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tardigrade's Profile

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Insect flour or otherwise cooking with bugs (and avoiding the ick factor)

"chapulinas", the Mexican word for grasshoppers, sounds nice and friendly (at least to me). I've had them prepared Oaxacan style: after one removes the head, legs, wings and outer carapace, and marinates the remainder in lime juice and garlic, the result isn't that different from popcorn shrimp. They were tastier than snails, anyway.

1 day ago
tardigrade in Home Cooking

how do you store your glasses/stemware?

Bottom down, 'cause that's the way my mother did it. If I'm getting some of the rarely-used stuff from the top shelves and they're dusty I'll wash them first, but the everyday stuff gets used often enough that it doesn't matter.

Apr 16, 2014
tardigrade in Cookware

I'm sorry you don't like what I ordered, but keep your thoughts to yourself

I had a similar "discussion" with my sister recently. We were out for dinner with other family, the soup of the day was a chicken concoction I hadn't heard of before, so naturally I ordered it.

She: "You know, that's how they use up the leftovers".
Me: "Good- that's what soups are for. And at least it shows the kitchen can do something besides open cans".

It wasn't exactly what I was expecting (I thought it would be a clear soup rather than a cream one) but it wasn't bad, and I just may have added a new soup to my repertoire.

Apr 16, 2014
tardigrade in Not About Food

Need potluck dish using Parmigiano-Reggiano

I make cheese biscuits for potluck brunches (use your favorite biscuit recipe and add 1/2 -1 cup grated cheese to the dry ingredients): they always go, especially when I make them bite-sized.

If you want to get fancy you can make parmesan crackers: google for Alton Brown's recipe. In brief, great a lot of parmesan cheese and put it on a silicone baking sheet (or a greased regular baking sheet) about a tablespoon at a time, broil for about a minute or until the cheese melts. Let cool, and carefully peel them off the sheet - they'll hold their shape. You'll need something non-crushable to carry them in, but they're fine at room temperature. And if you want to be fancy, you can add black pepper or paprika or your favorite ground herbs to the cheese before baking.

Apr 15, 2014
tardigrade in Home Cooking

Dairy free Chicken Enchiladas??

If you go back to basics, "enchilada" refers to tortillas dipped in a chile sauce and maybe wrapped around a filling. Cheese is not necessary - I think people in Central America were eating enchiladas long before the Spanish came over with dairy cattle.

Your chicken and rice filling sounds good to me. How about beans, either refried or cooked with various spices?

I personally think dairy-free cheeses are not worth eating.

Apr 14, 2014
tardigrade in Home Cooking
3

What is your oldest cookbook?

The one I've had the longest? It's either Bracken's The I Hate to Cook Book ( I don't cook from it, but it's fun to read) or Claiborne's Herb and Spice Cookbook, both of which I bought in college decades ago.

The oldest actual cookbook is a 1920s edition of The Fanny Farmer Cookbook.

Apr 11, 2014
tardigrade in Not About Food

Omitting Chile Peppers In A Recipe

There are non-spicy peppers other than bells that, IMHO, have a better taste. Look for pimentos or Italian long peppers. There are also milder chiles like poblanos and Anaheims (names vary depending on location). I find the dried varieties less picante than the green ones.

Burpee's offers a pepper hybrid that they claim has the fruitiness of a habanero without the heat. They never set fruit for me so I can't attest to this. I once grew a variety called "Fooled You" that claimed to be a jalepeno with the heat, but it turned out to be just insipid.

Apr 09, 2014
tardigrade in Home Cooking
1

san jose recommendations

Downtown Mountain View a ghost town in the 1980s? Those of us who worked at NASA Ames down the road knew it as the place to go for Chinese food!

(BTW, CalTrain only stops at one of the Burlingame stations except on weekends.)

Apr 08, 2014
tardigrade in San Francisco Bay Area

Pickled Habaneros

Chop them fine and mix with cream cheese for a tasty spread. I do this with pickled jalpenos - I'll have to try pickling some habaneros sometime.

Apr 08, 2014
tardigrade in Home Cooking

What else can I do with kale and swiss chard?

Seconded - I often use Swiss Chard in place of spinach - they're in the same family.

I recently used slivered kale (roll it up and slice thinly across) in a pork stir-fried rice dish to add some color. Since kale is just another form of cabbage, it can be substituted for cabbage in many recipes, like stuffed cabbage. There's an Irish dish, colcannon, which is essentially mashed potatoes and kale: it tastes a lot better than it sounds!

Apr 08, 2014
tardigrade in Home Cooking

What is the hottest / hippest / cutting edge food of this moment in time?

Orange carrots? Puh-leez - it's red, yellow and white ones now. The red ones taste a little like beets.

Mar 26, 2014
tardigrade in General Topics

Bon Appetite says Sirarcha's "Totally Over." Agree?

