and possibly sausage among other products. Another factor to consider is how many top chefs are devoted to the smokehouse and have said so.

Well, I have spent over a decade looking for this elusive fare and in my opinion there is only one which makes the grade with me. I am opening the envelope now...and the Greyghost Award for the Best Smokehouse In The Nation goes to Col. Bill Newsome's Aged Kentucky Ham smokehouse 208 East Main Street, Princeton, Ky.

Newsome's has been treasured by food experts and chefs over the years, starting with James Beard many years ago. Colonel Newsome passed away many years ago but the tradition lives on under his daughter's expert direction.

Here is a link to Newsom's if you want to check it out.

http://www.newsomscountryham.com/inde...

Of course, opinions may differ and others are welcome to offer their own award for their favorite genuine smokehouses, but after a decade of trying most of them, Newsome's is still the best of the best in my opinion. Nothing else even comes close.

Aug 08, 2009
Greyghost in General Topics

Asian Supermarket (Central Ave., Albany)

Thanks or the reply, FDR. I will check it out. I really do need a good dose of Lapsang souchong tea. Some of the precooked items sound interesting as well.

Thank you for the heads up on the chicken feet as my wife is a very sensitive vegetarian and freaks out even with images of deer heads on walls in movies. I will be checking out this place alone, for sure. As I am not an Asian style cook, I have no idea what they are used for. The only thing I can imagine is for making stock and that makes some sort of sense.

I do admit I have had some reluctance in shopping at Asian stores, due to all the contaminated products from China in recent years. This reluctance was increased when a nearby Asian store was busted by En-con agents for selling unapproved live food which is illegal in this state, anyway.

I do need my Lapsang souchong tea however, so I will visit this fairly new Asian Market and report about it.

I will not tell you what that location used to be, but there was trouble with law enforcement and they went away for a long time. In that issue, no Asians were involved, however. These were homegrown bad guys. I am glad to see a respectable looking market has taken over and I will be happy to try it, chicken feet and all.

Aug 03, 2009
Greyghost in New York State (exc. NYC)

Asian Supermarket (Central Ave., Albany)

FDR,

Asian Supermarket is not far from me but I have never been there. Thanks for the heads up on it. I will have to try it. I would appreciate more of your impressions on the place.

I was really surprised they have prepared food. Asian covers a lot of territory, indeed. Do they concentrate on any particular Asian cuisine or do they try to do it all?

Aug 02, 2009
Greyghost in New York State (exc. NYC)

Bacon, Lovely Real Bacon Microwaved

Great replies so far to my little microwave bacon post. I just cooked up a new batch and varied it a bit as I wanted to do the whole batch all at once in the microwave rather than in batches.

This time I did a layering technique: Microwave approved plate, double layers of paper towel with four strips of bacon per layer, topped with more paper towel until all the bacon is loaded. Timing was 1 minute per slice which resulted in perfectly cooked bacon, but I wanted a little more crisp. Three minutes more gave the result I was looking for.

Bacon used: North Country Smokehouse apple wood smoked with maple cure. Thick cut 12 oz package.

Accessories: Vanity Fair microwave approved dinner plates. They seem more plastic than paper to me but work fine for many microwave applications. Paper towel was a white generic.

I love the idea of doing this with newspaper and paper towel and can't wait to try it.

Anyway I am a happy camper. The entire house smells like a smokehouse, my senses are reeling with the three strips I could not resist trying and the rest of the cooked bacon is in freezer bags ready to go for future use. In this case it will be for bacon cheese burgers, another favorite of mine.

Jul 21, 2009
Greyghost in Home Cooking

why would anyone choose to buy skinless sausages?

I assume you are talking about link sausage, hot dogs and such. Wonderful stuff for sure, but natural casing can pose a health hazard for both the very young and the very old. With very young teeth and very old teeth natural casing can pose a serious chocking hazard.

Have you ever wondered why people can eat fast food who have no teeth whatsoever?

Jul 14, 2009
Greyghost in General Topics

a classic man's cocktail?

