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Woods Post

Silly source......I have a small pile of used oak flooring removed from Johnny Depp's home, un-varnished. Nothing special, but it makes for a nice story when I have guests for dinner.
"Hollywood smoked ribs"

Woods Post

I have never needed to try it, but if you don't have your own trees to collect wood from, perhaps try to make friends with a local tree-trimming company. Alert them that you will be happy to pay a decent price, when they harvest particular trees.
If they don't power-mulch all their trimmings, often they simply lump all thick woods together to sell to bulk firewood companies.
They will make more $$ from you, than they will from those other companies......which can't be all that much anyways.
Has anyone ever tried this ?

Woods Post

Great variety of woods there !
A friend of mine in the southwest(New Mexico)suggests dried-out Cholla, which is the dead skeleton of the local cactus, along with local mesquite.

Woods Post

This is simply my experience....

Wood, for smoking and grilling meats or veggies.

I found some "grape wood" at a local mid-east market, and have been trying it.
Grape has no exotic flavor to speak-of, but so far, I like it. I'll call it mellow. (this is what drawing charcoal is usually made of)

I have always used the tree trimming branches from wherever I have lived.
Here (currently) that would be Oak, Lemon, Grapefruit, and Orange.....but they are in short supply. Orange wood tops that list, for best taste.

At earlier residences of mine, I had Pecan, and Persimmon woods - from big branches that would fall, or during tree-trimming time. The Pecan was the best, and the Persimmon left a "spicy" taste....perhaps too much. It may have been toxic....not sure. (persimmon wood is VERY hard and used in golf club drivers).

In the house I owned years ago, I had 2 Apricot trees that needed yearly trimming, and that wood was amazing. Plus, I always had a constant supply.....I want more !!

At work, we sometimes have scraps of Maple and Oak, so I always collect those before they get trashed......I can fill a bucket of these woods from time-to-time.

You might already know....never use soft woods for cooking (pine, fir, poplar, etc), nor use woods like Eucalyptus or other exotic oily hardwoods......they usually contain toxic oils.
Contrary to what I just said, big branches of Rosemary taste fantastic, but burn fast and it is strong flavored. It may also contain toxic oils- so use sparingly (like for fast grilling).
But hey.....smoke is toxic itself, so HA!!....there is a trade-off.

BTW.....whenever smoking/cooking anything on the grill, it's always handy to pop a few foil-wrapped garlic bulbs on there, to the side....they will last you for at least 3 weeks in the fridge...."smoked garlic paste"....mmmmmmmmm

Mystery Diner

I work in TV and film. In my opinion, the show is a fake.

I just now saw the "Big Earl" episode.
Along with the previous descriptions of its "fake-ness", I'd like to add one more clue that can stand on it's own.....
...the lighting.
The bar area was WAY over-lit. What restaurant bar area is lit to that extent ?....especially with large windows flanking them, adjacent to, and visible from the street (the outside).
It was lit with several "studio lights", so the "subjects" (actors) could be bathed in light for the camera.
I hate shows like this....pretending to be shock-reality programming.
Who at FoodNetwork allowed this show to be purchased for broadcast ?
And what kind of slimy grease-ball producer(s) would even venture into such a fiasco ?
I bet if I could watch it a couple more times, I could find other anomalies.

Jul 24, 2012
Freq Band in Food Media & News

Magical Peruvian Green Sauce "Huacatay" Recipe

Once you grow it from is nearly a weed.
It grows like a whirlwind, and re-seeds itself readily.
From last year's flowering crop, I now have it sprouting in all nearby adjacent pots, soil, and cracks in the ground.
Happy Days.

May 17, 2012
Freq Band in Home Cooking

Carnitas recipe needed- your recommendations?

I use Rick Bayless' basic Carnitas recipe, but add some aromatics, like orange peel, peppercorns, and a crumbled bay much for "bayless"...haha...
The second half of his recipe calls for roasting/frying the pork "dry" (not covered)...I may try that some day by putting the roasting pan in a smokey BBQ.
Or today, I am currently trying an alternative, by adding one chipotle pepper to the pork, to add some smokeyness, in the oven.

