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Bratwurst help, please.

Completely agree. In Switzerland cooking bratwurst on a steel plate on a grill (the usual method) is considered grilling. Didn't know which way to go when I wrote it.

Oct 29, 2013
Ray2 in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Bratwurst help, please.

I don't mean to come across as dismissive but, don't bother. We moved here from Switzerland and have hit all the German and Swiss deli's/butchers we could find in Broward. About the only thing they have in common with a decent brat is the shape. They vary all over the place in Germany and Switzerland as well. Like franks here. But a good one is a delight.

Interesting the comment about Wisconsin. We did have an excellent brat at a bar in Wisconsin. Along with a lot of other really good German food.

Ingredients are veal, pork, beef or a mixture. The term implies grilling, not content. A good veal brat is to die for.

Oct 28, 2013
Ray2 in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Wooden bread boxes

Way longer. We split our time between Europe and the USA. In Europe they are very common, we have one. If the bread is going to sit on the counter, the boxes will keep it for at least twice the time, if not longer. However, European bread and even what we can get at "Artisan" bakeries is a whole different matter. I have no idea how putting USA purchased bread in a bread box will respond.

We buy the best bread we can find in the USA, at a Belgium or a French bakery. We keep them in the frig. Last a lot longer than on the counter. Turns them a bit rubbery but that's better than bread crumb material. Preheat oven to 400F, 3 to 4 minutes, they're fine.

As far as material, we've had both wood and stainless steel. No difference.

Oct 28, 2013
Ray2 in Cookware
1

Hot and Soul-Fort Lauderdale

Thanks for the tip. A couple of us tried it yesterday for brunch. Excellent. Two gumbos, one with duck confit and andouille and one with pig cheeks. Spicy, lovely flavors that kept unveiling themselves. For the quality of the cooking, cheap.

Oct 28, 2013
Ray2 in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

What's the best sharpening steel?

I've been through a few steels and now have a MAC ceramic and a DMT extra fine diamond. I'm very pleased with both of them. I would not hesitate recommending them. Far better than the few German steels they replaced (handles falling off on a few of them, wear on rod).

Oct 28, 2013
Ray2 in Cookware

Pre-cruise stay in FLL

Except with fish which is invariably over cooked (4 out of 4 times).

Oct 26, 2013
Ray2 in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

First trip to Italy- Florence and Venice, please help with gluten free options

Italy is the easiest place for celiac's. Your friend won't have any problems. Just inform the waiter. If you don't speak Italian, learn the few words you need. In many restaurants you will see them on the menu and he will recognize them. I forget what the term is, but its obvious.

Oct 26, 2013
Ray2 in Italy

Wusthof Vegetable Knife - Does anyone own one and if so do you like it?

Do I own it, no. I do have the Classic version. If its the same steel, here's my take. You need to keep it sharp. We have a Wicked Edge, a diamond extra fine sharpening rod and a ceramic rod. All it takes to keep them sharp. If you don't want to deal with this, get a Shun or similar. Since we bought the Shuns, this knife gets very little use. We have 3 relatively short Wusthof's and have noticed none of them hold an edge. Its like the steel is butter. The big chef's knives are fine though.

Oct 26, 2013
Ray2 in Cookware

Good non-stick fry pans

Don't really know. They are these pans http://www.amazon.com/Viking-Nonstick... and described as "seven-layer Therm-alloy construction". Perhaps the latter means they are V7??

Oct 26, 2013
Ray2 in Cookware

Good non-stick fry pans

I probably should have written this years ago. Having recently purchased another non-stick Viking pan, I thought I'd post.

Over 10 years ago I purchased a 13" Viking non-stick pan. Over the years this pan has literally been through hell. Very high heats on a Miele induction cooktop, metal utensils, Miele oven use at Maxi Broil settings.

During the same period we purchased at least 8 other non-stick pans, cost between $100 and $150, Scan Pros, Swiss Diamond (total crap), Cuisinart and who knows what others. 2 years and throw away.