The perfect old fashioned drink is the Old Fashioned if made correctly. The most important aspect of this drink is the first two ingredients. It starts with sugar, one single sugar cube. The second critical aspect is the bitters. They must be Angostura bitters. Enough Angostura must be used to totally saturate the sugar cube. When the sugar cube starts falling apart enough bitters have been added. Tell your barkeep this and make sure it is done. They hate doing this as the Angostura is a lot more expensive than the whiskey.

You do not need expensive whiskey in this drink, rye will do as the dominate taste will be the Angostura. Do not have this drink with the muddled fruit. The fruit is only there for decoration.and gives you something to do with your hands after the drink is gone. If you happen to have a female companion, she might like the fruit which may lead to doing other things with your hands later.

Hate fruit and there is no companion in sight? Just order Angostura and whiskey but make sure they do the first two steps correctly. Make sure it is in an old fashioned glass with water full up. You will be a happy camper, especially the next day.

Jul 14, 2009
Greyghost in Spirits

Bacon, Lovely Real Bacon Microwaved

I love bacon, real bacon, smokehouse bacon, that will fill your home with its smoky goodness as it cooks. I do have my favorite smokehouses and in my wealthier days just had it shipped up here to River City. Supermarket bacon was never an option...it is pretty horrid stuff. The precooked microwave bacon? Even worse. Well, this is just to tell you I did find a supermarket bacon the other day which intrigued me. I could smell it as soon as I entered the store. They were giving out samples in what passes as the butcher shop part of the store.

Anyway, I tried the stuff, couldn't resist and found it quite tasty, so I bought it. The brand is North Country Smokehouse out of New Hampshire and it is lovely real bacon, apple wood smoked and the most expensive bacon in the case per pound. I do not know if this brand represents a real smokehouse or not but it does have a lot of old fashioned qualities to it., so I declare it lovely real bacon.

On to the recipe:

I am a fan of microwaved bacon because I like it easy with no muss or big cleanup. Here is what I do., especially with supermarket bacon.

1 Use a paper plate designed for microwave cooking. Line plate with white paper towel and put as many strips of bacon as will fit or desired. Cover with another paper towel to avoid splatter.

2 Microwave on high for 1 minute per strip of bacon. Remove top cover. If it is not crisp enough for you repeat microwaving for 1 minute or so for 4 to 5 strips.

3 Remove to a second paper plate lined with towel and repeat as needed.

4 Pretty simple, but it is a good way to do real lovely bacon in the microwave with no muss or fuss or mess in the microwave.

Any brand of precooked microwave bacon? Forget about it. You can do good bacon juat as easily in the microwave and enjoy full bacon goodness.

Jul 13, 2009
Greyghost in Home Cooking

Organic Controversy and Compromise at the USDA

Thank you for this post, James. Great article. For me the USDA certified organic label started degrading from the day of its inception.

I do not buy organic unless I know the farmer. The label on the giant corporate stuff I view simply as a license to steal granted to corporate concerns by politicians willing to trade integrity for corporate campaign contributions.

Jul 07, 2009
Greyghost in Features

Interesting Letter from Heinz re HFCS in Worcestershire

Paul, to be fair we both threw it into the mix. I do think HFCS has a lot to do with GMO though.If it were not for GMO, HFCS would be too expensive to produce. I do have issues with all GMO food though, including corn.

If you have any defense of GMO you can support,create an appropriate thread regarding it and I will be happy to discuss it with you.

Jun 27, 2009
Greyghost in General Topics

Late night in Albany NY

So where did you wind up? Personally, if I were meeting someone at the airport late at night after a long flight, I would not drive into Albany for a repast as the airport is located in Colonie, NY. Finding your way around the city may be a problem, a further problem may be finding a place to park in the city. This may take longer than the flight from LA.

My advice is to eat in Colonie. Wolf road is a stones throw from the airport and there is a famous saying around here no one can starve on Wolf road as it sports restaurants of every sort and budget. Many are chains, but some of the hotels have good food. For plain inexpensive food I would suggest the Wolf Road Diner. Plenty of parking and near all the interstate highways so you can be on your way with the least hassle.

So did you drive your wife into the city late at night after a very long trip for a bite to eat? If so did she try to strangle you?

