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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
1

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
1

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
1

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

Cooking hamburgers indoors

Kenji's method is very close to the way my mom always made burgers, so I've been doing it that way for years. With a good heavy-bottomed pan, getting a good crust is easy. The oil is just to slick the cooking surface, so I generally skip it when I'm using a nonstick pan.

(I generally don't like ridged griddles for a burger - they just guarantee your nice burger crust will be stripy and incomplete, with no compensating improvement anywhere else.)

Oct 30, 2014
benbenberi in Home Cooking

Meat pie recipe?

Here is my favorite meat pie (don't remember the original source, I've made it many times over the years):

SAVORY MEAT PIE

Crust:
¾ c butter in small pieces
2 c flour
pinch salt
4-6 Tbsp sour cream

Filling:
3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
2 large onions, chopped
2 lb ground beef
¾ c cheese, coarsely grated (I usually use a very, very sharp cheddar cuz I like it)
2 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
1 tsp dried savory
1 egg, beaten

To prepare CRUST: Work butter into flour and salt till it is mealy. Stir in sour cream to bind dough. Work it into a ball. Refrigerate while preparing filling.

To prepare FILLING:
• Sauté onions in butter till lightly browned. Remove to a large bowl.
• Add meat to the same pan. Brown till cooked but not dry. Add to bowl.
• Add chopped eggs and seasonings to bowl. Combine thoroughly.
• Stir in cheese.

To prepare PIE: Roll out half the dough to line a 10-11” pie plate. Spoon in the filling. Roll out the remaining dough and cover. Press the edges with a fork. Brush top with beaten egg, prick, and bake in the lower part of the oven at 375o for 40 min., or till golden brown.

NOTE: You can also make it with store-bought pie crust to save time & effort (though the recipe crust is better). You can also make double the pie crust and half the filling, and make it up as pasties rather than one big pie.

Oct 13, 2014
benbenberi in Home Cooking

What's your WholeFoods grocery list

When I go to Whole Foods, which is only occasionally, what I generally buy is:
* local dairy products
* good cheese not available in regular grocery stores
* fish
* meat (pref. local)
* rotisserie chicken

As for their produce, it's very pretty, but in season I prefer truly local veg from farmer stands & farmer's markets, the rest of the time I can generally get organic stuff at my local supermarket that's good quality and much cheaper. Same for honey, jam & syrup - I get it from the makers, not a chain store. I'd sooner get produce from WF than TJ, though - not pleased with TJ's produce quality in CT.

I don't use much canned or packaged food & have no opinion on what WF sells.

Oct 13, 2014
benbenberi in Chains

What's your WholeFoods grocery list

When I go to Whole Foods, which is only occasionally, what I generally buy is:
* local dairy products
* good cheese not available in regular grocery stores
* fish
* meat (pref. local)
* rotisserie chicken

As for their produce, it's very pretty, but in season I prefer truly local veg from farmstands & farmer's markets, the rest of the time I can generally get organic stuff at my local supermarket that's good quality and much cheaper. Same for honey, jam & syrup - I get it from the makers, not a chain store. I'd sooner get produce from WF than TJ, though - not pleased with TJ's produce quality in CT.

I don't use much canned or packaged food & have no opinion on what WF sells.

Oct 13, 2014
benbenberi in Chains

What is a comparable cheese to Comte'?

If I needed a substitute for Comté, I would generally pick Gruyere. Or Beaufort. All 3 are very similar cheeses. & pretty much interchangeable in recipes.

You *could* use an Emmentaler (or a generic "Swiss Cheese" which is normally Emmentaler-style) but it's distinctly different in flavor & texture than Comté/Beaufort/Gruyere.

Oct 04, 2014
benbenberi in Cheese

USA heavy cream vs UK double cream

The fat content & ultra-pasteurization are separate issues.

Pasteurization is a health-and-safety regulatory requirement, and ultra-pasteurization has become the commercial standard, largely because it's efficient for large operations and the product stays fresh longer. Small dairies sometimes use the non-ultra pasteurization process -- research your local area to find out which producers are doing that and what markets carry them.