The Vikings, we now have 2 of them, are still perfect. I'm not sure what they are coated with but its quite different than other non-sticks. Its a very hard, thick coating. Brittle as we have a 1mm chip on the very top edge of one of them from being banged against another pan. Its quite thick. Not quite as non-stick as other pans but perfectly adequate for the most delicate of foods and cleans up easy. Actually easier to cook with as the bit of stick allows utensils to get underneath them as opposed to sliding the food around. Heavy, well made (in Belgium).

These pans are not inexpensive, however, compared to the amount of money we've wasted on other non-stick pans, they are dirt cheap.

I have absolutely no affiliation with Viking. In fact, based on my appliances experience with the brand I have no use for the company. However, these pans are excellent. If you're as sick and tired of replacing non-stick pans as I am, worth a serious look.

Oct 26, 2013
Ray2 in Cookware

Fort Lauderdale

Voodka on Las Olas. Before you leave this thread, its changed big time. New chefs around August, we did the before and now twice after.

4 of us went. All into food, 3 good cooks. The ingredients, the cooking and the presentation were all superb. 4 different plates, all seafood. From raw bay scallops, to shellfish to filets, all superb ingredients and perfectly cooked. Sauces light, creative and well matched to the plate.

Service was always there but invisible. Good wine list. Definitely worth visiting. May very well have been the best meal I've had in South Florida. All agreed it was superb.

Oct 03, 2013
Ray2 in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

How should I store the rest of my salami after cutting off a piece?

I think you'll have to resign yourself to eating it quicker than you had planned on. Depending on your fridge it should hold in a warmer area of it. I think needs to be kept dry. My experience zip-locs and plastic wrap is they trap humidity and break down salami's. Slice the first slice thin and toss. Normal for cutting off a full salami. The frig will dry it out over time. It will firm up as it ages.

Aug 17, 2013
Ray2 in General Topics
2

I don't like fruit with my food.

Nice and versatile desert. In food, whether its per the recipe or as a garnishment, no thanks.

Aug 16, 2013
Ray2 in General Topics

Smithsonian Magazine's 20 Most Iconic Food Destinations Across America

I applaud you. I love places with a sense of history and survive in their own unique way. The quality of the cooking is totally subjective. If it wasn't, about 95% of all restaurants would cease to exist. But whose 5% would survive?

Aug 14, 2013
Ray2 in Food Media & News

Smithsonian Magazine's 20 Most Iconic Food Destinations Across America

True. And prior to that it was a tourist/romance destination and the food and service not much better than average.

Aug 14, 2013
Ray2 in Food Media & News

How to survive without Trader Joes & Costco???

Never chose to shop at either one of them. "Breaking the bank". I thought people went to these places to save money?

Aug 14, 2013
Ray2 in Chains
1

Help me choose a new dishwasher

We've had 4 Miele's so far in various homes, 2 in our current. Some observations I would make having owned and used many dishwashers.

Nothing comes close. They wash very well, are quiet and service (no matter where we've lived) is almost immediate and superb. Reliability is ok, they do go down and parts are expensive to very expensive. They last forever. Our old one is still in use at a friends, ones we've owned in Europe probably had 20 years on them. They all look like new and work just as well as they day they were bought.

They have started coming down in price. The last one we bought was the top of the line model and cost less than their midrange washer we bought about 8 years ago. The new one is noisier and not as well laid out as the old one. Its pretty obvious to us they are more focused on selling quantity these days are have joined the "rack as many dishes as you own in there -- as long as they are all Corel dishes". We're not particularly pleased with our new Miele. The dealer told me they had had a lot of complaints about that washer and it was quickly discontinued. If you look at a Miele, look closely from the perspective of the dishes you use. We had to change all of ours, either too high for the glasses rack or too thick to fit between the tines. Otherwise they are a different dimension in dish washers -- if that's of interest to you.

We have a Bosch at our Swiss home. We occupy that place a max of 2 months every year and that's the only reason it still exists. Buy an opening price point Whirlpool, not much different.

