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Green Pea Guacamole Recipe

Dip? Such a paltry term for a glorious sauce that goes back to the Aztecs, if not further. Grumblenewyorkersdon'tunderstandMexicanfoodgrumble.

And it's a terrible thing to do to beautiful, hard to find around here, really fresh peas: they are great on their own. OK, you can steam them gently, but they don't need more than that.

Mexican in Buffalo

Mighty Taco? <ducks>. There's not much to choose from, since Buffalo doesn't have a big Mexican population and generally the best you can expect is Tex-Mex. There have been some new ones opening recently - Valle of Mexico in South Park has gotten good reviews, but I haven't been there.

Onions in Indian Cooking

I walk past a Punjabi restaurant early in the morning when they're getting their deliveries: sacks and sacks of good old California yellow onions! Their philosophy of cooking seems to be the same as mine: first, chop an onion :-)

I learned from Julie Sahni's cookbooks: slice onions, cook them low and slow until they're past the caramelization point, then add the other ingredients.

Would you buy dessert sauces at a farmers market?

I've seen dessert sauces sold at different farmers' markets in widely scattered parts of the US, including the one nearest me. I'm not much of a sweets person, so I rarely buy them, but there does seem to be a market.

Canalside - Buffalo?

I'll second the recommend for Liberty Hound - and it's been packed the every time I've been there.

Lettuce That Won't De-Grit

I occasionally find dirt inside lettuces, particularly the loose-leafed varieties: they do grow in soil, after all :-) Since my household is too small to eat a whole head of lettuce at once I peel off leaves and wash as I need them: if some have more dirt than usual I'll either cut off that bit or give it a more vigorous manual wash. The key is separating the leaves so you can get at all surfaces. And if there is any visible sand in the soaking bowl I'll go for another wash.

Spinach, OTOH, rarely comes clean in fewer than 5 changes of water, and often throws off enough dirt to start a small garden.

Jun 25, 2015
tardigrade in Home Cooking

When to get lunch/a snack on this trip?

I feel for you: I fly from San Francisco to Buffalo twice a year, and the time change does not work in my favor. Many's the time I've left the house by 5AM Pacific Time (I take the train and BART to the airport, which adds a couple of hours to the trip), encountered weather delays in Chicago (pilots won't fly when there's a tornado on the radar) and arrived in Buffalo after 11 PM Eastern Time, by which point everything in the airport is closed. It makes for a long day. But I take along dried fruit or a roll or some energy bars in case I can't find anything edible along the way.

Now, there are some people who for various reasons require meals at regular intervals, but for most people missing or skimping on a meal isn't a big deal. (BTW, Ramadan started this week: a billion people are dealing with abstaining from sustenance during the longest days of the year in the northern hemisphere).

I still think you should take a brief detour to Tim Horton's: it's inexpensive, quick, better than average fast food and so far Western New York is the only place to find it outside of Canada.

Jun 25, 2015
tardigrade in General Topics

When to get lunch/a snack on this trip?

I'm not sure why picking up something in Buffalo outside the airport isn't an option: there's a Hortons on practically every street corner. The Buffalo airport used to have a place that served passable beef on weck, but that went away in the last remodel. The Anchor Bar has an outlet in the airport (though their food does tend to be messy) and there's a small food court tucked away near the lower numbered gates that has some adequate sandwiches, small pizzas and similar.

Jun 24, 2015
tardigrade in General Topics

The Etiquette of Bringing Your Own Meal on a Plane

Or bring an empty bottle and fill it up after security. SFO even has signs pointing out water bottle filling stations. My water bottle travels in the outside pocket of my carryon: the only comment I've ever got from TSA was "That bottle's empty, right?"

The Etiquette of Bringing Your Own Meal on a Plane

I'm sure they're all good airlines, but they don't go anywhere near where my mother lives (well, maybe Toronto, but going SFO -> Beijing -> Toronto just to avoid United domestic is a bit much :-) )

I travel with dried fruit, fill up my water bottle after security, and maybe pick up something at the airport that can travel well (SFO has ok sushi, made to order sandwiches in the new United terminal that were rather good; Chicago is more limited, although if there's enough time and I'm in the right terminal I'll get a torta from Frontera).

Jun 23, 2015
tardigrade in Food Media & News

Ways to liven up chili?

More and different chiles. The good company chili includes several varieties of dried chiles - New Mexico, Ancho, etc. - roasted, then soaked to rehydrate, then run through a food mill to extract the waxy skins. It gives the finished chili more depth, IMHO.

A glug of red wine occasionally goes in, since there's often an opened bottle in the kitchen (it also helps extract some of the alcohol-soluble compounds in the peppers and tomatoes).

Jun 23, 2015
tardigrade in Home Cooking

Dipping sauces for steamed artichokes

I usually don't use a sauce, since it covers up the artichoke-ness of the veggies, especially the sweeter frost-touched ones we sometimes get in winter (they grow them just over the hill), but when I do it's either melted butter or a quick aioli (mix garlic powder with mayo, let mellow for about 30 minutes).