It was big here before the East Coast (i.e., NYC hipsters) latched on to it, and it will continue to be big after they've moved on to the latest Asian inspired item from the West Coast. From what I gather from the NY Times, ramen is the new big thing now.

Mar 22, 2014
tardigrade in Food Media & News

5 reasons your partner doesn't go to the farmers market with you..

I've come across a few evening markets - Monterey, CA, and Sonoma CA have some (funny, both of these are in the middle of big farming areas). One of the San Francisco ones is right in the business district, at the Ferry Building. There have been some attempts to coordinate among various markets, to have some open from 8-12 and others from 1-5 on the same day to let the farmers get exposure to more customers.

Mar 22, 2014
tardigrade in Food Media & News

5 reasons your partner doesn't go to the farmers market with you..

Some interesting assumptions in the article - it's men who don't want to go, women do the food prep, everybody has to drive....

My husband is usually the one who suggests we go to the local FM, and parking isn't a problem since we walk. Even when I visit the FM near my sister's in upstate NY we have no problems parking within a few blocks. Being an invisible person, I find I have no more problems with strollers and carts than I do at the local supermarkets, where people love to walk into me (do they get points for this? Special discounts? Can anyone sign up?). The musicians are limited to a certain area, so they can be easily ignored. Food prices aren't necessarily cheaper, but the variety and selection are generally better.

6 weeks until the local market resumes!

Mar 22, 2014
tardigrade in Food Media & News
1

California's Food History and Iconic Dishes?

Or mexicolas, which are rarely found other than in people's yards.

The Haas is a sport discovered by a Mr. Haas in his yard way back when. In the late 70s, when I moved to California, you'd find Haas and Fuerte avocados at different times of the year - the Haas were more a winter fruit, IIRC. And they didn't travel much outside the state. Avocados will grow at least as far north as the San Francisco/Peninsula region (I have one that regularly bears large but insipid crops); the commercial growing area has expanded in the past three decades, as I've seen farms near Morro Bay. I occasionally see fuerte and similar types at the farmers' market, but they haven't shown up in stores for a long, long time.

What we don't get here, though, are the big, buttery ones common in Hawai'i.

Mar 21, 2014
tardigrade in General Topics

Chicken stock newbie. A few questions....

Re using the meat afterwards: I find that after several hours of simmering it has no taste left - my poultry-loving cat won't even touch it. If you want the meat, you can let it simmer for about an hour, then fish it out, get it off the bones, and return the bones to the stock.

I buy whole chickens, then cut them into usable sections to freeze separately (breasts, legs, thighs, wings, innards). Wingtips, necks, and backs are frozen in bags labeled "soup parts" until I get enough to about 3/4 fill my stockpot. Then it's the simmer for several hours that others have described - the stock is done when you can easily break the smaller bones with your fingers (letting them cool first is a good idea): it's a combination of my grandmother's and Alton Brown's method.

Now, any classically-trained French chef who's trying to get a clear stock for consomme is going to have fits over my results, since I the only straining I do is to pour the stock through a colander to get rid of the large bits and I don't do any clarifying, but it's cheap and tasty. There are probably as many "correct" ways of making stock as there are stockmakers.

Mar 19, 2014
tardigrade in Home Cooking

The North America What's In Season Thread

San Francisco Bay Area - mid Peninsula:

In my yard, the blood orange and lemon trees are producing like there's no tomorrow. The miner's lettuce that colonized the yard has finally shown up. I have 2 strawberries!

Mar 18, 2014
tardigrade in General Topics

Do Brined Olives Ever Get Moldy?

I've had the same thing happen with Costco's olives, as well as a jar from the Olive Pit up near Orland, CA (that took several months to develop). I discarded them since I don't eat blue food :)

Mar 17, 2014
tardigrade in General Topics

Molotes in the Bay Area

Mescal, in downtown San Jose, has them.

Mar 17, 2014
tardigrade in San Francisco Bay Area

California's Food History and Iconic Dishes?

Anything with avocados or artichokes, two things I'd never seen until I moved to California (ok, that was a few decades ago). Sand dabs (a small flatfish found off the central/northern California coast), sardines (making a comeback after Monterey Bay was nearly fished out completely in the mid 20th century) and squid (what they fished after they ran out of sardines) for seafood. California rolls, the state's contribution to sushi cuisine.

When I think of California cuisine I think of fruit and vegetable-centric cooking. Like fruit cocktail, invented just down the road back when Silicon Valley was all orchards.

Mar 13, 2014
tardigrade in General Topics

California's Food History and Iconic Dishes?

