cowboyardee's Profile

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What do you want to know about wine?

Do the grapes make a difference?
If so, how much?

about 8 hours ago
cowboyardee in Wine

Who Sharpens Their Mandoline Blade?

"For a chisel edge, do you think the bevel is put on the underside?"
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Not necessarily. The edge bevel is often on the topside. But, again, I'm no expert in mandolines in general, so I wouldn't be surprised by either.

about 9 hours ago
cowboyardee in Cookware

Recipes for tomatoes NOT as the star ingredient?

Ratatouille
Pico de gallo
Tomato chutney
Gazpacho
Any number of improvised slaws or salsas
Sun dry them or dry them at very low temp in the oven and then add em to damn near anything

Really, there's a trillion things you could do with tomatoes, even from the vegan, no-sugar, no-oil context. Tell us what kinds of things you especially like to eat, and I can probably come up with something similar that uses tomatoes or a decent way to work tomatoes into it.

about 10 hours ago
cowboyardee in Home Cooking

Who Sharpens Their Mandoline Blade?

I've done mandoline blades, but not many.

Unfortunately, the way to sharpen any individual blade can vary depending on how the mandoline is made - does the blade come out, is it V-shaped, how are the bevels set, etc. I haven't seen any that are convex, but that wouldn't surprise me either.

What I can tell you is that the blades are almost always single beveled, or chisel-edged. You'll want to know how to remove a burr from the back of the blade without applying a microbevel to that side. V-shaped edges and non-removable blades are often best sharpened by rods or dowels wrapped in wet-dry sandpaper. I haven't extensively explored which grits to finish at, but medium or medium fine seems to work. I'm fairly sure finer would work as well. Aside from that, you're just trying to follow the existing geometry as closely as possible. Pics might help.

Sorry I'm not too helpful here. It's the kind of thing I would normally check out for a while firsthand before determining my strategy. Do you feel confident in determining the existing geometry, but unsure of how to proceed? Or are you unsure of how to assess the edge geometry in the first place?

about 10 hours ago
cowboyardee in Cookware

All Natural (non-petroleum-based) Way to Protect Cutting Boards?

"It seems that, at least in the opinion of most here, you need to use a petroleum derivative to care for a modern cutting board."
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Frankly, you don't 'need' anything at all to care for a cutting board. Treating a board is no absolute guaranty that it won't wind up cracking, warping, or smelling. And not treating a board is no guaranty that it will. You're only improving your odds.

That said, I'll state again that beeswax on its own will generally work quite well if it's applied often enough. It's messy; it's a pain in the ass to work with compared to mineral oil; it might need to be applied fairly often. But it seals a board pretty well.

I haven't personally used tung oil, but I have heard from quite a few people that it also works well.

about 12 hours ago
cowboyardee in Cookware

Service Dogs Get Couple Kicked Out of Restaurant

I feel more than confident enough in my lack of bigot-ude towards the disabled to openly acknowledge that it's possible to simultaneously be both disabled and a jerk who should be slapped down (metaphorically speaking, and not because of their disability). Disabled people, just like the rest of us, can still run the gamut from wonderful individuals to raging assholes.

I was commenting on their manner of speaking - they're obnoxious. It wasn't that they stood up for themselves but rather that they were arrogant and ridiculous in doing so. Which doesn't mean they're wrong. Or right. It just means they're obnoxious. And that was actually my point - that people are seeing someone obnoxious and assuming (perhaps incorrectly, perhaps correctly) that they're wrong.

You can disagree that they're obnoxious. We might have different definitions of obnoxious...er... we almost certainly have different definitions of obnoxious. But if you don't understand that my judgment had nothing to do with either their disability or their standing up for their rights, then you need better reading comprehension.

about 14 hours ago
cowboyardee in Food Media & News
1

Who would you like to dine with?

Whooooah! Most excellent list, dude

about 15 hours ago
cowboyardee in Not About Food
1

Chowhound now allowing advertising posts?

It doesn't count if he doesn't charge.

about 15 hours ago
cowboyardee in Site Talk
1

Top Chef Duels 8/20, spoilers, Antonia vs Mike - a profane and foggy recap

Also in the grand tradition of LindaWhit (kinda ;) ), the recap has been edited to address my fuckup.

about 18 hours ago
cowboyardee in Food Media & News

Top Chef Duels 8/20, spoilers, Antonia vs Mike - a profane and foggy recap

I now kinda wish I had adopted the Mikey vs SheMikey theme during the recap.

