Caroline1's Profile

Title Last Reply

How to brown meringue on pie without melting the lemon filling??

One of many possible solutions is to use an "Italian merangue" instead of just plain sweetened whipped egg whites, then use your kitchen torch to brown the merangue instead of putting the pie in the oven. Kitchen torches are designed to be user friendly and safe, so pick up some fuel for yours and work on overcoming your fears. There are tons of fantastic things you can do with a kitchen torch besides brown a merangue. Make friends with yours! '-)

Apr 09, 2014
Caroline1 in Food Quests

Sub shaoxing + sugar for mirin?

That, plus every brand of Shaoxing I've ever used doesn't need any added sugar! Sake with a touch of sugar is what I use, but I try not to run out of sake OR mirin!

Apr 07, 2014
Caroline1 in Home Cooking

Whats the best way to make hash brown potatoes ?

Kelly's is a no fail recipe and other fats work well too; duck fat, beef suet, ghee, olive oil. If you like latkes just add some grated onion to taste and an egg, stir and fry in thin patties 2 or 3 inches in diameter. Or for an "O'Brien" touch add the onions and some julienned bell pepper. Enjoy!

Apr 07, 2014
Caroline1 in Home Cooking

Asking a restaurant for recipe

I have asked for recipes and gotten them, but never by phone. But hey what have you got to lose? The worst that can happen is they hang up on you, right? Take a deep breath and pick up the phone. And good luck!

Mar 30, 2014
Caroline1 in General Topics
3

Unisex bathrooms in restaurants

Then you would hate the (hopefully) recent past (and that's "recent" as in my lifetime). Years ago on my fitst trip outside the USA, my flight passed through (landed for more passengers) at the KLM hub at Schiphol Amsterdam Airport. There was a "slight" mechanical problem, so "through passengers" were given carte blanche vouchers for anything they wanted to eat or drink in the formal dining room. I was so elated to see bathroom doors on one side of the huge dining room. The doorways were at least 20' apart. "Hooray! Just like home!" I naievely thought. When I went through the women's door it was an immediate turn to the right in a 20 feet long hallway, and half way down the hallway was a left turn into... are you ready for this? ... a HUGE unisex bathroom! and of course, the other end of the original 20' long hallway was the door marked "Men" in the main dining room.

But at least the toilets were "water tank with toilet seat" type and not the then-more ubiquitous "bomb sights." It was a learning experience!

Mar 28, 2014
Caroline1 in Not About Food

Addressing people by gender at a restaurant

Wawsanham 1 day ago

Hopefully, those English teachers who distinguish between "who" and "whoever" (in THIS CONTEXT) are dying off at this point! Said by an English teacher.
=====================================

God, I hope not!!!

Mar 28, 2014
Caroline1 in Not About Food
2

Addressing people by gender at a restaurant

It depends... My highschool teachers would have smacked us with a ruler if we used "who ever." However "whom ever" was perfectly acceptable.

Just for the record. '-)

Mar 28, 2014
Caroline1 in Not About Food

Addressing people by gender at a restaurant

Marsh, mash? Mishmash works for me!

Sometimes the group grope for political correctness just gets to be too much. "Let'em eat cake!"

Mar 27, 2014
Caroline1 in Not About Food

Addressing people by gender at a restaurant

For years my personal preference has been, "Peops," as in "People." And now that Easter is nealy upon us, if someone misses the reference to multiple humans, well, may they tun into a big yellow mashmallow! '-)

Mar 26, 2014
Caroline1 in Not About Food

Does anyone know what to do with this?

I don't read Hebrew, but assuming you know what a date looks like (and it's a reasonable assumption about the contents since there is a date palm in the logo) there is no shortage of what you can do with them! They are delicious eaten out of hand. A delicacy when slit open and the seed is removed and replaced with an almond.

There are a lot of different varieties of dates. My favorite is the Medjool date. Besides "eating out of hand" they are used in a variety of dishes of North Africa (specifically Morocco where they are often used in tagines) and I like them pitted and diced and added to chicken salad. Not good (imo) in tuna salad, but hey, to each his own.

