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Cherry prices around the Bay

Thinking of the annual "crabs are here!" threads. I have a "get as many cherries as I can while they last" philosophy, and I know that time is running out.

I would love to hear where you have seen cherries for a decent price near you - grocery stores, farmers markets, wherever!

Trader Joe's seems to have 3 pounds for $6 right now, but there are a couple of moldy ones in each clamshell :( And I heard the Grand Lake Farmer's Market in Oakland didn't have a single cherry yesterday! Anybody having better luck?


Dungeness crab prices for '11

Temp usually drops when you put something that is at a lower temp in there - faster/more if it's eight pounds of something!

I would guess that it only extends the time by the longer amount of time it takes for the water to get back up to boiling, but I'll defer to anyone who has done this more than once, unlike me!

Saw them at $5.99 a pound myself, at that fish place in Housewives Market in Oakland, on Monday! Live.

Dungeness crab prices for '11

That's true. The meat in the legs was stringy in places, inside the body sort of gelatinous. I put both in my cioppino last night and it tasted great.

Dungeness crab prices for '11

The crab legs taste good, but the bodies are indeed not quite done. Will probably throw them in the microwave (heresy?) or steamer for a little bit longer.

Dungeness crab prices for '11

Thank you!

I found a variety of sites afterward that actually INSTRUCTED people to freeze the crabs dead before cooking... so I don't know what that one site's problem was. Will report back if I die ;)

Dungeness crab prices for '11

Okay, you guys know a lot about cooking crab and this is driving me crazy.

I bought them and stuck them in the freezer on my way to do some more errands. They were in the freezer for 4 or 5 hours. I threw them into a steamer filled with boiling water and hard steamed them for 20 minutes. Then I hit up the internet again to see if I could freeze the cooked crab until I had time to crack and clean it tomorrow.


What do you think? First of all, did I kill it by freezing it for that long? And second of all, if I did, am I gonna die if I eat it? And third of all, if it did become toxin-filled, is there a way to tell before I eat a whole crab?

In the meantime, I guess I'll find room in the fridge....

Dungeness crab prices for '11

More follow-up - hit Koreana Plaza for the first time (AWESOME I LOVE IT - best sashimi I've ever seen in a supermarket, about a quarter of the price of the crappy sashimi you can get at Whole Foods a few blocks away) and got four live crabs for $3.49 a pound. And they were in great shape. Currently waiting in my freezer while I debate steaming versus boiling!

Dungeness crab prices for '11

hmm, good points!

Dungeness crab prices for '11

That's true, but I've read that it's most humane to kill them by just driving the knife through the skull. Do I have the guts? Do I have the knife skills? I dunno....

Clicking 'Reply' to a topic links instead to my profile.

Good thought. I think so, and when I went back to the thread after posting here I refreshed the page and it let me post. So there we go!

thank you!

Dec 02, 2011
peacemeals in Site Talk

Dungeness crab prices for '11

Answered my own question via Safeway has cooked/cleaned/cracked crabs for $9.99 a pound (yikes!) but currently has a buy one get one free deal, which makes it two bucks a pound cheaper than Whole Foods - while that lasts. Usually their sales last for about a week, through Tuesday?

Dungeness crab prices for '11

The Whole Foods in Oakland has 'em for $6.99 a pound COOKED. I'm curious about how that compares to other places that might cook them for you. Since I've never killed and cooked them myself (and my knives are way too dull to do it properly), I might be willing to pay the extra $3 a pound to not have to do that... which is pretty much entirely what they are banking on, yes?

Clicking 'Reply' to a topic links instead to my profile.

It must be stranger, because it's happening for me too - both with Reply to Original Topic and just Reply - but it lets me reply HERE. Without clearing my cache or anything. And I just logged in for the first time in ages, so....

Dec 02, 2011
peacemeals in Site Talk

Summer 2011 farmers market watch

Oakland's markets have a wide range too. Temescal has salumi from Boccalone, jerky and meats and sausages from Prather Ranch, there's Blue Chair Jam and Redwood Hill (I think) cheeses and the quark and butter folks, an oyster stand (there may be other fish that I miss in my obsession about the oyster) and Blue Bottle Coffee and Vice Chocolates. Oh, and fruits and veggies and flowers and takeout :) Grand Lake is much the same; Boccalone, Prather, quark, jam, a fishmonger, their own coffee, often goat cheese, plus olive oils and vinegars and on and on.

All right, it won't stop sticking in addresses for their real locations. I just wish it would stick in addresses for the farmers' markets instead.

Boccalone Factory - Not Open to Public
1924 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

Prather Ranch
1 Ferry Bldg # 32, San Francisco, CA

Blue Bottle Cafe
66 Mint St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Humphry Slocombe vs. Bi-Rite Creamery... Help me decide

Humphrey Slocombe comes off as super-abrasive to me: the "fetal kitten" soup can art that slaps you in the face as you walk in the door, the fake "street" way they talk on twitter/facebook.... (on the breakfast ice cream cake: "Available all year long! Just call us 72 hours before you need it (this shiz takes time yo!) and 9" wide (hells yes) for just $40 dolla to make you holla. Serves 8-10 peeps...")