I also kinda wish contestant/host's families were banned from all cooking shows and/or competitions by an act from the FCC.

"I was pondering how Mike's bucatini qualified as carbonara."
____
It's very possible that Mikey's dish actually did contain some egg yolk and/or cured pork product. The edit of this season just isn't informative enough, which (as I've said before) is shame given that the contestants are otherwise given the time, ingredients, and ability to make some pretty decent looking food.

about 18 hours ago
cowboyardee in Food Media & News

Top Chef Duels 8/20, spoilers, Antonia vs Mike - a profane and foggy recap

"And sadly enough, I finished the episode thinking it was better than either of the prior two weeks' train wrecks. There was a bit less slow-mo, and the dialog was slightly better."
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I agree.

"Regarding uni carbonara, I think that's old hat at this point."
_______
Here's one version of a recipe (there are others):
http://nymag.com/listings/recipe/sea-...

It's kind of weird that the contestants on Top Chef are repeatedly criticizing their competitors for being boring or unoriginal while they themselves take other peoples' innovations. Mikey did it here, and Blais did it in the first episode while making a gel-coated chicken liver mousse dish heavily inspired by Heston Blumenthal.

about 18 hours ago
cowboyardee in Food Media & News

Top Chef Duels 8/20, spoilers, Antonia vs Mike - a profane and foggy recap

It was a very foggy recap. I make no guarantees of veracity for any of the above.

about 18 hours ago
cowboyardee in Food Media & News

Sous vide to reheat BBQ?

Depends on thickness and whether the brisket is still frozen when you put it in the bath. If not frozen, I suspect 30 minutes will be plenty of time to for most ways you could cut 1/2 lb chunks of brisket. If frozen, you might have to double the time to guaranty even heating. In either case, the temperature of the bath will only have a minor effect on how long you need to reheat, since you're not trying to pasteurize.

about 18 hours ago
cowboyardee in Home Cooking

Service Dogs Get Couple Kicked Out of Restaurant

I agree with your entire post, with one caveat:

"See what's happening to this couple? People have no idea and yet immediately determined that they're guilty."
______
I genuinely believe that a good deal of the quickness with which the couple has been judged is based not on their particular claim but on their manner. A quote from the lady:
'The manager descended with her wrath, like a loaded gun, on us'

Or the fella:
'I think I was embarrassed... for her [the waitress who initially questioned them]'

Regardless of the righteousness of their claims, these people kinda need to be slapped down.

about 18 hours ago
cowboyardee in Food Media & News

Return "sweet" fruit that isn't sweet?

It's not that you deserved to get bad fruit. It's just that you're putting faith into a system that doesn't deserve much faith. You probably understood already that grocery stores don't hire taste testers or fork out for a brix meter. That any adjectives describing the quality of what you buy in a supermarket is meaningless marketing, and not an informed opinion. And that a closed bag (along with most supermarket rules/norms) forbid the taste testing of fruit before buying.

The question is whether you knowingly assumed the risk of buying shitty fruit by buying from the supermarket (even if their fruit is often perfectly decent). I just don't consider supermarket marketing's assurances of flavor binding. It's an open secret that adding the word 'sweet' (or 'delicious' or 'juicy' or even 'ripe', etc) on the display stand for fruit is pretty meaningless.

about 21 hours ago
cowboyardee in General Topics
1

Service Dogs Get Couple Kicked Out of Restaurant

In fairness, it might have died because both sides of the argument are essentially non-verifiable, and the story wasn't all that compelling in the first place. If the dog-owners aren't willing to state their disabilities in the news (and though I agree that these particular dog-owners have a very hate-able vibe, I don't blame anyone for not airing their medical history on TV), then the story was pretty doomed to start off with.

about 21 hours ago
cowboyardee in Food Media & News

Top Chef Duels 8/20, spoilers, Antonia vs Mike - a profane and foggy recap

In the grand tradition of LindaWhit, I've decided to recap a Top Chef episode. But I watched it semi-distracted last night, might have slept through parts of it, and I have no intention of watching it again. So this will be a recap from memory. I promise nothing.