Jan 06, 2012
Freq Band in Home Cooking

I have a guava tree and I don't know what to do with it!

Sounds like they are not producing good fruit.
I have "helped" poor preforming fruit trees by fertilizing, mulching, and making sure they get plenty extra water.
It will take at least a year or so, maybe to...of TLC.

Jul 23, 2011
Freq Band in Gardening

Magical Peruvian Green Sauce "Huacatay" Recipe

That glendale store was not there.

"Seeds of Change" sells the seeds, but they call it "nematocidal marigold".
I got mine on Amazon.

Growing great !!......about 3 feet tall by now.

Jul 22, 2011
Freq Band in Home Cooking

10 Ways to Photograph Food

How come photos of a person chewing the food, is not nearly as appetizing ?
....I mean, that's the food's ultimate home, right ??

Jan 23, 2011
Freq Band in Features

More Trader Joe's Exposed

When I am in TJ's, I totally get the feeling that I'm in a glorified version of a Cost+ food section, or the "gourmet" reject isle in a TJ Max.
("tj" related ??)
It feels (and tastes) like they're selling over-stock of pseudo-gourmet food that TJ's bought on-the-cheap, and then re-labeled foe sale to pseudo-hip housewives, who themselves have been re-labeled with discount clothes from TJ Max.
Go figure.

Jan 23, 2011
Freq Band in Features

Where Does Trader Joe's Food Come From?

About 1/2 of everything I've had at TJ's....tastes awful.
I don't understand the appeal.
OK, I admit I go there....but it's just to gawk at the pretty women in taste-bud martyrdom.

Jan 23, 2011
Freq Band in Features

Chilis, or Chilies, or Chiles, or Chillies...can we come to a decision ?

The "correct plural" spelling depends on how the "singular" spelling is carried out in the first place.
I like ChliƩ.

But if it is determined a definite noun, it is pluralized by adding different ending, like the latin ending would be "ea" or other languages might might exchange the "e", for an "a" or "o".
"If it is indefinite, it has no plural marker, and its plurality is determined by context." says one source.
More thoughts are welcomed......

Sep 26, 2010
Freq Band in Not About Food

Chilis, or Chilies, or Chiles, or Chillies...can we come to a decision ?

How is it spelled ?
Can we make a spelling law ?

Sep 26, 2010
Freq Band in Not About Food

Straining cooked dried chiles chilies chilis(??)

Several recipes call for cooking (or wet reconstituting) dried chilies, then straining out the skin and seeds.
A food processor prepares them....but what do I strain the mash with ??
I've tried pressing through a metal mesh strainer with a rubber spatula, but that seems to be very messy and slow.
How about a chinois ?
What about squeezing through cheesecloth or a loose nylon strainer ?

Sep 26, 2010
Freq Band in Cookware

Mulato chile (dried) where to find in the SFV ??

Vallarta has it....the worker on the phone did not look well enough.

Jul 26, 2010
Freq Band in Los Angeles Area

Mulato chile (dried) where to find in the SFV ??

Is the Mulato chile the same thing as a dark brown (ripened) dried Pablano ?

Jul 18, 2010
Freq Band in Los Angeles Area

Mulato chile (dried) where to find in the SFV ??

I am making Mole.
Where in LA (SFV) can I find these ?

I tried Vallarta in luck.


Jul 18, 2010
Freq Band in Los Angeles Area

Harissa (Tunisian, Morrocco) Piri Piri peppers ??

I'm trying to find the traditional red chili used in Harissa sauce/paste.
(I've made it with local southwest chilies before)

So far I've come up with "Capsicum frutescens".
But this is found in many countries, with common names being...

African Bird's eye
Piri Piri
Thai pepper

or there is a variation... Capsicum frutescens 'African Devil'

I think the above one is the correct one.

any comments, or sources ??


Apr 03, 2010
Freq Band in Home Cooking

Fresh seafood market sources (near the SFV) ??