Jun 23, 2015
tardigrade in Home Cooking

What Is YOUR Buffalo Wings Recipe?

Melt a bunch of butter, then add Tabasco and Tapatio sauces until it tastes right. Toss the cooked wings in the sauce and serve with a pile of napkins.

(BTW, I use Alton Brown's method of prepping wings: steam them, then bake in a hot oven. Much easier than frying - and better than any wings I've had in Buffalo (where they were unknown when I was growing up))

Jun 23, 2015
tardigrade in Home Cooking
1

current restaurant pet peeve

"Deli turkey" is that deboned and rolled slimy watery thing that is found in the cheaper section of a deli (or, more likely, prepackaged). It bears little resemblance to meat from a real roasted turkey, but as it doesn't have bones and is a uniform shape and texture throughout it's popular for sandwiches. It's menu code that I don't want to order that particular item.

There are still a few carverys that slice meat off a real turkey for their sandwiches, but they're getting rarer every year.

Dinner in Monterey/Carmel Recommendations

I've always had a good experience at Montrio - their shortribs are great. Plus, they have an interesting "classic cocktail" menu that changes every time I'm there.

Somewhat further north, I like The Haute Enchilada in Moss Landing, especially their vegan stuffed peppers.

Jun 17, 2015
tardigrade in California

Anyone remember those creamy orange creamsicles?

There were creamsicles and dreamsicles - I mostly remember the former. Haven't seen them since the early 70s, but haven't really been looking.

No, you can't just pour sherbet into a mold: it may be very good, but it's not the same thing. You have to figure out how to coat an ice cream base with orange ice: you really need the contrast between the smooth vanillay dairy and the tart outer citrus shell.

Jun 12, 2015
tardigrade in Home Cooking

A mother lode of chaterelles! What would you do?

First, you should send half of them to me...

Wild mushroom soup - cream or clear, mushroom ravioli, mushroom quiche, mushroom omelets are the obvious uses. One of my once-a-year favorites is a Polish dish - mushrooms baked in cream (sautee mushrooms with some onions, sprinkle with flour and stir to incorporate, then move to a baking dish. Cover with a mixture of half cream and half sourcream (and I usually add a beaten egg at this point) then bake like a custard until set).

Depending on where you live, drying the excess may be a better option than freezing: string them up and hang in a warm, airy place, or spread on a tray in a dehydrator or a sunny window. Do not dry mushrooms in an oven: you'll just get a slimy mess.

I'm jealous: a few years ago I found a stand of what looked like chantrelles, and after I got the identity confirmed swore I'd go back for them the next time they popped up. Then the drought started and I haven't seen them since.

Jun 12, 2015
tardigrade in Home Cooking

What oil/fat do you use with filo dough?

Olive oil, especially for savory filling, since filo and olive oil are both eastern Mediterranean in origin. I pour it into a bowl and brush it on. I typically use 3-4 sheets, then fold it flag-wise to end up with a triangular packet. (They freeze well for a quick meal down the road).

Jun 11, 2015
tardigrade in Vegetarian & Vegan

Help me find the chorizo I want!

While Mexican chorizo is more like Spanish chorizo than Mexican tortillas are like Spanish tortillas, they're still different things.

Mexican chorizo is common in my neck of the woods, and I've always seen it sold raw and must be cooked before eating. It tends to crumble when cooked, and release a lot of pepper-colored grease. It tends to be made of "scraps", usually pork but sometimes beef. Spanish chorizo is a dry, cured sausage that can be sliced and eaten as is. There's a Portuguese variety that's spelled differently but pronounced the same as far as I can tell.

I've never seen the small links in the US, but I've gotten decent chorizos from specialty sausage shops. If you're still in Philadelphia per your profile, try checking out the Reading Market or similar. Or try a store that specializes in Spanish products. Columbus makes a dry chorizo that's ok: their products are distributed nationally but the chorizo is hard to find.

Jun 10, 2015
tardigrade in General Topics

Anyone familiar with Native American cuisine ?

If you've ever eaten a bean tamale with salsa you've eaten Native American cuisine. What we think of as Mexican and to some extent Southwestern cuisine is heavily influenced by native foods and techniques: maize, beans, tomatoes, peppers, avocados, squash all are New World foods (as are potatoes, peanuts and IIRC sweet potatoes).

North America is rather diverse. There were settled agricultural tribes who depended on maize, beans and squash as basic farmed crops, supplemented by what could be fished, hunted or gathered (berries, wild rice in some places), but there were also nomadic and semi-nomadic groups that lived off of what was available. I don't see the original California staple, boiled acorn mush, becoming the next food fad.

The Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian has a cafeteria that serves foods from various regions of the Americas. IMHO it's not pure Native American cuisine - I don't thing buffalo burgers were really a thing - but more reflective of modern trends. It's worth a visit if you're in the area.