Let's do this thing.

They trot out the contestants. Right off the bat, they establish that Antonia and Mikey are related. 'Cousins.' They found out about this during another season of Top Chef. Related, and they had no idea. It totally happens. So next time you meet an Italian American, make sure you ask them if they know Snooki and if Frank Sinatra ever sung them to sleep as a baby. Chances are they do and he did.

Curtis Stone says something, and my eyelids suddenly get very heavy and open several minutes later. Antonia and Mikey have both made balls. I'm confused - was that the challenge? Make balls? Who knows. Oh, look - Michael Chiarello is there. He's kindof a dick, but he knows food and might actually critique it or something. I welcome his presence.

So it turns out the balls are made of rice and Other Stuff. Antonia gets high marks on the flavor and unctuousness of that Other Stuff, though that Other Stuff appears to contain just a little too much salt. Mikey's Other Stuff is very inventive and may include cinnamon or raisins or something. The judges make criticisms and comments that are almost deliberately uninformative, and in the end they prefer Antonia's salty balls.

So now it seems it's Mikey's challenge. Both contestants have to race to cut up a bunch of seafood, and then use the seafood to wow the judges. Mikey thinks he's faster, and it turns out he is, but only because he pours liquid nitrogen on his clams and then talks shit to them until they actually do go shuck themselves, which seems like cheating.

Speaking of shit talking, Mikey and Antonia are doing it, and at a much higher level than Brooke and Shirley did last week. What did M&A say, you ask? I don't remember - it wasn't THAT good. But it was believable as human conversation, so kudos to them.

As a reminder, it seems they are related.

Mikey makes soup with various seafood on and in it. Antonia makes fish (mackerel). With eyes.

The judges like Antonia's use of eyes and skeleton, which makes the fish very moist and flavorful and also kinda surprised-looking. It's a very simple dish but tasty. Chiarello loves Mikey's soup, which bodes well. Curtis Stone thinks the soup might have too much flavor, which when you think about it, serves as a perfect metaphor summing up the entire problem with Curtis Stone as a person. Mikey wins.

It's the main challenge. And everyone is Italian as fuck. Families are trotted out, 'cause as everyone knows Italians have families. The contestants have to make a classic family recipe, then a new twist on carbonara, and finally an innovative but still Italian-ish dessert. They pick sous chefs from among their families, and Antonia picks her brother and makes her daughter cry a little bit. (It will take a string of failed relationships with cold and uncaring partners and years of therapy before Antonia's daughter will finally be able to pinpoint that exact moment as the turning point in her life when things went horribly wrong)

They go shopping. In a Lexus. They buy stuff you don't see. They leave. In a lexus.

Now I'm browsing the internet for a little bit. The Great Attractor is a deep space anomaly and giant collection of mass maybe 200 million light years away from the Milky Way galaxy that may or may not be exerting force on the entire rest of the universe. Holy shit. What if it started moving towards us? That would be crazy.

So now I look back at the TV to be reminded that Mikey and Antonia are cousins. Antonia made Fra Diavolo. Mikey made his traditional octopus tomato sauce, without tomatoes or sauce.

Both dishes go over well. Mikey is more inventive; Antonia more satisfying. The respective families discuss the food like anyone cares about their impressions. Gail Simmons and Wolfgang Puck weigh in, but I'm mostly just trying to catch a shot of Puck leering at Simmons or maybe some involuntary facial twitches indicating that he's motorboating her in his mind, so I don't know what is said.

[ETA: alert readers have pointed out that this may not have actually happened, and that Wolfie was not even in this episode - he was busy elsewhere following Simmons' husband at a distance of 50 yards while obsessively folding and unfolding a large glinting pocketknife. This would seem to indicate that I was asleep and apparently dreaming about Top Chef while the episode was running. It would also seem to indicate that the show was predictable enough that I actually dreamed most of the details correctly, aside from the imagined presence of the Puck]

Next course, Antonia makes ravioli with runny egg yolk in it along with bacon lardons and brown butter. Basically, carbonara deconstructed, then painstakingly reconstructed to the point that it winds up just about as conservative as regular-ass carbonara in the first place. Mikey makes some kind of bucatini with uni and shit. I have no idea what connects it to carbonara, aside from the fact that he made pasta. But it goes over really well.