Aug 11, 2013
Ray2 in Cookware

Spare ribs in the oven

So simple but I never gave a paper towel a thought. Thanks.

The downsides of growing up in an Italian family.

Aug 09, 2013
Ray2 in Home Cooking

Complaints about my viking range

High end appliances are like that, its part of ownership experience. Our 8 Miele appliances have had years of running over $1,000 in maintenance costs (knock on wood this year has been problem free).

Fortunately the service, in two different locations, is immediate and superb. But the cost of parts is obscene. Miele's repair person has already told us to look forward to a $900 tab on the washing machine as the bearings on the drum are starting to wear.

Its like a BMW, its a consideration when one makes a buying decision. Unfortunately the warranty periods on appliances are a lot shorter than for cars.

Aug 09, 2013
Ray2 in Cookware

ThrillList.com's 33 Best Pizzas in America

The crust, its magic. Beyond being twice baked and slathered with butter, there's a grit to the dough that escapes me. I tried to duplicate it for years when I lived in Detroit. All sorts of Italian flours with course grinds mixed in, nada.

Its a dough that deserves fresh toppings of high quality. None of the stuff in a bottle or industrial mozzarella.

Aug 08, 2013
Ray2 in Great Lakes

Victorinox Fibrox on the chopping block

For the money I can live with the handle. I have the fibrox and one of their slicers for bread. At a fraction of the cost of the German standards and the same performance in a home environment, I'm glad they're on the market.

Home environment as I would not want to work with either handle all day and they flex a bit much.

Aug 08, 2013
Ray2 in Cookware

Spare ribs in the oven

There's an infinite number of ways to do ribs. I'm assuming you're referring to pork. I seldom do them the same way but here's pretty much my approach.

Look in the frig and cupboards and pull out whatever feels right. I tend to do mixes of oriental condiments, both wet and dry. Stick to wet if you're new at ribs. I can't help with barbecue style sauces.

Small ribs - baby back. Larger - Saint Louis or Canadian (there are others as well)

Some remove the membrane alone the back side, others don't. If you want falling apart ribs, remove.

Mix marinade, brush on ribs, wrap with plastic wrap, refrig for 2 to 3 hours. Depending on your marinade, it may break down the meat. Acidic mixtures will toughen the meat if it sits marinating too long. Fruity mixtures can destroy the structure of the meat, so glance at what's in whatever you're using. 2 to 3 hours is safe, more does nothing for penetration but may start messing with the meat.

Wipe off excess marinade. Some don't, I prefer dryer ribs.

Some sear before baking, others sear after. I tend to sear after. So, wrap well in a foil tent (you want atmosphere), with the ribs elevated from the bottom (I use a baking grid for large servings and some wood lengths for small servings).

Pretty much a standard temp is 300 for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Lower and longer can break down pork.

Open the foil (careful here, its hot and steamy in there, use a tool, not your fingers), switch on the broiler. Heat until it looks nice. If you left the membrane on, you can try flipping the rack(s) and hit the bottom side as well. If they start falling apart when you flip, you're done, otherwise you'll be serving pieces.

While you may miss the smoke a grill provides, an oven is a far more controlled environment and can yield superb results.

Aug 08, 2013
Ray2 in Home Cooking
2

Knife storage quandary

If you have drawer space.

We bought a set of hard foam tool dividers with tool slots at Sears. Cost was $20ish. Mount them with the stick-on rails provided, knives in their sheath. All Japanese knives are there.

Aug 08, 2013
Ray2 in Cookware

So just how do you eat caviar?

At our Florida home we live sandwiched in by Russians on each side. One of the benefits are social occasions where caviar is abundantly served along with any condiments you've listed and more. There is no shortage of Russians at these parties and I see absolutely no norm to how people eat it.

Given these are hardly low income people and "face" is extremely important I'd guess this is very good to excellent caviar.

Aug 08, 2013
Ray2 in General Topics

When can a peach taste like a peach.

You are correct. I change my tune to, we don't demand good fruit.