Jun 27, 2009
Greyghost in General Tristate Archive

Interesting Letter from Heinz re HFCS in Worcestershire

Paul,

Thank you for your reply which brought up issues regarding corn. The GMO aspect of your post did confuse me a bit. As you seem well informed, you know fully well that corn can be treated to avoid Pellagra in societies which use corn as a main dietary staple.

Hominy is one of my favorite forms of corn and is processed with lye and I have no problem with that as it allows nixtamalization which you rightly observe prevents vitamin loss and goes a long way in preventing Pellagra.

However, I find you make no case for genetically modified corn. GMO is an entirely different issue and the subject has issues within issues regarding it. I do think a few highlights might clarify things fairly easily though:

GMO corn is lab created by industrial giants to increase yield per acre by the main method of making the GMO corn immune to the pesticides the farmer must spray this crop with. These pesticides are sold by the same giant companies selling the GMO corn. The pesticides are so powerful, they will kill every kind of plant, including corn, unless it is their lab created corn.

GMO corn is an invasive crop which will alter a neighbors traditional crop, thereby making it unsellable to his market.

Most American corn is GMO, 90% or so and rising. This fact is kept from consumers as we have no right to know we are eating and consuming Frankinfood as the corporate lobbies have made sure we do not have a choice in the matter. GMO does not have to be labeled on products for fear no one would buy them if it were disclosed.

I do understand your defense of processed corn, Paul, but I do await a focused defense of GMO without throwing in red herrings which GMO corn may well contain.

Jun 27, 2009
Greyghost in General Topics

Interesting Letter from Heinz re HFCS in Worcestershire

Why would anyone buy anything but Lea and Perrins Worcestershire? Nothing else comes close. My older bottle of L&P does have HFCS right behind molasses. I do hope the poster who claimed this is no longer the case is correct. I love my L&P.

I recently saw a documentary video called King Corn which was entertaining as well as informative. The story is they are city kids and recent college grads wanting to make a documentary about corn in America. So they go to Iowa and grow an acre of corn with the help of a delightful farmer. They want to trace what happens to their crop and find out more than they want to know along the way.

Among the more amusing factors in the DVD is they learn how to make HFCS at home from their own GMO corn. They give the recipe. It is enough to frighten anyone. First thing they had to find was sulfuric acid and it gets worse from there.

This is probably a hard DVD to find, but I found it in my local library. It really gave me insight into our corn culture and all the health hazards regarding it.

The funny thing is though, even the farmers growing this commercial corn can't eat it as it needs to go through industrial processing to be even somewhat edible. Even stranger though is the fact these huge farms cannot make a profit without you and me paying them government subsides to injure our health.

Jun 23, 2009
Greyghost in General Topics

suggestions for a funeral reception

Go with dim sum dumplings then and plenty of them. I have never met anyone regardless of culture who did not fall in love with them right away.

Jun 23, 2009
Greyghost in Home Cooking

Cold Soup...what's your fav?

Well, call me old fashioned and probably a few other names which cannot be repeated in polite company, but I don't think any of these cool concoctions can be properly called soup.

Name them what you will, but they are not soup in my humble albeit narrow minded opinion.

For me soup is an almost sacred food reaching into prehistory, way before the recent advent of refrigeration and is always served hot. Call these liquid concoctions what you will, but they are not soup in my book.

Can anyone cite an historical reference for these concoctions being called soup? If so, how did they chill it? I can imagine people putting out a perfectly good hot soup into a cold winter climate to chill it, but why would they do this? Perhaps to preserve it, but if they had any sense at all, I do think they would reheat it.

OK my rant is over, but tell me why I am wrong if you can.

Jun 23, 2009
Greyghost in Home Cooking

suggestions for a funeral reception

I suggest you do what you are good at and what you are known for. Considering your handle dim sum comes to mind, especially dim sum dumplings.

I would not avoid heartier fare, though. I am sure finger foods will be abundant as everyone, including the family thinks of that.

Some years ago when my father died and I had to travel hundreds of miles for the funeral, my sister came up with what I think was a rather good idea. She needed a great deal of food as my father was highly popular in this village of 2,000 people and one could count on a huge turnout. She zeroed in on the woman considered the best cook in town and hired her to make her specialty in huge proportions. The specialty was chicken and biscuits all made from scratch It is the only food I remember from the funeral and I do remember it fondly.