For dessert, Antonia shows off her innovative side by making ice cream and cannolis. Mikey makes basil panna cotta with some crumbled up Cocoa Pebbles or something. It turns out the contest rules don't matter and Antonia gets very high marks. Mikey's basil panna cotta might be under-set. Antonia's brother and father perform the traditional New Jersey Italian Ceremony of Victory - namely, they act like smug dicks.

The judges debate without saying a single thing that's insightful or enlightening.

Antonia wins. To reiterate, she and Mikey are cousins. What's more they seem to genuinely like each other, which I wish I could say about my cousin (I'm only joking Phil, ya oily corporate stooge, ya). In fact, I think Mikey might want to kiss Antonia. He would say 'we're kissing cousins!' as kind of a joke as he moved in, and Antonia would laugh and not be creeped out, and the words might keep his lips from trembling. It's not to be, because Mikey is married, and also, ewwwwww, but it's something nice to think about as Curtis Stone talks some more forgettable drivel and the show winds down.

Finit

about 22 hours ago
cowboyardee in Food Media & News

WFD's equivalent on eGullet is great!

I'm not sure I'm seeing the elitist connection. How can a policy be elitist if absolutely anybody can take the effort to meet the requirement? Should we feel bad for people who were 'unable' to join the egullet club because they didn't feel like it?

More generally, the barrier to entry over there has upsides and downsides. There's certainly less activity over there, and some of that is likely due to the barrier of entry (though I've heard that it probably has more to do with overly controlling moderation a while ago driving people away in EG's heyday).

But it's also almost inarguable that EG (in its heyday, at least) had a higher level of discourse about cooking. And that also probably had something to do with the barrier to entry and the fact that the forum wasn't bogged down with repetitive questions and pat answers from a steady stream of one-timers who, as a rule, don't do their Googling homework. And I'm not convinced that's a bad thing, even if that makes me an elitist.

There's some value to either system. But as CH swings ever farther in its level of accommodation, openly welcoming spam, and gently requesting that shills state their connections to industry rather than giving them the boot or even removing the dishonest post in question, some basic level of exclusion is starting to look awful inviting.

about 23 hours ago
cowboyardee in Site Talk

Mashed potatoes, heated milk question

I normally have the potatoes fully mashed by the time I add liquid. The liquid is usually the last thing I add.

My usual routine:
- Cook potatoes thoroughly
- Rice potatoes into pan on stovetop on low heat (if no ricer, mash the potatoes on stovetop over low heat)
- Add garlic, salt, any flavorings, while continuing to stir the mashed potatoes over low heat for several minutes, cooking off extra steam and making sure the potatoes don't stick or burn at the bottom of the pan
- Add butter in hunks while stirring. Turn off heat.
- Add milk or cream and stir until evenly mixed.

I don't know if this is the best possible way to make mashed potatoes, but it does produce very good, consistent results every time. Perhaps heating the milk would be more important if the milk was added before the butter?

1 day ago
cowboyardee in Home Cooking

WFD's equivalent on eGullet is great!

"The application essay is an incredibly elitest concept. "
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I think the idea of the essay (now, more like a statement due to the shortened word count requirement) is more about discouraging spam, bots, and fly-by one-time posters than it is about actually proving anything about how seriously you take food.

1 day ago
cowboyardee in Site Talk

Mashed potatoes, heated milk question

You're saying it would matter more if you were adding milk to waxy potatoes than, say, russets? Or vice versa?

FWIW, I seldom use waxy potatoes for mashing.

1 day ago
cowboyardee in Home Cooking

Mashed potatoes, heated milk question

And have you tried both ways and ever noticed a difference?

1 day ago
cowboyardee in Home Cooking

Photos from Photo story don't appear under my profile

Pretty self explanatory. Photos I uploaded to this thread:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/984462
aren't appearing under the 'photos' section of my profile. It's the only Photo Story thread I've made.

Anyone else who's made a Photo Story thread able to double check and see if it's a consistent problem?

1 day ago
cowboyardee in Site Talk

Service Dogs Get Couple Kicked Out of Restaurant

I'll feed.

"3. "the laws written to protect users of service dogs were written with the historical uses of service dogs in mind"

The federal government updated and revised the law in 2010 and 2011. They are written to aid and protect disabled people today."
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Culturally speaking, 2010 is a fairly long time ago. The diversity of jobs a medical service dog might be used for has seen a very rapid recent expansion.