The fat content of cream is largely a result of breeding.Most American dairy cattle are Holsteins (the familiar black-and-white cow) -- they produce large volumes of relatively low-fat milk, so they're strongly preferred commercially. Jersey and Guernsey cows give very fatty milk: they're your source of the really thick cream, but they're not so common, and that really thick cream has virtually no commercial market in the US. Again, small dairies (esp. hobby farms) that don't depend on sales volume are more likely to produce it.

Oct 03, 2014
benbenberi in General Topics

Sweet Jesus: Whole Foods No Longer Getting Brillat-Savarin Due to FDA?!

Because tainted food and contaminated drugs are so very very good for us, and no one would ever deliberately market toxic, putrid, and disease-ridden things for profit.

Why would anyone go to Denny’s these days?

I spent a long weekend earlier this year at a hotel on the fringes of a small midwestern city and had breakfast at Denny's across the street 3 of the 4 days I was there. I didn't get any of their fancy named things, just your basic eggs with sausage, potato & English muffin -- the same thing I get at my local diners when I'm out for breakfast. And you know - the basic breakfast I got at Denny's was just as good as what my favorite diners make. Granted, there's nothing fancy, exotic, local or otherwise distinctive about it -- but I've had enough poor-to-mediocre breakfasts over the years to appreciate a well-cooked egg, tasty sausage, and a non-spongy English muffin.

I doubt I'd be tempted to go there for lunch or dinner. At home I have half a dozen good diners within easy breakfast range and no inclination to hunt down if there's a Denny's in the area too. But for a good basic breakfast on the road I would definitely pick Denny's over some of the alternatives.

Sep 23, 2014
benbenberi in Chains

Is minute maid frozen lemon juice still available

They've apparently been having production/supply issues for some time. According to a comment from Minute Maid yesterday on their Facebook page (answering one of many complaints about its unavailability):

"We hear your concern and want to assure you that we are aggressively working to get Minute Maid Premium Lemon Juice back on shelves for you to enjoy. Premium Lemon Juice has not been discontinued and we will continue to keep you posted with any updates!"

It is apparently not, at this moment, actually available anywhere.

Sep 23, 2014
benbenberi in General Topics

Devonsheer / Old London / Wise cheddar waffle snacks

Wise Cheez Waffies seem to cycle in & out of production, but so far they keep coming back. They're around right now (in stock at Amazon, & at stores that carry the full range of Wise snacks).

Sep 18, 2014
benbenberi in General Topics

What is the real cream used in coffee?

I live near New Haven, and I see light cream in the supermarket all the time.

Sep 18, 2014
benbenberi in General Topics

Cooking for one with limited left overs

Experienced cook-for-one here...

Your freezer is your friend. Many soups, stews & casseroles can be frozen in single-serve portions and easily reheated whenever you want them. (It's helpful to label & date them, so you know what you've got and how long you've had it.) Things that involve adding dairy late in the process, like beef stroganoff, should be frozen without it, then you can add it later when you're ready to eat it.

If you're a meat-lover, many cuts of meat can easily be cooked for one- small steaks, chops, or chicken parts. One of my go-to easy meals is to roast a couple of chicken thighs in a baking pan with some cut-up veggies. With a drizzle of oil & seasonings, bake in a hot oven till done. If you put foil in the pan, you may not even have to wash it!

Small cooking vessels are also your friend. I've got a 1-quart crockpot that's perfect for a tiny stew or mini soup. 2-3 servings fills it up, much more efficient and better results than cooking a small amount in a large pot.

If you like salads, keep a selection of your favorite ingredients packed separately in your fridge, then you can mix-and-match for a few days to always have a different salad that's got just the good stuff you like. Similarly with sandwiches.

"Cute" inexpensive lunch spot in Southern Fairfield county?

I really like Meli-Melo in Greenwich -- crepes, salads, sandwiches, smoothies, lots of healthy & fresh stuff. Cute & lively.

POLL: What's the best cheese for a grilled cheese sandwich?

For classic comfort-food grilled cheese (on buttered white bread, with tomato soup on the side), classic yellow American cheese has no equals. I'm partial to Kraft's Deli Deluxe slices, myself. (Also great on a cheeseburger.)

Sep 04, 2014
benbenberi in Cheese