This is just to say, don't discount hearty comfort food cooked in quantity. The finger food will be there regardless and will be popular at the gathering after the funeral. The thing to think about is after the gathering, when the family is grieving and no one feels like cooking and have had their limit of finger food. A good supply of of hearty comfort food, made with love and easily reheated, will make that contribution the most remembered and beloved. That is my experience, anyway.

Jun 23, 2009
Greyghost in Home Cooking

Is the Pringles container recyclable?

I'm with TA, Why would anyone want to recycle a Pringles can? They are very useful for all kinds of sundry storage Why anyone would want to eat Pringles is a different question. The can is pretty good though and almost worth the price. I suppose one could feed the product to the birds or something and then be ecologically correct.

Jun 22, 2009
Greyghost in Not About Food

How do you poach an egg?

Thursday,

Thanks for the clarification. I thought that was the problem to begin with. You did do a good thing though in creating a lively discussion about poached eggs. How many people does it take to poach an egg? So far 23 and counting...I am expecting many more.

One word of advice though, never do shell on eggs in the microwave unless you want to watch them explode and clean up the mess afterwords.

Jun 22, 2009
Greyghost in Home Cooking

Speaking of jalapenos...

I put all jalapenos on the moderate scale as to hotness. Peppers can be funny though. Even individual peppers from the same source can vary wildly as to heat. This may be a factor.

I believe a much larger factor is differences in individual peoples perception of heat. I like very hot peppers an tolerate them well. For me a jalapeno is a mild pepper with an undeserved reputation of being a very hot pepper. Other people consider them hot....it is really a matter of perception.

Another factor may be that jalapenos have changed over time with the culture and are now created to have a smaller bite. Just look at the snack food industry featuring a hot jalapeno taste for their numerous products. I have never found one which is truly hot.
I think this is done to cater to the vast majority of people brought up on bland food who think a little bit of spice is a lot.

So it goes, farmers change the strains they grow for big business and the lowest common denominator prevails in the culture. When a few old fashioned jalapenos show up, people consider them insanely hot. Anyway, these are my few humble toughts on the matter and are submitted for your approval or not as the case may be.

Jun 22, 2009
Greyghost in General Topics

How do you poach an egg?

GHG,

What you say is true, but I have never done it as I am not a fan of vinegar. I doubt the small amount used would really affect the taste that much. I have had good results with the swirling vortex method. I am sure the vinegar helps a lot and perhaps I will try it. So far I have never needed it though.

Jun 20, 2009
Greyghost in Home Cooking

How do you poach an egg?

The egg cup thing confused me as in my experience, the only egg cups I have known are for boiled eggs. I think that is why VG gave you two distinct recipes, one for boiled and one for poached. Both look good to me.

The classic poached egg takes a little practice. It involves a small sauce pan and a good amount of water brought up to the boil. Swirl the water into a vortex and break each egg one at a time into the center of the vortex until the egg has congealed. Remove with slotted spoon. Repeat as needed for desired servings.

An easy way to do a poached egg is in the microwave. A 6 ounce coffee or custard cup will do. Fill cup with about 1/3 cup of water. Break egg into cup, pierce egg yolk with toothpick, and cover dish loosely with plastic wrap. Microwave for about a minute or until desired texture is achieved. Repeat as needed.

Why would anyone want to do this? They are truly wonderful in texture and taste with no added fat. Good enough reason for me.

Jun 20, 2009
Greyghost in Home Cooking

What's good in the Berkshires

You may want to try the Castle Street Cafe, here is the menu from their website:

http://www.castlestreetcafe.com/newMe...

Jun 20, 2009
Greyghost in All New England Archive

I Had NO IDEA There Was So Much Sodium, Fat, HFCS In This!

I think the solution is to cook from scratch as often as possible. This can be dangerous as well. A cook cooking from scratch can certainly add much more salt than intended, as well as fat. The difference is there are no mg readouts for the cooks hand.

I used to work for a restaurant which specialized in paella and canned clam broth was never part of the recipe. I think that part of your recipe could have been scrapped.

This is not to say, I am a purist and do everything from scratch because I don't. I do look for no salt and sugar products and the smarter major brands seem to be coming slowly around.