That's beside the point though. The point is that while it is easy to see why the need for a seeing eye dog might trump another person's dog allergies (and even that's not so in the case of someone with a known anaphylaxis reaction to dogs, though this is admittedly quite rare), some other reasonable uses of therapy dogs might not. Not all therapy dogs are needed to the same extent and it seems as though not all therapy dogs are trained to the same extent.

As I wrote above, I don't know what to do about this, because it's invasive to require that people state their medical conditions. Perhaps some kind of designation for service dogs that have legitimate need to be taken ANYWHERE along with a card or something. Of course, even the process of sorting out what conditions/uses fit this bill and which don't would be a nightmare. It sucks to give disabled people more BS to deal with, but allergies are a very legit concern.

What worked and didn't work about Chowhound

FWIW, I think awful, boring long posts are simply the price you pay for the occasional really great long post.

Mashed potatoes, heated milk question

Have you ever personally noticed this effect as a problem? And if so, how much milk are you adding? Since the potatoes are generally either still on the heat or just taken off the heat when the milk is added and they normally make up a much larger proportion of the finished product (by weight) than milk, any cooling seems to be so minimal as to be negligible. Even with the relatively high amount of cream added in the Robuchon recipe, cream only makes up something like 15% of the recipe by weight. Most recipes use even less.

Acidic Citrus Marinades With Pork / Improving The Process

Citrus juice in a marinade should have a textural effect. Usually a mild effect at the surface of meat. But probably not to the extent of making the whole cut of meat tough or dry. Tough meat is more likely to be an issue with either the meat itself or how you're cooking it.

Cooking to 165 has the potential to be a problem - the temperature is high enough for the meat to contract and squeeze out juices, but it's not high enough to thoroughly break down connective tissue into luscious gelatin and compensate for the juice loss mentioned above. YOu might try holding it at this temperature (wrapped or covered so it doesn't dry) for a longer time to allow more time for the meat to break down. This is one of the major principles behind sous vide cooking, for example, where 'tough' meats can be fully tenderized by cooking temperatures as low as 130 deg f, if held there long enough. It's the keeping it at that temperature which is the tricky part, depending on how you cook it. I could make some suggestions, but they would likely be a departure from tradition.

That said, if you're only looking for a very small difference in the overall texture, you can certainly play around with using less citrus juice or none in the marinade, and just going with a spice rub. I'd agree with your idea of using citrus zest in the rub to get the full flavor effect. Then braise in citrus juice as you would normally.

1 day ago
cowboyardee in Home Cooking

Mashed potatoes, heated milk question

I've normally followed the classic instructions for making mashed potatoes, wherein you heat the milk or cream before adding it.

Recently, I've added the milk/cream without heating it first and found that it made no discernible difference to the end product. Aside from that I follow the standard recs.

So I'm wondering: does anyone else find that heating the milk/cream makes a difference? Does it maybe matter more if you're going for thinner, more pureed texture (and thus adding more milk)? Is heating up the milk just cooking lore?

1 day ago
cowboyardee in Home Cooking

Picky eaters are the bane of my existence...and now I live with them

It's more about not being rattled by a teenager acting just a little defiant than it is about actually mocking them or belittling their needs.

You can be warm and understanding towards teenagers/stepchildren without painting a huge bullseye on your forehead and making yourself a target for their angst.

Picky eaters are the bane of my existence...and now I live with them

Three possibilities:

1) Her behavior is about sticking it to you
2) Her behavior is an immutable preference that has nothing to do with you
3) Her behavior may be changeable given time and exposure and positive associations with trying new foods; her resentment might be the result of you pushing too hard

IMO, happily there is a perfectly good solution to all three potential issues:

Quit giving a damn.

Leave frozen nuggets and fries in the freezer. Make food you and hubby like, and enjoy the crap out of it. 15 is too old to easily sway via (step)parental suggestion on its own. Form a positive relationship with stepdaughter outside of the context of food. Enjoy food for your own sake and don't expect her to. She'll come around if she's ready or able to come around. Having the pressure off her gives her less to rebel against. And not being bothered so much by her rejection of your cooking gives her less power over you and less encouragement to keep on acting up if the problem is really option 1.