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benbenberi's Profile

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Our perception of "authenticity"

Sort of how corned beef was not an Irish dish till Irish immigrants in New York, missing the Irish bacon that wasn't available to them, adopted the corned beef of their Jewish neighbors that WAS available -- and made it "authentically" an Irish-American dish.

Aug 21, 2015
benbenberi in General Topics

Dinner Pitstop Heading to NYC from Portland ME

But taking 95 all the way will add at least an hour to the trip, possibly more, vs. the inland route (90-84). The places mentioned above seem to be in the right area for a mid-point meal, and they're all well-spoken-of on this board. I'm afraid I can't rec anything myself, I rarely stop to eat in that part of the state.

"Seasoned Fries" - love them or hate them

I don't mind seasoning on fries (though good fries don't need anything besides salt).

What I do dislike is the starchy coating that usually goes along with the seasoning. It completely changes the texture and makes the thing something that only looks like fries. Fries don't need a coating to cook up crispy -- it's the lazy cheater's shortcut.

Tim Tams in America

I haven't seen the Pepperidge Farm TimTams in a while, but I haven't actually looked very hard. I was excited and tried them when they first showed up, and they were NOTHING like true Arnott's TimTams. Extremely sweet, no flavor. Very disappointing!! If their sales were bad and they dropped the line, that's probably why.

Aug 05, 2015
benbenberi in General Topics

USA heavy cream vs UK double cream

A company called Brooklyn Creamery has recently started selling "single cream" and "double cream" in my local supermarket (in Connecticut). I haven't tried the double cream, but the single cream is just a little thinner than sour cream, definitely to spoon rather than pour. Very tasty on fresh berries.

Jul 14, 2015
benbenberi in General Topics

Devonsheer / Old London / Wise cheddar waffle snacks

They come and go. Wise Cheez Waffies are in stock with free shipping at Amazon right now. And as Jojie says, Vermont Country Store is currently offering a version they claim are just like the Old London ones.

Jul 03, 2015
benbenberi in General Topics

The Roasted Rosemary Chicken - So Easy, Yet So Hard !!

i find with fresh rosemary the stem tends to be more flavorful than the needles.

Jun 21, 2015
benbenberi in General Topics

Offering alternative meals to children - yay or nay

My parents were both good cooks, and dinner was always home cooked. We always ate as a family, all together at the table; there was only ever one meal prepared: normally 1 meat, 1 vegetable, and a salad, with the occasional potato, rice or pasta if the main course called for it. We didn't have to eat something we didn't like (I rarely ate the salad, because vinegar salad dressing was/is yuck) but there was never any substitution allowed, except to the extent that my mom might save me a cup of frozen peas or some raw string beans when peas or string beans were the veg of the day. And snacks were never available as an alternative.

The idea of parents preparing an entirely different meal for kids than they're making for themselves is just weird to me.

Jun 20, 2015
benbenberi in Not About Food

Breakfast place near 11 St. and 5th Av.

Too late for the OP's Monday, but for future reference -- I've had good breakfasts & brunches at the French Roast (6th Ave & 11 St)

Jun 01, 2015
benbenberi in Manhattan

What items do you wish Trader Joe's would make/stock?

The bottle of Minute Maid lemon juice I just bought (in the freezer case, not the juice aisle) claims to have NO preservatives or additives. So that can't be the only reason for TJs not to carry it.

(But I'll note that Minute Maid apparently had some kind of supply or production issue with their frozen lemon juice that made it unavailable for much of last year, so it may for some reason be a difficult product for TJ's to source.)

May 03, 2015
benbenberi in Chains

Sonic in Milford

The Sonic item people seem to talk about most is their drinks - cherry limeade & the like. They also have tater tots. But for the most part their offerings seem to be pretty standard fast food fare. If that's not your thing, it's probably not worth a special trip.

Dried Figs

I miss the dried figs I used to get, which came threaded on actual string (rather than just packaged to look like it). Haven't seen those in years.

My local grocery store (Stop & Shop) only carries Jenny figs in the fall -- apparently they consider it a seasonal/holiday product, not year round. Very annoying. That may be what's going on with your store. Jenny Figs are still available in some places - I saw them at Stew Leonards last week.

Apr 13, 2015
benbenberi in General Topics

The best of Connecticut?

Geography is going to be a factor. My Stop & Shop in Hamden always carries Hummel dogs, not Martin Rosol. (But Hummel's natural casing dogs -- made in New Haven -- are very very good.)

What's your favorite coffee maker?

I love my AeroPress. Totally simple, totally controllable, low-waste, low-effort, easy to clean, and it always produces a lovely, full-favored, low-acid brew.

Apr 01, 2015
benbenberi in Cookware

Mickey's (Hamden, CT)

When I go to Mickeys for dinner with a friend we often get Dalia's Trio as our appetizer. It's always been very good -- comparable to the vegetarian combo at Mamoun's, but I like the Israeli salad at Mickey's better. It would make a substantial lunch for one.

I've eaten there many times, and I don't think I've ever had a bad meal. (And yes, the regular entree portions are easily big enough to make a second meal of the leftovers.)

St Paddy Corned Beef....

I strongly prefer the point cut brisket to the flat because given the same long/slow cooking, the extra fat & collagen makes the point cut much more tender & juicy -- no matter how it's cooked, flat-cut brisket has a tendency to dry out & get stringy.