If this is your first experience with dates, I think you're going to love them!

Oh! And I almost forgot.... Date nut bread! Delicious!

Mar 26, 2014
Caroline1 in Home Cooking

Has Anyone Ever Roasted or Fried A Silky Chicken?

Good to know. Thanks, Melanie.

Mar 26, 2014
Caroline1 in Home Cooking

Has Anyone Ever Roasted or Fried A Silky Chicken?

hmmm... Most curious. Some here have claimed the broth was delicious, and by their report they HAVE eaten it. As to why I may be "determined to defy techniques of 100s of generations of Chinese cooks happily embrace" PLEASE tell me how many of those cooks practiced souse vide cooking?????

I rest my case! '-)

Besides, when they are on sale they run about $7.00 a pop. If that is all the money I will waste on food the rest of my life, that will be a freaking miracle!!!

Mar 25, 2014
Caroline1 in Home Cooking

Has Anyone Ever Roasted or Fried A Silky Chicken?

Doesn't sound like something that would entice me to beg for second helpings, let alone firsts, but I am wondering about the flavor of the chicken itself. Seems to me that to get delicious chicken broth you have to start with delicious chicken! But obviously boiling and/or braising and/or frying turns it into tough stringy rope. Had that happen once with a large bison roast. So now I'm wondering what a little sous vide magic might do...? If I can use sous vide to turn brisket into amazingly tender medium-rare steak what kind of magic could it perform with a silky chicken??? hmmmm... Maybe next time I see silkies on sale at 99Ranch I'll give it a shot...

Mar 25, 2014
Caroline1 in Home Cooking

Has Anyone Ever Roasted or Fried A Silky Chicken?

Ooooops! I just discovered your question! I guess silky chickens on sale is a big deal here in Plano because by the time I got to the store they were sold out! Since then I've done more research on line and there is a HUGE void of fried silky chicken recipes out there, so I've pretty much abandoned the idea. It seems logical to me that given the great creativity of millennia of fabulous Chinese cooks, if there was a way to make delicious fried or roasted silky chicken there would be lots of recipes up for grabs. It appears that silky chickens of any age have much in common with much older chickens of other breeds. It seems they are best stewed. Should the silkies ever go on sale again and there are still some available by the time I get to the store, I may give silkie chicken and dumplings a shot. We'll see... I'm mildly curious about any marked flavor difference, but it's not at the top of my bucket list by a long shot. '-)

Mar 23, 2014
Caroline1 in Home Cooking

Your favorite products to order on Amazon?

Just in case any of you love your Prime membership but haven't thought about ducking the higher rates for another year, there are 1 or 2 days left at this writing when you can still buy gift cards at the old $79.00 rate. To add an additional year to your current membership, you can simply give yourself a gift membership at the old rate and enjoy free shipping and all the rest of the Prime goodies for an additional year.

Mar 16, 2014
Caroline1 in General Topics
1

How common are food allergies and aversions- really?

And how much raw green pepper does Taco Bell serve? If his reaction is in response to raw green bell peppers, that food is known to cause respiratory problems for some people with allergies when it is raw, but not when cooked. I had this problem as a child and it should be taken seriously.

Feb 06, 2014
Caroline1 in Not About Food

Anthony Bourdain's "Les Halles Cookbook"

Wrong on both counts, as in the New York Times recipe and the description of the dish on the Les Halles menu. When it comes to the whole or any part of the tenderloin muscle in beef, a "filet" or "filet mignon" is NOT the same thing as a "tournedo," nor are these terms interchangeable any more than "top round" and "bottom round", but the price of filets and tournedos will far exceed the price of top or bottom round. A tournedo is a TENDERLOIN STEAK. It is not a FILET!

As I said, if I was ever served a filet mignon instead of a tournedo when I ordered a tournedo Rossini, I would insist on being served what I had ordered or I would not pay the price quoted for a tournedo. Period. Plain and simple, it has to do with portion size. If I order a quarter pounder at McDonalds but receive a Happy Meal sized burger, I'll have a discussion with someone about that too. Language and descriptions count! If you choose to accept misrepresentation that is your choice.