Holy carp, I forgot about them! Great lunches too.

Mar 11, 2010
Freq Band in Los Angeles Area

Peruvian Lime

Is the Peruvian Lime really Citrus aurantifolia....and is this the same as the Key Lime ??

I read somewhere that there is a difference.
Are they indeed the same ?
(I'm trying to perfect my Ceviche recipe.)


Mar 11, 2010
Freq Band in Gardening

Fresh seafood market sources (near the SFV) ??

When I want to whip up a quick meal using seafood, where should I go to buy fresh seafood ?
I am in the Burbank area.
I can live with "flash-frozen" choices (on the boat, or at the dock) long as they are just that...and not "frozen because it 's not selling".

I simply will not eat the fish at the local chain market's meat counter.

I got spoiled (no pun) because my ex-girlfriend father was head of NOAA Northwest Fisheries, and they only ate fish straight off the boat. They felt the fish at Seattle's Pike's Place fish market, was too old.
While I can't possibly adhere to that standard......I need to do better than a local supermarket's selection.

PS...I will post their "Pickled Salmon" recipe soon.........fricken fantastic.


Mar 11, 2010
Freq Band in Los Angeles Area

Is thin-crust pizza dough just regular but rolled thinner?

That would have been my guess. ....and I will be letting it rest in the fridge.

Thank You,

Feb 25, 2010
Freq Band in Home Cooking

Is thin-crust pizza dough just regular but rolled thinner?

Puck's above recipe (linked) is missing the "amount" of yeast. Anybody care to guess ?

Feb 25, 2010
Freq Band in Home Cooking

Glace de first taste of heaven.

This was my first time at this 12 hour stock reduction.
Made from beef bones "knuckles" found at my local butcher.
These were first roasted.... along with carrot, celery, onion, shallot, fennel and a few mushrooms.
The roasting pan was de-glazed with a bit of sherry, then everything put into a large 8 qt stock pot, (w/some herbs), and skimmed and simmered until 1/10 remained....12 hours later.
I strained it into a small saucepan and shoved it into the freezer.
An hour or so later, I cut the frozen mass into pie shapes, put them in individual ziplock bags, and I'm keeping them in the freezer until needed.

Out of curiosity, I left a teaspoon in the saucepan, added twice as much sherry, some s&p, and a small pad of butter..........simmering until thickened.

Then I tasted it......

It was worth every fucking minute.


Feb 22, 2010
Freq Band in Home Cooking

Creuset roasting pan, not in catalog....

Great price, but only found from one supplier, and offered at a few sites.
What do you think ?? is it the real-deal ??...or ??

2 1/2 qt cast iron pan, black satin.

I don't see black satin on the Le Creuset site:

Sold these sites:


Feb 21, 2010
Freq Band in Cookware

Three gadgets I Can Live Without But Choose Not To

That olive pitter I've used twice...
The spring loaded tea strainer that made a mess...once.
...And that fancy antique butter knife that's never been introduced to butter.

Feb 21, 2010
Freq Band in Cookware

my Wild Boar is angry, how to cook to tenderness ?

Every time I cook wild boar (tried twice), by the time it reaches the proper internal temp (130 to 140 after removal from oven & resting period)'s tough like leather.

Is this a slow-cook meat, or a quick sear/broil ?
If the cut is thick, (like a rack), it needs some decent cooking time.

This stuff is expensive, and if I can't get it right....I quit.


Feb 03, 2010
Freq Band in Home Cooking

Austin...need an unusual-romantic meal.

I am visiting a lady-friend in Austin. I am trying to find something unusual to an old-fashioned picnic. However, the weather and fire-ants could pose a problem.

We love privacy. I wonder if there are any services that would set-up a 2 person lunch...either on a hillside...or on a boat.

Any ideas ??


Nov 06, 2009
Freq Band in Austin

Magnetic Knife Rack

...affectionately termed..."Knife Cozy"

Oct 23, 2009
Freq Band in Cookware