So what was so wrong about buying fresh clams and cooking them in a bit of water and using that as clam broth? In my view it is cheaper better and healthier.

You did mention a lot of things in our current cookery which raises concerns and I thank you for that. Personally, I am more worried more about GMO products in the food supply because as of this date the consumer has no right to know about them. That is really scary.

Jun 17, 2009
Greyghost in General Topics

Decent Market Veggie Burgers

CB,

I would give up the quest for a hamburger like product that parades as a hamburger. It is just not going to happen. I do think you can get or make healthy substitute sandwiches.

You can certainly make sandwiches which are not "burger imitations" The Portabello mushroom idea is actually a good idea...if you avoid the commercial products. These mushrooms are available fresh in every grocery store, saute in a little olive oil (or microwave for oil free) , add vegetable toppings of your choice. Buy big good bakery style rolls and enjoy.

You will not have to worry about the cholesterol issue nor about the GMO issue involved with fake burgers. This approach just might make you and your Doctor happy together.

Jun 16, 2009
Greyghost in Los Angeles Area

Living in 2 Food Worlds (Capital Region & NYC)

FDR,

You may want to try Pellegrino's 1197 Central Ave in Colonie, NY. Imported and domestic Italian products predominate here. I don't know if the no red meat proviso applies to all meat, but they do a good job making their own Italian sausage which is a local favorite.

Pellegrino's is also a deli shop with the focus on Boars Head brand products. They also make deli sandwiches from their products and the luncheon crowd is always there to devour them. Local bakery bread is usually available until it sells out.

Although they are in a modern mini strip mall, I like their old fashioned ways and wares echoing their long history in the area.

I always drop in for their mac salad as it is done with minimal mayo instead of swimming in the stuff, veggies are minimal as well and finely diced. I always praise them on it for fear they will change this simple delight, but they never have and I doubt that they will.

Jun 15, 2009
Greyghost in General Tristate Archive

What Does India Have to Do with India Pale Ale?

I agree with Julia Herz regarding the history of IPA. Although George de Piro is local to me and a fine brew master, I think Julia has the better historical take on the matter. It really does not matter if the higher alcohol percentage made a difference in shipping. The fact is the people at the time thought it did and that is why they did it.

Jun 15, 2009
Greyghost in Features

What's the peatiest, smokiest scotch?

I vote for Laphroaig 10 year old. It is my favorite. It is certainly smoky, has wonderful peat character with their bogs and water fought over for many years.

Most of Laphroaig's production is used in giving deep base notes to the top blended whiskey brands. This alone tells me Laphroaig has the best smoke and peat character in the industry. If it was not the best, the major brands would place their bets elsewhere.

While certainly a smooth whiskey delivering an awesome liquid smoke and peat taste, it also delivers more. In particular, the 10 year old has a brash and young character to it as well. This is a difficult feat for a single malt and akin to a high wire act without a net. So far Laphroaig has never fallen.

Laphroaig's neighbor Lagavulin on the Isle of Islay, is a poor imitation of Laphroaig. Lagavulin is smoky and peaty somewhat, but pulls its punch, perhaps in an attempt to be both the coolest kid in class as well as the most laid back and refined I think many of us can remember a lot of such schoolyard failures.

For me Laphroaig is the standard, not only for smoke and peat, but also for balance and its fantastic feat of tasting of the sea from which it was born.

Jun 13, 2009
Greyghost in Spirits

Should we rethink tipping?

Minimum wage is not a living wage in any state. I tip about 20% as a matter of course, but often tip higher if the service is really good and attentive. Tips should never be shared with the owner, but not tipping at all does not help the waitstaff.

Jun 12, 2009
Greyghost in Not About Food

In Search of Seriously Spicy Raman or asain flaired noodle soups. [MSP]

I suggest the patented Paladin Spice belt which comes with free Have Fire-Will Travel cards included. This miracle product will enable you carry spices of every description and never be at the mercy of a bland restaurant ever again. This product will be available soon once my shipment from China arrives. Look for it on late night TV.

Meanwhile, you could carry your own firepower until my deluxe product clears Customs.

Jun 12, 2009
Greyghost in General Midwest Archive