Hope this helps.

Feb 06, 2014
Caroline1 in Home Cooking

Thomas's English Muffins

MUCH better! I'll share a funny tale -- or at least I now think it's funny looking back on it 57 years later -- about how I learned first hand a bout the volatility of baking powder and yeast.

When my first husband and I were newly weds and he was going to Air Traffic Control school at Keesler Air Force Base, our weekly "recreation" was playing pinochle with another couple every Thursday night. As is the tradition with nearly all students, we were poor, so the snacks and goodies for the evening consisted of 4 fresh baked loaves of bread -- 2 French and 2 pinwheeled cinnamon bread with raisins and walnuts tucked into the swirls. That divied up to a half loaf of each kind of bread per person with 1/2 cube of dairy butter each and fresh hot coffee to go with it. At one point I realized I was out of yeast and flour, I didn't want to make the long trek to the commissary, so I asked my husband to pick up 20 pounds of flour and a month's supply of yeast on his way home. So on bread making day I whipped up my standard sponge and set it on the counter to rise for about two to three hours. I figured I had a good hour and a half for a cup of morning coffee with a neighbor, so off I trotted! When I came home only an hour later my kitchen was a nightmare!

Anyone remember that childhood fairy tale about the fisherman and his wife who are given a magic pot that would fill with delicious porridge if they said the magic words, and then one day they forgot the magic words to turn it off so it filled their house with porridge until it was running out their windows? Well, that was my kitchen! The sponge had risen out of my VERY large baking bowl in which it had never reached even half way to the top with the sponge before and had crawled over the rim, filled the kitchen counter, found its way into the sink, and then spread its excess across the kitchen floor. What a mess!

Finally, I read the damned flour label on the fresh 20 pound bag of flour my husband had bought for me. I was NOT a native to the south, and the very closest thing I had ever heard of to self rising flour was Bisquick. In case any of you are as naive as I was, self rising flour is a mix of flour and baking powder so that you can make cake, biscuits, spoon bread, hush puppies, whatever you want without having to measure your baking powder and flour separately. After that, I never trusted my husband to buy a loaf of Wonder bread! I did my own shopping!

It's the volatility of the very last minute addition of baking powder that adds the gas pockets to the batter to make those big old fat nooks and crannies that Thomas' is so proud of, as in WHEN to add the baking powder.

Feb 05, 2014
Caroline1 in General Topics
2

Anthony Bourdain's "Les Halles Cookbook"

My major quibble with that recipe is that "tournedos Rossini" is, as the name of the dish indicates, made with a tournedo steak which is an entirely different cut of a tenderloin of beef than a "filet mignon." A whole beef tenderloin is a tapering mussel with one end smaller in diameter than the other. Filet mignons are cut from the lesser diameter end, tournedos from the large end, and the chateubriand is at least a triple thick cut from the center section of the whole tenderloin. If I went to an upscale restaurant and they made my tournedos Rossini with a filet mignon I'd be having a serious chat with my captain or the maitre d' hotel!!! Sometimes choice of words is critical!

Feb 04, 2014
Caroline1 in Home Cooking

Thomas's English Muffins

Thought I'd throw this in, just in case anyone is interested... Really good English muffins with TONS of nooks and crannies are ridiculously easy to make... Here's how. If you know how to bake bread using the sponge method that uses about 2/3 of the flour in the sponge, make that. Let it rise as usual, then when it's ready to be punched down to add the rest of the flour, just stir it (it should be the consistency of a fairly thick cake batter). Set it aside while you rub a thin coat of oil inside your largest cast iron skillet or stove top griddle and set it over medium heat that's just a tad on the cool side. Grease (or Pam) the inside of as many English muffin ring molds as will fit in/on your skillet/grill. If you don't have English muffin ring molds and you can get your hands on old fashioned tuna cans that can be opened with a can opener on both top and bottom, they make great muffin molds! (Damn you, Starkist for robbing me of free muffin molds!) Okay. When your griddle/skillet is "pancake temperature" and your ring molds are in place, then and only then add a teaspoon of baking powder to your sponge, stir well to incorporate, then spoon your batter into the muffin molds to about half full. Allow to "bake" like pancakes until bubbles rise to the surface, then turn and ",bake" the other side until done. Remove molds, cool, fork split, toast and slather with butter or whatever.