True, but the crabs do live around San Francisco so I'll take them (or would, if they weren't so expensive this year)

Mar 13, 2014
tardigrade in General Topics

ISO: Sodium carbonate and Potassium carbonate

I have a few pounds of sodium carbonate, aka soda ash aka washing soda: it's used as an activator for procion dyes and you can get it at art supply stores that carry the dyes. Dharma Trading Company in San Rafael stocks it and will happily mail it to you. It's not labeled food grade, though.

Mar 11, 2014
tardigrade in General Topics

Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt better for you than kosher or regular sea salt?

All salt is ultimately sea salt - even the Himalayan stuff, which comes from seabeds that evaporated eons ago.

Until a few years ago, they used to harvest salt around here - I used to work next to one of the salt ponds. What the salt companies did was dam shallow parts of San Francisco Bay, pump seawater into the enclosures, and let it sit for a few years until the water evaporated, usually two or three years. Then they scraped off the dried surface, which was mainly salt mixed with algae, halophilic microbes, dirt, and other assorted impurities. The stuff destined for table salt was taken away to be redissolved and re-evaporated until it reached the desired purity.

The author's claim is woo, and connected with the belief that everything refined is bad and everything straight from the ground is good because it's natural. The hills on the southern side of the Bay, where the streams that run into San Francisco Bay come from, are full of a cheery red mineral called cinnabar - HgS- which is perfectly natural but I certainly don't want it in my food

Mar 10, 2014
tardigrade in General Topics
1

If I could only keep the cookbooks of one author/chef/cook that author would be:

My quick top three are Diana Kennedy, Ottalenghi, and Jeff Smith, with Molly Katzen a close runner-up. If I had to pick just one, it would be Smith: he's my go-to for basic American cooking, and covers - albeit briefly - a lot of other cuisines. And he's stood the test of time.

(Does Fanny Farmer count as a person?)

Mar 09, 2014
tardigrade in Home Cooking

How Europeans think Americans have breakfast

I've had kippers for breakfast in Yorkshire in addition to the usual, and developed a liking for them. Haven't found decent ones here in California, though. I find baked beans on toast, especially for breakfast, utterly revolting, although I'll cheerfully eat refried beans and tortillas, or hummus with pita.

My Sunday breakfast (more like brunch) is biscuits, bacon and two eggs. The rest of the week it's a piece of fruit or some toast with coffee.

Mar 06, 2014
tardigrade in Food Media & News

Greece: Way More Lamb Than Beef? Corresponding Terrain?

Until relatively recently, steers were the main source of power for farms, so cattle were more valuable alive.

Mar 03, 2014
tardigrade in General Topics

Greece: Way More Lamb Than Beef? Corresponding Terrain?

Interesting - the first place I had goat (well, kid) was at a touristy restaurant in Spain, clearly labeled "cabrito". It's odd it hasn't caught on in the US, since goat cheese has gotten quite popular - and breeders have to do something with the half of the herd that don't produce milk. The meat does show up regularly at my local Mexican grocery.

Mar 03, 2014
tardigrade in General Topics

Cleaning your countertop: what do you use and why?

Bleach in small amounts isn't toxic - in fact, if you're planning on storing water for some time (like in preparation for an earthquake) it's recommended to add a drop or two of bleach to a gallon of water.

It is good, though, at getting stains out of porcellin and off formica: I normally just wipe down the countertops with a soapy sponge, but when I'm in a kitchen deep cleaning mood I'll lay paper towels over stained parts of the counter and spritz them with a strong bleach/water mixture. I'll also fill the sink with cold water, add a glug of bleach, and let it sit for about an hour. Gets it white as new. Caveat: do not do this wearing your favorite black t-shirt (or any other clothes you care about), or you will learn more than you care to about discharge dying.

Mar 02, 2014
tardigrade in General Topics

Worth feeding squirrels peanuts if all they do is bury them?

Amen! It's bad enough the local wildlife treats my garden as an all-you-can-eat buffet without attracting the flea and disease-ridden vermin. There's plenty of food out there in their environment, especially since the local oaks had a good crop of acorns this past year. Feeding them encourages them to lose their caution around humans: a couple of years ago the nearby town of Mountain View had problems with squirrels biting children: they had gotten so used to being fed that they literally lashed out when they didn't get any.

Mar 02, 2014
tardigrade in Not About Food

Are there such things as greengrocers, butcher shops and fish shops in the States?

Not as many as there used to be: most of the neighborhood butchers, bakers and grocers were gobbled up by supermarkets and centralized processing, although there are a few left. Even those aren't "pure": I know a butcher shop in the heart of Silicon Valley that does a good line of sausages (although I hesitate to ask what's in their Tourist Sausage), but they also carry a few non-meat items, like salads, breads and pickles. Similarly, there's a market nearby that specializes in produce, but also stocks milk, eggs, and cheese. I'm still looking for a good fish place.

Mar 02, 2014
tardigrade in General Topics