Every time I hear about the prosciutto ice cream I want to give up and go back to Humphry Slocombe. But then I remember that they crossed a line. I followed a Twitter account that was parodying their out-there flavors and trying-to-be-badass tone (@jasperslobrushe) because I thought it was funny. Then I read something that said that HS was so defensive about the parody (considering it "harassment") that they were blocking anyone on Twitter who followed @jasperslobrushe.

I immediately went to sure enough, as long as I was logged in I couldn't see it. I may be weird... I know I'm weird... but that just blew my mind, that somebody there was crazy enough about being parodied that they were monitoring the other account's twitter followers and pre-blocking them. Like, I had never followed HS in the first place; I was just blocked from being ever able to follow them on Twitter because I had clicked "follow" on a parody account. That's crazy.

So now, I admit, every time that I consider going to the actual ice cream store, my first reaction is that I've been blocked! I'm like, "Wait, there's some reason I can't go... they're boycotting me or something? What was it?"

I wouldn't even know if this was still true; for all I know, they've stopped doing it and I could read all the tweets I wanted. There's something wrong with my internet connection that's keeping it from loading Facebook, Twitter, and anything useful properly... besides Chow of course. I suppose it's not handling the automatically-updating sites well or something.

TL;DR: Bi-Rite all the way, for all the reasons that others have said here and more. Consistent quality, non-abrasive flavors and staff and artwork. HS is a "you have to try this once" kind of place, not an "I need my ice cream fix" place for me.

Firme Farms?

Thank you both!

I just found out about Phat Beets' produce box (the Beet Box, of course)... apparently it started last winter and Firme Farms is one of the participating farms! It's $24 a week and $2 of that goes to the clinic that their farmers' market is in front of (behind? whatever) to give to clients who have diet-related problems so that they can get some free organic produce. I'm stoked!

Cooking and Baking with Erythritol

I have a batch of dense, fudgy brownies in the oven right now - at least, I'm trying to make them dense and fudgy! - using a 1:1 substitution of erythritol for sugar. The batter tastes downright vegetal, which is very weird. First I taste the chocolate, then the "cooling" (sort of almost mint-ish) flavor characteristic of erythritol, then... grass?!??

I pulled them out after a while and added more chocolate, melted butter, flour, and another egg, because I thought maybe the high proportion of sugar I was using to make them super-fudgy was causing problems. It did taste better; we'll see how they come out once fully baked.

I will say, though, that what I've been doing to fulfill my desire for chocolate without eating regular sugar is melting baking chocolate, erythritol, and milk together to make an extremely dense pudding. And THAT hasn't tasted like grass at all. It was a little tricky figuring out how to heat it slowly enough (sans double boiler) to keep it from seizing up on me, without heating it so slowly that it wouldn't come together... but now that I've got it, I just have a tasty chocolate snack. I suppose that where I would taste the flavor of sugar, I now taste the flavor of erythritol, but it's not off-putting or overly strong or VEGETAL for god's sake. So I'm not sure what's going on in that brownie pan right now.

I cannot stand the licoricey flavor of stevia and xylitol, so I'm glad that I found a way to mix this stuff with chocolate... most of the time anyway!

Jul 23, 2011
peacemeals in Home Cooking

Firme Farms?

Want! Is there a website on there where the rest of us can sign up for the CSA veggie box?

Buy It for the Bottle

But wait. If the bottle is that amazing... can't you just pour out the crap and replace it with your single-malt scotchingtons?

I mean, I don't really even drink and I still want to buy some of this so that I can run around all "GO-GO GADGET LIGHT-UP BOTTLE!!"

Jul 19, 2011
peacemeals in Features

Trader Joe's Offers a New Way to Get Fat

I second what chowlovers said. The relentless media message of "you're bad if you eat X food" in our society is helping nobody.

Seems like the general rule of thumb out there is "If the author of a piece thinks a foodstuff will make you fat, then it is bad and you should feel ashamed for eating it." As anyone in recovery from compulsive eating knows, it's that very shame and guilt that leads people to eat compulsively. Even worse: it leads to monstrosities like commercials for "guilt-free dessert yogurt". Whipped chocolatey guilt-free dessert yogurt, now with even less guilt.

I wish that the national dialogue about food and health could be about what is good for you and why, instead of this dead, simplistic, fat=bad stuff. Eating fat doesn't make you fat. Eating a lot of calories doesn't make you fat. Eating a lot of simple carbs that trigger an insulin reaction usually does, though. It's not the gooey cheese, it's the noodles and breading. I feel bad for cheese; people project their fear of fat onto it so much.

And being fat doesn't harm you directly. We tend to look at people who are both in poor health and fat and see causation instead of correlation, and the amount of money in the diet industry feeds that kind of causative thinking like crazy. Some of the behaviors that lead to ill health also lead to weight gain. Some of the behaviors that lead to weight gain also lead to ill health. And lot of them are unconnected.

In short... serving those weird little balls as a party appetizer is not some soul-crushing bad decision that a moralizing blogger needs to wag a finger about. Even eating them every night is not some soul-crushing cry for judgment, although heaven knows it wouldn't be good for you.

Jan 22, 2011
peacemeals in Features