If you would rather have crumpets than English muffins simply lower your griddle heat enough to allow your batter to bake all the way through so that the heat bubbles are solidly set in the batter and the "muffin" is baked all the way through. Crumpets are served warm from the pan, and the solidified "heat bubble" holes allow them to hold lots of butter. Whether crumpets or muffins, I prefer mine with real Irish butter and Dundee orange marmalade.

The big secret to authentic nooks and crannies is adding the baking powder to the batter-like sponge at the last minute. Thomas' does not list baking powder in its ingredients list but Bay's does. I'm pretty sure baking powder is the fabled "secret ingredient" in Thomas' English Muffins, and WHEN it is added is the trick. Bay's lists it as an ingredient, but they don't say when it is added. And fair warning! I used to make English muffins regularly by just tossing together the sponge the night before, then allowing it to rise in the refrigerator overnight. DO NOT do this after adding the baking powder!!! The sponge will rise and fill your whole refrigerator and you'll have a real mess on your hands. But anyway, making your own fresh English muffins is a threat to your girth. They are the original "Bet you can't eat just one" food!

Just in case anyone is interested in making their own... ... ... '-)

Feb 04, 2014
Caroline1 in General Topics
1

Anthony Bourdain's "Les Halles Cookbook"

A classic boeuf Bourguignon is never served with any physical evidence of carrots or chopped onions in the sauce. While these are standard ingredients in the braising of the beef, they are traditionally strained from the beef and gravy prior to presentation and at that time the prepared pearl onions and quartered and sauteed mushrooms are added before the dish is garnished with a scattering of fresh chopped parsley and served "family style." When the carrots and cooking onions are left in for serving, then it is simply "beef stew." Here's a link to Julia Child's classic "Mastering The Art of French Cooking" version:
http://www.food.com/recipe/boeuf-bour...
This is also the method I was taught by my chef/mentor in the 1950s a few years before MTAOFC was published. In "upscale" haute cuisine restaurants of the 50s and 60s, it was often served with one or two artfully fluted mushrooms on top or on the side, but never ever was a carrot visible in the final presentation!

As I wrote in my first post, I have to assume AB is absolutely aware of this, but as advertised, is accurately presenting the Les Halles "bistro" version of these dishes.

Feb 03, 2014
Caroline1 in Home Cooking
1

At what point does the price of a meal overcome value?

hmmm... Then I think you've missed sedimental's point altogether. I'll use my own likes and dislikes as an example. I simply abhor tripe and brains. A bad childhood experience and concern over mad cow disease are the basis. There is no amount of care or flawlessly executed preparation put forth by any master chef on this planet that can induce me to put either brains or tripe into my mouth! So there are times when great cooking ability and loving/caring preparation just don't now and will never be factors, no matter how hard a chef may try. I suspect this is an inflexible fact across the board and has nothing to do with anyone being argumentative. Agreed? I mean, there are some things in cooking that you just don't do. You just don't invite devout Moslems or Jews to dinner and serve roast pork. Nor do you invite devout Hindus for prime rib. And if you want to make points, you do not invite me to dinner and serve tripe OR brains! '-)

Feb 03, 2014
Caroline1 in General Topics

Anthony Bourdain's "Les Halles Cookbook"

I'm not sure this is the right board to post this, but hey, Mods, feel free to relocate me! '-)

After a whole lot of hassles, Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles cook book FINALLY arrived a week or so ago. Now the question is, is that an indicator that it is selling like hot cakes (or crepes) or is it simply an indication of my typical luck in ordering things? I'm the one who had to have three shippings of a new desktop computer before one arrived in working condition! It took two full months and one cancellation and one new order before I finally got my copy of this cookbook!