Mar 15, 2015
benbenberi in Home Cooking

Why aren't we eating more geese?

Turkey was popular in England & Europe centuries before Dickens. (Literally -- it was brought to Europe ca. 1500 and was well known & well loved on European & English tables shortly after that.) It gained favor for all the reasons you list -- if you're feeding your birds grain, you get a much better ROI from a turkey than a goose. Geese remained popular with small farmers as a low-maintenance domestic bird - they'll find their own food if you give them the chance, and their feathers, down & fat are all better than a turkey's. But where poultry was a commercial product, turkey had a big advantage.

Feb 28, 2015
benbenberi in General Topics

Favorite brand of canned beans?

I usually use Goya. Black beans and Small White Beans are the ones I keep in the pantry. Bush's is also good.

Feb 28, 2015
benbenberi in General Topics

Why aren't we eating more geese?

Goose is tasty, but it has very big bones compared to other poultry. You get a LOT less meat per pound of goose than you do even with a duck, let alone a chicken or turkey, and a lot more waste. (And a lot more of that lovely goose fat -- but focusing on the fat keeps meat the by-product.)

If it were commercially feasible to breed a meatier goose and raise them in bulk, I imagine someone would have done it by now (if not in the US, then somewhere in Europe where goose meat is more popular). They haven't, which suggests it's a very hard thing to do.

I need help making the perfect omelet

Tucci's Big Night omelet scene is beautiful.

Feb 16, 2015
benbenberi in Home Cooking

Caprese Salad

I totally agree. Caprese calls for plenty of good olive oil, roughly torn basil leaves (more flavor than when they're sliced/cut, & you want pieces big enough to taste, not just for decoration), & a light hand with the salt & pepper. NO balsamic or any other vinegar!!! All the acid in the dish comes straight from the tomatoes.

Dec 30, 2014
benbenberi in Home Cooking

Slow Cooker Pork and Sauerkraut

In my experience, unrinsed sauerkraut liquid overpowers the other ingredients and the result is harsh and unbalanced. Good sauerkraut is pickled and tangy even after rinsing, not at all the same as plain wet shredded cabbage. There's plenty of residual acid in the rinsed sauerkraut (which you want to drain well, not leave watery), & with the added wine and broth it's perfectly adequate to cook the pork properly as well as create a complex flavor profile.

But this is my preference. YMMV.

Dec 09, 2014
benbenberi in Recipes

Which foods do you wish were more popular?

I bet if someone came up with some sexy name for tendon so people didn't realize what it was, they'd eat it and love it.

Which foods do you wish were more popular?

yes on the tongue! Such a soft, rich, luscious meat - I miss it!

Nov 25, 2014
benbenberi in General Topics

Why drink chicken soup when you are sick? What so special?

You can make ginger tea with actual tea in it (green tea or black, as you prefer), or just ginger without tea leaves.

Lemon juice is a nice addition, along with honey. Not too much lemon though, the acid may disagree with a delicate stomach.

Nov 02, 2014
benbenberi in General Topics

Boneless skinless chicken breasts in slow cooker?

I was including prep time...

Nov 01, 2014
benbenberi in Home Cooking

Why drink chicken soup when you are sick? What so special?

Yeah, hot-and-sour is not the way to go for a funny tummy.

That's when you need some good ginger tea. (With freshly grated ginger, and maybe some honey.)

Nov 01, 2014
benbenberi in General Topics

Boneless skinless chicken breasts in slow cooker?

Agreed on all counts.

With an almost identical set of ingredients (+ a dab of olive oil) you can make a good sauteed chicken breast in 15 min.

Use the right tool for the right job. For boneless skinless breasts that come out edible, crock pot is never the right tool.

Nov 01, 2014
benbenberi in Home Cooking

Why drink chicken soup when you are sick? What so special?

Sopa de ajo (garlic soup) is also a good grandma soup when you're sick.

And hot-and-sour soup has excellent sinus-clearing properties.

Boneless skinless chicken breasts in slow cooker?

Like everybody else has said, chicken breasts, esp. the boneless skinless kind, are just no good in a slow cooker. No matter what method or recipe you use, you're pretty much guaranteed to get a dry & rubbery result. Sorry. :(

If you really want to use boneless skinless breasts you have to resign yourself to an active cooking process (e.g. a stir-fry with a bunch of pre-cut veggies, or a quick saute or pan-grill). Boneless skinless breasts only take about 10 min. to cook on top of the stove, and surely you deserve that much of a break from studying!

If you really want to use the slow cooker, it's legs & thighs for you. (Around here, they seem to be on sale fairly often, and thighs on sale are cheaper than breasts on sale. Stores in your neck of the woods may do the same - keep an eye out.)

Or if your slow cooker is big enough, try a whole chicken. It won't dry out, you get good moist breast meat, plus all the rest of the chicken and a fine carcass for soup! The easiest method: just season your whole chicken as if for a roast - salt, pepper, maybe some herbs or other seasoning - put it in the slow cooker without adding liquid, and cook till it's falling-off-the-bone done. There will be plenty of liquid in the bottom of the cooker now, which you can use to make gravy.

Oct 30, 2014
benbenberi in Home Cooking