Jun 09, 2015
tardigrade in General Topics

purple skin garlic...

Are you wondering why it's purple instead of the more usual white? Could be age, could be a different cultivar. The California crop often differs in color throughout the year since it's really at least two variaties, California Early and California Late. I should know which is which, but forgot (I think the late tends to be more purplish) A more interesting situation for me would be to find something like a hardneck garlic, which the California varieties aren't.

Jun 09, 2015
tardigrade in General Topics

I have a friend who rarely puts food in the fridge who is still alive .

Maybe not. The pathogens in the broth are killed when it's packaged, which is why it can remain shelf stable. However, once it's opened the hermetic environment is destroyed and it's liable to pick up stray bacteria, yeasts, and what have you from the environment which may find it a tasty environment for growth. Depending on what they are and what other odors are around the smell may not be noticeable.

I'm surprised she hasn't visually noticed anything growing in it. I cook with home-canned stocks, and if there is any leftover I refrigerate it and use as soon as possible.

Jun 07, 2015
tardigrade in General Topics
1

I have a friend who rarely puts food in the fridge who is still alive .

On the one hand, refrigerators are only about a 100 years old, and prior to that humanity developed a number of ways of preserving fruit (pickling, salting, drying, sticking it in a convenient snowbank or cold creek, canning, preserving with vast amounts of sugar, etc.) If he keeps opened cans out of direct sunlight and in a cool place - maybe.

On the other hand, people historically did food gathering - either in the wild, on their farms, or in shops - frequently, so they weren't keeping unrefrigerated things around for days.

Jun 05, 2015
tardigrade in General Topics

How do you solve problem when you are hungry while traveling, but don't know what to eat?

If I'm traveling, I look for the nearest brew pub (my goal is to visit every one in the US: impossible, but I'm going to give it a good try). Otherwise, if I'm looking for a sedate dinner I'll look at Opentable to narrow down the possibilities.

And there are always Chowhound recommendations.

Jun 04, 2015
tardigrade in General Topics

The Beet - So Long Brussel Sprouts and Kale, The Beet Is The New Veg.

A favorite beet recipes is from one of Julie Sahni's Indian cookbooks: thinly sliced beets smothered in beet greens. Then there's good old barszcz (the Polish version of borscht) and pickled beets.

(I must have missed a memo: wasn't cauliflower the new IT vegetable?)

Jun 04, 2015
tardigrade in General Topics

The Beet - So Long Brussel Sprouts and Kale, The Beet Is The New Veg.

That's why people developed yellow beets, to keep everything in your kitchen from turning a fetching shade of pink. There are white varieties, but I've never seen them sold,even at farmers' markets.

Jun 04, 2015
tardigrade in General Topics

Single-Cuisine Household

I specialize in Tardigradian cuisine, defined as what happens to be in the house at the time. T-bone with indian lime pickle? Tofu tacos? Pasta with chiles? And there are always tortillas in the house for a quick sandwich-like meal. I live in a melting pot, and my kitchen is going to reflect that.

Now, I don't claim my attempts would pass muster in any of the countries that provide some of the ingredients, but if they don't like, they can cook my dinner :-).

Jun 03, 2015
tardigrade in General Topics
1

want to lean cooking but wasted a lot of materials . so embarrassed !

IMHO the idea that sushi takes years of apprenticeship is elitist. Learning the basics of how to make sushi rice is straightforward with the right equipment: I've had cheap sushi in the US and in Japan and there isn't much difference as long as it's made recently. Now, getting the high quality seafood for really great sushi is a whole 'nother story.

Jun 03, 2015
tardigrade in General Topics

want to lean cooking but wasted a lot of materials . so embarrassed !

You learn to cook the same way you get to Carnegie Hall - practice, practice, practice. Even those of us who have been cooking for decades produce a dud every now and then (tonight's dinner, for example: I don't know what happened to all the liquid I put into those beans).

Start with something forgiving, like stews and soups, the simpler the better. I've been cooking for over 40 years, and I still find cakes hard, since they don't lend themselves to variation unless you understand the physics and chemistry of what is going on - or unless you follow a recipe exactly.

As for tools, a good saucepan, a good frying pan, a paring knife and a chef's knife will get you a long way. I learned to cook mostly by trial and error, with a basic cookbook (in my case, Fanny Farmer; other like Joy of Cooking, and Bittman's How to Cook Everything has gotten good reviews). If you have a scientific bend, Alton Brown's Good Eats show talks about the physics and chemistry of what's happening when you cook, along with some practical solutions. Rachel Ray's shows seem to cover a lot of basics, but I can't stand her voice.

Jun 03, 2015
tardigrade in General Topics

Eating Bugs

I've had chapulinas - grasshoppers - at a Mexican restaurant in San Jose. They weren't very crunchy - more like popcorn shrimp. There's a lot of work, though, since the head, legs, wings, and exoskeleton were removed before they were marinated and grilled.

Jun 02, 2015
tardigrade in General Topics