I ordered it for two reasons. First of all, I've used a couple of AB's soup recipes I got on line, most notably his mushroom soup which for me is pure and simple "the joy of mushrooms" in a bowl, so I figured a bit more joy in my life couldn't hurt. Secondly, I bought it because I wanted to find out for myself whether it really is true that overall, he is an excellent teacher, and whether less accomplished cooks can learn a great deal from him about cooking, organization, and how to be a better cook over all. Turns out they can! He takes his time, he cheers you with his wry humor, and if you don't understand the basics before reading him, it will be sheer obtuseness on your part if you don't understand after reading this book. Example: If you don't understand the logic and necessity of "mise en place" in the cooking process (or simply "meez," as he puts it) before reading his discourse on it, you will be clear and dedicated to the idea after reading Chef Bourdain! Mise en place is what you do before you apply first heat to the bottom of your pan. It's the engine of smooth sailing in the kitchen. It's what keeps me sane when I cook. It can do the same for you.

I take his word that these recipes are exactly what he says they are: The same recipes he followed religiously as the executive (or whatever) chef at Les Halles bistro in New York City, and NOT true "haute cuisine" recipes as he would present them for the purpose of giving classic "Michelin Four Star" recipes that one would expect from the title of some of the dishes he includes here. Keep in mind that restaurant food, by definition, requires that a chef cook the exact same dish the exact same way night after night in order to "keep the customer sarisfied."

A prime example of this being the (presumably) Les Halles recipe for Tournedos Rossini. In the classic dish, as either Careme or Escoffier invented it (there is ongoing argument about which chef gets the credit), it is a tornedo steak (cut from the large end of a beef tenderloin) done medium rare and served atop a well browned-in-butter "crouton" (a slice of excellent bread cut to the size and shape to match exactly the size and shape of the steak. The crouton is centered on the plate, the steak is centered on the crouton, then a quickly pan-browned slice of foie gras the diameter of the steak is set atop it, then a slice of a good sized black Perigord truffle as close to the size of the steak as possible (which translates into BIG BUCKS in ANY language!) is set atop the foie gras, and the whole bundle is delicately napped with a spoonful or two of well truffled Sauce Perigordine. When prepared with premium ingredients by deft hands, this is a dish that fills the soul with rapture. It is simply divine! BUT.... the Les Halles and/or Anthony Bourdain recipe calls for plopping the steak and garnishments SANS crouton atop a blob of mashed potatoes... <gasp> I cringed! I'm a staunch believer in "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" In this they didn't fix it, they broke it. Brought a shiver to my soul!

He and/or Les Halles do a similar thing with a couple of other classic classic classic French traditional recipes such as Boeuf Bourguignon, but hey, if you've never ever had the original recipes of any of these classic dishes, I'm sure the Les Halles recipes taste good and you'll enjoy them.

In short, I do highly recommend this cook book. Lots of excellent recipes in it, and even better, tons of great information about how the professionals cook, which works just as well (if not better) for home cooks. If you enjoy good food and the satisfaction of making great food on your own, this is a very "user friendly" guide in that direction! But.... If you're into classic recipes and have a thing for authenticity, don't throw away your copy of Larousse Gastronomique either! '-)

Feb 02, 2014
Caroline1 in Home Cooking

At what point does the price of a meal overcome value?

For me, there is only one point at which the price of a meal -- any meal -- exceeds the meal's value, and that is when the cook/chef/nurturer does not perform well. I've had more than my share of these experiences. Always a BIG disappointment, but it seems to be an inescapable part of life. And it's a lot easier to handle when I'm the culprit in my own kitchen, but when a chef is the culprit in his/her celebrated kitchen... well, that just ticks me off! <sigh> It is a major reason behind why I prefer to entertain at home. If you doubt me, read my "Best Meal" comments on my profile page! Not all of life's lemons can be easily turned into lemonade, but it turns out that the disasters DO outlive the magnificent successes in our long-term memory. But overall, I do prefer great food to great horror stories... '-)

Feb 02, 2014
Caroline1 in General Topics

what to do with a big squid body?