Nice looking, all year round and cheap. Stickers help, paper wrapped get bonus points, organic (whatever that means) qualifies for higher price. Taste/ripeness ? I suppose they're on the list somewhere.

Aug 07, 2013
Ray2 in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Can I safely cook with a silicone pot holder between a pot and induction cook surface?

We split our time between Fort Lauderdale and Zug. Prior to Schengen we would get lost and overstay. I continued to do this for some time but the last few years I got some grumbling and this year I went into the computer on arrival in Zurich. We are also under the impression we are building a home in Italy. However I'm not sure the architect, builder and building officials are under the same impression.

My wife is Swiss and Swedish (EU) and I am American. So early this week we went down to the immigration office and I'll seek residency. We'll do the same thing the other way around.

At least its cooled down.

I'm a ciao person, my wife is the Grüezi one.

Aug 07, 2013
Ray2 in Cookware

When can a peach taste like a peach.

You have to have demand. I think that's the problem no matter where you are.

I'm also from New York and enjoyed LI and NJ peaches for years. Other than when I've been in Georgia during the season, I have only memories of a great peach.

Though off topic I'll throw this in. One of the issues in the states are the consumers and their levels of acceptance. We split our time between a home in Florida, an apartment in Switzerland and, my view, (I'm not sure the architect, builder and building officials are on the same wagon) will eventually have a home in Italy. Its not at all unusual to see consumers in Europe giving a butcher, produce manager or cheese shop attendant hell for the quality of some item. Never seen it in the USA. I once complained to a butcher about his cut on a pork belly after we discussed how he would/should do it. Every person in the store looked at me like I was from outer space.

You get what you ask for. In the absence of asking, you get what's easiest, cheapest and most profitable.

Aug 07, 2013
Ray2 in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale-Italian

I've been absent from CH for years and now came back to it. After seeing recommendations for Italian restaurants we don't wholeheartedly agree with, I thought I would throw in my favorite restaurant in Ft Laud.

la Dolce Vita off A1A just north of Oakland. Dinner only. Not cheap. Short focused Roman menu that rotates constantly. Consistently good both within the menu and over time. Moderately priced wine list is short but excellent. Reservations a must as its difficult to get into even on off days. Service excellent. The guys running it are very enthusiastic about what they are doing and a pleasure to deal with. Its seems no one has heard of the place yet shortly after they opened they had to discontinue lunch as they were swamped with business. Don't be surprised if you don't hear any English in the place. During holidays, its all northern Italians.

This is not an Italian/American restaurant. Tomato sauces on pastas are rare. If that's what you're looking for, better to pass them up. The cooking is real Italian (I grew up in Italy, my mom's mom prepared fresh pastas for one of Rome's best restaurants, we spend months there every year).

No matter if its steak, fish or an Italian classic, we think this place is one of the best restaurants in Ft Laud. Worth considering for those looking.

Aug 07, 2013
Ray2 in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Ft. Lauderdale Dives

I think this thread is a very good list for low to moderately priced places that serve good food. While I may not agree across the board, its a welcomed departure from the Las Olas tourist traps that tend to accompany these sort of questions.

While late for the OP, I thought I'd throw in one of my favorites for breakfast and lunch. The Marina Diner on 17th. This is the only deli type place in Ft Laud that would remind a New Yorker of what good deli food is like. The place is family owned and run, delightful people. Service is order at the counter, brought to the table. Not a place to impress a date. But the ingredients and cooking is first rate. Consistency is also there, no matter how many times I've ordered eggs over easy, they are always perfect. Well above any breakfast place I've tried in 20 years of living in Ft Laud. Lunch, if your into deli food, is also good. Not sure where they source their meats but its a cut above the other deli's/sudo deli's in the area.

Aug 07, 2013
Ray2 in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Cipriani?

Since no one else appears to be responding I'll throw in my indirect knowledge. Our next door neighbor foodies went there about a month ago. They won't be returning.

Aug 07, 2013
Ray2 in Miami - Fort Lauderdale