I know this is probably going to sound elitist and such but that is furthest from my intent! That said, in my very long life experience I have found food, food history, and knowledge about food and the global variety of different ethnic cuisines to be the quickest way to get a handle on anyone's level of sophistication about general knowledge of the world at large. The less open and adventurous someone is about food and exploring its possibilities, the more closed they are to just about any new interests in life (unless there is a medical reason or allergy that limits their food interests). A century or two ago when I was still dating, boy-oh-boy, was knowing this a great key to figuring out whether a second date was a good plan! Lorenzo, your experience is a good illustration. If the other person hates eggs in any form and you adore eggs in all forms, how are you ever going to enjoy breakfast together??? '-)

Feb 02, 2014
Caroline1 in Home Cooking

what to do with a big squid body?

To each his (or her) own. The OP asked for suggestions. I was simply offering one.

And just for the record, even though I live in Dallas, through my plethora of very large Asian markets I have access to large, larger, and really big squid any time I like. They're not that hard to come by.

Jan 31, 2014
Caroline1 in Home Cooking

what to do with a big squid body?

The hood of a large squid can be cut to lay open and flat, then cut into "steaks", dried well, then dipped in buttermilk (or beaten egg) and coated with panko bread crumbs and fried in very hot peanut oil or clarified butter, then served immediately with lemon wedges, If you like calamari rings in Italian restaurants you will LOVE calamari steaks. Several decades ago, a few unscrupulous California restaurants were said to be serving calamari steaks as abalone. Bottom line is they are delicious, BUT overcook them and they will be tough and rubbery. The secret is hot pan and quick cooking. But if you don't like calamari rings, this may not be a giod solution for you.

Jan 31, 2014
Caroline1 in Home Cooking

Are we allowed to share horrible, completely unredeemable experiences here?

I live in Dallas, not Austin, and not familiar with the place, so I buddied up to Google and find it is not a chain, but its apparently got enough of a following that it has a Zagat rating.... My take? For an owner/manager to behave that way, the place may well be in deep trouble financially for an owner/manager to go off the deep end and behave that way. NO manager, owner or not, in his right mind would allow such behavior that will give this kind of justified negative publicity to a successful OR failing business! Incomprehensible! But I'll bet he regrets his actions now that he has had time to think about it.

Jan 31, 2014
Caroline1 in Austin
3

How to handle uninvited children at a cocktail party

Not me. I'd hire a babysitter to take care of them at the baby sitter's house!!! '-)

Jan 22, 2014
Caroline1 in Not About Food

Is my Kirkland olive oil real?

Yay, bob96! This whole thread is most interesting because I've been all over the UCDavis Olive Center website looking for their "report." i could find none. So I googled newspaper and magazine reports of the report. Ahah! They said I could find the report in question in .pdf format here:
http://olivecenter.ucdavis.edu/what-we-do/report%20041211%20final%20reduced.pdf

As you will see if you click the link. either the "report" has been removed *OR* it never existed in the first place. I highly suspect that if there ever was such a report, it may have been removed because of gross misunderstanding and/or oversimplification. I can readily understand how such thing might happen. Anyone remember "mitochondrial Eve" and the gross misinterpretation of that scientific finding by the media?

I suspect that what has happened is that a variety of formal olive oil tastings from several formal tasting/grading sessionss and a number of lab analysis reports could be mistakenly interpreted by media to lead to the false conclusion that some classic true and pure single source/single "vintage" evoo's might not be ranked "at the top of their game" simply because EVERY crop, from grapes and olives to flowers grown for the perfume industry and tomatoes grown for the table have "vintage" years. You just don't hear about them all that much in association with foods other than wine and/or olive oil, but they do exist for all plants, and are important. And olive oil, like the grapes grown for wine, has "varietals" as well as flavor and quality that is affected by weather and the soil the trees are grown in (terroir). I would have to see a UCDavis report first hand that states Colavita or any other premium brand of single source or mixed (for flavor balance) botlings of Italian, Spanish, Poruguese, and Greek evoo's is contaminated with oils from anything but olives.

But if anyone would like more information about their particular olive oil purchase, here's the place to get it:
http://olivecenter.ucdavis.edu/oil-te...

Jan 22, 2014
Caroline1 in General Topics